Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Box Score Bytes - Game 53

This would be comical if it wasn't starting to tank our season.  Table below shows the runs scored and times it occurred when getting 14 hits.  This is data compiled between 1993-2010 for the Rox.  The weighted average for runs scored is when team gets 14 hits is around 9 runs!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Box Score Bytes - Game 52

Inning 1) Giving up 3 runs to start the game when your offense is struggling is not a good way to try and win a game...

Inning 2) What Inning 1 should have been.

Inning 3) Rox get on the board with a double, bunt sacrifice, and sacrifice fly. Wow like two bunts in the past 3 games...that worked! I really try not to criticize because bunting when a pitch is being thrown up a there at 90 mph can't be easy but also realize pitchers are asked to do so little at the plate the least they can do is to learn to bunt!

Inning 4) Yup story of the season...Rox get a run back and then immediately give it back in the top half of the next inning...no comment on the bottom half when CarGo, Tulo, and Helton all groundout. Impressive the money we spend on groundouts these days...

Inning 5) Bottom half of the inning with runners on 2nd and 3rd with two outs and EY Jr fails to get something going...bummer I had such high hopes for Jr in these type of situations where the rest of team can't seem to do right

Inning 6) Bottom half we have the Fowler, CarGo, Tulo show and once again three up, three down. Starting to get comical that so much money is being spent for so little production...glad I don't write the checks!

Inning 7) Notice at this point the Cardinals are just packing it in looking forward to getting out of town not really mounting any sort of security. Rox go ahead and load the bases with no outs down by three and we have the Great Giambino up...things are looking good...except for a strikeout and line out double play. What did the Rox do to the Baseball Gods? We should have had at least 2 runs and that would have tied the game!

Inning 8) Offense impotence again...

Inning 9) Confirmation that the baseball gods are ignoring Rox this summer. Two outs, man on third, CarGo at the plate, down by one...at this point do we just steal home? Anything? But no, just a groundout to end the game...one of these days we are going to get that base hit! Let's hope it ain't too late!

Rox Talk - Week 9

The Week That Was
A 2-5 week against the D-Backs and Cardinals. The Rox currently stand at 25-27. Three and half games behind the D-Backs(!) for the division lead. Currently 13-15 at home and 12-12 on the road, the Rox have outscored its opponents 238-221 (expected wins is 28 versus historical wins at 24). On pace for 78 wins with 741 runs scored and 689 runs against. Playoff indicator (Runs scored/Runs Against ratio) is 1.08 (1.16 indicates high playoff potential).  Amazing what some high scoring blowouts can do to your run differential and what a bunch of one run losses can do to your record!

Another miserable homestand.  Also time to say goodbye to Paulino (finally) and Lopez (gee we hardly knew you).  Changes abound especially with de la Rosa's injury.  Busy week with the EY Jr and Chris Nelson getting a call back up to the Big City and Big Leagues.  And now the Rox go on a 16 trip through the NL West with 9 on the road in LA, San Fran, and San Diego (sounds like a nice vacation!) followed by LA and Padres coming to town.  Hate to say it this early in the season, but I think this span of games decides the season.  Win less than 7 games and the Rox will bury themselves in the Division.  Sure there will still be 94 games left but after these 16 games through the division, the Rox get Detroit (currently 26-26), Cleveland (31-19), and then the Yankees (28-23).  Not exactly an easy Interleague schedule!

Perhaps the offense will wake up but with the injury to de la Rosa the pitching shuffle begins.  Can Nicasio stick around?  Will U-Ball find his slot?  Can Cook save the day?  The young Chacin start to scuffle?  Starting pitching problems can lead to overused bullpen...what then?

In the end a lot can happen.  Remember 2009 when our Rox were 20-32 and then went on a 17-1 tear?  Rox can get hot and put May behind them for good.  They certainly have the talent but when will it all come together?

Links, Links, and Links
Recreational sabermetrics?  Well if you think reading scholarly papers is recreational...
- Great article on hitting, glad he left the division.
- Yup with Wilson Valdez getting some love for his win we are reminded of Brent Mayne's win
- When is it too late to have hope?
- And this visually shows U-Ball's early season troubles...

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Box Score Bytes - Game 51

Inning 1)  Newcomer Nicasio (4 syllables by the way...girrr) makes is Big League debut.  Some early jitters as he gives up a walk and two singles but is saved by the double play.  Rox help the rookie out by scoring 6 runs in the bottom half.  All started with a single and stolen base by EY Jr followed by walk by Dex and a single by CarGo.  6 total singles in the inning!

Just a note but in wins Rox have scored 165 runs (pitchers have given up 42 runs) and in losses only 73 runs (pitchers given up 86 runs)!

2010 in Wins (Offense 524 runs, Pitchers 97 runs) and in Losses (Offense 246 runs, Pitchers 276 runs)
2009 in Wins (Offense 603 runs, Pitchers 128 runs) and in Losses (Offense 201 runs, Pitchers 270 runs)
2008 in Wins (Offense 461 runs, Pitchers 110 runs) and in Losses (Offense 286 runs, Pitchers 371 runs)
2007 in Wins (Offense 644 runs, Pitchers 101 runs) and in Losses (Offense 216 runs, Pitchers 296 runs)

Hmm doesn't seem that rare that when team wins it scores a whole lot more runs then in losses...something is interesting in this...

Inning 2)  Nicasio settles in and Rox add to their total.

Inning 3)  Nicasio gets a double play and Rox finally go quietly in the bottom half.

Inning 4)  Three up, three down for Nicasio and Rox offense keeps the pedal to the metal by scoring 5 more runs with a triple by Spilly and homer by Iannetta

Inning 5)  No shut out by the rookie, Rox go quietly.

Inning 6)  Quiet inning no runs scored!

Inning 7)  Another triple by the Rox and Rox score lucky 13

Inning 8)  Relief for Rox get little sloppy but with a 12 run lead what do you expect...Iannetta gets the runs back with another homer...second of the night and 6 runs batted in...monster night for Rox catcher

Inning 9)  Street gets mop up duty and doesn't give up a run!

Extra:  Seventeenth time Rox have scored 15 runs and are now 17-0 (0.6% of the time)!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Box Score Bytes - Game 50

Inning1)  Can Ubaldo learn something from this experience?  Two hits and down by one...

Inning 2)  Cards steal a base and the 10th this week...Rox strike back and give U-Ball a lead

Inning 3)  So much for settling in with a lead as Jimenez gives it back with a double to lead off the top of the inning but resilient Rox strike back with EY Jr singling, getting to second on a bunt (!), and home on a single by CarGo (formula of success?)

Inning 4)  Pitchers settling in, three up three down

Inning 5)  Four groundouts and two K's

Inning 6)  Ubaldo gives up a single and triple and the unraveling begins.

Inning 7)  Daley can't stop the Cards either and gives up another three runs...game effectively over at the this point with Rox down by 6 runs.  To prove the point in the bottom half of the inning Rox strike out twice.

Inning 8)  Rox new call up, Bruce Billings, gets his first stint in the Bigs, two singles and a pitcher's best friend the double play.

Inning 9)  Cards get another run as Billings first outing is shaky to say the least...5 singles, double, wild pitch, and two double plays...whew a Coors Field welcoming.  Rox go quietly into the night...

Friday, May 27, 2011

Box Score Bytes - Game 49

Inning 1) Yeah so much for the new look lineup with Smith at the top. Takes two strikes and then goes down swinging on third pitch...Ricky Henderson would be sad...of course Herrera does get on and what do our big bats do? Two groundouts yup when things aren't going your way...

Inning 2) Defensive error but Mortensen pitches out of a huge jam by getting two key strikeouts

Inning 3) Zzzzzzz!

Inning 4) Two walks lead to three runs, Rox ability to find themselves behind is just killing them. If Rox could get the lead, I think you'd see a lot more of what we saw in game one of this series...relaxed confident at bats

Inning 5) Another D-Backs stolen base...any advance scouts watching this series will quickly spread the word that Rox can be run on...great! Is Smith a leadoff guy? Third at bat and again gets 3 pitches...leadoff hitter = baserunner
Importance of a Good Leadoff Man?
Inning 6)  Revenge from Mr. Mora...which by the way I think the clubhouse misses.  He was a positive influence!  Yup down by three runs, the heart of the order coming up, and what do we get?  Two groundouts and a strikeout...come on your better than this!

Inning 7)  Daley looking a whole lot better than the mess that was Paulino and Morales...Rox finally come alive...bases loaded sac fly and two RBI single by Spilly!  Unfortunately rally ended before tying the game.

Innig 8)  Again heart of the order, Rox down by one, two groundouts and a strikeout...a lot of money being spent on groundouts and strikeouts!

Inning 9)  And then any possible chance to maybe win the game goes away after Street issues a two run homer...Rox offense deflates even further and the Lopez experiment ends with him striking out to end the game...kind of fitting for his cup of coffee as a Rox.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Box Score Bytes - Game 48

Inning 1)  Nice one Smith...getting thrown out by the left fielder when you make a too large of turn at second, good way to squash an inning.

Inning 2)  Hammel has two looking Ks and Kennedy has one in the inning.

Inning 3)  Nada

Inning 4)  Nice throw em out strike out double play and Helton gets Smith home on a SAC fly to put Rox ahead 1-0

Inning 5)  Nice catch by CarGo, not a nice 6-3 groundout to end the inning with the bases loaded, in hindsight that was the game...

Inning 6)  Go figure, night Tulo takes off Amezaga throws wild to first and the error eventually leads to D-Backs first run.  Although I wonder how he wasn't out at first because he came off first in fair territory?  Anyway up to that point Hammel was under control but D-Backs scored again on a Coors Field bloop single...

Inning 7)  Helton gets all three outs in the inning unassisted and his counterpart has a part in three of the outs in the bottom half!

Inning 8)  One pitch out for Belisle and Wiggy sends one to the deepest part of the outfield for a jumping leap out...boo!

Inning 9)  D-Backs get their 4th stolen base of the night (!) and Giambi hits for all the marbles and flies out to Center...he has 9 hits this year, 6 of them for homers...

Rox Lose fall to .500, depressing

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Box Score Bytes - Game 47

1)  Decent pitching performance by Chacin who goes 7 but has one nightmare inning....we should remember this kid is only 23 and has all of 2 years in the Bigs.  Weight on his shoulders is going to be heavier now that de la Rosa is done for this year and with U-Ball struggling...

2)  Giambi has found the fountain of youth or at least a bat he likes...hits 5 homers in last 5 games.

3)  Purple uniforms have turned against us...1-7 this month

4)  Pretty punchless offense for the night cap...6 hits, 2 homers, and Tulo goes 0 for 4.  Loved the article by Kizla today...time the excuses stop and decide whether this season is going to be special...

5)  It was the Matt relief squad in Game 2 today...

Box Score Bytes - Game 46

1) First game in a double header...whoohoo and it's raining...believe this is 38th double header in Rox history and to think back in the day double headers were the norm not a rarity.

2) Through first three innings the Rox compared to what the D-Backs were doing indicates the direction both teams seemed to be heading. Fowler walked and stayed at first while CarGo and Tulo both flied out and then Rox do a good job getting Iannetta to third with two outs and Fowler strikes out. I don't expect runners to score in the situations above but with what the Rox say they are trying to do then in these instances we need to score at least once. Meanwhile Arizona got men on and double stealed them to second and third. Then a ground out and single lead to three runs.

3) Uh Oh, not good when your number one starter, de la Rosa, has to leave before the third inning is done and then have your Game 3 starter come in for relief...and to later discover he will need season ending Tommie John surgery...season just got tougher...who is going to step up?

4) Forget the first three innings, the fourth Rox big bats came out of the closet and a mighty thumping occurs!

5) Two homers for CarGo and this one almost goes to my seats...too bad I was at work!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Box Score Bytes - Game 45

1)  Girrrrrrrrr!

2)  Story of the year....second complete game in five days by our starter and each time they got the loss.  

3)  Rox get 1 run off 4 hits and opponents get 3 runs of 2 hits...pathetic!  Another error leads to an unearned run of course offense still couldn't generate enough offense to make it matter...

4)  Dex gets moved to the second hole...hmmm...maybe it's time to realize he isn't a lead off guy...of course Amezaga and Herrera aren't lead off guys either...wonder what EY Jr is doing?

5)  Biggest Tracy blunder of the year?  Yup this one goes into the "what was he thinking" page when he allowed U-Ball to swing when he came to the plate with one out and bases loaded in the bottom of the fourth.  He promptly grounded into a double play to end the inning and pretty much any offense the Rox would mount for the remainder of the day...

6)  Five of the nine innings, Rox sent up the minimum (3 batters...)...Fire someone!

Rox Talk - Week 8

The Week That Was
A 3-4 week against the Giants, Phillies, and Brewers. The Rox currently stand at 23-22. Three and half games behind the Giants for the division lead. Currently 11-10 at home and 12-12 on the road, the Rox have outscored its opponents 199-163 (expected wins is 24 versus historical wins at 19). On pace for 83 wins with 716 runs scored and 670 runs against. Playoff indicator (Runs scored/Runs Against ratio) is 1.07 (1.16 indicates high playoff potential).

Listening to the Yankee broadcast yesterday (yeah I like John Sterling's call) and they were talking about batting averages and what not and I started wonder if instead of some gradual transition, baseball is seeing a seismic shift towards pitching and defense.  The current OBP average in 2011 is at 0.319, it was 0.325 in 2010, 0.337 in 2009, 0.333 in 2008, 0.336 in 2007, 0.336 in 2006, 0.330 in 2005, 0.335 in 2004, 0.332 in 2003, 0.331 in 2002, and 0.332 in 2001 for an average of 0.332 in ten years.  So is a drop of 0.013 a big deal (Batting average over that period 0.264 versus 0.250 this year)?  Well in the big scheme of things probably not.  It equates to about 22 more hits or walks or hit by pitch for each team in the league so far

But perhaps what is a bigger deal...slugging percentage has gone from an average of 0.420 in that period to 0.387 this year.  Add this to not getting on base as much and what do you see?  A game that perhaps is returning to a game that doesn't wait for the big home run to win a game?  Could mean that taking the extra base, stealing, speed, and bunting could be becoimg a factor.  Or it could mean nothing, 2 months into the season...the weather has been miserable and maybe offense just hasn't "hit" its groove.

But if a siesmic shift is occuring what does this mean for the Rox?  Yup we are 12th in the NL in stolen bases and we know about the inability to get a bunt down (calling Mr Fowler...).  Are the Rox built for the 3 run homer but not the one run game?  Rox are 5th in the NL in runs scored, 5th in home runs, 5th in walks,  and 6th in slugging.  So yeah we have had some big hits but does a ranking in the big bat category lead to a 23-22 record?  My guess is that while we have some big wins (6-3 in blow outs) but a miserable 6 - 10 in one run games is that one reason the Giants win without power is that they win the close games.  This isn't really anything new...Tracy has been saying it all year...Rox need to hit with the situation not hit for the fences.  Until they can successfully do this the Rox are going to be a .500 team.

Furthermore what I can tell is that the Rox need a a fire cracker, a spark that gets on base.  With pitching and defense at a premium in the league Rox need to start playing small ball versus looking for the big bat.  We are at the quarter post and while it fine to hear Rox continue to say they are talented and that they will start hitting the fact is we are 45 games into the season.  When is a trend become the season?

What if they are wrong and they never start hitting?

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Box Score Bytes - Game 44

1) Who is Shaun Marcum and why is he now 6-1? Rox get four hits but strike out 8 against him?

2) Rox only had two runners in scoring position...wow!

3) Two errors one leading to a run and gee how much did the Rox lose by? Yup one run on the road...Rox are now 6-10 in one run games

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Box Score Bytes - Game 43

1) 21 players got in the game last night...only Helton, de la Rosa, U-Ball, and Mortensen didn't get to partake in any of the fun. Record? 24 players which happened in 2006 against the Cubs and 2010 against Dodgers. Of course both were in September when rosters were expanded...

2) Tulo got tossed - first time in his career (?)...so they said.

3) Only 63rd time Rox have had a 16 hit game...

4) Hammel goes deep for the first time in his career...I believe Rox pitchers have had 34 homers up to this point (?)

5) Rox had zero walks in 14 innings...yikes

6) Bullpen was at its worse...three blown leads...miserable

Friday, May 20, 2011

Box Score Bytes - Game 42

1)  I'm 40 and Giambi is 40...so thank you Mr Giambi for sticking up for us old folks ;)

2)  Egads but Fowler is on pace for 200 strikeouts...maybe we need to consider that we need a new lead off guy.

3)  4 K by Iannetta...yikes!

4)  Season high game score, 73, for Chacin

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Box Score Bytes - Game 41

1)  Our starters are getting a raw deal...first Jimenez is denied his first win yesterday and then de la Rosa pitches a complete game and gets the loss.  In Rox history 97 (98 now) complete games have been thrown and just 16 (17 now) have ended in a loss to the pitcher.  Three times for Astacio!  Yikes!

@ LAD L,0-1 8 J.Hammel (4-73-L)
STL L,0-1 9 J.Jennings (5-77-L)
@ SDP L,0-2 8 D.Neagle (4-65-L)
@ LAD L,0-3 8 D.Oliver (4-70-L)
@ SFG L,1-2 8 U.Jimenez (4-73-L)
@ FLA L,1-2 8 P.Astacio (4-75-L)
@ LAD L,1-2 8 D.Kile (5-70-L)
FLA L,1-3 7 J.Wasdin (5-63-L)
@ PHI L,1-3 8 R.Bailey (4-58-L)
@ LAD L,2-3 8 J.Jennings (5-48-L)
@ OAK L,2-3 8 P.Astacio (4-59-L)
@ CIN L,2-3 8 P.Astacio (5-49-L)
@ HOU L,2-3 8.2 P.Astacio (4-61-L)
@ LAA L,2-4 8 A.Cook (5-62-L)
@ HOU L,2-4 8 J.Kennedy (5-50-L)
@ NYM L,2-4 8 B.Bohanon (6-56-L)

2)  Wild Pitch will always come back to haunt you...how frustrating that one hit gets them one run by way of a sac bunt, wild pitch, and sac fly.  Small ball wins games...

3)  Phillies closer earned his pay...allows double by Smith, an intentional walk to Helton and strikes out the side to include CarGo, Tulo, and Giambi.  Madison's WPA for that one inning was 0.164 (32% of the game was decided right there!).  Interesting to note that all 3 pitchers in that game add positve WPA meaning both offenses were worthless ;)

4)  Base running gaffes - an issue or just being aggresive?  Tracy would probably say he appreciates the aggressiveness and media would probably say the Rox are running themselves out of innings.  Is there a happy medium?  Who knows but statistically it has amounted to -4.6 runs and places us 27th in baseball...

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Box Score Bytes - Game 40

1)  Look ma all I did was go out and pitch the best game of the season by going 7 innings and striking out 7 and all I got was this lousy t-shirt (or no decision...).  Is U-Ball back?  Ask me after the next game...we need some consistency.  Can it be something as simple as arm slot?  Hard to believe but I don't think you have him throw 116 pitches if you thought he was really hurt...

2)  Everything in the 8th started with Spilly...Mr Maddening

3)  CarGo's new nickname is Giant Slayer...wonder if he names his bat, like in the movie, Major League?

4)  Nice thing about yesterday's win...efficiency...5 runs, 7 hits, and no walks...Rox took what the Giants gave them.  Great hit by Fowler...as frustrating as he has been at the plate (strikout king) he has gotten those extra bases when needed...now if he could just lay a bunt and steal a base once in a while

5)  Is this the series that defines the season?  Probably not but it should be used as a stepping stone to winning series again like they started the season.  This series was a microcosm of what the Rox were doing before the fall and that was taking what they were given, turning errors into runs, solid starting pitching, and shut down relief.

6)  At 40 games the Rox are a quarter of the way there...how do their numbers project versus last year and the "experts" opinion?

The offense for the most part is tracking well.  Big zeros for Stewart, Wiggington, and Lopez.  One of these three has got to start hitting...please?
I had Cook and Daley both starting the year with Rox so obviously no data there but my guess is that Mortensen and Rogers would probably be comparable to what Cook would have.  Morales probably has similar expectations as Palino although his numbers are skewed because most projections have him being a Starter. While most of the starters are on pace with their 2010 numbers they are above projections so wouldn't that be nice to see our starters get even better!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Box Score Bytes - Game 39

1) Who is Clayton Mortensen? Giant Slayer? Well he did pitch in Oakland so he does have a hatred for the other side of the Bay. Strangest link to this is that the Cardinals traded him to Oakland as part of the deal that sent Matt Holliday to the Cardinals. So not only did we get CarGo and Street but we also get Mortensen. Huge night tonight on the mound with Rox reeling, he settled the ship and got the win!

2) CarGo's homer in the sixth...AWESOME...you going to cry to momma tonight about the humidor Mr Lincecum?

3) Four double plays tonight by the Rox...one short of the team's record. Just call it the Eliminator

4) No strike outs by Fowler! Two hits by Lopez! Could the offense be awakening from its slumber?

5) Only 3 walks from Rox pitching staff versus eight from the opposition...a Rox win...a coincidence?

Rox Talk - Week 7

The Week That Was
A 2-4 week against the Mets and Padres. The Rox currently stand at 20-18. One and half games behind the Giants for the division lead. Currently 9-10 at home and 11-8 on the road, the Rox have outscored its opponents 170-163 (expected wins is 20 versus historical wins at 17). On pace for 85 wins with 725 runs scored and 695 runs against. Playoff indicator (Runs scored/Runs Against ratio) is 1.04 (1.16 indicates high playoff potential).

Listening to the pre-game show today Jack indicated to Jim in the Manager's Talk that fans and the media can sometimes look at the numbers and jump to conclusions too often.  Also earlier in the pre-game Tulo sort of mentioned the same thing indicating how long the baseball season can be.  As a passionate fan, I say to both Jim and Tulo that it isn't a long season.  Passion has to be there night in and night out.  Too often this team has shrugged off poor April/May by saying they will get hot down the stretch.  Last time I checked that theory has only worked one time!

Enough of the "it's a long season", "lots of ups and downs", "don't get too high or too low"...yeah well two cellar dwellers came into your house and beat the crap out of you.  If it had been the Phillies or Giants or Cardinals, I would agree with the assessment that it's a long season.  But we are talking about the Mets and Padres...two teams that aren't going to the playoffs and have both a pitching staff and lineup that are pathetic and yet they came into your home and smashed the ball into your face.  Something has to give...someone needs to step up and say this is our home, not yours, and start playing like you care.

I go to a lot of games and frankly for the money I am paying I want wins every night.  I don't want some sorry excuse for why you blew a 7-1 lead to a team that has been shut out 8 times already.  Winning on the road is hard enough so take the wins at home when they present themselves.  Someone needs to show some excitement, some emotion, something that indicates to me that I should care about this team every homestand.  And I'm a fan, what about those first timers, those kids...don't let them go home sad, make them go home excited because they saw players who cared about winning and losing even in May!

My rant is done...thank you!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Box Score Bytes - Game 38

1)  What is wrong with the picture...the Rox are 9-10 at home.  Not a good sign...the ability for the Rox to contend or any team for that matter is success at home.  Rox don't win 50 games at home they aren't making the playoffs...

2)  Hard to believe this team is being kept afloat offensively by Helton.  P90X for everyone!

3)  I imagine CarGo and Tulo are going through some growing pains at this point.  Teams know that success against the Rox are shutting these two guys down.  Pitchers know that Helton isn't going to beat them and so they spend a whole lot time ensuring our big two just get a pitch or two to hit.  The two of them need to take what they are getting and just get on base and trust those behind them to get them home.

4)  Why is Paulino still wearing a Rox uniform?  Thanks for playing...just take your $790,000 and go.  Rox need to cut there losses.  He hasn't shown the ability to pitch as a reliever...too many walks.  Remember this is a guy who went 4-20 over the last two years in Houston...

5)  And what about walks (Troy Renck mentioned this in his weekly column)?  Yup more walks in a game lead to less wins
4 - 5 Walks a Game is the Difference Between a Win and Lose

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Box Score Bytes - Game 37

1) 7-1 lead evaporates in the last three innings on a rainy chilly Colorado afternoon.

2)  Always nice to see a former Rox come in and have revenge...NOT!

3)  Leading after six innings Rox usually would have an 80% chance of winning...and scoring 7 runs, the Rox have a 147-64 record...go figure

4)  Yikes Rox home record is 9-9...where did the home field advantage go?  2-3 on the current homestand...while it is only May, Rox need to retake the advantage especially if they are going to get to 50 home wins

5) Helton hits his 5th homer...not bad as he only had 8 last year.

Box Score Bytes - Game 36

1)  Rox finally release the hounds @ home!  Bang out 16 hits!  How rare is 16 hits?  Through 2010 it has happened 62 times (out 2,854 games, 2.2%).

2)  Tulo hits a majestic shot to deep left field.  Pretty

3)  Of course not to be a buzz kill but Rox kept Padres in the game.  de la Rosa did not shut the door on them and kept their hopes alive...if final score wasn't 12-7 then we could have been talking about how Rox didn't have that killer mentality!

4)  Padres balk in a run...I smell research...look into that!

5)  First real nice night at the ballpark.  Nice crowd, warm temperatures...and of course more snow is expected this weekend :(

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Box Score Bytes - Game 35

1) Hat Trick by Met's Beltran...Doh!

2) Over the last 162 games the Rox are 85-77 although 51-49 in the last 100 games and 21-29 in the last 50 games. 

3) Rox fall to half game behind the Giants for first place : (

4)  U-Ball's problem appears to be mental.  Data below is before he was 15-1 (April 08 - Oct 10), during the 15-1 stretch (Cy), and after.  His pitches really aren't all that different nor is the speed appreciable different according to Texas Leaguer.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Box Score Bytes - Game 34

1)  Little slow but since it is snowing today (!) and today's game postponed I figured I had the time...

2)  In the eighth inning last night when Rox were down by one run and had CarGo, Tulo, and Helton comng to the plate (and in fantasy land if the bases were loaded let's bring in Giambi and add his $128,555,000 lifetime earnings), approximately $395,696,000 came to the plate and what did Rox get for their money?  A high popfly to the shortstop, strikeout, and strikeout.  And this was against a 38 and 37 year old reliever.  And you wonder why we are having offensive woes...

3) Three homers and no base traffic...and we lose...

4)  Strangest sequence of the night...Crazy At Bat in Bottom of 7th. Fowler started the at bat against Pelfrey. During an extended at bat the umps called for a rain delay (the count was 2 and 2). After an hour delay Fowler comes back out to bat facing Isringhausen and proceeds to foul a pit off his left knee. Unable to complete the at bat in comes Spilborghs who works the count for a walk!

Updated:  And linked here....

Monday, May 9, 2011

Box Score Bytes - Game 33

1)  Rox win with one man.  Iannetta plates the first run (with help from Dex) and then breaks the tie with a homer in the 7th.  Oh yeah and he nails the tying run at second trying to steal in the 9th.  Nice night for someone who gets a ration of crap every time he doesn't do something...give Fu Manchu some love!

2)  Nice to see Belisle get a win.   Lifetime record is now 28-30.  Life of a middle reliever...479 innings pitched in 247 appearances but 8 years in the Bigs.

3)  Can anything positive be gained by Stewart's continued appearances?  Another strikeout, no hits, and an error too.  Come on find something to build on...

4)  Two lousy runs - good to be home but really in the first they had bases loaded and got nothing to show for it...could have been a whole lot easier if they had taken care of things early in the game.

5)  I feel sorry for the team that awakens this lineup.  Someday this team will hit "and I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers" so says Samual L. Jackson

Rox Talk - Week 6

The Week That Was
A 1-5 week against the D-Backs and Giants. The Rox currently stand at 18-14. One game lead in the division. Currently 7-6 at home and 11-8 on the road, the Rox have outscored its opponents 139-125 (expected wins is 18 versus historical wins at 15). On pace for 91 wins with 704 runs scored and 633 runs against. Playoff indicator (Runs scored/Runs Against ratio) is 1.11 (1.16 indicates high playoff potential).

Wow what a difference a week makes.  Last week we were making excuses like yeah the Rox offense is not hitting on all cyclinders but hey we have a four and half game lead in the division.  Yeah well the other shoe dropped this week when not only did our offense fail to do anything (scored 16 runs!) but then the bullpen finally showed its weakness (anyone want Morales or Paulino, cheap....).  Last year Belisle was the savior in that long relief role when behind in tight games.  This year he has shown to be a mere mortal. 

As far as the offense goes just look at the graph below.  Before that first series with the Giants we were on pace to score 900+ runs (granted small sample size) but since then we are now on pace to score 704 runs.  So in a 15 game span our offense has sputtered significantly.  Realistically there is no scapegoat although we'd like to just pin it on Stewart but I think Stewart does serve as the example to why our offense is going nowhere and that is the failure to make adjustments.  The book is out there and if you continue to go up to the plate expecting them to just give you your pitch then you are sunk before you get to the box.  The pendulum has swung back to the pitcher being the dominant side of the equation (two no hitters this year and heck 4 almost no no just to the Rox alone!).

Small Sample Size but 15 Games Ago Rox on Pace for 900 Runs

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Box Score Bytes - Game 32

1)  Well so much for the new improved road team.  Now the Rox can't win at home or the road.  Miserable first road trip through the NL West.  Gee at the end of May we have a three team swing through LA, SF, and San Diego followed by another one in late July when we do the Arizona, LA, and San Diego and then of course the late August romp through LA, Arizona, then San Diego and oh yeah that final three game set of the year in San Francisco.  How much you want to bet the Rox are up by three games entering that final series or the Giants are up by two?  

2)  Three hits?  Wow it must be the Sunday lineup...

3)  How impatient will management and Tracy be after this road trip?  This team is built to win now and while they are 18-14 they have shown absolutely nothing in the last 3 weeks.  Stewart confidence erased, Fowler is a strikeout machine, CarGo and Tulo can't seem to find their connection, and Smith is just going through the motions.  Do you bring up a spark plug, someone who will try and prove they belong in the Bigs?

4)  Rox can't rely on their Starters forever.  At some point they are going to have to hit (unlike the Giants which is their M.O.)

5)  1- 6 in May...with a better Met team coming into town followed by the Padres and then guess who...the Giants for a short two games.  Rox need to make a statement!

Box Score Bytes - Game 31

You know at some point you just have to shake your head in disbelief and say baseball has a strange sense of humor.  I respect all teams but I do dislike the Giants and their current make up and to see this cobbled together lineup just win night after night against the Rox is just painful. 

I mean you have a nice young catcher, third baseman, and average right fielder but then you've got a 34 yo first baseman (0.281/.343/.473), 33 yo journeyman second baseman (0.297/.335/.413), 37 yo SS/3B  (0.286/.337/.460), 34 yo left fielder (0.254/.362/.474), and a 33 yo centerfield (0.276/.334/.441).  Bunch of misfits for a bench. 

Of course you do have a hell of a pitching staff and a surprising amount of former Rox relievers but why this team has our number is just a mystery of baseball...I will leave it at that!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Box Score Bytes - Game 30

1)  I fell asleep and they loss...

2)  U-Ball looked good although he just seems like he grew or something over the Winter because he kind of looks like my 13 year old who has grown 6 inches in the last year and his muscles haven't caught up yet?

3)  Well last year the relief corps blew back to back games only once and Belisle was the lucky one having done it at home against Houston last year.  I think Paulino is the wrong one to send in during these situations..

4)  No data to support this but I wonder if it wouldn't make more sense to mix up your bullpen matches against division opponents?  I mean Rox play them 72 times...do we really need them to see Betancourt and Street in the same situations thoughout the year?

5) Beautiful homer by Tulo...number 100 in his career.  Hard to believe of all the 17,541 players who have gone to the show only 762 of them have hit more at least 100 homers...that's 4%.  And looks who had 99...

Friday, May 6, 2011

Box Score Bytes - Game 29

1)  You know wearing purple is our secret weapon (we are 10-4 when in purple) except I think we need to not wear purple when we play the D-Backs as we are 1-2 against them in purple (this is serious analysis my friend!)

2)  Rox are a pathetic 0-3 in extra innings this year...last night was just sad...how is it that in the 11th you have two men on base, no outs, with Helton, Smith, Stewart up and you can't get a run home.  I have harped on this all year but when is this team going to make timely hits.  Baylor got fired as the hitting coach for this same reason and all we heard in Spring Training was how Lansford was going to get this team to conditioned to get that hit...yeah well Mr Lansford whatever you're teaching stinks!  This team is batting 0.237, can we fire a hitting coach midseason?  Please...

3)  No knock on Street but that was brewing for a long time...that boy was writing checks his arm couldn't cash (to make a mockery of a personal favorite movie line...)

4)  So my question is does Hammel talk to Street at all for like the next week?

5)  After a 10-2 start the Rox have gone 8-9 and it shows.  Lack of hitting will eventually catch up with you.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Box Score Bytes - Game 28

1) From @harding_at_mlb (Thomas Harding) - Todd Helton has tied Lou Gehrig for 30th on the all-time doubles list with Lou Gehrig, 534.  Impressive feat...can anyone tell me why Chipper gets more love than Helton?

2)  Chacin went 7 and gave up 3 hits (2 were homers...)

3)  Tulo was robbed...hits chalk...it's fair

4)  Oh Huston, how you make me sweat ;)

5)  Come on boys lets finish this tomorrow and hit San Fran on a high note!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Box Score Bytes - Game 27

- Since our 2007 sweep of the D-Backs in the playoffs we are 21-33 against them and they have been one of the worst teams in the NL West in that stretch...remember last year's fall from grace in Phoenix (Sept 21 three game set)...it was that series that ended Rox hopes

- Rox are just out of sorts...there is no rhythm to their play...look like they were just thrown together, there isn't anything binding them together?

- CarGo looks like he is finding his pitches and of course now Tulo can't find anything (no Yin and Yang please)...get in sequence!

- Stupid Move Note for Tracy...why did you bring Paulino in?  Tie game with D-Backs bullpen...you play for win with Betancourt in 8th and Street in the 9th...then take your chances

Monday, May 2, 2011

Rox Talk - Week 5

The Week That Was
A 3-2 week against the Cubs and Pirates. The Rox currently stand at 17-9. Four and half game lead in the division. Currently 7-6 at home and 10-3 on the road, the Rox have outscored its opponents 123-104 (expected wins is 15 versus historical wins at 12). On pace for 106 wins with 766 runs scored and 648 runs against. Playoff indicator (Runs scored/Runs Against ratio) is 1.18 (1.16 indicates high playoff potential).

And that was April...Whew!  Based on the events that happened over night, I guess before I go on some rant about the Rox I probably should step back and realize that what the Rox do night in and night out is to play a game on a field the same size that I played when I was a child.  Not to say that what big leaguers do is childish but realize they are lucky to be able to play a child's game!

So instead of whining about U-Balls dead arm (see graph below), or CarGo's April slump, or losing two of three to the Pirates, or Fowler's strikeouts, or Lopez's slow start, or Spilly awful pinch hitting, or anything else I should simply look at the standings of the NL West and realize our Rox are in first place.  With all that has happened (or didn't happen), the Rox took care of business (for once in April) and now have the advantage of playing above average baseball the rest of the way instead of being supermen trying to make up 10 games during the Summer!

It is kind of comical how we view our team.  8 games over 0.500, 4 and half game lead, and suddenly nothing is right with this team...what would we do if the Rox were 8 under 0.500 instead?  Maybe if that had happened we would feel OK because that is what we are used to but now we are the front runners.  Teams look at us differently now because we are the division leaders.  Maybe as fans we simply don't know what to do but complain?

In the end I think the last week of April soured the month.  Up until we hit the gauntlet of the Giants and Marlins pitching we were averaging 5.6 runs per game and then after that stretch we ended up averaging only 4.8 over the entire month.  Getting almost no hit three times in one week has got to mess with your head.  Throw in the weather and Rox must have felt like leftovers being freezed (Colorado), thawed (Florida), and then back to freeze (Chicago and Colorado).  I think this especially messed with the pitchers and probably the extended time off hurt the offense.  So anyway as the saying goes you can't win a pennant in April but you can certainly lose one and the Rox didn't hurt themselves!

Links and Other Random Thoughts
- Tulo article in NY Times - This one was published awhile back but I don't think I included it...

- After the rain out in Chicago and the difficulty of scheduling games later in the season I wondered if a home team had ever hosted a double header but with two different teams?  While officially this is not a doubleheader (definition states that it is between the same two teams) I had to wonder.  According to Wikipedia it happened in:

"On September 25, 2000, the Cleveland Indians hosted a doubleheader against two different teams. The September 10 game against the Chicago White Sox in Cleveland had been rained out. With no common days off for the remainder of the season and both teams in a post-season race, the teams agreed to play a day game in Cleveland on the same day that the Indians were to host the Minnesota Twins for a night game. The Indians defeated the White Sox 9-2 in the first game while the Twins defeated the Indians 4-3 in the second."

- Nice article on developing 50 game winners for an organization.  The Rox can say they have done it with U-Ball, Francis, and Jennings (by the way article left out Cook)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Box Score Bytes - Game 26

1)  You know I don't mind when the Rox lose, I just hate it when they lose to teams they should beat especially at home.  Hard to believe the Rox are 7-6 at home and 10-3 on the road.  Maybe they need the curve ball machine at home!

2)  Bizarro world continues with the Rox in first place, eight games over .500, and Ubaldo now 0-2.

3)  Bad enough to get beat by Hurdle twice this weekend and then to have our comeback in the 6th squashed by none other than Joe Biemel..."God's Gonna Cut You Down"  Ughhh

4)  Nice Sunday afternoon crowd, too bad Rox can't play like a first place team!

5)  Rogers had a nice 40 pitch inning...in the years 2008 - 2011, 40 pitch inning have happened only 12 times in 9,100 innings...go figure.