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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 8-23-2012

100 years ago, the single strangest baseball argument I’ve ever seen picks up steam.  The quoted article is immediately below the article to which I linked.

Milwaukee Sentinel, August 22, 1912:

The Walk-Over Shoe management wishes to correct the statement made by the Bethlehems this week, saying that they defeated the Walk-Over Shoes last Saturday. The team that the Bethlehems played was the insane asylum team of Wauwatosa…If the Bethlehems can ever accomodate enough nerve to play the real Walk-Over Shoe team for a side bet of any amount, they can be accomodated.

And the Bethlehems respond in the August 23 Sentinel:

The Walkover Shoes management denies in Thursday’s papers that the Bethlehems defeated the Walkover Shoe team. I would like to remind said management that they themselves advertised said game in last week’s paper as Bethlehems vs. Walkover Shoes…Some fine sportsmanship! They challenge the Bethlehems for a side bet, knowing right well that, being a church team, they are absolutely forbidden to play for money, but, nevertheless, some time when the Bethlehems need batting practice they will give the Walkovers another game.

Insane asylum ballclubs are the new market inefficiency.

Dan Lee is some pumkins Posted: August 23, 2012 at 05:20 AM | 10 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: dugout, history

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   1. Dan Lee is some pumkins Posted: August 23, 2012 at 05:26 AM (#4215517)
Four former Cleveland Indians position players start on today's Birthday Team, with Jeff Manto and Johnny Romano on the bench.

Julio Franco's birthdate might be off by ten days. I can't tell if they were using the Julian or Gregorian calendar back when he was born.

C: Sherm Lollar
1B: Julio Franco
2B: Lonny Frey
3B: George Kell
SS/Manager: George Davis
LF: Dale Mitchell
CF: Jerry White
RF: Casey Blake

SP: Guy Bush
SP: Mike Boddicker
SP: Lew Richie
SP: Nels Potter
SP: Cowboy Jones
RP: Randy St. Claire

Fun Names: Sled Allen, Heinie Elder, Rocky Stone
   2. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: August 23, 2012 at 07:30 AM (#4215531)
Julio Franco's birthdate might be off by ten days. I can't tell if they were using the Julian or Gregorian calendar back when he was born.

Nice one.
   3. Dag is a salt water fish in fresh water world Posted: August 23, 2012 at 09:54 AM (#4215625)
   4. BDC Posted: August 23, 2012 at 10:20 AM (#4215653)
I've been away, and am super-busy at work now, but wanted to check back in with a reaffirmation of how much I love baseball :) Last night at the Ballpark, the game was out of doubt early on, but a modest crowd stayed to see if Adrian Beltre could hit his fourth home run. He ended up tapping meekly to short twice, but what could be better than watching him try? Unless you were Buck Showalter …

Meanwhile, Derek Holland really did "pitch to the score," in the only sense in which it can be deliberate. Staked to a 9-run lead, he threw strikes. One of them was belted for a two-run triple by Nick Markakis, and several others sent to the track, but the Rangers kept scoring too, so whether Holland gave up one run or three was immaterial.

I have now seen Mitch Moreland hit both of his major-league grand slams, though only one is in the record books. His actual first (off Gio Gonzalez IIRC) was later rained out. His official first put last night's game out of reach.
   5. SoSH U at work Posted: August 23, 2012 at 10:24 AM (#4215659)
Meanwhile, Derek Holland really did "pitch to the score," in the only sense in which it can be deliberate. Staked to a 9-run lead, he threw strikes. One of them was belted for a two-run triple by Nick Markakis, and several others sent to the track, but the Rangers kept scoring too, so whether Holland gave up one run or three was immaterial.


Yes, that's pitching to the score. Get the ball over, make them put it in play and let the defense make the plays. If you give up the occasional bomb, well that's all right if there weren't two guys on base in front of him due to free passes.

Of course, there's no real reason that it amounts to better or worse overall results than not pitching to the score. It's just a different way of getting there.

   6. BDC Posted: August 23, 2012 at 11:23 AM (#4215724)
It's just a different way of getting there

If one could demonstrate that "Mack Jorris" or some such star pitcher had a high ERA because he gave up 6-7 runs (while throwing many innings / few pitches) in 4-5 easy blowout wins every year, one might have an argument for "Jorris" as a great pitcher – if he also threw lots of shutouts and low scores in all his close games. It would explain his high W% and his high ERA. But I doubt such pitchers exist. And that's not the form of the peculiar argument we usually see, which tends to rely on "Jorris" knowing exactly how many runs his team will eventually score, and unerringly allowing one or two fewer :)
   7. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: August 23, 2012 at 04:55 PM (#4216234)
Four former Cleveland Indians position players start on today's Birthday Team

Along with a Cleveland Spider in Davis.

That's a pretty spectacular Birthday Infield - all four players are over 30 WAR, and it's headlined by one of the 10 or so best shortstops ever. The lowest career WAR of the bunch was posted by a HOFer. Throw in a pair of pretty good catchers, and you have a unit that might be able to make up for the rest of the team.
   8. Dan Lee is some pumkins Posted: August 23, 2012 at 06:20 PM (#4216287)
Throw in a pair of pretty good catchers, and you have a unit that might be able to make up for the rest of the team.
And, really, the rest of the team isn't all that bad. The corner outfielders both had legitimately good long-term MLB careers, Bush and Boddicker combine for 310 career wins, Richie had a career ERA+ of 114, and the fourth and fifth starters both had career ERA+ marks of exactly 100.

White and St. Claire aren't all that great, but they're not awful or anything. That adds up to a heck of a ballclub, IMO: A handful of stars, a bunch of guys who are pretty good, and a couple of cromulent placeholders.
   9. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: August 23, 2012 at 07:32 PM (#4216322)
Game of the day (yesterday): Mariners 3, Indians 1. It's the stoppable force and movable object - Seattle's punchless offense against Cleveland's punch-drunk pitching staff, fewest runs in the league against most allowed.

The pillow fight got off to a promising start for the M's, as Michael Saunders went deep against Zach McAllister in the bottom of the first inning to give them an early lead. Seattle starter Hisashi Iwakuma allowed a hit and a walk in the first, a pair of hits in the second, a leadoff single in the third, and another hit and walk in the fourth, but three double play grounders helped keep Cleveland scoreless.

The Indians finally broke through in the sixth. With one out, Shin-Soo Choo walked, and Carlos Santana singled him to second. On strike 3 to Michael Brantley, Choo and Santana pulled off a double steal to move into scoring position. Oliver Perez (still alive!) replaced Iwakuma, and allowed an RBI single to Casey Kotchman to tie the game. Ezequiel Carrera then walked to load the bases, but Jack Hannahan struck out to leave the game tied.

McAllister held the Mariners down in the sixth, and the bullpens exchanged unremarkable seventh innings. Facing Carter Capps, Choo led off the eighth with a single. After Santana flied out and Charlie Furbush replaced Capps, Choo stole second, then saw Brantley walked to fill in the base behind him. Stephen Pryor then took the mound, and the Indians hit for Kotchman with Brent Lillibridge. The idea of pinch hitting for your starting first baseman with a traded-twice-this-year utility infielder proved to be a predictably bad sign, as Lillibridge fanned, and Carrera popped up to strand the runners.

Enter Vinnie Pestano. He retired Saunders on a popup, but allowed a double to Kyle Seager, then intentionally walked John Jaso, who has to be one of the least impressive hitters ever IBB'd with less than two outs in an inning earlier than the ninth. Jesus Montero struck out, but Eric Thames doubled, scoring both runners. Tom Wilhelmsen allowed a walk in the ninth, but no runs, nailing down the win for Seattle.

As usually happens in classic battles between two outstanding units, the other side of the game proved to be decisive. Cleveland's ineffective pitchers allowed 3 runs to Seattle's unimpressive offense, but the more interesting halves of the teams combined for only one. So it goes.
   10. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: August 23, 2012 at 08:38 PM (#4216362)
Game of the day (last year): Mariners 3, Indians 2. What, is a Mariners win over Cleveland in which they score exactly 3 runs an annual August 22 event or something?

Leading off the game, Ichiro hit the fourth pitch from Fausto "If That Is Your Real Name" Carmona over the right field wall for a solo homer. Seattle picked up another run in the second when Casper Wells was hit by a pitch, then took third on Adam Kennedy's single. Miguel Olivo struck out, and Brendan Ryan did the same - but on strike 3 to Ryan, Kennedy broke for second, Lou Marson's throw bounded into center field, and Wells trotted home safely.

Cleveland tied the game in the bottom of the inning. Carlos Santana led off with a double. Jason Vargas retired the next two hitters on a strikeout and a foulout, and got Jack Hannahan to hit what should have been an inning-ending grounder to short, but Ryan threw the ball away, putting runners on the corners. Marson then singled in one run, and Ezequiel Carrera knocked in another to even the score. Michael Brantley followed that by reaching on Ryan's second error of the inning, but Jason Donald popped up to leave the bases loaded.

From there, the game proceeded scorelessly, but not uneventfully. Cleveland loaded the bases with one out in the fourth before Brantley bailed Vargas out by hitting into a 1-2-3 DP. Ichiro led off the fifth with a single, but was caught stealing second. Olivo hit a two-out double in the sixth, and Ichiro also reached second with two out in the seventh on a single and a groundout. The Indians picked up singles in the fifth and seventh, but double plays erased both runners.

The score remained 2-2 into the ninth, which was pitched by Cleveland's Chris Perez. Perez's first pitch hit Olivo, and his sixth one hit Ryan, putting two runners on with nobody out. Trayvon Robinson then bunted, and Perez made an error that allowed all three runners to reach safely. Ichiro struck out, and Franklin Gutierrez flied out - but since this happened with one out rather than two, it brought Olivo home from third with the go-ahead run. Ryan then stole third, and Dustin Ackley walked to load the bases before Mike Carp struck out. Still, the M's scored the eventual winning run in the inning, and didn't use a hit to do so.

Brandon League gave up a pair of two-out singles in the ninth, followed by a steal of second from the trail runner that put the winning run in scoring position, before Carrera grounded out to end the game.

If you'll notice, Ichiro's leadoff homer was the only earned run that scored in this one. That's kind of endearingly pathetic.

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