Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Tuesday's Thoughts

-The Phillies are now 36-8 when Jimmy Rollins scores a run this year. I think I've made my point about his importance to the Phightins.

-Philadelphia is just on a roll right now where they are the hammer, and whoever they play is the nail. It's fun to be on this side of that equation, after so many years on the other.

-Orel Hershiser is a great analyst. I learn something or think of something new each time I hear him. In a rare non-blackout on ESPN for a local game, Dan Shulman, Steve Phillips and Hershiser broadcast the Phils-Cubs game in my house in a break from the local guys. It's not surprising Hershiser is so good, especially since 'The Bulldog' was one of the most savvy and well-prepared pitchers of his era. One point I especially found interesting was his comment on a pitcher going from the NL to the AL... everyone knows that you have the pitcher's spot in the NL, which is a bit of a break, but Hershiser pointed out that since the pitcher stinks at the plate (my words, not his), you don't have to worry as much about throwing good strikes to the eight-hole hitter, because if you walk him, whatever. Orel also articulated what a lineup with a ton of power in it (such as the Phillies) does to a starting pitcher both physically and mentally. Very interesting.

-One misstep for Orel, which was actually quite funny, was his describing Phils starter Rodrigo Lopez as just like Greg Maddux, except with lower velocity, lesser command and not as good breaking pitches. Shulman and Phillips summarily got on his case about it. Good times.

-Watching the Cubs last night was a bit painful. They just looked sloppy and disinterested once the Phils got up by a few runs. Alfonso Soriano dropping that ball on the warning track in left was just laziness, nothing else.

-I can't take much more of Dan Uggla. He's so clearly a one-tool guy, and that tool is power. He's hitting .227, strikes out in 25% of his at-bats, and he's brutal at second base. To top that off, he shows no ability to adjust at the plate or have a plan, he's just thinking long ball on every single pitch. He has more home runs than doubles for crying out loud. Playing home games in that stadium (whatever it's called today), with huge alleys for doubles, you can't have more homers and two-baggers. I hate players like him. As a baseball degenerate, I can't take it.

-Interesting article about who may be the best and worst bargain on the trade market. I'd agree that Nick Johnson is a good player that can help a team, especially one drawing dead at first base like the Rangers are. He's not an All-Star, and it seems Johnson is always on the trade market, so I'll believe he's going somewhere when an announcement is made. No way Jarrod Washburn is the worst bargain to be had. He's a starting pitcher, he's lefthanded and he can give you some innings. He's not a game two starter in the playoffs, but he can help you get there. This season, like always, there will be someone who drastically overpays for a modest middle reliever, so I hold that in reserve as the worst bargain at the deadline each and every year. Maybe the most interesting thing from that article is that Ranger first basemen are getting on base at a .275 clip. Wow. I know Chris Davis can swing and miss at a small island, but a .275 OBP is appalling.

-Todd Zolecki of MLB.com is reporting that Brett Myers could return to the Phillies by the end of the August in a relief role. Myers would be a welcome addition to an already strong pen. As the saying goes, you never can have too much pitching.

-The A's trailed the Twins 12-2 last night and then came back to win 14-13. (Beat that, soccer). The Twins built a 12-2 lead heading into the bottom of the third inning, in which Oakland scored three times to make it 12-5. With the Twins leading 13-9 in the seventh, Matt Holiday (finally having a good game) connected for his second home run of the night, a grand slam to tie the game. Jack Cust followed with another round-tripper to put the A's in front 14-13. The Twins looked poised to tie the game with Michael Cuddyer on third with two outs in the 9th. When A's reliever Michael Wuertz uncorked a wild pitch, Cuddyer headed for home but was tagged out at the plate by Wuertz to end the ballgame. Well, actually, Cuddyer was probably safe, but oh well. I don't want to hear any whining from a team that gave up a 10-run lead.

-On the flip side of that, Oakland starter Gio Gonzalez gave up 11 earned runs and got a no decision. There's such a thing a vulturing a win, and I don't know what not getting a loss is when you stink, but that was it.

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