Monday Morning Cram Session, 8/20

Bill has been doing a tremendous series of Tweets on the fate of Denard Span, who injured his shoulder diving for a ball on August 12, and hasn’t played at all in the 7 days since.  The Twins insist he’s day to day.  Sayeth Bill:

Now, in fairness, neither Bill or I have any information about Denard Span and his condition.  Perhaps, truly, it is a day to day kind of thing and Span will suit up tonight.  That’d be great.  But you’ll have to forgive us if we don’t have a lot of faith after the Twins have made a frustrating habit of allowing injured ballplayers to linger on the active roster for more than a week, only to put them on the DL later.  This has been thier MO for years now, to the point where it’s become a running joke how useless and untrustworthy their injury updates have become.  The repetition of these errors in roster management speak to an indecisive medical staff and front office that cannot learn from its mistakes, and has too little regard for the value of a roster spot.

Ultimately, it’s probably a small thing.  But for the better part of four years, the Twins have seemed bound and determined to play with one hand tied behind their backs.  And with the worst record in the American League (by four games) and nine losses in the last ten games, it’s clear that this roster needs all the help it can get.

Pitcher of the Night: Chad Billingsley, 7 IP, 3 H, 2 BB, 4 K, 0 R
Who is Chad Billingsley really?  League average starter?  Dominant, durable righty?  God, I wish he was easy to put in a box, but he’s so maddeningly inconsistent.  No player in baseball confuses me more than Chad Billingsley.

Hitter of the Night: Ichiro Suzuki, 3-4, 2 HR
At this point, when Ichiro does something good, it’s kind of like the very rare episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation where Counselor Troi is useful.

Play of the Night: Alexi Amarista
Yes, his range is amazing.  He ran all the way to Del Mar for that ball.  But I’m more impressed with Amarista’s concentration, in avoiding both Max Venable and pulling up short of the bullpen mound in making a tremendous grab.  He also made this play, which was pretty nifty.

Ephemera:

Tigers: Austin Jackson, 2-5
Tigers: Miguel Cabrera, 0-2, R, 2 BB
When Keith Law suggested that Miguel Cabrera was the 3rd most valuable player on the Tigers the other day, he was right, though he perhaps forgot to factor in Cabrera’s durability and Jackson’s time off this year for an abdominal strain.  Nevertheless, while everyone was busy ripping Klaw for having the temerity to guggest that Miguel Cabrera wasn’t a good player (which wasn’t even close to what he was saying), nobody thought to themselves “Keith Law thinks we have two guys who are even better than Miguel Cabrera; they must be awesome.”  That’s yet another reason I hate humanity.

Rangers: Michael Young, 3-5, HR, 2B, 2 R, 5 RBI
Let the MVP calls start up again!  Never mind that he’s hitting .272/.304/.351 with 4 homers and is primarily a DH.

Reds: Aroldis Chapman, 1 IP, 1 H, 0 BB, 2 K, W
It’s been a while since we checked in with our good friend Aroldis.  Since June 26, he’s appeared in 24 games.  The Reds have won every single one of them.  And in 24.2 innings, he’s given up a single run (0.36 ERA) with 49 Ks.  That’s 53.3% of the 92 batters he’s faced.

Nationals: Bryce Harper, 2-4, HR, 3B, 2 R, 2 RBI
After hitting .171/.257/.244 from the All Star Break through Wednesday, Harper has 4 hits and 2 homers in his last two starts.  Maybe he’s starting to come around.

Diamondbacks: Aaron Hill, 3-4, 2 HR, 2B, 3 R, 2 RBI, BB
Is there any doubt who won the challenge trade last year between the D-Backs and Blue Jays?  Hill has hit .298/.353/.502 on the year and makes less than Kelly Johnson, who’s hitting .228/.315/.377.

Royals: Jeremy Guthrie, 7.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R (0 ER), 1 BB, 5 K
Guthrie took a no-hitter into the 7th before the White Sox scratched out an infield single, and finally touched him up a little in the 8th.  In his last four starts, Guthrie has tossed 28.2 innings and allowed just 3 earned runs (thanks in part to a ludicrous BABIP, but he also seems to be striking out batters again).  Man, I was ready to declare him dead just a month ago.

Royals: Tim Collins, 0 IP, 0 H, 0 BB, 0 R, BS
Collins comes in with two runners on in relief of Guthrie.  He gets a (admittedly hard-hit) ball that goes right through Eric Hosmer’s legs, and two runs scored (that are charged to Guthrie) to tie the game.  He’s immediately relieved, but picks up a blown save.  In other news, the rules for saves and blown saves are stupid and I hate them.

Phillies: Kyle Kendrick, 8 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 7 K, 0 R
Kendrick’s allowed 0 runs in his last two starts over 15 innings.  Weirdly (for him) he’s struck out 13 baters.  None of this really means anything for Kyle Kendrick in the grand scheme of things; he’s still a back end starter on a bad team at his best.  But, you know, good for him anyway.

Phillies: Domonic Brown, 3-4, 2B, 2 R, 4 RBI, BB
Brown’s now hitting .269/.355/.328 in his last shot in Philly.

Rockies: Adam Ottavino, 3 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 2 K, 0 R
We talked about Ottavino’s work as the piggy-backer before.  He continues to be a wonder in August, with three more scoreless innings.  He’s now worked 6 games and 16.2 innings, giving up two runs in the process and picking up three wins in relief.

Rockies: Jordan Pacheco, 3-4, HR, 2 RBI
Since taking over the 3B spot, Pacheco has shown terrible patience a the plate, and little power.  Here he gets his second bomb of the year, and is hitting .312/.343/.413.  That sounds ok until you remember he’s 26 and playing in Colorado, and his OPS+ is in the high 80s.

Angels: Zack Greinke, 6 IP, 7 H, 4 BB, 8 K, 6 R
Rather than tell you about how badly the Angels pitchers struggled this weekend, allow me just to send you there and to say the Halos have dropped 9 back of the Rangers, four back of the A’s, and 4.5 out of the final AL Wild Card spot.

A’s: Jarrod Parker, 8 IP, 6 H, 1 BB, 2 K, 0 R
Parker’s extreme groundballiness continues, as he gets 17 worm-burners against 11 flies.  He’s actually not that much more of a ground-ball pitcher than your average AL hurler, but has done a tremendous job of getting abtters to hit balls at infielders and of limiting homers on the flies he does allow.  That’s probably a function of playing in Oakland though, so we shouldn’t get too carried away.

A’s: Coco Crisp, 3-5, HR, 5 RBI
Since the All Star Break, the A’s 22-12 and Crisp is hitting .282/.359/.518 in 122 plate appearances while playing his normal excellent defense in center.

Padres: Clayton Richard, 8 IP, 5 H, 0 BB, 1 K, 1 R
This was a Petco special  Richard’s on a great run, with a 2.08 ERA over his last four starts, but has struck out just 9 batters in 30.1 innings in that span.

Twins: Samuel Deduno, 6 IP, 5 H, 6 BB, 2 K, 2 R
sam Deduno continues to be a frigging warlock.  He has allowed 36 walks in 46 innings against just 30 strikeouts.  Weird dude.

Pirates: Pedro Alvarez, 1-6, HR, 2 BB, 2 K
If it weren’t for the two walks, this would be the most Pedro Alvarez game ever.  His homer gave the Bucs the lead in the top of the 19th.

Yankees: Hiroki Kuroda, 8 IP, 4 H, 0 BB, 4 K, 1 R
Kuroda’s incredible 2012 continues, as he takes the Yankees biggest rival and stomps on their necks.  The Red Sox held a meeting after the game to complain to management that they don’t like facing Hiroki Kuroda much, and would very much like him to be fired, please.

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