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Monday, May 23, 2005

Divisional Diary - AL Central

Tony looks at the new, not-so-weak A.L. Central.

 

CENTRAL

 

 

 

 

width=632 style='width:474.3pt;border-collapse:collapse;margin-left:6.75pt;
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CENTRAL

W

L

Pct

GB

Home

Road

RS

RA

1-Run

ExWL

Chicago

31

13

0.705

-

15-6

16-7

205

152

14-5

28-15

Minnesota

25

17

0.595

5

14-9

11-8

197

166

7-5

24-17

Detroit

20

21

0.488

9.5

10-12

10-9

188

172

8-10

22-19

Cleveland

19

23

0.452

11

6-11

13-12

168

178

5-12

18-23

Kansas City

13

31

0.295

18

7-17

6-14

184

242

5-12

15-28

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHICAGO (31-13, 1st Place)

 

Recent Happenings –

The White Sox are a robust 14-5 in May, extending their lead of Minnesota by 4.5 games this month. 

 

While the entire pitching staff has been strong this season, the bullpen has taken over this month.  Dustin Hermanson has seven saves and a hold in May, while extending his scoreless streak to over 20 innings.  Damaso Marte has allowed only a 1.59 ERA this month but his one earned run (a Kevin Mench homer) cost the Sox a win.  Shingo Takatsu has all but lost the closer’s job, but he has been excellent too in May, allowing one earned run in 4.2 innings while striking out 7.  Cliff Politte has dominated. 

 

The White Sox offense staggered through April but it has been solid in May.  A.J. Pierzynski, the team’s only threatening left-handed bat, has caught fire in May, hitting .307/.370/.673 with 6 homers and 15 RBI in 15 games.  Jermaine Dye has recently gotten hot after an ice-cold April.  Dye is hitting .305/.359/.678 this month. Aaron Rowand seems to have come out of his funk also and his hitting .318/.378/.500 in May.  Paul Konerko is hitting just .219 in May but he has drawn 13 walks to give him a .363 OBP this month.  The streakiest hitter alive, Joe Crede is hitting .172/.239/.310 in May after a .304/.368/.456 April. 

 

This and That –

  • The White Sox have gotten off to a hot start despite a mediocre     offense that is 8th in the AL in on-base average and 9th     in slugging.  If nothing else, manager Ozzie Guillen is philosophical and     refreshingly unhypocritical about the situation.  “I can’t say be patient     at the plate when I was swinging at every first pitch all my life,” said     the Ozzard of Whizz.  “This team is more balanced,” said Ozzie, comparing     his current squad to last year’s team that battered down the walls for the     first three months.  “This year .  . . I’m going to see if I can manage or     not.  Last year, I just changed the pitchers for 162 games.”
  • The White Sox have the majors’ best record in one-run     games at 14-5.  Contrary to a current myth, the Sox were extremely good     in one run games last year, going 28-18 in one-run contests.  On the     difference between this year’s team and last year’s, Guillen said “[Now]     we execute.  We play . . . we play baseball.  If we won by one run [last     year], it was probably 12-11.”  Memory is a fleeting thing, no?
  • As is the White Sox affinity for attacking strawmen,     Guillen got a lot of press early in the season for declaring that he’d     “rather have five guys hit 20 homers than two guys hit 50 homers.”  Last     year’s White Sox had six players with 20 homers and none with fifty.  This     year’s team projects to have three players with 20 homers.  Hmmm. 
  • Here’s why you have to like Ozzie.  First, apparently his     philosophy of teamwork applies to himself and coaching staff just as it     does to his players.  “Everybody is safe here,” he said of his coaches,     “Everybody here helps each other. . . . We have titles [on] paper, but     we’re all friends.”  Second, you’ve got to like a manager who says to an     inexperienced player (here to Willie Harris, playing SS for the first time     in a big league game), “I just told him to catch the ball and throw to     first and see what happens.” 
  • Refreshingly, Guillen seems to love bucking conventional     wisdom. Instead of going with hard-and-fast bullpen roles, Guillen has     been very flexible. “I have four closers,” he said. “And they have the     mentality that they will start closing the game out in the seventh     inning.”  As for his rotation, while they are on a pitch count right now,     he plans on letting them lose the final two months of the season. 
  • Not surprisingly given their heavily right-handed lineup,     the White Sox have really struggled against right-handed pitching in     2005.  While they have torched lefties to the tune of .299/.360/.482, they     are just .244/.317/.377 against righties.
  • There has been a lot of talk about how this Sox team has     delivered in clutch situations.  However, the team is hitting only     .248/.332/.358 with runners in scoring position. On the flipside of the     coin though, Sox opponents have hit only .220/.312/.304 in similar     situations. 
  • The Orioles and Rangers have recently accused the White     Sox of doctoring their home pitching mound by making it higher than the     regulation 10 inches.  These complaints have not been supported, however.

 

Comings and Goings –

  • Jamie Burke joined the squad for about 72 hours earlier     this month when Willie Harris was placed on the bereavement list.  Burke     was shipped back to Charlotte (after clearing waivers) so that the Sox     could give Kevin Walker an inning of work a week. 

 

Aches and Pains –

  • After losing Iguchi, Uribe and Ozuna to injuries, the Sox     lineup was so battered in Oakland that they had to start Chris Widger at     third and Joe Crede at shortstop.  When Crede was tossed out of the game     for saying something not nice to an umpire (after he was not awarded first     base after sticking his elbow in front of a curveball) the Sox had to put     Jermaine Dye at SS.  This was okay with Dye, who had volunteered to play     an infield position if necessary. 
  • 1B/OF Ross Gload was sent to the 15-day DL with “shoulder     inflammation”.  The Sox recalled Pedro Lopez from Charlotte for a brief     spell.  Not saying that anything sneaky is going on here, but with the     injuries to Ozuna and Uribe and Harris needing time off for personal     reasons the Sox desperately needed another middle infielder.  Fortunately,     for them (wink, wink) Gload, who batted only 13 times in April, came down     with an injured shoulder just in the nick of time.  Gload says that his     shoulder has felt great since May 10, but the Sox have no plans to lift     his D.L. banishment.
  • Frank Thomas’s rehab of his surgically repaired ankle is     going more slowly than originally anticipated.  Running on it isn’t the     problem.  “It feels great when I’m running, but as soon as I stop it gets     real sore,” said the Hurt.  Thomas will begin his rehab assignment with Charlotte on Tuesday the 17th in Ottawa.  G.M. Kenny Williams’ preference is     for Thomas to get “at least 100 at bats” in Charlotte, so don’t expect to     see Thomas in the Sox lineup before June 1.  These will be Thomas’s first     games at AAA; he skipped from AA Birmingham to the majors in August, 1990.    
  • Who had the over/under on May 21 as the date that El Duque     would go on the D.L.?  Brandon McCarthy was called up when Orlando     Hernandez went on the D.L. with shoulder woes.  Hernandez says that he’s     fine and didn’t even want to miss a start;  the Sox say that they are just     being extra careful.  I say, I’ve heard these things about El Duque     before. 

 

Minors –

  • The White Sox minor league system features several     intriguing OF prospects and a couple of solid young pitchers, but the USA     Today rates them as the seventh worst system in baseball.
  • The lone offensive bright spot on the dreadful Charlotte     Knights team is OF Brian Anderson, 23, who is hitting .317/.384/.577.     Brandon McCarthy leads the minors with 61 strikeouts but, coming off two     shellings, his ERA has climbed to 4.72 in 47 innings.  McCarthy has a 5.24     ERA with all nine of his homers allowed at hitter-friendly Knights     Stadium.
  • At Birmingham, OF Ryan Sweeney has found his stroke,     hitting .319 with a .392 OBP but no power. Speedster Jason Owens, acquired     from Washington for Alex Escobar, has a .382 OBP and has stolen 12 bases     (caught just twice) in 34 games but with less-than-no power.  The Sox are     converting Bobby Jenks into a closer.  He has a 2.41 ERA with a .203 OAVG     and 8 walks in 18 innings.  Something is still very, very wrong with Kris     Homel (8.69 ERA with a .354 OAVG and a 14/9 BB/K ratio in 19 innings). 

 

On Deck –

After taking two of three from the floundering Cubs, the Sox now have to face the Angels for 7 of their next 10 games.  They also go to Texas and host Cleveland before squaring off against the NL West (minus the Giants) from June 6-19. 

 

CLEVELAND (19-23, 4th place)

 

Recent Happenings –

After a sad 10-14 record in April, the Indians are 9-9 in May. 

 

The Indians offense continues to flounder.  They have scored three runs or less in half their May games.  And 22 of their 73 May runs have come in two games and those against the dregs of the Angels staff.  What little offense they have received has come from the recently lost Coco Crisp and Jhonny Peralta.  Peralta has discovered his power stroke this month and has hit five of his six homers in the last two weeks.  Travis Hafner hit three homers in four games at the beginning of the month but then didn’t hit at all for two weeks.  Grady Sizemore (.318.384/.485 in May) and Ben Broussard (.292/.333/.508) have been very solid this month.  But the offense continues to lag under the weight of Belliard, Boone, Cora, Hernandez and Martinez, who have been unable to get their OPSs above .550 (!!) this month.

 

It has been the Indians’ pitching that has kept them respectable this month.  Their marvelous bullpen (which will be mentioned later) has been nearly unhittable in May.  Cliff Lee has been extremely strong in May (2-1, 3.32 with a 8/23 BB/K ratio in 19 IP). Lee has thrown only one bad inning (capped by a Ken Harvey grand slam on April 30) since April 13th. Kevin Millwood has a 2.45 ERA in May, but he has really pitched two superb games and two mediocre ones.  C.C. Sabathia broke out of his three game funk (May 5-15) with a nice game against Cincinnati on the 21st.  Jake Westbrook has also righted the ship after a rocky patch of sea.  Westbrook has a 3.00 ERA and a .167 average against in his last two starts with a 2/13 BB/K ratio in those 12 innings. 

 

This and That –

  • The Indians have talked trade over the last weeks but have     “not considered making a trade” according to Paul Hoynes of the Plain     Dealer.  This despite his “surplus” relievers and shortstops. 
  • The Indians’ leadoff hitters have the ugliest combined stat     line (.211/.270/.286) that you’d ever want to see. With everyone     struggling, manager Eric Wedge used four different leadoff hitters (Crisp,     Belliard, Sizemore and Cora) in four days at the end of April.  It didn’t     help. Tribe leadoff hitters were 1 for 21 without a walk or a run scored     in those games.  Said Cora, “I bat leadoff in winter ball so it’s no big     deal.”  He went on to say, That is, unless you want to score runs, of     course. 
  • The Indians bullpen is arguably the best in baseball.     While their starters have gone just 11-18 with a 4.63 ERA, the Tribe’s     relievers have compiled a 7-5 record with a 2.41 ERA.  David Riske has     been their best pitcher, allowing just a 1.39 ERA with 27 hits, 38     strikeouts and only 7 walks in his last 45 innings (dating back to last     year).  Arthur Rhodes, Bob Wickman and Scott Sauerbeck have combined to     allow only one run all month (over 20 combined innings).  Rafael     Betancourt and Bobby Howry have compiled ERAs of 2.70 and 3.12 in May so     far.  And now they are reenlisting Matt Miller, who has been nearly     perfect this season in Cleveland and Buffalo.
  • After a .123/.198/.301 start, Aaron Boone was benched for     a weekend series against the Royals. Boone has been working on his hitting     with his father, Bob Boone. Boone the Elder was a lifetime .254/.315/.346     career hitter.  GM Mark Shapiro is sanguine though: “He’s got the track     record, work ethic and intelligence.  If we’re patient, he’ll hit.”     Boone’s 2-for-4 outing on May 15th raised his batting average     to just .142.  “I come to the park every day thinking that this is the     day,” said a frustrated Boone.  Boone has hit .333 over the last week. 

 

Comings and Goings –

  • C. C. (Baby Huey) Sabathia passed up a year of free agency     to sign a two year 17.75 million dollar contract. 
  • The Indians traded LHP Cliff Bartosh, who was out of     options, to the Cubs for RHP Ronald Bay.  Bay, 21, had a 3.10 ERA for the     lo-A Lansing Lugnuts of the Midwest League. 
  • OF Jody Gerut was recalled from his injury rehab in Buffalo when Crisp went on the 15-day disabled list. 
  • A sulking Matt Miller was recalled from Buffalo when the     Indians optioned Jason Davis.
  • Former menacing Indians reliever Paul Shuey retired on     April 27th.  The second pick in the 1992 June draft, Shuey finished     his career with a 3.57 ERA, a 45-27 record and 22 saves in 451 games and     504 innings over 10 seasons.  His best season was probably 1999 when he went     8-5, 3.53 with 6 saves and 103 strikeouts in 81 innings. 
  • Former White Sox prospect, Jason Bere announced his     retirement this week.  Bere, who had been pitching in the Tribe     organization the last two years, finished his career with a 71-65 record     and a 5.14 ERA (86 ERA+).  A 36th round selection in the White     Sox stellar draft class of 1990, Bere blitzed through the minor leagues in     the early ‘90s and then was a key component to the excellent Chicago teams of 1993 and 1994.  The Sox fourth starter in those two years, he went 24-7     and posted a 3.64 ERA (ERA+ of 121 and 122) while striking out 256 batters     in 284 innings. 

 

Aches and Pains –

  • How frail is Juan Gonzalez?  His hamstring injury     continued to linger through May and he only began playing in extended     spring training games in mid-May. Jody Gerut, recovering from off-season     ACL reconstruction was promoted to the Tribe lineup before Gonzo.  Gerut     started his Buffalo rehab on May 3 and was hitting .438/.518/.729, upon     his recall. 
  • OF Coco Crisp (.283/.347/.428) could miss three months of     the season after he tore a ligament in his right thumb.  He suffered the     injury when he jammed his thumb in the dirt on an attempt to stretch a     double into a triple.  Crisp had been the team’s hottest hitter in May,     going .340/.426/.566. 

 

Minors –

  • According to the USA Today, the Indians began the season     with baseball’s third best minor league system.  They are particularly     deep on the mound and in the outfield.
  • In Buffalo, C Ryan Garko is pounding away at a     .283/.364/.480 clip, but the dying embers of Brandon Phillips’     (.244/.293/.423) career seem to be dying.  The Indian’s bullpen is     swimming in arms but something’s got to be done to free up some room for     24-year old Fernando Cabrera, who has a 1.45 ERA and just two walks and 22     strikeouts in 18 innings.
  • Jason Cooper (.267/.379/.548), 24, has led the attack for     AA Akron.  He has 10 homers but just 4 doubles.  His 46 Ks in 37 games is     a concern.  J.D. Martin, 22, looked like he had turned a corner with a     1.40 ERA (34 Ks with just 4 BB in 4 outings) start, but he went on the DL     last week with elbow tightness. 

 

On Deck –

The Indians face off against Minnesota for 7 of their next 10 games with Oakland sandwiched in between.  Cleveland then has to go to Chicago for three before their June 7-19 interleague schedule, in which they are lucky enough to miss the Dodgers while playing the rest of the NL West.  With 13 games against their division’s best teams, these are two very important weeks for the 2005 Indians. 

 

DETROIT (20-21, 3rd place)

The Tigers have been the quintessential .500 team this season, going 11-11 in April and 9-10 in May. 

 

The Bengals pitching has kept them respectable in May.  Jeremy Bonderman has been great going 2-0 with a 2.77 ERA this month.  He has struck out 25 in his 26 May innings and hasn’t had a bad outing since April 21st in Chicago.  Jason Johnson is 0-2 in May but sports a 2.61 ERA.  He has pitched very well in three of his last four starts (the blemish coming at the Ballpark at Arlington TX) and has a 7/19 BB/K ratio in 31 May innings.  Nate Robertson has allowed 10 runs in 24 innings, but only four of them were earned and most of those came in a rocky start against the Angels.  Aside from long-reliever Matt Ginter, the bullpen has been just as good as the Tigers’ starters. Ugie Urbina has dominated since he became the closer. In May, Urbina is 5 for 5 in save opportunities with a 1.80 ERA and 13 Ks in 10 IP and he has allowed only 2runs and 9 hits in his last 15 innings, dating back to mid-April.  Franklyn German and Kyle Farnsworth, who have to be the scariest bullpen duo in the majors, have combined to allow only 11 hits in May while posting a 3/14 BB/K ratio in over 15 innings. 

 

The Tigers offense, however, has struggled through May, scoring only 67 runs in 20 games.  The team’s veterans have been the most responsible for the scoring drought.  Although he’s has been hot recently, Ivan Rodriguez is hitting only .225/.243/.366 in May.  Rondell White’s May OPS is only .703 and Dmitri Young is struggling along with a .279 OBP and .333 SLG this month.  Nook Logan, who hadn’t posted an OBP above .335 since 2000 in the Florida State League, is hitting .250/.278/.289 in May, which is about what we should expect from him.  The team’s best hitters this month have been SS Carlos Guillen (.364/.382/.515), OF Craig Monroe (.276/.400/.431) and 3B Brandon Inge (.278/.376/.456).  Most of the Tiger’s power has been supplied by LF Marcus Thames who has a .564 slugging average in May.  Why aren’t they scoring runs? Well, in their most recent series Logan was leading off and the middle of the lineup was Pudge (3rd), Rondell (5th) and then Young. 

 

This and that –

  • At just 22-years old, Jeremy Bonderman was the youngest     Opening Day starter since Dwight Gooden in 1986.  Teammate Dmitri Young     declares that Bonderman is the next Roger Clemens.  We call it the “Bondo     Show,” said OF Craig Monroe of Bonderman. “He talks it, man.  But he also     walks it.  He just goes out and does it”.
  • Despite early season off-days, manager Alan Trammell and     pitching coach Bob Cluck decided to maintain the order of the rotation rather     than keeping their top pitchers on their normal rest.
  • Rondell White needs to sit down with White Sox manager     Ozzie Guillen.  After the Tigers lost three straight one-run games, White     declared, “In those on-run games, you really miss Magglio [Ordonez].”  In Chicago, Guillen has been asserting that his team is so good in one-run games because they     don’t have Ordonez.
  • The Tigers pitchers have had all kinds of problems with     left-handed hitters this year.  Lefties are hitting .282/.349/.437 while     opposing right-handers are hitting only .226/.295/.348.  Getting a solid     lefty for the pen and a southpaw complement to Maroth in the rotation     should be a Motown priority this off-season. 

 

Comings and Goings

  • The Tigers traded LHP Steve Colyer to the Mets for RH reliever     Matt Ginter.  Ginter has been used in long relief so far this season
  • Adam Peterson was claimed off waivers from Arizona. 
  • The Tigers purchased the contract of LHP Doug Creek from     Toledo when Higginson went under the knife. Creek had a 2.81 ERA with 21     Ks and only 9 hits allowed in in 16 AAA innings.  He has allowed 5 hits     but no runs or walks in 3 1/3 innings since his recall. 
  • P Chris Spurling was brought up from Toledo when Percival     went to the D.L.

 

Aches and Pains –

  • Magglio Ordonez is expected to miss up to three months     with a hernia.  He also missed the first half week of the season with an     intestinal inflammation.  Flying in the face of the bad press that the     White Sox organization has spewed about him, Ordonez asked Sox trainer     Herm Schneider to recommend a doctor for a second opinion about his     hernia.
  • Carlos Guillen has had recurring episodes of swelling in     his repaired knee.  The injury has forced the Tigers to sit Carlos Pena at     times so that Guillen could DH. 
  • Ramon Martinez missed 16 April games with a left thumb     injury.  Tigers optioned Andrew Good to Toledo to make room for Martinez.
  • Both Not-so-pudgy Rodriguez and Dmitri Young were forced     from the Tigers’ May 15 game due to injuries.  Rodriguez bruised the big     toe on his left foot after being struck by a foul tip while catching; he     is day-to-day.  Young twisted his left ankle on the first base bag while     trying to beat out an infield hit.  He had to be helped from the field.
  • Troy Percival is expected to miss four to six weeks after     he “did something . . . warming up in the bullpen,” according to Alan     Trammell.  That something was a partial tear of his right flexor pronator     muscle mass, whatever the heck that is.  I’ll just call it,     mycareerisoveritis. 
  • Speaking of the dying gasps of a career, Bobby Higginson     will have his right elbow operated upon to remove bone chips.  This almost     certainly spells the end of the 35-year old Higginson’s career.  Doesn’t     it? 
  • RHPs Gary Knotts and Fernando Rodney are out indefinitely     with sore shoulders. And RHP Colby Lewis was transferred to the 60-day     D.L.

 

Minors –

  • After stressing a high-risk, high-ceiling approach to the     draft for the last several years, the Tigers system is just the 22nd     best, according to the USA Today
  • After muddling through three seasons at Erie, 3B Jack     Hannahan, 25, has gotten off to a solid start at Toledo, hitting     .309/.372/.455.
  • At AA Erie, OF David Espinosa (.324/.450/.545), 23, has     been extremely good in his second go-round in the Eastern League.     Lefty-swinging SS Don Kelly, 25, has been on fire, hitting .324/.450/.545     with 34 BB in 39 games.  Nate Cornejo (3-3, 3.25) has struck out 24 and     walked just 4 in 36 IP.
  • RHP Kyle Sleeth hasn’t pitched yet in 2005 because of a     “tender” elbow. According to Baseball America, he was not expected to be     out for an extended period, and yet here we are. 

 

On Deck –

The Tigers are the first of Al Central teams to face the Yankees as the Bombers take a tour of the Midwest.  Detroit then plays Baltimore six times in ten days. When you sprinkle in a series against Texas and one at the Dodgers, this is makes for really tough stretch for the Tigers.  . 

 

 

KANSAS CITY (13-31, 5th place)

After a 7-18 April, the Royals won 6 of 19 May games. 

 

Mike Sweeny has led the Royals suddenly-solid offensive attack.  In May, the Royals have scored 96 runs in 20 games thanks in great part to Sweeney’s amazing .404/.444/.860 effort this month.  In their series at Tampa Bay, DH Matt Stairs drew 6 walks in 11 plate appearances.  Stairs is hitting .298/.450/.489 in May, including a recent stretch that has seen him hit .313/.560/.438 since mid-May.  Catcher John Buck has hit only .222 in May but he is in the midst of a hot streak that has seen him club the ball to the tune of .316/.391/.632 over the last couple weeks.  Angel Berroa’s .361/.395/.556 since mid-May has helped him raise his monthly totals to .286/.321/.442.  Now platooning, 2B Ruben Gotay is .350/.409/.600 over the last two weeks.

 

The Royals’ pitching has been just dismal in May, allowing 107 runs in 20 games.  Aside from relievers Mike Wood and Leo Nunez, the staff has been a mess.  The 21-year old Nunez, who was snatched from the Pirates for Benito Santiago, throws in the mid-90s and has always shown a strong BB/K ratio.  He was shelled early this year in High Desert (despite a great BB/K ratio) but he has been outstanding in AA Wichita and for the Royals thus far. A starter last year, Wood has taken a liking to the pen in 2005.  He allowed only a .167 average against and has a 3/10 BB/K ratio in 12 May innings.  Hard-luck Matt Greinke is 0-3 in May despite a 4.00 ERA and a 5/17 BB/K ratio in 27 innings. 

 

This and That –

  • The Royals’ 11-27 start was the worst in franchise     history.  If you believe the sources, it was not KC’s record that prompted     Tony Pena’s resignation, but their lack of fundamentals and smart play.     “I don’t care if you bring in the best manager is baseball,” said Jose     Lima a week before Pena’s resignation.  “Whoever comes here, it’s the same     25 guys.  It’s not Tony.  It’s not the coaching staff.”  A familiar     excuse, but is it true?  I mean, who sent Ken Harvey to AAA to start the     season?  Who has given Emil Brown 96 at bats?  Who gave up on Cal     Pickering after 27 at bats?  Who has let Jose Lima and his 7.77 ERA start     nine times, for heavens sake?
  • The Royals have decided to “build the right way” (in the     words of GM Allard Baird) in 2005.  Finally, I say.  But it’s still not     pretty.
  • In his first eight starts, Zack Greinke received twelve     runs of support. 
  • With runners on base, Royals’ pitchers are have allowed     opposing batters to hit .318/.395/.512, which is like having George Brett     up there. 

 

Comings and Goings –

  • The Royals optioned Shawn Camp, Nate Field and Calvin     Pickering to Omaha during April, recalling Ken Harvey, Ambiorix Burgos and     Matt Diaz.  According to Peter Gammons, Harvey was only in Omaha in the first place to slow down his eventual arbitration payday. 
  • Pitchers D.J. Carrasco and Leo Nunez were recalled from Omaha when Snyder and Anderson were sidelined. 
  • Chris Truby was outrighted to Omaha. 
  • The Royals purchased the contract of Ryan Jensen, a 13     game winner for the 2002 Giants), when Harvey went to the D.L. Jensen     started and beat the Cardinals on June 22nd

 

Aches and Pains –

  • Jeremy Affeldt is still a couple weeks away from returning     from a strained groin.  Mike Wood and Mike MacDougal have been sharing     what few save opportunities that have arisen during Affeldt’s absence.
  • Mark Teahen missed time with a lower back strain.  The     Royals returned Matt Diaz (pronounced DYE-az, by the way) to Omaha because (and I have this from a reliable source) Emil Brown has very, very     incriminating pictures of Allard Baird and an ostrich.
  • RH reliever Scott Sullivan is out indefinitely with a     lower back problem.  He is reworking his sidearm delivery to take stress     off his back.  Neither the problem nor the solution bode well for the     continuity of Sullivan’s career.
  • RHP Denny Bautista went to the D.L on May 16 with shoulder     tendinitis.  Matt Diaz, who knows the pilots on the Omaha to K.C. shuttle     personally by now, was recalled. 
  • RHP Kyle Snyder’s strained right shoulder allows him to     continues his extended stay in the Land of the Disabled.  Snyder has not     pitched since 2003.
  • LHP Brian Anderson’s left elbow soreness forced him onto     the DL.  There is no timetable for his return. 
  • Ken Harvey went to the D.L. with a sore back. His back has     bothered him all year, but he should be back in two weeks. 

 

Minors –

  • The Royals are 14th in minor league depth     according to the USA Today
  • In Omaha, 1B Chad Santos, 25, is having his best     professional year at .264/.352/.544 while Aaron Guiel (.292/.386/.583) is     trying to figure out what else he has to do to get back to The Show
  • At Wichita, 1B Justin Huber, now moved from the catching     position, has been destroying the Texas League, hitting .373/.480/.613.     Huber was acquired from the Pirates when Allard Baird found a way to get a     piece of the Kris Benson trade to the Mets.  DH Josh Pressley     (.325/.423/.521), still just 25, is finally starting to hit a few homers.    

 

On Deck –

The Royals go west for sets in Texas and Anaheim before returning to face the Yankees and Rangers at Kauffman.  Their June 7-19 interleague includes the NL West’s Giants, Dodgers and D-Backs and the NL Central’s Astros. 

 

 

MINNESOTA (25-17, 2nd place)

The Twins have played .500 ball in May, going 10-9. 

 

Twins pitchers have allowed 73 runs in 19 May games (3.41 ERA).  Brad Radke has had a great month. While he continues his pace of walking only two batters a month, he has allowed only 2.57 earned runs a game in May and has struck out 17 in 28 innings.  Radke has allowed only ten runs this month but has given up five homers.  Santana had back-to-back bad outings (at Baltimore and against Toronto) to raise his monthly totals to 1-2, 4.08 ERA.  The teams setup men (J.C. Romero, Juan Rincon and Jesse Crain) have been great in May but closer Joe Nathan’s May ERA is 5.14, thanks to rough outings against Texas and Milwaukee. 

 

The Twins offense is rather schizophrenic right now.  Their hitters have been either fire or ice this month giving the offense little continuity.  For example, 1B Justin Morneau has an .881 OPS in May but he is hitting only .147/.211/.265 since mid-month.  Lew Ford may be hitting .333/.412/.567 since mid-month but he was completely impotent for the May’s first couple weeks.  Joe Mauer was incredibly hot early in the month but has been rather non-descript of late.  Balancing out Torii Hunter’s crappy .219/.271/.297 May has been new SS Juan Castro, who has hit .360 and slugged .520 since mid-May. Jacque Jones is hitting only .167/.219/.267 over the last week or two and Luis Rivas, given back his 2B job during Nick Punto’s assorted maladies, has been Rivasesque (and that’s not good).  The lineup’s only constants in May have been Shannon Stewart (.917 OPS for May) and 3B Michael Cuddyer.  Cuddyer is a smokin’-hot .438/.486/.656 over the last couple weeks, lifting his monthly totals to .371/.403/.516. 

 

This and That –

  • The Twins lost their primary right-handed setup man as     Juan Rincon tested positive for a banned substance and was suspended for     10 days beginning Monday, May 2.  One of Rincon’s close friends on the     Twins insisted to Peter Gammons that Rincon is “not a juicer” and     explained that “to do his job requires bouncing back, day after day,     getting up, sitting down, getting up, and the recovery requires some     supplement.  He didn’t know it was illegal.”  Twins recalled Scott Baker     to fill Rincon’s slot.
  • The Twins are wearing sleeve patches this year to commemorate     the 40th anniversary of their 1965 A.L. Championship team.  The     Twins lost a seven-game World Series that year to the Dodgers after Sandy     Koufax threw a four-hit shutout in game five followed by three-hit shutout     on two day’s rest in game seven.  That was the Series in which the jewish     Koufax famously sat out game one in respect of Yom Kippur.  To show you     how old players never fade away but their perspectives do, Rod Carew spent     an inordinate amount of TV air time to bemoan how “today’s ballplayers” don’t     play as hard as they did back in his day.  Thirty minutes with an internet     database and you’ll find a half-dozen contemporary references to Carew’s     “laid-back” style of play. 
  • Nick Punto, slowed in spring training by a rib-cage     injury, has claimed the Twins’ second base job from Luis Rivas..  The     Twins believe that Punto is a cross between Lenny Dykstra and Larry Bowa,     which is really an image that I don’t need in my head.  Former-second     baseman Rivas was hitting .195/.244/.195 when he was benched.  “Our goal     is to get Luis playing better baseball,” said Gardenhire of Rivas.  Boy,     talk about low expectations!
  • The Twins ended their experiment with four catchers on     their 25-man roster. 
  • Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau, the “M&M Boys Show,”     have only played twenty games in the same lineup at any level, but they     have been the main cogs of the solid Twins offense.  Why?  “They don’t     swing at bad pitches,” reasoned C/DH Matt LeCroy.  “It’s amazing what     those guys are going to be able to do when they see all the pitchers in     this league.”
  • Shannon Stewart claims that he was fined $1,000 dollars     for bumping into Cleveland pitcher Jason Davis after Davis hit him with a     pitch.  Manager Ron Gardenhire was hit with a $750 dollar fine for     throwing his cap during a related argument with umpire Ted Barrett.  “This     guy hit me with a 90-plus [mph] pitch. . . . I played through it, but I     could hardly swing a bat for three days,” Stewart told the Minneapolis     Star Tribune.  “That has an effect on my play.  And I get fined?”     In the ensuing three games, Stewart was had two singles in twelve at bats     with three walks and two strikeouts at Tampa Bay.  The Twins won all three     games. 
  • The Twins struck out 17 Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday, May     22nd tying a club record.  Johan Santana fanned 11 (with just     one walk) in seven innings and then the bullpen struck out six more over     the next four innings of Minnesota’s 6-5 extra inning win. 
  • Minnesota is hitting .298/.364/.469 in the Humpdome but     only .245/.317/.356 on the road. 
  • The Twins have hit .322/.409/.489 with runners in scoring     position this year. 

 

Comings and Goings –

  • The Twins signed lefty Jimmy Anderson to a minor league     contract on April 15th.
  • The Jason Bartlett at SS experiment has ended, for now     anyway.  Bartlett was shipped back to Rochester in favor of Luis     Rodriguez. Rodriguez was hitting .287/.359/.357 at Rochester. 

 

Aches and Pains –

  • Kyle Lohse was hampered by a shoulder injury suffered     during his April 28 game at KC.  Since then, however, he’s made two good,     if abbreviated starts and a relief outing.  His ERA since the injury is     2.77 although he has allowed 14 hits and had a 5/4 K/BB ratio in 13     innings. 
  • Justin Morneau missed a dozen April games with a     concussion.  Switch-hitting infielder Terry Tiffee filled in well for     Morneau, hitting .280/.345/.520 in 25 at bats.  Morneau is becoming a cult     hero of sorts.  He’s just, well, a bit odd.  “He’s such a bonehead, but     he’s Canadian, what else do you expect?” said Jacque Jones, trying to     alienate a whole country in one fell swoop. “He actually makes more sense     now after he got hit in the head.  Maybe he needs a few more     concussions.”  “Maybe [the beaning] made me smarter,” ventured Morneau.     
  • Young fireballer Grant Balfour will undergo Tommy John     surgery and miss the rest of the 2005 season. Balfour’s injury was     originally listed as a forearm injury. 
  • CF Torii Hunter sat out on May 14th and 15th     with a sore right wrist, but he is expected to play on Tuesday against Toronto. 

 

Minors –

  • The Twins have the fifth best minor league depth according     to the USA Today.
  • In Rochester, switchy 1B Garrett Jones (.331/.368/.581)     has thumped eight homers but walked only seven times while striking out 37     times in 33 games.  Scott Baker (1.74 ERA with just 9 BB in 31 IP) has     been nearly untouchable and the bullpen has been strong, led by Todd     Bowyer and Willie Eyre who have combined for a 2.52 ERA with just 38 hits     and 55 Ks in 50 innings).
  • 1B Dan Matienzo, 24, has too many good players ahead of     him in the system but he’s hitting .293/.336/.521 at New Britain.  Trying     to force his way into the Twins future bullpen picture, sinker/slider     pitcher Pat Neshek has been very good with a 2.29 ERA and 26 strikeouts in     19 innings.  LHP Francisco Liriano (part of the booty from SF for     Pierzynski) continues his solid pitching at AA.  He’s struck out 59 in 50     IP with just 16 walks.  Liriano can hit 97 mph and, according to Peter     Gammons, one scout points out that “the way he slings it makes him really     tough on lefties.”  The same source says that Liriano could be     “devastating this fall out of the [Twins] pen.” 

 

On Deck –

The Twins continue as soft spot in their schedule.  They play Cleveland in 7 of their next 10 games and go to Toronto before playing the Yankees in early June.  In their subsequent interleague interlude of June 7-19 the Twins will miss the N.L. West’s worst team, Colorado. 

 

 

 

 

Anthony Giacalone Posted: May 23, 2005 at 08:01 PM | 23 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. The Robby Hammock District (Dan Lee) Posted: May 23, 2005 at 10:05 PM (#1356440)
A nice piece. Well done.

One note:

A sulking Matt Miller was recalled from Buffalo when the Indians optioned Jason Davis.

Miller certainly sulked, and rightfully so, when they sent him down, but he was incredible with the Bisons. He allowed 3 (count 'em, three) hits over more than a month in AAA ball.

It seems likely that somewhere along the line, he stopped sulking.
   2. Anthony Giacalone Posted: May 23, 2005 at 10:48 PM (#1356508)
You are absolutely right, Camacho. Miller was fantastic at Buffalo and unscored on when he got his demotion. I probably used the wrong word to describe Miller's attitude. Sulking implies that he didn't do his best and that's not true at all. He was very unhappy about being sent to AAA and Wedge called it the hardest move he's ever had to make (or something to that effect). Frankly, Davis should have gone to Buffalo when Sabathia was activated. I don't know why he wasn't; maybe the Tribe wanted a longer reliever. It seems necessary for the Indians to move a reliever or two to get some help on offense.
   3. RMc's desperate, often sordid world Posted: May 23, 2005 at 11:34 PM (#1356556)
the end of the 35-year old Higginson’s career.

I actually read this as "Higginson's 35-year career." Boy, it sure seems that long, doesn't it?

RHP Kyle Sleeth hasn’t pitched yet in 2005 because of a “tender” elbow. According to Baseball America, he was not expected to be out for an extended period, and yet here we are.

I stand by my original prediction when Sleeth was drafted: he will never pitch an inning in Detroit. The Tigers Draft Day Taril o' Tears continues...
   4. Craig in MN Posted: May 24, 2005 at 03:23 AM (#1357313)
# Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau, the “M&M Boys Show,” have only played twenty games in the same lineup at any level, but they have been the main cogs of the solid Twins offense. Why? “They don’t swing at bad pitches,” reasoned C/DH Matt LeCroy. “It’s amazing what those guys are going to be able to do when they see all the pitchers in this league.”

LeCroy must be keeping his eyes closed during Morneau's at-bats lately. They haven't exactly qualified as 'not swinging at bad pitches'.
   5. Anthony Giacalone Posted: May 24, 2005 at 04:49 AM (#1357444)
LeCroy's quote is a couple of week's old, Craig, as you probably guessed.
   6. Jes Golbez Posted: May 24, 2005 at 01:24 PM (#1357724)
Great job on the article!!

I am continually amazed at the transformation of Brandon Inge from craptastic to fantastic hitter. At least something turned out right for the Tigers.
   7. Buddha Posted: May 24, 2005 at 03:03 PM (#1357871)
"The Tigers Draft Day Taril o' Tears continues..."

"At least something turned out right for the Tigers."

Geez, you'd think it was 2003 all over again. If you look at the Tigers' minor league system as a whole this season, there is a lot to be positive about. Chris Shelton and Curtis Granderson are performing as expected in Triple A. David Espinosa is ripping up Double-A. Kody Kirkland and Brent Clevlen are both hitting for power and average in High A. Wilkin Ramirez is showing the power-speed combination in Low A that could make him a star.

And how about Justin Verlander? The guy's been unbelieveble at Lakeland. Everything they wanted from the number 2 pick. Nate Bumstead, Jair Jurrens, Rob Henkel, all excellent. Hell, even Nate Cornejo and Kenny Baugh are doing very well.

Is it too early to make judgments? Of course. But let's not rush to judgment that things are horrible.

As for the major league team, who thought the pitching would be this good? Not me. I thought Bonderman would be a superstar, but Robertson, Maroth and Johnson have all be pleasant surprises so far. The bullpen has had a couple hiccups but has been excellent of late. Urbina and German especially.

And this is without their biggest free agent bat. I'd say they're doing alright. Besides, their BP projected record was better than the White Sox! Whoo hoo!

Sometimes the glass is half-full...
   8. RMc's desperate, often sordid world Posted: May 24, 2005 at 03:27 PM (#1357920)
Look, Buddha, I'd like to share your optimism...really, I would. But Ordonez is cooked, I-Rod's knees won't last, Guillen can't keep hitting at this level, Percival's probably done, the rotation is bound to have an injury or three...and if Brandon Inge is truly a major league hitter, then I'm a lugnut.

If you look at the Tigers' minor league system as a whole this season, there is a lot to be positive about.

Yeah, right. I've seen too many Matt Wheatlands and Seth Greisingers to think that anybody the Tigers have drafted has any potential at all. I mean, when the best player your system has produced in the last decade is Eric Munson, you tend to get a bit cynical.

Maybe some Arizona-style luck would help, but that ain't happening. Best case scenario: about where they are now, just under .500. Worst case: another 100-loss collapse. Welcome back to Square One, already in progress...
   9. Buddha Posted: May 24, 2005 at 03:45 PM (#1357947)
RMc: Jesus man, step back from the ledge.

Ordonez will be back in July. He might be ok by August. I-Rod has had no problems with his knees. Why can't Guillen keep hitting at this level? He's done it for two years now. If you think Inge isn't a major league hitter at this point, then you really are a lugnut.

Pena will heat up, and if he doesn't, Shelton will take his place. Young will get hot again. MOnroe is starting to bat well again. IRod's been hitting again after a bad month. The offense will come back.

And if the pitching suffers an injury to anyone other than Bonderman, there are replacement parts in Triple-A that are doing very well. Baugh and Douglass are pitching extremely well right now.

Matt Wheatland and Seth Greisinger were drafted by whom? Relax. There's no more evil Randy Smith under the bed. Things are getting better.

Is this a championship team? Nope. Is it a team that can make the playoffs? Possible, but really, really doubtful at this point. Not with Ordonez gone all season. But they're on the right track.
   10. WillYoung Posted: May 24, 2005 at 04:49 PM (#1358091)
Excellent article, Anthony. I was at a Spring Training game in which Francisco Liriano pitched (and struggled mostly due to bad luck), but he was hitting 96 and 97 on the scouts guns and he blew a fastball by David Ortiz that caused the scouts to audibly take note.
   11. Anthony Giacalone Posted: May 24, 2005 at 07:07 PM (#1358328)
No one is more surprised by Brandon Inge than me. Two years ago, in the BiWeeklyReview I ventured that he might be the worst hitting regular in major league history. If he's really become a .280/.390/.420 hitter, I am really amazed. I hope he is, although I wish that he was still a catcher.

I also have to agree with Buddha about the Tigers low minors. They look quite promising. Their track record has been dismal, but since the current administration drafted a lot of high schoolers I think that we need to give them some time before passing judgment. My article only covered AA and above (and I wanted to only highlight things in a sentence or two) but I was thinking about looking at the low minors in a future installment.
   12. Buddha Posted: May 24, 2005 at 07:13 PM (#1358341)
"No one is more surprised by Brandon Inge than me. Two years ago, in the BiWeeklyReview I ventured that he might be the worst hitting regular in major league history. If he's really become a .280/.390/.420 hitter, I am really amazed. I hope he is, although I wish that he was still a catcher."

Yeah, but the catcher they got now is pretty good. It might not be a coincidence that Inge's bat is much better when he's not catching.

Inge always had great athletic ability. There was always the potential to be able to hit a baseball and play the field. Seems like he's realized that to some degree.

I don't think the Tigers are out of the woods as far as their minor leagues are concerned. They're still not in the top half of major league teams. But they are getting better.

Of course, it would have been really hard to get any worse.
   13. RMc's desperate, often sordid world Posted: May 24, 2005 at 07:46 PM (#1358413)
Ordonez will be back in July. He might be ok by August.

Nope. Cooked. They'll eat the contract.

I-Rod has had no problems with his knees.

Yet. Clock's ticking...he'll be 34 in November.

Why can't Guillen keep hitting at this level?

You think Guillen will hit .375 for the entire season? God bless you.

If you think Inge isn't a major league hitter at this point, then you really are a lugnut.

Buddha, Buddha, Buddha. Nobody magically goes from being a .198 hitter (Inge, 2001-03) to being a .292 hitter (Inge, 2004-05). Doesn't happen. Maybe he could be a legitimate .250 hitter, in which he'd be an OK spare part. Maybe.

And if the pitching suffers an injury to anyone other than Bonderman, there are replacement parts in Triple-A that are doing very well.

Jason Grilli to the rescue! Hey, let's start him against the Yankees tonight!

Baugh and Douglass are pitching extremely well right now.

Well, yeah, about 20 minutes into the season, anyway. (And isn't Kenny Baugh about 43 years old by now?)

As the man said, "I could be wrong...but I don't think so."
   14. Buddha Posted: May 24, 2005 at 10:18 PM (#1358760)
"Nope. Cooked. They'll eat the contract."

Hope not.

"Yet. Clock's ticking...he'll be 34 in November."

That's what the DH is for.

"Buddha, Buddha, Buddha. Nobody magically goes from being a .198 hitter (Inge, 2001-03) to being a .292 hitter (Inge, 2004-05). Doesn't happen. Maybe he could be a legitimate .250 hitter, in which he'd be an OK spare part. Maybe."

Inge age
26: 203/265/339
27: 287/340/453
28: 306/398/488

You're right. No one ever gets better between the ages of 26 and 28. No one. Might as well cut him now.

Baugh: 3.42 ERA 31/19 K/BB
Douglass: 2.82 ERA 48/17 K/BB

World beaters? No. Useful spare parts? Certainly.

"As the man said, "I could be wrong...but I don't think so.""

Well there's your problem, you have to stop listening to the man.
   15. RMc's desperate, often sordid world Posted: May 25, 2005 at 01:25 AM (#1359520)
Inge age
26: 203/265/339
27: 287/340/453
28: 306/398/488

You're right. No one ever gets better between the ages of 26 and 28. No one. Might as well cut him now.


All right, fine. Name one sub-.200 hitter who suddenly became a legit .300+ hitter and maintained that level for a decent length of time. One. I'll wait.

I'm not saying Inge hasn't improved...hell, he could hardly get any worse. But to think he's suddenly turned into A-Rod is nuts. He's a decent spare part...nothing more. (Oh, and he's beyond his age-27 season, too.)

Baugh: 3.42 ERA 31/19 K/BB
Douglass: 2.82 ERA 48/17 K/BB


In Toledo. In a pitcher's park. In a month and a half. (Sample size, my friend, sample size.) When these guys start producing these numbers in Detroit, then we'll talk.

I'm just trying to prepare you for the inevitable, Buddha. When the Tigers crash and lose 95 games, don't say I didn't warn you...
   16. Anthony Giacalone Posted: May 25, 2005 at 02:33 AM (#1359731)
All right, fine. Name one sub-.200 hitter who suddenly became a legit .300+ hitter and maintained that level for a decent length of time. One. I'll wait.

First, you are attacking a straw man since noone has claimed that Inge is a .300 plus hitter. He hit .287 last year but did have better than average OBP and SLG.

This isn't exactly the same but here's one guy that immediately came to mind.

age 22: .220/.273/.261
age 23: .247/.295/.298
age 24: .230/.302/.293
age 25: .294/.340/.352

and then after three years of .618, .650, .684 OPS we get

age 29: .297/.362/.417
age 30: .280/.347/.368
age 31: .288/.358/.372
age 32: .333/.397/.436
age 33: .287/.377/.375


That's Omar Vizquel who averaged 70 OPS in his first four years and then was a 95 OPS in a five year prime.

You also might look into George Gibson, who went from a lifetime .200 hitter through the age of 26 to become a .265-.290 hitter at his peak (in the the deadball era). He is probably the best match right now. Like Inge, Gibson was also a lifetime 60 OPS+ (or so) who went on to turn in three years of 100+ and two years of 90+ OPS+. Like Inge, Gibson went from about 60 points below the league average in batting in his first three years to about 20 points above league average in his peak.

So, there you go. I name George Gibson. And I'm sure that I could find a half dozen more with a little time.
   17. The Robby Hammock District (Dan Lee) Posted: May 25, 2005 at 04:56 AM (#1360005)
He was very unhappy about being sent to AAA and Wedge called it the hardest move he's ever had to make (or something to that effect).

If that's true, and I have no reason to believe it isn't, I can't wait to see what Wedge says about the moves he's going to have to make over the next couple weeks when Gonzalez and Crisp are activated.

Ludwick's days are numbered, you can pretty much set that in stone, but it's unclear who the second ax will fall on.

I have a hunch it may be Grady Sizemore. Grady's played really really well, but if they send him down for a month or two, they can stall free agency for a year.

If it's not Grady, it could be Aaron Boone. But to send him down, they'll need his permission. Obviously they wouldn't need permission to DFA him.

It can't be Bard because he's the only non-Vic catcher on the roster.

Remote possibilities: Blake, Cora, Hernandez
Incredibly remote possibilities: Gerut, Broussard

Or someone may pick up a phantom injury to buy some time.

Frankly, Davis should have gone to Buffalo when Sabathia was activated. I don't know why he wasn't; maybe the Tribe wanted a longer reliever.

Thankfully, that's been rectified. Matt Miller's a pretty terrific pitcher and Jason Davis, uh, isn't - it's about time someone in the Indians front office noticed that.

It seems necessary for the Indians to move a reliever or two to get some help on offense.

You'd think so, but assuming Vic will eventually hit, assuming a productive Gonzalez, and with the way Gerut is swinging the bat, I wouldn't be surprised to see them stand pat.

I expect they'll wait until closer to the deadline to flip a reliever or two. The way Arthur Rhodes has pitched, some contender will flip them something useful for him in June. I could also see Riske getting traded if the price was right.

Heading into the season, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that Brandon Phillips would be traded, but he's done diddly crap in Buffalo. Makes it difficult to get anything of value for him.
   18. The Keith Law Blog Blah Blah (battlekow) Posted: May 25, 2005 at 08:21 AM (#1360131)
As for his rotation, while they are on a pitch count right now, he plans on letting them lose the final two months of the season.
   19. The Keith Law Blog Blah Blah (battlekow) Posted: May 25, 2005 at 08:21 AM (#1360132)
^^ That was a fun typo.
   20. RMc's desperate, often sordid world Posted: May 25, 2005 at 09:35 AM (#1360156)
So, there you go. I name George Gibson.

Wow, an unknown from nearly a century ago! Boy, I'm convinced.

Gibson's OPS+ from his first 11 ML seasons (1905-15): 58, 33, 75, 78, 106, 94, 49 (!), 70, 100, 116, 97; he went from being a terrible hitter to a decent one, back to terrible, then around league average. Ty Cobb, he weren't.

Vizquel? He went from awful to slighty below average, which about where Inge (truly) is. It's true that The Angry Inge isn't terrible anymore, but there's no way in hell he's really a .292 hitter. Sorry. It just doesn't happen that way outside of fairy tales.
   21. Buddha Posted: May 25, 2005 at 01:59 PM (#1360235)
"He's a decent spare part...nothing more. (Oh, and he's beyond his age-27 season, too.)"

1) I never said he wasn't beyond age 27.
2) Inge is a legitimate starting third baseman. He'd be the starting third baseman on a lot of major league teams right now.

Players never improve? Please. Players improve all the time, they're human beings, not numbers on a page. Sometimes people around here forget that.

I was as big an Inge doubter as anyone, and I agree with you that he's probably not a .300 hitter, but he's definitely improved as a hitter; improved to the point of being a legitimate major league third baseman.

"In Toledo. In a pitcher's park. In a month and a half. (Sample size, my friend, sample size.) When these guys start producing these numbers in Detroit, then we'll talk."

As I've said repeatedly, they could be useful spare parts. I'll stand by that. It's not like I'm calling them the next Roger Clemens.

RMc: No offense, but you are one sour son of a #####. Lighten up.
   22. Buddha Posted: May 25, 2005 at 02:40 PM (#1360286)
BTW: There should be a smiley after that last line. All in good fun. : )
   23. Slinger Francisco Barrios (Dr. Memory) Posted: May 25, 2005 at 05:58 PM (#1360763)
Inge is a legitimate starting third baseman. He'd be the starting third baseman on a lot of major league teams right now.

I'm a Sox fan, and I'd trade him for Crede in a heartbeat. I'm betting Crede won't do a George Gibson.

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