Rather than waste another moment considering Team USA’s 8-7 loss to South Korea last night (much like Marge Schott, I blame it on Davey Johnson having sex out of wedlock), let’s instead join the chorus hailing A’s reliever Brad Ziegler (above). During an otherwise cruddy campaign for Oakland, the former Philadelphia prospect has opened his big league career with a rookie record 38 consecutive scoreless innings. I’m not sure I’ve seen Scott Schoeneweis pitch for 38 seconds without allowing a run, and if Ziegler wasn’t dazzled enough by his sudden celebrity, he’ll now have to cope with being the subject of a Baseball Prospectus grilling courtesy of David Laurilla.
DL: You have an absurdly good double-play rate so far this season. I’m guessing that you’re aware of that?
BZ: Honestly, I’m not. I don’t know how it relates, anyway. I know that I’ve gotten quite a few, and the three I got the other day in three innings helped, but as far as how it compares to other relievers, and other pitchers, I have no idea.
DL: Are you a numbers guy at all?
BZ: Yeah, I am. I was a math major in college; that’s what my degree is in, so I love statistics. But to me, that’s one of those obscure stats a little bit, and I don’t necessarily know where to go to find it.
DL: It is relatively obscure, but it’s also a meaningful statistic given your role.
BZ: Definitely. I like coming in with a runner on first base and less than two out. I take that as a challenge: Can I get the guy to hit the ball on the ground, at somebody, to get us out of the inning in one or two pitches?
DL: You haven’t given up a run yet. Have you considered that you could retire now and go into the history books with a perfect record?
BZ: No, I’m not concerned about that record anymore, or about statistics and whatnot. I just want to help our team win games, and I feel that even if I give up runs, I can still do that. With the nature of this game, I’m going to give up runs; that’s just the way it is. But if I can minimize damage and bounce back after I’ve given up those runs, that’s what will define my career.
Arizona’s Micah Owings is said to be one of the players heading to Cincinnati as part of last week’s Adam Dunn trade. First person to make a joke about the Reds finding a way to replace Dunn’s power in the lineup is either banned from the CSTB comments section or invited to co-edit the rest of the week.