I was glancing at the box scores of some of the “early” games from Thursday and thought I would point out a few of the players that stood out to me for one reason or another. After that, I’ll touch on the worst starting rotation in baseball that can’t get enough of what they are doing so they will be adding a sixth guy into the mix for even more fun.
The Neftali Feliz watch is up to 13 – that is the number of strikeouts he has racked up in 6.2 innings of work this season. Put it this way, Feliz has gotten outs via the strikeout 65% of the time. He also hasn’t walked a single batter on the year.
Just when you were starting to panic a bit that an injury to Dexter Fowler’s knee, combined with the recent hot hitting of Carlos Gonzalez (16-for-38, .421 the past three weeks) might lead to reduction in playing time for Fowler – stop worrying. Fowler had a monster game on Thursday going 4-for-5 with three doubles leading to three runs scored. Lo and behold Fowler is now hitting .271 overall, the highest his average has been since May 25th, as he has hit a scintillating .455 in nine games in August during which time he has scored 10 runs. He still has a lot of room for growth at the dish, but the youngster seems to be grabbing his second wind right now and that is great news for those who have held on to the youngster.
Garret Jones meet regression. Jones blasted an amazing 10 home runs in his first 19 games this season as everyone scrambled to add the next Babe Ruth to their roster. Well, that pace predictably slowed as Jones has gone deep just two times in his last 17 games, but even worse, his average has plummeted. On Thursday Jones was 0-for-4 with the “golden sombrero, aka four strikeouts, to drop his average to a still sold .288. However, it has been a rough ride in August as he is hitting just .239 on the month. All good things come to an end, and it looks like that time is now for Mr. Jones.
I know it’s a total mirage, akin to my ever being able to convince a beautiful woman to keep me around, but did you get a load out of the series that Kevin Kouzmanoff had against the Brewers? The man went 11-for-13, something you probably couldn’t do in your local softball league, as his season long average went up a full .018 points to a respectable .264.
Cliff Lee has won six straight starts and is now 3-0 with a 1.12 ERA and a 0.92 WHIP in three appearances with the Phillies. In those three starts he has also thrown 24 out of 27 innings. You think the Phils are happy with their trade deadline acquisition?
You will be forgiven if you don’t know who Mike Rivera is. Who is he? He is the Brewers’ backup backstop who rarely plays given that he plays behind iron man Jason Kendall. This season has been another disappointing campaign at the dish for Kendall who is hitting just .232 with a sickly .318 OBP and 29 RBI in his 332 ABs this season. As for Rivera, he is hitting just a bit better at .239, but after a two home run, five RBI effort on Thursday he now has one more homer than Kendall (one) and just 18 RBI less despite 265 fewer at-bats. Yeah, pretty striking isn’t it?
I touched on my concern over how pathetic the Orioles rotation is at this point yesterday in Frustration All Around (how upset does that mascot look by the way?). Now comes word that the Orioles will go with a 6-man rotation for the rest of the year, and we all know how successful that has been through the years. Who are those arms? Are you sitting down? Chris Tillman, Brian Matusz, Jeremy Guthrie, David Hernandez and Brad Bergesen. One day we might say we knew them when, but for 2009 that looks like an awfully spotty group of major league hurlers.
By Ray Flowers