Friday, April 15, 2005

Friday and Beyond

-- Rob and Rany have posted a new exchange on Calvin Pickering. I think Rob is correct - Calvin Pickering just looks bad on the field. He's glacial, he's a bad baserunner, and he's looked awful in his limited ABs so far this season. He's also out for the weekend series, as his wife is scheduled to deliver their first child in what seems to be have been a difficult preganancy. So there will be pressure to take him off the roster.

Cal HAS knocked two shots to the wall in the last two games that would have been home runs had the wind not been blowing in so strongly from center. He also struck out 3 times yesterday. The bottom line is that having Calvin Pickering in the lineup is the ultimate test of faith in the analytical approach to lineup construction, because your eyes tell you something different. He does look terrible out there -- but his overall production, as measured by his contribution to wins and losses, can still be expected to be superior to that of a player like Ken Harvey, who looks better because he's slapping singles everywhere.

-- Very good analysis of Denny Bautista's problems yesterday in the game report from the Star. Its all gibberish to me, but the essence of the story is one of hope - if Denny had stuck with his four seam fastball more throughout the game (which apparently means less movement), he wouldn't have struggled with his control as much AND Mariners' batters still would have struggled to catch up with it. And he struggled with his two seam fastball because he was generating TOO much movement. That's a nice problem to have, and it certainly makes me feel much better about yesterday's outing.

-- On the other hand, Mike Wood has been plum awful. In fact, the entire bullpen, with the exception of Andy Sisco's mop-up work, has been terrible. I thought the bullpen would be the strength of this team, but so far they've really struggled. The good news is that the Royals have plenty of replacement candidates in AAA.

3 Questions for the Weekend

1) Can Jose Lima throw a decent start?

2) Will the Royals find a way to get to Jeremy Bonderman, who completely dominated the Royals in the season opener (but struggled in his second start)?

3) Will Mike Sweeney take a pitch?

Over/under on number of pitches thrown against the Royals (average for the series): 105


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