Thursday, August 31, 2006

Assault on .500: Quick Nightly Update
By Ben Valentine

Some random baseball thoughts today, but of course we start with the watch.

I won’t spend too much time on this, since while I think it is interesting to follow, it can get tiring very quickly. Tonight Abraham Nunez went 0-3 with an RBI and intentional walk. The Nats decided they’d rather face pitcher Cole Hamels than Nunez. For the record, Hamels has splits of .121/.250/.121/.371. That means that Hamels reached base just .014 percent less than Nunez in his plate appearances this year! (He’s walked six times and struck out 18, that’s pretty good for a pitcher). But since Hamels hasn’t gotten anything other than a single to this point, it was the right move.

Overall that saved his night from being a complete disaster OBP wise, though that of course does nothing for his slugging.

So to recap, Nunez now at official 235 ABs (256 overall),and has a line of:

.196/.264/.255/.519

To be the worst player of the decade, he’ll need to top Homer Bush’s 2000 splits of:

.215/.271/.253/.524

Keep it here as the watch continues.

Other baseball notes:

-I live in NY, so I don’t read the Boston papers. But I gather it’s only a matter of time before some idiot sportswriter starts screaming “curses” again with this latest string of Red Sox injuries. Manny goes down to leg problems, Ortiz has to be hospitalized twice in two weeks, Jason Varitek, Trot Nixon and Willy Mo Pena are out, their rotation is permanently D/L’d and now young pitcher Jon Lester is undergoing numerous medical tests, including some for cancer. Oh and the Red Sox are toast in the American League playoff race and it’s not even September 1st.

Just a passing mention on Ortiz. It’s ironic how his hospitalization a few weeks back caused by “stress” was not made more of. Lord knows if Alex Rodriguez had undergone the same situation, everyone in baseball would be snickering at the poor guy. With Big Papi, nobody says a word, because he’s so “clutch.”

This isn’t meant an insult; I'm just making a point. What do you think would happen if A-Rod was hospitalized because of “stress?”

-Mark Mulder is likely done for the year after tests revealed “fraying” at in his rotator cuff. Not to be cruel, but this is a blessing for the Cardinals. Mulder had been completely ineffective since his return from the DL both in the majors AND minors. Anthony Reyes hasn’t been great so far, but he’s been a major league pitcher. It may be awhile before Mulder re-enters that category considering the problems he’s dealt with for three years.

By the way, think the Cardinals would love to have Dan Haren and Kiko Calero back right about now?

-I’ll get around to a closer look soon enough, but the NL MVP race has become extremely interesting. Albert Pujols has seen his OPS lead on Carlos Beltran shrunk down to .065 and since Beltran plays a very good centerfield, he now has a very legitimate case for the award if the season ended today. Also throwing their hats into the race are Ryan Howard and Miguel Cabrera, who’s actually been in it the whole time but no one’s noticed. Lance Berkman quietly is second in the NL in OPS. Handicapping the race quickly:

Pujols: Best hitter in the league. But plays first.

Beltran: Not Pujols OPS but at a pitcher’s park, great centerfielder.

Berkman: Great hitter, but plays plenty of first. That hurts his value.

Howard: Plays the same position as Pujols. Also plays in Citizen’s Bank.

Cabrera: Plays in the best pitcher’s park, plays third, team’s out of it.

As I said, I’ll get a bit more in depth soon enough. But it should be an interesting September for those baseball fans who care about the hardware handed out at the end of each season.

3 Comments:

Blogger Chris said...

I actually wrote about the infamous Nunez IBB on my blog: http://hugetinymistake.wordpress.com/2006/08/30/scott-graham-brings-news-of-the-apocalypse/

12:55 PM  
Anonymous jason said...

florida is only 2.5 games out of the wild card. unless you count olivo, cabrera is the only veteran in their everyday lineup. heck, that team finishing over .500 should gain him a few votes in the MVP race, but he'll definitely earn a few more if they make the playoffs.

given how close the overall numbers are, it's probably beltran's to lose at the moment.

1:08 PM  
Blogger Ben Valentine said...

Good stuff Chris- I should have looked at the ninth inning when I said the move "worked", especially when you consider Hamels has been Nunez near statistical equal in OBP. (Pretty good for Hamels, pretty sad for Nunez)

Jason- I'm not believer in the whole "Team needs to be playoff worthy for MVP" but right. If the Marlins somehow make the playoffs Cabrera will get serious consideration. He might just win it.

Thinking about it, and when I do go into this deeper I'll explore this, but Beltran probably won't win. NY sportswriters will probably give votes away to Jose Reyes and David Wright and as a result, the Mets players will have their votes split. If the Marlins sneak in, then Cabrera would be my pick to win.

5:04 PM  

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