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Postgame April 23

=== All You Need Is Glove === On our pregame, Matty shot back:
I don’t like dogmatic comments like “It’s physically impossible for a defense to save a run a game compared to an average MLB defense.” I don’t buy that for a second, Doc. And you don’t normally make that kind of certain statement.
Heh :- )  Fair 'nuff.  You're not buying, and I'm not selling.  Just handing it out for free, babe.  No defense can physically save its team 22 runs a game, either.  Is that dogma, or it is sound logic?  ;- ) My fave lines from the Star Wars series:
Only a Sith speaks in absolutes.  I will do what I must.
Which is, of course, itself an [absurd] absolute:  all people frequently speak in absolutes, especially the mythical Jedi.  Yoda speaks mostly in absolutes. ................ Personally, I'm SLOW to state that I believe a baseball principle to be Truth, but that doesn't mean that all Truth is unthinking dogma.  Here's what I'm thinkin' on the no-defense-saves-1.00 runs per game principle:
2008 AL Team Average:  4.68 runs allowed per game 2008 AL-Leading Blue Jays:  3.77 runs allowed per game Difference between best run prevention and average run prevention:  0.89 runs per game.
The best run prevention of 2008 saved its team 0.89 runs per game.  That includes pitching. So, yeah, I'll stand by my statement that no set of nine fielders is saving its manager 1.00 runs per game with glovework alone.  Maybe 0.3 or 0.4 if they're great.  I'd be open-minded to an argument towards -0.50 runs saved by a team of fielders.   But UZR has the M's for >1.00, and that ain't what's happenin'.  Sorry if the truth sounds dogmatic. DER has the M's as saving the pitchers 0 runs so far.  Baseball Prospectus' defensive runs saved also has the M's middle-of-the-pack. . === Defense As Key to The Game === The M's defense, now in a clear slump, made three errors and few noteworthy plays, if any.   King Felix was the key to the game. I don't know what B.J. Upton's defensive stats are, but sitting close to him and watching him, I was simply blown away.  Physically, he looks like a young Andruw Jones out there.   He glides effortlessly in 30-yard bursts, catching doubles in the gap with soft shoulders and a relaxed gait. The freakish multi-sport athletic talent plays beautifully in center field. . === James Shields === Capt. Insano was, as expected, back in form.  According to Brooksbaseball.net, he also threw only 52 fastballs and cutters as against 50 breaking pitches. He had sharp breaks, good deception, and walked only one batter.  He only had 4 strikeouts, but then, the Mariners are statistically the very hardest team in the AL to strike out.  They put the ball in play early in the count. So Rays fans will be glad to see James feelin' it. ................... James' only run yielded was a 93-mph fastball to Ichiro, out and over the plate -- if we were talking about a chessboard, it would have hit the c6 square of the strike zone from Ichiro's point of view.  Waist high, and just at the outside 1/3 dividing line. A real challenge pitch, and Ichiro's rocket shot left a vapor trail through the chilly air. . === King Felix === Felix' fastball velocity is down about 2 mph.  That's a very good thing.   He sits 93-94, rather than 96. Jack Nicklaus once said that many golfers never make the plateau leap they want, only because they cannot emotionally accept that golf is a game of precision more than of power. Jack was speaking as one of the PGA's longest hitters, but he didn't think of himself as a long hitter. Felix now takes a little off his fastball and spots it.  Even good hitters can't stalk him any more, cannot sit dead-red like they used to, because they don't get that one centered FB per at-bat.   Felix' "challenge fastball" isn't worth waiting for any more.  It doesn't come often enough. ................... Let's say that you told Felix, "hey.  We're going to score one run for you.  Also, we're going to commit three errors for you."   What is a starting pitcher's chance to win if given 1 run, and given 3 errors behind him? Erik Bedard was treated similarly his last start:  he had a shutout in the 6th, but was locked in an 0-0 game when a bloop fell in and beat him.  Must be tough to basically fire a shutout and lose.  What is this, the Astrodome 1970?! The M's offense clocked in at 3:40 pm, so to speak, and clocked out at 3:45 pm, done for the night.  Nice work if you can get it.  :- )   Sandy Koufax used to complain that since he held leads so well, the Dodgers would score one run and say, "Okay, there's your lead!" . === David Aardsma === Dr. D's worst call of the year, so far, was the one in which he prophesied that Aardsma would never get it together.   The next game, Aardsma got it together.  :- ) This is probably the best two weeks that Aardsma has ever thrown.  Buy that Rick Adair guy a sody pop. I'd have gotten rid of Aardsma in March, having decided that he was not worth the time investment.  The M's felt otherwise, and tonight he made B.J. Upton and Evan Longoria look like bushers.  Tip o' the kelly to the M's, but we'll see how permanent the change is. Viva la revolucion, Dr D