August 25, 2002
Cruising the boxscores
No big topics of interest today, so I figured I would just a "notes" style entry, taking a look at the different games from today.
But, before I do...
I am thinking about making a weekly "mailbag" entry where people could send in comments or questions to me and I would post them and respond to/answer them.
So, if you have a good question, comment or possible entry topic (or even a not-so-good one) please send it to AaronGleeman@aol.com and you might find yourself mentioned on a real live website!
On to today's games...
They scored 5 runs in the top of the 9th, including the "winning run" on a suicide squeeze.
The ball game was tied at 3 heading into the 9th.
Grady Little decided to leave Derek Lowe out there, even though he had already thrown 111 pitches through 8 innings.
I don't think I would have even thought about leaving Lowe in to pitch the 9th, but, of course, I am a pitch count freak.
Lowe drops to 17-6.
He gave up 13 hits on the day, which is exactly 10% of his season total (130).
That's a thing you don't see a pitcher do too often in August.
Freddy Garcia got the win, improving to 14-9 by giving up 4 runs in 8 innings.
Freddy is having a decent season, but he isn't anywhere near the pitcher he was last year.
He is giving up a ton of homers (on pace for about 31 allowed this year after only 16 last year) and he is getting hit a lot harder by righties than he did last season.
While his numbers against lefties are almost identical to last year's (.243/.300/.404 in '02 vs. .242/.315/.396 in '01) his numbers against righties are way worse (.260/.308/.413 in '02 vs. .205/.240/.284 in '01).
Giving up twice as many homers and allowing righties to hit for about 65 points higher in OBP and 120 points higher in SLG is a good way to get your ERA to go up over a run a game.
I am hoping Freddy can turn it around, mostly because he is the ace of my Diamond-Mind keeper league team (although I am currently discussing a possible trade involving him with another team).
Bret Boone is actually having a pretty nice season.
If it wasn't following what he did last year, it would probably be getting a little more notice.
He went 4-5 with 3 RBI today and for the season he is on pace to hit .266/.330/.440 with about 25 HRs and 105 RBI.
He has probably been the 3rd best second baseman in the AL, behind Alfonso Soriano and Ray Durham.
On a side note, you can stick a fork in Charles Nagy, he's done.
8.21 ERA in 2000, 6.40 last year and 8.41 so far this year. It was a nice career (130 wins and an ERA+ of about 102) but it is time for Charlie to hang em up.
Joaquin Benoit pitched 6 2/3 and improved to 3-2.
I saw Benoit pitch in the Arizona Fall League a couple of years ago and I was really impressed.
He definitely needs to work on his control, but he could be a nice, young, cheap starter for the Rangers for years to come.
Or they could just spend another $50 million on someone like Chan Ho Park.
Derek Jeter went 0-4 and saw his average drop below .300.
Jeter is quietly having his worst season in a while.
His Batting Average, On-base % and Slugging % would all be the lowest they have been since 1997.
He has turned himself into one of the better base stealers in baseball though.
He is on pace to steal 34/38 this year after 27/30 in '01 and 22/26 in '00.
Still a very good player, but with that defense he is probably only the 4th best shortstop (at best) in the AL this year.
Chris Woodward just keeps on hitting, going 2-5 today.
I wrote about him on August 8th (at which point he was hitting .309/.369/.618).
He has kept his average and OBP about the same since then and although his power has dropped off a little bit (no one expected him to slug .600 all season) he is currently hitting .308/.368/.558.
It is still only 200 at bats, but Jeter could have some pressure for that 4th spot in the AL SS rankings pretty soon.
Orioles' rookie John Stephens pitched a scoreless inning of relief.
If you haven't seen Stephens pitch yet, I suggest you do so.
I have watched him twice so far this year and he is a lot of fun to watch.
His fastball tops out at about 80-82, but he has pinpoint control and he throws a curveball/ephus pitch in the 60s that makes hitters look absolutely silly.
He got lit up in his first start of the year (9 Earned Runs in 3 IP) but since then he has a 3.67 ERA in 27 innings.
And his minor league numbers have been great.
Before being called up he was 11-5 with a 3.03 ERA for AAA Rochester.
In 143 IP he allowed only 126 hits while striking out 118 and walking only 23(!).
I am pretty sure his lack of velocity is due to an arm injury he suffered a couple of years ago, so he is someone you can definitely root for.
D-Rays rookie Carl Crawford drew a walk in the 1st inning!
Why is that news? Because it was only Crawford's 2nd major league walk, in 144 at bats.
He looks like he can hit .292 AVG/.444 SLG but he is going to have to improve that plate discipline dramatically if he wants to be a quality left fielder, which is the position he is playing right now.
He hit .297/.335/.456 in AAA this year, with only 15 non-intentional walks in over 350 ABs.
Plus, he is with the wrong organization if he wants to learn plate discipline.
From the D-Rays games I have watched (yes, I really do watch Tampa Bay games) he looks like a great fielder, especially in left.
I believe he played center in the minors and I am pretty sure he will eventually end up there, if/when Tampa deals Randy Winn.
Billy Koch picked up his 33rd save of the year.
If you needed more evidence that Rick Peterson is a great pitching coach, check out Koch's strikeout rate this year, compared to his previous seasons.
Koch has always thrown incredibly hard and had great stuff, but before this season he didn't strike out that many guys.
1999 - 8.0 Ks/9 innings
2000 - 6.8 Ks/9 innings
2001 - 7.2 Ks/9 innings
2002 - 9.5 Ks/9 innings
I would say the Eric Hinske for Billy Koch deal worked out pretty well for both teams.
Speaking of bad plate discipline, Randall Simon went 3-5 with 5 RBI today and is now hitting .305/.322/.467 on the year.
He is on pace to draw about 13 walks in over 535 at bats. That is tough to do.
And 4 of his 10 walks so far have been intentional. Which means he is really on pace to draw only about 8 non-intentional walks in 535 ABs!
The man can hit though, .317 AVG in 1999, .305 last year and .305 so far this year.
Kyle Lohse had been great since the all-star break, with a 2.63 ERA in 55 innings.
But today he gave up 3 solo homers and ended up leaving after 5 innings.
Chuck Knoblauch, who hit 1 of the solo homers off of Lohse, has been horrible this season, but he is actually getting on-base at a pretty good clip since the all-star beak (.367 OBP in 105 ABs).
Of course, he is only slugging .322 in that time, but at least it is a semi-productive start for Knobby.
Well, I only made it through the AL games.
But this entry is long enough already and I am gonna go have some dinner.
Hunan Chicken...you gotta love it!