Sunday, August 23, 2009

Thursday Through Saturday

- writer Cliff Corcoran explored a vital but underrated element of a baseball team in a column ranking the top 10 setup men in baseball today. Call me a homer if you want, but Ryan Madson has to be higher than sixth on that list. Which guy ahead of him has run through lineups with Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun, Manny Ramirez and Evan Longoria in the playoffs? Oh, that's right, none of them. I don't give a crap about WXRL, which Corcoran seems to rely upon heavily in his rankings. That's about as worthless as VORP. This looks like a case of letting stats override everything else. I don't know Madson's WXRL, and I don't care. He passes the eye test. He can blow you away with a riding 95-98 mph four-seamer, or make you look silly with an 80-82 dead fish change that disappears down and away from lefties.

- I really do like a lot of the guys on the list, though.

- On Friday's 610 WIP AM midday show, former major leaguer David Segui raised an interesting possibility about Brad Lidge's current struggles. While much has been made about Lidge's health and his mental state, Segui said that he thinks Lidge is tipping his pitches, which is especially harmful to a pitcher like Lidge with only two pitches, the fastball and slider. If Lidge is tipping pitches, a hitter can eliminate one, and just look for the other, thus making things much easier on the hitter. Part of Segui's resoning is that there are pitchers with arms and stuff far inferior to what Lidge currently has that are having success right now. While I agree that there's a possibility that Lidge is tipping pitches, I think his bigger problem is fastball location.

- Phillies starters went the entire three-game series against Arizona this week without issuing a walk.

- Diamondback reliever Daniel Schlereth bears a resemblence to his football playing father, Mark. I'm sure he's a nice kid, he's got some good stuff and a bright future in the bigs. However, he doesn't look ready for the majors right now.

- The Red Sox seemed to have put in a claim on Billy Wagner. Wagner could help them, but they'd be a lot better off if they could get their starting rotation in order.

- Of course, Jonathan Papelbon doesn't necessarily agree.

- The AL East race is OVAAAAAAA. But I think the AL Wild Card winner will come out of that division.

- The Nationals removed the 'interim' tag and named Mike Rizzo their full-time GM on Thursday. Rizzo has a long way to go in rebuilding the image and baseball operations of a team in shambles after the Jim Bowden fiasco, but signing Stephen Strasburg and making some decent trade deadline moves are positive first steps.

- Today's edition of why the Mets are the greatest... Gary Sheffield demands an extension, doesn't get one, and leaves. I wouldn't extend him either. Way to show yourself to have mellowed and matured at age 40, Sheff.

- Brad Lidge looked about as good as he has all year in a perfect inning Saturday night against the Mets. Two strikeouts on nasty, nasty sliders.

- Finally, Brett Myers did make his first rehab appearance on Thursday night for Class A Clearwater after being delayed with an eye injury that may or may not have been the result of a bar fight. Myers allowed two hits, but struck out the side. Or, as my roommate put it "I'd prefer to say he had three punchouts." Perfect.

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