Tag Archives: MLB



Kallas Remarks by Steve Kallas – Good grief!  What has baseball done to baseball?  Once upon a time, with less than two outs, a runner on first and a ground ball to third (for example), the fielder threw to the second … Continue reading

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Kallas Remarks by Steve Kallas – As everybody knows by now, it really hit the fan with Alex Rodriguez’s legal team filing a complaint yesterday in federal court in Manhattan against Major League Baseball (“MLB”) (and Commissioner Bud Selig) and the … Continue reading

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Kallas Remarks by Steve Kallas – By now you have heard or seen Alex Rodriguez’s appearance on Mike Francesa’s show on WFAN just a short time after walking out on his own arbitration.  When arbitrator Fredric Horowitz ruled on Wednesday that … Continue reading

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Kallas Remarks by Steve Kallas – In what is now becoming the arbitration with no ending, Yankee president Randy Levine testified on Day 10 of the Alex Rodriguez appeal of his unprecedented 211-game suspension by Major League Baseball for using performance-enhancing … Continue reading

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                                                        Kallas Remarks By Steve Kallas   

Once upon a time in pitching, as hard as it may be to believe today, a major league  pitcher would take the ball every fourth day and would start 40-41 times a season and would pitch usually into the eighth or ninth inning (if he was a good pitcher).  

But that was then, this is now.  Today, a major league pitcher takes the ball (maybe) every fifth day, starts 34-35 times a season and, on the rare occasion, pitches into the eighth or (unbelievable today) ninth inning.   

Which brings us to Mike Mussina and his win number 255 on May 8, 2008, a 6-3 victory over the Cleveland Indians.  While the win wasn’t hailed as a milestone, it really should have been viewed as such.  There’s the new math in pitching and here’s how it works:  Starting with the young Met pitchers of the late1960s (you old-time Met fans will remember – Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, Gary Gentry and even part-time starter Nolan Ryan), pitchers started to rest four days between starts rather than three.  Over the next few decades and coupled with expansion, this would be the watering down of pitching as we see it today (but that’s for another time).  

Over the next decade or so, there was a transformation of pitching – no longer would pitching every fourth day be the norm, it would now be every fifth day, a huge difference in terms of putting together a pitching staff.  

So whether everybody understood it or not, there would never be another 30-game winner again (an impossibility today with only 34-35 starts a season).  In fact, the question is whether there will ever be another 25-game winner again (also for another time).  

But the new math in baseball for career wins is this:  Since good starters for decades, with rare exceptions (Whitey Ford and Bob Gibson come to mind), would start 40 or so times a year and good starters today start 34 or so times a year, it’s simple mathematics to figure out that a pitcher’s chance to win games reduces by six starts a year or 15% (40 starts less 15% (six starts) equals 34 starts a year).  So, too, again by simple mathematics, will a pitcher’s actual number of wins go down by 15%.  

So the 300-game winner of yesteryear, by mathematical definition, couldn’t possibly win 300 games today if he pitched every fifth day instead of every fourth day.  And this, of course, is before we even talk about middle relievers, closers and the mentality of the pitch count.  So by simply subtracting 15% from 300 (45), we come up with the modern-day equivalent of 300 wins — 255 wins.  

So Mike Mussina, a possible Hall of Fame candidate down the road, essentially won his 300th game on May 8, 2008.  And nobody knew about it.

 © Copyright 2008 by Steve Kallas.  All rights reserved.


                                                                            Kallas Remarks By Steve Kallas   

Short and sour:  Given the fiasco of pitching to Manny Ramirez last week with a base open (see Sports Plus, 4/13/08) and given the fact that Manny hit two more moon shots off Mussina last night (Red Sox 7, Yankees 5), there’s only one question to be asked:  Do Mussina and manager Joe Girardi still feel that “the comfort level” of Mussina facing Ramirez or Kevin Youkilis is “the same?”  Just asking. 
© Copyright 2008 by Steve Kallas.  All rights reserved. 



                                                                            Kallas Remarks By Steve Kallas   

It happens often now in major league baseball with the inability of most pitchers to last past the sixth or seventh inning.  You have plenty of relievers in numerous games.  The days of the complete-game pitcher, long gone, have given way to the days of the five- or six-inning starter, with multiple relief “specialists” coming in all the time to attempt to hold the lead and win the game.


Which leads us to last night’s New York Yankees – Tampa Bay Rays game and winning pitcher Brian Bruney.  Bruney came into the game in the bottom of the seventh   with the Yankees leading 7-4 and one man on base with one out.  He promptly gave up two moon-shot home runs to B. J. Upton (to deep center) and rookie sensation Evan Longoria (to deep left).  Bruney, now in a tie ballgame (caused by him), then got two outs against the number six and seven hitters in the Tampa Bay lineup to finish the inning.


Fortunately for Bruney and the Yankees, Robinson Cano hit a home run in the top of the eighth to gain the lead back for the Yankees.  In the bottom of the eighth, with no Joba Chamberlain available (due to the health of his father), Bruney went out to pitch to the number eight and nine hitters in the lineup.  After Bruney got number eight hitter Nathan Haynes, number nine hitter Jason Bartlett hit a deep drive down the left field line that was hauled in by Johnny Damon, very close to a third home run.


Joe Girardi had seen enough and brought in Mariano Rivera for the four-out save.  So Bruney pitched horribly in the seventh inning (two long home runs that scored three runs to tie up the game) and not-so-well in the eighth (got two outs but almost gave up a home run to the weak-hitting number nine hitter on the Tampa Bay Rays).


Despite about as bad a performance as you can have, Brian Bruney gets the win.  HOW CAN THIS BE?  Well, it’s right there in the comment to Rule 10.17(a) of the Major League Rule Book:  Whenever the score is tied, the game becomes a new contest insofar as the winning pitcher is concerned.”  Since Bruney allowed the score to be tied, he becomes the pitcher of record.  But it would be better if the comment to Rule 10.17(b) applied: it states that the relief pitcher who was “most effective” (Rivera far more effective than Bruney or Traber, for that matter) should get the win.


But Rule 10.17(b) only applies if the starter hasn’t pitched enough innings to get the win.  Why?  That’s preposterous!  If starter Ian Kennedy had pitched four innings rather than six, Mariano Rivera would have received credit for the win.  Even though Kennedy pitched six, Bruney was still terrible.


Thus, on last night’s events, Mariano Rivera should have received the win.


But last night’s events are a perfect example of why there should be two rule changes.  The most obvious (and there are literally hundreds of examples of this over the years) is this:  NO RELIEF PITCHER WHO BLOWS A SAVE SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO GET THE WIN NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS BEFORE, DURING OR AFTER HE PITCHES POORLY.  That would be a rule that would make perfect sense and, remember, when the win rules were devised, there weren’t relief specialists, there weren’t closers per se like today and, for the first 80 or so years of baseball, there wasn’t anything known as a “save,” one of the (or maybe the) most misleading stats in baseball.


To take it one step beyond (and while the no-win-for-a-blown-save rule could and should be implemented tomorrow — hey, the NHL just instituted the Sean Avery penalty rule with no notice or anything in the middle of the playoffs – but that’s for another time), this leads to a more interesting and rule-changing notion that would never be implemented:  WHEN THE RELIEF PITCHERS (LIKE BRUNEY LAST NIGHT) ARE HORRIBLE, WHY NOT GIVE THE WIN TO THE STARTER WHO PITCHED WELL? (Last night, starter Ian Kennedy for the Yankees gave up three earned runs in six plus innings – for you old-timers, today that’s considered a “quality” start.  Seriously.)


Here’s an even better example:  Suppose a starter pitches lights-out for seven innings and leaves with a 2-0 lead.  Then a reliever (like Bruney) gives up two home runs in the eighth for a tie game.  Then the team that was leading squeaks out a run and the same reliever gets the side out in hair-raising fashion (or, worse, another reliever gets the losers out one-two-three) in the ninth.  Why not give the win to the starter?  The answer, of course, will be that’s not how it’s been done for 130 years.  But that’s not a good reason.


To recap, it’s a joke that Brian Bruney, who pitched about as bad as you can pitch (after giving up two monster homers, the four outs that Bruney did get were against guys with a combined average of about .225 and were numbers six through nine in the lineup), gets a win which should have been given to Mariano Rivera.  But it would be intelligent to implement the Blown-Save-Can’t-Get-A-Win Rule now and it would be ahead of the curve to think about, in this age of relievers, reverting the win to the starting pitcher who, through no fault of his own, didn’t win a game he should have won.






© Copyright 2008 by Steve Kallas.  All rights reserved. 


                                                                            Kallas Remarks By Steve Kallas   

You probably already know the situation:  Yankees-Red Sox, 2-1 Yankees, bottom six, two out, second and third for the Red Sox after Mike Mussina struck out David Ortiz.  Here comes Manny Ramirez with, arguably, the game on the line.  This is Baseball 101 stuff:  walk Ramirez and take your chances with just about any other hitter on the planet.


But a funny thing happened on the way to the Yankees having their best chance to win the game:  new manager Joe Girardi went out to talk to Mussina and they apparently (jointly) decided to pitch to Ramirez.  This was a terrible error whether they got Ramirez out or not.  Of course, Ramirez doubled in two runs and, for all intents and purposes, the Yankees best chance to win the game had left the building.


How could this possibly have happened?  Well, Joe Girardi said that he had discussed it on the bench before going out to speak to Mussina (I hope this isn’t like last year with Joe Torre, because, with no Mel Stottlemyre and, even earlier, with no Don Zimmer, the decision-making was poor last year).  If there’s nobody on the bench to say to Joe Girardi   that Manny Ramirez is one of the five or ten greatest right-handed hitters of all time and, oh, by the way, he hit a moon shot off Mussina last time up, then there are already judgment issues on the Yankee bench.


After the game, Girardi said that, during his conversation with Mussina, “we talked about the comfort level with both hitters [Ramirez and Kevin Youkilis] was basically the same… .”  Stop right there!  You don’t know what’s inside a pitcher’s mind (hopefully it’s Mussina’s competitive nature), but that’s absurd.  That’s when the manager has to say: “I appreciate your competitiveness.  Now walk Ramirez and go after Youkilis.”  Who was the manager, Grady Little?  Unbelievable.


After the game, Mussina said “I feel the same with both guys.”  Yikes!  It’s as if Lou Gehrig was coming up after Babe Ruth.  Kevin Youkilis is a very good hitter and a tough out.  But he’s not in Manny’s neighborhood as a hitter (and, remember, Ramirez hit one off the Volvo sign over the Green Monster the previous at-bat).


For the last few years, it’s been a pick-your-poison deal with the Red Sox.  Pitch to David Ortiz and he kills you.  Walk Ortiz and pitch to Manny and he kills you.  And, of course, both are well-established Yankee killers.  Girardi correctly decided to pitch to David Ortiz because, at 3-43, he’s having a miserable season (so far) and isn’t anywhere close to hitting like DAVID ORTIZ.  But Manny, again, is already hitting like MANNY.  A stunning blunder by the Yankees.


What can be done about this?  Well, I didn’t hear anyone ask Joe Girardi the magic question:  If the same situation comes up again tomorrow, will you talk to your coaches, talk to your pitcher and pitch to Manny again?  If the answer to that question is yes, then Joe Girardi has learned nothing from this experience.


Would the Yankees have won the game if Girardi had told Mussina to walk Ramirez?  Of course, we’ll never know.  But know this:  Joe Girardi, no matter what anyone says, did not give the Yankees the best chance to win the game yesterday.  And that’s the manager’s number one job.  Very surprising. 


© Copyright 2008 by Steve Kallas.  All rights reserved.