Hey, sometimes timing works out great, right? No, I’m not going to completely rehash yesterday’s post. But this can’t be ignored. Russell Martin, playing out of position at third base, made two errors tonight in the span of three batters. Casey Blake, playing his third-best position at first base, made another error. Martin’s first error didn’t lead directly to a run, but it did mean that Rockies pitcher Jeff Francis was able to make the final out of the 6th inning rather than lead off the 7th inning, which would have been greatly helpful to the Dodgers pitching. His second error was much more painful, because rather than having none on and two out for Matt Holliday, Willy Taveras was on first with one out; two singles later, the game was tied. Blake’s error hurt as well, allowing a run to score as it came with the bases loaded and one out. Fortunately, Martin’s bat was a little better with 2 hits, but still – he’s not a third baseman, and this cannot be counted as a day off, especially with a cross-country road trip coming up. Let’s hope that Joe sees it that way, too.
(No, I’m not ignoring the fact that Danny Ardoin threw a ball into center field that led to the go-ahead run – that definitely hurt. Those things are going to happen, especially when you play twice a month. But at least he was in his normal position instead of being toyed with in the field.)
Moving on before thinking about this makes me even more upset…
* Juan Pierre started tonight in lieu of Andre Ethier. Surprisingly, I don’t really have a problem with that. Much as I despise seeing Pierre play, you’ve still got to get him some playing time, and tonight was a really great time to do it. As Tony Jackson reports, “Pierre also is hitting .481 (13 for 27) for his career against Jeff Francis, while Ethier is 4 for 17 (.235).” It just constantly blows my mind that Pierre is usually not good enough to even play, yet when he does play, he’s suddenly good enough to hit leadoff and get more at-bats than any other player. I know, I know, he’s “got speed”, whatever that means. It’d be one thing if he was getting a start with Matt Kemp getting a day off, because then you really don’t have another legit leadoff man, but come on. Look at the stats entering the game tonight:
In 61 games in the leadoff spot, Juan Pierre has an awful .263/.297/.299 line for a .595 OPS.
In 31 games in the leadoff spot, Matt Kemp has a tasty .326/.384/.551 line for a .935 OPS.
We’re supposed to believe that there’s even an argument for Pierre over Kemp leading off when both are playing? That’s a little insulting.
* Over at AaronGleeman.com, Aaron wonders why the Twins didn’t go after reliever Al Reyes before he was signed by the Mets:
Reyes is 37 years old and has a history of arm problems to go with some off-field issues, but like many veteran relievers floating around the waiver wire and piling up on the scrap heap these days, he’d be a worthwhile addition to the Twins’ right-handed relief options.
With a 4.33 xFIP this season Reyes would rank second to Matt Guerrier (4.14) among the team’s right-handed relievers, and his 4.07 xFIP over the previous three years is better than Guerrier, Jesse Crain, and Boof Bonser (and would be better than Brian Bass, except he didn’t pitch prior to 2008).
No, I don’t care about the Twins, and yes, the Dodgers bullpen has been excellent thus far. But the post got me to thinking – should the Blue have tried to go after Reyes? Excellent pen or not, he only has to be better than the weakest link, and when you’ve got Tanyon Sturtze on the payroll, that’s not a tough hurdle to clear. Using Gleeman’s own statistic of xFIP (basically a fancy way of predicting a pitcher’s expected runs allowed per 9 innings, independent of defense), maybe they should have: While Reyes has a xFIP of 4.33, Sturtze is at a truly awful 9.28. However, this doesn’t really mean that the Blue should have acquired Reyes; it just further proves what we’ve been saying all along – that Sturtze doesn’t belong in the big leagues at this point. Would Al Reyes be a better option for a roster spot right now? Sure he would. But so would Eric Stults, Mike Myers, Mike Koplove (once he gets back from Beijing), Matt Riley, and probably James McDonald, too. So that’s only half of the AAA Las Vegas team that’d be preferable – plus even AA lefty Scott Elbert. Passing on Reyes doesn’t really bother me; keeping an inferior option when you’ve got several better ones on the farm does.
- Mike Scioscia’s tragic illness