//

Mid Week Closeout: vs EMU

Game Recap

Box Score R H E
EMU 0 0 0 2 0 1 0 0 0 3 9 0
Michigan 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 10 1

W – Sikora (1-0) L -Brandon Sinnery (1-1)

Well, the Mid Week bug struck early, as Michigan loses to Eastern Michigan at home. Chantel Jennings at the Daily had a chance to interview Mike Dufek before the game and Coach Maloney before and after the playing, it seems the guys might have been a little too overconfident.

“We know that we are supposed to win,” [Mike Dufek] said. “It’s only a matter of us focusing and playing well.”

“I even talked to the team before the game,” Maloney said. “I said, ‘Let’s understand that anyone can knock you off.’ Maybe this will be a lesson learned for later days.”

Ouch.

by Leisa Thompson, The Ann Arbor News

by Leisa Thompson, The Ann Arbor News

I was working during the game and have had trouble getting MGoBlue’s media player to load, so straight box scoring on this one. While Michigan did out hit the Eagles in this one, we were stranding runners and getting killed on the base paths again. Michigan left 10 runners on base, and had another 4 either picked off or caught stealing. The running game had been fairly solid for us of late after a shaky start.

Sinnery didn’t have too poor of a start. Yes, he did give up the 2 run home run, but those runs were the only ones he gave up in the first 5 which is an decent start. The last run came after he was pulled in the 6th inning. With runners on first and second, EMU manufactured the run by using the sacrifice bunt two times in a row (one being a suicide squeeze). It’s a tough way to give up a run, but it happens.

On offense, we got on base quite often, but we couldn’t get anything going. Along with the base running problems mentioned earlier, we also weren’t hitting well with runners in scoring position. The team went 0/5 with runners in scoring position, and 0/3 with an RBI with a runner on third. The one RBI came from a Cislo ground out that allowed Kalcynzski to score. Poor base running and no hitting when runners are in scoring position means you have to live and die by the long ball. No extra base hits today. Death.

Notable Stars

  • Anthony Toth – 2/4
  • Bullpen (Miller/Burgoon) – 4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 4 K

Notable Goats

  • Cislo/Fellows/LaMarre/Dufek – Each left 2 runners stranded
  • Cislo/Fellows – picked off trying to steal (caught stealing)
  • Kalczynski/Urban – picked off not trying to steal

Side Note

  • Fellows moved to right field for this game, supposedly for defensive purposes as it was rather windy at the Fish yesterday. This is not expected to be a permanent move.

Extra Reading

Michigan Insider Podcast

Coach Maloney continued his Michigan Insider Podcast on WTKA. They touched a lot on the recent news of Barry Larkin and Branch Rickey entering the NCAA College Baseball Hall of Fame. Coach said they are working on improving the baseball history portrayed in the lobby of the Fish. They are working on getting more pictures and history up on the walls to show just how rich the history of the program is.

Maloney also walked through the Big10 season. He tabbed Iowa as a scrappy team that always takes games from us when we don’t expect it. The weather may be an equalizer to help them. He expects Minnesota, Ohio State, Indiana, and Illinois to all compete for the Big10 crown without anyone really running away with it. Our lack of experience may cause problems, but he’s hopeful it won’t show its ugly head too often.

Other News

Chicago MLB Wolverines

As Brian@mgoblog linked in mgo.licio.us, Chris Getz and Clayton Richards both made the Chicago White Sox roster for the season. While Brian says this should make all you Chicagoland fans White Sox fans, I will offer you Cubs fans a bone. Jake Fox is one of the first call ups for the Cubs if anyone in their outfield is injured. He won’t be starting like Getz will, but at least its something.  Also, there is some speculation that Getz’s starting is just temporary as the White Sox are preparing for a bigger prospect to take his place.  These two, and potential third, combine with J.J. Putz, ex-closer for the Mariners now with the Mets, and Rich Hill, pitcher with the Orioles, to be the four Wolverines on MLB rosters to start the season.

Hall of Fame

Going back to what was mentioned in the Michigan Insider Podcast, Michigan has two guys making the list of inductees this year. Branch Rickey was not just a great player at Michigan, but also was the general manager who brought Jackie Robinson to the major leagues to break the color barrier. His bio via the College Baseball Foundation:

Among the 2009 Hall of Fame class is one Vintage-Era inductee and the first “small school” inductee.

Branch Rickey, player and coach from Ohio Wesleyan and Michigan is the Vintage-Era inductee. The Vintage-Era designation is for those who played or coached prior to 1947.

Barry Larkin is probably the more notable inductee to most of you. Larkin was a long time staple at the Cincinnati Reds, but before that, he taking Michigan to the College World Series:

Michigan’s Barry Larkin was a two-time first-team All-American shortstop. He was the first two-time Big Ten Player of the Year and in 1983 he was the Big Ten Postseason Tournament MVP. He twice led the Wolverines to the College World Series and finished his career with a .361 batting average.

Iowa Game Time Changed

The opener to the Big10 season is Friday at Iowa. The game has been moved from 6pm to 4 pm CDT (7 to 5pm EDT). The weather looks to be windy and rainy.

Posted under Baseball

Stat Watch Addendum: Week 5

Stat Person/Team Rank
Ks/9 Team 20th
HR/G Team 37th
FLD% Team 29th
R/G Cislo 32th
RBi/G LaMarre 32th
BB/9 Fetter 60th

So I put out the Stat Watch a few days too early as the NCAA released their first set of weekly statistic releases. While I can’t get you a direct link to the Michigan page (or haven’t figured out a way so far), it isn’t hard to get to it by starting here. To get to the Michigan page, go to Division I, week of 3/23/09, Team All Statistics. We’re team #61 (as sorted by batting average). Click on Michigan and you’ll see how we stack up in 25 team categories, and how our team leaders stack up in 32 individual statistics. Most individual leader boards top out at about 300 players. Katzman and Fetter both show up in a few of the pitching categories while Cislo, Dufek, LaMarre, Urban, and Toth all show up in the offensive categories. I’ve included some of the more notable rankings for Michigan in the chart to the right.

Something else I noticed, Arizona thanks us for that 6 GDP game, as they now rank first in double plays per game.

Yes, I am using this statistic site to distract me from the fact that we lost to Eastern Michigan today.

Posted under Baseball

Stat Watch: Week 5

Reminder: EMU game is bumped up to today (Tuesday). Live Stats and Live Audio available through mgoblue.com.  Preview and recap of the last meeting with EMU games are available.

In this edition of stat watch, we’ll catch back up with team hitting, and get caught up on offense. Pitching numbers are still rough, but we’ll at least take a look at the leader boards and look at the potential starting rotation for our upcoming 5-game weeks of the conference season. I’ll have a mix of Excel Graphs and ManyEyes (individual statistics). At this point, I can’t get the ManyEye’s visuals to embed, allowing you to play with the data and charts. So instead, its back to the basic Excel graphs.

Team Hitting

battinggraph5

Above is the game by game batting average (blue), on-base percentage (red), and slugging percentage (yellow) for the team as it has accumulated over the season. As you can see, we appear to be reaching a fairly consistent level of production over the last 7 games or so. Game 12 is the last game of the Siena series, so everything after that would include the Arizona series, @EMU, and the IPFW series.

Our current batting average is .321, on-base percentage .410, and slugging percentage of .495. These are pretty solid numbers. The average batting average for the NCAA (last assembled in April 08) was approximately .292. Over the last few years, the NCAA average has been in the mid .280s.

As far as slugging, I have yet to find an NCAA-wide statistic, so I’ll compare it to the last few years of Michigan. The last five years final numbers are .489, .478, .417, .429, and .413. We’re still early in this year, but we look to be doing rather well for ourselves in the power department, at least compared to previous teams.

When looking at other Big10 teams, we can get a slightly better idea of where we compare this year. Keep in mind that there is a definite difference in competition faced.

Team Record RPI BA OB% SLG%
Minnesota 13-6 20 .309 .432 .526
Ohio State 17-2 22 .350 .405 .550
Illinois 12-4 48 .322 .411 .438
Michigan 14-5 117 .321 .410 .495
Penn State 11-8 143 .308 .396 .401
Purdue 8-9 194 .286 .381 .411
Indiana 7-13 220 .338 .412 .500
Michigan State 6-14 227 .253 .339 .356
Iowa 6-10 228 .289 .382 .451
Northwestern 4-14 238 .252 .323 .344

I have the table sorted by RPI (as of Sunday morning), so theoretically, the teams the have done well against better competition should be at the top. Michigan places 4th in the Big10 in batting average, 4th in on-base percentage, and 4th in slugging percentage. Go figure we’re currently 4th in RPI. It makes sense as Ohio State has been destroying every pitching staff they’ve seen (mostly inferior teams). Indiana is scoring a ton of runs, but they are giving them up at a startling rate (check out this football score of 28-17 in a loss to Northern Iowa). Overall, I’d say we’re doing pretty well.

RBIs vs Left on Base and Pitching after the jump.

Read More…

Posted under Baseball

Weekend Recap: IPFW

This weekend Michigan faced off with IPFW, and did it ever turn out better than the series the weekend before against Arizona. During the Arizona game, pitching was alright, but wildly inconsistent. Hitting was doing alright, but couldn’t manage to get runs across the plate. This weekend, it was all about effectively wild and moving runners around to make them easier to score. Everything shifted from alright, too pretty good.

Game 1

Box Score R H E
IPFW 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 8 0
Michigan 0 0 2 1 0 1 0 0 x 4 11 0

W – Chris Fetter (3-1) L – Walker (0-1) Sv – Burgoon (2)

For my initial reactions, visit my post from Saturday. The story of this game was pitching. Chris Fetter, despite the pretty stat line, had a fairly weak start for him. He admittedly claimed he was just missing his spots, but from the sounds of the radio crew, perhaps he was getting squeezed a little on the corners. Either way, as mentioned, his stat line was still really good. Fetter lasted 6 innings, giving up 2 runs (both earned), 7 hits, and 2 walks while striking out 5. I’d take that out of any pitcher any day of the week, it just happened that this was Fetter on an off day. He’s just that good.

Following Fetter was Tyler Burgoon for a rare 3-inning save opportunity. Burgoon only gave up 1 hit and three walks, but did allow three base runners with 2 outs in the 8th. After a brief talk with Coach Maloney, he struck out the last batter of the inning on 4 pitches. The rest was a cake walk for Tyler.

On offense, Mike Dufek was the champion in this game, and really, the whole weekend was a Mike Dufek hit-a-thon. In this game he got the scoring started with a big 2-out double off the wall to plate Cislo and LaMarre. Dufek would finish the game 2/4 with 2 RBIs.

Notable Stars

  • Mike Dufek – 2/4 2 RBI, 2B
  • Tyler Burgoon – 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 3 Ks, Save
  • Alan Oaks – 2/4 HR
  • Kevin Cislo – 3/4 R, RBI
  • Fan Attendance – 731 is a solid number for opening day in 40 degree temperatures. Paul tells me they got to sit right next to former baseball center fielder Rick Leach (yes, that Rick Leach).

Notable Goats

  • Kenny Fellows – Despite getting a hit and walk, he stranded 4 base runners. More on stranding runners in the coming days.

Game 2

Box Score R H E
IPFW 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 1
Michigan 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 x 4 6 1

W – Eric Katzman (3-1) L – Herrold (1-1) Sv – Miller (2)

This game probably would have bored half of the casual fans to death. Outside of the 2 innings, this game was an exercise of either offensive futility, or as I like to call it, good pitching and defensive excellence. Again, check the Saturday Reaction post for my initial thoughts.

Michigan jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead in the first following a pair of singles by Cislo and Fellows and a Ryan LaMarre sacrifice fly. Two batters later Mike Dufek continued his hit parade with a bomb to right field. The hit even rattled a few people out of Dance Marathon as the homer hit the indoor track building where DM was taking place. Huzzah for uncounted attendance watching through the fence!

In the top of the second, Eric Katzman did his best sabotage effort. After giving up a lead off single, he then committed a throwing error on a pick off at first. The ball got away far enough from Dufek to allow the runner to second. Later on in the at-bat, Katzman balked the runner over to third. The explanation was hazy from the announcers as they didn’t see it either, but they believe he didn’t come to a full pause in the set position. He followed this up by giving up a sacrifice fly. If you ask me that’d be an earned run as it was all Katzman for letting him score, but baseball rules say its unearned.

The rest of the game Katzman was straight dealing. While he still was fairly inconsistent in hitting the strike zone, he managed to be just controlled enough to garner 10 Ks (!), a career high. Katzman was coming at the batters with many off speed pitches, including breaking balls and change ups. They were left just off balance by the several balls in the dirt that they were guessing most of the night.

Katzman was by no way economical with his pitches. Over his 6 innings, Katzman threw 100 pitches, only 61 of which were strikes. Ideally, he’d be hitting the century mark somewhere late in the 7th inning. Just for the sake of comparison, the IPFW pitcher threw all 8 innings and only threw 105 pitches. This trend of high pitch counts and early exits appear to be the normal thing for Katzman.

After Katzman left, Matt Miller entered the game for another 3-inning save opportunity – not so rare I guess. Miller picked up right where Katzman left off, striking out 5 in his 3 innings. He only allowed one hit and one walk in that time as well.

Offense for Michigan after the 2nd inning was horrendous. Not once from the third to eighth innings did Michigan ever get more than 3 batters up to the plate. Alan Oaks ended two innings with ground ball double plays. LaMarre got doubled up on a line drive back to the pitcher, which I can feel alright about as that’s just the luck of the draw. In another inning we got picked off at first. I can’t say we wasted opportunities, but we sure didn’t make the most of our base runners in this game.

Notable Stars

  • Eric Katzman – 6 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 10 K, 2 BB, W
  • Matt Miller – 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K, Save
  • Mike Dufek – 1/2 2-run-HR, BB
  • LOB – 0 runners left on base?

Notable Goats

  • Eric Katzman in the 2nd inning – 1B, E1, Balk, SAC FLY
  • Alan Oaks – 2 inning ending double plays

Game 3

Box Score R H E
IPFW 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 2 11 3
Michigan 0 0 2 0 0 3 1 3 x 9 14 0

W – Travis Smith (3-2) L – Baatz (0-1)

IPFW had every chance in the world to take this game, but Mike Wilson and Travis Smith became master escape artists every time the pressure was put on. They did just enough to get out of a couple of jams, and the offense finally started to roll by the 6th inning.

Mike Wilson continued the “wildly effective” pitching routine portrayed by Eric Katzman the day before. Despite throwing first pitch strikes to 13 of his first 18 batters, Wilson quickly fell behind batters and was forced into making hitters’ pitches. When it came to crunch time, Wilson locked down and made his pitches. He stranded 8 base runners on the afternoon in just 5 innings of play.

Wilson did give up one run in the third inning. After a lead off double and two quick outs, Wilson gave up back to back singles. I guess there just wasn’t enough pressure on him, so he tried to get runners on first and third so he could pitch better?

The run gave IPFW a short-lived 1-0 lead, their last lead of the game. Mike Dufek answered in the bottom half of the third with yet another home run, his second in as many games. The home run also extended his hitting streak to 10 games. According to the broadcasters, the ball landed in the Alumni Stadium, the softball field, well past the fence of the Ray Fisher Stadium. Wow.

Travis Smith came in with a 2-0 lead at this point and was throwing gas. His control wasn’t quite there, but he also managed to work himself out of jams. Smith stranded 4 base runners in 3 innings of work. He did allow one run to score in the 6th, leaving Wilson with a no decision. Kalczynski was crossed up on a pitch which lead to a passed ball. This moved a runner to second, who then would score on an ensuing single.

With the score tied at two in the 6th, Michigan came back to answer in the bottom of the inning. John Lorenz had the big hit with two outs, a home run to left field. This sparked the offense as Toth and Cislo (career high 15 game hit streak) both followed up with singles setting the stage for a Kenny Fellows double off the right field wall. Unfortunately Fellows thought he was a little faster than he was, getting caught trying to stretch it into a triple. Michigan was then up 5-2 and would never look back.

Michigan would add another in the 7th following a Dufek double and Alan Oaks single. Yet again, we had a batter runner thrown out trying to stretch for an extra base. Oaks wasn’t nearly fast enough to stretch it into a double. I appreciate the aggressiveness from Oaks, but just because he scored on a suicide squeeze in game one doesn’t mean he can barrel into second on a shallow hit to the outfield.

Michigan added two more in the 9th. After back-to-back singles by Kalczynski and Lorenz, Cislo went to sacrifice bunt. The pitcher fielded the bunt poorly then made a hurried attempt to second which skipped to the bag. Everyone was safe. Fellows followed that with a single to score two runs. LaMarre then hit a soft pop up between the center fielder and the second basemen. The ball popped out of the second basemen’s glove as the two players collided. Both players were alright and stayed in the game. Cislo scored from third on the play, but Fellows was forced out at second as it wasn’t clear if the ball was caught. He stayed close to first in case he had to tag. Tough out, but at least the two outfielders were okay.

Mike Dufek came in after this and closed out the game. Michigan won the game and it’s first home series of the year. Things were good and “Celebrate Good Times” was played.

Notable Stars

  • Kenny Fellows – 2/5 4 RBI, 2B
  • Alan Oaks – 3/4 RBI
  • Mike Dufek – 2/4 2 R, 2 RBI, HR, 2B
  • John Lorenz – 3/4 2 R, RBI, HR
  • Kevin Cislo – 15 game hitting streak

Notable Goats

  • Ryan LaMarre – Only starter without a hit, hitless all weekend

First Inning Shenanigans

For those of you who didn’t listen to the game, there was a bit of a commotion in the top of the first inning. With runners on first and third, Wilson threw a pitch toward the plate that was well low and inside. The pitch bounced in the front of the batter’s box and bounced off toward the IPFW dugout.

Kalczynski didn’t hustle right after the ball, which sent the runners going. The runner from third scored easily, and the runner from first came all the way around as none of the players on the field knew where the ball went to… or did they? Comes to find out the umpire didn’t see the ball hit off the batter.

The umpires conferenced after Coach Maloney and Timmy Kal made their case. They made the ruling that the batter was hit by the pitch. Both runs were taken off the board and the batter was given first base without even arguing. I know if I was hit but they gave me the choice of first base with the bases loaded and one out or 2 runs in and me still at bat, I’d be hollering in that umpire’s ear that there was no way I was touched by the pitch. IPFW didn’t even attempt to argue, which worked out really poorly for them. Wilson struck out the next two batters stranding the bases loaded. The crises was averted and Michigan didn’t have to worry about being down 2-0 right out of the shoot.

Lineup Shuffling

Coach Maloney has been shuffling the lineup frequently of late. With Alan Oaks now available after missing the first month with sickness and with Chris Berset still unavailable after I believe a broken thumb, there have been a couple attempts to balance out the lineup. Most of the activity has been centered around Jake McLouth at DH, Oaks in RF or at DH, Urban in RF or at 3B, and Lorenz at 3B.

Jake McLouth has been cooling off since my initial inquiry about him switching with Dufek in the lineup. I took another look at the stats before game 3 of the weekend to see how the two had been doing. I don’t think it’s worth going into deeply here, but long story short, Dufek has caught fire. His current 10 game hitting streak started the day the change took place. Coincidence? Yes, probably. Good for the team? Of course. So do I care that much? No. I don’t see the two switching in the near future, but if McLouth doesn’t keep producing, he may be run out of the DH spot.

Who would take it you ask? That would be Alan Oaks. Oaks returns after a bit of an illness to start the season. Last year, Oaks made several starts at third base doing pretty well. Alan offers some major power and appears to be getting hot right now. This weekend he hit for a .545 clip with 2 runs and an RBI. Not bad for hitting in the 6/7/8 holes.

The other alternative to Oaks in the DH is to place him in right field, where he is a slight drop in defensive prowess. Moving him here forces Urban either to the bench, such as in Game 3, or to play third base, such as in Game 2. Urban came to Michigan as a second basemen, so he does have infield experience. I’m not sure what to expect of him at third, but it probably couldn’t be too much worse than Lorenz has been there.

Lorenz hasn’t been too poor defensively at third base, but his .895 fielding percentage does leave a little bit to be desired. He’s been our best option there so far, and I don’t think he’s done too poorly at the hot corner. The first few weekends he wasn’t really tested too much and had a couple early season mental mistakes. He’s become pretty solid there over the last 2 weekends, flashing some great leather. His hitting has been his week point, despite his performance in Game 3. From what I can see (read: my opinion), Lorenz has great potential, he just will only show flashes of it this year, and not be very consistent at the plate. He’ll be really good in a year or two.

Final Thoughts on IPFW

IPFW is a good team that will knock off a few good teams this year. They just ran into a more talented team this weekend. They should compete with Centenary and Oral Roberts for the Summit League Championship this year. I at least hope so, as with their current RPI, sweeping them didn’t help us that much with our own RPI. We have moved from 134 as of Tuesday to only 117 on Sunday morning. EMU helped even less as they are currently about 20 spots lower in RPI than IPFW.

Speaking of EMU, it’s just one game left before we start the conference season. We finish the home-and-home with EMU on Wednesday at 3pm. Right now the weather says 51 degrees and a 40% chance of rain. We’ll see if the game isn’t bumped up earlier in the week or if they try to play it then.

Posted under Baseball

IPFW Saturday Reactions

Didn’t get the preview out this weekend due to being a bit busy. I’ll throw this up here as a reactions post for comments, etc. I’ll have a full recap on Monday.  Don’t forget (as if you could) about the OU game tonight at 5:50pm.  Tim’s preview can be found here.

Game 1

The home opener was a close game. Chris Fetter didn’t have his A game, but his B game was enough to keep IPFW at bay. His control wasn’t at peak form in the game as he had a pretty high ball to strike ratio. I don’t have the specific numbers as I spent the first half of the game trying to get my stat software set up. Fetter does address this in the video below though.

On offense, Dufek has really started to light it up. He went 2-4 this game with a big 2 RBI double. Alan Oaks also broke his cold streak with a home run to just past the Blue Monster in right. We only left 7 runners on base, which is still a shade higher than I’d like to see (I consider <= 5 to be a pretty good day). The unfortunate part was stranding runners at 2nd and 3rd in both the 4th and 6th innings. The 4th hurt a little worse as we had it with only one out, but still couldn’t muster a run.

One minor note, we have our new radio announcers for the home schedule.  The guys had a rough go around on the first try, but they sounded much better after the second game.  They totally redeemed themselves with this though: Video Highlights from mgoblue.com.  This is the first time I can say I’ve noticed these being put up, which excites me plenty.  I’d embed it, but I’m having some problems with that.  Either way, thanks to the announcers for references to the site.  We appreciate your work as well.

Game 2

The best news is a win is a win. Even in this game that was fairly uneventful to the average fan, there were a couple points worth noting.

Katzman struggled pretty bad for striking out 10 batters. It wasn’t that he wasn’t making good pitches, but he just wasn’t being “economical” with his pitch count. Eric threw at least 5 pitches to 13 of the 23 batters he faced. His breaking balls just weren’t getting close enough to the zone. I do like the idea of being “effectively wild” to keep batters off balance, but I also think there is a limit on how many extra pitches can be afforded. This balance is what has plagued Katzman on his off days. He tends to walk or hit more batters, causing bigger problems. So while we see the benefits of the wildness today, keep in mind that its high risk/high reward. Despite the final line from Katzman, I’d just call this a really good game, but not a great one.

Matt Miller on the other hand did a better job of getting ahead of hitters and putting them away. His 5 strikeouts, as described by the radio broadcasters, were the product of painting both sides of the plate and general changing of location. Batters were left guessing which side of the plate the ball would be coming, and then flailed wildly at the hard sliders. Great job by Matt.

The offense managed to score three runs in the first from a LaMarre sacrifice fly and Mike Dufek two run homerun. Alan Oaks also generated offense in the second inning. After singling, he stole second, but with a throwing error on the catcher, was able to advance to third. Toth then suicide squeezed him in with a bunt down the first baseline. The pitcher Herrold had no choice but to go to first base.

After that, the offense managed to shoot itself in the foot inning after inning. Each inning from the third to the eighth, Michigan managed only three batters each inning. In the 3rd, 4th, 6th, and 7th, the Wolverines managed to get a base runner on; each inning that runner was put out. Alan Oaks grounded into two inning ending double plays. Jake McLouth lined back to the pitcher which caught Ryan LaMarre off guard at first leading to him being double up. In the 6th, Kenny Fellows was caught leaning on a pick off play. It was pretty ugly.

The IPFW pitcher Herrold was both effective and lucky. Every inning he found an out, allowing him to stay in the game. He ended with 8 innings, 6 hits, 4 runs (3 earned), 2 walks, and 5 strikeouts. All-in-all, a really good outing against us.

After two close games, I really think IPFW is just having tough luck with the RPI. Their team is at least as good as any of the BigEast teams we’ve played this year, and I fully expect them to make some headlines with some Mid Week games later in the season. They’ll knock off a couple more Big10 teams here and there.

Game 3

The first home series wraps up tomorrow at 1:05pm. Make it out to see Mike Wilson (supposedly) make his first start of the year. Pray he throws like Mike Wilson circa 2007.

Posted under Baseball

Scouting Arizona’s Field

Game is just starting… check it out.  Preview is here.

I was checking out the CSTV Game Tracker for the live stats and probable starter for Arizona about 30 minutes before pregame today and noticed something pretty interesting about the Wildcats. So far this season they have averaged 0.7 triples a game. After some quick math, I find that is 11 triples in 15 games, which seems really high.

michigan-v-arizona-stats

I went to do some investigating, and the first stop was a google search for their home stadium. Jerry Kindall Field has a very descriptive wikipedia page. I can tell you that the groundskeepers “overseeds the field in November with a Perennial Rye, Arnold Palmer II, to prepare it for the season.” Interesting.

Looking at the dimensions, part of the reason may be the length of the foul poles. It’s a paltry 360 feet down each line, about 30-35 feet longer than most parks. This long line, particularly down the right field line can lead to more opportunities. Left handed hitters, such as their Bobby Croyle who has three triples on the season, can pull pitches down the line and send them to the far corner for extra bases.

Looking at the stats provided by ArizonaWildcats.com, the GameTracker was slightly off, as the Wildcats only have 10 triples on the season, which is still impressive. Hunter Pace and Matt Presley also have a pair of triples each, but ArizonaWildcats.com doesn’t provide their handedness. I’d bet at least one of them is a lefty.

Bryce Ortega has one as well, but I can see through GameTracker that he is indeed right handed. With his high batting average, I’m going to guess he’s one of those that sprays the ball around the field, including the soft shots down the right field line. Its the sign of a good hitter when you can take the outside pitch where it wants to go.

Childs and Valenzuela each have a triple, but like Pace and Pressley, I’ve got no clue if they bat from the port side or not.

It’ll be interesting to see if Cislo, Fellows, and Dufek can garner a few triples this weekend – well at least Cislo and Fellows. I don’t see Mike Dufek stretching too many doubles to triples, but then again, he’s not that slow either. I don’t expect homerun numbers to go down that much either. The gaps and dead center are the same as most other parks we’ve played in to date. There just may be one or two to straight away right or left that would normally clear but don’t.

Posted under Baseball

Baseball (Last) Weekend Update

Reminder, Tim’s basketball preview can be found below.

Sorry for the prolonged absence right as things got started, but sometimes real life just jumps in the way. As for the baseball team, they continued without me, to a rather successful weekend.  I’ll get the game recaps out of the way first, then get a couple of the usual mid week updates out of the way as well.

Michigan 11, Siena 3
Box Score
W -Chris Fetter (2-0) L – Chaput (1-1)

The first game didn’t start so well: Chris Fetter’s second pitch of the game went well over Kenny Fellow’s head in left, out of the park, placing Siena up 1-0. He then gave up a walk and a single with no outs, but a strike out and 4-6-3 double play ended the rally. Despite this early scare, Fetter ended the game with 7 innings pitched, 11 strike outs, and one walk. He gave up 6 hits, two of them were solo home runs. Those two home runs would be all the runs Fetter would give up. Brandon Sinnery would close out the last two innings, giving up 1 run on two hits, one walk, and two strike outs. Great day for Michigan pitching.

Offense didn’t disappoint either. Michigan belted three home runs on the day from Nick Urban, Justin Lorenz, and Alan Oaks. The homeruns for Urban and Lorenz were their first career home runs for Michigan. It was good to see Lorenz make some noise; he was only hitting .125 coming into the weekend, with both previous hits coming in one game. Oaks made the most of his first pinch hitting appearance of the season after returning from illness, knocking a 2-run homer.

I won’t go too much into the hitting, as every hitter in this game had at least one hit. Five starters had more than one hit. One defensive note, Nick Urban had one hell of a diving catch in right field to start the second inning. He made a catch at full extension catch on a low fly ball. I love the defense, so props to Urban. It would have made Web Gems.

Notable Stars

  • Chris Fetter – 7 IP, 2 ER, 11K, BB
  • Nick Urban – 2/4 3 RBI, 2 Rs, HR, web gem
  • Tim Kalczynski – 2/4 2 Rs

Notable Goats

  • um…? Ryan LaMarre was the only player without a run or RBI? Yeah, I got nothing.

Michigan 13, Siena 3
Box Score
W – Eric Katzman (2-1) L – Hartman (0-3)

As Other Chris pointed out in her tweet, no radio for this game, just stats. Looking at the play-by-play, Katzman looked pretty shaky in this game, but managed to avoid much more damage. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing at this point. As I mentioned in a previous comment, I didn’t really expect Katzman to repeat his week 1 performance very often. He’s still working on becoming a guy who can go more than 5 innings, it just hasn’t happened yet.

This game was no different as Siena was on base early and often. The Saints left 8 on base during Katzman’s 5 2/3 innings of work. That’s not something we want to see. Neither is a run scoring wild pitch from Katzman. You really have to hope Eric holds up over the season. This is by far the most pitching he’s done in a season since at least high school.

The bullpen did pretty well. Burgoon got Katzman out of the 6th inning, stranding one of Katzman’s baserunners. He worked a pretty quick 7th inning, but did give up a solo home run. Matt Gerbe finished the game with 2 shutout innings.

Offense is what won this game for us. Ryan LaMarre is a beast. Ryan went 3 for 4 in this game with 2 home runs, 4 RBIs, and 3 runs. He even stole a base. By himself, Ryan LaMarre outscored the entire Siena team; that’s a great feeling. Mike Dufek also poured on the offense, going 2 for 4 with a home run, a double, 2 runs, and 2 RBIs.

A big positive from this game was production from the bottom of the order. Coley Crank made the best of his spot start at catcher, going 3 for 3 with 2 RBIs. John Lorenz registered his first single of the year (actually two of them) in a 2 for 4 performance with a run scored. Toth, still in the 9-hole, finished 1 for 4 with a run and an RBI.

Notable Stars

  • Ryan LaMarre – 3/4 4 RBIs, 3 Rs, BB, SB,
  • Mike Dufek – 2/4 2 RBIs, 2 Rs, BB
  • Kevin Cislo – 2/5 RBI, 2 Rs
  • Eric Katzman – 5 2/3 IP, 2 R, 1 ER, 7 K, 1 BB

Notable Goats

  • Justin Lorenz – Error leading to a run
  • Eric Katzman – baserunners a plenty and a wild pitch for a run

Michigan 19, Siena 6
Box Score
W – Travis Smith (2-1) L – Sohl (0-2)

The offense that caught fire in the middle innings of the first game of the double header continued on in game 2. Michigan logged 19 runs on 20 hits, including 4 doubles and 3 home runs. Thirteen different Wolverines logged a hit in the game. The only player in the game not to was Tim Kalczynski, who only batted once. He along with Fellows were the only players in the game not to score a run. It was an all around whooping.

Ryan LaMarre lead the team with 4 RBIs coming off of a fielder’s choice and a three run homer. Cislo, Crank, and Oaks each had three runs scored a piece. Crank lead the team with three hits, giving him 6 total in the double header. Along with the previously mentioned LaMarre, home run, both Mike Dufek and Garrett Stephens also collected home runs.

We knocked the Siena bull pen around until it exploded. Eight different pitchers were thrown against us, two of which didn’t even record an out. Only one pitcher managed to not give up a run.

Michigan’s pitching, on the other hand, was quite solid. Travis Smith put in 6 strong innings of work, giving up only 2 earned runs (and 1 unearned). He also struck out 8 while only giving up 4 hits and 2 walks. I’ll take that kind of start every week. It will be interesting to see if he moves up to the game 2 starter or if Coach Maloney will leave the right/left/right handed rotation.

Matt Miller and Jeff DeCarlo threw the last 3 innings. Miller looked good but had an unearned run scored upon him. DeCarlo continued to look shaky, but at least he didn’t hit anybody this time out. He did give up 2 earned runs (one unearned).

Speaking of all of these unearned runs, what was up with the defense? I’m not just talking about this game, but the last few. We’ve given up 10 unearned runs in the last two weekends (7 games). That’s not very good. Our team percentage of .963 isn’t too bad, but our opponents are definitely making us pay for our mistakes. I’ll probably take a look at our opponents’ fielding percentage and earned vs unearned runs scored in my next Stat Watch.

Notable Stars

  • You Pick’em, you’re probably right.

Notable Goats

  • McLouth & Lorenz errors lead to unearned runs

POTW Honors

Ryan LaMarre picked up Big10 Player of the Week (shared with Illinois’s Aaron Johnson) honors for his weekend performance. His weekend totals:

H/AB OB% SLG% RBI R HR BB K
6/12 .571 1.250 8 4 3 2 2

And he had an outfield assist. Ryan LaMarre is a beast.

BigTen Hardball All Weekend Team

Dufek, LaMarre, Crank, Fetter all make the list. The team this week was a bit lengthy. Too many players are playing too well right now. Illinois makes a lot of noise on the list as they took 2 of 3 from #1 LSU in Baton Rouge.

Poll Watching

Poll Current LW
RPI 106 TBA
NCBWA 25 28
Collegiate Baseball 28 28
BaseballAmerica NR NR
Ping!Baseball NR NR
Rivals NR NR
USA Today/ESPN 28* 32*

*in also receiving votes

Illinois also jumped us in the NCBWA and Collegiate Baseball polls after taking 2 of 3 from previous #1 LSU. RPI is now available through Boyd’s World. We’re pretty low and for good reason, we haven’t played many good teams yet. Ohio State and Illinois both sit in the top 20, at #15 and #16 respectively. They both have had impressive games against good opponents this season. The best team we’ve played so far is Jacksonville at #64, who we split a double header with. Arizona, this weekend’s opponent is currently #61.

Programming Schedule

Next post will probably be the Arizona preview. I hope to get it out by tomorrow night, but I’ve got 4 games to umpire tomorrow. We’ll see if I can get it in before Friday morning.

Posted under Baseball

We Don’t Deserve This

Polls are in. Somehow Michigan stills shows up in three of them. Your guess is as good as mine on how we didn’t even drop in the Collegiate Baseball poll. The Coaches’ Poll (USA Today/ESPN) last week was technically the preseason, so our initial start is why we went up. Also, we faced two of the coaches voting in that poll, in Jacksonville’s Alexander Terry (who we beat 21-3 and lost 10-2) and St. John’s Ed Blankenmeyer (a team we shut down despite their being an offensive juggernaut). Another note, while pointless right now, I included the Ping! Poll in the chart. May we one day be in it.

Poll Current LW
RPI TBA TBA
NCBWA 28 25
Collegiate Baseball 28 28
BaseballAmerica NR NR
Ping!Baseball NR NR
Rivals NR NR
USA Today/ESPN 32* 37*

*In others receiving votes section

BigTenHardball details their all weekend team. I can’t argue with any omissions like I did last week with collegebaseball360. BTH’s Brian does some quality work. Dufek might have warranted a honorable mention for his work in the bullpen, but it wasn’t that much of an oversight. Michigan showed up as follows.

  • 2B – Kevin Cislo
  • OF – Ryan LaMarre
  • BN – Anthony Toth
  • BN – Jake McLouth
  • 4th SP – Chris Fetter

Something else stands out in the list, and the rankings for that matter: Ohio State has come out of near nowhere to start the season and is playing some high quality ball. I figured them to be a candidate to vie with Indiana for third in the conference, but now… watch out.

Pythagorean Theorem. Happy Valley Hardball put out their first look at the Pythagorean Theorem for team winning percentages. The idea is that expected winning percentage is a function of runs scored and runs allowed. Currently Michigan shows up as third best in the conference, in a power poll sort of way. The emphasis on Penn State is obviously his.

Team Runs Scored Runs Allowed Pyth % Delta
1 Ohio State 67 42 0.718 -0.282
2 Illinois 47 31 0.697 -0.136
3 Michigan. 73 58 0.613 -0.165
4 Indiana 38 31 0.600 0.000
5 Minnesota 40 35 0.566 -0.148
6 Purdue 42 45 0.466 0.132
7 Michigan St 23 37 0.279 0.112
8 Penn State 25 42 0.262 -0.024
9 Northwestern 29 52 0.237 -0.013
10 Iowa 22 58 0.126 -0.041

Loss to Jacksonville Looks Better.  I didn’t say good, but Jacksonville beat #6 Florida State in the midweek matchup.  As stated previously, midweek games can really hurt teams.  Another case this week was Indiana losing to Indiana State.  Just beating some of these teams will lower our RPI later in the season, losing will really hurt.  I still think we’ll lose one or two of these games later in the season, including one against Notre Dame.

Baseball Programming Update. I’ve got another pretty busy weekend planned this time around. I plan to have the Siena update out late Thursday night. I’m not sure what I’m going to do for the Mets. If anything comes out in the weekly release, I’ll be sure to let you know. It should be out today or tomorrow.

Posted under Baseball

Stat Watch – Week 2

In this edition of Stat Watch, we continue are look into the baseball teams offensive attack, but we start experimenting with pitching as well. I’ve also been playing with a new data/graphing system throughout the day, so graphs may show up and disappear as Paul and I work in the upgrade.

Hitting

The hitting stats are becoming more refined as batters are starting to accumulate at-bats. Our current at-bat leader (40 ABs) is Jake McLouth, who newly moved into the clean up position, has still yet to draw a walk this season. Cislo and Fellows pull up the rear with 31 ABs. I left Berset and Lorenz out of those numbers as they are replaced fairly consistently and have about 2/3 less the number of plate appearances as Cislo and Fellows.

The batting average didn’t quite make the jump you’d expect after winning a game 21-3 with 19 hits. Last week we ended with a .288 batting average; this week we end with a .291 average. Not much improvement right there.

Week 2

Week 2

As you can see, on-base-percentage also didn’t make a jump either. We actually lost .003 points down to .406 this week. This kind of comes off a little bit weird. I would have thought the Jacksonville 19-hit affair would have raised the percentage, but as they say, one game doesn’t make the season.

The rest of our games have been pretty abysmal in terms of hitting, and it shows in the following graph. What we have here is average hits (H/9), runs (R/9), walks (plus hit by pitch, BB/9), and strike outs (K/9) per 9 innings of hitting.

per9inning2

It’s encouraging to see our runs per nine innings going so high. It would be pretty high even if you took our 21 run game and made it 8, our current average, it would still have us scoring about 6.67 runs per game. That’s should be enough to compete well in any league… at least if our pitching keeps up their side of the deal.

I’d also like to point out the strike out’s per nine innings. That number has continued to grow as we’ve gone along, which is a definite problem. We’re currently averaging over a strike out per inning (9.11/9-innings). It’s killing several of our innings.

Lineup Changes

As mentioned in the weekend recap, we had a few lineup changes this weekend. Let’s take a little bit at a look why, just so you out there get a better idea of what’s going on. First, let’s look at McLouth vs Dufek.

McLouth vs Dufek Stats through Week 2

Note: McLouth's BA is the same as his OB%

On the left, we can see McLouth is hitting leaps and bounds above Dufek. Dufek is .182 points behind in average alone. In the slugging category, McLouth is averaging .279 more bases per at bat. In more basic terms, McLouth averages an extra single every 4 at bats he takes. That’s a very sizable gap.

This move places a better hitter behind our best player, Ryan LaMarre. By doing this, pitchers cannot pitch around and walk LaMarre without fear of giving up more runs. With Dufek struggling behind LaMarre, we may lose a few runs each game that his struggles continue.

The second move by Coach Maloney was to switch Anthony Toth and Kenny Fellows. Toth mainly batting in the 2-hole, as we can see in the graph below, was getting on consistently, but he was not able to put the ball in play and move the runners on base around or gather many RBIs.

Fellows vs Toth

Fellows vs Toth Stats through Week 2

Looking at the two players’ production, the on base numbers are currently very consistent, and both are rather good. The difference is the hitting, which Fellows has done better and more consistently better. Fellows is currently hitting .387, as compared to .250 for Toth.

By switching the two batters, Maloney is hoping that Toth will still continue his pace with walks, setting the table for the top of the order. The hope for Fellows is that he continues to hit and get on base, driving in more runs, moving the runners a head of him into scoring position, and still get on base to score for the heart of the order behind him.

The ideal inning would start with a Toth walk, a Cislo single on a hit and run putting runners at first and third, a Cislo steal right before a Fellows RBI single. LaMarre either walks or hits a double, followed by a McLouth double, and then either struggle through Dufek and Berset to try to eek out a last run before Lorenz comes up, as he’s statistically an out. That kind of inning is 5-7 runs, which are the kind of innings that win college baseball games.

Leader Board – Offense

Average On Base% Slugging%
Player AVG Player OB% Player SLG%
Ryan LaMarre .421 Kenny Fellows .500 Ryan LaMarre .711
Kenny Fellows .387 T-Ryan LaMarre .488 Jake McLouth .650
Jake McLouth .350 T-Kevin Cislo .488 Nick Urban .486
Runs Batted In
Runs Walks + HBP
Player RBI Player R Player BB/HBP
Ryan LaMarre 17 Kevin Cislo 13 T-Kevin Cislo 12
Jake McLouth 10 Anthony Toth 11 T-Anthony Toth 12
T-Toth/Fellows 7 Ryan LaMarre 9 Mike Dufek 8
Steals Doubles Home Runs
Player SB Player 2B Player HR
Kevin Cislo 5 Nick Urban 4 Jake McLouth 4
Ryan LaMarre 3 T-Kevin Cislo 3 Ryan LaMarre 3
Anthony Toth 2 T-John Lorenz 3 Mike Dufek 2

Pitching

And here’s where things get fun. Instead of showing trends, which don’t help much over 2 appearances or less than 15 innings, I think I’m going to look through some of the team statistics. This process may be adjusted to individual pitchers by the time the conference season rolls around.

Opponent Hitting

Opponent Hitting

Here we see the opponent batting average, on base percentage, and slugging percentage. The opponent batting average is currently .306, the on base percentage is .343, and the slugging percentage is .442 for the season. The on base numbers aren’t too bad, which surprises the heck out of me. Its amazing how such a bad weekend can make you forget how great a weekend the BigEast/Big10 Challenge really was on the mound. Opponents are out hitting us and out slugging us this season, which is never a good sign. We should be looking to get that opponent average down into the .290s or less. On base percentages need to drop to the .310s at the highest, and slugging… well it has a lot of room for improvement.

opponentper9inning2

In this chart we have the “per 9 innings” stats of our opponents accumulated through the season. This just breaks down the previous chart into reasons why we are getting out hit. Opponents average an extra .5 hits per game, which isn’t much, but we average about 1.5 more walks per game. We also strike out about one more time per game than our opponents. I would put ideal numbers to be at to be H/9 ~ 8, K/9 ~ 9, BB/9 ~ 2, and ERA around 4.00. Right now the ERA is pretty close to what we would want in a season, but we should never just settle. We should always strive to improve the numbers.

Leader Board – Pitching

Starter ERA Innings Starter Ks
Player ERA Player INN Player Ks
Chris Fetter 1.64 Eric Katzman 11.2 Chris Fetter 13
Eric Katzman 3.09 Chris Fetter 11 Travis Smith 10
Travis Smith 4.70 Kolby Wood 10.2 All 3 others 6
Relief ERA Relief App Relief Ks
Player ERA Player APP Player Ks
Mike Dufek 1.80 Tyler Burgoon 4 Matt Miller 11
Tyler Burgoon 3.12 T-Matt Miller 3 Mike Dufek 6
Matt Miller 3.86 T-Matt Gerbe 3 Tyler Burgoon 5
Oppon BA Walks+HBP/9IP Saves
Player BA Player
BB/HBP Player Sv
Mike Dufek .125 Chris Fetter 2.45 T-Mike Dufek 1
Matt Miller .185 T-Mike Dufek 3.6 T-Tyler Burgoon 1
Chris Fetter .233 T-Brandon Sinnery 3.6* T-Matt Miller 1

*This is the only stat Sinnery can claim he’s doing well in right now.

Next week I’ll look at some of these same stats and hopefully have some better news on the pitching front.  I plan on working into some more advance statistics as the season moves along, I’ve just been bogged down with other things.

Posted under Baseball

Reaction: Michigan 4, Purdue 3 (10) / Michigan 6, Cincinnati 1

Game 1

This season is going to give me a heart attack. Michigan wins its second in a row to open the season on a walk off single, this time in the 10th inning. Tyler Burgoon gets the win again, he’s now on pace to win 55 games this season, shattering the previous record by over 30. He pitched 4 innings of shut out relief, keeping Michigan close.  He was definitely the player of the game.  Maloney didn’t even warm anyone else up the down the stretch of the game.  That’s the kind of confidence Rich has in Tyler.

McLouth was a hero again this time with the walk off single. He went 3-5 in the game with 2 RBIs. That puts him at .444 for the season with 7 total bases.  Toth also did a great job working the count.  He earned three walks in the game, including one to set up the winning run.

The one area that looked ugly though was baserunning.  We were caught three times today.  We’re slightly more aggressive this year, but it has yet to pay off.  It’ll be interesting to see if we keep up this level of intensity on the base paths or if Maloney will change up his plan of attack.

As said previously, I’ll have the full recap up for the weekend sometime on Monday. We have a quick turn around as Michigan faces Cincinnati in about an hour and a half.

Game 2

Michigan finally decided to get ahead and stay ahead in this game.  We gave Travis Smith a 3 run lead before he even took the mound, and that was all we needed.  Smith and Matt Miller combined to give up only one run while striking out 16.  Mike Dufek added a 3 run homer, his first of the year, as insurance late, but even that wasn’t needed.

Aaron Fitt at Baseball America described the Dufek bomb thusly:

[Mike Dufek] hit a Chris Dominguez-like bomb in the top of the seventh, a three-run shot that gave the Wolverines a 6-1 lead. This missile cleared the berm behind the right-field fence and bounced halfway up the chain-link fence that shields U.S. 19. And it got there in a hurry. I haven’t seen a ball hit that hard since Dominguez hit two massive homers for Louisville in the 2007 College World Series.

Of course Aaron screwed up the name of the player, citing Mike Spina (of Cincinnati) instead, but the description of the homerun was spot on with Dufek’s blast.  In other hitting standouts, Nick Urban also had quite a day, just a home run shy of the cycle.

We’re off for the rest of the night.  Tomorrow is St. John’s, who scored 12 on Iowa in the first inning in route to a 18-3 shellacking, yikes.

Posted under Baseball