As Long As I'm Bitter...  

OcelotScratch 48M
112 posts
7/2/2006 9:41 pm

Last Read:
7/4/2006 12:49 pm

As Long As I'm Bitter...

Well, it looks like the best record in the American League is good for a grand total of two (2) All Star nods. Ivan Rodriguez won the starting spot at chatcher, over meerkittykat's choice of Joe Mauer. The funny thing is that if you gave me five fingers for the best catcher in the AL, Rodriguez wouldn't be there.

Ozzie "****" Guillen also picked Kenny Rogers as one of the pitchers. Rogers isn't even one of the two best pitchers on the Tigers' roster; Justin Verlander and Jeremy Bonderman have both pitched better, and both belong on this roster.

Where the fuck is Carlos Guillen? He's the second best offensive shortstop this year, barely behind Derek Jeter, and he's the anchor of a defense that leads the majors in Defensive Efficiency Rating.

Where the fuck is Magglio Ordonez? It isn't like he's exactly come out of nowhere; he was a great player for the White Sox before missing most of last year with injuries. He's having a better year than either Vladimir Guerrero or Ichiro Suzuki, but he gets to stay home? Why? Oh, that's right, Ozzie "****" Guillen, who gets to make the reserve selections, once referred to Ordonez as "another Venezualen piece of shit."

Where is Curtis Granderson? Yeah, I'm not sure he'll ever have another season as good as this one, but isn't that also true of Gary Matthews, Jr.? Hasn't Sarge, Jr. had a number of years to prove that he's really just a mediocrity, whereas Granderson has never had a bad year? Okay, this year is his only year, but that's better than Matthews' past.

If we're going to take relievers, can you articulate a single reason that you'd rather have Bobby Jenks than Joel Zumaya that doesn't rely upon the ridiculous Save stat?

Up until now, I was just happy that the Tigers were winning, and was going to be happy with wherever they finished when the season was done. Now, I really, really want the Motor City Kitties to go to the World Series, so that Jim Leyland can drill the White Sox in the ass the way that Ozzie "****" Guillen has done to us.

And, meerkittykat can breathe easy. Michael Cuddyer and Francisco Liriano got the same fucked-with-no-lube treatment the Tigers got.

8324 posts
7/3/2006 12:23 am

Ozzie Guillen had first pick and he's going to take his guys.

Big name players will win out over the underrated unknowns.

Since when are saves a ridiculous stat?

I think you need to worry about your team staying focused and keeping that lead in your division, rather than getting your props in the All-Star game.

So far your pitching is better than expected, but we'll see if it holds up.

I'm just happy Brandon Webb was selected and will probably get the nod to start for the NL.

Best groundball pitcher in the game.


"My every move is a calculated step, to bring me closer to embrace an early death." -Tupac Shakur

OcelotScratch replies on 7/3/2006 1:06 am:
Going in reverse order, Brandon Webb is the shit. In the fall of 2003, I advised a friend in a keeper fantasy league to take Webb over Dontrelle Willis. This is the first year where that has proven to be wise advice. I think that there will be many more to come. You don't need to tell me how good he is.

The Tigers' pitching hasn't been as good as it looks. What has made it look so good is that the defense has been out of this world. The staff breaks down into three parts.

The first is Jeremy Bonderman and Joel Zumaya, who have been striking out everyone in sight. These two really are that damned good. It's nice to see Bonderman finally put it together, and that having him up in the majors for four years hasn't had any negative effects other than to make him more expensive than he would otherwise have been. If Zumaya isn't in the rotation next year, I'm mailing a pipebomb to Tigers world headquarters.

The second group is Justin Verlander, and no one else. I don't mean no one else on the Tigers; I mean no one else in the major leagues. He pitches unlike anyone else you will see. Most pitchers that throw as hard as he does pitch up in the middle part of the strikezone. This is the classic power pitcher, like Clemens or Walter Johnson. They have great stuff, and just blow hitters away. It's why, in most cases, strikeout ratios are the best predictor there is for how well a young pitcher will do in the future; it's a proxy for their stuff. A few pitchers, such as Webb, or even more accurately, Bill Swift, through a really hard sinker and don't get huge numbers of strikeouts, but do get ground balls; the way to tell the good ones from the bad ones is that the good ones don't walk a lot of guys. Verlander is completely different. He doesn't pitch up or down; he throws a huge number of his pitches (about 2/3) on the inside corner. Hitters can get their bats on these, and they don't hit them on the ground. Verlander gets an insane number of weak popups on the infield. He's got great stuff, and will continue to be successful; it just won't be measureable in the usual ways.

The rest of the staff (Robertson, Rogers, Miner, Maroth, half of the bullpen) are putting up good numbers because they don't walk people, and they don't give up home runs. They make you put it in play, and the majors' best defense turns them into outs.

Maroth and Miner are playing with fire, and could blow up at any time. Unless the defense collapses, Rogers and Robertson will be fine over the long haul.

As for making sure my team keeps its focus, I went into the season saying that I thought success would be measured by whether they could win 85 games. Clearly, they're going to win 85 games. I put the odds of them making the playoffs at about 90%. The season is a success; from here on out, we're playing with house money.

8324 posts
7/3/2006 1:28 am

I'd take vintage Arizona-era Big Unit over Clemens or anyone else from this era.

His stats during his Arizona years were better than Clemens.

The only pitcher comparable was Pedro Martinez.

Brandon Webb still has learning to do to elevate his game.

He needs to recognize how hitters adjust to his breaking ball and react accordingly.

His recent start against the Phillies illustrated that.

He was dominating them until they decided to take him to opposite field and three consecutive batters did this culminating with a Ryan Howard HR, which ultimately lost him the game.

He didn't react fast enough and he paid.

You can only rely on your stuff for so long, being a pitcher is as much mental as physical.

There's talk that you guys will trade for John Smoltz so he can finish his career there in one last playoff run.

Not sure who you'd trade, but it seems to have life.


"My every move is a calculated step, to bring me closer to embrace an early death." -Tupac Shakur

OcelotScratch replies on 7/3/2006 1:56 am:
Webb is the real deal. It's not that he has much learning left to do; it's that there are always going to be nights where good hitters get to good pitchers. The reverse is also true. Brandon Webb is not going to throw a two hitter every night, and he's not going to win 25 games every year. No one does. Sometimes you're the windshield, and sometimes you're the bug.

You'll take AZ era Unit over which era Clemens? I'll take Clemens' 1990, 1997 or 2005 over any year Johnson pitched. I would take the six years that Johnson pitched in AZ over any six consecutive years of Clemens' career, but that's an artifact of timing. There is no year where, in March, I would rather have had the Unit than Clemens going into the season. I can't stand either guy, but Clemens has been much more consistent, and better, over the long haul. Randy Johnson is a first ballot Hall of Famer, but Roger Clemens is on the short list of Greatest Pitcher of All Time. His competition is Christy Mathewson, Walter Johnson, and Greg Maddux. That's it.

Pedro Martinez is a completely different ball of wax. He is on the short list, not of greatest career of all time, but most brilliant peak of all time. He can't possibly compete on the career lists, both because of his fragility and because the Dodgers of the early 1990s were fucked in the head. His seven year run from 1997 through 2003 is unequaled by anyone in major league history. Johnson didn't come close. Sandy Fuckin' Koufax didn't come close. Martinez would be in the Express Lane to Cooperstown no matter what the rest of his career looked like.

I look at the Tigers rotation, and I'm just not dying for another pitcher to join the team. I am much more concrened with finding a left fielder, preferably one that's left handed. There are rumors that they are trying to acquire Bobby Abreu. If that deal comes through, I'm putting money on them to go all the way. As for who Detroit would trade, we've still got pitching at Erie that would do the job. The system isn't producing hitters, but we have young pitching coming out our ears. And we don't even have Andrew Miller signed yet.

However, it would be very fitting to see Smoltz finish his career wearing the olde English "D," since we traded him to Atlanta in the first place, to get Doyle Alexander, who was crucial to our last playoff team.

OcelotScratch 48M
286 posts
7/3/2006 1:29 am

Why is the Save a ridiculous stat? Let me count the ways.

Start with the fact that you can get one for coming in at the start of the 9th inning with a three run lead, and get a save. If a pitcher gives up three runs in one inning of work, that equates to an ERA of 27.00. If you have any pitcher in your bullpen that you wouldn't trust with a three run lead for one inning, release him. I guarantee that you can find someone on the minor league scrap heap that you would trust with that lead.

The save is based upon a definition that Jerome Holtzman created in the 1960s, long before relief pitcher usage resembled what it does today. Tony LaRussa blew the stat all to hell with the way that he used Dennis Eckersley in the late 1980s. His approach worked great for that team, where Eck couldn't pitch more than an inning at a time. Teamed with Rick Honeycutt and whatever right-handed set up man they had that year, it was a brilliant approach. Eck dominated.

Unfortunately, the system was so successful that everyone copied it, regardless of whether it made sense for that roster. If you have a broken down starter who can be incredibly dominant for one inning a couple of times a week, like Eckersley, it was brilliant. If you try to fit a dominant relief pitcher who can go more than one inning, and/or more than three times a week, you're wasting your best relief pitcher.

A team's bullpen should be run with the idea of having the best pitcher in the game at the most critical time. The most critical time is not always the 9th inning. If the game is tied in the 7th inning, and the other team has men on second and third with one out, that is the most crucial moment of the game. There is no conceivable situation in the 9th inning that could possibly be more important. If you don't strand those two guys, you aren't going to have a game to save. Your best relief pitcher should be in the game right then; he shouldn't be waiting around while an inferior pitcher pisses away the game because he's the "closer" and shouldn't be used in the 7th inning.

Statistics should be used for two things. They should be used to explain what has happened, and they should be used to predict what is likely to happen in the future. Saving your best relief pitcher only for save situations is allowing that stat to use you, rather than you using the stat. I'd be ecstatic if the Tigers would save Todd Jones for situations where they have a two or three run lead at the start of the other team's ninth inning. That's a scenario where you really don't need your best relief pitcher; you'll blow two or three games a year with a merely adequate pitcher on the mound, and you'll win more games by saving Joel Zumaya for the really tough situations.

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