Saturday, May 17, 2008

The Sound of Silence

Full disclosure, I find it hard to root against the Jazz as long as they employ Deron Williams, but damn, their fans are ASSHOLES! And that fact makes it much nicer to see the Lakers clinch this series in front of all of those cocksuckers. Suck it, Utah.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Book on Nick Adenhart

Or rather, the pamphlet, since this is going to be short. It's gonna sound stupid, but right now, the way to get to Nick Adenhart is to get someone, anyone, on base. So far, that hasn't been a problem. He's allowed almost half of the hitters he's faced to reach base safely, 31 (18 hits and 13 walks) out of 63. His WHIP is over 2.50.

There's no way to sugar coat it, he hasn't been very good, although he's shown flashes. In fact, in the first inning of all three major league starts, he hasn't allowed a baserunner. Even better, seven of those nine outs have either been ground outs or strike outs. Actually, he's retired the first four hitters in order in every start (five in the Royals start).

But in each of those starts, he's allowed a man to reach base in the second inning, and that's where the trouble starts. He's given up nine runs in those second innings, despite the advantage of having retired the leadoff hitter. And the reason he's running into trouble is because he has not been able to successfully pitch with runners on base. Blame it on jitters perhaps, but more likely it's a mechanical flaw that comes from pitching out of the stretch. He's a little wild as it is. He gets worse with runners on.

Adenhart has faced 33 hitters with the bases empty. Seven of them have reached via the hit, and five via the walk, for an OBP against of .364, which isn't great, but isn't awful. Once a batter reaches, however, he goes from adequate to much worse. He's faced 30 batters with runners on base, and allowed an alarming 19 of them to reach. That's OBP against of .633! In other words, once one man gets on base, almost two of the next three are also likely to reach base. That's nuts. Keep in mind that he's not a strikeout pitcher to begin with, and he only has four strikeouts in his 12 major league innings, but none of those have come with runners on base, so he's not helping himself out once he gets into trouble (though he has induced three hitters to ground into double plays).

Those numbers are pretty distressing, or they would be for any other pitcher, and of course all of the caveats about sample size still apply. But first of all, he's only 21, so to the extent these are a function of nerves, he has plenty of time to learn to deal with them. Second, he was only slated to make three starts, assuming the healthy return of John Lackey, so he's got some things to work on, and he can do it in the minors. Perhaps most importantly, the one thing he doesn't do is give up home runs. He's now pitched 404 innings in professional baseball, and has seen only ten of his pitches leave the yard in fair territory. That means he can get away with allowing a few more hitters to reach over the course of a season, because he's not susceptible to the back breaking three run homer. But he simply can't allow the number of baserunners he's allowed at the major league level. Shockingly, he's actually 1-0 in his major league career, thanks to the 23 runs the Angels have scored in his starts.

I have no reason to believe that with some additional minor league seasoning, he won't turn into solid, if not spectacular major league pitcher, and he has a great deal of upside. His minor league numbers compare favorably to Brandon Webb. Not that he'll be that successful, but if he be 75% of a Brandon Webb, that's a damn good major league starter. I think the Nick Adenhart experiment was a success in that it will eventually make him a better pitcher. I could see him being a fixture in the rotation as early as next year if there's a spot, and as we're learning from the current health situation, there's always a spot.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Where I've been

In short, working, traveling, playing golf, and attending birthday parties for one year olds. Oh, and drinking.

So that's part of the reason I haven't been writing. I was in Atlanta last week, and travel itself kept me from watching Tuesday's game. The hotel I was at has crappy internet service, so it's virtually impossible to watch a game over the computer, so that took out Wednesday. Friday was travel back from Atlanta, and meeting up with drunk friends after the Cubs game (which they attended and I didn't). Saturday was golf, birthday party, and drinking with a different set of friends. Sunday's game was pathetic and made me not want to write.

Actually, I did see a game Wednesday night. I headed down State Highway 400 from Alpharetta to Atlanta to see the Braves play the Padres. Funny that almost every Padres game I've seen in the last 20 years has been against Braves, going back to 1988 when I was the Braves bat boy for one game in San Diego. I saw a couple more at the Murph in the interim, and this was my first game at the Ted. Nice park. Parked for free since I got there in the second inning. Paid $20 to a scalper for a ticket and sat in the general vicinity of that seat. It was not by any means a full building, so you could more or less sit wherever you wanted down the lines. Enjoyed a couple beers and some peanuts.

From my vantage point, it appears you can only weather so many injuries, especially when Vlad is not hot. Lackey and Escobar? They can manage. Kendrick? They can still put runs up. Add Figgins to that, and Maicer, and you're starting to run into tough sledding. They need Figgins back ASAP, and if Kendrick can come back this week, it will be a nice boost to the offense. I like the experience that Rodriguez and Wood are getting, as it's always nice to know what you should expect when it becomes time to stick at the big league level, but those guys need to play every day against pitchers they can hit more consistently, and the Angels need their best hitters back in the lineup.

Also, Justin Speier has been less than impressive lately. Tonight's the first of four with the White Sox, which means I'll need to sync the radio from the net with the video from the local station, because I can't listen to the douchebags who call the Sox games.