Tagged: Padres

Oliver Perez A Laughing Matter for Jerry Manuel

Jerry Manuel cracks jokes at Oliver Perez’s expense.  

The guy who should really, really feel like a fool is the guy who gave Oliver Perez the contract that (1) allows him to refuse assignment, and (2) pays him $12 million for 2010.  
Perez’s numbers are, uh, brutal thus far this year; his peripherals tell an equally ugly story:  0.91 K/BB ratio, a BABIP (.313) that shows him being unlucky against his career rate (.287), and while he’s getting more groundballs, he’s also seeing a higher percentage of the flyballs he allows leave the yard.  His xFIP is lower than his ERA, but not by much.
So, returning to the whole the guy who should feel like a fool is the guy who gave Oliver Perez his contract, that guy would be Mets’ GM Omar Minaya.  As Bugs Bunny might say: “What a maroon!”  It’s GM-ing like this that has had Jerry Manuel on a managerial hot-seat this year.   If Manuel is eventually let go, then the Mets’ front office should go as well.
In other Oliver Perez news, he did manage to see action in last night’s debacle in San Diego, working two mop-up innings in the Mets’ 6-18 loss in San Diego.  Yes, the Padres scored 18 runs on one game.  No, I don’t think it’s the drinking water.  Yes, there’s always some new surprise during the baseball season.  No, Oliver Perez did not look sharp (2 2/3 IP, 4 H, 1 BB, 1 K, 2 ER).
UPDATE: Oliver Perez will not be released.  So the Met’s front office just doesn’t get the notion of sunk cost (and the accompanying sunk cost dilemma), huh?  Or do they seriously expect Perez to get better while he refuses to take on work that might actually help him improve?  Or do they figure that his presence in the clubhouse will be a positive thing since it gives Jerry Manuel something to joke about and the rest of the ballclub an “other” from which they can differentiate themselves (unity through ostracism) ?  Whatever it is, Minaya seriously deserves consideration for World Baseball Executive of 2008-2010.

Mariners Score Big Runs, Mariners’ Pitching Allows Lots, Too

Safeco Field witness a surprising display Friday night, as two of the most offensively challenged teams in the Major Leagues hooked up for a display of fireworks and extra-base hitting that few observers could have seen coming.  (Okay, okay, I’m just blowing smoke and trying to obscure the fact that I figured that all of eleven runs were going to be scored in this three-game series.)

Adrian Gonzalez was a doubles machine (4 for 5 with 3 two-baggers) and the Padres’ offense roughed up Mariner starting pitcher Cliff Lee (-.171 WPA), but, for once, Seattle’s bat’s were simply too potent, as the Mariners mightily thumped Padres’ starter Wade LeBlanc and the pitchers who followed in the game, slugging their way to a 15-8 victory.  

(If ineptitude is doing things poorly, then is eptitude doing them well?  If so, would this game count as Mariners’ Offensive Eptitude?)
Mike Sweeney jacked two home runs for the Mariners, and catcher Daniel Bard chipped in another round-tripper as the long-dormant bats of the Seattle Mariners pounded the Padres into submission.  (Take a look at a very happy Sweeney, below.)
Sweeney Jacks 2 vs. Padres.jpg
Sweeney earned .211 WPA, while Bard, who bashed his first homerun of the season, contributed another .166 WPA.  Starter Cliff Lee, who was credited with the win in tonight’s slugfest, came away with -.171 WPA, which just goes to show you that the official won-loss record of a pitcher has next to nothing to do with his actual performance.  
This game was clearly won by the Mariners’ batters and not their pitchers making it wholly unusual for this season.
Highlights, lowlights, and the standard box score available along this link.
Win Probability Added analysis, a play log, and lots of other fun available along that–as opposed to this–link.
The Mariners, striking early and often, put this game out of reach, well, early, as evidenced by the following chart:
20100521_Padres_Mariners_0_90_lbig_May 21.png
Clayton Richard of the Padres will face the Mariners’ Ian Snell in game two of this series on Saturday night.  Hmm.  Wonder if the bats will be out again for that one.  If there are many more runs scored between these two teams Mariners’ fans will grow confused and afraid, as, once the novelty wears off, the experience of unaccustomed joys often leads to guilt, confusion, and, of course, fear.

I Gotta Quit…(Updated)

writing nice things about teams.  I just gotta’.

I write something nice about the Rangers.  I say their starting pitching has been very good.  The Blue Jays sweep them by repeatedly shelling Rangers pitching.  All weekend.  (What the hell is up with Jose Bautista?)  It was like watching Foreman-Frazier three nights in a row.  Ricky Romero was spectacular.
I write something nice about the Nationals.  The Rockies’ pitching staff decides the Nationals shouldn’t score any runs, taking the bats right out of Nats’ hitters’ hands, and shutting them down, dropping them at least 3 games behind the Phillies into a tie with the Marlins.
I write something nice about the Padres.  The Dodgers came to town and won three ridiculously well-pitched games, further tightening the NL West, a division which seemingly any of its teams could win.  
Now, I am under no delusion that anything I write could conceivably impact anything in the Majors, but it is eerie that my praise immediately preceded these three teams tough weekends. Thus, I am giving serious thought to no writing anything positive about any team whose performance I like.  
Rather, I think I’ll write criticism of why teams should be sucking instead, questioning how it is possible that such a collection so miscreants, pretenders, and stiffs could possibly be winning ball games.  
That’s what I’ll do, or maybe I’ll write about the Tigers and what a great couple of series they’ve had against AL East powerhouses.  The Blue Jays, by the way, have really confounded me so far this year.  I thought the Orioles’ young starting pitching would have them poised to pass the Jays in the standings.  But it’s been the Jays’ young starters that have been getting the job done, that and their lineup’s power (61 HR, leading the Majors by 12).  The scary thing with the Jays is that they acquired Kyle Drabek as the key element in their trade of Roy Halladay to the Phillies, and while he has some command issues, he is also still a highly rated prospect.

NL “Wide Open”

Jack Moore provides some food for thought about how competitive the National League is proving to be:

As we enter play on Friday, the entire National League is only separated by nine games – the difference between NL leading San Diego at 22-12 and NL trailing Houston at 13-21. The entire NL Wild card race is occurring within a 6.5 game spread, as Washington currently leads the race at 20-15. The American League, on the other hand, has already started to separate, as Tampa Bay leads Baltimore by 13.5 games and only four other potential Wild Card teams are within eight games of leading New York.

We’ve also seen some surprises emerging in the National League. Washington, as mentioned above, is leading the Wild Card race despite a pitching staff without a single pitcher projected as above average. Cincinnati is four games over .500 despite most projection systems pegging them at .500 or below. San Diego and San Francisco are both surprising in an NL West which was handed to either Los Angeles or Colorado by most projection systems and analysts.

Padres the Surprise of the National League

In a season that began with the assumption that it was only a matter of when and not if both 1B Adrian Gonzalez and RP Heath Bell were traded away for prospects, the San Diego Padres refuse to lose enough games to make that assumption a reality.

They begin play Friday with 3.5 game lead in the National League West, with impressive pitching and an offense just good enough to have them holding a 22-12 record, the best in the National League.  
They have beaten their closest competitor in the NL West, the San Francisco Giants, six times already this season, with four of those wins by one-run margins.  
Mat Latos was the latest San Diego pitcher to dazzle, shutting out the Giants on one hit on Thursday night, as the Padres won 1-0.  In his two starts against the Giants this season, Latos has earned two wins, surrendering only 5 hits and and 1 walk over 16 innings pitched.
As noted, many observers assumed that the Padres would struggle in the standings (and here, as well as here, and, of course, here), and thus trade away their better players to avoid losing them in free agency.  Among such observers, ‘Duk of the Yahoo! Sports blog “Big League Stew” predicted they would finish at the bottom of the division.  ‘Duk didn’t try bury his mistake: in a post from earlier Friday, he apologized directly to the Padres:

[A]s ESPN’s Buster Olney noted this morning, you’ve gone 59-38 since last July 27, which makes you the owner of NL’s best winning percentage, just ahead of the Cardinals and Phillies. Your staff ERA is a best-in-the-bigs 2.61 and have twice as many team shutouts (eight) as any other team. Hugely impressive, considering everyone thought that rotation was at least still one year away from being really good and the injured Chris Young has only made one start. 

I am not jumping on the Padres bandwagon quite yet, for (a) the Padres still have plenty of time to start losing, sinking in the standings, and acquiring prospects by trading their stars away, and (b) I am already halfway committed to the Nationals bandwagon.  But as long as the Padres remain within striking distance of the NL Wild Card, they will likely stand pat.  

The Padres have some factors working against their long-term success.

The fact remains that their pitching has been carrying them, their .267 team BABIP against is simply unsustainable, and they may face a very rude awakening as the season progresses, for their offense…well, their offense…  

The Padres offense has been, uh, subpar, which is the nice way of saying that it’s almost, but not quite, Mariners’ level putrid.  Their team wOBA of .312 is 13th in the NL, and their average of 4.29 R/G is 14th in the NL.  LF Kyle Blanks is “shooting blanks,” struggling at the plate, putting up a slash line of just .174/.303/.359, with a wOBA of .305, and K rate of 45.7% (42 Ks in 92 ABs).

And then there’s the whole one-run victory thing

Which will regress to the mean faster and with greater impact: their stellar pitching or their putrid offense?  That, not “to be or not to be,” is the question for the Padres front office.