As I sit here watching the elevator music that is on the Extra Innings package right now due to rain delay, I’d like to take this time to promote a snack product that is excellent!!! If you love salsa and you like peaches, you’ll love Newman’s Own – Peach Salsa. It is the perfect blend of sweet with salty. It is so good that when I ran out of chips just now, I wanted to just eat the salsa with a spoon. In addition to the wonderful taste, all of Paul Newman’s food products go to a great cause. Paul Newman, as sole owner of Newman’s Own®, donates all his profits and royalties after taxes for educational and charitable purposes. Paul Newman has given over $150 million to thousands of charities since 1982. I highly recommend you march yourself to the store and pick up a bottle in time for the first pitch, whenever that may be tonight. Just tell em THE VIEW FROM THE BLEACHERS sent ya. And please, if you do go out and try it, let me know what you think.
Archive for April, 2005
Excuse me, waiter? Garçon? Could you please fetch my friend Corey here a Gold Glove?
image from MLB.com
Prior got hit hard in the first inning, but thanks to the spectacular defensive efforts of young outfielders Dubois and Patterson he got out of it unscathed. Patterson made two fine catches at the wall, the second being a Torii Hunter-style bounce off the padding in right-center. I’m certain that if Corey played center field in a stadium with a short outfield fence, he’d have a fistful of over-the-wall Web Gems on Baseball Tonight.
Corey had a fantastic season in the field last year and left many wondering, “Hey, where’s the golden leather?”
Defense is such a hard thing to measure, particularly because there’s so few meaningful statistics out there to use. Putouts? Assists? Errors? The two big stats that come out of these are Fielding Percentage and Range Factor. Fielding percentage doesn’t tell you anything about a player’s range, and despite its name, neither does Range Factor.
I’m partial to Defensive Win Shares for measuring defense because I absolutely believe in the methodology behind it. It looks at team defense first, and then divides the credit up among the individual fielders. That, and I’m a Bill James nut.
Last year’s Gold Gloves went to Andruw Jones (duh), Jim Edmonds (duh), and … Steve Finley (what?). Last year’s defensive win shares for NL outfielders went like this:
1. Andrew Jones (7.4)
2. Jim Edmonds (6.5)
3. Corey Patterson (6.3)
The stats would give Corey the Gold Glove, but the tall brick wall at Wrigley limits those eye-popping, highlight-reel catches. Maybe he should slow down on those hits into the gap and just DIVE instead of cruising underneath them. Anyhow, I’m glad he’s patrolling the outfield for the Cubs.
As I watched the game tonight I decided to write down thoughts as the game progressed. Normally, I just sit and watch or keep score and then post comments as I remember them. As I jotted down some notes I was excited about this new method of watching the game. Here are my bulleted thoughts on what took place tonight.
- Would it be too much to ask for Nomar to take a pitch once in a while? I’m not asking for every AB, because I know he’s a first pitch hitter, but does that mean you swing at EVERY 1st pitch? Tonight with the bases loaded, you would think he would see if he could work the count a little in his favor to give himself something good to drive.
- More harping on Nomar, but did he seem out of it tonight? The whole game, he seemed to be out of the game mentally. He had a bad throw to first when he had plenty of time to make a good throw and put up a solid 0 for 5 with a bigtime bad 5 individual men left on base. What happened to the guy on fire in spring training?
- Jason Dubois got the start today and did nothing to impress me. If he didn’t impress me, he sure as heck didn’t impress Dusty “Anti Kids” Baker. The one thing that irked me about Jason tonight was a ball he fielded off the wall with his bare hand. It was an easy standup double off the leftfield wall that had no chance of going for a triple. Instead of just playing the ball into his glove, which is the safe thing to do, Dubois barehanded it off the wall and made the throw into the cutoff man. No harm came of it, but you wonder what could have happened had he dropped the ball. There is no need to play fancy when it’s uncalled for. There are times to barehand and times when it’s simply being careless. Tonight was an instance of the latter that could have hurt us.
- The TV feed on the Extra Innings package tonight was a Red feed. It was interesting to hear them call the game. I thought they did ok. One thing they said that made me laugh was how this team was more of a Dusty Baker kind of team than the year before. They noted that this team gives Dusty more opportunities to “make managerial decisions.” I don’t know your thoughts, but is that really a good thing? Personally, I’d rather Dusty have to make LESS decisions. This picture from Die-Hard Cubs Fun says it all.
One of my favorite games on MLB.com is Beat The Streak. Each day you get to pick one MLB player and if they get a hit, your hitting streak continues. I have been playing it each year for 3 yrs now. I have set up a league that is free to play in. If you would like an invite, please shoot me an e-mail, IM, or comment on here with what address you’d like it to go to and I will get that out to you ASAP.
After 4 series, we are at a pathetic 6 and 6 record. This team should be able to win 2 of 3 every series. Do that, and you win 108 games. Obviously it won’t take 108 to get to post season, but you really don’t want to play around too much with that cushion or you end up missing the playoffs. With that being said, I think as a fan, I will do my best to look on the bright side of every series as long as we take 2 out of 3.
Losing the first one to the Bucs this weekend hurt. When you lose with Zambrano on the mound, the chances of winning the series with Dempster and Maddux are slim. I was worried, but the Cubs took care of business. Even THE KING got in on the action recording 2 straight saves. He is perfect in that role since I crowned him. Now, as we look ahead to the Reds, there is no reason we cannot sweep. Wood and Prior, our supposed 1,2 will pitch in the series. This is the perfect opportunity to make up a game that we lost in one of the first 3 series.
No discussion of “hot” can fail to include Zambrano’s temper. We’ve seen 2 Mr. Hyde performances already this year. Big Z is a Cy Young candidate if he can avoid mental breakdowns in 85 % of his pitching performances. I hope the rest of the season is more boring. He’s 4 for 9 at the plate though; is he the Venezuelan Babe Ruth, the Venezuelan Fernando Valenzuela, or just a case in point of the importance of sample size? Only time will tell.
Neifi Perez has the hot hand right now. As stupid as I think Baker is for letting him hold a bat, much less swing it, the guy’s playing like un-Neifi, and as long as he continues to be red-hot, I now believe Baker’s doing the right thing. The MOMENT Neifi reverts to form, you’ve got to turn it over to Jerry Junior.
Jason Dubois: 11 AB, 4 H, 1 2b, 1 HR, 1 BB.
Todd Hollandsworth: 33 AB, 9 H, 1 2b, 1 3b, 1 HR.
Data sample small, but Hollandsworth is just gettin’ by whereas Dubois appears to have “the hot hand.” If you play Neifi, you play Dubois too, Dusty.
The Cubs are 5 out of 7 in the SB department. That’s a 71.4 % success rate, which is right on the borderline between helping to generate runs and actually reducing your run scoring potential. What’s cool is that our opponents are 5 for 13! HAHAHAHA. That can help a lot of Ryan Dempsters, Todd Wellemeyers, and Mike Wuertzes look better than they are. And I’ll take that. Keep it up, Mikey Barrett, just don’t forget you also get to hit.
Jose Macias: 1 for 13. 1 error in 8 total chances among all positions. Jesus, we might as well invite Larry Biitner back.
Take out Derrek Lee’s 10:6 BB:K ratio and the team has a 26:77 ratio. Gene Clines can’t work miracles, but that can’t get much worse. The Cubs have a .330 team OBP, good for 10th out of 14 NL clubs.
Best Cubs “Dungeons and Dragons” name:
BARTOSH, human barbarian level 8.
Runner up: NOMAR the Invincible, Gnomish Mage 6, and his imp familiar Neifi.
Don’t be too hard on LaTroy just yet. I think over the course of the season that his luck will even out. If El Pulpo and Joe Table could be passable closers for years, LaTroy certainly will. When Borowski comes back, though, I won’t mind if LaTroy gets put back in setup. The traditional closer usage pattern means the setup guys more frequently pitch meaningful innings than the closer, and that’s where we want our best reliever.
Take Remlinger out back and shoot him. The bullpen ain’t bad so far; Fox, Wuertz, and Bartosh have combined for 15.2 innings, 14 H, 16 K, 1 HR, and 3 ER. If Wellemeyer and Leicester can get it together and Remlinger dies, we’ll be okay.