Al's Ramblings

Wednesday, April 30, 2003

(4/30/2003 07:41:00 PM) - Al

I just LOVE watching Keith Ginter hit. Take, take, take, foul, take, usually followed by a well struck ball, a walk, or a K. I enjoy the K's less than the other results, but it's just an honor watching a guy at the plate with a plan other than "see ball, hit ball, jog back to bench". Reminds me a lot of Ronnie Belliard, actually.

4/30/2003 07:41:00 PM

Tuesday, April 29, 2003

(4/29/2003 12:18:00 PM) - Al

Off to a meeting, so I won't be home until tomorrow night. Good luck Crew, and if you're in the Milwaukee area, they are running special deals both this series and over the weekend, support your team. If the weather is as nice there as it is here, just pretend it's summer.

4/29/2003 12:18:00 PM

(4/29/2003 12:15:00 PM) - Al

First time I've had to "republish" my archives in over 2 months...a new record. Thanks for the e-mail alerting me to that fact Bradley, as I hardly ever check the actual site, just the editing page.

4/29/2003 12:15:00 PM

(4/29/2003 10:38:00 AM) - Al

Todd Jones, Jesse Helms...Jesse, Todd.

Todd was asked to comment on a Broadway play's plot about a gay baseball player "coming out".

Colorado Rockies pitcher Todd Jones, a 6-foot, 3-inch pitcher from Marietta, Ga., said an openly gay player would create a hostile locker-room environment, and that opposing pitchers would likely throw intentionally at his head.

"I wouldn't want a gay guy being around me," Jones said. "It's got nothing to do with me being scared. That's the problem: All these people say he's got all these rights. Yeah, he's got rights or whatever, but he shouldn't walk around proud. It's like he's rubbing it in our face. 'See me, hear me roar.' We're not trying to be close-minded, but then again, why be confrontational when you don't really have to be?"

That kind of attitude "speaks volumes about America," said actor Daniel Sunjata, a Jeter lookalike who plays Lemming in "Take Me Out." "Sports are the last bastion of sanctioned homophobia in this country. The fact that something like sexual preference can so adversely affect your career and your income is depressing. If I were a pro baseball player, and I was gay, I might not come out, either, for those exact reasons."

No doubt in my mind the writer knew full well of Rocker's...I mean Jones' bigotry, and was just hoping for a scoop. Good luck to Todd, as he'll need it.

4/29/2003 10:38:00 AM

Monday, April 28, 2003

(4/28/2003 11:52:00 PM) - Al

A few days ago I wrote to David Bloom, who writes a DevilRays blog. I asked him how he likes Javier Valentin, and here was his reply:

I think Valentin was a good acquisition from the Rays standpoint. They really had no backup to Toby Hall at catcher. It appears Conti will be a non-factor with the Brewers with the emergence of Posednik. With Toby again starting the year off again in a hitting funk, Valentin has gotten several starts. Valentin has hit when given a chance so far.

I'll be the first to say Podsednik hasn't sucked, but I'd hardly call it an "emergence". Anyway, not a word about the supposed sloppy defense of Javier. While I don't think Valentin will be anything more than mediocre, a 27 year-old "average" C isn't a bad thing to have...especially when you are suiting up Eddie Perez or Keith Osik on a daily basis. This decision still tells me how painfully out of touch the organization is when it's "long-term" planning. Neither Perez or Osik is even a morsel better than Jesse Levis, who the Brewers picked up on waivers a couple years ago when they pretty much ran out of catchers. I'd say they were a dime-a-dozen, but I wouldn't want to offend items that actually have value, albeit 0.83 US cents. Is there a chance Valentin could have been a long-term solution at catcher? Yes. Are Perez or Osik going to be part of the next good Brewers' club? Nope.

This short-sighted choice brings up so many telltale signs to be concerned with:

1. Overemphasis of small samples; a few spring performances over 250 AAA games.

2. Finding value in "intangibles", keeping the grizzled, hardworking vets over a youngster who may be weak on defense. I tell you what, it's a lot easier to improve some D behind the plate than it is to teach 30+ fellas who can't to hit.

3. Not seeing the 2003 season as a tryout for the future. As mentioned, Valentin has a better chance of contributing in 2004 or 2005, so why not let him play for a good part of '03, and then make your decision. Right now, we are not in a contention mode. Going with steady, yet less than OK performance, with no ceiling, is unacceptable.

Now, you can't just run out and find a Grade A prospect at every position, so you do what you can. Javier is 27, and hit very well in AAA. You could do worse...and we are, a lot worse. We're not talking about just Javier here, we're talking about organizational philosophy, and thinking about where we want to be as a team in a year or two, or three.

Similiar short-term errors have taken place by waiving Mike Matthews, even though we had two young relievers with options. Now, I'll be the first to say Mike is not a big loss...but we cannot afford to lose any major league caliber players for nothing. We are very weak at AAA, and last year, HOU gave us Wayne Franklin and Keith Ginter, two players they viewed as filler, for a month of Mark Loretta. Would I have been upset at losing Lo for nothing? Not at all, and we still have a couple role players on our roster because of shrewd dealing, including Keith, who many feel is a good offensive 2B/3B...who is only in need of a chance. Meanwhile, everyday, we trot Eric Young out you sense the trend?

Youth and the possibility of improvement is looked at as a negative; while imminent decline and having experienced more trips around the a good thing.


4/28/2003 11:52:00 PM

(4/28/2003 11:17:00 PM) - Al

After a "break" from internet service, I'm back. Also today, I received a wonderful entry from Lee Sinins, who maintains the Baseball Encyclopedia online. Allow me to quote him on the fascination with no-hitters.

What bothers me about no hitters the most is the question of why do people feel so passionate about them. It's because of conditioning. People have been conditioned to feel that way.

I want to say that looking at hits is remnant of the days when players were judged by their average. When you judge a hitter by his batting average and say hits are his job, it makes perfect sense in that environment to say that a lack of hits is the pitcher's job.

I want to say that looking at AVG is a remnant of old days. But, unfortunately, in case of too many people, it's the present condition.

I just view a no hitter is being too linked to the AVG mentality, and its continued hold on the masses, for me to not go into attack mode when it happens. One of the goals of my writings, especially on sabermetrics, is to recondition people. If people can be conditioned to look at the game through the lenses of an AVG based mentality, then they can similarly be conditioned to break away from that mentality and move to a mentality emphasizing stats geared towards runs.

Lee is a not a man you enter a debate with by saying things like "He's a winner, and he provides good leadership." If you want to learn about the game, you can get daily e-mails from Lee...and they're free. Just send him an e-mail at and tell him you'd like to begin each day with a bit of baseball info, and maybe even learn something, and he'll hook you up.

4/28/2003 11:17:00 PM

(4/28/2003 06:20:00 PM) - Al

Some great stuff on the 'net today, and I'm going to provide the links. Aaron Gleeman points out that the consistent ignorance is the only reason the Marlins abused young phenom AJ Burnett. After reading this, I'm even more solidly entrenched on the "err on the side of caution" side of the debate, especially when it comes to Ben Sheets. Ben needs to be pulled as early as possible in starts in which the game is decided, like his last outing. He had 98 pitches after 6, why run him out for a 7th in a laugher? A "light" night on the arm might be just what he needs to remain healthy.

Excellent synopsis of a manager and a team not caring about tomorrow, and feverishly chasing that 77th win, damn the consequences. FLA has blood on their hands, and the GM, manager, and coaching staff should be held accountable. As Aaron pointed out, will it be any different with Josh Beckett?

I doubt it...a lot.

4/28/2003 06:20:00 PM

Saturday, April 26, 2003

(4/26/2003 12:21:00 AM) - Al

Before the series began, I said I couldn't figure out why so many "experts" were picking Portland to beat Dallas. I still can't. Golly, the Blazers are such a group of idiots, it's hard to believe they aren't high ALL THE TIME.

4/26/2003 12:21:00 AM

(4/26/2003 12:17:00 AM) - Al

The ticker says the Bears traded the 4th overall pick in the NFL draft to the Jets for the 13th and 22nd picks. This begs the questions:

1. Who is so darn vital that they are worth giving up two starters (well, should be starters, 2nd year and beyond) for?

2. Are there really people who sit and watch the whole draft?

Alas, I know the answer is yes for #2, though I can't say I've ever met one...nor do I want to. I'm a firm believer in quantity over quality, as quality can blow out a knee every bit as easily as Joe Blow.

I still remember an NFL executive saying that if you are able to draft 5-7 good players each year, you'll be able to have a young, solid club that is all under 30 and has new blood coming in each year. That was before the salary cap, and was pretty simplistic, but the top 5 rounds are full of at least good reserves on a yearly basis. Do a couple trades like CHI pulled off, you have 7 picks in the first 5 rounds, and it sure seems a lot easier to me.

4/26/2003 12:17:00 AM

Friday, April 25, 2003

(4/25/2003 10:30:00 PM) - Al

Looks like I missed a good taping opportunity this evening. I considered setting the VCR for the Crew/Braves, but decided that I'd just watch the plethora of NBA/NHL playoff games, as well as the HBO Bill Maher show. I missed a 12-5 victory, 3 HR's by Sexson and a pair by VanderWal. Sheets got the win, though I read he was pushed out to pitch the 7th despite being over 100 pitches, which seems silly at best. I'll have to see how many he finished with before I shake my head in disgust.

EDIT: 113 pitches for Ben, not much higher than I'd like to see.

4/25/2003 10:30:00 PM

(4/25/2003 10:26:00 PM) - Al

Mo Cheeks, coach of the Trail Blazers, came to the aid of a young woman singing the national anthem before tonight's playoff game. As often occurs, the teen forgot the words to the song, so Cheeks ambled over, put his arm around her, and they sung the rest together. Which, of course, begs the question, how does a nice guy like Cheeks end up coaching the pro version of the U. of Cincinnati?

4/25/2003 10:26:00 PM

(4/25/2003 11:28:00 AM) - Al

I watched the Wolves/Lakers game last night, and a couple brief thoughts:

1. Worst officiated game in the history of the game. No doubt. Horrible. Pathetic.

2. It started just after 10PM, and it ended at 1:30AM. That's 3 1/2 hours, and no one will mention how blasted long it took. After all, the media only has a timer available for MLB games.

4/25/2003 11:28:00 AM

Thursday, April 24, 2003

(4/24/2003 11:50:00 PM) - Al

From our man "in the know", Drew Olson of the JS:

Former Brewers utility man Brian Banks is on the Marlins' roster this year but did not play in the series.

Funny, Banks went 0-1 Wednesday night, according to the box score.

I would guess either it got by the editors, or there was a discussion about Springsteen bootlegs going on.

4/24/2003 11:50:00 PM

(4/24/2003 10:41:00 PM) - Al

Looks like Kevin Appier will have to travel to Toronto, the poor lad. Appier thought the intelligent thing to do would be to play TOR in Anaheim in early May, in front of crowds in the 5,000 range, since tiks would have to be sold only at the laast minute; then play TOR in Skydome in August, when Doc Appier feels the risk of SARS will be less.

Let's see, a few days ago, the NHL TOR/PHIL Game 6 took place. New York, Boston, and Minnesota have already visited Toronto, with no ill effects (no pun intended). 25% of the Bucks' playoff roster were so frightened of the SARS outbreak, they spent their free evening in Toronto in a strip club, then did their best to prove chivalry is not dead by coming to the aid of a dancer as she argued with her boyfriend outside the establishment, leading to assault charges.

Do you s'pose Appier would be willing to take a pay cut, due to the money he is proposing throwing away? Does this remind anyone else of the ignorant comments Karl Malone and others made when HIV positive Magic Johnson announced a comeback? Anyone has a much better chance of being killed in an auto accident than by SARS...especially a healthy athlete.

4/24/2003 10:41:00 PM

(4/24/2003 10:27:00 PM) - Al

Last Friday, Ryan Drese threw 137 pitches in his start. Today, even with an extra day of rest, Ryan went 2 innings, and was completely ineffective.

Could it be that these two facts are more than coincidence? Amazing how an experienced manager like Showalter can lose track of the big picture in mid-April.

Buck needs to purchase one of those little handy-dandy little counters you see at drug stores, that elderly men use to count cars or pedestrians while sipping lemonade on humid summer days.

4/24/2003 10:27:00 PM

(4/24/2003 10:15:00 PM) - Al

Word on the street is the Brewers were nothing but a go between in the Nicolas sweepstakes. BOS wanted him, but would have had to have nearly every team in baseball pass up on him. They called the Brewers, and yada, yada, yada, they had themselves a fireballing prospect. Talk about a no excuses mentality, the Red Sox just get it done.

What's that sound of spinning wheels coming from Milwaukee? Oh, that's the Crew...spinning their wheels. Talk about not taking advantage of having first crack at NL waived players...we go out of our way to assist others.

4/24/2003 10:15:00 PM

(4/24/2003 01:53:00 PM) - Al

Last night, the Crew picked up Mike Nicolas, a hard throwing RH from SD. His '02 season was astounding, 121 K's in 77 innings (that is not a typo), velocity nearing 100 mph, in high A ball. It seemed we had taken advantage of our waiver position to add a good prospect, as he was ranked #8 by Baseball America in the SD system.

Today, we traded him to BOS for a player to be named later, and cash. Ouch.

As was posted on the forum, that better be one heck of a PTBNL. When a 23 year-old drops in your lap, and you have the opportunity to add him to your minor league system, likely a Top 10 prospect, you keep him. Boston's minor league system is as empty as almost any in baseball.

Where exactly is the plan here? Are we not in need of a kid who can throw 95+? Who isn't? Why would we send him off to BOS. And how exactly does Theo Epstein add to his treasure so easily? Talk about "just finding a way", Theo claimed Kevin Millar on waivers, gentleman's agreement be damned, and suffered no retributions. Now, he uses his SD knowledge to land a high ceiling, if high risk, pitcher. This type of "out of the box" mentality is just what we need in MIL. Every day, we need to look under every stone and unearth any improvement, no matter how slight. Theo added Millar and Nicolas at the cost of...a PTBNL and some greenbacks (pardon me while I wipe the tear from my eye), and has not had the advantage of being in the first waiver position in the NL.

Meanwhile, we sent Javier Valentin, a catcher with offensive potential, to TB and decided Eddie Perez and Keith Osik make a delightful combo, as well as the answer to the Jeopardy Daily Double:

Name two catchers with both below average talent AND no chance of getting better.

The 2003 Brewers are not a contender. Hence, a team full of youth should be assembled. Doing the opposite of that, casting youth aside and going with proven veteran suckiness, is the bizarro plan. While it's better than not having a plan at all...actually, maybe it's not.

4/24/2003 01:53:00 PM

(4/24/2003 12:04:00 AM) - Al

DET beat OAK tonight, as young Jeremy Bonderman pitched 8 strong innings, and only tossed 102 pitches. ESPN had a feature on the Tigers which suggested they are on a pace to win 9 games, as if they had a serious chance of winning less than 10 games. Please. I'd even go as far to say DET might win as many games as either BAL or TB.

Folks really need to get realistic. ESPN almost seems to be forgetting they are covering sports and that they are not the actual show. I've seen so many promos about Kenny Mayne "covering" 4 sporting events in one day, you'd think I could remember at least one of them. Am I the least bit impressed that air travel allows this? Not at all. In fact, it bores me to tears.

Gosh, do you s'pose someday, someone will "cover" 5 games in a single 24 hour span? Hey, we can dream.

4/24/2003 12:04:00 AM

Wednesday, April 23, 2003

(4/23/2003 10:24:00 PM) - Al

Shane Nance picke dup the loss tonight, as he allowed a run in the bottom of the 12th. Shane seems to be the victim of the Crew having 12 pitchers. He hadn't pitched for 5 days before tonight's outing. Tell ya what, if you're asked to shut down major league hitters, it's tough enough when you're getting regular work. Shane hasn't pitched terribly, but since he has options left, I'd assume he's the guy on the hot seat, especially as Jayson Durocher's return seems imminent.

4/23/2003 10:24:00 PM

(4/23/2003 09:50:00 PM) - Al

ESPN just said that MLB has added a "bereavement" list, which allows a player 3-7 days to attend to the loss of a loved one, and replace him on the active roster. It was mentioned as Jason Schmidt will miss some time as his mother passed away. This has been a pet peeve of mine for several years, and it's great to see MLB took care of it. Amazing how all those other "good" commishes didn't take care of that, huh?

I still recall Q McCracken's father dying while he was visiting his son on the road. They had to fly the body home, make arrangements, etc, and left MIN a player short for about a week. Good to see it's been dealt with for the better.

4/23/2003 09:50:00 PM

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

(4/22/2003 10:24:00 PM) - Al

Derek Zumsteg of BP with a simple man's view of the fans running onto the field problem. Somehow, with about 20,000 folks in the stands, he feels adding 10 more off-duty cops will prevent any and all problems from reoccuring. The foolishness of this is immeasureable, as as I've stated, there is no real defense for this, other than screens and nets that most folks find deplorable.

The idea a few more 40 year-olds will be able to stop each and every moron, never mind those with eveil intentions, ala the Seles attacker, reeks of stupidity. Talk about calling a column in.

4/22/2003 10:24:00 PM

(4/22/2003 10:16:00 PM) - Al

Rumor had it that Brandon Lyon would be the new BOS closer...but Chad Fox went the final 5 outs tonight to pick up the save. I thought it was all set up to bring in Lyon for the 9th, but Fox was left in, struggled a bit, but got the job done.

Oh, to have the everyday lineup and rotation of the Red Sox, and have that bullpen "problem".

4/22/2003 10:16:00 PM

(4/22/2003 09:46:00 PM) - Al

For those of you who are in range of Milwaukee radio, Toby Harrman, the originator of the Power 50 on, will be a guest on WISN, 1130AM, Thursday, 4/24, at about 7:30 PM. Set your electronic planners NOW, as you'll learn more in 10 minutes of Toby than you will in a season of Drew Olson.

4/22/2003 09:46:00 PM

(4/22/2003 09:34:00 PM) - Al

While scanning for a note of interest, I stumbled across a post 9/11/01 entry by the Baseball Crank. For many of us far removed from the actual event, it is a sobering reminder of why things are different now, and that our nation's security and defense changed forever that day.

4/22/2003 09:34:00 PM

(4/22/2003 09:16:00 PM) - Al

TEX is trailing BOS 4-1 in the 7th, but they have worked Pedro Martinez hard, as he's thrown 97 pitches in 6+ innings. They only have one hit through 6, but have 5 BB's and 6 K's. On those 11 PA's alone, Pedro had to throw a minimum of 42 pitches. He seems to be tiring in the 7th, and TEX will get a chance versus the bullpen, really all you can ask for against a pitcher like Pedro.

Billy Beane calls a strikeout "the pound of flesh", as they tend to wear down the opposing pitcher, as they usually take 5-6 pitches. Those who bemoan the K would rather have a first pitch 4-3 groundout lack the "long range" thinking necessary to put a plan together to win...they're just trying not to lose. It's all about OBP, and that has no relation to K's whatsoever.

4/22/2003 09:16:00 PM

(4/22/2003 09:08:00 PM) - Al

COL lost to Philly tonight, and only scored 2 runs. I recall hearing once their overall record, since inception, on their first game on the road after a homestand, was incredibly low, less than a .333 winning percentage. Most of that is due to how hard it is to see breaking balls "break" again, which they tend not to do in altitude. They scored only 2 tonight, so they didn't buck the trend.

4/22/2003 09:08:00 PM

(4/22/2003 09:01:00 PM) - Al

The Brewers are 4-0 in one run games since their 0-6 start. Most folks agree that winning and losing one run affairs is a matter of luck, with some slight bullpen influence. Almost all clubs are pretty close to .500, and over the course of the season, the Brewers will probably end up close to that. Make them 2-2 in those games, and the mark since the poor start is 6-7, most likely more indicative of their talent.

4/22/2003 09:01:00 PM

(4/22/2003 08:57:00 PM) - Al

Eric Young had a game to forget defensively tonight, and his weaknesses remind you of just how poor a defensive player he is. Less than mediocre range, average arm, not particularly adept at turning the all adds up to a weak 2B. Tonight, he made no less than 4 poor plays, a slow hopper hit by Juan Pierre that he made the play on...then took 4 steps to make the throw. Twice, he didn't make much of an effort to catch throws from Eddie Perez, and twice, he missed the ball. And, on a short fly to CF, he went out for it...then looked at Sanchez in CF, who was still 10 yards away. Luckily, Alex was able to throw out the runner who'd been on 1B, but all four were plays that appear to have been doable for an average 2B.

A scout said toward the end of Spring training Young was the worst 2B in the NL, and EY, like older players do, said how it had "motivated him", blah, blah, blah. Never mind that it was true. Ginter appears to have much more range, and he isn't even a "natural" 2B. EY still swings a decent bat for a 2B, but he is very poor between the white lines.

4/22/2003 08:57:00 PM

(4/22/2003 05:42:00 PM) - Al

The Brewers are 8th in the NL in OBP, with a .336 mark, entering tonight's game. They are just about as close to 1st place (.379) as they are last (.303). They are 11th in walks, and the bottom half of the NL's walk rates are within half a walk a game of each other. Much of the success the Crew has offensively will be directly proportional to those two numbers, in my opinion. There are so many good things to be enjoyed from taking pitches, walks, wearing the pitcher down, better chance of getting a "mistake" to hit, it will be very important to the offensive fortunes of a mediocre team like the Brewers. Stay tuned.

4/22/2003 05:42:00 PM

Monday, April 21, 2003

(4/21/2003 08:11:00 PM) - Al

Took a look to see if all my RUTT members were on either a AAA or ML roster, and I couldn't help but notice Lou Collier's early season line.



Normally, I'd fret about Lou only walking 3 times in 42 AB's, but I'll let that pass.:) 5 HR's and 15 RBI's highlight his traditional stats. Lou is playing for the Pawtucket Red Sox, the AAA club for Boston. Luckily, he's with an organization that values OBP and power, but sadly, he's also with a very strong offensive system. I see today that Bill Mueller spotted Nomar at SS, meaning Lou's ability to play there doesn't really have a ton of worth either. Lou seems to be almost a textbook case of a guy promoted to the bigs too early, who has since "learned how to hit", but is still seen as AAA filler due to his earlier stint. This is a guy who can play 7 positions, can run, and has monster OBP skills, and good power, especially for a 2B/SS/CF. It seems sad to me that he wastes away in Pawtucket, while fellas like Neiffi Perez make millions to suck.

4/21/2003 08:11:00 PM

Sunday, April 20, 2003

(4/20/2003 04:16:00 PM) - Al

Nice win today for the Crew. Keith Ginter got a start and got a couple hits, including one that drove in a couple runs and gave the Crew a lead they never relinquished. Sheets went 6, Leskanic and Vizcaino got through the 7th and 8th (barely), and Mike Dejean pitched the 9th. Dejean went 3 innings yesterday, and I would have thought Mike would be limited to a batter or two at most. But, he did only throw 32 pitches to get through his 9 outs. Mike often uses 20+ pitches to pitch an inning, so being aggressive (or HOU not working the count), allowed him to work the 9th today.

As if to prove the Astros don't believe in making the pitcher work, they lost 2 baserunners on caught stealings in one inning today. Hard to believe that could be confused for smart baseball.

4/20/2003 04:16:00 PM

(4/20/2003 12:11:00 PM) - Al

More Baseball Tonightisms, from the Sunday morning edition:

...Hampton pitched well, Padilla was just too much.--Karl Ravech

Mike Hampton allowed 4 runs in 5 innings. He did not pitch "well" by any stretch of the imagination. Ravech seems to throw fiction out as fact with the regularity surpassed only by Joe Morgan.

(on fans running onto the field) Something has to be done.--Jeff Brantley

Thank you Mr. Perot. Could you be a bit less specific? As was pointed out by Ravech before the question was passed, fans have always ran onto the field, and seemingly, nothing has been done. Mock rage followed by no idea on how to solve the actual problem is the epitome of ineffective government, and isn't exactly good commentary either.

As I said before, you either have to put up hockeylike screens, or tolerate the occasional buffoon entering the field of play. You will never have enough security to keep 15,000 fans in their seats. I still favor metal detectors at the gate, damn the civil liberties crowd, and taking the time to actually search bags, which is simply not being done, despite claims of the contrary. We could have built a bomb under our son's stroller, as no one looked at it, or into our diaper bag, on our trip to Miller Park last week. Several young men walked in with large knapsacks/duffel bags (clear violations of policy) ahead of us, and weren't given a glance by the gatekeepers. Would it hurt my feelings if small boards of pexiglass (like they used to have at the OF walls of the Metrodome) were installed to "slow down" trespassers to give security more time to react? Not at all.

At some point, you have to compare the view and "closeness" to safety and well-being. You can't have both. Until you realize that, any hope of stopping the problem will be laughable. And cries of "something has to be done" need to be laughed off as folly, said by someone who has no idea.

4/20/2003 12:11:00 PM

(4/20/2003 08:44:00 AM) - Al

A snapshot of two teams, the Reds and the Red Sox.

Theo Epstein, discussing the winning streak BOS is on, and the overall improvement of the much maligned bullpen:

The perception is that things have stabilized, but I don't buy into that because we don't make snapshot evaluations, general manager Theo Epstein said late yesterday at Fenway Park, where the Sox posted a 7-2 win over the Toronto Blue Jays. We know we have a good club, but we don't get caught up in too much during a six-game winning streak. We'll get ourselves in trouble if we make evaluations on a snapshot basis.

It was just a matter of time. It was inevitable, continued Epstein, referring to the efficiency with which his team now seems to be operating. We haven't given up a run in the bullpen for the last four or five days, but that's not going to keep up, either.

Things will even out.

Let's follow that up with news from CIN, as the Reds clean house after...18 games:

Out: Pitchers Jimmy Anderson and Josias Manzanillo, and third baseman Brandon Larson.

In: Pitchers Jeff Austin, Chris Reitsma and Brian Reith, and infielder Ryan Freel.

"You can't keep watching it," Reds manager Bob Boone said. "We had to make a bunch of moves to make a statement."

The moves sent a shockwave through the team, which has lost five in a row, seven of eight, and is off to its worst start (5-13) since 1986, putting it in last place in the NL Central.

I always have admired Reds' GM Jim Bowden, but mostly for his ability to snag good young players in trades than his overall success. Of course, the truth is, if the owner hadn't handcuffed Bowden by signing Barry Larkin to a long-term, $9 mil per year deal, crippling the Reds financially, Jim would likely have a much better record the past few years. We all knew Cincy had little pitching, and that has proven true. But, as is often the case, injuries have made the situation worse than it really is. What always bothers me about panic stricken moves like this is how they manage to place all the blame on young fellas with low salaries, as vets with guaranteed money are never sent down or released. Let's look at the Reds off to poor starts:

Barry Larkin--.222/.282/.333
Aaron Boone-.203/.253/.301

Danny Graves:0-2, 8.63 ERA, 2.87 K/9
Ryan Dempster:1-1, 6.39 ERA, 3.2 K/9

Will these four players improve as the season goes on? Without a doubt. But to make hasty roster decisions in mid-April, in effect, blaming 2-3 guys for the poor start, reeks of a team without much of a plan. It certainly seems to me that most of the trouble is directly related to the team's 6.81 ERA. How exactly sending Brandon Larson down will help that is unknown. It should also be noted that while Larson was indeed hitting less than .100, he did have 7 walks in 48 AB's, a ratio that would seem to show good plate discipline and would indicate to me that better times were on the horizon.

I would compare this to the Brewers' dismissal of Davey Lopes last April. For a team to go through the 6 months of offseason thinking that your structure was solid, then changing your mind after less than 10% of the season had been played, said to many that MIL's plan was flawed, or more likely, nonexistant. Looking at the nearly completely new braintrust now in place, the latter was likely the case.

Meanwhile, look at Epstein's comments. The one sentence that puts it all in perspective to me is:

We'll get ourselves in trouble if we make evaluations on a snapshot basis.

What Theo is saying, in sound bite fashion, is that they have spent the entire winter building a team they feel can contend for a playoff berth. If memory serves, I think BOS is 12-5, but you really can't tell a whole lot after 17 games, thus, they are going to continue with the same plan they put into place soon after taking over the franchise. The Red Sox are built on the belief that OBP will lead them to offensive prowess, starting pitching is vital and worth paying for, and relief pitching is plentiful and should be found relatively cheaply. Less than a score of games have been played, and there's nothing that should occur in that small a sample that you haven't thought about and planned for. The only way we could have more striking opposites is if Boone had said, "We believe in making evaluations on a snapshot basis".

We seem to have a tale of two cities, and there's no doubt which city is on the right track.

4/20/2003 08:44:00 AM

Saturday, April 19, 2003

(4/19/2003 06:55:00 PM) - Al

It's very early, but one trend hold true, year after year...good offensive teams are also good OBP teams. The top 3 OBP clubs in the NL are also the top 3 teams in runs scored., with #4 and #5 just flip-flopped. Top 5 OBP = top 5 runs scored, as the key is to "not get out", exactly what OBP measures.

The AL has BOS & NY at the top, but OAK sneaks in at 3rd in runs scored despite an 8th place OBP. I'm not worried the about the A's OBP, and right now, they are SLGing their way to the top. With the season only about 10% gone, already, teams that get the most baserunners score the most runs. This will continue, as it has the past couple seasons, as long as I've been tracking it.

That's why I don't worry about people saying that teams walking Barry Bonds are ruining the game. Actually, they are assisting SF in scoring runs; the vast majority of the time at least. Barry will get out half the time, probably more, if you go right after him. By putting him on, you're replacing a 60ish% chance of getting an out with a 0% chance. Mathematically, it simply makes no sense, and in games I've seen involving Bonds, putting him on almost seems to equal a big inning without fail.

4/19/2003 06:55:00 PM

(4/19/2003 06:12:00 PM) - Al

It's kind of astounding to look at the box score of the COL/SD series this weekend. Of the 4 middle infielders, 3 played for the Brewers last year, Ronnie Belliard and Jose Hernandez of COL, and Mark Loretta of SD. We did get Keith Ginter and Wayne Franklin for Lo, but the other two walked away for nothing. Jose and Ronnie had to be offered arbitration to be kept, and neither was. The amusing thing about this, well, amusing to me, is we are paying more for EY and Clayton than the other 3 are making combined, $3.75 mil to $2.25 mil...and they are arguably the 4th and 5th best of the 5.

Never think that your club is "above" picking up an untendered free agent. There are bargains galore, and they are often as good or better than what you'll find in the "true" FA pool...and in this case, younger and cheaper.

4/19/2003 06:12:00 PM

(4/19/2003 06:03:00 PM) - Al

The Brewers won an overtime affair today, 3-2 in 14 frames over HOU. Reports say the Crew scored the winning run when PH Glendon Rusch (out of players, I assume) bunted over the head of 2B Jeff Kent. The phrase, "better lucky than good" springs to mind. Other than the occasional "odd" move, Ned seems to be using his bullpen with much more planning. Today, Wayne Franklin was brought in for an inning plus. This may mean Wayne is out of the rotation for a while, as I believe days off allow for a 4 man rotation for a bit. He was followed by sessions from VDS (2 innings, 1 run), Dejean (3 scoreless), and John Foster (2 scoreless). Gotta wonder what happened to Foster that one game, other than that, he's been superb. Todd Ritchie gutted his way through 5.1, nice outing from him, as it seems doubtful he was at full strength. Tomorrow, Sheets needs to give the club some strong innings, as only Shane Nance is rested.

4/19/2003 06:03:00 PM

(4/19/2003 12:09:00 AM) - Al

I'm far from an expert on NBA basketball. However, it amazes me how many folks are picking the Portland Trail Blazers to defeat the Dallas Mavericks in a best of seven first round series. The Mavs had the best record in the NBA most of the season. The Blazers lost to the Clippers on the last night of the NBA season, with a seeding at stake.

I can't believe POR will be able to set the bong down long enough to win more than a game from DAL, but with so many "experts" picking Portland, it will be an interesting series for me to watch.

I'm also surprised at the number of people picking the Bucks to defeat New Jersey, I've seen about 75% of the media pick MIL as "an upset" (is it really an upset if the majority expect it?). Also, that not only does no one think the Jazz won't win their series (I don't either), but everyone dismisses them as incapable of winning more than a token game from Sacramento. Utah won 47 games, barely less than MIN, LA, and POR. They could easily win the East, if they were to play in there (heck, I'd annoint them as the favorites).

I'm not much of a NBA guy, but I have one wish...someone, anyone, beat the Lakers. Please. I am sick and tired of seeing role players (not even GOOD role players) like Horry and Fox labeled as something other than mediocrity. Kobe is awesome, Shaq is as well, though it still embarrasses me that he's never improved his FT shooting. They are 2 of the top 3 players in the game, but I'm ready for a change.

Very ready.

4/19/2003 12:09:00 AM

Friday, April 18, 2003

(4/18/2003 10:23:00 PM) - Al

Tomorrow, we will hear even more denials that Luis Vizcaino is injured. Almost without fail, these cries of health come when a pitcher is struggling so badly that even my cocker spaniel knows he's hurting.

Luis says he's fine. Jim Powell said tonight Luis is fine, just going through a "mechanical problem". The TV guys said pitching coach Mike Maddux has worked with Luis and the issue is being worked on every day. Powell even volunteered that Vizcaino hit 95 mph once the other day, so "maybe his velocity is returning".

Luis might as well have been throwing batting practice tonight, getting rocked by HOU for 2 HR's (one by Craig Biggio, which all but proves a problem exists), and having to be pulled from his mop-up inning, despite the fact 22 year-old Matt Ford had to relieve him. Ford pitched 2+ innings Wednesday, and if we're going to baby him, shouldn't have worked tonight.

The whispers of denial are damn near deafening. Yes, we know, he's fine, dandy, 100% healthy. Now, who we gonna call up from Indy to replace him when he goes on the disabled list?

4/18/2003 10:23:00 PM

(4/18/2003 11:13:00 AM) - Al

Robby Alomar is going to come around...I can see it in his eyes--Bobby Valentine, ESPN

I can tell Valentine is totally full of crap...just by looking his eyes.

When did incentive clauses start to matter when you're talking about trading for a guy. If you need him, do the trade.--Harold Reynolds

Well, GM's have this thing called a budget. If they waste, say $9 million on an injury prone average starter like Andy Ashby (the player in question), that's a lot less they can spend on quality. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail...or, you get a job on Baseball Tonight spouting cliches.

4/18/2003 11:13:00 AM

Thursday, April 17, 2003

(4/17/2003 11:22:00 PM) - Al

The two most overrated defenders in MLB today? No contest.

Andruw Jones and Vlad Guererro. Jones is a product of TBS, and Vlad a product of a Clemente like arm. That said, Vlad has 80 errors in his career...and 76 assists. He had 2 more E's tonight, and while I'll be the first to tell you OF's pick up some mighty cheap errors, as balls bounce past catchers and the like, I can say without hesitation Vlad is one of the worst OF's in the game. But, like with Jones, folks tend to overlook the fact he drops fly balls because he makes a great play now and then. Last time I checked, an out was an out.

4/17/2003 11:22:00 PM

(4/17/2003 10:20:00 PM) - Al

Anyone else feeling sorry for the Tigers? Granted, their offense has been horrible, but things like that happen over the course of a season. It just is noticed a lot more when it happens over the first 14 games. Their pitching and defense has not been that bad, allowing 76 runs, a 5.4 average, certainly not playoff worthy, but several teams have allowed 90+ runs thus far. I haven't seen anything that tells me DET is a bit worse than TB.

They may not have any idea, but they'll be long as you think "fine" is winning 50 games or so.

4/17/2003 10:20:00 PM

(4/17/2003 10:08:00 PM) - Al

The Green Monster seats look incredibly cool. Tradition, smadition, almost every baseball fan wants to sit out there at least once. And, I wish my team would struggle like the Red Sox. You'd think they had the Tigers record, the way the BOS media is covering the club. Reminds me of the CNN guys who said the military was "stuck in nuetral".:)

And that silly little OBP based offense...averaging 6.6 runs per game, 1st in MLB. Who woulda thunk it? Baserunners equals runs. Go figure, huh?

4/17/2003 10:08:00 PM

(4/17/2003 10:02:00 PM) - Al

Matt Kinney pitched a spectacular game tonight, shutting down a good HOU club. VDS finally proved himself human, giving up a couple HR's against tough RH batters, Bagwell and Hidalgo. That's why he should never be mentioned as a closer candidate, as guys who close out games have to be able to retire both lefties and righties.

Nice to see Keith Ginter get to play tonight, I got to see him walk in the 9th after I got home. Good for him.

4/17/2003 10:02:00 PM

Wednesday, April 16, 2003

(4/16/2003 06:48:00 PM) - Al

Before commenting on my trip to Miller Park, the news of the moment is the security breaches at US Cellular Field.

I am torn about this immensely. It is a case of drunken idiots, and yes, it could happen anywhere. The White Sox are not to blame, for the most part, as it is indeed impossible to have a security guard everywhere, and they cannot have a 1-1 ratio to the fans.

That said, something DOES have to be done, as I've said before, we haven't done a damn thing even though Monica Seles was stabbed and almost killed a decade ago. High fences around the field? Well, at least it would give security more time to get in position to tackle the buffoon.

And before we blame MLB, the NBA has courtside seats selling for thousands per night, and NOTHING to protect its players and staff. This is a major issue that, I promise, will NOT be fixed until someone dies. That's what it took the NHL to protect fans from 150 mph slap shots. Spike Lee's unobstructed view of the game will not be taken away until someone is killed.

Until then, the best option I see is to kick out openly intoxicated fans on the spot, with no hesitation. There doesn't seem to be a lot of sobriety involved. Oh, and publicize the fact that players have free reign to kick the living crap out of the fools who venture onto the field of play.

4/16/2003 06:48:00 PM

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

(4/15/2003 08:35:00 AM) - Al

Both Jeff Hammonds and Todd Ritchie will be examined today. Jeff tweaked an ankle after almost catching a HR, and Todd left with "shoulder fatigue". Jeff looked like he'll just need a couple days off, but Todd pitched through pain all last year, and sucked doing so.

Seems the roof at Miller Park is making some noise again. The word is one of the motors that moves the panels is the culprit. Mitsubishi Industries, who built the roof, including overseeing the accident that claimed the life of three construction workers, responds to the problem, paraphrasing here:

{yawn} What? A problem? Be responsible for our work? Hee-hee.

I wouldn't trust these guys to resod my lawn. I get the feeling, at least once, I'd have to go out and say, "Uh, guys, the green side needs to face up".

OAK is really struggling early, which is an annual thing, for the most part. With that pitching, I have no worries about the A's. None.

Finally, Ramblings will be off to the prementioned Miller Park later today, to take in today and tomorrow's games. Young Andrew (10 months) will be making his first trip to MP, though he did visit the Metrodome last September (though whether that's actually "major league" is debateable) and was fascinated by the lights. Should be back Wednesday evening or Thursday AM.

4/15/2003 08:35:00 AM

Monday, April 14, 2003

(4/14/2003 09:47:00 PM) - Al

You know, it's hard to believe the Crew is only down 7-5. It seems like SL scored 12 runs early, but they didn't.

4/14/2003 09:47:00 PM

(4/14/2003 09:45:00 PM) - Al

The Baseball Crank has moved, and sums up my position on the Tim Robbins/HOF mess pretty well. Cooperstown can do whatever it wants, as Augusta can. They are private organizations, and can choose who to allow in, and who to honor. Would I have politicized the issue? No, as the whole point of Bull Durham is as a minor league farce, hardly worthy of any sentiment or attention. I've seen Field of Dreams a dozen times, and it is worthy of all the attention it gets, times ten. BD is cute and has some laughs.

I do feel, however, that the mess could have been avoided if the media would simply ignore actors who make political statements. Who the hell cares what Robbins, Florence Henderson, Gabe Kaplan or anyone else thinks about our national security and/or our defense policy?

4/14/2003 09:45:00 PM

(4/14/2003 09:31:00 PM) - Al

Sanchez almost got his HR, as the little fella hit it to the warning track. Sadly, that's how I always hit also, a single, with an occasional gapper for a double.

SL had Kevin Ohme made his big league debut, he's 32, so maybe the dream isn't over yet.

Note to self: Work on knuckleball in spare time.

Always nice to see guys get a chance. Heck, I'd settle for a third of an inning with a 27.00 ERA. It'd still be in the 99th percentile, and they could never take it away from me.

4/14/2003 09:31:00 PM

(4/14/2003 08:49:00 PM) - Al

EY with two errors on the same play. So goes the incredible errorless streak at...12 games. What's funny is, I've heard the "streak" mentioned at least 5 times (usually followed by how darn old...I mean experienced EY is), while in '01, Ronnie Belliard had a 50some game errorless streak, and no one caught it until someone at the message board did, and I sent it to Jason Parry, who does the Crew's game notes.

Foster pitches very well, gets two batters, one of which counted. I'd leave him in to face the RH's, as the Brewers are now down 6-3, we might as well see what he can do against them.

4/14/2003 08:49:00 PM

(4/14/2003 08:43:00 PM) - Al

Ned goes to Foster here, but I'd have been tempted to use Nance, or possibly even Ford. After Cairo and the LH bat Edmonds, you have the RH super-duo of Pujols and Rolen. I can't believe Foster would face either of them, so you're really only utilizing Foster for a couple batters. It's only the 5th, you don't want to run out of pitchers.

4/14/2003 08:43:00 PM

(4/14/2003 08:39:00 PM) - Al

Orlando Palmiero in the leadoff spot, HR and a double. I gotta lose my soft spot for leaving tired starters with nothing in the tank in the game, and so does Ned.

4/14/2003 08:39:00 PM

(4/14/2003 08:36:00 PM) - Al

Tomko just gave him a free out with a SAC bunt. One more Todd!!

4/14/2003 08:36:00 PM

(4/14/2003 08:30:00 PM) - Al

Ritchie hits the first batter. He's got less than nothing.

Base hit to the 2nd hitter. Looks like I should have stuck with my original "yank him" mentality. Just hate pulling your starter after 4 innings unless he's given up more than 3 runs, regardless of his crappy stuff.

Hey, got a fly out, you never know.

4/14/2003 08:30:00 PM

(4/14/2003 08:29:00 PM) - Al

Tomko never threw over to 1B once with Sanchez over there. I don't think I've seen that before this season. I think he was just allowing him go, and letting Matheny worry about him, while concentrating on EY.

4/14/2003 08:29:00 PM

(4/14/2003 08:22:00 PM) - Al

Whew. Todd Ritchie has allowed 12 runners to reach safely, and got 12 outs...really only 11, as the P was a CS. I'd be tempted to PH for him, as I believe he's due up in the bottom of the 4th. If he has over 90 pitches, I'd do it for sure.

EDIT: He has 85 through 4. Yost lets him hit, and I guess I would have as well. Still, you need to have someone warming up, as Todd has gotten pounded. He could easily be down 6 or 7-3.

Alex Sanchez is a HR away from the cycle. He's seeing the ball incredibly well, and hitting nothing but line drives.

4/14/2003 08:22:00 PM

(4/14/2003 08:17:00 PM) - Al

Always nice to see the pitcher thrown out trying to steal. It's as if LaRussa is trying to prove he's nuts.

Todd Ritchie has allowed 11 baserunners in 3 2/3rd's innings, fortunate to only have 3 runs against him. He'll be lucky to get through 5 innings, as he's obviously just trying to make it that far, with inferior stuff. Luckily, the bullpen is rested and ready.

4/14/2003 08:17:00 PM

(4/14/2003 07:26:00 PM) - Al

Sanchez on 2B, EY hits a single to LF. Pujols had less chance of throwing out Alex than I have of dating Jessica Biel. So, on cue, Albert throws the ball to the plate on the fly...or at least tried to. The ball landed around the 3B on deck circle, EY to 2B on the throw.

We have to come up with a way to score that as an E-7. Until we do, OF errors are meaningless.

4/14/2003 07:26:00 PM

(4/14/2003 07:11:00 PM) - Al

Great to hear that 7 POW's were released unharmed in Iraq, including a relative of Todd Greene's. The total story can be found here. Todd was shown on SportsCenter a couple weeks ago, rather angry with some Canadian fans who had booed the United States' national anthem, as well as some folks who he thought had made anti-troop statements. I still remember him looking right at the camera and saying:

You know, if they're unhappy here, the borders go both ways. They might want to think about getting out.

I hear France is a wonderful place.:) Dennis Miller summed up my feelings pretty well on his HBO special:

I'd call the French a bunch of scumbags, but I wouldn't want to offend bags of scum.

One thing that many of us felt was that France would be found to have been dealing weapons and such to Iraq. While I haven't heard anything about that, several folks have mentioned the French has been a trading partner with the old regime of Iraq, and they are anxious to get going again, as it is economically important to them that it resumes quickly.

Let's hope the end of the conflict comes quickly, and with little loss of life.

4/14/2003 07:11:00 PM

Sunday, April 13, 2003

(4/13/2003 05:39:00 PM) - Al

Today, the Crew is trailing 8-2, so it appears we'll get 2 of 3 from the D'Backs. We need to get Luis Vizcaino some work to see if he can get straightened out, and then maybe get Ford an inning. Rusch must not have pitched well today, or else he had some horrific luck.

Who would have predicted we'd beat Schilling and RJ, but lose to Elmer Dessens? That's why they play the game, I guess.

4/13/2003 05:39:00 PM

(4/13/2003 05:36:00 PM) - Al

I didn't post last evening, as I watched the game upstairs, away from the computer. Very nice all around game, as the Crew won 3-2. Yost handled the bullpen all but perfectly, taking Kinney out before he got in too much trouble, using John Foster for one batter, then going to VDS, who dominated before allowing a hit and a walk with 2 down in the 8th. Dejean did his job well. The only thing I would have done differently would have been to double switch when VDS entered the game, as he was due up 4th in the next inning. He actually hit (well, swung haplessly), and while I agree with letting him hit, he wouldn't have needed to. Hammonds had made the final out, and inserting Podsednik into RF wouldn't have weakened the defense a bit.

Both Bob Brenly and Luis Gonzalez were ejected in the affair last evening, and both should be ashamed of themselves. I'll be the first to say how silly it is to believe a manager can "fire up his team" by getting tossed, and let's be blunt...umpires don't change bad calls very often. All you can really do is see if the ump will ask a crew mate for help, if they decline, you're out of luck. In the game last night, ARI had a horrible call go against them, but it didn't hurt them. What it did, probably, is give the players a belief it was permissable to argue and act immature, which is exactly what Luis Gonzalez did. After swinging at a third strike, Luis yelled at the home plate umpire that it should be the 3B umpire calling him out on an appeal. Why this matters, I'm not sure. Luis said a nasty word or two, including THE word, and was thrown out. His replacement, Quinton McCracken, came to the plate as the winning run in the 9th inning, and made the final out. Being an idiot cost his team a chance to win the game. That type of selfish behavior shouldn't be tolerated. You need to do whatever you can to help your team win the game. Luis didn't, and there's no excuse for that.

4/13/2003 05:36:00 PM

Saturday, April 12, 2003

(4/12/2003 08:53:00 PM) - Al

Did you see the SportsCenter highlights of SL/HOU last night? Here is what occured to the last three batters HOU sent to the plate, against Matt Morris:

Bagwell hit a fly ball to the wall in RF...missed a HR by a foot or two.

Berkman hit a rocket to 1B, Tino "Veteran Influence" Martinez failed to make the play.

Morris almost hit Jeff Kent, then allowed a game winning HR to LF that must have went 450 feet.

So, do you think it's possible Morris had reached his breaking point? Talk about phoning it in, that was an embarassing performance by LaRussa. I'll be the first to say a manager doesn't make a whole lot of difference, and that it's entirely possible a reliever would have lost the game. But your best chance of winning (and keeping Morris healthy) is to bring in a fresh arm. I can't imagine what the thought process even was.

4/12/2003 08:53:00 PM

(4/12/2003 08:17:00 PM) - Al

From my ATM report I get every day, ATL is putting Jason Marquis into the bullpen (3.48 ERA in his first two starts) to make room for Shane Reynolds, recently signed after being released by HOU.


Marquis has looked like a future stud for a year or so, but seems to have fallen victim to the age old "young pitcher syndrome". Jason has a career 4.28 ERA, just under the league average. He's 24, and while he has pitched a lot of innings in a pitcher's park, mediocre is pretty good for a guy years away from peaking. Bruce Chen also suffers from the virus (.14 runs over league average), so maybe it's breeding ground is in Atlanta, or even Richmond. Putting an effective kid in the 'pen to make room for a guy who is a #5 innings best, is a move that smells of panic, and 10 games in at that. Pitiful.

If they don't want to let Jason develop, I'm sure we could find a spot for him.

4/12/2003 08:17:00 PM

Friday, April 11, 2003

(4/11/2003 11:53:00 PM) - Al

Curtis is indeed in the game for the 9th, and after a K, gave up a HR, then a single. One way or another, Yost will learn that getting your relievers work is vital to the success of your bullpen. Sometimes, those lessons have to be learned the hard way, I guess.

4/11/2003 11:53:00 PM

(4/11/2003 11:51:00 PM) - Al

BP put out their list of 37 players not in the BP book, and didn't even force me to pay for this bit of info, bless their hearts.

I find it very striking that despite the fact Wayne Franklin and Scott Podsednik spent the offseason on the Crew's 40 man roster, they were NOT in the book. Talk about calling it in. Every 40 man spot has to be in the book, doesn't it? That's 1200 guys, and BP had 1600+ blurbs. That's just sad.

4/11/2003 11:51:00 PM

(4/11/2003 11:45:00 PM) - Al

Nance was dominant in his 2nd inning of work. 1-2-3, no one got good wood on the ball. Let's hope Curtis comes in to close this thing out, and gets his inning in a day late.

4/11/2003 11:45:00 PM

(4/11/2003 11:32:00 PM) - Al

Sutton, before going to commercial:

Nance struggles through his first couple batters before settling down to get out of the inning.

Me, earlier tonight, describing the problems relievers tend to have when rusty from lack of regular work:

Hence, if he comes in down 9-2, it isn't a big deal if he allows a couple baserunners as he adjusts to the mound and "feel" of being in the game. But Shane Nance and Curtis Leskanic will pitch in plenty of tough situations, and while it may be in the 6th or 7th, last I checked, those runs count just as much as those given up in the 9th by Dejean.

Let's hope the 5 run cushion is enough to hang on for the victory. If Shane would have come into a 4-3 game, we'd all be saying he sucks, or what tough luck we have. Really though, it's just a case of not prioritizing getting your relievers an inning here and there.

4/11/2003 11:32:00 PM

(4/11/2003 11:24:00 PM) - Al

It should be noted that Joe Brinkman, behind home plate tonight, is by far the worst ball/strike umpire in the game, and has been since Ken Kaiser was told his services were sucky, and were no longer needed. He's been all over the place, low/high, in/out. Simply put, as long as he still has a job, MLB is doing a poor job of hiring and firing.

Franklin hits for himself in the top of the 7th, and is removed after the first three hitters reach in the bottom of the frame. Why send him out there? Now, Shane Nance is on the mound for the first time in a week. According to Daron Sutton, he was pitching in the 'pen after the game was over yesterday in PIT, just to get some work. Let's hope he doesn't struggle from lack of work, as we don't need ARI getting back into this thing.

First batter hit a line drive, but right at the CF.

Second batter, line drive to LCF, double. Hard to believe Nance isn't sharp after sitting in the 'pen for a week, huh? Shocking.

4/11/2003 11:24:00 PM

(4/11/2003 10:53:00 PM) - Al

After a bases loaded walk, EY swung at a 1-0 pitch to make an easy out to end the inning. He needs to be resent the memo that we are a patient team this year. If you have power like Sexson, Jenkins, heck, even Helms, I can see it, get your pitch and take a hack, preferrably a big uppercut. When you're a little 2B, you take a strike after a walk. It's disappointing the entire team seems to have got the message other than EY and Hammonds.

Jenkins just pounded RJ tonight, it was almost as if RJ was a mere mortal, 10 earned in 4.2 innings. Geoff, when he drives a ball, looks to have as good a swing as anyone in the game. When he gets out, it seems entirely possible he will never reach base again. Geoff is now 4-4, and is as streaky a hitter as MIL has had in a decade. Let's hope for a good weekend at the BOB for Jenks.

4/11/2003 10:53:00 PM

(4/11/2003 10:44:00 PM) - Al

Tony LaRussa let Matt Morris throw 120 pitches tonight, and on the 120th pitch, gave up a game winning HR. I distinctly recall a time when Tony had as quick a hook as any manager in the game. I look at it like this:

1. Morris, who had arm trouble just a year or two ago, should never be allowed to throw 120 pitches until at least June.

2. In my opinion, there's no way Matt is as good on his 120th pitch as any mediocre reliever is on his 1st.

Tony has done some incredibly goofy things in the past couple years against the Brewers, using 5 relievers to get through the last couple innings, bringing in his last available pitcher in that game with 2 outs in the 9th and the tying run on if the chances of the game going extra innings were nonexistant. His penchant for putting middle infielders, speedy outfielders, and TWO reserve catchers on his bench...then playing them out of position every chance he gets, is legendary. Deciding in 2002 his best chance of winning was to have Albert Pujols playing 3B and Placido Polanco in LF was almost a cry for attention. While I feel he's always had a large ego, and needs to "get attention" for himself, he seems to have let the game pass him by as the 21st century came into being.

Right now, it's as if he's just trying to do things "odd" to show he can, and that he's one step ahead, even though he looks two steps behind.

Honestly, I think he lost his edge years ago, and his reputation, like that of a punch drunk boxer, has taken few lumps, as folks give him the benefit of the doubt. I mean, hey, it's Tony LaRussa. But, it isn't the same one who was always an inning ahead a decade ago. Right now, he isn't even paying attention.

4/11/2003 10:44:00 PM

(4/11/2003 10:23:00 PM) - Al

Bill Scroeder, still preaching the Lopester gospel that the Brewers, up 3, should put the #8 hitter on, and face the pitcher with the bases loaded. Does he know that:

Chad Moeller is a horrible hitter? Randy Johnson isn't a poor hitter (insert widely used disclaimer here) for a pitcher? That RJ will lead off next inning if you retire Moeller? That up 3 runs in the 4th, you should be "going after" every single hitter, moreso than usual?

If Bill was anymore cliched as an announcer, he'd be made of latex. He hasn't had an original thought since he started playing the game. He figures if he repeats the same "old school" doctrine enough, folks will think it's correct.

EDIT: Moeller K'd looking. The way to shut down the opposition is to give them free baserunners...NOT.

4/11/2003 10:23:00 PM

(4/11/2003 10:17:00 PM) - Al

E-letter carrier delivered this...and he looked angry:


I think you were a bit too tough on Yost. I would agree with the idea he should have PH for Sheets, but it's a judgement call, with two outs, the team is unlikely to score. Making sure your worst relief pitchers get regular work? Not a priority. Dejean shouldn't sit for a week, but most of the long men's workload is determined by the starter's effectiveness.

Enjoy your Brewers writings, and I think Olson sucks too.


I see your point, but I disagree. Notice I didn't take Yost to task for not getting Ford in, as he is an exception to the rule. As the 12th pitcher/mop-up man, he should not pitch in a pressure situation all year. Hence, if he comes in down 9-2, it isn't a big deal if he allows a couple baserunners as he adjusts to the mound and "feel" of being in the game. But Shane Nance and Curtis Leskanic will pitch in plenty of tough situations, and while it may be in the 6th or 7th, last I checked, those runs count just as much as those given up in the 9th by Dejean.

Down by 2, you have to use every one of your remaining 7 outs. Yost didn't plan out his bullpen usage, he just went with his starteer, as he was pitching well. He failed to look at the big picture, inexcusable for the manager of a young team.

4/11/2003 10:17:00 PM

(4/11/2003 10:03:00 PM) - Al

Royce Clayton just took 2B on a bobble by the LF. He made it by a split second. With Wayne Franklin up next, that's a poor risk to take. Getting Franklin's bat out of the way is much more important than an extra base. Actually, if you look at it as a 50/50 risk, that's always a poor play, as your most valuable offensive weapon is your 27 outs.

4/11/2003 10:03:00 PM

(4/11/2003 12:41:00 PM) - Al

MGR Alan Trammell, on rookie Jeremy Bonderman--"Will he get five more starts? I don't know about that. I don't want to give you any numbers, but he'll be in the rotation for awhile longer.

Alan needs to take a class, How To Talk To The Media 101. Stat. He's overmatched and underwhelming. Actually, it's kind of funny to hear him, seriously mind you, act surprised that a 20 year-old phenom is struggling above the A-ball level.

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Never mind the 0-8 start, DET has no idea what they want to accomplish. None. Do they want to win now? Develop kids? Teach kids at the big league level? No clue, and any clue they do have changes day-to-day, and more likely, minute-by-minute.

I've never heard of a 2 week plan for making a poor team a contender. It takes years. Trammell needs to realize that and quit being so negative. The last thing his team needs to start doing is to "play scared" thinking they might get sent down if they make an error or fail to get a bunt down.

4/11/2003 12:41:00 PM

(4/11/2003 10:52:00 AM) - Al

The new Charlotte franchise was purchased by Bob Johnson for $300 million...Stern pointed out that the Charlotte franchise came with a new arena.

I think I've heard this before, but take a long, hard look at this phrase. Charlotte first lost the Hornets, supposedly due to a dislike of the owner (???), and then built a new arena to attract an expansion team. The exact same thing occured with Minnesota hockey a decade ago. Anyone else think you might be reading about the Minnesota baseball situation in a sentence like the one above?

I can all but guarantee you if Norm Coleman would have been elected governor back in '98, the Twins would have a new park, or one would be opening soon. Instead, the public elected Jesse Ventura and, in effect, decided the Metrodome was a fine place to watch a MLB game.

Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

4/11/2003 10:52:00 AM

Thursday, April 10, 2003

(4/10/2003 10:09:00 PM) - Al

From the wire reports of the BOS/TOR game:

Singer-bassist Geddy Lee of the band Rush attended the game.

Unless this story was written by Lee's brother, I have trouble understanding how it made the final cut. Lee is far from a household name, Rush is far from a mainstream band, and their popularity likely peaked during the Carter administration (maybe Reagan).

4/10/2003 10:09:00 PM

(4/10/2003 10:02:00 PM) - Al

Many have pointed out we do seem to be taking more pitches this year, with the exception of Hammonds and Young. Being more selective can only help our OBP and run production, but we still seem to be ineffective at reaching base via the BB. In 9 games, we have 28 walks, 3.1 per game. Surprisingly this is about average for the NL, as we rank 10th of 16 in that category right now, pending tonight's results. Walks seem to be at a premium this April. Some of that would likely be that many teams have only utilized their 5th starter once, or not at all in some cases. Also, with the days off early on, your last men on the staff get less work, as shown in the previous post.

Hopefully, this will continue, as working the count should lead to all positives, such as making the starter throw more pitches, taking more walks, improving their OBP, and hopefully, get more early fastballs as word gets around they tend to take. While I'm sure some will see it as a contradiction, Paul Molitor is a perfect example of a high OBP man who was famous for being a first pitch hitter, if it was a fastball especially. This led to may base hits, as well as probably seeing more breaking balls 0-0, which likely led to more 1-0 counts, a good hitter's count if such a thing exists.

Jeff Suppan threw 112 pitches today, but only went 7+ innings. Even while being shut down, the Crew saw a lot of pitches, but didn't see many bad ones, or failed to take advantage of them. Last year, Suppan would have thrown 83 through 8, as Lenny Harris would go up, down 2, and slap a one hopper back to the mound, and get kudos for "being aggressive", rather than be released for being the worst offensive player in the sport that doesn't catch or play SS.

While it may be as slow as an anorexic eating a bowl of boiled veggies, it is progress.

4/10/2003 10:02:00 PM

(4/10/2003 09:42:00 PM) - Al

Why would the Crew want Ben Sheets to throw 112 pitches in his 3rd start of the season? Remember, this Brewers team decided to keep 12 pitchers, 11 and Rule 5 draftee Matt Ford. Sheets came up to bat with 2 outs in the top of the 7th, no one on, two down. In that situation, your best bet to score is with an extra-base hit, otherwise, it'll take 3 consecutive men to reach safely (with no miscues by the defense). Allowing Sheets to bat is punting away any chance to score runs in the 7th. After scoring 1 run in 7, you feel the best chance of winning is to count on scoring 2 (or more) in the next 2 frames, AND holding PIT scoreless?

Simply put, you are living in a fantasy world.

Nevermind the idea of maximizing your opportunity to win, we need to take a gander at the relief staff. Today is Thursday, so the next game will be Friday night, in ARI. Maybe your bullpen is tired, and needs rest?

Dejean--pitched an inning Tuesday and Wednesday, he could use a day off.

Vizcaino--pitched ineffectively Tuesday and Wednesday, he could use a blow...preferrably one lasting 15 days. Luis is pitching at less than full strength, in my opinion.

VDS--threw 2 pitches Tuesday, averaging 94.5 mph. His arm fatigue seems to have been a mirage in the Arizona desert.

Leskanic--I think he warmed up Tuesday, but hasn't pitched since Sunday.

Foster---1 batter last night. Could go, not rusty.

Nance--Hasn't been seen since last weekend.


I count 3 pitchers begging for work, and 5 pitchers extremely ready to pitch an inning or two. We were in good shape unless this affair reached the 15th or 16th inning...and then, we still would have had Mike and Luis. Not only did we "give our slight chance away", we lost our tailor made opportunity to get Curtis and Shane some work. How exactly is that helpful to our team, today or tomorrow, or this weekend? A pitcher could have started Sunday and started again tomorrow...and we have three relievers who haven't toed the rubber in at least that long.

A manager's only job is to set his team, and his players, up to succeed. No pitcher can go days and days without work and hit the corner on a 3-2 pitch. Many can't do it with regular work, for heaven's sake. Having your ace throw too many April pitches and letting your bullpen rot away...not a good day for Ned, I'm afraid.

4/10/2003 09:42:00 PM

(4/10/2003 09:18:00 PM) - Al

As much as I hate the fact the NHL can't seem to rid itself of fighting, as well as the slashing and constant hitting the opponent with the stick that i hate, there's little I enjoy more than overtime in a NHL playoff game. Right now, ANA/DET is in extra sessions, and you won't see much of that cheap play, as everyone is afraid of taking a penalty.

4/10/2003 09:18:00 PM

(4/10/2003 07:03:00 PM) - Al

Even this early, as most teams have only played 7-9 games, OBP is king. The top 5 NL teams in runs scored are also the top 5 OBP clubs. It's all about "not getting out", my friends. Baserunners = runs, OBP = baserunners. The idea that we're still using BA is really kinda funny.

4/10/2003 07:03:00 PM

Wednesday, April 09, 2003

(4/09/2003 11:09:00 PM) - Al

Todd Ritchie showed there may be just a bit of life in that ol' arm, going 7.1 innings and only throwing 93 pitches in doing so. Luis Vizcaino did his best to prove me right that he's hurting, walkin gtwo, but finally got an out. And Mike Dejean threw a 1-2-3 9th for his 2nd save. While memory isn't a great way to recall truth, I swear I can count Mike's perfect innings on one hand, at least since he became the closer.

Geoff Jenkins hit a homer in his first game back, and Jason Conti did clear waivers to be able to go to Indy. I would assume a couple teams (one being Cincy, with Griffey out) considered him, but now's a good time to send someone through waivers, as many teams have no open spot on the 40 man this early, and are still hoping unproven kids come through. Soon, Brady Clark will be coming back as well, and another move will have to be made. That could well be a pitcher, as the Crew seems to be in love with Podsednik, for reasons that obviously go far over my head.

4/09/2003 11:09:00 PM

(4/09/2003 12:04:00 PM) - Al

Sounds like Jeff Hammonds may be going on the DL, as his wrist keeps getting worse. In the past, the Brewers have never been ones to put a guy on the DL with minor injuries, so we can hope the new regime feels differently than past ones. If a player is going to be out a week or 10 days, what's a few more? The 15 day DL should be used to allow guys to heal fully.

If this occurs, it would leave the Crew with 5 OF's, all LH, though Brady Clark will likely come back soon.

4/09/2003 12:04:00 PM

Tuesday, April 08, 2003

(4/08/2003 09:30:00 PM) - Al

A couple fantasy notes, as I know many of you play as well.

1. In one of my leagues, each team has 30 players, and there's 20 teams in the league. So, needing a reserve OF when Griffey went down...I admit it, I picked up Rocco Baldelli. I don't expect anything out of him, but in leagues that count hits, runs, RBI's, SB's, etc, you gotta play to be worth anything, and Rocco looks to get plenty of AB's.

2. One of my best moves has been picking up Brad Wilkerson in several leagues. Brad is off to a great start, and has 1B/OF eligibility. Luckily, he plays in MON, so no one knew him.:)

3. FYI, just as I told you to pick up Ronnie Belliard, he hasn't been playing much. Turns out he hurt his knee turning a DP, but is expected back soon. Ronnie is a perfect reserve, as he has 2B/3B eligibility, and plays half his games at Coors.

Good luck in your leagues.

4/08/2003 09:30:00 PM

(4/08/2003 08:53:00 PM) - Al

You can try and convince me Luis Vizcaino is healthy...but you won't succeed. I didn't see a pitch over 90, and he was hitting 94-96 consistently pretty much all of 2002. He also seemed to have trouble "stretching out" to try and tag Lofton on a mental blunder by Sexson. He kind of reached out, and then drew his arm back, as if he was afraid of hurting himself.

VDS was summoned and fired two pitches to Brian Giles, one 94, one 95. This was the pitcher who we were afraid to use due to "lack of velocity" in Spring training. When will we stop overemphasizing those few meaningless innings during the exhibition season? Ignoring a stellar 2002 season and caring about a couple bad outings in Arizona is almost the epitome of "lack of planning".

Nice to get a win in PNC Park (I always use the proper name of the stadium, as opposed to socialists at BP who despise the idea of a team actually selling naming rights in a free market society. The horror!!!), as we've always struggled there, since it opened.

Finally, it sounds like Geoff Jenkins will return tomorrow, meaning it is likely either Jason Conti or Scott Podsednik will be removed from the roster. Knowing full well Conti has much better career numbers, and that Podsednik has options there any doubt the Crew will send down Conti? Very little, and proudly base it on handful of dirty uniforms during March. Sigh.

4/08/2003 08:53:00 PM

(4/08/2003 07:47:00 PM) - Al

EY just fouled off a 3-2 pitch that almost hit him...then flew out to LF. Fly out or a walk??? In my world, EY needs to quit trying to avoid the K and concentrate on raising his OBP.

4/08/2003 07:47:00 PM

(4/08/2003 07:37:00 PM) - Al

I'm sure this will jinx him, but I said both last year and this that, looking strictly at numbers, Glendon Rusch was as likely to have a "breakout" season as almost any pitcher in the game. Tonight, he has been excellent, allowing one hit in 6 IP, along with 2-3 well struck "at 'em" balls. He rarely walks a man, but just never seems to take that final step above mediocrity. I'm not sure what a pitcher in his prime who's 12-4, 3.75 ERA is worth come late July to a contender...but I'd sure enjoy finding out.:)

4/08/2003 07:37:00 PM

(4/08/2003 07:10:00 PM) - Al

One of the finest sac bunts you'll ever see, Glendon Rusch bunted a head high fastball perfectly on a suicide squeeze to add a bonus run. You'll see that on SportsCenter.

Alan Trammell said he doesn't want to teach right now, he just wants to win a game. Talk about short-sighted. Alan may have been the worst possible choice for that job, if that's how he really feels. With that young pitching staff, he's going to have a lot of sore arms and ruined careers on his resume before September with an attitude like that.

4/08/2003 07:10:00 PM

(4/08/2003 07:06:00 PM) - Al

David over at Baseball Musings interviewed Bill James today. I paid particular attention to one Q & A:

Baseball Musings: What should the Rockies strategy be for Coors field? What kind of hitters and pitchers should they sign?

Bill James: Whitey Herzog had a good take on that in "You're Missin' a Great Game". His theory was that you want sinker-ball pitchers there, because you can't rely on the curve ball, and you need hitters who make contact, because you make contact there, good things happen. But I'll add one thing: you need a manager who makes liberal use of the phrase "You're going to have to pitch through it." Don Baylor's theory there was that you need lots and lots of pitchers, because you're going to have to make a lot of pitching changes. But I think that's just destructive of your pitching staff, to be jerking pitchers out of the game because bad things happen to good pitchers. I think you have to tell your pitchers, "Look, things are going to happen here. You're going to throw a decent pitch, and somebody's going to slap it 420 feet. That's just going to happen. Get over it; keep pitching." That way you build your pitchers up, whereas if you overreact every time you give up a couple of runs, you tear your pitchers down.

I'm a big fan of running out a slo-pitch softball team...much like the Rockies did the year they had success, with Castilla, Bichette, the Big Cat, etc, so I can't say I agree with the contact part of it, but I've always wondered why you need more pitchers in COL...they are ALL gonna struggle. You need to remember that, which Don Baylor doesn't. It's an old saying, but all Don Baylor knows about pitching is how to hit it. Running a pitching staff, or rather, running it into the ground, was Don's downfall.

4/08/2003 07:06:00 PM

(4/08/2003 06:54:00 PM) - Al

Daron just gave VanderWal credit for going from 1B to 3B on an error by Aramis Ramirez. The ball ended up in short LF.

Hint: When the SS doesn't even bother making a throw, it's not a great play by the baserunner, it's just our good fortune.

Seeing it on replay, that's a mighty tough error. Hit like a shot, just to the left of Ramirez. Looked like a hit to me.

4/08/2003 06:54:00 PM

(4/08/2003 06:11:00 PM) - Al

Nothing I like more than seeing a routine fly ball live, then 3 times on replay, while missing the base hit that follows.

Reggie Sanders and Kenny Lofton, two players who can put a team over the top.

From Bill Schroeder, the king of veteran leadership and clubhouse chemistry. Think how he'd talk 'em up if they were "gritty" or "scrappy" as well. I'll have to go over and take a look, but I can't believe either of them are a bit better than average at this stage of their careers.

Ave CF-----------.272/.327/.428, 755 OPS
Lofton, career--.298/.375/.424, 799
2000-'02----------.270/.345/.415, 760

Ave LF/RF---------.275/.360/.450, 810 OPS
Sanders, career-.266/.347/.481, 828
2000-'02------------.250/.325/.465, 790

So, just about average for both the past three years, and you certainly don't expect either to improve at their age. So, if mediocre, or more likely just a bit below, is what you're looking for, these are your fellas. And, since neither is making a lot of money, I can't say they are bad signings.

But, if you tell me to find you a CF and a RF who will just top out at "OK", I can sure find you a couple a lot younger, and with a lot more upside. Heck, as I've pointed out before, Craig Wilson is one of them...and he sits on the PIT bench, for crying out loud.

4/08/2003 06:11:00 PM

(4/08/2003 06:07:00 PM) - Al

E-4 on Pokey Reese, just a tad after Bill fawned over his defense. Pokey better be a good defender, as he can't hit a lick. He's not a bad SS, but is overmatched and far below average offensively as a 2B.

Alex Sanchez just took his first walk of the young season to drive in a run. Alex takes a bundle of pitches, but has very little power, so is rarely walked. Guys like he and Jason Tyner will just see fastball after fastball for the most part, and really have to work the pitcher for a walk. Without the threat of gap power, at least, it's difficult to be effective. The last I can really recall was Brett Butler.

EY just grounded into a fielder's choice to end the inning. Thank God he didn't strike out, or...oh yeah, it would have been the same result, huh? Good offensive clubs often K a lot, but they never have less than mediocre OBP's.

4/08/2003 06:07:00 PM

(4/08/2003 05:59:00 PM) - Al

Tonight, in Eric Young's first AB, Bill and Daron went on and on how damn impressive it is EY hadn't struck out this season. Personally, I wish he'd take more pitches and maybe K some, but walk more. So far, EY has walked twice in 27 AB's, a small sample for sure, but less than the minimum once every 10 AB's a team with good plate discipline, like the A's, insist on from all hitters in their system.

I know EY has swung at several 1-0 and 2-0 pitches thus far, and I wish he'd do that much less. His OBP would improve almost automatically.

4/08/2003 05:59:00 PM

Sunday, April 06, 2003

(4/06/2003 05:56:00 PM) - Al

I guess it's up and running. Trying to adjust to a 17" flat panel monitor and a silent keyboard. Just finished my fantasy lineup changes for tomorrow, as there must be just a few games, as I had to play everyone who had a game. Several of my teams had huge pitching days, one had 4 wins, one had 5. Can't beat that.

BOS could have used some of their 12 runs yesterday. Off to a 5-2 start, though I'm sure the media in Beantown is proclaiming they should be 7-0. Amazing how a 116 win pace can be looked at as a negative. How I wish the Crew could have such a run of bad luck.:)

4/06/2003 05:56:00 PM

(4/06/2003 04:10:00 PM) - Al

Off to an 0-6 start, and I'm pulling the plug...on our computer. We will be installing our new machine this afternoon, so hopefully, the delay will be minor...but you never know. A couple quick thoughts from today's affair:

Nice to see Keith Ginter in the lineup, and he's my favorite Brewers player to watch think his way through a PA. In his final AB today, he took strike one, took strike two on a pitch which looked outside by a few inches, took ball one, hit a line drive foul, then took three pitches, all within a couple inches of the strike zone, for a base on balls. It was a near perfect AB. Hopefully, folks will take notice and he'll see more time. He's a much better option at 2B or 3B than our current starters.

Matt Ford looks to be plenty good so as not to embarass himself as a rule 5'er on the ML roster. Sutton and Schroeder got into an embarassingly simple minded discussion in which they debated whether or not the Crew could manage to keep both Ford and Cruz on the roster all year, thus going with a 23 man roster, in effect. Of course they can. Now, if this were OAK or BOS, maybe they couldn't. But we aren't, and if the difference between winning 61 and 63 games is adding two prospects to the mix, that's a very small price to pay.

I'm a little disappointed we didn't pick up any more young players out of options at the end of March, or players who were removed from the 40 man to make a spot for a veteran non-roster invitee. It sounds like Geoff Jenkins will be activated tomorrow, so I assume one of the Podsednik/Conti duo will be optioned, and will have to clear waivers AND not take their free agency. Since Conti has much better career numbers, I feel he is more likely to be dropped.

Rain and snow forecast for tomorrow in PIT. The idea they are still building stadiums without retractable roofs seems so 70's, doesn't it?

4/06/2003 04:10:00 PM

(4/06/2003 11:15:00 AM) - Al

Phil Nevin, Derek Jeter, and now Ken Griffey Jr. have fallen victim to the injury of choice in 2003, the dislocated shoulder. Griffey's injury is especially sad, as he missed most of the '02 season as well. Junior was once one of the biggest stars in the game, and had (has?) one of the prettiest lefty swings I've ever seen. I remember during the Mac/Sosa HR battle, one TV commentator said he had always thought Griffey would be the one to challenge Maris' mark, and I know I had thought the same thing.

Now, in a couple of my fantasy drafts, he was the 3rd Reds' OF taken, after both Dunn and Kearns. Once again, if it doesn't make you hesitate before signing a player to a long-term contract, nothing will.

It's also strange to see both Greg Maddux and Randy Johnson struggle so badly. I assume both will recover and have fine years, but at some point, they will come back toward the pack. Thinking it won't happen is pure folly. ARI just added two more seasons onto RJ's deal, which seems as foolish as...thinking he will dominate the game the last few years...which he has done. I wouldn't do it, as "safe" options like Bartolo Colon exist, a decade plus younger and actually cheaper.

High risk, high reward has never been a better description.

4/06/2003 11:15:00 AM

Saturday, April 05, 2003

(4/05/2003 02:53:00 PM) - Al

The BOS/BAL game at Camden Yards seems to have 50% Red Sox fans in the house. Wow, never seen that except in TB, MIL, or MIN (back in the ol' days, when Brewers' fans made up half the crowd). Plenty of available seats in Camden as well, which is strange to see as well.

4/05/2003 02:53:00 PM

(4/05/2003 12:41:00 PM) - Al

Is there more overused, tired phrases than "They played hard right to the very end, they showed great character making it close late"?

Hardly. It makes no difference if you score a run in the 1st or 9th inning, they all count the same. Does anyone think Richie Sexson or John VanderWal is trying to get out if they're down 7-0 in the 9th inning? It is in a player's selfish interest to reach base regardless of the situation. Unless you signed a lifetime contract, your stats matter, and will directly affect how much money they make in the future. Thinking a guy is "trying harder" at certain times, for the most part, is incorrect.

On a related note, that's why "close and late" and RISP numbers are to be regarded with a grain of salt, and are usually very inconsistent. Show me a great "clutch" hitter, I'll show you a great hitter, whatever the game situation.

4/05/2003 12:41:00 PM

(4/05/2003 12:33:00 PM) - Al

Very early season statistics:

Brewers are tied for 1st with 10 HR's...does anyone expect this to continue?

14th in OBP, .293. You have to get on base in order to score runs.

tied for 14th in BB...while taking more pitches and working the counts more, little to show for it.

10th in runs scored...if the HR's drop and OBP remains the same, this will go down quickly.

4/05/2003 12:33:00 PM

(4/05/2003 12:23:00 PM) - Al

I'm sorry I didn't post anything about the Brewers yesterday, as Blogger apparently lost it. I've been hoping it reappears and asks me if I want to repost it, but that seems doubtful at this point. I will shorten my thoughts, and hope you get the idea:

1. Not concerned at all about a 0-4 start, not anymore than I would be excited about a 4-0 beginning.

2. What frustrates me about Royce Clayton? I could find dozens of guys who can't make that tough play in yesterday's game, but damn near everyone of them can hit better than Royce.

3. At this point, Ned Yost's moves can be described as "odd". Walking Bonds to put a runner at 2B is just silly...especially after allowing a tired Todd Ritchie to go right after him earlier. Ned seems oblivious that runs count the same in whatever inning thery score. Letting Todd go 110 pitches in his first start, in cold weather, was short-sighted. VDS warmed up, then Yost had Todd pitch to Bonds. Later, Nance was used, rather than VDS, with the game on the line.

4. While it is early, Ned's bullpen usage and patterns seem almost as random as Lopester's. Let's look at the 7 relievers appearances and inings pitched thus far:

Dejean----1 G, .2 IP
Leskanic-3, 1.2
Nance-----3, 2.1
Foster-----2, 3

How can VDS be expected to be effective without work? Dejean hasn't pitched since Monday. Should Curtis be your guy to pitch so often, as he returns from an injury? Why do the "top 4" have less innings (4.1) than the 3 fellas who should be utilized in lower leverage situations (6.1)?

4/05/2003 12:23:00 PM

(4/05/2003 12:01:00 PM) - Al

BOS managed to send Dicky Gonzalez down to Pawtucket yesterday. In his AAA career, he is 14-11, with a 3.44 ERA, a 3-1 K/BB ratio...and is 24 years of age. It seems to me that one of the other 29 teams could have certainly found a place on their 25 man roster for him. Considering that a couple of the Brewers have options remaining, we were certainly one of them.

4/05/2003 12:01:00 PM

(4/05/2003 12:16:00 AM) - Al

Andruw Jones got his dropsies going especially early this year, oopsing a routine fly ball today. Still amazes me this guy can be mentioned as a defensive stalwart when he does this on a regular basis. I guess it's that TBS "well, he must be excellent, they say he is all the time" syndrome.

He's made some incredible catches over the years, but when combined with his errors, he's just a bit better than average. Torri Hunter is as good as I've ever seen...and he doesn't drop nothing. To ignore that fact is to ignore the simple, while studying the complex.

Jones is as overrated as they come, end of story.

4/05/2003 12:16:00 AM

Friday, April 04, 2003

(4/04/2003 09:25:00 PM) - Al

Despite Mendoza's best efforts, BOS hung on to win 8-7. Just in for mop-up purposes, he allowed 6 hits in 2/3rd's of an inning, and had to have a perfect Ramirez-Garciaparra-Varitek relay to get the 3rd out. While you may not need a closer, you certainly need to have better relief pitching than that. And, BOS had to have Chad Fox get up in the 9th. If you're treating Fox with kid gloves, he should probably take tomorrow off. Of course, with Pedro pitching, you may not need a reliever.

4/04/2003 09:25:00 PM

(4/04/2003 08:48:00 PM) - Al

Looks like Derek Jeter will be back before the dog days of June, maybe even sooner. Considering BP has all but stated he will miss the rest of the season, based on the super knowledge of Wil Carroll, that almost makes me glad I'm not a BP Premium subscriber.

4/04/2003 08:48:00 PM

(4/04/2003 08:41:00 PM) - Al

You almost forget what excellent support the Rockies have had over the years. COL is my surprise pick for the NL wildcard, but they could just as easily finish 4th in the parity-laden NL West. It galls me they have Jay Payton playing LF, but I think they have the offense and young pitching to be a trendy choice to make the playoffs.

4/04/2003 08:41:00 PM

(4/04/2003 08:29:00 PM) - Al

For those of you with DIRECT or digital cable, the MLB's Extra Innings package is free through the weekend. In fact, I'm even getting the NHL's Center Ice package free on my cable system. If only I wanted to watch that.:)

4/04/2003 08:29:00 PM

(4/04/2003 08:26:00 PM) - Al

BOS looks to be appraoaching double digits again tonight, as they lead BAL 8-1. They aren't pretty with the glove, but they cetainly can get on base and hit for power. They are pretty close to a stathead's dream team.

4/04/2003 08:26:00 PM

(4/04/2003 11:56:00 AM) - Al

I just heard Only Baseball Matters is back at full strength. It's a very well written blog, and you may wish to check it out.

4/04/2003 11:56:00 AM

Tuesday, April 01, 2003

(4/01/2003 10:01:00 PM) - Al

Nice to see former Brewers' pitcher (and RUTT member) Steve Woodard made the Red Sox roster, as he just pitched a 1-2-3 11th inning. With that offense, if Boston's rotation suffers an injury, Steve could win 15 games while compiling a 5 ERA.

4/01/2003 10:01:00 PM

(4/01/2003 09:16:00 PM) - Al

I'll be in the Twin Cities tomorrow night and won't be home until late Thursday. Hope to see ya then after a couple Brewers victories.

4/01/2003 09:16:00 PM

(4/01/2003 09:00:00 PM) - Al

Karl Ravech, on the first evening of Basball Tonight, emabarassed himself no less than twice last night. For those keeping track:

1. The closer by committee thing isn't working so far.

Good God. After one day of baseball season, not having a closer is 0-1. Take a pill. There is an old saying in retail, "if you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got". Once upon a time, closers were crappy pitchers who couldn't start, for some reason. Now, they are specialists who pretty much only pitch the 9th inning. There are almost an infinite amount of ways to succeed in holding the other team down, and it takes an innovative mind to come up with the best way for his club to do it. Blindly following the norms will do nothing except have you put Lenny Harris, who is older than fossils, on your roster despite having a career sub-700 OPS, and actually think he has a morsel of value. Being stuck firmly in 1965 won't win you a thing, and neither will Harris. If you have good middle relievers, there is no reason whatsoever the committee idea won't work, and cheaply at that.

2. Without Jeter, will the Yankees be OK?

Obviously, I see NY challenging TB & BAL for 5th now. What a clod.

I would guess Derek is somewhere around 6 games above replacement level. If he misses half a season, that's 3 wins. Granted, Enrique Wilson may be a game or so above replacement level as well, so NY will likely win a couple games less in the first half. Hardly devastating for any team, and hardly noticeable in the Bronx. They still may win 50 of their first 81.

Ravech is not just out of it, he is totally out of place even discussing the game. It's like watching Ted Kennedy speak on sobriety, or Walter Mondale bring up lowering taxes.

4/01/2003 09:00:00 PM

These are the good old days. Some folks are just too busy wishing the streets were paved with gold to enjoy the good times.

Whatever strikes me as interesting, and serious Milwaukee Brewers thoughts. If you are a believer in respecting OBP, throwing strikes, and keeping the ball in the park, you may have found the place you've been searching for. I believe in low taxes, small government, and am not afraid to be labeled patriotic. If you are interested in sausage race results, walk up music, or professional wrestling, you may wish to click elsewhere.

The Ramblings' manifesto can be found here.

I'm happy to pay taxes to help the helpless. I don't like paying taxes to help the clueless. Look at the Occupy movement...I'm forced to pay taxes to help those whose plight I delight in.--Dennis Miller

If you choose the path of terror, your life will be empty, and your life will be brief.--President Trump

Never have lives less lived been more chronicled.--Dennis Miller

I’m going to plead with you, do not cross us. Because if you do, the survivors will write about what we do here for 10,000 years.--Mad Dog Mattis

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Al's WTMJ appearance from July, 2015 with Justin

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