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Apolitical blues

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May 4

Wounded heart
Is there a correlation between what happens at the end of a season and the following April?

"When we look at some of the good pitchers that struggled at the end of last season and see how many ended up on the disabled list this April," says one GM, "one wonders if there weren't physical problems at the end of last season."

Pitcher Sept.-Oct., 2001 April, 2002
Greg Maddux 0-3, 5.19 DL
Chan Ho Park 2-3, 6.00 DL
John Burkett 1-3, 5.28 DL
Andy Pettitte 1-2, 5.68 DL
Jason Johnson 0-2, 6.58 DL
Jamey Wright 1-3, 9.00 DL
Albie Lopez 0-3, 6.93 DL
Jon Lieber 2-1, 5.46 Missed a start
Jason Bere 2-2, 5.32 1-3, 6.35

While you were steppin' out, somebody else was slippin' in
Division records in games played outside each division:

American League East, 24-27
American League Central, 22-30
American League West, 26-14
National League East, 36-32
National League Central, 40-58
National League West, 41-26

"What this tells us," says one NL West GM, "is that the road to the wild card will be tough out of either western division. Look at the American League -- the Red Sox and Yankees play Tampa, Baltimore and Toronto 57 times."

It hurts me, too
The Tigers have already placed eight players on the disabled list since the season opened, and have used 17 pitchers.

There were 408 pitchers used in the majors in April, an average of 13.6 per team.

Get thee to a biomechanic.

It takes two
Randy Johnson was forced to skip a start and is scheduled to pitch again on Monday. When he and Curt Schilling start, the D-Backs are 12-1; when they haven't started, the D-Backs are 6-10 through May 3.

Under cold blue skies
Through May 3, Sammy Sosa and Mike Cameron had combined for 21 homers and 34 RBI. Vladimir Guerrero had 10 homers and 33 RBI.

Barrier reef
This month's Harvard Magazine includes an Alan Schwarz story on Carl N. Morris, a Harvard professor of statistics and health care policy.

Here are a few snippets from the story:

  • "The only time you would want to sacrifice is if you need a single run late in the game. Yet some traditional big-league managers try this ploy early in games. You could really manage a team better by looking at that matrix," Morris asserts.

  • "Wonder why there are so few stolen bases in modern baseball? It takes a 71 percent success rate to break even."

    Indeed, it is all about outs. "Outs are baseball's clock," writes Schwarz. "You get only 27 of them, and squandering them can be deceptively catastrophic."

    It makes one wonder if the amazing Expos' NL-leading .362 on-base percentage wouldn't have produced more than a seven-run lead over Arizona -- the NL's No. 2 scoring team -- if they didn't lead the majors with 29 sacrifice bunts (through May 3), nine more than the runner-up Brewers.

    The protector
    Trevor Hoffman now has 321 saves with the Padres (through May 3), the most of any pitcher with one team, breaking Dennis Eckersley's mark of 320 with Oakland. Hoffman's .887 save percentage is also the record for anyone with 100 or more saves; Tom Henke is second at .870. Since mid-'96, the Padres are 380-6 when leading after eight innings.

    Drinkin' salty margaritas with Fernando ...
    Erubiel Durazo is spending Cinco de Mayo playing t-ball on the White House lawn, then will go to the minors for rehab and be back with the Diamondbacks by next weekend.

    If he moves his lips
    The joke in Toronto is how noted agent Jeff Moorad hoodwinked former Jays GM Gord Ash into the Shawn Green-Raul Mondesi deal, capped by Mondesi, who has never driven in 100 runs in a single season, getting a two year, $28 million extension that currently renders him untradeable. So when the Rangers, whose owner Tom Hicks is an employee of Scott Boras, played in Toronto this week, a GM called it "the Boras-Moorad playoffs."

    The way we make a broken heart
    From the Hall of Fame's Jeff Idleson comes this question: name the five Hall of Famers who played for the American League franchises in Boston and New York?

    Answer: Jack Chesbro, Babe Ruth, Herb Pennock, Waite Hoyt and Red Ruffling, all pitchers.

    It's 2 a.m., do you know where your baby is?
    With all due respect for the future of Josh Beckett, after beating the 21-year-old right-hander, Curt Schilling told the media, "It just goes to show it's not as easy as pure stuff. It's more than that. At midnight before the game, I was on my computer, preparing and reviewing video and scouting reports. He was probably sleeping. I was on the computer at 8 the next morning, preparing my game plan. He was probably sleeping. What is he, 13?"

    Ask Schilling's teammates. The day after beating the Braves, he was talking in the clubhouse about how he wanted the outfield positioned for Cliff Foyd, his next start being against the Marlins.

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