Archive for September, 2008

Upon the Final 2008 Moose Watch

September 29, 2008

9/28/2000

Opponent: The Boston Red Sox

6 innings pitched, 3 hits, 0 runs, 2 Walks, 3 strikeouts

Mussina W (20-9) 3.37 ERA

So the final numbers for Mike Mussina in the 2008 Season:

  • 20 wins against 9 losses with 5 ND (3-2 team record in his ND)- Second highest win total in all of baseball. Oldest pitcher to win 20 games for the first time
  • The Team was 23-11 in games in which Mussina appeared
  • 200.3 innings pitched, his highest total in 5 years
  • 34 starts, his most in 7 years
  • No complete games or shut-outs
  • 75 earned runs all year, for a 3.37 ERA- Lowest era since 2001. The oldest pitcher in history to go from a 5 ERA one year to a sub-3.50 ERA the next
  • 31 walks, lowest total of his career.

What more can you ask from a 40 year old pitcher. Sherm, the floor is yours_______________________

Upon Some Thoughts on the End of the Season

September 29, 2008

The Yankees are not making the playoffs. I didn’t let myself say it until it was all said and done. We kept it going mathematically as long as we could, but in the end we got outran by healthier horses. The Yankees finished 8-2 in their last 10 games, and 8-2 on their final homestand ever at Yankee Stadium. They won 5 in a row to close the building, most importantly the last game ever.

89 wins is the lowest win total for the Yankees since their 87 win campaign in 2000, though that year ended with a World Series. I had them pegged to win 98, but injuries and the surprising Rays meant that even 89 wins was not enough for a wild card. More on the Yankee season later, where I will compare predictions to reality.

Oh, the Mets! It happened again. This time last year, I wrote expressing my sympathy for the Mets and their fans. Not this year. There were way too many Met fans who reveled in the Yankees’ failure; taking all sorts of pot-shots and digs. This does not apply to you Sherm, as you respectfully backed off when things went south for my team. I won’t go the “Ha Ha” route, but there are some things I want to mention:

  • Fill the stadium- I mentioned it when I went to a Mets/Nationals game a few weeks back. The Mets’ announcers mentioned it many times during the game. Shea Stadium was not full over the weekend. Not once. Your team is fighting for its playoff life, Shea is closing forever, and you can’t pack the joint? I was at the penultimate game at Yankee stadium, and while there were plenty of tourists and people there for the scene only, it was still wall-to-wall. 
  • How about a plan B?- I know Wagner got hurt, and it really hurt the Mets pen. But, you have to have a back-up plan. What the hell happened that made the Mets bullpen so bad. Was there no one on the market? Again, I need Sherm to explain this to me. The post-game ceremony featured guys that could do better. Except Tom Seaver. Actually, this gets its own bullet.
  • Get it over the plate - Babe Ruth’s daughter got it about as close to the plate in the Yankee finale as Tom Terrific did on his last pitch to Piazza. Shoot up some cortizone, pop a greenie, do something, but show some pride and at least make it to the plate, even if its outside.   
  • Yogi- That’s it. No more trotting this guy out to things. He looked confused, and he’s too old for this stuff. We all love him, but that’s enough.

And the Mets overall- This team has some damn good pieces. I am sold on Beltran, Delgado, Wright, Church. I love Reyes talent, but there is still something about him. Like he could be traded in a Hanley Ramirez for Beckett and Lowell move, where both teams are better for it. Pelfry could be a good 2-3 starter. Johan will be NL top 5 for a few more years (4 max), but the Mets window with him just shrunk a lot. You can’t trust Perez. Pedro is finished, and not in the “Mussina is finished” circa April 2008 sense.  

 

Now onto the good old Moose Watch…..:-)

Upon a Brief Farewell

September 26, 2008

 

On Sunday night, Yankee Stadium will play host to a regular season baseball game for the final time in its long and venerable history. Capturing the essence of this building; the spirit which permeates it and distinguishes it from every other sporting venue, is a nearly impossible feat. There have been innumerable moments that will stand out forever in the minds of New Yorkers.

Most notably, Yankee Stadium has been the home stadium for the New York Yankees since 1923. There have been more than 6,500 regular season baseball games played in the stadium, and more than 150 million fans have passed through its gates over the years. The distinctive features of the stadium, both inside and out, have become New York landmarks. Though many ballparks have changed their names to reflect their corporate sponsors, Yankee Stadium has always borne only the name of the team that called the building home.

The Yankees have won more championships than any other team in baseball history. In winning 26 titles and 39 American League pennants, there have been 161 playoff and World Series games contested at the stadium. It has been said, often only partially in jest, that the ghosts of former Yankee greats inhabit the stadium and are responsible for some of the magic moments which have transpired.

Many of the greatest players of all-time have called the ballpark home. It derived its other famous nickname, “The House that Ruth Built”, from the legendary Babe Ruth. Ruth was the first in long line of superstar Yankees who spent most of their career in the Bronx. Lou Gehrig played a then unheard of 2,130 consecutive games for the club, and gave his iconic speech on the same field, when illness forced him to give up the game for good. Gehrig’s voice echoed around a jam-packed Stadium as he told the crowd that he considered himself “the luckiest man on the face of the Earth”. That moment has transcended sports and become a part of American history.  

Undeniable greats like Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle and Whitey Ford are a part of this Stadium. Chants of “Reg-gie”, “Paul O-Neill” and “Der-ek Je-ter” still seem to echo in the nooks and crannies of the building. While it may seem improbable, this gigantic steel and concrete structure has been known to shake from the sheer intensity of the fans. And for several nights in the fall of 2001 the stadium saw thrilling playoff baseball, complete with back-to-back walk-off victories, which helped lift the spirits of a wounded city after the attacks of September 11th.

Amid all the classic baseball that has taken place on the hallowed ground, there have been other unforgettable moments which occurred in Yankee Stadium. Three Popes have said mass in the building which has frequently been called “a cathedral of baseball”. The New York football Giants played their home games in the stadium from 1956-1973; including a thrilling 1958 game against the Colts which has been called “the greatest [football] game ever played”. American boxer Joe Louis defeated German champion Max Schmeling in 1938, a match that underscored the racial and political tensions of the era.

These moments have allowed Yankee Stadium to hold a special place in the hearts of non-baseball fans as well as Yankee diehards.   

The big building on 161st Street and River Avenue has been the sight of countless historic moments, moments which are not only a part of sporting history, but part of the fabric of this city.  Though the building will be closing, and the Yankees will be moving across the street to their new home in 2009, the presence of Yankee Stadium has left an indelible mark.

Upon a Met Game in September

September 10, 2008

 I was at the Met game last night vs the Washington Nationals. Some thoughts:

1) It was Mexican Heritage Night/ Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Night/ NY Lotto Night. There were 4 ceremonial first pitches. There was a Mexican R & B band who did a 2 song set, complete with back-up dancers. The Pepsi Party Patrol came out 3 times during the game. People did the wave during a tie game with the Mets at bat. The entire night had a very minor-league vibe to it.

2) There were about 20,000 people there, tops. Now I know the weather was bad earlier in the day, and it was a Tuesday, and it was the Nationals…. but  a) if you are a team in a pennant race and b) if your stadium is closing in 12 games, where the hell are the fans?

3) I didn’t think it was possible, but the beers at Shea suck worse than the beers at Yankee Stadium. $8.50 for a 16 oz?? At least in the Bronx you get a 24 oz for that much, and a huge Fosters for $9.50.

4) Citi Field looks sweet. I look forward to seeing a game there.

5) The Mets bullpen is going to be a big problem for them in the playoffs. I could not believe some of the guys being trotted out to serve up runs to a terrible Nationals team. Luis Ayala is not the answer at closer.

6) He runs like a glacier (seriously, pick em up and put em down), and is still not an MVP, but Delgado is in a serious hitting zone right now. His HR looked like some of his old school shots.

7) For one night at least, Damion Easley looked like a great fielder, grabbing several hard-hit balls which were headed out to right field. Jose Reyes looked a step slow, as several singles ran past him on his right side.

8) The Nationals feature 2 former Mets (Anderson Hernandez and Milledge) and 3 former Yankees (Alberto Gonzalez, Wil Nieves, and the immortal Aaron Boone). Their best player seems to be either Willie Harris or Ryan Zimmerman. Elijah Dukes could be good.  The bullpen looked like it belonged in the minor league game this contest felt like. Who are these guys? I can name one or two relievers from almost every team in baseball, but I had no idea with the Nats.

9) I think “God Bless America” is a more appropriate 7th inning complement to “Take me out to the Ballgame” than “Che la Luna”. 

10) The Nats manager should not have turned Beltran around to the right side. Seems like he has more power that way.

11) The natives are growing restless with David Wright. I was surprised at the treatment he got from the crowd.

12) I am not sure I would ever feel confident with Oliver Perez. He is Dr. Jeckyl and Mrs. Hyde. I have seen him throw an 8 inning 10+ K game and look dominant, then I see him last night.

For what was likely my final visit to Shea, it will certainly go down as an interesting one. Very un-AL, but I suppose some of that should be chalked up to weather, and opponent.

Upon History

September 10, 2008

In last night’s game against the Angels, Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter lined a one out single to left field for the Yankees’ first hit of the game. However, the hit meant much more than that to Jeter, and to the Yankee history books.

The hit was Jeter’s 2,519th, which broke a tie with Babe Ruth for 2nd all-time on the Yankee career hits list. For those who don’t know (and if they don’t they probably shouldn’t be reading this site) Babe Ruth is widely considered one of the, if not the, best player of all time.

Jeter’s hit total of 2,520 (he added another two hits later in the game, though one was ruled an error) places him at only 85th on the all-time hit list. He will likely add many more hits in his career, and could challenge some of the people at the top of the list when all is said and done.  For today though, the fact that Jeter now stands in second place alone, in front of Babe Ruth and trailing only Lou Gehrig, is a testament to what he has meant to the Yankees.

People can talk all the trash about Jeter that they want, but I feel lucky that I have been able to see this guy play ball for his entire career (thus far), and I am glad he is on my favorite baseball team.

Upon the Juggernaut

September 9, 2008

I just heard this Idea on the radio, and I am behind it 100%

Brandon Jacobs:

 

 

AKA: the Juggernaut

Upon Carlos Delgado for MVP?

September 8, 2008

There are seasons in baseball where one or two candidates clearly distinguish themselves as MVP favorites. 2008 is not one of those seasons. It has gotten to the point where some people are touting Carlos Delgado as a possible MVP in the National League.  Could this be possible? Let’s take a look at how Delgado stacks up against some possible NL  MVP candidates:

According to ESPN, Carlos Delgado projects to 37 HR, 114 RBI, 91 runs, and .261- thats 205 total runs scored and driven in. We’ll call this stat RSBI. Below are the recent RSBI totals for NL MVPs.

Jimmy Rollins had 233 RSBI in 2007
Ryan Howard had 253 RSBI in 2006
Albert Pujols had  246 RSBI in 2005
I won’t bother putting up Barry Bonds numbers.

As another frame of reference, A-Rod had 299 RSBI in 2007. But I digress.

So what about Delgado’s “competition”:

On his own team there is David Wright (2008)- 232 RBSI with a .289 average and an .892 OPS

Then there are:

Pujols (2008)- 210 RSBI with a .359 average and 1.116 OPS
Berkman (2008)- 228 RSBI with a .326 average and 1.020 OPS
Ramirez (2008)- 213 RSBI with a .275 average and .869 OPS
Howard (2008)- 233 RSBI with a .237 average and .832 OPS
Utley (2008)- 210 RSBI with a .289 average and a .918 OPS
Braun (2008)- 200 RSBI with a .301 average and a .928 OPS

and the Mets 1B:

Delgado (2008)- 205 RSBI with a .261 average and an .850 OPS

Only Ryan Howard projects to have numbers below those of Delgado, and he would still have approximately 30 more RBI/runs scored than Delgado. David Wright, on his own team, has better numbers.

So, in summation, if Carlos Delgado plays to his projections he would have numbers which do not meet or exceed those of at least 7 of his peers, including a teammate.

Your MVP would be a guy who batted .198 in April and March with a .620 OPS

Your MVP would be a guy with a .258 average with RISP and 2 outs, and a .218 average in the late innings when the game is close.

Your MVP would be a guy with a .253 average against his main playoff rival, with 13 K to 14 RBI.

Your MVP would be a guy with a .243 average in his home park, including 9 more strikeouts than RBI.

It may just be me, but that doesn’t read like an MVP stat-line. Perhaps eeking his team into the playoffs in a terrible division will sway some voters.

Upon the Moose Watch

September 8, 2008

9/07/08

Opponent- Seattle Mariners

6 IP, 7 hits, 4 runs, 4 earned, 1 BB, 7 K

Mussina (L, 17-8)

A fairly typical outing from Moose, with 1 too many runs. 18-7 is much better looking than 17-8, and this deals a blow to his chances of winning 20.

Upon Carlos Beltran- 400/400?

September 4, 2008

Readers of this site will recognize Sherm from the comments. Sherm is a big-time Met fan, along with being one of the most knowledgeable people I know about baseball in general. I am going to borrow an assertion of his to discuss an interesting possibility.

Sherm wrote:

“[Beltran]’s a legitimate gold-glove centerfielder who is on pace to retire as a 400/400 player. How many of those have there been in the history of the league?”

Now I am not sure of how many players have actually retired with those numbers, but I’d be willing to venture that it is a very short list. So can Carlos Beltran do it? Some numbers and thoughts:

  • Carlos Beltran currently has 258 HR and 270 stolen bases in 1,459 games played.
  • If he plays 2000 major league games, his current statistical pace would have him at 353 HR and 370 steals. 2000 games is a nice round number. Its more games than DiMaggio, and only 53 fewer than Paul O’Neill. Those would be great numbers to end with, but not 400/400.
  • If Beltran plays the same number of games as a long-time NY center fielder, Bernie Williams, that would put him at 2,076 games. His totals (if he maintains his statistical pace) would be  367 HR and  384 steals.
  • If Beltran plays the same number of games as long-time major center fielder Kenny Lofton that would put him at 2,103 games. His totals (if he maintains his statistical pace) would be 371 HR and 389 steals.
  • So how many games would Carlos Beltran need to play, while maintaining his current statistical pace, to reach the 400 plateau?-

           Home Runs- 2262 games

           Steals- 2161 games

So with these figures in mind, let’s examine some players who have similar career paths to Beltran, at least according to baseballreference.com

Bobby Bonds- Through 11 seasons, Bonds had 296 HR, 38 more than Beltran. He also had 407 steals, 137 more than Beltran. He also played the outfield.  He finished his career with 332 HR and 461 SB in 1,849 games.

Shawn Green- Through 11 seasons, Green had 303 HR, 45 more than Beltran. His steals weren’t in the same league. Green finished his career(so far) with 328 HR in 1951 games.

Raul Mondesi- Through 11 seasons, Mondesi had  264 HR (6 more than Beltran) and 229 steals (41 fewer).  Mondesi played only 2 more seasons for a total of 1525 games.

Andre Dawson- Through 11 seasons, Dawson had 274 HR and 263 steals. He finished with 438 HR and 314 steals in 2627 games.

So, in light of the foregoing, I do not believe that 400/400 is a realistic goal for Beltran. I do not claim to have come up with the batter parallells for Beltran, as they were created on baseballreference.com. However, I think the HR and steals numbers are all similar, and none of these players made 400/400. He will almost certainly slow down his pace, and power-hitters generally forego steals as their careers go on. 

So what do you think? Is Beltran a 400/400 candidate?

Upon the Moose Watch

September 3, 2008

9/02/08

Opponent- Tampa Bay Rays

6 IP, 10 hits, 2 runs, 2 earned, 1 BB, 8K

Mussina (W, 17-7) 3.39 ERA

The case has more than been made. 17-7 with a 3.39 places Mussina among the elite pitchers. Cliff Lee with Cleveland is pitching out of his mind, but Mussina has been no less important to the success of his team. While the injury bug has decimated the Yankee rotation, and Ponson, Rasner and others have pitched major innings, Mussina has been a rock.

And Johan’s last start?

6 IP, 7 hits, 2 runs, 2 ER, 1 BB, 10 K

Santana (ND, 12-7)


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