We’re going to continue to be on a light workload here until Thursday. I’ve got a philosophy paper and calculus exam then. Summer classes are a bummer. Anyway, a lot of interesting things have been happening lately, and sadly, I haven’t had time to comment on most. So here is the condensed version. Our feature story is an interesting piece on the struggles of Bob Melvin, Manager, Arizona Diamondbacks.
Simple roster changes can, in fact, be very confusing
Chad Tracy, Arizona 3B, had been on the DL with a sore ribcage since May 15th. He hadn’t actually been ‘right’ since May 1st. He finally returned on Sunday, June 10th… which causes some strange shakeups in the Arizona infield, at least if you’re manager Bob Melvin. 23-year-old 3B Mark Reynolds was brought up from AA to replace Tracy when he was injured, and was playing out of his skull, finishing May with a .426 average. However, he only has 4 hits in June, and has seen his average decline to .318. For some reason, this has Melvin throwing mental fits. But Tracy can also play 1B. Why not put him there, if you’re intent at keeping Reynolds’ sinking ship running? Because Connor Jackson (.280)is currently starting at 1B, with Tony Clark (.226, mostly as a situational hitter,) filling in at times. This somehow matters to Melvin. Never, I don’t think, as anybody agonized this much over such a simple decision. "Every time I think about it, my head explodes… [Clark] is an important guy, and I don’t want to leave him out… you want to keep everybody involved… if someone gets their feelings hurt, that can be the bad side of it." GROW UP, BOB. This isn’t Little League. Your job is to win baseball games. Are you afraid Tony’s dad is going to confront you, and ask you why his son isn’t playing? Besides, the two guys you’re worried about "leaving out" are too young, too old, and not good. Send Reynolds back down to the minors, and start Tracy at 3B, end of story. Are you seriously struggling with that decision? By the way, Clark might have 7 HR, but that is all he is good for. He has 19 hits. Stop starting him and leaving him in for crucial spots in the game. This guy is batting .167 in late-inning pressure situations. He’s hitting .267 as a pinch-hitter. Use him there, don’t start him. He turns 35 on Friday, dude.
Francisco Cordero blows another one
Francisco Cordero finally blew a save on Saturday night. I just
published something I wrote on Sunday about this, during which I said,
"He’s got a fragile mindset… he was hotter than the sun… now he’s
probably going to fall faster than a ship from heaven." On Sunday
night, Francisco did, indeed, blow another save – just as I predicted,
giving up one run to tie the game back up.
Remember Brad Lidge?
He’s back, it seems. Brad’s ship capsized last year, when he had a 5.28 ERA and 1.40 WHIP. As my brother Dave, the author of, "BETTER TRADE THAT GUY [Teixeira]. I’ve give you Nick Markakis and Adrian Gonzalez," put it, "when did this guy become so bad? What happened to him?" Anyway, current Houston closer Dan Wheeler has been an arsonist lately, allowing 9 runs in his last 6 games, resulting in 3 blown saves. His ERA is at 5.22. But manager Phil Garner is playing it off differently. He says it’s always been the plan that, if Lidge pulled it together, he’d get the closer role back. Lidge, meanwhile, now has a 2.35 ERA. He hasn’t allowed a run since May 17th. Welcome back, Brad. Don’t screw it up this time.
Remember Dan Kolb?
Couldn’t help including this behind Lidge. Kolb was recently called up from the Pirates AAA affiliate, where he had a 3.15 ERA. You may recall Kolb saving 39 games for Milwaukee in 2004 with a 3.00 ERA. He then moved on to Atlanta in 2005, where he lost 8 games to 11 saves and had a 5.97 ERA. Last year he returned to Milwaukee to try to restore the magic, but had only one save and a 4.87 ERA in 48.1 IP. Now he’s getting called up to the Pirates. Things aren’t going the way they used to, huh Dan?
"Mark Teixeira and the Rangers" – April 26th, 2007.
I originally wrote this on Sunday, June 10th…
Lets look at why I am about tolose my first fantasy baseball matchup of the year. Here were my pitchers for
last night. In this league, a typical quality start will get you 15 points, add
10 if the pitcher gets a win.
Jason Marquis: 1.2 IP, 4H, 3BB, 6R, (2ER): -1.2 pts.
Tim Hudson: 2.0 IP, 5H, 2BB, 5ER: -3.5 pts.
Francisco Cordero: .2IP, 5H, 1BB, 4ER: -4.7 pts.
Also, keep in mind that Marquis and Hudson were facing each other, so I’m
expecting at least one of them to get the 10-pt win. And, as if it couldn’t get
any worse, Hudson was removed because he was hit in the leg by a grounder.
These three guys typically combine for 40 points on an ok day. This time they
gave me -9.5.
I don’t care about Marquis and Hudson. But I’m worried about Cordero, big time.
The dude proved that he has a fragile mindset last year. Prior to last night’s
outing, he was hotter than the sun; 0.36 ERA, 23 straight saves, 35 K’s in 24.2
IP. Now, he’s probably going to fall faster than a ship from heaven. To his
credit, it was like Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events. He had 2
outs, and Brad Wilkerson hit a 2-out single. Ramon Vazquez walked, Gerald Laird
hit an RBI single. No biggie, Brewers are still up 3-1. Kenny Lofton hits
another RBI single. Marlon Byrd, (again), hit another RBI single. So now it’s
3-3. We’ve already quadrupled Cordero’s ERA. Then another Michael Young
single to win the game. Do you remember when we
last talked about Francisco, and we said that, of 12 given batters, one
will get a hit and another will walk, and the remaining 10 will make outs? So
do you see how insane this is? A straight-up meltdown of epic
I’ll be publishing a fellow-up in a minute…
At the end of our last Cardinals post, I mentioned in passing that Nate Robertson:
…got bounced around the yard this evening. Actually, theproblem was more that the balls he was throwing were bouncing… in the
seats. Nate went exactly 0 innings before he was ‘yanked.’ He allowed 6
runs, all earned, on 4 hits and 2 walks. Sammy
Sosa hit a bases-loaded single, followed by a Victor Diaz grand slam,
followed by a Marlon Byrd (of course,) triple. Game over, Nathan. He
saw his ERA rise from a decent 4.25 to a frightening 5.07. There’s that
Texas offense for you.
Well, sadly, the bad news didn’t stop there. Against his wishes, the Tigers placed him on the DL with a "tired arm". There are not many times when you have to force a guy to go on the disabled list. He’s basically DL’ed with a case of s*cking, so lets call it what it is. And Robertson acknowledges as much. "There are no red flags. I’m not hurt." But Robertson hasn’t had a quality start in his last 6 outings. His velocity is down. He threw 30 pitches in that last start of his, and not a single pitch was a swinging strike. So something is wrong. But I’ll bet it’s more a confidence issue. He’s not broken. He’s just down.
That’s a tough break. Rogers is already gone, as is Zumaya. Luckily, Dombroski has been hording starting pitching for about 5 years now. So whenever a starter goes down, just call up First Round Draft Pick X. The lucky winner this time is Andrew Miller. I shouldn’t say lucky, because the guy is really lights out. In his major league debut he held the Cardinals scoreless, (as we’ve seen, not a tremendous accomplish, but not a shabby first start either.) He’ll be better off for the team right now than Robertson has been, and there’s some talk he may be here to stay. Which, quite frankly, is a little bit less plausible than it sounds. Only because the guy was drafted about a year ago. But we’ll see.
On the note of drafts; a guy I know from back in the High School days was drafted by the Tigers in the 25th round. His name is Colin Kaline, and he’s Al’s grandson. He’s already playing ball at Florida Southern, but it’s still pretty good. Good job.
I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely apologize to you, on behalf of BHGM and all associated parties, for all libelous claims made prior. We have no excuses, other than to say that at the time of these claims, we were deceived by your career-high 12 wins in 2005. We were upset that you had only started 30+ games once in your then five-year career as a starter, and reacted rashly. It now appears that you are no longer "clowning around," and that Mr. Ricciardi didn’t make an $11 million a year mistake when he signed you.
Personally, I have been impressed with your performance in your last seven games. You have brought your ERA down a full point and a half to around 4. Meanwhile, you have struck out 72 batters in just 52 innings. I believe that at this point it is obvious to even the most casual observer that you have truly "stepped up your game" and I commend you. While these stats have not necessarily translated into wins for your team, you have turned in quality starts on all occasions but one. And for $350,000 a start, that’s really all we can ask.
However, there still remains the question of your start to the season. Your first six starts contrast strongly with your last seven. During the aforementioned starts, you posted a 5.46 ERA and struck out only 26 batters in 33 innings. I am also concerned about the abundance of home runs that you seem to be serving up. So far this year, 14 guys have "jerked you out of the yard". In the future, I would like to see you improve these numbers. Additionally, a reversion back to your early-season form will result in immediate rescindment of this letter.
Please accept my sincerest regrets for our previous comments.
Hey guys. I’m out of town right now on a spur of the moment trip. In fact, I’m in Cincinnati with my grandfather, who explained that "the Reds are so bad, I don’t even watch them anymore." And it’s true. We talked about this at length in our previous post. Since then, the Cardinals have dropped to only 2 games up on the still last place Reds. And Pittsburgh is now in 2nd place in the division. They are 23-30.
Here’s something I’ve noticed lately. What about these hitting streaks? So far this year, we’ve had Torii Hunter go 23 games. Freaking A-Rod was on an 18-game tear. Brandon Philips; 22. Randy Winn; 20. Aaron Rowand; 16. Currently, Kevin Youkilis has a 22-game hitting streak, and just snapped a 9-game multi-hit streak, the 6th longest in the last 50 years. Ichiro is at a Seattle-record 24 games. Furcal just ended a 15-gamer. There have always been hitting streaks in baseball. But I don’t remember them being this long. Thoughts?
I also wanted to comment on a comment that BigFoote made in the Chat box. He said not to get discouraged about the lack of comments. He thinks he’s the only reader. Well… sadly enough, that’s not the case. I risk offending you here, BigFoote, but that’s not my intent. I do appreciate you, loyal reader. But BHGM has been around for 2 years. In fact, the site usually, (on a typical, ok day) gets about 400 hits or so. By my estimate, there are at least 30-40 regular readers, from what I’ve seen of direct referrals and return visitors from the hit counters. And those are people that come check out the site almost every day. There are at least 15 subscribers to RSS feeds that automatically go to the site whenever a new post is made. So, you guys are out there – you’re just not making any noise. I know you have to register to make comments on this blog, but that’s why I have the Chatbox to your left – no registration required! Make good use of that tool. Or, do as Monkeypunch did.
‘Monkeypunch’ made a quality comment on the Mariner’s Payroll post. Now, I’ll talk about your comment in full when I get home, but for now, let me point out some important things. You mention that Beltre is coming back, he just needs to adjust his mechanics. You’re wrong. Beltre had one good year. Like I said, the Mariners have you believing that these players are better than they really are. You can etch this in stone or carve it in wood – Adrian Beltre will never win another HR crown. Right now, his .280 batting average is higher than every season except 2004 and 2000. He is on pace to hit 29 HR’s – more than any other season ever, with the exception of 2004. I don’t believe he will ever hit more than 30 home runs. However, that was the only logical hole in your post, for the most part. I think you may have misunderstood my main point – that the Mariners have overpayed for these guys. Richie Sexson is not a bad guy to have on your team. But you shouldn’t be paying him $15.5 million. You also conceeded that the Weaver deal was ‘****.’ So why would you pay him almost $10 million? Give him a small base salary wih incentives, or let another team take the one-year risk, and offer him $15 million – an amount he can’t refuse – when he goes into free agency, as no team would ever give him more than a one-year. Anyway, we’ll talk more when I get home. But keep up the good, insightful, intelligent comments like those. Talk to you guys when I get back.
-On a short technical note: the computer I’m using right now is running Vista and Internet Explorer 7. I had some trouble viewing the site with this system. Anyone else having the same difficulties?
Red Sox and Yankees are fun, there’s no denying that. But is it really as big a deal as ESPN would have you believe? After watching the first 10 minutes of the 6p edition of Sportscenter I had had just about enough. I mean… is there really a bigger non-issue than A-Rod’s slide? First off, look at the play carefully. The dude was way, way, way off-balance. And maybe he intentionally threw himself off. But, the way I see it, he was trying to break up the double play, and somehow or another managed to get his body confused between a pop-up and a take-out slide. That’s why, if you keep watching after he "throws the elbow," as John Kruk so lovingly put it, you’ll see Alex stumble to the ground and fall flat on his backside. Kruk is, not surprisingly, still an idiot. No, the play was not dirty. Alex was not going into 2nd with the intention of giving Dustin an ugly bruise in the crotch.
And, you may say to yourself, "Dustin who? Who is this guy? How dare he talk smack about A-Rod!" Listen. If you actually heard what the little guy said in his post-game, he was not putting anybody down. He said just enough to keep from looking like a coward, but he also went out of his way to say that he was only doing what he had to for the team, etc, etc, etc. Dustin doesn’t care. Alex doesn’t care. Does Curt care? I guess we’ll see tonight. To my knowledge, he hasn’t yet commented on the issue on his personal soap box, the Don Patrick show. But I have this to say – if Curt does drill A-Rod tonight, which he won’t, I will view it as one of the lamest moves in baseball. If you hit the guy, you’re only playing into this whole ESPN-propagated rivalry hype. ESPN loves to make something out of nothing. But there are always a couple guys on every team that like it even more. A-Rod and Varitek fighting down the baseline? That was a heat of the moment, legit fight. Curt drilling A-Rod would just be stupid and childish. Hopefully he has enough sense to know that.
Lets see some comments boys…
Andruw Jones, as you are probably aware, is one of the better fielding center fielders of his day. As you may also be aware, he swings a pretty big stick. In fact, in 2005 he hit 51 HR, followed by 41 in 2006. He is also from the Netherlands. Doesn’t that make him a Euro?
But Andruw is having a problem lately. He’s beginning to enter the Adam Dunn K-Zone. On Sunday night, Andruw went 0-5 against the Red Sox. Generally what you might consider to be a "bad day" at the plate. What made it worse was that Andruw struck out all 5 times. By comparison, the entire Red Sox team struck out 3 times. Basically, his day was a disaster. Hindenburg-type disaster. Throughout his 5 K’s, he took a grand total of 5 balls, and swung at at least one ball clearly out of the zone, (one in the dirt,) in three of those five at bats. Andruw has always had a propensity towards the windmill. But right now he has 51 K’s in 156 AB’s. Which is, really, not acceptable.
Tomorrow night, Jones will trot out his shiny .212 batting average. That means he’s just a couple bad games away from the Mendoza Line. Is he upset about all this? Not in the slightest. "I swing the bat the way I want to swing, the way I swing it all the time. So some days you’re going to have bad days, and some days you’re going to have good days." That’s denial. Andruw knows he needs to step it up a bit, and so do the reporters. There’s no use acting like a defiant 2nd grader about it. You’re not fooling anybody. And, quite frankly, five strikeouts isn’t a ‘bad day’. Especially when the last one comes as the last out of the game, when you represent the tying run for your team.
Continuing on that note of the Braves, Tim Hudson had an equally awful day at Fenway. Huddy went just 4.2 innings, giving up 8 hits, 2 walks, and 6 earned runs. Three of those runs were the result of a 2-out, 2-strikes, bases loaded triple by, who else, but Jason Varitek. It was Jason’s 11th triple in 10 major league seasons. Varitek then scored for a 4-run 1st inning. In the 2nd, a runner reached base on a fielder’s choice, better known as botched double play by Martin Prado, who had just come up from AAA. The 2nd would have ended there; unfortunately, it didn’t, and ‘unturned double plays’ can’t be counted as errors. That runner then scored. That’s 5 runs through the first 2 innings. Finally, Hudson gave up a ‘blast’ to Kevin Youkilis – a 303ft blast, which wouldn’t have been a HR had the game been played in my backyard. So, had Huddy’s cutter actually cut on Varitek, Prado turned that double play, and if not for the World’s Shortest Porch in Right Field, Huddy continues on without giving up a single run. Revisionist history, yes. But proof that Hudson didn’t just turn bad suddenly. I’m pretty confident that he’s still in for a good season.
Finally, an interesting story. One of my friends broke her foot jumping up in down in celebration after the end of the semester. Which reminded me of a good story from a few years back. You know how, when you’re a little leaguer, you have that dream of hitting a game-winning grand slam? I mean, what could be better, right? Well, AAA 1B Tagg Bozied was living the dream. Game winning grand slam, and ferocious victory trot around the bases. Maybe a little too ferocious, in fact. As Tagg jumped up to stomp on home plate, "I saw my kneecap pushed up into my quads," and suddenly the dream became the nightmare. The pain was so tremendous that he blacked out in midair and woke up in a hospital bed, out for the season with a ruptured patella tendon. This basically causes the patella to move up towards the thigh, as its lost its anchoring to the tibia. Yup. Pretty painful. The question is, how can you achieve one the most athletically difficult feats in all of baseball, but still be enough of a spaz to shred your knee in celebration?
Alright guys. Time to step it up in the comments. In the last 6 posts we have 2 comments. I know the writing hasn’t been spectacular, but c’mon. All you need is a quick flip. "Hey man, you don’t know what you’re talking about." That works. See you guys soon.