The Baseball Exchange


¡Thirty Runs! Baseball notes 8/23/07 by red
August 23, 2007, 1:56 pm
Filed under: Daily Notes, Joba Chamberlain, MLB, New York Yankees

Texas scores thirty runs vs the O’s

The Texas Rangers aren’t a great ballclub: They are average offensively, being 7th in the AL in runs scored. They have really quite awful pitching, being the third worst in the league. That translates to a losing record at 56-70; I was even considering much earlier this year when they had an even worse record writing about how they are the new “worst team” in the American League. So it came as a mild surprise to me when I saw they gave up only three runs to the Orioles.

It also was a surprise that they scored thirty runs.

That’s right: five in the fourth, nine in the sixth, ten in the eighth, and six in the ninth. So all thirty runs came in only 4 out of the nine innings they played. What’s worse, it was a doubleheader. What’s even worse, it wasn’t a day-night doubleheader, it was the ol’ fashioned play a game… then immediately play another game sort of a doubleheader. What’s even worse, is that the Rangers won the second game too. I wonder if the O’s front office is having second thoughts about extending Dave Trembley’s contract…

By the latter innings, things were just getting wild. They already had a huge lead, just every hit was placed just right, every fly ball seemed to glide its way out of Camden, every walk coming at the worst time possible for O’s pitchers. Some little interesting things about that game: only four pitchers were used. For all thirty runs. (BR-ref.com had a similar observation, and some other interesting notes.) The weird thing about it was that it wasn’t one of those games where the pitcher has absolutely no stuff, they take him out after two innings, the bullpen just keeps on giving up more. Cabrera was effective for the first three innings, he just then imploded. Two other innings were scoreless too. Cabrera was taken out, making way for the bullpen, who just couldn’t get an out. Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Ramon Vazquez both homered twice and drove in seven. David Murphy went 5 for 7, Marlon Byrd and Travis Metcalf both hit grand slams, and every starter got at least two hits. Another weird thing: Wes Littleton got a save – he did pitch three innings that held a twenty-seven run lead.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia who, as you all know, was traded in the Mark Texeria deal and David Murphy, who was traded in the Eric Gagne deal with Boston, were both key players in the game. Let’s compare their performances that day (the 22nd):

Jarrod Saltalamacchia: four for six, two homeruns, seven RBIs.

Mark Texeria: one for four, one walk

And:

David Murphy: six for eight (games 1 and 2), two homers, seven RBIs.

Eric Gagne: 1 IP, no runs, one walk

The Texas/Braves deal was good for both teams. Not so with the Sox/Texas one. Kason Gabbard has pitched 25 innings for Texas with a 3.51 ERA, David Murphy has gone 11 for 19 with Texas (that’s a .579 BA), while we all know how Gagne has fared: 8 IP, and an 11.25 ERA.

———–

In other news: The Yankees won last night 8-2 in Anaheim (finally) backed by a strong outing by Andy Pettitte – seven innings of five-hit ball, giving up only one run, on an Orlando Cabrera homer. Pettitte has always excelled in the second half: before the all-star break he had a 4.25 ERA, and since then he’s had a 2.85 ERA. In the last three years, he’s had a 4.22 ERA in the first half, and a 2.35 ERA in the second. Whatever it is, Pettitte has always been there post-all star break, and he’s going to be the key person who needs to stay healthy for the remainder of the season. Mussina is terribly inconsistent, Clemens can have some outings of dominance in about six innings, then the next time be much less dominant, Wang has lately been inconsistent (not sure what’s going on there, especially his lack of double plays and key ground outs, but that’s for another time probably), and Hughes is still adjusting and learning in the big leagues.

Meanwhile, Joba is being his dominant self with another inning of brilliance: he gave up a hit (oh no!) but struck out the side including Vlad Guerrero. Yep. Oh, and, uh, Mo gave up a run. Not that it made much difference in the outcome of the game, but… he’s giving me headaches right now. Really, I don’t know what to say. When a guy’s been so incredibly dominant like he had been all his career and then suddenly starts being worryingly inconsistent like he’s been, it’s troubling. What’s worse is that nobody seems to know why it’s happening – yeah, his control has been off, his velocity sometimes has dipped, but so far Joe Kerrigan or Ron Guidry haven’t seem to have found anything wrong in his delivery or his mechanics, at least nothing that has turned up in the papers.

Everybody’s inconsistent nowadays. Come to think of it, everybody was always inconsistent, even a hundred and ten years ago back when people could score thirty runs in a ballgame. When you think about it, baseball is a game of inconsistencies – it’s getting consistent that differentiates the good from the great. Being able to consistently give up only two runs in seven innings for five straight starts is almost more impressive than giving up six runs in one start and pitching a no hitter the next. That’s why hitting streaks are valued so high in baseball, and Joe DiMaggio’s consistency for fifty six games is both the most amazing and improbable achievement in the history of baseball. But there are about fifty essays written about that, so I’ll stop there.

———–

Kurt SuzukiBy the way: Keep watch on Kurt Suzuki of the A’s. He’s not going to be a great player – in his minor league career he’s batted around .280 with not a lot of pop, solid defense behind the plate, though he does walk good like any A’s player should. He’s hit pretty well in spring training and the Arizona fall league. Since being called up from the minors to the bigs he’s batted only .240/.328/.412 with four homers. His stance is similar to Kenji Johjima’s in that he has that little shovel steps with his left foot that he plants and then swings, only less exaggerated than Johjima’s. So what’s so great about him? I don’t know. Simply his at-bats, his hits, his general playing is impressive. Keep an eye out for him. Or not. Can’t tell.

-Red

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