Pepper: Doc the finisher
Posted on: May 5, 2011 10:30 am
Edited on: May 5, 2011 1:20 pm
By Matt Snyder
FINISH HIM: Roy Halladay is an old-school pitcher in more ways than one, but we'll just concentrate on the complete games for today. He toes the slab each day expecting to finish the job he started. And he does it with rare frequency in this day and age of obsessive pitch counts and situational relievers. As I noted on Baseball Today -- which you should have already viewed above -- Halladay is such a complete game machine that he has more since 2003 than all but six major-league teams. Of course, the Blue Jays lead the majors in that span due to the 44 Halladay provided them (of 77 total) and the Phillies 56 in that span, just one more than Halladay -- who has provided the Phillies with 11 thus far. He's great in so many ways, but Halladay's ability to complete games unlike any other single pitcher this generation is what truly sets him apart. (MLB.com )
NAME THAT TEAM: The Reds have a new Double-A affiliate coming to Pensacola, Florida. The team name is being chosen through a voting process with the fans. They have narrowed the field to six finalists now: Aviators, Blue Wahoos, Loggerheads, Mullets, Redbones and Salty Dogs. Mullets? Really, Pensacola citizens? I like creative names, but making a joke won't be funny for much longer than a few days. I love the other five choices, actually. Which means Mullets will win. (PNJ.com )
HELTON TIES GEHRIG: Todd Helton ripped a double Wednesday night, which was No. 534 of his career. It tied him with the great Lou Gehrig for 31st on the all-time list.
"It's an honor to be mentioned at any level with a guy like that," Helton said. "That's a lot of doubles. I always considered myself a gap-to-gap hitter, and that's the way you get doubles. "More important, there were two guys on, and they turned out to be pretty big runs." (MLB.com )
GROUND RULES: Not one, but two games were affected by a batted ball being lodged between the outfield wall and the ground Wednesday night. In Tampa Bay, it was off the bat of Evan Longoria. Had Juan Rivera left the ball there and gotten a ground-rule double ruling, the Jays wouldn't have clipped Johnny Damon at home as he was trying to score from first. The Blue Jays ended up winning by one, too. On the other hand, in the same situation in Kansas City, Orioles' center fielder Adam Jones left a ball lodged in the base of the wall and let the umpire make the call while Mike Aviles raced around the bases for a would-be inside-the-park home run. The umpire called it a ground-rule double and Aviles was eventually stranded as the Orioles won by one run. Particularly disturbing was how easily Jones pulled the ball from the wall after the umpire made the call. It was stuck, only lodged. I don't want to make outfielders sift through obstructions in the outfield, but they shouldn't be able to gain an advantage for their team by refusing to touch a ball that slightly lodges in the wall. Please note, I'm not blaming Jones. It was smart because he knew what would be called. The rule is the issue. (MLB.com )
SIGN LANGUAGE: Mets catcher Josh Thole has a dog that was discovered to be deaf. Along with his wife, Thole has taught the dog to understand sign language and has since made many friends in the animal-care community. (New York Daily News )
SOON TO BE GATHERING DUST: Raise your hand if you're interested in reading John Rocker's "memoirs." Yeah, apparently his book, which he's shockingly having to self-publish, is due out in June. It's called "Scars and Strikes." It's reportedly a mixture of politics and sports. That's good. I always felt he needed to talk more about his political views, because it's paramount we learn what he thinks as soon as is humanly possible. I don't even know how we've survived the past few years without hearing much from him. (AJC.com )
THERE'S A STAT FOR EVERYTHING: In case you don't believe me, cloudy skies benefit hitters while wide-open blue skies benefit pitchers. Seriously. "Brighter conditions may result in increased eye strain for a batter and a higher level of glare in a ballpark," a meteorological study found. (OC Register )
CENTURY MARK FOR STAIRS: Matt Stairs has been around long enough to collect 100 pinch hits. (Washington Post ) The longevity is probably more impressive, though. Stairs has played for 12 teams in 19 seasons. He's actually been a pretty good hitter for much of that journeyman career. His triple slash line (Average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage) is .263/.357/.480. That gives him an OPS-plus of 118.
THROWBACKS: The Dodgers and Cubs played a game in some really nice throwback uniforms Wednesday. Here is a post that tells you far too much about the uniforms. (Uniwatchblog.com )
TAKES ONE TO KNOW ONE: It's no secret Mike Stanton has some serious power. Consider Mark McGwire impressed after having seen Stanton up close. "Power hitters are born. He's just a born home run hitter," McGwire said after noting that Stanton is so talented he can play for "the next 25 years if he likes." High praise from a former basher himself (and keep the snickers to a minimum, please). Oh, and this was all said before Wednesday night when Stanton's bomb buried the Cardinals. (Miami Herald )
WHITHER WORLEY: Vance Worley is 2-0 with a 0.75 ERA and 12 strikeouts in 12 innings through two starts for the Phillies. Of course, he's about to have no spot in the rotation once Joe Blanton returns from the disabled list. You can't exactly bump Halladay or Cliff Lee or Cole Hamels or Oswalt. Blanton is firmly entrenched as the fifth starter, too. Philly.com takes a look at why it's OK for Worley to be sent back the minors and where he might fit if the club is inclined to keep him up with the big boys. One thing they didn't mention that I'd like to add is that maybe the Phillies could deal Blanton for a bat at some point? Some team is sure to get desperate for pitching at the trade deadline and the Phillies are going to need offense more than pitching at that point. Worley could slide in as a fine five for now.
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