Who is really the best baseball team in the majors? I honestly don't know but I try to figure that out by using basic and advanced statistics. I live for talking about baseball, it's my biggest drive in my life and I will jump on the opportunity to talk baseball with anyone, even with people who I don't really like. For me, Baseball is a piece of art that sits in my mind all day, ready to be painted on at any point of the day.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Matt Garza's awesome season

By Mike Moritz

Most Saber metric geeks know that Matt Garza is experiencing a great season. And most conventional baseball fans think that Garza is experiencing merely just his normal season. His 3.72 ERA is good but not spectacular and his 2-4 record is much less of an indicator of his greatness. Despite those good-but-not-great "on the surface statistics", we have seen a dramatic improvement in his overall production.

Garza is second in the majors in FIP with a 1.83 mark, behind just some old guy named Roy Halladay, don't know if you guys have ever heard of him. Garza is also second in the majors with a 2.44 xFIP, behind that same Halladay guy.

The thought was that Garza was going to do a lot worse with the move to Wrigley Field over the off season. He had been considered a fly ball pitcher when he was on the Rays (albeit, he was not a huge fly ball pitcher; 43% fly ball rate). He was helped out a decent amount by Tropicana field and consistently produced very low BABIPs, never having a BABIP above .273 with the Rays because of a shut down defense. With the Rays, he never produced an xFIP 4.14, merely just an average mark for the league. He averaged an average 7.1 K/9 and a  3.1 BB/9 in Tampa. He was not an elite pitcher, really, by any means.

But in his first year in Chicago, he has already amassed 2.3 WAR and is on pace to surpass his previous high of 3.2 back in 2009. He has had his dominance mainly because of a change in repertoire and usage of his pitches.

With the Rays, he never used his fastball less than 71.1% in a season and because of that, he rarely used his off speed pitches; the highest percent-usage of any of his other pitches was just 14% (his slider). Hitters were able to hit him more easily because he was throwing the fastball so often, and rightly so. His heater is above average in terms of velocity, running around 92-94 mph.

He is now using his fastball just 54.7% of the time, much less than the 70%ish that he used it in Tampa. He is now using his slider and change up much more often. He has been using his slider 21.9% of the time compared to the and has positive value to it, as he has his whole career: .36 wSL/C this year. He has been using his change up 11.8% of the time, compared to around the 6%ish that he has used it before with the Rays. Although the change has had negative value, it has actually been the best so far this year in extended time in his career with a -0.36 wCH/C, and that number is barely below the zero mark. His best change up was back in 2007, when he was on the Twins but only pitched 83 innings: .08 wSL/C.

By mixing up his pitches, changing speeds and eye levels, Garza is now striking out hitters at a career high and getting ground balls like an ace. And he is demolishing his previous highs in those two categories.

His 10.99 K/9 is first in the majors, in front of another pitcher who is all of the sudden striking out hitters like never before. His newly found strike out ability has been backed up by a SwStr% of 11.1%, shattering his previous high of 8.8%. His opponent O-Contact% has reached a career low, 55.1%, backing up the fact that his off speed pitches are good. His opponent O-Swing% is a career high, 34.2%, again, saying that his off speed pitches are good enough to have hitters swing at nothing. Take a look for your self, and see how Matt Garza's opponent plate discipline stats have changed for the better, click here.

The other aspect that Garza has dramatically improved on is his ability to get ground balls. Coming into 2011, and with the Rays, Garza had a 39% ground ball rate, decent. This year, that number has jumped to 48.3%. That number is not considered one of the best, but it is still sky high.

But that might be where the problem starts. His 3.71 ERA is good, but not nearly as good as his 2.44 xFIP, or perhaps his 1.83 FIP. This huge gap between ERA and FIP/xFIP has been mainly attributed to his terrible luck. His .362 BABIP is the highest mark in baseball and although his 62.2% LOB is not the lowest in baseball, it is still terrible. To say that Garza's on-the-surface-performance should get better is a complete understatement; he is getting so unlucky that it might actually be funny. The Cubs defense is bad, sure, but it is not bad enough that Garza should be having this bad amounts of luck. Then again, the main reason that Garza has not had his ERA blow up is because of some good luck (crazy, I know right?): his 2.4% HR/FB is the third lowest in the bigs and is due to regress upward sometime soon.

The even better thing is that Garza has faced 242 batters which means that strike outs, ground balls rate and line drive rate have long been stabilized (150 batters faced). That also means that fly ball rate is just about stabilized too (200 batters faced). Keep in that a 10.99 K/9 is really hard to sustain, no matter how deep into the season you are, so it might regress back to around 9 K/9, still top notch.

Garza has gotten very unlucky this season but legitimate changes to his pitching approach has led to astonishing results, even if it does not show in 3.71 ERA quite yet. In time though, Matt Garza will be putting some nasty pitching lines that even conventional baseball fans will start to notice. It's just a matter of time until Garza gets the Luck Dragons to returns to his side.

(Stats in courtesy of: fangraphs.com and baseball-reference.com)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

An epic (saber-metric) showdown of backyard baseball, Game 6

By Mike Moritz

After the Game Five win by The Crookers, The Dickle-Doos became the one's with their back's to the wall. It was, in every way, a must win game. Being down 3-2 in the series, The Dickle-Doos needed a stellar pitching performance from Tim Dickincum in Game Six to slow down the Crooker bats that have recently gone bonkers. The Crookers were looking from a good start from Crook Canks

Dickincum posted a 8.43 ERA but had a 6.11 FIP, which was by far the best mark in the league. He had a 17.93 K/9, 2.31 BB/9 (best in the league) and a but a bad 41% ground ball rate. He was making just his first start in the series due to a stiff toe...? In 5.2 innings, Dickincum had just 1 punch out while walking 3 and giving up 2 homers and a total of 7 runs. Overall, a solid start but much less than what you would expect from Dickincum. Dickincum's main problem wasn't necessarily his ability-- or lack-there-of -- to get strike outs, but rather his inability to get me to whiff.

In all seriousness though, Simon tends to have the kind of curve ball that works at probably a 20% rate. When his curve ball falls within the confines of the strike zone, I can't hit it (albeit, it rarely is a pitch that is within the confines of the strike zone, he usually misses the back board entirely). But what ever it was, I reduced my (roughly (just guessing)) 8% SwStr% in the first five games to just 4% in Game Six. In other words, I whiffed at just ONE of Simon's pitches all game. I put 19 into play and fouled off 5. But because Simon was unable to get me to whiff at his pitches, it gave me much more lee-way and it forced him to throw more hittable pitches, making him a pitch-to-contact-pitcher.

And I took advantage of that mantra that I forced him to adopt.

  • After averaging a 22% line drive rate in the first five games of the series, I bumped that number up to 32% in Game Six. My fly ball rate was once again low, 26% and I had a 42% ground ball rate. I seemed to have gotten pretty lucky with my .632 BABIP, but it actually seems right considering my spike in the line drive department. 
  • While I had some rather decent batted ball rates, Simon really struggled to get that "big hit" all game. His 64% ground ball rate was really bad but his 14% fly ball rate was straight up terrible (sorry Simon). Simon got some neutral luck as his BABIP was .393 despite having a mere .167 average on ground balls. I was able to get him to ground into three double plays.
  • Me and Simon both had four homers each (even though Simon had 4 fly balls). He drew five walks while I only had three. Although Simon could not get me to whiff, he was still limiting the damage by not walking batters. Had he walked around the 8 or 9 that he usually does, then the game would have been a blow out.
  • Simon was able to make the game interesting in the top of the 7th inning. Holding on to an 11-4 lead, Simon quickly draws a HBP and then hits a two run homer. He then proceeded to put on his "wait until he throws a strike" act until the score was finally 11-10. With two outs and a 1-2 count on him, I drop a curve ball and he swings and makes contact, only to hit it into the ground for the game ending ground out. 
Final score: 11-10, Crookers win. We have won the series 4-2 and after what seemed to be a series taken by Simon after Game Three, I came back to win three straight games. 

If Simon was able to at least hit a couple more balls in the air, even if they line drives (which you would want all the time), he could have won considering how close the game was in the top of the 7th. But nonetheless, he didn't and ended up ending the game with a grounder, something that could have described the whole game for him.

That does it with this series. Perhaps Simon and I will start another series soon but now it's time for The Baseball Jungle to return to real baseball writing. I hope you enjoyed this edition of B.Y.B (Back Yard Baseball).

Sunday, May 15, 2011

An epic (saber-metric) showdown of backyard baseball, Game 5

By Mike Moritz

Again, if you missed the first post about Simon and I's baseball series click here.

After tying the series up at two games a piece and coming off an offensive slaughter of the Dickle-Doos in Game Four, The Crookers felt comfortable going into Game Five.

I really do not have all that much to say about Game Five. It was your typical Crooker-Dickle-Doo, Back Yard Baseball game.

The Crookers started Crook Lee and he was solid. He went 4.2 innings, 9 ER, and three strike outs and two walks. R.A. Dickle was the starter for The Dickle-Doos. He went 4.2 innings, 11 ER, 6 SO and 2 walks. So although Dickle gave up 7 homers, he had a 3 K/BB ratio.

  • Both of us went back-to-back at some point in the season. For me it was in the forth and for Simon in the fifth. 
  • I seemed to in a home run frenzy as I did not hit a non-homer hit until the top of the forth. In fact, I only had two non extra base hits the whole game. It helped me and the rest of The Crookers to post a staggering .920 wOBA.
  • Simon's 61% ground ball rate was horrible but consider his 4 GIDP and it was just even worse. Nothing more can be said.
  • In the top of the fifth, I was losing 8-6. After Simon got the first two outs, I broke the game open with 7 runs and 3 homers to take the 13-8 lead.
  • But going back to the first inning, I started the game with a nice seven pitch at-bat, fouling off a few pitches and driving the count to 3-2 but it ended in a strike out. But after making Simon work to start the game, I then swung at the first pitch of the second at-bat and sent the ball into the center field trees for a 1-0 lead.
The game ended with a ground ball to second base and The Crookers won 16-10, taking a 3-2 lead in the series. 

As I mentioned before, I don't really have much to say about this game. It was a solid win for The Crookers. 

Game Six has already been played so look for a post about that game very soon.

Friday, May 13, 2011

An epic (saber-metric) showdown of backyard baseball, Game 4

By Mike Moritz

With my back against the wall, The Crookers and I had some work to do against the Dickle-Doo.

As always, if you missed the first post about these epic backyard baseball games that Simon and I play, click here to read the rules of our league.

Being down 2 games to 1, we, The Crookers, had to now work our way out of a hole that we could not afford to get any deeper.

After a disappointing game 2, in which The Crookers blew a 5 run lead in the bottom of the seventh inning that ended in a walk off walk. In a game where we just could not hit and The Dickle-Doos were having a power surge with 7 homers.

But Game 4 was much different. The Crookers sent Max Crookzur to the mound while The Dickle-Doos had Felix Dickhandez on the bumb.

Monday, May 9, 2011

An epic (saber-metric) showdown of backyard baseball, Game 3

By Mike Moritz

As stated in the post before, if you missed the first post about Simon and I's best-of-seven-series, click here to find out what the rules are in the kind of baseball that Simon and I play.

Game three of the Dickle-Doos (Simon) versus The Crookers (Me) was a very intense one, and arguably the most intense of the series thus far. We played 6 innings due to time constraints.

Coming into the series, we had been knotted at 1 game a piece. Simon had sent left-hander D.D. Dickbathia while I had sent the nasty yet command-less Crook Colquez. With Colquez, it seems to either be a strike out or a walk in this league. In 310.1 innings during the 2011 regular season, Colquez posted a fantastic FIP of 5.79 but that number was good considering his 11.72 BB/9. His 19.26 K/9 seemed to help offset his walk rate but it was his 88% ground ball rate that really help him out in the FIP department...it was insane. His also good 6.21 ERA was inflated by a .342 BABIP and a 67% LOB.

Colquez seemed to have better command of his pitches in game three than in any other start of the year...or it could have been Simon's terrible plate discipline and eagerness to swing at every pitch (which was extremely strange considering he is generally more of a Crooklos Santana rather than a Jeff Crankcrookore). Simon's O-Swing% was definitely north of 50% while his O-Contact% was about 90%.

  • In just 2 1/3 innings, Colquelz walked just one batter but he only struck out one as well. Instead of avoiding hits with walks and strike outs, Colquez got hit hard. He gave up two homers, a double and a total of 8 hits for 7 runs. 
  • SwStr% was where Simon really struggled in the first two games of the series, but he turned that around today as reduced his mark from (just a guess) around 17% to probably around 6%. This dramatic improvement really stemmed from his ability to layoff the curve and wait for more hittable pitches, like...
  • The high fastball. Simon hit four of his total seven home runs off of fastballs that were left up in the zone, sending them over the right field fence each time.
  • As mentioned before, Colquez had just one punch out, putting a little more pressure on Yovani Crookardo, who came in to pitch 3 2/3 innings in relief. Crookardo did not have a single strike out and gave up the four homers that were hit off high fastballs, three of which were solo shots and the other being a two-run shot.
  • In total, The Crookers pitching had a 48% ground ball rate and a 29% fly ball rate, both rates being very good. The 23% line drive rate was where the pitching staff struggled. 
  • Even though we gave up just a 29% fly ball rate, The Dickle-Doos HR/FB rate was 78%. Even that number is way above the 60% average in Mike's Cold Hard Lemonade Stadium. Expect that number to regress back to the mean.
  • Although their HR/FB rate was way high, The Dickle-Doos really got unlucky, posting a mere .194 BABIP compared to the (about) .350 average. The fact that his HR/FB would regress down and his BABIP would regress back up says that, excluding the walks, The Dickle-Doos could hit just as well in following games. This low BABIP is essentially the reason as to why The Crookers were able to stay in this game and not let it slip away. 
  • The fact that The Crookers struck out just hitter all game, the low BABIP was even more help.
  • The Crookers just could not hit in Game Three. They had just seven hits. We had a below average 17% line drive rate, 39% fly ball rate, and a 28% ground ball rate. The remaining 16% were infield fly balls, something that needs to be worked on. The Crookers BABIP was right around average, at .333.
  • Despite not being able to hit, The Crookers were able to support the pitching by getting hit by pitches 10 times and getting walked 7 times. 
  • While The Dickle-Doos had seven long balls, The Crookers had just one, a rarity. The one home run was a three-run shot in the top of the 6th inning. The pitch was on the outer half of the plate and I went with it, sending it over the house in left field, making the score 17-12, The Crookers in the lead. 
  • The Crookers brought in Crook Halladay to lock up the save since in this league, "no lead is a safe one".  The Dickle-Doos got the inning under way very quickly, sending the first offering into the center field trees. 17-13, The Crookers. 
  • Let's just say that two hit by pitches, a few singles and three walks later, the bases were loaded and the score was tied at 17. You could probably guess what happened next.
  • The count was 3-2 with two outs. After walking just three in the first 5 innings, I was in a tough situation having already given up three walks in the inning alone. The pitch came, a fastball that I just didn't know where to throw. It ended up just missing the outside corner. Ball four and the winning run could walk home, literally. Game three was given away by The Crookers and the Dickle-Doos have taken a 2 games to 1 lead
So yes, game three went to Simon, 18-17. But there were still some other smalls things to keep note, some of which were rather humorous:

  • Simon's LOB% seemed to be something like 92%. In the first three innings, he lucked out when I had left the bases loaded twice. The other inning ended with two of my men on base.
  • As I stated before, I had walked just three hitters in the first five innings before walking four in the bottom of the sixth. I suddenly just lost my command at the wrong time.
  • Simon hit a double that was literally an inch away from going out. It hit off the very top of the Aqua Monster and stayed in the park. There was no one on base so it was just your average double but it could have gone out.
  • Perhaps the most embarrassing moment of the game came in the top of the third inning. On a 2-2 count and after two consecutive foul balls, Simon threw a high fastball and I swung, only to foul it off again. But this time, the ball, after going off the bat, hit my face, more specifically my eye AND my nose. This then triggered many tears and a shit load of sneezes, five in about two minutes to be exact.

Game Four will be played Monday, May 9th. In a must win game for The Crookers, we will be sending Max Crookzer while the Dickle-Doos will be sending Felix Dickhandez.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

An epic (saber-metric) showdown of backyard baseball, Game 2

By Mike Moritz

If you missed the introduction to this game of baseball that co-writer Simon and I play, click here to read over the rules of the league and how Game 1 went.

After coming off an 11-6 win over Simon and his Dickle Doos, my team, The Crookers were feeling confident going into Game 2 of the best-of-seven series. Simon sent R.A. Dickle Doo to the bump against Crook Canks

To be honest, due to the fact that this game took place back on Wednesday, I really just don't remember a lot of the details of the game. So I do apologize if I have already disappointed you as a reader. So if you wish to know some of the details that I DO remember, read on!

Some first notes:

The rain was on all day and at some points came down very hard, potentially slowing down any ground balls that might have had a chance to go through for base hits.

We also decided to play seven innings instead of the usual six.

  • I smashed four home runs en route to a 57% HR/FB rate, which, considering the park, is about average. Simon and I have decided that 60% seems about average for HR/FB in Mike's Cold Hard Lemonade Stadium but further play with not only us, but other kids will help decide the true average.
  • Simon had two homers and two doubles. One of his homers was a three run shot and the other was a two run shot in the forth inning that gave Simon his first lead of the game, 8-6. 
  • Simon's total HR/FB% was a total 67%.
  • In the bottom of the first inning, I sent three hitters to the plate to lead off. The first hitter had a line drive single to center, the second hitter walked and then I launched a three-run shot that went well into the forest in left field, 3-0, The Crookers lead.
  • Later in the inning, there were two away and a runner on first. A pitch was left right in the middle of the zone and I got what seemed to be "all of it" but for what ever reason, the ball died in center field, missing a home run by a matter of inches and becoming the final out of the inning.
  • Skipping to the bottom of the 7th, Simon is winning 12-9. On the first pitch of the inning, I send a line drive home run over the fence in right field. Next at bat, I ground out. Then, I hit a lined shot just over the "first basemen's head" for a single. I then draw a walk. In the next at bat, Simon throws a ball away and the runners move up to second an third with one out. He then drops a curve ball and I whiff for the second out.
  • The next at bat was a Brett Gardner type of at bat, fouling off pitch after pitch. The count got to 2-2 before I fouled off the next four pitches. The last foul ball made things exciting. Simon throws a heater inside and being the natural pull hitter I am, I pull the ball to the right side. But I also got a lot of this pitch, I crushed it. If the pitch had been a tiny bit more over the plate, I would have won. 
  • Nonetheless, the next pitch I hit is grounded to first base to end the game.
In total, this was definitely a game that should have been won by The Crookers but my striking out eight times and just five times reached via the walk versus Simon's five whiffs and nine walks seemed to be the turning point in this game. If I end up swinging at a three or pitches that I took and/or vice versa, this was mine for the taking. 

Game Three has already been played so look for a post on that within today or tomorrow.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

A look at Francisco Liriano's No-Hitter

By Mike Moritz

In a post that I wrote back in March, I explained why I thought Francisco Liriano could do even better than his fantastic 2010 season. To be honest, I thought I was somewhat right. As we know now, Liriano's season has made me look like a complete and utter idiot. But if some baseball fan out there believed that was right and then also believed that "I got unlucky because no one could have guessed that Liriano would get off to such bad start" and then knew that my hypothesis would eventually come true, then I thank you for putting trust in me. But as much as I would love for someone to believe that in March, I would be right, I am sorry but you just should not keep your trust in me for Liriano.

Liriano's much heard of no-hitter last night made his season look so much better than it actually is. Honestly, there were so many things that Liriano was just bad at last night. Coming into his start, he's been disgustingly terrible, as we all know. A casual fan of baseball would say "Hey, Dad! Look, Fransico Liriablahblah threw a no-hitter!" and saber-metric nerds would say "Jesus, he got more BABIP'd than anybody could have ever gotten BABIP'd".

Well the Luck Dragons decided to give Liriano a break from being his terrible, 2011 version of himself.

There is NOBODY in the major leagues with a true talent level of .000 BABIP. ESPECIALLY the 2011 version of Liriano.

Ok, so a maybe "a no-hitter is a no-hitter" after all. But seriously? 6 walks and just 2 punch outs?

Those numbers brought his season K/BB ratio to .83, which is way below the 2.14 league average. He is now averaging just 5.51 K/9 and 6.61 BB/9. And this guy threw a no-hitter?

Liriano's O-Swing% dropped from 34.4% in 2010 to a mere 22.6% mark this year. Hitters are overall, being more patient, swinging at just 41.7% of Liriano's pitches, which is a career low. His opponent Contact% has reached a career high at 61.4%.

Looking at Liriano's pitch type values, his fastball is his only pitch that is negative, and since pitch type values do not take into consideration how much a player relies on one specific pitches, that is why his fastball value is only -.46 instead of lower.

Because of that, we can't use statistics to see exactly why hitters are laying off his pitches.

Rather, we use our eyes.

And we then come up with the conclusion that Liriano is a pitcher that relies on his fastball and works his other pitches off of the heater. But now that Liriano's fastball has lost 2 mph, hitters can tell much more easily whether to take it or swing. And they are keeping the bats on the shoulders to no end thus creating Liriano's walk rate that is higher than his what's-supposed-to-be-high strike out rate.

So basically this no-hitter says what kind of state the White Sox offense is in. And it probably contributed as much, if not more, to Liriano's no-hitter than Liriano's actual skill.

And the worst part? He's on my fantasy team...and I benched him.

(Statistics in courtesy of: fangraphs.com)

7.6 2011

Monday, May 2, 2011

An epic (saber-metric) showdown of backyard baseball

By Mike Moritz

As spring time blooms, a couple of things come to mind, one of which is not very good. And that's hay-fever and backyard baseball. Hay-fever obviously is the bad one, and to be honest, I just have a wall of snot in my nose and my eyes have hit a perpetual stage of itchiness. But backyard baseball has brought a level of saber-metric thinking that I never would have thought had been possible.

Fellow Baseball Jungle writer (despite the fact that he doesn't post much anymore) Simon and I have had a rivalry at many different things, and baseball is no different. We play 7-game series and game one was on Sunday.

My house seems to have the perfect dimensions for a game of baseball. You see, we have a sort-of long driveway, and in "right field", there is a stone wall that is about 3 feet tall, which leads to center field, where the wall is represented by a bunch of trees. In left field, we have my actual house. When hit over the house, it is declared a home run, but you can hit it off what has been nicknamed "The Aqua Monster", for its extreme similarities to that of the Green Monster in Fenway Park and it is called "The Aqua Monster" for my house's light blue color. The name of the house (or stadium): Mike's Cold Hard Lemonade Stadium.

The game is played with tennis balls to ensure that no windows and other things are not broken. On the left and right sides of the property are two groups of bushes, and when hit into, it is declared an out. If a ball hits a car, it is also out. There is a small skateboard ramp that my brother uses which resides right where the pavement of the driveway meets the outfield grass, and if the ball hits it, it is considered an out and a Top 10 play on Sportscenter.Anything that is hit over the house, in the the threes or over the right field wall is a home run. The hits are declared hits depending on where the ball landed and how it was hit. The runners are assumed to be your Average-Joe runner, meaning that they would score on a non-bloop hit to the outfield from second base. The game is played in six innings.

I can not recall every moment of the game but the final score was my team (The Crookers) over Simon's team (The Dickle-Doos) 11-6. That is actually a pretty low scoring game, usually the games would end up in something like a 30-27 offensive brawl.

The more notable things that happened were as follows:

  • I had a 100% HR/FB rate. That is "luck" to the extreme. More specifically, I had a grand slam and two solo shots. The grand slam and the second solo shot were both hit into the center field trees while the other solo shot just barely went over the right field fence, A.K.A. Dustin Padroia type homer. The ball was left up high in the zone, and I knew that that I had gotten under it, but as I stated before, luck was on my side and the ball cleared. 
  • Simon struck out a total of eight times, seven of which came on the curve that I would drop in. If I had to guess, I would say that Simon's SwStr% was probably around 25%...he was bad. 
  • Simon also used a combination of  his good eye and my inability to consistently throw strikes to draw walks, getting on nine times via the free pass. Yes, he had more walks then strike outs.
  • He even squared up on a ball once and sent a two run shot that over the house left. I put a fastball low in the zone, just as I wanted but he put a good swing on it and sent it out. 
  • Not only did I have a lot of help from the homer runs, I also really lucked out on stranding runners. If I had to guess, I would say that my LOB% might have been around 90%. That was a huge reason why I was able to limit his runs despite all the walks (I walked in two runs).
  • In the bottom of the 4th, I was in a high leverage situation. I had the bases loaded (again) and two outs with a 1-2 count on me. Knowing what happened last time, Simon was trying to keep the ball low and hope that I would hit the ball to the bushes, or the cars or to the ramp. Well, not only was I getting my way with my HR/FB%, I also got BABIP'd and I put a nice swing on a low fastball, sending a ground ball right back up the middle that missed the ramp by probably about six inches. If I hadn't gotten so lucky, the scored would have stayed at 8-5 and Simon could have still been in the game. Instead, two runs scored and I went up 10-5. 
I took the first game of the series on the back of "Crook Lee's" fantastic 5 inning, 7 hit, 5 run, 8K performance. You must remember that this was an pretty low scoring affair so that is actually considered a good start. "Crook Halladay" pitched the last inning, giving up one walk, a hit (which went through both cars for a BABIP-type hit) and one run.

Game 2 will be on Wednesday, May 4th at 2:45 at Mike's Cold Hard Lemonade Stadium. The Crookers will be sending "Crook Canks" to the mound while Simon has yet to decide on his starting pitcher.

*NOTE: Being the baseball nerd we are, I would like to clarify that Simon and I pretend to be these pitchers but with different names. Hey, don't make fun, if you played in this baseball league, you would be tempted to do that too.