Nightly Notes from All Over
1.) First, I will discuss the Twins for a bit. As good as the starting pitching has been (and tonight it was just ok, not great), it's very clear that the Twins offense is -- well -- bad. I don't think this point needs a lot of elaboration. As fun as it was to get excited about making a playoff run after the Twins gained 5 games in about 10 days in the standings, the last couple of games have demonstrated why a miraculous comeback remains exceedingly unlikely. And I have to give credit where credit is due -- Luis Rodriguez went 2-for-3 today to raise his batting average above .200 (all the way to .204!), so props to him. Incidentally, he went 5-for-17 in July and now is 2-for-3 in August -- that's a 7-for-20 stretch dating back to June 28, which is a .350 batting average. It's an obscenely small sample size, but maybe I should stop complaining so much about L-Rod. Tell ya what -- I'll shut up so long as he keeps the ole' BA above .200 from here on out, eh?
2.) Boof -- it was alright. Seven innings and 93 pitches was encouraging, 4 runs was not great but not terrible -- all in all, a nice "average" night. And Juan Rincon . . . just not good. 6.23 ERA!?! Yeeesh. Carmen Cali, by the way, was horribly wild, walking three in just 0.2 innings of work. That deserves another yeesh.
3.) I'm not going to hit anybody over the head with a ton of statistics or a detailed analysis here, but I wanted to mention the Eric Byrnes contract. Seems homeboy just signed a three-year, $30 million deal to stay with the D-Backs. This is a man with a .268 career batting average, and a career high of 26 HR's and 79 RBI's in a season. Forget about the ramifications for other players, and just sit back and ponder the fact that Eric freakin' Byrnes just got a contract that will pay him $10 million per year. Un-bleepin-believable.
4.) I can't find the link right now, but a couple of days ago I read a story that mentioned Barry Zito making a relief appearance. Yeah, yeah, big deal, right? But it got me thinking (and I might consider this in more detail in a full article later on) -- is this the wave of the future? After all, every starter in baseball throws bullpen sessions between starts -- why couldn't they just be used in a game instead? The conditions would have to be very closely monitored -- a max of 15 pitches at full power, say, or even better just one particularly tough batter -- but I think it could be done. The downside is that you lose the advantage of the bullpen session where you work on mechanics or one particular issue, and you introduce the complexity of a game situation into the mix -- but can you imagine having Johan Santana available to come in and face, say, David Ortiz three days after his last start and two days before his next? I doubt that this is going to catch on, but it seems worth at least considering.
5.) I hate the Yankees. I thought this was going to be the year that the legions of Yankee haters could rejoice at a playoffs completely outside of the Bronx. I'm starting to get this horrible, horrible feeling that I was wrong (yes, my delusional thinking has held out until the recent run of shellackings).
6.) Two confessions: I really like watching racing (stock car or open wheel -- NASCAR, IRL, Champ Car, F1 -- none of that drag racing junk), and I enjoy falling soccer (not the MLS). That makes this an interesting time of year, as the English Premiere League gets ready to kick off (on Saturday already!), the Champions League is about to finish up its second round of qualifying, and as the Nextel Cup grinds towards the Chase for the Cup. Relevance? None -- just wanted to give all of you more of a reason to mock me, should you so desire.
7.) Can Pre-season football already have begun? Looking at the Vikings schedule, I think they have a good chance to start out 3-1 (wins over Atlanta, at Detroit, and home against Green Bay, with a loss in week three at KC), but then things get rough. They play at Chicago and at Dallas, then home against Philadelphia and San Diego. I say they go 1-3 in that stretch (no guesses as to which game they steal), to put them at 4-4 halfway through. Winnable games at Green Bay, vs. Oakland, at NYG, and home against Detroit follow up, followed by a rough stretch at San Fran, home against Chicago and Washington, and then at Denver. I'm going to guess that they end up finishing 8-8 on the year. Anyone want to go over/under on that guess?
Labels: Nightly Notes