Archive for October, 2010

The Doctor is sick.

Posted in MLB, Philadelphia Phillies, Roy Halladay on October 6, 2010 by Scott Schmidt

I know to some of my readers the thought of a sport not played on ice is just plain silly, especially with the start of the NHL season only hours away. But if you can believe the bizarreness of it all, not only do other sports exist, one of ‘em is even into its post season right now.

If it helps any, I put the TSN NHL Season Preview on in the background for about 15 minutes earlier, but it was in low volume and I didn’t pay much attention so I barely made out Pierre McGuire saying ‘Canadiéns’ and ‘last.’ The point is, the following post does not reflect my lack of excitement for the start of hockey season – in fact I’m absolutely retarded with anticipation – but I am a huge baseball fan as well and yesterday began a post season I’ve been waiting a decade for.

Roy Halladay is my favourite baseball player of all time. I watched a TON of baseball before he came around and witnessed many players have some pretty substantial careers but never have I EVER loved a player like I love the Doctor.

Yesterday, in the first playoff performance of his career, Halladay served up only the second post-season no-hitter in history of the game and he did it against the best offence in the National League. He had one walk, eight strikeouts and needed just 104 pitches to do it.

After this there will be no arguments about who the best pitcher alive is – a fact only previously unproven due to a career cutoff by a border – and the things I have to tell you are no longer going to prove jack squat to anyone. But I did a good 25 minutes of legwork a few days back and I’m telling you what I learned whether I’m playing Captain Obvious or not.

This was supposed to demonstrate Halladay’s clear Cy Young-winning season but will now simply be a display of the man’s greatness. So many sports writers jump to use the word ‘otherworldly’ for any superstar but I believe it should be reserved for the truly magnificent.

Roy Halladay is otherworldly.

Philadelphia’s first taste of Doc has been a good one, as the 33-year-old horse tossed up typical Roy Halladay numbers: a ton of innings (250.2), top-five strikeouts (219), top-five wins (21-tied for first in baseball), top-five ERA (2.44) and a massive lead in complete games (9).

But, as I will demonstrate, these numbers, which are good enough on their own for a Cy Young, are a stunted version of what could have been. As was always the case in Toronto, even what I thought was the best batting lineup in baseball often failed to provide Halladay with a clutch hit and/or run this year to get him the win he almost always deserved.

I looked a little further into it and went through Halladay’s game log for the entire season. What I found was even more disgusting – in a good way – than I first thought.

Here’s a glance:

  • Halladay started 33 times this season. He had 31 decisions.
  • Halladay gave up more than three earned runs just eight times. He lost five of those, which means in 33 starts his team bailed him out three times. It also means in 25 of his starts he pitched more-than well enough to win.
  • In Halladay’s other five losses, he pitched at least seven innings with three or less earned runs. But his team failed to score more than three times in all of them, something they failed to do in 17 of his 33 starts.
  • He had two no decisions. He gave up two runs over 6.1 innings in one. And in the other? 9.0IP 0R 0ER 5H 1BB 9K
  • Of his 33 starts, Doc pitched at least seven full innings 28 times. He pitched less than six innings (5.2) just once.
  • Halladay led in innings pitched, as always (250.2) but did not lead in pitches thrown (3,568) showing his unwavering ability to entice hitters to swing at pitches they can’t hit.
  • Halladay had four shutouts but left the game 10 times without having given up an earned run. He left six times with just one and another four with only two.
  • He gave up four runs three times, five runs three times and six runs twice. But on only two occasions did he give up as many earned runs as he had innings pitched. And those were 6ER over 6.0 and 5.2 innings pitched.
  • While one of his complete games was a no decision, he also lost a CG 2-1. He won 1-0 three times – including his perfect game – as well as games 2-0 and 2-1.
  • In all his games, Halladay way pulled from the mound mid-inning just three times, meaning 91 per cent of the time he either finished the game or left due pitch count only, not because he had fallen into trouble.

Aside from being just another example of how unbelievably nuts the statistical aspect of baseball really is, those figures tell some crazy truths about how good Roy Halladay’s season might have been had he gotten a little luck.

With just a little more run support from a lineup that should have been giving it to him in spades in the first place, Doc could have easily won 25 or 26 games this year. Not that a perfect game, a no-hitter in the playoffs, a Cy Young (let’s face it, he’s getting it) and a World Series title (please, please, please, please) don’t make a memorable season but tossing in a record of 26-5 would’ve made it one of the greatest seasons of all time.

If it isn’t already.

Random nonsense. But read it anyway.

Posted in Devan Dubnyk, Edmonton Oilers, Mike Cammalleri, Montreal Canadiens, NHL, Nino Neiderreiter on October 4, 2010 by Scott Schmidt

Cut down nerves aplenty

As thus-far-surviving NHL hopefuls everywhere sit on pins and needles today wondering if they will remain a member of the parent club or be sent back down to the minors to further their development, I thought it interesting to note I write this blog from the lounge/waiting room at Milestone Mazda in Lethbridge – awaiting an oil change on my girlfriend’s car.

Why is that worth mentioning you ask? Well this dealership just so happens to be owned by Barry and Doug Dubnyk, father and uncle of Oiler prospect Devan, who just so happens to be neck deep in that did-I-make-it feeling of pure nausea as I write to you.

They’re all hiding it well but I’m guessing that same sickness is plaguing much of the staff in this building. I spoke with Barry briefly, who is quietly confident but knows one of either his son or Jeff Deslauriers is likely to get the axe. He thinks this is Devan’s year.

So do I.

When the 6-foot-6 monster was drafted 14th overall by the Oilers in 2004 from the Kamloops Blazers, it was clear he was pegged by management for a career in blue and orange. He’s maybe not developed quite as fast as they had hoped but he has had some decent AHL numbers considering he has played on some awful teams.

In his longest season in the minors (62G with the Springfield Falcons), the club was so bad he compiled a record of 18-41-2. However, through all of that he still managed a .910 save percentage and a GAA under three, which is pretty remarkable considering how much attack he was obviously facing any given night.

Anyway, seeing as how the Oilers are obviously riding the youth movement – mostly because it’s the only movement they have that has a chance of actually moving – I would imagine no matter which one of the two goalies in question makes the Oilers, they will see some significant time.

That basically means it comes down to which one the Oilers see as their long term guy after the Bhulin Wall’s career finally topples. I would personally be partial to a 6-foot-6, 210 lb frame but I made that clear with my unwavering advocating of Carey Price long before you know who was traded.

I asked my buddy Evan (@nasty45)  — a massive Oil fan — what he thought and he said: “I’ve always been partial to JDD (Deslauriers) but I think they’re the same poison at the end of the day.”

Meaning: Either/or would be just fine.

*Update to this — Both Dubnyk and Deslauriers remained with the club after today’s cuts. However one more player must come off the roster by Wednesday and one can only imagine that will be one of the aforementioned goalies.*

A little love tap for a rookie

Quick thought on Mike Cammalleri’s slash of Nino Neiderreiter and subsequent one-game suspension: I’m not defending Cammy, nor am I saying he shouldn’t be reprimanded. But to me the poke to the face was worse than the slash, yet it gets MUCH less discussion. Meanwhile, the slash has been referred to as “Paul Bunyan-like.”

I know from experience adjectives can be hard to come by when you write everyday. But Cammy, who spends most of his time on the tongue of the media being referred to as a Smurf, never even took his back swing past his tiny little blue-skinned waist, so let’s ease up on the lumberjack references.

And since El Nino left the game with a bruised calf, can we agree to stop with the attempt-to-break-his-ankle crap? Mike Cammalleri does not = Bobby Clarke. So suspend him, fine him, hell, hold him down and let Nino slash him right back but please quit making the rookie a victim of a vicious attack. He got nipped in the lips and then smacked in the leg, leaving absolutely zero marks on his face and a bruise on his calf. No offense to Nino, who I’m positive is a tough kid, but if people keep talking about a bruise on his leg not named Charley as if it’s an injury, he’s going to look pretty silly.

He’s a rookie and a veteran reminded him of it. Sure Cammy was wrong and will pay $32,258.06 plus put his team down a superstar for opening night against the Leaves but I promise you Nino learned a lesson last night, one every budding star before him was also taught one way or another.

Lineup set, sorta

And lastly, to those who read this blog but couldn’t give a rats fat arse about which dozen millionaires will don Bleu, Blanc et Rouge and make up the Montreal Canadiéns’ starting forwards on Oct. 7, I vaguely understand your feelings, am somewhat remorseful and can halfheartedly vow this will be my last post regarding it.

But the final lineup has more or less materialized and it looks like we know who’s starting Thursday. Since Cammy is out, assume Lars Eller will take his spot and it’s going to look something like this:

Pouliot     Gomez     Gionta

Eller     Plekanec     Kostitsyn

Moen     Halpern     White/Darche

Pyatt     Boyd     Lapierre

I’d personally switch the third and fourth lines around and I’d no-doubt play White over Darche. So, how did you do with your picks? I was a lot closer than I thought I might be. Can this group win a road game in Toronto to open the season? Guess we’ll find out.

Anyway, there’s only one way to end a post this all over the map.