Monday, April 30, 2012

Rox Talk - Week 4

The Week That Was
A 2-4 week against the Pirates and Mets. The Rox currently stand at 10-11.  Five and half games behind the Dodgers for the division lead in fourth place. Currently 6-6 at home and 4-5 on the road, the Rox have been outscored by its opponents 107-110 (expected wins is 10 versus historical wins at 10). On pace for 77 wins with 825 runs scored and 849 runs against. Playoff indicator (Runs scored/Runs Against ratio) is 0.97 (1.16 indicates high playoff potential).

I have an eerie feeling that 2012 is going to similar to the days of yesteryear when 10-9 games were the norm rather than the outlier.  Rox offense has been spectacularly good and ugly at the same time.  The three game series in Pittsburgh proved the ugly part and the three game series at home against the Mets showed the good.  And as all things go when you aren't hitting your pitchers stand out and when you offense is humming your pitching stinks.  Last week was polar opposites.  With LA coming in this week I cringe at the offensive possibilites.  I could see LA leaving this week having scored at least 30 runs.  With LA sitting at 16-6 and the Rox 5.5 games out we could basically bury ourselves in April.  Kind of frightening to think our team could be going through the motions the rest of the season.  Sure we will surge in late summer as always but with the mediocre division I don't see us getting a Wild Card.  I know it's early but pitching as been every bit as awful as we expected.

We have been spoiled looking at the Rox pitching from 2007 - 2010.  Those four years will go down as the greatest pitchers ever!  236 wins to only 210 loses.  Graph below shows starting pitcher winning percentage with each progressive four year cycle.  The smaller black dots show team winning percentage.  Not to be alarmist but our starter's are on pace for 31 wins and 54 loses or a 0.365 winning percentage!  On the bright side even our worse staffs managed to win 40% so shouldn't be too concerned with the rough April start but arms need to get going...

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Box Score Bytes - Game 21

- Last year I was curious about game number and win/loss records.  After 19 years you would think that the record on any given game number would be close to 0.500 give or take except if you look below you see an outlier...and that would be Game 21.  Rox can't win when they play Game 21.  Today's loss adds to the futility as they are now 1-19 all time on Game 21.  Their only win came in 2010 against the D-Backs at home.  Thirteen of these games were on the road but still their second worst day they have at least won 3 games on Game 120 and Game 161.  Their best day?  14-5 on Game 93 (the year of their birth...)

- Rox came pretty close today rallying in the 8th and 10th only to see the Mets score in the Top of the 11th to go on to win.

- Old man Helton, who must have gotten pumped up with Peyton Manning's visit, hit his second pinch hit homer of the season and collected his 6th grand slam of his career.  Helton will probably take over Giambi's roll in another few years.  The way he can work counts is magic.  He is a special player, a true Rox Star.

- Not a good start to the home stand especially with the best player in baseball coming to town.  If I was Tracy I would intentional walk Kemp every time comes to the plate.  Rox might need to bring up an extra relief pitcher for the rest of the week to make it.

- Did some one turn off the humidor?

- Santana has now thrown 22 innings against Rox without allowing a run.  Rox had their chances as they had a runner on third 3 separate innings only to allow Santana to wiggle away.  And come on Giambi in the bottom of the 4th with CarGo on third with two outs and the shift on in a major way with Wright playing a shallow shortstop why couldn't you just bunt up the 3rd base line?  

- First time Cuddyer has faced his old team mate in Santana.  They were 22 year olds on the 2001 Minnesota Twins.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Box Score Bytes - Game 20

- Add bicycle riding to one of the weirder causes for putting a player on the DL,  Guthrie loses his change goes over the bike and bangs up the shoulder.  Moscoso gets the emergency start.

- Todd gets his 560th double, 22nd all time.

- Another triple that makes 10 for season, leading the NL.  They only have 22 homers.  Wonder why the triples this year?  Are outfield defenses shifted to such a degree that anything in the gaps cause the ball to roll forever?

- Rox aren't going to have a bullpen by July.  We sure can score but so can the other guys!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Box Score Bytes - Game 19

-  On any normal day if your opponent gets 9 runs on 17 hits and one of your players hits for the cycle you probably be pretty happy with the win, unless you commit 6 errors and your opponent scores 18 runs!

-  Yikes two games this year the Rox have scored 17 and 18 runs.  In the previous 19 years Rox scored 17 runs five times and 18 runs four times.

- Both times this happened EY Jr got two at bats in the same inning as a pinch hitter

- Rox got their first grand slam of the year by Hernandez

- The clock has started on Fowler.  With him dropped to 8th in the lineup it is time to put up or shut up.

- Eleven runs in the 5th, some teams don't score that many runs in a series let alone a single inning!

- I love when CarGo gets it is such a sweet swing

- 11th time in Coors history that a player has hit for the cycle (5 by opponents and 6 by Rox).  According to Elias the cycle came with the largest margin of defeat by the team having the cycle since 1900.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Box Score Bytes - Game 18

- That was the 36th Double Header in Rox history.  They are 35-37 on double header days.  In those 36 double headers they have swept the games 10 times, lost both 11 times, and have split the series 15 times.  Eight of the games have gone into extra innings with one second game going to 15 innings!

- Rox finish their first 18 games or as I like to call it the first inning at 9-9.  The confounding part to me is that they went 2-4 in Houston and Pittsburgh against two teams with not a whole lot of talent.

- How long until the new, old Purple uniforms are banded from existence.  Rox are 0-3 with them.  Bet they don't wear them next Monday against the Dodgers?

- How long a leash does Chacin have?  With some talent in the minors we might see some changes.  Chacin is acting a lot like Ubaldo.

- Hernandez has had a quiet 3 home run year.

- Interestingly Tracy chose to try and win both games yesterday.  Didn't tank one of his lineups like you would expect.  Long season but you've got to get wins

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Box Score Bytes - Game 17

- Three hits and two runs on sacrifice fly balls give Rox a win .  54th time in Rox history that they have been 3 hit.  Rox are 89-254 when scoring just 2 runs.

- Nice bounce back win for the bullpen.  They record 7 outs allowing no base runners and record 5 strikeouts.

- Too bad Nicasio's great start doesn't earn him a W.  Off course Pittsburgh's starter goes 7 innings and allows one run on one hit with 8 strike outs and gets nothing too.

- Wonder if the early morning, Denver time, messed with the lineup?  Fortunately a nice quick game and no high bullpen usage.  Wonder how it feels to play 18 innings in a day?

- Nice to see Tracy go to defense in the 9th putting Todd there.  Imagine Todd will get the nod this afternoon.

- Betancourt gets his 6th save.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Box Score Bytes - Game 16

- As the radio broadcast team reminded me on my drive home, the Pirates have never had a winning season since the Rox have been in that is a long time

- Moyer is 2-5 all time in Pittsburgh but 30-23 in Philly.  A tale of two cities in Pennsylvania

- Go figure we heap praise on Belisle on Sunday and then he gives it up tonight.  His error allowed the winning run to eventually score...that gosh darn defense at it again

- Anyone as uncomfortable as I am when we face former Rox, like tonight with Hurdle managing and Barmes at the plate.  Barmes came into the game with 3 hits 30 at bats and then proceeds to go 3 for 3 tonight with 2 doubles and a home run to tie the game in the 8th...ughhhhhh

- Too bad since CarGo went deep twice and had three of Rox six hits.

- Another nice night for Moyer.  Guy could be 4-0 if it wasn't for Tulo's bad defense and a bad bullpen.  Can't the baseball gods give a 49 year old a break once in a while?

- See the Pirates are making it happen in Pittsburgh, a whooping 10,484 showed up to the ballpark tonight.  Frankly Pittsburgh deserves better than this.  They have a great ballpark (it serves Yuengling for god's sake) and a rich baseball history.  Dumb luck like the Rox making the World Series would suggest the Pirates should fall into a winning season once in a while, yes?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Rox Talk - Week 3

The Week That Was
A 4-2 week against the Padres and Brewers. The Rox currently stand at 8-7.  Three and half games behind the Dodgers for the division lead in second place. Currently 5-4 at home and 3-3 on the road, the Rox have been outscored by its opponents 77-72 (expected wins is 7 versus historical wins at 7). On pace for 86 wins with 778 runs scored and 832 runs against. Playoff indicator (Runs scored/Runs Against ratio) is 0.94 (1.16 indicates high playoff potential).

After a rough first week, at least for the pitching staff, Rox have steadied the ship and are playing decent April baseball.  Nice to see for the most part the Rox have steered clear of any April headaches unlike some other surprise teams in baseball such as the Phillies (7-9), D-Backs (8-8), Angels (6-10), and Boston (4-10).  In the big scheme of things April winning percentages have as much ability to predict October baseball as Spring Training but I do think while you can't win a World Series in April, you can certainly put yourself on your heels and force to play catch up come late Summer.

With a three game set in Pittsburgh and then with Mets coming to town later this week, Rox could find themselves battling the Dodgers the week after next for first place (?) at home.  5-5 in the NL West, Rox could make a big statement by taking 2 games with LA.  Of course the bigger statement would be the gauntlet road trip in mid-May when Rox visit San Diego, LA, and San Fran (Fantasy stats death row for any Rox players...).  A .500 road trip through California should at least keep the Rox in the Division through the Summer.

With a perfect game thrown last week once again pitching is still dominating baseball talk.  As predicted the Rox haven't had a problem hitting.  Their batting average of 0.266 is 2nd in the NL but their team ERA of 4.50 is 14th.  Probably a bit early to declare this team a playoff contender if team pitching remains at the bottom of the league especially with LA at 5th, San Diego at 8th, San Fran at 9th, and Arizona at 13th.  Of course Philly and Pittsburgh are 2nd and 3rd respectively and their combined records are 13-18.  Baseball has so many moving pieces and parts.

Early Season Links
Quote of the Week, from "It's a Long Season" blog, "Baseball is a game of failure coached by negative people in an environment of misinformation."

Rob Neyer has an interesting take on the Three True Outcomes (I had never heard the term before in baseball speak). Strikeouts, Walks, and Home Runs.  Batter versus Pitcher with no fielding at play (although what about a dropped third strike?).  Rob references's Joe Lemire who writes that, "The 2012 season is in a dead heat with 200 and 2009 for king of defensive inaction with each team having an average of 11.4 plate appearances per game that result in one of the TTOs."  He continues with "Betwen the two teams there an average of 23 strikeouts, walks, and homers per game..."  I second Rob's concern with this trend because I like baseball with some action...For comparison sake in 2011 Rox had 6275 plate appearances and had 1201 K, 555 BB, and 163 HR or 31% of the outcomes in a TTO and in 2012 Rox have had 573 plate appearances and 105 K, 47 BB, and 14 HR or 29% of the outcomes.

Nice piece on the history of the Dodger, even if I do despise them although I think I despise the D-Backs and Giants more right now...

Fenway is what makes baseball magical sometimes...

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Box Score Bytes - Game 15

- Tracy won his 800th game.  Rox are 238-217 with him as the manager.  Interesting article here at Hardball Times about the rise and fall of our favorite (?) manager.

-Belisle has given up just 1 hit in the 7 games he has pitched @alanarizzoToday he stared down the barrel of a shotgun and got Braun to pop out, Ramirez to fly out, and Hart to strike out with two runners on.  Belisle also has not allowed a run in 15.1 innings dating back to Sept 2011.

-A series win!  Third series win in row over Arizona, San Diego, and now the Brewers.  Only 10 road series win last year.

- Cuddyer has two big hits during the series and arguably is the reason why Rox took 2 of 3.

-  Nice outing by Guthrie.  He ain't flashy but he is living up to what we needed and that is a guy who is going to give you 6-7 innings a start.  At least keeps the team in it.

- A rare Sunday win although Tracy didn't go with an all bench team today.  He sat out only Fowler and Helton.  Colvin again played a good center and added one hit.  Has a 0.323 average.

- Tulo was glad for a 3 game series in Milwaukee.  Upped his average to 0.296 from 0.244

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Box Score Bytes - Game 14

- One of those nights, especially after getting struck out on the side for the first inning.

- Rox were tied going into the 7th inning but Rogers, who up to this point has been Rox solid, but gave up 4 runs in the bottom half of inning.

- Pomeranz is scuffling in his first two starts.  Only going 5 innings he gave up 2 runs and had 3 walks.  He did have 6 strikeouts but threw 75 pitches.  He was perfect threw 4 but then fell apart.

- Helton hit is 3rd homer and now has 350 in the big leagues.  Good enough for 83 on the all time list tied with Chili Davis and Carlos Lee.  If he can get another 11 this season he would be tied with Joe DiMaggio in 73rd place.   Larry Walker is 58th with 383 and the Big Cat has 399.

-  Amazing to think we stand at 7-7 with our top to batters batting 0.204 and 0.205.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Box Score Bytes - Game 13

-  Last year Rox won the first game of the road trip just four times (out of 12 times).  In the road trips they won the first game they were 17-14 overall in the other 8 road trips they went 18-32.

- How rare are 1 run wins?  Rox went 21-27 last year, 14-15 on the road.

- April MVP?  Got to be Cuddyer.  Worth the overpayment at this point.  Leads the team in hits and has a 0.3 WAR already

- Helton hit his 2nd home run for the season.

- Chacin had his best outing so far...only one walk and six strikeouts...even had a RBI single for the cause.

- Tulo continues to rake against the Brewers.  He is batting 0.398 with 12 doubles, 7 home runs, and 22 RBIs.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Box Score Bytes - Game 12

- Rox bang out 6 doubles, two from their all time record.  A reversal after Padres did it on Monday night

- Nicasio gets first win since his broken neck, going 6.1 innings with 5 strikeouts and no walks...Nice and gets his first ever RBI!

- Rogers looks like he has found his role.  Came in and got 3 K's in 1.2 innings of work.  So far this year he has pitched 7.1 innings and has 9 K

- Base stealing wasn't a strong point getting caught three times tonight

- Fowler seems a bit anxious.  He had 4 at bats and saw 8 total pitches, compare this to Scutaro who saw 21 and CarGo who saw 14 in 3 at bats.  Think he is pressing a bit?

Box Score Bytes - Game 11

- 49 years, 150 days young Jamie Moyer won his 268th game last night becoming the oldest pitcher ever to win a MLB game.

Fun Facts (for me anyway):
1) He has faced 23 Hall of Famers (see link).  Struck out Nolan Ryan 5 times.  Faced Mike Schmidt 33 times. Faced Jim Rice and Don Sutton (Yikes he is old!)
2)  Barry Bonds faced him 42 times and has 0.216 batting average against him
3)  Dodgers manager Don Mattingly faced him 23 times and has six hits and one strikeout, White Sox manager Robin Ventura faced him 18 times and had 5 hits and 4 strikeouts, Yankees manager Joe Girardi faced him 13 times with one hit and 4 strikeouts, D-Backs manager Kirk Gibson faced him 10 times with 4 hits and one strikeout, Angels manager Mike Scioscia faced him 9 times with two hits, and San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy faced him 8 times with one hit.
4)  Todd Helton has 22 at bats with 5 hits
5)  He faced Bo Jackson 17 times
6) Faced Eric Young and Eric Young, Jr (Junior has one more hit than dad did), faced Prince and Cecil Fielder (Prince is batting 0.200 and his dad 0.189), Buddy and David Bell, and Bob, Bret, and Aaron Boone, to name a few...
7)  Faced the three Molina brothers (Yadier, Jose, and Bengie) although one has never caught for him
8) Faced Rox pitching coach Carney Lansford (2 hits and 2 strikeouts) and first base coach Glenallen Hill (only 4 hits in 25 plate appearances)
9)  One good reason Moyer joined the Rox?  He is 1-5 against us lifetime (his worse record against any team, owns the Nats though at 13-4)
10)  Loves Bank One and Petco (6-0 lifetime) but hates AT&T and Dodger Stadium (1-6 lifetime).  Has pitched in 49 different parks
11) Starting salary in 1986 at age 23 was $60,000 and made $8M at 47 with Phillies in 2010.
12) Made first All Star team when he was 40.
13) Has never hit a homerun, never stolen a base, been hit by one pitch, and has collected 49 hits

-  Fun game all around last night although what does Tulo have against Moyer?  In his 3 starts, Tulo has like 6 errors...

-  Dex leads the team with two home only has 9 home runs to this point (but 7 triples)

-  Beautiful double play turned by Brothers in the 8th.  Wow he was quick off the mound.  Bang bang play.

-  First game I have sat through a Huston Street pitching performance in like 2 years, of course it helps with him on the other team.

-  Crazy winds late in the game.  Couple of at bats the ball really flew off the bat only to die in the air (except for right field...jet stream over there)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Box Score Bytes - Game 10

- We have only played 10 games (remind myself again), we have only played 10 games (that is 6.2% of the season), we have only played 10 games (5 and half months until the playoffs start)'s OK, I promise it will be OK...

-  I am just going to assume that last night didn't happen, that we didn't get beat by 6 runs to the worst team in baseball, a team that supposedly can't hit a ball out of a paper bag, and a team that just hit half of their hits for doubles...

-  How may times am I going to say this?  How is it that we continually get brutalized by teams coming into our park...this isn't how it is suppose to be.  Opponent's pitchers have no fear at Coors anymore.  Why is it other teams feast on the thin air and we are sucking wind?  After seven games this year we have been outscored 37-44 (throw out the  17-8 game and we have been outscored 20 - 36).

-  One problem might be the fact of the 10 games Rox have played in they have been behind in 8 of them fairly early.  Below is the sad fact that Rox are barely into the game and already having to press to catch up.  Not easy having to come from behind all the time...

Game 1 Down 1-0 in 1st
Game 2  Down 1-0 in 1st
Game 4  Down 2-0 in 3rd
Game 6  Down 1-0 in 3rd
Game 7  Down 2-1 in 1st
Game 8  Down 1-0 in 1st
Game 9  Down 2-0 in 1st
Game 10 Down 2-0 in 1st

-  I hate to tell Marketing but Rox were 15-24 last year wearing purple and are 0-2 this year.  Don't think Purple Mondays is going to last...

- Rox have faced 5 lefties this year and are 1-4.  Last year they faced 49 lefties in 162 games.  They won 26 of those games

Monday, April 16, 2012

Rox Talk - Week 2

The Week That Was
A 3-3 week against the Giants and D-Backs. The Rox currently stand at 4-5.  Four and half games behind the Dodgers for the division lead in third place. Currently 3-3 at home and 1-2 on the road, the Rox have been outscored by its opponents 50-46 (expected wins is 4 versus historical wins at 4). On pace for 72 wins with 828 runs scored and 900 runs against. Playoff indicator (Runs scored/Runs Against ratio) is 0.92 (1.16 indicates high playoff potential).

I didn't bother with Week 1 as it was the opening series in Houston.  A disappointing 1-2 series where Rox should have taken 2 of 3 wins.  In the big scheme of things I think a 4-5 start is pretty good.  Looking at the season they probably gave one away in Houston but then stole two this week against the D-Backs.  Early season, especially in April, I think the best you can hope for is to stay consistent, let new teammates find their roles, don't get buried, and build on some things for the Summer (when it really counts).

I think the hard thing at this point of the season is that you've been without baseball for so long you just get excited and want your team to win every game.  Your expectations are so high.  This is brought on mostly because frankly no one in Spring Training tells the truth.  Every team has a chance if x, y, and z happen.  Now the odds of x, y, and z happening in the real world are never revealed (1% for most of us, unless you are the Yankees), but least the chance exists.

The Rox expectations were pretty low this year.  Without the Kool Aid, most people see this team being a 0.500 team.  Perhaps if they find some LoDo Magic they might get in the mid-80s and if the pitching completely falls apart then we find ourselves in the mid-70s.  Nothing great and nothing too bad just about an average summer.  Of course then Opening Day in Denver hit and suddenly this team was too old, terrible pitching, and disrespected the Denver faithful.  Nothing like April Boo Birds...

So after 9 games can we note any trends of interest?  My thoughts:

1)  Starters have lived up to their pre season billing as they have struggled.  In Houston Guthrie and Nicasio both went 7 innings but since then at home they have gone 4.0, 3.1, 5.2, 2.2, 4.0, and 4.1.  That is not a recipe for success.  Bullpen won't be able to sustain this type of work load over the long hot summer.

Over the last 5 years starters have averaged about 5.2 innings per start, this year they are at 4.2.  Average game score over this 5 year period was 49, this year it is 40.  Interestingly over the last 4 years the number of strikes thrown by the starter is about 58 per game and this year it is currently at 53.

2)  The lineup can hit as they are on pace for 828 runs scored (and our pitchers allowing 900!).  While we have scored runs it hasn't exactly been from the usual suspects.  Rox table setters, Scutaro and Fowler, have 5 and 6 runs scored with 0.265 and 0.333 OBP for each.  I love the gutsy Scutaro but he belongs hitting 8th or 2nd.  Fowler needs to find his stroke for this team to work.

3)  Two good surprises have been Cuddyer and Colvin.  Cuddyer has 13 hits already.  Colvin looks like a much better Spilborghs.  On the mound I think it has to be Chatwood.

4)   Wait and see has to be Guthrie and Rosario.  Both have high expectations especially Guthrie and his inning eating ability.  His first two starts have had both good and bad.  The bad being back to back home runs in both appearances.

5)  Disappointments at this stage is probably only Chacin although his game on Saturday night was going well until the rains came.  The importance of him finding his game is crucial if the Rox expect the 80 win mark.

6)  Incidentals like managing already makes me cringe a little.  Tracy helped loss a game in Houston and his mantra of keeping players fresh is really going to mess with the daily flow.  I understand our team is old and needs some days but to swap out 5-6 guys out of your daily lineup on get away days is just screaming for losses.  How about we swap a guy every day or mix and match with opposing pitchers?

7)  Rox played some tough opponents at home but to be 3-3 suggests we are still letting teams come in and be too comfortable.  Where are the brush backs?  To be successful Rox need to be winning close to 50 games at home...always.

8)  Other silly stuff...I miss the old Roots team especially Rizzo and Helmer.  I understand change but some people were a "part" of the broadcast.

9)  I am beginning to hate in between inning entertainment.  Why don't you just play music, show some highlights on the big screen, and let us swig some beer.

10) And finally, who cares about what I just said, baseball is back baby!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Box Score Bytes - Game 9

- Well Pomeranz can officially say he now has a book out on thing he is going to have to correct is stolen bases...D-Backs stole four bases off of him today

- Pomeranz didn't exactly have a great day on the mound.  Got 13 outs with 100 pitches allowing 9 hits and 5 runs.  During the Spring he went 3-0 with 0.53 ERA.  He now as an astronomical 10.38 ERA.  Welcome to the Bigs kid...

- This might work early but come September this will be the club's Achilles heel.  For this series Rox starters worked a total of 11 innings and the bullpen has pitched 35 innings in 9 games.  Rox have pitched a total of 79 total innings this year!

- First series win against the D-Backs since 2010.  Last year went 5-13 against the Snakes.  Rox need to study the film and figure out how to get these guys out.  Montero, Parra, and Young just ate Rox pitching up this weekend...

- On paper the Rox Sunday lineup looked formable but yikes 6 hits and once again Rox are 0-2 on Sundays.  Cuddyer could probably use a day off going 0-3 today.  Herrera had a nice game collecting 3 of the 6 Rox hits.

-  Could lightning strike for the third time in this series?  Nope but bases were loaded with two outs and Tracy sent in Hernandez to pinch hit...come on Jimbo send in Helton...this was his series to win!   Would that not have been the best series ever?  Grand Slam in the bottom of 8th would have put us up 6-5 with Betancourt in for the save...if you believe in multiple universes this outcome did happen, somewhere ;)

- O/U was 9.5.  Total scored was 7.

Box Score Bytes - Game 8

- Nothing like a walk off early in the season to make baseball exciting.  Todd's 7th career walk off.  While baseball is a younger man's game Todd still means a lot to this team.  For example this year when Rox win he is 7/15 and 0/9 in losses (through 7 games).

- In 19 years, Rox have had 70 wins after entering the 9 inning losing.

- Back to Back by Colvin and Hernandez.  Last down almost a year ago by CarGo and Tulo.  With playing games at Coors this should happen a whole lot more!

- Cuddyer is quietly putting together a nice April.  Batting 0.406 after last night with a 0.441 OBP.  Maybe he was worth the extra $.  What I like was his hustle in the third inning beating a throw to first and allowing Fowler to score from second.  Also of note was how D-Backs shifted on him with the 1B almost  playing second base!

- O/U was 9.5.  15 total runs scored.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Box Score Bytes - Game 7

-  Looked real ugly at the start.  Another thrashing by our arch nemesis the D-Backs, but bullpen kept the offense into the late innings and we found a way.

- Wicked wind or something tonight.  Balls were taking off on the right fielders especially.  Not for sure what it is with flyballs but our outfielder's mitts should all be examined for holes in them!

- This was Todd's 557th double all time moving him into 24th with Jeff Kent and Eddie Murray sitting in 22nd place with 560.

- First night to wear the sleeveless black uniforms...gotta go back to the miracle 2007 season when black was wins!  Remember how D-Backs busted out their black uniforms just so Rox had to change?

- Nice night for the middle of the line up....CarGo, Tulo, Helton went 8/14 with 4 runs.  Problem is the bookends as Scuturo/Fowler and Nelson/Pitcher just aren't doing a whole lot.

- Has Dex ever homered into the right field seats?

- 3-10 with RISP and 11 men left on!

- O/U was 8.5.  Scored 13 runs

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Box Score Bytes - Game 6

- Baseball is truly a confounding can you the night before have 22 hits and 17 runs and then be reduced to no hit baseball for 5 innings?

- The ageless one pitched OK, kept the team in the game, but again was let down by his fielders.  Two more errors to go along with the one in Houston.  Team has 8 errors through 6 games...on pace for 216 errors!

- Bumgarner is 2-3 against Colorado with 7 starts.  He has a 2.05 ERA with 43 hits in 44 IP and 10 earned runs, so I guess we can move on to the next gauntlet.

- Is Tyler Colvin going to be playing more in Center?  Hate to say it but with Dex's lack of hitting and errors in the field it will be harder and harder to keep trotting him out there.

- Rox currently have 5 triples and 3 homers...on pace for 135 triples and only 81 homers!

- Scutaro is not a lead off hitter...think the Rox should think about putting CarGo there, followed by Colvin, Helton, Tulo, Cuddyer, Catcher, Nelson, Scutaro, Pitcher

- O/U for the game was 8.5.  Total scored was 6.

Box Score Bytes - Game 5

- Crazy night at Coors...Rox go up 6-0, then Giants storm back 7-6, then Rox get 3 back to go up 9-7, then Rox really open it up by scoring 7 to go up 16-7, and then scoring ended with another homer and one run for the Giants.

- Welcome to Coors Mr Guthrie, you join a long list of pitchers cringing  (well maybe that is too harsh) at calling Coors home...
        Pedro Astacio won his home debut in August 1997 with a 9-5 decision going 7.2 innings and giving up 8     hits, 5 runs
        Jorge De La Rosa lost his home debut in May 2008 with a 7-12 decision going 4.0 innings and giving up 9 hits, 9 runs
        Darryl Kile lost his home debut in April 1998 with a 7-18 decision going 6.0 innings and giving up 9 hits, 8 runs
        Denny Neagle won his home debut in April 2001 with a 13-9 decision going 5.0 innings and giving up 7 hits, 3 runs
        Mike Hampton won his home debut in April 2001 with a 8-0 decision going 8.1 innings and giving up 5 hits, 0 runs

- 6th time Rox have scored 17 runs.  Still a perfect 6-0!

- 22 hits and no homers (but 3 triples and 8 doubles)?  This is the 2nd time in Rox history they have banged out 22 hits (their high is 25 hits).  CarGo had two of the triples, Dex had two doubles, and Cuddyer at three doubles!

- How crazy is the save statistic?  Chatwood got the save last night for working 3 innings with a 9 run lead

- O/U for this game was 8.5.    Teams combined for 25 runs, 34 hits

Monday, April 9, 2012

Box Score Bytes - Game 4

-Is there such a thing as a restart?  Yikes this could get ugly before year end...about the only positive I took from today's game was Roenicke's two scoreless innings

- I really try to look for positive things but when you get shut out on opening day against a pitcher who is considered washed up and of the four hits, one was a dribbler from your pitcher you really have to stop and say oh s*&#, it might be a long season

- Tulo and CarGo both had an error?  The day started with both the Red Sox and Yankees in last place...are we in bizarro world?

- Have to admit the first opening day I have been to that I didn't think Rox were ever in the ball game.  Really disappointing start of the season.  This isn't fun...

UPDATED - 148th time Rox have been shutout, 32nd time at home, third time at home by Giants, and second time at home by Zito (with the help of 3 relievers, back in April 2007)

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Box Score Bytes - Game 3

- @TroyRenck had a tweet that says Tracy didn't put Nelson for defense at 3B because he would lose Hernandez as a pinch hitter therefore Tracy must have been thinking that the game might get tied (at the time Rox held a slight 2-1 lead)....I'm sorry but if you have the lead, you do everything you can to maintain that lead including putting in Helton at first and Nelson at 3B for defensive purposes.  Yeah it's early in the year but you can't be giving up wins.  This one goes towards Tracy (he is 0-1), Rox are 1-1...

-  Not to be alarmist but after a 3 game series in a ballpark that is offensive the Rox leave with a slugging percentage of 0.356 with 5 doubles, triple, and 3 home runs with only 10 runs (on pace for 540 runs ;)

-  Who needs Dex?  Colvin had a nice over the shoulder grab in Center today.

-  Nice start by Nicasio.  7 innings pitched with a pitch count of only 82.  This game should have gone in the win column, thanks Tracy.

- Brothers was obviously rattled by the error...too bad but will need to learn that is baseball especially if he becomes a closer.

- Giambi tied Mark McGwire for 38th with 1,317 walks with 3 today...really have to wonder way everyone got a start today with Pacheco at 3B, Herrera at 2B, Giambi at 1B, Rosario at C, and Colvin at CF.  Win series Mr Tracy...

- Rox are now 5-9 in 3-game series in Houston.

- RISP Rox were 0-5 making it 3-17 for the weekend...see that Lansford is on the top of his game once again this year...

- O/U was 8 runs.  5 runs were scored.

Box Score Bytes - Game 2

- 6 Degrees of Baseball?  Yup Moyer and Cy Young forever connected...

- Trivia question on the broadcast last night and support from @Bill_TPA but Moyer has faced 8.9% of all hitters in baseball history...

- Oh yeah a 49 year old started for the Rox.  Second oldest ever to start a game.  The career active leader in victories (267).

- Unfortunately Rox took a page from how the Astros played the previous night, committing three errors and just never really let Moyer get settled in.

- Rox are just plain awful at Minute Maid Park.  12-28 record its the Astros 2nd best record against any NL team.

- 4 out of the 7 hits by the new guys...maybe we should have gotten rid of everyone and started a completely new team!

- 0-3 with RISP.

- Games O/U was 9.0.  Total scored was 10.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Box Score Bytes - Game 1

- Rox are 7-6 away from home on opening days.  Improve to 11 - 9 overall.

- Helton started his 15th consecutive Opening Day at first base for the Rox.  Also extended his Opening Day hit streak to 13 games.

- Could EY Jr be Rox designated (pinch) runner?  It's been tried once before back in 1974 when Oakland's owner Charlie Finley tapped Herb Washington to be his designated runner!  Of course Rox are  helped out having 3 catchers on the roster and the ability to pinch run if a catcher gets on late in a game...

- If Rox didn't win it would have been pretty pathetic as the Astros committed 4 errors.  For my taste the game was a little too close for comfort.

- Guthrie lived up to expectations by going a strong 7 although the back to back homers was his M.O. in Baltimore.  But he outlasted his opponent which over the last three years the Rox have gone 170-57 (71-21 on the road!).

-  Rox new acquisitions went 5 for 13 (Scutaro, Cuddyer, and Hernandez).  The old team collected only 3 hits...

- Rox went 3-9 with Runner's in scoring position.

- Brothers was nasty.  Threw 11 pitches, 8 for strikes with 2 strikeouts

- O/U for the game was 7.5.  Rox won 5-3.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Rox Talk - Opening Day, Finally

Opening Day
Tomorrow, our Rox begin their 2012 campaign in Houston.  They finished the Spring at 17-15-1.  Good enough for a 0.515 winning percentage.  Since 2003, the Rox have played better than their Spring record only once and that was in 2009 when they went 0.446 and then finished the regular season at 0.568.  Most predictions I have seen have put the Rox winning from 78 to 85 games.  I have given up trying to predict but I think this year there is one area that will need to step up if the Rox are going to end up on the high range of wins and that is pitching, pitching, and pitching.  Youth (well besides 49 year old Moyer), consistency, and confidence will be the mountains they must overcome to succeed.

The April calendar with series against @Houston (record of 11-27 at Minutemaid Park), San Francisco, Arizona, San Diego, @Milwaukee (14-22 at Miller Park), @Pittsburgh (18-24 at PNC), New York, and one game with LA is a pretty even schedule out of the gate.  A 13 - 9 April would be nice but I would take a 11-11 start as well.  Rox are 6-6 on Opening Days away from home as they enter their 20th season.

Not many lineup surprises this year.  Really the only question for me is who will shine at third base this season.  It will probably be a revolving door like second base has been for so many years.  Nice to see Rosario have a nice Spring.   Interesting to see if he can translate that success day in and day out.  Players breaking camp will probably not be the team we see in May.  My guess is that Herrera won't stick around.  EY Jr is a great story but I frankly don't see how he fits in with the lineup.  Biggest question mark is again Dexter Fowler.  He has already been demoted to 2nd in the lineup.  If he can't get it going early and set the table for CarGo and Tulo, the Rox ability to score early and often will be limited.  If the Rox can jump out to early leads I think it will help our pitchers.  It won't be pretty if we fall behind early.  Dex is crucial to this lineup.

In the end I just hope they stay competitive and stay within striking distance of the division leaders.  The D-Backs came from nowhere with a young starting pitching corp last year so maybe this year will be the Rox turn?  Can the D-Backs really win upwards of 90 games this year or will they regress?  Giants going to find any offense?  Dodgers might surprise some folks and of course the Padres could always make things interesting.  That is what is nice about the West, year in and year out there is no dominant team.  Find some magic and maybe Rox can win the Division!

Not to Beat a Dead Horse, But...
To add my 2 cents on the Ubaldo / Tulo incident, I just find it hard to believe that someone that was such a nice guy, Ubaldo, could turn into such a vindictive ass.  I understand the Rox, as an organization, could have done some things differently last year but for Ubaldo to go out there every 5 days and not give it his all when 24 other guys are counting on you because you felt you were being slighted is just unacceptable.  He was under contract.  Rox management went out on a limb early in his career and gave him a long term deal.  Granted it wasn't mega dollars but at the time of the contract he had basically been a 0.500 pitcher.  Now he then did go out and have one of the greatest first halves in baseball history in 2010 and started for the NL in the All Star game.  Sure maybe Rox could (should?) have awarded him the big bucks but since that fabulous start he really hasn't done a whole lot.  See graph below showing his cumulative winning percentage since 2007 (Ubaldo is blue dots and Roy Halliday is the red dots, for comparison):
From 2007 to 2009, he was pretty average but got paid a decent sum (awarded with 4-5 year deal, heavily weighted in the back end but worth around $20M).  Then he sky rocketed in first half of 2010.  Since he went 17-2 (August 2010), he has been pretty dismal only winning 12 out of his next 42 starts both with Colorado and Cleveland.  He is now 28 and entering his prime and is making $4 M this year, $5.75M next year and $8M in 2014.  Pretty good money for someone who finds it convenient to take out his frustrations at throwing at Tulo.  

In the end Ubaldo is probably the greatest pitcher in Rox history but time and time again history has shown that continuously pitching in the rarefied air of Colorado ages pitchers a little too quickly.  He signed a contract when he was nothing and the Rox gave him more than he was worth.  Management knows all to well what Coors does to pitchers and this time they were the smart ones to cut the chain.  Remember this is business, don't take it personally.  At least you have guaranteed contracts.  Think you can safely say he doesn't win at least 15 games this year for Cleveland he isn't worth $4M this year...