The A's showed a lot of life in the last series, taking three out of four and dropping the Rangers to 4.5 games back in the AL West, or 2 games back in the wild card race. This series will not be nearly as relevant to the postseason. The Royals had a strong start to the season, boosted by an otherworldy demonstration of pitching from Zach Greinke, and vindicating all the bandwagoneers (myself included) who were predicting them to be a much improved team. Since sometime near the end of May, however, they have returned to their old losing ways, and then some. Over the last couple of months, the Royals have been even worse than the Nationals.
As everyone has been noting lately, Oakland has lately been playing a much more aggressive style of baseball than we have seen since maybe the early nineties. The Kansas City defence is among the worst in baseball (see question 10). If the A's can take advantage of mistakes, take the extra base on line drives to the gap, and beat out slow ground balls, then we could see them scoring a lot of runs, even if they struggle to make contact with Greinke's slider of doom.
GOG #36 :: The Throne Room Is A Basement (31 points possible)
Three game series @ Kansas City Royals -- August 7-9
UPDATE -- answers, courtesy of doctorK, are added below in bold
- Series outcome [3 points] 2-1 Oakland
- The A's have to face Zach Greinke this time. Predict IP/ER/K for the best pitcher in the AL [2 points each] 7 IP, 3 ER, 5 K
- Brian Bannister, already known for his strong grasp of sabremetrics, has been studying up on PitchFx, judging from an interview he did with Tom Tango (a good summary of the interview is here). This year Bannister has been making an effort to increase his ground ball rate, by using his fastball less, throwing a ton of cutters, and switching his grip on the changeup to give it more sink. His groundball/flyball ratio jumped from around 1 to 1.5 and he is having his best year so far. How many groundball outs does Bannister record against the A's? [3 points] 6 groundball outs for Bannister
- Does Giambi play in the series? Do the A's add any non-Giambi players to their roster during the series? [+1 for each right, -1 for each wrong] Giambi does not play, but the A's do add Mortensen and Cunningham (and maybe Jay Marshall, now that Mortensen has been sent back down?)
- With two HR in the series against Texas, Kurt Suzuki is up to 8 HR on the season, surpassing his total for 2008. He passed his career high for doubles two weeks ago in the series at New York. This all adds up to a slugging percentage that is 39 points higher than last year, despite a nearly identical batting average. Unfortunately, this has been accompanied by a drop in his walk rate and OBP. Predict Suzuki's AB/BB/XBH for the series [2 points each] 12 AB, 0 BB, 2 XBH
- Former Royals shortstop Tona Pena Jr was so awful with the bat that they traded for Yuniesky Betancourt from the Mariners and are converting Pena into a pitcher. Unfortunately, Betancourt has not helped much. His batting line since coming to Kansas City is .159/.181/.290 (good for an OPS+ of 23!). He has 5 extra-base hits and 2 walks in 74 plate appearances. Will Yuni manage to earn a free pass off of A's pitchers this series? [+1 point if right, -1 if wrong] Yuni does not draw a walk. Easiest question ever (right, Angry Sean?)
- Which Oakland reliever logs the most innings in the series? [3 points] the answer is Edgar Gonzalez with 3.1 IP in relief of Mortensen, but no one picked the long man
- Over his last three starts, Gio Gonzalez is striking hitters out at a rate of 10.1 K/9. Impressively, he has done this against the Yankees, Red Sox, and Rangers. How many strikeouts does Gio pick up against the Royals decidedly less intimidating lineup? [3 points] Gio's start got bumped back, so for the second GOG in a row I have a question about a pitcher who didn't pitch
- Moneyball draftee Mark Teahen has been having a solid year at the plate and has contributed on defense at 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and right field. How many defensive positions does he play in this series? [3 points] Teahen played two positions -- RF and 1B
- According to UZR, the Royals suffer from the second worst defence in baseball (only the Red Sox are worse). The Athletics have been slightly above average and the difference between the Oakland and Kansas City defences has been nearly 40 runs so far this season! In this series, which team converts ball in play into outs at a higher rate? (Calculated as (total outs made - K - CS) / (PA - HR - K - BB)) [+1 if right, -1 if wrong] doctorK tells me that the Royals won in this category, .718 to .642. Don't doubt the man, he'ss a physicist.
Game one starts up at 5:10 pacific, so make sure you get your entries in on time.
Here is another high scoring GOG, like GOG #34, but with a crazy bi-modal distribution that points out the fallacy of the following gaussian statistics (ok, mode is not a gaussian statistic).
Overall scoring statistics
- mean = 10.3333 points
- standard deviation = 3.46410 points
- mode = 8 or 15 points
Wow, a four way tie for first place! Congratulations to zaniac75, GoAs, micdog2001, and A'sfaninNC.
The race for best total score is tightening up again, with zaniac75 close behind nevermoor. Also, GoAs and micdog2001 are both new members of the 200 points club.
|name||place (this GOG)||score (this GOG)||# of GOGs||place (all GOG)||score (all GOG)||place (by AVG)||score by AVG|
|Mantecan As Fan||DNP||--||1||95||1||N/E||0.024|
|SoCal As Fan||DNP||--||14||30||93||18||0.200|
|Athletics fan and runner||DNP||--||6||51||27||N/E||0.133|
|VORP is too nerdy||DNP||--||4||46||32||N/E||0.234|
|walkoff baltimore chop||DNP||--||1||84||7||N/E||0.200|
|Steve in Napa||DNP||--||1||95||1||N/E||0.032|