The Indians dropped Friday night's series opener in Houston, their
27th fifth straight loss. The box score is here, feel free to applaud the team for not adding to their league leading 12 errors and for hitting .250 on the night, better than their season average. What can you do? The Astros are a tough team, coming off 111 wins last year over the last two years.
For more on the game, take a look at Ryan's quick recap and Hoynes' take from the Plain Dealer, which includes Brett Myers saying he's had forearm soreness all spring, and thinks it's hurting his velocity. Allowing three runs isn't a disaster, but the Tribe needs its starters going deeper into games. The bullpen is going to become a mess otherwise.
MLB.com's Tribe notes from Friday include word from Scott Kazmir on making his Indians debut tonight, Michael Bourn (a Houston native) on having to miss the series and how he's feeling about the team, and Jason Kipnis making his return to the lineup after missing most of a week with a sore elbow (he collect two hits and his first stolen base of the season).
Plenty of teams, even good ones, will have a 5-10 stretch at some point in the season. But right at the start... it's not a good sign. The wildcard era began in 1994, since then 51 American League teams have gone 5-10 or worse through fifteen games. Only three of those 51 teams wound up making the playoffs ('97 Yankees, '01 Athletics, '02 Angels). It can get late awfully early.
Postponements gave the rest of the Central the night off, except for Detroit, who lost (so there's that).
From Mike Tanier at Sports on Earth comes The Tee Ball Sabermetrics Glossary, a look at the "advanced metrics" for play among the six-year-old set (as you might guess, it's tongue in cheek). As someone who's coached a lot of kids, I found it an entertaining read. Other coaches and parents of Little Leaguers (past or present) probably will too.
Graham Womack writes about why he loves baseball history. I certainly don't know the game's past as well as he does, but I'm with Graham in feeling that my knowledge of the game's history is both a treasure in its own right and a way to better understand the game today. If he's right about interest in baseball's yesteryear waning, I'm glad to know it'll never vanish entirely. Each year will reveal more great stories from long ago.
Last weekend I mentioned the release of '42,' the Jackie Robinson biopic that I saw and enjoyed. Over at Baseball Nation, Rob Neyer looks at the film, and uses his extensive knowledge and book collection to fact-check it. I don't know how concerned over spoilers you should be for a film based on a true story (the Titanic sinks at the end!), but there are spoilers. If you've seen the film or aren't concerned over having a few plot points revealed, it's interesting to know some of the adjustments they made.
Since those last couple links both have to do with baseball history and reading about it, I thought I'd choose some of my favorite baseball books for this week's list. My collection doesn't match Rob's hundreds and hundreds of texts, but I've got dozens and dozens. Limiting myself to just six selections forces me to leave out a lot of really good reads, but I'm sure some of them will come up in the comments.
Favorite Baseball Books (nonfiction)
6) You Gotta Have Wa, by Robert Whiting - A look at baseball in Japan, where the game may be even more popular than it is in the U.S.
5) The Glory of Their Times, by Lawrence Ritter - This book's subtitle: "The Story of the Early Days of Baseball Told by the Men Who Played It" sums it up nicely.
4) Cardboard Gods, by Josh Wilker - Baseball cards from the late 70s and early 80s are used as entry points into stories about the author's life, many of which are baseball related.
2) The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract, by Bill James - I got this one near the end of my college years and am not exaggerating when I say I've spent hundreds of hours looking through it.
1) The Soul of Baseball, by Joe Posnanski - Joe writes beautifully and his subject, Buck O'Neil, had countless incredible stories to tell. Use the link or your local bookstore to acquire a copy if you haven't already.