The Star-Ledger’s Dan Graziano penned a piece on managerial outbursts today. It’s a fairly unremarkable piece except for this one quote by Joe Torre:
“I haven’t had the energy to do stuff like throw the bases into the outfield,” Torre said. “I haven’t gotten to that point. There’s a pretty good chance I’d hurt myself if I did that. (Don Zimmer) will tell you some stories about taking the tobacco out of his mouth and throwing it down and realizing his teeth were in it.”It just speaks for itself. · (3) ·
It turns outÂ that LeBron James does have something on David Price: a chance to play for a championship.Â There were upsets galore in the NCAA Regionals this weekend, none bigger than top seeded Vanderbilt – #1 team in the country for 9 consecutive weeks, and the home of the nation’s best pitcher (Price), best hitter (the Bronx’s Pedro Alvarez) and best closer (Casey Weathers) -Â getting bounced from the postseason by an upstart Michigan team in extra innings last night. VandyÂ threw everything but the kitchen sink at the Wolverines, bringing in Price, #2 starter Brett Jacobsen and sometimes #3 starter Mike Minor out of the pen.Â Price was hung with the L after giving up a homer to pinch hitter Alan Oaks in the 10th. Here’s the box score.
My pick to win the CWS – #4 ranked Texas – lost to UCÂ Irvine to end their season. I’m shocked just like many other poeple, but I give Irvine their props – they’ve been a good team all year and just flat out-pitched the ‘Horns. Here’s that box.
Louisville is this year’s cinderella team, advancing toÂ a Super Regional matchup with Oklahaoma State after beating Miami and Kent State twice in the Columbia regional. Beating Miami twice is quite a feat, they’ve been to Omaha 10 times in the last 14 years by anything but accident.
Only 3 of the top 8 nation seeds are still alive, with #2 Rice, #3 UNC and #5 Arizona State winning their Regional matchups. You can view the updated brackets here. If you care to mock me, you can check out my pathetically wrong picks hereÂ - only 6 of my Super Regional teams are still alive, although that could still end up 7 with a Virginia win over defending national champs Oregon State in today’s Regional finale (weather pushed a couple games back).
There’s really not a clear cut “this is the team to beat” school still out thereÂ in my eyes; Rice has some pitching questions, UNC had trouble getting past Western freakin’ Carolina, and Arizona State is a team that has to bludgeoning their opponents offensively to win. If Oregon Stae wins today, they could make run because they’ve been there before, but they really backpeddled into the tourney, so they’re far from aÂ lock for Omaha. My de facto pick is Clemson because of their pitching staff, but they reallyÂ need to get theirÂ lineup going to have a chance – their best hitter, Brad Chalk, hasÂ 12 XBH this season. That’s not a typo.
For more college baseball info than you could possibly get your head around,Â check out the The College Baseball Blog.
Does anyone particularly want to relive last night’s game? It was simply excruciating. As much as we’ve advocated Mighty Matt on this site, even we can’t avoid the glum conclusion that he’s never going to start a game for the Yankees again. In fact, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him DFA’d to make room for whomever will be called up today. It’s sad to see such a hard-working, smart kid bite the dust, but that’s baseball for ya. Here’s to hoping he catches on with another team.
The problem, apparently, was his inability to throw strikes — which has been his problem all season. He threw just 44 pitches last night (though that was through an inning and a third), 23 of which were strikes. A starting pitcher just isn’t going to get by with that kind of performance. He only walked one batter, but it was only a matter of time before he issued more free passes. Some may say it was a quick hook by Torre, but it’s tough to argue with it.
What you can argue (and by all means should) was his decision to replace DeSalvo with Ron Villone. Remember this: Ron Villone also doesn’t throw a high percentage of strikes. This is why many of us had no desire to see him return this season: beyond his abused arm, he walks too many guys for a reliever. He hit a nice string last summer of stellar performances, but that’s looking more and more like luck at this point. Jim Thome’s home run is a great example. Having trouble throwing strikes, he just kind of laid one in there. According to Enhanced Gameday (which does have its flaws), that pitch was a straight fastball right down the middle. Of course Jim Thome’s going to take it deep.
Finally, though, we saw Chris Britton. The dude may be fat, but he sure can pitch. He threw three full innings, retiring the first nine batters he faced before Paul Konerko took him over the wall. Now, consider this: when was the last time he pitched (Mike, this one is for you)? Not all weekend, certainly. And now he’s called on for a third inning. I’d say that’s pretty impressive. He walked no one, and the only hit he surrendered was the homer. Oh, and he threw 63% of his pitches for strikes. There is no reason for him to return to Scranton.
Lastly, it’s time to complain about the offense. Jon Garland allowed seven hits and issued three walks, and the Yanks still couldn’t put anything together. Josh Phelps’s two double plays didn’t help — though he certainly hit the ball hard on at least one of them (didn’t see the other). Hey, sometimes you hit it hard and it’s right to someone — like Konerko’s drive to left center that landed in Matsui’s glove. So yeah, the two DPs and the error hurt, but he also drove in one of the team’s runs. Give him time to settle into an everyday role, and he’ll be just fine at first. Well, that, and hours and hours of fungoes from Larry Bowa.
T-Clip vs. Mark Buehrle tonight. We just need six innings from Clip. Proctor is rested, so you can hand him the ball for two or give Bruney an inning before Mo. Or we could just blow them out and not need the top guys. No word yet on who will take DeSalvo’s spot. Rotoworld is saying it’s Basak. We’ll keep you posted.
Last 7 Days
Sorry about yesterday’s lack of an update. The database wasn’t updated nearly in time to get it in.
Melky: 444/476/722 — Melky man, raking!
Cano: 429/520/810 — three walks in seven days. It’s a modern-day miracle!
Abreu: 389/522/611 — I’m loving the top 3
Phelps: 312/389/312 — keep him in the lineup and watch that slugging percentage rise
Jeter: 111/143/259 — not good to see our Nos. 1 and 2 hitters at the bottom
Triple-A Scranton (7-2 loss to Rochester)
Alberto Gonzalez: 2 for 4, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 K
Bronson Sardinha: 0 for 4, 3 K – promote Kennedy! promote Kennedy! why isn’t everyone demanding Sardinha’s demotion???
Andy Phillips: 1 for 3, 1 K, 1 E (fielding)
Shelley Duncan: 0 for 4, 2 K – 1 for last 7 after 4 for previous 11 with a double and 3 bombs…
Angel Chavez: 2 for 4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 K – in case you haven’t been paying attention, he’s been mashin’ this year…
Jamal Strong: 2 for 3, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 K
Steven Jackson: 5 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 1 HB, 7-1 GB/FB
In which we ponder the fate of Luis Vizcaino.
Earlier today, the White Sox optioned struggling relievers Mike MacDougal and David Aardsma to AAA. In their place, they recalled some dude named Ryan Bukvich. Oh yeah, and our old buddy Bret Prinz. Dude must have been hurt, as he’s thrown just 29.1 IP over the past two seasons. He’s sporting a 0.56 ERA in 16 AAA innings this year, but those nine walks don’t help his cause. · (1) ·
While chatting on the Banter last night during the heart attack-inducing end of the game, I noticed a fellow commenter state that Kyle Farnsworth should be the David Ortiz specialist. The numbers, albeit in limited plate appearances, bear out that statement. Farnsworth has faced Ortiz 9 times. Ortiz is 0 for 6 with 4 Ks and 3 BBs. When you compare those numbers to Ortiz’s .313/.333/.563 line in 17 plate appearances against lefty specialist Mike Myers, it’s clear who should be pitching to Ortiz with the game on the line. · (0) ·
It’s theÂ nature of the draft to give second chances. The Orioles yearned forÂ Mark Teixeira‘sÂ middle-of-the-order bat in 2001, but sat and watched as Texas popped himÂ with the 5th overall pick, 2 spots ahead of the Orioles.Â Instead of sulking and blowing the 7th overall pick on, ugh, Chris Smith, the O’s could have made up for losing out on Teixeira by drafting Ryan Howard, who the PhilliesÂ took 135 picks after Teixeira’s name was called.
Stuff like this happens every year. Twenty-seven teams didn’t even have a chance to draft Red Sox killerÂ Alex Rodriguez in 1993, but all 27 passed on Scott Rolen at least once. Now of course it’s easy to go back and say these teams missed out, but the point is that there’s talent out there, you just have to look for it. Here’s a couple of the guys that could keep you from throwing a chair when some team picks your guy on draft day:
What You Want: An outfielder that profiles as aÂ middle-of-the-order bat and should move quickly.
The Top Dogs: Kyle Russell, Texas &Â Kellen Kulbacki, James Madison
The Alternative: Grant Desme, OF, Cal Poly. After transferring from San Diego State, Desme was monster for the Mustangs this spring, going .405-15-53 with 12 stolen bases and 17 doubles. Alas, Desme’s season came to a premature end when he was hit by pitch that broke his wrist. He’s a solid athlete with a nice arm and good baserunning skills, and obviously, a plus hit tool. For a team looking to land that masher without breaking the bank, Desme’s the guy.