A personal message to Polly Tompkins

polly_300.jpgIT GOES WITHOUT SAYING, BUT I WANNA SAY IT ANYWAY
I wasn’t at last night’s game, so I missed the opportunity to say this in person: Polly Tompkins you have a friend at the Pinstriped Bible. As Kevin Goldstein said to me over five years ago: kick cancer’s [rear end]. I can’t pass that along enough times.

And if you ever want to talk baseball with someone who has had the smallest taste of what you are going through, feel free to drop a line anytime.

(Editor’s Note: Watch Kimberly Jones’ interview with Polly here.)

QUICK REACTION TO THE (POSSIBLE) JAKE PEAVY TRADE

At this writing, not all the details have been iced yet, like who the Padres are getting back. In a way, it doesn’t really matter, because anytime a club trades a talent like Peavy it’s almost certainly going to lose the deal, because you’re trading something proven for something speculative. The exception is the miserable Yankees trades of the 1980s, like Doug Drabek for Rick Rhoden, or Jay Buhner for Ken Phelps. The Yankees traded something speculative for something fading, and their upside was far from guaranteed, whereas Peavy is an ace still in the center of his career. That’s why the Yankees have come away looking good on many trades of the Brian Cashman era, say in the Chuck Knoblauch deal. The Twins couldn’t get equal talent, so they hoped to make up in volume what they were giving up, and that’s just not going to happen 99 percent of the time — the very rarity of stars means it’s unlikely that you’ll get one back when you deal one no matter how many players are taken in as part of the package.

As for the White Sox, at 5 games out, it’s certainly not too late for them to climb back into the AL Central race, and their starting rotation could certainly use help, particularly after the very dramatic flame out of Jose Contreras, but it’s really their offense that needs the most help. The Pale Hose are batting .245/.315/.386 as a team, a scary bad place to be in this era. They need an entire infield, or even just one hard-hitting infielder more than they need a pitcher. Perhaps now they will play more low-scoring games, but they won’t necessarily win them.  

THE AROUND (AND ABOUT)
Detroit 5, Rangers 3: The Rangers are real, but not as real as say, the Emerald City sets in “The Wizard of Oz.” They could still well win the division and probably should, but they do have real problems on the road. The batters don’t walk at all, and away from their uncomfortably friendly ballpark (all the walls in Arlington are close talkers), they don’t do much to reach base — they were batting .241/.284/.425 on the road going into this game. Yes, the power is real, but solo home runs can be like a pen-pal you’ll never meet — as the Tigers showed by hitting two solos and a two-run shot off of Matt Harrison in this contest.

White Sox 7, Twins 4: One item left over from the Twins-Yankees series that’s driving him half insane (and I was already halfway there) was the extensive on-air discussion of Ron Gardenhire’s difficulty in finding a number two hitter who can hit. Is your heart breaking, yet, thinking of poor Gardy staying up nights, eyes red-rimmed from tears as he struggles to make out that card one more time? True, Twins No. 2 hitters are batting just .190/.254/.250 on the season. False that we should feel sorry for them, because there’s a very simple solution: STOP LISTING BAD HITTERS IN THE SPOT. Twins No. 8 hitters are batting .304/.381/.348 for gosh sakes. Sure, it’s just shuffling the problem around, but at least Gardenhire can bury the problem instead of giving it the second-most plate appearances on the team. The real issue is not the No. 2 spot, but that Twins’ second basemen can’t hit, yet Gardenhire feels obligated to bat them second. Compulsive nerve-twitching isn’t thinking… In other news, it seems like wherever Francisco Liriano was heading in 2006, he won’t be going back there.

Marlins 8, Diamondbacks 6: Somehow I find it annoying to type “Diamondbacks,” and I’ll be doing it a minimum of three times today. It beats digging ditches, I know that, so really, I’m not complaining. I still feel like Miguel Montero could help a contender if the D’backs felt like, y’know, rebuilding. On the Marlins side, Chris Volstad had less than his best start but still struck out nine in six innings and came away with a win. What a novelty, a sinker-ball guy with strikeouts.

Diamondbacks 11, Marlins 9: No doubt Justin Upton will take a 4-for-7 with two home runs; that’s a week’s production for some players, a month’s if you’re talking about Jose Molina. At least Upton is a superstar in the making; it’s harder to explain Felipe Lopez hitting .323/.379/.484. Depressing: a Hayden Penn start. More depressing: Hanley Ramirez going 0-for-9 in the doubleheader.

Braves 12, Rockies 4: Wow. The Braves score 12 runs, Javier Vazquez allows fewer than 12 runs — it’s neat when things go according to plan. Of course, you don’t get a pitcher as wild as Jorge De La Rosa every day, and even if you did, Francoeur still wouldn’t take a walk. Cheap shot? Sure, but willful, obstinate stupidity is also cheap these days (with prices so low they’re practically giving it away, promising you a 200 percent annual return on all the money you didn’t put in). I promise I’ll put away this particular stick for at least a few days, especially because it’s more fun to cheer “professional hitter” Matt Diaz’s 3-for-4. He’s up to .288/.369/.466 and he’s not got one-third the talent of some other guys we could mention.

Pirates 2, Nationals 1: At least everyone pitched well, up to a point. Hilarious note of the day: Nats move Daniel Cabrera to the bullpen. We’ve had lefty specialists and side-arming righty specialists. Meet the walks ‘n’ wild pitches specialist.

Athletics 7, Rays 6: Connie Mack said he was very pleased with the way Jimmy ***** played third today, and… Any team with an offense that has an adjusted OPS below 80 is historically poor; the A’s OPS+ is currently 78. Nonetheless, something is crazy wrong with Scott Kazmir, so they get to score for a change. Another positive development: Matt Holiday is hitting .278/.489/.568 over the last 14 days. And when Daffy Duck asks, “Do you want to trade him now, or wait ’til you get home?” you know exactly what to say…

Reds 5, Phillies 1: Here’s another clue for you all: the Walrus was Jamie Moyer. Oh, come on — he’s not too young. Check out the cover of “Abbey Road” — he’s “the pitcher.” You can just spot him peaking out of the trunk of the VW Bug.

Red Sox 8, Blue Jays 3: You’ll never fail like common people… The big noise is over Big Papi’s initial home run, but I dig Kevin Youkilis coming back with a 3-for-5 to push his average back over .400 (.404 to be exact). Even bigger, as we pointed out here yesterday, as that Brett Cecil failed his first test against a real offense. If the Red Sox revealed the little man behind the curtain, well, it’s not necessarily curtains for the Jays, but it could be — this way to the egress.

Astros 6, Brewers 4: In my theology, the Astros don’t win enough games to get within two games of .500, so I object to this result on religious grounds — especially when their manager makes an elementary mistake and turns in the wrong lineup card, costin
g his team an out on a batting out of order charge… Not sure that playing Casey McGehee helps the Brewers either offensively or defensively; you’d like to see Mat Gamel and some aggressive defensive subbing get a shot at hitting their way past any leather problems; the Macha-men hit well, but not so well they can afford to punt on a position…

Indians 6, Royals 5: Sid Ponson takes the loss in relief. I’ve often said that if you stabbed yourself in the fork every day for a year, you’d eventually get used to it and perhaps even miss it when you finally stopped. Ponson is like being stabbed in the leg with a fork. What a strange way to run a ballclub.

Cardinals 2, Cubs 1: Last night, Milton Bradley made a baserunning gaffe, getting doubled off of first base. Lou Piniella said, “You know what happens when you’re not scoring runs? Invariably, people try to overdo, and it leads to mistakes.” Casey Stengel, Piniella’s managerial grandfather through Billy Martin, said exactly the same thing, except that his version was, “When you’re losing, everyone commences to playing stupid.” Meanwhile, on the crimson side of the field, Chris Carpenter takes a licking and keeps on ticking. He’s more machine than man now, but he keeps coming back. You have to admire that; unlike the old days, the players have the option now to take the money and hit the sofa.

Padres 2, Giants 1: Fighting for scraps in a division that’s already over with.

Mariners 1, Angels 0: Any Santana trumps a Jakubauskas. It says that in Hoyle’s. The only exception: Wednesdays. Note: Bobby Abreu and his toe headed out early. Still no home runs for Bobby, and he’s down to .300/.400/.364, which is not unhelpful, but more like peak Luis Castillo than peak Abreu.

Dodgers 2, Mets 1: Being swept hurts, getting a one-run, seven-inning performance from Livan Hernandez and still losing just kills, because you don’t know if you’ll ever get anything like that out of his spot again. Carlos Beltran was the only Met who actually hit, but no doubt the bashing on ESPN continues. Playing guys out of position, having an old team, these things aren’t worthy of criticism, but the center fielder who is hitting .370, him we’ve gotta crucify. Truly, this is the way of the world. 

2 Comments

Youk had a GREAT first game back!

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

Is it me, or is there a lot of discussion about every single game in baseball except one involving the Yankees, with a bonus item on a trade involving two teams, neither of which is the Yankees? I’m not concerned that all of the items on the blog be Yankee-related, but one does sort of expect, with all that effort, that there be a word or two spared for the Yanks.

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