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Michael/Male/26-30. Lives in United States/Pennsylvania/Wexford/Christopher Wren, speaks English. Spends 20% of daytime online. Uses a Fast (128k-512k) connection. And likes baseball /politics.
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United States, Pennsylvania, Wexford, Christopher Wren, English, Michael, Male, 26-30, baseball , politics.

Friday, August 13, 2004

By the Numbers... II 

Games behind the Braves for the Division Title: 7.0

Games behind the Cubs for the Wildcard: 3.5

Chances Larry Bowa is going to get fired in October: about 100%

Sorry I haven't been blogging of late: busy with moving and interviewing. Talk to me next week.

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Tuesday, August 10, 2004

By the Numbers... 

A few numbers of note:

6.0 - Games the Phillies trail the Braves after last night's loss to the Rockies.

3.5 - Games the Phillies trail the Chicago Cubs in the wildcard race.

4,006 - the number of visitors as of 9:22 AM on A Citizen's Blog. I want to thank everyone for their interest and encouragment. Since I created A Citizen's Blog back in late March I've gotten a terrific response from everyone. I'm humbled by your praise. Thanks, fellas. Now, on to 5,000!


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The End? 

Burrell done for the season: is this the end of the Phillies playoff hopes? I doubt it. The Phils playoff hopes ride on the arms of the Phillies starting pitching. As Jim Salisbury points out: Burrell has had a lousy two months since May, so it may not be difficult for the Phils bench to pick up the slack (hmm, regret dealing Ricky Ledee now, Ed Wade?)

What is critical for the Phils is four home games against the Rockies and a series against the Giants. The Phillies don't have to play a division opponant until August 31, and then most of the last month is going to be spent seeing the Mets, Fish, Braves and Expos nearly every day.

Lets make up some ground, boys. Now.

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Wicked Awesome! 

A survey of the top sports towns says Philly is #9! (and rising) (...okay, I made up the rising, but its gotta be true...) Pittsburgh is #24, in case anyone was wondering. Number 1? Bah-ston. ("Nomah!")

Wicked awesome.

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Monday, August 09, 2004

Team Stats: 

So how have the Phils been doing against the rest of the NL, stat-wise? Not well. Pitching is still a problem, although there are signs that things are improving:

NL WHIP:
1. Los Angeles: 1.28
2. St. Louis: 1.28
3. Chicago 1.28
4. San Diego: 1.29
5. Milwaukee: 1.29
10. Philadelphia: 1.40

WHIP (Walks plus hits by innings pitched): (BB + H) / IP = WHIP

NL ERA:
1. Atlanta: 3.82
2. Chicago: 3.82
3. Los Angeles: 3.82
4. St. Louis: 3.85
5. San Diego: 3.86
12. Philadelphia: 4.49

ERA (Earned Run Average): (ER * 9) / IP = ERA

But the Phils continue to do well at the plate, although there are some signs of slipping ...

ISO
1. Colorado: .192
2. Chicago: .189
3. St. Louis: .184
4. Philadelphia: .170
5. Cincinnati: .167
ISO (Isolated Power): .SLG - .BA = .ISO

ISO, for example, has been on a steady decline ...

RC27
1. St. Louis: 5.56
2. Colorado: 5.53
3. Philadelphia: 5.21
4. San Francisco: 5.14
5. Chicago: 5.09

RC/27 (Runs Created per 27 Outs): ESPN’s formula for Runs Created is simply too complex for me to replicate easily here. This is their stat based on what a hypothetical team of nine of the same player would score.

ZR
1. Chicago: .865
2. Los Angeles: .863
3. San Diego: .860
4. St. Louis: .860
5. Philadelphia: .853

ZR (Zone Rating): Is a stat which measures a player’s defensive ability by measuring plays they should have made. Admittedly, this is a stat left open to subjective opinions.

What has impressed me of late has been the dramatically improved play of the Dodgers and Padres. Both teams are hitting well (the Dodgers are now 6th in OBP, while the Pads are 8th, the Dodgers have quietly gotten to fourth in slugging ... their GPA is getting closer and close to the Phils: .2599 to the Phils .2626 ...), playing tough defense, and are pitching well (both in the NL's Top 5 for WHIP and ERA)

The Dodgers will win the NL West, and the Pads will be the NL Wildcard.

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Pythagorean Win-Loss: 

Pythagorean NL East:
Atlanta: 94-68
New York: 83-79
Philadelphia: 82-80
Florida: 81-81
Montreal: 62-100

Not good. Looking at the standings today I was taken aback by Atlanta's surge ... can anyone beat these guys? The good news is that the Phils have gotten a little space from the Mets (5.5 back of the Phils) and the Fish (2.5 back), so now they can concentrate on chasing the Braves without having to worry too much about looking in their rear-view mirror.

The bad news is, despite a successful 5-1 West Coast road trip, the Phils remain well behind the Braves.

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Sunday, August 08, 2004

Pitching / Defense 

Renewed interest in defense of late because of the defensive focus of Theo Epstein in Bean-tahn …

ZR / Fpct.:
Thome: .810 / .993
Abreu: .865 / .983
Bell: .793 / .947
Burrell: .884 / .989
Rollins: .845 / .983
Polanco: .821 / .992
Byrd: .827 / .992

ZR (Zone Rating): Is a stat which measures a player’s defensive ability by measuring plays they should have made. Admittedly, this is a stat left open to subjective opinions.

I typically avoid charting the statistical play of Phils pitchers, in part because it depresses me to see their balloon-sized ERA’s and WHIP’s, but also because you have to divide the starters and relievers because their roles are so very different …

Starters: (W-L / WHIP / ERA)
Wolf: 4-7 / 1.32 / 4.04
Myers: 6-8 / 1.51 / 5.38
Millwood: 9-6 / 1.43 / 4.86
Abbott: 1-5 / 1.71 / 6.23
Milton: 12-2 / 1.41 / 4.80
Padilla: 4-5 / 1.42 / 4.07

WHIP (Walks plus hits by innings pitched): (BB + H) / IP = WHIP
ERA (Earned Run Average): (ER * 9) / IP = ERA

Gee … who is worse? Myers or Abbott? Hard to say, because to be fair to Abbott it must be pointed out that Myers has had a few extra starts. Still, it is all bad: Wolf is the only Phils starter whose WHIP is lower than the team average (Padilla’s ERA is, like Wolf’s, lower than the team average. Milton, Myers, Millwood and Abbott all have ERA’s higher than average …) The rest of the staff continues its weary slog toward mediocrity.

I’ve been pretty down on Millwood, but Baseball Prospectus recently pointed out that he’s been victimized by a lot of bad breaks with balls put in play landing for hits instead of outs … since the All-Star break he’s been 3-1 with a 1.22 WHIP. If he gets off the DL, he could do well down the stretch … The good news has been that the Phils Post-All Star break numbers are positive: a WHIP of 1.36 and an ERA of 4.70 (Pre: 1.41; 4.44).

More when I get a chance …

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A few things of note... 

What a difference two weeks makes ... I've been trying to catch up with the ins and outs of the baseball season these last few weeks. The Nomar trade to the Cubs has garnered a lot of attention these last two weeks in the media, but the stat-heads have been buzzing about the Dodgers wheeling and dealing, specifically with the Marlins:

Vinay Kumar wrote an interesting piece for Hardball Times analyzing Paul DePodesta's movings as the Dodgers GM, including his recent trade with the Florida Marlins. Kumar makes an interesting point when he notes that not only has the Dodgers trade left the team strong going into the pennant race, but the team will profit in the long-term, whereas the stat-skeptical Marlins made a deal that will likely come back to bite them in the behind. Larry Mahnken followed up Kumar's piece with an article arguing that DePodesta's trade highlights the differences between sabremetricians and traditionalists, although Mahnken's article focuses in on the Dodgers and basically ignores the Marlins, a team whose coach derrided stats in SI back in April, and would seem to represent the old-school establishment. If the Dodgers are the new wave and the marlins are the rear guard of the old order, I'd like to have more of a discussion about the Marlins reluctance to embrace stats ...

After reading both articles, (typically great content from Hardball Times), what intruiges me about DePodesta and his decision-making has been his boldness: trading for problem-child Milton Bradley, dealing regulars in the middle of a pennant-race with an eye to the future. It is that kind of boldness that is needed in the Phils front-office: deals for mid-level relievers in the middle of a pennant-race? C'mon,fellas!

Brian Gunn from Redbird Nation, one of the best blogs out there, wrote-up a nice article about why the Cardinals, picked to finish third or worse in the NL Central, are a juggernaut rolling towards the post-season. Brian points out the obvious: Rolen, Pujols and Edmunds are one of the best threesomes in the NL (Abreu, Thome and Burrell close behind), but also notes that the Cards are playing stunningly good defense, which has, in turn, made their pitching better. This team is my pick to win the World Series right now. I'd be surprised to see them fail.

Meanwhile, Peter Gammons recently dropped some interesting thoughts ... injuries to two A's relievers kept the Phils from dealing Polanco to the A's for Ricardo Rincon ... meanwhile, Gammons notes that the Marlins seem handicapped by their budget (or a lack of imagination) in their race to defend their world series title and look to fade down the stretch ... Gammons also praises DePodesta and Theo Epstein for their courage to make tough deals.

I enjoy Gammons writings for ESPN because he seems to be one of the few sportswriters/broadcasters who aren't wedded to traditional notions of what it takes in baseball to be successful. It is that kind of out-of-the-box thinking that is sorely needed in the sports media these days. ESPN-mate Jayson Stark, for example, takes a more traditional view of the Dodgers/ Marlins trade without diving into why the numbers said the deal made sense for the Dodgers.

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