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Athletics-Twins, ALDS Game 1 Chat
2006-10-03 07:59
by Ken Arneson

Check out all the division series previews over at Baseball Analysts. The last section is written by yours truly.

Then feel free to chat away, all you toast eaters.

Whether I'll join you, I'm not sure. Will I have the courage to follow the action, or the discipline not to?


J. Kendall c
M. Kotsay cf
M. Bradley rf
F. Thomas dh
E. Chavez 3b
J. Payton lf
N. Swisher 1b
M. Scutaro ss
M. Ellis 2b

L. Castillo 2b
N. Punto 3b
J. Mauer c
M. Cuddyer rf
J. Morneau 1b
T. Hunter cf
R. White lf
P. Nevin dh
J. Bartlett ss

Comments (150)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2006-10-03 08:18:12
1.   mehmattski
I love how you and the Viva la Birdos guy were the only bloggers not to pick the teams for which you blog. Excellent use of reverse jinx! Scott Brosius and I are on to you...

Just under two hours until playoff baseball starts. My productivity will be low... lower than when I spend hours at the Toaster during the regular season... er... is it possible to have negative productivity?

2006-10-03 08:32:27
2.   Ken Arneson
5 Well, in this case, the reverse jinx has the added bonus of being honest. I just can't see Santana losing a game five at home.

Not sure what I would have written had it been the Tigers.

2006-10-03 08:32:29
3.   Vishal
i know i'm not in the target market, but a 1:00AM start doesn't make for sexy times, i must say.
2006-10-03 08:33:14
4.   Ken Arneson
5? Why did I put 5 instead of 1? I guess comment #5 is going to be a good one!
2006-10-03 08:33:40
5.   Vishal
[2] yeah, but can't you see a radke, silva, and bonser (or garza or guerrier or whoever) losing games 2-4?
2006-10-03 08:34:15
6.   Vishal
well, they cross-link, anyway :)
2006-10-03 08:43:07
7.   Ken Arneson
5 (A real 5 this time!) Yeah, I can see it, but I can also see them taking one of those three games. The Twins pen is so good, if they grab a lead after five innings, you're in trouble.

I almost hate to say it, but Esteban Loaiza is the key for the A's. He's so flaky. When he's on, he looks unhittable, and when he's off, he looks like the worst pitcher in baseball.

If he has one of his better games in game 2, the A's might be able to sweep in Oakland and win this thing. If the A's come back to Oakland down 0-2, then at best we're looking at Santana again in game 5.

And I know Radke is pitching hurt, but he killed the A's in the 2002 ALDS, so I still fear him.

2006-10-03 08:51:17
8.   mehmattski
Actually I'd rather be watching the game on the other side of the world. I might get fired for leaving work at 1 PM to go watch baseball games, but I'm free to watch games in the middle of the night, with the help of multiple pots of coffee. I could totally get some sleep between the Cards/Pads and Yanks/Tigers. Anyway, I'm just glad there's still an East Coast/NY bias in scheduling, so I'm not tempted to wire myself with a portable radio during my 1 PM meeting today...
2006-10-03 08:54:23
9.   Ken Arneson
8 I was in Sweden during the 1988 playoffs. 2AM game times. No live TV, only radio. Someday, I'll have to write my Kirk Gibson story.
2006-10-03 09:13:37
10.   Ken Arneson
Vernon Wells looks really comfortable in front of the camera on that Baseball Tonight set.
2006-10-03 09:15:09
11.   Ken Arneson
I'm getting a kind of zen feeling about this game. I'm not feeling nervous at all. This is weird.
2006-10-03 09:22:39
12.   Philip Michaels
11 Clearly, you've reached the acceptance stage, Ken.
2006-10-03 09:35:18
13.   Vishal
um, ken... you've ended your A's fast, right?
2006-10-03 09:38:22
14.   Ken Arneson
13 I was just about to edit that...
2006-10-03 09:52:51
15.   Vishal
ah, thanks. it caught my eye and was giving me a bad vibe. that's all cleared up now, though, so i'm ready to get this party started!
2006-10-03 10:00:55
16.   Ken Arneson
Yay! It's Jon Miller and Joe Morgan!

I cheer because neither one is named Buck.

2006-10-03 10:02:42
17.   Vishal
it's been all miller so far, but if morgan is there too, i really want to see the A's stick it to him.
2006-10-03 10:05:10
18.   Mark T.R. Donohue
I just spent something like three hours researching and writing a detailed preview of this series only to lose the whole thing when I inadvertently unplugged my laptop. However, I feel strangely relieved, since I was down to the benches and I still had no feel for what was going to happen. I just don't know. I think the Twins are better, but, then again, the A's have the whole Opposite Day thing going for them this season.

I know it's not an original thought, but John Kruk must die. He is going to ruin the whole playoffs for me, I know it. I liked him so much when he was a player, too. Well, at least Tino Martinez's broadcasting career didn't pan out.

2006-10-03 10:06:44
19.   Ken Arneson
18 You were hit by the Scott Brosius voodoo!
2006-10-03 10:08:57
20.   Vishal
[18] reminds me of a john vanderslice song in two separate ways.
2006-10-03 10:09:24
21.   Ken Arneson
Why are the A's wearing the green unis? The gray is so much classier.
2006-10-03 10:14:04
22.   Vishal
i like the alternates. don't the starting pitchers get to choose? must be zito's doing. miller called kendall's strikeout a "cautionary tale" for the A's, heh.
2006-10-03 10:14:47
23.   Ken Arneson
Well, Santana looks good.
2006-10-03 10:14:50
24.   Mark T.R. Donohue
During my time at the Daily Californian, no single musician struck me as having a higher ratio of relentless self-promotion to actual talent than John Vanderslice. For what it's worth.
2006-10-03 10:15:31
25.   Philip Michaels
Whoo-hoo! Ball in play! We've got Santana figured out now!
2006-10-03 10:16:06
26.   Bob Timmermann
Dark unis!

Bah, fie!

2006-10-03 10:16:42
27.   Ken Arneson
All right, let's see what kind of stuff Zito has today...
2006-10-03 10:17:11
28.   Vishal
i don't remember the personality bit; pretty much all i remember is just that one song, which was decent enough.
2006-10-03 10:18:07
29.   Ken Arneson
Uh-oh, Zito looks bad.
2006-10-03 10:19:12
30.   Vishal
looked like a stike to me too, jon. blah.
2006-10-03 10:20:14
31.   Ken Arneson
Zito better find his fastball and soon, or this game will be over in about five minutes.
2006-10-03 10:20:43
32.   Mark T.R. Donohue
Well, now I've seen everything.
2006-10-03 10:21:19
33.   Ken Arneson
Hooray for manufacturing runs!
2006-10-03 10:21:31
34.   Vishal
thank goodness.
2006-10-03 10:24:07
35.   Philip Michaels
"You learn to be a hitter first and then the power will come." -- Joe Morgan, 10:22 a.m. PT

That strikes me as the exact opposite of everything I've ever heard about how baseball players develop. But who am I to question Joe Morgan, who advocates manufacturing runs? That worked out pretty well for the Twins in the first.

2006-10-03 10:24:19
36.   Vishal
haren's starting game 3 and harden's slated for a game 4.
2006-10-03 10:26:38
37.   Ken Arneson
Woohoo! Big Hurt!
2006-10-03 10:26:50
38.   Mark T.R. Donohue
2006-10-03 10:27:13
39.   Vishal
ahh, morgan says "there are times to run, and that wasn't one of them". i love how when things he advocates don't work out, he has an escape hatch ready.

GONE!!!!!! YES!

2006-10-03 10:28:51
40.   Bob Timmermann
And I remember Morgan almost ordering Kenny Lofton to try to steal second off of Charles Johnson in the 1997 NLCS Game 5 with Livan Hernandez pitching. He pretty much said that Lofton was a wimp if he didn't try.

So Lofton tried to steal.

He was out.

2006-10-03 10:32:57
41.   Ken Arneson
2006-10-03 10:33:04
42.   Xeifrank
Dodger Sims have the A's as very very slight favorites to win today's game:
vr, Xei
2006-10-03 10:33:17
43.   bhsportsguy
Former A's great Eric Karros will be doing the color for Game 2, I heard him on the radio today, he's watching the game at home and flying out to Minnesota this afternoon.
2006-10-03 10:33:22
44.   Philip Michaels
2006-10-03 10:34:10
45.   Vishal
hellllll yes! we need all the runs we can get against johan.
2006-10-03 10:34:29
46.   FirstMohican
23 - What a difference an inning makes!
2006-10-03 10:34:35
47.   Philip Michaels
43 Ah, Eric Karros era. 103 at-bats that shaped a generation.
2006-10-03 10:35:22
48.   Ken Arneson
I suppose if I want to poop this party, I could point out that the A's led all five games they lost in the Metrodome this year.
2006-10-03 10:36:38
49.   Vishal
i'm a little relieved, but i also feel like 2 may not be enough.
2006-10-03 10:37:05
50.   For The Turnstiles
48 I think it would be best not to mention that.
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2006-10-03 10:39:31
51.   trainwreck
Big start for the A's. Getting Johan to throw that many pitches is huge, not to mention scoring haha.
2006-10-03 10:41:03
52.   trainwreck
Perfect inning for A's.
2006-10-03 10:41:54
53.   bhsportsguy
Is Scutaro this year's Brian Doyle?
2006-10-03 10:42:28
54.   bhsportsguy
53 And I will feel really old if no one knows who Brian Doyle is and who he played for.
2006-10-03 10:42:49
55.   Bob Timmermann
Marco Scutaro is Brian Doyle X Al Weis.
2006-10-03 10:43:58
56.   Philip Michaels
I detest these Tommy Lasorda postseason ads. "One of the teams we relentlessly promoted didn't make the playoffs? Well, you should still watch... I guess."
2006-10-03 10:51:35
57.   Vishal
nice play, z!
2006-10-03 10:53:03
58.   Vishal
c'mon, quit nibbling.
2006-10-03 10:56:04
59.   Vishal
aw man, just foul!
2006-10-03 10:58:17
60.   bhsportsguy
55 Divided by Dusty Rhodes.
2006-10-03 10:58:25
61.   Vishal
(sorry for the random exclamations; i'm alone in my dorm room at 2AM)

chavez looks lost. he was seriously golfing at the first two pitches.

2006-10-03 11:02:02
62.   bhsportsguy
56 Having had Tommy around for 30 years in LA, you grow to accept all is flaws and some of his tired cliches, "where else can a family of four spend blah blah blah for an evening of wholesome (not in some sections) entertainment" or "Bleed Dodger Blue", "If you are not a Dodger fan, not sure you will get to heaven."

The part that amazes me still is that he plays so well nationally but what can you expect from a guy who had a rib restaurant in Pasadena (remember that Bob) or his own spaghetti sauce.

2006-10-03 11:08:04
63.   Ken Arneson
53 I'm hoping he's this year's Scott Brosius!
2006-10-03 11:17:34
64.   Vishal
yeah, barry's pretty much stopped throwing fastballs.
2006-10-03 11:19:50
65.   Vishal
there we go, he brought it back just in time.
2006-10-03 11:25:14
66.   Daniel Zappala
How do A's fans feel about root for Frank Thomas? About like rooting for Jeff Kent on the Dodgers this year?
2006-10-03 11:34:01
67.   Vishal
[66] for me, not at all.

ps. [phew]

2006-10-03 11:36:34
68.   Vishal
2006-10-03 11:37:58
69.   trainwreck
Please name John Maine Game 1 starter Randolph.
2006-10-03 11:38:46
70.   bhsportsguy
69 Is that a request?
2006-10-03 11:43:29
71.   bhsportsguy
Al Weis time?
2006-10-03 11:49:00
72.   Daniel Zappala
Tough inning for the A's.
2006-10-03 11:50:48
73.   bhsportsguy
Since I don't venture here much, is it one more inning for Barry and then to the pen?
2006-10-03 11:51:08
74.   Ken Arneson
Nooooooooooooooooo! They just showed a Joe Buck commercial! We're doomed!
2006-10-03 11:52:54
75.   Vishal
2006-10-03 11:53:10
76.   trainwreck
Rondel White is doing the damage in this game... What is going on?
2006-10-03 11:54:46
77.   Vishal
gameday's box score is faster than the video and audio feed, so i saw the number on the scoreboard before white's at-bat. i could barely watch. i kept telling zito "no, don't do it!", but he did.
2006-10-03 11:55:17
78.   Daniel Zappala
I didn't even know Rondell White was still playing!
2006-10-03 11:55:55
79.   Ken Arneson
73 The algorithm for when to remove an A's starting pitcher is here:

2006-10-03 11:56:00
80.   bhsportsguy
74 Okay, I'll bite, what is it about those bad beer commercials that dooms the A's?
2006-10-03 11:57:05
81.   Vishal
i wouldn't mind zito for 8 and then duchscherer. unfortunately "street is the closer", the last time macha checked. even though he's obviously not 100% lately.
2006-10-03 11:57:47
82.   mehmattski
79 What's Zito's pitch count?
2006-10-03 11:58:05
83.   Ken Arneson
The curse of the Buck:
2006-10-03 11:59:14
84.   Vishal
[82] 81 over 7IP
2006-10-03 12:01:03
85.   trainwreck
I miss Bradley's stache.
2006-10-03 12:04:59
86.   Andrew Shimmin
78- Neither did I, but it turns out he's only 34.
2006-10-03 12:05:45
87.   Vishal
2 more innings, 2 more innings....
2006-10-03 12:06:53
88.   trainwreck
Aww hell Joe Buck.
2006-10-03 12:07:14
89.   Vishal
2006-10-03 12:07:50
90.   Vishal
it's NOT joe buck. it's not. no. it's not anything.
2006-10-03 12:08:03
91.   trainwreck
2006-10-03 12:08:51
92.   bhsportsguy
79 The pain of being right.
2006-10-03 12:09:03
93.   Orly Yarly NoWai
Come on Zito...
2006-10-03 12:09:29
94.   bhsportsguy
Is this Macha's usual pattern re Zito?
2006-10-03 12:09:37
95.   Orly Yarly NoWai
Joe Morgan: "I still think you have to bunt."

Because, you know, a guy can't score from second on a single.

2006-10-03 12:11:04
96.   trainwreck
2006-10-03 12:11:15
97.   Orly Yarly NoWai
2006-10-03 12:11:23
98.   mehmattski
94 According to Ken's algorithm: yep, still under the pitch count, nope hasn't given up 5 runs, nope, hasn't given up a run yet this inning... Leave him in!
2006-10-03 12:12:50
99.   Jon Weisman
Anyone know the exact time this game started?
2006-10-03 12:13:42
100.   Orly Yarly NoWai
Santana done.
Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2006-10-03 12:13:56
101.   Vishal
please use duchscherer in the 9th. pretty please? i mean, he's already been warming up. you might as well use him.
2006-10-03 12:14:24
102.   Philip Michaels
The MVP of that sequence was me, for leaving the room after the Bartlet double, thus ensuring that the Twins would make three straight outs.
2006-10-03 12:14:33
103.   trainwreck
Way to go A's offense aka Big Hurt.
2006-10-03 12:14:39
104.   Orly Yarly NoWai
Go insurance run!
2006-10-03 12:15:07
105.   Vishal
YESSSSSSSSS!!! to answer your question daniel, i LOVE frank thomas unequivocally.
2006-10-03 12:15:42
106.   Orly Yarly NoWai
Street up in the pen; I don't think we're going to see Duchscherer.
2006-10-03 12:16:32
107.   Daniel Zappala
Ken, you have some amazingly funny neuroses about the A's.
2006-10-03 12:16:45
108.   Philip Michaels
Why not just leave Zito in? He's not gassed by any means.
2006-10-03 12:16:48
109.   Vishal
any thoughts about the potential wisdom of having zito in for mauer and morneau?
2006-10-03 12:17:14
110.   trainwreck
Game started at 10:10 PST.
2006-10-03 12:17:47
111.   Daniel Zappala
So Frank Thomas is your Kirk Gibson, Vishal? Or has he not yet done the required three miracles for sainthood?
2006-10-03 12:21:29
112.   Ken Arneson
108 I agree. Street is too much of a question mark right now. Let Zito go through Morneau, at least.
2006-10-03 12:24:39
113.   Orly Yarly NoWai
Cuddy, Morneau, Hunter coming up.
2006-10-03 12:24:49
114.   Philip Michaels
If you're going to just stand there and watch, Marco, just buy a ticket next time.
2006-10-03 12:24:52
115.   Vishal
[111]] kirk gibson is still my kirk gibson. i've always had a ton of respect and admiration for frank though, and his carrying of the A's year has added some fondness to the mix. let's hope it continues.
2006-10-03 12:26:11
116.   Vishal
...and it'll be street, not zito.
2006-10-03 12:26:26
117.   Orly Yarly NoWai
Well poop. Ken Macha strikes again!
2006-10-03 12:27:15
118.   trainwreck
2006-10-03 12:28:17
119.   Philip Michaels
I have no words.
2006-10-03 12:28:19
120.   bhsportsguy
Milton, oh Milton, its lonely out there in the outfield.
2006-10-03 12:28:38
121.   Orly Yarly NoWai
I agree.
2006-10-03 12:29:40
122.   Orly Yarly NoWai
Anyone else think you'd be worried when Rondell White came to the plate?
2006-10-03 12:29:44
123.   Daniel Zappala
That last home run is looking pretty big right now. Imagine the Twins fans kicking themselves.
2006-10-03 12:30:22
124.   Orly Yarly NoWai
2006-10-03 12:30:31
125.   bhsportsguy
Game over. A's take the heart out of Minnesota for now.
2006-10-03 12:30:45
126.   Daniel Zappala
Congrats, A's, one down.
2006-10-03 12:30:59
127.   mehmattski
2 hours, 20 minutes... quick, someone see if that's the shortest playoff game of the wild card era. ready... go!
2006-10-03 12:31:06
128.   Orly Yarly NoWai
Take that White Stockings.
2006-10-03 12:31:36
129.   Vishal

what an incredible relief.

2006-10-03 12:32:14
130.   Orly Yarly NoWai
Wonder what the Worldwide Leader is going to say about Santana in a 5 game series now...
2006-10-03 12:32:26
131.   Jon Weisman
Very happy for Ken. Now if we could just get his car back.
2006-10-03 12:33:24
132.   Vishal
i'm too jittery to sleep.
2006-10-03 12:43:03
133.   Ken Arneson
When Bradley lost that ball in the roof, my wife forbade me from watching the rest of the game. I went to the kitchen and did some dishes, and she reported the results to me.
2006-10-03 12:43:08
134.   StolenMonkey86
Nice one there for Oakland.

I agree with the decision to go with Street in the 9th. Zito was not particularly dominant, as his control was off, and his success was largely because the Twins were overly aggressive. I started worrying, though, when he gave up that homer on the high fastball in the 7th, because that's Minnesota's #7 hitter that blasted that one. Besides, if you go with Zito, and he gives up a run, do you then bring in Street, possibly with the tying run in scoring position already?

Still, nice to see Oakland get out in front, though, and it's also good to know that the Twins' aggressiveness can be a weakness.

2006-10-03 12:50:10
135.   Ken Arneson
It's not an easy decision for Macha what to do there. Zito was still below his pitch limit. Street's the closer, but he's been quite shaky lately. Duchscherer's been more solid, but he hurt his back this weekend, so he's a question mark, too.

It worked out, so credit Macha with the right decision, I guess.

2006-10-03 12:53:09
136.   regfairfield
127 The Braves beat the Dodgers in 2:04 in 1996.
2006-10-03 12:54:01
137.   mehmattski
136 Thanks, I knew someone would come through for me!
2006-10-03 13:13:14
138.   Padgett
133 Ken, that's really eerie. When the Twins were threatening in the 8th and 9th, I got up to do the dishes.

I think we know what has to be done tomorrow.

2006-10-03 13:25:18
139.   Ken Arneson
138 We must avoid dirty dishes at all costs!
2006-10-03 13:28:22
140.   Linkmeister
138, 139 Er, have y'all heard of those newfangled watery electric thingies called automatic dishwashers? Or are you like me; the plates/glasses have to be rinsed/scrubbed pretty well before they go into that gadget.
2006-10-03 13:38:12
141.   Ken Arneson
140 Well, when I said "doing the dishes" I actually meant "loading the dishwasher."
2006-10-03 13:48:46
142.   Linkmeister
141 Glad to hear it. I was afraid you were out pounding the china with rocks in the streambed. ;)
2006-10-03 13:58:38
143.   Xeifrank
DodgerSims is predicting an even higher probability of the A's winning tomorrow.
vr, Xei
2006-10-03 14:05:14
144.   Ken Arneson
143 Interesting that your sim gave the A's a slightly bigger chance of winning today than the Twins. I'd never have guessed that. Any idea why?

BTW, there should be one less "s" in that url.

2006-10-03 14:16:19
145.   Xeifrank
144. Thanks for pointing out the typo. Should be ".DodgerSims.". As far as why it was giving a very slight edge to the A's in today's game. Your guess is as good as mine. Perhaps because the A's best hitter is right handed. Hard to say that made the difference or not. Since it was so close, it was basically calling today's game a toss-up. Good luck in game #2. It likes the Cards and Yankees in the other two games. vr, Xei
2006-10-03 14:54:26
146.   Orly Yarly NoWai
While I haven't looked at the sim, it could be because Santana's basic (ERA and record) stats in the playoffs are pretty pedestrian. Yes, I know ERA and wins/losses suck and that there's only a small sample size to work from. Still...
2006-10-03 14:55:33
147.   Orly Yarly NoWai
Mkay, it has nothing to do with Santana having bad postseason numbers. Whoops. My bad. It's based on actual intelligent stats. ^_^
2006-10-03 17:54:20
148.   scarface
Re.143,144,145 (Xei) :
Your sims look pretty interesting, Xei. To me, the big subjective part, and potentially big source for non-realism is the part where you subtract a number from each batter's OBP based on the pitcher's ERA. How do you choose this number? This is non-trivial and could end up being pretty significant, both in OBP and micro-stats like singles rate,etc . I don't know if there's any established logic for "colliding" hitting and pitching overall probabilities to get the distribution of outcomes for a particular hitter-pitcher matchup.
2006-10-03 21:17:50
149.   Xeifrank
148. I probably didn't explain it well enough, but it doesn't change the probabilities once you are determined safe. It just adjusts the probability of you actually making an out vs being safe. But yes, this is a little bit subjective but I see no perfect way to do it. Atleast not without turning it into a major science project. :) I look at the stats of each pitcher, so I adjust accordingly. It's not a perfect science by any means. One thing I'd eventually like to do is take into consideration a pitchers and hitters fly ball to ground ball ratio, for determining what kind of outs they are most likely to get when they don't strike out. vr, Xei
2006-10-03 21:50:43
150.   scarface
Thanks, Xei; I was actually curious about whether there was a sound math way to adjust the probability of making an out, depending on who the pitcher is. I suspect it would involve use of variance stats for both the hitting and pitching stats. You probably apply a factor based on the pitcher's ERA compared to the average ERA. Yeah, I agree , it's too much to bother with unless it's your thesis or something :)

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