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Monday, August 31, 2009
So sayeth Jon Heyman. He'll probably do well there, though pitching ain't exactly the Giants' biggest concern.
Always good to see merit being rewarded:
The Royals have reached a tentative agreement with general manager Dayton Moore on a four-year contract extension that runs through 2014. The new deal could be announced as soon as tonight. The move confirms owner David Glass’ belief that Moore has the organization pointed in the right direction despite this season’s disappointing play.
Ask yourself: if you, in your own profession, made a mistake equivalent to trading for Yuniesky Betancourt, would you expect to be fired, or given five years of lucrative job security?
Ask yourself something else: how is the guy who runs the most successful corporation on the planet capable of making a judgment like "Moore has the organization pointed in the right direction"?
I hit up the Miguel Tejada pitch-tipping thing at NBC over the weekend, but I didn't think too deeply about it. I stand by my initial thoughts on the matter though, which were (a) I don't know if he was doing it or not and I'm not sure anything in the article proved that he was; but (b) regardless of the merits of it all, it's at least better to see this kind of stuff with people's names attached than anonymously sourced a la Selena Roberts' charges against A-Rod.
Since then, readers have shot me two interesting observations. The first observation echoes Deadspin's take, with one reader voicing her frustration that baseball "seems to show its racism and bigotry more and more particularly with Latino players. The loyalty questions, the laziness complaints, etc." I'll grant that Johnny Damon's quote -- "it seemed like all the Dominican guys were killing us" -- was unfortunate and is worth probing a bit more, but I'm not sure that there's any more evidence here to suggest that people had it in for Tejada as a guy from the D.R. than there is to suggest that Tejada was, in fact, intentionally tipping. There were concrete examples of Tejada's play that his teammates took issue with at the time. I didn't get the sense that this was some high class version of the old "Latinos are all lazy and disloyal" rant, but I'm open to others' takes on the matter.
The second observation, from commenter Mike, was a bit lighter:
Tejada says he's innocent and I think we should give him the benefit of the doubt. The man is no liar. Er...well...he was charged with lying to Congress about PED usage in baseball. But, otherwise, the man is . . . no, actually, Tejada also lied to MLB about his age. Other than THAT, though, the man is no liar. So we should, you know, give him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe.
Via Pinto, The Detroit Tigers Weblog declares D-Train over:
The rocky Tigers career of Dontrelle Willis has been well documented. And the story just keeps getting sadder as Willis walked 8 hitters in his rehab start for Toledo. There is this rush in sports conversation today to be the first to declare someone “done” and to call for a release. Much of it is premature and reactionary (Armando Galarraga is the true ace of the staff and Brandon Lyon should be released were popular refrains in April). But we’re on 2 years of frustration with Willis. It’s time.
He never went full-blown Blass/Ankiel on us, but either his body or his mind just forgot how to pitch. Baffling. And sad too, because I liked having a guy with his kind of delivery and (pre-wilderness) character around. At times like these it's tempting to speculate whether Willis' was one of the worst contracts ever. I find myself, however, feeling happy that at least the guy got a big paycheck to set him up for life before the wheels fell off.
lar knows what I likes:
In fact, since 1908, when Eddie Cicotte made it to the major leagues for good, there has been at least one pitcher carrying the knuckleball banner in the big leagues every year - and that's even ignoring the pitchers who only lasted 3 or 4 years in the majors. The chain of "star" knucklers is quite interesting, actually. When you look closely at it, you see that everytime one knuckleballer would retire, the next one would almost immediately take his place. It's as if the baton was being passed from one grizzled, retiring veteran to a young, fresh-faced kid every two decades or so. And, depending on the years that you choose to demark the eras, you can even find a second chain, staggering the first. They're both quite interesting.
Trying to figure out if this is a "Highlander" "There can be only one" kind of thing, or if it's more of a one-old-mage-having-his-lifeforce-stolen-by-an-apprentice, Fistindantilus-Raistlin kind of thing, with the "staggering" lar refers to being akin to Dalamar's somewhat lesser ascendance (which makes Dalamar Tom Candiotti, I guess).
Don't look at me like that. I'm already married. I don't need to pretend I'm not a hopeless loser anymore.
Jason has way more interesting vacations than I do. Hell, even when I go to San Diego like he did, I just end up hanging out at the In-N-Out Burger where my brother works until his shift is up and then we go drink beers by the beach until the sun comes up.
Wait, come to think of it, my San Diego vacations are pretty good too.
As for Jason's trip, after looking at the pictures of Blanks, I am struggling to see how that much mass was accelerated to a point where it could hit an inside-the-park home run last week.
Also, it's cute how Matt Latos and Colby Rasmus were hitting on Jason's wife without him realizing it. No worries, though, Jason. Even though they're young and athletic and rich and stuff, I'm sure Mrs. IIATMS still pretty much loves you.
Giants 9, Rockies 5: What a difference a week makes. Heck, not even a week. Six days after the Rockies beat the Giants on a grand slam, the Giants do it to the Rockies, courtesy of Edgar Renteria. Given the Dodgers' relatively uninteresting play lately, I think I'm going to squint my eyes until the end of the season and pretend that this is a bonafide pennant race as opposed to a wild card race.
Red Sox 7, Blue Jays 0: Papa-oom-mow-mow, papa-ooma-mow-mow-mow, papa-oom-mow-mow, papa-ooma-mow-mow (6 IP, 3 H, 0 ER). Not that we should be surprised. Byrd has always done well on 340 days rest.
Royals 3, Mariners 0: More dominance from Zack Greinke (CG, SHO 1 H). We can only hope that the writers are smart enough to realize come awards voting time that Greinke's win total is a function of his team. Given the extremes involved here, I think they will. If he had won 15-16 wins for a middling team like the Twins or the Brewers, someone would be tempted to say that Greinke wasn't a "winner." That many wins with a profoundly terrible Royals team will be viewed as a positive rather than a negative. In other words, he'll get the Steve Carlton-in-72 vote.
Angels 9, Athletics 1: After the game, John Lackey talked about how this Angels team compares to the 2002 team which won the World Series and on which he made his debut: "Several guys on that '02 team will tell you we might not have been the best team, but we were hot . . . That '02 team was more of an offense-based team, for sure. We didn't pitch that well." That's so right. Except for the fact that the 2002 Angels were tied for the best ERA and allowed the fewest runs per game in the American League.
Brewers 4, Pirates 1: Jeff Suppan won on his bobblehead day. In other news, there's a Jeff Suppan bobblehead day.
Cardinals 2, Nationals 1: Adam Wainwright won on his bobblehead day. This is somewhat more defensible. Though to be honest, I'd rather have the Suppan, just for the sake of randomness.
Tigers 4, Rays 3: This is the kind of game the Rays were winning a year ago. There's not some magical explanation to it. The pendulum just swings, ya know?
Mets 4, Cubs 1: Nelson Figueroa (7 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 10K, RBI) was a one man team. Really, it was just him, playing all nine positions like Bugs Bunny vs. the Gashouse Gorillas because the rest of the Mets are on the DL.
Twins 5, Rangers 3: The Twins scored three runs in the eighth via a variety of unconventional means, after which Ron Gardenhire said "We kind of knick-knacked them a little bit." I think that means that instead of being pummeled, the Rangers were Hummeld.
Yankees 8, White Sox 3: The Yankees keep winning, and because they're doing so well, they continue to mess with Joba Chamberlain, yanking him after 35 pitches despite there being nothing wrong with him. At the risk of sounding like one of those cranky old pitchers from the 60s and 70s, I can't help but think that Chamberlain is going to turn out like that kid you knew whose parents would never let leave the house growing up and then got alcohol poisoning the same week he went away to college because he had no perspective or life experience. Sure, you don't want to let him kill himself now, but there are worse things in the world than letting the boy pitch and get knocked around a bit.
Orioles 5, Indians 2: Brian Matusz has the best start of his very, very young career, and spends a lot of time in the game story talking about how he overcame his initial struggles with adjustments and video and all of that. The fact that he was facing the Indians didn't hurt either.
Marlins 6, Padres 4: "It was a tough weekend for us and today was nice to salvage the series," Cody Ross said after the game. The Padres took two of three. If they had lost the first one and won the second two, no one on the Marlins would be talking about how the win on Friday "salvaged the series." Likewise, if they had won Saturday's game but lost on the bookends, no one would feel too good about things. I use that phrase all the time, but games are games are games.
Dodgers 3, Reds 2: Dodgers pitchers combined to strike out 20 Reds. Nine of those Ks came in the 8th-12th innings, dooming Cincinnati's chances to get anything going. Clayton Kershaw still hasn't won a game since mid-July, despite the fact that he has a sub-3.00 ERA since then.
Diamondbacks 4, Astros 3: Arizona won the game, but closer Chad Qualls dislocated his kneecap on the last play of the game and will probably be done for the year. I'm one of the more squeamish people I know. Seriously, my daughter lost her first tooth a couple of weeks ago and was out of commission for hours. But nothing makes me cringe more than thinking about kneecap injuries. Really, it's taken me ten minutes to just write this individual recap out because I've been alternating between mild nausea and frantic rubbing of my own kneecaps in an effort to somehow make the horror of that kind of injury erase itself from my thoughts.
Phillies 3, Braves 2: Games like this don't make me feel too hot either. First Chipper throws away the bunt in the seventh, and then Garret Anderson just butchers the Carlos Ruiz "double" that put the Phillies ahead for good. Continued failure to support Jurrjens. Just -- further failure. At times like these I have to remember that, for most of the year anyway, I've been on the "2010 is the Braves' year" train, believing that the team brass was really thinking that too, even if they could never admit it. I still think that's right, but that little hot streak earlier this month is the kind of thing that makes you forget.
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Why? Hell, I dunno.
Cardinals 3, Nationals 2: Pujols gets a walkoff homer, but the bigger story is that John Smoltz was strong again, giving up one run and striking out six over six innings. Yes, it was again against a weak team, but unlike San Diego, Washington can actually hit and are sixth in the NL in runs per game.
Giants 2, Rockies 0: Eight shutout innings for Lincecum, and the Rockies wild card lead is down to two games.
Angels 11, Athletics 7: The A's led this one 6-1 at one point, but then Anaheim turned on the afterburners, mostly due to Kendry Morales, who was 5-5 with a homer and six RBI. All seven of the Angels' runs in the seventh were unearned.
Reds 4, Dodgers 2: It's tempting to say that Homer Bailey has finally turned the corner after a couple of strong starts (and this one was strong: 8 IP, 0 ER, 7K), but he's done this kind of thing before only to revert back to, well, being Homer Bailey. The difference now is that the Reds have no business messing with him anymore, and should start next season with him in the rotation to either sink or swim for good.
Yankees 5, White Sox 2: Three-run walkoff job for Robinson Cano in the 10th. The Golden Sombrero for Jim Thome (0-4, 4 Ks). Not trying to slam Thome here. I like him. I just like to say "Golden Sombrero."
Phillies 4, Braves 2: Stupid rain. Due to a 45 minute rain delay early in the game the Braves lost Tommy Hanson which, all due respect to Pedro Martinez, is a bigger loss to them than losing Pedro was to Philly. Moyer and Chen mop up for the Phillies, and Ryan Howard went 3 for 3 with two homers. I won't say the Braves are quite done yet, but if you took them off the fire and let them rest covered on the counter for a little while they'll probably be nice and medium rare in a few minutes.
Red Sox 6, Blue Jays 5: Josh Beckett continues to struggle and give up long balls, but the Sox rallied.
Diamondbacks 14, Astros 7: Just like a 68 degree day in August gives you a refreshing but premature taste of fall, a 14-7 game before labor day between two non-contenders gives you a depressing but premature taste of just-playing-out-the-string season.
Tigers 6, Rays 2: From the "You have GOT to be kidding me" department, Brandon Inge: "There's a kid named Noah that I've visited a couple times in the hospital, and he's at home right now, and I spent a couple hours with him today. He asked me the dreaded question -- could I hit a home run for him in the game, and I told him I'd do the best I could." And he did.
Cubs 5, Mets 2: A three-run homer by Alfonso Soriano breaks a tie in the eighth and wins the game. It was his first homer in a month. Milton Bradley had three hits, but don't think for a second he enjoyed any of them.
Orioles 13, Indians 4: Matt Wieters was 3-4 with 4 RBI. Fausto Carmona, who looked so damn good his last time out, got shelled.
Brewers 8, Pirates 6: Braun, Fielder and Jason Bourgeois hit homers. John Russell benched Ryan Doumit in the middle of the game and the two of them had a closed-door meeting after the game. Neither of them are talking to the media, so until we hear anything further, I'm going to assume that they were arguing over whether Pitt the Elder or Lord Palmerston was England's greatest Prime Minister.
Padres 9, Marlins 5: Chris Volstad was lit up like a Christmas tree. The Braves fan in me likes to see that San Diego is effectively ending Florida's shot at the wild card on the same road trip that they killed the Braves' chances.
Twins 3, Rangers 2: Brian Duensing is no fireballer, but he struck out eight in seven innings. The Rangers' Tommy Hunter looked good too. He's also tough: Justin Morneau lined one off his chest, but Hunter stayed in the game.
Mariners 6, Royals 3: Mike Sweeney is 112 years old and really hasn't been able to run since he was in grade school, but he scored from third on a comebacker to the mound in the second, belly-flopping past Olivo as he tried to apply the tag. Calling hours for Sweeney will be held for Sweeney at the Ranier Funeral Home this Tuesday. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Harold Baines Home for the Aged and Decrepit.
Friday, August 28, 2009
I was gonna complain about work again and apologize for the lack of posts yesterday, but I'd much rather highlight the fact that ShysterBall commenter extraordinaire Sara K just found out that she's going to be on Jeopardy! sometime soon. That's worthy of huzzahs, kudos, and wishes from all of us that the categories for Double Jeopardy are "The Gashouse Gang," "Managers who wear sunglasses at night," "'The Man'," "Whiteyball," "Famous broadcasters with doofus kids who try to follow in their footsteps," and "Oquendonomics." If not, Sara, just take potent potables for $1000 and wish for the best:
And remember Sara, "Who are three people who have never been in my kitchen?" may be an accurate question, but it is probably not the right one.
White Sox 9, Red Sox 5: Who needs Billy Wagner when you have Nick Green? The shortstop pitches two shutout innings. That's a huge increase in the number of innings he's thrown over last year, but don't worry: Since he's over 25, the Verducci Effect probably doesn't come into play.
Dodgers 3, Rockies 2: Vicente Padilla. Who knew? Nothing special of course -- two runs on six hits over five -- but that's a few fewer hits and runs than you might have expected him to give up. This series -- and what came before and after it -- represents everything fantastic about baseball. The Rockies took three of four from the Giants and won one in dramatic fashion against L.A. 48 hours ago. Then bam, bam, they're four games out and have to go to San Francisco and face Tim Lincecum, a resurgent Barry Zito and Matt Cain. They could end the week way worse off than they started it, and no one could have expected it as late as Wednesday afternoon. It's a relentless season that gives no quarter. You can't pump yourself up once a week or ride a hot hand. Twenty-five guys have to go out there every single day and do it. It actually makes exercises like these daily recaps rather silly, as the true story of the season can only truly be seen from a distance. The true mettle of a team revealed in its skills at long term survival.
Diamondbacks 11, Giants 0: Then again, maybe the Rockies don't have much to worry about this weekend.
Pirates 3, Phillies 2: So your first closer blows one, and your second closer blows one again the next night. Now what do you do? Well, you can leave your starter out there the whole game, which is what Charlie Manuel did with J.A. Happ last night. That didn't work either as Happ gives up two in the eighth, so now it looks like the Phils are on to Plan D. Say, I wonder what would it take to pry Nick Green away from Boston . . .
Braves 9, Padres 1: Atlanta salvages one behind seven shutout innings by Javier Vazquez, who had an RBI to boot. Nine runs and seventeen hits for the Braves, but the only extra-base hit was Adam LaRoche's homer in the sixth. Otherwise, it was single-fest.
Nationals 5, Cubs 4: Milton Bradley was 0 for 5, and is in a big slump. I have no idea if Cubs fans actually hate him like he thinks they do, but if they don't already, he's giving them ample reason. The Cubs are now nine behind St. Louis. "Look, let's just win some baseball games. Forget the Cardinals and every other team," said Lou Piniella after the game. As long as that includes the Cubs, I think everyone is on board.
Astros 4, Cardinals 3: Jeff Keppinger hit what would prove to be the winning homer with two out in the ninth, averting a sweep by the Cards. Nice rally, however small, the day after Oswalt said the team was "dead." Then again, maybe Oswalt didn't really mean the team was dead. I always have taken comments like that to be the way players communicate their general unhappiness with the manager to the press and team brass.
Rangers 7, Yankees 2: The team whose starter struck out 12 dudes in six innings lost, and the team whose starter walked seven in 3.2 IP won. That makes sense.
Reds 8, Brewers 5: Nothing I can say can beat the storylines as told by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal. First, Tom Haudricourt's game story starts like this: "It was another discouraging day at Miller Park on Thursday as the Brewers ended a discouraging series in what has become a discouraging second half." The headline to Michael Hunt's column puts it more succinctly: "Another dank day of despair for our '09 Brewers." I'm guessing they've all turned their attention to the Badgers and Pack by now.
Mets 10, Marlins 3: Day games in Miami in August make total sense. The box score says that there over 12,000 paid to see this game, but based on the crowd shots I saw, there couldn't have been half that. Which raises a philosophical question: if the Mets get 17 hits and no one was there to see it, did it really happen?
Athletics 2, Angels 0: Trevor Cahill threw two-hit shutout ball over seven innings and Mike Wuertz and Andrew Bailey shut out the Angels for the remaining two innings. This is bizarre: "The Angels' uniformed personnel and front office staff assembled in center field before batting practice for the 2009 team photo, but RHP Jered Weaver missed because he was home with the flu. So PR guy Eric Kay stood in wearing Weaver's No. 36 jersey, and the pitcher's head will be superimposed when it is printed." What happens if, say, Juan Rivera screws up something really bad in a playoff game that costs the team the season. Do they airbrush him out like Stalin did with purged political enemies? Because the possibilities here seem limitless.
And no, I have no idea why I missed the Mariners-Royals score, but the Royals won. I hope my oversight doesn't screw up the historical record or anything.