Reds 5, Phillies 2

Posted in 2017 Phillies on May 27, 2017 by wechslerh66


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Mariners 10, Phillies 9

Posted in 2017 Phillies on May 12, 2017 by wechslerh66


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Phillies 5, Braves 2

Posted in 2017 Phillies on April 23, 2017 by wechslerh66


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TINSTAAPP (There Is No Such Thing As A Phillies Pitcher)

Posted in 2017 Phillies on April 22, 2017 by wechslerh66


Me, emailing my cousin in Cambridge about the Clay Buchholz trade last December:

I can’t help thinking of the worst case and not completely unlikely scenario: Clay Buchholz is the new Andrew Bynum. Well, OK, he’ll probably play more than zero games for the Phils, but, like, five is more than zero. Norm Charlton’s Phillies career ( also comes to mind[.]

Deadspin, two days ago:

Phillies pitcher Clay Buchholz had surgery earlier this week to fix a torn flexor tendon in his right arm. His 4-to-6 months of recovery will keep him out for the rest of the season.

Buchholz, who the Phillies got from Boston in December for 24-year-old minor leaguer Josh Tobias, is in the last year of his contract. He will make $13.5 million this season for 7.1 innings pitched, 40 batters faced, and 10 earned runs allowed. Those will almost certainly be his final career numbers with the Phillies.

(And right, Mike Jackson.)

2017 NHL Playoff Picks

Posted in 2017 Other on April 13, 2017 by wechslerh66


The usual goaltending-centric playoff preview which you now won’t get anywhere else, because goaltending has never been more meaningless in the NHL (unless it’s bad goaltending, in which case it’s only moderately meaningless, maybe).

First Round

Western Conference
Anaheim/Calgary: Two deep (the Ducks’ top two goal scorers were Rickard Rakell and Patrick Eaves?) and underrated (East Coast Bias) teams.  The Flames have the better possession numbers and the better power play; the Ducks have home ice and better goaltending.  Brian Elliott’s save percentage by month: .898, .869, .919, .892, .922, .936, .871 (3 games in April).  Ducks in 7.
San Jose/Edmonton: Somehow the Sharks are underdogs despite not choking in last year’s playoffs and having the exact same record (one more OT loss) this year.  Oh, and Couture and Thornton may be injured plus Connor McDavid (100 points for an Oilers team that scored 243 total goals, or 40.5 percent of his team’s goals (thanks, Friedge)) and Cam Talbot (a league-leading 73 games and 4294 minutes) are awesome whereas Martin Jones (.912) wasn’t so much, though he was second overall in total minutes.  Oilers in 6.
Chicago/Nashville: Like the Hall-for-Larsson trade for the Oilers, Subban-for-Weber wasn’t the worst trade in team history for Montreal so far, although even in an off year Subban did have better possession numbers.  More importantly for Nashville, Pekka Rinne was sort of good again (.918, up from .908 a year ago), but Crawford and Darling were better, which should be more than enough for a team that won at least one recent Cup courtesy of whatever remains from the 1990s of the Osgood exception (i.e. “whoever has the better goaltending matchup wins, unless it involves Detroit, who wins anyway”). Bonus fun fact: the last five Cup winners are now the three oldest teams in the NHL, with Chicago number one (28.258). Blackhawks in 6.
Minnesota/St. Louis: The Wild improved by 11 wins under Bruce Boudreau.  The Blues went 22-8-2 under former Wild coach Mike Yeo.  Both teams have mediocre possession numbers; the Wild are higher scoring (second in the NHL with 263 goals) but the Blues have the most explosive individual scorer (Tarasenko’s 39 goals were 11 more than any Wild player and his 286 shots were 75 more (both Eric Staal)).  Both goalies have been worse in the playoffs than the regular season in small sample sizes so far as well, but I’ll take Devan Dubnyk (.923, 2.25) over Jake Allen (.915, 2.42).  Wild in 6.

Eastern Conference
Washington/Toronto: This (courtesy of Sportsnet’s playoff preview series): Washington: 51.69 5on5 CF% (4th), .937 5on5 Sv% (1st), 9.34 5on5 Sh% (1st), 103.0 PDO (1st).  And this: Washington: 23.3 PP% (3rd), 84.1 PK% (6th), 261 GF (3rd), 175 GA (1st).  And by the way Braden Holtby (.925, 2.07, 9 shutouts, all better than 2016, when he won the Vezina) is sort of better than Fredrik Andersen, who wasn’t bad himself (.918, 4 shutouts).  Leafs rookies scored the third-most points ever, even more impressive when you consider the top two teams had Dale Hawerchuk and Teemu Selanne and played in a higher octane NHL than ours (they faced Whaler and Nordique goalies multiple times a year!), but this matchup looks like Caps in 5.
Pittsburgh/Columbus: When John Tortorella wins his second Adams award this summer, Canucks fans will think of this“Bob” may win a second Vezina as well (bizarrely, he never led the league in SV% or goals against average before 2017 despite winning the Vezina in 2013 (Craig Anderson, if you’re curious)), but the Osgood exception applies here too, and not because Bob’s playoffs have been poor (small sample size but .890, 3.49, no shutouts in 13 games vs. a career .920, 2.45, 19 shutouts in the regular season).  Small-sample Matt Murray and post-redemption Marc-Andre Fleury aren’t bad, and Crosby-Malkin-Kessel-supporting cast have the scarier power play and experience.  The Blue Jackets are the youngest team in the NHL.  They’ll be back (unless they do some Jakub Voracek-Jeff Carter-Jack Johnson trade thing again), but Penguins in 7.
Montreal/NY Rangers: A year ago I would have picked the Rangers not entirely because of Lundquist (Montreal’s goalie is apparently pretty good too) but because the Rangers are still deep, well-coached, went to the Finals even more recently than Habs fans burned cars because you don’t lose first round Game 7s at home to teams that speak English, etc. and in fact a year ago I did pick the Rangers to beat the Penguins in the first round.  That didn’t happen, and the Rangers’ terrible possession numbers from last year are still terrible (47.96 5on5 CF%, 26th), while the Habs’, like last year’s Penguins’, are much better (52.54 5on5 CF%, 3rd).  Montreal in 5.
Boston/Ottawa:  From Travis Yost’s Canadian teams-only playoff preview in TSNLet’s remember that the above does not account for what should be a pretty serious goaltending advantage in Ottawa’s favour.  How the mighty have fallen, Tuukka Rask (2.23, .915, 37 wins, 8 shutouts in 2017…which when I was young, –!!!, and this is the worst matchup for Boston, what?!).  With all due respect to likely Masterton winner Craig Anderson (2.28, .926, 5 shutouts in only 40 games), not to mention perennial Norris trophy runnerup (hello Brent Burns) Erik Karlsson, Bruins in 5.


Western Conference
Anaheim/Edmonton: The team with Connor McDavid over the team without Connor McDavid.  Oilers in 6.
Chicago/Minnesota: Blackhawks in 6.

Eastern Conference
Washington/Pittsburgh: Because Roberto Luongo and Vancouver beat the Blackhawks once tooCaps in 7.
Montreal/Boston: Les voitures, ils vont brûler!  Bruins in 7.

Conference Finals

Western Conference
Chicago/Edmonton: The team with Connor McDavid over the team that only has Kane, Toews, Hossa, Keith, Seabrook, and Crawford (and Panarin and Anisimov).  Oilers in 6.
Washington/Boston: Caps in 5.

Stanley Cup Finals

Washington/Edmonton: The team without Connor McDavid.  This time.  Caps in 4.

Mets 4, Phillies 3

Posted in 2017 Phillies on April 11, 2017 by wechslerh66





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Quote of the night
Pathetic drunk in men’s room: “Awright, sorry for the cleanin’ crew, I threw up in the urinal–?”

The Mets’ rotation and Scott Kazmir

Posted in 2017 Other on March 18, 2017 by wechslerh66


The Mets’ Four Aces were down to one ace, one Noah Syndergaard, for most of 2016, with flashes of deGrom and Matz, a bad and then injured Matt Harvey, plus Bartolo Colon, Logan Verrett, Seth Lugo, Robert Gsellman, Gabriel Ynoa, Rafael Montero, and others, yes, others; Jon Niese who is still wearing a Pirates cap on his Baseball Reference page even started twice for the Mets last year. As a reward for his All-Star, top 10 Cy Young, top 20 MVP season during which he also led the league in both FIP (2.29, lower than his 2.60 ERA) and fewest HR/9 (0.5), which parenthetically suggests the Mets’ defense is terrible, Noah Syndergaard will be receiving a raise from $535,375 to $605,500, which is both more money than I will ever see in my lifetime and an amazing bargain for a team whose owner has his own New York Times search page with the phrase “Madoff suit” in parentheses. According to Spotrac, Syndergaard is the 117th highest paid starting pitcher in the majors and the 498th highest paid overall player in the majors, and his career earnings as a pitcher are comparable to those of Brewers Zach Davies and Jimmy Nelson, who do not have World Series appearances, top 10 Cy Young finishes, or scary Norse nicknames.

Of course, this is a result of the current CBA structure, in which teams can keep player salaries low based on service time, and service time is valued over performance, if not inversely to performance since veterans who eventually decline and lose value tend to be paid more than the value they generate for teams just as young players who have no bargaining power tend to generate more value for teams than their salaries.  Cynically, it means that awesome young players need to receive well below market value for years until finally they reach the decline stage of their careers and can sign ridiculous free agent contracts that teams will regret and owners will wish they had amnesty clauses to try to remove (or maybe not; front offices aren’t as bad with terrible contracts these days because front offices aren’t as bad, period–there are only four teams to have lost 90 games or more in each of the past two years, and one of those teams is the Oakland A’s, who are still to some extent THOSE Oakland A’s).  So other than flags flying forever and Mets fans becoming even more like whom you think of when you think of Mets fans, what would have happened if, sometime during the course of last season, Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, and Steven Matz had all suffered career-ending thoracic outlet/rotator cuff/Steve Blass Disease-type injuries and simultaneously decided to retire at the end of 2016? How would the Four Aces be remembered and, more cynically and more relevant here, how would that memory translate into financial terms?

By the numbers:

Total career earnings of the Four Aces, from Matt Harvey’s major league debut in 2012 through the end of 2016, excluding signing bonuses: $9,801,535
Total Wins Above Replacement (Baseball Reference): 34.0
$/WAR: $288,280.44

Or if you prefer:
With signing bonuses included: $13,316,535
$/WAR: $391,662.79

A win by most estimates is worth around $8 million on the open market, so the Four Aces collectively generated approximately 20 times as much value as they were actually paid.

To torment Mets fans more–or wait, this will actually torment Mets fans LESS (other than that the premise of this hypothetical is that the Four Aces are now Zero Aces, so hypothetical Mets fans are now Aceless)–how much value did the Dodgers receive just in 2016 from a dollar amount almost equal to the Mets’ 2012-2016 total investment in Harvey-Syndergaard-deGrom-Matz–namely, Old Friend Scott Kazmir, whom Mets, Dodgers, and Tampa Bay Rays fans (and maybe Angels fans, and A’s fans, and Indians fans, and Astros fans) recall well?

Scott Kazmir 2016 salary: $12,666,667
Scott Kazmir 2016 WAR: 0.2
Scott Kazmir 2016 $/WAR: $63,333,335

Yes, the Dodgers paid $63 million per the-win-he-didn’t-deliver for Scott Kazmir in 2016, meaning that they paid 8 times more per win than they should have on the open market for the benefits of Scott Kazmir, but which also means that Scott Kazmir was worth approximately as much in salary to the Dodgers for his 136 1/3 innings over 26 starts last year as the Four Aces collectively have been to the Mets through 2016 while providing less than 6 percent of the total value. Maybe it’s not so bad to be a Mets fan these days, but it sucks to be young and a Met.

Mets’ salary numbers courtesy of Spotrac.