Monday, August 30, 2004

So Troy Glaus is back in the lineup, and Ramon Ortiz is complaining about his role. Let's party like it's May, 2004!

Does Ortiz have a point? Check it:

Player  ERA    IP   K/BF  BB/BF  HR/BF

Ortiz 4.41 112.3 .153 .074 .034
Sele 4.35 113.7 .093 .089 .032
Of course, much of Ortiz's success has come in the bullpen. As a starter this year, he has a 5.47 ERA in 79 innings, whereas Sele has a 4.27 in 103 1/3 innings. Ortiz's numbers benefit from the 33 1/3 relief innings in which he had a 1.89 ERA; his starting ERA is the worst of any Angel starter this year.

Then, of course, there's this guy:

Player  ERA    IP   K/BF  BB/BF  HR/BF

Lackey 5.00 156.7 .158 .063 .030
What's odd about this trio of pitchers is that their ERAs are in reverse order of their peripherals. Lackey strikes out the most men of the three, and gives up walks and homers to the least, but has the worst ERA while Sele -- the worst in those three categories -- has the best ERA!

Here is the batting average each pitcher has allowed on balls in play, as well as their percentage of hit balls allowed that were line drives (thank you Hardball Times) through August 27:

Pitcher  AVG   LD%

Lackey .313 .161
Team .311
Sele .294 .146
Ortiz .292 .175
Interesting: it seems as though Lackey has allowed all the hits you would expect, given the defense behing him, but that Ortiz may be having a run of good fortune. And it seems as though opposing teams are having trouble getting good contact against Sele (relatively), solidifying his crafty righthander status. Also, given that his hits allowed on balls in play is the furthest away from the team mark, and he gets hit harder than the other guys, Ortiz may be the most likely of these men to decline over the balance of the season. (This conclusion suprises me; I would have guessed it to be Sele, who I also suspect is due for a decline, due to his poor peripherals.)

So while I understand Ortiz's frustration, I think the Angels are making the right move by putting him in the bullpen. He has struggled in the rotation relative to Aaron Sele, and he has shown the ability to thrive in relief.

This is all somewhat academic, what with Ace Washburn healing and on his way back. Scioscia is committed to a four-man rotation, an absolutely wonderful idea I have long supported.


The best thing about seeing Glaus come back was his ninth-inning walk. He laid off the breaking pitches away, the pitches that have traditionally led to his strikeouts. Now, sure, it's easier to lay off that pitch 3-1 than it is 0-2, but it seemed that he was seeing the ball well. You don't want to get too far ahead of yourself, but seeing Glaus back in action was exciting.

I still feel like they have a better chance to win with Lackey on the mound than either of the other two. At least the numbers tell me that's not a completely irrational belief.

And I stood and gave Glaus a standing ovation in my apartment.

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