Friday, June 03, 2005

The Waiver Wire: DeVore-ced From Reality Edition 

First up, the news many of you have already heard -- the trade of minor league OF Doug DeVore for erstwhile major league San Francisco right-handed reliever Matt Herges. Herges was DFAed Sunday by the Giants, but I don't see how this can be bad. Herges at least has a positive VORP (barely), while several relievers on the squad (and I'm looking right at you, Mr. Ligtenburg) do not. In a system lousy with good corner outfielders, trading DeVore can be viewed only as a good thing, both for the Diamondbacks and Doug. Best of luck to him. We'll find out tomorrow where Herges ends up, and I'd guess that Ligtenburg gets dropped from both the 25- and 40-man rosters to make the move work...

The trade brings to mind Jim's rant on the Green and Ortiz signings. It's going to sound like I'm picking on him here, but I'm not. (I'm picking on everyone, and I know Jim was just setting up an interesting comparison.) I'm merely pointing out a tendency and pitfall of fans: focusing on the outliers, particularly the negative ones. Now, I've criticized Ortiz's performance recently, and I haven't had anything good to say about Green, either. But where's the article that praises the Glaus signing (the third major FA signing)? Where's the discussion that talks about the smaller decisions made (Cruz for Fossum, Counsell, Clark, Clayton)? Some of those haven't worked out great thus far, some have. And what about the decisions that were made that resulted in no action? (Yes, Jackson and Quentin are still in the Diamondback system.) And who knows how these decisions will look at the end of the season? We're only one-third of the way through the regular season.

Perspective, folks -- both in terms of the overall scheme of personnel decisions as well as the timeframe.

In other, random news unrelated to anything else...


This article from a couple weeks ago goes into more detail about the cost and use of baseballs. I like finding out how the balls get passed down from game use to BP use to the minors.


This is cool. Weird, but cool.


This is cool. Useless, but cool. (Warning: takes a while to load.)


I love sports in part for providing texture to the day. Five or ten minutes reading the paper in the morning, thinking about it during the day. Background noise.

Daily comic strips are similar in my mind. I stumbled across this site recently. Consider it Comics Primer. To the sidebar it goes.


Thanks as always for reading. Go Diamondbacks!

Stupid Luck 

OK, naysayers. The Diamondbacks outscored the Mets in their series, 9-8, but lost 2 of 3. You happy? They're on the bad side of luck!

Clearly last night's 6-1 loss had its fair amount of luck involved, all of it good for the Mets, all of it bad for the Diamondbacks.

Mets -- Good: Mike Cameron gets turned around by a rocket off the bat of Jose Cruz, Jr. in the top of the sixth. Falls down. Blindly sticks up his hand over his shoulder. Catches the freakin' ball. A one-in-a-thousand shot? One-in-ten-thousand? That should have been a triple and could've led to a run or more in what was at the time a very close 3-1 game.

Diamondbacks -- Bad: Craig Counsell, beset with what we all hope is only a 24-hour case of Knoblauchian Yips, has three throwing errors, thereby doubling his error count for the season. His third error, in the sixth inning, broke the game open as 3 more runs scored after he threw the ball away.

I guess I can't get too worked up about losing to Pedro Martinez. But now, heading into Philadelphia for a 4-game set, I really feel like the Diamondbacks need to split this series. With Vazquez, Halsey, and Webb pitching, winning two of the four games seems imperative.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Three Weeks: Three-and-a-Half-Week Edition 

Better late than never might be overselling it a bit, but that's the angle I'm taking...

The Week That Was

Record: 2-4 (2nd place in the NL West, 2.5 games behind SD as of Monday
Runs Scored/Runs Against: 4.25- 8.00 (high/low dropped)
Transactions: Kelly Stinnett purchased from Tucson; Koyie Hill optioned to Tucson; Oscar Villarreal placed on 60-day DL to clear space on the 40-man for Stinnett (all 5/28)

Whew. That wasn't good. 2 lost series to the top 2 division rivals, and a pitching implosion, headed (or footed, or whatever) by 2 miserable outings by Russ Ortiz, who pitched a total of 9 1/3 innings while giving up 16 hits, 11 walks, and 9 runs. The offense didn't do much, either, though those 12 runs on Wednesday in their 12-11 victory over the Padres was nice.

We didn't really learn anything new about the Diamondbacks last week -- their rotation's pretty good (Ortiz excepted), the bullpen's wildly inconsistent, and the offense is inconsistent, with a tendency toward meekness. Unless something changes, this is a .500 team. Which is not to say that things might not change -- Ortiz, Green, and Tracy are performing below expectations (and Lyon and Aquino are injured) while Estes, Halsey, Counsell, and Clark are performing above expectations. While the clock could strike midnight and the team could end up with 70 wins, it's also possible that the underperformers turn things around (even partially) and the team is shooting for 85+ wins.

The Weeks That Will Be

7 on the road (3 vs. the Mets, 4 vs. Philadelphia)
6 at home (3 apiece vs. the Twins and Royals)

I think predicting the Diamondbacks will sign Stephen Drew and split the first two games with the Mets 7-0 and 1-2 would probably stretch the credulity of this section, so I'll just move on to the Phillies. The Phillies hit well (1st in NL AVG, 4th in OPS), but pitch poorly (12th in NL ERA). Their problem is not giving up baserunners (they're average in WHIP and AVG); it's giving up a lot of HR (2nd in NL with 66; 14th in OPS). Citizens Bank Park is a hitter's park, so that'll affect the stats a bit, but, like Frampton, the Diamondback bats need to come alive, and this is as good an opportunity as they'll find east of Denver.

Almost Stole One There... 

One day the Diamondbacks offense will beat the crap out of a pitcher, and the next, they make Victor Zambrano look like Carlos Zambrano when he's not super-ticked off at an umpire or in an Internet chat room. Zambrano, whose previous outings made him look more like Victor Hugo than an actual major league pitcher (though you always figured the Hunchback of Notre Dame might've made a decent catcher), held the Diamondbacks to 5 hits in 8 innings. The offense might've been able to score more than 1 run, but Chad Tracy neatly killed a couple rallies with a pair of double plays in the 7th and 9th innings. (Though the 7th-inning shot was a bit unlucky -- right at the 1st baseman holding the runner at the bag.)

Brandon Webb pitched nearly as well, giving up just 1 run on 7 hits in 7 innings. Unfortunately for him, Webb has not learned to adjust his delivery for baserunners, as Brad Halsey did the night before. The Mets stole 4 bases off Webb, with 3 taken by Reyes alone. Given the number of ground-ball hits Webb is likely to give up, Webb would gain by improving here. He's tied for 2nd in the majors in the number of bases stolen against him, with 12. Besides the obvious advantages in not letting runners advance, keeping runners on first would, of course, vastly improve Brandon's double play chances, which are already higher than most.

First, ironically, is Victor Zambrano, with 15 steals and none caught stealing -- given the difficulty the D-Backs had in generating baserunners, perhaps they, too, would've benefitted from a more aggressive approach.

Shawn Estes - Pedro Martinez tonight. A Diamondbacks series victory is not impossible, but certainly won't happen unless the Diamondbacks find the same bats they were using Tuesday night.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

This Is What We Blog About When We Blog About Brad Halsey 

Man goes to New York City, where he used to pitch, and pitches seven innings of lights-out shutout ball. 113 pitches, sure, but 6 strikeouts and only 1 walk.

And the bullpen. Two innings, 26 pitches, 1 walk, and 3 strikeouts. Thanks go out to you, Messrs. Koplove and Valverde!

Even better, the offense decided to give him some breathing room, the most breathing room they've given any pitcher this year. In the end, a 7-0 Diamondbacks victory over the Mets.

Pythagoras, thou art our friend for today!

Every starter got on base, each starter got a hit with the exception of Luis Gonzalez, who's reached 1,000 strikeouts for his career.

Sorry, I'm swamped for time today. More later. Or maybe not. I'm not as lights out as Brad Halsey.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Hello? Mr. Random Fandom Guy, Is Anybody There? 

Hey, it was Memorial Day weekend, my first three-day weekend in, what, a couple months? And you're wondering why I haven't posted?

C'mon, dude, it's Memorial Day, a day to honor sacrifices made by others to defend a country and people like me who feel compelled to post occasionally lucid thoughts on the local baseball squad. For free, for both you, the reader, and me, the writer. The least I can do is honor them with moments of silence and a day's worth of slacking off with my family.

So that's what I did.

Not that the weekend series was particularly inspiring in any way. 7-4 Dodgers win Friday night -- Estes pitches an OK game, but Jose Valverde collapses, proving that there is now absolutely nobody on the relief staff with any sort of positive consistency. 5-4 Diamondbacks win Saturday night with a merely mortal performance from Javier Vazquez and the game-ending bases loaded walk drawn by... Kelly Stinnett. 6-3 Dodgers win Sunday afternoon, the result of yet another poor performance by Russ Ortiz, whose pitching prowess seems to be inversely tied to Vazquez's -- as Javier has pitched better, Ortiz has pitched worse.

Oh, and the Diamondbacks signed some guy named Stephen Drew. Supposedly he's pretty good. High-A. Heh.

(Seriously, not that I'm going to be sympathetic to Scott Boras, but it does seem like the Angels and D-Backs have mapped out the way for all future big league clubs to negotiate with him -- offer his clients an eminently fair take-it-or-leave-it offer and wait for them to eventually take it.)

So there you have it, the weekend as dimly gathered by yours truly. I'll have some more thoughts later today in Three Weeks.

Until then, your random Diamondbacks fact for the day is the following:

Luis Gonzalez needs two more home runs to reach 300 for his career and two more strikeouts to reach 1,000.

(Yes, this will be the last random Diamondbacks fact I'll be posting for a while.)