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Thursday, August 21, 2003

Blister Me Silly

As you all know, I am an A's fan that is stuck in New England. I went to the Sox game last night, which is why this post is late and not all that great. I met Rich Harden! Harden was absolutely one of the most down to earth stars that I have ever met. I commented to the people around me that he must not realize that he is the man just yet, or perhaps his Canadian side teaches him not to be a huge jerk. FYI, Harden is pitching tommorrow. I figured I wouldn't get anyone to sign a baseball, so I didn't even bother bringing one. DOH! I had him sign my hat and then I got a picture of him, which I'm going to try to send to get signed--who knows if it'll come back, but its a digital picture so I can just print out as many as I need. This week has just been ridiculously busy for me, and with college around the corner, it will temporarily only get worse. But that's okay, because I only have about 20 readers anyway...

Now, as I read the morning paper this morning (The Hartford Courant), I was drawn to an article by Jeff Jacobs.

The article is about last night's Red Sox-A's contest, in which the A's came back to win, 3-2, after Derek Lowe shut them out for 6 innings. Lowe, you see, was forced to leave after the sixth with a blister on his right (pitching) thumb. Jacob's blames Lowe's manhood for the reason that the Red Sox lost this game, saying "Lowe - who will win a Cy Young before he wins a Congressional Medal of Honor for bravery."

First off, let's clear up a few things, Jeff Jacobs. While I still go to class when I have a blister on my finger, I can usually manage to write anyway. Unfortunately, pitchers, who use their fingers in order to get a good grip on the ball and get the proper spin on the ball, often cannot overcome blisters on finger or thumb tips. Had Lowe stayed in, perhaps his pitchers would have stopped moving, and turned up similar to Scott Williamson's flat split finger fastball that Ramon Hernandez sent over the Green Monster.
To be honest, a blister is not even all that uncommon of a baseball injury. Jacobs probably has no clue, since it is incredibly apparent that he is simply a Red Sox fan who only follows his own team. However, a closer in the Sox own division, Jorge Julio, has been plagued by blister trouble. The most well known case is that of Florida Marlin's starter Josh Beckett, who has missed an infamous amount of games with blister trouble. Some pitcher, I cannot recall if it was Beckett or not, was thrown out of a game for having an illegal substance. That substance? Krazy Glue, which was being used to hold a blister together.

Jacobs goes on to say that this blister may have cost the Red Sox a playoff berth, and says that the blister was "most famous Red Sox blister since Roger Clemens left Game 6 of the 1986 World Series." The truth is, though, that Derek Lowe did all the Red Sox could ask of him. He pitched 6 innings of two hit ball, certainly a quality start, and then turned it over to the best bullpen in the league. Coming into the game, would you have accepted a start like this, Jeff Jacobs? Yes, you sure would have. It's not Lowe's fault that Scott Sauerbeck and Williamson let down the team, especially Williamson, giving up a mammoth homerun on a 1-2 count. The Athletic's Mark Mulder left the game early with a tweaked hip, but I don't see you ragging on him, calling him a wuss. Oh, right, that's because his team won...oh, and because Chad Harville, Ricardo Rincon, Chad Bradford, and Keith Foulke didn't give up a run in six innings. I guess hindsight is always 20-20, but what if Lowe had tried pitching with the blister, given up the same three run homerun, AND missed his next start?
The article shows what happens, basically, when a writer is so upset about a loss that he instantly writes the first thing that comes to his mind, without bothering to research anything or even think about the other side, just to make himself feel better. Jacob's, Derek Lowe didn't let down the Red Sox. You let down the Hartford Courant.

Quick Hits: How about that Oakland bullpen? For the 2nd straight night, they had to start pitching in the 4th inning, and for the second straight night, the Oakland bullpen didn't give up any runs. They have got to be shot, which makes it so important for Harden to pitch well-but we'll see. Boston showed a real overmanagement of a bullpen though, regularly taking out pitchers who were pitching excellent and getting outs. The fact is, every time you go to the pen, you leave an opportunity for someone else in your bullpen to lay an egg...

Barry Bonds is the best player I have seen in my lifetime...Albert Pujols might soon beat that...

Sean @ 9:32 AM

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Monday, August 18, 2003

Quick Fix City

I decided I would play Paul DePodesta today, and write an entire column about players who, for the most part, I haven't seen. Yes, I know, this is probably going to leave me up for some criticism, and that is fine--because as much as I think it's important to see the player (especially in the minors, where I feel like I can tell how good a player is from watching him much better than just looking at his stats), the stats still don't lie. So here is my quick fix, moves for every playoff contender in the American League.

New York Yankees- This, actually, is one team that I could not find a quick fix for. The simple, easy solution, is to promote Brandon Claussen to take some pressure off the aging rotation, in which David Wells and Jeff Weaver both arguably need to be replaced. Unfortunately, they don't have any starting pitchers in AAA which are putting up numbers worthy of a callup. I would suggest giving Sterling Hitchcock a long look in the rotation, as he has put up numbers in the past. David Well's back injury will put Hitchcock in the rotation for a spot start or two, but perhaps it is best to leave him there. Unfortunately, it appears that Jeff Weaver is going to have to stay in the rotation. Going to a four man rotation with the Yankee's aging arms that have been oft injured is not a wise idea at this point. With a five game lead over the Red Sox at this point, they can afford to drop a few games, and save Clemens, Pettitte, and Mussina for a 3 man rotation in the playoffs. In Right Field, the simplest solution appears to be extended playing time for David Delluci, who fits the Yankee philosophy and playing style perfectly.

Boston Red Sox- Promote Bronson Arroyo, cut Ramiro Mendoza. The Mendoza experiment, to put it nicely for any of the Mendoza family reading this article, simply did not work out. Arroyo, for the time being, takes Jeff Suppan's spot in the rotation. Now, I'm not sure how you do this without completely destroying Suppan's ego, but you have to do it. Suppan, a good pitcher, is just not getting things done. Send him to the bullpen to work kinks out in laugher games, and he'll get his confidence back, and then you can ship him back into the rotation. As for Arroyo, the guy is striking out a batter per inning, pitched a perfect game a week or so ago, and is only 26. Are you seriously telling me that this guy doesn't deserve another chance? His ERA isn't sparkling, at 3.49, but with a strikeout per inning and a low walk total, he can't be any worse than Suppan has been, and at best, could be a Red Sox starter for several years to come.

Kansas City Royals- The biggest change the Royals could make, is to tell their owner to shutup and stop bragging about how wonderful he has done this year. He hasn't done squat. The Royals just need to keep playing with heart. With the rotation taking hit after hit, one can only wonder when Jeremy Affeldt will be forced back into the rotation. My suggestion, and it's not a change, is to keep Affeldt in the pen as that power lefty. He actually gets stuff done there, whereas he's just a middling starter in the rotation.

Minnesota Twins- Promote Joe Mauer to play the dish. Keep Pierzynski in the lineup by moving him to 1B, DH, perhaps even some outfield. This does two things--it slightly imrpvoes defense behind the dish (Pierzynski isn't bad on his own, but Mauer is solid) and infuses a HUGE boost to the Twins, who get the ballyhooed phenom. Mauer adds an extra bat, but the larger importance is that it adds more energy to a Twin's team that has been a little bit morbid this year.

Chicago White Sox- Go to a four man rotation. Neil Cotts is alright, but he isn't going to win the amount of games that Loaiza, Colon, Buerhle, and Garland will. The top three that the White Sox have is stellar, and those are the type of guys that need to carry you to the end. Sure, it might hurt in the long run, but who cares. Go for the gusto, and get it done.

Seattle Mariners- Sign Todd Zeile, and plug him in at third base. The whole thing really makes too much sense. Zeile, after getting cut by the Yankees, would seem ripe to get a little bit of revenge on his old team in the longrun. Jeff Cirillo and Willie Bloomquist aren't getting the job done at third base, and neither scares a pitcher at all. Meanwhile, Zeile has been through the pressure cookers before, he knows how to face pitching with professionalism, and will do everything a team asks for him. The only thing that I ask is for no one to write "And Zeile can catch too!" Zeile hasn't caught in ages...he wouldn't catch in Seattle.

Oakland Athletics- My team at last. This move seems simple enough to me. Designate Jim Mecir for assignment. Unfortunately, the guy's knees just cannot take pitching anymore. Since coming back from the disabled list, Mecir has gotten two batters out, given up four hits, two walks, and four runs. The guy is done...stick a fork in him. To replace him, call up Justin Duchsherer. Unfortunately, he is a starter, but this gives Oakland added flexibility. In addition to hoping that Duchsherer can relieve, they could plug Duchsherer into the rotation and let either Rich Harden or Ted Lilly become a bullpen ace. (Harden would seem to be a better "ace" than Lilly). Duchsherer also would give them another long relief option with John Halama, who has not killed Oakland in long relief, but has not helped either. Either way, Duchsherer over Mecir would help to shore up the pen. Duchsherer, by the way, is 12-2 with a 3.22 ERA in the minors. Oakland also has Jeremy Fikac at their disposal, a reliever with a 2.52 ERA in the minors and a 4.61 ERA in 13.2 major league innings.

Quick Hits:

Forget the Madden 2004 jinx that took out Michael Vick...that's just a farce. What about the Knocked by Sean jinx? Since I knocked Roy Halladay, he has been getting knocked around, including by Oakland a few days ago...too bad that's the only guy I've messed up.

Speaking of Michael Vick, perhaps this will keep him in the pocket a little bit more. Look at the recent trend of Super Bowl winning quarterbacks--Brad Johnson, Tom Brady, Kurt Warner, Trent Dilfer...not a runner among them. Donovan McNabb, according to Sumit, will change that theory, but I disagree. I'm calling it right now--Patriots over the nimble Aaron Brooks led Saints, 28-7...

Oh, and Fantasy Football Vick Owners...stop whining, already. You knew the guy was an injury risk because of the way he plays when you drafted him. So suck it up. Oh yeah. Pick up Doug Johnson too--he'll excel in the Falcon's offense, as hard as it is for you all to believe...and you get Vick back in week 7!

Did you guys read Rick Reilley's latest column? Kobe, if convicted, would have to go under some kind of computer arousal test, where he would get shown porn, sex abuse pictures, and other stuff and it would monitor his arousal level. Based on this, they'd decide how long he would need to be rehabilitated for. If this isn't illegal, it really should be...

The Warriors-Mavericks trade might be the stupidest trade I have seen since Vin Baker for Kenny least from the Warrior's end...speaking of that Baker deal, how about a hand for Joe Forte...he might just get kicked out of the league before his first contract expires. What a bum...

Without Barry Bonds, the Giants lineup is more punchless than their Bay Area Brothers, the Oakland A's...

Fantasy Baseball tip--all you guys that got shafted by Mike Hampton, thinking you had an ace in the late rounds...pick him back up! The guy's ERA is 2.89, with a 5-0 record, since the All Star Break...Hampy is back.

Sean @ 10:40 PM

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Thursday, August 14, 2003

A man named Theo and his thought...

First off, I apologize to all of you out there who already know everything that I am about to write. The truth is, I can't contain myself anymore at what I see to be an injustice against Theo Epstein. At the beginning of the year, Epstein said that he planned on utilizing a bullpen by committee. This trading deadline, Epstein has been congratulated for being able to realize that a bullpen by committe doesn't work. This notion is completely incorrect, and shows why baseball takes so long to grow and reach a revolutionary change. A bullpen by committee, quite frankly, is brilliant. A bullpen including such likes as Ramiro Mendoza, Chad Fox, etc...perhaps that is not such a wise idea. Epstein, I would suppose, might still be privy to the idea of utilizing a bullpen by committee, even though he now doesn't really have to. He deserves credit for getting the neccessary pieces to carry out his task, but he also needs to stop receiving criticism for "thinking that a bullpen by committee was right" when it was not a flawed idea.

Instead of continuing to press on and beat a dead horse to death, let's quickly shift into an example. Epstein's bullpen is so good right now that it does not need to be properly managed in order for the best result to occur. Since everyone is fairly familiar with the Yankee's bullpen woes, let's examine that. The Yankees basically have one dominant relief pitcher, Mariano Rivera. Rivera, throughout his career, has been so good that when he has come in, teams basically can sense that they are not going to score. Accompanying Rivera are a bunch of stiffs named Chris Hammond, Jeff Nelson, Antonio Osuna, Sterling Hitchcock, and the rest of the brigade.

Here's your situation. You are Joe Torre. You are winning 2-0 in the bottom of the 7th against Boston. Your starter, Jeff Weaver, has gone insane and run off the field crying after giving up a double to Bill Mueller. The Red Sox now have men at 2nd and 3rd, and no outs. Who do you put into the game? This is where a bullpen by committee becomes a good idea. If a lefthanded batter is up, perhaps you would want to put in someone who was tough on lefties, such as Chris Hammond or Jesse Orosco. Yet, if a righty was up, Torre would probably put in Nelson, and so would you. Would I? Absolutely not.

If you bring Mariano Rivera into this game, there is a chance that he manages to strike out the side. If you bring the infield in, you have a very good chance to get out of the inning completely unscathed. This is quite a thought, because in the situation I have presented, both runners should expect to score. This is the most crucial part of the game, when the game is the most on the line. The bullpen ace needs to be put in. In the 8th, with a clean slate, you can come back to Nelson, Osuna, or Hammond. That will certainly be a much easier situation to face. Bill James once said that even Bryan Rekar can manage to pitch the ninth inning, if he is in a clean situation.

I believe this is what Epstein was thinking when he said that he thought a bullpen by committee. Unfortunately, Epstein's original bullpen didn't feature any bullpen "aces," which are absolutely neccessary no matter how you decide to use your bullpen. With Epstein's current bullpen, he has unbelievable flexibility. If he decides to go with a standard closer, he can have Kim pitch the ninth inning and have Scott Williamson be the bullpen ace to get him out of any other jams. He has added flexibility in that he has two very strong lefthanders in Scott Sauerbeck and Alan Embree who can perform similar roles on lefthanded batters, as well as stay in for an entire inning. The key to a bullpen, you see, is matchups, and knowing when the game will be on the line.

Now, one important thing to do is to properly identify your bullpen ace. In Philadelphia, for example, Jose Mesa is the closer. That being said, he is FAR from the bullpen ace, which would probably be Rheal Cormier, who is having an unbelievable season. Mesa actually is very close to Bryan Rekar, in that he is no better than say, Bryan Rekar, would be at closing games out for Philadelphia. Cormier, on the other hand, has proven that he can be trusted to get them out of even the biggest jams.

Perhaps Epstein thought that the pitchers he had assembled in his bullpen had enough different talents that at least one of them could exploit a matchup at all times. Perhaps. Clearly, he was flawed in that thinking. Yet, in the case of bullpen by committee, don't fault the technique, fault the execution.

How will we know that relief pitching has reached the revolutionary stage? When bullpens by committee are utilized, and when save counts go way, way down. Sure, many times the most important situation is indeed in the ninth inning. Many other times, though, it is not. Bullpen by committee is actually a little bit funny in that it is revolutionary thinking that was present thirty years ago, and actually went away with the invention of the save. Perhaps if we monitored relievers on their hold and save totals instead of merely their save totals, this problem would be minimalized.

Sean @ 9:22 PM

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Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Sumit did, indeed, encroach on my territory. I had been saving a Moneyball article for some time now, so I guess I'll put it up now. While Sumit hit on one of the inconsistencies of Moneyball, he failed to mention a few others. Here goes.

Moneyball Not Quite on the Money

Among baseball blogs such as this one, the book Moneyball, by Michael Lewis, has become somewhat of a bible. This is understandable, because Moneyball was probably one of the first books to put lot's of the strategy of "sabermatics" into print. Michael Lewis deserves a tremendous amount of credit for taking a complicated baseball landscape and simplifying it to a level that the average American public could relate to and understand. Lewis also does a fantastic job giving "fly on the wall" dialogues between Billy Beane and GM's such as Steve Phillips, Mark Shapiro, and Brian Sabean. The book in particular follows players Chad Bradford, Scott Hatteberg, Jeremy Brown, and Mike Magnante/Ricardo Rincon.

The best part of Moneyball, most likely, is the in depth analysis of Jeremy Brown. Lewis describes the "pudgy" catcher that no one wanted except for Billy Beane. This turned out to be a good decision by Beane, as Brown is now listed as Oakland's highest ranked prospect other than Rich Harden (although, in my opinion, that title should belong to Bobby Crosby). A nice job is also done on Scott Hatteberg, who seems to be one of those guys that you can't appreciate unless you are watching him every day. The Mike Magnante-Ricardo Rincon situation gives a little bit of emotion to the story, as one can't help but feel sorry as Magnante falls victim to the business side of baseball.

There are, however, millions of misconceptions about this book, both in the book and in what people say about the book. Hopefully I can clear a few of them up for you.

1.) Chad Bradford was a reliever that no one else coveted, except for Billy Beane.

Chad Bradford is one of the guys that Lewis called Billy Beane a genius for discovering. Bradford is doing an excellent job as Oakland's setup man, and as an A's fan, I will tell you that he and Keith Foulke are the only relievers I am comfortable seeing in the game. The fact is, though, Billy Beane did not steal Chad Bradford...nor did he get an extreme diamond in the rough. I was once watching a playoff baseball game between Chicago and some other team, and Chicago won, in essence, because their bullpen was younger and better. Bradford pitched extremely well, and dare I say, was even almost dominant against certain batters. I thought to myself, "Wow, I'd love this guy on the A's." Soon enough, Chad Bradford was indeed an A, and I was scratching my head as to why the White Sox would deal him.

Well, it turns out that Bradford has a bit of a back injury that took quite awhile to heal. With the way that he lunged down to pitch, the White Sox were worried that the back injury might be lingering. Where Lewis really swings and misses in this chapter is when he describes Beane sharking the White Sox, by offering some "minor league catcher", presumeably one that the A's weren't high on. Many Moneyball readers might not know who that catcher was--he was Miguel Olivo, now the White Sox starting catcher. The Chad Bradford deal worked out very well for the Athletics, but I don't think the White Sox are shedding any tears over it, either. Certainly, Bradford was not a player that ONLY Billy Beane coveted, even if Beane valued him slightly higher than others.

2.) Billy Beane is a drafting genius.
As I mentioned before, Jeremy Brown was a huge success for Billy Beane. Here's the problem, though. He could have had Jeremy Brown at least six rounds after he picked him. Beane's cocky attitude, though, wanted to raise everyone's eyebrows to get criticism, just so that he could look back in the end and say "I Told you so". This is where Beane's cocky attitude gets in the way of him being a great GM. He could have drafted someone else that might have been in higher demand at that point, and taken Jeremy Brown later, to get the best of both worlds. Instead, he decided to prove a point by taking Jeremy Brown early. Not only was this unneccessary, but it was a poor baseball decision. Say, for instance, that a Benz worth $100,000 is on the open market for $80,000. You know this is a great deal, but at the same point, you also know that the Benz, if you wait a little bit, will be sold for $40,000. Still, you are so excited to brag to your friends about what a deal you got at $80,000 that you buy it there, not being patient to get it at the lower rate. The Benz ends up driving just like what you had hoped, and you do indeed brag. That still doesn't mean that you didn't waste $40,000.

3.) Billy Beane's "system" for evaluating players is flawless.

So far, it appears that Beane's system does a phenomenal job of evaluating pitchers. While the notion in the book that "everyone in baseball wanted Ben Sheets, but he took an unknown named Barry Zito" is entirely false (Zito was well-known to be a future star, and everyone viwed Zito and Sheets as a toss-up at the time), Beane still has an excellent record in drafting pitchers. The two that were profiled the most in Moneyball, Joe Blanton and Ben Fritz, both appear on pace to become excellent starters. Beane even refused to deal Blanton in order to get JD Drew.

What Beane hasn't shown, though, is his ability to draft young hitters. Other than Jeremy Brown and perhaps Bobby Crosby (who was widely regarded by everyone), Beane hasn't really hit on too many young hitters yet. It hasn't yet been seen whether simply having a high on base percentage translates to being a good player in major league baseball. Particularly alarming are the career paths of two Beane players--Eric Hinske, now of Toronto, and Mark Ellis. Hinske was the Rookie of the Year last year, but has tailed off significantly this year. Ellis started very strong last year, yet is struggling this year. It could simply be a sophomore slump...but it also could be a sign that perhaps pitchers have just learned that they need to stay in pitcher's counts against these players.

4.) Billy Beane thinks his system is the best for any team.

Beane, if he had the choice, would have acquired Scott Williamson in a heartbeat. Had he had the money to work with, he would have had Brian Giles. The most important thing, though, is that Beane surely would be willing to acquire players with speed. While he does indeed believe that stealing bases often is too high a risk for solely a one base reward, he also realizes the importance of players who can go from first to third on a single or score on a double. While he says this is something he can't afford, and he is correct, he still does understand the importance of it. Lewis completely fails to mention the fact that Beane manages as he does because he can't afford to manage any other way--he portrays Beane in such a way that one would think Beane would say that EVERY team should do it his way, which is generally untrue.

5.) Billy Beane hates players who will not walk.

Yet another part of Billy Beane that is misconstrued. Beane, if he had the choice, would take a .400 hitter over a .250 hitter with a .410 OBP any day. When he acquired Jose Guillen, people wondered if he was changing strategy by taking a player who rarely walked. "We don't care how you do it, just do it," Beane responded. The truth is, the only time Beane really REQUIRES on base percentage is when looking at a .260 hitter like Scott Hatteberg. Beane, I'm sure, would be thrilled to have Alfonso Soriano right now, even though he rarely walks.

6.) Billy Beane is the best looking GM in baseball.

Mark Shapiro is.

Moneyball also contains a few statistical and factual falsities that we will not mention, for the time being, unless someone decides to blow them up. I think the biggest misconception about Moneyball, though, is that Billy Beane did not write it! He had very little say in what went into the book, other than granting nearly full access. Yes, you see a glimpse into the world of the Oakland A's and Billy Beane, but no, this is not what Billy Beane thinks, per se.

Moneyball is a good read. I'd recommend it. But take it for it's worth--it is not the gospel of baseball, and it is not entirely correct.

Sean @ 10:43 PM

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Two pairs of Sox or Two and a Half?
What a terrible attempt at a title. First off, I would like to apologize for the lackluster quality of this post and the fact that it is late. Today was Sumit's day, but quite frankly, I don't have a clue where he is or when he will be back or anything like that. I know that whatever is up was unexpected, so I'm not really sure how long he will be gone. I'm going to try to put together a quick article for today, and hope that Sumit is back tommorrow. I don't really have time, honestly, to post every day, but I'll do the best I can and hopefully he will stop being AWOL soon.

The major thing that really caught my eye this morning was the idea of the Chicago White Sox switching over to a four man rotation for the rest of the drive. I'm not really honestly sure what I think of the idea, and that's pretty much why I'm writing this article--to figure out what the heck I think. The White Sox do have four off days to work with, which will help to an extent, but at the same point, pitching with a four man rotation will allow for a lot of extra wear and tear. With 44 games left, each White Sox starter would be on pace to start eleven more games, as opposed to 8 or 9 with a five man rotation. This is only a two game difference, but it also is the difference of one day rest in between every single start.

I had some concern that these arms would not be able to handle the switch to a four man rotation. That being said, Loaiza, Garland, and Buerhle are all in fairly decent shape, while Colon has been just as fat as he is now in the past, and it never stopped him from pitching well over 200 innings for the Indians every year. All of the pitchers have had at least one season where they threw large amounts of innings. Garland is the only one to never have had a 200 inning season, but he still managed to reach about 190 innings in one season. From the stats in their career innings count, it appears that they will be able to handle it.

What I'm not quite as sure of, though, is the change in rest. Last night, Pedro Martinez lost to my A's, 4-0, giving up 2 runs in 5 innings. He clearly didn't have quite the pinpoint command that we are used to seeing from him. In his previous start, he had thrown 136 pitches, which is extremely high for a pitcher, especially one his size. Last night, going on normal rest, Pedro appeared to not quite have his stuff, which perhaps is indicative of what could happen in a four man rotation. Pedro's normal ERA, 2.32, was a little different from Pedro's ERA in the game, which was 3.60. Not bad, but not quite the same, either. This is probably about what you could expect for each one of the White Sox starters, a slight raise in ERA due to not having quite enough rest.

Is it even worth it? From what I have seen out of Dan Wright and Mike Porzio, two of the people that might take the 5th starter spot, should it exist, it is probably worth it. Wright and Porzio both have ERA's over 6, and watching them pitch feels as if you are just wondering when a bomb is going to blow in your face. There is always Scott Schoenweis in the pen, but they prefer him as a reliever. Quite frankly, even Jon Garland, the worst starter in the top four, is probably better (even adding a full run to his ERA) than Porzio or Wright.

The place where I am concerned is once they start pitching deep into the playoffs. The pitchers arms already will have undergone significant wear and tear, and you have to wonder whether they would be effective. My fears of that, if I was the White Sox manager, quickly subsided, though, when I saw the standings. The Sox are 1.5 games out of first, and Minnesota is only 1 game behind them. It's really now or never for the White Sox, and I'm not so sure that Jerry Manuel can even truthfully worry about his playoff rotation right now, when it appears that the White Sox might struggle to make the playoffs.

In truth, as bad as it sounds, with Bartolo Colon and Esteban Loaiza both free agents to be, Manuel probably isn't worried about the future health's of their arms. As a confidant and mentor to the players, he probably does indeed want what is best for them--but at the same point, what is best for the Chicago White Sox right now is a four man rotation. We will see if it can hold up in the playoffs, but for now, it makes the most sense. Time will tell.

Quick Hits: Tim Hudson probably pitched the best game of his career last night. Absolutely everything was completely on. If he pitched like that every day, he would EASILY be the Cy Young. As it stands now, his ERA is only .2 runs higher than that of Loaiza. With some run support in the second half, he still has an outside shot at the Cy Young...

Sad story about Herb Brooks. He probably led the United States to the best victory in sports of this century. It shows, though, the importance of wearing a seatbelt. Hopefully we can all take that out of the incredible sadness Brook's passing brings...

Dontrelle Willis gets all the accolades, but he gets bombed a little too frequently to get too much of my love. Brandon Webb deserves more credit...where's the love for Mr. Consistently Good?

If I was the Eagles, this is when I'd let Duce Staley know how we feel. Make it simple on him. Come to camp in two days, or your cut. And I wouldn't mind cutting him...Brian Westbrook and Correll Buckhalter can handle it..

My gut feeling: Patriots to win the Super Bowl...

That's all...lets pray for a safe return to blogging for Sumit!

Sean @ 7:53 AM

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about us
This is a site started on August 1st, 2003 to express our views about baseball and possibly other sports.  We started it after getting motivation from reading Aaron's Baseball Blog, and we hope to continue it for many years to come.  Sumit is a 19 year old student at Penn State University and Sean is a 17 year old student at Bentley College.  Please leave your comments, or email us (click names above).
the phenom watch
W-L:  3-2
ERA:  3.00
IP:  36.0
K:  36
WHIP:  1.25
Next game:  8/20? vs. Bos

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