Today’s Bites come on the brand new Marlin Maniac site, and thus appear pretty damn shiny.
- A thought about last night’s rain-shortened game. Even though the game was shortened, Ricky Nolasco pitched one hell of a five-inning set. He struck out six batters, walking only one and allowing only one hit, the Kevin Youkilis home run. After this start, it’s safe to say this is pretty much the old Ricky from last year. He’ll always have a little bit of a problem with home runs, but his increased strikeout capabilities and improved control have “ace” written all over them. If we can get Nolasco and Josh Johnson rolling at the same time, it’ll be the makings of a dominant starting staff.
- The Marlins Sun-Sentinel blog reviews the Hanley Ramirez trade. I’d say this is one of them where everybody got what they wanted. The Red Sox got a World Series, a decently young ace pitcher, and a solid run producer at third base, the Marlins got a franchise cornerstone for the next six years at least. I’d say thumbs up for everyone.
- As for tonight, the Marlins and Yankees square off at Land Shark Stadium (ugh, still hate saying it). The pitching matchup will pit rookie lefty Sean West versus the veteran Andy Pettitte. West needs to perform much better; he’s had two starts in which he was hammered sandwiching his brilliant effort against the Giants. As for Pettitte, he”s looked worse this year than he has in almost nine seasons, posting a 4.76 FIP through 80 innings pitched. This can be attributed to his 5.65 K/9, the lowest rate he’s had since his 2000 season. He’s also upped his walk rate to a career high, combining to make for one of his worst seasons yet. Let’s see how he does versus the Fish.
- Speaking of the Yankees, the Star-Ledger says an old friend is happy to be back facing the Marlins. I was really sad to see Joe Girardi go, as he was Manager of the Year that year and took the team to unexpected heights. Fredi’s done a solid job, but the way Girardi was let go left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth. Thanks, Jeff Loria!
- In other Yankees-related notes, the Yankees should be drawing more crowds to the park tonight. I wish this happened because the team is playing a good club for a three game set over the weekend, and not because the team is playing the Yankees and Yankee fans will be littered all over the place. I get that any business is good business when it comes to filling the seats, but I really wish the Marlins fan contingent could make it look competitive in the stands this weekend. But they probably won’t.
- The Miami Herald reports that one half of the stadium holdup is fixed. Miami-Dade county commissioners voted and allowed payment of Wachovia’s letter-of-credit fees before tax revenue could be devoted to debts and other payments for the project. Now there’s that bit about the impending lawsuit to fix. I sure hope this mess gets cleaned up soon, because the whole stadium deal has been ugly from the start, and it’s making Miami-Dade look terribly inept.
- For some generic news, check out Colin Wyers study on predictive power of defense-independent pitching stats. Of particular importance to people who aren’t sabermetrically-inclined: ERA does a very poor job of predicting ERA, so try to take a look at something better like FIP. Remember, pitchers can’t control how their fielders snag ground balls.
- Finally, Tom Tango’s got a post on linear weights values by speed off the bat, but in the discussion there are some excellent charts for linear weight values based off of horizontal spray as well. Neat stuff.