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Thursday, April 27, 2006

Pickoff Moves

Today's Birthdays

Jim Eppard CAL b. 1960, played 1987-1989

Hy Myers BRO b. 1889, played 1909-1922, d. 1965-05-01. Wilbur "Uncle Robbie" Robinson's principle centerfielder for the Brooklyn Robins of the teens and early 20's, his odd running stance endeared him to fans; according to New York World-Telegram columnist Murray Robinson in 1954, "Myers galloped with his long arms held straight down by his sides, like a man running for a train with a heavy suitcase in each hand". Part of the squads that won the 1916 and 1920 National League pennants, he presaged the Sandy Koufax/Don Drysdale holdout by almost fifty years when he and several other members of the 1916 team staged a holdout of their own. Myers sent Charlie Ebbets a missive on official-looking letterhead, reading "MYERS'S STOCK FARM", declaring his farm's productivity, and his inability to go on as a baseball player because of it. Ebbets then decided to personally visit the reluctant players at home. Myers' farm not being all that productive, he borrowed animals from his more prosperous neighbors, quickly convincing an impressed Ebbets to give him a substantial raise. Afterward, Myers held a barn dance to thank his neighbors.

Frank Wurm BRO b. 1924, played 1944, d. 1993-09-19

Send 'Em All Back To AAA: Angels 4, Tigers 0

Howie Kendrick's a bust, and so is Casey Kotchman, and Jeff Mathis! Send 'em all down to Salt Lake! Well, not yet, and I say these things as a tonic to those expecting the rookies' adjustment to the majors to be painless. Kotchman and Mathis didn't start against a lefty yesterday, and Kendrick saw a grand total of seven pitches, and never hit the ball out of the infield. Of course, Reggie Willits' pinch-running appearance went off without a hitch, though he never scored.

The fact that the Angels won, then, can be attributed to John Lackey's phenominal eight-inning performance, giving the bullpen, non-Scot-Shields-division, a much needed day off. As well, the Angels scored on Vlad's homer and a happy bit of baserunning by Chone Figgins, who doubled to lead off the fifth, stole third, and then trotted home on a bad throw. That is to say, the Angels hardly had to break a sweat, and everything that needed to go right, did. Coming up next: the Chisox, and hopefully minus Doug Eddings anywhere near the proceedings.


Porch Swing: Astros 8, Dodgers 5

Both sides took advantage of the short porch in left at the Astros' park, but it was really Odalis Perez who got hammered, giving up six earned runs and seven overall. He might just be a candidate to become this year's Hideo Nomo, 2004 edition: a guy who used to be good getting a lot worse. But the real idiocy was in the hands of Grady Little, who Tuesday decided to yank J.D. Drew in a foolish double switch that removed his best hitter from an extra innings game — in the bottom of the ninth. Yesterday, he didn't even pencil in Lofton's or Kent's name to the starting lineup. His excuse, of course, was that he needed to keep his veterans fresh, but with a day off today, why not let them play? We're seeing the worst of Little already, and it isn't even the All Star break. At least Boston didn't have to go through these kinds of contortions; in the AL, the double switch is unknown.

Update: yes, it's true, I'm a jackass. As pointed out in the comments below, OP's had three good outings and one explosion, hardly Nomo-land. And, at least for Furcal, some of those guys need a day off or ten to be productive.


Alfonzo Griping Already

Edgardo Alfonzo's griping about playing time, and it's not even May:
"I came here because they told me I could compete for the third base job," said Alfonzo, 32, who had 27 homers and 108 RBI for the Mets in 1999 but is hitting .158 this season. "I thought I would get a regular chance to play. If I had seen the situation like this, or seen what it was, I would have stayed."


"I think their minds were made up," said Alfonzo, who averaged .275, 13 home runs and 67 RBI in three seasons with the Giants. "In the offseason, in December, they told me I could compete at third base. They didn't promise anything, but if there was competition, I would go there. When I came here, I didn't see competition."

He doesn't particularly care for his utility role.

"It's still early. I don't want to say it will be that way the whole year," he said. "I just want to get playing time. This is the last year of my contract, and I don't think there is any chance for me to get a fair contract next year if I don't play this year. ... I'm trying to be ready for anything either here or someplace else."

Via BTF.

Roster Notes

Huh? Drew and Nomar played. Kent and Furcal didn't.

Doesn't change the fact that double-switching Drew out for the fearsome bat of Ramon Martinez the other night was stupid, though.
Screwage. I could have sworn I didn't hear Steiner call Drew's name once.
Prior to this Odalis gave up three runs in his last 19 innings. I don't think he's anywhere near a candidate for Nomo status.
For some reason, OP's bad outings stick with me more than his good ones. His 2005 is maybe a big part of that.
The Dodgers are the easy part of everyone's schedule. What's there to fear?
And so the Angels are expected to help Alfonzo get more money? That's rich.
While bullying Kendrick's offensive performance yesterday, the least you could do is mention that he played flawless defense, was active in many plays, and turned a DP. It's his defense that's the big question mark right now, so I think yesterday was clearly a net-positive performance for Howie.
Maxwell -- oh, of course. But my comments were more aimed at the "win now" crowd who have started calling for Kotchman to be sent down, and using Kendrick as a convenient whipping boy.

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