Rockies 12, Devil Rays 2.
Prior to last night’s game, there were two instances that had yet to happen, but for which we had been bracing ourselves to occur eventually. James Shields is maturing into a great pitcher, and before last night he had been nearly perfect on the season. He had yet to lose and was only the 2nd pitcher in the past 25 years to exit each of his first 13 starts with his team tied or ahead in the game. We knew a bad start was coming and we may have even foreshadowed last night’s performance in yesterday’s “Hangover”. For all the great things that Shields has done this season, he has been susceptible to the long ball and we were worried that would catch up to him in his first Coors Field start. And it did, in the first inning, when Shields surrendered back-to-back dingers and fell behind 4-0. We knew a loss was coming, we just wish it could have come after 2 straight wins, rather than 2 straight L’s.

Oh, and the other thing we are bracing ourselves for? We are not going to talk about it. Not usually ones for “jinxes”, but after yesterday’s “Hangover” and Shields loss, we are not taking any chances.

We were going to end our aching head thoughts with that, but we would be doing you an injustice if we didn’t take a moment to drag Shawn Camp out behind the woodshed and rough him up a little with our keyboard. Let’s see what fun numbers we can come up with today!

After his latest performance, Shawn Camp proved that he is perfectly capable of making his own messes instead of just making other pitcher’s messes worse. We have already shown that Camp is (by far) the worst reliever in baseball when it comes to stranding inherited runners. Well, maybe Joe Maddon finally noticed and last night he brought Camp out to begin the 7th inning. After retiring the first batter, the next 5 batters reached base and 4 of them would eventually score. Shawn Camp basically did everything bad except take a dump on the pitcher’s mound.

Camp’s ERA is now at 7.20. Not even Joe Maddon would dare try to put a positive spin on that number. But how bad is he really? ERA is often a tricky number for relief pitchers because many of the runs they allow are charged to other pitchers. Baseball Prospectus has a stat called FRA (Fair Runs Allowed). This number takes into account inherited runners that are allowed to score as well as unearned runs that score. Camps FRA is 8.28. That is 12th worst in the major leagues for all pitchers with at least 20 innings pitched. Only three of those 12 are relief pitchers.

This just in…Shawn Camp is not very good and every time we see him come in from the bullpen we want to club a stuffed baby seal.

DEVIL RAYS WEBTOPIA

This Week in Baseball also sat down with Price himself to talk about his past, his big day and his future with the Tampa Bay organization. It seemed as though Price, a charismatic 21-year-old southpaw pitcher out of Vanderbilt, was eager to begin his professional career.

  • David Price received The Dick Howser trophy as the nation’s best college baseball player.
  • Vanderbilt pitching coach Derek Johnson gives an interview to Baseball Analysts. During the interview he discusses David Price’s workload this season and what Price can do to improve.

[On David Price’s workload at Vandy] I never felt that David was at a deficit. I never felt like David was that guy who you saw early in the game throwing 93-96 and then by the end of it was throwing 86-87. He maintained his velocity well. I kept very good track of what he did to prepare his arm, as I do with all of our guys. So, you know, I understand the criticism, but at the same time you have to understand where we were coming from and where we were at – where David’s arm was at – when we were making those decisions.

[On What David Price Needs to do to improve] From a pitchability standpoint, it’s about refining the third pitch, the change-up and being able to refine command. Last year he had okay command, this year he had very good command, so I still think he has room to improve and grow.

  • Edwin Jackson will start on Monday against the D-Backs, but to hear the quotes from Joe Maddon one would think that Andrew Friedman wants Jackson out, but Maddon convinced him to give Jackson one more shot.

We just decided to give it another go. Again, he’s had some really good outings, some tough outings. If you look back at his game log, there’s some nice six inning [performances]– six-innings plus — with nine punchouts. I just have a tremendous feeling about him. So he’s going to go back out there against the D-backs to see if that works.

  • Is Dioner Navarro the worst catch in baseball? One blogger thinks so. Of course this is what really bugs us. Show of hands…How many people think that defensive ability is very important to being a catcher? *Lots ‘o hands* OK. How many people think this blogger looked at a single defensive statistic when compiling his rankings? *no hands*. Very good. We always knew our audience was intelligent. Navarro has thrown out 8 of 26 would be base stealers. Not great. That is about average at 31%. By comparison, of the 16 catchers that have faced at least 25 base stealers, 8 of those catchers have worse caught stealing rates than Navi. Several of those catchers are not exactly Johnny Bench with the bat, including Jason Kendall (.219 BA, 1HR, 24% CS), Josh Bard (.252 BA, 2 HR, 14% CS), and Jason Phillips (.226, 1 HR, 10% CS). We’re not saying Navi is a great catcher. We are not even sure he is good yet. But he is not the worst.
  • Nice little story here about Joe Maddon and his relationship with his father. But that is not why we are bringing you the link. The reason is this great picture of Papa Joe. The picture is from between 1997 and 2000 (The only years the Angels wore that color combination). Papa Joe is much thinner (it happens), but he actually looks older. Weird.
  • Al Reyes has overcome a lot to become one of the league’s best closers in his 20th season of pro ball.
  • Hey look. Somebody came up with another way to calculate the Rays chances of making the playoffs. What is the square-root of “no chance in hell”?
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1 Comment

  1. Mike says:

    About Navarro.. he really is the worst, though. He's an automatic out and one of the worst hitters in the major leagues. There's really no way you can defend the guy's skill.

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