30 November 2007

The Week is Over

I've been busy this week working on a talk for the department seminar (not to mention AGU and potential interviews), so my time vanished quite quickly. However, the talk is done now and it went well, so now I'm a little braindead.

Tomorrow is December, so time to start thinking about "Best of 2007" lists. I think I may run a contest on TIG and here to win copies of my "Best of 2007" CD, so stay tuned. Lots of good stuff, music-wise, this year.

I also recently upgraded my computing environment to add 2GB of RAM, a 20" Dell Widescreen LCD monitor (gasp! Dell monitor on an Apple, for shame! Except, of course, the $400 on an excellent monitor) and a 500GB Seagate external HD. Good times!

Here is my current iPod Top 10:
1 "Foundations" by Kate Nash
2 "Sophia" by the Toothaches
3 "Prescilla" by Bats for Lashes
4 "Almost Ready" by Dinosaur Jr.
5 "Friday Night at the Drive-In Bingo" by Jens Lekman
6 "New Dawn Fades" by Joy Division
7 "Geld Essen" by K.I.Z.
8 "Girls and Boys in Love" by the Rumble Strips
9 "Let's Dance to Joy Division" by the Wombats
10 "The Punks are Writing Love Songs" by Tullycraft

24 November 2007

I'm stunned. This is brilliant on so many levels ...


23 November 2007

Red Sox Relievers in Review

Red Sox Review, Part 2: Relievers
For relievers, the stat set is IP/ERA/WHIP/K-BB/HR/SV/W-L/Grade
They're sort by IP. No predictions for most relievers, they're so irregular.

Hideki Okajima 69.0/2.22/0.97/63-17/6/5/3-2/A
Oki was possibly the free agent signing of season if it wasn't for the ridiculous season Carlos Pena had for the Rays. Oki was everything the Sox could ask for and more. When combined with the Sox front office deciding to rest Oki before the playoffs, thus creating the unstoppable (until he met Matt Holliday) pitching machine. I'm guessing on a bit of a regressive for Oki in 2008, but I'm hoping he doesn't pull a Shinjo Takatsu. 

Jonathan Papelbon 58.1/1.85/0.77/84-14/5/1-3/A+
He is the best closer in MLB. There, I said it. Not only did he have a monstrous regular season, but he was the meanest MF-er in the playoff. Sure, J.J. Putz might have gotten more saves and a few Cy Young/MVP votes, but Papelbon was simply dominant. I think we can settle on the idea of leaving him as closer for the foreseeable future. I cannot remember the Red Sox ever having such a dominant closer except maybe when Flash Gordon was at his very short peak. 

Mike Timlin 55.1/3.42/1.08/31-14/7/1/2-1/B
You know, I didn't realize what a decent season Timlin had in 2008. Low WHIP, OK K/BB, decent number of innings pitched. Not sure what he has left in the tank, but if his Sox swan-song was his World Series Game 4 performance, he couldn't have chosen a better way to go out.

Kyle Snyder 54.1/3.81/1.42/41-32/7/0/2-3/C
Look up "mop up guy" in the dictionary, and you'll find Kyle Snyder. I did get the honor of seeing him pitch in Oakland in 2007. He was OK minus the game winning home run he gave up to Eric Chavez in extra innings. Well, I guess thats not OK. His K/BB is pretty miserable, but like Julian Tavarez, he's a good swing man ... if he's cheap.

Manny Delcarmen 44.0/2.05/1.02/41-17/4/1/0-0/A-
Wow, Manny Delcarmen tended to be like Jekyl-and-Hyde in 2007. He really did a good job in the regular season of getting his K/BB down from 2006 and his WHIP was sparkling. However, in the post season he was wild again, looking like he was overthrowing. That being said, I think he's going to be a great 7-8th inning pitcher for the Sox in 2008, but I wouldn't put all my eggs in the Delcarmen basket just yet.

Javier Lopez 40.2/3.10/1.33/26-18/2/0/2-1/B-
Ugh. Why do we have this terrible LOOGY on the roster anyway? He was worse versus lefties than righties in 2008. The lefty sidewinder let righties hit .176 against him (in 21 innings) while lefties - who he is supposed to get out, mind you - hit .293 against him (in 19.2 innings). .293! He turned every lefty he faced into Kevin Youkilis! When you combine that with his miserable K/BB, I think the only thing the Sox should be doing is telling him how to collect his ring in 2008 and thanks for the memories.

Joel Pineiro 34.0/5.03/1.62/20-14/3/0/1-1/D (Sox Stats)
Piniero was a grand experiment that failed, so he was traded to the NL and worked out OK as a starter for the Cardinals. He started 11 games for the Cards and gave them a 3.96 ERA and 1.27 WHIP, so they rewarded him with a 2 year deal. Good for him. Look for him to be a little better than league average throwing in the NL Central.

Brendan Donnelly 20.2/3.05/1.16/15-5/0/0/2-1/C
Started promising, had TJ surgery, out for 2008.

J.C. Romero 20.0/3.15/1.95/11-15/2/1/1-0/D (Sox Stats)
Wow, his WHIP and K/BB were terrible, however he did provide me with my best live Sox memory of 2007, when he somehow got out of a bases loaded, bottom of the ninth jam vs. the A's by inducing an inning-ending double play. He pitched well above his talent after getting picked up by the Phils who rewarded him with a 3 year deal (which they will be regretting in about half a year).

Eric Gagne 18.2/6.75/1.88/22-9/1/0/2-2/D (Sox Stats)
I'm not sure what caused Gagne to become a pumpkin when he came to the Sox. Maybe he truly proves the idea that a "born closer" needs to pitch for saves, because as a setup man for the Sox, he was terrible. When I saw him pitch on TV, he seemed to be overthrowing and trying to just throw fastballs. That got him into trouble and he would walk hitter after hitter. I'm guessing he bounces back in 2008, but man, it would be nice to have Dave Murphy or Engel Beltre back for this mess.

Bryan Corey 9.1/1.93/1.07/6-4/0/0/1-0/(B)
People (aka, SOSH fans) liked Corey enough in his 9.1 IP to want him on the Sox postseason roster. I don't know if I'd go that far, but he might make a good middle reliever in 2008, although his K/BB was nothing to write home.

21 November 2007

Two New Reviews and a Top Ten

Well, very busy lately with the ol' science racket, so here's two new TIG reviews and a new iPod Top 10.

Current iPod Top 10
1. "Foundations" by Kate Nash
2. "New Dawn Fades" by Joy Division
3. "Wild" by Matthew Sweet
4. "Friday Night at the Drive In Bingo" by Jens Lekman
5. "Prescilla" by Bats for Lashes
6. "Almost Ready" by Dinosaur Jr.
7. "Girls and Boys in Love" by the Rumble Strips
8. "Hunger Strike" by Temple of the Dog
9. "Sophia" by the Toothaches
10. "The Opposite of Hallelujah" by Jens Lekman

16 November 2007

Red Sox Starters in Review

Let's start with the 2008 Red Sox rotation.
Here are the starters with IP, ERA, WHIP, K-BB, HR, QS-#Starts,W-L, Grade in order of #Starts
My random guesses at 2008 stats are IP/ERA/WHIP/W-L

Daisuke Matsuzaka 204.2/4.40/1.32/201-80/25/18-32/15-12/C+
2008: 200/3.67/1.22/18-10
Dice didn't live up to the hype that was expected for the $51M posting and ensuing 6 year deal, but I think Dice's year was relatively positive. I point to the comparison with Josh Beckett in 2006: 204.2/5.01/1.29/158-74/36/16-11. Dice, in fact, has a better K/BB and HR/IP than Beckett in 2006. If Dice can gain confidence to pitch to contact in 2008, I think he can make a leap like Beckett in 2007, but if he can't and he continues to nibble like he did at the end of the 07 regular season, then it could be a long 2008 for the Japanese import.

Tim Wakefield 189.0/4.76/1.35/110-64/22/15-31/17-12/B
2008: 125/4.88/1.40/8-5
What can really be said about Wake? Until he hurt his back, he was well on his way to his best season ever, and here he is in his early forties. I'm guessing he has a few more effective seasons left in that knuckling tank, but if the back injury is chronic, his innings might be limited, but for $4M/year, he's worth bringing back until he can't pitch anymore.

Josh Beckett 200.2/3.27/1.14/194-40/17/20-30/20-7/A
2008: 211/3.01/1.15/22-6
The biggest thing about Beckett from 06 to 07, in my eyes, was Josh cutting his HR allowed by 50% in the same # of innings. Remarkable. He also significantly improved his K/BB and made a case for being the best postseason pitcher in MLB today. He has learned to pitch to contact and to pound the strikezone. What else can I say, he's a true ace.

Curt Schilling 151.0/3.87/1.25/101-23/21/14-24/9-8/B-
2008: 185/3.77/1.27/10-7
Curt missed a significant part of 2007 to injury and when he was pitching (minus the 1 hitter vs. Oakland), he was Curt 2.0, a wily pitcher trying to pitch to deadened contact rather than getting K's. He was mostly effective with this strategy during the Sox playoff run, but we'll see if he tries to build some velocity back up for his final(?) season in 2008 with the Sox.

Julian Tavarez 134.2/5.15/1.50/77-51/14/7-23/7-11/C-
2008: 110/4.98/1.48/6-7
I fully expect that the Sox will trade Tavarez for a part before 2008, but Julian was an "effective" swing man in 2007, I suppose for a stretch he was the best 5th starter in baseball, which I suppose is like saying you're the fastest slow man in the race. He versatility is useful, but Wakefield might fill the same role for the Sox in 08.

Jon Lester 63.0/4.57/1.46/50-31/10/5-11/4-0/A-
2008: 175/4.21/1.33/12-11
His stats might be deserved the A- grade, but just the fact that he came back from cancer in 2006 to get to this level and pitch as well as he did in the World Series is success enough. You really have to hope that he can reduce the K/BB significantly and cut down the HR allowed, but you had to like the way he pitched in Game 4 of the World Series. Of course, small sample sizes are not the best way to predict success, but my guess is Lester will be above league average in 2008, especially with another off season to recover.

Kason Gabbard 41.0/3.73/1.12/29-18/3/3-7/4-0/B (Sox stats only)
The Sox traded Gabbard at the height of his value, but they ended up with a bag of doorknobs anyway (a.k.a., Eric Gagne, Type B Free Agent). He'll be an adequate #4 SP for Texas in 2008 at best.

Clay Buchholz 22.2/1.59/1.06/22-10/0/2-3/3-1/A
2008: 180/3.55/1.19/11-4
He threw a no-hitter on his 2nd ML start. Filthy. He could use to reduce his K/BB but the sky is the limit with Buchholz. The question will be how the Sox treat Buchholz. My guess is he starts in the pen but makes it to the rotation fast, much like Chad Billingsley for the 2007 Dodgers. He will have his ups and downs, but look at Billingsley as a good proxy for Buchholz in 2008 and who knows from there.

Devern Hansack 7.2/4.70/1.83/5-5/2/1-0/0-1/Inc.
2008: 35/4.55/1.37/3-3
The current regime love the plucky Honduran. He might end up in the bullpen in 2008, playing the role of Julian Tavarez if Julian is traded and Wake is injured. Hard to tell what to predict here.

15 November 2007

Two new TIG Reviews: PJ Harvey and Math & Physics Club

Sometime soon I'll be rolling out a year-end look at the Red Sox, position-by-position ... but not just yet.

Instead, enjoy a couple new reviews:

11 November 2007

RIAA and MPAA are fascists

This makes me sick to my stomach. Literally, when I read this, I felt ill (well, when I read the original article, this links to my blog entry on TIG).

Share a song, don't go to college.

I normally don't advocate politics in this space, but write your congressperson if this bothers you. I've already written Diane Feinstein (D-Ca) and Mike Thompson (D-Ca).

09 November 2007

Let's Go Revs!

I have to give the New England Revolution some love. They're in the MLS Championship for the 3rd straight time (with no wins), but Taylor Twellman's goal to win the Eastern Conference is unbelievable.

Go Revs!

And here is my first ever NEGATIVE review on TIG ... a 3.8/11. Enjoy!
Travis Morrisson Hellfighters: All Y'All

08 November 2007

02 November 2007

New Jens Lekman Review

One of my most over-the-top reviews in a while for an album I love:

Jens Lekman - Night Falls Over Kortedala

Here's my current iPod Top 10
1 Friday Night at the Drive-In Bingo by Jens Lekman
2 Foundations by Kate Nash
3 Almost Ready by Dinosaur Jr.
4 Wild by Matthew Sweet
5 Girls & Boys in Love by the Rumble Strips
6 Pussy'ole (Old Skool) by Dizzee Rascal
7 The Punks Are Writing Love Songs by Tullycraft
8 Geld Essen by K.I.Z.
9 Daydreamin' by Lupe Fiasco
10 Silver (Orginal Beats) by Jesu