I wanted to focus on a few or the oddest news stories of Tuesday so I picked out four of those, while adding a bit of true baseball insight as I discuss the outlook of the next great one behind the dish.
Jason Marquis is 15-12 with a 3.98 ERA and 1.35 WHIP for the Rockies in what has arguably been the best season of his career. Marquis made the All-Star game as he entered the break with 11 victories and a 3.65 ERA, but his numbers have dropped since including a 4-6 record with a 4.46 ERA over his last 13 starts. Even worse, his September work has been downright scary with a 6.28 ERA and a 1.78 WHIP over five starts (he is 1-3). Now comes word that he may not even be on the Rockies playoff roster because of his struggles and the return to health of Aaron Cook. Pretty tough when you win 15 games and don’t get to start a playoff game, let alone suffer the potential indignity of not even being on the active roster. Marquis, by the way, bas won at least 11 games in each of the last six seasons. You know how many hurlers have done that? It’s a pretty small list: Johan Santana, John Lackey, Javier Vazquez, CC Sabathia, Derek Lowe and Marquis. He may be the worst pitcher on the list, but he is the quintessential innings eater who more often than not gives his team a chance to win.
Pedro Martinez hopes to return from his injured neck on Wednesday. I wonder if manager Charlie Manuel will again let Pedro throw 130 pitches, as he did in the start that really precipitated the injury, or if he will prepare Martinez for the possibility of starting a playoff game that lasts 12 innings by letting him throw 150 pitches.
The Tigers now say that they probably won’t start Rick Porcello again this week in order to save the youngsters arm. After all, he has thrown all of 165 innigns this season, the most in the history of the universe for a young pitcher. The Tigers have a one game lead over the Twins as I write this. You think any Tigers’ fans will care about how old Porcello is, or how many pitches he has thrown this season if they miss out on the playoffs because they decided to rest Porcello, specially since Porcello has a 5-2 record with a 3.19 ERA since the start of August? Seriously, hasn’t this babying of pitchers gone far enough? If a guy can’t go out there an pitch every fifth day, then why bother having him on your roster? It’s obviously completely unfair to compare any modern hurler to Cy Young, but take a gander at his record – he was held to only 147.2 innings as a rookie before the Spiders let him go for 423.2 innings in his second season. In fact, that began a stretch of 4-straight 400-innings seasons and 15-straight years of at least 300-innings. When men were men I guess…
Matt Wieters has all of a sudden gotten good. Not really of course, he has always been good, but his performance has finally started to come around, and in fact he has been tearing it up in September hitting .360 with a .952 OPS in 23 games in the final month of the year. Going back a bit further, Wieters is hitting .308 over his last 59 games to raise his overall mark to .292 in 90 games. That breakout that was predicted, it’s already started. Beware the hype machine heading into 2010, but Wieters clearly looks like a potential top-10 option behind the dish next season.
And lastly —-
Did you see this news report? Junior Seau, you know, the potential HOF linebacker, was at a rodeo this weekend. He entered the ring and was then run over by the bull. He apparently escaped unharmed, but if he can take on a bull why couldn’t he still have enough left to stop a 235 lbs running back?
By Ray Flowers