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Daily Link Roundup: 8/3/2006

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Let's lead off with something different for a change. Bill Simmons wrote a piece comparing Larry Bird to David Ortiz in regards to their clutch. Considering Simmons used facial hair as a determining factor, I don't think we need to worry about throwing this up against Nate Silver or The Book's research anytime soon. The interesting thing to pull from it are the numbers at the bottom, provided by the Elias Sports Bureau:

If Ortiz has one more walk-off hit in 2006, he'll be the first baseball hitter to have six in a single season since the division era began in 1969. ... Since the start of 2005, he's come up 13 times with the chance for a game-ending plate appearance and made an out only once (and he ended up winning that game in the 12th inning). ... He has the most walk-off hits in any four-year span (12, and that doesn't include the three in the 2004 playoffs, which made him the only player in history with three game-ending postseason hits). ... Since he joined the Red Sox in 2003, he has 15 walk-off hits and the rest of the team has 19 total. ... Since Aug. 1, 2004, Ortiz has hit 21 home runs in 138 at-bats in Late-Inning Pressure Situations (no other player has more than 13). ... Dusty Baker has the most career walk-off hits (25, including the playoffs), but Ortiz is 10 behind. And just for the record, none of those stats include all the times when he tied a game or gave the Red Sox the lead in the seventh or eighth inning.

Via the blog at Inside the Book, I saw this article in regards to figuring out who has the potential to succeed (or fail) in clutch situations. Tango mentions that you can in fact "care too much". I think Alex Rodriguez is living proof of that. I don't mean to pick on the guy, because he goes through enough. but it would explain a great deal. Luckily his run production counts the same early on as it does in the late innings.

Scouts, Inc.'s Keith Law tackles the waiver wire over at Baseball Analysts. Law has been one of my favorite analysts around since his return to writing in June; he's extremely knowledgeable and witty, and gave me another reason to renew my ESPN Insider account. Which now means I have two reasons to own one: Rob Neyer and Keith Law.

David Pinto has put up the probabilities for Chase Utley reaching the various hit streak marks in front of him. Good stuff as always. And this is somewhat old, but if you haven't seen it, Dex from Gaslamp Ball interviewed Chase's Chicks, but I can't seem to find the interview on his site anymore. Weird.

Via Talking Chop, John Smoltz had an interview with PTI. It's worth a listen, and it's kind of interesting that Smoltz is more realistic about the team's playoff chances than the Braves front office. John Schuerholz is a fine general manager, certainly one of the best in history, but I've wondered lately if his long string of success has him feeling like the Braves will succeed no matter what. He'd certainly be an interesting one to speak with. I also don't feel right doubting the Braves until they are mathematically out of it, even if that seems somewhat silly.

The Tigers surpassed their 2005 win total with a victory last night. Incredible...there's still room on the bandwagon David Gassko and I started back up in March, but you better hurry up.

Good post over at Royals Review breaking down the transactions under Dayton Moore so far. He's done a fine job I think, although I feel like he gave up on J.P. Howell rather quickly.

Hey look, the Reds are struggling to score runs. But hey, they sort of have a bullpen now, right? The Reds have scored 4.44 runs per game in the 18 games since "The Trade" They had been scoring 5.03 RPG in the 89 games prior to that; small sample size, or a legitimate drop in production? More games will tell, but it isn't looking pretty yet.

Josh Hamilton suffers a knee injury, which will delay his comeback from the restricted list. Best of luck to him on his return attempt. Elijah Dukes is thinking about quitting. Well, I guess it's good they acquired Joel Guzman.

I hate to say it, but John Kruk has been a much better analyst this year than the last few. He was spot on with the all-star criticism of Phil Garner, and in regards to the Alex Rodriguez issues that Steve Phillips thought could be solved by trading ARod. I'd like to assume Phillips thinks dealing ARod for Kevin Appier and Mo Vaughn was the way to go, but I don't know, I'm not a former general manager who has to pretend he's the new Red Sox GM on national television.

Anyway, Kruk says the Dodgers are on a winning streak now, but that their bullpen is still a mess and that Julio Lugo isn't the answer. As Richard Wade pointed out to me, the Dodgers bullpen isn't as deep as I thought it was, although Takashi Saito has been outstanding. Even if the Dodgers make the playoffs this year, I don't think they're good enough to do any damage once they are there, and it certainly isn't worth hurting their chances at holding on in the next few seasons in what may turn out to be the most competitive division in either league.

Baseball Digest Daily reports that Luke Hochevar has signed a contract with the Royals. About time...

Wily Mo Pena's homerun was hit pretty damn hard last night. Check out the quotes within this link.

And for a closing note, many analysts are upset that the Nationals failed to deal Alfonso Soriano. I can't blame them; I haven't put together a post on it yet, but let's just say I haven't been referring to Jim Bowden affectionately the past few days. Michael Rosenberg shares his thoughts over at FOX Sports, and Joe Sheehan is on top of things as always over at Baseball Prospectus. I'll close with this quote, because it's key:

Bowden had multiple ways to make the Nationals a much better team from 2007-2010 and he didn?t get the job done. He overplayed his hand and set the Nationals back this weekend. Coming off of years of mishandling, they couldn?t afford that kind of loss. Unless Soriano somehow clears waivers, this is the biggest story, and biggest mistake, of deadline 2006.