NL West Report: D-Backs Annoyed With Losing, Find Solution in Altering Baseballs

At least, that's how some will take this news.  In my view, this announcement has been a long time coming.

I am speaking of course about Arizona's idea of potentially instituting a humidor to standardize the baseballs used at Chase Field.  It is a great idea, though several years late

The Baseball Reference multi-year park factor at Chase Field is 109 for both pitchers and hitters, exactly equivalent to the multi-year factor for Coors Field.  According to Statcorner, the HR factor at Coors and Chase are exactly equivalent at 114 for left-handed hitters.  With all the bellyaching about Coors Field, Chase Field has skated by without a horrible national reputation despite giving a very comparable offensive advantage.

There are a few legitimate reasons for this.  The early years at Chase Field were masked by their employment of Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson, who could dominate anywhere.  They won a World Series at Chase.  Coors Field came first without a humidor, and while the humidor is in its ninth year at Coors Field, the Rockies haven't had success until the last 3+ years.

But those excuses don't mean the Diamondbacks don't have a problem.  Phoenix is at an elevation of 1,117 feet, more than any MLB park not found in Colorado.  The relative humidity at night in Phoenix is around 23%, which is not surprisingly lower than Denver.  While Chase Field has a roof for hot day games, that doesn't address the humidity in the stadium nor the game conditions with the roof open.

CEO Derrick Hall has discussed pushing the walls back in both left and right field, but the StatCorner park factors suggest that would only compound the problem, replacing a few home runs by increasing an already alarming number of extra base hits.

Chase Field LHB RHB
    Doubles  115  117
     Triples  172  168
Except for the triple factor for RHB, each of those factors exceed those found at Coors Field, which has a reputation of having the biggest outfield in the majors.  Moving the walls back would be backwards progress.  

 

The Diamondbacks front office has seen the change a humidor can make first hand, which makes Arizona all the more likely to lean towards humidor use.  Jerry DiPoto pitched for the Rockies pre-humidor and has watched the Rockies' pitching improve with their youth movement in partial thanks to the humidor.  That makes it a model for Arizona's franchise in more ways than one:

CEO Derrick Hall:  "The offense is unreal at Chase Field. We have a launching pad now. We have a team that's hopefully going to be built around young pitching. We should look at ways to reduce offense"

The humidor is the only answer, and I hope Hall is as serious about instituting it.  It would be one more step in instituting league-wide standardization in how baseballs are kept.  Then maybe players, fans, managers and broadcasters will be more informed about humidifying baseballs.

 

Team capsules after the jump.

NL West Report

All playoff chances are taken from Baseball Prospectus.

 

Arizona (52-79, 5th, L1, 25.0 GB)

Last Week: 3-3. 1-2 @ Padres.  2-1 @ Giants.  The Diamondbacks overcame a 6-3 deficit to lead 7-6 Sunday.  Primed for a sweep, Arizona's bullpen once again failed them as they lost the finale.  Rockies fans still thank you for the series win on the road.

You Should Know:  The Diamondbacks are one half game away from overtaking Seattle for the third worst record in MLB.  They could certainly bolster their farm system with a 3rd overall and 5th overall pick (compensation for Barret Loux) next June.

Divisional Change:  Gained one game on 1st place San Diego.

Playoff Chances: 

This Week: 3 game home series vs. Padres.  3 game home series vs. Astros.

News:    The deadline is nigh for teams to acquire players and be eligible to be added to playoff rosters.  That means if the Diamondbacks are to trade Kelly Johnson and Adam LaRoche, who both cleared waivers early last week, it has to happen soon.  Nick Piecoro believes Johnson and LaRoche will stay.  He isn't the only source, as Jon Paul Morosi heard the same.

Dodgers assistant GM Logan White is a leading candidate for Arizona's open GM position.  As for the manager, Jon Heyman believes Kirk Gibson will return and wouldn't be surprised if Jerry DiPoto retains his position as the GM.

Barry Enright wasn't considered a top pitching prospect to begin the season, but he has certainly impressed this season after being called up June 30.  Enright defeated Tim Lincecum Friday in shutting out the Giants and has not allowed more than 3 ER in any of his 11 starts.

Barry Enright

#54 / Pitcher / Arizona Diamondbacks

6-3

220

R

R

Mar 30, 1986

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2010 - Barry Enright 5-2 11 11 0 0 0 0 66.1 56 18 18 7 22 39 2.44 1.18

Enright's FIP and xFIP are over two runs hogher than his ERA thanks to that less than sterling K/BB, but he has still given D-backs fans something to look forward to, along with Dan Hudson.

The Giants' announcers suggested Stephen Drew stole signs and relayed them to the Adam LaRoche while facing Tim Lincecum Friday.  There is nothing against the spirit of the game with that act, as binoculars aren't involved.  While he acknowledged that the Diamondbacks do try to steal signs from second base, manager Kirk Gibson denied that thievery was involved in that particular incident.

We have all heard plenty about the immigration laws in Arizona.  AZSnakepit's soco provides a different angle, suggesting that the Diamondbacks are being disproportially targeted as an outlet for protesters.

Brandon Webb actually wants to return to Arizona next season.  The only club he has known is at the starting line of a complete rebuild, not unlike his recovery from injury.  That is some loyalty there.  I will be intested to see whether Arizona takes another chance on him.

Transactions:  Released IF Bobby Crosby and recalled UT Ryan Roberts.  Crosby had been acquired three weeks earlier in a package for C Chris Snyder.

Injuries:  Brandon Webb threw a very successful simulated game Saturday.

Arizona Diamondbacks Injuries

60 Day DL / Out for the season

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Brandon Webb shoulder 03/26/2010
Leo Rosales foot 04/29/2010
Star-divide

Los Angeles (67-64, 4th, L2, 10.0 GB, 6.5 GB WC)

Last Week:  4-2.  3-0 @ Brewers.  1-2 @ Rockies.  

Playoff Chances:

You Should Know:  By walking five and striking out no one Saturday at Coors Field, Chad Billingsley tied nine other Dodger hurlers for most walks without a strikeout in a single outing.  H/t to TBLA.

Divisional Change:  Gained 2.0 games to San Diego and 1.5 games to Philadelphia in the wild card.  This was a complete reversal from last week, so the Dodgers have made essentially zero progress in the last two weeks by going 7-6.

This Week:  3 game home series vs. Phillies.  3 game home series vs. Giants.  The Dodgers may have six home games this week, but they will have to face Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, Barry Zito, Matt Cain AND Tim Lincecum in the next two series.

News:  Obviously, the biggest news surrounding the Dodgers is their pending trade of Manny Ramirez and final the destruction of Mannywood.  With the Dodgers in town this weekend, most Rockies fans are up to date on the info, but if not, here's the deal.  Ramirez was placed on waivers and claimed by the White Sox.  He has been benched in four straight games, lending credence to the idea Los Angeles will deal him.  Joe Torre has been a shameless mouthpiece for deflecting this notion, so I would take his comments that Man-Ram will start tomorrow with a bag of salt.  Especially considering Dylan Hernandez reported that Ramirez would be going to the White Sox today right after I finished writing that sentence.

Manny Ramirez

#99 / Left Field / Los Angeles Dodgers

6-0

200

R

R

May 30, 1972

G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB CS AVG OBP SLG
2010 - Manny Ramirez 65 196 32 61 15 0 8 40 32 38 1 1 .311 .405 .510

Ramirez got himself ejected yesterday after arguing one a called strike.  Giants' beat writer Andrew Baggarly thinks he got himself tossed on purpose.  Seeing the play live, there is no way Ramirez could have intended that conclusion, as he was quite tame by ejection standards.  He didn't seem too, ahem, crestfalled about it though.

Eric Stephen wrote for SBNation Los Angeles that today is a grim day for Dodgers fans.  Not only is Manny Ramirez leaving, but today marks the commencement of the McCourt divorce trial in court.

Jon Heyman pegs Tim Wallach as the favorite to replace Joe Torre, if Torre retires following the season.  Too bad they traded his son Brett for Ted Lilly last month or he could manage his son for the team he once played for.  Heyman also surmises that Dusty Baker might be targeted if he isn't retained in Cincinnati, with both Baker and Wallach being preferred over Don Mattingly.

MLBTR discusses what figures the Dodgers might be looking at if they intend to extend Clayton Kershaw.  Jon Lester, Ricky Romero and Yovani Gallardo are used as templates.

According to a YahooSports article, the Dodgers players aren't concerned over the McCourt divorce.  I think that translates as "Would you quit asking me about the McCourt divorce already?"

garik16 at Beyond The BoxScore provides in-depth pitch f/x analysis on Charlie Haeger and believes the knuckleballer will have success in the big leagues.

As if you needed any other reasons to love him, it seems Jamey Carroll has been playing with a possible broken finger after taking over as the full-time shortstop with Rafael Furcal on the DL.

The Dodgers placed Ted Lilly on waivers, but a trade is a longshot.

Eric Stephen's Week in Review at TrueBlueLA.  It is always a good read, but especially on the final day Man-Ram is a Dodger.

Transactions:  Activated C Rod Barajas and optioned C AJ Ellis to AAA Albuquerque.  

Injuries:   Vicente Padilla will throw a simulated game tomorrow.  Russell Martin will have his hip re-scanned this week.  Rafael Furcal resumed baseball activities on Saturday.

Los Angeles Dodgers Injuries

15-Day

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Rafael Furcal lower-back 08/03/2010
Russell Martin shoulder 08/04/2010
Travis Schlichting shoulder 08/22/2010

Star-divide

San Diego (76-53, 1st, L4)

Last Week: 2-4.  2-1 vs. Diamondbacks.  0-3 @ Phillies.  The Padres had not lost three consecutive game since May 10-12, which was also the last night they were swept, by Los Angeles at Petco.  They picked a fine time to finally fall apart, against the only team the Rockies do not control their own destiny against.  

Playoff Chances:

Divisional Change:  Lost 1.0 game to second place San Francisco.

You Should Know:  Being pushed to extended rest hasn't hurt Mat Latos at all.  He has a 1.69 ERA in August and has thrown 13 straight starts with 2 ER or less and in 19 of 20 starts...Despite losing four straight, the Padres still have the top record and run differential in the NL, by 1.5 games and 4 runs over Atlanta.

This Week:  3 game road series @ Diamondbacks.  3 game home series vs. Rockies.  Anyone else looking forward to this weekend?  It will be the Rockies' final foray into Petco Park.

News:  The Padres may be interested in adding SP Kevin Millwood in an attempt to add some veteraniness to their rotation.  Millwood has a 2.83 ERA in his last five starts for Baltimore, though his season numbers are flat out ugly (see below).

Kevin Millwood

#34 / Pitcher / Baltimore Orioles San Diego Padres?

6-4

230

R

R

Dec 24, 1974

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2010 - Kevin Millwood 3-14 26 26 1 0 0 0 160.0 194 102 95 26 51 108 5.34 1.53

It seems outright silly looking at the standings to consider the the rampant rumors from last offseason that the Padres would trade Adrian Gonzalez to the Red Sox GMs Jed Hoyer and Theo Epstein laughed at the rumors recently.

Ben Nicholson-Smith points out that Thursday was the 7-year anniversary of the Padres trading Jason Bay and Oliver Perez for Brian Giles.  Not a single one of the three has seen much game action lately.

According to a GasLampBall FanPost, the Padres will be on national TV on Fox more often than not down the stretch on Saturdays.

David Eckstein hasn't missed a beat since being activated from the DL, but why would we expect Mr. Grission himself to be slowed by an injury? 

Transactions:  Optioned OF Luis Durango to AAA Portland and recalled IF Everth Cabrera and RHP Luis Perdomo.

Injuries:  Chris Young is scheduled for a rehab start tomorrow, his first game action in nearly four months.  Jerry Hairston has a strained elbow ligament and needs 2-3 weeks to recover.    Chris Denorfia was held out of the lineup Friday with a hamstring cramp but is fine now.

San Diego Padres Injuries

15-Day

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Tony Gwynn Jr. other-excused 08/19/2010
Kyle Blanks elbow 05/18/2010

60 Day DL / Out for the season

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Chris Young shoulder 04/07/2010

Star-divide

San Francisco (72-59, 2nd, W1, 5.0 GB Div, 1.5 GB WC)

Last Week: 3-3.  2-1 vs. Reds.  1-2 vs. Diamondbacks.

Playoff Chances:  

You Should Know:  In the last four turns of the rotation, the Giants have lost all eight starts by Barry Zito and Tim Lincecum.  Since August 10, the two have allowed less that 4 ER or less a combined one time in nine starts.  Lincecum finished August with a 7.82 ERA, barely bested by Zito's 7.76 ERA.

Divisional Change:  Gained 1.0 games on first place San Diego.  Gained 0.5 games in the Wild Card leader Philadelpha, though they held a brief lead on Thursday.

This Week:  3 game home series vs. Rockies.  3 game road series @ Dodgers.  

News: The Giants assistant GM admitted San Francisco claimed Cody Ross in part to block the Padres from claiming him, despite reports that the Padres were not interested in Ross.

Cody Ross

#13 / Center Field / San Francisco Giants

5-10

195

R

L

Dec 23, 1980

G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB CS AVG OBP SLG
2010 - Cody Ross 4 12 4 4 0 0 0 2 0 3 0 0 .333 .308 .333

On the same day the Rockies overcame a 9-run deficit to win on Wednesday, the Giants overcame a 9-run deficit, only to blow the lead and lose in extra innings.  The headline for the game story at McCovey Chronicles:  Post-game thread: What in the absolute hell was that?

Jorge Ortiz of the USAToday profiles Andres Torres and Buster Posey.  Both have provided far more offensive output than anyone could have dreamed.  

Transactions:   IF Matt Downs claimed off waivers by the Houston Astros (8/25). He had been DFAed the previous week in order to add OF Cody Ross to the roster.

Injuries:  Brian Wilson was hit in the second worst place with a ball during batting practice - the throat.  He is likely fine, as is Buster Posey, who sat out Saturday and Sunday with a forearm strain.  Posey should return tonight.  Guillermo Mota was placed on the DL last Monday with IT band syndrome in his leg.

San Francisco Giants Injuries

15-Day

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Guillermo Mota leg 08/23/2010
Chris Ray intercostal strain 08/18/2010
Edgar Renteria left biceps 08/11/2010
Dan Runzler knee 07/09/2010

Day to Day

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Brian Wilson neck 08/29/2010
Buster Posey forearm strain 08/29/2010
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