Tag Archives: Phillies

Why Roy Oswalt is Better Than Jonathan Sanchez

Sanchez v. Oswalt, NLCS Game 6 2010

This is the strikezone plot from the first two innings of the NLCS Game 6 in 2010, Roy Oswalt vs. Jonathan Sanchez.

Sanchez has calmed down a bit, while Oswalt has given up a couple of hits. It’s 2-2 in the 3rd inning.


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Talking Strike Outs and Strike Out Records (for batters)

We’re having some fun with strike outs on the Dingers Blog today.

First and foremost, here’s your YEAR OF THE PITCHER stat for today. If the season finishes with its current rate stats, 2010 will be the best K/BB season in modern baseball history. That’s right, only 1879, 1884, 1878, 1875, 1880, and 1883 have had better K/BB years than 2010 has had. Pretty amazing, if you ask me.

The Diamondbacks are still on pace to break the Brewers’ 2001 record for most strike outs by a team. The D-Backs have 1,269 before today’s game and have played in 138 games so far, about 9.19 Ks per game. Remarkably consistent, since that was the number from last time we checked in. Yes, they’re still on pace for 1,490 or so (Brewers’ record was 1,399).

That means if they continue pace, they’ll break it on game 152. Continue reading

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We’re Talking Emotions? Reflections on Yesterday’s Loss and the 2010 Season

From this game.

The one thing that bothers me the most in baseball (and in general, really) is when fans attempt to decipher a player’s performance based on his emotions. It’s not that the player isn’t suffering some mental block that prevents him from playing at a normal level, it’s that fans, and particularly ones who don’t talk to players or know anything about them personally, project emotions onto them.

Broxton blew a lead. True.
Broxton blew a lead against the Phillies for the fifth time in three years. True.
Broxton can’t handle pitching against the Phillies. Possibly true.

Regardless of whether or not it’s true, Broxton sucked last night because he lost his control. To make matters worse, the ump was giving him a tight zone.

Broxton's Strikezone plot Aug. 12, 2010

Broxton's Strikezone plot Aug. 12, 2010

We’ve seen this a few times this season and it happens most often when he’s either had too much rest or too little. Broxton had four days rest before this appearance–five days I’d say is too much rest for him–but it doesn’t really matter.

Broxton's rest chart, up to Aug. 12, 2010

Broxton's rest chart, up to Aug. 12, 2010

You can view his career days rest splits here.

The sample size is negligible here, but it’s obvious the more rest he gets, the worse he gets. Not that that’s a bad thing, but ideally you want him in the game every 2-3 days and you see the numbers start to fall off a cliff after a few more days.

This isn’t true for Broxton, but for almost all relief pitchers. Maybe the universal maxim to this is if you’re gonna use any reliever that’s had 4+ days rest, you’re gonna want to use him in a low leverage situation.

So back to Broxton. Broxton was originally put in for a lower-leverage situation that he made a high leverage one. Probably would’ve been smart to remove him after the second walk. He just had no control, even if his pitches were OK. His slider and his fastball had their normal movement, but he couldn’t throw the fastball for strikes.

So guess what happened. The Phillies sat on the fastball and waited for the slider. One got a hit by pitch, two worked a walk, one got on base because of a silly error and one hit a huge double to win it. It was bullshit.

I give credit to Joe Torre for going up to Broxton and saying “trust your stuff” or whatever he said. On the flipside, you gotta know when your pitcher has it or doesn’t have it and Brox definitely didn’t have it. It’s tough to know who to bring in in that situation, but Carlos Monasterios on a day’s rest would’ve likely been fine. The biggest problem was the use of most of the bullpen before Broxton came in. There weren’t many options.

The thing about placing emotions on Broxton is it could be the opposite. The Phillies own Broxton. Plain and simple. What if it’s not Broxton’s fault that the Phillies have some magical powers against him? What if lmao, can’t keep that up. Believing you know something about emotions of a ballplayer is dumb, period. Stop thinking you know something you don’t.

Back to the rest of the game, the Dodgers had this one locked up, it seemed: 9-2 lead heading into the bottom of the 8th inning. Matt Kemp had an awesome day. Heck, the whole offense did. It was nice to see the whole line-up get hits.

Ronald Belisario was put in on 2 days rest and was unlucky and terrible. I can’t blame Torre for removing him when he did because most of the hits he gave up were weak as hell. Two singles through the infield and a soft line drive to centerfield before giving up a big double to Ben Francisco. Frankly, with the Dodgers’ middle infielders and their range, I’m amazed they got two through the CF hole. Kenley Jansen and George Sherrill cleaned up a bit of his mess, but didn’t do an exactly great job.

Now this was the part that was crucial to me, but this wouldn’t be brought up if the Dodgers won the game: Torre pinch hit Jay Gibbons for George Sherrill. Torre does this sometimes when he shouldn’t and I think this was one of those times. This wasn’t a bad spot for a pinch hit decision, since Sherrill was gonna lead off the inning (and Gibbons got a hit, so a few more runs would’ve been cool), and heck, Joe’s got Jon Broxton warming up. But I think it would’ve been more valuable to start the inning off with Sherrill, who just closed out two Phillies after a disastrous bottom of the 8th, and then brought in Broxton should the situation call for it. The Dodgers had a four-run lead, remember. Another couple of runs wouldn’t have mattered much, since having a four-run lead into the 9th is virtually bullet proof. I mean, if you’re gonna lose with a four-run lead, you’re gonna lose period.

Gibbons ended up singling, but Podsednik grounded into a double play. Oddly, the pinch hitter did his job and the line-up batter didn’t.

All in all, none of these decisions were terrible, or even that bad. Broxton almost definitely should’ve been taken out. I feel for Broxton’s development, and especially in a year when it’s clear the Dodgers aren’t in contention, that Broxton might’ve benefited from staying in the game, had he been able to locate his fastball eventually. He does struggle with giving up a lot of runs in bad outings. But still,

So at what point do we stop and say to ourselves, “You know what? This team just isn’t that good?”

PECOTA predicted the Dodgers this season would be a .500 team and I argued against that. Regressions are regressions, but that’s ridiculous after the team only lost Orlando Hudson and Randy Wolf. Subtracting both of their productions and adding replacement players would’ve put the Dodgers at about 94 wins. How could a possibly-94-win team lose 13 wins one season to the next? It just doesn’t add up.

But PECOTA was right. How about that.

If you’re looking for a scapegoat this season, stop. There is literally no one player, pitcher, hitter, manager, or front office personnel that’s to blame for the Dodgers’ season. Phil Gurnee of True Blue LA said it very well:

The biggest problem is that the core did not get better in 2010. Loney, Andre, Kemp [and] Martin simply did not produce enough this year to make up for our LF taking the year off. The argument by me has always been we can build around the core. I no longer believe that. When Blake DeWitt has the highest OPS since the All-Star game we have a problem.

Aside from the grim realist perspective, he’s got a point. No doubt the problem hasn’t been any one player, but the team itself. The young core had troubles on offense and defense. If Manny Ramirez doesn’t play for the rest of the year, he’ll have sat 101 games. The starting pitching, aside from Hiroki Kuroda and Clayton Kershaw and sometimes Chad Billingsley, has had some struggles, no more than the troubled fifth starter spot and the horrible starts from Charlie Haeger, Vicente Padilla, Ramon Ortiz and other fill-ins. And then the bullpen … well, it’s been a wreck.

So yes. This team wasn’t as good as we hoped it would be. That’s what we take out of this loss. And now the front office has to think of ways to make the team better for the future.

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Filed under Los Angeles Dodgers, MLB

When Self-Righteous Indignation and Uninformed Dissent Meet

Got this via The Fightins, who got it via Phillies tweeter @LONG_DRIVE, who created it. A sabermetric-following baseball fan and a non-sabermetric-following baseball fan get into an argument around Ryan Howard.

I’m guessing the non-saber guy was just trolling, it’s kind of ridiculous, but it’s still fun. Without further ado [LSFW for language]:

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Is Ryan Howard the pre-eminent power hitter of our generation?

lmbo, no.

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Idea: A third team in New York (New Jersey)?

On Friday, I posted this article about Rosenthal’s realignment proposals (lol) and in one of the proposals, he suggests a third team in New York (the New Jersey A’s) to dilute the financial power of the Yankees and Mets from other divisions.

I thought originally the reasoning was poor for a number of reasons, but Rosenthal’s not far off on the team.  The A’s have terrible attendance right now and their bid for a new stadium was shot down in the development stages.

New Jersey’s also not a bad spot. Although I don’t seem to have baseball TV markets by viewers available, there’s a lot of Yankees fans there. That this New Jersey team would dilute fans and revenue from the Yankees (who are, may I remind you, a national and international commodity, not a local one) and Mets, as Rosenthal suggests, is dubious. But that aside, there’s some merit to the argument of putting a third team there.

There’s a willing team, there’s a potential for a fan base, and there’s probably a good owner in New York that’s wanted to buy a team out there.  But there’s still more problems that arise.

My biggest concern is a baseball metaphysics question: how do you build a fanbase with two already great franchises in the Yankees and Phillies less than 80 miles away and the Mets?  The Mets were created to fill the void left from the Giants and Dodgers shipping west, so they already had that built in upon arrival and they still struggle to compete for fans with the Yankees.

At least when the Expos moved to Washington, there was precedent in the Senators and the Orioles were having some bad years. The market was ripe. For any team moving to New Jersey, any potential owner would be more attracted to leaching off revenue-sharing and a low payroll. I mean, why compete with the Yankees or Phillies when it’s easier to make money?  It seems like there’s more potential for a New Jersey team to be seen as a bastard step-child than a baseball team.

My second biggest concern is that it shifts a lot more balance to the east coast, making travel easier on the Atlantic seaboard and more difficult on the western teams.  There’s already a team from Texas in a West division, how much more unbearable would it be if a team as far west as Oakland moved as far east as possible?

Maybe the best option to add a New Jersey team is to add a 31st and 32nd team and put one of them there (and another in Riverside, which is surprisingly baseball’s largest “city” without a team).  Even then, it makes more sense to not have a New Jersey team.  Rosenthal seems to think it’d be good to dilute the Yankees’ fan base, but I think that’s a paradox.  As much as I hate to admit it, baseball’s success is due partly because of the Yankees’ success, not in spite of it. So why screw up a good thing?

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