Stat Bites

Another gem from Tim Wakefield last night, the 19th time in his career he’s left the mound after 7 or more innings without giving up a run. Dave Pinto would call such an event a "short shutout," and Wakefield is now tied for fourth on the Red Sox Retrosheet-era list with Bill Monbouquette. Any guesses as to No. 3 before you click the link?

With six starts this season notching a 70 game score or better, the Red Sox are already halfway toward their season total in 2005 and on pace for 28 — their highest since Pedro Martinez and Derek Lowe were forming the best one-season pitching combo in recent club history. Last year, they notched 25.

Don’t look now, but David Ortiz — .309/.385/.580 since bottoming out at .070 20 games ago — now has a 104 OPS+. His seven home runs and 24 RBI bring him close to where he was at last year at this time (9, 31), as well as 2005 (9, 24) and 2004 (9, 26). And it looks like he’s still improving.

16 comments… add one
  • Whee! Luis Tiant – I got it right!

    SF May 7, 2008, 10:15 am
  • http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/baseball/mlb/05/06/arod.passedout.ap/index.html?cnn=yes
    Sorry to hijack, but ARod fainted when his wife was in labor. Couldn’t resist posting.
    Did anyone really doubt that Papi would come around? He’s too good to suddenly pull a Giambi on us.

    Atheose May 7, 2008, 10:23 am
  • Atheose – Ortiz is 4 years younger than Giambi. So dont talk too soon! However, I had little doubt that he would be raking this year.

    Sam-YF May 7, 2008, 10:54 am
  • Heh, sorry Sam. I think regardless of age, Ortiz has improved his OPS+ every year since 1999, whereas Giambi has declined over the past five years. Not to say that Giambi still isn’t a contributing well, but they are both going in different directions right now.

    Atheose May 7, 2008, 11:06 am
  • Not to say that Giambi still isn’t contributing well
    But he isn’t. His last 81 games (quickest compilation I could find at BR) involve 292 plate appearances, in which Giambi has hit 14 homers, driven in 37 runs, has hit a whopping .174 with a .318 OBP and an OPS of .700. His BABIP is ridiculously low for such a large sample (at .163), but ignoring that anomaly since it is a decent sample size Giambi has been an awful player for the better part of a year. It is amazing that he is still given playing time, anyone with this level of output from the DH or 1B spot would surely have been given their walking papers by now. Are the Yankees scared of paying him to produce on another team? And if so, why? He has no long-term pattern of production, in fact quite the opposite.
    Is he really a better solution than Shelley Duncan at this point?

    SF May 7, 2008, 11:16 am
  • That’s why I said “not to say that Giambi isn’t still contributing”, because I didn’t feel like looking up the numbers. Thanks SF!

    Atheose May 7, 2008, 11:22 am
  • ignoring that anomaly since it is a decent sample size
    I realize this statement doesn’t make much sense. The BABIP is really low, which implies terrible luck. But all the other numbers imply a deterioration of skill, so in my mind they tend to hold more water.

    SF May 7, 2008, 11:39 am
  • Though for Giambi, the BABIP (which, by the way, doesn’t account for home runs) might be low partially because of the overshift and the lack of opposite field shots..

    Lar May 7, 2008, 11:48 am
  • Trotting Giambi out day in and day out drives me nuts! I don’t know why Girardi (and Torre before him) continue to call his number. He brings nothing special to this team, yet every day there is “The Big G” at 1B. In this instance I don’t care about stats, I don’t care about what ifs. I have seen enough of Giambi at 1B and in this lineup. The problem is only magnified because he can’t bat 7th or 8th with A-Rod and Jorge out, due to that he gets pushed up in the order. I don’t like Duncan, nor do I think he’s the answer. Ensberg, who I liked coming in to ’08 hasn’t done a whole lot to earn more time. Then there is Betemit…
    Anyway, there is no solution at 1B on this team’s current roster. So for now I guess we just sit back and enjoy watching Giambi walk and hit line drives right into the shift. Good news is he probably won’t be in the lineup today Vs. Lee.

    John - YF May 7, 2008, 12:17 pm
  • I second that about Giambi, Im so sick of seeing him play every day. Its basically because he has a big contract. Shelly is better with the glove and has been more productive of a hitter. Jason is a much better option as a pinch hitter with pop at this point.
    My only point about Giambi vs Ortiz was that you cant compare them 1 to 1 right now due to their difference in age. It should be no surprise that Oritz’s OPS went up every year for the last 5, this is exactly what should be happening for a hitter in his late 20’s to his early 30’s. He is at the age now where history says his OPS will start declining regularly. The question is weather that drop will be gradual or more precipitous (like giambi’s). Ortiz may have a few good/great years in him but he it will be hard for him to duplicate (or even approach) his 2004-06 campaigns.

    Sam-YF May 7, 2008, 12:42 pm
  • Not to bring up this whole discussion again, but there is at least one reason I can think of why Giambi’s decline was more precipitous than we might expect from Ortiz.

    Paul SF May 7, 2008, 12:50 pm
  • Come on, Paul, don’t need to go there.

    SF May 7, 2008, 12:53 pm
  • Its basically because he has a big contract.
    I have wondered for some time how much the contract factor plays in personnel decisions. Like I asked above, if the Yankees think Giambi is their best option, that’s one thing; in this case they play him. But if they think some other player can exceed, easily, Giambi’s production and defense, then wouldn’t they play that person more frequently, regardless of contract? I can understand why a team wouldn’t release someone if they felt that the player in question was still viable and there was no sense in paying another team’s way. But if a front office thinks a player is done, then I imagine they will release that player barring an ability to recoup value via a trade. Just yesterday the Tigers DFA’d Jacque Jones, who though not in Giambi territory was still making $6M+ this year. That shows me that some teams will not hold on to players just because they are on the hook for money.
    Are there other examples of teams releasing high-priced players who are cooked? What are the examples of players who keep getting sent out with the glove and bat just because they have a big paycheck? Julio Lugo (or, to others, JD Drew) doesn’t count, either, since no matter how much I dislike him it’s hard to argue that he hasn’t contributed to the team in some fashion, either last year or this.

    SF May 7, 2008, 12:59 pm
  • Another reason MLB teams usually hang on to their sunken investments is that they’re loathe to see a guy their still paying go on to help another team, perhaps even at their own expense. That might even be the main reason actually. The team might think the player is done, but they’d rather deal with that internally by suffering through it, benching him or finding some injury to DL him with, rather than risk the chance he could find his stroke with a competitor, and with two paychecks to boot.

    FenSheaParkway May 7, 2008, 1:22 pm
  • My only point about Giambi vs Ortiz was that you cant compare them 1 to 1 right now due to their difference in age.
    Sorry, I made the comparison because someone a day or two ago said that Ortiz was “going the way of Giambi”.

    Atheose May 7, 2008, 1:41 pm
  • Also, sometimes I think we all forget that Giambi is still the 2nd-highest paid player in all of baseball, let alone the Yankees. There’s too much pride involved to suddenly dump a player worth more than the entire Florida Marlins. If I were an owner/GM I don’t know if I’d have what it takes to swallow my pride and do it.

    Atheose May 7, 2008, 3:13 pm

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