- A little while ago I sprawled myself out in the living room and flipped to the DBacks/Padres game. As I watched Billy Buckner go to work against Chase Headley, I couldn't help but think, wait, what are you doing, this sucks.
- Because I live in San Diego, I see a lot of the Padres, and because I see a lot of the Padres, I see a lot of guys like Everth Cabrera and Will Venable who I think are pretty interesting and deserving of more attention until I take a closer look at their numbers and realize why the team sucks so bad. On an unrelated note, since arriving in the system, Aaron Poreda has more walks than strikeouts.
- On September 5th, the Rangers were 18 games over .500 and had a 37% chance of making the playoffs. Since then they've gone 4-5 while the Red Sox and Angels have gone a combined 13-5, with today's shutout at the hands of Brett Tomko serving as the potential coup de grace. Brett Tomko's last complete game shutout came on August 26th, 2004. His most recent complete game shutout prior to that one came on never.
The Rangers aren't the only fringe team falling on hard times, though; the Giants are on a 2-5 skid that's cut their playoffs odds by 80%. It's probably just as well, since the Rockies are the better team by a good margin, but I just want some drama, and this is shaping up to be one boring-ass month. San Francisco's playing host to Colorado for three games right now, and for all of our sakes, it'd be nice if they'd take advantage. It's a good thing a certain someone found his way back on the field.
- By run differential, the Mariners have been the third-worst team in the American League. As a pre-emptive strike against the inevitable question, the difference between this and 2007 is that this year's GM knows what that sentence means.
- Since breaking into the league in 2001, Ichiro has collected 2005 hits. In second over the same span of time: Derek Jeter, with 1719. Were Ichiro to stop playing and Jeter to keep hitting at his same pace, we would expect him to catch up to Ichiro some time in late May or early June 2011. Hits, of course, aren't the greatest measure of a player, but unusual players do unusual things, and Ichiro's lead over the rest of the world in his signature stat is nothing short of extraordinary.
- On the same subject, Tango has a little post up about equivalent rarities, and finds that reaching base 278 times in a season is about as rare as getting 200 hits. His main point is right on - getting on base is more important than getting a hit. But lest you worry, Ichiro still comes out looking all kinds of pretty. Nothing wrong with sharing a category with names like Edgar Martinez and Albert Pujols. Ichiro is underrated by some and overrated by others. Where no one will disagree, however, is that he's a magnificent player, and a worthy superstar.
- The Braves have Tommy Hanson, Derek Lowe, Kenshin Kawakami, Jair Jurrjens, and Javier Vazquez all under contract for 2010, and just for shits and giggles if they wanted to they could probably bring Tim Hudson back as well. The worst tRA+ in the group is 101.
- The lead story on Yahoo! MLB right now is about how Mike Scioscia deserves to be the AL Manager of the Year for getting his team to the top of the standings despite injuries and the death of Nick Adenhart. I'm not going to argue with that. As is the case every season, it seems as if Scioscia's probably done a wonderful job. But then, how the hell is anybody supposed to know one way or another? Some of the smartest baseball minds in the world still haven't come up with a good way to evaluate a manager, and yet we're supposed to believe that a bunch of sportswriters are able to evaluate 14 and 16 of them at a time and pick out the best? I don't have a list in front of me of all the awards baseball gives out every year, but this has to be among the most meaningless. As far as I can tell, these are the voter criteria:
(1) Team was good
(2) Team exceeded consensus sportswriter expectations
That's it. Those are the rules. Because if a team does better than a sportswriter thought it would, it has to be the influence of the manager.
You know my pick for NL Manager of the Year? John Russell, for keeping together a young Pirates clubhouse that doesn't at all resemble the one that opened the season. Is that wrong? Why? When you can make a reasonable argument that literally any candidate is deserving of an award, you know your award blows.