Saturday, June 27, 2009
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
“He’s one of the smartest pitchers I’ve ever been around, first off,’’ McCann said. “He wills himself to be the best, every single day. Everything he [does] just is at a high level, no matter if it’s playing ping-pong. He’s just so competitive. He’s usually the best at what he does.
“It’s very rare. He’s the best athlete I’ve ever been around. He can do it all. I could sit here and throw a million adjectives. He’s a great, great pitcher, and a great person.’’
-- snip --
“Never doubt him,’’ McCann said. “If there’s a game I want someone to win, I don’t care if it’s John Smoltz throwing lefthanded, I want John Smoltz on the mound. Boston got a great pitcher, a guy who when the postseason comes, you can rely on him to go out there and give you a great performance. I think they got a great pitcher in Smoltzy.’’
That is easy to quantify. In 20 major league seasons, Smoltz has gone 206-141 as a starter, with a 3.33 ERA. As a reliever, Smoltz rang up 154 saves, with a 2.41 ERA. He is the only pitcher with at least 200 wins and 150 saves. But that is hardly the extent of Smoltz’s greatness. Try his postseason numbers: 15-4 with a 2.65 ERA.
Those numbers are exactly why Smoltz is wearing a Boston uniform. Because, as McCann said, “You see Josh Beckett, he’s one of the best postseason pitchers coming up and Smoltzy is the best postseason pitcher, so you put those two together on a staff and they’ve got [Jon] Lester. This team is going to be tough to beat in the playoffs.’’
Smoltz is used to coming back from injury, having reinvented himself before. McCann has seen it. Bobby Cox, who managed Smoltz for all but two of his seasons in Atlanta, has watched the pitcher do everything possible. And sometimes, the impossible.
“He can invent pitches and arm angles when he had to, when his arm was sore and all that,’’ Cox said. “He would drop down, throw side arm, throw knuckleballs, and still win. The genius comes in, figuring things out. That’s what it’s all about, adjusting as hitters, adjusting as pitchers, and figure out a way to get people out.
“I’m not just making this up. It’s all true.’’
Cox has no doubt Smoltz will help the Sox, calling their pitching staff “dynamite.’’ Between his pitches and his presence, Cox predicted Smoltz would have a major impact.
“No. 1, he’s got talent,’’ Cox said. “No. 2, he’s smart as heck. No. 3, he’s a great competitor. Add them all up, you’ve got Josh Beckett and John Smoltz.’’
-- snip --“He’s done it many times,’’ Cox said. “Never count him out, ever. Ever.’’
I’m not saying Aardsma is going to continue to post a 1.62 ERA all season. With as many fly balls as he gives up, he’s going to surrender a few more home runs along the way. But Aardsma’s a quality relief pitcher, and we shouldn’t be that surprised that he’s performing well for the Mariners. He did this last year too, but no one noticed.
Monday, June 22, 2009
Peter Abraham's recent attempt at being sagacious makes complete sense to me. I think he nailed it. I must include the opening passage:
When Alex Rodriguez returned from his hip surgery, the Yankees spoke glowingly about the work his surgeon and rehab specialist were doing. To listen to them talk, Dr. Marc Philippon and Dr. Mark Lindsay are the two best at what they do.
Based on all available information, that seems to be exactly the case. They are the best.
According to Rodriguez, the plan put in place by Philippon and Lindsay was for him to take 5-8 games off during his first 45 games back with the team. Not 45 days, 45 games.
But over the first 38 games he was back, A-Rod sat out zero games. He started every one of them, 35 of them at third base. Day games after night games, rain-delayed games, every single game.
A-Rod said he fought to stay in games, which is what he supposed to do. Knowing him, I’m sure that’s exactly what he did. But why didn’t the Yankees stick with the plan their doctors drew up? All of a sudden a third baseman with a high school education knew better than the two best doctors in their respective fields?
Seriously, what are the Yankees doing? Why wouldn't they rest him the way the doctors advise? On top of everything, it sure seemed dirty to give him his first rest in the form of a two-game benching in him hometown (Miami) that he never gets to visit because it's an interleague matchup. Did Joe Girardi forget the doctors' advice? I'm sure Hal Steinbrenner hasn't forgetten that the Yanks owe Alex 258 million dollars through 2017.
The final stop on the BAseball Reality Tour takes us again to the friendly confines of Joe Posnanski's blog. This is a fun read, and it isn't even about baseball, except during the juicy discussion showcasing recent Royals' futility. It's also worth staying to the end of his post, if only to hear his wife's million dollar idea, evoking mention of the "Flintstone-Rubble type of relationship".
Friday, June 19, 2009
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Sammy Sosa, who joined with Mark McGwire in 1998 in a celebrated pursuit of baseball’s single-season home run record, is among the players who tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug in 2003, according to lawyers with knowledge of the drug-testing results from that year.
The disclosure that Sosa tested positive makes him the latest baseball star of the last two decades to be linked to performance-enhancers, a group that now includes McGwire, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez and Rafael Palmeiro.
- - snip - -
The 2003 test that ensnared Sosa was the first such test conducted by Major League Baseball. Under guidelines agreed upon with the players union, the test results were to remain anonymous but would lead to testing with penalties the next year if more than 5 percent of the results were positive.
That is indeed what occurred. But for reasons never made completely clear, the test results were not destroyed by the players union and the 104 positives were subsequently seized by federal agents on the West Coast investigating matters related to the distribution of drugs to athletes.
The union immediately filed court papers alleging that the agents had illegally seized the tests, and over the past six years judges at various levels of the federal court system have been weighing whether the government can keep them. An 11-judge panel in California is preparing to rule in the case, but regardless of its verdict, the losing side is expected to appeal to the United States Supreme Court.
As the union feared, the names on the list have begun to emerge. In February, Sports Illustrated reported that Rodriguez was on the 2003 list, and Rodriguez subsequently acknowledged that he had used steroids for three years. Now, Sosa’s name has been disclosed.