Saturday, November 08, 2008

No-Hitter for Haren

I didn't realize we had this blog to make posts on until the other day.
Thanks for inviting me to join in.

After the 2nd game of the season, I wrote this short article but never emailed it out.
Feel free to enjoy the box score posted on the BRASS site.

Here is the article...

April 2, 2089

Dan Haren Tosses No-Hitter as the Plainsfield Hitmen win 7-0 at Sierra Nevada

In the 2nd game of a 4-Game Set, Dan Haren squared off in an early-season matchup vs Mark Buehrle and dominated the Sierra Nevada Goldens and tossed a No-Hitter in front of 19,811 at Great American Ballpark @ Sierra Nevada!!! The game was never in question as the Hitmen jumped out to a 4-0 lead by the end of the 3rd inning following a big 3-run homer by Magglio Ordonez. Haren was dominant throughout the game and tallied 11 strikeouts, including Dan Uggla three times and also struck out the side in the 5th. Only three batters reached base for the Goldens by way of walk. Only Yadier Molina came close to getting a hit. He just missed getting a line drive single to left in the 6th, and was robbed of a home run with 1-out in the 8th inning which was held in the park only by the cold weather here at Great American Ballpark here in the early spring.

Buehrle pitched a strong 7 1/3 giving up only 4 hits but Haren was the story today as the Plainsfield Hitmen won their 2nd game in as many nights against the Sierra Nevada Goldens to start the season.

Jermaine Dye of the Goldens was unavailable for tonight’s game due to an injury sustained in Game #1. (Note: I didn’t have a grasp on how to deal with injuries during the 1st series)

Bengie Molina of the Goldens left the game in the 3rd inning due to injury.

Edgar Renteria of the Goldens left the game in the 9th inning due to injury.

Tomorrow’s game features Matt Cain for the Hitmen against Josh Beckett of the Goldens.
(Beckett and the Goldens responded with a 9-1 win in Game 3 which turned out to be the only win in the 7-Game season series against the Hitmen)

Thursday, November 06, 2008

A Tweener Year for San Jose

This season really has been tough to call in terms of buying, selling, rebuilding, retooling, etc. We have a very solid nucleus of hitters, a good D, a nice bullpen, and decent but not great starting pitching.

After a very slow April, May was a bit kinder to leave us at 29-27 heading into June play. The biggest stat that jumps out at me is our 3-11 record in 1-run games. Sabermetricians generally ascribe bad 1-run records to luck, and say this tends to even out over the course of a season. If so, we could expect to end up with something like 85-90 wins and a good shot at the playoffs, despite a very competitive division.

At the same time, the odds of advancing if we do make the playoffs would not seem to be high. Plainsfield & Diamond have dominant teams, and Cream City, Green Bay, and Montreal show the potential to separate themselves from the pack as well. Of course upsets will happen, but the deck seems a little stacked against us.

We made 2 small deals, essentially swapping Gotay for Harris and downgrading from a 3rd to a 5th pick in the process, but saving a bit of cash. Gotay was lights out as a PH for us so hoping Harris can do that job and help with PR/OF defensive sub duties also.

In terms of offense, Pena, Rollins & Doumit are carrying us. Doumit's 17 doubles & 19 RBIs in 100 ABs look very nice but are unlikely to continue. Pena has 26 HRs with about 40% of his PAs used, still looking good for him even if we slow him down in June a bit. Rollins is putting up a nice BA as expected, and the pop has been there, which may warrant moving him up to 4th in the lineup rather than 6th, where he is currently vs RH.

The much-maligned Barry Zito has been the staff ace to date, putting up a 7-2 record and a solid 3.12 ERA over his 1st 90 IP. All our other SPs have been average at best, though the bullpen has managed a very nice 3.53 ERA in 112 IP so far.

In sum, we have a team that's built for the regular season which is unlikely to stop the best offenses come playoff time, so in general I'd still characterize us as sellers for this year. So on that note, send offers if interested!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Current State of the Olympia Seariders

This can be summarized real easy: next year or the year after! OLY played to a 9-19 record in September and 6-22 in October. The team is hitting .266 but is giving up an average of 6 runs a game – good for the bottom third in both areas, while the defense leads the league in errors with 54. Help is needed in all areas of the team but some younger players and other older veterans will have an opportunity in the next few months as the starters need a rest. The year has been challenging to say the least. However, there have been some nice surprises in an otherwise dismal season.

Scott Hatteberg is hitting a respectable .300 avg. while driving in 26.

Mike Fontenot is hitting .293 but leading the team in errors at 16.

Last hurrah Craig Biggio has been the year’s biggest surprise hitting .307 and providing much needed stability.

Brandon Inge and Aaron Hill are hitting a combined .230 with 15 homers while Inge has struck out a team leading 55 times. Inge has committed only 1 error. Morgan Ensberg will get the majority of playing time at third and will need to step up in the month of November.

Free agency acquisition Shannon Stewart is hitting a decent .287 while driving in 16 and has not committed an error in the first 2 months.

Dependable Juan Encarancion is hitting .276 and leading the team in homers at 7. The defense has been a surprise given the lack of true gold glover’s and supporting a rotation that could use any kind of help.

Disappointments include Trot Nixon who hitting a measly .234 and free agency acquisition Jose Cruz coming in at paltry .242 and striking out 33 times. The depth chart will be tested in the next month as starters take a much needed rest.

Staff Ace John Danks is 1-6 (see overall team record) with an ERA of 4.76, and 38 strikeouts in 11 starts.

Carlos Silva is only 1 -3 but sports a respectable 4.08 ERA in 11 starts.

At the bottom half of the rotation (Jeff Weaver, Livan Hernandez and Chris Capuano) are a combined 5 – 17 with an ERA of 6.50.

The only other bright spot (if you can say bright spot) has been Joe Kennedy who has appeared in 28 games with 4.20 ERA and a save. The rest of the bullpen has been disappointing with a combined ERA over 7.00. The rotation will be an area to focus as some youngsters will get time in the rotation and pen in the upcoming months.

Free agency acquisition Paul LoDuca is hitting a respectable .292 in 113 AB’s but has committed 6 errors. Splitting duties at the catcher spot, Brad Ausmus is hitting .191 but still provides reliable defense. Catching will always be a question mark for the Seariders moving forward.