So now we’re going to start trying out the new ‘more posts, shorter length’ philosophy as detailed last night. Our first subject is Francisco Cordero, who we’ve discussed earlier here. Cordero is basically making major league hitters look like children. Literally. What are hitters batting against Cordero this season? .088. Take a step back and think about that for a second. 12 batters go up to the plate to face Francisco. 1 of them gets a hit. 1 walks. 5 strike out. 2 will ground out. 3 will fly out. Not exactly great odds. Anyway, he also has a .36 ERA. That one run scored on a wild pitch. He’s opened the season by saving 22 consecutive games. Also, keep in mind that he is pitching in the 9th inning after Derrick Turnbow holds the 8th down… hopefully.
Derrick Turnbow is an interesting story. I’m sure it’s already been done… but someone needs to look for a tell in the tape or something. Turnbow was lights out until 2006, when he just starting becoming bad. In 2005, it was 39 saves and a 1.74 ERA. In 2006 – 24 saves, 6.87 ERA. I’m not sure how you manage to save 24 games with an ERA like that, but he did it. Anyway, he throws hard. So it’s not like guys are figuring out how to hit his fastball. There’s only one way to hit a 100+ mph fastball – swing sooner. But it’s not the speed of the fastball that makes it hard to hit – it’s the threat of an off speed pitch. By the time you decide it’s not an off speed pitch, it’s too late to swing. I’ve read that a fastball of virtually any speed is hittable if you know it’s coming. This is mostly true. So if guys are standing in the box, knowing that Turnbow is going to give them heat, his heat is useless. If they’re not sure whether there is a changeup coming, they have to stick around, and that’s when 100mph starts to get hard to hit. So, again, why are hitters no longer confused between his changeup and his fastball? I’m sure the Brewers figured this out a year ago, and I’m sure if there was a tell, they would have found it. Perhaps they have, and he’s still trying to fix it. I haven’t seen Turnbow pitch in about a year so I can’t say. But he’s 29 years old; he’ll figure it out soon. More likely than not, it’s more of a confidence issue.
That’s it for now. By the way… I’ve been getting a huge amount, (thousands) of hits from Taiwan lately. Would you guys like to share?
Ah, sorry about the break guys. My older brother got married this weekend, congratulations Dave. We’ll talk about something that, criminally, I’ve been avoiding this season – the Brewers and Cardinals. I’ve always loved the Brewers, especially when they had Carlos Lee. Lee is, by far, the most underrated player in the game, I believe. He consistently puts up great numbers. For example, he is currently leading the NL with 45 RBI’s, (he’s with the Astros). Back to the Brewers.
You may recall there being a bunch of buzz about this team early in the season. We were told they came out of nowhere to take the NL Central by storm. Well, to the team’s credit, this is not entirely true. The Brewers have been a team on the ups for quite some time now, and in many ways could be compared to last year’s Tigers. That is, they weren’t that bad in previous years, but they were deceptively bad if you simply looked at their record. In 2006, they won 75 games. In 2005, 81. So, they weren’t terrible. In fact, the Brewers and Tigers were the only teams to start the 2006 season 5-0. In any case, the Cardinals came crashing back to earth this year. That kind of opened up the division a little bit. The Brewers are 17-8 against the NL Central, of which they are the only team above .500. They are a combined 10-13 against the East and West. Right now, they’re 28-23, (three games of interleague play were not counted in the previous splits.) So they’re not world-burners. They’re also 2-8 in their last 10 games, including a 6 game losing streak. So, how is everyone so excited about them? Because the team is, like I said, on the ups. They’re maturing. Prince Fielder, J.J. Hardy, (who will come fall back to earth, trust me,) Rickie Weeks, Geoff Jenkins – that’s a pretty solid core you have. Not to mention Cordero, and Turnbow, who’s a bit split-minded, but he’ll figure it out. You can’t throw that hard and be bad for too long. So the Brewers are young, and getting older. And people love that. They’re drawn to that like bugs are drawn to the light. There’s just something about aging…
Speaking of which, lights-out closer Francisco Cordero (0.47 ERA), who we have discussed, has basically been unemployed since May 20th, which was the last time he was needed for a save. He did pitch this afternoon in a non-save, (losing) situation. In fact, in the Brewer’s last two road trips, they’ve won only three games. Two of them were blowouts, leaving Cordero with only one chance to pitch. Manager Ned Yost said, "I don’t know why I even bring him on the road." And it’s true, the Brewers are 11-15 on the road. That’s something they may want to work on.
Then again, they can probably lose every road game for the rest of the year and do just fine for themselves. Now, I don’t want to start counting all the little chickens before they hatch, but lets be real here. Baring some major influx of talent in the NL Central – of which there are none on the horizon – the Brewers can just about start selling playoff tickets. It’s very NL West-esque for a .549 team to start declaring victory – much less in May – but the NL Central is behaving a lot like the NL West. The Central is, in fact, worse than the West. It’s like these two divisions got together before the season and said to each other, ‘alright, we’ll play really bad if you play really bad too.’ There are four 30+ win teams in the top four divisions, (AL East-NL East), and zero in the bottom two. But to focus on the NL Central. Again, the Brewers have lost 8 of their last 10, and they’re still 5 games up. Heck, Chicago is in 2nd place. Pittsburgh is in 3rd. And St. Louis is three lousy games up on the last place Reds.
It’s like we’re watching the NL Central in some bizarro universe, where up is down, and left is right. The Cardinals have a 3-man rotation, in which Braden Looper, who has been a touch-and-go reliever for the last few years, has a 3.10 ERA. ‘Staff Ace’ Kip Wells has a 6.10 ERA and a 2-9 record, (seriously, has he even pitched 11 games yet?) Todd Wellemeyer has an 8.06 ERA, and was recently promoted from the bullpen to start games. That’s when you know it’s time to call it quits – when you’re promoting guys with 8.06 ERAs to start baseball games. I don’t think Wellemeyer will be playing the role of stopper anytime soon. I think that the unofficial rotation (correct me if I’m wrong,) includes Adam Wainwright and Brad Thompson (right), who looks a lot like a lady.
So, how many games, prior to 2007, have the bottom four members of the rotation started? One. Not exactly what you would call loads of experience. And again, Kip Wells isn’t really a pitching sage. Chris Carpenter? Mark Mulder? Yeah. But not Kip Wells. Speaking of Mark Mulder, where is he? Well, he’s not on the active roster. He’s recovering from rotator cuff surgery, and we’re not sure when he’s going to be back. And, apparently, neither is anybody else. Chris Carpenter, we know, is out for quite some time. Jim Edmonds is still trolling center field in his walker, and hitting .230 at the plate. I like the guy. And that’s why I don’t want to see a repeat of 2005, when the Mariners took Bret Boone out back and, you know… cut him. Frosty Boone was, at the time, hitting a very frosty .231. So Taguchi is just waiting for the full-time center field job, and he can do it too. He’s not great, but he’s better than Edmonds right now. And you have to think the Cardinals can find an outfielder with an OBP above .300. So, Edmonds might want to think of launching a preemptive strike of the "you can’t fire me, I quit," variety. The Cardinals will hold on to him because hey, he’s not costing them the division. But you know what they’re thinking. So come this off-season Jim, it’s get them, or get got.
Right now the Cardinals are in danger of becoming the 2nd best team in Missouri. Indeed, they’re only up on their Royal Brethren by one game. One day you’re hoisting the World Series trophy high in the air, the next you’re fighting off Mark’s Army for 1st place in the state least deserving of two baseball teams, (there are about 2.8 million fans per team in Missouri. California, by contrast, has 6.8 million fans per team. I know. Where does he find this stuff.)
Alright. The comments are getting out of control. Did someone take away your commenting privileges? We’re 0 for our last 4 guys, lets get something going. Rally caps, bubble gum, do whatever you need to do. But make it happen.
And we’re back. I’ve been trying to make my way here for about 10 days now, and it just hasn’t been the right moment. But know I’ve found the reason, because, as most of you know, the season of ‘football interfering with baseball’ is starting to warm up. I checked out the Worldwide Leader, and I saw another football headline, despite the fact that no one is actually playing football now. It happens every year, right around the time I go back to school – which is in nine days – and I dread it. Football, with the exception of soccer, is my least favorite sport. In any case, a few quick hits for right now, and we’ll be jumping back into the normal stuff soon. There is no huge excuse for the past 40 day absence. I simply couldn’t spend as much time following baseball and working a full time job as I could during the school year. I know that many readers work full time jobs as well; in fact, I would say most of you do. And most of you would find that something like this is just impossible to do every single day. On that note, you can check Kevin’s post in the Chatbox,
KEVIN: rumor has it, reid is planning a great return to theblog. He may say he has been "very busy" but he is lying. He has just
been lazy, and has been catching up in watching The Office
Yeah, that’s pretty much it. If you haven’t seen The Office, you need to watch the entire 2nd season on your computer now. It’s fantastic. Expect to see some references thrown in here from time to time, apropos of nothing. For example, this morning I hit myself in the head with my phone. "That actually took awhile, I had to put more and more nickels into his headset until he got used to the weight and then I just… took them all out." So, let’s get into the baseball. You can expect, from here on out, quality, vintage, ODBM, material. Not the shabby stuff I hooked you up with from April 30th on. Let’s get started with a couple things from the last day.
Former Red Sox Bronson Arroyo decided that, since he hasn’t won a game in nearly two years (actually, since June 19th,) that it must be his hair’s fault. So, for today’s game against the Cardinals he put his hair into cornrows, hoping that whatever black magic ‘broke’ The Curse would bring him a win. It didn’t, and he gave up four home runs instead. But it’s good to see that spending time with his hair stylist is more important than trying to figure out why he can no longer pitch. Actually, stop yourself, Bronson Arroyo was never a great pitcher. Pre-June 19th, he was 9-3 with a 2.47 ERA. So Arroyo was pretty good for about two and a half months. Nothing, least of all hair, can bring that back.
Last night, I had the fortune of watching two no-hitters get broken up in the 6th and 7th innings, and I was responsible for both. As most of you know, I have a strange ability to stop a no-hitter in its tracks, as soon as I open my mouth to Kevin. Last night was no exception. First case, David Bush on the mound against the Cubs. And obviously, if two months ago you had asked me which of the 30 teams would get no-hit this season, I would tell you the Cubs or the Royals. Probably the Royals, since the Cubs have the Dusty Baker "don’t walk, you’ll clog the bases" strategy. Anyway, it’s the top of the 6th inning and Bush is still running a no-hitter. Knowing my past experiences, I try to tell Kevin why I can’t watch the Yankees game. I tell him I’m doing something that involves the letters ‘MLB’, and that one of the teams has the first two letters of the aforementioned three in it, while the other team has an NFL team in the same city which utilizes the final letter. Alas, the next at bat, Bush gives up a hit to Juan Pierre, of all people. How this happened is less of a mystery than how Pierre’s OBP skyrocketed to a lofty .322, with an average of .276. The last I remember, Baker was still plugging him into the leadoff spot with an OPB circa .280.
The next game finds us at US Cellular Field, (formerly New Comiskey, before the sellout.) This one was never in doubt, because after I sent Kevin on the hunt for what I was doing, (see above,) he responded with, "dude no way Johnson is going to pull it off," which is a shotgun blast to whatever chances Randy ever had. I told him to shut up, and about three seconds later Bush gave up his bid. So, I went over to the Yankee game, knowing I wouldn’t be seeing anything special, but knowing that if I didn’t switch over, I would, in fact, miss something special. The next White Sox up to bat gets a hit. I can’t make this stuff up, people. In the past year, I have ruined six potential no-hitters or perfect games, three of which were in the sixth inning or later.
Apparently, the parents are opening their warm arms to welcome some company from The District for the next few days, but tomorrow is also my last day of work. It may be hectic for the next few days, but come Monday – at the latest – we’ll be right back on track. And then, August 19th, it’s back to school. And then, the real fun starts up again.
Thanks for holding out – the site has still been getting nearly 100 hits a day – and know that we won’t be hearing any talk of football here for the remainder of the season. See you guys again tomorrow.
Quick note: you can now access the site at http://www.bihgm.com, (starting later on Saturday.) When you type in this address, you will automatically be directed here. Still waiting for all you regular readers, (and any others,) to leave your comment. So far, the reader inventory has racked up one new reader, Devovsky. Appreciate the kind words, man. Keep reading and keep leaving comments. Jason, you didn’t miss a whole lot the other night. And Kellia, thanks for being our alert reader of the day. You’re right. Ben Sheets does, indeed, pitch for the Brewers, not the Pirates. For some reason, I can’t get that into my head. Geoff – I was going to do a comparative analysis of Ferocious Lion replacements, but I’m going to save that for a few days. But, I will say I’m hearing that the Phillies GM is "expecting a call" from Brian Cashman. Anyway, we continue the call to all readers – leave a comment on this post if you’ve never done so, or, if you’re that against an MLB account, (and I can’t see why,) use the new chat box on the left sidebar. Tonight we’re going to talk about the National League. I don’t like the National League at all. It is, overall, boring. I mean, it certainly has it’s advantages. What would baseball be without Albert Pujols? You’ve also got more of a thinking game when you enter in the hitting pitcher. But in the end, the teams are worse, and the league is obviously worse for it.
Phillies v. Reds
Ever hear of Cole Hamels? Supposed to be the savior of the Phillies, and he made his MLB Debut tonight. He’s invincible, they say. Basically, the first five innings are empty, with the exception of a 2-run home run by the Phillies’ Ryan Howard. And Hamels has a no hitter right until 2 outs in the 5th, when the Reds’ Felipe Lopez breaks it up with a hit into right center. Interestingly, that new centerfielder (in for Rowand) tried to pass it off as a trap at first, but then realized that as he was doing so, Lopez was still running. Another fun time was had when the Phillies’ David Bell was up to the plate and the broadcasters noted that Royals Manager Buddy Bell was his father. They talked about how David is probably pretty proud of the Royals recent success, (three straight wins, prior to tonight’s loss to the Orioles,) but that he probably tells his Dad, "Look, I love you Dad, but please don’t trade for me." After sharing a good laugh, one of them says, "Aww, we’re just kidding, all you Royals fans out there." Seriously? First, you’re assuming that there are Royals fans out there, and that they really do exist. Next, you’re thinking that of all those Royals fans – figure there are a couple thousand in the whole country – are tuning in to the Reds v. Phillies game on Friday night. And, as if that wasn’t enough, you’re assuming that they don’t already know how terrible their team is. Judging by the Chad Carroll loyalty sale, I’m thinking they already know. So remember, assumptions are dangerous. In the bottom of the 6th, after the Phillies yanked Cole Hamels for a pinch hitter (who struck out) in the top of the 6th, Ryan Madsen is pitching to Austin Kearns. First, know that Hamels left his MLB Debut with a 2-0 lead, after allowing only one hit in five innings. Knowing that, Kearns absolutely rips Madsen out of the yard. Remember the Aaron Boone 2003 ALCS Game 7 Home Run off Tim Wakefield? Of course you do. It was exactly like that home run, right down the left field line, except that it went about 150 feet further. So now it’s 2-1, Phillies. Adam Dunn comes up, strikes out, and sits down. Next up, Edwin Encarnacion, who takes Madsen deep for another homer. Just like that, poof. Hamels, who left on top of his game, ends up losing his first win. By the way, the Hamels guy has nasty stuff. Check him out. Phillies beat Reds, 8-4.
Brewers v. Mets
When I saw that Lima Time was holding the Brewers to zero runs, (while my man Dave Bush had given up three,) I was surprised. The Phillies v. Reds game was getting boring, so I switched. Anyway, it’s 3-1 Mets in the bottom of the 5th, with the Brewers up. Here’s how it goes down. First, Damian Miller grounds out. Then Brady Clark gets hit by a pitch. Dave Bush sacrifices Clark to 2nd, then Rickie Weeks walks. So now it’s men on 1st and 2nd with two outs, not a huge jam for Lima. But you know the story of Lima, so you know it’s going to get bad, you just have no idea how bad. Bill Hall singles to left field. Now the bases are juiced, two outs, and it’s all on Lima’s shoulders. The game could go three ways now; either Lima reaches back and gets Geoff Jenkins out, he gets lucky and Jenkins gets himself out, or Lima buckles and the Brewers bust the game wide open. We’re going to go with option number three, and so did Lima. First he pitched Geoff three straight balls. And then Geoff hits a double all the way back to the center field wall – a base clearing double. Now it’s 4-3 Brewers, and Chad Bradford is in for Lima. The broadcasters provide a helpful, "And this call to the bullpen provided by Goodyear, who reminds you that it’s no longer Lima Time." Then Carlos Lee – All-Time Great – singles to center, scoring Jenkins. 5-3, Bradford replaced by Darren Oliver, Prince Fielder up. Fielder homers, knocking in Lee. Brewers up, 7-3. Then Corey "I’m… not so good" Koskie pops out. By the way, in 2004 Koskie was with the Twins. In 2005 it was the Blue Jays. Go Brewers, 6 runs in one inning.
Rickie Weeks made another simple defensive error later in the game. Trying to get a Web Gem, with a runner on 1st and a ground ball straight to him, he grabs the ball, jumps up and tucks his legs, (???) and makes a terrible throw to 2nd. There was really no play at 2nd, but who cares? Rickie – next time I’m going to have to direct you to 1st base on that kind of play. And don’t try to earn a Web Gem when you’ve made 11 errors already – more than anyone else in the league. Later in the inning, Carlos Lee (in left field) tried to make one of those sliding catches in foul territory, but collided with the tarp and missed the catch. He was ok, thankfully. But think. The game is at Miller Park, and Lee hit the tarp. You know that tarp is there to stop the rain, right? Apparently the fact that Miller Park has a roof doesn’t really matter. As a matter of fact, MLB rules dictate that all parks must have a tarp, just in case. Brewers beat Mets, 9-6.
Dodgers v. Giants
Boring. I mean, what can I say, I tried to watch some NL ball, but around the bottom of the sixth I was so bored that I decided I’d rather… do something else while I attempt to unpack from school. Anyway, here are my thoughts on this game – Brad Penny is a wimp. As the announcers said, this guy is a 100-pitch guy, and when he’s done his 100 pitches, he’s gone. He was even accused of "needing to have that wounded warrior attitude," by one of the broadcasters. In other words, "everything’s against me, I guess I’m just going to have to show them." Anyway, after every pitch, Penny picked one of the following motions: 1) Flailing off the mound, 2) Stretching shoulders and back out, 3) Limping around the mound, 4) Putting his hands on his knees and resting, 5) Rolling eyes, poor body language-type move. And, as the broadcasters also pointed out, no one on his team seemed to care. And the charade didn’t end when Penny reached the dugout. When he arrived, he grimaced as he sat down and reached for a hot cushion, then with a real monster of a grimace. Back to the broadcasters, who said, "that’s not a happy boy face there." Yet people continued to ignore him, while the broadcasters continued to accuse him of "trying to find ways out of the ballgame before the seventh." Listen, I’ll tell you when I know Brad Penny is hurt. In the 2004 season, just a few games after Penny was acquired from the Marlins, he threw a pitch and just went down. He was screaming, grabbing his elbow, running around the mound, the whole deal. The Dodger trainer runs out, but the Dodgers have never been known for their superior managing skills, certainly not at BHGM. So the trainer tells Penny, "hey, try throwing another pitch." And of course, Penny gets about halfway through his delivery before he’s felled. Did this guy work with NASA before the Dodgers hired him? "That rocket looks a little off… let’s shoot it up again, see if it’s still works…" No, bad idea. So after seeing the Giants roll around the field, I turned that off.
The New Chat Box
The observant among you will have noticed that yet another feature has been added to the BHGM sidebar. This has got to be among my favorites, along with the BHGM Search. I encourage you to try out both. The search is a valuable tool if you’re reading along, and you don’t know what I’m talking about. Just type in, "Dusty Baker clogging bases," and you’ll find out what I mean when I talk about that. Of course, I hope to have the "What you missed in BHGM" post up sometime soon, and that’s going to be detailing all of those obscure references we have here. It should be great. Anyway, the chat – the idea is that, for those of you who still don’t want to leave a comment, you can talk amongst yourselves in that little chat box. All you have to do is enter your name, (no email or URL is necessary, although it’s always welcome,) and a message. For example, "You’re wrong about the Royals, they’re not that bad." That’s the kind of thing that will earn you a full-post ripping here, for being wrong. Anyway, try it out. If no one uses it, I’ll just take it down.
Did someone whisper into the Padres’ ear?
Alright, it’s time to put an end to this. The Padres have won 12 of their last 13. This is just weird. I mean, they’re on fire. Remember last year when the Pirates won 10 straight? Maybe it was in 2004. Either way, no one panicked because hey, they’re still the Pirates. But I’m freaking out right now. In the NL West, winning 12 of 13 can put you up for a long time. Like, the rest of the year. Arizona and Colorado both lost tonight, and now the Padres are suddenly tied for first with the Rockies. They could then continue at a .500 clip for the next 125 games or so, and easily win the division. Again, I refer you to my NL West Solutions, which, according to Geoff, don’t take 15 minutes.
Pirates v. Marlins
In another Battle of the Titans, the Pirates beat the Marlins. By a score of 12-9. Those 12 runs are big for that team, which is second to last in runs scored with 144 – which, for all you math whizzes our there, means that exactly 1/12 of their season run total came tonight. ‘First place’ in that category goes to, you guessed it, the Royals, with 126. Right now, the Royals are on pace to lose 112 games and score 619 runs. Can’t think about it.
Thanks, as always, for reading. And leave comments, and check out the chat box.
Remember how the Brewers started 5-0? Well, did you know that they’re currently 8-9, and that the Reds are 11-6? The Reds are Brewers are currently doing battle at Miller Park. Actually, they were doing battle, but now they’re just playing around. Here’s a classic pitcher’s duel for you:
Dave Bush, (MIL): 7IP, 85 pitches, 1 hit, 0ER, 2BB, 9K’s.
Brandon Claussen, (CIN): 3IP, 86 pitches, 8 hits, 9 ER, 3 BB, 3K’s.
In the fourth inning, Bill Hall homered off Claussen. Damian Miller followed with a 2-run shot. Brady Clark followed with a 2-run shot. J.J. Hardy followed with a solo shot. Chris Hammond came in for relief. Prince Fielder followed with a solo shot. That’s 7 runs scored on five HR’s in one inning, and in case you’re wondering, that does tie an MLB record. Yikes. It’s currently the bottom of the 7th and the Brewers are up 10-0. As for Dave Bush, you may remember him from Toronto. He’s 26. He’s on a decent team. He doesn’t have a terrible track record for a guy his age. And with today’s game, he has an ERA of 3.81 so far. Bush finished the game allowing 4 hits, 2 walks, and 9 K’s in 115 pitches. I think that as the season progresses he’ll turn in more and more quality performances.
Can someone tell Dusty Baker how to use a double switch? I know I rag on the Cubs more than any other team. That’s because it’s fun and it’s easy, and I’ll never get sick of that picture you see to your left. I don’t watch a lot of NL ball, but I’ve seen enough Cubs games to know that Baker doesn’t really know how to use the Double Switch. That is, he never used it. At least not until today, when he managed to remove the lineup’s second and third best hitters – Todd Walker and Matt Murston – with two. I’ve been watching the Cubs v. Cardinals game for a few minutes now and I’ve already seen three double-switches. On top of that, one such double-switch brought Scott Eyre in the game. He’s still alive? After the beating he put on D. Lee, practically ending the Cub’s season? Surprising that no one has called his shot in the death pool, (I don’t participate in the death pool nor do I think it’s tasteful, but you should know it’s out there). In addition, Baker informed us that all walks are good for is "clogging the bases," which is why three of the six runners his pitchers put on for free scored. On the ‘information’ front, Kerry Wood was set to throw on the side yesterday – but complained of pain in his armpit. Of course, the Cubs have nothing else to say regarding when he will return, or if he still does, in fact, pitch. Ditto for Mark Prior. And Wade Miller was moved to the 60-day DL. Also, Cubs ‘pitching’ coach, who is more deserving of the title "Minister of Information," had this to say about reliever Bob Howry: "He’s got the cool, calm demeanor of an assassin. He wants to go out there and pitch every day." That’s bad news. Howry probably has, at most, one month left before he’s run down by overuse and experiences some freak accident… and oh great. Izzy came in to ‘shut’ the door against the Cubs, and he ending up dropping a routine toss from Pujols as he was running towards 1st, allowing Jacque Jones to reach 1st on the error, and now there’s a man on 1st with one out instead of empty bags with 2 down. That’s a concentration error. Dude dropped an easy, soft toss directly to his chest for no good reason. Ended up not making a difference in the game, but still – that’s not gonna win you any goodwill in this town.
Yanks won today. Watched that game for a little bit as well. Who would’ve thought Shacon would come back from getting skipped in the rotation to allow just 4 hits, 1 run, and 3 walks over 7 IP? Strange, especially after we saw Wang get owned last night. This win was also good news for the Yanks because, not only did our number 5 hold a team to one run, but we one without the big home run. In fact, Matsui’s double was the only extra base hit we had. Only 7 hits, but 7 walks. That’s big, and by putting men on base like that, you manage 6 RBI’s.
I also want to talk about Mozilla’s FireFox browser. I’m obviously a fan. I switched over about two months ago and I love it. It’s especially useful now that I’ve started reading a variety of different blogs. This involves what’s called RSS feeds. For those of you stuck in IE, RSS means nothing to you because you can’t use it unless you have one of those aggregators or something. With FireFox, all you have to do is hit an orange button in the address box, and it adds this feed to your bookmarks. It looks something like what you see on your right. It’s very easy to access blogs this way, and all you have to do is hover over the link to see what’s new. The feed automatically updates, which is what makes it so valuable. Instead of checking all of these sites yourself, all you have to do is check to see if there’s a new headline up there through your favorites, as IE users may know them. It’s also great for tracking simple news feeds, such as RxSN Baseball (almost every MLBlogger is featured on this site and probably doesn’t know it,) or Deadspin. FireFox is also, in my opinion, a much better browser than IE. FireFox is gaining in popularity very quickly; of the last 100 visitors to BHGM, 29 used FireFox and 67 used IE, (in case you’re wondering, Opera and Safari were also on the list.) There are very few compatibility issues when using FireFox – the only website I have trouble with is the auto-updating Fantasy Scoreboard on CBSsportsline.com; every so often the scripts will stop running. There are also thousands of add-ons, which are little ‘extensions’ created by other programmers for FireFox that do little useful things. For example, an in-browser Gmail notifer and in-browser media controls which can be easily downloaded and immediately applied to the browser. In any case, you can get FireFox right here. And there’s always a link in the site tools section at the bottom of my sidebar.
I’m watching the Yankees game. I’m actually multi-tasking between the game and the Taxes, but I can tell you this much – the Royals are really bad. Every time I looked at the game, they were screwing something up. Swinging at pitches in the dirt, chopping at pitches waaaay outside, turning on pitches tight and inside, spinning on pitches way up in the zone, and staring at pitches right down the heart. They’re walking after grounders, drifting under fly balls and coming up short, Newly recruited Royals 2B Mark Grudzielanek said earlier that they
won’t settle for being a bad team this year, but if they are they’ll be
battling it all season. Looks like Mark and the boys are in for a heck
of a battle. That said, it’s tough to really analyze these games. I’ve said many times before that a bad MLB team is still an MLB team, but I’m going to take this chance to call myself out. See, there are a few exceptions to this rule. In 2004, the Diamondbacks weren’t an MLB Team. The last few versions of the Royals don’t appear to be an MLB team either. The 2006 Marlins are not MLB material. I may hate the NL West, but I’m not gonna say the 2005 Padres weren’t an MLB team because they were – they were just really bad. That said, don’t tell Geoff at Bleeding Pinstripes, but I don’t think this series means a whole lot. Sure – you have to win these games, and I can’t stress how important that is. However, winning them doesn’t mean you’re all set, it just means that you didn’t screw yourself by losing them. But I don’t think it’s fair to expect the Yanks to blow out the Royals every time with our offense while we shut them down with our pitching. Then again, it doesn’t matter what I think. The Yankees swept the Royals and outscored them 30-15. The 30 is good, the 15 isn’t. You shouldn’t have a team ERA of 5 against the Royals, even if it’s only 3 games. I really don’t want to talk much more about the Royals, so I’m going to move off that… Giambi just homered again. If anyone doubted it before, they can stop – The Man is back. 7 RBI’s in this series? Furthermore, I have to echo BPS’ thought that this Yankee lineup will run pitchers down. These guys work every AB for everything it’s worth, whether they’re hot or not. Finally, I just saw Damon take a swing and lose his bat. 2nd funniest body language I’ve ever seen in a post-bat rip situation. He did almost a full 360 on his swing, with the bat flying out of his grip at about the 160 mark. As he completed his roll, his head followed the bat helicoptering towards the seats, he ducked, hopped up and down like he was standing on hot coals, then looked towards the dugout with a ‘please help’ look on his face. My favorite bat loss was a couple years back, when old guy Julio Franco chucked a bat into the seats. The look on his face said it all, basically, ‘I hate this. I’m so old I can’t even hold my own stick.’
The Tigers got decimated today. Not good. Right after I said that at least the Sox didn’t get us on any blow outs, we go ahead and get (rhymes with laughed) on. Loss, 13-9. Reason one: Justin Verlander. I said after his victory at Arlington last week that I was impressed but not convinced by his performance. Verlander went 2.2IP, gave up 7 hits, 7ER, 1BB, and 0K’s… not good. Here’s the thing – we still managed 9 runs off the ‘good pitching’ of the White Sox. Sox starter Jon Garland gave up 7 runs in 5 innings, but that was pretty much the end of the pain train for Ozzie. McCarthy came in for 3 innings, giving up 5 hits and 2 runs and earning the Hold. Oh yeah, the big H. Does this stat have any value whatsoever? It’s almost like it was invented just so the setup man wouldn’t feel left out. Weird. But it was the Tigers bullpen that just exploded. After Verlander gave up 7 runs, Leyland sent out Jason Grilli to plug the hole – 2.1IP, 5H, 3ER. Next up was Bobby Seay, who I’ve never heard of. 1.2IP, 2ER. Ok, throw in Chris Spurling – 2H, 1ER, 1BB, 1K – .1IP. Great. Finally Jamie Walker comes out and goes 2.0IP, giving up 3H, 0BB, and 0ER. I’ve been a huge fan of Walker for the last year, but if he wants to be taken seriously they have to stop showing the ‘Smoke on the Walker’ thing when he comes out of the ‘pen. It’s ridiculous. Shelton also let loose with an insane 7th bomb of the year. He now has the league lead. He can hit homers, and he did it last year… but I don’t think he’ll end the season in the top 10.
Now I’m watching the end of the Cardinals v. Brewers came. The vastly underrated Carlos Lee launched a Jason Isringhausen strike into the left field seats to put them up 4-3 in the top of the 11th. I’ve said this for as long as I can remember and I’ll continue to say it, even if though it’s no longer unique – not that it ever was. Izzy is not an amazing, lights-out closer. He just isn’t. He’s got above-average stuff and above-average nerves, but he’s not Mariano Rivera. He’s not gonna come inside and saw your lumber. He’s just not that guy. He works because the Cardinals are a good team in a bad league and a below-average division. That said, his slow start this year is probably not going to be the story of his season. Then again, the same could’ve been said about Danny Graves and Danny Kolb last year, but who knows. The two of them were even more sub-par than Izzy. Now Derrick Turnbow is coming up to close out the game for Milwaukee. This kid is lights out. He’s got a huge flock on his head but he throws insane heat for a guy that no one really knew about until last year. Turnbow, who is 28, saved 39 of 43 games last year with a 1.74 ERA. One thing – the guys in the booth just noted that the Angels, when they released Turnbow, had two guys that could throw a combined 200 mph with Bobby Jenks and Turnbow. One thing, guys – addition is cumulative; velocity is not. Just a small note. Turnbow walked Aaron Miles on 4 pitches, and Jason Marquis pinch hit (yes!) and laid down a nice bunt to advance Miles to 2nd. Spiezio flied out to center – 2 outs, man on 2nd with Skip Shumaker up. Skip swings at a pitch in the dirt, game over.
I’m watching the Giants v. Astros game right now but, being an NL game and involving the Giants, I really don’t care about it. So far, the only highlights are the broadcasters showing a shot of the crowd and scribbling out all the guys on their cell phones, and watching Ray Durham collide – no, lightly bump – Vizquel, I think. The guys were going for the same pop up and ended up walking into each other, but then something totally unexpected happened – Ray Durham tumbled to the ground, and it looked like he was laughing as well. In any case, expect some more thoughts at night, the usual time. The usual time is about midnight.
Sorry for my lack of posting during opening day. I’m as disappointed in myself as you are. But here’s the thing – I had 6 hours of class, an hour or so of baseball toss, and on top of that I did a real bang-up job on some papers. Let me hit on a few things, very very briefly. Don’t come to expect anything this short.
1) Anyone see Pujol’s second shot of the day against Phillies reliever Aaron Fultz? One of the biggest shots I’ve ever seen. I would say it hasn’t landed yet, but I saw it land in the upper deck of left field, and I saw the crowd dodge the ball. It looked more like an incoming meteorite. Incredible. You’ve got to be real strong to yank a ball out like that.
1b) How mad was that 8-spot the Cards posted in the 4th inning? I believe there was a stretch there where they got 17 straight hits without recording an out. Something like that.
2) Detroit one it’s opener behind the strong performances of Kenny Rogers and Chris Shelton. I called Shelton as one of the game’s rising stars midway through last season and he’s proving me right. Dude hit a huge line-drive homer to left, then came up and ripped the same pitcher to right in his next AB. That’s huge. Then, Fernando Rodney – who I called would be the closer if Jones went down a few months ago – came in and shut it down for the save. I know a win against the Royals isn’t a big deal, but those familiar with the Tigers saw a much different team out there today. Much different. This team was playing to win. They weren’t playing to avoid making fools out of themselves, they were playing to win the game. Any true Tigers fan knows what I’m talking about.
3) Where did Derrick Turnbow come from? First, the guy is roosting a whole flock up in his hair. I don’t care. He’s gonna have a huge year this year. 97, 98 mph heat, followed up by an 80 mph offspeed pitch low and away? Someone could’ve held up a huge sign in center field telling Jose Castillo exactly what Turnbow was about to throw at him and it wouldn’t have made a bit of difference.
On that note, Opening Day can be a lot like Spring Training, but worse. Opening Week can be the same way. Opening Day means nothing statistically, it’s just one game and that’s why we play 162 of them. Shelton isn’t gonna hit 324 homers, obviously.
Have a nice night. I’m hitting the sheets – out.