Al's Ramblings

Friday, April 30, 2004

(4/30/2004 10:55:00 PM) - Al

Indy wins again, Wise goes 3 scoreless, Jason Childers with the save, Michalak allows a couple.

Liefer with a nice affair, as the top 4 in the order all have fine games.

Huntsville loses, Prince with another HR, Weeks back and apparently healthy.

4/30/2004 10:55:00 PM

(4/30/2004 09:24:00 PM) - Al

Down 3, you just have to hope the tying run gets to the plate.

Overbay leads off with a double

Helms out 4-3.

Clark moved out of the way of a curve...why? Anyway at all, Brady. Out 6-3.

Moeller up with Brooks on deck. Takes 2, 2-0, take, take, take.


2-2, missed a 87 mph fastball down the middle.

Low, 3-2. Gotta sit dead red.

5-3, Crew falls to the Pirates 4-2.

That stretch of 3 straight batters reaching just killed Sheets, who pitched a beauty even with those Ab's.

4/30/2004 09:24:00 PM

(4/30/2004 09:12:00 PM) - Al

I can't agree with bringing in Santos to hold the deficit at 2 either. Viz, Burba, Bennett are all rested up after the day off. Santos hasn't impressed, and it's vital we don't allow another run.

UPDATE: First two down in order, then a double, then a single to drive in the run. Again, not sure why you'd bring in your, at best, 5th best reliever in that spot.

4/30/2004 09:12:00 PM

(4/30/2004 09:04:00 PM) - Al

Finally bringing in a LHP to face Geoff (and I assume Lyle). If only it were the bottom of the 6th, 'stead of the 8th.

4/30/2004 09:04:00 PM

(4/30/2004 09:01:00 PM) - Al

Counsell with a 5 pitch walk, after a full count K to Pods. That's what they should have been doing all night, and Benson would have been gone a couple innings ago. I'd feel a lot better facing Jimmy Journeyman than Benson.

4/30/2004 09:01:00 PM

(4/30/2004 08:58:00 PM) - Al

Can't say I understand having Durrington PH for Sheets in the 8th inning with Ginter and Hall both on the bench. Even if you use one, you still have one in reserve, although it won't matter anyway unless they score a couple runs.

Hate to end the game with those guys still on the bench.

4/30/2004 08:58:00 PM

(4/30/2004 08:46:00 PM) - Al

Overbay with a double and Grieve takes a walk, need Benson to make a mistake so Moeller or the PH can drive in a run or two.

UPDATE: 5-4-3 DP. Thank goodness Chad made contact to allow something good to happen, huh?

4/30/2004 08:46:00 PM

(4/30/2004 08:41:00 PM) - Al

The Brewers haven't done a good job of working the count tonight, as Kris Benson has thrown 72 pitches threw 6 complete. If he's on a 100 pitch limit, that's an 8 frame pace. Need to get at that middle relief corps.

4/30/2004 08:41:00 PM

(4/30/2004 08:39:00 PM) - Al

Dare I say, Craig Counsell has made two Gold Glove type plays tonight, one ranging each way. We're talking as good as Rey Ordonez used to make, back when he played for New York, and was a few years older than listed.

UPDATE: Two more very nice plays in the 8th, though less spectacular than the previous two.

4/30/2004 08:39:00 PM

(4/30/2004 08:06:00 PM) - Al


Did you see the numbers of the bottom 3 members of the Brewers' bullpen? If you take Ford, Hernandez, and Santos out, the bullpen ERA is 2.40, or right about there. Do you think some changes will be made soon? If so, who will come up or be signed to replace them?

Love the blog, and also I enjoy your pro-military comments.

Your friend,


I think I have seen mention of that number, or a reasonable facsimile. One of the relievers will go down soon, when Caps returns, my money would be on Santos. Both Adrian and Ben have had successful outings, but for the most part, have struggled. I don't think it's much of a reach to say Hernandez has pitched poorly in all except his 5 inning outing in the 15 inning marathon. Ford's downfall has been the long ball, and often they seem to come on breaking balls that hang high and right over the heart of the plate, just horrible pitches.

The thing about them is, these are the two pitchers that made the team all but solely because of their spring training performance, which as I have muttered many times, is a terrible gauge of ability. I know for a fact I would have no chance of being a successful pitcher in the majors, but I also know it is much more likely I could put together a 10 inning stretch in which I didn't suck than a season. I'm a strong believer in pretty much having your mind made up going into March, based on previous performance. Now, in many cases, you'll have a 12th pitcher spot available that's up for grabs, as well as the 2nd utility IF spot, etc. But, for the most part, "spring wonders" tend to be just that. I'd congratulate them on their fine small sample, and tell them to go to AAA and dominate, and hopefully, we'd see them soon.

As for guys doing well at AAA, another guy who pitched well in March, Matt Wise, has done nicely in Indy. Mike Adams, a pitcher who worked his way onto the 40 man after years of being looked at as roster filler, has a remarkable 17-0 K/BB ratio. And of course, Ben Hendickson has pitched very impressively for a youngster seeing AAA for the first time. Chris Michalak has done OK in his lefty role, and Brian Bowles has done just like you'd expect a veteran AAA/ML reliever to perform. I also would be remiss not to mention Jason Childers (brother of Matt). Jason has been the closer for Indy, a seemingly odd role for someone not considered a prospect. Jason is renowned for having an outstanding curveball, but has never been considered a "true" prospect, mostly just filler. I'm not sure if the Crew is giving him a chance to close and feel he's worthy of such a spot, or if they have decided to let Jason pitch an inning at a time and groom Bowles, Adams, and others as middle men and build their arm strength up by pitching a couple innings at a time as middle men. I'll list their full stats below.

Adams---1-0, 4.50 ERA, 14 IP, 11 H, 0BB, 17 K...not sure how Adams has a 4.50 ERA with a 0.79 WHIP, I would guess he had one poor outing.

Bowles--0-0, 2.45 ERA, 7.1 IP, 6 H, 3 BB, 10 K

Childers--1-0, 1.80 ERA, 10 IP, 7 H, 4 BB, 11 K, 6 saves

Hendrickson--3-0, 1.66 ERA, 21.2 IP, 16 H, 3 BB, 18 K

Michalak---2-2, 0.64 ERA, 14 IP, 7 H, 5 BB, 9 K

Wise--1-0, 2.31 ERA, 11.2 IP, 6 H, 2 BB, 13 K

If I had to guess, I'd say Wise and/or Michalak, although Adams and Bowles are younger and have more long-term potential, and have pitched nearly as well.

Kenneth, thanks for reading and writing.

4/30/2004 08:06:00 PM

(4/30/2004 04:47:00 PM) - Al

Rob Neyer checks in with a tale of too many pitches at a young age, currently trying to get better in the Brewers' system.

Of course, it doesn't matter how many pitches you throw, it's all about how "hard you have to work", or so the pundits say. Funny how that old saying absolves coaches of all blame for leaving...a 17 year-old in to throw 155 pitches in a single game.

4/30/2004 04:47:00 PM

(4/30/2004 12:42:00 PM) - Al

I turned onto MacGyver today on Nick, and I swear, I'm seen this Mayim Balik, Swiss assasination episode a minimum of 30 times, more than any other Mac.

By the way, whatever happened to her?

4/30/2004 12:42:00 PM

(4/30/2004 12:37:00 PM) - Al

USS Mariner does a more in depth critique of the article on Productive Outs, which will forever be known as The Article That Olney Regrets.

Surprise, surprise, they conclude it's flawed beyond belief.

It should be noted the best offensive team in decades, the '03 Red Sox, were 27th in productive outs. Olney is trying to find something that will show who wins a short series, and is unwilling to accept the fact that 5 and 7 game series are the epitome of a small sample.

4/30/2004 12:37:00 PM

Thursday, April 29, 2004

(4/29/2004 11:37:00 PM) - Al

I'm tellin' ya, there's a serial killer loose in LaCrosse.

Um, yeah. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to take the tooth fairy on her rounds, and hope I don't see Bigfoot again.

Michael Markham, a professor at Florida International University who wrote software that calculates blood-alcohol content, said a man of Dion's weight would have to consume more than 20 drinks over a four-hour span to reach a 0.40 blood-alcohol content.--JS, 4/30/04

It's a pity the young man died as a result of his behavior, but binge drinking is a dangerous act. As I said before, many folks owe the police an apology, and soon.

4/29/2004 11:37:00 PM

(4/29/2004 11:05:00 PM) - Al

Dave Krynzel broke his foot Wednesday night when he fouled a pitch off of it. He'll miss 2-3 months.

Ouch...literally. As one who has hurt his foot a couple times, and has problems with them to this day, I wish Dave the best. You never realize how many steps you take every day until you experience pain on half (or all) of them. Of course, Dave will receive better care and rehab than me (To this day, I'm still upset I had to pay $180 to the ER doc who glanced at my X-ray and told the nurse it wasn't broken.), as my official medical chart proclaimed I had "ankle pain", when I really had a sprained foot. It still bothers me when I'm on a ladder, or step wrong and my weight is all on the middle portion of the foot.

Good luck to Dave, as I'm sure he'll be back and as good as new.

4/29/2004 11:05:00 PM

(4/29/2004 06:50:00 PM) - Al

Sexson injures self...swinging the bat.

That's an underwhelming way to hurt yourself, that's for sure.

4/29/2004 06:50:00 PM

(4/29/2004 05:42:00 PM) - Al

This has been linked all over, but is worth doing so here even if only one person checks it out. I hope you take the time to do so, as it is well worth the 10 minutes it will take to read the entire thing. Thanks to Blackfive for bringing this to the web. The US military is much maligned by some, but I'm just glad they're on my side.

Taking Chance Home

Also, it's nice to see that the World War 2 Memorial opened today and wasn't the lead story on a single network's evening news. I guess saving the world just doesn't rank that high on the ol' scale. Maybe if Britney Spears had married there.....

4/29/2004 05:42:00 PM

(4/29/2004 05:02:00 PM) - Al

Mark Twain once said that it was better to remain silent and look like a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

Buster Olney should have listened. He's a good two decades behind modern thought...there may be a job for him with the Mariners, however.

March 31, 2004:

“I have a hard time answering the question of how statistical analysis helps you below the majors.” —Bill Bavasi

April 20, 2004

“…one of the dividing points even now between the smart organizations and the ones riding to the park on the short bus is the degree to which they consider minor league stats as valid diagnostic tools.”

There you have it. Bill Bavasi rides the short bus to his office at First and S. Royal Brougham.---Mariners Musings

4/29/2004 05:02:00 PM

(4/29/2004 03:31:00 PM) - Al

Todd Erdos was signed to help the depleted AAA pitching staff. Erdos is a journeyman reliever who is 30, and has spent quite a bit of time in the bigs. Looking at his numbers, he would seem to be a guy who should be a lot better than he has been.

For instance, in 287 AAA innings, he's K'd 221, while walking 95. That's a solid 2.3-1 K/BB ratio, and a pretty good 6.9 K/9 ratio. He has only allowed 10 homers in those innings, one every 28.7 innings, an astoundingly low number. His AAA WHIP is an unspectacular 1.41, but because he very rarely allows HR's, you'd expect a 3.50ish ERA. Unlucky perhaps, but I would guess he gives up hits in bunches at times. Add that to the fact he's 30, he would appear to be filler.

Course, I said that about Victor Santos too.

4/29/2004 03:31:00 PM

(4/29/2004 02:28:00 PM) - Al

Miami is very close to finalizing a deal for a retractable roof stadium. Good for them.

4/29/2004 02:28:00 PM

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

(4/28/2004 11:10:00 PM) - Al

Huntsville loses, Indy wins.

Also, just wanted to mention Ben Hendrickson won again last night at Indy. Now 3-0, 1.66 ERA, 21.2 IP, 3 BB, 18 K, 0.90 WHIP. That's quite a start for him at the level nearest the majors.

4/28/2004 11:10:00 PM

(4/28/2004 10:31:00 PM) - Al

It should be noted that the Brewers scored their 1st run tonight after Junior Spivey was hit by a pitch, in seeming retaliation to Ryan Freel being hit by Matt Kinney. You gotta wonder if the Brewers still tie the game at 9 if that doesn't occur.

It is simply astounding teams still feel their best option is to give the opponent a free baserunner in order to "get even" with them. They ought to try this new fangled thing called "scoring more runs and winning the game".

4/28/2004 10:31:00 PM

(4/28/2004 10:22:00 PM) - Al

Funny, I said to myself when Hall came up, winnng run on 3B, one out, I said to myself:

I'd give Billy one swing, then try the squeeze.

Ned decided the time to squeeze was Pitch #1, and when it works, you're a genius. I never really liked the suicide squeeze much myself until I heard a pitcher say in an interview that he hated it, because "...there's nothing you can do. If it's down, the game's over. You can't defend it". I had never looked at it that way, and it makes perfect sense. As soon as the ball hit the ground and no defender was there to fire it home, it was an automatic victory.

4/28/2004 10:22:00 PM

(4/28/2004 10:17:00 PM) - Al

Comeback victory, 10-9. Kieschnick with 3 scoreless, and Kolb and Burba finishing up with an inning each, after Hernandez and Kinney both struggled early. I'm not a big believer in valueing "comeback" wins that much, as simply put, you have 9 innings to score as many runs as you can. It doesn't matter to me if they score 9 in the 1st or a run each inning all night.

Easily could have been a Cincy sweep, and instead, it was a Brewers' 2 game sweep. Call it luck (which would be my best estimate), but it beats losing.

4/28/2004 10:17:00 PM

(4/28/2004 10:12:00 PM) - Al

Ben Grieve 1-3 with a pair of walks, Lyle Overbay 3-5, and Pods 4-5 after a game last evening in which he looked as lost as me at the salad bar. Tied 9-9 after 9 tonight. Lyle and Ben are probably two of the more picked on starters, at least, after Moeller's superheroesque performance last night.

Don't worry about numbers until mid-May. You'll drive yourself crazy if you do. There are exceptions to this rule, of course, for instance, Matt Kinney isn't pitching real well thus far, and if we had a logical replacement, I'd consider it.

UPDATE: Grieve's OBP is now .370, before the game it was .304. I believe that alone is proof how silly April numbers are.

4/28/2004 10:12:00 PM

(4/28/2004 09:57:00 PM) - Al

Hi Al,

I just wanted to give you an opportunity to comment on the 2004 seasons that Ramblings' Favorites Marco Scutaro and Ronnie Belliard are having.

Scooter isn't walking like he normally does, but he nonetheless has posted a .359 on-base average and .432 slugging percentage, good for an OPS of .791. He has committed only one error in the field while playing solid defense at both second-base and shortstop.

Ronnie is having an even better season, batting .423 with 10 doubles in 20 games. His on-base average is .500 and those doubles have helped his slugging percentage climb to .551, combining for a Ginter-like OPS of 1.051 . He, too, has committed only a single error.

Realizing that it is still very early, it is good to see these two guys flourishing when given the opportunity to play everyday. Your thoughts?

Ramble on,

Bill, it's far too early to brag, or even pat myself on the back. Heck, there's a Scooter admiration society on almost every weblog that normally discusses players they feel are underutilized. I'm sorry, but when a middle infielder puts up consistent numbers like he has at AAA over 2000 AB's, he is certainly worthy of a trial. I'd bet your car that Scooter doesn't even end up over 750 OPS, but as a guy capable of playing 2B/SS/3B and posting average offense, I'm glad someone (shockingly, Billy Beane) finally gave him a chance, albeit, after injuries decimated his middle infield.

Belly would seem to be just off to a hot start, but he was a nice bargain last year for the Rockies, and he's a steal for the Tribe in '04. For someone the Crew gave away and buried on the bench after a bad stretch in which he was playing part-time for the first time in his life, Ronnie would appear to be a guy many failed to simply look at his career production instead of his worst season.

Thanks for writing and reading, Bill.

4/28/2004 09:57:00 PM

(4/28/2004 09:44:00 PM) - Al

Every once in a while I check to see what searches led folks to Ramblings. Today, the two of interest I found was

Jimmy Osting retires


Keith Ginter fan club

While I'm almost proud of the 2nd, I can't recall ever mentioning Osting, but I s'pose I might have way back when.

4/28/2004 09:44:00 PM

(4/28/2004 11:48:00 AM) - Al

Jayson Stark writes that we're close to a World Cup of Baseball.

I can't say I'm that excited.

4/28/2004 11:48:00 AM

(4/28/2004 11:33:00 AM) - Al

Former Brewers general manager Dean Taylor, who is now an assistant GM with the Reds, returned to Miller Park on Tuesday and exchanged greetings with his replacement, Doug Melvin, Yost and several Brewers employees.

I certainly hope the current Brewers' folks thanked Mr. Taylor for the farm system he built while he was the GM. He was certainly not a talent evaluator, but at the very least, he put the right people in charge of the draft, and let them succeed.

4/28/2004 11:33:00 AM

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

(4/27/2004 10:35:00 PM) - Al

Shocking come-from-behind victory tonight, as the Crew takes advantage of an error and Billy Hall smacks the ball as hard as I've ever seen a ball hit for a game winning HR.

I'm not going to get down on Craig Counsell, as he's been solid in the field and his OBP isn't that bad, but you gotta love the potential middle infield power bat of Billy Hall. Many folks have dismissed him as a utility player type, for reasons unknown, but he might hit 20 HR's playing every day.

Sure, he makes more errors than you'd like, and rarely walks, but luckily for him, he plays SS, where lots of guys struggle to post a .300 OBP and a 650 OPS. If Billy can even manage a league average (for a SS) .325 OBP, his doubles and HR pop might allow him to make a ton of money in the game. If there was ever a player made to be the Rockies' SS, it's Hall, as he loves velocity, and breaking balls basically don't break in Coors.

And my, can he hit a fastball. I was telling the TV to sit on a curveball, and he said in the postgame interview he was, but at 2-0, he got the fastball, and drilled it to LCF. I didn't think it was going out, as it was a line drive. I was hoping it would carrom off the wall and take a funny bounce, as Junior Griffey doesn't look to be himself in CF. My gosh, it made it out by 25 feet.

At the very least, this gives us a win after we trailed after 8 complete. Most teams only win a game or two, but it's a common media notes entry...the (insert team name here) is 0-58 when trailing after 8 innings. The Cubs were 0-last year I know, as it really hurt them, making the playoffs and all. The key is to minimize how often you start the 9th behind, as it should go without saying. I guess it implies that a team "gives up" if they haven't won, which is rather foolish, to say the least.

4/27/2004 10:35:00 PM

(4/27/2004 09:28:00 PM) - Al

From a message board at the High School Baseball Web:

This is a prayer request for a little boy in Tifton. The Prayer is for Joe William Sheffield.

His mother is a teacher in the school system in Tifton, GA. The attend First Baptist Church in Tifton. Joe is only 9 years old. He has been diagnosed with cancer and began his Chemo on Christmas Eve. First Baptist in Tifton has a program called The Prayer Beeper. When you pray for this child, call this toll free number: 1-877-546-0248. Listen to the recording and input the number 733#.

What happens is this child wears the beeper and every time it vibrates he knows somewhere someone is lifting him up in prayer. What a wonderful ministry.

I just did this myself. What an awesome blessing for this little boy every time he gets a buzz; and what a blessing for us to know that we are showing him God's love in such a quick way!

Please take a minute out of your day to say a prayer for Joe William Sheffield. I am sure it means a lot to him and helps keep his spirits up; everytime he gets a "beep".

Please pass this along to all of your friends so Joe will know that even people that do not know him still care enough to say a prayer for him.


Never heard of this program, or anything like it, but if you're a 9 year-old kid who doesn't feel well, it's a nice touch. And don't forget, it's a free call.

4/27/2004 09:28:00 PM

(4/27/2004 09:00:00 PM) - Al

---How many times has Schroeder suggested walking one batter to face the next equally as good or better hitter tonight? How inept can one man be? Should we load the bases to face Adam Dunn (he of the .500+ early season OBP)? Let's pitch around Jason LaRue, who's hitting .160!!! (Yeah, when I think of the guys you don't want to let beat you, it always comes back to Ruth, Williams, Mantle, and Jason LaRue.)

---I see some changes soon in the bullpen. Amazingly, the small sample of success Ford experienced during March seems to have been some sort of fluke occurence (not to mention Santos)...who would have ever guessed that? Can you believe a pitcher can have 10 good innings against AA/AAA players at the end of games? Why yes, I could. As long as you have several pitchers who are at best less than average, one of them might as well throw with his left arm.

---Ginter playing RF tonight, which I don't mind, as Keith needs to play, but it reeks of not having a plan. If Keith can indeed play OF, why not use him out there versus LHP's, which would allow Clark to give Jenkins or Podsednik a day off against a pitcher theyn are unlikely to have success with.

4/27/2004 09:00:00 PM

(4/27/2004 12:48:00 PM) - Al

Some other notes garnered from USAT, while my boy played for an infinite length of time in McDonald's playland. If not for the paper, I might have had to talk to the wife.

So, who leads the major leagues in strikeouts? Funny, it would appear to be the Brewers, with 150, 3 more than 2nd place OAK. The A's are 3rd in the AL in walks, while the Brewers are tied for 3rd in BB's in the NL. Walks are a by-product of taking pitches, which leads to strikeouts. And you know what? I've heard the color man on our TV telecasts say many times our offense is better this year because they make contact. Don't let the facts get in the way, Bill.

FYI, the DevilRays have struck out the least, only 92 times...and have scored a grand total of 67 runs thus far. Looks like that magical equation of "making contact" equals runs scored incorrect load of hooey. Quit boring me with illusions and ignorance, baserunners are king, and that's exactly what OBP measures. SLG measures your total bases per AB, which is also important, of course. If it isn't OBP or SLG, file it away with GWRBI's.

Brewers tied for 11th in NL OBP, and in 8th place in runs scored.

They've scored 99, allowed 107, so in theory, the Crew should have 9.2 wins after 20 games. A little bit of luck never hurts a thing.

683 AB's, .329 OBP, .416 SLG, which means 683 x .329 x .416 = 93.4 runs, and we've scored 99 thus far. Again, when you dig a bit deeper, you see the team has scored more than you'd "expect", meaning they've been fortunate, bunching hits together, etc.

Trent Durrington has 6 AB's thus far, with a walk, on pace for 57 PA's...I believe that's fewer than Enrique Cruz got last year. I continue with my belief that keeping Durrington was based on an unusual lack of long-term planning.

4/27/2004 12:48:00 PM

(4/27/2004 12:31:00 PM) - Al

Why didn't we use Kolb in the 9th inning (Sunday)?--Ramblings, 4/26

Dan Kolb was on the "do not use" list for Sunday's game---USA Today, 4/27

Well, that explains that. What it doesn't explain is...why? Danny had pitched 8 innings through 19 games, though he had pitched at least a couple days in a row. What really boggles my mind is that, if you are to believe that, he wasn't even available in a save situation. I mean, he's on pace to throw 65 innings, and he needs a rest? Seriously?

I gotta wonder if Kolb doesn't have some soreness or tiredness that the Brewers aren't talking about. I believe he has been used 8 times, all for one inning, which is how pitchers with "trouble" are often utilized, as they only warm up once, pitch, then go get their post-game treatment.

2 strikeouts in 8 innings doesn't exactly scream "healthy" to me either.

4/27/2004 12:31:00 PM

(4/27/2004 10:11:00 AM) - Al

While it's still too early to get down on players performing below norms, it is always fun to see who is doing well, regardless of how early it is. At AAA especially, it's important to get off to a good start, as those guys are only one pulled hammy away from Milwaukee.

Chris Coste--.358/.471, Chris has been playing C/3B mostly, with a start or two at 1B as well. He may well be the choice if a catcher or Helms went down.

Corey Hart--.377/.673, Corey chuckled at my fear he wouldn't have enough plate discipline to be an everyday player, and has almost walked once every 10 AB's (5 in 55). Not sure if he'd get the call if a corner OF went down or not, but he can't do much more.

Dave Krynzel--.417/.500, Dave takes pitches, as shown by his high BB and K totals. Waiting for Pods to come up lame.

Jeff Liefer--.400/.588, Jeff is awaiting Overbay to pull something. Could also be considered as a bench guy if a middle infielder or Helms went on the DL.

Chris Magruder--.382/.500, Chris was beat out for the 25th spot by Durrington, who remains a man without a role, other than our "top PR", because we're not afraid to lose him regardless of the situation.

The most interesting decision would be if someone like Spivey got hurt, as Ginter would get the playing time there, for the most part, and we'd likely just bring up someone to PH.

Ben Hendrickson, 2-0, 1.10 ERA, 3 BB, 15 K; lost out on a chance to pick up the spot start when he pitched the day before Caps was pronounced unable to pitch. Suddenly, with Ben and DLR at AAA, and a plethora of rotation prospects at AA, the mound situation isn't looking as bleak. Not as bright as the bats, but fine.

Brian Bowles, 0-0, 2.45 ERA, 3 BB, 10 K; I would have chosen Brian over Santos myself, based on big league success. Bowles probably lost out because he's seen as a 1-2 inning man. Brian is comparable to a Mike Buddie type, perhaps with a slightly higher ceiling, not a true "prospect".

Dan Reichert, 1-0, 1.50 ERA, 2 BB, 10 K; Dan has had surprising success, and is also a AAA vet, and not really a "prospect".

4/27/2004 10:11:00 AM

Monday, April 26, 2004

(4/26/2004 10:39:00 PM) - Al

Not much of note today, no game played, no news to report.

The only thing I can really comment on is one thing that popped into my mind today. Why didn't we use Kolb in the 9th inning yesterday?

We were down 3-1 going into the 9th, so it was pretty clear that the Crew needed to hold the Cards scoreless to have much of a chance to tie or win. Kolb hasn't pitched that often thus far, and the team was off today, of course.

Kolb may have even got a bit loose in the bottom of the 8th, as I'm sure he would have come in had the Brewers taken the lead. I'm sure he never did much more than toss the ball, as the Brewers went down quickly in the 8th, but it just seems funny to me he wasn't brought in.

Of course, it didn't occur to me at the time, so maybe Ned never thought of it that way either.

I'm still a bit puzzled by the fact Santos is still with the team, unless they are waiting to make sure Hernandez is OK after being hit with a line drive the other day. They'll need 8 relievers in the next week like I need an extra piece of pie.

I am, however, impressed with the fact they are pitching Sheets on his regular 4 days of rest this Friday. Maximize your best pitcher's starts, which in turn, minimizes your least effective rotation members games started. Capuano sounds as if he's feeling good and will be back in time to take the 5th starter's spot when it comes up again, on May 8th.

4/26/2004 10:39:00 PM

Sunday, April 25, 2004

(4/25/2004 09:05:00 PM) - Al

Indy wins today, nice games by Magruder, Nunnally, and Erickson. Jason Childers with his 5th save (wouldn't it be cool to have brothers in the bullpen, even for a while?).

Huntsville rained out, yet again, today's DH will be made up tomorrow.

4/25/2004 09:05:00 PM

(4/25/2004 08:04:00 PM) - Al

Next time you tell me about giving 110% and getting your uniform dirty, I'll show you Jim Edmonds, who jogs after every ball as if he is extremely perturbed he has to do so. He almost slowed to a walk on his way to a double in today's game, I assume so he wouldn't be forced to run all the way to 3B.

Do you want Edmonds on your team?

Me too.

4/25/2004 08:04:00 PM

(4/25/2004 07:54:00 PM) - Al

I'm a bit concerned that our recent call-up Victor Santos, a noted "hard-thrower", is hitting 91-93 mph, while our starter was still hitting 96 after 100+ pitches.

Color me unimpressed.

4/25/2004 07:54:00 PM

(4/25/2004 07:45:00 PM) - Al

Tony LaRussa and Dusty Baker ought to have a contest...who can put together the weaker bench?

Both go out of their way to include low OBP guys who run fast. Tony adds in some flair by having an entire squad of guys that can play multiple positions while getting out 70% of the time. Dusty includes mostly non-Caucasian fellas, as noted scientist Baker, decades ahead of his peers, understands that players of African-American and/or Latino genes are able to perform better when the warm weather hits.

Theo Epstein is so silly, he looks for guys that get on base. These young people, they just lack the proper understanding.

4/25/2004 07:45:00 PM

(4/25/2004 07:32:00 PM) - Al

Want proof that the difference between a AAA vet and a utility player in the bigs is all but nonexistant? Cody McKay hit about .202 for Indy last year, and is doing just fine as the Cardinals' backup C. Often times, it's all about opportunity.

4/25/2004 07:32:00 PM

(4/25/2004 07:30:00 PM) - Al

Lyle Overbay just fielded a bunt as close to the plate as I've seen since Keith Hernandez used to play. He was right on top of the plate, and took a good bunt and threw out the runner at 3B by 30 feet.

4/25/2004 07:30:00 PM

(4/25/2004 07:27:00 PM) - Al

Hate to see Ben come back out for the 8th inning. Not sure how many pitches he's thrown, but he must be over 100, maybe 110. That's a ton of pitches for a guy with a back that gives him trouble.

Daron just volunteered he's at 112. Get him out of there.

UPDATE: Over 120, gives up a run scoring double on his final pitch. I'm not sure how many relievers the Crew has available, but as long as there's one, my first concern is about my best starter's health. 120 in April is far too many, about 15-20 too many. I can live with 5-6 over, but that was short-sighted.

4/25/2004 07:27:00 PM

(4/25/2004 06:29:00 PM) - Al

Check out Chief Wiggles today, and see what one person with a good idea can do.

4/25/2004 06:29:00 PM

(4/25/2004 06:20:00 PM) - Al

Saenz down, but Santos coming up seems strange to me. The team only plays 5 games in the next 8 days after today. In fact, they can go with a 3 man rotation if they choose, and have Ben start again Friday. That's eight relievers, and they went with seven when they played 14 days in a row.

I would have brought up Magruder, or maybe Coste, as Chris has been smacking the ball while playing C/1B/3B. Either one of them would be more likely to help out, after today at least.

As I write this, I'm watching the game from this afternoon on tape, and Ben is struggling. If it continues, Victor may get into today's game. If the bullpen is healthy after today, I'd return Santos and make the move on the off day tomorrow.

4/25/2004 06:20:00 PM

(4/25/2004 06:08:00 PM) - Al

Daron Sutton and Bill Schroeder spent a good deal of the bottom of the 1st inning discussing how the Brewers' OBP is pretty good, even though their BA isn't.

Well, there's one more thing I said would never happen.

Maybe Ted Kennedy will say we need to let folks keep more of the money they earn, and complete a "will miracles never cease" daily double.

4/25/2004 06:08:00 PM

Saturday, April 24, 2004

(4/24/2004 10:25:00 PM) - Al


It may be an overused word, and maybe not even descriptive enough, but Chris Saenz's debut merits a wow in every aspect. 6 innings, 2 hits, 3 walks. After loading the bases in the top of the 1st, he was almost perfect the rest of the way. After Edgar Renteria flied out to the warning track to end the 1st inning (even great games need a shade of luck now and then), it was smooth sailing.

I expected to click on the score and see 6-3 Cards, or something along those lines. To see a kid just off the bus in Alabama (his manager got the call to get Chris to Milwaukee Thursday night on a bus) perform like that is simply beyond belief. I assume Saenz was just up for the start, and I hope that hasn't changed. He certainly made an impression, yet he isn't one bit more ready for the majors than he was yesterday. Add that to the fact he's 22, I honestly don't want him to go over 100 pitches most of the summer.

Would have been a fantastic game to watch. Congrats to Chris on his performance.

4/24/2004 10:25:00 PM

(4/24/2004 10:37:00 AM) - Al

Sadly, even the bravest among us sometimes die far too early. Pat Tillman is just one of the heroes in our military, and reminds us what a dangerous world they live in.

Sympathies to Pat's family and friends.

For those of you who want to know more about Pat, some info can be found here. A well written tribute is here.

UPDATE: I found this quote at another site today:

I look forward to telling my infant son about Tillman someday, and explaining that this is what we mean by being a hero.

The truth needs no explanation.

UPDATE 2: I have changed the date and time of this post to allow it to remain at the top until the weekend ends. Also, remember the Crank is raising money for a worthy, related cause.

4/24/2004 10:37:00 AM

(4/24/2004 10:36:00 AM) - Al

Nice piece on how the Brewers are taking pitches this year, and surprise, surprise, are scoring more runs. Hat tip to Bill at The Daily Brew.

4/24/2004 10:36:00 AM

(4/24/2004 10:03:00 AM) - Al

Hey Al,

First of all, I want to thank you for being so thourough with the ramblings site. I really appreciate it and check it no less than ten times a day. Die hard brew crew fan. I feel that your blog as well as Gleeman's old blog were the best in the business....

I am a fifth year senior up at UW-La Crosse and have been obviously paying somewhat close attention to Jared Dion's case. It is no doubt a tragedy what happened to the kid, but I completely agree with your opinion of there being a mass murderer running rampant in the community. The sad part is, I've talked to numerous people about the possibility and everyone seems to think it is possible. I don't buy this for a second.

It doesn't help that the main drag for bars is only a few blocks from one of the most powerful rivers in the world. To be honest, I'm surprised there aren't more cases like this around here. One of my friends got so messed up at the bars a couple years ago during the winter, he somehow tried walking on the icy river. He ended up falling through, but with a small act of God he escaped the icy water and took a cab back to his apartment. Don't ask me how he managed to do this....Fortunately for him, all he had to endure was the front page article about the incident in the La Crosse Tribune the next morning calling him "the river walker." He was obviously lucky.

Alcohol obviously makes you do some stupid things. I know it's done some damage to me in the past. When people are so drunk like they have been in all of these drownings, all it can take sometimes is for someone to dare the other to go for a swim. Who would stop them from taking a dive? We have a general rule here in LAX: when the bars close, head towards the flag pole on the bluffs and you'll be home in no time.

Just thought I'd try and share my two cents about the subject. It's 4:15 in the morning, God bless the college years.


Todd, thanks for reading and writing, and for the high praise. Aaron's remains the standard in my eye, and in order to dedicate that much time into Ramblings, I'd have to quit the job.

LaCrosse sounds a lot like Eau Claire, as the river is just a few blocks from the campus bar area. In EC, there are two different walkways that go safely over the river, and the river is far, far down a bank. There's no way to "stumble" into the water, as there's no reason to be near the water.

To be honest, the whole idea of a "serial killer" is so far fetched as to be considered impossible, in my eyes. No sign of foul play has emerged, all the deaths were late at night involving drunken students...and the evidence of anything except the obvious is absolutely nil.

The fools at that community meeting should be baking homemade goodies for the police they heckled for the next few years.

4/24/2004 10:03:00 AM

(4/24/2004 09:34:00 AM) - Al

Just watching highlights from last night, and I noticed Montreal still has the "crossed bats" logo on the LCF wall representing the Brewers. How long has that logo not been used? I'd guess at least 3 years, and maybe 5. What an embarassment of a franchise north of the border. They won't be missed in the least.

4/24/2004 09:34:00 AM

Friday, April 23, 2004

(4/23/2004 10:17:00 PM) - Al

PH HR in the bottom of the 9th one day, 2+ innings of scoreless relief the next...someday, we will appreciate what Brooks Kieschnick has done. He is the first player in 50 some years to do what he does, and hardly anyone notices.

Major kudos to Matt Kinney for shutting down the Cards for 6+ as well. Pods and Counsell with nice PA's versus Kline. Overbay and Grieve each got on twice. Great team win, as I'm sure the Crew's pitcher to begin the 11th inning was tomorrow's starter, Saenz.

4/23/2004 10:17:00 PM

(4/23/2004 09:27:00 PM) - Al

Indy wins again, Krynzel has another nice game, and Liriano with a well pitched game, 7 K's in 5 IP.

H-ville loses 5-0, offensive highlight is Weeks getting hit twice. Do they know how much we paid to sign him!! Quit it!

4/23/2004 09:27:00 PM

(4/23/2004 08:37:00 PM) - Al

Matt Kinney has made it through 5 innings while allowing only 1 run. Outstanding, considering he had to warm up yesterday.

At this second, you have to believe Saenz will start tomorrow.

4/23/2004 08:37:00 PM

(4/23/2004 07:52:00 PM) - Al

Memo to the citizens of LaCrosse: You are acting ridiculous.

Rumor has it a vocal group of citizenry believes there is a serial killer loose in LaCrosse, who preys solely on extremely intoxicated young people.

Please. And as if that wasn't enough, last night many heckled the police chief, and one particular buffoon blamed the cops for a death.

This article recaps the deaths.

This one tells of the meeting last night.

All of these folks were victims of a killer we all know lovingly as Irresponsibility. It's a shame, it's too bad, but it happens whenever you mix immature behavior and fast-flowing water.

The folks at that meeting should be ashamed of themselves.

4/23/2004 07:52:00 PM

(4/23/2004 05:29:00 PM) - Al

Kind words about Ginter, Spivey, and Sheets at BP today.

4/23/2004 05:29:00 PM

(4/23/2004 04:52:00 PM) - Al

Despite concerns of the opposite, re-enlistment is beating goals. I read a while back that all four armed services beat their recruiting goals in '03 as well.

I'm still in favor of paying all of them more, but it's good to see them sign on the dotted lne.

4/23/2004 04:52:00 PM

(4/23/2004 04:33:00 PM) - Al

Just came across this Ben Stein article about how his path crossed with that of a military family. Well worth the read, if you have a few minutes.

4/23/2004 04:33:00 PM

(4/23/2004 03:42:00 PM) - Al

By the way, very surprised to see Craig Counsell playing instead of Billy Hall.--Ramblings, 4/21

In the last three years, Counsell is .279/.362/.342 vs LHP and .263/.341/.344 vs RHP. Hall is .171/.256/.200 vs LHP (in only 35 ABs) and .266/.298/.497 vs RHP.


I guess I had just assumed Hall and Counsell would platoon, as Ned has mentioned giving Billy a start or two each week. Add that to the fact that Randy Johnson is historically very tough on LH hitters, it seemed like an obvious Hall night. Billy's crappy stats against lefties can probably be traced to bad luck and the fact there are so few decent lefties to learn against in the minors. Thanks for reading and writing, Eric.

4/23/2004 03:42:00 PM

(4/23/2004 03:23:00 PM) - Al

Why is it best to ignore April stats? Because they are by definition a small sample. Let's look at Lyle Overbay's numbers before the D'Backs series:

.232/.381, 613 OPS

Now, after the D'Backs series, in which Overbay just PH in the middle game:

.304/.500, 804 OPS

This is after adding just 12 plate appearances, mind you. Any stat that uses under one-third of a complete season's numbers is flawed, it is as simple as that.

4/23/2004 03:23:00 PM

(4/23/2004 02:45:00 PM) - Al

The Brewers do have a backup plan in case Capuano suffers a setback. The team outrighted Triple-A right-hander Travis Phelps on Wednesday, clearing one spot on the 40-man roster. If Capuano is unable to pitch, the team would probably place him on the disabled list and recall Victor Santos, who pitched well in Spring Training but did not make the cut.

Santos pitched 2 1/3 innings for Triple-A Indianapolis on Wednesday night, allowing no runs on one hit and three strikeouts. His ERA is down to 3.48, and Yost said he was pulled early to keep him available to pitch the early innings Saturday in Milwaukee.

This was from the notes section before Thursday's long game. Looks like Santos is the man, if Saenz pitches tonight.

4/23/2004 02:45:00 PM

(4/23/2004 02:06:00 PM) - Al

According to the Brewers' web site, Saenz will be available out of the bullpen tonight, and he is not needed, would likely start Saturday. If he is needed tonight, one thing to keep in mind is that Jorge de la Rosa is scheduled to start Saturday night for AAA Indy. He has not been very effective in his two starts thus far, but would likely be the guy, as the only other options in the minors would appear to be Victor Santos or Matt Wise, neither of which have even gone 4 innings thus far. Burba or Ford are the in-house possibilities.

4/23/2004 02:06:00 PM

(4/23/2004 01:31:00 PM) - Al

Should have checked out the Transaction wire before I wrote that last post, I guess:

Placed pitcher Chris Capuano on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to April 19, with a strained right quadriceps; recalled pitcher Chris Saenz (pronounced "signs") from Huntsville of the Southern League (AA).

Not sure if Saenz will start Saturday or if he'll be used out of the bullpen, with Burba or Ford moving into the rotation. Chris was on the 40 man as well, so there remains an open spot. I assume Saenz was chosen because he has been "stretched out", pitching up to 6 innings already, while other choices (de la Rosa, Wise, Santos) are still just going 2-4 innings a game. Saenz was pitching extremely well in H-ville, simply blowing batters away with his fastball, mainly.

Saenz may well be there just for a few days, to eat up innings, or to start Saturday, with another move to soon follow. Ben Hendrickson has pitched well in Indy, but just pitched yesterday. No word on Bennett.

4/23/2004 01:31:00 PM

(4/23/2004 01:23:00 PM) - Al

A lack of available pitchers, a problem exacerbated by Yost's decision to use Kolb instead of Kieschnick in the 10th, could haunt the Brewers heading into a weekend series with St. Louis. Also, the decision to rest Jeff Bennett could be a tip that the rookie is suffering some arm soreness.

Drew Olson wrote the above paragraph, so take it with a grain of salt. I believe I read that when a game enters extra innings, hence, the top of the 10th, the odds of it being over by the end of the 12th inning are about 93-95%. I can't recall the exact numbers, but I think that over half are decided in the 10th inning alone.

I'm the first person to jump on a manager for blowing out his bullpen too early. Tony LaRussa does it weekly, and is rarely called on it. I still remember Jose Oquendo being used in either the 9th or 10th inning years ago, as Tony had blown through his bullpen, apparently unaware the rules called for extra innings to be played in case the game was tied.

As I briefly said last night, I would have probably been a bit quicker with the hook than Ned, as Wes had just pitched in relief of Capuano days before, and had given us 5 solid innings, which for a 5th starter, is all you can ask. Drew seems to be suggesting that Kieschnick should have been brought in to pitch the 10th inning, which while plausible, pretty much explains why I feel Olson is a hack. I'm not even sure if Brooks had warmed up prior, but it would have been tough for him to get ready to pitch, to say the least. And, no offense to Brooks, as he has pitched very well at times, but he would not have been my top choice, as his career ERA has hovered around 5.

I've long argued Brooks is a wonderful player to have around, a guy that can give you low leverage innings as well as PH. Brooks should be used as a long reliever, able to bat to save the bullpen. His pitching ability does not make him a good choice to pitch in extra innings, especially not when Dan Kolb is available and able to go an inning (and maybe two, but he threw a lot of pitches getting through his inning).

I thought Bennett would be placed on the DL after the game, as his velocity was way off the other night, and he was given the day off yesterday, despite the length of the game. Jeff is probably suffering from never being in the big leagues before, as relievers in the minors are rarely used on back-to-back days, and "held back" much more. No one really cares if the home team uses their top reliever or an organizational roster filler to pitch an important inning, as wins and losses are not vital, while the health of young arms is prioritized, and rightly so.

I thought there may well be a couple moves after the game, one with Capuano going on the DL and a starter being brought up for Saturday, and one replacing Bennett, but as of yet, I have found nothing. As is, Hernandez is probably unavailable the entire Cardinals' series, as he threw 82 pitches, just two less than Wes O. Brooks is rested, and Kolb can easily give you an inning. Vizcaino needs a day off, as he pitched all 3 games versus the D'Backs. Bennett is a question mark. Burba and Ford are the two guys you'd choose to "overuse", as neither is young nor have much of a future, with all due respect to them.

It's a tired group, and don't forget, Kinney warmed up yesterday to pitch the 16th, so a short outing can be expected from him tonight. I doubt the Cards will feel any sympathy either.

4/23/2004 01:23:00 PM

Thursday, April 22, 2004

(4/22/2004 10:11:00 PM) - Al

Huntsville DH rained out, Indy wins; Krynzel, Liefer, and Hart all with good offense, and Ben Hendrickson is doing outstanding thus far, 2-0, 1.10 ERA, in his debut at AAA.

4/22/2004 10:11:00 PM

(4/22/2004 09:38:00 PM) - Al

Tough loss in 15 innings today for the Brewers. Normally, I would question Yost leaving Wes in to absorb so much punushment in the 6th inning, but the way things turned out, the pitching was needed later. Kieschnick with a PH HR in the 9th, and most all would agree it would have been better if had he not hit it.

Matt Kinney had to warm up to pitch the 16th inning, and he's supposed to start tomorrow. It seems likely he will either struggle or not be able to go very long.

4/22/2004 09:38:00 PM

(4/22/2004 12:20:00 PM) - Al

Roster Crunch is speculating Phelps' removal from the 40 man may be due to an interest in Jason Romano, DFA'd by TB. I believe Romano has Melvin ties, and I think the Crew could put him on the 40 man and send him to AAA (or, send Trent Durrington to his rightful spot in Indy).

4/22/2004 12:20:00 PM

(4/22/2004 12:17:00 PM) - Al

I'm off to work, enjoy the matinee affair today.

4/22/2004 12:17:00 PM

(4/22/2004 11:06:00 AM) - Al

Travis Phelps cleared waivers and was taken off the Brewers' 40 man roster. This puts the roster at 39, and would allow the Crew to pick up a player on waivers, or call up a non-roster pitcher from AAA to replace Caps on the 25 man roster.

Caps will pitch today in the bullpen, and if he feels OK, he'll be pencilled in to pitch Saturday. If not, it's likely he'll go on the DL and be replaced on the roster.

Despite rain and wind, just a couple tiny leaks the other night at Miller Park. Progress is being made.

4/22/2004 11:06:00 AM

(4/22/2004 10:55:00 AM) - Al

I must be dreaming, but I thought I just saw an ESPN story devoted to Podsednik. Can you imagine, a national story about a member of the Brewers? I'm pretty sure that's one more than Sexson received.

4/22/2004 10:55:00 AM

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

(4/21/2004 10:23:00 PM) - Al

The Crank is in competition to raise money for a great cause. Check it out.

4/21/2004 10:23:00 PM

(4/21/2004 10:22:00 PM) - Al

A thought on Scooter, Billy Beane, and why the Mariners are on their way down from the Mariners' Wheelhouse, hat tip to Raindrops.

4/21/2004 10:22:00 PM

(4/21/2004 10:16:00 PM) - Al

A nice letter from a soldier in Iraq. Nice to read that many remain positive about their job.

4/21/2004 10:16:00 PM

(4/21/2004 09:26:00 PM) - Al

Indy wins 2-1, H-ville rained out, will play a DH tomorrow.

Dave Krynzel's OBP is getting ever closer to .500, small sample alert, of course.

4/21/2004 09:26:00 PM

(4/21/2004 09:17:00 PM) - Al

Jeff Bennett looked like a AA kid tonight, just couldn't find the plate except by taking 5 mph off his fastball, and grooving them at 88-89. Hopefully, the exception and not the rule.

4/21/2004 09:17:00 PM

(4/21/2004 09:09:00 PM) - Al

Jason has changed the addy of his weblog as well as the focus. He is now commenting on transactions, and he's right on the mark with Pinella and Jason Romano. They are giving up on him after 8 AB's, apparently because he told Lou he "felt uncomfortable" at 2B the other day. Of course, they gave away a decent player for him, but never mind that, he's not "tough enough" for Lou.

4/21/2004 09:09:00 PM

(4/21/2004 09:05:00 PM) - Al

Oscar Villarreal was a prominent name mentioned in the rumors leading up to the Sexson trade. He struggled mightily tonight, and with the way Brenly hates young players, now might be a good time to ask what they're looking for in return.

4/21/2004 09:05:00 PM

(4/21/2004 09:03:00 PM) - Al

Ginter just hit his 2nd HR of the night, sadly, the first one was a few feet foul.:)

We gotta find that fella a place to play.

4/21/2004 09:03:00 PM

(4/21/2004 09:01:00 PM) - Al

Memo to Bob Brenly: Luis Gonzalez is costing your team a run or two every night. He's far too large a defensive liability to be playing, unless his name is Barry Bonds.

4/21/2004 09:01:00 PM

(4/21/2004 08:55:00 PM) - Al

Terry Porter brought his team back from the dead to win 92-88 tonight. Congrats, that may well be proof that Porter knows exactly what he's doing.

4/21/2004 08:55:00 PM

(4/21/2004 08:52:00 PM) - Al

Memo to Bob Brenly:

If you leave your starting pitcher in until he fails...he will eventually fail.

I had actually forgot how Brenly has no idea how to run a pitching staff.

4/21/2004 08:52:00 PM

(4/21/2004 08:22:00 PM) - Al

As much as it pains me to say it, the TV guys just made a good point...we have a completely different strike zone since the ejection and subsequent complaining by Bob Brenly. It is astounding how umpires continually are intimidated by whining and moaning.

4/21/2004 08:22:00 PM

(4/21/2004 07:57:00 PM) - Al

Steve Finley gets thrown out after taking a called strike three. It never fails to amaze me how veterans insist on hurting their team after failing personally, and rather than being punished, they are hailed as gritty leaders who hate to lose.

4/21/2004 07:57:00 PM

(4/21/2004 07:16:00 PM) - Al

Chad Moeller with an RBI single, and out on a perfect throw from the RF. Normally, this would be excellent baserunning, but not with the P due up next. At the very least, you want to get the pitcher's spot out of the way so he doesn't have to lead off the next inning.

By the way, very surprised to see Craig Counsell playing instead of Billy Hall. Randy Johnson is not a lefty that LH role players should be playing against.

4/21/2004 07:16:00 PM

(4/21/2004 06:34:00 PM) - Al

If Michael Moore didn't actually exist, many folks would insist he was the creation of us darn "pro-American" folks. Moore at some point has turned into a lying idiot (hat tip to Crank).

I have seen Roger and Me, or at least parts of it, several times, and while it's amusing at times, I've never really "got it". In the film, Moore is very critical of GM (or Ford, but I think it was GM) for closing a plant in Flint, MI. He never argues that it wasn't in their best interests to do so financially, he just wonders aloud why they would choose profit over worker loyalty (well duh, it's called capitalism). He really just never seemed to understand that stockholders accept risk and are hopefully rewarded with this goofy thing called "profit". Now he is defending loyalists who shoot at US troops.

I still remember the look on Wes Clark's face when he hugged Moore in the photo-op after Moore endorsed him for President, it looked like he was saying, "I hope you bring me votes, because I despise you". Wes may have been a tad wishy-washy as a candidate, but he was right on.

Moore is the classic negative human being, who refuses to do anythign but complain. He won't even admit his views are so extreme they are ignored by all. To say he's far left is too offend the far left.

4/21/2004 06:34:00 PM

(4/21/2004 06:16:00 PM) - Al

Thanks for the answers to the batting out of order question, as I received four responses. This one seems to be the easiest to understand, for me at least.

WHEN PLAYER BATS OUT OF TURN (d) When a player bats out of turn, and is put out, and the proper batter is called out before the ball is pitched to the next batter, charge the proper batter with a time at bat and score the putout and any assists the same as if the correct batting order had been followed. If an improper batter becomes a runner and the
proper batter is called out for having missed his turn at bat, charge the proper batter with a time at bat, credit the putout to the catcher, and ignore everything entering into the improper batter's safe arrival on base. If more than one batter bats out of turn in succession score all plays just as they occur, skipping the turn at bat of the player or players who first missed batting in the proper order.

Thanks to everyone who wrote in with the answer or a link.

4/21/2004 06:16:00 PM

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

(4/20/2004 10:47:00 PM) - Al

Marcos Scutaro, not just off to a fine start, but playing SS tonight for the A's. His offense has been good for a 2B, but would be outstanding for a SS.

4/20/2004 10:47:00 PM

(4/20/2004 10:36:00 PM) - Al

Indy idle today, Huntsville with a win, the Big 3 all have nice games, numbers starting to look closer to expectations.

4/20/2004 10:36:00 PM

(4/20/2004 09:21:00 PM) - Al

4-2 victory for the Brewers, in what was by far the best pitching match-up of the series. With Randy Johnson and Brandon Webb pitching the last two for ARI, a split would be just dandy with me.

Overbay and Spivey each had three hits, and Jenkins hit a Bonds-like HR. Sheets, Burba, Vizcaino, and Kolb all pitched nicely, Viz showed 3 above average pitches.

4/20/2004 09:21:00 PM

(4/20/2004 09:18:00 PM) - Al

Capuano will make his next start, or is scheduled to, at least, on Saturday. Burba and Ford were mentioned as possible emergency starters. Soft spot in muscle was diagnosed.

Some of us only have soft spots.

4/20/2004 09:18:00 PM

(4/20/2004 08:43:00 PM) - Al

Sheets removed after 92 pitches and 6 innings. Thank you organizational plan.

4/20/2004 08:43:00 PM

(4/20/2004 08:40:00 PM) - Al

The D'Backs need to accept the fact Luis Gonzalez simply cannot play OF right now. He can barely throw when he is healthy, and now is reduced to sidearm throws with the accuracy you'd expect from Ted Kennedy at closing time on St. Patty's Day.

Gonzalez at 50% is nowhere near as good as a major leaguer at 100%.

4/20/2004 08:40:00 PM

(4/20/2004 08:02:00 PM) - Al

I am growing almost as fond of watching Ben Grieve hit as I am Keith Ginter. Both simply take a lot of pitches, and aren't the least bit afraid to be at the plate with two strikes. Ben has had two wonderful PA's tonight, a line out to CF and a 9 or 10 pitch walk. I'm not sure if Ben will ever regain his lost power, but his solid OBP should have him in the game in some role for the next several years.

4/20/2004 08:02:00 PM

(4/20/2004 01:49:00 PM) - Al

Hey Al, regular reader here. This weekend in the Reds/Cubs series, a batter doubled but was later ruled out because a double switch wasn’t reported correctly. A co-worker asked me how that double is officially scored and I had no idea. Do you know? Does it count as a plate appearance? Does it count against the pitcher?



I'm going to throw this out to the masses, and whoever knows, please hit the "e-mail me" on the sidebar. I do know this Jeremy, the game logs seem to list this as a double, then an out for hitting out of order. Now, does this eliminate the PA from consideration? I don't know. From a common sense standpoint, no, it shouldn't count. But, a player who hits a ground ball that hits a runner is credited with a base hit, and that makes no sense either.

Thanks for Jeremy for bringing this up, by the way.

4/20/2004 01:49:00 PM

(4/20/2004 09:44:00 AM) - Al

I have privately wondered about the "flat tax" concept that many politicians on both sides of the aisle have floated about the past decade or so. I have heard numbers mentioned as low as 8% and as high as 17%, which sounds fair to most folks, as it would minimize people hiding money, using loopholes, etc.

So, having finished entering in my numbers to Turbotax a few days ago, I was reminded by e-mail last night that I had not checked to make sure my returns had been accepted by the federal and state government. Luckily, they had, and I proceeded to print out my returns. The first page was a summary of salary, tax paid, etc. It shows that for 2003, my middle class household paid just over a 4% effective tax rate last year. Thankfully, the itemized deductions allow us to deduct our ungodly high property tax and interest paid on our mortgage.

No offense to making things simple and the like, but from my vantage point, until I hear 4-5% talked about, you can take your flat tax and put it with Stuart Scott, Phil Rogers, and mowing the lawn...other stuff I have no time for.

4/20/2004 09:44:00 AM

(4/20/2004 08:51:00 AM) - Al

So, am I the only one who remains unconvinced that Luis Vizcaino is "back"? He had a horrible outing the other day in a meaningless inning. He got his only batter one game when they lined a shot at Junior Spivey, playing 30 feet out of position thanks to Rich Dauer's defensive positioning. Luis is no doubt throwing the ball a bit better than last year, when he was very poorly hiding an injury of some kind, as he was throwing at a far different arm slot, almost three-quarters. Still, he shakes off the fastball the vast majority of the time to throw something else, which seems both odd and foolish, as he throws 93-95.

I hope Luis can return to his 2002 form as much as anyone, but I see him as nowhere near it right now.

4/20/2004 08:51:00 AM

(4/20/2004 08:39:00 AM) - Al

(Nader's) attempt to do so in Oregon, by bringing together supporters for what amounted to a state nominating convention, was an embarrassing flop. Only 741 people showed up for the April 5 event at a Portland theater, well short of the 1,000 required by state law. (He still can qualify by getting 15,000 signatures within three months.)

If Ralph Nader can't even get the ultra-liberal fringe in Oregon to show up, it would certainly appear his 15 minutes are up. And while I'll freely admit Al Gore is our sitting president if Nader doesn't run in '00, Gore need look no further than the fact he lost his home state of Tennessee as a more head-scratching reason.

Many folks, including myself, see this race turning on the VP the Dems choose...but when you look at TEN voting Bush in 2000, one has to wonder how much difference it makes.

4/20/2004 08:39:00 AM

Monday, April 19, 2004

(4/19/2004 10:37:00 PM) - Al

The inert bomb struck within inches of the truck it was supposed to hit, Boeing said, adding that had the bomb contained explosives, the target would have been destroyed.

Horton, who was sitting 80 miles (130 kilometers) from the target, authorized the drone to drop the bomb, which was released from 35,000 feet (10,670 meters) as the plane flew at 442 mph (700 kilometers per hour).

A plane without a pilot, takes off, drops a bomb, and lands.

And some folks feel that everything has been invented already. 7 miles up, 400+ mph, and it missed by "inches". Wow.

4/19/2004 10:37:00 PM

(4/19/2004 07:49:00 PM) - Al

Indy with a win today, several good offensive performances, Jeff Liefer 3-4 with 2 HR's being the best. Matt Wise, who barely missed making the staff this spring, has not allowed a run yet in Indy, in 9+ innings.

H-ville wins, Weeks is hot.

4/19/2004 07:49:00 PM

(4/19/2004 07:16:00 PM) - Al

I just wish people would come back to MLB.:)

We're in a new renaissance of the game, it's just that no one has announced it yet.

Wait 'til Montreal moves to a real city next year.

I honestly feel we'll be seriously discussing expansion either right before or right after Mr. Selig leaves office. 50 more roster spots will be a rather serious chip to bargain with.

4/19/2004 07:16:00 PM

Sunday, April 18, 2004

(4/18/2004 05:16:00 PM) - Al

H-ville pounds the ball today, Brad Nelson and the Big 3 (Fielder, Weeks, and Gwynn) all with nice days.

Indy loses in 10. Krynzel and Coste with excellent days.

4/18/2004 05:16:00 PM

(4/18/2004 05:11:00 PM) - Al

There won't be a lot of tears upon not playing HOU for a while. Only Grieve and Ginter did much on offense, and the rotation suffered what could be a devastating loss, as Capuano hurt his leg, going only 2 innings. Suddenly, the idea of having Wayne Franklin at AAA doesn't sound so bad, does it? I would guess Caps will miss at least one start, and probably a couple, so I would guess the empty DL will have a member soon.

Possible call-ups? Ben Hendrickson has a 1.64 ERA after two starts, and Jorge de la Rosa pitched well this spring. Dave Burba may be considered as well, as there are quite a few middle relief fellas at AAA that could be considered.

4/18/2004 05:11:00 PM

Saturday, April 17, 2004

(4/17/2004 09:36:00 PM) - Al

Indy with a comeback win tonight. Krynzel, Hardy, Coste, Hart, and Johnson all with fine offensive performances tonight. The box score can be found here.

H-ville with an extra-innings win. Weeks with a nice game, as did former prospect, now roster filler Paul Stewart.

4/17/2004 09:36:00 PM

(4/17/2004 09:09:00 PM) - Al

As barely tolerable as Bill Schroeder is, he was as bad as humanly possible tonight.

With Lance Berkman at the plate, Richard Hidalgo up next:

Don't give Berkman anything to hit. Hope Hidalgo will hit a breaking ball into the dirt for a double play.

So, Lance got out, like he does 60+% of the time, and Bill continued his sober yet drunken logic:

I'm not sure why they're pitching to Hidalgo here. He's too good a hitter.

So, he's a guy you want to face with the bases loaded and one out, but you're afraid of him with two on and two out? What? Not only does Bill still believe in the Lopester logic of gifting the opposition shut them down; he can't even keep his own incoherent strategy in place for 60 seconds?

Painfully poor. If there's a worse, less knowledgable announcer in the game, I have yet to hear him.

4/17/2004 09:09:00 PM

(4/17/2004 08:58:00 PM) - Al


I am assuming you either didn't see or are too busy to write about today's Cubs game.

On a day where the Cubs hinted around that Prior could be lost for the season, Kerry Wood threw over 125 pitches in a loss. Baker continues his cluelessness.


Thanks for reading and writing, Todd, I was blissfully unaware of Dusty's case of overextending his starting pitcher #521. He did the same thing last April, so we shouldn't be surprised. He is as bad as Grumpy Stewart...and he still has a job.

Just remember, Todd, OBP isn't that important, Dusty says so.

4/17/2004 08:58:00 PM

(4/17/2004 03:23:00 PM) - Al

OAK pulled off a breathtaking minor trade, acquiring Kirk Saarloos for low ceiling, already DFA'd Chad Harville.

Harville has a fine arm, as proven by his 10.5 K's per 9 innings in his long AAA career. But, he's 27, and his ceiling would appear to be as a decent middle reliever...which I would say are a dime a dozen, but I'm afraid recent facts would tell me I'm placing too much value on mop-up men. Considering the Brewers have received solid, if unspectacular work from a 38 year-old, a Rule 5 pick, and a career AAA journeyman this year (granted, a small sample) in middle relief; giving a prospect of any sort for one would seem short-sighted at best. There is no other way to put it...even fringe major league arms can get through a couple innings and only allow a run. The secret is not having to face anyone twice.

Meanwhile, Saarloos' loss would seem to be another indication that Jimy Williams has no idea how to get results from anyone under the age of 30. Kirk will turn 25 in May, and dominated in the minors:

10-1, 1.40 ERA in AA, 4-1 K/BB ratio
7-0, 2.90 ERA in AAA, 4-1 K/BB ratio
8-8, 5.61 ERA in ML's, 2-1 K/BB ratio

Saarloos needs to be given a role and allowed to succeed in it. He's been yanked around more than the lone bottle of ipecac in a bulimia treatment center. He reminds me of that "bulldog" type that could really succeed in a set-up or other relief role, but who could find his niche as a starter, albeit one whose limit is lower than most. Kirk is only listed at 6-0, so he may well be a couple inches shorter, meaning durability will probably always be an issue. But, he's had success at every level, and even his major league stats are as good as a Wayne Franklin, and Kirk's secondary numbers are superb (2-1 K/BB ratio, only 1 HR/9 IP, even having Enron/Minute Maid as his home park).

The A's sent a good arm away and got a guy who may turn into a sleeper if they need a starter in case of injury.

4/17/2004 03:23:00 PM

(4/17/2004 03:22:00 PM) - Al

It saddens me greatly that Dru's disappearance was mentioned in the same breath with the little attention seeking preppie from Madison, who took a four day vacation from the "rigors and stress" of college life.

{Pause to shake head, roll eyes, etc}

While Audrey's irresponsible behavior cost the city $100K, she's sitting at home drinking red wine and telling anyone that will listen (by this time, I would assume that's a mighty small number, likely reduced to only a pet rodent or two) how tough life is.

Dru's loss will be mourned.

And somewhere, someone is already feeling sad that Mr. Rodriguez wasn't given proper treatment during his time in detention, completely eliminating the fact that he is responsibile for his own actions, and as a violent criminal, should never have spent one second outside of prison BEFORE he broke the law yet again.

4/17/2004 03:22:00 PM

(4/17/2004 02:13:00 PM) - Al

Seth has an interview with a reporter who follows the Twins. Check it out here.

4/17/2004 02:13:00 PM

(4/17/2004 09:01:00 AM) - Al

As I suspected, Wes O's next start will be skipped, as the Brewers are off Monday. The JS said that this will happen again in the next 3-4 weeks, as days off make 5 starters unnecessary. Matt Kinney was mentioned as being a possibility of being skipped as well, as Wes pitched superbly his last outing.

4/17/2004 09:01:00 AM

Friday, April 16, 2004

(4/16/2004 09:49:00 PM) - Al

Heard from a couple people that had trouble getting into Ramblings today. I did e-mail Blogger about it. Not sure exactly what the problem is, but one person told me that they cleared their cache and tried again and things went fine.

I'm not even sure what that means, but maybe someone who had the problem will.:)

4/16/2004 09:49:00 PM

(4/16/2004 09:16:00 PM) - Al

Tonight's game started out with Podsednik hitting the first pitch for an infield single. My only thought was "I hope that isn't a sign to come".

Roy Oswalt pitched brilliantly, but you gotta make him throw more than 94 pitches for a complete game victory. The Brewers were far too aggressive, swung at the first pitch far too often, and simply failed to work the count. It was almost the antithesis of what the Crew had done thus far, which had led to the Brewers being 2nd in the NL in runs scored.

It was unlikely the Crew would have scored more than a run or two off Oswalt tonight, even if they had bunched their hits together better than they did. By far the best bet for the Brewers was to chip away and try and either get Roy out after 7 or 8 frames, or face him on his 115th pitch in the 9th. They did neither, and had close to no chance against a fresh Oswalt.

4/16/2004 09:16:00 PM

Thursday, April 15, 2004

(4/15/2004 10:20:00 PM) - Al


Hat tip to Chief Wiggles, a lengthy but fact filled post about North Korea and South Korea. I'm stunned with the mention that many young South Koreans, those who do not really recall the war, want to unify with the North.

4/15/2004 10:20:00 PM

(4/15/2004 10:06:00 PM) - Al

Hey Al,

I visit your site multiple times per day to get the skinny on the Brewers and more importantly (depending on your view, I guess), good general baseball knowledge. Wondering if you had any insights/thoughts on Sheets' injury tonight. Elbow tightness? Doesn't sound good.

I went back and looked at his workload for the past few years. Nothing alarming. A couple of starts he went over 120+ back-to-back which isn't great news, but it happened just twice-- most recently in September 2003.

Looked to be turning the corner with the bb/9 hugely improved last season. Plus he had that dominant start against the Stros in the last outing (maybe 2nd highest game score this year?). What are Sheets' mechanics like?

Thanks and keep up the great posting/writing. It's a pleasure to read.


Adam, thanks for adding to the counter hits and for sucking up. I am far from an expert on mechanics, but Sheets for the most part has a pretty smooth delivery. Both radio and TV said Ben was removed due to lower back tightness, but I read Sportsline is reporting elbow tightness. As I said a few minutes ago, Ben has had some back issues before, and should be babied a bit. He did take a step forward last season, as he threw a lot fewer pitches and challenged hitters much more than he did when Grumpy Stewart the prior year. Ben could easily win 15-18 games if he stays healthy and is fortunate with his offensive support and bullpen. I expected a step forward this year, probably lowering his ERA to 3.90-4.10, and he has looked good in 2 of 3 outings.

Thanks again for the e-mail, Adam, keep them up!

4/15/2004 10:06:00 PM

(4/15/2004 09:45:00 PM) - Al

Indy lost today, but Dave Krynzel with a HR and a double.

4/15/2004 09:45:00 PM

(4/15/2004 09:37:00 PM) - Al

Tony Gwynn Jr. is keeping a journal this season, and the latest installment is here, on the Brewers' page.

I'm on record as saying I expect Gwynn to be a prototypical leadoff hitter and a fine defensive CF as a major leaguer, so I'm hoping for good things out of him this year in H-ville, though as he points out, he is unlikely to get off to a fast start, as he skipped a level.

4/15/2004 09:37:00 PM

(4/15/2004 09:29:00 PM) - Al

Ben Sheets' back once again causing him minor trouble. While I'd a lot rather see him have back tightness than arm or shoulder trouble, he's far too young to have an ongoing back problem.

I would treat him very cautiously until he goes a couple months with no problems. I would limit both pitches and innings, probably 90 & 6, until then. This isn't September, and we are not a contender. When we are, I don't want to be shaking my head over that 135 pitch outing the year we won 72 games.

4/15/2004 09:29:00 PM

(4/15/2004 09:25:00 PM) - Al


Interesting discussion on the Bonds situation from Monday. Here's a point that hasn't been brought up yet:

They tried going after Bonds and the count went to 3-0. Why not just concede the baserunner and walk him then?! The discussion so far has been comparing the respective chances of AJ and Bonds driving in three runs without taking the count into consideration. We should be comparing the damage Bonds could do with a 3-0 count in his favor vs. the damage AJ could do with the bases loaded but a fresh count. has his splits after the count goes 2-0 from 2001-2003(1.739 OPS!), but not 3-0 so I'm not sure what the exact numbers would be.

Managers change their strategy and decide to walk dangerous hitters fairly often when their pitchers fall behind 3-0. I see your point when you compare Bonds and AJ, but wouldn't you agree that the chances of Kinney getting Bonds out dropped dramatically when he fell behind him? I'd like to hear your thoughts.


Joe, thanks for the intelligent question. I am not a big fan of making decisions based on a pitch or two. Your numbers make perfect sense, but to me, the whole idea is to get guys out. Barry Bonds is an outstanding hitter, but if you don't pitch around him, he'll hit for about a .350 BA and a .450 OBP...max. I have a difficult time not seeing that as having the odds in my favor, even though he is the best hitter in the game.

Now, 3-0, do I take a tad off my fastball and put it down the middle? No, but I also don't put it a foot outside. In the situation we have been discussing, 2 on and AJ up next, I would likely give him a fastball a couple inches off the outside corner. Close enough to be called a strike once in a while, in a spot where it's almost impossible to pull, make him beat you with a HR to LF (which he's very able to do, of course).

Caution, good. Fear, bad.

4/15/2004 09:25:00 PM

(4/15/2004 09:09:00 PM) - Al


What do you think of Wes Obermueller?


T, thanks for reading, writing, and getting to the point. I wrote this about Wes last September, and two starts in 2004 haven't changed my mind a bit.

As I said then, I really like watching Wes pitch, as he's aggressive, works fast, and always seems to keep the Brewers in the game. That said, he had a 5+ ERA in the bigs, and a 4.50 ERA in AAA in 2003. I think he is best suited for relief work, but may end up as a bottom of the rotation starter.

4/15/2004 09:09:00 PM

(4/15/2004 08:49:00 PM) - Al

Jason Lane must just sit in the Astros dugout and wonder how exactly he isn't as deserving of playing time as Craig Biggio. Craig should still be on a 25 man roster, but he certainly isn't a solid player anymore.

Biggio, '02--.330/.404, 734 OPS
Biggio, '03--.350/.412, 762 OPS

Lane, ML----.355/.615, 970 OPS
Lane, AAA--.344/.464, 810 OPS

And have I mentioned Biggio's arm?

Now, if Craig still played middle infield, you could at least make the argument, but as a CF, he's below average. Meanwhile, Lane sits and apparently, practices his "gritty" and "scrappy" qualities daily.

Oh, and by the way, Biggio makes several million dollars this year, Lane makes $300K.

4/15/2004 08:49:00 PM

(4/15/2004 08:45:00 PM) - Al

There is very little doubt in my mind that Bagwell has the worst arm in MLB (heavens, last week, Spivey went from 2B to 3B on a grounder to the left side after the throw to first and Jeff didn't bother to throw). I hazard a guess that Craig Biggio's arm strength ain't a whole lot higher on the list. To say he throws like a girl is not just untrue, but fighting words to thousands of females.

4/15/2004 08:45:00 PM

(4/15/2004 08:42:00 PM) - Al

Jimy Williams felt that Tim Redding needed to be removed from the Astros/Brewers game tonight after this stretch:

Grieve, lead off grounder through the hole, Jeff Kent just missed it.

Moeller, out

Sheets, sacrifice bunt, Bagwell error allows Sheets to reach

Podsednik, fly ball, deep left, Berkman drops fly ball, allows Pods to reach, Grieve scores, Sheets to 3B, Pods to 2B

Counsell, out

Spivey, check swing bloop double down right field line

Redding removed from game

What? First of all, you're down 6-1, so the odds of you winning this game are pretty slim, to say the least. Secondly, what exactly did Redding do wrong? Jimy appears to have a rather limited plan, to say the least.

4/15/2004 08:42:00 PM

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

(4/14/2004 11:05:00 PM) - Al

8800 folks saw the Tuesday night game in Detroit. Remember all those tickets they sold after they signed IRod? Apparently, not for last night's affair. Spending money on chasing that 75th win is as foolish as they come. The only goal is to get to the playoffs. Running out and spending money when your goal is "not to suck" just is nonsensical.

4/14/2004 11:05:00 PM

(4/14/2004 10:52:00 PM) - Al

Peter Gammons with more positives about the Brewers. The light at the end of the tunnel is brightening up a bit, and you can almost feel the bandwagon jumpers thinking about when the best time is to become a "loyal fan".

4/14/2004 10:52:00 PM

(4/14/2004 10:39:00 PM) - Al

Wes Obermueller with a brilliant performance today, and just enough offense. Good to see Jenkins get his 1st HR, amazingly, he had never gone more than 4 games into a season without one. Counsell continues to get on base, as his OBP sits at .438 (small sample alert). Craig may not be a star, but his ability to "not get out" makes him OH in my book. Nothing at all wrong with 5-5 either.

It will be an interesting decision, as it is likely the Brewers were planning on skipping Wes' next start, as they are off next Monday, his regular turn. If Kinney struggles Saturday, I suppose they could "skip" him, but the 5th starter will be needed next Saturday, so his turn would be delayed a couple days rather than "skipped". I'm a big believer in minimizing the damage your worst member of the rotation does. While it only leads to 3-5 extra starts for each of your best starters, there's nothing wrong with that.

Good to see Overbay get his first walk of the year, and Ginter in the lineup a couple days in a row as well.

4/14/2004 10:39:00 PM

(4/14/2004 10:29:00 PM) - Al

A couple notes about the war in Iraq, and related subjects.

I saw on the news tonight that Kerry received some heckling for basically saying that it'd be foolish for the US to "cut and run", and that he does not believe in an immediate pull out. He would like to give the responsibility to NATO (though, it seems doubtful to me NATO would take it) and hope to "lighten the load" a bit. It seems to me Kerry's position is very similiar to the incumbent.

Finally, just thought I'd mention my pet peeve. Tonight Dan Rather said that "the death toll continues to grow". I likely feel that any soldier's death is as much of a tragedy as any person who is not a member of their family. One death is one too many, without a doubt. But, it is a side effect of war and conflict, however tragic. The thing that irritates me is the simple fact that, by definition, the "toll" can only either stay the same, or go up. If there is unrest, eventually death will occur, so "continues to grow", while factually true, is misleading, in my mind.

4/14/2004 10:29:00 PM

(4/14/2004 11:11:00 AM) - Al

Hello again Al,

Isn't it incorrect to use Bonds' career statistics when he has clearly been a different player the last three or four years? What if you looked at recent trends (perhaps the last three or four seasons) because that is probably more indicative of his current ability? It seems that Bonds has really bulked up and gone on a power surge the last few years, and so using career statistics in your calculations would probably not accurately reflect his current threat potential.

Using the data at, Bonds has had 1,269 at-bats (not including walks) and 164 homeruns in the last three seasons. That puts him at a 12.9 percent probability of hitting a homerun when he is pitched to. On the other hand, Pierzynski has had 1,308 at-bats, 11 triples, 24 homeruns, and 99 doubles in the last three seasons. That gives him a probability of 10.2 percent of driving in three runs in that situation if he is pitched to. (actually I should say "three or more runs" because the bases would be loaded had Kinney walked Bonds. A grandslam by A.J. would be worth four runs).

Overall, not much of a difference, but I think it is more accurate to analyze the numbers using "at-bats" and current trends. Also, if you consider that the ball carries better in the MetroDome, Pierzynski's offensive numbers might be slightly inflated compared to his true potential of doing damage at SBC Park.

Just wanted to share some more thoughts with you . . I suppose there are many ways of breaking this down.


There are several ways of looking at it, Ajay, I also thought of using Bonds' more recent numbers, as he has been simply off the charts. Either way, it would seem you're looking at similiar percentages either way. In that case, I would choose to not add baserunners.

That said, excellent research. There are always ways to look at it othere than the obvious.

4/14/2004 11:11:00 AM

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

(4/13/2004 10:58:00 PM) - Al

Hey, got a mention on today.

That's kinda like being the really pretty girl's backup choice to go to the movie with...better than usual, but still not what you're hoping for.

4/13/2004 10:58:00 PM

(4/13/2004 10:02:00 PM) - Al

Trent Durrington, pinch-hitter? He might have been a better choice than Gary Bennett...though you could argue that. No way he's a better choice than Bill Hall, Brady Clark, Wes Helms, or Brooks Kieschnick.

I have to think all those things they thought they could use Trent for (emergency catcher, pinch-runner) have failed to materialize, so they sent him up to PH. Sadly, he isn't even a good hitter at AAA.

4/13/2004 10:02:00 PM

(4/13/2004 09:59:00 PM) - Al

Hey Al, are you watching the Angels-M's game on ESPN? Perhaps you heard the announcers' comment that Mike Scioscia doesn't care about the on-base percentage of Eckstein and Erstad, his 1 and 2 hitters; he wants them instead to be "in scoring position." Of course, the announcers agreed, exchanging some chuckles about the silly statistical analysis that's ruining the game these days. I'm confused, I know Eckstein is a Little League All-Star, but I don't remember being able to steal first even in LL, and it's going to be awful tough for him to get into scoring position otherwise, eschewing OBP.


I wasn't watching, but maybe you can answer me this...since when is sitting on the bench after getting out called "scoring position"? Luckily, the Angels make so much contact, they don't need to get on base.:)

As I said, lotsa luck with all that. Eric, thanks for reading and writing.

4/13/2004 09:59:00 PM

(4/13/2004 08:59:00 PM) - Al

Breaking ball, called strike one.

Fastball, called strike two.

Fastball, popup to 3B, Bonds makes 2nd out.

What's this? I believe the man is simply a human being after all. Go right at him.

And, I'd bet my house Marquis Grissom's soul is in the possession of the devil. There is simply no other explanation.

4/13/2004 08:59:00 PM

(4/13/2004 08:42:00 PM) - Al


I read your comments about pitching to Barry Bonds instead of walking him. I respect your thinking, but I disagree with your decision to go after Bonds. Maybe Bonds makes outs 57 percent of the time and Pierzynski makes outs 67 percent of the time and that might not seem like a big difference. But what happens when they do hit the ball? Bonds is much more likely to hit the ball over the fence and do more damage. He is averaging one HR every 7 or 8 at bats against the Brewers. That risk is too high in my opinion. I would rather take the chance of Pierzynski getting a single and tying the game.

Not all on-base percentages are equal.


Ajay, thanks for continuing to read and write. I covered my thoughts below, but wanted to share my line of thinking. Yes, Barry is much more likely to homer than AJ. But, when you give SF a free baserunner, AJ only needs to double to equal a Bonds' HR, or single to equal a Bonds' double, or even walk to equal a Bonds' single. Check out the odds of AJ hitting a double, triple, or home run (all would likely lead to three runs scoring in the situation we're discussing) versus Bonds' homering, and I have to believe the math would favor going right after Bonds.

Geez, now I'll have to figure it out. Back in a sec.

OK, here are the numbers, and FYI, the PA's do not include HBP's:

AJ-------106 2B's, 12 3B's, 26 HR's in 1513 PA's...9.52% chance of AJ driving in 3 runs (using this simple estimate, of course)

Bonds--660 HR's in 10825 PA's...6.10% chance of Barry driving in 3 runs

Not perfect, but it illustrates the value of a baserunner, as it makes AJ more likely to experience success, in theory, of course. Now, does this take into account Matt Kinney's fly-ball tendencies? Nope. How SBC Park affects your decision? Not at all. But, it does tell you how much those walks hurt, and why I hate to give them up.

4/13/2004 08:42:00 PM

(4/13/2004 08:34:00 PM) - Al

Capuano threw an 0-2 to Grissom which looked like strike three, but was called a ball, probably low. Next pitch, HR. That questionable call hurt.

4/13/2004 08:34:00 PM

(4/13/2004 08:33:00 PM) - Al

Hey Al,

I stumbled upon your site a few weeks ago, and I feel like a kid in a candy store. I now check daily and enjoy your insights and the brewer related links you provide. I especially like your clear recognition of the importance of O.B.P. Jokers like Dusty Baker and others who only seem to see virtue in the base hit rather than just getting on base frustrate me to no end. (although I'm obviously glad Dusty is the Cubs skipper) However, yesterday's decision to pitch to Bonds with two on, two out while trying to hold a two run lead was incomprehensible to me. A.J. Pierzynski's struggles and happy bat seal the deal in my mind. There are just very few "pitchers pitches" when Barry's at the plate. I agree with you about making hitters work, but I think your round table mate Ben hit it on the head, Bonds is the exception, not the rule. You said it yourself, "wow...he's good."


Josh, thanks for reading and writing. Glad you found the site before the season began. I have not changed my opinion that going right after Bonds is the best alternative, unless his run doesn't mean anything (man on 3B, tie game in the 9th, 1B open).

There have been a boatload of computer simulations done, and every one of them say that walking a guy every time up is foolhardy, regardless of how good he is. Even the best players will get out 50% of the time, and over 600 PA's, that's 300 times. Adding 300 baserunners will add up to more runs every time.

Of course, there's nothing wrong with pitching him low and outside, or high and inside; both spots will usually keep batters in the park. Kinney aimed high and in, but it went over the plate, and Bonds hit it a mile. I tip my cap to him and hope to get him next time.

4/13/2004 08:33:00 PM

(4/13/2004 08:24:00 PM) - Al

2B: Marco Scutaro

There's a part of me that's reluctant to give the A's too much credit for giving Scutaro a chance to play, because if Mark Ellis hadn't suffered a season-ending injury before the season even started, Scutaro would still be on the bench (or playing every day for the Triple-A Sacramento River Cats). On the other hand, it's not like Scutaro was the default choice when Ellis went down. When Ellis went down, I saw one report that listed Frank Menechino and Esteban German as replacement candidates ... with no mention of Scutaro at all!

So the A's deserve credit for skipping past the guy with the experience (Menechino) and the guy who's been in the organization forever but doesn't have the skills to play every day (German), and settle on the guy who can actually play. I don't know if the A's are actually better off with Scutaro than Ellis -- it depends on whose analysis of defense you believe -- but he's one hell of a fill-in.--Rob Neyer, ESPN

More love for Scooter, and not from Ramblings. Cool.

4/13/2004 08:24:00 PM

(4/13/2004 08:16:00 PM) - Al

Garrett Anderson signs a 4y/$48M contract extension with the Angels, for 2005-'08. This covers his years of {ahem} 33-36. All together now:


This is a worse deal than Darin Erstad's horrendous deal, and believe me, that's saying something. Erstad, as I pointed out here, is an inconsistent, below average CF who is now the worst 1B in the game. And yes, once again, the Angels refuse to believe that they value players that aren't even mediocre.

Anderson, career--.328/.480, 808 OPS, 157 OXS, 94 runs created
Ave. LF, 2003------.356/.466, 822 OPS, 166 OXS, 100 runs created

And, Garrett will be six years past his mythical the beginning of this contract. That, my friends, is financial management at its worst. It makes the Brewers deal with Jenkins look like he was negotiating with Ebenezer Scrooge.

The Angels will be paying $20 million next year for below average production at the two most important offensive positions. And to think, for $20 mil, you could get some very good players, not these two.

Lotsa luck with all that.

4/13/2004 08:16:00 PM

(4/13/2004 05:58:00 PM) - Al

Most of the fans had gone home before the game ended, and those who were left were booing.--Phillies' MLB site

I read in the print edition of the JS that during the 7th inning, the fans that were left started chanting "Let's Go Flyers" as well. The mere fact you got such a blunt sentence from the MLB page devoted to the Phillies tells us how incredibly bad the fans are in Philly. I'm sure many are fine folks, but overall, they're as tough as it gets.

4/13/2004 05:58:00 PM

Monday, April 12, 2004

(4/12/2004 07:34:00 PM) - Al

No walks today for the Crew. Still got 13 hits, but those times you can get on base without the defense having a chance to throw you out are wonderful. 5 runs will win you most games, but not today.

4/12/2004 07:34:00 PM

(4/12/2004 07:09:00 PM) - Al

I think it's very nice that Tiger Woods is spending a week with Green Berets, whether he gets the "whole experience" or not. I'd love to do that for a week as well. Considering his dad was in the Special Forces, even moreso.

It certainly is a much better use of one's time than Andy Rooney going out of his way to downplay the heroic actions our soldiers engage in on a regular basis.

4/12/2004 07:09:00 PM

(4/12/2004 05:57:00 PM) - Al


I actually think Schroeder has a point about walking Barry Bonds when pitcher get behind 3-0 or 3-1. Keep in mind, were pitchers to walk Bonds in every plate appearence in 2004, his OPS (1.000) would actually be lower than it was in 2003(1.278).

Bonds is one of the few hitters who's more likely to not make an out when he steps up to the plate. Actually, last year, he was the only player to accomplish that feat; he's the exception and not the rule. With two outs, I would much rather walk Bonds, and take my chances with the guy who gets out 2/3rds of the times he steps up to the plate (Pierzynski).


Ben, roundtable contributor, makes a good point. However, I'd still go right after Bonds, based on what I see as facts. Bonds' numbers are artificially inflated by those who continually think that by giving the opposition baserunners, you'll shut 'em down. I would estimate that Barry's OBP when the opposing pitcher "went right after him" is about .400 or .425, making him far less likely to get on base than get out. I'm not willing to give a baserunner when the batter will get out 57% of the time...and face the next guy who'll get out 67% of the time. Mathematically, I feel that's a losing proposition.

Heck, today Grieve smacked the ball 3 of 4 times up, and still only got one hit. There's a reason you have a defense out there, use 'em.

4/12/2004 05:57:00 PM

(4/12/2004 05:35:00 PM) - Al

Bennett gives up another tough run today, a Bonds pop-up falls in for a double due to the shift, and AJ follows with a single. Jeff hasn't really allowed a true run to score yet, but due to bad luck and bad defense, he's given up 2.

4/12/2004 05:35:00 PM

(4/12/2004 04:48:00 PM) - Al

Bonds hit a tough pitch out for, he's good. Looked like a high, inside fastball, and he just drilled it.

Of course, getting behind 3-1 didn't help a bit.

4/12/2004 04:48:00 PM

(4/12/2004 04:34:00 PM) - Al

Wow, how is Neiffi Perez still in the game? His range is suspect to say the least, unable to get to a hard grounder just a few feet away...and his defense is his strength. His offense is so bad, it makes you yearn for Royce Clayton to be your SS.

4/12/2004 04:34:00 PM

(4/12/2004 04:30:00 PM) - Al

Kinney pitching like a different person since Yost visited him at the mound. Firing strike after strike, telling the Giants to hit it. Makes you realize what a good pitching coach/manager can do, like Cox and Mazzone have done over the years.

It also makes me once again realize how utterly worthless Dave Stewart was. Dave has jumped from job to job like a drunken incompetent the past few years; pitching coach, assistant GM, pitching coach, and now player agent. Maybe some day, he'll find something he is good at, but until they create a position entitled Vice President of Grumpy, I doubt it.

4/12/2004 04:30:00 PM

(4/12/2004 04:13:00 PM) - Al

Bonds lines one just out of reach of the major shift on by Craig Counsell. Schroeder still doesn't understand that giving the other team baserunners is not the way to shut them down.

The man is a cartoon...though I feel Bugs and Daffy were vastly superior intelligence wise.

3-2 Brewers after 3 complete, Kinney with 46 pitches thus far.

4/12/2004 04:13:00 PM

(4/12/2004 04:11:00 PM) - Al

Brewers score 2 on a bad hop single and when the subsequent throw home bounces away from the catcher, lead 3-1.

Kinney must have about 40 pitches thrown through 2, let's hope he gets more aggressive and gets some first pitch outs.

4/12/2004 04:11:00 PM

(4/12/2004 03:39:00 PM) - Al

Schroeder can't understand why they don't just give Bonds 1B. He doesn't respect OBP in the least. There's nothing wrong with pitching around Bonds, as you certainly don't want to groove him a fastball. But, hoping he swings at a pitcher's pitch is just good baseball. With 1B open and only one out, putting Bonds on 1B does set up the DP, but I'd still gladly let him try and hit.

After 4 pitches out of the zone, AJ (I never walk) Pierzynski chops a 6-4-3 DP. Thanks for not waiting for your pitch, bud.

4/12/2004 03:39:00 PM

(4/12/2004 03:27:00 PM) - Al

After a single by Counsell, Spivey takes a 2-0 pitch right down the middle, and Counsell steals 2B. Gotta wonder if Junior missed a sign there. It was a perfect pitch to slap a single into RF with, and Counsell doesn't run well enough to send him on a straight steal.

Almost assuredly either Craig running on his own, or a missed sign.

Geoff with an RBI single, Crew 1-0.

Overbay hits a shot, but Durham makes the 4-3 play. If Lyle had any speed, the IF would have to play shallower, and get to fewer of those grounders. As is, Durham got that one several steps on the OF grass.

Kinney walks Durham on 4 straight, missed high on each one, mostly by an inch or two.

JT Snow drills a double to LCF, on a fastball from Matt. Considering how poorly Snow hits, that hurts.

4/12/2004 03:27:00 PM

(4/12/2004 03:21:00 PM) - Al

Pitching wise, the Brewers are:

27th in ERA
T18th in BB
10th in K
19th in WHIP

To me, all the numbers are positive except the ERA. Being more aggressive this year, top third in K's, and the WHIP indicated to me there's been some bad luck involved in the ERA being that high.

Not much doubt the hitting will decline, and hopefully, the pitching will improve.

4/12/2004 03:21:00 PM

(4/12/2004 03:18:00 PM) - Al

After one week, the Brewers are:

2nd R
2nd HR
T4th in 2B (this is a number I feel will stay toward the top)
T7th K
3rd BB
2nd OBP
3rd SLG
3rd OPS

Simply astounding offense thus far. Funny to me is despite the fact Bill Schroeder tells us every game how this is a "contact" team, they aren't, and it simply doesn't matter. How much would we like to see us 2nd in OBP and 3rd in walks in September?

4/12/2004 03:18:00 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.

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