13 June 2005

Sox Take on Reds, Carl vs. Matt, Best Thread Ever, RIP Pete...

Manny Ramirez makes me smile. There. I said it. Watching him flail those arms in the air in relief/ elation when his flyball eked out of Fenway Park was great. As was seeing him hit his 2nd HR in two games.

I thought Matt looked great tonight, and his three runs allowed were, in an odd way, more than the performance showed. He gave up a HR late to Javier Valentin, but the first two came after a BB to Adam Dunn- the only one he'd give up all night- followed by a Felipe Lopez that was misplayed by Damon, followed by a sac fly. It could easily have been only one run, just like he could have come out right before Valentin took him out. But either way- great night.

The Red Sox honored Carlton Fisk tonight by naming the left field foul pole after him, per his game winning HR in Game Six of the 1975 World Series. They did it on the 30th anniversary of the series, as the Sox' then-adversaries were in town for the first time since. Nice symmetry.

Meanwhile, Arf Arf needs to get a life with this whole Carbo thing. Yes, Dirt Dog, we know you were there then. And yea, you're defintely a super fan.

So he's trying to pass this contrarian "only a true fan thinks this" style bullshit on us. It's this dumb dividing-line-thing fans that think they're better than everyone elsedo- it's like calling Marnie Hitchcock's greatest film, or saying "Dylan's best record is Self Portrait." It's ridiculous.

It's also like saying "Varitek's sac fly was the biggest AB of Game 5 of the 2005 ALCS- not Ortiz' game-winner." Seriously dude. Shut up. Get a life.

Move on. How long until Nomar comes home from rehabbing his groin to Steve Silva stirring a boiling pot of pet rabbit?

7-1, 3.76 ERA, 88.2 IP, 86 H, 31 BB, 69 K, 6 HR, 7.00 K/9, 1.32 WHIP, .251 BAA

4-5, 4.17 ERA, 82 IP, 104 H, 15 BB, 46 K, 14 HR, 5.05 K/9, 1.45 WHIP, .308 BAA

Since my last comparison, both Matt Clement and Carl Pavano have had two starts- 2 quality from Pavano vs. Milwaukee and St. Louis (6 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 K vs. MIL (L); 6 IP, 6 H, ER, BB, 2 K vs. StL (ND)) and one bad, one great for Clement (4 IP, 7 H, 7 ER, BB, 2 K vs. StL (L); 8 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, BB, 9 K vs. CIN (W)).

Right off the bat, though I didn't see Clement's awful start in St. Louis, my first impression when reading about it was that something I'd alluded to my last update- his ability to wiggle out of jams with strikeouts despite high WHIP rates- came back to haunt him. He had 8 baserunners in 4 innings and struck out only 2- imploding quick against a great Cardinals lineup. Honestly, he was due for an outing like that.

Tonight though, he was a lot crisper, keeping Cincinnati- 2nd in the NL in runs (they're first in HRs as well, but that's got everything to do with Adam Dunn and their home park)- off the bases for the most part, and dominating them to the tune of 9 strikeouts. The Reds strike out a lot, but that's still a positive. Interestingly enough, Clement pitched well but DIDN'T scatter his hits- they were clustered for the most damage in that 5th inning.

Pavano, in his last two starts, though he kept the Brewers and Cardinals to 2 and 1 ER, respectively, actually showed some troubling signs. His WHIP rate remained basically the same in each start, but his strikeout rate- even when pitching to pitchers in the NL parks, dipped even further. He had 3 and 2, respectively. In fact, the last time Pavano had more than 3 strikeouts in a start was back on May 17th, when he had 7 in a complete game victory over Seattle. His start previous he had 6, also against Seattle- but then you have to go all the way back to his first start of the season to get more than three.

Rob Neyer wrote a column a while ago (long enough that I can't find it anywhere) that stated the basic breaking point for a pitcher with regards to their strikeout rate and their ability to survive against MLB hitters is 5 per 9 innings. Let's look at Carl's K rates since 2002, when he was traded from Montreal to Florida:

2002- 6.09
2003- 5.96
2004- 5.63
2005- 5.05

Now, Carl HAS improved his K/BB ratio- so while his strikeout rate is declining, his walk totals are declining faster. Here are his K/BB ratios since 2002:

2002- 2.04
2003- 2.71
2004- 2.84
2005- 3.07

So in contrast to Clement, who walks a ton of guys, but strikes out a ton as well, Pavano doesn't walk many, but strikes out very few. He allows balls in play, and for answers as to his relative lack of success thus far, most of it can be attributed to two things: HRs allowed (they're up drastically this season) and the defense playing behind him, which went from world class in Florida to statuesque in New York. Switching leagues doesn't help, but that in and of itself may explain the plunge in K rate (or a continued decline). Pavano's 2004, especially from a financial perspective, was tremendously lucky. He was the SAME pitcher as the one that posted a 12-13, 4.88 ERA in '03, only with a lot of luck mixed in. Very interesting.

Pavano closed the gap between the two over the last two starts, but there's no question who has been the more valuable pitcher- looking at conventional stats or each pitcher's peripherals.

Probably wait another two starts and take another look at these guys.

I don't have much to say that hasn't been said in the thread, except that for anyone who loves pondering Hall of Fame selections, the merits of those already in, the list of those deserving but not enshrined- SoSH has an absolutely addictive thread devoted to that topic, taken year by year, with arguments for and against flying left and right.

Check the thread out here. No seriously. Go.

Currently back-and-forthing on the 1971 class...

When I was growing up and in grade school, I fucking worshipped MacGyver. I loved Richard Dean Anderson, I thought he was cooler than all the other dudes on TV because he
  • Had "long" hair (in my advancing age I've come to realize it was nothing but a mullet... alas)

  • Hated wearing ties. I can't overemphasize how big an impression this had on me, because I really, really hated ties. And "dressing up."

  • He was really smart.

  • He was able to get out of sticky situations. That was the best part!

  • But seriously, I loved that goddamn show. It was to the point that now, years and years later, my grandmother still lets me know when she's seen/ heard of Richard Dean Anderson being on any show/ commercial/ puppet show. I think she had a mild crush on him herself, but that's an entirely different, disturbing subject. Hey, he was no JFK, but he was easy on the eyes...

    Remember the one where Murdoc trapped him in that Halloween "funhouse"- a final test from his nemesis that was fucking pulse-pounding and brilliant TV. I also loved that one where he was trapped on a table with a saw swinging back and forth slowly lower, and it was a cliffhanger.

    Anyway, he was part of this weird "company," the Phoenix Foundation (I guess I was too young to give a shit about character/ plot development and pay attention to what that was), and the PF was headed by none other than legally blind good-guy Pete. He was MacGyver's pal. Played by one Dana Elcar.

    Dana Elcar died this week, another little slice of my youth slivering up and dying.

    And while we're on the subject, that episode arc where MacGyver met his son, then like, went back into Medieval times or some shit and we finally heard his first name- was FUCKING BULLSHIT. Angus was his first name. Angus. Like, 8 years of a show, and they have that secret, and they decide to uncover it, and they go with Angus. Seriously, what the fuck is that?

    Remember his boat house though? That was a SERIOUS bachelor pad. I bet he got loads of muff there.

    You ever get the feeling watching Darin Erstad play baseball that he thinks he's back in 'Nam or something?

    These two pictures- Manny and David, and Tim Wakefield sliding into home- SAFE!- make me happy. How happy?

    THIS happy:


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