Ten Stray Thoughts On A Friday

It’s Friday. Congratulations. You made it through another week of soul suffocating duties and meaningless obligations to make it this point: mere hours away from the warm embrace of weekend freedom. While your bosses, teachers, partners and everyone else may not appreciate your efforts this week, ol’ Dustin Parkes (in the third person!) knows exactly what you’ve been going through. And as your reward for conquering another week of tiresome labour, allow me to present to you this week’s edition of Ten Stray Thoughts On A Friday.

Baseball. Yay!

Interleague Idea

Inspired by the Florida Marlins playing their weekend home series in Seattle, I was thinking that interleague baseball would be so much more interesting if the home team always played by the away team rules. That way fans who attend the games would actually something different, which if I’m not mistaken, is the whole point of interleague, right? To give the fans something that they don’t normally get to see.

Imagine being able to cheer in person when Ricky Romero steps up to the plate in Toronto, or when the Giants don’t have to put all of Pat Burrell, Aubrey Huff and Miguel Tejada in the field at once, just to get them in the lineup. The more I think about it, switching park rules makes infinitely more sense than the current policy of playing by AL rules in American League parks and playing by NL rules National League parks.

When Will Halladay Start In Toronto?

With Roy Oswalt injuring his back last night against the St. Louis Cardinals, I’m expecting the Phillies rotation to shake out like this for the next week, meaning that Roy Halladay will now start Friday’s game on Canada Day in Toronto.

  • June 24 vs. Oakland: Vance Worley
  • June 25 vs. Oakland: Cole Hamels
  • June 26 vs. Oakland: Roy Halladay
  • June 27 Off Day
  • June 28 vs. Boston: Cliff Lee
  • June 29 vs. Boston: Vance Worley
  • June 30 vs. Boston: Cole Hamels
  • July 1 at Toronto: Roy Halladay
  • July 2 at Toronto: TBD? Kyle Kendrick? Please!
  • July 3 at Toronto Cliff Lee

Trade Partners

Speaking of the Phillies coming to town, I wonder if Alex Anthopoulos and Ruben Amaro might take some time next weekend to discuss a potential trade. The Blue Jays have a plethora of right handed relief options and if there’s one team in particular that’s in need of such an asset it’s the Philadelphia Phillies.

While the Phillies bullpen is the least worked in baseball, the disappointing Danys Baez has thrown more innings than any other reliever on the roster. A right handed pitcher who could complement lefty Antonio Bastardo in the set up role and take some weight off the starters’ shoulders as the team goes deeper into the summer and those large amount of innings begin to rack up could help the Phillies out immeasurably.

Here’s how I’d rank right handed Jays relievers in tradeability: Jason Frasor, Casey Janssen, Jon Rauch, Frank Francisco, Carlos Villanueva, Shawn Camp and Octavio Dotel.

Here’s how I’d rank their performances this season: Casey Janssen, Shawn Camp, Carlos Villanueva, Jason Frasor, Jon Rauch, Frank Francisco and Octavio Dotel.

The Boston Difference

One of the nicer stories of 2011 has been the relative resurgence of the Pittsburgh Pirates. As the baseball season approaches its half way point, the Pirates find themselves playing .500 baseball, only three games back of the Milwaukee Brewers for the NL Central lead.

Unfortunately for Pittsburgh, the team will be playing host this weekend to the Boston Red Sox and the probable pitching trio of John Lester, Tim Wakefield and Andrew Miller. Of course, much scarier than that is the Red Sox lineup that has scored 33 more runs than any other team in baseball, just in June.

Reality check: Shall we set the spread on run differential for the weekend series at -14 for the Red Sox?

Shameless Self Promotion

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Timmy Being Timmy

San Francisco Giants starter Tim Lincecum has struggled in his last few outings (allowing 22 runs in his last five starts), but not so much last night versus the Minnesota Twins. The diminutive ace collected 24 swinging strikes, ten of which were on changeups, and ten were also on the third stirke. He pitched seven scoreless innings, giving up only three hits and two walks, while striking out a dozen.

Swinging strikes are quickly becoming my favourite statistic to look at, not so much for any predictive quality or measuring ability, but simply because there is nothing more shame inducing than openly trying for something only to fail. It’s the equivalent of dunking over someone else in basketball.

Jayson Nix: Defensive Run Saver

While preparing for yesterday’s live stream, I came across this: Jayson Nix has a +8 DRS. That number suggests that there have been eight runs that Jayson Nix has stopped opposing teams from scoring that the average third baseman has not. He has the highest DRS among third basemen in all of baseball.

Personally, I haven’t seen it.

Confession Of The Week

I don’t know what it is exactly, but I have a strange fascination with Jason Giambi. He’s the only player I set my MLB.tv account to notify me for when he’s at bat. I only realized this because as the Rockies play their interleague games, Giambi is getting more plate appearances as a designated hitter than he has all season.

We all remember Matt Stairs in Toronto, and how his three outcome at bats went. I thought Giambi was an extreme example of this, and while his home runs (eight in sixty four at bats) account for more than half of his total hits and he’s striking out 27.9% of the time, he’s only walked in 11.1% of his plate appearances. That’s down almost 5% from last year. The Rockies aren’t complaining though because his OPS has risen by .224 compared to last year. Not bad at all for pinch hitting bench player.

Disappointment Getting Me Down

I was really looking forward to Joe Posnanski’s feature on Toronto Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista. There isn’t a sports writer working today that is as purposeful and thoughtful with his words as Poz, and so I looked eagerly awaited reading his take on a player with whom I’m familiar with and that I’ve been privileged enough to see emerge into a superstar right in front of me.

Man, was it disappointing. Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports captured everything that Posnanski attempted a week and a half earlier and in about half as many words. The whole thesis of the article, comparing Bautista to some sort of miracle, contradicted with the actual insight that the story offered on the work that he put in and the adjustments he made. It just didn’t seem to flow for me, and it seemed somewhat haphazard.

Then, it was as though he included this sentence in at the end as some sort of schmaltzy after thought:

Do you believe that people who never stop trying or believing are capable of doing amazing true things? And if not: What’s the point of watching?


Video Of The Week

Speaking of Jose Bautista, I love that we live in a world where human beings are capable of producing stuff like this:

Thanks to Dave Burrows from Ghostrunner On First for this collection of form matching function. I can’t watch this video without thinking of a guy working in iMovie trying to sync up the “Boom!” with the crack of Bautista’s bat.