On to Arizona where Vegas says we are supposed to be swept. Not just swept, mind you, but mauled. At least that’s what they see.
They might be right.
The D’backs are 16-7 in the second half, are 7-1 last 8 against the Pirates, are locked and loaded in the NLWD hunt, have absolutely crushed left hand pitching the last ten games to the tune of .308/.377/.524, and have won 16 of their last 21 games against southpaws.
Jim Tracy was kind enough to the D’backs to set our rotation up to allow two of our left hand pitchers to face them. Maybe he feels the Dodgers being just 4 back are a threat to AZ? I mean, we all know how much Tracy loves the Dodgers front office, don’t we?
We roll in 4-16 our last 20, having had two player-management dugout meltdowns in two weeks, our heads tucked between our butts shown with our ridiculous .671 Defensive Efficiency Ratio over the last week (the D’backs lead MLB at an insane .768), and we’re hitting just .241 against right handers on the road.
Oh, and Gorzelanny has a 7.03 ERA last 3 games and our pen has a 5.49 ERA last 3 as well. And I won’t even talk about Snell’s head problems lately or the fact Gorzy is pitching on 12 days rest.
Should be a good series – nice and tight, huh? Don’t be too surprised.
If I told you Adam Dunn was fielding his left field position better than Jason Bay this year, would you believe it? Yep – believe it. Ok, he has a smaller park and that helps, but still. Bay does have 9 assists to Dunn’s 2 because the entire country knows to run on his lazy play and even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in awhile. Know what I mean?
After getting shocked by that golden nugget, I decided to look at how all of our players were doing in their respective positions offensively and defensively against other National League players. I used a minimum of 250 at bats as the qualifier.
Defensively I took a basic zone stat – the percentage of plays made of balls that came through their zone (PM/BiZ) and subtracted it from the league average percentage.
Offensively I simply used each player’s production measured by Runs Created per Game and subtracted that from the league average.
The results weren’t all that surprising considering our record but there where a few more golden nuggets as you can see below:
For example, Bautista’s PM/BiZ is -.028 below average from the league average (5th worst overall). That’s 10 extra balls in his zone he’s missing considering about 350 balls float his way in a year. And he doesn’t make it up on offense as you can see – he’s over 1 run per game short of run production for the position. Wow.
On the other hand, Nady is a very poor right fielder but has added to the team with his bat. Put him in centerfield and we lose a ton more defensively than the .5 runs per game he adds offensively moving from right.
Overall, our corners are 3.33 runs created per game short of productivity. That’s off the wall.
I was surprised to see McLouth holding up defensively in center, albeit he isn’t getting to as many balls outside his zone as typical NL centerfielder does and his bat is putrid. And we all knew LaRoche was off his game offensively but I didn’t realize he was a run and a third short from the NL league average. That’s really bad. And Bay?? Forget Bay in 2007 – he’s lost in space somewhere, albeit his speed helps him in defensive range stats.
Realize that the numbers above are plus or minus from just the NL league average so it’s easy to see why we are losing so many games – our defensive numbers are generally the poorest where the most balls in play go, and strongest where the fewest go. And our offense.. our offense.. well, we have no offense.
Ladies and gentleman, here’s your 2008 Pittsburgh Pirates position players and their offensive projection:
LaRoche at 1B: 500 AB, .265/.330/.465
Sanchez at 2B: 550 AB, .300/.330/.400
Wilson at SS 575 AB: .270/.315/.375
if Wilson is dealt..
Izturis at SS: 350 AB, .255/.320/.353
Bautista at 3B: 375 AB, .240/.325/.400
Bay in LF: 575 AB, .285/.350/.500
Duffy in CF: 300 AB, .270/.325/.360
Nady in RF: 350 AB, .285/.330/.475
Paulino as C: 450 AB, .275/.290/.385
Don’t look for McCutchen or Walker to start the year, who know who will get the remaining at bats for Nady, Duffy, Bautista, Paulino, and Izturis if Wilson is dealt, and start looking at the season of the witch – 16th consecutive losing season and still counting.
Unless our blind squirrel is lucky enough to find 10 years worth of nuts in one season.
Now if Nutting spends about $120MM for some men and makes Nady, Doumit, Castillo, Duffy, and Paulino utility players, and sends McLouth, Bautista, Phelps, Armas, et al packing, plus adds another starter or two who can miss some bats, maybe we’ll contend?
God I needed that laugh.