Friday, July 24, 2009

Friday's Notepad

Below are a few random thoughts from having free MLB Extra Innings on this Friday afternoon... Starting Pitchers for today's two matinees... Jose Contreras, White Sox @ Justin Verlander, Detroit... and... Aaron Harang, Cincinnati @ Randy Wells, Cubs.

Tigers' pitching staff, lead by Justin Verlander, should have a strong day against a presumably hung over White Sox team.

Normally, that would be enough for me to expect the Tigers to probably sweep, and at least split today's twin bill. But, with bullpens being so vital to winning double headers, at least the White Sox have everyone fresh. Detroit used Ryan Perry for 2 2/3 perfect innings and international Taiwanese sensation Fu Te-Ni for a perfect 9th.

Reds @ Cubs starts at 1:20 Central Time.

The Reds lineup looks weak; only Joey Votto looks like a tough out.

Edwin Encarnacion is a shadow of his former self, returning from a debilitating wrist injury.

Dusty Bakers designated base clogger is the #7 hitter, Ryan Hanigan. He looks like the second toughest out the lineup, mostly because Brandon Phillips is so walk averse.

Justin Verlander hasn't been perfect, but he's throwing an easy 98 over the black, from the stretch, in the 2nd inning of the early game in the White Sox/Tigers doubleheader.

I wonder is Jose Contreras and Livan Hernandez get along. They're both famous Cuban refugee pitchers who invent pitches, refine grips, and vary arm angles/release points regularly. I'm not looking it up, but I suspect they both spend their offseasons in Miami.

Maybe they all go to El Duque's house on NFL Sunday's to watch DirecTV. That would be great, but I have no idea. Maybe they have an unhealthy rivalry, filled with jealousy and spite. I like to think that they get along.

Adam Everett just scored the first run of the game on a Sac fly. I love when guys who "can't hit" produce offensively. I always get the feeling that the manager and GM are thinking to themselves, "Cha-ching!" because when someone like Adam Everett helps on offense, it helps turn the lineup over so much more efficiently. This is not meant to be a knock on Adam Everett in any way. We here feel very strongly that Adam Everett is a guy who's defense is so spectacular that it alone warrants him being an everyday shortstop in the Major Leagues.

In the Top of the 4th, Miguel Cabrera just showed why he's considered and elite hitter, but not one of the very best players in the games. He's camped defensively at first base, when AJ Pierzynski's ground ball sends him diving to his right. Cabrera smothers the ball but throws the ball behind Verlander, who's covering first. Detroit may be leading 1-0, but this looks like an opening that Ozzie Guillen teams traditionally capitalize on.

Hasn't the Cubs' game started, yet? Jeeze.

Walt Jocketty on the Reds' pregame, "I'm not gonna trade the future for a guy we're gonna have for two months." He's right. It doesn't make sense for the Reds to do that, but it's because they're out of it. The way he says it just sounds like sour grapes from the Cardinals' Matt Holliday trade.

Jocketty is also saying that he's hoping to get something done before the deadline. He sounds like he's still acting as a buyer. He's riding the fence, saying that they'll do anything that will help his team this season and in the future. Whatever. (Bias alert!) You're still the old Cardinals' GM, Jocketty, so you're not very well liked over here.

Over the Cubs last six games, all on the road, Alfonso Soriano hit .417 with 2 HR's, 4 Runs, and 6 RBI. I think he's getting hot. There have been reports of his demise, and perhaps they've been greatly exagerrated. We'll see. He could go back in the tank with this homestand. With an injured Aramis Ramirez trying his best, but falling short of past skill levels, Cubs fans must hope Soriano can carry them for a couple of weeks, like he used to.

It looks like the wind is blowing out at Wrigley. Maybe Jonny Gomes will make a big impact as a last-minute addition to the lineup.

Randy Wells starts the game by striking Chris Dickerson out looking on a pitch that looked low and outside. The Umpire Effect can have a big effect on this game, if that strike zone continues.

After consecutive singles by Wily Taveras and Votto put runners on the corners, Brandon Phillips grounds into an inning-ending double play! I like to root against him because of the crazy things he's said about On-Base Percentage. Here's a must-read, courtesy of Mr. Joe Posnanski.

Aramis drove a pitch low and away all the way to the right-center field wall. He's alrady said that his dislocated left shoulder, which I can relate to, is about 80-85%, and he won't be back to 100% until next season. This showing of power reminds me that so much of hitting is based on the swing. Even if Aramis can't drive the ball with the same bat speed as before, he still is just a great hitter, with an outstanding swing.

We've just experienced a little gap in analysis, as I got a little busy with some actual work. Regardless, it looks like I missed a 3-run homerun by Aaron Harang. Thank goodness I missed it; those are very upsetting.

In the American League game, Adam Everett just drove in his 28th RBI of the season. Contreras is still battling, with Octavio Dotel warming up, and a 3-1 deficit in the 7th inning. Life long inspiration, Steve Stone, called the pitch that Everett hit a cutter away that got up.

Sorry, more work...

The Cubs tied it up to make it 3 to 3. Fukudome and Aramis stand out with 2 runs scored and 2 RBI's, respectively.

Okay, that was some more work.......

... and I missed the end of the White Sox game. Who cares? They stink.

Back to the friendly confines......

Aaron Heilman's appearance inspires absolutely no confidence. He has some of the worst body language I can ever remember. I don't even mean when he's pitching and has runners on base. I mean, right now, he's warming up in the bullpen and it looks like he'd rather be anywhere else.

The Reds broadcast just showed an old clip of Kent Mercker celebrating his no-hitter with Atlanta. They weren't showing it as a parallel to Mark Beurhle's perfect game, but rather because they were discussing mullets. The color man even said, "business in the front, party in the back."

Wow, leading off the bottom of the 6th, Aramis Ramirez just drove a ball into the left field bleachers in a hurry. It was a breaking ball low in the zone. Replay shows Aramis drop the head of the bat, sending a screamer over Jonny Gomes's head.

Following Aramis's heroics, making it 4-3 cubs, it's nice to see Milton Bradley hit a basehit up the middle. He really needs to get it going, as our patience is running thin with him.

The work responsibilities are tugging at my sleeve, so I'm going to have to post this already... Otherwise, this post may never see the light of day. Enjoy the games tonight and this weekend!

1 comment:

  1. Verlander is back to pitching like a stud again after a bit of a dry spell pre-all star break. Impressive game today.