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The B-List: 5/23
The B-List: 5/23
In today's B-List, Buff breaks down what went wrong in yesterdays heartbreaking 10 inning loss to The Twinkies. He also examines the emergence of Fernando Cabrera, the demise of Guillermo Mota, and Eddie Perez's continued dominance of left handed pitching.
Sometimes there isn't a whole lot of analysis to be done. Sometimes, the other guy is good, and sometimes, you just didn't execute.
Sometimes, it's both.
1) I am no longer on speaking terms with my Favorite Player!
You can't give up a two-out two-run double to Juan Freaking Castro. You simply can't.
(I don't mean like, "Wow, it's bad to give up a two-run double to Castro" or "I can't believe Lee gave up a two-run double to Castro," but rather, "I did not know it was physcially possible to give up a two-run double to Juan Freaking Castro." The man now,
going 2-for-3 with a double, is hitting .237/.267/.298 with (now) five extra-base hits. Two ninety eight! Does he use a Nerf bat?)
By the way, four of Lee's five runs were on bombs hit with two outs and a at least one guy who walked to get on base in front of the bomb, one of whom was Tony Batista and his .311 OBP. That's simply bad pitching.
2) The value of bullpen arms, and a Modest Proposal
Ferd Cabrera has made me a New Believer. Since returning from the DL, Cabrera has given up 5 hits and two runs in 9 appearances. The two runs came in the first two appearances, meaning he's gone seven straight scoreless outings. That's 8 Ks in 7 2/3 and 3 hits for those scoring at home.
Raffy Betancourt is not sexy like Ferd and neither roly nor poly like Merely Big Bob: all he does is throw strikes. Since returning from the DL, we have 4 2/3 IP, 4 K, 3 H, 0 BB, and no runs. Even after some bad outings pre-DL, his WHIP stands at 1.03. (Ferd's net is still bad.) He doesn't like you, and he wants you to go away as quickly as possible. I like this in a relief pitcher.
In Scott Sauerbeck's last three outings, he has thrown 4 pitches to strike out Matt Stairs, 2 pitches to induce a double play, and 3 pitches to strike out Justin Morneau. That's either really efficient or kind of a sickly joke. His moustache in his stock photo is truly atrocious, though. I would sue.
Anyway, Sauerbeck didn't go on the DL, but he does appear to have been given a more suitable role after the guys came back, so here's my proposal: put Gil Mota on the DL. We have a preponderance of evidence (that is to say, two) that returning from the DL results in a super-effective relief pitcher who throws some damned strikes, so in the spirit of correlation implies causation, I recommend this. Immediately.
3) Head vs. body
Sure, I second-guess guys, especially Inertia Man. This is part of being a baseball fan. It is also part of being sanctimonious, but that's not entirely relevant here. The point is, it feels a lot better to argue that there could have been some strategic differences that would have yielded better results, because they're more measurable and hey, fans are very, very smart.
I can't argue with Wedge last night. He let Lee pitch to the lefty Morneau in the sixth (under 95 pitches), and Lee simply did a bad job. He pulled Lee more or less right away (could he have had Ferd face the righty Rondell White? Arguably. Lee still has to
well there.). He stuck with Cabrera for 2 full, matched up Sauerbeck perfectly, aired out Betancourt, and brought in Mota. He played Lou Merloni, who could hit Santana, instead of Peralta, who has been extremely feeble against him. He moved Blake up to third and played the first base platoon. Wedge's job is to put the players in situations where they can succeed. He did that.
"We have a base to work with and we don't want to give Morneau anything good to hit. He's a free-swinger. Mota got ahead, but he didn't execute. He gave him a pitch to hit."
He's right. Sometimes, it's just that simple: don't fuck up. Mota did. Ballgame.
4) I'm sorry, the flying pig obstructed my view
Lou Merloni got two hits!
5) A positive sign, but the corner's still far away
Johan Santana may not be having the dominating year he had the end of last season, but he's still a very good left-handed pitcher. Grady Sizemore does not hit lefties of any size, shape, or skill well. So for Sizemore to stroke a two-run double off Santana is very encouraging. With two outs, this is very encouraging indeed.
6) The left-handers, I like them. Verily, yes.
Can we just pencil in Eduardo Perez to hit a home run if he gets to face a left-handed starter more than twice in a game? Obviously not: he's had a couple rough stretches of striking out and GIDP, but that was quite a shot off Santana, and to have 6 HR in pretty limited playing time is a pleasant surprise. The man is slugging .706. That's ... um ... really good. For reference, Aaron Boone has a .692 ...
. If Perez had an on-base percentage of ZERO, he would still have a better OPS than Boone.
(This may say more about Boone than Perez.)
7) Here, put on this mouse costume, and I will bat you around
Joe Nathan was ... evil. Diabolical. And not very nice. Striking out five guys in two perfect innings is downright rude.
(Boy, he's good.)
8) Around the division
Kansas City had a 5-3 lead on Detroit, then Apoplexy Burnout, recently demoted from the closer spot, allows the Tigers two start wheeling around the bases and the Royals stay the Royals. Pundits talk about whether KC can challenge the Mets for the 120-loss mark, but I say, "Hogwash!" They get to play Cleveland some more, after all.
Big stretch coming up: one more with Minnesota, then three with Detroit, then four with Chicago. That's pretty much your division there: finish over .500 for that stretch, and there's hope. Under .500, and there's not.
May 23, 2006 8:00 PM
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