Discussion: The “Right Way” to Play the Game

Allow me to steal a page from Moshe’s book and start a discussion. Last night, during the top of the first inning, Al Lieter was saying what everyone always says about the Twins: They play good defense. Their pitchers throw strikes. And, of course, they have players that play the game the right way. In all my years of playing, watching, and following baseball, I still have no idea what this means. This term is always used to describe players or teams who are okay-or-good-but-not-quite-great. Maybe they do one or two “little” things properly, but they’re not all around great Continue reading Discussion: The “Right Way” to Play the Game

Previewing Liriano

 After beginning the 2006 season in the bullpen, Francisco Liriano was converted back to a starter and promptly set the American League on fire like Sherman to the sea.  Over 121 innings Liriano posted a 2.16 ERA, an ERA+ of 208, a FIP of 2.55 and an xFIP of 2.35.  He struck out 144 batters, which gave him a K/9 of 10.7, and walked only 32, giving him a BB/9 of 2.4 and a K/BB ratio of 4.50.  Imagine how good the Twins would have been if he had been in the eighth inning!!1!.  I kid.  Liriano was worth Continue reading Previewing Liriano

A look at some of the players the Yankees let go of or passed on last winter, and who they might pursue in the 2010-2011 offseason

While waiting for the Yankee-Twin game to resume last night (which obviously didn’t end up happening) I caught some highlights from the Cardinals game on MLB Network and it reminded me that the Yankees may or may not have been pursuing Matt Holliday this past offseason. This (a) Made me want to find out how Holliday was doing; (b) Check in on how the other free agents/potential trades the Yankees didn’t end up pursuing/guys the Yankees let go of were performing; and (c) See what some of the Yankees’ potential targets this coming offseason are up to (I expect they’ll Continue reading A look at some of the players the Yankees let go of or passed on last winter, and who they might pursue in the 2010-2011 offseason

What Granderson’s Return Means for the Lineup

It will be a sight for sore eyes when Curtis Granderson returns to the New York Yankees on Friday. Not only did we miss Curtis’s affable nature and good charm, but we missed his baseball skills even more. The first thing his return does is send someone off of the active roster. There are a few ways this can be played. Option number one is, well, quite literally an option. That is, Kevin Russo gets a pat on the backside and rides the shuttle back to Scranton. If I had to be on it, I’d say this is what’s going Continue reading What Granderson’s Return Means for the Lineup

When umps go wild

Bob Davidson, the ump in last night’s Rays/Sox game, went so far over the line in his actions, response, demeanor, it should be used as a training video on how NOT to act as a professional umpire.

Just watch here.

See if you can count the F-bombs.

And because we all like these, here’s Bob Davidson’s normalized strike zone. More oval than square, wider on the sides.

And the non-normalized chart:

Continue reading When umps go wild

The CitiField of the Midwest?

We got to take an abbreviated look at the beautiful new field in Minnesota last night, until the rains came. Thankfully, it seems that Target Field is playing a lot like CitiField…BIG:

The Twins gave Burnett a scare in the third inning, when Justin Morneau thought he got all of what — in the end — would have turned out to be a game-winning solo home run. But the ball died just in front of the flower-box overhang in right field, landing safely in Nick Swisher’s glove.

Evidently, this is not an uncommon occurence at Target Field.

Home runs are down 36 percent compared with the 2006-09 average at the Metrodome. Only Seattle’s Safeco Field and McAfee Coliseum in Oakland have yielded fewer homers per game in the American League than Target Field (1.38).

Baseball’s newest park is playing big, swallowing long fly balls and short-circuiting home-run celebrations.

[…]

Twenty-one games into Minnesota’s inaugural season at Target Field, the empirical evidence proves hitters need more than an extra pastry to muscle balls over the fence.

Only 29 homers have been slugged at Target Field compared with 55, or 2.2 per game, at the Metrodome through 25 games last season, according to hittrackeronline.com, a website that records data for every major league home run.

The first-place Twins have hit just 10 of their 28 home runs at home. Michael Cuddyer leads the way with five and has yet to bag one on the road. Justin Morneau is the only other Twin with more than one at Target Field. In 63 plate appearances at home, Joe Mauer still is waiting to clear the fence.

The question is, will Mauer and Morneau suffer or stress over the lack of home-town power like David Wright has been doing in Queens? Probably not, but who would have envisioned the precipitous decline in power (and spike in Ks) experienced by Wright in the first place? Could the team lobby management to bring the fences in, as they did in Detroit after Comerica Park opened and played very big? [At least Target Field appears to be devoid of all in-play gimmicks, like flagpoles and hills and unnecessary wall height changes.

I hope not, personally. The team is not built on major sluggers, though M&M clearly have that ability. The team is fast and the large OF seems to be tailored to their strengths (speed and defense). Minnesota won’t be trying to sign the highest priced, big-boppers out there anyways, so if I were a Twins fan, I wouldn’t be overly concerned. I just might temper my expectations for seeing M&M hit as many at-home homeruns.

For one night at least, I’m really happy that the air was heavy and the fences were far. Continue reading The CitiField of the Midwest?

Let’s play . . . 1 1/3?

Last night’s Yanks-Twins contest was suspended heading to the top of the sixth and is scheduled to resume today, Wednesday at 5:05. The previously scheduled Wednesday game is to start at either 7:10 or 1/2 hour following the conclusion of the suspended game. For the regularly scheduled contest, Andy Pettitte will be pitching for New York and Francisco Liriano will be taking the mound for Minnesota. Depending on how things go in the first game, the Yanks will have a pitcher on standby who will be ready to go if they decide to make a roster move for the 2nd Continue reading Let’s play . . . 1 1/3?

Let's play . . . 1 1/3?

Last night’s Yanks-Twins contest was suspended heading to the top of the sixth and is scheduled to resume today, Wednesday at 5:05. The previously scheduled Wednesday game is to start at either 7:10 or 1/2 hour following the conclusion of the suspended game. For the regularly scheduled contest, Andy Pettitte will be pitching for New York and Francisco Liriano will be taking the mound for Minnesota. Depending on how things go in the first game, the Yanks will have a pitcher on standby who will be ready to go if they decide to make a roster move for the 2nd Continue reading Let's play . . . 1 1/3?

Are you a starting pitcher with a run-yielding problem?

Then talk to your doctor to see if the 2010 Yankees* are right for you. Including last night’s rain-shortened affair against the Twins that will be completed at 5:05pm today, the Yankees have not scored a run in the first five innings of a game since last Thursday, a span of four straight games. And if you go back through the first five innings of the last six games, they have scored a total of five runs. That’s 5 runs over 30 innings. If we dial that up to the sixth inning, those numbers become 7 runs over 35 innings. Continue reading Are you a starting pitcher with a run-yielding problem?