Results tagged ‘ Players ’

Odd and random stat of the night

Don’t ask why, but I looked this up tonight. Albert Pujols destroys Dominican pitchers.

There are nine Dominican pitchers against whom Pujols has at least 10 career at-bats. They are Ramon Ortiz, Jose Lima, Jose Mesa, Salomon Torres, Pedro Astacio, Victor Santos, Octavio Dotel, Odalis Perez and Claudio Vargas.

Against those nine pitchers, Pujols is 59-for-134 — that’s a .440 batting average. He’s hit 17 home runs in those 134 at-bats.

It doesn’t mean a thing. But it’s a cool number. This is the way my brain works.

-M.

Sweet tea and shoulder shots

Greetings from Atlanta, which is as close to my beloved hometown as the Major Leagues get during the regular season. It feels a lot like home — even had some sweet tea with lunch today. Good times.

* Rolen is already back from StL. Probably won’t play till Sunday, and possibly not till Tuesday, but we’ll see. He had a shot. He said the shoulder capsule has tightened, but that his labrum looked good on an MRI. Still a fairly open-ended issue, truth be told.

* Edmonds is activated, starting in center field and batting fifth. Andy Cavazos optioned, so for a day or two or four they’re down to 11 pitchers.

* Still, still, still waiting on Carp announcement.

-M, digging FM 92.9 here in Atlanta.

AL MVP

There’s probably not an easier vote this year, in my opinion, than AL MVP. With respectful disagreement to Buster Olney, who argues that A-Rod versus Big Papi is "a dead heat", and to Jayson Stark, who gives some well-deserved kudos to Travis Hafner, A-Rod is the guy.

Heck, even Tiger Woods knows it!

A-Rod has edges on Hafner and Ortiz in batting average and OBP, and he’s right in the ballpark in slugging. He trails Ortiz in RBIs, and actually he’s had more at-bats with runners in scoring position, but overall you’d pretty much have to call the two guys similar in offensive value. Hafner loses points for the number of games he lost. I know it’s not his fault, and his recovery is remarkable. But "number of games played" is one of the criteria on the ballot.

Oh, and then there’s the fact that A-Rod is a Gold Glove-caliber third baseman.

I’m not the guy’s biggest fan, and I’m certainly not a Yankee fan, but to me, Rodriguez is just about a no-brainer.

-M.

Young Reyes

I’m not sure what I have to add to what I’ve already written about Anthony Reyes tonight, but here goes…

The upside of covering any baseball team is easy to see: I get to come to the park every day, and I get to talk and think and write ball all day long. I’ve loved ball since I can remember, so I’ve found pretty much the perfect job.

However, there is a downside of covering a baseball team that has an 11 1/2-game lead, and it’s this: as much as the players, and especially their manager, insist that you can’t look at the standings, it’s hard to invest too much drama in any one game. Cardinals win? The lead is incrementally bigger. Cardinals lose? It’s still huge. This isn’t a complaint — there’s still pretty much nothing I’d rather be doing than coming to the park and writing about ballgames.

However, writing about a team in a pennant race is just a different animal. I’m not a Cardinals fan, but I am trying to present the excitement of the game. If you weren’t at the park, I’m trying to make you feel like you were there. That’s my goal. Any night when I do that, I go home (or back to the hotel) feeling like I did my job. And it’s this simple: when there’s a pennant race, that’s much easier to do. Those A’s-Angels this week games can all be blowouts, but if you’re in the park, it’s exciting.

One thing that separates the best beat writers from the hacks (I’ll let
you decide where I fall on that continuum) is the ability to take a
game that doesn’t have that inherent drama, and find what’s unusual or
interesting or striking about it.

All of which relates to Anthony Reyes how? Because Reyes’ debut, in and of itself, is a story — and an exciting one. There was inherent drama in this game that there won’t be on Wednesday afternoon, at least from the Cardinals’ side of things. That’s not to say the game is irrelevant, or that the players won’t be giving all they have, or anything like that. It’s Ben Sheets for the Brewers, and I’d buy a ticket to see Ben Sheets pitch against the El Paso Diablos. So it should be an enjoyable day.

And fans, I know, live and die even with Wednesday afternoon games against third-place teams in early August. It’s a big part of the fun and agony of being a fan. But some games have more drama than others at the start. Tuesday’s game had it — win, lose or draw. Wednesday’s game will have to earn it.

But getting back to Reyes. He certainly held his own. I was a little concerned at the start. He took a couple of innings to get up above 91-92 mph, and he just didn’t look all that sharp. By the third, that had changed, and he was getting it 93-95 with impressive movement. He mixed in his curve and changeup for a nice arsenal. It was a lot of fun to watch, and it was fun to write about, and hopefully that shows through in my game story from tonight.

By the way, a big hello to my beloved fiancee, reading at home in St. Louis. You asked for a mention, now you’ve got it. Hi, Erin! (Ah, the perks of having my own blog)

Talk to you all soon.
-M.

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