April 2009

K-Rod: A lap dog

Off the top of my head … 
Francisco Rodriguez may be on his way to lapping the historical closers’ field. By the time K-Rod is done, Trevor Hoffman, who right now has 69 more save than anyone else, might need a Hubble telescope to see the new career leader.
It’s all about consistency (not a staple in the closers’ community) and age. K-Rod was precocious when he ambushed the field in the 2002 postseason, and he has used that youth to pave his record track.
The basics:
Rodriguez, who turned 27 in January, entered this season with 208 saves. The current career Top Ten, from Hoffman (554 saves) to Hall of Famer Rollie Fingers (341), began their age-27 season with an average of 32.5 saves.
The breakdown of saves entering the season in which they were/turned 27:
  1. Hoffman (554): 25
  2. Mariano Rivera (485): 5
  3. Lee Smith (478): 80
  4. John Franco (424): 77
  5. Dennis Eckersley (390): 3
  6. Billy Wagner (385): 32
  7. Jeff Reardon (367): 16
  8. Troy Percival (354): 3
  9. Randy Myers (347): 32
  10. Fingers (341): 52. …

New Yankee Stadium: So what’s keeping the ladies? When are Destiny and Aura moving in, or are the Bombers on their own now? …

CC Sabathia / A.J. Burnett: Money is money, I know, but do you suppose these guys at least might’ve thought a little harder about signing with the Yankees had they known they’d now be playing home games in the moon’s atmosphere? … 
Sabathia: Hey, CC, pinstripes are supposed to make you look slimmer, not make your pitches look fatter. …
Carlos Quentin: Seven homers by April 19? Spin it all you want, he could have made the postseason difference for the White Sox, had he not snapped in early September and broken his wrist slapping his own bat. … 
Top 3, Carlos Edition: Santana, Delgado, Pena. … 
Jason Giambi: There is something symmetrical about his career. He began this season having split his career between the A’s and Yankees, seven seasons with each. And he is No. 10 on the homer lists of both teams (though his 187 places him closer to Mark McGwire’s 363 than does the 209 to Babe Ruth’s 659). … 
Randy Johnson: Guess the one-time fireballer wasn’t kidding about re-learning to pitch in an age-relevant style. The 45-year-old consistently topped out at 87-88 MPH while carrying a no-hitter into the seventh inning Sunday against the D-backs. …
Sorry, I’ve reached the bottom of my head. Later … 

Yanks better with joysticks than bats

Off the top of my head … 

That video game trumpeted as “the most realistic baseball game” had a worse day than did the Yankees.

A commercial that aired right before first pitch at Yankee Stadium featured a simulation of the Indians-Bombers tilt. Result in the game: Yankees 1-0.
Result on the field: Tribe, 10-2. As Maxwell Smart would say, “Missed it by Thumbnail image for windowslivewriterbusinessideastohelpyourmagazine-b841maxwell-smart2.jpgthat much.” … 
The times, along with the House, have changed: A Yankees alignment of Damon-Gardner-Swisher could rank near the bottom of home runs by MLB outfields . …
But, really,until A-Rod returns and Mark Teixeira starts pretending he’s still in Arlington, there isn’t much power anywhere in that lineup. The Bronx Banjos? …
There might be a legitimate Cy Young Award jinx (struggling Cliff Lee and injured Brandon Webb and Chris Carpenter have been among the last eight winners), but I’d also think twice before accepting an All-Star starting assignment.
Last summer’s starters were Lee and Ben Sheets, who is out of sight while recovering from surgery. The 2006 AL starter– Kenny Rogers — won three games the following season. And the NL’s starter in 2005 was Carpenter. … 
Speaking of Carp, who snapped a rib-cage muscle while batting Tuesday night: Who gets hurt more often, pitchers batting or batters pitching (here, we’re thinking of Jose Canseco, who once threw out his arm throwing knucklers in a mop-up outing for Texas)? … 
Is Nick Swisher in the early running for both the AL MVP and Cy Young awards? …
Early breakout candidate: Ben Francisco, the Cleveland outfielder. …  
Sorry – I’ve reached the bottom of my head. … 

Something doesn’t smell right

Mothers, don’t let your sons grow up to be scent-sations!

Gustavo Chacin was a left-handed sensation for the Blue Jays by the middle of the 2006 season. He had a 20-12 career record, a splendid ERA and unlimited potential.
Then — a couple of Toronto radio guys thought it would be neat to market some cologne bearing Gustavo’s name. So Gustavo Chacin Cologne Night was held inside the SkyDome on June 27, 2006, with fans given bottles of “Shaseen,” as the stuff was branded.
Chacin – or Shaseen – has won a total of five games since and the 28-year-old was again released the other day, by the pitching-poor Nationals … 
Dan Johnson, meet Dick Nen: Johnson had a great cameo turn for the ’08 champ Rays, with that pinch-hit homer on his first TB at-bat that unraveled Jonathan Papelbon in the ninth inning on Sept 9 in Fenway Park.
Forty-five years earlier, on Sept. 18, 1963, in his first at-bat for the Dodger, Nen launched a pinch ninth-inning game-tying homer at St. Louis, when the Cardinals were two outs away from inching within two outs of NL-leading Los Angeles.
Nen, 24 at the time, wound up a checkered career with 21 homers. Johnson, 29, has gone to Japan to keep company with Dusty Rhodes. … 
Can’t believe Steve Blass is marking his 50th year with the Pirates, which the club will celebrate on April 13. I’ve got a lot of golden memories of Blass, and a sad one: He was so devastated by the death of Roberto Clemente, he lost control of himself and of his pitches.
That never was the official diagnosis of Blass’ mysterious inability to throw strikes, but consider the timeline: Through 1972, Clemente’s last season, Blass had averaged two walks per nine innings; then he walked 91 in 93 2/3 innings and was out of the game at 32. … 
The Angels didn’t go all-in for Mark Teixeira, instead anointing Kendry Morales as their new first baseman. So how’s that looking? As a wash.
In Spring Training, Tex hit .433, with five homers and 15 RBIs. But Morales was right there with .400-3-17. At this early stage of the regular season, Teixeira is batting .214, and Morales .364. … 
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