Monthly Archives: July 2005

July 27, 2005

A Couple Quick Kudos

Congratulations to Ryan Freel for taking the Reds' record for steals in a single game, with five in the game tonight. And, on a personal note, I'd like to say a special thanks to Freel for helping out the fantasy team: steals was a close category for me this week.

Also, a shout-out to Jacob Cruz for the two-run pinch-hit home run in the seventh. He must have been feeling the love I sent his way on Monday. Albeit on a slight delay.

Sweet dreams, everyone. Tomorrow's game starts at a decent hour for a change.

Go Reds!

July 27, 2005

Softball!: Game 3

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 R
Stars 2 3 0 2 3 3 13
Tie-Dye Guys 0 0 0 0 1 0 1
Matt 2B 5 4 3 0 0 1 .455
Abe, 1B 5 5 5 3 0 0 .727
Robert, 3B 5 1 5 2 0 0 1.000
Jon, SS 5 1 3 5 0 2 .545
Doug, LF 4 0 1 0 1 0 .250
RHM, LCF 4 0 3 3 0 0 .500
Wally, C 3 0 1 0 1 2 .250
Dar, RCF 4 1 2 0 0 0 .500
Mike, RF 3 1 0 0 1 3 .000
Bobbi, P 3 0 0 0 1 2 .000

We had a good game tonight. If we hadn't allowed the run in the fifth, we would have had our first mercy killing since…ever. But that almost would have been a shame, since we got to pad our stats a little with that sixth.

When we arrived at the field, our opponents were waiting. We never knew their team name, but they were all wearing tie-dye, so I've dubbed them the Tie-Dye Guys.

Even though the TDGs were in full-effect, the Stars were not. Matt and Mark were absent, Joe and Jerry weren't around, Little Robert couldn't be there, and Bobbi was nowhere to be seen. As we warmed up, we were looking at a line-up of three athletes and three partners: pretty scary. Bobbi rolled up at the very last minute to spare me pitching and we borrowed three outfielders (Mike, Dar, and Doug) from the Cardinals, who were preparing to play the TDGs right after us. The game was underway.

No one is on the bench to keep score when we're in the field, but even just the plays in our half of the inning would be too numerous to wrap here. I'll just hit some highlights:

  • We definitely remember turning two double plays, and there might have been a third. Not a single one of Jon's throws went over Abe's head (though he did hit a foul ball that disappeared into the soybean field, never to be seen again).
  • Our infield had an excellent fielding night. Jon, Matt, and Abe each caught at least one in the air, which is a pretty big deal for us. Even Robert threw someone out at second. Our outfield got very little action, but I did field the first hit of the game to hold the runner at first.
  • Two of my hits left the infield with authority. w00t!

With that win, we expect to be completely and totally overmatched in the bracket we draw in the state tournament. Next week we play again at the fancy field in Indianapolis. As long as we're already going to be out of our league in the tourney, we might as well just keep it rolling.

Go Stars!

July 26, 2005

Bloody Weather

Tonight's game did not move as quickly as last night's game, but it was less painful to watch and significantly less painful to listen to. Dan Hoard was the one filling in for George tonight, and he did a perfectly adequate job.

The big pre-game news was that Sean Casey hit fifth. And here I thought he was a lock hitting third. Also, Adam Dunn and Felipe Lopez are not playing.

Wait, Casey's hitting fifth but Dunn and Lopez are sitting? Who the hell *is* hitting third? Oh: Griffey. I guess that makes sense.

Austin Kearns got the first hit of the game with a double in the top of the second. Casey then proceeded to double the previous evening's hit total but be thrown out at second. Perhaps Casey should go on the program, too. The Dodgers tied it right back up in the bottom of the second when Jason Phillips scored on Jason Repko's single to center.

However, Eric Milton would take back the lead in the top of the third when he led off the inning with a home run to right field. Milton held the Dodgers through the bottom of the third but gave up a solo shot to Jeff Kent to lead off the bottom of the fourth.

In the top of the fifth, I would see Jason LaRue single, Milton bunt him over, and Ryan Freel ground out before a storm would blow in and take out our satellite signal. Already exhausted from the late game last night, I lacked the concentration to stay awake without the idiot box to keep me in the game.

So I went to bed. Or rather, I'm going to bed now. According to the GameDay, the Reds are up 2-3 in the top of the seventh. Hang in there guys. Keep it rolling. I'd like to see some painless news in the morning.

UPDATE 6:04 a.m. EST: Well, that sucks.

July 26, 2005

Graduate Student Reveals The Importance Of Wins

BOWLING GREEN, OH -- Wins, a pitching number widely derided by baseball statistic aficionados, has suddenly soared to the pinnacle of referential reverence thanks to the work of a local college student.

“I discovered it by accident,” explained Brian I. Ack, a graduate student of mathematics at Bowling Green University and the president of the student chapter of the Calculation Lovers Uber-Brotherhood (CLUB). “I was analyzing the impact of pitchers' win shares divided by their opponents batting average on the team's record. That's when I noticed the trend.”

The trend was between a pitching staff's number of wins and the team's standing in its division.

“It's a shocking 100% correlation,” said Ack. “The team whose pitching staff accumulates the most wins takes its division every time.”

“Such high predictive accuracy is unheard of,” Ack continued.

Ack's discovery has sent a shock wave through the CLUB, and more discoveries appear to be just around the corner.

“My roommate and I recently had another breakthrough that I think will be just as powerful,” Ack said. “It turns out that if you look at OBP -- without adding anything to it or anything -- that you can determine how often a player reaches base.”

Ack plans to publish his findings in The Diamond Angle Baseball Magazine, on his weblog, and in haughty-sounding posts on baseball message boards across the Internet.

July 25, 2005

It Would Be Even More Fun If They Won

I'm sure I won't feel this way tomorrow at 5 a.m. when the alarm goes off, but for now a good night game on the west coast is sort of fun, like camping out. I feel like I should build a fire in my family room and roast marshmallows. Of course, as hot as it is, I could just stick them out the window. That would probably be easier on the hardwood floors.

Line-up Construction
Mr. Lancaster quotes Jerry Narron to the effect that the construction of the line-up really doesn't matter too much over the course of a season. That seems reasonable enough in general and especially with regards to number of plate appearances, but I think that Casey may be a special case. No matter where he's hitting, it seems to make sense to me to bat someone before him who is not as likely to end up on first base by way of singles or walks, for example.

I really like Dunn near the top of the order, but if Casey is an absolute lock batting third, which he seems to be, Dunn shouldn't be hitting second. Maybe Wily Mo Peña should hit before Casey; he almost never singles or walks.

Kearns Looking Good
Chris Welch interviewed Austin Kearns for the pre-game show. Kearns looked really uncomfortable with the attention, but what a great attitude on that kid. It's hard to believe the difference in Kearns since he went down. Kudos to him. I can only imagine how much that whole ordeal must have sucked, and I'm impressed with Kearns' character.

Plus, just when you thought he couldn't look a bit better doing that thing where he adjusts his battling gloves with his teeth, he goes and drops 15 pounds and proves you totally wrong. Plus, now he can run like the wind!

Quote of the Evening
It was a tough contest, what with all the conversation about pounding Dodger Dogs, but the Quote of the Evening was delivered by Chris Welch in the first inning:
“I know that Jerry Narron likes Dunn in the number-two hole.”

Jim Day and George Grande
Jim Day is pinch hitting for George Grande tonight because George is dealing with an important family issue. I certainly make my share of fun of George during each game, but I do hope everything's OK. He told us earlier this season that his mother just turned 99, so certainly that's a concern.

Jim Day is a dorky and amusing fellow to have contributing to the pre-game, and I usually enjoy his segments, but I'm so glad he doesn't call every game. It feels like he never, ever stops talking. I find myself unconsciously taking extra breaths on his behalf to try to break up the constant stream of trivia. I never thought I could enjoy actual physical relief when Chris Welch started talking. Plus, he relentlessly called Jason Phillips “Spaz.”

The Game Proper
When the hell did Derek Lowe get so freaking effective? The Reds were only able to muster a single hit against him. It was an ugly time. Steve Schmoll took over in the ninth to knock off Ray Olmedo, Jacob Cruz, and Felipe Lopez, all hitting left-handed, and finish out the 4-0 defeat of the Reds.

On the other side of the coin, Harang didn't have the best of nights. He gave up four runs over the course of six innings. Jason Standridge relieved him in the seventh, putting away that inning nicely, but allowing the first two batters in the bottom of the eighth before Little Eddie Encarnación started a lovely double play. Brian “Love” Shackleford took over with two outs and two on in the eighth and finished the inning with one pitch.

The evening's action revolved around Rich Aurilia. Not only did he get the one hit, but by my count he was also involved in eight of the Reds 24 outs. That seems like a lot to me. Of course, that's one fewer than it would have been if he hadn't collided with Austin Kearns on a fly ball in the sixth, an interaction that ended with neither catching the ball.

But the mighty Aurilia was not remotely enough to win this first game of the series. There are three more chances to beat the Dodgers before the Reds continue along the coast to face Joe Randa and the Padres. Here's hoping they can light that fire before then.