Thursday Morning Cram Session, 8/23

I might be crazy, but I’m really glad that Skip Bayless made those completely baseless, patently unfair, and utterly stupid comments about Derek Jeter last night.  Bayless will be hearing about it all day for suggesting, “If you are Derek Jeter, would you think about using HGH right now?  I am not saying he uses a thing; I have no idea. But within the confines of his sport, it is fair for all of us, in fact you are remiss, if you don’t at least think about this.”

I mean, I deplore baseless PED accusations and the public airing of suspicions without evidence as much or more than anyone, but it’s clear that there is a significant backlash in the media to Bayless’s comments, as folks have rushed around Jeter to protect him from the world’s least insightful sports media person (note, I did not say journalist) and its greatest troll.

I’m mostly excited because there’s a chance, although it’s probably a small one, that BBWAA voters see the kerfuffle around Bayless and Jeter and reevaluate how they view players from the so-called PED era like Jeff Bagwell, who have been clearly victimized by the same rumor mongering without a shred of evidence.

So while Bayless’s behavior is shameful, and he goes on the list with the other suspected plagiarists who think it’s their right and responsibility to hurl accusations blindly and without evidence, maybe someday we’ll end up thanking him for being such an unrepentant douchebag.

Pitcher of the Night: Chris Sale, 7.2 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 13 K, 1 R
Sale completely handcuffed the best offense in the American League, allowing the White Sox to sweep.  If they run Peavy, Sale, and Liriano there in the Division series, that thing could be over before it starts.

Hitter of the Night: Adrian Beltre, 3-5, 3 HR, 5 RBI
What else is there to say about Adrian Beltre I haven’t said before?  He’s should be a first ballot Hall of Famer by the time he’s done.  Also, he should wear a cup.  I implore him to wear a cup.

Injuries of Note:

Albert Pujols, leg
Oh man.  Albert’s going in for an MRI today.  In his last 100 games, he’s hit .296/.358/.581 over his last 100 games, with 28 homers, and with the Angels already sliding, this could be a huge blow.  Thankfully, they’re actually well situated to absorb it, with either Kendrys Morales or Mark Trumbo able to play 1B, but when you lose Albert Pujols, you lose Albert Pujols, you know?

Emilio Bonifacio, knee
Bonifacio is going on the DL immediately.  Contrast how quickly the Angels and Marlins are getting MRIs and addressing the injury problems on their teams, as opposed to how the Twins are handling Denard Span, who hasn’t played for 10 days but is still on the active roster.  Sigh.

Ephemera:

Rays: Jeff Keppinger, 2-4, RBI
Rays: Fernando Rodney, 1 IP, 0 H, 0 BB, 0 K, 0 R, Sv
Keppinger and Rodney were among of the best bargain signings from this offseason.  We talk a lot about freely or cheaply available talent that’s floating around, but of all the players who signed contracts for less than $2 million this year, only seven have a WAR over 1.0.  Keppinger (.319.370.447, 1.8 WAR) and Rodney (38 Sv in 40 opportunities, 0.77 ERA in 58.2 IP with 57 K, 2.1 WAR) are two of them.

Brewers: Ryan Braun, 3-4, HR, 3B, 2 R, 2 RBI
With Melky Cabrera and Bartolo Colon getting caught for elevated levels of testosterone, and all the calls for their heads because they’ve allegedly artificially augmented their performance, it’s worthwhile to note that Ryan Braun, who tested positive for elevated testosterone last year before the results were invalidated by an arbitrator, already has more homers this season and an OPS that is just 8 points lower.  He’s hitting .3308/.384/.602 in what would be another MVP-caliber season if MLB had never leaked his test results.

Brewers: John Axford, 1 IP, 1 H, 3 K, Sv
Good for Axford for dominating in his return to the closer role.  You can only hope for the best from one of baseball’s most engaging players, best stories, and coolest mustaches.

A’s: Tom Milone, 8 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 5 K, 1 R
Milone’s extreme control is fun.  In 24 starts this year, he’s allowed 0 or 1 walk in 18 of them.  He’s been a league average starter and with Colon out (as I just mentioned above), the A’s need him to keep it up down the stretch.

Mariners: Oliver Perez, 1 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 2 K, BS
Let’s take a moment to marvel at two things.  One is that Oliver Perez has struck out 19 batters and walked only 6 in 18.2 innings as a LOOGY, and has a 1.93 ERA.  If he can keep this up, the Mariner pitching coaches throughout the organization deserve a Nobel Prize.  Second, Perez “earned” a blown save for allowing an inherited runner to score, despite the fact that he was pitching in the 6th inning, nowhere even close to an intended save situation.  It’s time to revamp the save and blown save rules to make them make sense, if we’re going to use them at all.

Diamondbacks: Tyler Skaggs, 6.2 IP, 3 H, 5 BB, 4 K, 2 R
In their first respective starts for their organizations, Skaggs outdueled Jacob Turner.  Maybe outdueled is too strong a word when you walk 5 batters, but close enough.  Skaggs will now go back to AAA Tucson and wait until his September callup.

Diamondbacks: Wade Miley, 8 IP, 4 H, 1 BB, 5 K, 0 R
Miley puts Tom Milone to shame in the control department, walking just 4.4% of batters he’s faced.  Dude has been boss all season long, but nobody seems to be paying any attention.

Padres: Carlos Quentin, 2-4, 2B, 3 RBI, CS
Quentin’s having a really productive half-season (.266/.380/.502) since coming off his oblique injury.  For some cool analysis on how Quentin is able to boost his production through some ridiculously high HBP totals, check out this post by Bill from yesterday on BP.

Reds: Jay Bruce, 2-4, HR, 3B, R, RBI
Jay Bruce:  The Red Menace.  This is his nickname.  Go forth and spread the word (although it’d be great if his OPS+ was a smidge higher than 123).  I keep waiting for Bruce to really make the leap, but he’s been remarkably consistent in all of his rate stats over the last three years.  Maybe he is who he is.

Tigers: Omar Infante, 1-3, 3B, R
A lot has been made about Anibal Sanchez’s struggles (although he pitched well in this one) since coming over from Miami.  But Infante has been a pretty strong acquisition for Detroit hitting .289/.304/.485 and filling a hole in the middle infield and in the lineup.

Angels: Jered Weaver, 7 IP, 7 H, 1 BB, 5 K, 2 R
Man, did the Angels need this one.  Weaver has been their lone (relative) bright spot on the mound since the All Star Break and hopefully stops their skid.  He also seems to be some kind of demigod.  A WHIP below 1.00?  Who does that?

Rockies: Wilin Rosario, 1-3, HR, 2 RBI
Do not be fooled by the 20 homers.  Rosario is not good.  It’s mostly a Coors illusion, his sub-.300 OBP is atrocious and he’s struck out in almost 25% of his career plate appearances.  He and JC Arencibia should start a club.

Cardinals: Kyle Lohse, 7 IP, 3 H, 0 BB, 3 K, 2 R
Jake Westbrook’s re-signing apparently means the Cardinals won’t be able to re-sign Lohse as well.  Given the decimation of the pitching market, he’s looking to be, what, the 2nd best pitcher available?  Open up your checkbooks and have the money trucks on standby.

Giants: Matt Cain, 7 IP, 7 H, 0 BB, 5 K, 1 R
So much for the Giants being done without Melky Cabrera.  They outscore the Dodgers 14-6 in this sweep with their big three of Lincecum, Bumgarner, and Cain pitching 20.2 innings, giving up 2 runs, 1 walk, and striking out 19. San Francisco now has a 2.5 game lead.

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