In my last post, I looked at a quote from Carlos Silva, in which he attributed some of his success to the abnormally high run support he had been receiving. I thought that was pretty cool, so I’ve decided to do this more often. I’ll take a quote from a player, reporter, coach, or whoever and try to prove them right or wrong using statistics. I hereby dub this group of posts “That’s What He Said” (sorry ladies, I promise there will be a “That’s What She Said” when Eri Yoshida makes it).
“David’s fine. He’s one of our teammates. It could have been me who hit into a double play. It happens to everybody. He’s had 60 at-bats. A couple of years ago I had 60 at-bats and I was hitting .170 and everybody was ready to kill me too. What happened? Laser show.”
This will be kind of a miscellaneous entry since I don’t have a lot of time to do a bunch of research on one topic. I know it’s been a while since I last posted, but I’ve been busy with my first full week of work and I’ve also started a project related to this blog that hopefully I’ll be able to reveal before too long. Without further ado…
The Red Sox Know How to Beat Roy Halladay
The Sox beat Halladay again today, and prove to be the toughest team against him. Here are his career splits by opponent sorted by most losses (today’s is not included).
|Boston Red Sox||14||14||.500||4.28||41||6||1||269.1||280||128||29||64||200||1.277|
|Tampa Bay Rays||12||11||.522||3.67||34||4||0||225.2||236||92||19||47||170||1.254|
|New York Yankees||18||6||.750||2.84||37||7||3||247.1||221||78||23||54||190||1.112|
|Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim||8||5||.615||4.32||16||4||0||108.1||118||52||8||19||83||1.265|
|Chicago White Sox||5||4||.556||3.28||15||2||0||90.2||87||33||7||26||72||1.246|
|Kansas City Royals||9||3||.750||2.65||14||4||1||102.0||87||30||10||21||61||1.059|
|San Francisco Giants||0||2||.000||7.23||3||0||0||18.2||25||15||2||5||14||1.607|
|New York Mets||3||2||.600||4.05||5||1||1||33.1||37||15||4||8||21||1.350|
|St. Louis Cardinals||2||0||1.000||1.13||2||1||0||16.0||12||2||1||3||14||0.938|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||3||0||1.000||1.50||3||1||0||24.0||15||4||1||6||13||0.875|
MLB Network has just informed me that Chris Coghlan tonight became the first left-handed hitter to homer for the Marlins this season. In the team’s 36th game? Ouch. The reigning NL Rookie of the Year has gotten off to a sluggish start, hitting just .216/.272/.224 in 31 games.
Aside from Coghlan, this stat is surprisingly unsurprising, as the Marlins don’t really have any other quality lefty bats. The others (excluding pitchers) to have at bats this season are John Baker, Mike Lamb, and Bryan Petersen. Petersen is just 1/9 this year, his rookie season. Baker and Lamb both average just 12 home runs per 162 games over their careers, and they have a combined 107 plate appearances this season. Their average of 560 plate appearances per 162 games indicates they’ve played about 1/5 of their average season, and they’re due for 2.4 home runs by now. So maybe it is a little surprising, but not really given that Mike Lamb has been used nearly exclusively as a pinch hitter this year and I don’t think anyone took John Baker in their fantasy draft this year (If you did, I sincerely apologize).
Last night the Red Sox snuck by the Blue Jays by a score of 7-6. The game was pretty unique in that Toronto’s starter, Brandon Morrow, walked 6 batters in just 1.2 innings of work. As a team, the Jays surrendered 6 walks in the 2nd inning alone, with the 6th being issued by Josh Roenicke. The game as a whole doesn’t rank anywhere near the top for most walks surrendered by one team, as they issued no more walks after the 2nd inning. But Morrow’s 6 walks for one pitcher in a game has been bested only six times this season. All six of them had 7:
|1||Gil Meche||2010-05-08||KCR||TEX||L 2-3||CG 8 ,L||8.0||6||3||7||3||0||0||0|
|2||Mike Leake||2010-04-11||CIN||CHC||W 3-1||GS-7||6.2||4||1||7||5||0||0||1|
|3||Derek Lowe||2010-04-10||ATL||SFG||W 7-2||GS-6 ,W||6.0||4||1||7||4||2||0||0|
|4||Greg Smith||2010-04-18||COL||ATL||L 3-4||GS-6||5.1||5||2||7||5||1||0||0|
|5||Jake Peavy||2010-04-22||CHW||TBR||L 2-10||GS-5 ,L||4.1||7||7||7||5||0||0||0|
|6||Oliver Perez||2010-05-09||NYM||SFG||L 5-6||GS-4||3.1||2||3||7||2||0||1||1|
I’ve sorted by innings pitched in an attempt to truly highlight Morrow’s ineptitude. As you can see, Oliver Perez had the shortest outing of the group at 3.1 innings. Derek Lowe managed to get credit for the win and Gil Meche pitched a complete game. Now here is Morrow’s line from his start last night:
|Brandon Morrow, L (2-3)||1.2||3||6||6||4|
Morrow was able to record just 5 outs, and somehow managed to record 4 of those via strikeout while turning in what was probably the wildest start of the season thus far. In fact, Morrow is one of just 3 players in the years covered by Baseball-Reference’s Play Index (1920-1939, 1952-2010) to start a game, surrender 6 or more walks, and strike out 4 or more batters in 2 innings or less.
|1||Stan Bahnsen||1974-05-19||CHW||OAK||L 3-8||GS-2 ,L||2.0||2||7||6||4||1||1||0||1|
|2||Paul Rigdon||2000-08-09||MIL||SFG||L 3-9||GS-2 ,L||2.0||3||5||6||4||2||0||0||0|
|3||Brandon Morrow||2010-05-10||TOR||BOS||L 6-7||GS-2 ,L||1.2||3||6||6||4||0||0||0||0|
I imagine this is a pretty rare feat because the walks clearly display the pitchers’ lack of control while the strikeouts would seem to indicate the opposite. One of Bahnsen’s walks was intentional, but he was the only one of the three to throw a wild pitch. And Rigdon allowed 2 homeruns – ouch. Morrow’s start just may be the best of these three.
For what it’s worth (it’s not worth as much as most fans think it is), here are my American League All-Stars for the month of April.
A few days ago, on April 29th, John Buck of the Toronto Blue Jays hit 3 home runs in one game, which is a pretty impressive feat. It is even more impressive that Buck did it while playing catcher. Since 1920, no catcher has ever homered 4 (or more) times in one game, and Buck marks the 27th time a catcher has homered thrice. It should be noted that with searches made on Baseball-Reference such as this one, the years 1940-1951 are not covered. So these 27 games cover the years 1920-1939 and 1952-2010. The last to do it was Victor Martinez for the Indians in 2004. His current teammate Jason Varitek is in the club as well, having completed the feat in 2001.
|Voting Results||Batting Stats||Pitching Stats|
|Rank ▴||Tm||Vote Pts||Share||G||AB||R||H||HR||RBI||SB||BB||BA||OBP||SLG||OPS|
I’ve included the top 9 leading vote-getters, who were all hitters. As you can see, Cochrane barely eked out the victory over Manush- but how did he? Manush dwarfs him in nearly every relevant category, including a batting average that was 85 points higher despite collecting an extra 170 at-bats. I looked to defense for an explanation, and found that Manush posted a .992 fielding percentage in the outfield compared to a league average .966, while Cochrane posted a .966 fielding percentage behind the dish compared to a league average .976. Cochrane’s Athletics finished second in the American League while Manush’s Browns finished 3rd. But is that really enough to justify all his other “shortcomings?” Of course not.
In 1928, the AL MVP award had certain restrictions that are no longer in effect. The award was given to “the baseball player who is of the greatest all-around service to his club” and was voted on by a committee of just eight baseball writers. The three major differences from today were that you could not win if you were a player-manager (which was common then), you could not win if you had won before (this took Lou Gehrig, the 1927 winner among others out of the equation), and each of the eight writers had to vote for one player from each team. The first two rules have no effect on Manush, as he was eligible to win that year. The last sounds promising, but even that offers no help. Manush had no St. Louis Browns worthy of the title to compete with, while Cochrane played with a 41-year old Ty Cobb and a 20-year old Jimmie Foxx among other future Hall of Famers. Foxx even finished 11th in the voting, while none of Manush’s teammates finished in the top 25.
All this, and still no mention of Goose Goslin, who finished 6th in the voting. A quick glance at the table above, and it appears that he finished just 6 RBI short of the Triple Crown. This was not actually the case, since some ineligible players had him beat in home runs and RBI, although he did lead the league in batting average. He also finished the season with a Ruthian OPS of 1.056 (actually, Ruth’s OPS that year was 1.172, but he was ineligible to be MVP by virtue of winning the award in 1923). How did Goslin get overlooked? Maybe the teammate argument actually holds some weight here, since his fellow Washington Senator Joe Judge finished ahead of him at 3rd place.
I apologize if this post is unsatisfying, because I really have no answer to the question I have raised. I can’t find any justification for Cochrane winning this award over Manush or Goslin, unless the voters thought that he brought enough intangibles to the table to make up for his lack of statistical clout. Nevertheless, the 1928 AL MVP was the first awarded to a BU alum, and the second would come in 1934, also to Cochrane. This post is longer than I thought it would be so I’ll wrap up, but I would like to take a look at that MVP race eventually as well. And in case you are a particularly astute reader and you just noticed that Cochrane won twice despite there being a rule against it, the rules for the award were restructured in 1931 and have remained virtually the same since then. In conclusion, you can ask your friends and family the trivia question, “Who won the AL MVP Award in 1929 and 1930?” and then mock them as they attempt to answer before you inform them that no one did, because they discontinued it after 1928 due to the ridiculous rules and didn’t get it going again until 1931. Thanks for reading, and if you like the blog or if you have anything at all to say, I love comments and e-mails.
Before tonight’s 2-0 victory over Toronto, check out the last time the Red Sox won by more than 1 run:
That’s right, not since April 14th, 2 weeks ago. The BoSox may have gotten back to .500 with tonight’s win, which is always good to see, but the fact of the matter is they still have a lot of work left to do if they want to contend this season. I am encouraged by the way Clay Buchholz has been pitching and by Jon Lester‘s last two starts. If John Lackey and Josh Beckett can pick it up, then the rotation will be in good shape even if #5 remains a mystery with Tim Wakefield and Daisuke Matsuzaka. Don’t look now, but Lester hasn’t allowed a run in his last 13.1 innings.
One of the more interesting and surprising bright spots for the Sox thus far has been Darnell McDonald. Carrying a .286 average and 2 home runs through just 25 plate appearances into tonight’s contest, many fans are wondering where the heck this guy came from. That’s where I come in.
McDonald is 31 years old and in his fourth major league season. He made his major league debut back in 2004 at the tender age of 25 with the Baltimore Orioles, who selected him with the 26th overall pick in the 1997 amateur draft. Since then he’s been all over the majors and the minors, logging just 147 big league at-bats coming into this season. During that time he posted a below average slash line of .231/.276/.333.
So where is this new found success coming from? Your guess is as good as mine, but I can tell you one thing. He’s not the young prospect that some interpret him as, and for this reason he doesn’t have a legitimate chance of staying with the team long term. He may be a fan favorite already, but something’s gotta give when both Mike Cameron and Jacoby Ellsbury (remember them?) return from the DL. The team can’t afford to carry more than four outfielders at a time, and there’s just no way that McDonald can play himself ahead of Ellsbury, Cameron, J.D. Drew, or Jeremy Hermida. Thanks for the memories DMac, but I’m afraid your time is almost up.