Last time, I made an off-comment early in the game about a long night for the bullpen based on the short length of his prior starts.....granted he didn't pitch that long Sunday (5 2/3) but he had a nice start racking up 10 K's and the bullpen kept it together to beat St. Louis.
It's been a good stretch....winning 4 of the last 5 including an extra inning win in STL and two walk-off wins against the Cubs...on the off-chance the Brewers get into contention this year, the walk-off sac bunt by Counsell could be the catalyst to an extended run of good play.
This nice stretch of play has coincided with the end of the Jeff Suppan era. Probably should of happened before the season began. I thought I would have been happier about this development but the only reaction is relief that the experience of watching him pitch (whether it be as a starter or mop-up man are over and if I do see him pitch it will be with the Brewers bats going up against him as a member of the Cardinals. Apparently, the Cardinals are looking to give Jeff Suppan a chance in their rotation......which means they may have inadvertently increased the Reds chances of getting their first playoff appearance since 1995.
On a more disturbing note, the release of Jeff Suppan allowed the Brewers to lead the league in a category. However, the bad news is that category happens to be percentage of payroll going to players no longer playing for them.
So early today, I stumbled across ABC and some new show (it's been a couple hours but I forget the name already) where they had the plays of the week on a bracket (BTW in my humble opinion, this show is downright terrible and I don't see it lasting more than a couple months.....seriously I could feel my IQ dropping by the minute watching this.....the concept is good....the execution not so much).
Anyways they had a couple 16-seed brackets and the walk-off Sac Bunt was seeded 11 against Big Baby Davis drooling after celebrating a basket.
Needless to say, Carlos Gomez did not advance to the next round (BTW Strasburg's debut won their tourney). Granted Big Baby has the advantage of doing his thing on the stage of the NBA Finals.....but c'mon i'm pretty sure people drooling after a big play happens on a regular basis. Scoring from first on a Sac-Bunt hasn't happened since 1975. That was so long ago that I wasn't even born for 8 years and the Dharma Initiative was in its prime....this may involve two teams who won't be talking about the Playoffs?! but we're talking about History?! it hasn't happened in 35 years and your reducing it to an 11-seed....you kidding me?
In the it was a matter if when not if category, Rich Harden was placed on the Disabled List for what seems like the kajillionth time. If it was anyone else, there may be speculation about the DL trip being connected to performance (Harden throw a season high 120-pitches last night, gave up 6 runs (second highest total in 2010) and has seen his ERA reach a season high of 5.68.
However, this is Rich Harden we are talking about. Harden and the Disable List are total BFFs. When all is said and done, Rich Harden is probably in the top 5 of pitchers that we will be speculating on how much they could have accomplished if not for their frequent jaunts to the DL:
other pitchers w/in this discussion would be Mark Prior, Kerry Wood, Ben Sheets and those are just the ones that come to mind at this point.
Thus far he's only had 4 seasons where he has pitched over 100 innings. His ERA+ for those years are 114, 173, 212 & 110.....a couple decent seasons and a couple seasons that would have been Cy Young caliber if extended to a full slate of 35 starts. To further the point, players on his top 10 similar's list on his Baseball-Reference page include Felix Hernandez, Matt Cain & Adam Wainwright.....in other words health is keeping the list of elite pitchers at least one pitcher too short.
In the you never know what your gonna see/i'm glad I decided to change the channel to this game department.......Daniel Nava. So, I was aimlessly flipping through the channels and the thought came to me to see which game was on FOX during their exclusive domain known as Saturday afternoon. At that time it was 2-1 Phillies and the Red Sox had two men on (they loaded the bases shortly after)......leading to an epic matchup between Nava and Joe Blanton. The broadcasters barely get a sentence out about it being his debut, etc, etc, etc.......and then BOOM grand slam....first pitch......history made. Honestly, didn't see it coming.....Grand Slams don't happen very much as it is but to see someone do it on the first-major league pitch that they see......not bad when you start your career with a rate of 4 RBI/Pitch Seen.
That makes it the second player to make history in this weekend tilt between Red Sox/Phillies.
Yesterday, Jamie Moyer set another age-related record becoming the oldest pitcher to give up 9+ runs in a start (well, technically he was breaking his own record that he set a few years back). Even the writers of this blog (Baseball-Reference) have little to no faith in this record being broken (by someone other than Moyer)....but the door is open for it to be broken within the next five years. While many of the pitchers on this list have since retired (Maddux, Clemens, Fassero, Sad Sam Jones, etc.).....the last active player to make this list (Tim Wakefield....who made it with his May 28th start against the Royals) happens to be 4th all-time on this list (2nd amongst pitchers not named Jamie Moyer. Wakefield isn't that much younger than Moyer (43 vs. 47) and knuckle ball pitchers are known for lasting forever, for all we know Wakefield could still be pitching into his 60s if he wanted......then again Jamie Moyer might be still be pitching keeping one-step ahead in all things related to age records.
In all seriousness, I am rooting for Moyer to stay in the bigs and effective into his 50s. Seeing a pitcher be able to get hitters out this deep into his 40s and beyond is very rare and something we don't see all the time. Since Julio Franco barely missed this threshold (probably) Moyer/Wakefield may be the last hopes of seeing someone playing past 50 as MLB has been on a league-wide youth movement.
Till next time.......