The Disappointment Zone

Musings from a Cleveland sports fan

Archive for June, 2006

Dunn drives nail into coffin

Posted by disappointmentzone on 30 June 2006

5-0 Indians after the top of the first. 7-0 Indians in the bottom of the eighth. 7-4 no outs later. 8-4 in the bottom of the ninth. 8-9 Indians lose.

Before the game I wrote of Adam Dunn’s inability to drive in his teammates and of his teammates’ in ability to be on base when Adam Dunn bats. Well, both of those worlds came crashing together with spectacular results when the Indians sent in Bob Wickman to pitch the bottom of the ninth against the Reds tonight even though, with a four run lead, it wasn’t a save situation. Wickman has difficulty appearing focused when he’s in to save a ballgame, so it doesn’t surprise me much that Wickman was unable to muster anything resembling good pitching when the game wasn’t on the line. And by the time the game was on the line–after he’d given up one run, two hits, and two walks and had loaded the bases for (guess who!) Adam Dunn–Wickman was too far entrenched in his laboring patheticness to do anything to prevent a walk-off grand slam. Seriously, does anyone combine a look of sheer panic with the actions of total indifference in a more befuddling way than Bob Wickman?

Oh, and Philips went 4-5. And Wickman has gone from attractive trade bait to the scrap heap. Bob Wickman on June 7th: 1-0, 2.12 ERA. Bob Wickman on June 30th: 1-4, 4.88 ERA. At least we aren’t paying our closer $5 million when we are 19 games out of first place. Good times.

If only to make the darkness of this game appear darker, there was a bright spot: With two on and no outs in the seventh, Perez came in to pitch for Paul Byrd and faced the three-four-five hitters and got out of the inning without giving up a run. Damn impressive. Perez has not given up a run this season (granted, in only 5.2 innings). He’s done his part to keep the bullpen from being 27th in the majors in ERA. This after being 1st in bullpen ERA last season. Of course, the year before that the Indians were 26th, and the year before that the Indians were 9th, and the year before that 27th, and the year before that 5th.

Which in a roundabout way brings me to NFL quarterbacks. In the Wages of Wins there is a chapter on how NFL quarterbacks are like mutual funds, which is to say wildly inconsistent. The NFL rates quarterbacks with a convoluted formula that is not only too complicated but also incomplete–it doesn’t factor fumbles or rushing–and is a very poor tool to predict both how much a quarterback contributes to his team winning and how well he might do in the next season. For example, passer rating explains only 10% of what a quarterback does from season to season, which is to say if you know a quarterback’s passer rating for one season you won’t be accurate if you use it as a measure of what he will do in the next season (good news for McNabb and Culpepper fans). A consistent quarterback, such as Peyton Manning, is the exception and not the rule. And the fluctuations from season to season are often wild, like what we are seeing from the Indians bullpen over the past few seasons. Another interesting fact is that while quarterbacks are assigned win-loss records, quarterbacks are–at most–about 30% responsible for whether their teams win. This is because the play of the quarterback and ultimately of the team is dependent, in part, on the play of his teammates (linemen, running backs, receivers, etc.).

If you want a better measure of quarterback success–and by better I mean less complicated and more complete–then you’d be wise to use QB Score, which can be calculated by this formula: QB Score=Yards – 3(plays) – 50(turnovers). For reference, an average NFL quarterback will have a QB Score of 40.

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Dunn drives himself

Posted by disappointmentzone on 30 June 2006

An interesting fact from tonight’s game against the Reds: Adum Dunn has 25 home runs this season but only 48 RBIs, which means that Dunn drives himself in more often then he drives in the rest of his team. This can be attributed mostly to two factors. First, the Reds don’t often have men on base when Dunn hits his home runs. Second, Dunn cannot hit with men in scoring position (sub .180 average with RISP). Let’s hope Dunn doesn’t suddenly learn how to hit with runners in scoring position tonight. The Indians could use the victory after botching Wednesday’s game against the flailing Cardinals.

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Hello: Garko, Brown, Gibson, Guy. Goodbye: Perez, Playoffs, Belliard.

Posted by disappointmentzone on 30 June 2006

The Indians this afternoon traded 1B Eduardo Perez to Seattle for SS/2B prospect Asdrubal Cabrera, a 20-year-old defensive stud; this trade may very well signal the end of the Ronnie Belliard Era, as Cabrera might be the 2B prospect the Indians need in the system to justify not signing Belliard this off-season. This trade may also signal the end of the season as far as a playoff push is concerned, which is understandable considering that the Indians are 18 games out of first place and that two of the teams ahead of them, Detroit and Chicago, are the first teams in the same division to win 50 of their first 75 games since divisional play began in 1969.

Since Cabrera is still a minor league player (and won’t be called up anytime soon), moving Perez left an opening in the Indians roster that has been filled by Ryan Garko, the 24-year-old hits-for-average first-baseman-of-the-future, who currently holds the title of Most Hyphened athlete in the Indians farm system. Garko has long been a favorite of those Indians fans who follow the minor leagues, and it’s hard not to like a player who’s last name is a wonderful cross of Gecko and Darko. It’s almost as if Travis Hafner’s last name was Pronk, but not really. His only unattractive quality is that he is a native of Pittsburgh, PA. A quick list of a few of his attractive qualities: multi-hyphened player; funny last name that sounds like a nickname; initials are RFG, and I’m setting the over/under on seasons until someone brings a sign to Jacobs Field that reads Real Fucking Good at 1.5; went to Stanford, a university that has a singular mascot name (the cardinal) and a tree as its mascot. The Garko Era has begun.

In Cavaliers news, GM Danny Ferry drafted Shannon Brown and Daniel Gibson and Some Guy in the draft on Wednesday night. Shannon Brown is a superior athlete from Michigan State, so he and Eric Snow should have a lot to talk about. And while they are talking it would be appreciated if Snow told Brown how to play PG, since Brown’s career average in turnovers is higher than his average in assists. Of course, his average for turnover is very low, 2, but so is his average for assists, 1.9. Yahoo sports says Brown’s comparative upside is Gilbert Arenas, which is a fairly high ceiling, and his comparative downside is Steve Francis, who everyone seems to forget was an outstanding player in Houston before he was traded to the Magic and then the Knicks. What does this analysis tell us? That Shannon Brown is a lock for 18 ppg and 1.5 dunks over people much taller than he is per game? No. It tells us that Yahoo really can’t be trusted in evaluating players. Shannon Brown will aspire to a player of Steve Francis’s caliber…and fail. I do not like Shannon Brown as a PG, and I don’t like drafting Shannon Brown as a shooting guard. He’s never shot better than 39% on three point shots. There were not a bunch of quality shooters in the draft this year, and Shannon Brown wasn’t one of them. The Cavs’ starting lineup next season has only two locks: LBJ and Hughes. If Gooden stays he’ll be the PF. Then it’s a platoon of Z and Wild Thing at center. Which leaves only the PG spot unfilled, and since Brown isn’t a PG (in the same way that Dwayne Wade and Gilbert Arenas aren’t point guards) if he is in the lineup it means either LBJ will be handling the ball (not good unless it’s the fourth quarter) or Hughes will be handling the ball (and Hughes isn’t a natural point guard). If there is a PG on the court with Brown, such as Eric Snow or Flip Murray (who will stay with the Cavs as a combo PG/SG), then four of the five players on the court for the Cavs will be under 6-foot-9. Which would make the Cavs look an awful lot like the Suns, only the Suns have a legit PG in Steve Nash. That said, a lot of people, such as ESPN.com writer Chad Ford, loved the pick.

Daniel Gibson as a second round pick is all right in as much as Gibson has a chance to turn into a serviceable PG. Following his freshman season Gibson was projected to be a top-ten pick, but then he returned to Texas and declined in pretty much every area of his game, which is why he fell into the middle of the second round. Gibson completely disappears in big games and only played two seasons at Texas before turning pro, but he is a slightly better shooter than Brown (both can play defense, which is a point that shouldn’t be over looked when you consider that no one outside of Eric Snow and Larry Hughes can play anything that resembles man-to-man defense, although Gibson did allow JJ Redick to drop 41 on him in December). Then again, he is smaller and less experienced and in his only season playing PG, his freshman year, he averaged 3.1 turnovers per game (he averaged fewer turnovers last season but that’s attributable to him playing SG instead of PG). So perhaps he isn’t PG material, but he’s not that tall and not that big, so if he can’t make it as a PG then he won’t make it in the NBA.

So what did the Cavs get in the NBA draft? Well, two players who aren’t ready to contribute right away, one of whom will make SportsCenter at least 12 times this season for a thunderous dunk over a slow, white player who is at least 6’7 while the other struggles for playing time. Oh, and a guy from Africa who can rebound and whose name I can’t wait to hear pronounced 82 different ways by Scott Williams. So we have that going for us. And Chris Broussard, Oberlin College alumni and ESPN the Magazine basketball writer, picked the Cavs to make it to the Eastern Conference Finals next year, which is nice. We’ll see.

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New Site

Posted by disappointmentzone on 30 June 2006

Google Pages has, until this afternoon, hosted The Disappointment Zone, which has become considerably long in content. In turn, updating the page takes longer than I would like since the Google Pages editor loads all of the content before one can update. So I am switching over to the more traditional blog form, hosted by WordPress. Past content from The Disappointment Zone will remain at the Google page, but all new content will be found here. Cheers.

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