Saturday, May 30, 2009

Werth's toes

A friend of mine who is not a baseball fan claims that whenever Jayson Werth stands in the batter's box with his front foot up on his toes that Werth has trouble. By contrast, when his left foot is flat (my friend claims), Werth does well.

I've been meanign to check this out for a while, and tonight I remembered. In his first at bat, Werth was up on his toes, and he struck out.

Let's see how this theory plays out.

Second at-bat: Up on the toes, flyball out to left field.

Third at-bat: Up on the toes, line drive out to left field.

Fourth at-bat: Up on the toes, line drive double to right field.

Fifth at-bat: Up on the toes, strike out looking.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Bad baseball

I'm not a sabermatrician by any stretch of the imagination. I think hardcore mathematical analysis of baseball can improve our understanding of the game, but most sabermetric analyses I see make the numerical fallacy, as I call it.

The fallacy is moving from the importance of numerical analysis to the belief that only things that can be analyzed numerically matter.

Watching the Nationals play against my Phillies reminds me of this

I don't know what numerical analysis can capture the sheer ineptitude of this team. They're just ugly to watch, and I don't mean they aren't handsome people. I mean the way they play baseball is aesthetically offensive. Seeing Adam Dunn throw an empty hand toward the infield after stumbling back to the wall and failing to make a catch. This is just not pretty, and there has to be an effect on the results. Even someone who knows nothing about baseball needes to watch only a few innings of this team before they realize that this is not a good ball club.

And until sabermatricians are able to capture these inherently non-numerical factors into consideration, their understanding of the game will always be incomplete.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The third lineup

Last night's game convinced me that Jamie Moyer is the most umpire-dependent pitcher in baseball. Instead of looking at his (or the opponent's) lineup to determine the pitching rotation, Charlie Manuel should look at the umpire's schedule to determine when Jamie is pitching.

I don't know why Jamie hasn't yet (after a mere 22 years) gotten to the point that Tom Glavine, Gregg Maddux, and others achieved where umps automatically gave them the inside and outside corner, but for whatever reason, Jamie hasn't. And without pitches on those corners being called strikes, Jamie cannot be successful. Last night it was the (not) called third strike to Wes Helms that cost Moyer and the Phillies (though the two walks before that were even bigger).

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Ruiz hurt?

I can only assume Carlos Ruiz is hurt. Otherwise, there's no explanation for why Chris Coste would start last night and again this afternoon.

In fact, I assumed Coste was starting last night primarily because Charlie Manuel wanted Chooch to start to this afternoon.

So, I don't know how serious this is, but I'll bet money that after the game, we'll find out Chooch is getting some rest because he's tweaked his oblique.

On the bright side, Coste's double today continues his improving offense. After looking just awful the first month of the season, he's starting to put together some nice at-bats.

I noted before that his stance changed from last season. Previously, he was nearly doubled over at the plate with his legs straight. This season, he was crouching at the plate. Beginning last night, he seems to be moving back closer to his old stance. His legs aren't completely straight, but he's standing taller.

Whether this has any connection to his improvement, I have no idea. But I'm happy with the improvement.