On the Surf Dogs’ website each player on the roster has a page devoted to him, listing stats and background information. One of the things listed is “Years Pro/Highest Level.” For most players, it says something like “2 Years/Single A.” For Henderson, it says, “25 years/MLB.” For some reason that makes me smile.
Yet, as Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette wrote last week, “Bay was the distant runner-up” in the team balloting. I’ll be writing up my All-Star picks in a few days, but the Bay/Redman situation is a perfect example of how my idea of an All-Star differs from a lot of people. In my mind, Redman is a mediocre starting pitcher (52-55 with a 4.21 ERA in 900 career innings) who has had a good three months, whereas Bay is a legitmately outstanding player who has been extremely good this season, just as he was in his rookie year. One is an easy pick to represent the Pirates at the All-Star game, while the other is someone you give a nice pat on the back to for a quality first half.
I think if Luis Rivas comes back swinging the bat and playing well, he will be out there.
I admit I’m overly sensitive on the topic, but what kind of quote is that? At this point, any question involving Rivas clearly isn’t asking about a guy capable of “swinging the bat” and “playing well.” That is like asking someone if they’re going to go see a new Ben Affleck/Jennifer Lopez movie and having them respond: “If Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez work well together, the script is good, and they each turn in great acting jobs, I’ll definitely go see it.” From now on, any questions posed to Gardenhire should begin with, “Assuming hell doesn’t freeze over …”
Incidentally, Mike Webber and I had the great honor of taking in Rivas’ triumphant return to the lineup Friday against the Padres in person at the Metrodome. Rivas went 1-for-3 with a bunt single to raise his season totals to .208/.256/.208 (that’s zero extra-base hits in 72 at-bats, if you’re curious). Just once I’d like Gardenhire to be truthful and say: “You know what? It really doesn’t matter if Rivas plays well or not, we’ll just keep sticking him out there to piss Gleeman off. Sure, it costs us some games, but it’s good for a laugh a week at least.”
Gonzalez’s one horrible outing this season gives him the following career stats spread over three seasons with the Diamondbacks:
G GS W L ERA IP SO BB HR OAVG 20 12 2 10 8.59 65.0 46 27 19 .367
Gonzalez’s 8.59 ERA is the fifth-worst in baseball history among pitchers with at least 60 career innings pitched, behind only pitching immortals Charlie Stecher (10.32 ERA, 68 innings), Ed O’Neil (9.26, 68), Glenn Liebhardt (9.00, 67), and Andy Larkin (8.86, 105.2). For Gonzalez to get his career ERA down to something somewhat respectable, like say 4.50, he’d have to toss 59 consecutive scoreless innings, which coincidentally is the exact length of the all-time record streak held by Orel Hershiser.
This is one of those times when a pitcher has been so bad that even his decent-looking strikeout rate is misleading. Gonzalez has 46 strikeouts in 65 innings, which comes out to a perfectly mediocre 6.37 strikeouts per nine innings. However, much like back in tee ball, when each team avoided outs so well that they went all the way through the lineup before stopping each inning, Gonzalez’s innings have been so long that they skew everything.
In other words, if he gets a strikeout but has to face 10 batters doing so, Gonzalez’s strikeout rate looks the same as a guy who got one strikeout in a 1-2-3 inning. This is an issue when comparing the strikeout rates of all pitchers, but it usually only becomes a problem in extreme cases like this one. In striking out 6.37 batters per nine innings, Gonzalez has actually gotten just 14.4% of the batters he faced to whiff. To put that in some context, Roy Halladay and Matt Morris have 6.55 and 6.44 strikeouts per nine innings this season respectively, but have recorded a strikeout 18.7% and 18.0% of the time.