Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Capitalize on this good forture

When Joe Crede broke his finger last year, he was a lifetime .251/.300/.428 hitter. Given the high expectations, that would officially qualify as a major disappointment.

Since he came off the DL on September 10, 2005, Joe Crede has now played in 85 games. In that span he's hit .320/.354/.560.

Here's one way of looking at it: double his last 81 games and you get:

34 homers
118 RBI
28 walks (nobody is perfect)

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Suffer not your neighbor's affliction

As midnight approached on May 27, the Detroit Tigers were coming off a win off the Indians and were an incredible 35-14. Virtually everything was going right for the team, easily leading the league in ERA and scoring runs in bunches. One more game against the Indians, who they'd been dominating, followed by stretch against the Yankees, Boston, the White Sox, and Toronto, gave the Tigers an opportunity to quiet the last naysayers.

The Tigers have now gone 3-9 in the last 12 games, being outscored 70-42. Three things have gone wrong for the Tigers:
  • Their schedule suddenly got a lot tougher,
  • They started suffering injuries (Maroth, Monroe, I-Rod), and
  • Their mixed-bag bullpen started giving up a lot of runs, capped by last night's meltdown.
They have managed to cling to first place mostly because the White Sox have not played Whack-A-Mole with them quite enough yet. The wheels aren't off yet, but the Detroit lug nuts look to be loose or missing for 2006. This is not to say the Tigers aren't long-term contenders; the wealth of young pitching plus more coming (and Zumaya eventually moving into a key role) augurs well for their future -- if Leyland doesn't Dusty-Baker the young pitchers first, that is. On the other hand, Polanco, Ordonez, I-Rod, and Guillen aren't spring chickens, and the latter three have terrifying injury histories (which are the reasons they're all in Motown in the first place), so keep in mind the possibility that this team could be a mirage.

Indians followers are amazed at the team's floudering at 29-31. "With all that talent," they ask, "how can they be under .500?" The answer, of course, is that the pitching staff isn't the same one they had last year, and in virtually every case, the replacement in 2006 is worse than the 2005 role-player. It hasn't helped that Cliff Lee has regressed to ordinary, but Paul Byrd and Jason Johnson simply haven't pitched well, and the smoke-and-mirrors 2005 bullpen is scattered and the replacement just hasn't gelled. From the perspective of a White Sox fan, the Indians' decision to use Aaron Boone at third and the Broussard/Blake hot starts should stretch out the playing time for three candidates for long-term replacement, and lead the Indians to avoid some tough decisions they should make for 2007. Of course, Boone's supposed heir apparent, super-prospect Andy Marte, is not hitting at Buffalo (.256/.324/.363). Is it possible the Crisp trade, surrendering Crisp and bullpen handyman David Riske, will turn out to be the supposed "2005 Major League Executive of the Year's" serious mistake? We can only hope.

Game 60: Caught between a rock and a hard place (37-23)

White Sox 5, Indians 4. Brian Anderson's running catch at the wall in the top of the 8th denied Travis Hafner of an RBI double, and Jermaine Dye's two-run single gave the White Sox a 5-4 win.

Brian Anderson if 19 for 123 with 6 extra base hits and 16 walks. Normally this would earn him a trip back to Charlotte, but given that he's a very good centerfielder on a team that doesn't have anybody else who is competent there, he has to play, which Guillen announced yesterday. Mackowiak gave it his best shot, but his being overmatched has cost the White Sox at least a couple of games already.

Anderson will almost certainly start hitting at some point. There really isn't anything magical about the majors outside of the hitters' minds (and their paychecks, obviously). Before the season, PECOTA had him at .269/.329/.468, rather than .154/.254/.268. Even if he does turn it around, he will post an ugly rookie season no matter what, as hitting .300 the rest of the way would still leave him somewhere in the low .200s.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Game 53: Heartbreak's a soul shaker (33-20)

Between being sick this week and the pathetic efforts turned in by Garcia and Contreras over the last few days, it pains me to comment at all. So I won't.