Tuesday Morning Cram Session, 7/3

BroxCee has asked The Common Man to relate this story from the SABR convention, and TCM promises he’ll stop mentioning the conference after this.  But if the prospect of riding in an elevator with Jonathan Broxton doesn’t entice you, probably nothing will.

The Common Man has a tendency to wake up early, given that he has two kids who generally need supervision in the wee hours.  So TCM roused himself at 7:30 on Saturday morning, showered, and headed out to forage up some bagels for breakfast.  On the way to the lobby, the elevator stopped and the mountainous Jonathan Broxton got on.  After confirming that the elevator was graded to handle livestock-sized humans, we proceeded to the lobby, not speaking.

As we exited the elevator, we silently agreed to go our separate ways.  It was never spoken; it was just an understanding.  He had to get to the park early for the noon start to a double header, and TCM really needed a fricking bagel.  But before he could leave the hotel, Broxton had to negotiate the overly complicated door system that kept the heat and the riff-raff out of the City Center Marriott.

He walked up to an automatic sliding door and stopped short.  The door did not open.  He cocked his head quizzically.  He backed up a step and walked toward it again.  The door did not open. He waved his arms.  The door did not open.  Because he is a mountain of a man, he reached up and waved his hand directly in front of the sensor.  No dice.  He tapped it.  Nope.  He grabbed it, like he was going to try to pry it open and MacGyver his way out of the hotel.  The door refused to budge.

Giving up all hope of the automatic door, Broxton looked over at the revolving door that The Common Man was making his way through, but seemed to decide, “nope, that’s not happening.”  He looked a little lost, and for a moment, The Common Man felt a twinge of pity for the man who had given hope to the Twins the night before, only to tear it away at the last minute by getting Trevor Plouffe out on a foul popup.  How would he get out of the hotel to get to the ballpark.

One of Kansas City’s staff came to his rescue.  Opening another door a ways down, he called Broxton over with a “Hey, Brox, over here!”  And Broxton shuffled over, hangdog, and exited through the portal, never noticing the sign clearly printed on the door: “Press switch to activate.”  God bless you, Brox.  Don’t ever change.  And good luck in the All Star voting.

Pitcher of the Night: Jeff Samardzija, 7 IP, 4 H, 1 BB, 11 K, 1 R
Samardzija had an absolutely abysmal June, losing four of his five starts, and giving up 27 runs in 23.1 innings as his control faltered and he became much more hittable.  Nothing like the Barves to get you back on track, though, as Atlanta has lost 6 of 9.

Hitter of the Night: Allen Craig, 2-4, 2 HR, BB, 3 RBI

Craig started the season on the DL, but he’s done nothing but rake since healing up.  He’s at .322/.394/.651 (180 OPS+) with 13 homers in 175 plate appearances.  Albert Pujols, meanwhile, is hitting .273/.336/.458 with 12 homers in 345 plate appearances.

Defensive Plays of the Night (Cumulative): Darwin Barney

Darwin Barney is not very good at baseball.  But for two brief, shining moments, he was all over the place for the Cubs last night.

Trade Bait of the Night: Denard Span, 0-4, BB, R

Span has hit .197/.264/.333 over his last 17 games and is just killing his value right now. As the most tradable commodity on the Twins, they need him to pick it up.

Injuries of Note:

Albert Pujols – Shoulder

Pujols took a throw off his left shoulder trying to steal 2B last night.  He didn’t come out, which means we can laugh at this.  Ow.

Daisuke Matsuzaka – Sore neck

We all know that the Red Sox are short on starters, but it’s hard to imagine they’re going to miss a guy with a 6.65 ERA all that much, if he needs to go on the DL.

Juan Uribe – Sprained Ankle

Instead of describing this, let’s turn things over to friend of the blog Mike Petriello, who will recount how Juan Uribe got injured in the most Juan Uribe way possible.

Zack Cozart – Concussion?

Cozart got his bell rung, taking a pitch off the helmet.  He probably should go on the 7 day concussion DL to monitor him.  Will he?  Why would Dusty want to do a crazy thing like protecting the health of his players?

Ephemera:

Angels: Scott Downs, 2 IP, 0 H, 0 BB, 0 K, Sv
Sure, Ernesto Frieri still has a 0.00 ERA as an Angel, but with another two innings last night, Scott Downs has given up 2 runs (1 earned) for a 0.32 ERA on the year.  That’s one hell of a back end of a bullpen.

Pirates: Garrett Jones, 4-5, HR, 2B, 3 R, 4 RBI

Garrett Jones needs some kind of nickname.  Super-schlub.  Or Flotsam.  Something you don’t notice much, and is ill-defined, but that has presence.  He’s hitting .266/.292/.505 and the Pirates are just a game back of the Reds in the NL Central

Royals: Sal Perez, 2-4, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI
If you were at SABR this weekend, you might have seen Perez sitting by himself at the hotel bar until 2:00 AM, talking on the phone.  Or maybe you got distracted by the Baseball Annies making out on the sofa next to the bar.  Either way, Perez’s late night doesn’t seem to have hurt him at all.  He’s hitting .379/.379/.793 since coming off the DL and has already hit as many homers in 29 plate appearances as he did in 158 last year.

Cubs: Anthony Rizzo, 2-4, HR
Anthony Rizzo’s 2012 is going much better than his 2011. That’s his 2nd homer in 24 plate appearances, and he’s hitting .304/.333/652.   

Rays: BJ Upton, 2-4, HR
Boy, the Rays were probably hoping that BJ Upton was going to go off this year leading up to his free agency this offseason.  He’s hitting .244/.299/.372 with just 5 homers and even his once vaunted defense isn’t looking as impressive this year.

Twins: Ben Revere, 2-4, BB

The Common Man cops to having a huge crush on Ben Revere, who’s hitting .324/.352/.379 with 15 stolen bases in 19 attempts.   Given his 4.1 BB%, it’s hard to think that this will continue, but TCM is going to enjoy it while it lasts.

Marlins: Justin Ruggiano, 2-4, HR, 4 RBI

Raise your hand if you knew Justin Ruggiano was still in the league.  Ok, so that’s Mrs. Ruggiano and no one else.  Now keep your hand raised if you knew he was hitting .397/.471/.741.  /crickets

Padres: Cameron Maybin, 2-4, HR, 2B, CS, PO
We talk a lot about tools in baseball.  Nobody has more of them than Cameron Maybin.  He has that big Craftsman chest of tools that you see at the mechanic’s.  Last year, it looked like he’d finally figured out how to use some of them, but he apparently lost the key to that big chest this offseason.  2012 has been incredibly frustrating (.206/.287/.307), but he at least managed to hit the longest homer of 2012 so far.

Red Sox: Clayton Mortensen, 5 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, 2 K, 1 R
Behold, the long reliever!  With Dice-K being and suffering from a pain in the neck, Mortensen came in and shut down the A’s for five innings.  It didn’t help the Sox win, but it did help them save the bullpen.  He has a 1.35 ERA in 20 innings of relief in just 8 games.

Orioles: Chris Davis, 2-3, HR, 2B, 3 RBI
Jim Thome around to DH, Mark Reynolds at 1B, and Wilson Betemit at 3B, the O’s seem to be content to move forward with Davis in RF.  That should be fun to watch.

Dodgers: AJ Ellis, 0-4, 3 K

Ellis is still hitting .282/.406/.417, but is at .214/.364/.271 since the start of June, with 27 Ks in 88 plate appearances.

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