Saturday, April 30, 2005

Game 22: Giants at Pirates

First pitch 7:05pm. Noah Lowry and Dave Williams. Bucs still looking for win number nine. They are five games under .500.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Game 21: Giants at Pirates

Brett Tomko and Mark Redman tonight. First pitch 7:05pm. None of the Bucs have much of a meaningful record against Tomko, so I will look for a more left-handed lineup full of the usual suspects.

Bucs go for win number nine.

Schmidt questionable

No Bonds this weekend and maybe no Schmidt too. That's OK with me. The Giant bullpen will also be something of a mystery. Matt Herges and Jeff Fassero might appear as the late-inning guys.

Vizquel to armor up

Joe Rutter has more on the Mesa-Vizquel feud.

The relationship began to sour in 1998 when Vizquel homered off Mesa during an intrasquad spring training game and did a cartwheel as he crossed home plate. An angered Mesa vowed to hit Vizquel the next time he faced him.

Both these guys are characters.

Sanchez and Hill

John Perrotto writes about them.

Coach Mesa

Dejan Kovacevic has a long biography.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Rose-colored contacts

Cool. Get us 26 pairs.

All hail Coach Mesa

300 saves for the big guy. So is he a first-ballot Hall of Famer, or does he have to wait for the Oldtimers' Committee?

Nice win today. There was a lot to like - Kip Wells having nine-pitch innings. And a lot to not like - the Bucs only score two runs from I-don't-want-to-count-how-many baserunners.

The Astros did not play so well in either one of the games here in PNC Park. Their outfielders looked out of position and awkward on lots of plays. Even Brad Lidge was ineffective. The hitters did their part to make Kip (and Ollie) look good.

But I wouldn't take anything away from these last two wins. The cheaper wins count as much as the pistol-whippings. God knows we've given away more of these than we've collected in the last two four eight twelve years. The Bucs had good opportunities to win and win they did.

Day off for the players tomorrow so you know they are goofing off tonight. Maybe they all go over to "00" Rick White's house to play roulette "just for entertainment purposes."

Right this minute, they are four games under .500 and six games out of first. That's better than they stood lay three days ago, but hardly standing tall.

Game 20: Astros at Pirates

Getaway day for the Stros - game starts at 12:35pm and they will head back to Houston to host the Cubs. The Bucs will get a night off, hopefully not spend it Ryan Freel-style, and host the Bonds-less Giants this weekend. DK is already on the Mesa-Vizquel angle. Bones and I have been looking forward to seeing them face off for quite some time.

Andy Pettitte and Kip Wells. Man I love the day games. Cloudy and maybe windy.

Dejan Q & A

Dejan Kovacevic answers questions for the PG.

In case you didn't notice, I haven't been reading much about the Bucs the last two weeks. What could I possibly learn that I don't know? It's enough to watch for transactions and tune into the game. Not to knock Kovacevic or any of the other fine writers, but an hour or three a day with the team on the TV or the radio has more than satisfied my Bucco curiosities.

I also said that I'd wait until they'd played nineteen to twenty-one games before I indulged in any analysis of the early-season free-fall. Three solid weeks strikes me as a significant sample of baseball. In April, with the extra off-days, it takes more like four weeks to complete than many games. I have observations to make and things to say but patience requires patience. It can wait another half-week or so.

I enjoyed Kovacevic's Q & A this morning - good to see he's maintaining his sense of humor.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Monday, April 25, 2005

All hail Ollie

Win number seven. Ollie threw 80 strikes.

And all hail Coach Mesa, his easy slow delivery, his 95-mph heat. That was save number seven on the season and 299 in the career.

And all hail the 8,413 souls who went to the game, every one of them on their feet at the end.

Game 19: Astros at Pirates

Roy Oswalt and Oliver Perez tonight at 7. The Bucs are six games under .500 as they begin the final week of April.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Game 18: Pirates at Cubs

2:20pm, Josh Fogg and Kerry Wood. Dave Williams might start for Josh if Josh still has ear problem. The Bucs are looking to win number seven.

... game on. That pregame thing on Kurt Smith's Voices of Summer (where is Lanny ranked?) reminded me of the article in the latest Sports Illustrated on XM satellite radio by Steve Rushin. My question: how much did he get paid for that gushing review? Seriously, I was certain, reading his glowing praise for the product, that he got at least a free year's worth of service in exchange for the column. And I'm most sympathetic to his whole love-of-baseball-radio sentiment.

Rushin can thank the likes of these people and these people if this upsets him. You'd think SI would require him to run some kind of disclaimer or disclosure when he devotes his entire column to such puffery.

Bill James and the numbers

Just back from the coffee shop where I sat and read this in the print edition. It cheered me up a bit, which I needed.

Clutch hitting is a murkier area, for me, than the "hot hand," which most obviously exists. James's mature disillusionment with the truth-divining potential of baseball statistics strikes me as inevitable and a good thing. There's long been an irony, by turns delicious or irritating, when self-important "well-informed" baseball fans deploy a superstitious confidence in the interpretation of numbers to belittle the more self-consciously (and honestly) superstitious managers, players, beat writers, radio personalities, etc. A lot of good has come out of the study of advanced metrics, for certain, but to some extent their most alluring uses - e.g., projection - are little more than a modern-day alchemy. Too much faith in one projection system or one overall value measure is no better than too much faith in the good that comes from not stepping on the white line when you take to the field.