The around (and about)
? Tony Gwynn, Jr. was a mediocre prospect for years. Traded to the Padres, he’s hitting .344. It would be nice if that kind of magic were real.
? Chone Figgins went 3-for-5 on Friday, continuing a nice hot streak in which he’s batted .400 (32-for-80) over his last 20 games. He’s also thrown in a 3-for-7 in stolen bases, which doesn’t help.
? Friday was one of the few occasions all year when the Diamondbacks gave Dan Haren any offensive support. He’s 5-4 with a 2.20 ERA, but in a fair world he would have ten wins. I’m reminded of Nolan Ryan’s 1987.
? Bad news from the Mariners as Erik Bedard skips a start with shoulder soreness. Scratch one prospect from the ultimate trade package, should they choose to go that way–they may yet convince themselves that their league-leading pitching staff is good enough to overcome their league-lagging offense and get them to the top of a weak division. They might be right, too.
? It was shocking to see that Luke Hochevar had a four-pitch first inning against the Reds until the Reds’ batting order was consulted. The combination of injuries and poor planning has left Dusty Baker with a lineup that’s just not Major League quality right now. Still viable in their division, a trade for any kind of bat at almost any position would be decisive.
? This is stating the obvious, but let’s state it: when the Dodgers are being shut out in homer-happy Arlington, when they have just 44 home runs as a team, then what Manny Ramirez did wasn’t just cheating, it was an act of treason.
? With ultra-prospect Gordon Beckham just 2-for-28 in the Majors, you wonder how long the White Sox will continue to be patient.
? Two former Yankees key to the ending of the Nats-Rays game (there’s an interleague rivalry for you), as Nick Johnson dropped Gabe Kapler’s foul pop-up off of Ron Villone with two outs in the eighth, and Kapler came back and knocked Villone’s next pitch into the seats to swing the score in his team’s favor. Villone actually fell to his knees as the ball went out. It’s not always big failures that make a bad team historically bad.
? Roy Halladay leaves with a groin strain, next start in jeopardy. And if he’s compromised at all, the Jays’ chances of hanging around the fringes of the AL East race just went “poof.”