Monday, June 7, 2010

Week in Review - 6/7/2010

Obviously the biggest news of the week was the non-perfect game thrown by Andres Galarraga's son.  Since you probably haven't heard enough about that whole situation, allow me to weigh in.

Just kidding.  Yes, it was a big deal and even the kind of thing we discussed around the office the day after, but I think it's probably time to just let it go.  And let me tell you a secret.  Galarraga is going to get killed his next time out.  Just shelled.  Trust me on this one.

Oh, and I suppose Wooden passing is a pretty big deal, too.  RIP.  Fifth best Wizard ever behind Merlin, Gandalf, Raistlin, and that kid from that Nintendo movie. 


1.  Justin Smoak.  Smoak is rising (sorry, had to be done).  Uber-prospect and secret crush of mine Justin Smoak got the call up early this year after Chris Davis crashed and burned (and whiffed) for the second year in a row, and didn't exactly get off to a great start.  All through April and May he never got his batting average over .200.  There were good signs, however, such as a good OBP (around .310), a good BB/K ratio (nearly 1:1), and good power when he did make contact.  One of these days, things were going to click.  And it looks like they have.  He went 8-18 this week, including a 3-3 with a HR game against the Rays, and has now raised his average to .212, which may not sound like much, but it's a huge improvement.  Oh yeah, he also walked five times.  Seriously, man, this kid can hit, and he's going to be a player for a long, long, time.  Get on board. 

2.  Tommy Hunter.  As long as I'm talking about how the Rangers' are stacking with youngster types, we might as well throw a little bit of praise Hunter's way after he tossed a complete game five-hitter on Saturday in his first start of the year.  And it's not like he threw it against a crappy hitting team like the Mariners or Twins, he threw it against the Rays.  Hunter, a top pitching prospect type, made his debut in 2008 and got destroyed in his three starts, but then came up again mid-year last season and ended up putting up respectable numbers with a 9-6 record, 4.10 ERA, and 1.30 WHIP in 19 starts.  For some reason that I don't know, he started the season in the minors, but was recalled this weekend in time to completely shut down Tampa.  Because the Rangers don't have enough blue-chippers (Smoak, Andrus, Feliz, Borbon, Max Ramirez, and the list seriously goes on and on and on.)  I don't really believe in Hunter, however, because there's no such thing as a good fat pitcher.  6-3, 280 lbs.?  Oof.

3.  Ray Allen.  Game 1: 27 minutes, 0 three-pointers, 12 points, Celtics loss.  Game 2:  44 minutes, 8 three-pointers, 32 points, Celtics win.  Watching that game 2 tonight, Allen is clearly a major, major key for the Celtics if they're going to win.  In game 1 he was limited by a bunch of terrible foul calls against him, but tonight he was able to get free and he lit up the Lakers for 7 threes in the first-half, which tied a finals record for a full game.  Pierce is being limited pretty well by Artest and Garnett has shown that he's aged ten years in the last two real years, so it's basically up to Allen and Rondo, and they came through (Rondo had a triple double) to pull it out.  They needed this one, and Allen was the biggest reason they got it.  Plus that jumper is just so beautiful.  What's prettier than a Ray Allen jumper.  Nothing, that's what.  And if you disagree you're a stupid liar.

4.  Ubaldo Jimenez.  I know I already wrote about Ubaldo early last week in his very own spotlight post, but I have to point him out once again because he won once again.  My favorite part is that he pitched seven innings and gave up two runs, and it raised his ERA by 19%.  He's now 11-1, with an ERA under one, and by all accounts is completely unhittable.  Nobody can hit his fastball, and nobody can hit his changeup.  And both his curve and his slider are above average.  His BABIP and runner strand rate are outside of the normal range, so he should come back to earth, but watching him pitch I'm not sure.  He seriously looks ridiculous out there.  I feel like I'm watching Bob Gibson or the bizarro Brad Radke.  He probably has around 22 starts or so remaining, so 30 wins is basically out of the question, but I can see him getting to 25-27, which would be the most since Bob Welch's 27 twenty years.  Yes, he's that good.  At least so far.

5. Troy Glaus. I seriously thought Glaus was retired, but it turns out he's playing 3B for the Braves, which is where I thought Chipper Jones played. Clearly I don't know what's going on. Especially because Glaus homered four times last week. That gives him 11 this year. That's as many as A-Rod, Joe Mauer, Ian Kinsler, and Nick Punto have combined. And Troy Glaus is like, 45. He should be playing softball with Matt Stairs and Matthew LeCroy, but instead he's killing NL pitching. Makes no sense. Although I'd take him on the Twins. I tire of slap-hitting corner infielders easily, no matter the amount of bare-handed pick-ups they make.


1.  Zack Greinke.  Did I, or did I not tell you about Zack Greinke?  Now, after a 6 inning, 10 hit, 4 run outing, even the too great to be put into actual words Joe Posnanski agrees.  Check out his full blog post here, but it highlights the same drop in velocity I brought up, and mentions how his slider isn't breaking like it used to - big keys in him missing bats, the #1 change from last season.  Posnanski believes that it isn't Greinke's physical tools that are hurting him this year, but his confidence.  Check out these quotes:   "The last month I haven't really been myself, I guess.  Everything looks tougher, like the hitters look better and the strike zone looks smaller. It just seems tougher out there at the moment."  and about his slider, "I was probably striking out like six guys a game last year on a slider, and now I probably do one or two a game. I still throw it, but I don't know why it's not working.  But obviously, something's wrong with it. I don't know."  Now it's not like his numbers are Kevin Mulvey-esque or anything and he's still one of the best pitchers in baseball, but it sounds like his head is all out of whack.  And for a guy like Greinke who has had some mental problems before, that is a huge red flag.  I hope he can get his head right and not go into a shame spiral, because when he's dominant he's about as fun to watch pitch as there is.

2.  Ricky Rubio.  It seems Mr. Rubio has no interest in coming to the NBA until after next season, and is only interested in becoming a Timberwolf if things "get better" and "gel."  Well excuse me, your majesty.  Did they not scout the arrogance on this kid?  I'm starting to hope he never ends up a Wolf.  Hopefully they can just go ahead and trade his rights.  Maybe they can include him in a sign and trade with the Heat and get Dwyane Wade.  I'm just sayin' that Al Jefferson, Corey Brewer, and the rights to Rubio would work under the salary cap rules to get Wade.  And, if they do that trade, that still leaves them enough to sign Bosh.  So Bosh, Love, Wade, Flynn, and Evan Turner after he slips to #4.  Sounds about right.

3.  Matt Wieters.  Good god this is some kind of world-record slump.  But do you remember when Jesus was in that slump and ended up getting crucified for it?  And then three days later he smashed through that rock and flew up to heaven?  Expect Wieters to be rebirthed in three days.  Wednesday versus C.C. Sabathia.  Make your time.

4.  Denard Span.  Since we are talking world record slumps, how can I leave out Spansy?  He tripled on Sunday, which was his first hit in June, and his 1-5 on the day was a huge improvement over the 1-20 he had put up so far in the week.  Span's average has now dipped down to .266, but because he has such a good command of the strike zone and such good plate patience, even when he's slumping with the bat he's still valuable because he gets on base due to walks.  Of course, with the injuries piling up to the point where Matt Tolbert and Brendan Harris are now considered regualrs, Span's bat is sorely needed.  Also, why did Brendan Harris play first base with Morneau out?  Are we serious here that Jim Thome is really too old and too slow that he can't fill in in an emergency?  With nearly ever big bat out of the lineup for various reasons it would have been a pretty good idea to get Thome in there.  Either he's become completely immobile or Gardy is an idiot.  I know which way I'm leaning.

5.  Nick Blackburn. Staying with your precious Twinkies, Blackburn really stayed hot, didn't he?  After a May in which he posted a 2.65 ERA and looked like he could be half as good as Dawger thinks he is, he came crashing back hard this week, going 0-2 and lasting a total of just six and a third innings, givng up 20 hits (yes, 20) and 10 runs while striking out zero.  Yes, zero.   See, here's the problem with Blackburn - if he's not hitting his exact spots, he gets destroyed because he doesn't have good stuff.  He has good control and good sinker which can be a great weapon when he can keep it down and move it in and out, but if he's not he can't get away with just throwing.  When opponents swing at his pitches they swing and miss only 5.6% of the time - lowest in the majors - so he needs the ground balls.  Obviously, this week he couldn't hit the corners and didn't keep the ball down, and he got knocked all over the yard.  This is exhibit A through exhibit Z of while he'll never be a top-line pitcher, and will always be mid to end of the rotation type.  I still like him and all, but there are going to be plenty more games like this in his future.  Zero margin for error.


t. hunter said...

Of course you don't mention Delmon Young in the Awesome category, you racist!

M.Olivio said...

Stop blowing U.Jimenez, the curse of DWG is bound to catch up if you continue this, or maybe this is just a ploy to get him off his game when he comes to Target field, either way, stop it.

Two side notes, Todd Helton now batting 6th, he is a double play machine/warning track guy at best now. Yet everybody at Coors still cheers for him like he is Matt Wieters or something.

Miguel Olivo may be the best free agent signing of the year so far, good call Royals.