Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Post: All Billz

Kudos to Chad Billingsley on his excellent performance. Jeff Kent -- you were the star hitter of the day. James Loney -- nice homer. Love ya, James.

And then there's Juan. So is the hot streak over?

1. Sacrifice. #327. I know, I know, 71and91 -- we'll get to it. Things have been busy at work. Still, regardless of whether you think the sacrifice is a good idea -- what's he doing sacrificing in the FIRST INNING? Surely, that's insane. It's getting to the point that I think when Juan sees a guy on first base, he automatically bunts.
2. Grouned to second. Like old faithful. #328.
3. Singled to right. Would score.
4. Flied to left. #329.
5. Grounded to second. #330.

Pace is 534 outs.

Juan is now seven outs ahead of Rollins for the major league lead, but the Dodgers have played two games more than the Phillies. Given Rollins' prodigious outmaking abilities, this is going to go right down to the wire.


jimbilly4 said...

I think that first out is a classic example of why sacrifices are an important component of Juan's outs.

Juan bunts in those situations because he actually hopes to get an infield hit. If he fails to get the hit, at least he has moved the runner over (I can only hope that is his logic). The fact that he does it so damn predictably means that the 3rd baseman and pitcher are always ready for the bunt and that is killing his ability to get on base that way. But that is another conversation.

The point is that Juan is trying to get a hit but only managing to move the runner over, but the official scorer calls it a sacrifice, meaning his average does not suffer. You don't do a true sacrifice in the first inning. It makes no sense. If Little is telling him to sacrifice, he should be struck with a large, blunt object.

To be fair, scoring of sacrifice flies is even sillier, as hitters are pretty much always trying to get a hit in those situations but are rewarded when they fail to do so with the SF instead of the AB. The RBI should be enough.

Humma Kavula said...

Oh, if the argument is that the sacrifice -- whether on bunt or fly -- is a silly rule, you may consider me +1.

Of course, baseball is loaded with silly rules. We have the infield fly rule, which is presumably in place because it would be too easy to double up runners. But we don't have an infield grounder rule. Why? Is it really that much tougher to turn the DP off a grounder than off a fly? More to the point, shouldn't a team be penalized with a DP if a batter hits a pop fly with runners on base, and if not, why not?

jimbilly4 said...

Infield grounder rule? Runners have to advance on a grounder, they don't compare.

The reason for the infield fly rule is that to get the double play on an infield fly the defense has to deliberately drop the ball. They have to make an error in order to get the DP. Baseball, in its infinite wisdom, decided that they did not want anything that enforced bad plays and so instituted the rule. I can't complain about it.

That being said, imagine how much fun it would be to have no infield fly rule. Bases loaded and a pop fly is hit. Do the runners try to advance anticipating a dropped ball? Do they stay at their base anticipating a catch? Some would have to go at least part way to draw the catch. Guys would be dancing back and forth, trying to get the fielder to either catch or not catch the pop-up. Ball is caught or dropped and then chaos as the runners all scramble to their respective bags, either back or forth depending, overthrows and additional errors all the more likely.

Now that I am thinking about it, I feel kinda robbed. If the American League gets the DH, I say the National League should try removing the infield fly rule. At least on a trial basis, until it is ruled so cheap we can't take watching it.

Hallux Valgus said...

I wonder how much difference it would make were MLB to eliminate the infield fly rule. At the ver least, a pop up is equivalent to a weak grounder, meaning dropping it makes it extremely difficult to turn 2. I think it would just result in batters running hard out of the box. I bet a good majority of hitters could beat out most relays off of a pop up.

Humma Kavula said...

I have a new obsession! You guys are the first to know!

Eliminate the infield fly rule!

jimbilly4 said...

If the ball is caught and the runners advanced even 1/3 of the way, I would think a DP would be very likely. Very short distance to throw and the ball is in your glove already.

If the ball is dropped they have to reach down and throw to one base and then to another base. Definitely possible DP, but could be difficult depending where it comes down.

The fun part could conceivably be strategy. Some guys advance half way, some don't. Depending on who sees what runners, the guy trying to catch the ball might get different instructions. In theory he is looking straight up and shouldn't see much out of his peripheral vision. Could catch the guy on first not ready top advance to second, but allow the guy on third to score.

A very complicated decision to make in a very short time. Loads of room for hijinks. Unfortunately baseball has officially been down on hijinks for some time, however, the occasional successful hidden ball trick aside.

jimbilly4 said...

Hmmm... No new post. I am starting to think Juan Pierre is a great player again. Maybe Colletti should extend his contract or look for more similar players to trade for...

What, no! Hurry Humma, more posts are needed immediately, especially those where you snidely question Pierre's worth. Otherwise the whole world may sink into madness.

Was Juan bad yesterday? The world must know!

jimbilly4 said...

I keep thinking that Juan's bad numbers come from some bad stretches, but his month-by-month is remarkably consistent:

April: .274/.303/.319
May: .277/.311/.339
June: .279/.310/.315
July: .300/.337/.378

Clearly he has stepped it up in July, but not really outside the realm of normal statistical variation. He is also in a mini-slump (1 for 15 his last four games). If that extends to the end of July his numbers will be very similar to the other months.

I hope, mini-slump aside, that this is a real turn-around. While not amazing, an OPS of about 700 is what we signed up for (well, what Colletti signed up). The low 600s OPS/.275 AVG Juan we have seen is bad no matter what school of baseball thought one subscribes to.

Humma Kavula said...

I also feel that it's important to point out that just because it's what we signed up for doesn't make it good. I mean, Juan's current OPS for the season of 650 ranks 166th out of 178 qualifiers.

An OPS of 715 -- his OPS for July, his best month so far -- would rank 138th. Right between Khalil Greene and Chris Young, who both, as you have pointed out, need to lose their jobs.

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