mulder's adventure continues this evening against the guy he replaced in our rotation, good woodrow williams -- to whom i likened mulder a coupla weeks back. (and for the record, woody's real name is gregory.) ol' woody sat out the month of may but came back strong; era of about 3.5 during june, continued pitching well into july and brought his overall era down to 4.10. then his last time out he got tagged for 7 runs in 6 innings in a 7-3 loss at shea. he has yielded five homers in his last 22.2 innings; a damn shame all our power hitters are on the dl.
back to mulder: there's an interesting study up today at the birdwatch, wherein rob examines the
postseason performance of low-strikeout pitchers. well actually he looks at all pitchers, sorted by strikeout rates, but the low-k guys like mulder are the subject of the inquiry. surprising conclusion: low-k guys don't fall to pieces in the postseason. they do have high postseason eras -- a run a game higher than high-strikeout pitchers -- but as a group low-k guys pitch about as well in the postseason as they do in the regular season. there's some other good stuff in the article; i recommend it.
brave faces: before we start feeling too sorry for ourselves over the pathetic state of the roster, consider what the atlanta braves have endured this season. injuries at 3b (chipper jones), left field (brian jordan) and catcher (eddie perez), plus the failure of the raul mondesi experiment, have forced atlanta to give nearly 800 at-bats this season to rookies, including 300 to players who began the year at triple a or below. (the cards have given just 138 at-bats so far to minor-league callups.) here's a list:
ryan langerhans, of: 206 at-bats, .238 / .322 / .398 / .720
kelly johnson, of: 174 at-bats, .236 / .330 / .408 / .738
wilson betemit, 3b: 171 at-bats, .287 / .344 / .468 / .812
pete orr, 2b: 110 at-bats, .309 / .345 / .409 / .754
brian mccann, c: 45 at-bats, .289 / .360 / .422 / .782
andy marte, 3b: 44 at-bats, .159 / .250 / .250 / .500
- jeff francouer, of: 26 at-bats, .385 / .385 / .808 / 1.193
worse yet, the bravos have had 3/5 of their starting rotation in drydock due to injuries at some point this season. mike hampton has been on the dl twice, was only reactivated a week ago; tim hudson also rejoined the team last week after exactly one month on the dl. and john thomson has been on the list for two full months. as a result, cox/mazzone have given 16 starts -- one-sixth of the schedule -- to pitchers who started the year at triple a or below. the cards have had no such starts.
so when it comes to rosters held together with spit and tissue, we ain't got nothing on atlanta -- which despite all starts the day tied for 1st place in the crowded nl east.
brave faces II: what would you have assumed if somebody told you back on april 1 that, come the last week of july:
- scott rolen would only have 5 hr
- edmonds would be hitting .266 with 17 dingers
- larry walker would be hitting .271 with 11 dingers
- mark mulder would have an era of 3.98
i don't know about you, but i would have predicted dire straits for this team. instead they're 10.5 games up -- and should we see that lead shrink to 5.5 this month, stl will still enter the stretch run much better off than they had any right to expect in these circumstances. don' worry, be happy . . . .