Tag:Joel Pineiro
Posted on: July 18, 2010 8:28 pm
Edited on: July 18, 2010 8:45 pm

3 to watch: The Do we care? edition

Yankee fans cared very much about George Steinbrenner and Bob Sheppard. Baseball fans everywhere have cared very much about Stephen Strasburg.

Now Alex Rodriguez is approaching 600 home runs.

Do you care?

There's been amazingly little A-Rod buzz, and from what I was told, there wasn't much reaction from the Yankee Stadium fans when Rodriguez hit his 598th home run Sunday against the Rays.

You'd think it would be a meaningful milestone. Only six players have hit 600 home runs, and A-Rod (who turns 35 on July 27) will be the youngest ever to get there -- unless it takes him more than a year to hit two more home runs.

So why is there no buzz?

Is it that Rodriguez admitted using steroids earlier in his career? Is it that the steroid era has made 600 home runs seem that much less significant? Are we waiting for him to approach Willie Mays (660 home runs), Babe Ruth (714), Hank Aaron (755) and Barry Bonds (762), the numbers that earn A-Rod $6 million bonuses in his most recent contract? Do we just not like A-Rod?

Or maybe the buzz is suddenly going to appear Tuesday night, when A-Rod gets his first legitimate chance at reaching 600. He needs two more home runs, and he has hit two or more in a game 55 times in his career.

Not only that, but he has hit 67 career home runs against the Angels, by far the most he has hit against any opponent.

For the record, none of the six guys with 600 home runs hit Nos. 599 and 600 in the same game. Ruth came closest, hitting them on back-to-back days in St. Louis, in 1931.

A-Rod took nearly two weeks between 498 and 500, and also between 398 and 400.

So this countdown could take a while. But unless the buzz builds, this may be the only time it appears in 3 to watch:

1. Two years ago, when Ken Griffey Jr. reached 600 before a sparse crowd in Miami -- maybe there wasn't that much buzz then, either -- Rodriguez told Tyler Kepner of the New York Times that it's always better to reach big milestones at home. Rodriguez has six chances to get to 600 on this homestand, starting with Angels at Yankees, Tuesday night (7:05 EDT) at Yankee Stadium . At least Rodriguez won't be facing Scott Kazmir, who has held him to four hits -- and no home runs -- in 29 career at-bats. Kazmir went on the disabled list Sunday, and the Angels told reporters that they plan to call up a starter from the minor leagues to pitch Tuesday. A-Rod is also homerless in 35 plate appearances against Wednesday starter Joel Pineiro. He has four homers in 19 at-bats against Jered Weaver, who won't pitch in this series.

2. The fans want to see Strasburg. The scouts, most likely, will instead head for Chicago, to watch potential trade targets Brett Myers and Ted Lilly face off, in Astros at Cubs, Wednesday afternoon (2:20 EDT) at Wrigley Field . In a pitching market that no longer includes Cliff Lee, Myers and Lilly could be two of the more attractive properties.

3. Nothing against Bronson Arroyo, who will be Strasburg's opponent in Nationals at Reds, Wednesday night (7:10 EDT) at Great American Ball Park , but wouldn't it have been more compelling if Strasburg was starting a day earlier, against fellow rookie Mike Leake, or a day later, against Edinson Volquez? Apparently ESPN didn't care, as yet another Strasburg start has been scheduled for national television. Can't say I blame them.

Posted on: May 2, 2010 10:30 pm
Edited on: May 3, 2010 2:11 pm

3 to watch: The 'We need you' edition

J.A. Happ remains on the disabled list, maybe for a few more weeks. Cole Hamels is tied for the National League lead in home runs allowed. Kyle Kendrick has a 7.61 ERA, and after waiting a couple of days to decide whether he'd make his next start, the Phillies basically said, "Yes he will, but only because we have nobody else."

So yes, the Phillies need Joe Blanton right now, as much as they've needed him at any time since that home run off Edwin Jackson in the 2008 World Series.

It's true that Blanton gave up five runs in five innings in his last minor league rehabilitation start, against Stephen Strasburg's Harrisburg Senators. But it's also true that in three career starts against the Cardinals -- the St. Louis Cardinals -- Blanton is 3-0 with a 1.71 ERA.

So with Blanton returning from the disabled list to face the Cardinals, is there any doubt which game should lead off this week's 3 to watch?

1. It's not just that Blanton is making his 2010 debut, after missing the first month of the season with a strained left oblique. It's also that right now these are the two best teams in the league, and they open a four-game series with Cardinals at Phillies, Monday night (7:10 EDT) at Citizens Bank Park . Somehow, the Cards and Phillies met only five times all last season (with the Phillies winning four of the games, and Blanton providing two of those wins). Somehow, the Cardinals lost three straight to the Dodgers last October, which kept them from meeting the Phillies in the playoffs. At least we get four games this week, although since Chris Carpenter pitched Sunday, we won't get a Carpenter-Roy Halladay matchup this week.

2. Jake Peavy had one winless month in his last 5 1/2 years with the Padres. He was winless with a 7.85 ERA in his first April with the White Sox. He thinks he discovered what's wrong, while watching video of a 2007 start against the Rays, and he thinks he's well on the way to solving the problem. Maybe that's true, although White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper told reporters Sunday, "You can talk about a whole lot of stuff -- mechanics, this and that, and the other things. But it's time to get people out." Peavy tries to do that in Royals at White Sox, Monday night (8:10 EDT) at U.S. Cellular Field . Also worth watching: With Juan Pierre off to a horrible start (.202 batting average, .272 on-base percentage) as the White Sox leadoff man, how loudly will the fans cheer Scott Podsednik, the leadoff man who the Sox allowed to leave (and who has a .390 on-base percentage for the Royals)?

3. It's not fair to say that Joel Pineiro took John Lackey's place in the Angels rotation, but it is fair to say that the one change the Angels made over the winter was to let Lackey sign as a free agent and to sign Pineiro to fill the vacant spot. Sure enough, Pineiro will be the Angels' starter in Lackey's first start against his former team, in Angels at Red Sox, Wednesday night (7:10 EDT) at Fenway Park . The last time the Angels were at Fenway, Lackey was among those celebrating Vladimir Guerrero's game-winning hit off Jonathan Papelbon (which scored Chone Figgins) to finish the Angels' first-round sweep. Guerrero and Figgins are gone, and Papelbon has saved Lackey's two wins.

Posted on: January 21, 2010 10:42 am

Plans B, C and D, 2010 version

So instead of Roy Halladay or John Lackey, the Angels have Joel Pineiro. Instead of Chone Figgins or maybe Jason Bay, the Angels have Hideki Matsui.

We know better than to declare the Angels winter a failure, because we remember what happened last year, when they were outbid by the Yankees on both CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira, then recovered well and eventually took the Yankees to six games in the American League Championship Series.

As Angels GM Tony Reagins said before the ALCS began, "a couple of things didn't work out for us. When they didn't, we just felt we had to move forward and go to Plan B, Plan C and Plan D. And those are pretty good plans right now."

Consider Pineiro, Matsui and Fernando Rodney to be this year's Plan B, Plan C and Plan D. And don't forget Scott Kazmir, who the Angels traded for last year at least in part as insurance in case they didn't re-sign Lackey. It's not that bad, and it might even be enough for the Angels to hold off the improving Mariners and the Rangers in the American League West. We know better than to doubt a Mike Scioscia team.

But here's what we also know: The Angels began this winter not so much looking for a way to hold off the Mariners and Rangers as they did looking for a way to close the gap on the Yankees. They wanted Halladay because they needed someone to match up with Sabathia. Pineiro isn't that guy, and Kazmir isn't, either.

Before the 2009 postseason began, one Angels person suggested that his team had to win now, because it was hard to see how the Angels would have a better chance in 2010.

Right now, we'd have to agree. Right now, Plans B, C and D don't look good enough.
Category: MLB
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