Tuesday, May 03, 2005
Pickoff Moves, Mr. Fixit Edition
Erratum In SpaceYes, I know that I didn't get the AL in my earlier post on defunct parks from space. I plan on doing a do-over presently along with links to the particular Google Maps page involved and cross-references, but believe me, that's a lot of work. Updates will probably be in a couple days or so, but even more comprehensive. Yeah, it'll be cool.
Desperate Measures In The BronxAlex Belth describes the desperate measures to which the 11-16 Yankees are resorting, finally breaking down on the broken down Bernie Williams at center, moving him to DH. The gist of the moves are
The precipitating straw-camel collision for Bernie happened this weekend:
To begin with, the announced changes occur in three areas, defense, offense, and roster construction:
Defense: Robinson Cano replaces Tony Womack at second who replaces Hideki Matsui in left who replaces Bernie Williams in center.
Offense: Cano replaces Bernie Williams
Roster: Cano replaces Steve Karsay [who is designated for assignment]
Bernie's arm has gone from poor (in his prime) to awful, the final straw coming on Sunday when Eric Hinske scored from third on a fly out to shallow center and Bernie's throw was so late that it was cut off before it even got to Posada at home. This, according to Cashman and Torre, who point out that Bernie is suffering from tendonitis in his elbow, is the reason they finally decided to get Bernie out of center, and it is the only thing that can undoubtedly be expected to improve with Matsui in center.The early going isn't portentious, and certainly won't recoup a badly declining Kevin "Cap'n Happy" Brown, capped by today's 11-4 drubbing by the Devil Rays (of which, Brown gave up eight earned runs). Whether these moves address the defensive efficiency that's eroding the Yankees' DIPS ERA is somewhat speculative; will Godzilla be a competent centerfielder? There's a lot of reasons to think the Yankees will overcome this bad start, but they get less numerous as the days go by. Desperation maneuvers like this one -- and ill-thought ones especially -- remind me of the 80's-era Yankee teams.
Angels 5, Mariners 0
Thank God Finley's bat is starting to show signs of waking up.
Update: Of course, the one thing I forget to mention is perhaps the highlight of the evening. Even though Ichiro couldn't buy a hit off the Angels, he robbed Garret Anderson of a home run on an incredible catch. If you missed it, it's a highlight reel for the year. And, hey, WTF is up with that idiot fan trying to snag the ball to Ichiro's right?
Nationals 6, Dodgers 2Like I said after the conclusion of the Rockies series, the big problem for the Dodgers is they simply aren't hitting. (Of course, as I write this, the Dodgers in the other room are clobbering the Nats.) It didn't help that Esteban Loiaza started to look like a real pitcher again, either.
- Kerry Wood has hit the DL, again, with shoulder tendonitis. Replaced with Todd Wellemeyer, this may prove to be a wash considering how inconsistently Wood has pitched this year.
Will Carroll disagrees on the diagnosis, however:
No slickly worded press release could make the bad news seem good. Kerry Wood has a torn rotator cuff. Big words like "supraspinatus" don't confuse people as much as they once did. The strain -- which we all know is another word for "tear" -- is not significant and took a contrast MRI to find. Finding the tear is actually something of a positive. It's likely that this was the original problem in spring training; now that it's been correctly diagnosed, it can be fixed. It's also possible that this is new, and that coming back from the previous injury put too much stress on the cuff. We'll never know for sure; either way, the answer is rest and therapy, meaning May is pretty much done for Wood and June is in question. The Cubs look to reconfigure their rotation, bringing Glendon Rusch back, as they hope they still have enough to keep the wild card in sight all summer.
- Randy Johnson will miss his next start, and according to the Will Carroll story above, may have even more trouble coming up:
Things get worse for the Yankees as they struggle and shuffle more than my little iPod buddy. Randy Johnson is facing a DL stint with a strained groin. The injury is on the left side, his push leg. His Wednesday start is off and a decision will be made then as to whether or not to place the Big Unit on the Big List. Despite this and the well-documented shakeup in the Yankees lineup -- calm down, Joe and Jay, you put down those knives -- the Yankees continue to be trying to prove Buster Olney was right. Johnson's injury isn't considered serious and, if DL bound, he'll be there for the minimum. At least they'll get Tanyon Sturtze back. He's made quick work of a rehab stint.
- The winds in Philadelphia blow ill for Phillies fans, as Jim Thome is DL'd with back trouble. His replacement is Ryan Howard from AAA Scranton, whom Mike Caminati was earlier concerned might not have a reasonable shot at the majors. Well, kid, you got your chance.
Jayson Stark has recently suggested that the Phils need to win this year or blow up the team; his April 27 column is starting to look more and more prophetic each day.
- The Padres have disabled Geoff Blum, bringing up 1B Robert Fick from AAA Portland. The Pads continue to have worse luck than a missionary at a cannibal convention. Dave Roberts' time there was predictable, but some of this is just plain bad luck.
No, Really, Dallas, Swing AwayOn today's gameday thread, Jon points me to this Baseball Prospectus chat with Nate Silver, and in particular, this bit germane to rookie Dallas McPherson:
mikefast (Santa Clara, CA): What predictive value do strikeouts have for young hitters, particularly at the high extreme? I've been involved in a discussion with a friend about the futures of McPherson and Pickering, and my friend thinks they strike out too much to ever be more than "AAAA" players, mainly because the K's limit their batting average. I can see that Pickering has other defensive and baserunning limitations, but as a hitter, it seems like the strikeouts are the price of admission for the power, like with Adam Dunn. Is their a point at which strikeouts presage a problem translating hitting ability to the majors?Something I had never thought of before. Good news, D-Mac, but you still might want to work on squeezing those pitchers for some walks.
Nate Silver: Here's a secret: strikeouts are a good thing for a young power hitter.
Let's reverse things for a moment and think of things this way: if Adam Dunn hits .266 and slugs .569 in a year in which he strikes out 195 times, that means he's absolutely murdering the ball those times that he does make contact. In other words, *if* he's able to improve his ability to hit for contact at all, the upside is real, real high as compared with, say, Sean Burroughs or someone.
Now, it isn't quite that simple, but that's the big picture. Perhaps the subject of a future LDL.