Game 2 recap by Jason Wojciechowski Wednesday, April 7th, 2010, 9:00 pm
I know it's already Wednesday evening, so Game 3 is going on, and I also know I didn't write up Game 1 (I didn't watch it), but here's a set of thoughts I wrote down while watching Game 2 last night.
Swing aesthetics and ballplayer type -- Ryan Sweeney is really a classic tall, lanky corner outfielder type, and the fact that the bats lefty means you'd expect him to have one of those Ken Griffey or Eric Chavez swings, long, loopy, natural uppercut. And that's not Ryan Sweeney's swing at all -- it's much more short and compact (which may help explain why he's relatively underpowered?). By contrast, Rajai Davis, the speedy center fielder and leadoff hitter, crouches at the plate and looks like a guy who should just slap at the ball and go dashing around the bases, but instead, he takes mighty, enormous hacks (typically flailing at curveballs way out of the zone or skying fly balls to short left field). I don't really have a point here -- I just thought it was interesting.
Attendance was really crap at the game last night. I guess this is to be expected, since it's still Oakland, and it's still a weeknight, but it's sad nonetheless. The stands just looked pitiful.
Dallas Braden had an insane Bugs Bunny changeup working last night, as
you'd expect given that he had ten strikeouts. The changeup is by far his best
pitch, worth about nine runs above average (compared to about the same below
average for his fastball), according to Fangraphs.
Franklin Gutierrez gave a nice visual description of why Braden's fastball is so mediocre -- if he's off with his location by even a little (and Braden has good but not pinpoint control), he'll get hammered. Gutierrez got a fastball that Braden tried to get inside, but missed over the plate with and struck it very solidly for an easy double.
Daric Barton has a really, really good eye. He never swings at pitches out of the zone (16.4% in 2008, vs. a league average of 25.4), but this isn't a general reluctance to swing, because he does swing at pitches that are in the zone (63.9% vs. 65.9% average). And the pitches out of the zone that he does swing at are ones he can hit (67.1% contact rate out of the zone, compared to 61.7% average).
Eric Chavez looks strange. Maybe at this point it's just strange to see him playing baseball, maybe it's his conquistador facial hair, maybe it's that he looks skinnier than I remember, or maybe it's that he never seems to smile anymore. Whatever it is, this isn't the Eric Chavez we all thought we'd get.
That said, his strikeout in the sixth inning was exactly what you expect to get from him -- chasing a fastball up and away. One time out of a hundred he'll catch up to that pitch and just crush a magnificent 450-foot homer. The problem is that the other 99 times, he misses completely.
Finally, MLB.tv and NexDef are the two shittiest products I could ever possibly imagine a major company releasing. I have a media computer on which Hulu and Netflix, while not playing like dreams, are perfectly watchable. MLB.tv is so choppy, even on the lowest video setting, that it's unusable. NexDef crashes with great regularity and basically doesn't work at all on Macs, which means that in-game DVR can't be used. Since Austen's Mac is the only computer we have that can handle whatever ridiculous CPU requirements MLB.tv has, this failure of NexDef to be a functional product in even the slightest fashion is killer.
MLB.tv is not a new product. The fact that MLBAM, which is so forward-thinking and garners all sorts of praise from all corners for the business side of the equation, can't put out a usable technical product just confounds me. Yes, I'm mad, but I'm also just confounded. Microsoft would be embarrassed to put out a product this bad, which is about the worst insult I can think of.