Monday was a bit of a slow day for news, but I still was able to ferret a couple stories that I found interesting, and if a guy as interesting as me though the stories had some merit, i.e. interest, well then you can take it to the bank – they are some darn interesting storylines.
Randy Johnson will head to the DL with a strained throwing shoulder. There still isn’t definitive news on how long he will be out, but the fear is that it will be much longer than 15 days (the hope right now is for him to return in about three weeks). What that means is that the Giants will likely have to turn back to Jonathan Sanchez, a potentially dangerous situation given his often profound struggles this season (5.94 BB/9, 1.48 K/BB, 1.69 WHIP). Still, the guy has no-hit stuff, if he could ever control it.
Tim Lincecum is quite possibly the most exciting mound presence since Pedro Martinez in his prime. The flowing hair, the stuff, the presence and the stare that says “I’m going to come right at you and there is nothing you can do about it” – the kid is the stuff of legend. Adding to the visceral feel of his presence are the dominating numbers he has produced in his short career. Through 75 starts Lincecum is 34-12, good enough for a .739 winning percentage. As a result, he is just the tenth pitcher in baseball history , since 1900 anyway, to produce a winning percentage that high through his first 75 starts. As flat out dominating as he has been, would it surprise to learn that Tim Hudson was even better through his first 75 starts with an amazing 43-13 record, good enough for a .768 winning percentage?
Rick Porcello will have his nest start skipped meaning he won’t appear again until after the All-Star break. Nothing is wrong, the team is just playing it safe with their future star so that they can avoid burning him out as he has already tossed 87 effective innings (8-6, 4.14 ERA). “We always said all along we were going to pick our spots to protect him,” manager Jim Leyland said. “It has nothing to do with yesterday’s performance, I can tell you that. … To be honest with you, I’m sure he doesn’t like it, but it’s what we’re going to do to protect him.” Smart moves like this mean that the Tigers really have Porcello’s long-term interests in mind (of course they are being selfish too because they obviously don’t want to burn out their future All-Star).
So much for the Chris Ray is going to close for the Orioles when they eventually trade George Sherrill line of thought. Ray, who has been miserable this season with a 9.28 ERA and a 2.30 WHIP, has been placed on the DL with right biceps tendonitis. At this point we have no idea how long he will be out (the club is hopeful it won’t take more than three weeks), but with his ineffectiveness and now injury, the team would be crazy to count on Ray in the second half. Jim Johnson owners in AL only leagues rejoice – you might pick up a few saves after all.
Mark Teixeira is hitting just .243 with a .800 OPS on the road. He is also hitting just .257 without a single long ball in 18 games. Amazing how a guy who is this consistent year-to-year can be so streaky within a season.
There was a report from ESPN that the Braves and Brewers were discussing a potential deal for Javier Vazquez. Really? When I heard that I thought to myself that on the surface that seemed like one stupid rumor. Good to know that my “spider-sense” was dead on as the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel came out later in the day saying that the rumored deal was pure bolder dash. Sometimes I think that these guys just make up stories on slow news day. Still, it wasn’t a totally useless fishing expedition as the rumor did help to draw to the surface the recent comments of Ryan Braun. “Regardless of the reasons, we’ve got to find a way to throw the ball a little bit better for us to have success. When you’re constantly behind in games, it’s not easy and not fun.” How accurate was Braun’s analysis? The Brewers are currently 13th in the NL in ERA (4.47), tied for seventh in WHIP (1.39) and 11th in K/BB (1.96). They certainly could use an arm or two in that starting rotation.
By Ray Flowers