Note of the night/Stat of the day, June 6

Note of the night: When Brewers reliever Zach Braddock walked Albert Pujols in the ninth inning on Sunday night, it looked for all the world like the old unintentional-intentional walk. My read was that the Brewers had chosen to pitch around Pujols in order to face Matt Holliday, which to my mind was a fairly absurd decision — putting the game-ending run in scoring position with two outs and a lifetime 318/387/541 hitter coming to the plate.

It turns out that my read was wrong. Braddock was not, in fact, pitching around Pujols. He told my friend and colleague Adam McCalvy that it was actually more like the opposite. He was so jacked up to try to get the superstar out, that he just missed the strike zone.
“If anything I was trying to be a little more aggressive,” Braddock said. “There was a little more excitement. He’s up there to battle for his team in that situation and I wanted to come in and battle for our team. I ended up walking him, but it ended up working out. I had to go right after Holliday.”
Still, it led to an extended conversation with several people on Twitter (I’m at @MatthewHLeach, come on down if you want) about facing Holliday with runners in scoring position. And it seems that a lot of people still are judging Holliday — not expressing frustration, but actually judging the player he is — based on 31 at-bats in April.
I ask of you, look at the bigger picture. Whether it’s Holliday or any number of other topics, when you’re talking about baseball, look at the bigger picture. Holliday has nearly 1,000 ABs that say he’s a good hitter with RISP. He even has 35 since the start of May that say he’s pretty decent.
This is not a positive-negative thing. I feel the same way about people writing Jaime Garcia in for Rookie of the Year, or justifying the Aaron Miles signing because he started a key rally on Saturday. 
Moreover, it’s not that you don’t have the right to be frustrated — of COURSE you do. It’s not that Holliday has delivered in big situations the way the Cardinals hoped he would — frankly, I think he’d admit that overall, he hasn’t.
These things are true. Holliday is not above criticism, nor should he be. You want to yell and scream, hey, be my guest. That’s part of being a fan. But be very, very careful about making that leap from “I’m SO frustrated that Matt Holliday didn’t drive in that run” to “Matt Holliday is a CHOKER and that’s a TERRIBLE DEAL.” 
More and more, I read tweets and emails and I hear people talking in the park or on the radio or wherever, and it’s just those kinds of black-and-white assessments based on tiny samples. “Holliday’s a choker.” “It’s a terrible contract.” Etc etc etc.
Folks, this is just silly. No 30 at-bats — or 50 at-bats or 150 at-bats — tell you what a baseball player really is. They’re a snapshot. Whether a guy is torrid or icy-cold, if you make up your mind based on that few games and at-bats, you’re probably going to make a mistake.
This is a long-view game. It has to be, or you’ll drive yourself crazy.
Stat of the day: Colby Rasmus ranks fifth in the National League in slugging percentage (.569), sixth in on-base percentage (.405) and third in OPS (.974). 
Stat of the day, 2: Rasmus has grounded into one double play all year. 
Stat of the day, 3: Jaime Garcia ranks third in the National League in ground out/air out ratio at 2.94, behind only Tim Hudson and Derek Lowe.

Fun with double situational splits: In night games on the road, Yadier Molina is batting .345 with a .415 on-base percentage and a .414 slugging percentage.
And, finally, the playlist:
I was given a little grief by a club employee recently for complaining about the music at Busch Stadium. So, in the name of fairness, here are some good tunes that have been played here recently, or are played here regularly:
Cheap Trick, “Surrender”
The Police, “Message In A Bottle”
Pearl Jam, “The Fixer”
Outkast, “Hey Ya”
Beastie Boys, “Brass Monkey”
-M.

4 Comments

My whole take on Matt Holliday is I really dont think he is worth the money the Cardinals are paying him to begin with. I like Matt Holliday, and I know what it takes to make it to the big show. So I give the man the respect he deserves when it comes to that. He has a batting average over .300 which is pretty solid, and in a few Cardinals games Ive seen this year Matt Holliday has done his job at the plate. Obviously 2007 was his best season. He was Rookie of the Year in 2004, he has three Silver Slugger awards, and hes appeared in three All-star games. But since 2007 there has been somewhat of a decline in his statistics. Matt Holliday isnt getting any younger, and we all saw what happened to Ken Griffey Jr as he got older. Although, that doesnt happen to ALL players. Im just saying that the Cardinals should have signed Holliday to a smaller contract.

I like Matt Holliday, and I think he is a very good player. Certainly, a few AB’s this season does nothing to change that assessment. However, I never thought Holliday was worth such a long-term high-dollar contract. He is very good, but he is getting paid like a great player. If you take away his inflated Colorado stats, Holliday is merely a very good (not great) hitter. I don’t think anyone would argue that he is better than an average defensive left fielder. So, put it all together, and I would say he is not worth the money now. I hate to think what his production will look like 6 years from now (hint: It is not likley to get better).

Regardless, Holliday seems to be a good guy and I’m rooting for him. I don’t blame him for taking a contract that pays him more than he is worth (I would take it too!).

I like Matt Holliday too and I think some people are quick to judge. Look at the brouhaha over Albert’s dry spell. People need to get a grip. However I do think it is insane that Holliday is making more money than Albert. That injustice needs to be fixed toot sweet.
My take on Rasmus and Molina. I know of people who constantly criticize Colby based on a couple of bad throws in the outfield. Colby is a great player as his recent production has shown. Some fans just have no patience or their expectations are way too high. These kind of fans are not really fans in my opinion. As for Molina, I am sick and tired of the focus on his running ability. Molina is so outstanding in every other category that this focus on his running is just absurd. If I hear one more commentator make a crack about Yadi’s running, somebody is going to hear from me and it is not going to be pretty.

I know you can’t pass judgment on a player after 30, 50, or 150 at bats, but at what point do you look at Brendan Ryan’s lack of productivity as the weak link. Yes, he may be an awesome defensive player, but a batting average that has been below .220 is unacceptable. Stopping runs is important, but scoring more runs than the other team is key! At what point does he get optioned to AAA to work on his batting issues??

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