Orioles Think Tank

Orioles Coverage for the Information Age

Opening Day

Posted by Mike on April 4, 2006

Pardon the delay on getting up my first in-season post, but I've been fighting off what could only be described as an ambitious viral infection.  Fevers flamed, muscles ached, and plain water seemed to be laced with ipecac; but all is better now. 

And in non me-related news, baseball is back and the Orioles won.       

OD Result     Winning/Losing Season?

2001- Win              Losing   

2002- Win              Losing   

2003- Win              Losing   

2004- Win              Losing   

2005- Win              Losing   

2006- Win              Uh oh

Just kidding, folks.   Remember, correlation does not equal causation.  Saying that the Orioles have losing seasons because they win on opening day is sort of like Buck Martinez declaring during yesterday's broadcast that "Rodrigo gives up lots of runs but he is a winner.  He finds a way to win." 

Sure thing, Buck.  Nice job managing Team USA by the way.

This time, though, I used this tool c/o Baseball Musings that will allow me to input my predictions.  Using the same group of players, it came up with the most and least efficient lineups, as well as where Perlozzo's actual lineup for yesterday's game fell into the mix.

Perlozzo's OD Lineup

Roberts/Matos/Mora/Tejada/Gibbons/Millar/Conine/Lopez/Hernandez      5.238 Runs/Game

Optimal Lineup

Roberts/Mora/Conine/Gibbons/Tejada/Lopez/Hernandez/Matos/Millar      5.389 Runs/Game

Worst Lineup

Lopez/Millar/Tejada/Conine/Hernandez/Roberts/Matos/Mora/Gibbons      5.091 Runs/Game

Perlozzo's OD lineup was 2.89% better than the worst lineup and 2.80% worse than the optimal lineup, placing it squarely in the middle of the pack. It's interesting to note that Conine would be the three-hole hitter in the optimal lineup while Tejada would be there in the least efficient lineup.  That certainly seems counterintuitive.  However, Mora and Gibbons are the best hitters on the team (as per my predictions), so it makes sense that they would bat 8th and 9th in the least efficient model.

  • Anna Benson has apparently changed her mind about divorcing her husband, Kris. 

All this really shows is how much more difficult it is to get attention in Baltimore than in New York. 

My favorite part of the article has to be when it quotes her as saying that her marriage is "irretrievably broken" on March 31st.  Then her agent tells ESPN that Anna did a lot of soul searching over the weekend and has now had a change of heart. 

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8 Responses to “Opening Day”

  1. MayM said

    Is it too much to ask that our manager be able to put together a lineup better than if he picked names out of a hat? I know the linup tool analysis is using your projections and all but they seem reasonable to me.

  2. bradley said

    yeah, i’d like to see maybe javy and hernandez higher. in current form, i don’t have a gripe w/ matos 2nd, BUT even if one’s not a strident sabrmetrician, why do you bunt w/ matos who has hurt himself bunting and why bunt mora, one of the best power hitters on the team?

    guh?

    re: anna

    “irretrievably broken” is pretty standard language in contemporary no fault divorce statutes.

  3. Mike said

    Having been at the game where Matos broke his hand last year, I think it’s safe to say that it is never a good idea to have him bunt. As for Mora… I agree there as well.

    As for Anna, I just thought it was funny that it took her what? five days to decide the marriage was actually only retrievably broken.

  4. Ben said

    Upon seeing the opening day roster, my reaction to Perlozzo’s lineup decision was: “This guy’s as useless as Mazilli.” But I thought about it for a few seconds, and the lineup ended up making a lot of sense for these reasons:

    1.) Left Handed Pitcher. Prior to Monday, Kazmir was 2-0 in 4 starts against the O’s, with a 1.33 ERA and a .188 BAA. Over his brief career, his splits gainst lefty/righty hitters are .207/.261 BAA, .294/.363 OBPA, 56/23 K/BB vs. lefties, 159/98 K/BB vs. righties. Obviously, these numbers have a small sample size, but it seems reasonably clear that loading the lineup with righties (especially if you’re the Orioles, whose lefties aren’t at the top of their game) is worth trying against Kazmir. That means that Patterson and Markakis do not start. Gibbons, who, according to everybody is “poised for a breakout year,” is worth starting. Gibbons hit a hard liner to LF in his first AB against Kazmir, a shot that half of MLB LF’s don’t track down. Crawford did.

    2.) “Fragile” Oriole hitters. In addition to being a lefty, Patterson had a mediocre spring at the plate. Markakis hasn’t had a MLB at bat yet. Javy also had a horrible offensive spring–concentrating too much on his new defensive position. This is further inclination to keep Patterson and Markakis out of the opening day lineup against a tough lefty. Dropping Javy to 8th takes the pressure off of him as a hitter. It’s not an RBI slot, so he just had to worry about getting on base.

    I still don’t think that Matos is a #2 hitter (I maintain that Mora should be the #2 hitter no matter who’s on the mound), but overall, I was impressed that Perlozzo apparently gave a lot of thought to the lineup–something that Mazilli rarely did.

  5. bradley said

    btw…was anyone surprised by the patience exerted by guys in the lineup not named brian roberts?

  6. Mike said

    Ben-

    Fair enough, you make some good points. Still, if Markakis is not going to bat against lefties in the majors, then I say let him do it in the minors. Before, keeping him up was just bad roster management, now (if your insights prove true) it could hinder his development as well.

    Besides, Matos stinks against lefties. I know I made a post about this about a month or two ago- he had a solid 118 AB’s (or so) against lefties last year that duped people into thinking he and Patterson could platoon. Well, outside of last year (and last night apparently), Matos has neeever hit lefties. So I don’t necessarily think platooning him would be an efficient use of his talents.

  7. Ben said

    Mike

    1.) I also agree that Markakis should have been left in AAA for half a season. One comparable that comes to mind is Jeff Francoeur (worse strike zone discipline than Markakis, better power, better arm). Drafted a year younger, Francoeur spent a year and a half in the lower minors (Rookie, low-A), then a year and a half in the higher minors (high-A and AA) before getting a mid-season callup. Markakis only has 1.5 (low) and 1 (higher). I think the half-year in AAA would benefit him.

    2.) Now that he’s up, I also agree that Markakis should start against almost everybody (including lefties). My point was that, against THIS lefty, on opening day, considering who was having trouble in the spring, and considering how valuable Markakis is to the organization (not the greatest testament to farm depth, eh?), I think Perlozzo actually thought about what he was doing. Again, a huge improvement over his predecessor.

    Now, if Markakis is relegated to platooning, and if Matos gets starts despite reverting to his lefty-phobic ways, I’ll quickly reverse my optimism. For that matter, if Markakis isn’t in tonight’s lineup, I’ll also be pretty annoyed.

  8. Mike said

    OK, Ben. I think we’re on the same page. You put in just the right qualifiers (this is where I’d insert an emoticon if I believed in them).

    It’s funny that you mention Francoeur, though. I certainly can’t take anything away from what he did last year, but even his superficially impressive stats last year showed that he might not be ready for the show. I wouldn’t be surprised if he OBP’d .290 this year (albeit with a .210+ isoP). Not that any of this takes away from any of your points…

    Bottom line, you make a good case that there is a possibility that Perlozzo had a plan in mind. Still, it’s a thin line between being careful and hindering development.

    Hopefully Nick makes his first start tonight, I’ll be at the game.

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