baseball today: cardinals vs mets today at jupiter, suppan v trachsel. the season's underway.
Update [2006-3-2 12:7:20 by lboros]: courtesy of derrick goold's Bird Land post, here is today's starting lineup:
note that all three candidates for the left-field job, and two of the three would-be 2bmen, are starting. i would expect that type of pattern to continue throughout the spring.
the pitchers: suppan, followed by tankersley, voyles, reidling, ty johnson, and cali.
how good are the mets? something jumps right out at me: they underperformed their pythagorean w-l record by 6 games last year; ie, they "should" have been an 89-73 team based on their runs-scored and runs-allowed totals. teams that significantly underperform their pythaogorean record, bill james showed long ago, tend to improve the following year. but then, james also showed that it's very difficult for any team to improve its record three years in a row. the mets have increased their win total in each of the last two years -- from 66 in 2003 to 71 in 2004 to 83 last season. they won't have to match last year's 12-win improvement to win the division in 2006, but they'll probably have to improve by 8 or 9; i don't see it. they didn't really address their major offensive weakness, ie low team obp; delgado will help, and beltran will probably play better, but their other additions (nady, lo duca, valentin) aren't upgrades. they've been trying all winter, without success, to find an alternative to kaz matsui at 2b; the latest rumor has them chasing tony graffanino (middle of the article), who would be a big help if he maintains his 2005 level of performance.
the pitching staff, a major strength of the 2005 mets (they very quietly finished 3d in the league in era), has regressed; pedro's 34 years old and ailing, glavine's now 40, and benson and seo were both traded for middle relievers (why ???). if the cards were to face the mets (as currently constructed) in the postseason, i'd like stl's chances a lot. vegas puts the over-under on new york at 90.5 games, the second-highest total in the nl (behind only the cardinals); i'll take the under.
the cubs may also be interested in graffanino, per the boston herald.
lineup followup: i haven't bought The Book by mgl / tangotiger, but thanks to studes' post at hardball times today i know what the book says about lineup construction. quoting studes, quoting The Book:
|vs left||vs right|
if you're wondering why spivey rates as one of the top 3 hitters vs lefties, check his splits -- career ops vs them is 900+.
my work schedule compels me to end this post here; back at midday with an update on the game and a few other items that got crimped by my tight morning.