Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Baaaad things, man

I am a cyclist. I bike and run to keep in shape and play Australian football.

I am not a cyclist on the level of my brother who bikes several hundred miles per week, but I do like to get out and ride. I might ride on average about 40 to 50 miles per week in season (when I am able to get out regularly) - sometimes more if I get serious alone time and get in a 25 mile ride.

My brother, on the other hand, will crank through 50 miles in a day and not think about it.

He's touched.

But I digress.

One of the biggest fears of a cyclist is motorists. Many are very inconsiderate of cyclists (granted, there are a number of boneheads that don't understand the idea of single file when riding bikes in groups), often accelerating to make a right turn in front of a bicyclist without really having enough room to do so, or not checking rear view mirrors before opening car doors.

Races are a sanctuary. We have the road to ourselves as we vie for position. Cars don't even enter our thoughts.

In light of this story about a race in Monterey, Mexico, maybe motorists need to stay in our thoughts.
For the most part I think the photo ganked from CNN speaks for itself. A drunk American motorist fell asleep at the wheel, veered into a race, injured 10 cyclists and killed one. This is the sort of thing that's on my mind every time I go out for a ride.

The Manhattan Project...

The Joba Experiment started with a whimper rather than a bang. The Yankees dominating set-up man lasted for only two and a third innings, barely throwing more than half his 62 pitches for strikes.

Here's the math on that, to put it in perspective -

It's a respectable 3.91 ERA (only one of his two runs were earned). However, it projects to 242 pitches over nine innings - which makes a sub-5.00 ERA unlikely. It also translates to 16 walks per nine and four hits - also unlikely to stay that low over nine if his pitch count is that elevated, particularly four a guy that is used to only going an inning to two innings, max, per start.

Consider, the following - according to the YES Network, Joba averages (as a reliever) 3.97 pitches per plate appearance - over the league average of 3.77. He faced 12 batters in his start. Assuming for 28 batters over a seven inning appearance, Chamberlain is throwing on average six more pitches than other starters.

That doesn't sound like a lot, but it's six more opportunities for a team to put a ball into play. It's also likely that someone not used to going more than two innings is going to have a higher average per plate appearance (his first start was 5.17 per plate appearance). While Chamberlain may straighten this out somewhat, Yankees fans will be foolish to expect him to be a dominant starter. He might turn into a good one, but you can get away with being a reliever with one or two dominant pitches - you can't get away with being a starter with fewer than three good pitches.

I for one, as a Sox fan, want to thank Hank Steinbrenner for taking their best reliever out of the pen so he can help the team only once every five days (and I think that it's likely to be a much lower average than that as this plays out).

For Yankees fans offended by this post - consider the following. Chamberlain has 39 career relief appearances. In those appearances he is 3-1 with 20 holds, 12 this season alone with one of his three wins. His only loss was in the start. That means that he had a hand in 13 of the Yankees 28 wins. That translates into a positive impact once every 4.5 games this season, but it also translates into a hand in almost 50 percent of the teams' wins. With approximately 21 starts left in the season, if he stays healthy, and assuming the team wins half his starts (giving him the benefit of the doubt that he will go 10-6 with 6 no decisions), that becomes a positive impact approximately in one out of every ten starts.

Yup, that's the sort of baseball IQ I like to see from the Yankees.


Sox phenom Justin Masterson finally had a mediocre start, giving up four runs in six innings. Masterson in his first two starts on the major league level has been lights out - so much so that the four runs he gave up last night failed to nudge his ERA over 3.00 (2.95). Still, Masterson secured his second major league win with what, so far, appears to be a substandard start for him.

Boston's Russian-Roulette bullpen managed to find the empty chamber and not shoot the team in the head last night, and the hitting came up big during Life Without Papi.


In light of the recent revelation that Nick Kaczur was nailed for illegally buying prescription pain killers, and the recent signing of veteran offensive tackle Oliver Ross, one has to wonder if Kaczur is short for the team. Generally considered by scouts to be the weakest starter on the O-line, Kaczur did himself no favors getting nailed by the Feds in April.


Dave said...

Not defending Kazcur at all, but I wonder if the press will hammer on him and the Pats...unlike the cry-fest/intervention they all had for Favre.

Kevin Smith said...

I'm guessing hammer. I don't thing the timing of the Ross signing was a coincidence.

the blue state blogger said...

Maybe Nick can redeem himself by teaming up with Rush Limbaugh on a "Just Say No" tour.

Chris Stone said...

Yeah they do seem to be going at Kazcur with the hammer... which is odd. There's definitely worse out there with the Bills player connected to a hit and run... Pacman Jones...

I mean, the most understandable offense a NFL player could commit is pain killer addiction. Maybe treatment would help his play!

However the timing is good with the Celtics in the Finals.