By Jason Wojciechowski on September 1, 2011 at 11:00 AM
Welcome to September 1. Welcome back soon, Michael Wuertz. Welcome to the most depressing squad around, Jason Rice. Welcome to the big leagues, Wes Timmons?
I have two disagreements with my fellow A's bloggers to express, one more vehement than the other. Let's start with the one I don't feel as strongly about.
David Wishinsky wrote about last night's close play at the plate that ended the game:
That all said, [Suzuki] needs to at least put on a show perhaps and try and fight his cause and change the perception and add doubt to he equation, but given that he didn't I can't say that was a missed call.
As a fan, I respect this position, because it's frustrating to see a close (or wrong) call made that the player doesn't show much emotion about. I've never been one to actually call for a player to fight or argue, mainly because there's no point to it. On certain types of plays, a manager or player might convince an umpire to convene with his colleagues and discuss the situation -- foul balls where the home umpire and the first/third umpire have a similar view, for instance, or a balk where a different angle might produce a different understanding of the pitcher's actions.
On a tag play at the plate, though, the home plate umpire is going to make the call and that's going to be that. Suzuki getting worked up only runs the risk of him losing his cool and bumping the umpire or something, earning himself a suspension and fine.
(Not that this would hurt the team all that much -- Anthony Recker's rest-of-season PECOTA projection calls for a .244 TAv, while Suzuki's stands at .249, influenced upward a bit by the .259 he's put up this season, which is between his 60th and 70th percentile projections. Still, I don't particularly like seeing players on the A's suspended, losing paychecks. Suzuki's got mouths to feed!)
Anyway, like I said, I'm not terribly invested in this one way or the other -- I hope that my tone in the preceding paragraphs reflects my muted emotions on the subject.
More on the performance and analysis end of things, Joseph Lopez at Swingin' A's, writing about Hideki Matsui, stated that:
In and out of Bob Geren's lineup during most of the first-half until Geren's firing, Matsui struggled, hitting just .209/.290/.327 with six home runs and 34 RBIs before the All-Star break.
Once Oakland let go of Geren as manager, however, the A's saw a sudden change in Matsui. It probably had something to do with new manager Bob Melvin's approach.
Bob Geren managed the first 63 A's games of the year. From game 64, Bob Melvin's first as A's skipper, through July 10th, the last A's game before the All-Star break, the A's played 29 games, with Matsui pulling 26 starts. In that period, he hit .209/.343/.349, compared to .209/.260/.316 under Bob Geren. Basically, for the first month of Bob Melvin's tenure, Matsui walked more but did little else different than he'd done to that point.
Arbitrary endpoints are arbitrary endpoints, of course, but we really have to be careful about matching up those points to our arguments. If you want to say that Matsui has hit better under Melvin, and that Matsui had a "sudden change," then you can't start your sample a full month after Bob Melvin took over.
Now, Matsui has hit better under Melvin, putting up a .295/.367/.442 line. But sudden change? No.
Also, for the "Geren jerked him around" stuff, I ask: "What's different about the beginning of the season?" Playing the arbitrary endpoints game again, Matsui started 30 of the A's first 34 games (pretty regular playing time, basically getting a game off per week) and hit .243/.298/.400.