Sports Illustrated Finally Sees What We’ve Been Saying Forever

And of course, by “Sports Illustrated“, I do mean “Baseball Prospectus“, since this was written for SI by BP‘s Joe Sheehan, but still – plenty of the uninitiated will finally get their eyeballs on this.

This is a topic that’s near and dear to me, because I believe I said just about exactly the same thing back on May 19th:

Juan Pierre, 2008 batting leadoff:
.180/.250/.208 .458 OPS 28 OPS+
Juan Pierre, 2008 batting second:
.432/.412/.486 .998 OPS 179 OPS+

(snip)

Honestly, I wouldn’t mind putting Russell Martin leadoff – his OBP is up to an outstanding .444, and when you consider how bad he was for the first few weeks of the season, that should tell you how well he’s playing right now. Plus, he can run! But no – we’ve got to have that classic speed leadoff hitter at the top of the lineup. Even if he can’t get on base to use that speed.

And on May 12th, when Furcal was DL’d…

Get ready to see a whole lot more Juan Pierre. Without our real leadoff hitter, there’s no way Joe’s going to pass up the chance to use JP at leadoff every single day. I’m serious; I’d be floored if Pierre gets even a single game off before Furcal’s return. I admit, we don’t really have another option that stands out to leadoff; but why not give Russell Martin a crack at it? He’s got the second-highest OBP of anyone besides Furcal, and it’s not like he’s a liability on the bases. But I can’t imagine Torre ever trying that. No, it’s going to be JP all the time.

Ugh. I made that last post exactly a month ago, and Pierre really has led off every last game. But hey, at least the offense has been cruising since then. Right? Right?

- Mike Scioscia’s tragic illness msti-face.jpg

Somehow, This Post Has Ryan Dempster in it Twice

Here at MSTI, we tend to focus on a lot of the same issues and players. Recently it’s been the astounding performance of Blake DeWitt, what to do at 3B, our continued disappointment with Juan Pierre playing over Andre Ethier, and the amazing disaster that is Andruw Jones. But after watching today’s game, I think it’s time to take a moment and recognize some guys who get little to no positive fanfare around here.

First, Gary Bennett! Gary had two hits all season coming into this game. Two. For a robust line of .133/.188/.133. That’s actually somehow even worse than I thought it would be before I looked it up – no wonder Joe Torre refuses to rest Russell Martin (who, by the way, is still on pace to play 162 games.) So what does he do today? Only 2-4 with a homer off Ben Sheets and FOUR RBI. Check it out, he even got some recognition on ESPN’s MLB homepage and on FSN Wisconsin’s game coverage. (That’s right, I’m showing them both. I’m pulling out all the stops for this; who the hell knows if I’ll ever get to praise Gary Bennett again?!)

Next: Joe Beimel! No, he didn’t even get into today’s game. But this arrived on my doorstep today, so here it is. Look at his first answer from the Pop Culture Grid in this week’s Sports Illustrated – just showing that he’s aware of what all the ladies know:

Finally: Andruw Jones. We’ve been dumping on him a lot lately (see the latest cause in the upper right) and with good reason. In fact, when I couldn’t find a picture of him hitting his homer today, I realized I could barely even find a good picture of him in a Dodger uniform doing anything positive, so he goes without. But after getting 2 hits yesterday, he led off the 7th inning against Ben Sheets – who’d been dominating to that point – with a homer to put the first run on the board. Sure, he went 0-3 in his other at-bats. And yeah, the wheels clearly were coming off for Sheets in that inning, giving up homers to Bennett and Jeff Kent as well. But maybe, just maybe, he can take something good away from that going into Anaheim. I’ve come very close to giving up on him ever getting untracked at all, but if he can, this offense could actually be scary. Let’s hope today helps with that. Good shot, Andruw.

Now let’s just hope Blake DeWitt’s back is alright – and that we never have to see Luis Maza and his Pierre-like arm at shortstop ever, ever again.

- Mike Scioscia’s tragic illness msti-face.jpg

Coming in the 9th inning: LOCUSTS

Gross. Seriously. This is from about 10 minutes ago, and you can see the bugs not only surrounding Chamberlain, but just crawling on his face and neck. It’s one of the few times I’ve been unhappy to own an HDTV.

jobabugs.jpg

- Mike Scioscia’s tragic illness msti-face.jpg

Welcome to the bigs, kid

Eric Hull finally gets to make his MLB debut, and one of the very first pitches he throws.. nearly makes it back to LA from Houston. That said, he did end up striking out Lee and pitching a scoreless inning. Good job, rook.