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?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

If I Was Commissioner...

Yup I've brought back my alternative baseball universe for 2009.    As mentioned in previous post I find the current division setups to be inferior.  They don't promote a lot of regional rivalries and when post season comes there will always a West/East matchup.  Last year we would have had the Rays versus the Angels for the Series.  Here is the first installment:

Boy the Central and Pacific are weak. Why can't the Pacific division balance out the wickedness of the Atlantic?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Todd Helton - 2,000 Hits

Todd is the Rox Star.  I think if we had a Mount Rushmore of Roxs he would be up there with Dante Bichette, Andres Galarraga, and Larry Walker (?).  The 256 major league player to accomplish the feat and one of the few to get all his hits with one team.  First hit came on August 2, 1997 in the 4th inning against Pittsburgh Pirates Francisco Cordova at Three River's Stadium. Batting fifth between Galarraga and Castilla and playing Left Field!  His second hit was more memorable as it was a Home Run.  I believe he got his 1,000 hit against the Cubs on April 25, 2003 (career game 844).  His 2,000 hit came in game 1,696.  Even with the injuries he has kept on pace with an average of 1.2 hits per game.

I don't think 3,000 hits will be possible.  At age 35 he might have another 3 years at first base. He could become a Paul Molitor type and finish his days as a DH but probably only has 2 years of that.  So assume 5 more years with 130 games a year and he might get 500 - 700 more hits? Close but no cigar.  I think the most impressive stat is the fact that after 13 years his OPS is 1.000.  If he can keep that, it will be a remarkable career.  I believe only Manny is the other active player with an OPS greater than 1.000.  

Monday, May 11, 2009

Rox Talk - Week 5

The Week That Was
A 3-4 week against the Padres, Giants, and Marlins (oh my). The Roxs currently stand at 12-18. Eight and half games back from division leading Los Angeles in fifth place. Currently 6-8 at home and 6-10 on the road, the Roxs have outscored its opponents 146-143 (expected wins is 15 versus historical wins at 14). On pace for 65 wins with 788 runs scored and 772 runs against.

As we are 5 weeks in and 30 games into it I think we can look at the fact that the one glaring issue staring at the Rox is the fact they have outscored their opponents and yet they have only won 11 of the 30 games. One in nine in one run games is certainly an issue and a lot of these runs have been scored when the offense has clicked on all cylinders. This team is not bad, it has some potential, but why is it that a similar team in the division does not meet expectations they don't hesitate to bring in something new? How long is it going to take to determine that maybe the something missing isn't on the field but sitting in the dugout night after night making out the lineup card...I think if O'Dowd wants his job he'd better start making the tough decisions and find someone who can win on the field!
For a 3- 4 week the team on the field certainly did what it needed to, at least in respect to past probability! And if only we could just simply rely on this simple metric...For Week 5 we had decent pitching and hitting and yet we could only drudge up 3 wins. Perfect example of the past week was de la Rosa's 12 strikeout game. You'd figure if you can manage 12 K's you should be in good shape...yeah not so for the Rox who proceeded to lay in egg in the batter's box and stranded de la Rosa awesome performance (a 77 game score...highest since Jimenez had a 77 in Game 162 of the 2008 season).

What a Week Means in the Baseball World...
May 6 Dave Cameron from FanGraphs announces that the Dodgers, a mere 4 weeks into the season, are already the NL West Champs...May 7, MLB announces Manny will start a 50 game suspension for taking a banned substance. And what does this all mean...well the demise of the Dodgers didn't happen has the Rox actually lost a game in the standing last week but life without Manny might give someone in the division a glimmer of hope? Realistically probably not. The NL West has become dysfunctional again. Case in point...Giants, no offense; Padres, no owner; D-Backs, fired manager; Rox, clueless management. Heck in the big picture of things maybe Manny actually wanted to get caught...who wants to slog through 162 game season. Manny will plop back into Dodger blue in July and only have to play 80 more games or so. When October comes he will be just getting started against those hapless pitchers who had to play the entire season. Heck a better punishment for Manny would be to stick him down in the minors in the South and make him ride buses around and sweat for 50 games so he doesn't come back fresh!

Anyway another nail in the steroid era of baseball. At this point, as a fan, I am just ready to move on. Mistakes were made, baseball was hurting, management and players got caught up with the almighty home run, and the game was given a blackeye. Baseball much like America goes through these periods. Hopefully we can learn from the mistakes and move on. I have said it before every generation of baseball lovers grow up in era. I will be stuck with the Steroid Era. Life goes on...arguments will continue but all in all we still love the game. The interesting thing will be who will get the HOF nod? Griffey certainly (please don't let the Kid be guilty!) and a slew of pitchers who faced juiced players day in day out. It should be interesting to see how history will look back at this time.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Rox Talk - Week 4

The Week That Was
A 3-3 week against the Padres and Giants. The Roxs currently stand at 9-14. Seven and half games back from division leading Los Angeles in fifth place. Currently 4-5 at home and 5-9 on the road, the Roxs have outscored its opponents 115-113 (expected wins is 10 versus historical wins at 9). On pace for 63 wins with 810 runs scored and 796 runs against.

Fifteen percent of the season done and the Roxs sit 7.5 games behind division leading LA. Not to panic but the Roxs are digging themselves a hole four weeks into the season. Obviously last year the D-backs jumped to a huge division lead and ultimately fell back to earth so I don't think we should mail it in but the Roxs need to start playing with some urgency. Winning some series is a start. Winning at home would be huge. The underlying positive to all of this is the Rox 115 - 113 run differential. Having scored more runs than their opponents should indicate that the Rox should have 11 or 12 wins. For this team to really be competitive the bullpen really needs to settle in.

April Showers Bring May Wins?
Looking at the April schedule before the season started it was certainly a difficult stretch. I thought a 9 - 11 start would be a great April. The team finished at 8 - 12. Really a good start considering we went 1 - 5 against LA. Unfortunately LA is playing lights out and put the Rox in a 5 game hole.

- Starting pitching has been inconsistent. Cook took all of April to find his groove (we hope!), Jimenez showed some moments, Marquis earned his pay, and de la Rosa was hit or miss. No real 5th starter although Morales did have one good game. If Cook and Jimenez can get it together in May then hopefully we will see some changes.
- Bullpen has been awful. Hurdle didn't seem to help things by having no defined roles out of Spring Training. The bullpen just seemed out of sorts. Street and Morales had a great first game and then just melted down. Rox were 0-6 in one run games and if the offense wasn't scoring runs then the Rox weren't winning.
- The offense showed some brilliance but also found itself not being able to get runners in.

- A 9 - 11 record with Cook and Jimenez not finding the plate. A bullpen still in disarray.
- Offense doesn't appear to be missing anything without Holliday (5 runs, 18 hits, 1 HR, 12 RBI, .240 Ave) and Atkins, Tulo, and Iannetta haven't really started hitting
- Dexter Fowler

So hopefully May will bring some more wins. Certainly will get more games at home. Will the Bullpen settle in? Street find his pitch? Will musical lineup continue?