Doing what the game asks you to do.
You know what Toronto
did better than Texas the last three?
What the game asked them to do.
The Jays executed better, made their pitches, capitalized on
run-scoring opportunities, played with confidence. I don’t know how much better they are than
the Rangers, but this weekend they looked markedly better.
Today, the Rangers’ first two hitters reached safely in the
first. In the second. In the fifth.
In the seventh, when the first three actually managed to get on base.
The results? Zero runs.
One run (sacrifice fly). Zero runs.
One run (ground ball double play).
If the idea was for Josh Hamilton to play 140 or 145 games
this year, maybe a few more, as a concession to the importance of keeping him strong
all season, with all due respect to the trouble he has against left-handed
pitching, the days he sits should come from among the following:
May 26, 29
June 6, 13, 20, 26
July 11, 18
August 1, 8, 15, 18, 21, 22, 29
September 4, 5, 6, 12, 19, 25, 26, 29
All day starts.
Hamilton during the day in 2007: .195/.259/.364 with 18 strikeouts
in 77 at-bats
2008: .250/.314/.467 with 42 strikeouts in 152 at-bats
2009: .259/.344/.420 with 22 strikeouts in 81 at-bats
2010: .206/.265/.333 with 17 strikeouts in 63 at-bats
All told, in the big leagues Hamilton is a .233/.302/.413 hitter
during the day. He’s Jason LaRue.
That’s compared with .309/.372/.539 at night. He’s Miguel Cabrera.
John Buck is no Miguel Cabrera (though at .276/.325/.610 he
joins Cabrera in the American League top 10 in OPS), but I sure wish he felt in
December that his opportunity to play in Texas would have been as good as in
Toronto, where he took one year and $2 million to sign days after Kansas City
non-tendered him. The Rangers wanted the
Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune
writes this evening that Texas has inquired about White Sox catcher A.J.
Pierzynski, a development that, if true, does not make me very happy. He’s hitting .198/.254/.292, makes $6.7
million, and has always been described, for what it’s worth, as less than a
A struggling Scott Kazmir vs. Derek Holland tomorrow night, Jered
Weaver vs. C.J. Wilson Tuesday night.
Texas (losers of three straight) holds a division lead over
Los Angeles (winners of three straight) that, at its current 2.5 games, will stand
up at the end of the two-game series, no matter how it goes. But it’s mid-May, and while head-to-head
matchups bring things to a relative boil (Yankees-Red Sox is sure to get as
much attention as Celtics-Magic this week), stacking up wins (regardless of
opponent) and finding a rhythm, both as a team and player to player, is
probably more important than what the last column in the standings looks like.
Where Texas and Los Angeles fit in the standings right now
is meaningful to the extent that neither team is lapping the other, and neither
is burying itself out of any race. The real
question, however, that must be asked is, over the next 124 games (one fewer for
the Angels), can the Rangers win as many as (or at least within two of) Los
One way to ensure you can grab a win while the other doesn’t
is to do it at the other’s expense, and while I’m not feeling real good about
the offense against the lefthander Kazmir and the solid Weaver, I’ll take my
chances with Holland and Wilson doing what the game asks them to do.
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(c) Jamey Newberg