Thursday, May 08, 2008

Fire Bland of the Red Sox Blogging World

There are a lot of good blogs following specific baseball teams out there, but Fire Brand of the American League isn’t one of them (despite being endorsed by the suggestionable Peter Gammons). Sure I read them and asked them to link to my blog at one point, but that was mostly because at the time identifying some sort of brain function along with Red Sox talk was exciting. Now that I've been around the internet and seen actual good writing I see it’s just kind of organized blandness frosted with half-ass research, as if there weren’t enough internet tubes being filled with Red Sox game recaps, bone-headed opinions, and general blather already. In what might (almost certainly will not) become a regular feature here on mlb garbage, I’m going to mlog (tube speak for meta-blog) their current front page blentries

Let’s see, meta recap of drunk mother who committed murder. Nothing to see there. Poll question about pitchers and ERAs (who has studied up on their1930s baseball cards???)…overplayed Old School clip…description of Kevin Cash that includes the word “dynamic”…game recap from Wakefield’s brilliant start because most people reading this blog probably had no idea that happened…insightful game 3 preview where Shawn says he thinks the Red Sox winning (and losing?) streak will continue if Buchholz allows 3 or less runs...I notice that the word analyze is in the blog tagline...let’s see moving on...some queer podcast shit (too long; didn’t listen) about Matsuzaka not officially qualifying for the incredibly subjective term “ace” (because he walks too many guys when he’s sick I assume)…

ah here we go, the first attempt at analysis in 6 posts, a blentry entitled “I’m fed up with Julio Lugo.” Of course this is a post most casual Sox fans could have filled in ala mad libs last May, but watch for the fun and exciting twist…Shawn actually was intending to write a Lugo-defending article, the irony! Basically the challenge was for him to build a statistical case for Lugo being a good player, but what he found was that Lugo sucks. Let me set one thing straight (and I hear the counter from politicians, business people, news people, and other idiots all the time), you can’t make stats lie. Stats are information. Information cannot be a lie, or else it is bad information, which really isn’t information at all. What you can do however is analyze stats ignorantly, which is apparently what Evan set out to do in this entry in order to spark a debate on whether Lugo is in fact good or bad (because the tubes aren’t filled enough with debates on whether we landed on the moon or not).

Now to confirm what any Fenway drunkard would yell at me, I probably would have used information from Lugo’s entire career (or at least the last few years), but Evan somehow manages to fuck up this trivial exercise by only looking at his stats from a month this season. Ok fine we’ll analyze him stupidly. Evan says that Lugo’s average is good (useless non-statement since even though batting average is information on how often Lugo has reached safely on a ball put in play so far this season, it tells us virtually nothing about how good of a baseball player he is) and he had a bad night last night (ok....), but he doesn’t walk much (conclusion is correct by accident but sample size is not ripe for conclusion-making) or hit for power. Well lucky for Evan Lugo hasn’t hit any wind-aided pop-ups over the monster or inside the park homers so far this year so his conclusions are the same as would be reached from looking at more relevant information. He even throws in some anecdotal information about Lugo striking out to show us his scouting prowess.

On to the fielding: Evan looks at fielding percentage (tells us little to nothing about his fielding ability), assists per nine innings (tells us how many ground balls Red Sox pitchers induce), and range factor (gives a rough estimate of how many balls Lugo reaches, perhaps the one statistic he has provided that tells us anything about Lugo’s baseball ability). Of course range factor has always been pretty much the only thing you could use to defend Lugo, but he’s not covering as much ground as he used to. So he sucks, we already knew that. On the flip side if he had 5 more bloop hits this year he wouldn't suck (according to Evan). This column has been a complete waste of Peter Gammons’ time, and that’s not easy to do.

Then he suggests Lugo replacements. He defends Lowrie by saying he’s been impressive so far (based on his few weeks of fill-in starts and not his 1000 atbat minor league sample), then he talks about other short stops in such a stupid way that my blood pressure is actually rising just by reading it. For instance, he says the following about Furcal: “The only danger sign? Lugo career line: .288/.336/.342. Furcal: .287/.352/.412.” Is he saying these lines are similar? Because they’re not, at all. Getting out my calculator (by which I mean my brain because this is so friggin easy), I can tell you that Furcal has about 85 points of OPS on Lugo here. 85 points of OPS. That is not similar. That's a big whopping, slap me in the face, are you kidding omg wtf lol wut you're doing it wrong difference. It is almost exactly the difference in career OPS between Ken Griffey Jr. and Geoff Jenkins. It’s also the difference between David Ortiz and Shawn Green. Plus, Furcal has played in pitchers’ parks his entire career. PLUS (I mean...what?) those are not even Lugo’s numbers! I looked them up and Lugo’s numbers are .271/.334/.393, but I didn’t even have to look them up, because I actually follow the Red Sox and have an idea of how good Red Sox players are. Even Lugo’s not bad enough to slug .342 over his career. Who slugs .342? Luis Castillo has 24 homers in 13 seasons (and has only reached 20 doubles twice) and he has slugged .356. I’ve had enough of this post.

Moving on up…a poll on the future of Justin Masterson, as if anyone reading this blog has any clue on Masterson’s ability or proper treatment of pitching prospects…another trivia question about Fenway continuing the trivial nature of this website…same Will Ferrell clip because it’s lucky (excuse me I just dropped a couple IQ points)…and a wrapup of a heartbreaking Red Sox loss (because everyone wants to read about that again). Goat of the Game: Paps. Uhhh I’m not sportsologist but two infield rollers, an infield chopper, and a catchable broken bat flair makes the pitcher the goat? Now that’s what I call analysis! If we really are going to harp on Papelbon’s performance (and it was noteable that he only reached 96 mph once) doesn’t that make Francona the goat for using him back to back days with 4 run and 3 run leads in the ninth Sunday and Monday?). Anyway enough of this. Don’t worry Sox Nation, Shawn’s gut feeling says Beckett isn’t giving up more than 4 runs tomorrow because pitching against Verlander will make him pumped (more pumped then when he went against Roy Halladay I hope).