Monday, April 20, 2009

MLB Law of Averages Starting to Take Form -- Bad News for O's and Others...

Well, it looks like we have all fell prey (well most of us who will admit it...) to the annual early season baseball euphiria that seems to capture the minds of baseball fans everywhere during the start of each new baseball marathon season. I loosely define this as panic for fans of GOOD teams limping through the first two weeks of the MLB season (Yanks, Sox, Phils, Mets, etc.) and blinded optimism for fans of BAD teams coming out of the gate strong (Orioles, Jays, and M's.)

But one of the great things about baseball -- in this writer's opinion -- is how the law of averages eventually comes into play to reign in those players/teams playing above their heads, while returning those players playing below their averages back to respectability. Well, at least in most cases. There are always a couple of players/teams that buck the trend, which we'll surely cover as the long season wears on.

So who is coming back to earth? How about those Orioles? Living in the NOVA area allows me to catch glimpses of some of their games during the week, and while tuning the TV to O's broadcasts intermittently during the weekend starting Friday night, it's clear that the pre-season prognostication for the Orioles is finally taking course -- BAD PITCHING. I mean, if you have to trot Adam Eaton out every fifth day, your team is going to have to score A LOT OF RUNS. The Red Sox abused the Orioles pitching for 16 runs combined on Friday and Saturday nights (while squeaking one out on Sunday 2-1 against a fine quality start from Uehara.) This after the Texas Rangers posted 16 against them on Thursday night. Aubrey Huff's error and subsequent three undearned Sox runs later didn't help Jeremy Guthrie on Friday night. And in the early going today, in the annual "Patriot's Day" game in Boston (I love the concept -- baseball at 11am...) the Sawx have already posted a three-spot against Mark Hendrickson, he of the 5.05 career ERA. The O's have a stellar group of young hitters, but it's going to be a long season with some long games this year for O's fans.

Some other baseball notes:

1. I mentioned in this donkey stall (before it was a blog) to watch out for the Marlins. The preseason over/under, and several predictions which had the Nats finishing ahead of the Fish was a complete joke in my opinion; I stated to watch out for the Marlins fine young pitching staff. Well, they have started 11-1 and are off to the races in the early going. Regarding the earlier part of this blog about teams coming back to earth, obviously the Fish will not sustain this pace, but I see them competing through the end of the summer at the very least in the NL East. The Marlins blueprints for building teams may not seem ideal -- selling away solid MLB veterans for cheap youthful players -- and has led to some awful seasons. But you can't argue with two World Championships, and now possibly one of the finer corps of young players in the League. They have dished out Beckett, Lowell, Dontrelle, and Miggy, but in return franchise guys like Hanley Ramirez, potentially Cameron Maybin, along with solid young pitchers, could have this team contending for quite some time.

2. The Texas Rangers: I don't know why the Rangers front office can't deduce what millions of fans have observed over the last 10 years -- if the Rangers could SOMEHOW field an adequate pitching staff, this team would go places. The most exciting lineup in baseball, headlined by Ian Kinsler, Hamilton, and an emerging Nelson Cruz, among others -- could put up a record number of runs this year. If the Rangers could actually keep runs OFF THE BOARD, you'd think they could EASILY win the weak AL West.


  1. Perhaps the GM of the rangers suffers from the same thing that Bowden suffered from. An inability to see his team for what it is and to make efforts to fix it.

    Personally, I think the Nats would be in a better place if they had Redding, OPerez and Hill in the mix for rotation spots right now. Or maybe not. You can't blame the starters for blowing 3 straight games in the 9th inning (that's just unbelievable).

    Yankees: how do you lose a game 22-4. That's just amazing. #200M payroll and no bullpen.

  2. Boss -- as for your Yankees comment -- I don't think it's all necessarily the bullpen.

    I heard today that Ching-Ming Wang would have to pitch 40 CONSECUTIVE SHUTOUT INNINGS in order to get his ERA back to under 4.00. That's sick.

    And to boot, on a fantasy baseball note, in my AL-only fantasy league (standard 5x5 rotisserie scoring) -- due to tradition of the USA Today stats coming out on Tuesday's before the internet sites were used for stat tabulations -- lineups are changed once per week on Tuesdays. Which means on Monday you get a "free look" at your players for the upcoming week.

    Long story short, our commish had Wang in ACTIVE for Monday, then benched him on Tuesday during roster adjustments because of his dreadful Monday start. If he wasn't able to employ that unique League roster adjustment loophole, he would have had both of Wang's miserable starts on his books which would have probably taken him half the season to get his ERA and WHIP back to respectability.

  3. Its certainly not the starters. Outside of Wang, the Yankees starters have been ok.

    Burnett: 2-0, 3.20 ERA,
    Sabathia: 1-1, 3.57 ERA
    Joba: 0-0, 5.06 ERA
    Pettitte: 1-0, 2.51 ERA

    meanwhile, here's some of their middle relievers:

    Veras: 6.1ip, 8.53 era
    Coke: 5.1ip, 6.75 era
    Ramirez: 5.1ip, 8.44 era
    Marte: 3ip, 21.00 era
    Claggett: 1.2ip, 43.20 era.

    that's a lot of very bad relievers. The Nationals got rid of 3 guys in their bullpen for numbers generally better than these clowns.

  4. Wow. That is pretty bad. Marte has to be the surprise of that bunch. He came over from the Bucos with significant fanfare (I believe along with Nady) in the trade that returned some prize prospects back to the Bucs last summer. Marte had posted low 3.00 ERA totals and a K/Inning ratio greater than 1 for several seasons, and was viewed as a backup closer in case anything happened to Rivera.

    As it stands, Nady could be out for the year, and Marte's ERA stands at 21+ after two weeks. Ouch...