measuringthedick

Well here’s something that probably should turn into a regular feature, and maybe is finally starting to: a collection of thoughts on what went on over the weekend — and this time they’re actually almost showing up on time! Almost…

Measuring The Dick

R.A. Dickey has been a much better pitcher for a whole lot more of 2014 so far than I think he gets credit for, and he’s certainly been a bit hard done by in his last couple of starts — though I’d be full of shit if I tried to claim that a large part of it wasn’t his own doing. The seventh inning Mitch Moreland line drive home run on Sunday truly spoiled a terrific outing, just as yet another late inning mini-implosion was enough to sink him in his previous start against Cleveland (though it hurts his overall line less after Brett Lawrie was charged with an error on an Asdrubal Cabrera scorcher that was originally ruled a hit). The mounting number of games that have slipped away in this manner has been brutal, but it has belied how well Dickey has actually pitched for the most part — much in the same way that his overall line from 2013, and his lack of performance (mostly due to a stiff back that limited his velocity) in the early going, while the Jays were burying themselves, coloured much of the public perception of his season, even as he pitched in the second half to a 3.56 ERA, with a 4.15 FIP and 3.86 xFIP.

This year, since a cold weather disaster in Minnesota on April 17th, Dickey has pitched to a 2.92 ERA and held opposing batters to a .211/.300/.331 line. It’s maybe not the ace stuff the Blue Jays expected when they traded for him, but it’s a lot closer than it looked last year, and a lot closer than this year has felt. Granted, we’re only talking about six starts and 37 innings there, and I’m choosing arbitrary endpoints to eliminate the Minnesota game, a late-inning blowup against Houston, and Opening Day in Tampa.

Throw out just Opening Day, and Dickey has posted a less-impressive 3.60 ERA (not sure on the advanced stuff because I’m working from the game logs at Baseball Reference), but — and, of course, we can’t really do this — if you also take out his seventh and final inning of the game against Houston — a game in which he cruised right up to the very end, when he surrendered an ill-timed double-walk-HR sequence in the final frame — his ERA over that 55 inning span drops just 3.17.

Even a 3.17 ERA — which, let’s continue to be clear here, is not at all what he actually has pitched to this season — wouldn’t put him into the top 15 in the American League. But it would be close — right behind 17th ranked C.J. Wilson (3.16), and 16th ranked Justin Verlander (3.15). Of course, the numbers for those guys aren’t benefiting from any of the kind of “well what if this hadn’t happened” stuff I’m trying to use to make Dickey’s numbers look better than they are, so the whole exercise is utter misleading in that respect. But the point is, Dickey has pitched quite a lot better than I think people think. The velocity on his knuckleball has remained exactly where you want to see it over the last several starts, and with some better bounces and either a shorter leash from the manager or some kind of adjustment from the pitcher himself to help solve his late inning woes, it’s hardly unreasonable to think that we’ll end up looking back in September and seeing a guy who had a very, very good season.

On Phillips On Lawrie

TSN gets Steve Phillips to write as a “Baseball Insider” for them, because, obviously, when you have the chance to get a poor former Mets GM and disgraced ESPN analyst, you damn well better do it!

In his post this week at TSN.ca, Phillips had some rather harsh words for a certain Blue Jays second baseman — or is it third baseman? — and his initial bristling at the idea of being moved off of “his” position.

To wit:

I can understand how a player can be bothered by a position change.  Ball players are creatures of habit.   They don’t like change because it makes them uncomfortable.  Brett Lawrie said, “I am a third baseman.”  It is his identity.  Players are their position.  Lawrie needs to change his view of his identity.  He is a Blue Jay not a third baseman.

. . .

Brett Lawrie isn’t a star.  He is “just a guy.”  He is a borderline starter in the majors.  He is overrated.  Lawrie was hyped when he got to the majors and had a very good quarter season in 2011, but he hasn’t lived up to the hype and has been a disappointment.

Seriously, he is complaining?

He should be grateful for the opportunities he continues to get from the Jays.  He has no room to complain.  … Lawrie is closer to being out of the Majors than he is to being an All Star.

If it were me, I would tell Lawrie that we are moving you to second base and, if he has any gripes, I would option him to the minors and see how he likes it.  If he gets mad, but keeps his mouth shut, maybe it will help him.  As I said earlier, emotions aren’t all bad.  He hasn’t yet earned the right to be comfortable.  The major leagues are about performance.

Be grateful you are a big leaguer Brett.

Ouch.

I mean, some of that’s kind of insane, of course, but… actually, is it?

The stuff about optioning Lawrie for complaining, I think, entirely is. So is the idea that Lawrie, still just 24, is at this point a finished product, and not a player to embrace because of his potential, rather than to push away because of his failings. But the idea that Lawrie has been allowed to think that he’s a bigger thing than he really is? Yeah, I can get behind that. Be it the passport, or the explosion onto the scene back in 2011, or the video game covers, or the media attention that comes with all of it, Lawrie is definitely a bigger star than his play has warranted.

Lawrie currently sits on a wRC+ of 94, which is exactly the number he posted last year. Granted, he’s dealt with injuries on and off basically ever since his dramatic first cameo, so there’s some slack that needs to be given, but nonetheless his production has been decidedly pedestrian. There were 19 third basemen with more than 400 plate appearances who hit better last year, and 16 produced more fWAR (granted, many had far more games in which to do so). This season so far, 14 3B with at least 150 PA have been better hitters by wRC+, as have twelve second basemen.

Obviously spinning it like he’s barely a big leaguer, or “ closer to being out of the Majors than he is to being an All Star,” is pretty hilariously dumb. But the way he’s going right now he’s a few flyballs not turning into home runs from having numbers that would make him look like a poor man’s Scooter Gennett. Maybe not the best position to be complaining from. So… that bit is at least not nuts.

Noteworthy

- This is supposed to be about the weekend, so… um… how about that weekend of baseball in Texas? I mean, I know the Rangers are the walking wounded right now, and I know that the series ended on a sour note, but that was pretty terrific. If the Jays keep playing like that against Boston and Oakland this week, they’ll be fine.

- Speaking of the Rangers, J.P. Arencibia was sent to triple-A today. Been inevitable for about a year now, so… whatever. Not a lot to say on this, really.

- You’ll hear whining about a club’s production with runners in scoring position every year, no matter what the actual numbers say. Proof? The Jays have the sixth-best wRC+ with RISP in the majors.

- So the Jays made their reciprocal move for the demotion of Marcus Stroman (which I wrote about back on Sunday) today, and it’s reliever Rob Rassmussen who received the call, giving the Jays an extra lefty to use in dealing with the Red Sox this week, and rewarding a guy who has pitched very well for Buffalo. Makes sense.

- Gotta think it’s going to be a short stay for Rasmussen, though, as he’s the prime candidate to go back down when the Jays call up Liam Hendriks to take the start on Saturday against the A’s — which I think is likely to happen simply because Hendriks is more stretched out, and therefore less likely to tax the bullpen, than Todd Redmond is.

- Stephen Drew is finally off the market, having signed with the Red Sox for the prorated portion of the qualifying offer he turned down last fall. He won’t be in the lineup this week against the Jays, but this move sure does… speak to the desperation among the jowly, white-haired, Ted-Kennedy-lookin’, Tip O’Neil motherfucker set, eh?

- And lastly, speaking of Boston, don’t forget that on Thursday, the Jays and Red Sox are going at it at 4:05 PM ET at Fenway, and so it seems like a hell of a time to ditch work early and head over to Opera Bob’s, where once again us DJFs will be watching the game with some of the folks from Sports Bar Heroes — the excellent web series I’m involved in! — while enjoying $5 pints, $4 tall cans, $2 hot dogs, and hopefully a better damn result from the team than when we last tried this, back on Opening Day. Join us! Hit up the Facebook event page, if you’re still into Myspace 2.0.

Comments (488)

  1. Nope nothing more satisfying than that. And there goes Fuckface in to make the change.

  2. Never enough runs in this park though.

  3. Just got home, chores are done, haven’t watched a game in a while….

    So know they’re going to lose cuz I’m watching.

    I’m sorry.

  4. Get Happ out of there.

  5. Sometime a five and fly isn’t the worst thing. Gibbons does know Gomes has typically destroyed lefties?

  6. so at the end of the day, another Happ-ish start in the books.

  7. sure wish Reyes had come up with that one. didn’t really look like he had to dive.

    • You, Sir, are spot on. Reyes doesn’t dive to save himself possible errors, then when he does, he boots it. Frustrating. On the bright-side, his smile lights-up the dugout though.

      • I can think of one or two other plusses off the top of my head, and always enjoy that smile you make fun of.

        • There’s no smiling in baseball!

        • Tiny tots, I was being entirely serious; I also appreciate Mr. Reyes’ lovely smile.

          On another note, who wants to see Rasmussen pitch tonight? I’d rather not, I think.

      • Just a guess, but I think he’s protecting his hammies.

      • he’s extremely tentative, which i appreciate from a “stay on the field” perspective, but he leaves a ton of plays out there.

        • He can’t win.

          He’s criticized for not trying hard enough right up until he hurts himself, and then the critics call him reckless and made of glass.

      • Reyes’ smile is as infectious as no one in the Blue Jays dugout probably since Carlos Delgado.

  8. Getting outs cuts the momentum off

    Thanks, Tabby

  9. Dustin throwing meatballs. I’ll give him the bloop to Bogaerts, but a shitty pitch to both Holt and Bradley there. He’s just lucky Bradley doesn’t have much power.

  10. They’re right about Pedroia not looking very good. Wonder if he’s injured?

  11. Quit yer bitchin’ Ratboy

    • I missed an inning or two. Pedey whining and complaining again? I cannot stand that creepy little clown

  12. Even if he foul tipped,Kratz caught it.

  13. I know every team struggles with injuries,but I can’t wait until Colby comes back.Lawrie at second,Francisco at third.This will be one potent line up.Even with a little pitching they should be right there.

  14. Cubs are up 2-0 on Tanaka and the Yankees. 4th inning

  15. Could this Sox fan for life umpire squeeze McGowan a little more?

  16. Good job by Dusty. Hope he thrives out of the pen.

  17. Big Papi = trial by fire.

  18. Risky move Gibby, this game as most do but this more than others has implications. No Cecil or Loop available?

  19. Who the hell is this guy?

    • I Wiki’d him found:

      Danish arctic explorer and ethnologist. He led several expeditions through the Arctic in support of his theory that the North American Indians were originally migrants from Asia

  20. Theres a dude behind the plate with a huge beard wearing a retro Hartford Whalers Jersey.
    Love it.

  21. Rasmussen will have a good story to tell his parents.

  22. Stupid move putting the raw rook in in a game like this, esp. at Fenway. Dont care if the kid did just get Papi, it is a fucking stupid move, but that’s what we have come to expect from the Gibbon.

  23. What are the odds of having Rasmus and Rasmussen on the same team?

  24. Delabeard has been sculpting his face bush.

  25. Some tack on runs, please.

  26. Nice job by Rasmussen. Looks like he’s about 4 feet tall on the mound though.

  27. Goes goes crazy.

  28. Gose is getting the idea now

  29. Oh yeah Gose. Lovely, lovely play!

  30. Gose

    MEEP MEEP!

  31. Gose is exciting. Love that speed.

  32. Between that bunt and arencebia’s demotion today, Zaun is going to be smug

  33. I am starting to worry about Reyes. Sumpin’s wrong.

  34. Ah, crap.

  35. Gomes should lay off the pie.

  36. Fucking walks.

  37. Delabar is Delabad tonight.

  38. Gibby using the pen like he’s Joe Maddon. So many relievers!

  39. Should we be concerned Delabar can’t find the strike zone anymore?

  40. “My Shit’s Fucked Up.”

    http://youtu.be/qHDdqubE7zQ

  41. Damn Gibby cracks me up when he walks to the mound. Spittin’ seeds and not a care in the world.

  42. Delabar is a real weapon when he’s on. but jesus christ those walks drive me crazy

  43. Oh God no here we go again with the bullpen. That was supposed to be the only strength the club had this season. Let’s cough it up again boys.

  44. It’ll work out. Have some faith!

  45. Free outs are cool.

    • i’m not sure i disagree with the call there though. your weak-hitting, lefty utility man vs. Loup with 2 men on?

      what i might question is why bring in Loup to face a lefty when you know he was probably going to bunt anyways. then it’s Loup vs a righty with 2 men in scoring position.

      • I dunno, man. 8th inning with 2 men on? It’s like Pat and Buck said, “they must be playing for 1 to 2 runs.” I realize that the bottom of the Sox lineup sucks. I guess that’s all they can muster, but they aren’t going to win the game with 1-2 runs. Especially with Jannssen in the 9th!

    • Ump hard on EE

  46. The wolf-monster is on the prowl tonight.

  47. did boston seriously just bunt?

  48. Loouuuuuuupp!!!

  49. And we have a delivery of Melk scheduled this inning. The tack-on runs be coming!

  50. Loup gets Delabar out of the soup. Thank you Fuckface for another free out.

  51. Awooo werewolf of London!

  52. Shi Davidi is on fire on twitter right now.
    Calling out Farrell for the bunt and his strategy.

    Plus baiting the Sox fans.
    It’s awesome.

  53. Oooh the Jays always hit Tazawa.

  54. Signmelky

  55. Bats wants to rob Wing of a chance at a triple Wing ding dong night.

  56. Jesus. That Sox fan yelling behind home plate has gotta be the soxiest Sox fan that ever soxed.

  57. Who wants to see another Edwin bomb?

  58. That was bullshit.

  59. Fucking terrible call. Ump you cockhead Boston must be paying well to get these bullshit calls.

  60. Single only…nice work.

  61. God damn troglodyte. Go lick some cave drip you twerp.

  62. Fuck I hate Boston

  63. Reyes could/should’ve had that.

  64. So fuck Boston, right?

  65. Tension rod on the rise.

  66. Reyes needs to be moved off SS yesterday.

    • Get a grip.

      • To continue the Warren Zevon theme, CG’s an excitable boy.

      • You’re ok with having a pylon out there? I’m not suggesting they release him, just move him someplace where he does a bit less damage. I’d rather see Lawrie at SS and Reyes at 2B as long as we’re moving maple boner off position anyway.

        • Please leave this forum immediately. You have no fucking clue.

        • He is hardly a pylon. Get a grip.

          • I’d like to see one of those new-fangled Sabremetric graphs on his range. Seems weak to the naked eye. He should have had two tonight. Most games it’s one.
            AAAAAAnd Stoets, before you go defending him, this is a ‘me-first’ player who plays for his stats–2011 NL batting championship* being Exhibit A, Counsellor Stoeten.

            • You’re an idiot.

              • Calling names is one thing. I at least cite an example in support of my thesis. With respect, I suggest that you cite exactly what I was asking for: some statistical reference that supports that Reyes is a capable shortstop. To me, his arm looks a wee bit limp, and his range is suspect. Adeiny, however, is playing like a muthafuckin’ pimp for the Marlins.

    • He’s bad but they’ll never move him off SS. Just like how Vernon stayed in CF even though Rios was miles ahead of him as a defensive player.

  67. Casey just doesn’t think there’s enough leverage right now. He needs to load a few runners onto the bases so he can feel the pressure he needs to pitch well.

  68. To all these folks chanting Papi, I say:

    Life is dark and dangerous, and if by some chance your pudgy spirit animal manages a home run here, you are still evil and the douchiest dopiest fuckers around, cause you’re from Boston.

    So there.

  69. Buck sounds like he’s lit like a Christmas tree.

  70. fuck this game man, fuck this game

  71. Ortiz go sit in the truck, you harlot.

  72. SAAAWing!

  73. whoever made the point that the gun at the skydome is hot was right. Casey hasn’t thrown anything over 87 yet.

  74. Janssen! Clutch SO!

  75. Fuckin’ A.

  76. Yessir!!! Casey!

  77. BALL GAME….

  78. The jitters: never in doubt.

  79. Ballgame, Maggle!

  80. i thought the gun was hot on happ at the rogers center but the reading is the same here at fenway–pitching 91-93, hitting 94 and 95 on occasion

    so who knows

  81. Wooooooooooo!!! That was a terrifying inning.

  82. I wasn’t that nervous. Casey is soporific.

  83. Casey!!

  84. Major league sigh of relief there. Fuck you, Farrell.

  85. Thank you CJx2

  86. Mighty Casey!

    Five losses in a row for SuckNation. Looks good on FuckFace and all of Greater Massholia.

  87. That was a fucking nail biter.

  88. Meanwhile Santos watches from the bench, mystified as Prof. Casey slips 87 mph fastballs past Ortiz and Napoli.

  89. fuck yeah casey
    suck shit boston

  90. Lawrie might well have saved the game for the Jays at 3B today.

  91. Holy shit Janssen. First two reached, no problem, K and DP, ballgame.

  92. sweet win. love this game!

  93. I wish the Rays, Yankees and Orioles were also managed by John Farrell. It would make things a lot easier.

  94. I’m going to celebrate the best way I know how – by opening up some new tea.
    RASPBERRY THRILLER.
    Yeah, I know how to party.

  95. Two on, none out. Where’s the bunt, Farrell, you fucking putz?

  96. Half game back.

  97. And fuck Brock Holt. You monosyllabic named Boston piece of shit.

  98. I loved this. Give them some hope then step on their necks.

  99. Bullpen really stepped up today.

    Weird start for Happ. Absolutely dominant for 3 innings, then suddenly started getting hit hard right after. Pretty solid overall, though.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *