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Crazy Eights and Barry Bonds

I was up north for a few days this week and the cabin I stayed in didn’t even come with a television and the newspapers didn’t even have the Tiger score from the night before (everything is a day behind in the paper up there) so it was kind of weird being so out of touch.  It was a good time thought and my son really enjoyed the time in the water but I got back in time to see some of the Tigers game last night but I was unpacking and getting squared away but I was happy to see the 6-1 lead.  Then I turned the game on in the eighth only to see it tied and was annoyed but I was fortunate enough to see the Tigers score three to take the lead back.

Nate Robertson threw six solid frames to open up the game but then he gave up a run in the seventh before the floodgates opened in the eighth.  Jason Grilli was particularly hit hard.  He gave up four hits, including a grand slam by Jonny Gomes, and he was credited with three earned runs without getting a single batter out.  Todd Jones put a runner on in the ninth but he picked up save number thirty and Tim Byrdak got the final out in the eighth and he picked up his first save of the season.

Curtis Granderson went two for four with is thirtieth double, an RBI and two runs.  He was also caught stealing for just the first time this season.  Magglio Ordonez went three for five and he hit the only homer for the Tigers and Placido Polanco kept pace with him in the batting race with three hits of his own.  The only Tiger starter not to get a hit was Craig Monroe.

Congratulations to Barry Bonds for getting homerun number 756.  I know there’s all of the controversy, but you have a guy who’s definitely amongst the top five hitters ever and he’s not going to get his due because of the juice.  Regardeless, those who attended last night’s Giant’s game got to see a slice of history and it’ll now be interesting to see if Bonds can stick around long enough to get to 800.

The Indians have matched the Tigers two straight wins so Detroit still sits a win back of the Indians.  The Yankees won their fifth straight and they’re a loss back of Detrot for the Wild Card with the Mariners a loss behind the Yankees.  So things are tight and even these games against the bad teams like the Devil Rays are important.  Tonight, it’ll be Chad Durbin going up against James Shields.  Durbin gets the start for Miller, who’s on the disabled list because of the hamstring injury.  Shields got off to a nice start to open the season and while he hasn’t gotten a lot of run support, he’s also been shelled at times.  Hopefully the Tigers can make it three in a row with another win.

I read this piece of hackery from Michael Rosenberg, and I had to comment:


Monroe is 32% worse than a league average hitter this year, adjusted for the ballpark. That’s our LEFT FIELDER. It is easy for people to blame Grilli when they see him blow it every time he takes the mound, but they evidently have a difficult time understanding how a player is killing the team by not doing something positive at the plate when another player would have. They don’t see it, so it doesn’t exist. They see him make outs, and they see him strike out, but it appears that he’s doing it just as often as Granderson or Inge or a lot of other players. He occasionally gets a big hit, and he pops a homer every few weeks or so. And he’ll come around, so what’s the problem, right?

Here is a list of starting left fielders and their OPS+’s. OPS+ is just basically OPS relative to the rest of the league, adjusted for the ballpark, where 100 is average. In other words, Manny is 35% better than the average hitter…

135 Manny Ramirez
137 Hideki Matsui
74 Lind/Johnson
78 Jay Payton
115 Carl Crawford
101 Jason Michaels
86 Jason Kubel
101 Rob Machowiak
89 Scott Podsednik
57 Emil Brown
104 Reggie Willits
94 Raul Ibanez
105 Shannon Stewart
92 Frank Catalanotto
98 Brad Wilkerson
121 Moises Alou
129 Matt Diaz
135 Pat Burrell
128 Josh Willingham
103 Ryan Church
116 Geoff Jenkins
115 Alfonso Soriano
140 Chris Duncan
131 Carlos Lee
129 Adam Dunn
100 Jason Bay
117 Eric Byrnes
87 Jose Cruz
148 Matt Holliday
105 Luis Gonzalez
179 Barry Bonds

Manny, Reed Johnson, Kubel, Podsednik, Brown, Ibanez, Bay, Cruz, and Gonzalez are all considered to be having down seasons. All but the immortal Emil Brown are significantly better than Craig Monroe.

For fun:
180 Ryan Raburn
109 Marcus Thames

How in the world, in any sane world, is Craig Monroe only now ON THE VERGE of losing his job? It’s a joke, and there is simply nothing to lose by sitting Monroe forever. There has been, at worst, nothing to lose for months now. It boggles the mind that this conversation is just now taking place.

Monroe’s VORP is -14.2, so he is 14 runs worse than a replacement player, and last on the Tigers. Dead last. Worse than Neifi, Rabelo, Inge, Casey, all of them.

A league average hitter with about the same number of at-bats as Monroe would, conservatively, be about 8 runs better than replacement level. An average MLB left fielder is about 19 runs better than replacement. Monroe?


So in other words, just being able to find a league average hitter to stand in left field would have been worth more than two wins to the Tigers so far. Finding a average-hitting left fielder would be worth about three and a half wins. Who needs two or even three and a half wins?

Not the Tigers, because Monroe is everyone’s buddy.

Posted by Daniel on August 8th, 2007 at 4:20 pm

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