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Saturday Liftoff Links

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While the Astros were trying to lure away Rays General Manager, I was putting these pull worthy links.

The Astros and Pitching

Astros County: The Only Astros Blog That Matters: Crashburn Alley, on J.A. Happ
AC goes to Phillies blog Crashburn Alley on their thoughts of J.A. Happ's struggle and if it's really that big of a surprise.

Why’s pitching so good? Look at a 2010 rule change
Could the reduction in offense be because of wizardry? Mat Kovach of The Hardball Times takes a look at another reason for the reduction in offense.



Managing and the Juice Box


Twins, Angels, Phillies, Giants are best managing jobs in MLB - Tom Verducci -
Verducci looks at the best and worst manager jobs in the majors and the Astros show up on one of the lists. It shouldn't be too hard to guess.


Ultimate Astros " Hitters’ haven or pitchers’ park? Numbers show Minute Maid fair to both
Steve Campbell takes a look at the offensive value Minute Maid Park provides. This isn't anything new to those of you who read TCB on a regular basis, but the general perception is that it's a hitter's park. Which it is not.


Jim Riggleman’s Managerial Suicide Partially Due to the Nationals
I've read a couple articles about the Riggleman resigning and I like Maury Brown's take. 






Framing and the Dream Team


The NL Central Dream Team - Beyond the Box Score
We're continuing our look at divisional dream teams today with the NL Central. The basic idea: take the best players in each division, build a team with them, and see how it competes with the other divisional dream teams. The NL Central is being covered today, and as you can see, power-hitting is its strong suit.


Evaluating catchers: Framing pitches, part 2
This is the continuation of a look at how much catchers contribute to a team by their framing ability.