Saturday, August 19, 2006

Tim McCarver Says

3 games. 39 runs. 4.5 games up in the standings. (5 in the loss.) What's not to like heading into the marquee game of the series, Mussina vs. Schilling? If we were to beat Fat Toad Schilling, the 5th game would be absolute gravy. Schilling is the symbol of all that is evil and must be destroyed. I'll get into the game a bit more in a second, but I'd like to mock Tim McCarver for a second. He needs it.

Fox insists on running a network of circus freaks in just about every on air position they have. T-Mac is a headliner in that carnival of buffonery. Last night's game showed him at his preachie best. I offer this for your amusement.

"Fire Joe Morgan" is one of my favorite reads every day. For those of you who don't know the blog, it is a collection of the world's worst baseball writing, critiqued and mocked by some really clever and insightful guys. Their favorite target is Joe Morgan, for obvious reasons, but also spread the wealth to cover just about all the most deserving hacks out there. As I was watching the Yanks/Sox telecast and listened to McCarver's first diatribe on pitch counts, I immediately thought about writing this commentary. Knowing the fine work at FJM, I knew they'd beat me to it, and sure enough they did. You can check it out for yourself. Essentially, "Timmy" argued that pitch counts are very overrated and that we should pay less attention to them. Some guys can throw 150+ pitches per start, according to him. Ugh. I wrote a piece yesterday at Matsuzaka Watch using Baseball Prospectus' "Pitching Abuse Points" to evaluate the stress on the Japanese ace's arm. When will they learn? How many more Kerry Woods and Mark Priors must there be?

The other thing he ranted about that struck me was the height of today's mound. He wants the mound returned to a pre-1969 15" to even the playing field for pitchers. He cites the fact that today's 10" mound, combined with the bigger, stronger hitters, has tilted the game too far in the direction of the offense. Almost as though he was reading my mind, he mentioned that the owners don't want it. He didn't elaborate too much about why that would be the case, but I will.

1. The owners want the mound where it is because fans like to see hitting.
2. Fans pay high ticket prices to come to ball games.
3. 2 hour ballgames generate 1 hour less tv ad revenue per game.
4. Americans are lukewarm to soccer because there's not enough scoring.

I could go on, but there's no point. The point he made about the reasons for the change speak for themselves. In 1968, Carl Yazstremski led the AL in hitting with a .301 average. In 6th place was Vic Davalillo of the Indians and Angels at .277! The 6th best American League hitter in 1968 only hit .277 if you can imagine that. FYI, the 20th best hitter in the AL was Jose Cardenal with a .257 average. 5 AL pitchers had ERAs under 2, and among the top 25 in that category only three pitchers had ERAs of 3 or more, culminating in Lew Krausse's 3.11 mark. The NL had no 3+ ERA pitchers in the Top 25.

I like good pitching. I certainly like pitching better than what we've seen in the current 3 games between the Yanks and Sox. I don't know if I'd want to turn on the tv every night and watch a 3-2 ballgame. In 1968, the average team scored 3.4 runs a game. In 2005, that number was about 4.7 per game. Yes, there's more offense. Yes, pitcher's ERAs are up to go along with that offense. The only point to raising the mound to 1968 height would be to reduce offense, get a bunch of pitchers with 2.50 ERAs and drive fans away from the game. Nice thinking Timmy.

I guess I understand though. He did win me over with this jewel in the Top of the 9th, "Pitching is such a vital part of the game, as far as winning is concerned." Yes it is, Tim. Yes it is.

My Red Sox jab of the day:

Johnny Damon this series
9/18, 3 doubles, 1 triple, 2 home runs, 5 runs, 8 RBIs
.500/.500/1.111 (1.611 OPS)

Coco Crisp and Gabe Kapler this series
1/13, 2 runs, 1 BB
.077/.143/.143 (.286 OPS)

Johnny Damon this season (520 PAs)
.297/.369/.513 (.882 OPS)
29 doubles, 5 triples, 20 homers
90 runs, 67 RBIs, 22/30 stolen bases

Coco Crisp this season (351 PAs)
.276/.329/.398 (.727 OPS)
17 doubles, 2 triples, 6 homers
50 runs, 26 RBIs, 16/20 stolen bases

Think they miss him? Let's go Moose.

1 comment:

singledd said...

Hey Mike,
You gotta admit that in less then a month, Abreu is more Yankee then any transplant I've ever seen. I was expecting a little more SLG, but his OBP and singles stroke is amazing. I think next year, when he is more comfortable, we will see more SLG.

While it ain't over till the Fat Lady sings, it's hard not to feel confident about the Yankees in the PS. I don't think we will see an effective Shefsui this year, so with our 'hit and miss' pitching, we will have to slug our way through the PS. Short of a last hurrah for Clemens in NY, it looks like our team is decided. However if Dotel gets his shit together on September, it may make the difference in October.

Let's hope Schill gets shilled today.