Wednesday is kind of a blah day. What happened last weekend is nothing but a memory now, and the plans for the coming weekend are still coming into focus. Of course in the world of baseball there is never a break until the season is completed, so I certainly have a lot of things to keep me occupied until I get the chance to get my groove on this weekend.
What’s the deal with Ronnie Belliard? He has hit .319 since joining the Dodgers (47 ABs), and he has hit .321 over his last 50 appearances. That’s pretty phenomenal production for a guy who hit just .184 over his first 51 games.
Eric Byrnes said that he will be playing winter ball in the Dominican Republic this offseason. “I miss playing baseball,” he said. “The past two years, getting 200 (at-bats), that’s not cutting it. If I can make up for some lost at-bats and get down there and play in a real competitive league, it will be beneficial.” Nicknamed “Captain America” by the faithful in the Dominican, this will be the fifth season he has played there. I wish him all the luck in the world because baseball is a better game when Byrnes and his child-like enthusiasm are flying all over the field.
Don’t worry Fausto Carmona owners, the Indians will leave him in the rotation for the rest of the season (Carmona is 3-11 with a 6.58 ERA, a 1.81 WHIP and a 5.57 BBB.9 mark). And to think, there was actually a chance that the Indians could have gone with a pitcher who could have actually given them a chance to win the game. At least they are loyal.
Bartolo Colon was released by the White Sox on Wednesday, and this could signal the end of the road for the one-time ace. Colon averaged 17 victories a year from 1998-2005, but since 2006 he has only been able to stay healthy long enough to make 48 appearances on his way to earning 14 victories. All told, Colon has won 153 games with a 4.10 ERA in a solid major league career, though we are all left to wonder just how well he could have done if he just dropped some weight and took better care of that body of his.
How good has this Josh Johnson kid been? On Wednesday he held the Cardinals to just one run over six innings to improve his record to 15-4 while dropping his ERA to a terrific 3.01. This was the sixth straight outing in which he didn’t go seven innings, but given that only once in that time he has allowed more than three earned runs, he has still given the Marlins a chance to win every time he has taken the hill. He is now 5.2 innings from his first 200-inning season as well.
Hiroki Kuroda continues to pitch well, something the Dodgers desperately need from a starting rotation that includes an injured Clayton Kershaw (out another week after hurting his non-pitching shoulder running into a wall during batting practice) and a struggling Chad Billingsley (an ERA of six in his last four appearances which has led to the team skipping his next turn in the rotation). Kuroda held the Pirates to but one run over six innings on Wednesday, the tenth straight start in which he has allowed three or fewer earned runs. Moreover, over his last three starts, he has an ERA of 2.84.
The Red Sox-Angels game just got underway. Glancing at the starting lineup every single one of the top-8 batters in the Angels’ lineup were hitting at least .287 and Juan Rivera was the only batter below .297 in that group. Do you think the players on the club make fun of Mike Napoli and his .269 average?
The Giants face the Rockies tonight with Matt Cain on the hill, and with a victory the Giants would move to within 1.5 games of the Rocks. Let’s hope it happens so that we can have a wild finish for the NL Wild Card.
Who is your AL home run leader since June 5th? I could give you 45 guesses and I bet you still wouldn’t come up with the right answer so I’m just going to tell you – it’s David Ortiz who has hit 23 homers in that time to lead the Junior Circuit. His last home run, on Tuesday night against the Angels, was his 270th as a DH, the all-time record (passing Frank Thomas).
By Ray Flowers