Pepper: 'Walk-off' was supposed to be bad
Posted on: May 27, 2011 9:58 am
Edited on: May 27, 2011 11:28 am
By Matt Snyder
BASEBALL TODAY: Can the Marlins be a player in the National League East all season? Will the Brewers extend their winning streak? Danny Knobler joins Lauren Shehadi to answer those questions and more. Click on the video above to watch.
ON "WALK-OFF:" Dennis Eckersley coined the term "walk-off" during the 1988 season when he was a lights-out closer for the A's. "There's nothing like it," Eckersley said. "It's so final. And it centers strictly on you (the pitcher), unless it's a grounder between the third baseman's legs or something. Ultimately, you're the one." From there, Eck meant "walk-off" to be the pitcher -- probably the closer -- walking off the field from the pitcher's mound. It's interesting in that it's evolved into a mainstream term for the winning team. (SFgate.com)
THREE-HEADED JAYS: With Frank Francisco struggling, Blue Jays manager John Farrell has announced he'll use three closers: Francisco, Jon Rauch and Octavio Dotel. Each has different strengths and weaknesses, so it's going to be a bit of a matchup thing. (MLB.com) I understand the mentality these days is to pick on closer and stick with him, the thought process being that everyone knows his particular role. This method, however, is much more logical when you don't have a lock-down closer.
WORST POSSIBLE OUTCOME: You think you've seen a bad at-bat, at any level? Doubtful you've seen one this poor. Check out this tweet about San Diego State. Apparently they had the bases loaded and nobody out with a 3-0 count ... and popped out into a triple play. I don't think any words could really do that justice, so we'll just let it stand on its own.
GOOD NEWS, BAD NEWS: Aroldis Chapman made a Triple-A rehab outing Thursday, and he didn't have the control issues that plagued him before his DL stint. Of the 40 pitches he threw, 29 were strikes. He also struck out five batters. On the down side, he allowed five hits and three runs. (Louisville Bats Twitter) I'd still say this has to be considered a success. He's working his way back and the biggest issue pre-injury was control. If Chapman gets back to good health and is throwing strikes, he'll get guys out. His stuff is too good not to.
RANKING THE OWNERS: Jim Caple at ESPN ranked the owners of baseball, 1-30. I was most interested to see who would "win" the title of worst owner between the McCourts (Dodgers) and Fred Wilpon (Mets). It was the McCourts, which is a correct choice but really illustrates just how bad they are. One thing I found interesting was Caple spent his entire paragraph on the Yankees defending the choice (he ranked the Steinbrenners fourth). I don't blame Caple, as it seems that everyone who isn't a Yankees fan likes to freak out about the Steinbrenners and how awful they are. But the bottom line is that they demand success in the on-field product and would rather spend any profits on making the team better than pocket it. Obviously, there's a vast difference in resources, but that doesn't happen in Kansas City and Pittsburgh. Those owners have kept revenue sharing money on several occasions.
HYPING HARPER: The hype for Bryce Harper just keeps growing, and it's because he's just toying with the pitching he's seeing in Class-A Hagerstown (1.056 OPS). Remember, he's only supposed to be a senior in high school. Kevin Goldstein at Baseball Prospectus runs through a scouting report on Harper, and the power section jumps off the page. Harper gets a perfect score of 80 and the words "freakish" and "Superman" are included. Goldstein notes Mike Stanton was previously seen as the prospect most likely to hit 50 homers in a major-league season, and now that person is Harper. One word of caution, from the "makeup" category: "While it never came close to outweighing his talent, Harper's arrogant, confrontational style of play turned off many during his high school and college years. He has yet to really temper his style as a pro, which has already led to a couple of near-brawls due to a propensity to stare down opposing pitchers or gesticulate toward dugouts." (Baseball Prospectus)
WHERE DOES HE FIT? Another interesting list over at ESPN.com is the top 50 prospects of the draft era. I don't know how easy it is to compile something like this and it's gotta be completely subjective. Still, it's fun to see the names on there and remember the hype. From Shawon Dunston to Ben McDonald to Todd Van Poppel to Gregg Jefferies to, of course, Brien Taylor. Mr. Harper is on there, too, and he's pretty damn high. (ESPN Sweet Spot blog)
CONTACT HITTERS: We hear plenty of whining from fans about high-strikeout players, so let's give some props to the guys who make great contact. JunkStats put together the best hitters in terms of swing-and-miss rate (that is, the guys who don't do it often). Juan Pierre, Brett Gardner, Jamey Carroll, Denard Span and Todd Helton are the top five. The site also broke down swing-and-miss rates inside the strike zone and outside it. (JunkStats)
GREAT CAUSE: Yankees reliever David Robertson and his wife, Erin, have started a "fund to help those affected most by the devastating tornadoes that his David's hometown of Tuscaloosa, AL." (High Socks For Hope)
SORE HAMMY: Aramis Ramirez has been battling a tight left hamstring for the last few weeks. Does it have anything to do with why he's lost his power? ‘‘It does, but I don’t want to make excuses,’’ he told the Sun Times. ‘‘I feel good enough to drive the ball. I hit the ball on the line and hit the ball hard. I guess that’s a swing that I’ve got to find.’’ Well, he kind of just did make an excuse, but I'm not going to go after Ramirez. He's a stand up guy and always has been. Him hiding the injury for a few weeks shows he doesn't want to blame his lack of pop on anything else.
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