Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
- Point - Bassy Telfair and Kevin Ollie. (The worst tandem in the league.)
- Shooting Guard - Rodney Carney (Without Mike Miller and Randy Foye they are now lacking both quality and quantity.)
- Small Forward - Ryan Gomes and Corey Brewer. (Combined they might make a decent small forward)
- Power Forward - Al Jefferson and Craig Smith (No problem here)
- Center - Kevin Love and Jason Collins (Kevin Love is more suited to be a power forward and Jason Collins is more suited to be retired.)
- Consider trading with the Grizzlies for the 2nd pick, but don't pull the trigger if the price is too high (think 5th and 6th or anything involving Love). This is basically a 1 player draft with a bunch of wild cards after that, so moving up to 2nd doesn't make that much sense. It would be better to roll the dice two times with the 5th and 6th pick then to try your luck once with the 2nd pick.
- Draft Ty Lawson with the 5th or 6th pick and put him in the starting lineup. He shoots, scores and will be a great passer for Love and Jefferson. I can already imagine Love throwing a great outlet pass to Lawson who then finds Jefferson streaking to the basket for a dunk.
- Hope Thabeet falls to the Twolves with one of their first two picks.. He would be a great defensive player and fit in well with both Love and Jefferson as they rotate front court minutes between those 3 players.
- Stay away from DeMar DeRozan with the 5th pick, 6th pick and even the 18th pick.
- There aren't any shooting guards that stick out as definite picks, but I would definitely draft Gerald Henderson with the 18th pick and if Thabeet and/or Lawson wasn't I would even consider him with the 6th pick.
- Stay away from James Harden. He scored 20 points a game and fills a position the Twolves need, but he plays old. It is hard to describe besides the fact that when I watched Arizona St. play it looked like he was playing in slow motion. There is no way he is going to be a better player than Gerald Henderson.
- Stephen Curry is a great point guard or combo guard option. If the Twolves aren't sold on Lawson then I would prefer they go with Curry. I have mixed opinions on Curry because I usually don't like combo guards (like Foye) who don't have an true position, but on the other hand it is Stephen freakin Curry. Did you see the NCAA tournament last year? There aren't many people who can make LeBron James gasp by playing basketball. He is an unbelievable shooter who would provide much needed scoring to the Twolves. I am not confident that he will be a great point guard option (not as confident as I am with Lawson), but I do think he would be an above-average player in the Nba. My expectation for him is to be a better all around version of Ben Gordon.
- If Gerald Henderson has already been picked or they already drafted shooting guard then don't think twice and draft Jeff Teague with the 18th pick. I don't care if they draft Lawson with the 5th pick and Curry with the 6th pick they should just take Teague and not worry about it. Currently he is my hope for the Jazz at the 20th spot, but the Twolves could use him more than the Jazz. I loved watching Jeff Teague play this year in the ACC and would love to see him in either a Twolves or Jazz uniform.
- Stay away from Hansbrough.
- Draft Danny Green with the 28th pick. He can play a wing position for the Twolves and is a very versatile player who I am glad is finished playing for UNC.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
If you didn't know me that well you might start to think that I am a Royals fan. Why? I have been to 4 Royals games in the last month and a half. My current favorite writer is the Kansas City Star's Joe Posnanski. I read every one of his blog posts, and because of him I know the difference between Mike Jacobs and Mark Teahan. I even considered buying a Royals player t-shirt because I think the name DeJesus is really funny. I am not a Royals fan (they play in the Twins division), but lately I have been immersed in all things Royals. The immersion included 3 Royals games at Kauffman stadium, and because of that I feel more qualified than ever to write this stadium review.
My friends commented that they enjoyed the food they got as well, and I was very impressed with the amount of options that were available. There were no complaints on the food besides the below-average smoothie I got, but really that is my fault for getting a smoothie at a ballpark.
However, if you are a kid then you are in paradise in the outfield. There is a carousel, a mini-baseball field and other things to entertain the young ones. Also, coming soon there will be a Royals Hall of Fame, which I can only imagine to be a shrine to George Brett.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
- At the start of the 9th inning when the Twins have a lead of 3 runs or less.
- At the start of the 9th inning when the Twins have a lead of greater than 3 runs, but Joe Nathan hasn't pitched in a long time and Gardy (nickname for Gardenhire) doesn't want Nathan to get rusty.
This isn't anything strange since most managers use their closer in the same way, but my question on that is why. Why limit your best pitcher to such a predefinied situation? Why do managers think the 9th inning is more important than the 6th, 7th or 8th inning? I have seen just as many teams lose the game in 7th inning as in the 9th inning. Managers need to stop thinking of the 9th inning as being this super special inning with mystical powers that need a designated closer.
Let's look specifically at my favorite team the Twins. How do the Twins use Nathan and why I am I so perplexed? I would like to at first highlight the fact that Nathan is one of the Twins best pitchers by looking at Nathan's stats. Below are Nathan's team rank by stat by year with the team rank being in parenthesis. For example ERA - 2009 (1st) means that Joe Nathan is leading the Twins with the lowest ERA among all pitchers.
- ERA - Nathan - 2009 (1st) , 2008 (2nd), 2007 (1st), 2006 (2nd), 2005 (2nd), 2004 (1st)
- WHIP - Nathan - 2009 (2nd), 2008 (2nd), 2007 (2nd), 2006 (2nd), 2005 (tied for 1st), 2004 (2nd).
- K/9 innings -2009 (1st), 2008 (2nd), 2007 (1st), 2006 (2nd), 2005 (2nd), 2004 (2nd).
As you can see from the above stats he is pretty good and also extremely consistent. In ERA, WHIP and K/9 innings he finished first or second in team rank every year since he joined the Twins in 2004. Now let's look at how many innings he pitched compared to other Twins pitchers with the team rank listed last:
- 2009 - 23.1 innings pitched - 9th
- 2008 - 67.2 innings pitched - 10th
- 2007 - 71.2 innings pitched - 8th
- 2006 - 68.1 innings pitched - 10th
- 2005 - 70 innings pitched - 9th
- 2004 - 72.1 innings pitched - 8th.
How is that one of the Twins best two pitchers year in and year out hasn't finished in the top seven of innings pitched? How does that make sense? Wouldn't it make more sense to pitch your best pitchers more? The batting equivalent would be if Gardy decided to give Joe Mauer 200 at bats and Delmon Young *600 at bats.
*Strange thing I found was that last year Carlos Gomez came up to the plate 577 times, Delmon Young came up 575 times and Joe Mauer came up to the plate 536 times. That doesn't make much sense, but for this argument I am going to focus on the pitchers.
A perfect real world example would be yesterday's game between the Twins and the As. The Twins and the As were tied 3-3 in the 9th inning and Gardy sent out Sean Henn to face the As. He walked the only batter he faced before Gardy decided to bring in Matt Guerrier. Three batters latter the As are celebrating a win. Why in that example wouldn't Gardy use Nathan? The game was close, so go out and try to win the game. Better yet try to give your team the best chance of not losing the game by throwing out second rate pitchers like Henn and Guerrier. The goal at the bottom of the 9th inning in a tie game on the road is to extend the game and Nathan gives the Twins the best chance of extending the game. In a tie game on the road in the 9th inning the only way to win again is to be able to get your hitters to the plate at least one more time. If you don't get to bat anymore then you are guaranteed a loss. Also, in this situation it would have been even better for the Twins to extend the game one more inning because the top of the lineup was scheduled to hit if there was a 10th inning.
It seems to make sense to me not to limit your best pitcher to such a detailed time. If the game was close in the later innings I would bring Nathan in to pitch as many pitches as was smart for both his health and effectiveness. There is always the chance that Nathan is able to have an easy 9th inning and could come back and even pitch the 10th inning. Just pitch him up into a certain pitch count point. By doing this you would have your best pitcher pitching in close games and giving yourself the best chance of winning. Yesterday ended with Henn getting the loss, Geurrier walking off the mound after giving up the winning hit, and Nathan sitting unused in the bullpen. That makes no sense to me.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
SPORTS THOUGTHS FOR THOSE WHO CARE
The last big (more than one series) roadtrip the Twins outscored their opponents (the Yankees and White Sox) by a combined score of 42-35 and somehow only went 1-6 in wins and losses. This roadtrip they have outscored their opponents (the Mariners and Atheletics) 17-14 and yet are only 2-2 in games. Winning games 20-1 and then losing games 4-3 will do that for you I guess.
This year the Twins have been absolutely terrible on the road and need more victories like the one last night. The win last night put their overall road record at 8-19 (winning - 30%) compared to a home record of 21-12 (winning- 64%). It is a small sample size of games this year, but if this home/road winning difference holds up then it will be by far the largest difference in the past 7 years. The problem isn't the home winning % because that is close to the Twins home record over the past 7 years where they have won on average 61% of the games. The reason for the large difference is that the road record is lagging way behind the average 51% winning percentage over the same time period. If the Twins had only matched their approx. 500 play on the road so far then they would have a two game lead in the division instead of being 4 games behind the Tigers. This all makes me wonder what the move to Target Field is going to be like next year and if the Twins are going to be able to maintain their average 61% winning percentage there. Is the 61% winning percentage attributed to the Metrodome? Or maybe are the Twins so bad on the road because they get used to playing the Metrodome? Will their home win % drop, but maybe their road percentage go up because they get used to playing outdoors?
END OF SPORTS THOUGTHSI am still loving my new place for those of you who care. It makes me thinks that the key to life is to find and make small, meaningful improvements. The easiest way to do this is to start off by lowering the bar so that *normal stuff seems like a luxury. For me sleeping in a place with A/C is so much more enjoyable after spending 2.5 years sleeping in a place without A/C. These small things add up and really can make a huge difference in one's happiness. Small, meaningful improvements are more important to me then big, sweeping changes like winning the lottery or trying to quit smoking.
*normal is of course relative since I am writing this from the position of a privileged American who hasn't really had any big suffering in my life. I don't mean to sound intolerant.
More to come on the blog later as I have to get to my review of Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City.