Blog Entry

Pepper: Greinke's new home, Phillies, more

Posted on: May 9, 2011 10:28 am
Edited on: May 9, 2011 11:27 am
 



By Matt Snyder


ADJUSTMENT PERIOD OVER: Carl Crawford just needed a little patience. After a catastrophic beginning to his career in Boston, the speedy left fielder is swinging a hot bat in May. For the month, he's hitting .387 with two doubles and a triple. He's been hitting eighth in the batting order and manager Terry Francona had said that the Red Sox big offseason signing would move back up toward the top of the order when he started hitting. So does the current run suffice? Not quite yet.

“If you move one guy, somebody else goes, too,” Francona said (Boston Herald ). “I think there will be a time when it seems to me that it works for everybody that I would like to do that. He’s swinging the bat better, which is good. But it also has to work with everybody else, too.”

The Red Sox currently have Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia, Adrian Gonzalez and Kevin Youkilis in the 1-2-3 spots. There really doesn't seem to be anything wrong with that set up, so Francona has a point. Or maybe insert Crawford at the two-hole and knock everyone back a slot? There's probably no wrong answer.

BEEN THERE, DONE THAT: Alexi Ogando is suffering through a blister on his pitching hand (the index finger), which was the reason he missed Sunday's scheduled start. Fortunately he pitches for the Rangers, because team president Nolan Ryan dealt with the same issue back when he was a youngster for the Mets. Ryan's been helping Ogando use some remedies that helped him, such as shaving the blister so it dries out and rubbing pickle juice on it. While we're here, just to stave off the crowd of athlete-haters, a blister isn't a pain issue for pitchers. It's a matter of affecting command. (Star-Telegram.com )

FIVES ARE WILD: Apropos of absolutely nothing at all, every single American League game Sunday ended with one team having scored five runs. It was the first time a league had every game with one team scoring the same run total since August 10, 1993 when it happened in the NL. It doesn't mean anything, obviously, but it's a quasi-interesting little anomaly. (Hardball Talk )

FIRST IMPRESSION: Phenom Julio Teheran debuted Saturday for the Braves against the Phillies -- in Philadelphia, no less, which isn't exactly an easy place for opposing pitchers -- He only made it through 4 2/3 innings, giving up four hits, three earned runs and two walks while only striking out one. Still, it wasn't an awful debut. The kid is 20. Braves' skipper Fredi Gonzalez made sure to let Teheran he was pleased with the effort. "I wanted to make sure he told him that he did good and that he was impressive and that we liked the way he handled himself," Gonzalez said. "We told him that last night. But we wanted to make sure they told him again." (MLB.com )

LONEY WAKING UP: Judging from what I've seen on Twitter and message boards, James Loney is the most-maligned person affiliated with the Dodgers not named McCourt. It's easy to see why, as he's flashed the power of a sub-par middle infielder while playing a traditional power position for the past several years. But he is starting to swing the bat better. He's hitting .382 in his past 11 games, helping his season batting average to rise 56 points. (LA Times ) Then again, he hasn't had a single extra-base hit in that span. Don't expect the chirping to stop any time soon.

AUSTIN, TOO: It's been a rough 2011 for Tigers second-year center fielder Austin Jackson. He entered the weekend hitting .190 with a .258 OBP and 43 strikeouts in 121 at-bats. Don't count out the 24 year old just yet, though, because he showed signs of life in a three-game series at Toronto. He went 7-13 for a double, home run, two RBI and two runs, raising his average 34 points. "He is gradually coming back," manager Jim Leyland said. "When he puts it in play, he gets hits. When he put the ball in play last year he had a fantastic batting average." (Detroit Free Press )

NO SALE: Chris Sale, a 22-year-old flamethrower for the White Sox, burst onto the scene last season and looked dominant. He threw only 23 1/3 innings, but struck out 32 hitters en route to posting a 1.93 ERA. This year, he's only thrown 11 1/3 innings, but has allowed the exact same number of hits (15), more earned runs (nine, compared to five last year) and more home runs (three, compared to two last year). His ERA is a grotesque 7.15. His fastball velocity is down, which could be part of the problem, but Sale isn't buying that. “My main focus is not about lighting up the radar gun,’’ he said. "Everybody in this league can hit 98. That’s no secret. It’s a ­matter of where the pitch is, not how hard it is. I’m just trying to get back into a rhythm and figure out what’s the reason behind what’s going on." Everyone in the league can hit 98? Brandon Webb begs to differ. And someone get Greg Maddux on the phone ... though Maddux would most certainly agree with Sale's general point, which is that there's more to pitching than throwing hard. (Chicago Sun Times )

FOR REAL FRENCHY? Another season, another discussion of how good/bad Jeff Francoeur is. This time he's off to a hot start, so Fangraphs checks it out . The highlights are that his home runs per fly ball rate is unsustainable, but that Francoeur is swinging at far fewer pitches this season than in years past -- so the plate discipline improvement could propel him to one of his best seasons.

HOME COOKIN': Anibal Sanchez was one of the pitching stars of Mother's Day, as he took a no-hitter into the seventh and ended up with a career-high 11 strikeouts. So, of course, this was somehow due to his mom. "She made me breakfast this morning, so that's why I threw a game like that," Sanchez told reporters after the game.

QUADRUPLE-A: Taylor Teagarden hit three home runs and drove home seven in his return to Triple-A Sunday. That means in just seven Triple-A games this year, he has five bombs and 11 RBI. His last full season in the minors -- all the way back in 2007, Teagarden hit .310 with 27 home runs and 83 RBI. But in the majors, well, that's a different story. We know he has power. He has hit 16 home runs in 320 major-league at-bats, but he's also struck out 130 times and has a putrid .285 on-base percentage. Hey, maybe the Rangers can trade him to the Red Sox, just like they did Jarrod Saltalamacchia, another AAAA player.

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Pepper: Greinke's new home, Phillies, more

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