Cleveland sports fans are waiting. Thus, while we’re all waiting, the WFNY editors thought you might enjoy reading. Because you never know how long we might be waiting. So here are assorted reading goodies for you to enjoy. Send more good links for tomorrow’s edition to email@example.com.
Leading off 2014, let’s take a look back at the best the Buckeyes had to offer in 2013 with help from Jason Priestas and the guys at Eleven Warriors, including their top moment, “Ohio State is one of the top-five winningest programs in the history of college football – a veritable blue blood program if there ever was one – and this man matches into town and shatters a 44-year-old record like it was no big deal. The game that secured the mark, Urban’s 23rd win in a row, came against Indiana, in a 42-14 romp on Ohio State’s senior day. He would, of course, add a little room between the new mark and the old mark, by securing No. 24 in dramatic fashion in Ann Arbor when Tyvis Powell intercepted a Devin Gardner pass on a final, desperate two-point conversion from the Wolverines. Sadly, the streak would die against Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship Game the following week, but it was a hell of a ride, every step of the way. Stop for a second to appreciate it. If you think you’ll see another streak like this one, you’re likely wrong (we’d love to be wrong).” [Eleven Warriors]
The Cavaliers’ heart-breaking losses in the past week have probably driven some people to the bottle a little more than usual. Over at Cavs: The Blog, they pair each player up with a beer or two that resemble their qualities, including Alonzo Gee, “You’re a “hard nosed defender” (ha) with a half-decent three pointer. But it’s time to up your defense game so I can remove those quotes. Chances are this is the best Alonzo will ever be, but it couldn’t hurt for Alonzo to down a few barley wines – big, strong beers that typically have some dark fruit, licorice, and booze notes. Great fits would be Anchor’s Old Foghorn and Old Ruffian from Colorado’s Great Divide. Whatever the choice, the bigger and stronger the better.” [Cavs: The Blog]
Who has the most desirable NFL head coaching vacancy? Maybe it was the Texans, who have already filled theirs with Penn State coach Bill O’Brien. It’s certainly not the Browns, but Mike Tanier at Sports On Earth breaks it down, “From the Trent Richardson trade to Brian Hoyer’s depth chart leapfrog to the Chud firing, Mike Lombardi (no relation) and Joe Banner have established themselves as impatient hands-on executives trying to win back-to-back Super Bowls in early October. At times, it appears that Lombardi acts quickly so he can beat Banner to a decision, or perhaps it’s vice versa. The Browns may be Lombardi’s team, they may be Banner’s, the execs may duke it out in the parking lot, or the IRS may confiscate the whole shebang if owner Jimmy Haslam’s diesel receipts don’t add up. But they will never be the head coach’s team, unless he wades into the Game of Thrones.” [Sports On Earth]
Also at Eleven Warriors, which Braxton Miller will show up at the Orange Bowl on Friday night? Kyle Rowland asks and attempts to answer that question, “Despite the downward trend in November and December, Miller still improved dramatically compared to last season. His completion percentage stands at a career-high 63.2 percent, five points better than last season, and in three fewer games he’s only 179 yards passing from last year’s total, which topped 2,000.“Braxton has grown as a passer,” senior wideout Philly Brown said. “Coach Herman has more trust in us and Coach Meyer has more trust in us. We really shouldn’t hold anything back now, so hopefully we come out and give everybody the show that they want.”
Offensive coordinator Tom Herman set the 70-percent mark as a goal for Miller’s completion percentage before the season. That number would sail by Troy Smith’s school-record Heisman-winning 65.3 percent, set in 2006. And Miller was on pace to establish a new record until his struggles came along. With four games remaining, he had completed over 72 percent of his passes.” [Eleven Warriors]
Finally, Jeff Sullivan at FanGraphs takes a look at the components of FIP, or fielding-independent pitching (homers, walks, strikeouts) and how park factors can affect more than just the long ball, “But PNC goes further than that. It’s easy to understand why a park might inflate or suppress homer totals. It isn’t so easy to understand why PNC reduces walks more than anywhere else, or why it also reduces strikeouts more than anywhere else. These are difficult concepts to grasp, but the data is the data and the absence of clear explanations doesn’t invalidate what we see in the numbers.
Over the last five years, Pirates batters rank 30th in home walk rate over road walk rate. They rank 29th in home strikeout rate over road strikeout rate. Pirates pitchers rank 27th in home walk rate over road walk rate, and they rank 26th in home strikeout rate over road strikeout rate. These are our FanGraphs park factors, and you can play around. Sort the SO and BB columns and you find the Pirates toward one end. Keep in mind, also, that those park factors have been halved.” [FanGraphs]