In today’s The Day in Baseball entry, I’ll highlight the plight of an all-time great, alert you to a guy who has been crazy hot of late, and point out a decision, about four months in coming, that might actually, finally, end up coming to fruition.
Did you catch Marlon Byrd’s act over the past two days? In case you didn’t, let me review it for you. Byrd played in three games, went deep twice, knocked in seven runners and produced nine hits. Yeah, he is pretty much en fuego right now.
If you missed it, Adam Jones’ season is over as he was transferred to the 60-day DL with a sprained ankle. It shouldn’t require surgery, or be a long term issue, but the team realized that he would likely need something like three weeks to recover, and that would basically take them to the end of the year (plus, putting him on the 60-day DL allows the club to add another player to the roster). As a result of the injury Jones falls just short of his first 20 homer season, he finishes with 19 long balls, though a .277-19-70-83-10 season certainly isn’t anything to be upset about in his second full season.
I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Tim Lincecum return to the hill this weekend. He was in the dugout on Tuesday after being forced to miss the start because of a sore lower back, and he was caught smiling and moving around fairly well. As for the Giants offense, there is no word when it might be back in action. In nine games in September the G-men have recorded more than three runs just twice. Pathetic.
Could it finally be happening? Could The World’s Biggest Idiot, aka Phillies’ manager Charlie Manuel, finally be conceding that he is destroying the moral of his club by continuing to throw Brad Lidge out there in the ninth inning? “…I want to be loyal to him and things like that, but at the same time, like I told him last night, winning the game is the first priority.” Ryan Madson owners can rejoice. It looks like you might get a handful of saves out of the man you have held on to for months waiting for the Phillies to do the right thing. Of course, Brett Myers could end up swooping in to pick up a few saves chances as well, so perhaps Madson owners shouldn’t be too excited after all.
Albert Pujols hit two bombs today and is just three homers short of his first 50 season. Just spit balling here, but is it possible that 20 years from now we will be talking about Pujols as the greatest “steroid free” home run hitter of all-time? Let’s play a little game of what if. (1) Pujols is just 29 years old. (2) In nine seasons he has never hit fewer than 32 home runs in a season. (3) He has averaged 40 home runs a season over his nine year career. (4) If Pujols plays another 10 years while averaging 35 homers a season he will end up with something along the lines of 720 home runs. That would still leave him behind Hank Aaron and his 755 home runs. Just goes to show you how amazingly consistent that Mr. Aaron was in his career.
Huston Street continues to make progress with that sore biceps muscle, but the latest word out of Colorado is that he still isn’t likely to return to action this week as previously hoped. In his place, the Rockies will continue to go with Franklin Morales who has converted 5-straight save chances in his last five appearances during which time he has allowed only five base runners and not a single run. Overall Morales has a 2.60 ERA, a.1.13 WHIP and 36 Ks in 34.2 ABs, and that’s pretty darn good no matter where you are pitching.
Trivia Question: How many straight seasons has Braden Looper won at least 11 games? The answer is three – each of his seasons as a starter. Do you know how many NL hurlers have won at least 11 games each of the past three seasons if we include this season? Try seven (including Lopper): Jamie Moyer, Derek Lowe, Adam Wainwright, Ted Lilly, Jason Marquis and Chad Billingsley.
By Ray Flowers