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Thursday, July 06, 2006

Oswalt Throws Chair at Teammates; Clemens Points and Declares, "Ha, Ha."

HOUSTON- After becoming the first pitcher in four years to toss two straight complete-game losses, frustrated Roy Oswalt vented his wrath by picking up chairs in the clubhouse and forcibly hurling them at his teammates.

PUNCHLINE: Although Oswalt's aim was good, and the chairs were perfectly placed, the Astros managed to miss hitting the chairs anyway. Thanks, you've been great. Enjoy the shrimp cocktails; I'll be here all week.

True to form, Oswalt demurred when asked about his team's complete lack of offensive support that caused him to suffer a 1-0 loss: "You can do all you can do, and hopefully it will turn around sometime."

Without getting into the details of yet another poor offensive outing by the local boys, I'll hit on a few of the most cogent observations:
  • Brad Ausmus snapped an 0-for-40 hitless streak when E-Ramis committed an error on his fourth-inning grounder the scorer took pity on him he singled in the fourth inning. Congrats, Brad. I could take all the blame by pointing out that it was my fault for jinxing him in the Galleria video arcade when I informed him--while he was trouncing his daughters in a driving game--that, at the time, I would have been batting him fifth in the lineup. At the time, that statement was true. Unbeknownst to either of us, however, that comment caused poor Brad to spiral into a ridiculous club-record (for a non-pitcher) 40 at-bats without a hit.

    But I'm not going to take the blame, because (a) the statement was correct at the time, and (b) Ausmus is a career .255 hitter who was due to go through at least some slumping. I'm not going to go so far as to name Ausmus to the dubious No-Star Team, which I think is a particularly tasteless and unnecessary exercise, but we all knew he was not going to end the season with a batting average higher than .270 or so.

  • Gar[d]ner resorted to more of his "play the percentages" bullcrap last night when he started Eric Bruntlett in place of Adam Everett who--by the way--has been hitting well since the beginning of June:
    Eric Bruntlett started at shortstop Wednesday in place of Adam Everett, whom manager Phil Garner said might be getting more days off against lefthanders.

    Lefty Sean Marshall started for the Cubs.

    Everett entered Wednesday hitting .188 (9-for-48) against lefthanders; Bruntlett was hitting .455 (10-for-22).

    Garner also moved third baseman Morgan Ensberg back to the third spot in the lineup after a couple of days in the No. 6 hole.
    So here's our diablog on the subject:
    Phat-C: This is why I hate stat-driven decisions in baseball; When you're on a win streak, you DON'T MESS WITH THE LINEUP!!!!

    Shafty: Statistics can be very helpful in baseball, but making lineup decisions based solely on situational statistics is asinine. For example, I subscribe to the theory that you typically--only a general rule as there are exceptions--put your four best OBP guys as the top four hitters in the lineup. Best overall hitter is #3. High BA as #2. Slugging percentage (along with BA) drive #4, #5, and #6 spots. Typically a crapshoot for #7 and #8, although better of the two (or, in our case, less unproductive) hits #7.

    Those are for the season, however. Situational statistics should be used rather sparingly. You don't decide, "Hey, Ausmus has hit lefthanders well so, even though I'd ordinarily slot him 8th, today he goes 3rd." Nor can you place too much emphasis on "this particular hitter has hit this particular pitcher well in the past." You know what that means, since baseball is a game of averages? It means he's probably DUE to slide back to the norm against that pitcher. It's rare to find a hitter who can duplicate success--above that of his success against other pitchers or other hitters' success against that pitcher--against a given pitcher over a LONG term. In those cases, you're probably better off going with the better long-term guy because you can pretty much assume that the better short-term guy's success is going to average out; in short, he's statistically MORE likely to get out than somebody with long-term success. In that case, long-term statistics actually REJECT the manager's idea.

    So I'd agree with you, to some extent. I don't hate stat-driven decisions, if they're well-reasoned, have a LARGE body of work in support of them (such as a season's worth of at-bats), and are not just outright flukish. Situational-statistics-based decisions, however, I do not support.

    Everett/Bruntlett is a perfect example of that. Right now, Everett has been among the league leading hitters since June. Yes, he's going to slide back to norm, except that his CAREER batting average is higher than what he's sporting right now. That would seem to suggest that he's better off staying in the lineup now, because he's hot and his average should creep back up to his career average--which means he's due for some more baseknocks.

    Bruntlett, by contrast, has only 22 at-bats against lefties. That's not statistically significant enough to draw conclusions such as, "Bruntlett hits lefties better than Everett."

    Case in point: Bruntlett cannot be said to have had any decent at-bats last night.

    1. Struck out looking on 4 pitches.
    2. Reached on a fielder's choice because hit a weak grounder to the pitcher, and Lane--who had stroked a nice double--was consequently killed in a rundown.
    3. Fouled out to the catcher.
    4. Grounded out to second.

    I know it's not fair to use hindsight alone to make decisions but, hey, Gar[d]ner's rationale was iffy at best to begin with.
So, anyway, we're back in the mix with four at home against the Satanic Red Fowl, who just obtained "disappointing" malcontent and pretty much just all-aroound jerkwad Jeff Weaver from the Angels. That means two things:
  • He'll fit right in in the StL clubhouse.
  • He'll probably pitch in this series, AND beat the hell out of us.

1 Comments:

Blogger Phat-C said...

btw... Ensberg consequently took 4 straight chairs for a walk. In the next round of chair throwing, he took one right down the middle and injured his shoulder against Lanedoza's locker.

1:08 PM  

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