Old people don’t know jack

The Rangers are now 19-21 all-time against the Astros. We need to complete the sweep this weekend to tie the series. Just one win will get us the Silver Boot for 2007. Woo-hoo.

It was nice to see a big inning, especially since Millwood was intent on keeping them in the game. He didn’t look terrible, but he didn’t look good. Six innings, nine hits, two strikeouts. Hey, it was a Quality Start. He gets a 44 on his Game Score, which is a little below average. Fortunately Woody Williams got a 26, and then Randolph came in and threw gasoline on the fire.

I’m just about to set a function key to post the following: “Millwood gave up the obligatory run in the first”. I seem to use that every time he pitches. In fact, looking at the record, he gave up a run in the first in each of his first two starts, then went four starts with zero in the first. That was April. In May he had just the one start, four runs in the first, before going back on the DL. In June he now has five starts, has conceded in the first every time, in fact eight runs in those five starts. Overall he has 14 runs in 12 starts in the first inning. Once again I ask, what is the warmup process and why aren’t the Ranger starters starting well?

The suggestion is that Sosa deserves the All-Star nod for the Rangers. That is truly a terrible thing to have to say, an indictment of the rest of the team more than a lauding of Sosa. Oh how the mighty have fallen – and apparently he fell on everyone else and squished them out of contention.

“He seems to get RBIs,” said Rangers manager Ron Washington. “…he just smells RBIs. When they’re there, he picks them up.” He’s especially good at getting them when he hits cleanup, in fact he’s just like every other cleanup hitter, they get RBIs when there are people on base. Has no-one learned from Joe Carter, RBIs are a function of where you hit, not how you hit. It’s all about opportunity. I could cite his 1.020 OPS when there are two out and RISP, and you’d think he’s fantastic. Or I could cite his .483 OPS when it’s Late and Close, and you’d say he was useless. And you’d be right both times. But you’d also be wrong both times. These numbers suffer from the small sample size, and in reality he’s not good but not bad. Of course, I don’t blame Ron for saying this, it’s just standard received wisdom, and if he said the words “small sample size” the media would laugh at him, dunderheads that they are.

“Sammy’s a better hitter now than he’s ever been,” Woody Williams said. Really? It’s not just because you gave up a home run to him that you’re saying this, is it? I mean, his OPS+ this year is 93, meaning he’s performed at 93% of the league average. He might have been better between say 98 and 03, when his lowest OPS+ was 135? Maybe in 2001 when it was 201, that’s right double the league average? No, you’re right, it’s this year, when he went a month without a home run. That to me just smells of great hitting.

“They’re just going to have to pay what I want,” Beavan said. “It’s not too much. What I want is what I think I’m worth.” This is our top pick in the draft, obviously getting some good advice from his agents. Here’s the deal, Blake: Every pitcher who’s ever held out for millions and then gone back in the draft has ended up with less money, and a lesser career. Jeff Weaver is your starter for ten. You can hold out for an extra million now, or you can get into the professional ranks, get some professional coaching, get some professional innings under your belt, and in twenty years time, at the end of your career, you’ll make back that million and a whole lot more in the last season you pitch, made possible because you didn’t hold out and stall your development early on. Yeah, we want you to sign, but don’t start your career bleating about the dollars or you’ll show yourself off as a whiner who just cares about the money. And I bet when you do eventually sign we get a quote something like “It’s not about the money”.

I asked myself yesterday if the Rangers have ever had a true number one starter, and now I’m trying to figure out how to calculate that. The Elias rankings would be a start, but there doesn’t seem to be anywhere online that lists the formula, although it may be proprietary to them (their website sucks, by the way). I guess I’ll have to work on making something up for myself.  Of course, that may take some time.


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