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Sunday's Plastic Cup is a Reds-Killer

Baseball season can be so silly.  Three days ago, I was feeling down about this team, and judging from the comments here, I was far from alone.  Then we picked off the last game against the Cardinals and the first two against the Reds (including another Cueto start!) and we're elated again.  As long as we don't look too closely at the offense, anyway.

For the record, Bill Hall's career numbers against the Reds are now 313/379/641.  18 of his 87 dingers have come against Cincinnati.  That's 21% of his home runs in 12% of his plate appearances.

Last night was the Brewers' fourth extra-inning game, and our fourth-extra inning win.  Statistically, teams tend to go about .500 in extra-inning games, just like they tend to be even in 1-run games.  Strong bullpens can be difference-makers, but usually not to the point where a team wins *all* of their extra-inning games.  There will be pundits who point to the Brewers 4-0 record in extras to show that we're overperforming a little bit, but I say: We were supposed to lose two of those games and we didn't.  It's either a gift or a sign that our bullpen is great.  Either one works for me.

Our usual morning fare:

This ESPN column lists the most dangerous platoon teams, and amazingly, the author would rather his lefty pitcher faces the Tigers than the Brewers.  Show some respect, dude!

WSB Chris suggests a new stat, Probable Wins, to give credit for outings like Suppan's yesterday.  He's right, of course, that the Win stat is hopelessly archaic and means very little.  He's also not the first person to think in this direction.  Baseball Prospectus has a whole flotilla of stats aimed at improving Wins, such as the relatively simple Expected Wins up to the not-simple-relative-to-anything SNLVAR.  According to Expected Wins, Suppan should have 1.6 wins, not just 1.  Last year--this is pretty amazing--Suppan went 12-12, and according to EW, he should have gone 11.9 and 11.9.

Between the Green Pillars does something I've been meaning to do: project bullpen usage.  Of course, Riske and Torres are really getting up there in innings so far.  I'm not worrying about it, though.  We've had a lot of close games, which naturally leads Ned to use these guys.  Also, there are more off days early in the season, so Ned is taking advantage of the opportunity to use the better relievers in more games without wearing them out (at least in the short term).  Last night showed that he's willing to use Mota for multiple innings, and I'm sure we'll have enough mop-up opportunities for Turnbow.

Injury news, which I'm actually going to alphabetize this morning:

  • Doug Davis is throwing again, and feels good.
  • Adam Everett is hitting the DL, which means the Twins infield is going to get even less recognizable, and even less productive.  (And they'll catch way fewer balls.)
  • Mike Gonzalez is on track for an early return.  The Braves haven't had Gonzalez and Rafael Soriano around much at the same time, and that 8th/9th inning tandem could make them very dangerous.
  • You probably stopped caring a long time ago (I certainly did), but Mark Prior is resuming his rehab.  The Padres expect him to pitch in the majors by June or so, which means he's on track for a 2013 return.
  • Wandy Rodriguez left his start yesterday with a groin issue.  The Astros are not well prepared to lose a starter for any period of time.  In not-really related news, Houston signed Alay Soler to a minor league deal.  Is this the answer to Jeff Weaver?
  • The Giants put Erick Threets on the DL.  Threets is no Shouse, but this probably makes them worse.

The Cubs actually recalled Matt Murton.  It'll be interesting to see if Lou uses him; at this point, any playing time he gets must be geared toward showcasing him for a trade.

This story is a few days old, and maybe KL linked it, but here's a guy with some suggestions to improve umpiring.  It seems like we've had particularly bad experiences this year.  That said, I don't think rhetoric like the one in this article is going to convince anybody: that is, "I was watching a game last night and the umpiring sucked."  Those stories add enough, but they're not enough.  Some researchers have already begun some work with PitchFX and umpires, and there will be much more in the coming years.  I would hope that MLB is doing some of it themselves.

Fernando Tatis has 8 home runs in 56 minor league at-bats.  Even 3TO isn't cranking them out of the park like that.

That's it for today...see y'all back here at 12:15 CT as we go for the sweep!