About the Steve O Zone

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Steve O vs. Jody Mac...

No, this is not the title of some pay-per-view event where yours truly and Jody Mac compete in some steel-cage, hoagie-eating, beer-drinking winner take all extravaganza.

Although that would be Must See TV for sure. But alas I do not drink so the Mac Man would have a decided advantage but as for the hoagie consumption, well there I could hold my own and then some. Jody can attest to this, little ol' me ain't so little, going about 6' 3"/245 pounds.

So no, this is not some "throw down" to the Mac Man in a physical sense but rather from a like/dislike perspective and a good old fashioned debate over the merits of two athletes in our town.

Obviously this cannot be a debate in the "normal" sense where one side states their case, the other responds in kind and back and forth they go.

So I will give you my side then I'm sure Jody will have no problem whatsoever espousing his side via the airwaves.

First up is Ryan Madson of the Phillies.

Jody: likes him and thinks he's a good pitcher.

Me: Don't like him and think he's NOT a good pitcher. For kicks and giggles I went on baseball-reference.com to look up Ryan's stats. Now I had never been on this site before and all I can say to those who have never experienced this particular site, be prepared to look at numbers... a lot of them.

I went to this site to see if I could find any numbers or stats that would help support my case against Madson but all I could find was that he has decent numbers against players born in April, who listen to country music, are registered democrats, whose fathers are of Armenian descent, who enjoy Italian food, drink Earl Grey tea and enjoy a rousing game of Boggle from time to time.

So as long as we can ensure Ryan will face ONLY players matching this somewhat distinct profile, we're good.

I did in fact go to baseball-reference.com to look up Ryan's numbers and his career numbers are kind of a mixed bag. His 4.14 career ERA is not bad. And he does have the prerequisite 2 to 1 strikeout-to-walk ratio but he has allowed 376 hits in a little more than 356 innings pitched, which is not good.

Now I'm sure if I wanted to do some digging and waste 4-5 hours I could find some disparaging stats against Ryan just as Jody could find some positive stats if given the time.

And perhaps I am basing too much of my opinion on Ryan on his ill-fated 2006 season where he was forced into the starting rotation.

But I simply cannot escape the fact that I do not think Ryan Madson is a very good pitcher. Is he decent? Yeah, he's decent.

And in today's arms shortage, decent can go a long way. But for me, he far too often surrenders the big hit at the wrong time.

Consider the following (all stats from the past 3 years combined):
  • Opponents are hitting .308 with a .423 slugging percentage against him with the bases loaded
  • His ERA in September is 7.54 while opposing hitters are batting .350 against him
  • From the 4th inning to the 6th, opponents are hitting .347, have a .409 on base percentage and .567 slugging percentage.
  • And while Ryan has faced significantly less batters from the 7th inning to the 9th, things are not much better. Opposing numbers: .357 BA/.400 OBP/..464 Slugging %
Ok, perhaps I did do a LITTLE digging and found some stats to aid in my case...


Next up is Lito Sheppard of the Eagles.

This one I feel very strongly about, even more so than my feelings toward Ryan Madson. And I know Jody feels just as strongly for the other side, as it were.

Anyone who has read my column, The Morning After, will attest to the fact that I have never been nor will ever be a Lito Sheppard fan.

Unlike baseball, where you can get virtually any stat in any situation on any player, football -- by its nature --- does not provide such black & white, cut & dry stats, especially when it comes to defensive backs. Now truth be told, you can get very specific stats but far too often the general public, the media and fellow players alike rely solely on statistics such as interceptions when it comes time to evaluate a DB's performance and value.

And I think that's precisely what has happened in the case of Lito Sheppard.

In my humble opinion, Lito Sheppard has been living on a reputation for years, a reputation that was forged by the number of picks he made, specifically in '04 & '06 when he had 5 and 6 picks, respectively.

Somehow, somewhere along the way, people began to view Lito Sheppard as this very good to some would even say, great cornerback, even despite missing time due to injury.

And in all honesty, I don't get it. I really don't. From where I sit, which is pretty much where all of you sit, in front of a TV, more often than not, Lito Sheppard is out of position, Lito Sheppard is beaten and beaten badly.

And if it were not for some very poor QB play, he would be exposed far more than he is.

Is he Izel "Toast" Jenkins redux? Of course not. Thankfully there's only one of them.

But he's not the second coming of Darrell Green, either.

And now he apparently is not too happy here in Shang-gri-La, supposedly upset about the fact he's not being paid as much as other cornerbacks in the league.

To that I say, 'You signed your contract, Lito. Now honor it. And be grateful cause the bottom line is, you're not as good as you think you are.'

Ok, Jody... ball's in your court. I await your learned response.

'Til next time.


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