Regal Blue

I think this might be really bad

Posted in Sports by gklarsen on December 1, 2009

It’s official: the Dodgers will not offer arbitration to Orlando Hudson.  In an even more stunning move, they announced that no players will be offered arbitration.  From the LA Times:

The Dodgers are not offering any of their 15 free agents arbitration, a team spokesman said today.

Those players include pitcher Randy Wolf, second baseman Orlando Hudson and infielder Ronnie Belliard.

I would refer you to MSTI who is rightly shocked and dismayed.  True Blue LA feels the same.  I cannot argue with any of it.  It just seems bewildering.  Baseball front offices and ownership make questionable decisions all the time.  The redeeming factor, however, is that they’re at least questionable.  Reasonable (and sometimes not so reasonable) people can disagree.

Reasonable people cannot disagree on this.

In a move I can only imagine was prompted by cash-strapped ownership the Dodgers have effectively decided that the short term and speculative savings of at most 14 million dollars in payroll was worth further malnourishment of their already suffering farm system.  While I would like to say that there was another side to this, that there were real savings, the fact is that this is a poor economic plan.  This is inefficient and blatantly so.  At worst, the Dodgers would get valuable players for a year who, while probably not performing at last year’s level, will still be at least productive major league players at high demand positions.  The two first round draft picks plus the two sandwich picks could yield a Kemp or a Billingsley.  Surely draft picks can and often do bust but it is by far the most effective model for running a competitive and cost controlled franchise.

No word in the above paragraph is simple opinion.  Not offering arbitration to any player whatsoever is just incredible.  I do not expect an explanation but I hope that someone can tell us exactly why this happened.

***

Normally, it isn’t my habit to get too worked up about these things.  Beyond the fact that it’s “just a game,” patience is often the best attitude because things sometimes take time to work out.  A strange decision one day may work out in the end or fade into irrelevance with the passing of even a short amount of time.  Yet I find it difficult to be patient with this decision.

And strangely enough, Jon Weisman seems rattled too.

It’s definitely not the kind of announcement you like to see your team make.  It’s neither bold nor prudent.  It’s just kind of depressing, and it renews questions about the leadership at the very top of this organization, regardless of the success of the past two years.

I quote Mr. Weisman only because he is typically our rock in the Dodgers fan universe.  When he’s not worried, I’m not worried.  He regularly preaches calm, whether it be in regards to trade rumors or managerial decisions.  Because of that, I had expected his reaction to be somewhat more tempered but he seems to feel just as the rest of us do.

If judgment of the team’s greatest fans and admirers is any kind of barometer, Mr. Weisman may be quite precient when he wrote today that “I think hard-core Dodger fans will be talking about this day for a long time to come.”

***

UPDATE:  True Blue LA just published a post detailing just how valuable draft picks are.  Highly recommended.

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Wait, who’s Felipe Lopez?

Posted in Sports by gklarsen on December 1, 2009

UPDATE:  It appears the Dodgers are unlikely to offer Orlando Hudson arbitration.  Bad decision by the Dodgers but it makes this post slightly more relevant.

***

It’s been far too long since I’ve written anything baseball-related and even longer since I wrote anything Dodger-related.  The Dodger news is slow.  No real trade rumors to speak of.  Because we’re not in the market for any big name free agents, we’ll probably have to wait awhile before we see what sort of bargain free agent starters Colletti picks up.

That being said, one name has been tossed around a little and it’s an interesting one:  second baseman Felipe Lopez.  He played for the D-Backs and Brewers last year and the Nationals and Cardinals the two years prior.  The short returns from those years are that he was average to lousy in 2008 and all years prior (except for a remarkably productive 2005), while posting an awesome year in 2009.

His 2009 was truly very good.  He OPSed .810, but the striking feature was the .383 OBP.  Considering you can never really expect much power out of a second baseman, that’s pretty much the money stat.  He won’t steal you any bases:  6 SB, 6 CS and no real speed to speak of.  Not typically a power guy, his .427 SLG was made out of a career-high LD% of 22 and a career-low FB% of 25 to produce 9 HR and 38 doubles.

Felipe Lopez is, however, an inconsistent fielder at best though again he had a great 2009 in that regard.  UZR has him at a 7.8.  Before that, he was either mediocre or bad.  He lead the league in errors by a second baseman this year with 17.

Regardless of the fielding, this all sounds pretty good when compared with the other 2Bs on the market not named Orlando Hudson.  He would seem to be cheap, despite a career year, considering he’s 30 and only made three and a half million last year and never more than four in any year.

Yet Christina Kahrl from BP is skeptical:

It’s interesting how quickly some seem to have forgotten Lopez’s wild inconsistencies in performance. Getting into a funk as a National might seem forgiveable, but it’s not exactly to his credit, and the vagaries of his performance hasn’t been a question of his position—Lopez’s carer walk rate at second is lower than when he was tasked with playing short. I guess I see inconsistency, a lofty line-drive rate in ’09, and the virtues of playing in a bandbox for a good chunk of the season, and take all that as cause to moderate my enthusiasm for him. If it’s a low-end deal, a year-plus-option deal, that works, but a peek into the periscope says, “thar be dragons.”

I concur and write separately to add to that another reason why Felipe Lopez is probably destined for League Average-ness.  His BABIP last year was a big .360.  For a guy with little power who walks about 10 percent of the time, this should be alarming.  This is mitigated somewhat by the fact that Lopez’s BABIP is typically a bit on the high side.  The career average before 2009 was a healthy .312 but the difference between last year and the rest of his career is far too striking to ignore.

What are the odds that a 30 year old second baseman suddenly discovered the secret to lacing line drives between outfielders?  Not very good.  That doesn’t mean that he isn’t worth a look.  A one year plus option would probably end up a decent value in the end.  That is, as long as the per annum doesn’t exceed four mil.

We’ll all have to wait to see how the market shakes out before determining whether or not Lopez can be had on such a deal.  Career-year players go overvalued all the time.  Marco Scutaro will likely get far more than he’s worth coming off of a stellar 2009.  But as we saw last year with Hudson, productive players may be had at a bargain for a watchful GM.  Let’s see how Colletti handles it.

***
Thank all that is holy, for Vin Scully shall return in 2010.  We already knew he would but the confirmation makes me feel better.  Sure there will come a day, sooner rather than later, when we’ll have to live without him.  But it’s best not to think about for another year.

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Beating the Oilers, yet losing to the Sedins (Canucks, whatever)

Posted in Sports by gklarsen on November 28, 2009

While we were on vacation, the Kings beat the Oilers (Yay!) and followed it up the next day with a loss to Vancouver (boo!).  The Oilers game was remarkable because of the premier of Andrei Loktionov.  Coincidentally, it looks like it might also be his only appearance of the season.  That dislocated shoulder was so nasty that trainers couldn’t replace it.  Instead, he had to be taken to the hospital.

This is awful news for the Kings and especially for Loktionov.  Can you imagine how painful that whole process must have been?  First to get it dislocated, then taken to the trainers where they mess around with it and yet can’t get it into place, then off to the hospital where they mess around with it some more.  God damn.  I’ve not read any reports regarding Loktionov since the incident so I’m assuming that nothing career-threatening has come up yet.

If nothing else, it gave us all a chance to see Brayden Schenn.  As any Kings fan could have predicted, he wasn’t the key ingredient in our current scoring slump.  Nevertheless, Brayden looked pretty smooth in his limited opportunities.  He pulled off a few moves but looked quite like a teenager in other moments.  Rich Hammond tells us that Schenn will stay up in Vancouver with his junior team.  Hope you enjoyed getting beat by the Sedins, kid!  See you next month when we finally cave and buy your contract.

It would be unfair to simply say that the Vancouver game was just another loss due to poor scoring.  Roberto Luongo was brilliant with 31 saves.  Jonathan Quick tried to do his best to imitate Luongo’s success but collapsed in the third period with the help of some shoddy defense.  The Kings managed 12 shots on goal in the third period but none of them were getting by Luongo.  Thus the boxscore shows yet another third period collapse.

The other big issue in the game was faceoffs.  I’ll let Rich Hammond summarize:

Over the first nine minutes of the game, there were nine faceoffs, and the Canucks won all of them. Two Vancouver faceoff wins led directly to goals, and that played a big part in the Canucks’ 4-1 victory over the Kings before 18,810 at GM Place.

What say you, Anze?

Faceoffs are really important, especially on the special teams. They’re definitely huge. The percentage wasn’t good for us. They’re a good team, but it’s one thing to win it clean, but the other thing is just to battle hard and be there for each other.

Yes, yes they are important, aren’t they?  Well his scoring and face offs suck but at least his media-speak is top notch.

Basically, it looked like the Kings were always defending, even in the Vancouver zone.  By the second period it felt as though getting a whistle in their zone was effectively a rally killer.

The third factor was the neutral zone which was lackluster at best and lazy at worst.  Combine that with brilliant goaltending and horrific face offs and there’s really no way we could have won that game.  Two of those factors, however, were our own damn fault.  We weren’t going to score more than one or two goals no matter what but we could have limited their offensives chances significantly.

***

Things are only going to get worse tonight as the ‘Hawks come to Los Angeles.  Not only are they an awesome team, they’re hot.  Sure they lost to the Ducks last night and thus should be ashamed, but I feel it’ll only fuel their desire to redeem themselves.  The only way the Kings have a shot at this one is if they tighten up their face offs and not make such asses of themselves in the neutral zone.  Maybe get a power play goal.  I don’t want to dream too big here, but I say 2-1 with goals by Wayne Simmonds and Dustin Brown.

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I’m thankful for Anze Kopitar

Posted in Sports by gklarsen on November 26, 2009

…even if he didn’t get a point last night and has been effectively stifled by the competition since Smyth went down.  Anyways…

A very happy Thanksgiving to all who stumble across this humble Dodgers/Kings blog.  If you’re anything like me, you’ll be enjoying some great food, excessive drinks and cheering on your fantasy players.  (Go Aaron Rodgers!).  There’s also a Kings game tonight which features recent first rounder Brayden Schenn!  Loktionov suffered a horrible separated shoulder in last night’s victory over the Oilers so it looks like we’ll try again with another new kid against Vancouver.  Here’s hoping he survives.  As far as last game goes, goals by Greene (swear) and the long missing Wayne Simmonds with an empty net goal by Frolov to seal it.  That second period was wicked, violet and filled with penalties, but a solid penalty-killing unit combined with some half-assed play by Edmonton made sure we survived.

Now get off the internet and go have fun.

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Hudler and Physioc fired, LA/OC area 65% less homer-y

Posted in Sports by gklarsen on November 25, 2009

This is just the best.  If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time (and my statistics show that you haven’t) then you know my special loathing for poor announcers.  Hudler and Physioc have always been two of my least favorite.  Steve Physioc isn’t a terrible announcer, but it’s his voice that gets to me.  It just sounds so…white.  It sounds like south Orange County.  It sounds like a voice that’s mass-produced in some factory overseas.  The passion is all fake.  It’s only all too obvious that he calls baseball games because, well, that’s who hired him.  He would sound exactly the same if he were calling games for the Arena Football League.

Hudler is another matter altogether.  I do not doubt for one second that he loves him some baseball.  He’s an Angel fan.  Oh my dear lord is he an Angel fan.  He probably remembers his playing days for them fondly, given that he was actually an okay hitter in limited at bats (couldn’t get on base to save his life, but walks are for losers, right Rex?).  Hudler is indeed so much of a fan that he had become one of the biggest homer announcers this side of the Hawk.  The Angels can do no wrong in his book.  His favorite, of course, was Vladimir Guererro for whom he coined many an irritating nick name.

Yet it wasn’t his exceptional homerism that made Hudler so bad as much as his constant awfulness at, well, announcing.  Commonplace were calls that were simply wrong.  As Rudy Kelly pointed out, getting a run and making it 5 – 2 does not “cut the score in half.”  He could mix his metaphors with the best of ’em (Looks like Salmon is gonna swim upstream and pull that line drive right out of the water!).  Statistics were not his forte, and he wouldn’t be caught dead using anything but wins and batting average.  If Hudler were to ever cheat on Guererro it’d be with Chone Figgins whom he affectionately called “Figgy.”  There was no bigger fan of Mike Scioscia’s brand of hustle/gritty/Eckstein-y baseball.  And he seemed to really like Steve Physioc which was actually kind of sweet.  I’ve never counted but I bet on an average night you’d hear an emphatic “That’s right, Phys!” about 38.3 times.

So it is perhaps appropriate that the Physioc/Hudler era is coming to an end when Guererro and Figgins are leaving.  The Angels as a team are entering a transition phase which will probably hinge upon the quality of their farm system.  Vlad and Chone won’t be resigned, nor will John Lackey, meaning that their biggest stars will be out the door.  It’s a good time for Phys and Hudler to be on their way too.

***

After what seems like a month-long layoff, the Kings have a game tonight!  The big story for us is that we’ll all finally get a chance to watch Andrei Loktionov.  The Manchester Monarch’s point leader will be skating in the second line along with Handzus and Frolov.  The other new guy, Brandon Segal, seems to be the definition of a replacement level player from what I understand.  I mean, he’s 26 and has played two NHL games.  His job will likely be not to screw up too badly while we wait for some guys to come back from injury.

The losses in our last two games certainly make tonight seem like one we’ve got to win.  More importantly, however, this team needs to show that it can score goals without Ryan Smyth.  I have no idea if Loktionov will be that guy but someone has to contribute.  Teddy Purell is getting a start on the first line tonight but I can’t imagine it’ll be too successful.  Smyth defined the first line.  He gave Kopitar tons of scoring opportunities by harassing the crease.  So far no one has shown that they’re capable of replicating that, thus the whole strategy kind of goes out the window.

I haven’t been able to find out who is in goal for Edmonton tonight but I’m pretty sure it won’t be Khabibulin (still listed day to day with a back injury) so odds are we’ll get a back-up.  Hey, I’ll take it.

Despite my negative game preview, I call Kings 3 Oilers 2 with at least one goal by Loktionov.

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In re Dave Cameron on player salaries related to MVP candidacy

Posted in Sports by gklarsen on November 24, 2009

As you probably gathered from the title, Dave Cameron has a thought-provoking post on Fangraphs today.  He asks, essentially, why it is we do not take a player’s salary into account when judging him for MVP.  We talk about salary, he says, in virtually every other situation, just not MVP.

Yet, we never factor in the opportunity cost of a player’s portion of his team’s budget, even though it is the exact same concept. If a player makes $15 million and his team has a $100 million budget, he comes with a significant opportunity cost, as he has effectively lowered the budget for his 24 teammates to $85 million. If he made the league minimum, the franchise would have $99.5 million to surround him with talent, and he would invariably have more talented teammates, given that the guy picking them was not named Dayton or Minaya.

In other words, how much a player costs has massive implications for a player’s overall value if we understand value to mean more than production (which we certainly do).  To take an extreme example, Vernon Wells is of negative value to his team because of the size and length of his contract balanced against his output.  But imagine we take away the contract and long-term commitment and instead say that he gets paid about a million a year on a two year deal.  His value shoots through the roof because he’s now something of a bargain and allows those resources (hundreds of millions of dollars, or so it seems) to be distributed elsewhere in the organization.  Vernon Wells would be a moderately valuable player because he comes cheaply.*

*I say ‘moderately’ valuable because he still sucks even if he worked for free.

So, as the article asks, why don’t we think about salary when we ponder these awards?  I believe that this is no mere oversight.  Rather, not talking about a player’s salary is a result we, the baseball enjoying society, like even if we don’t consciously express it.  I really believe that if it were put to a vote whether to adopt salary as a factor in considering MVPs that it would be roundly rejected.

The MVP award is basically symbolic.  It holds no real, tangible value except for a comparatively small bonus a player may receive.  The award, and the process involved in giving it out, holds merit to us as baseball fans because it invites us to reflect on all that is good about this game that we love.  It’s about who rose to the top, salary be damned.

Reading Dave Cameron’s post made me think of college athletics and the fiction it promotes.  Namely, that there’s such a thing as an amateur, scholar athlete.  Top high school athletes may not be given a salary per se but are certainly compensated for their labor through free education, housing, numerous documented and undocumented perks and in many cases relaxed academic standards.  But because there is no salary, they are considered amateur.  Because they are enrolled at a college, they are scholar athletes.

Is this to preserve the integrity of the colleges?  Possibly, although colleges profit enormously from athletics, especially if the team is any good.  More likely, I believe, is that the amateur scholar athlete fiction is promoted because it adds something for the consumer of college athletics.  There is a perceived ‘purity’ in amateur athletics.  The players are not motivated by money, there is no trading or free agency and the whole process is not tainted by profit.

This is all a fiction, as I said.  But the perception remains.  That perception is valuable because it shields fans from the economic realities that sport is a huge, massive business motivated primarily by profit.  There’s no romance in that.  The glory of sport is reduced to efficiencies and inefficiencies, marketing and lifestyle commodities.  It is more fun and more fulfilling to see competition for competition’s sake instead of competition to sell ad space and jerseys.

Baseball, and indeed professional sports as a whole, do not get this benefit of the doubt.  We all accept that profit and economics plays a role.  Players get paid and get paid well.  Yet due in part of our affection for the spirit of amateur sports and the spirit of purity in athletic competition we (perhaps subconsciously) deny certain economic realities to the extent that they affect the game itself.

This relates directly to the unstated presumption that players are rewarded for their valiant and successful achievement on the baseball field with a lucrative contract.  In reality, the  fact is that many many players are motivated not by reaching the pinnacle of success, but by the enormous payday that their success brings.  If we consider salary in the MVP award, we would be compelled to think of salary and talent as intertwined and fans are not prepared to do so.

My point, in this admittedly long and rambling post, is that if we were to consider player salaries in our symbolic consideration of the “Most Valuable Player,” it would be impossible to deny the role that money plays in every single aspect of the game.  We would essentially reward players for earning their paycheck instead of earning our admiration through their performance.  Far too many people would feel their fandom threatened by such a calculation.  Similar to why so many fans feel threatened by the proliferation of advanced statistics, many fans would feel like their visceral enjoyment of the game was diminished.

I believe that the good majority of fans are far more comfortable denying economic value even as it stares them in the face every single game.  We like our perceptions that the sport is pure, untainted by cold economics.  And baseball benefits from it as well.

Note that I don’t actually believe that my enjoyment of the game would be diminished by consideration of player’s salaries for MVP.  Far from it.  I like reading about that stuff.  I still cheer at the games, still love James Loney even though the numbers tell me he’s going to be of poor value once he hits arbitration.  But it’s pretty clear from the national discourse that people are very wary of the intrusion of rational (read: mathematical) realities into their style of enjoyment.

***

p.s. I went ahead and changed the name and appearance of the blog.  I figured “Regal Blue” was a nice enough name for now.  It’s short and encompasses the Dodgers and Kings, two subjects of primary coverage here.  As far as the blog appearance goes, that needed a change for quite awhile but I just never got around to it.

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Link day at Dodgers, Kings, etc.

Posted in Sports by gklarsen on November 20, 2009

Ryan Smyth (or lack thereof) is the story of the day for the Kings.  A slow hot stove for the Dodgers has given everyone ample time to work on their own off-season review projects.  So let’s see what’s happening around the internets:

Memories of Kevin Malone:  Deserves top billing today simply for the sheer length of the post.  In this one, Chad (Kensai?) discusses what he would do if he were the GM.  Usually when you see these sorts of posts they feature absurd trades like “Melky Cabrera and Francisco Cervelli for Matt Cain,” but as is becoming the standard throughout the Dodger blog universe, it’s well-reasoned, rational and well done in every respect.

Mike Scioscia’s Tragic Illness:  He reviews each and every player so we don’t have to.  Each player is given a grade based upon expectations coming in to the season.  Valedictorians include Matt Kemp and Randy Wolf.  Doomed to repeat the third grade are Cory Wade and Russell Martin.

A Queen Among Kings:  Along with a review of the Flyers game comes a lamentation for the loss of Ryan Smyth.  As the title of the post indicates, Kopitar truly does need his Smytty.

Battle of California:  Rudy Kelly looks at the Flyers game focusing on our goalie.  Combined with the overall numbers, Rudy Kelly concludes that Jon Quick just ain’t doing well right now.

Dodger Thoughts:  In an interesting piece of research, Jon Weisman has been going over the best and worst of the 2000’s.  The most recent (linked) looks at the worst hitters.  I could have sworn Cesar Izturis was better than that.

Sons of Steve Garvey:  Turns out there’s a little bit of hot stove happening.  Orel points us to some news that the Dodgers probably won’t be pursuing John Lackey.  Fantastic!  The last thing I want is a past-his-prime starter dragging down our payroll for the next five years.  Let the Yankees have him.

Alright, that should keep everyone busy for the day.

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Kings 2, Flyers 3: Two inches from victory!

Posted in Sports by gklarsen on November 19, 2009

…or at least a tie.

This game had a lot of cool stuff in it.  Yet I keep coming back to the last minute when a six man charge produced a ton of pressure on Philly’s net.  The puck slipped past the goalie…and slid just by the goal.  If literally anyone had been there the puck would have been deflected or buried in to the net.  We would have tied (again) and redeemed a night when we couldn’t get more than one shot on a 5 on 3 and yet outshot our opponents 39 to 20, a game without Ryan Smyth or Rob Scuderi.

Yes the loss of Ryan Smyth was felt this night all the more for the loss.  Frolov doesn’t cough up the puck easily to anyone in a road uniform, but doesn’t really give it up to anyone in a Kings uniform either.  Stats say he doesn’t really throw the puck at the net either with only one shot on goal the entire game.  Without the constant threat of Smyth at the net the Flyers were able to team up on Kopitar all night.  Despite several opportunities, Kopitar couldn’t get many opportunities to score near the net.

All is not lost on the premier line, however, as Justin Williams looked fantastic.  The box score only gives him an assist but the dude was all over the puck all night.  Eight shots on the night was a season high.  If he can continue to step up his game it should give everyone a bit more confidence going forward.  Reports say that Smyth could be out as long as a month, so someone’s got to.

The Royal Half has a a fine post on what life will be like without Ryan Smyth and what the Kings might do about it.

***
It’s official:  I hate Philadelphia.  You might say it’s an illegitimate hatred since I’ve only been there once on an eighth grade field trip.  If we can assume, however, that a team reflects any part of the population for whom it plays, than Philly is the worst kind of asshole town.*  As a Dodger fan, I’ve witnessed the Phillies dance merriliy along on their way to the second World Series in a row.  I have seen Cole Hamels heralded as a god and then torn down as soon as he pitched a lousy game.  They love Shane Victorino, who is by all accounts a vastly overrated center fielder and, from his behavior in two years of NLDS’s, a complete tool.

*I recognize it’s a false premise to begin with.

And certainly in hockey it is no better.  They applauded the arrival of Chris Pronger.  One of the NHL’s most notorious douche nozzles, Pronger was viewed as “gritty” kinda of guy that fit in with Philadelphia’s “hustle” style of play.  Yeah.  They talk like that.  They’re that guy.

Jimmy Rollins once complained that Philly fans were front runners and fair weather fans.  As if to tangentially validate his point, Philly fans began to boo him.

***

Okay that’s enough regional bashing for now.

If you’re concerned about baseball awards, the NL Cy Young is announced later on today.  The best choice is Lincecum but the smart money is probably on Wainwright.  Joe Posnanski wrote recently that Zack Greinke’s dominating victory in the vote for AL Cy Young may represent sort of a change of thinking by the BBWAA.  He speaks primarily of the decline of the “win” as a determinative stat.  Let’s see if that holds up in the NL.  If it does, Lincecum should win easily.

UPDATE:  Indeed Tim Lincecum has won this year’s NL Cy Young.  Congrats, Timmy!  Now go get your hair cut and smoke a bowl, hippie.

He was the right choice but the baseball writers had a lot of trouble with this one.  Lincecum didn’t even receive the most first place votes.  In fact, it was Wainwright who did and finished third behind Carpenter.  It was to be expected that it would be a close vote and arguments can be made up and down as to why Carpenter or Wainwright deserved to win.  Undoubtedly there was great weight placed on the fact that Wainwright and/or Carpenter pitched their team to the playoffs or some such nonsense.  You know there was some win-gazing in there.

Yet as far as overall value goes (8.2 WAR! 10.4 k/9! Literally every other statistical measure!), Lincecum is the man and I’m glad he got honored for it.

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Kings 2, Tampa Bay 1 (shootout!)

Posted in Sports by gklarsen on November 16, 2009

Wow, what a great game that was!  I’m not even being sarcastic.  That was a well played game on both sides as evidenced in the box score.  Considering Friday’s disaster, everything about this game was a welcome sight for Kings fans.  Sure the scoring didn’t rebound but this time it wasn’t due to a shaky freshman goalie having the game of his life.  The Lightning put on some great defense and Nittymaki deserves a ton of credit.

But you know who else deserves a ton of credit?  Jon Quick.  In a fantastic rebound game, Quick made some exquisite stops (at least five of the 28 were exquisite) and along with his solid defense allowed only one goal the entire game, including an OT and a shootout.*

*I won’t comment on the alleged “interference.”  I take good calls and won’t argue.

Drew Doughty buried one for the Kings’s only goal of the night in regulation, with an assist by Kopitar that extended his league leading points total to 31.  He also scored on the shootout to give us the win.  And considering Tampa Bay ain’t in our conference, an overtime win is literally as good as a regulation win.

The Kings have tonight off and head to Florida for the last game of the roadtrip.  The Panthers, as the standings indicate, are not particularly good at playing hockey.  Of course that doesn’t mean they aren’t great at other things, just that skating, shooting and winning hockey games probably aren’t their forte.  Regardless, they have jerseys and a rink so there’s a game to be played.

Seriously though, they’re coming off wins against Boston and the Islanders so it’ll be up to us to make sure winning doesn’t become a habit in Florida.

Seriously, what the hell was that? Kings 0,Thrashers 7 (seven!)

Posted in Sports by gklarsen on November 15, 2009

I don’t know how momentum works in hockey.  In baseball, it’s something announcers, players and managers use to describe otherwise explainable events.  But here I have to think that Atlanta’s three goals in the second gave Atlanta a ton of momentum and simply broke the backs of the Kings.

On some level I suppose I can understand.  The Kings had been putting pressure on Atlanta all game.  Pavelec refused to let anything through despite the fact that he’d been awful the past three games.  Chance after chance for LA was denied.

The first goal, off of Drewiske’s skate, probably didn’t do it.  That was a fluke.  Those happen.  It’s one goal.  Kovalchuk’s break away?  You knew as soon as he had the puck that it was getting past Quick.  The third goal anyone could have blocked.  It was as if Quick just hadn’t recovered.  In that regard, it’s easy to see why Murray pulled him.

“It’s a little bit of both there,” Murray said when asked whether he pulled Quick because of his poor play or the team’s poor play. “The goals came quickly. The third goal, that’s a critical goal. It’s 2-0, there’s still a lot of time left on the clock to get back into it, and you’ve got to make a save.”

Another goal off Ersberg like a minute later?  Yeah, that’s probably what did it.  I’m sure you saw the brawl after Williams checked a guy through his own bench.  That’s what frustration and despair look like.

There was a third period too but it just sucked, so don’t worry about it.

A tough night to be sure.  I’ll take a page from baseball and say that blowout losses can be forgotten about quicker than close losses and just hope for the best tonight.  It’s Tampa Bay, after all, so there’s nothing stopping us from making something happen.

***

I’ve been looking around for any baseball news but there ain’t much going on the past couple days.  Jack Wilson got re-signed by the Mariners for a two year, 10 mil contract which seems like a nice deal for both sides.  Fangraphs says Wilson was worth just about 8.5 mil last year alone so barring a complete loss of his defensive skills or injury, way to go Jack Z.  Remember Bill Bavasi?  Yeah that guy was hilarious.  Carlos Silva.  Heh.

In all honesty, I’m glad the Mariners finally have some semblance of direction and a quality GM.  I’ve always liked the Mariners.  With Franklin Gutierrez in center and Ichiro in right they’ve got three premier defenders in the field.  Their offensive output was real fluke-y and Jarrod Washburn’s performance was the very definition of “unsustainable” (until he was wisely traded…again, good work Jack Z).  Still, there’s a lot to like going forward.  And they’ve always got Ichiro to cheer for.  Love that guy.

You know what?  I think that’s all I got.

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