Monday, December 21, 2009

Rox Talk - Links

A simple link dump before the Holidays...

Surprising article in how blunt it is about Atkins performance...I mean testing began in 2004 and Atkins got his first big shot in 2005. Drug testing is supposed to be more intense in the minors so I guess I would have a hard time thinking he was on the juice and then had to go cold turkey...

Todd Helton was ranked as one of the top 3 hitters in baseball history according to this study (link to the link here). Wired declared it a baseball version of six degrees of Kevin Bacon...

Monday, December 14, 2009

Rox Talk - WAR Part IV

WAR - What is it good for? - Part 4

Last week we talked batting, this week we will close out with pitching. Again I must mention that WAR is only suppose to show the previous year...no one claims that it is predictive. Below is a graph plotting the Rox FIP vs WAR since 2002 (min of 20 innings pitched). These graphs might be a bit more correlated than the batting ones because the fielding isn't part of the Pitching WAR calculation. I did find it interesting that starters (empty squares, red line) and relievers (black squares, blue line) broke into two distinct groups.

Lower FIPs lead to bigger WARs. Again I fitted the points and used the expression to estimate possible outcomes for next year. The spreadsheet below shows Bill James FIP projections for the 2010 season. Using my handy dandy expression I get the following WARs (see sheet below, click on pitchers). The Bill James FIP can be found at Fangraphs and the website is currently taking fan guesses to what the player's WAR will be. As mentioned last week the fans WAR total for our 2010 team is 108 wins. My roster below is missing another arm. I would expect Rox to carry 13 pitchers(?)


Based on this WAG I have the Rox winning about 82 games. Just my gut says that we probably have about 6 more wins in there...accounting for the any missing players and Tulo and Jimenez being a bit below averaged based on historical numbers. As the season gets closer I will revisit this but 88 wins doesn't sound too bad.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Rox Talk - WAR Part III

WAR - What is it good for? - Part 3


OK so we are all smarter when it comes to WAR but what does it all mean? Well it is not a predictive tool, so it simply shows the value of the player for the previous year and shows whether a player was truly worth what the team forked over for him. Back in May on the Purple Row website a pretty good explanation is shown using WAR and Rox payrolls to show whether the team was worth its wins.




The Rox management team should be commended. They earned alot more wins then what they are paying. Essentially this is because they haven't delved into the free agent market and they have a lot of WAR coming from players in their pre-arbitration days. Tulo and Jimenez are outright steals right now! It will be interesting to see during the next union bargaining whether players try to change how they can bargain when they first make the big leagues. Small market clubs are simply jettisoning players once they become arbitration eligible. Look at Atkins, he is 28 and should be coming into his attractive payroll period and yet the Rox just threw him aside for younger cheaper talent. It is a strong possibility that Atkins is done and probably will never see $7 million a year again. Now of course he could have signed a long term deal too so a player does have that option...stability over free agent big bucks...you better not swan dive during that pre free agency year!

Back to WAR...I wonder if there is any predictive value to it? WARNING: WAR is only suppose to show the previous year...no one claims that it is predictive. Below is a graph plotting the Rox wOBA vs WAR since 2002 (min of 60 plate appearances). As I mentioned this really shouldn't tell me anything because position played and defense ability does factor into WAR in the transition from wOBA but what the heck...with excel and a new tool I just found I can do whatever I want! (it is my web page).

Higher wOBAs lead to bigger WARs. My new tool helped me create a nice line through the data. After some simple ;-) math I got this expression...whoopee!

f(x)= 2.38733*exp(15*x- 5.16638)-0.44

So back to estimating. The spreadsheet below shows Bill James wOBA projections for the 2010 season. Using my handy dandy expression I get the following WARs (see sheet below). The Bill James wOBA can be found at Fangraphs and the website is currently taking fan guesses to what the player's WAR will be. Currently the fans WAR total for our 2010 team is 38.9 for our players and if you add the pitching data in (next week post) the Rox would end up with 108 wins (fans might be thinking a bit too highly)! My 2010 team below also is missing another two or three bats (a catcher , infielder, and pitch hitter). Also I don't think Hawpe is going to get 642 bats!

Of the numbers using my estimating tool I would think Tulo and CarGo might have better seasons then what their wOBA says. Rox do have some talent, the big question is 2010 going to be like 2009 or 2008? Will expectations once again bite?

Monday, November 30, 2009

Rox Talk - WAR Part II

WAR - What is it good for? - Part 2

So last time we delved into batting wins above replacement. A convoluted system starting with a batter's wOBA and ending with runs above replacement which subsequently is reduced to wins. In the NY Times article, it stated that Zack Greinke's desire was to have a WAR value of 10. If he had done it (he achieved a WAR of 9.4), he would have been the first to do so. To put his achievement in perspective, the highest offensive WAR ever achieved by a Rox is 7.9. An even more stunning comparison is to note that the 2004 Rox team's pitching staff eked out a whooping WAR of 6.5 (that team had a record of just 68 - 94 and this year's KC record was 65 - 97 so if every team should win approximately 48.5 games based on just AAAA replacement player's performance then Greinke single handily had almost 9.5 of KC's other 16.5 wins above replacement!).

So where does the madness begin? With another esoteric statistic called Fielding Independent Pitching or FIP. The FIP calculates a pitcher’s responsibility for the runs he allows based on the three factors that a pitcher has demonstrable control over which is walks, strikeouts, and homeruns. The FIP is used because it provides a context neutral formula to a pitcher's performance similar to that of the batter's. In this way the WAR for a pitcher can be compared directly to the batter. The FIP also takes out the contribution of the fielders behind the pitcher both good or bad. Using FIP has some detractors. Another stat called tRA has some believers but it is suggested that at this point, using FIP is as good as anything else out there (or at least comparable). Once FIP is established, some hocus pocus entails using differences in replacement level for each league and role (AL is harder to pitch in then the NL), run environments (a pitcher due to his ability limits the numbers of runs scored per game), the dynamic runs-to-wins conversion, and park factors (Coors Field vs. Petco). Finally a runs above replacement is generated and once again converted to WAR.

So the spreadsheet below shows the top FIPs in Rox history (min 50 innings pitched) and the top WARs.


FIP leaders tend to be your dominant relief pitchers. Ubaldo 2009 campaign is the first starter but it is also the highest WAR in Rox pitching history. 2009 was a monster year for Rox pitchers. Four of highest WARs since 2002 were from this year's staff. Rox won 92 games, there WAR total for a team was 90.3 and so the Rox had approximately 42 wins above a replacement level team. Almost 45% of the team's wins above replacement could be attributed to last year's starters. With Ubaldo, Cook, Hammel, de la Rosa (?), and Francis (?) back next year I can say with some certainty that as the pitching goes so goes the Rox!

Next I will check out what all this WAR means from a team perspective...

Monday, November 23, 2009

Rox Talk - WAR Part I

WAR - What is it good for? - Part 1

There has been a big seismic shift in the world of baseball this week. With Greinke and Lincecum's Cy Young award wins this past week, the world of statistics has firmly kicked the old baseball school purist in the groin. To think that a 15 game winner would lose out to a 19 game winner back in the day would be pure heresy. As the NY Times put it, the pool of voters are changing which is causing a shift away from traditional voters to a different and more statistical attuned group. This is probably similar to the front offices in baseball that are getting away from the scout centric view and moving more into a numbers only view of players. First there was Moneyball and Billy Beane and then the Red Sox hiring of Bill James a number of years ago with Epstein bringing with him a new look front office which may (or not) have been the reason for the Red Sox burying the curse in 2004. However you cut it baseball is moving in a new direction.

So what about this WAR? It stands for Wins Above Replacement. It is a complex formula (to say the least) that attempts to quantify a player's worth in comparison to that cheap triple A call up. In addition the WAR is calculated different for offensive players and pitchers (see Part 2). For offensive players it is calculated by providing a "number" for batting (using wOBA, wRAA, and then a park adjustment factor), fielding (using UZR with no factor involving outfield arm skills and all catchers are rated at 0), a positional adjustment (good shortstop is harder to find then a good left fielder), and a replacement factor (that deals with how many plate appearances and awards players who play everyday). These four factors are then added which provides a runs above replacement value. This number basically gives the runs a player would provide over a replacement player. Remember a replacement player is that AAAA player who is playing for the league minimum. Once this number is determined it is then divided by 10 (again a determined number which indicates a 10 run change in a team's runs scored/runs against suggests that one win is 10 runs). Thus the player's runs above replacement level is divided by 10 to provide the almighty WAR.

Now if you want to get even more advance you can factor in how much teams payed for free agents last year and by determining their WAR over the years you can determine a going rate for a win. Therefore one can valve what a player with a 5 WAR is in comparison to a 2 WAR player. Again this ain't your father's statistics. These numbers are becoming so esoteric that one wonders if we lose sight of the diamond? One can view this page to see 2009 wOBA for our Rox as well as WAR.

Basically Tulo led the team with 0.393 (over 0.400 is considered a superstar and over 0.370 is all star caliber). He was followed by Helton, Hawpe, CarGo, and Smith (and why wasn't Smith an everyday starter?). The spreadsheet below provides the top 50 wOBA in Rox history. Larry Walker was superman...wonder if he will even get a look see with the Hall of Fame?


Also in the spreadsheet above is the top 50 WAR in Rox history (note: data only exists back to 2002). As you may recall I am not a huge fan of Matt Holliday but boy for two years he was worth every penny and more for what he did on the field for the Rox. It will be interesting what he does this off season.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Rox Talk - Link Dump

Link dump kind of week...hey this is the off season...simpler than doing my own calcs ;-)

Brad Hawpe...who knew he was such a terrible right fielder? I always thought he had at least a good arm (guess 2006 really stuck in my head). Time for him to move on. Mr DH

On to some positive things...the Rox were the best base running team in the league last year. The statistic is based on base running metrics developed by former Colorado resident Dan Fox. Dan has since moved on to the Pirates helping in their IT department and player development (as an aside we published this together back in 2007). Fowler's development and a full year of Cargo and EY should only increase possible mayhem on the bases next year.

OK here is another infamous Coors debacle...pre-humidor. Since 1954 there have been two games with 5 blown saves...guess where?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Rox Talk - Minor League Winning Percentage

Minor League Effects (?)



OK for the most part the Rox have decided to become the NL version of the Minnesota Twins. That is, develop your minor league system, field the majority of your big league squad with that talent, and when they become free agents trade them away for more minor league stock. A decent model to follow since there will always be big money teams eager to throw big dollars at proven commodities while sending along unproven minor leaguers. So if this is the case and you have a loaded (or competitive?) minor league system, then shouldn't eventually your major league team see spikes in their winning percentage? If your loaded AA wins the Texas League championship, then shouldn't that same talent be fielded and face similar players in the big leagues, eventually? Of course if your AA team stinks perhaps you have no big league talent and thus they never reach the big leagues but then you would still have an age gap for a few years against those teams...Then of course there are those teams that develop talent but not enough at the right time and end of trading it away (think of the Pirates trades over the last few years, had they developed together who knows...)

So figure each year there are 8 playoff spots. Pencil in the big spenders...the Yanks, Red Sox, Angels, Mets, Cardinals, Cubs, Giants (?), and Dodgers as perennial playoff teams that take five or six of those spots. That leaves just two or three teams from the non-big spenders teams that have a chance to get to the dance. Now let's assume that those remaining 22 teams, about 8 are just plain poorly managed by the front office (i.e., Nats, Baltimore, Royals, and Reds for instance) and don't have a clear plan on how to win now or in the future so that leaves about 14 teams with some clue. Now if those 14 teams follow the model of raising good talent from within and having a competitive minor league system then don't you think that looking at the minor league records and tracking the success among those other teams would suggest that as this talent matures you should be competitive among those non big spenders and thus get that hand me down playoff spot? The graph above attempts to show some sort of correlation to a minor league record and major league output. Does minor league winning percentage in past lead to major league success in the future? All minor league percentage includes rookie ball and short season records and the A, A+, AA, AAA is the records of just the big 4 minor league clubs.

There does seem to be about a 3 - 4 year difference between a peak in the minors to a peak in the big leagues. The biggest example would be 2003 peak in the minors to the 2007 big league record. The 2003 had Holliday and Hawpe and a young Jimenez. If we assume that the 2007 big league squad overachieved then the next peak was in 2005 which again had Holliday, Hawpe, Jimenez, and added Tulo and then you have 2009 winning record.

Since 2003 - 2004, the Rox minor league system has consistently faired well. Depth in the minors can't be bad. Obvious alot of talent moves in and out of the minors...some of this talent succeeds, some fails, some remain in limbo, some are fast movers, others take time to develop. I think another problem is you need talent to mature together (think Pittsburgh) and for this success to continue then talent must come in waves. If you think Holliday, Hawpe, Atkins were Group 1, then this was followed by Tulo, Iannetta, Smith and then followed by Fowler and Young. As older talent moves on then good talent exists to take there place. I doubt whether one can truly quantify a correlation but for non big spenders it feels good to think that young talent will eventually mature and sneak into the playoff picture once in a while (and even win!).

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

World Series - Game 6

2009 in the books. Phils tried but just couldn't overcome a 3 - 1 deficit. I thought tonight they might sneak one with a Pettitte on the mound and on 3 days rest. Pedro couldn't tame the demons and A-Fraud finally gets a ring. There are some decent guys on the team...Jeter, Mariano, and Matsui...and I am glad for them. Some of the high dollar free agents...well glad you bought one.

Here is to our Rox connection in Girardi...he deserves some credit. He did a great job with tremendous pressure. Three man rotation got it done. Kind of showed how the Phillies really had a severe weakness on the mound. Too bad they couldn't clone Lee. Still think the Rox were a better team...ha!

Godzilla chomps Philadelphia and wins the MVP...nice series Matsui.

Monday, November 2, 2009

World Series - Game 5

Not dead yet...Phillies made the hometown fans sweat a little but they salvaged a game at home and send it back to NY on Wednesday. Hey, hey more November baseball! So what kind of hair gel does Utley use and I bet if they win he has a major sponsor deal...and what is up with Nike. I don't recall seeing so many swooshes at the "V' of uniform ever.

So Yanks win we have Mariano or Jeter as MVP candidates and if the Phillies make it back then it is either Lee or Utley. So does Manual go with Pedro again? and then Hamel for the deciding game? Gotta like the Yankees with Petite and C.C. I am just glad I can watch some more baseball!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

World Series - Game 4

As soon as Damon got a second life (swinging third strike in the dirt, guess he got a piece of it), I knew the Yanks were going to win. You just don't get to give second chances to the team of improbability without getting thumped. Then you go and let Damon steal with a shifted infield (way would you do this with the winning run on?)and then gets to jog on to an empty base (and what were you doing Lidge or Ruiz). Don't you think the catcher, pitcher, or even left fielder have a clue that if you are shifted that someone needs to cover third? I don't think it was that big of an impossibility that Damon was going to try and steal (again hand it to Yanks, they are forcing the issue). Poor Lidge, once again he will be the goat. Just makes Mariano look all that more impressive...unbelievable how he comes in and just shuts the door. Ice in the veins for sure.

Broadcast question....how often does a no out walk end up scoring, anyone?

Friday, October 30, 2009

World Series - Game 2

Funny how history seems to repeat itself when it comes to baseball. Charlie Manuel went with his gut, just like Grady Little went with his in 2003. So let me see a 6 year younger Pedro can't make it past 100 pitches and yet last night Charlie let Pedro enter the seventh with 99 pitches? I mean really, you were already down 2 - 1 with the likelihood of Mariano coming in the 8th and you felt the need to send Pedro out? Yanks go on and get that other run and pretty much seal the deal. Bullpen hasn't seen action in 8 days you've got the rest day today and what? Don't want to wear out the 'pen? I don't get these managers during the playoffs...I mean if this was a regular season game you are pulling Pedro and saying nice outing. Where is the aggressiveness, the desire to just win. I mean in the 8th you have Mariano panting, on the ropes, with the meat of your line up up and instead of sending the runners you hold off sending them and Utley grounds into a inning ending double play. You honestly think Mariano is going to give you another inning with two runners on? Ughhhh just crazy I say...

Thursday, October 29, 2009

World Series - Game 1

Baseball, to me, is about offense. Someone is going to have to score to win the game. While pitching helps prevent those scores eventually if the game is to be finished someone has to cross the plate...pitchers can't score (at least from the mound)! So I don't begrudged those that think baseball would be better served if the offense explodes and games become football scores (to an extent). The old Nintendo ball at Coors was a sight to behold and sometimes I wonder what beer sales were back in the day when a 9 inning 14 - 12 score lasted 4+ hours?

So with that preface I turn to last nights World Series. Two Cy Young winners, two former Indians (Cleveland must have hated to watch this), and two of the top hitting clubs in their respective leagues matched off in new Yankee Stadium. A game of possibilities...which why we watch and play the games. The thing that become apparent very quickly was that Cliff Lee was Godzilla last night. To watch a pitcher with complete command and control of a game is a thing of beauty. As I said above offense sells tickets but pitching makes memories. If last night had been a slugfest we'd only remember who won but a great pitching performance like that will be remembered. That spike curve he threw changed zip codes! Not only was Lee in the zone but his defense was on par. That nonchalant grab of the ball, that behind the back stab...wow what a game. Ten strikeouts, a complete game almost shutout. That was awesome.

So last night performance got me thinking...what kind of game score was that. Well it was 83. Not too shabby and how would it have fared in the annals of baseball post seasons? In postseason history it is the 80th best performance and in world series history it is 45th (!*&# only 45?). I was a bit amazed by that but I guess the top teams with the best pitchers do make the playoffs and thus a pitcher can shut a team down.

Who has the highest game score in world series history? - Babe Ruth's 14 inning win in 1916 (97), Don Larsen's perfect game garnered a 94.

What about modern day (post 80s)? Randy Johnson's 11 strikeout shut out in 2001 (91). Lee's performance last night put him 9th behind Johnson, Clemons, Hershiser, Glavine, Boddicker, Beckett, Morris (very memorable game), and Tudor.

Interesting to see what Pedro does tonight...

Monday, October 19, 2009

Rox Talk - WPA Wrap Up

Great season...wished it would have lasted a bit longer...the weather did get better after that wintry weekend! As you know I am a big follower of the WPA. I have been tracking it forever. To me it is the essence of baseball. Every bat, every pitch helps a team either win or lose. Having tracked it for so long I am not for sure if it really means anything over a long season (?). For a single game maybe but you can have a bad couple of weeks and never seem to be on the winning side. Take for instance...Jason Hammel's season...see graph below.

Started in the bullpen, gave up some runs, then became a starter and went 1 - 3 out the gate. So at about Week 6 - 7 he is sitting at a season WPA of -1.23. He then starts the long journey to 10 wins and finishes a pretty respectable season...nothing great but ten wins for a Rox is pretty good. The thing is if you look at his cumulative WPA for the season he pretty much appears to have never got much better. Compare that to Marquis, who started out like superman and even though finished the season in rotten form, still managed a final WPA of 1.75. I guess it isn't an exact science or maybe Hammel really wasn't that good and didn't contribute to his winning rather he had a good offense behind him that got him some wins? Food for thought...here is the outfield WPA
Again Hawpe looked like a monster but he only started two games during the playoffs! The infield WPA...
Look at the Rox Star go...Helton was the man and boy did Yorvit earn his pay in the last 6 weeks of the year...and well Barmes didn't do much. You know looking at Hawpe's he didn't fall quite as bad as Barmes. Perhaps we shouldn't pile on the Hawper...question is whether O'Dowd will keep him around another season? And finally the relief corp or at least those who made it to the end.

As much as Street made us sweat off and on all year he did win pull the team through some big wins although you have to wonder if some of that WPA wasn't self directed...I mean you walk the bases loaded and then get the final out you have suddenly helped your bottom line ;-). Morales stepped in when needed but sure fell off. Betancourt was a good pickup...Biemel not so much. I think the bullpen unsung heroes were Belisle and Daley who threw 31 and 51 innings apiece and picked up 4 wins and 13 holds.

Monday, October 12, 2009

NLDS Wrap Up

Tale of the Tape

Well the playoffs were over before they really started. Rox came home tied up 1 -1 and then it snowed and they delayed Game 3 until Sunday. Start time on Sunday was 8 PM and game time temperature was 35 deg. It was my first ever playoff game and it was grand. The crowd was a bit subdued probably due to the temp and Sunday night. The last pitch was thrown around 12:15 AM (and temperature had dropped into the 20s). To be honest when the Phillies took the lead in the ninth I was glad that someone was going to win and that extra innings wasn't going to happen. Game 4 was a roller coaster of emotions. Rox were real close to taking it back to Philly for Game 5. In the end it wasn't meant to be...Street blew two consecutive saves and the Phillies moved on.

Looking back at the series and looking at the numbers it really is hard to say with any definitiveness that the Phillies were a better team. The walks really added up against the Rox but overall it was a pretty even series. Couple of pitches here, hits there, and who knows. I think the Rox can look back and say they gave the reigning a champs a run for their money but came up a bit short in the end.

Closer Look

Big Rox playoff winner was CarGo...the big playoff loser was Street. CarGo managed 10 hits (and 2 walks) throughout the playoffs (17 plate appearances). What a coming out party for the big guy. Yorvit continued to be a playoff batter while Iannetta never saw a pitch. Betancourt was the relief and once again Tulo just couldn't get it done when it counted.

Game 4 NLDS Thoughts

1) That one stung! To keep battling throughout the game...to finally break on through...only to get squashed again. When the Rox finally win it all they will look back at this one and realize what it takes to get to the top.

2) Maybe now the national media will look at this team with some respect. We won 92 games and we made the reigning world series champs earn it (unlike the Cards, Twins, and Red Sox...who just laid down)

3) Can we get a ESPN Sunday night game of the week next year? Please

4) Funny that the Phillies bullpen was its weakness and yet it our bullpen that coughs it up...my respect for Mariano Rivera grows daily.

5) This year's divisional series will be remembered for closer melt downs...Papelbon, Nathan, and Street

6) Looks like no winners in the Holliday trade...Holliday boots in LA and Street boots it down the stretch...although CarGo had a coming out party this week!

7) Think Giambi will wear purple stripes next year?

8) Have we seen the last of Atkins, Hawpe, and Barmes?

9) Mr Rox October...Yorvit!

10) It was a good season...well played...frustrating...hopefully something to grow on for next year

Game 3 NLDS Thoughts

1) The anticipation of the game (and the weather) wore out the fans...while the crowd was alive, the 8 PM start time was really disadvantageous.

2) Umpire behind the plate, Jerry Meals, was frustrating to say the least. Lot of pitches thrown by Colorado were borderline to me and not so much for Philadelphia. Also the 9th inning missed call at the plate with Utley was botched. Big difference if there were two outs with Rollins on third versus one out with runners on 1st and 3rd with Howard at the plate. Hate to see a game decided on a botched call (of course I am sure San Diego sees it the same way...guess calls average out over the years).

3) Betancourt was huge in the 8th...those last two K's especially against Stairs could have been the back breaker...

4) CarGo collected another three hits last night...can we clone him and put him as our lineup?

5) How disappointing was the foul out by Giambi and pop out by Tulo in the bottom of the ninth? Tracy played to win and had the right pieces in play to steal one, too bad the Rox couldn't get it right (or follow the script).

6) Hawpe has a defensive replacement as part of a double switch in the ninth? Bit questionable...especially with his weak ground out to second to start the inning...

7) Using Madson in the 7th to get out of the inning? Gutsy call by Manuel...especially if Lidge had blown it in the ninth

8) There was a Greg Vaughan jersey sighting...I don't remember him playing for the Rox let alone someone actually having his jersey!!! (Number 99)

9) Okay Denver isn't a hot bed for advertising dollars according to TBS but starting a game when it is 10 PM in one of the competing teams is just wrong. I mean the game ended at 2:15 Philly team...who in there right mind would still be awake? It is a real injustice to the players who played 162 games to get to this point then have to slug it out playing at crazy times and cold weather. If Philly wins out...good luck traveling out to LA for Thursday's game!

10) Surreal experience for me...my first ever postseason game...loved it but felt sort of disconnected. See comment 1, by game time I was just shredded...and to be honest when the clock hit midnight I wanted either team to win and not have to face extra inning...:-(

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Game 2 NLDS Thoughts

1) Okay maybe you do go with the hot hand in Yorvit...probably why I am not a manager!

2) Boy is CarGo swinging a hot playoff bat! Another 3 hits today!

3) Can we time warp the sixth inning? Two days in a row the sixth is our starter's downfall.

4) Is Cook the greatest Rox of them all?

5) Little bothersome that we get one stinking run in back back bases loaded innings

6) How many pitchers is Tracy going to use? Situational pitching in the playoffs is starting to go a bit overboard.

7) Rox extend series to Game 4 at home...I imagine the Rox would rather not make the trip back to Philly on Sunday night

8) How much snow are we going to get on Saturday night...is it good or bad that Hammel was born in Greenville, SC

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Game 1 NLDS Thoughts

1)Hello anyone at home? Boy the Rox played sluggish and didn't look ready to play. Not very inspired baseball (for the playoffs)!

2)Torrealba isn't the answer...forget streaks...put someone who can hit lefties and someone who can throw out a base runner (Philly stole 3 bases). When the pitcher successfully steals and Ryan Howard (the linebacker) attempts, then they don't respect you!

3) Only 6 hits? and five strikeouts...not a good day at the ballpark

4) To win this series Rox are going to have to get to the bullpen...allowing a complete game isn't the answer

5) Put CarGo at the top, slide Fowler to 2nd, and play Smith...Hawpe is done and Atkins isn't a Rox next year so play Stewart.

Come on be respectable...you didn't win 92 games to lay an egg in the playoffs

Monday, October 5, 2009

Rox Talk - Week 26

The Week That Was
A 4-2 week against the Brewers and Dodgers. The Roxs finish at 92-70. They finish three games back from division leading Los Angeles in second place and win the Wild Card. Rox finish 51-30 at home and 41-40 on the road, the Roxs outscored its opponents 804-715 (expected wins is 90 versus historical wins at 77).

Well the Rox held on...they clinched at home (yes) but failed to win the West (okay). They gave it a run, made LA sweat on Saturday, and probably helped make LA a better team for trying out some playoff baseball before it gets real on Wednesday.

Playoffs!
Would have been nice to open the playoffs at home but we've gone to Philly once before so no surprise there. Should be an interesting series with the two most prolific offenses in the NL. I like the Rox pitching. We have a good bullpen, good starters. Philly has some issues on the mound but they are the reigning world champions so they deserve the respect. I think we can keep up offensively but we will be going in as a known quality this time around. Let's steal one on the road and come home up and try to finish it! Although we went 2 - 4 against them during the season we scored 28 runs to 31 runs against. The first series was in April and the second was in early August after stops in NY and Cincinnati. I think it is a pretty even series. Below is the WPA for the 2007 NLDS. If you look closer all the players who helped contribute to that series win are all gone...who is going to step up this time? Looking at the big picture...if Helton can put this team on his back and take them to the Series and win a MVP, he might just have his ticket to the Hall confirmed...just saying!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Rox Clinch Playoff Spot

Well what ya know...it's Roxtober again! No drama, no play at the plate, no play in game, just a good outting by Cook and some offense to round out a fantastic second half. Whew just time to catch our breath before heading to the City of Angels. Can the Rox sweep our nemesis and take the division title?. Okay so I was wrong in saying that they would stroll in LA tied but hey this thing ain't done yet (it's okay to drink the Kool Aid). Three to play and two out mean we still have a chance. Once again you think this means more to Tracey or Torre? Where would you rather open up for Game 1...in your bed or a hotel's? Lots to play for, but time out for celebration. It is good to be a winner! Thank you Rox for your efforts!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Rox Talk - Week 25

The Week That Was
A 3-3 week against the Padres and Cards. The Roxs currently stand at 88-68. Five games back from division leading Los Angeles in second place and two and half games ahead in the Wild Card Hunt. Currently 48-30 at home and 40-38 on the road, the Roxs have outscored its opponents 771-689 (expected wins is 86 versus historical wins at 74). On pace for 91 wins with 801 runs scored and 716 runs against.

One week to go...six games left...three at home, three on the road. If we can go 3 - 3 we would finish with a 91 - 71 record (a team record!) but will that be enough? The Braves (Giants are done) have seven games to go and would have to finish 6 - 1 to tie the Rox. Impossible(?)...not really with 3 games against Marlins and then 4 games with the worst team in the world (Nats). So in the big scheme of things we have to root for the Marlins and then cross our fingers to sweep the Brewers. Sure would be nice to leave town with 91 wins...

Monday, September 21, 2009

Rox Talk - Week 24

The Week That Was
A 3-3 week against the Giants and D-Backs. The Roxs currently stand at 85-65. Five games back from division leading Los Angeles in second place and four and half games ahead in the Wild Card Hunt. Currently 45-27 at home and 40-38 on the road, the Roxs have outscored its opponents 744-658 (expected wins is 83 versus historical wins at 71). On pace for 92 wins with 804 runs scored and 711 runs against.

Thank goodness the roadtrips are done (well one more, but just 3 days) because this last one was just plain painful. Two blow outs in San Fran (ugly) and then an almost ugly Giant come from behind smackdown which could have spelled the end of the season. Fortunately Betancourt got the save of his life and the Rox were able to go into Arizona and get two more wins. A 4 - 5 road trip ain't too bad. Talking about roadtrips, here is an updated spreadsheet of Rox road wins. If the Rox can win one more game they assure themselves a .500 road record. Not bad for a team that averages about 32 road wins a year. You know it doesn't take a rocket scientist (I happened to have been one long ago) but the three years the Rox made it to the playoffs just happen to be three of the top 4 winning road percentages.



One other thing...how amazing has this year's starting pitching been? Look at the data. Two more weeks...can they hold it together? Go Rox!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Rox Talk - Week 23

The Week That Was
A 5-2 week against the Reds and Padres. The Roxs currently stand at 82-62. Three games back from division leading Los Angeles in second place and four and half games ahead in the Wild Card Hunt. Currently 45-27 at home and 37-35 on the road, the Roxs have outscored its opponents 717-624 (expected wins is 81 versus historical wins at 68). On pace for 92 wins with 807 runs scored and 702 runs against.
This time of year is just plain hard. Rox just aren't usually in this position and to try and watch when every game seems to be important is just nerve racking. Sometimes I wonder why I am even a fan when I just can't even watch these games! Ughhhhh

Some things I found interesting...






Monday, September 7, 2009

Rox Talk - Week 22

The Week That Was
A 5-1 week against the Mets and D-Backs. The Roxs currently stand at 77-60. Three and half games back from division leading Los Angeles in second place and two games ahead in the Wild Card Hunt. Currently 41-27 at home and 36-33 on the road, the Roxs have outscored its opponents 692-605 (expected wins is 77 versus historical wins at 64). On pace for 91 wins with 818 runs scored and 715 runs against.


Back to the winning ways. Rox continue to win the games they should. It was nice to sweep the D-back for the first time in 5 years. Have to admit it is nice to see the Rox jump ahead of the D-bags. When we met in the NLCS I thought it was going to be a long term duel of two young teams. Last year Rox fall apart and this year the D-backs seem to be going the other way. Maybe next year will be the fight?

Monday, August 31, 2009

Rox Talk - Week 21

The Week That Was
A 2-5 week against the Dodgers and Giants. The Roxs currently stand at 72-59. Six games back from division leading Los Angeles in second place and tied in the Wild Card Hunt. Currently 36-26 at home and 36-33 on the road, the Roxs have outscored its opponents 654-582 (expected wins is 72 versus historical wins at 61). On pace for 89 wins with 809 runs scored and 720 runs against.
Well that didn't go according to plan! Monday and Tuesday were such promising wins! A grand slam dagger into the Giants on Monday followed by another walk off win against the Dodgers. Rox closed within 2 games! Dan Patrick and sports talk radio said the Rox were at it again. What seemed like an insurmountable lead was suddenly down to 2 games. The Rox win the pennant the Rox win the pennant...oh sorry got a bit carried away. From that glorious Tuesday night to Sunday the Rox dropped 5 games and suddenly find themselves tied for the Wild Card and 6 back from the Dodgers. This was the first losing week since Week 13. Well I guess on the bright side this slide came at the end of August! Thirty-one games to go. Yes it would have nice to put away the Giants for good and stay on LA tail but there is still a lot baseball to be played. Our Rox are struggling with some nagging injuries...Cook's is probably the hard one has the Rox try to find a consistent starter down the stretch. Fowler and CarGo's injuries are the frustrating because their one-two punch was really starting to catch fire. It certainly is a scramble and yet this is the first true test of Tracy managerial acumen. Up to this point I think he has basically pointed them in the right direction and allowed the team to find itself. Now a steady hand is required to get the team focused for the September run. Lot of home games...time to take Coors Field back!

Rox Talk - Week 21

The Week That Was
A 2-5 week against the Dodgers and Giants. The Roxs currently stand at 72-59. Six games back from division leading Los Angeles in second place and tied in the Wild Card Hunt. Currently 36-26 at home and 36-33 on the road, the Roxs have outscored its opponents 654-582 (expected wins is 72 versus historical wins at 61). On pace for 89 wins with 809 runs scored and 720 runs against.
Well that didn't go according to plan! Monday and Tuesday were such promising wins! A grand slam dagger into the Giants on Monday followed by another walk off win against the Dodgers. Rox closed within 2 games! Dan Patrick and sports talk radio said the Rox were at it again. What seemed like an insurmountable lead was suddenly down to 2 games. The Rox win the pennant the Rox win the pennant...oh sorry got a bit carried away. From that glorious Tuesday night to Sunday the Rox dropped 5 games and suddenly find themselves tied for the Wild Card and 6 back from the Dodgers. Well I guess on the bright side this slide came at the end of August! Thirty-one games to go. Yes it would have nice to put away the Giants for good and stay on LA tail but there is still a lot baseball to be played. Our Rox are struggling with some nagging injuries...Cook's is probably the hard one has the Rox try to find a consistent starter down the stretch. Fowler and CarGo's injuries are the frustrating because their one-two punch was really starting to catch fire. It certainly is a scramble and yet this is the first true test of Tracy managerial acumen. Up to this point I think he has basically pointed them in the right direction and allowed the team to find itself. Now a steady hand is required to get the team focused for the September run. Lot of home games...time to take Coors Field back!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Rox Talk - Week 20

The Week That Was
A 5-1 week against the Nationals and Giants. The Roxs currently stand at 70-54. Three and half games back from division leading Los Angeles in second place and three games ahead in the Wild Card Hunt. Currently 34-24 at home and 36-30 on the road, the Roxs have outscored its opponents 632-549 (expected wins is 70 versus historical wins at 58). On pace for 91 wins with 826 runs scored and 717 runs against.
Rox are starting to look like a playoff team. Playoff teams get it done against bad teams. Going into DC and sweeping that series before the look ahead 4 game series at home against the Giants was huge. The Rox are 52 - 26 (that's a 0.670 percentage!) under Tracy. That is an amazing number. Hard to believe either the Rox were that bad out of the gate or that unhappy with Hurdle at the helm.

Not to look ahead but with one more game tonight against the Giants and 3 with the Dodgers the possibility definitely exists for the Rox to be tied for the Division Lead come Friday! I have tickets for Thursday game so I will certainly be rooting for this to occur. Either way the Rox have made up a huge gap (15.5 games!). With 38 games to go the gap is so much smaller that September will just be a tug of war. I remember back in high school when the Braves picked up Fred McGriff and went on a tear catching the Dodgers and Giants and making the playoffs. Good times. And finally why is it the Rox get no respect? We are the last competitive division in baseball with three teams still in the playoff chase and what do we get? Nadda...give me Roxtober again!

Some interesting sites:

Fan Graphs - Those wacky odds against Rox

NY Times - Ichiro, modern day Pete Rose...what is wrong with hitting base hits?

Olbermann - Gotta love baseball history!


Monday, August 17, 2009

Rox Talk - Week 19

The Week That Was
A 4-3 week against the Pirates and Marlins. The Roxs currently stand at 65-53. Five games back from division leading Los Angeles in second place and one and half ahead in the Wild Card Hunt. Currently 32-23 at home and 33-30 on the road, the Roxs have outscored its opponents 598-522 (expected wins is 66 versus historical wins at 55). On pace for 89 wins with 821 runs scored and 717 runs against.

A wacky week. Cubs series over with Tulo's cycle. An uneventful Pirates series and then a frustrating Florida trip over the weekend. All in all we still gained on the Dodgers and mounted a lead in the Wild Card. 44 games to go with a big end of the month series with the Giants and Dodgers. Unfortunately we have a looming 3 game series in DC. BEWARE Will Robinson this series has the doom song written all over it....

Monday, August 10, 2009

Rox Talk - Week 18

The Week That Was
A 3-3 week against the Phillies and Cubs. The Roxs currently stand at 61-50. Five and half games back from division leading Los Angeles in second place and tied in the Wild Card. Currently 29-22 at home and 32-28 on the road, the Roxs have outscored its opponents 551-490 (expected wins is 61 versus historical wins at 51). On pace for 89 wins with 804 runs scored and 715 runs against.
Pretty uneventful week. Road trip finally go the best of them. Team looked tired in Philly. The offense struggled. Arrived home to play the Cubs. Good start to home stand. It is going to be a dog fight all the way in. Only 5.5 out...could we dream of an actual division title?

This Week's Aside
MLB and Topps began an interesting relationship this week. Beginning in 2010, Topps will become MLB exclusive provider of baseball cards. What does this mean for Upper Deck? Who knows but it seems they signed a deal with the Player's Association so perhaps that means we will just get player cards with no logos? Who knows and probably who cares. Topps and Upper Deck ruined the card market years ago with multiple sets and gimmicks galore. The high cost of cards pretty much priced out the younger generation (is it any wonder kids don't have a clue about baseball and its players?). I love baseball cards but it just became too hard to keep up with what was coming out. I loved the retro sets but then it became increasingly hard to find someone who sold cards. Going online through eBay became key but somewhat expensive. Anyway it will be nice to get back to a simpler time. One player card a year maybe?

Also NY Times on Sunday had an interesting article on APBA. I have played strat-0-matic but not heard of APBA. Have to investigate further....hmmmm

Monday, August 3, 2009

Rox Talk - Week 17

The Week That Was
A 4-3 week against the Mets and Reds. The Roxs currently stand at 58-47. Seven games back from division leading Los Angeles in second place and half game ahead in the Wild Card. Currently 27-21 at home and 31-26 on the road, the Roxs have outscored its opponents 520-464 (expected wins is 58 versus historical wins at 48). On pace for 89 wins with 802 runs scored and 716 runs against.
Good finish to a horrible start of the week. For the naysayers the Rox's awful start in NY only added fuel to the fire that this team was simply smoke and mirrors. Hopefully 4 straight wins proved that we are still contenders. A relatively quiet trade deadline. The Rox's picked up Betancourt and Beimel for the stretch run. Good pickups especially with Corpas out. Sadly no Halladay. Long-term probably good for the Rox but for the NL Championship series probably not so good having to go into LA and win with out a dominant front line starter. We saw see...

Below is the list of road wins since the team's inception. Their 16 year average road wins has been 31. True indication that the Rox are a good team this year...they already have 31 road wins through 57 games. Mighty impressive. Funny how it seems the team has played better on the road and yet seem to still struggle at Coors. Welcome to Bizarro Rox World!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Rox Talk - Week 16

The Week That Was
A 4-2 week against the D-Backs and Giants. The Roxs currently stand at 54-44. Eight games back from division leading Los Angeles in second place and two games ahead in the Wild Card. Currently 27-21 at home and 27-23 on the road, the Roxs have outscored its opponents 496-435 (expected wins is 55 versus historical wins at 45). On pace for 89 wins with 820 runs scored and 719 runs against.


Oops I took an extended All Star Break. Those first games after the Break seem kind of silly anyway. Our favorite Rox find themselves 10 games over .500 after Week 16. A mighty turn around continues. Sixty-four games remain. The bullpen continues to morph into something. Rox traded for Betancourt to serve as a set-up man now that Corpas is probably done for the season. Rox also brought up Chacin to serve as long relief or perhaps spell Hammel (?) for some starts down the stretch. We shall see, it was nice to see the Monforts spend some money to cover for some gaps in the team. With deadline a week away it will be interesting who decides to spend the money to ensure a possible playoff spot. No comment on the Holliday trade to the Cardinals. I knew Beane was just going to flip and trade Holliday but his showing up in St Louis could pose some issues down the road. Let's just ponder if our Rox and St Louis show up in a playoff round...who has more to gain or lose by facing off? Can you say Grudge match?

Corrigan's Corner
I prefer to listen to the Rox on radio. I have come to appreciate Jack Corrigan's commentary and play by play. He tends to throw out little nuggets that I tend to follow up on. See here for the big one. Anyway today's tidbit was the amount of RBIs the infield has and whether the Rox's led the league. The infield of Helton, Barmes, Tulo, and Stewart have 202 RBIs through 98 games. Pretty good number. The MLB leaders are the Phillies followed by the Ray and Yankees and then our Rox. Pretty good company. It would seem that having a good hitting infield leads to a playoff berth. Hopefully are team keeps up this trend. The data is from baseball reference and the data under each team by position. I believe the data is sorted by the most at bats by a position player. The data below is not by position for that team.


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Rox Talk - Week 14 or We're going to the Series

The Week That Was
A 5-2 week against the Nats and Braves. The Roxs currently stand at 47-41. Nine games back from division leading Los Angeles in third place and two games behind the Giants in the Wild Card. Currently 23-19 at home and 24-22 on the road, the Roxs have outscored its opponents 442-405 (expected wins is 48 versus historical wins at 41). On pace for 87 wins with 814 runs scored and 746 runs against.


Second time in the Rox's history that they have a winning record at the All Star break. A team that was left for dead (hey I admit I wasn't happy about it!) has come back with a vengeance. Respectability is once again mentioned with our Rox. The big question is what does the next 74 games hold? Can we continue playing well through July? Post All Star has been an achilles heel over the years with the July swoon causing the people of Colorado to look to the Broncos. The rest of July should give an indication if the Rox will stick around especially leading off with a four game series in San Diego and then later with a four game series against the Mets in late July. The three game home stint with the Giants could put us on top of the Wild Card standings. August (6 games with Giants and three with LA) and September (three with Giants) have always been good months for the Rox. And then lets not forget that we close out the year at Dodger Stadium with a three game series. So you think Lightning can strike twice in three years? Can you imagine strolling into Chavez Ravine on Oct 2 tied for first place? If you think I am crazy consider this...

World Series Part Deux - The Rematch
The title above indeed says I am drinking the Kool Aid but why not? The team has been playing well. Thirty-nine of the 74 games remaining are at home where the team has traditionally played 0.574 (that is 21 wins) and consider they are playing 0.522 on the road this year (another 18 wins) that gives them 86 wins.

Cool Standings gives the Rox a calculated win total of 87.6 and about a 36% chance to make the playoffs. Now granted the Dodgers have a calculated win total of 101 games. The real question over the last half of the season is whether the Dodgers are really that good (?), the Rox that good (?), who has been the streakier team, and whether we can expect the Dodgers to fall back to earth. Realistically I don't think the Dodgers are going to play 31 - 43 down the stretch but if the Rox can continue playing 0.690 baseball under Tracy that gives them another 51 wins and suddenly that Dodger lead doesn't feel so safe. Think Tracy wouldn't like sticking it to the Dodgers....

So the Dodgers have the best record in baseball...but what about the Beane Count? Yup those are our Rox sitting in behind the Sox. The Dodgers fall to 9th so who is the paper tiger now? Of course Arizona sits 8th and they stink so take all of this with a grain of salt ;-). What I think this shows is that perhaps the Dodgers have been lucky? This doesn't show in there runs scored/runs against but they have had a super bullpen so far this year. A 24 - 10 record with 302 innings pitched compared to our own bullpen 10 - 12 record with 245 innings pitched! Anything jump out at you? At this rate our "shaky (?)" bullpen will have pitched 80 innings less than LA...think this might mean something come October...how many 2 inning relief appearances can Broxton throw?

What else are the Rox doing better than anyone else? How about baserunning....not a very sexy stat but it shows that maybe Hurdle's spring antics are finally coming to fruition. Taking the extra base, being aggressive on the basepaths, and making things happen can only help a team! Oh yeah and according to the Wall Street Journal, de la Rosa's slider is a bitch to hit...

And finally there has been plenty of newspaper talk here in Denver about obtaining the services of a crafty 32 year old righty from Toronto. If the Rox ownership had any (base)balls this is an absolute no brainer. You give the farm away to get this guy. Bring in the hometown hero to slay your opponents. I understand you build from within but this is why you have a potent farm system...to make a trade for a superstar to get you over the hump. What was the biggest weakness in 2007 World Series against the Red Sox? Hmmm Game 1 starter...Jeff Francis versus Josh Beckett. Who you goin to take? 2009 World Series Part Deux...Doc Halladay versus Josh Beckett Game 1 starting in Boston. Think the Rox might have a better chance of stealing a game in Boston with that caliber of starter? PLEASE make it happen, this is aligning of the planets, this is the time to make something happen, put our team on the front page, make LA feel small, make the Giants quake, give our team a real chance. Prospects are a gamble...the team on the field now is making it happen...go the distance...get Halladay!

There my rant is done...Rox wins Series in 6!




Monday, July 6, 2009

Rox Talk - Week 13

The Week That Was
A 2-4 week against the Dodgers and D-backs. The Roxs currently stand at 42-39. Nine and half games back from division leading Los Angeles in third place. Currently 18-17 at home and 24-22 on the road, the Roxs have outscored its opponents 407-376 (expected wins is 43 versus historical wins at 38). On pace for 84 wins with 814 runs scored and 752 runs against.

What a record setting June. The Rox finished 21 - 7 scoring 154 runs and only allowing 105. They were 8 - 1 at home and 13 and 6 on the road. The Rox are currently on pace for 42 road wins which would be their first winning road campaign ever and would eclipse their record setting 39 wins in 2007. A funny year with the Rox actually posting a better win percentage on the road. If this plays out and the Rox get a Wild Card slot their road winning success could play out well. To visually see June here is how it looked versus their history

Black and dotted lines are historical winning percentage both actual and Pythagorean. Hopefully we won't see the reverse in July!

Marquis the Great?
Jason Marquis' unbelievable start in LA on June 30 was one for the Rox record books. I have spent considerable research on Game Score (see posts here, here, and here). His game score of 86 moved him into the Top 5 all time Rox pitching efforts. The performance probably isn't enough to knock Kile's 10 inning performance but it comes in a close second especially with the 86 pitches!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Rox Talk - Week 12

The Week That Was
A 4-2 week against the Angels and A's. The Roxs currently stand at 40-35. Seven and half games back from division leading Los Angeles in third place. Currently 17-15 at home and 23-20 on the road, the Roxs have outscored its opponents 387-356 (expected wins is 40 versus historical wins at 35). On pace for 86 wins with 829 runs scored and 767 runs against.

An impressive mid-season run! That just keep on going. They have moved into the Wild Card talk with this improbable run. With a Dodger series looming a chance does exist to move within striking distance of the division but let's be serious...the Dodgers get Manny back on Friday and the Rox barely gained on them when he was gone for 50 games. Unless team chemistry suddenly explodes I think the Dodgers will win 100 games easy. If the Rox can keep at it I think the Wild Card is within reach. With the D-backs and Padres going nowhere those are some easy wins compared to what the Central and East has to deal with. I think 85 - 90 wins is possible. The Rox road schedule has been brutal having played the most road games of any team. That means post All Star break we will be home rather than doing the road trip death spiral. If our starter's arms don't fall off I think we have a chance.

By the way sweeping Holliday away was especially sweet for me. I wonder what Boras has got to say to him now. Think he will even come close to the 85 million we offered up? NOT...good luck Matt, greedy bastard!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Rox Talk - Week 11

The Week That Was
A 5-1 week against the Rays and Pirates. The Roxs currently stand at 36-33. Nine and half games back from division leading Los Angeles in third place. Currently 17-15 at home and 19-18 on the road, the Roxs have outscored its opponents 352-328 (expected wins is 37 versus historical wins at 32). On pace for 85 wins with 826 runs scored and 770 runs against.



Wow what another awesome week! But you know they played 5 - 1 baseball and only gained one game on the Dodgers! Certainly the Wild Card is in play. What do the Rox do? I think the Rox are going to try and unload Atkins for maybe a bullpen arm especially with Corpas going down.

Amazing what some positive energy can do for a team psyche. This team looks entirely different from what we saw for the first 50 or so games. I mean this team has an attitude and a swagger. I was at the game against Pittsburgh on Friday night and they truly never look like they were going to lose. They just get tacking on runs and at no time during the evening did I think they were going to lose. Amazing....

Monday, June 15, 2009

Rox Talk - Week 10

The Week That Was
A 7-0 week against the Brewers and Mariners. The Roxs currently stand at 31-32. Ten and half games back from division leading Los Angeles in third place. Currently 12-14 at home and 19-18 on the road, the Roxs have outscored its opponents 310-304 (expected wins is 32 versus historical wins at 29). On pace for 80 wins with 815 runs scored and 780 runs against.

Wow what a week! Really it isn't too much of a surprise especially when you consider that for most of the year the Rox's offense run total has been greater than what the pitcher's have allowed the opponents to score (granted Rox have scored a lot of runs in blow outs and have been held to some low run totals in their losses but it still indicates that the Rox can score runs). Up until this point they simply were playing below the mean. Now I expect that they will probably play .500 ball for the rest of the season. I don't think they are as good as they were over the last 11 games nor do I think they are as bad as the first 7 weeks of the season. The real question will be what happens after the All Star Break...


As a Rox fan I think it is fantastic that they have clawed back to some respectability and are almost back to five hundred baseball. As a baseball fan I have to be realistic and look at their 11 game win streak and after winning eleven games in a row all they gained on LA was a pathetic 4 games (? WTF). They still stand 10.5 out! Whoopee they inched closer to a Wild Card but will they be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline. I mean realistically if they stayed bad you could rid yourself of Atkins, Marquis, and Street and get some decent payback. Now if the Rox sell and they are sort of in contention with the Wild Card they'd get tremendous backlash from the fans. But what good is keeping these guys? Build for the future. This ain't your year...LA is running away with it.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Rox Talk - Week 9

The Week That Was
A 4-3 week against the Astros and Cardinals. The Roxs currently stand at 24-32. Thirteen and half games back from division leading Los Angeles in fifth place. Currently 9-14 at home and 15-18 on the road, the Roxs have outscored its opponents 283-278 (expected wins is 28 versus historical wins at 26). On pace for 69 wins with 819 runs scored and 804 runs against.


So is Tracy that much better, Hurdle that much worse, or has the team finally found its identity? Hard to believe what we watched in St Louis (or is St Louis that bad?) came from the team that only one once in Houston. The crazy thing is that this team has some offense. It has scored 5 or more runs 26 times having won 18 times but then in the other 30 games (scoring 4 runs or less) it has won only 6 times. It is either feast or famine for the Roxs.


As I predicted last week it was an up week for pitching so we ended up doing well. What will this week bring? Who knows but consistency would be nice...

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Odds and Ends

Just some odds and ends that I came across....hmmmm

Yahoo Sports

"The new Yankee Stadium is a lot of things that the New York Yankees expected when they planned it. No one fathomed it would be the park that could break Coors Field’s stranglehold on the single-season home run record of 303 in 1999. More than a quarter the way through the season, the 87 home runs in 23 games at new Yankee Stadium have set a pace that extrapolates to 306."

Holy cow you know I track Rox stats but 303 homeruns hit at Coors Field in 1999!  That is just an amazing hard to fathom number.  


"Here are the facts. There have been 104 teams to make the playoffs in the 13 full seasons of the wild-card era. Exactly three of them, or 2.9 percent, were worse than five games below .500 when June began. Here are the three outliers:
1. 2005 Astros (19-32 start; 89-73 final record).
2. 2007 Cubs (22-29; 85-77).
3. 2007 Yankees (22-29; 94-68).
This is very bad news for the Indians, Athletics, Nationals, Pirates, Astros, Diamondbacks and Rockies. One word of advice: sell. Better to make players available now, especially for players on the last year of deals. A four-month rental has more value than a two-month rental."

Well I didn't think the Rox had a chance but this kind of confirms it.  The question is when do the Rox recognize it and start dismantling for the future...


"So how about this? Clint Barmes is two-for-three going first to third on a single, a perfect seven-for-seven scoring from second on a single, and he scored from first the only time someone doubled. According to Bill James’ formula, that makes him a plus-13 base runner, the best in baseball."

At least one player is good for something...

Monday, June 1, 2009

Rox Talk - Week 8

The Week That Was
A 2-4 homestand against the Dodgers and Padres. The Roxs currently stand at 20-29. Thirteen and half games back from division leading Los Angeles in fifth place. Currently 9-14 at home and 11-15 on the road, the Roxs have been outscored by its opponents 255-238 (expected wins is 23 versus historical wins at 22). On pace for 66 wins with 787 runs scored and 843 runs against.

The Hurdle era is over. For over 1,162 games we watched this man at least try to keep a positive spin on things. A winning percentage of 0.461 and an average division finish of 4 pretty much speaks the truth. I am not a Hurdle fan but I admit he was dealt a crappy hand and did the best that he could. Had he not gone to the World Series, I am sure that in 2007 he would have been shown the door. Only through good will was he not shown the door last season. I think after 7 years the player's just got tired of his mantras. He did shepherd GenR into the big leagues and history will probably look and say he got what he could out of team that really didn't have much (a lot of emotion and luck got them to the Series but Boston really show them for what they were...a glorified .500 team that just got hot). Pitching was never consistent enough, still couldn't figure out the disparity between playing at Coors and winning on the road, and in 2007 I think he knew enough just to get out of the way and let the team play. In the end we will always have September and October 2007 (which as Rox Fans we should just cherish because at the time it was awesome)!

According the graph we should have good pitching for the upcoming week. Which is probably good because we start an eleven game road trip to Houston, St Louis, and Milawaukee. Yikes a tough romp through the Central's best teams. Could be ugly...
No May Flowers, a Hot June?

A 12 - 17 month and a the Rox saw the Dodgers gain 8.5 games. Rox actually won more games on the road then at home this month. Really think for the Rox to compete they have to blow teams out at home and steal some on the road. Rox are on pace to win 2 more games on the road then their historic average and 13 games below their average at home. Maybe Tracy can turn things around?

Minuses
- Beyond Marquis pitching continues to be awful. Cook and Jimenez have been terribly inconsistent and de la Rosa and Hammel are not the answer. Street has shown the ability to close but much like Fuentes is prone to just falling apart. Corpas...one season wonder!
- The offense either scores or it doesn't. Team batting average is 0.249...and you play at Coors...turn the Humidor off...please
- Atkins hitting 0.190 and Tulo at 0.226 (another one season wonder, thankfully he plays a good SS!)

Pluses
- Hawpe and Helton are the offense.
- A lot more home games are upcoming
- New manager

I think stability will be better. When will Atkins be unloaded? Will June's eleven game road trip put the final nail in the coffin? Are we looking at another rebuilding year in 2010? Will Helton remain a Rox Star?

Monday, May 25, 2009

Rox Talk - Week 7

The Week That Was
A 4-3 week against the Braves and Tigers. The Roxs currently stand at 18-25. Eleven games back from division leading Los Angeles in fifth place. Currently 7-10 at home and 11-15 on the road, the Roxs have matched its opponents 212-212, second week in a row(?) (expected wins is 22 versus historical wins at 19). On pace for 68 wins with 799 runs scored and 799 runs against.


Helton got his 2,000th hit! And a winning record for the week. Rox finally return home, having played the fewest home games of any MLB team at 17. This is either a good sign (?) or not since they are 7 - 10 at home this year. Teams seem to come into Coors just assuming they will hit. I wonder if players have a tendency to hit better when coming to Coors. I mean pre-Humidor this was a no-brainer question but since the ball doesn't seem have the same get-up-and-go it once had do players disregard this and still hit better?

Here is a table of the number of hits the team had 3 games before Coors, at Coors, 3 games after Coors and their season average (Giants is the average of only two games). In hindsight doing this table really has too many variables. A lot probably depends on what team they were playing before the Rox, after the Rox, on the road versus at home, and some of these games were played at Houston and San Diego. I guess the only meaningful number is the bottom line where teams scored about 7.2 and 7.7 runs before and after Coors and averaged about 10.7 hits while at Coors. Is Coors worth about 3 more hits to a team? If you figure teams get about 33 at bats per game then a team is hitting about .075 better at Coors.
And runs score...

Pitching was key for Week 7 with both the starting and relief pitching getting on the positive side fo the WPA curve. Looking at the graph the pitching is just up and down. No consistency and you have to have some pitching week in and week out to be successful. Maybe I shouldn't be so hard on Hurdle and perhaps we should be calling for Apodaca head?