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The B-List: 6/7
The B-List: 6/7
Despite announcing his candidacy for Mayor of Pronkville this week, Steve Buffum is back with his latest edition of The B-List. In it, Buff provides further analysis of one of his favorite topics: Paul Byrd's ball-strike ratio. He also starts lobbying for an All-Star spot for Grady, examines further terror on the basepaths from Tribe base runners, and makes the claim that Jason Davis may be the best pitcher in baseball with an 8 run lead.
Is it too late to change the name of the team from Indians to Brownian Motion?
1) Introducing a New Paul
A quick glance at the strike percentage yields a troubling result for my theory: Byrd threw fewer than 63% of his pitches for strikes, yet pitched very well. You might say that this is "the exception that proves the rule." What kind of nonsense is that, anyway? Because my theory is wrong, that proves it to be right? Who came up with that? That's not just counter-intuitive, it's counter-logical. Maybe even counter-tautological. It's dumb, anyway.
However, consider this: in the sixth, Byrd threw 14 strikes and 12 balls, and gave up a run (and was lucky it wasn't more). In the seventh, Byrd threw 12 strikes and 11 balls, and gave up a run (and was lucky Antonio Perez has a job, but then, so is Antonio Perez). That means in the first five innings, Byrd threw 40 strikes and 18 balls, at 69% clip, and sailed through five innings of 3-hit no-walk shutout ball. So, in a sense, instead of the Jekyll & Hyde Paul of last time, we simply have Good Banana Paul, who simply lost his edge as the black spots appeared on his skin in the sixth.
Anyway, that's a nice outing. It bears mentioning that the A's (especially guys like Thomas and Swisher) are known for their patience at the plate, although walking on four pitches (as Thomas did) shows less "patience" than "firing axons."
2) Introducing the best leadoff hitter in Major League Baseball
It is time to recognize that although miscast as a leadoff hitter (as a career path), Grady Sizemore may well be the best at the craft, despite struggling against left-handed pitching. His .390 OBP is very good, but he also now has 13 doubles, 12 homers, and 8 stolen bases, giving him a legitimate shot at a 30-30-30 season. I have no clue if this is unusual: I assume the vaunted "40-40" seasons of yesteryear included some doubles. It's still pretty neat.
Sizemore may not be voted a starter, but I would be surprised (and disappointed) if he weren't an All-Star this season. At 23, he probably only has another 15 or so shots at it, so we'd better start lobbying before it's too late.
3) Blue Moon Special
Aaron Boone hit a home run!
With men on base!
With two outs!
4) Terror on the basepaths
Or, at least,
am terrified when our players run the bases. Ben Broussard was called out after a single on something called a "runner's fielder's choice." It was not a caught stealing, so I can't honestly tell you what the hell that means. I assume it involved Broussard wandering around and choosing to be out. A strange choice to make, but hey. And then, with Joe Blanton exhibiting the kind of accuracy usually associated with Garo Ypremian passes, and with Travis Hafner on deck, Boone and Sizemore tried a double steal where Boone was caught at third. After this, Michaels walked, Hafner walked, and Martinez hit a two-run single. It would be smug hindsight to say that this was a disastrous decision to attempt that, but hey, we were up four, Byrd looked great, and you don't want a double play erasing a chance at Hafner getting a cut. So it's not so much a bad decision (although not one I would have made) as it was Typical Execution.
5) Hey, we had one of those!
Steve Karsay is not dead!
Of course, Steve Karsay is not
, either. A solo shot to Martinez later, Karsay exits with a brisk 7.36 ERA on the season, ranking him at 0.9 on the Mota Scale of Ineffectual Chumps. I miss him terribly. (Perhaps not)
6) Ducks in the house!
Sure, we left 6 on base, but 7 of the 11 runs we scored were driven in with two outs (including Boone's three-run shot and Martinez' aforementioned two-run single). That's really encouraging (only one of the 6 was in scoring position). It'd be more encouraging were it not against Joe Blanton and His Magic Blunderbuss, but it's good nonetheless.
7) Well-defined roles help produce positive results
In this spirit, I humbly suggest that Jason Davis always be the first option out of the bullpen when we are up by eight or more runs. He is
in that role.
8) Nice hose!
Jason Michaels comes through with another big outfield assist, catching Frank Thomas trying to stretch a single into a double. This is a bit like winning a game of Glacier Tag, but even pop guns like to refer to their second half.
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