Tuesday, May 13, 2008

And That Happened

They played two in Pittsburgh and Cleveland yesterday. Each series was a split in which the teams took turns looking awful. I wonder if teams that do that sort of thing head back to their homes or the charter jet contemplating the Sisyphean nature of it all.

Blue Jays 3, Indians 0: If I'm Eric Wedge, I give Cliff Lee one free kick to the raisins of each of his teammates for allowing him to pitch nine innings of shutout baseball with nothing to show for it. Sure, Shaun Marcum pitched eight shutout innings of his own only to get a no-decision, but at least his team won the damn game. The Cleveland offense -- 3-33 with zero walks over ten innings -- may have turned in the worst performance by a lineup this season, and right now are getting nothing from anyone not named Victor Martinez. Sign Barry. Trade CC for corner infielder. Just do something, because the Tribe is going nowhere with these bats. Update: I read now that Asdrubal Cabrera turned an unassisted triple play in this game. That's nice and all, but I bet Lee would have preferred a couple of hits.

Indians 3, Blue Jays 0: Strike that -- reverse it. Nine more shutout innings from an Indians starter, this time Carmona.

Pirates 5, Braves 0: After this game, the Braves stood 14-4 at home, and 4-14 on the road. Thankfully that unfortunate symmetry only stood for a few hours because later it was . . .

. . . Braves 8, Pirates 1: Tim Hudson is having a quietly fantastic year (6-2, 2.54 ERA). Chipper Jones, who is still having a pretty smokin' month by human standards, is now down to .406, which makes you realize just how silly the recent talk of him hitting .400 really was. I'm sure someone has written about this somewhere, but my guess is that loose talk of talent dilution aside, there are simply far fewer tomato can pitchers now compared to the 1920s -- not to mention well-groomed playing fields and fair-and-square official scorers -- for a player to hit .400 as easily as one could back in the old days.

Twins 7, Red Sox 3: Question: why does ESPN beam the same matchup into my living room on Monday night that it did on Sunday night? Question #2: why do they have a totally different announcing team doing it? OK, I suppose Jon Miller had to get back to San Francisco, but you'd think that could have been negotiated, no? Oh, that thing I said last week about the Rays not getting any closer to the Red Sox this year? I was misquoted. Allow me a chance at redemption, however, with this idea: an All-Star Game commercial featuring Clay Buchholz, Ian Kennedy and Phil Hughes sitting in the living room of some nondescript condo with a pizza box and a six pack in front of them watching the game.

Rays 7, Yankees 1: The Rays have given up six runs in the past four games and are now knocking on the door in the AL East. May has made for a pretty brutal schedule for Tampa Bay -- Red Sox, Angels, Yankees, Cardinals, A's -- so if they make it past Memorial Day in good shape, watch out.

Reds 8, Marlins 7: The Mariners are scouting Ken Griffey, eh? Well I hope they saw him drop a fly ball in right in the eighth inning for a two-run error!

Brewers 8, Cardinals 3: Ryan Braun has his second two-homer game in a row, so maybe Milwaukee isn't dead yet. By the way: there were seven pitchers used in this game. As of tonight, four of them have been closers at some point in their careers.

Nats 10, Mets 4: According to the AP recap, "Before the game, Mets manager Willie Randolph praised the Mets as looking "hitterish." If there wasn't a good reason to fire him before, I think we have all the evidence we need now.

Cubs 12, Padres 3: And the world waits with bated breath, wondering what Paul DePodesta has to say about it.

Rangers 13, Mariners 12: This looked like an ugly game. Bedard squandered a five run lead in the first inning, then C.J. Wilson coughed it back up in the ninth. I'm sitting here this morning, struggling to recall what anyone saw in Seattle before the season started.

Angels 10, White Sox 7: A win is nice, but activating John Lackey after the game is nicer.

Astros 7, Giants 3: Barry Zito is not simply some $100M+ bullpen arm. With outings like this one (6 IP, 3ER) he's much more than that. Why, he's a $100M+ fourth starter!


Peter said...

"Talent dilution" seems like an incredibly lazy idea when you consider the increase in population, the growth of the game internationally, better physical conditioning, modern medicine, better scouting, etc. It's hard to quantify some of these things, but the core idea that the overall level of play is lower today is ridiculous.

And I don't think I've ever heard a dilution proponent explain why it would disproportionately effect pitching, which always seems to be the starting point ("these pitchers today...").

Chipmaker said...

Expansion has diluted the talent pool of smart GMs and insightful scouting directors.

It's at least as plausible as "expansion diluted pitching".

Anonymous said...


Love the image of Buchholz, Hughes, and Kennedy watching the all-star game this year.

Keep in mind that almost 10 years ago, a similar viewing would have taken place with Jason Schmidt, Chris Carpenter, and Brett Tomko.

It takes more than a few years for a young pitcher to get good, maybe 5 or so. And there are never any guarantees. Of the group from 10 years ago, Tomko was thought to have the highest upside.

Pete Toms said...

The Rays are doomed if they don't get a new stadium. Did I see attendance last nite of 14,000? With the Yankees in town and the Rays off to a hot ( relatively ) start? They have to be disappointed with that.

On to talent dilution, I haven't seen talk of this this season, who's on about it now? "Talent compression" as Zimbalist calls it, is an interesting subject.

Craig Calcaterra said...

No one mentioned talent dilution -- I just threw the term out there in the course of saying that, if anything, it's harder out there now and the pitching too good to expect someone to hit .400.

I [heart] straw men.