Pepper: Royals going to six-man rotation
Posted on: June 28, 2011 9:31 am
Edited on: June 28, 2011 10:07 am
BASEBALL TODAY: Will the Boston-Philly series live up to expectations with Josh Beckett facing Cliff Lee in the first of a three-game set? Will filing for bankruptcy protection save the Dodgers? C. Trent Rosencrans joins Lauren Shehadi to break it all down. Click on the video above to watch.
By Matt Snyder
TREND-SETTERS: The White Sox made news earlier this season when they shifted to a six-man rotation, as Philip Humber has been throwing far too well to remove from the rotation, and the other five members are all certainly good enough to merit remaining in the rotation. The Giants have faced questions on doing so when everyone is completely healthy, considering Ryan Vogelsong's ascent, but manager Bruce Bochy remains steadfast that they won't be going to six. The Royals, however, are ready to jump aboard with the White Sox plan (Kansas City Star). Their rotation is a bit less formidable than the White Sox or Giants, but the move comes with good, decent reasons. Rookie Danny Duffy is making progress in his development, so the Royals don't want to send him back down to the farm. Kyle Davies and his 7.46 ERA are returning from injury, while Bruce Chen, Luke Hochevar and Felipe Paulino are out of options. Also, Jeff Francis has accrued enough service time in the bigs that he could reject an assignment to the minors and become a free agent. So if the Royals want to keep everyone, they have to go to six. Of course, they could move someone to the bullpen, but they don't want to do that. Instead they'll just carry less position players, which isn't a horrible thing in the AL, I guess. Still, seems a bit radical to force six into a rotation with so much mediocrity.
POT, MEET KETTLE? I personally stay out of the business where you label entire fan bases as more stupid, obnoxious, smart, respectful, etc. The reason is very simple: Every single fan base has morons. Every single fan base has intelligent fans. Every fan base has jerks, and every fan base has kind and respectful fans. I immediately disregard any comment that contains "all (insert team) fans are (insert insult)." This doesn't seem to be the majority opinion, however, as it's fun for fans to mock other fan bases and label them. With that in mind, I thought it was funny that a Philadelphia writer thought Boston fans have become obnoxious (Boston Herald's "Behind Enemy Lines" feature). Because, you know, tons of opposing fans point to Philly fans as obnoxious themselves. Honestly, it's too bad the Phillies and Red Sox are in different leagues. That could be a pretty sweet rivalry on many levels. I guess we'll have to settle for the World Series this year? Maybe?
TRIPLE-DOUBLE: In the Cubs' 7-3 win over the Rockies, three players hit two home runs each -- Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Pena for the Cubs and Carlos Gonzalez for the Rockies. No, this wasn't a game played in Coors Field, but the wind blowing out at Wrigley can make things quite hitter-friendly. It was the first time this had happened since 2006 and only the 13th time it happened since 2000. (Baseball-Reference blog)
MAYBE THIS TIME: Mat Gamel of the Brewers was once touted as the next big power bat to come through Milwaukee's system, but things stalled a bit. In 2009, he was given 148 plate appearances for the Brewers and hit just .242 with 54 strikeouts. Last season he was pretty bad when given a chance, though he was only granted 17 plate appearances. Still, he's only 25 and is tearing up Triple-A so far in 2011. He's hitting .321 with 18 homers, 58 RBI, 54 runs, 21 doubles and a .957 OPS. He's especially picked up the pace in June, as he's hit 10 of his home runs this month. With six games in AL parks coming this week, the Brewers have summoned him (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel) and will likely use him as a DH or first baseman -- with Prince Fielder then serving as DH. If Gamel hits well, it will be interesting to see what the Brewers do moving forward. They're going to be in contention, but there's really no good defensive place for Gamel. And it's entirely possible he's the replacement at first for Fielder, if he walks as expected, next season.
SAVING J.J.: Diamondbacks closer J.J. Putz was unavailable both Saturday and Sunday, but he's not injured. Instead, manager Kirk Gibson noted he's trying to "develop a bullpen" and also make sure Putz is still in tip-top shape come August and September. Putz picked up saves on three straight days prior to being unavailable, so it made perfect sense. (MLB.com)
DAVEY'S FIRST ROAD TRIP: Nationals new manager -- and the last one for 2011, presumably -- Davey Johnson flew with his ballclub from Chicago to Los Angeles and made a point to have an individual conversation with every player on the flight. One area he wants to improve immediately is the offense. “I definitely think this club has been an underachiever offensively. I don’t like to give up outs. I’ll bunt when I have to. I’ll hit and run when I feel like it. I think this club hasn’t quite come into it’s own. It doesn’t really know how good an offensive club it can be. It definitely has a chance to be a good one.” (Washington Times) What's funny is that Jayson Werth and Ryan Zimmerman (and maybe Ian Desmond) are due to get hot, so that should improve the offense naturally. And Johnson will get some of the credit. Which is part of the give-and-take, of course. If the team starts playing worse, he'll get the blame, too.
JONNY COOL: Jonny Gomes of the Reds broke into the bigs for the Rays. He returned to Tropicana Field Monday night in interleague play, and his former teammates had nothing bad to say about him. In fact, they really like him. Andy Sonnanstine, B.J. Upton and James Shields in particular had high praise for Gomes as a teammate (TBO.com).
FALLACIOUS CLAIM: Josh Hamilton has been awful during the day, and he actually got an optometrist to agree with his assertion that the cause of this was the fact that Hamilton has blue eyes. It sounds ridiculous, and Fangraphs.com illustrates that it is, based upon historical data of blue-eyed players hitting during the day vs. their numbers at night. Best example: Mark Grace and his deep-blue eyes. He played tons of day games for the Cubs and was great throughout his career in day games.
"NEANDERTHALS: The legalization of gay marriage in New York has been a big source of conversation, apparently, in the Mets' clubhouse. Color commentator and formet Met Ron Darling has been particularly outspoken in favor of the passage, though many of the current players are reluctant to publicly speak about the issue -- and it's hard to blame them, as any answer would likely anger at least one fan. An interesting quote from an unnamed player, courtesy of the New York Daily News, is that most players believe professional sports locker rooms aren't ready to fully accept an openly gay teammate because "most of us are still Neanderthals."
DUSTY BOBBLEHEAD: I'm not as big a fan of bobbleheads as many fans, but the Dusty Baker one the Reds are giving away this coming Saturday is pretty cool, simply because it has a bin of toothpicks on it. We'll leave you with a video of the Reds players promoting the giveaway with glasses and the signature toothpick in the video below ...
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