Afternoon, folks. An off-day today, so that gives me the opportunity to discuss a bunch of random things. Indeed, they're so random, I might as well just cave in, and not bother trying to write "amusing" segues to link them. So, expect some brutal leaps in direction this entry. Please keep your hands inside the vehicle, and remain seated at all times. Oh, look: it's a Fangraph. THWACK!
Your daily dose of yummy Fangraphs goodness
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Today: Long Ball Heaven
Heroes and Zeroes
Series 46: vs Nationals, at home
Jackson: 6-for-10, 2 HR
Hernandez: 8 IP, 6 H, 0 BB, 5 K, 2 ER
Hudson: 5-for-13, 2 HR
Lyon: 0.1 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, 2 ER
L.Gonzalez: 1-for-14, 0 BB, 0 RBI, 0 R
Vizcaino: 1 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, 1 ER, Loss
Two late-inning losses and a win, but great to see Jackson get his hitting shoes back on. Is it too late for a final run at Rookie of the Year? He may be back in sixth, as measured by OPS, but he's only 6 points out of fourth place. He's got the best OBP of any qualifying rookie, though that's about as unglamorous a stat as you can hope to lead. Between the third batter and the eighth inning yesterday, Hernandez v2.0 was about as dominating a pitcher (not named Webb) as we've seen all year. His last couple of outings have been very solid, and give me hope for 2007. Hudson continues his late surge, and still has a crack at .300; amazing, considering he was batting only .231 as late as the start of June.
On the downside, our bullpen comes in for some more criticism. Lyon was probably the worst performer of all, retiring one batter of the five he faced, but it was Vizcaino's bases-loaded walk that cost Arizona the game. Gonzalez had a disappointing performance in what could be his third-last home series. Naturally, his only hit against the Nationals was a double. The Republic reports he's sitting down with management today to discuss his future. Said Josh Byrnes, "It's important that we sit down and see where everybody is at. We might already know what their position is - and we might not - but we'll get together and have a meeting of the minds and talk about things."
As briefly noted last night, the Sidewinders are now one win away from the Pacific Coast League title, after a 6-3 victory over Round Rock. Their run of good starting performances from their pitchers continued, with Dustin Nippert allowing one run on four hits and walk over seven innings, while fanning six. They took the lead in the third on a two-run single by Callaspo and a wild pitch; however, the big blow was Brito's bases-clearing double in the bottom of the eighth. Those runs became crucial, as Round Rock scored twice in the ninth and had the tying run at the plate, before Mike Schultz got the final out to secure victory. They now travel to Round Rock, needing to win just one of three games in the series, with the next one taking place on Friday.
In the Tribune, Scott Bordow argues for acquiring Soriano, as a power-bat in right-field. But even he admits it ain't going to happen. I like Josh Byrnes' response: "In general I'd rather divide it up and not bet so much on one player. So many players need to pitch in to win 90 or 95 games. It's not just one person's performance." Anyone who remembers the Richie Sexson disaster will know exactly what he means there. However, Bordow is fundamentally wrong, when he says, "The Diamondbacks also need a big bat in the lineup -- desperately." No, we don't. AZ currently doesn't have a single player in the top 25 for homers in the NL - yet only four teams have scored more runs than the D'backs. It clearly isn't the offense that's lost us this season.
Bordow also does a poor job of analyzing the team's finances, in an effort to prove his case that we could, and should, afford Soriano. "If the Diamondbacks want to put an end to these boring Septembers, they have to quit thinking small. Arizona is about to conclude its third straight losing season. Fans deserve a payoff for their patience. Soriano is only the best combination of speed and power in the game. He'll cost a lot of money, but that's the cost of doing business. And winning games." Oh, really? The Florida Marlins, whose entire salary might not be enough to get Soriano, beg to differ on that one. Bordow also forgets entirely the team's mountain of debt from the Colangelo era, that still needs paying off.
Remember Brian Bruney? The object of much scorn and derision here before being unceremoniously cut loose? Well, look who's now burning it up with the New York Yankees, having posted the following line with them:
Bruney: 12.2 IP, 7 H, 5 BB, 18 K, 1 ER, 0.71 ERA
My colleague over at Pinstripe Alley raves, "I can't remember a pitcher that has come up late and looked so dominating before." What happened? I know there was an arm injury issue with Bruney; he says, "It felt like I was throwing a brick every time I threw a baseball." But for the D'backs simply to let the guy go, rather than trying to fix it, seems odd at the least: it's not as if we have millions of pitching prospects.
The above, somewhat infamous, picture shows Dodgers pitcher Jose Lima singing the National Anthem - though it make take you some time to notice that, shall we say [MLB later cropped the picture to remove the, ah, distraction]. The dress in question was recently listed on Ebay, and another bro' in the SportsBlogs Nation, Adam at Lone Star Ball got involved: "I put a bid in on it, basically as a goof, and ended up winning it." He also gets an autographed picture of Mrs. Lima, and is soliciting suggestions for what to get written on the photo... Mrs. LoneStar's response, by the way, was "I find nothing about any of this amusing." I suspect Mrs. SnakePit's reaction would be similar. I recall suggesting we bid on Milla Jovovich's Resident Evil dress, and even pushing the investment potential, her enthusiasm was somewhat lukewarm, at best...