There’s no time for an intro with so much going on in baseball, whether it’s teams closing down the season, or the surprising pennant races that are still going on. Teams are figuring out where they stand in October or next year, so let’s get to it:
- It didn’t go quite the way the Mets were hoping it would when Pedro Martinez went to the mound on Wednesday, because once again, he struggled with velocity and with his mechanics. Sources with the Mets tell me that Martinez was “working on things,” but unless getting knocked around was the thing he was working on, I can’t see what he accomplished. Martinez didn’t show any improvements over his last start, which leaves his playoff status in question. Martinez is likely out as the team’s Game One starter, leaving him a couple side sessions to figure out how he’ll contribute.
- The Padres don’t seem too concerned about Brian Giles. Team sources tell me that while Giles is banged up with ankle and knee problems, he isn’t expected to miss any playoff time, and it’s sufficiently minor that he could be available as a pinch-hitter now. The Pads will try to rest Giles as much as the standings allow, but again, he’s expected to be ready to go for the playoffs.
We also have to look at Chris Young and his last couple of outings, and think that whatever he did this offseason to better prepare for the long baseball season worked. There were some bumps in the road, but his effectiveness this late in the season is a big plus, and could indicate that Young is ready to become one of the elite starters in the league.
- A writer asked me earlier this week if I knew “anything on or off the record, confirmed or denied, that would explain why Brad Penny looks like crap.” At the time, I didn’t, but reports have come out since that Penny is dealing with either a back or an oblique problem. Dodgers sources say that Penny has had some back “tightness,” but none of them would even go as far as calling it spasm. It’s worth keeping an eye on.
The Dodgers are also watching Nomar Garciaparra. Apparently he reinjured his oblique sometime during this recent home-run barrage. He’s uncomfortable, but will be used as much as possible as the Dodgers try to secure a playoff spot.
- Rich Harden did pretty well in his second start–you could call him the anti-Pedro, assuming you weren’t a Mets fan. Harden showed great command, plus velocity, and he did it over his full pitch allotment. He’s clearly ready for the playoffs, and the only downside is that he’s not extended to a normal starter’s workload yet. With Harden healthy and ready, Joe Blanton is pushed to the bullpen for the playoffs, although will likely shadow Harden. For those of you reminding me that a healthy Harden gives the A’s three plus starters, I’ll buy that after this last start.
- A lot–and by a lot, I mean 100 or more–of people pointed out that Jim Edmonds simply didn’t look right in the field. While I didn’t get more than a fast-forward look at the game, various reports tell me that Edmonds looked confused, had poor routes to the ball, seemed to stagger at times, and made what one knowledgeable source called “a pointless throw back to the infield.” Edmonds clearly has problems, as evidenced by both this episode and his no-fly status. Whether he can be productive remains to be seen. His risk? That’s unquestionable.
- Quick Cuts: I shot a segment for CBS Evening News today regarding the gyroball. I’ll let you know when it goes to air, but any question that the gyroball doesn’t exist should be dispelled … Ichiro Suzuki is dealing with some bumps and bruises, causing him to miss a game for one of the few times in his American career. Sources tell me Suzuki is indifferent to the idea of bringing Daisuke Matsuzaka to the Mariners … Because the Pirates weren’t satisfied by his side work, Mike Gonzalez is done for the season … Austin Kearns is still banged up from his collision with Nick Johnson, and Nats sources say that the collision is very much in his head. “He’s going to have to get it out of there soon,” my source told me. “He’s not happy in D.C., but this is the type of thing that gives a guy nightmares if he’s not careful.”