Wednesday Morning Cram Session, 6/20

Hundreds of thousands of Freddy Galvis’ rabid fans are doubtlessly confused, disillusioned, and angry this morning, as their hero was suspended for 50 games for testing positive for the “PE”D Clostebol.  Clostebol is a steroid that was used by East German athletes during the Cold War, so we should probably also suspend Galvis from the upcoming Summer Games in London, which The Common Man has been informed are actually happening, though TCM has no idea when.

Anyway, the point is that Freddy Galvis, beloved idol of the Philly Phaithful has fallen.  He is tainted.  All of his many records, titles, and awards are now suspect.  And, of course, his chances of making the Hall of Fame have faded away to nothing.

The preceding paragraphs are, of course, utterly ridiculous.  Freddy Galvis hit .226/.254/.363 in 200 plate appearances as a fill in for Chase Utley this year.  He has a career minor league OBP of .292.  And now he’s on the DL with a broken back.  The odds against Freddy Galvis ever amounting to anything useful is roughly the same as The Common Man and Peter Abraham having a hug-a-thon.  Galvis is, as far as professional baseball players go, bad at baseball.  And no amount of Clostebol, HGH, or horse steroids is going to change the fact that he’s the kind of guy who will walk just 7 times in 200 PAs. 

Meanwhile, Roger Clemens walks free.  He has been acquitted of lying to Congress when he asserted that he had never used “PE”Ds.  From 1984-1992 (9 seasons), Clemens won 152 games, had a 2.80 ERA (152 ERA+) and struck out 1873 batters in 2031 innings.  Then he struggled from 1993-1995.  Then from 1996-2007 (12 seasons) he won 172 games, had a 3.26 ERA (140 ERA+) and 2339 Ks in 2383 innings.  The only year Roger had an ERA+ under 100 was his rookie year, when he threw 133 innings as a 21 year old (and even then it was 97). Meanwhile, he posted an ERA+ above 200 three separate times.  He led his league in strikeouts 5 times.  He won 20 games 6 times.  He won the ERA crown 7 times.  He became the only man to win 7 Cy Young Awards, and he also won an MVP.  He is 9th all time in Wins (which suck, but go with TCM here), 3rd in strikeouts, and 10th in ERA+.  Accoridng to bWAR, he was worth more than 30 wins more than any other pitcher since World War II.

There is, we discovered, after years of investigation and prosecution and 7 weeks of testimony, no credible evidence available that Roger Clemens used steroids or HGH according to a jury of 12 people.  Neither is there any evidence that Jeff Bagwell used “PE”Ds.  And yet, sanctimonious members of the BBWAA, who have appointed themselves the moral arbiters of what passes as legitimate baseball history and what is illegitimate, will keep both of them out of the Hall of Fame.

But PEDs don’t turn good players into great players.  They don’t turn marginal players into good players.  They don’t turn Freddy Galvis into Jeff Bagwell, and they certainly don’t turn Jason Grimsley into Roger Clemens.  So even if Bagwell and Clemens had used, along with the hundreds of other MLBers who took steroids, HGH, and amphetamines in the 1990s and early 2000s, they still dominated their competition in ways that no other players had done before.  They are quintessential Hall of Famers.  And despite the fact that no one credible has ever accused either of doing anything against the rules, and despite the fact that no credible evidence has been presented against either of them, they’re going to be treated like Freddy Galvis.  And thus will the National Baseball Hall of Fame become a mockery of what it’s supposed to represent.

Pitcher of the Night: Jake Peavy, 9 IP, 5 H, 1 BB, 5 K, 2 R, 1 ER

Peavy pitched about as well as you can while still losing in his third complete game of the year.  He was killed by an error and an infield single in 3rd.  Aside from that, he was pretty dominant.  In 2010 and 2011, we mocked the White Sox for giving up so much pitching for Peavy, but this was the guy they thought they were getting.  He’s still under control next year, by the way, if the Sox are willing to shell out $22 mil.

Hitter of the Night: Logan Morrison, 3-4, HR, 2 2B, 5 RBI

Morrison has really struggled this year (again), hitting just .240/.323/.398.  It’s fair to wonder whether he’s ever going to reach the potential he’s flashed, though he’s still only 24 years old.  This was a big game in a losing effort, and it came with LoMo in the DH spot.  Who knows?  Maybe Morrison is one of those rare players who hits better when he’s not in the field.

Defensive Play of the Night:  Starlin Castro

It’s hard to tell if this is a really great play on a tough ball, or a decent play made great by Castro’s inherent whatever it is that makes him what he is.

Game Changer of the Night: Asdrubal Cabrera

This is as good a time as any to mention how much The Common Man hates the term “walk-off.”  The first time he remembers hearing it was in the early 2000s, and it just never sounded natural.  Why do we need to romanticize or jack up the term for something that’s already as exciting as a game winning home run?

Trade Bait of the Night: Jonathan Broxton, 1 IP, BB, K, Sv #17
There’s nothing more useless than a closer on a bad team.  Ok, maybe Ryan Reynolds. But other than that, nothing.  So Broxton should be on the market this July.  He has a 1.63 ERA in 27 appearances with 21 Ks in 27.2 IP.  He’s a completely different pitcher than he was in his Dodger heyday, striking out far fewer batters, but showing a huge GB/FB split that he’s never really had before.  Like Brett Myers yesterday, he’s probably not an elite reliever at this point, but he’s valuable, and contenders with troubled bullpens should be calling Dayton Moore.

Injuries of Note:

Jeremy Hellickson, Shoulder Fatigue
You know, if there’s one team that can weather a pitching injury, it’s gotta be the Rays.  They not only have Chris Archer, who they’ve called up to take Hellickson’s spot in the rotation, but they also have Wade Davis in the bullpen, and Jeff Niemann scheduled to hopefully return in a month and a half.  It’s an embarrassment of riches that no one is watching in Tampa.

Scott Podsednik, Groin Strain
The Common Man supposes you could feel bad for the Sox that their outfield takes another hit.  But seriously, how likely was Podsednik would keep this up (.387/.409/.484)?  Cody Ross comes off the DL and will start in LF. 

Ejections of Note:

Joel Peralta
Peralta was ejected for having a foreign substance in his glove.  This isn’t actually all that interesting (well, it’s interesting and colorful, but not significant) except to note that no one is going to pillory Joel Peralta.  No one’s going to call him a disgrace.  And if he were actually worthy of enshrinement, no one would campaign to keep him out.  Even though what he did is fundamentally no different from what some BBWAA members suspect Clemens and Bagwell of doing.

Vin Scully-ism of the Night:  Tie!

“Tonight’s paid attendance is a little more than their average. 20,244. They’re averaging 19,300.  Tonight is Jewish Heritage Night.  They made the announcement, ‘We have more rabbis here tonight than we’ve had all year,’ which was quite an announcment.”

“[Josh] Reddick suffered a terrible tragedy.  His father was electricuted while working for the power company.  His dad lost half of his left arm and a couple of fingers on his right hand.  Josh, at the time, was only a year old.  And yet, his father devoted his life to raising Josh and teaching him how to play baseball.  And so for every game that Josh Reddick plays, you can imagine what it feels like for his dad.  And as Josh says, he credits his dad for how he plays the game.”

Sorry, it’s…it’s getting dusty in here.


Phillies: Carlos Ruiz, 2-4, HR, 2B, 3 RBI
What’s scarier, that Ruiz is hitting cleanup, or that he actually deserves to be (.358/.417/.585)?

Mets: Johan Santana, 6 IP, 4 H, 2 BB, 5 K, 0 R
Yes, by all means, let’s all overreact to the two starts in which Santana kind of struggled, but not really.

Braves: Dan Uggla, 0-4, 4 K
The Braves win the game, and Dan Uggla wins the Golden Sombrero.

Tigers: Quintin Berry, 2-5, R, RBI
27 year old Quintin Berry (.337/.409/.434), whose career minor league OPS is .697, is some kind of long-form practical joke being played on the people of Detroit. This is going to be hilarious.

Reds: Aroldis Chapman, 0.1 IP, 2 H, HR, 2 R
Since starting the season with 24 consecutive appearances without allowing an earned run, Chapman has a 10.13 ERA in his last 6, allowing runs in 4 of them.

Pirates: Andrew McCutchen, 3-4, HR, 2B, 2 RBI
McCutchen pretty much just killed the Twins last night, but TCM can’t stay mad at him when he helped him find pants in Williamsport.  McCutchen’s hitting .332/.390/.562 so far.  It’ll be a travesty if he has to wait until the week of the All Star Game to find out if he’s on the team or not again.

Nationals: Mike Morse, 2-4, HR, 2 RBI
Morse hits his first homer of the year in his 64th plate appearance.  If he can heat up, it’ll really help the Nats create some distance in the NL East.

Rays: Fernando Rodney, 1 IP, 1 K, Sv #20
Rodney now has 20 saves in 21 chances and a 1.10 ERA.  Let The Common Man say that again.  Fernando Rodney already has 20 saves, and a 1.10 ERA.  Fernando Rodney.  What is the world coming to?

Blue Jays: Brett Lawrie, 2-5, HR, 2 RBI
Tom Hardicourt tweeted last night that Lawrie got into it with fans behind the visitor’s dugout during the Jays’ win over Milwaukee last night, dropping multiple f-bombs at the fans, which included kids.  Whether it’s true as reported or not, it’s basically impossible at this point to enjoy Lawrie’s game from an aesthetic perspective when he’s pretty clearly a real asshole.

A’s: Brandon McCarthy, 7 IP, 2 H, 1BB, 5 K
Our natural inclination on the Internet is to be critical of managers and their decisions.  It’s far more interesting than the alternatives. But let’s just take a moment to congratulate Bob Melvin on getting a fresh off the DL Brandon McCarthy out of this game after 7 innings and 81 pitches, even though he was dealing.  McCarthy’s shoulder will thank you, Bob.

Mariners: Ichiro Suzuki, 4-5, 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI
Ichiro flies past the 2500 hit milestone with room to spare in a rare offensive outburst for the Mariners.  Despite this, he’s hitting just .265 on the year with a .290 OBP, and it’s looking like we won’t have Ichiro to kick around anymore.  Is he a Hall of Famer?  By God, yes.