HOUSTON, TX - AUGUST 19: Miguel Montero #26 of the Arizona Diamondbacks singles in the seventh inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on August 19, 2012 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Just so you know, shaking things up a bit today. The Fantasy baseball results are still under review by Yahoo, so those will follow a bit later in the day. Next up will be the preview of the Marlins series, around lunchtime. For the meantime, however, here's this week's round-table, which not surprisingly is dominated by the Melky Cabrera news. But we also discuss the upcoming double-header, series past and upcoming and tableware. Yes, you read that right: tableware. Never accuse the 'Pit of shying away from the difficult subjects.
blank_38 is the guest this week. That position will be filled by imstillhungry95 next week, and if anyone else wants to take part, just post a comment.
The road-trip started off badly as we lost two in St. Louis, but Arizona snatched victory in the finale, then completed the season sweep over the Astros, to go 4-2. Was it enough?Clefo: Would like to have done better in St. Louis, but it ended with a bang. Sweeping the Astros isn't enough to get me excited nowadays (I'm pretty dead inside), but I can't complain about a winning road trip in any situation.
Kishi: Well, sweeping the Astros was sort of the bare minimum of acceptability- if we could have picked up four wins of our three games there, I would have been happier, and I don't doubt Houston might have found a way to do it. St. Louis, we scored 4 runs in our first 26 innings there, and if it weren't for back-to-back home runs in the ninth, we would have been swept. I wasn't pleased with that trip.
blank_38: St. Louis was disappointing and somehow Houston cured us of that. Hopefully this starts the playoff engine and gets our boys going.
soco: I'll take a winning road trip over a non-winning road trip, but as the other have said it's probably the bare minimum of acceptability. I don't think it's quite good enough to set up a pace to overtake the teams in front of us, but maybe the upcoming homestand will let the good times roll.
Jim: I'm convinced we should have won at least four games against the Astros: yeah, their badness pretty much shatters the laws of physics that way. I mean, we outscored them 56-19 this year. That's the most for a season against a team outside our division, since we got 64 versus the 2000 Phillies - and we played them nine times, not six. If we hadn't had that last inning in St. Louis, I'd be feeling a lot less positive, but it was good to get on a roll.
Which Diamondback has impressed you most of late?
Clefo: Miggy is starting to earn that new and shiny contract a bit more lately. Also Mike Zagurski (impressions are not necessarily positive, no?)
Kishi: Miggy has been playing well, and Goldschmidt seems to be having a decent stretch. I think? I have no numbers to back this up. That'd require me to open up another tab.
blank_38: For me it's Patrick Corbin. Yeah, he got hit a bit in Houston but 7 innings and 4 runs is perfectly acceptable from someone of his caliber. Keep it up young man.
soco: I'm also going to go with Miggy. He's been good all year, but sneaky good. The last week I was looking at some of his numbers in comparison to the rest of league and I was like, "damn, he's really good."
Jim: Hard to argue with Miggy, but I was startled to see who has the second-best OPS among regulars since the All-Star break. It's Chris Young, who is hitting .270/.363/.539 over that time.. On the pitching side, it's been great to see Miley and Corbin step it up. All our other starters have ERAs above four in the second-half; that young pair are both below three.
The big news was the suspension of the Giants' Melky Cabrera. Does that alter the balance in the NL West?
Kishi: Yeah, it does, but it's not like it makes our offense any more consistent, so I'm not sure it helps us out much. I am, however, disappointed in what this may mean for my fake website business... (Slogan: "My websites are real, but their business is fake! Guaranteed to fool Bud Selig or your money back.")
blank_38: Well, here's the chance we were looking for. The division is still wide open for us to take it, we just have to execute. Harder said than done however.
soco: Unfortunately it's likely just swapping out one Not Diamondbacks team for another.
Jim: Every little helps. I'm hoping it'll have an impact on his team, beyond the one or two games Cabrera's absence will cost the Giants directly. But it's probably better for the Dodgers, simply because they're closer. Arizona still needs to pull themselves up by the boot-straps before we can genuinely be considered as in this.
What more should MLB be doing to discourage PED use?
Clefo: In addition to the regular penalties, have a large Scottish schoolmarm with a yardstick deal with those caught.
Kishi: I like the idea someone put forth of donating the lost salary to charity.
blank_38: If Melky can go almost a full year with the benefits, something in your testing needs to be fixed. I don't know how you'd go about doing that, maybe blood testing or something?
soco: Guys are always going to get away with it for a time, because the testing only happens a few times a year. If you don't use PEDs regularly, then it's just kind of bad luck of the draw if your using schedule matches up with the testing schedule. That's how a guy can use for a year or two and not get caught (or maybe even more), simply because the only alternatives are to either forget about testing for PEDs, or test for PEDs more. Neither of those two options are going to happen.
So is the punishment enough? It's obviously not enough of a deterrent, if Melky and Ryan Braun have shown anything. It's a world we can't understand, where the promise of more rewards, or even just sustain existence or entrance into the Promised Land (the majors) is more than tempting enough for a player to use. The best we can do is be honest and acknowledge that players are going to get tempted and make mistakes, and when they get caught they're going to be punished. Though I'd like to see the penalties ramped up to 100 games the first offense, 1 year (calendar) for the 2nd, and lifetime ban for a third.
Jim: I'd love it if the teams simply agreed among themselves not to sign Cabrera next year - seems that's what they did with regard to Barry Bonds in 2008. If the demand for PED users is seen to be reduced, that will likely reduce the supply. A more rigorous testing policy and stiffer penalties are something I feel the commissioner should impose, by fiat if necessary.
The team may need to call a starting pitcher up for the double-header this week. Should it be Trevor Bauer, or should they use Josh Collmenter as a spot start?
Clefo: Either would be fine with me.
Kishi: Well, Collmenter's last appearance was the 8th- would he be eligible to be back for a game on the 22nd?
blank_38: Hello Brett Tomko.
soco: Seems a bit half a dozen of one, half a dozen of another that will likely bounce 20 balls in front of the plate but declared the next coming of Strasburg. Just pick one and roll with it.
Jim: Well, the absence of Skaggs, noted by Sonic, from his scheduled Reno appearance last night was interesting. I'd be quite surprised if the team decided to burn an option year for a spot start, but that's what this'd suggest. That'd be another reason to play hookey for the double-header, certainly!
We're three-quarters of the way through the season, and have a 62-59 record. Predict how many wins will we have at the end? [H/T AzDbackfanInDc]
Clefo: Pick a number at random... 85
Kishi: I'll say 84.
blank_38: 86 bob.
OT: Paper plates or real plates? Discuss. [H/T dbacks79]
Clefo: There are some people who will defend paper plates as "Convenient" and "Easy to use because you don't have to do dishes afterwards." Well, let me tell you, people of Snakepitlandia, that these people are savages and should be beaten with all the NERF gear you can find (not the foam ammunition, the actual plastic guns). Many a time have I had a barbecued hamburger ruined by the lack of friction on these all too malleable paper plates. What is this, East Timor? Have we not evolved enough as a society to use normal porcelain plates in most situations? VOTE NO ON PROPOSITION PAPER PLATES.
I'm Clefo and I approve this message.
Kishi: Man, harsh words for a college student. Or is Clefo in the pocket of Big Porcelin? Or should I say... China? Now, I'm no politician. I'm just a fella. I think that beer should be cold, and boots should be dusty. And maybe they served barbecue on fancy, regular plates in the sprawling mansion my opponent was raised in, with crazy spices that most of us have only heard of in Wikipedia articles, but where I come from? On those lazy afternoons, with kids running around the backyard using NERF guns the way God intended them to be used, and stop hitting your brother, Skyler, or I'll take those away? Well, sometimes, you just want to grill up some burgers. And sometimes, you just need a paper plate.
This message brought to you by the Committee To Keep Your Nice Plates From Breaking On The Patio So You Can Use Them For Cookies At Christmas Or Something.
Clefo: Skyler? Really?
Kishi: The Committee to KYNPFBOTPSYCUTFCACOS does not take responsibility for the naming of other kids in the neighborhood.
blank_38: I'm on the fence. Paper is nice because it's inexpensive but Real is just as nice because a little soap and you have a fresh, clean plate to suspend your food from all the nasty bugs on the ground. I propose the washable paper plate. Inexpensive, yet classy. You can use these in any situation. Having a barbecue? Bring out the "paper plates". Having afternoon tea with the ladies (or gents)? Retrieve the highly fashionable "reusable paper plate with floral design" to impress even the snobbiest of guests.
This ad was paid for by Kraft Foods. Kraft Foods, just love us already.
soco: The I'm with Soco Standing Committee of the Politboro has not official position on diningware, as you should be eating your cold gruel in the fast way possible that will allow you to return to your posting machine and continue churning out content for the Empire.
Jim: I'm really sorry I asked... A standing committee to discuss the issue at length is clearly required. But for me, anything that minimizes washing-up can only be endorsed. It's my part of filling those troubling holes in the land, too.
We come home, to face the Marlins and Padres. Thoughts on these seven games?
Clefo: 5-2. The Marlins recently completed a mini firesale, and they've been underachieving all year, plus we took 3 of 4 against them in the Fish Bowl in April (and probably should have swept them if it weren't for one of those early season bullpen meltdowns.). I sincerely hope that we don't get caught unaware by the Padres again.
Kishi: 4-3. Split the series with Miami, take two from San Diego.
blank_38: I don't feel too well about either of these so I say 2-5. Prove me wrong team.
soco: 5-2 has to be the minimum acceptable line for success. I don't think we get there.
Jim: The Marlins have given up, more or less. They've only won 11 of their last 34 games on the road, so we should take at least three games there. The Padres have been playing better of late, but are still not a good team, especially away from Petco, so we'll take two there. In other words, we WILL get to 5-2. The Dodgers and Giants face off to start their weeks, and then take on the Marlins and Braves respectively, so we should be able to gain ground.