Thursday, March 24, 2011

I've least, in the internet sense

I've moved here: Orange & Black Baseball

I wanted to start fresh...which is, of course, why I gave the new blog exactly the same name as this one. Ahem.

In any case, it'll be the same general idea -- mediocre baseball analysis mixed-in with corny jokes and gratuitous use of ellipses.


Sunday, August 03, 2008

Two things that NEVER should be combined

42-year old Greg Maddux.

Padres alternate home jersey...camo gold, for lack of a better description.


Friday, August 01, 2008

Is this thing on?

I hardly even know what to write, only that I felt the need to this space, since nothing had been written here in over a year now.

There's going to be naught but crickets to greet these words, I'm sure (and inattentive crickets at that...they always give me the cold shoulder, the bastards), but one doesn't jump on a bike pedaling madly after not riding one in a long time, does one? Well, at least not if one doesn't desire finding oneself sailing over the handlbars face first.

Not that that's ever happened to me, but I'm just saying.

I'm still watching the Giants, but with only one eye -- you know, in case I'm accidentally blinded by the absolute lack of offense, I'd still be able to sport an eye patch and make friends with parrots. And grog...I'd be able to drink grog.

Sometimes I think the Giants are wearing eyepatches and drunk off of grog when they are in the batter's box.

Well, check that. If anyone's drunk, it is I. Not only am I still a loyal Giants fan, but I still have my sadistic fascination with the Royals, too (that particular disease is about to hit the 30 year mark). I am eagerly awaiting football season, because that will mean I can let the 49ers struggles override the Giants and Royals which point I'll be eagerly awaiting basketball season, so I can let the Warriors...well, you get the idea.

The Bay Area is not a place to plant postseason seeds in hopes they will grow to bear championship fruit. You'd think between the Sharks, Giants, A's, Warriors, 49ers and Raiders it wouldn't take 14+ years to bring some kind of title here, would it?

1994 49ers? I mean, I'm shooting in the dark with a blindfold on, but isn't that the last Bay Area professional franchise to win a title? And yes, I'm excluding the Sabercats. On purpose. While arena football is indeed a professional sport, whenever there's a league that plays a similar sport that everyone in your league would run naked through a swarm of bees to play in, it's a bit hard to give San Jose's Arenabowl titles enough legitimacy to make a difference.

Besides, I don't exactly see San Jose in the running for Titletown, U.S.A., either.

Rant and ramble officially over. The crickets, I'm sure, would normally hold their breath until my next entry, but they saw a moldy chunk of bread and had to go. Shame 'bout that.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

It seemed like the perfect time to say...

...boy, I'm so glad the Giants traded Jeremy Accardo for Shea Hillenbrand. That move worked out oh, so well for the Giants.

Good job, Brian Sabean. Sticking with Armando Benitez was indeed the correct move, as we all know traded youth for veteran know-how and savvy works each and every time.

With that, I'll balance things out a bit -- I must admit that overall Randy Winn has done more than I thought him capable of. I was fairly sure his run at the end of 2005 was an absolute flash-in-the-pan, albeit one I thoroughly enjoyed watching. His 2006 wasn't very good, and although his overall numbers were below his career averages, they certainly seemed more indicative of the type of player Winn is than the gaudy 1.071 OPS he ran up in the 58 games he played in 2005, but...

He seems to have found a comfortable middle ground this season -- he's competent offensively, and although I still cringe at the lack of walks, I have confidence that he is a legitimate threat when he comes to bat. That's more than I thought the Giants would get when they picked him up.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Ah, memories...

Last night made it a lot easier to not hate Ryan Klesko.

It's a sports hate, mind you, not real life hate like I have for the Dodgers, the Dallas Cowboys, and wasps (the honey bee is fine, and serves a purpose, but what do wasps do other than scare the living crap out of most of us?). I've heard good things from a couple of reliable sources telling me Klesko is a very nice guy -- he just had a bad beginning with me, with with long tenures on two teams I don't like (Braves, Padres), and testosterone leaking from his pores every time he strikes out.

However, he's a Giant, so I've made an attempt to at least meander down the path to indifference. It's been difficult to this point, since he's been doing a convincing job at showing he's not worth any more than Mark Sweeney, yet getting paid another 800k.

But while last night's home run was pretty much useless (other than making sure there was no save opportunity for 'Mando...yay) as Noah Lowry shut down the Astros mostly by himself, it was symbolic that Klesko can still hit one.

Well, check that, symbolic he can still hit them in a live game -- he apparently hits a bunch of home runs in batting practice.

But what about Lowry? What's the differences between this year and last year? Not much, in a sense -- his k's per 9 innings is much the same (4.75 in 2006 vs. 4.92 this season), and his k/bb ratio is actually much worse (1.5 last year, 1.18 this year).

But, the differences? Huge -- he's all of a sudden become an extreme ground ball pitcher as opposed to a somewhat flyball pitcher. He's running an almost 2-to-1 ground ball to fly ball ratio this year (1.80 g/f), whereas three of his first four seasons saw him allow more fly balls than ground balls.

What's all that really mean? Well, part of my worry about Lowry last season was his large dropoff in his strikeouts. There's nothing wrong with being a flyball pitcher, but it's difficult to be successful over a long period of time allowing more flyballs while not striking out a lot of hitters, because nowadays that tends to mean you're going to allow more extra-base hits overall -- and last season Lowry allowed his highest SLG % (.452) in his career by quite a bit.

So...this season, a lot more groundballs than flyballs, an absolutely huge drop in SLG % against (.305...are you kidding?), and double plays are getting turned behind Lowry at almost twice the rate of 2006 (10 this year so far in 60 innings pitched...he had only 14 last year in 159 innings pitched last year).

Hey, it's working.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

You reap what you...were supposed to have reaped at first, only didn't...until later...whatever

Okay, now this is a bit more balanced. Unfortunate and sad, but the Law of Averages is sitting there with a smirk on his mug.

Eight game winning streak complete with great pitching, little offense, and a lot of one and two-run victories. Two-game losing streak, complete with little offense, and two one-run losses.

Live by the narrow victory, die by the narrow defeat.

Not to beat a dead horse, but at least the horse can't fight back. It's almost like the horse is tempting me to get a few licks in while I can.

These last two losses to the Diamondbacks are basically the same games that the Giants had on their eight-game winning streak, the only difference being the armor of the pitching staff cracked slightly -- and the offense, meanwhile, keeps putting out it's same meager output of 2-5 runs each game.

Okay, enough doom and gloom, I'm sure you get my point (er, in case you don't, the point something to help the offense sooner rather than later).

The interesting thing about the two losses is that the Giants had plenty of power -- four home runs hit between the two games -- but three of the four were solo shots by Mark Sweeney, Randy Winn, and Pedro Feliz, while the other one was only one run better, the two-run shot hit by Barry Bonds on Saturday. The moral to the story is...

...that the Giants are poor in two of the worst categories to be poor in when paired together: walks and home runs. They've been bad in both all season up until the last two games, where a bit of a power surge with the four home runs brought the Giants out from the cellar area in the NL in team home runs.

Only problem was, the Giants 2nd to last position in OBP has held strong, so four home runs in two games netted the team only five runs...and when both of those games are lost by one run, you can see how and why it's bad that the Giants are poor in those particular team statistics.

The pitching staff seems to be as advertised, at least, although I have my doubts about Runs Ortiz holding up over the course of the season. As a 5th starter, he technically just has to keep his team in the game in most of his starts and he's done his job. We'll see, but in the meantime it is of some comfort to know that there's a good chance the Giants will have a chance to win most of the games they play.

Hey, whaddya know? Ended things with a positive comment!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Daniel, meet Crow. Crow, Daniel.

I hear Crow tastes ever so slightly better when it's lightly fried in olive oil with some garlic, green onions and mushrooms.

Ah, nevermind -- Crow tastes like chicken anyway.

After reeling off seven straight wins and vaulting themselves right back into the NL West chase on the strength of Barry Bonds Bombs and some superb starting pitching, it's pretty easy to just slap the fat and ride the wave in..., let me opt for a more PC analogy.

It's easy to get caught up in the wins, and easy to think that the starters are indeed this good and Bonds can indeed keep this pace up to an NL West title after that many wins in a row. But more the fools us, if we believe it will keep up like this.

Not that the Giants can't make a run at the title -- when a team wins seven in a row with pitching like this, they're capable of making a run here and there, and I'm still not convinced there is a good team in the NL West. But the offense is still a problem, a problem that, for now, Barry is hiding behind his bat.

The Giants have outscored their opponents during this run 30-17, which calculates out to 4.3-2.4 in terms of runs scored/game vs. runs against/game.

The cold, hard truths are these -- no team in this era will win with any consistency at 4.3 runs per game. Period. And no team in this era will go through a season allowing anywhere near as low as 2.4 runs per game.

The Tampa Bay Devil Rays scored the fewest runs in all of baseball last year at a 4.25 runs/game clip, and had MLB's worst record. The Padres had the worst runs per game average of any winning team last season at 4.5/game. The Astros also had a winning record with a 4.53/game average...but they were all of two games over .500.

Let's look at the Padres pitching -- at only 4.2 runs per game allowed, they were by far the least amount of runs allowed per game, the next closest being the Astros at 4.44/game.

Can we just agree that the Padres are an anomaly mostly because of their ballpark?

Meanwhile, the Giants last year scored 'em at 4.6/game, and allowed them at 4.87/game. This year overall that ratio is 3.63/3.58.

Does that make any sense, really? That the Giants can do better than last season while taking a one run per game hit from their offense because, coincidentally, their pitching staff happens to allow 1.3 less runs per game? A pitching staff that, I'll remind you, has added Barry Zito and Russ Ortiz, and that's pretty much it.

Nah, it doesn't compute -- the Giants are running a sample-size run right now, because their offense is still poor but their pitching has been spectacular. We'll all obviously enjoy the run for as long as it lasts (especially when beating the Dodgers is any part of it), but expecting it to last...well, you'd be giving your money right back to the casino.

The offense (or, more aptly, Bonds) still needs significant help if this team expects to stay in contention, because the pitching staff cannot keep this up. Sooner or later they'll drop just a bit...let's say, at least to the 4.2 runs allowed/game mark, at which point scoring 3.63 runs a game will see the Giants lose quite a few games. Well, being honest, we have to swing things the other way a bit, and assume the Giants will score more than 3.63 runs/game eventually...oh, wait, they're doing that right now, at that scintillating 4.3 runs/game clip.

Is that where you'd want your team to be at? Trying to win every day with an offense that scores it at 4.3/game with a pitching staff that allows 4.2/game? That sounds a lot like asking for a .500 record to me, and I think we can all agree that despite my thoughts that the NL West still isn't any good, the team that wins the division will have better than a .500 record. So, again, the offense still needs significant help.

But for now, for my predictions of Doom and Gloom being so poorly timed, I shall sit down and have myself a nice helping of Crow. Shaken, not stirred.