(Note to anyone trying to send me e-mail: it probably will bounce for the
next 12 to 48 hours. Thanks for your patience. –JSS)
Walking through the parity league…
- Robb Nen has been alternating dominant seasons with so-so ones
since 1996, but his early results so far indicate that the streak may end.
Ten baserunners and 23 strikeouts in 14 innings are about as good as it gets
for a relief pitcher.
Nen threw fewer innings last year, 66, then he had in his previous
high-performance seasons. That may be a factor, although we don’t know
enough about reliever workloads to say for sure.
- Injuries to
and Mike Darr
opened the door, and it now looks like
Rickey Henderson has no
intention of walking back through it. The runs record and 3,000 hits, which
both looked like longshots two weeks ago, now appear to be attainable by
August, maybe sooner. As a shameless Rickey fan, I hope he gets them while
leading the Padres deep into the NL West race.
- After I wrote the column
on guys with low BAs who are having big seasons,
I received mail in praise of
who at the time was
hitting under .250. Well, Drew has now mixed in some singles and is hitting
.280/.425/.646. Most impressively, he appears to finally have an everyday
job and is batting fifth in most of Tony LaRussa’s lineups. Memo to TLR:
It’s about freaking time.
- I still don’t know how to solve Rick Ankiel‘s problems, but I do
know it’s not just about the walks anymore. The league is hitting .275 off
him and he’s giving up a home run every three innings, plus he’s not even
averaging five innings per start.
- Aramis Ramirez:
.283/.360/.616. Sometimes, you just have to get
the hell out of the way and let a guy play.
- The weird thing about the Phillies is that they’re off to a good start
without getting anything from their best players.
and Mike Lieberthal
are way below their established performance levels, while only
has an OBP above .350.
If you’re the Braves, that’s a thought that has to keep you awake at night.
- Look past the record: 1-4 Tony Armas Jr. has been one of the
better pitchers in the NL this season.
- DiSars update:
is up to 74 at-bats without a
walk, and getting more playing time. Never, ever, discount veteran presence.
- I don’t want it to sound like I’m pushing the panic button, because I
really enjoy watching this guy pitch, but since his 13-strikeout, 127-pitch
win over the Cardinals, Wade Miller has eight strikeouts (against six
walks) in 15 innings.
I’m just sayin’…
- By the way, if
got all the credit when Jose
Lima has his one good start, why doesn’t he at least get some of the
blame now that Lima has imploded again? Or take heat for the fact that
Scott Elarton has sucked so far?
If you wonder why we discount the case for catchers impacting pitcher
performance, this is a good example of why. It, like "chemistry"
and "veteran leadership" and all that fun intangible stuff, is
simply something that gets pointed to when it’s convenient, to make a good
- The Florida Marlins are a quality right fielder away from winning the NL
East. If there’s a GM that should be calling the Diamondbacks every single
it’s Dave Dombrowski.
- One of the most underrated great trades of the 1990s: then-Rockies’ GM
Bob Gebhard sending
to the Dodgers for Pedro Astacio. Astacio has been one of the most
reliable starters in the game since the deal, a fact masked by his home park.
- Deion Sanders:
.235/.278/.412. Yeah, what do the computerees know?
- If Barry Larkin
doesn’t go into the Hall of Fame right quick, they should just convert the place into a landfill.
Joe Sheehan is an author of Baseball Prospectus.