W: Feldman (16-4) L: Carmona (3-10)
How about those Faroe Islanders?!
1) The Story of the Uglier Ducklings
Once upon a time, there were two newly-hatched waterfowl, Fausto and Raffy. Disoriented and confused, they stumbled in line behind a procession of pitching ducklings, all of whom were pretty homely. They all walked too many guys, and most of them couldn't strike out Mark Reynolds doing a Chris Davis imitation. But despite the the patchy, mange-like feathers and the bills that didn't quite point in the right direction, their mother had no trouble identifying them as ducks.
Fausto and Raffy, though, stood out, even amongst this motley collection. Instead of quacking, they made a godawful honking sound. Their feathers made the other ducklings look preened and well-groomed. Their enormous webbed feet gave them an unsightly awkward gait, even by homely duckling standards. And they walked WAY too many guys. Fausto was supposed to be good at getting the other animals in the pond to drive into the shallow mud, but instead showed a propensity for having them leap and fly clear out of the clearing. On the other hand, where Raffy once showed an ability to get other animals to flail harmlessly, they now struck him with such repeated force and accuracy that his welts added to his unseemly appearance.
Weeks went by, and the repeated abuse of the other animals in thei pond continued unabated. Even the poor lads' mother joined in the act, referring to the two as "(deleted)" and "(truly deleted)". Although it is shameful to heap such scorn on two helpless youthful waterfowl, no one in the pond thought ill of the mother for doing so, because ... well, let's face it ... these guys were U-G-L-Y. Not just ugly, but OOGLY.
Then, one magical night, the boys matured. As if overnight, they changed from their formerly-ugly baby waterfowl into grown-up versions of themselves. And lo and behold, in true Hans Christian Andersen form, they were truly transformed.
Sadly, Fausto was now a naked mole rat. And Raffy was a Fungi from Yuggoth, causing everyone around him to lose 1D6 of SAN. Cthulhu f'thagn! Iä! Iä!
And everyone threw up and went insane.
The moral of the story is, "Why are you letting depressed Scandinavians with six-month winters of total darkness write stories for your children?" Have you ever read the original "The Little Match Girl" or "The Little Mermaid"? Did you realize that DYING is a HAPPY ENDING to Hans Christian Andersen? I mean, it's preferable to morphing into a naked mole rat, sure, but c'mon.
2) On a more competent note
Let's give massive credit to Jensen Lewis and Mike Gosling (ironically not part of the tale above) for pitching very well yesterday: in 7 1/3 innings of work, these two combined for 4 hits (all singles), 1 walk, and 3 Ks while holding the explosivesque Rangers lineup scoreless. I mean, that's good stuff.
Consider the case of Jensen Lewis, who has fallen out of favor in terms of being a primary setup man or closer or really anything involving a close, winnable game at this point: six of his last ten outings have been for more than one complete inning. Since a very poor April, he has held opponents to monthly averages of .241, .234, .206, and now .111 (he has no July data). Sure, his May ERA was still lousy, but since the All-Star Break he's thrown 15 innings of 3.60 ERA ball, holding opponents to a .173 AVG and striking out 12 guys.
He's walked 7 guys: that's terribibble. And he has given up 11 homers in 54 innings pitched: that's beyond putrid. But only 2 of those homers have come since the Break, and his WHIP is barely above 1.00 (because of the walks: he's only allowed 9 hits in those 15 innings).
Here's what I'm driving at: Lewis needs to walk fewer guys and keep the ball in the park, it's true (not to mention obvious). But Lewis is capable of taking an entire spin through the order and has been used for multiple innings as often as not this season. If he can figure out his gopheritis and maybe throw a couple more strikes (note that Lewis did not walk a batter in his 3 1/3 innings yesterday), maybe HE can be the Sowers Shadow we talked about earlier.
As for Gosling, I have no idea, but since coming back from the minors, he's thrown 5 scoreless innings, giving up two singles and a walk against 3 Ks. He ate the innings, and that's good. No roster decision should ever come down to, "But how does this affect Mike Gosling?", but hey, the guy did well.
3) Tony Sipp
Two Ks, both swinging, and an infield single that made Esty German's career. I'm encouraged for next season. Even with some May blunderbussery and July badness, Sipp's overall numbers are still good (3.13 ERA, 1.17 WHIP). In August, Sipp sported a 0.75 ERA and a 0.50 WHIP; in Sept., the WHIP climbs to 0.90 but the ERA is 0.00.
I will take this.
4) Giving up figuring out the thought process
Trevor Crowe is hurt enough that the switch-hitter batter right-handed against right-handed (and 16-4 with a 3.46 ERA) Scott Feldman. This is not because Feldman's new cut fastball bores in too cruelly on lefties, it is because it hurts Trevor Crowe to swing the bat left-handed. So he's playing center field because ... he's a gamer? He reveres Trent from "Total Drama Action" and was required to play on 9/9/09? We hate him? He got a hit and a walk yesterday, making him one of two players to reach base twice, so good job. But why?
Niuman Romero at first base. Really now. Iä! Iä!