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Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Pickoff Moves

Japanese Players Back... Or Not

The strike lasted only a weekend, the players are back, but no settlement has been reached. "Further talks are likely to start Wednesday, but the strike may continue on the remaining weekends in September if no agreement is reached."

ESPN Stats Follies

Christian Ruzisch at all-baseball.com points out the noteworthy decline in ESPN's baseball stats, using Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez as an example. I've got two more: Troy Glaus did come back from the DL, and so did Chan Ho Park, the latter of whom was not traded to the Atlanta Braves. Neither of the two players are shown to have played any games subsequent to their returns. Yeah, it's getting bad.

RWBB: Another Abstract from the Abstracts

Rich Lederer has another abstract from the Abstracts. Since you can't buy the 1983 Abstract -- or any of them, really -- Lederer's synopsis is a good thing to read. In particular --
Although stating that the home field advantage decides one game in ten, James acknowledges “there is some evidence to suggest that the more unique or distinctive a park is, the greater the advantage.” Notwithstanding a park’s uniqueness, James says it is “an unavoidable fact that the teams which play in the best hitter’s parks in baseball—Fenway, Wrigley, County Stadium in Atlanta, Tiger Stadium—win obviously fewer championships than their share, and that the group of teams which play in the pitcher’s parks—Yankee, Memorial in Baltimore, Dodger Stadium are in the group—win more than their share.” James believes “there is a connection,” that it is “easier to build and maintain a starting rotation in a pitcher’s park than it is in one that favors the hitter.”
The Cards' park has played as a pitcher's park in late years (and even this year, for the most part), but it has wavered over the years.

One And Done: Twins Clinch

The Twins clinched by beating the Chisox, the team that spends more of its time trash-talking and less winning. (Aaron Gleeman has more on this.) No, I don't necessarily believe that the Twins will repeat last year's one-and-done debacle at the hands of the Yankees, but their history isn't a good one. Aaron Gleeman thinks the man on the mound yesterday, Santana, deserves the Cy Young, but I'm not as convinced; his threat "I hope to find out which voters cast their ballot for Schilling, so that I can avoid reading their work for the rest of my life" only makes me realize he's not reading my blog anyway, so I can, with some safety, say that Santana didn't have to face the Yankees eighteen times in the season. Remind me to be impressed when that happens.

Cards Clinch

Despite what Lee Sinins thought, the Cards actually clinched yesterday when the Cubs lost the second half of a double-header to the Marlins. Of the latter, the Marlins are almost certainly done for the year, as late-season double-header ties go to the club that's ahead in the standings.

other than facing the yankees, what are the other guidlines that you're using to pick your cy young winner?

up till now, schilling has faced the yankees twice and santana once. one of schilling's outings against them was quite good (1ER, 6H, 4BB, 8K 6.1IP), the other one, not so good (7ER, 10H, 2BB, 3K, 5.1IP). Santana's line against the yanks was (2ER, 5H, 2BB, 6K, 7.0IP). meanwhile, say what you will about the AL central, but the indians and chisox do have fairly respectable, prodigious offenses. and don't forget that the AL east is also populated with the likes of toronto, tampa bay, and baltimore. and also don't forget that schilling doesn't have to face the red sox lineup ever, whereas santana did, and he blew them away(2ER, 2H, 1B, 12K, 8.0IP). i really don't see how you can rationally argue schilling over santana, rob. santana is better than schilling in every category except wins, and schilling is literally only marginally ahead there.

Vishal -- I think it's fairly obvious. The problem is sample size. Translated: do you think the Angels could sweep the Yanks at home every time they saw them? No? I'm not saying Santana shouldn't be considered, but his stats are tarnished by his pitching most of his games in the AL Central. And the same point goes for the "prodigious" offense of the Chisox as well; how often do they have to face Mark Mulder, Curt Schilling, etc.? But I repeat myself.
i'm not convinced his stats are as inflated as you seem to believe. they're still more than comparable to schilling and hudson and whoever else there is that might be in the running. look, as you say, the only respectable ballclub that schilling faces more often because he's in the AL east is the yankees, but counting his next start against NY, he faces them a grand total of TWO extra times than santana has, out of almost 35 starts (though, toss in santana's start against boston, and that should make for just one extra start against a high-power team, due to division). so do schilling's stats get to be considered similarly tarnished by the fact that he got to pitch against the devil rays five times? and it's not like santana ONLY dominates crappy teams in his division. he's proven himself against every major contender in the AL: boston, new york, oakland, anaheim, AND texas(at arlington, no less). what does the guy have to do to convince you? it's not his fault he's pitches for the twins in the central division. that fact alone should not disqualify him for the cy young.
oh, that was me by the way. i probably should just get my own blogger profile one of these days.

Vishal -- ESPN's Relative Power Index puts the Twins well into the middle of the pack this year -- eleventh. That is identical, in fact, to their 2002 ranking but better than their 2003 ranking, where they placed 16th. I'll withhold judgement until after the postseason, but if they fold once again -- especially if Santana has trouble -- I'll be standing here saying "I told you so".

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