Welcome to Daily Links. You readers here from Red Sox Beacon know how this works, but as a refresher, here's a rundown. Every day I write a bunch of ridiculous garbage often centered around links to actual articles written by actual writers. You laugh, shake your head and say, "Oh, that Matt. What a jokester!" But then, later, maybe on the john, you think about what I wrote, I mean, really think-thinky-thinky-think and you say, "Oh, that Matt. What an analyst!" Then your wife divorces you for sitting on the john too long and adding "ee" to the ends of words where it doesn't belong. Then I write "Link time!" with a suitably ironic exclamation point. Like this:
Last night's beat-down turned actual baseball game (thanks, Brian Bruney!) was not the first game blown up by a Red Sox starting pitcher this season and it surely won't be the last. But it did continue an odd trend pointed out by WEEI.com's Alex Speier on twitter. The Sox lead the majors in games where the starter didn't allow a run. They've done that twelve times. But they also lead the majors in games where the starter gave up eight or more runs, which they've done five times. If you're wondering, John Lackey leads the team in that ignominious category, having done the dirty deed three times. Tim Wakefield is two behind him and tied, thanks to tonight's poop-tastic performance, by Alfredo Aceves. OTM will surely keep you updated on this exciting race to the extent our weak stomachs allow.
The words "Tommy" and "John" and "Surgery" won't be spoken publicly in any order by the Red Sox without due cause. But according to Nick Carfardo of the Boston Globe, team officials are going to speak with Daisuke Matsuzaka about the results of his most recent elbow examination before speaking with the media. On the 1-10 scale of promise this clocks in at about a -6.
Now that we're about a third of the way through the season, Hardball Talk's Matthew Pouliot took a look at the Cy Young race in the American League. To do so, he ranked the pitchers by WAR. If you're a certified stat nerd (like me!) you know there are two WAR statistics, both with the same name and purpose, but which use slightly different numbers to arrive at their conclusions. One is by Fan Graphs, and my understanding is they use real puppy meat in their numbers. The other is by Baseball Reference, and they use imitation puppy meat. I assume because it's cheaper but maybe for animal rights reasons. OK, the kind of puppy meat you use isn't actually important. It's just important that you use any puppy meat. The difference between the two (at least as far as pitchers go) is that Baseball Reference uses ERA while Fan Graphs uses FIP. So Baseball Reference's version is a better measurement of what happened while Fan Graphs' version is a better measurement of what should have happened.
So, what were the results? That's the interesting part. The list using Baseball Reference's WAR has Josh Beckett as the best pitcher in the AL. That is no surprise considering his ERA and his WHIP. Flip over to the other list using Fan Graphs' WAR and Beckett drops to fifth, tied with two others. And yet Mr. Pouliot still says that right now Josh Beckett deserves the AL Cy Young. Also, I agree with him. Awards are given out based on what happened (with some caveats). But, if I wanted to know who is likely to keep pitching like a Cy Young award winner for the rest of the year, I'd look at the Fan Graphs list.
Staying on the same topic, SI.com's Cliff Corcoran names his top five in the Cy Young balloting if the season ended today. It doesn't. Which is good for Josh Beckett assuming he gives a dead squirrel about winning the award because while he's on the list, he isn't first. He's fourth behind James Shields, Jered Weaver and Dan Haren, three guys who, I'm guessing, have dead squirrels to give. Or something.
ESPN's Jayson Stark has his typically wondrous article wrapping up the month of May in baseball. Mr. Stark is famous for his esoteric stats. For example, who has the most homers on week nights in June on the road during a full moon in a dome when a mouse at the hotel pooped on his pillow? (Answer: Duh. Dave Kingman) Stark's article gives me the chance to resurrect the Half Letterman. Sort of. Here are five nuggets, four I made up and a real one from Mr. Stark's article. Guess which one is real!
1. Sergio Romo of the Giants has 7⅓ strikeouts.
2. Joe Girardi's famous binder is actually a collection of old Calvin And Hobbes cartoons.
3. Reliever Clay Hensley fell down the stairs at the team hotel and fractured his scapula.
4. The number of worms killed by worm burners this season is more than last year's and the previous year's totals combined.
5. Despite the outcry over his interview in Men's Journal magazine, O's Manager Buck Showalter has already been interviewed for next month's Cat Fancy.
Finally, when Kevin Millwood looks at the Red Sox and sees a better opportunity to pitch in the majors than he had with the Yankees, well, I just hope his powers of analysis are as bad as his pitching.