Thursday Morning Cram Session, 8/9

No prologue today, as being sick and having sick children has sapped The Common Man’s will to live.  Something will be up on the site later today however, so check back.

Pitcher of the Night: Clayton Richard, 9 IP, 5 H, 2 BB, 5 K, 0 R
Shouldn’t there be an S on the end of Richard’s name? Does that bother you too?  Look, Richard is eating innings, and he pitched a nice shutout against a bad team (have the Padres and Cubs been playing each other exclusively for the past three weeks?  It seems that way).  But he’s been a completely different pitcher (in the bad way) since last year, when the shoulder started to bother him.  He’s striking out far fewer batters and now is allowing an alarming number of homers.

Hitter of the Night: Giancarlo Stanton, 4-5, 2 HR, 2B, 2 R, 4 RBI
Boy, isn’t it nice to have this guy back?  Stanton missed 25 games, during which the Marlins were 8-17.  They’ve won both games since he’s been back.  This is not solely because of Stanton, mind you, but really doesn’t it feel like it should be?

Play of the Day:  Mike Trout

Keep in mind the degree of difficulty here.  Trout turned 21 on Tuesday, which means that, in all likelihood, he made this leaping grab at the wall with a hell of a hangover.

Ephemera:

Indians: Justin Masterson, 7 IP, 3 H, 4 BB, 7 K, 2 R
Masterson is notoriously vulnerable to left-handed hitters (.294/.381/.426 off him this year) and tough on righties (.227/.299/.306).  So understandably, the Twins stacked the lineup with 7 lefties against him…and he still beat them like a rented mule.  The only batter to do anything all day was Alexi Casilla, who raised his seasonal line to .228/.267/.313.  As our good friends at You Can’t Predict Baseball say, you can’t predict baseball.

Rangers: Josh Hamilton, 3-5, 3B, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI
So much for the boo-birds and the chewing tobacco, eh?  Seriously though, good for Hamilton for trying to kick another vice and for being honest about how hard it’s been for him to quit. Maybe that will help younger kids think twice.

Brewers: Carlos Gomez, 2-4, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, SB
Well knock The Common Man over with a feather, Carlos Gomez is hitting .256/.309/.475 with 10 homers and 21 steals in 26 attempts.  He even has a reverse platoon split.  Gomez is so good defensively, that anything he offers you on offense is practically just gravy.  But if he’s turned himself into a league average hitter by cutting down on his strikeouts and changing his swing to generate more power (small sample size applies, obviously), you’re looking at an all star caliber CFer.

A’s: Pat Neshek, 0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 BB, 1 K, 0 R
The Common Man is so glad to see Neshek back in the Majors, especially after his oddessey to get healthy.  He’s allowed one batter in twelve to reach base in his four appearances, and has struck out six.

Braves: Craig Kimbrel, 1 IP, 0 H, 0 BB, 2 K
We used to talk about Aroldis Chapman’s amazing run of strikeouts, but we neglected to talk at all about Kimbrel, who has been fantastic this year (75 Ks in 43 innings, 1.29 ERA) and has struck out 10 of the last 14 batters he’s faced across four appearances.

A’s: Chris Carter, 2-3, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB
What the hell?  Out of nowhere, Carter is hitting .267/.411/.633 with 10 homers in 112 PAs.  Damn.

Orioles: Mark Reynolds, 1-4, HR
Maybe Reynolds is still suffering the affects of the oblique straing that sidelined him in May, but there’s little doubt that he’s been among the worst players in baseball with the combination of his laughable defense and his non-existent power.  This was just his 9th homer of the year.  If he can’t whomp 30-40 a year, what value does he have?

Blue Jays: Carlos Villanueva, 6 IP, 6 H, 3 BB, 7 K, 3 R
Sure, he lost the game.  But on the other hand, he seems to be winning the war. 

This makes seven starts for Villanueva since the Jays turned to him out of desperation.  He’s averaging under six innings per start, but he has 42 Ks in 40.1 innings and a 3.35 ERA and may be pitching his way into a lucrative contract as a free agent this offseason.

Yankees: Curtis Granderson, 3-5, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI
We all got excited about Granderson last year, labeling him a breakout superstar.  This year, he’s been exactly the same player, except with a couple more strikeouts and a lower BABIP that’s more in line with his 2010 performance than his 2011.  He’s not an MVP candidate, but he is a damn fine ballplayer.

Pirates: Travis Snider, 2-4, R
Since coming over from the Jays, Snider has hit .360/.393/.476 in 8 games, with just 4 strikeouts.  He hasn’t homered yet, but the Pirates have to be encouraged.

Nationals: Gio Gonzalez, 9 IP, 9 H, 2 BB, 7 K, 3 R, 1-4, HR, 2 RBI
Gonzalez does double duty, going the distance to get the win, and providing most of his team’s offense.  It’s his second career complete game and his first homer.

Royals: Jeremy Guthrie, 8 IP, 5 H, 0 BB, 6 K, 0 R
Guthrie dominates the first place White Sox, which doesn’t exactly bode well for the White Sox going forward.  Guthrie is tied for the Major League lead in losses, which would be the third time he’s done that.  They say you’ve got to be a good pitcher to lose a lot of games.  Guthrie is testing that theory.

Royals: Salvador Perez, 1-4, HR
Perez has come back from his broken leg to be even more impressive than he was in his 40 game trial last year.  His power (6 homers in 129 plate appearances) is particularly impressive, as is his ability to keep his strikeouts down.  Have you ever wondered what would happen if Vlad Guerrero could catch?  We may be about to find out.

Giants: Marco Scutaro, 3-6, HR, 2B, R, 7 RBI
If Scutaro hasn’t been the best acquisition at the trade deadline, he’s been incredibly close.  Filling in primarily at 3B, Scutaro has hit .347/.389/.490 with 13 RBI in 12 games since being picked up for Charlie Culberson (so, for essentially nothing). The Giants have won five of six

Dodgers: Matt Kemp, 3-4, HR, R, 3 RBI
Of course, the Giants have only been able to pick up a game in that time, since the Dodgers have won four of their last six.  Kemp has cooled off some since coming back from the DL on July 13, but cooled off for him is .347/.389/.564.

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