Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Owning The Pirates

It's sort of like owning that skunk farm in The Game Of Life, I suppose. On to the news and notes:

The Bell Tolls For Thee

Trevor Hoffman has been pretty awesome so far, but it’s worth keeping in mind that lefties have really turned into his kryptonite. While he’s been deadly against righties (who are not only hitting a solid .000 against him, but also have not walked against him, have struck out 4 times, and have grounded into a double play), lefties are 3/8 off of Trevor on the young season, and while all of those hits are singles, it does show that lefties don’t have trouble with Hoffman’s change. Last season, Hoffman surrendered a HR every 17 plate appearances against lefties, and while no one has taken him deep yet, they’re still making plenty of contact, as Nate McLouth did last night.

My intent is not to bash Hoffman; he’s done an admirable job. I just want everyone to keep in mind that at some point this season Hoffman is going to face some powerful left-handed hitter in the 9th with men on base, and he’s going to give up a bomb that costs the Brewers the game. This will happen because basically every manager in baseball including Ken Macha believes in magical closer powers. This will also be very predictable and preventable.

Weeks’ New Approach

Of course, Rickie Weeks was the big hero last night (along with Ryan Braun’s dramatic late entrance). Weeks is taking fewer walks this year, a fact that he credits to pitchers throwing him more first-pitch strikes, forcing him to change his approach and take some hacks earlier in the count. Rickie’s numbers appear to support that theory as he’s making good contact more frequently, posting a line drive rate of 21.2% (after posting rates of 15% and 17% over the last two seasons. Hopefully he can keep this up.

Matt LaPorta Goes Deep

The biggest sacrifice in the Brewers playoff run last year was parting with prospect Matt LaPorta, who collected his first major league hit yesterday, a two-run homer which tied the score. The Indians eventually went on to win the game.


tracker said...

I think Macha might prove to be smarter than that. He has said and demonstrated that he'll limit Hoffman's appearances and he won't get every save opportunity. So far his moves appear to be supported by an awareness of tendencies, history and advantages.

E.S.K. said...

Not a chance in hell Macha pulls Hoffman in that scenario Tracker.

tracker said...

I don't think he pulls him. He just doesn't give him the ball, like with Villanueva's save last week. The fact that a big-hitting lefty or two is due up might help drive some of those decisions.

E.S.K. said...

That was based purely on not wanting him to pitch three nights in a row. It had nothing to do with the hitters coming up, Hoffman was essentially unavailable for that game according to the pregame interview with Ueck.