Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Past Several Days...

-Roy Halladay's refusal to speak to the media in the aftermath of the trade deadline tells you everything you need to know about his feelings on remaining with the Blue Jays after being publicly dangled for a month. J.P. Ricciardi is probably on thin ice in Toronto anyway, so any sort of negative comment from a figure as popular as Halladay would seal J.P.'s professional fate. I'll have more to say about J.P. soon enough. (Ooohh, a little blog teaser...)

-Edinson Volquez had the dreaded Tommy John surgery within the past few days, and now he's out until at least this time next season. Fair or not, this is another young star pitcher that has fallen victim to major arm injury under the watch of manager Dusty Baker. Volquez just turned 26 and pitched a full major-league season in 2008, followed by winter ball and the World Baseball Classic. That's alot of pitching in a calendar year.

-Arizona's super sinker Brandon Webb also had recent surgery, this one a shoulder cleanup. Shoulder injuries tend to rob pitchers of stuff more than elbows do, but apparently Webb didn't need anything fixed, just tidied up a bit. Also interesting in that Arizona has an $8.5 million option on him for 2010, which if not exercised, makes Webb a free agent. $8.5 million is a bargain for a pitcher of his stature and accomplisments, but Arizona's not going anywhere anytime soon. I still think the Diamondbacks will bring Webb back, and with little deliberation.

- Evidently I have pitching on the brain today...

- Interesting article in this week's Sporting News about the differences between the Yankees and the Red Sox, and why the Yankees haven't won it all since 2000 and the Sawx have won it twice since '04. (Unfortunately, I can't link to it because it's only in the print version). Among the points included... 1) The Red Sox know when to say goodbye. (Ex: Pedro Martinez was allowed to leave in the championship afterglow of '04... Nomar was traded, and was never as good... the Yankees gave Jorge Posada, an old catcher, a four-year contract...) 2) The Red Sox place a higher emphasis on pitching 3) The Red Sox didn't get A-Rod (Ex: this point actually doesn't explore why A-Rod stinks when it counts, it actually lists all the players that the Sox have that make less combined than A-Rod. A list that includes Jonathan Papelbon, Mike Lowell, Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis and like 10 other players... think about that).

-Of course, as I write that, the Yankees are half a game up on Boston in the AL East

-I don't think that's how it will end up, however. At the deadline the Red Sox added Victor Martinez, the Yankees added Jerry Hairston. And Boston's probably better anyway.

-I'm not convinced Joba Chamberlain isn't better off in the bullpen, where he can just let it fly.

-Am I actually about to defend the Mets? I think so. I'm not a doctor, and I don't play one in the blogosphere, but something's wrong with the care the Met players are getting. Original diagnoses of a week or two for some of their brightest stars (Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran, Carlos Delgado) have turned into months on the shelf. Why? Maybe these guys were always that hurt, but why were the Mets told they'd be brief injuries? Jerry Manuel has taken public shots at the medical staff in Flushing, and apparently he's justified in doing so.

-Back to ripping the Mets, last night's 10 pm EST edition of Baseball Tonight put up a graphic that shows the leading home run hitters at Citi Field this season. First is Gary Sheffield with five (five! that's all it takes to lead?). Second is David Wright with four. And who's tied with Wright for second place? MARK REYNOLDS! Mark Reynolds of the DIAMONDBACKS! Mark Reynolds who has played THREE games in Citi Field this year. Wow. Just to compare, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Jayson Werth each have 12 at Citizens Bank Park, while Raul Ibanez has 11.

-Cubs pitcher Randy Wells was "acting like a number one starter" in his start against the Reds last night, to quote Orel Hershiser. Wells has thrown well this year, but clearly is not a number one at this point. But it's going well for him, and don't look now, but the Cubs are now in first place in the NL Central.

-Cole Hamels looks strange to me. He's pitching ok, not great. He had an uninspiring outing against the Giants on Sunday, and then seemed unimpressed and unconcerned about his performance. Kid Cole is a different kind of guy, full of the Southern California cool, but I'm not sure he can switch it on and off as easily as he thinks he'll be able to once crunch time rolls around.

-The weekend matchup of the great pitcher and a great lineup was won by Tim Lincecum, as he pitched his Giants past the Phillies, 2-0, on Saturday evening in San Francisco. Lincecum threw eight shutout innings, allowing seven hits, walking one and striking out eight against the potent Phillies lineup. Lincecum proved once again that good pitching beats good hitting, and showed why he's on the man crush list.

-Speaking of man crushes, welcome to Philadelphia, Cliff Lee. Lee was dominant in his first appearance for the Phils, hurling a complete game while allowing one run on only four hits and striking out six. Lee even collected two hits (doubling his career total) and scored a run. After the game, his aww shucks personality was on display in a postgame interview with Phils broadcaster Gary Matthews. Lee concluded the interview with Matthews by saying "Thank you, sir", thus prompting my roommate to say "No Cliff, thank YOU." That sound you hear all around the Delaware Valley is the explosion of a ginormous man crush on one Clifton Phifer Lee.

-What are the Reds doing trading for Scott Rolen? They're not going anywhere, and Rolen is eight years older than the third baseman they gave up in the deal, Edwin Encarnacion. I'm serious, I think GMs of bad teams get bored sometimes, so they make trades.

-That's alot of notes. So I'm done for now.

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