This is it. Continuing on from last week we have, indeed, entered the Age of the Walking Dead. At their current win/loss rate, the LA Angels of Anaheim should finish the 2013 season right about 71 wins. This past week the Texas Rangers surpassed that win tally already, and the Oakland A's are right there. This team is dead, and merely waiting a mathematical elimination shot to the forehead in order to make that information certain.
But don't despair, kids! We still will carry on here at Halos Heaven with the usual and customary assortment of "Why the hell does Arte pay them all so much money when we are the ones who have all the smarts?" rhetoric that fuels the fire of our eternal fandom. Well, except for you bandwagoners. Your fan fire is probably about to extinguish. Nice knowin' ya!!
On To Angels Baseball!
The Scott Downs Project, PART 2: Ok, we are back. Trust me. I am going somewhere with all this. We left off last week with the numbers showing that Mike Scioscia, as a strategic manager of player resources, chose to use Scott Downs only half as much as Downs had just proven he was capable. But, in doing my counting, I did not take into consideration whether or not Sosh was forced to do that because Downs was less effective as a Halo than he had just been as a Blue Jay. This week I look into that.
When I looked at each outing, it became easy to pick out those times when Downs surrendered runs, when he walked a lot of batters (versus, for example, when he struck out a lot of batters), when he was pretty much just getting work in, etc. So I decided to break his outings into "good" and "bad". Any time Downs allowed at least one run, I scored him with a "bad" outing. Obviously, the more batters he faced and the more pitches he threw, the more likely it was that at least one run scored. So "bad" outings trend towards the higher ends of batters faced/pitches thrown scales. And it did not matter to me what the game status was when Downs entered the game or when he left. Surrender a run, even an inherited runner, and that is "bad". Anything not "bad" then gets to be "good". Not overly simple when one looks at the actual quantity of data. Parsing it into something more granular would result in many discreet categories of tiny little numbers. So then, if Downs is in a game and things are NOT going "bad", but things are going "GOOD", and he still gets yanked, what happens to the table from last week?
# BATTERS FACED ONLY WHEN THINGS ARE GOING GOOD
|1 - 2||3 - 4||5 - 6||7 - 8||9 or more|
I can save you the trouble of clicking back to last week and bouncing back and forth. While at Toronto, Downs tended to be left in the game longer than when contrasted to ALL OUTINGS. That makes perfect sense. If things are not going bad, leave him in longer. And by removing the bad outings, this pushes Downs' time on the mound out further. But, conversely under Sosh, Downs inexplicably tended to get the hook EVEN FASTER when things were humming right along. Now, we have some cause and effect issues here. Had Sosh left Downs in longer, the tendency should be that his "bad" outing count would then go up simply do to the increased risk. So Sosh taking Downs out while things were still good, could be interpreted as creating a bias in favor of shorter outings showing up under "good" conditions. For those of you thinking along those lines, I ask you to then explain the Toronto results.
We see that even when things were going just hunky-dory, Sosh limited Downs to 4 batters or less 83.72% of the time. Close to 1/3 of the ENTIRE time spent as an Angel he was restricted to 1 or 2 batters even when he was keeping opponents off of home plate. When we compare this to non-Sosh, we discover that this Sosh's restriction occurs more than twice as much as non-Sosh. Again, why? Because Downs fundamentally has some issue with his arm falling off should he be tasked with something longer? Apparently that was not a problem before joining forces with Sosh.
Now a lot of folks might be screaming about "lefty-righty matchups!!" or "the next hitter's BA against" or any number of similar excuses to lift Downs at a time when things had been going well. I did not dive into that and pretend to project strategy into the minds of Scioscia/Gaston/Gibbons on a case-by-case basis. But wouldn't it be fair to presume that across nearly 350 games and nearly 1300 batters stuff like in-game lefty-righty matchups might even out a little bit? For but one example, is it reasonable to believe that whenever Gaston went to Downs, he was facing opponents stacked with more right-handed hitters far more often than when Sosh went with Downs? I say no.
Next week, Pitch Counts.
- Mike Trout: I will leave the summary to the article itself - " if Mike Trout was released by the Angels and became a free agent, but decided he did not want to sign long term with any other team and simply preferred to go year to year instead, where would the bidding war for a single year of Trout’s services end up?" Unfortunately, while Dave Cameron does a decent job of spotlighting a bunch of different angles to be considered, he refuses to come to a conclusion himself, leaving it to the comments. So, what the hell, I will do likewise. See the poll below and add your own comments!
- Grant Green: It's official. Green doesn't know the Big League way to bunt. Oakland refused to teach him. Bad Billy Beane. Bad. And, of course, you just cannot use that Little League bunt in the Big Leagues! Nor that college bunt. Nor, I suspect, even that minor league bunt. In fact, now that I think of it, maybe the only good bunt when you are in The Big Leagues is the Mike Scioscia bunt.
- J.B. Shuck: Insane as it is, in the 2013 AL ROY Realm Of Double Head Shakers, the official team game notes points out that Shuck "ranks first in hits (94), runs (43), doubles (15) and total bases (121) and is second in triples (3)…Shuck is also...third in batting average (.295) and fourth in OBP (.334) and RBI (31)…Oh, and even more brazenly, "After Mike Trout led all A.L. rookies in hits last season, Shuck is doing the same this year. The last team with the A.L. rookie hits leader in back-to-back seasons was the Twins from 1981-82 (G. Ward, K. Hrbek) – STATS LLC." Yeah, J.B. Shuck and Mike Trout are being compared. In the same sentence.
- Mike Scioscia: Now here is a bogus composition. To simplify, the author's position is "I doubt many would want to give Scioscia credit for Mike Trout having another spectacular season so why would he get the blame for the slumps of the other hitters or the problems the team has had with injuries?" Yeah, well, this is heard a bazillion times, even here on HH. But it's bogus because it neglects to actually focus on Scioscia the manager. Sticking strictly theoretical, did he contribute to the failure and, if so, how much? Enough to warrant a decision? If the players contributed to the failure, they are protected by contract and the CBA. So, contrary to the author's opinion, if the manager contributed sufficiently to the failure, the uniqueness of their contract situation that would allow them to be terminated should not be confused to indicate that they, uniquely, are the cause of failure.
Buy Stuff - Crazy-ass Baseball Finds On the Internet:
Friday, August 16 @ 7:10 PM, (FS-W / MLB.TV) LA Angels @ Seattle Mariners - Safeco Field, Seattle
(RHP) 3-5 4.24 ERA versus (RHP) 12-6 2.62 ERA
Saturday, August 17 @ 6:10 PM, (FS-W / MLB.TV) LA Angels @ Seattle Mariners - Safeco Field, Seattle
(LHP) 6-5 3.92 ERA versus Erasmo Ramirez (RHP) 4-0 5.94 ERA
Sunday, August 18 @ 1:10 PM, (FS-W / MLB.TV) LA Angels @ Seattle Mariners - Safeco Field, Seattle
(RHP) 7-7 3.62 ERA versus (RHP) 5-10 5.49 ERA
As it happens, I just returned from a business trip to Seattle this week. The weather up there is phenomenal at the moment. And it's preseason for the Seahawks. So I can guarantee you that the Angels are going to be able to get in to, and then get back out of, Seattle without the natives paying much attention. Small consolation for our ongoing embarrassment, but I'll take it. It seems odd to me that this team has one of the best offenses in baseball (it's true, look it up), and that trio of pitchers looks damned strong on paper, and yet I expect to see no end to our ongoing nightmare/daymare/afternoonmare.
This Date In Baseball History: 1936 - Bob Feller, only 17 years old, makes the first big league start of his illustrious career. (It's his 7th appearance.) He will strike out 15 batters, including the first 8 batters he faced..........1952 - Bob Elliot, batting for the Giants against the Cardinals, argues called strike 2 and is ejected. he is replaced in his at-bat with Bobby Hoffman. Hoffman takes a called strike three. He argues the call. And is ejected too..........1982 - Afters years and years of suspicion, Gaylord Perry is finally(!) caught sliming up a baseball while on the mound..........Also in 1989 - This is the day that Pete Rose agrees to a lifetime ban from Major League Baseball..........1989 - The Montreal Expos' Youppi! becomes the first mascot in history to get ejected from a game when Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda whines during a tense extra-inning affair. The game will finally end in the 22nd inning with a Rick Dempsey home run, capping the second longest shutout in history.........2008 - Parents and players stage a protest in defense of Jericho Scott, who had been prevented from pitching in the Youth Baseball League of New Haven, because he threw way too hard. Jericho was nine years old...........2011 - The Angels announce the re-signing of Jered Weaver, who clearly feels he has enough money.
Rounding Up The Major League News
- Modern Math: Are you one of those people who hate the emphasis on deeper number crunching in the game of baseball? If so, let's you and I decide for the moment to set aside my Sword Of Odin and your plastic spoon, and look at a brilliant example of how numbers, as information, can lead to a fresh understanding of what is going on between the lines on the field. Click over to this page and confess that even you can quickly realize there is something of interest in the chart there. The total article is a great read, but to synthesize the idea into a single phrase: those yellow squares reveal that since 1947 far more of the bases realized by batters have come due to the home run. And the information behind that knowledge includes the idea that pre-1947 baseball players got a lot more of their bases on things like singles and doubles and triples. "In some ways, baseball has never been better than it is today. The athletes are in terrific shape. The game is executed at a top level. Media coverage is spectacular and division races are terrific. Still, I wish I could have watched baseball in the '20s and '30s."
- Un-Modern Math: Great Moments in Cause and Effect, for cat lovers everywhere. Larry Granillo up at Baseball Nation studies the impact on the home team when a cat runs onto the field. Read to the end.
- Ryan Braun: By now you all know that Braun issued an apology. If you are firmly anti-PEDs, you should still find a lot of room in his apology for dissembling, obfuscation, and denial. You should probably let it go, since it was most likely written by some legal team anyway. Braun has given as much as he is ever going to give. As time goes by, the story he retells in his own mind will slowly morph into firm memories and eventually become his reality. My opinion on the apology is that, to me, he goes pretty far to state extensive apologies to almost every party involved in his story, although what value there is in apologizing to them is beyond me. But there is an exception to that extensive apologizing: the one man he and his personal team excoriated, potentially targeted, and may even have slandered as an anti-semite - the testing handler Dino Laurenzi Jr. Laurenzi is addressed merely once, in passing: "I sincerely apologize to everybody involved in the arbitration process, including the collector, Dino Laurenzi, Jr. I feel terrible that I put my teammates...". Braun went to the mat against Laurenzi, character against character, and Braun won on a technicality. Now that the truth has triumphed over that technicality, Braun needs to do more than briefly sniff in his direction.
- Pete Rose: It was inevitable, of course. With Ichiro Suzuki tallying his 4,000 hit, somebody was bound to ask Pete Rose his opinion of Ichiro getting within a season and a half of Rose's all-time record of 4,256. Naturally, Rose has a major opinion on the subject. "...Are we now supposed to count Warren Moon's passing yards in the Canadian Football League to his NFL career stats?..."
- Mariano Rivera: This is better than a painting. Metallica is set to play in New York City at The Apollo, one night before Rivera is to be honored by the Yankees themselves. As this piece points out, it would be pretty cool if Metallica were present to perform "Enter Sandman" live as Rivera is called in for a relief appearance!!
Video Of The Week
(Watch a catcher make an infield double play, almost all by himself!)
(Trouble viewing the video? Direct link here.)
People. Really. It's just a $20 baseball. Rubbed in dirt. It doesn't make you bad ass..........Finally! A public official thinks outside the box, but this time it's potentially a good thing. If a sports owner wants public money for infrastructure, why can't the public become part owners in exchange for that money?..........Screw Robinson Cano, Clayton Kershaw and his hidden ball trick is the guy we should go chasing. And, post-Greinke-to-the-Dodgers, wouldn't that be especially sweet?..........Want a job in Baseball? The Cards are hiring tech skills. The good news is that you will have a job in baseball. The bad news is that, because you are slobbering to have a job in baseball, baseball already knows that and will pay you pennies on the dollar knowing that you would have done it for free anyway............I'm calling it: the Dice-K debacle, culminating in him become a Met, killed the posting system between MLB and NPB..........Talk to the glove!..........Finally, FlipFlopFlyBall present for us...Know Your Jarrods.
And now, being the full service weekend linkage institution that we are, here is the obligatory moment we take out of each Friday...for beer...
Saturday: It's a busy day we have. Why not spend it in the park? Almost any park will do, it seems. The San Diego Museum of Man (Balboa Park) opens for business with what should be a fairly awesome educational event concerning BEEROLOGY. It's a great chance to catch on to the driver that beer has been for the development of civilization itself...........Lighthouse Park in Long Beach should be a pretty nice afternoon for the Taste Of Brews charity event...........Anybody gonna be in the vicinity of Grass Valley? Then hit up the Nevada County Fairgrounds and take in the Sierra BrewFest...........Or, maybe you know the town of Fortuna? It's near Eureka. That's plenty enough awesomeness right there for sure. But why not try and top it off by pulling into Rohner Park for their Hops In Humboldt Beer Festival?...........Or, there is Central Park. The Central Park in Davis, that is. This one, of course, is for you healthier dogs. It's the Bike and Brew Fest, a fundraiser for the United States Bicycling Hall of Fame right there in Davis. I particularly love these instructions: "Designated driver tickets are available, OR, DeVere's Irish pub is running a bus from their Sacramento location to their Davis location".
Future Forecast: Let's keep these up and handy from here on out to the dates of the events, shall we? Ladybug has shared some finds worthy of our consideration. First off is the Delicious Chili and Brewfest on The Queen Mary in Long Beach. Ladybug links us to The Living Social online deal...........Second is the Ultimate Beerfest OC on October 19th at the OC Fairgrounds. Again, Living Social..........