Around the NL East - Philles are getting old, Marlins phoning it in, more Mets ownership fail, Strasburg returning

File me under the category of Matt Diaz fans that love Matt Diaz for a whole bunch of reasons that those more inclined to statistics don't necessarily agree with. He may not hit RHPs that well, and the lack of home runs isn't lost on me either. For me, a guy like Matt Diaz transcends judgment on numbers alone. The news of getting Matt Diaz back brought a gigantic smile on my face, and honestly, a gave me a ton more optimism about this team than it was before we had Matt Diaz back, as silly as that may seem to some. Most people like me can probably explain it better than I can, so I won't bother to write it all out, but if I had to, I would have provided a Baseball-Reference game log to exemplify why I love Matt Diaz so much.

I couldn't find the specific game log I had in mind, at least I don't think I did, but here are some notable examples that I happened to come across that might convey my point:

vs. Marlins

  • Diaz grounds into FC, beats out DP at 1B
  • Jo-Jo Reyes grounds to SS but Diaz breaks up GIDP, no out
  • Y. Escobar grounds to 3B, M. Cabrera looks Diaz back, Diaz doesn't go back, takes 3B, out at 1B
  • Diaz scores on E. Renteria single

vs. Nationals

  • Diaz single
  • Diaz steals 2B
  • Diaz advances to 3B on G. Blanco single
  • T. Hudson bunts to 3B, R. Zimmerman looks Diaz back, throws to first, Diaz charges home, scores

vs. Phillies

  • Diaz bunts to pitcher, reaches 1B, advances to 3B on B. Lidge throwing error
  • Diaz scores game winner on O. Infante single

Matt Diaz is simply the King of Hustle. Put it on a red leather jacket, and mark that in rhinestones. I came across no less than nine other instances where Matt Diaz scored mostly unearned runs created, on him beating out throws and causing errors, taking the extra base, and breaking up double plays. The guy plays harder and hustles more than anyone else out there, and such effort demands to be noticed and respected.

Welcome home, Matt Diaz. Welcome back to the basement, everyone else, have a happy holiday weekend. I'm off to be a bigger nerd than any of you.


The Phillies in theory will suck sooner than later (statistically) - Grantland
What it really boils down to is the longevity of the strength of the starting pitching, and how much money the team might hemorrhage if contracts like Ryan Howard's don't come close to living up to what they're worth, but personally, I don't think the Phillies are going to be falling off any cliffs to a 90-loss season any time soon, regardless of how much I'd enjoy seeing such.

Despite dominating baseball, several key Phillies on pace for worst statistical years - Beerleaguer
And we're not talking about Pete Orr, or Michael Martinez, either. If the season were to end right now, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Placido Polanco, and Raul Ibanez would have career worst seasons.

Investigating Ryan Howard's decline - Crashburn Alley
A lot of it has to do with failing BABIP, and not utilizing LF, but any news of Ryan Howard's decline before he even takes one step into his 5/$125M extention is grounds for optimistic humor for us Braves fans.

Joe Blanton could be facing hitters soon - High Cheese
With the minor league season ending next week, there's little chance that Blanton will get to have any rehab starts, but he's supposedly feeling better these days after being out with inflammation in his ulnar nerve, and wants to do whatever it takes to get back to the mound.

Jamie Moyer hoping to pitch again in 2012 - Deadspin
Despite being a rehabbing free agent, and not officially signed on with any team, Jamie Moyer is rehabbing at the Phillies' facilities in Clearwater, with their permission. He is aspiring to be healthy again, and resume pitching for whomever, if anyone, wants the services of a 49 year old softerest-tossing lefty.

When nomads post - The Good Phight
Not going to lie, I'm impressed with the kid's tenacity and determination to continue to post to SBN sites, even if it's not over here. Secondly, I'm impressed how he got many Phillies fans to essentially defend a Brave. But honestly, if there's one reason, one reason at all to click this link, it's the very first comment. I swear I punched a hole in my desk while trying to suppress my laughter.



Syke, no ownership for Einhorn either - ESPN
David Einhorn, the man who was on the cusp of purchasing a minority stake in the Mets, with aspirations of someday becoming the bonafide owner of the team, has ceased negotiations, due to the Mets making numerous changes in the transaction terms at the last minute. Uh, go figure?

Ike Davis may or may not have ankle surgery - MetsBlog
This much uncertainty is brutal. Up to a month ago, on a weekly basis, was news coming about the next news to come, about the next update on Ike Davis's ankle status. This week's edition is that if he wants to be ready for Spring Training '12, he needs to have surgery by Labor Day. But he's thinking R&R might be all he really needs.

Great idea: Daniel Murphy-Jason Bay-Lucas Duda outfield - The Mets Police
Offensively, this could be a productive outfield, but defensively, man, as a Braves fan, yes please. Jason Bay would be slated to play CF in this configuration, a position he has only played 42 times, out of over 1,100 games.

Terry Collins believes in UFOs, Lochness Monsters, Jason Bay in CF - NY Daily News
Of course he does. But what do I know, all I did was knock Chris Coghlan all last year, before he became a one-man highlight reel, but then again, for his reconstructed knees gave up on him.

PTBNLs have been named, surprise, relievers -MetsBlog
Bringing conclusion to the K-Rod transaction, the Mets get relief journeyman Danny Ray Herrera and 22-year old A-balling reliever Adrian Rosario.

Hitting coach, Howard Johnson to play professional baseball again - Amazin' Avenue
Granted, it's for an indy league (Canadian-American), and it's no doubt more or less of a publicity stunt, since HoJo's son was signed simultaneously, so that father and son can play together in a "professional game" for the first time. Not quite like the Griffeys, eh?

Mets to champion anti-bullying effort, but not with It Gets Better - NY Daily News
There's no real reason explained to why the Mets aren't doing what the Giants, Red Sox, Cubs, Mariners and Phillies have done, but at least the Mets are at least trying to create some awareness, even if it's not uniform with other teams.



Turn out the lights, the Hanley's (probably) over - Fish Stripes
Playing in a rehab game, Hanley Ramirez removed himself after yet more shoulder discomfort. Naturally, it's easy to speculate that he's just being lazy again, but the truth is the Marlins have nothing to play for, so there's no harm in deactivating him for the remainder of the season, it's not like there are any fans to alienate. Surgery could be necessary.

Chris Coghlan takes himself out of a rehab game too - Fish Bytes
That reconstructed knee seems all sorts of jacked up these days, doesn't it? Maybe that whole greedy, stick him in CF idea wasn't as great as it looked on paper, huh?

Josh Johnson is probably cooked - Palm Beach Post
Yeah, expecting him to not pitch again this year might not be a bad idea.

Javier Vazquez joins some elite company - Fish Stripes
Whiffing Lucas Duda, our old ace Javy Vazquez notches strike out 2,500, making him the 30th pitcher in history to get that high. With eight more, he passes the legendary Christy Mathewson.

And to think his career's death was touted earlier this year - Marlin Maniac
After starting slow, Vazquez is more or less back - to his career norms, which aren't completely terrible. Considering that he's 35, he remains to have a borderline chance at even notching 3,000 career strikeouts.

Ozzie Guillen's name re-emerges for the Marlins, with a twist - Marlin Diehards
It's pretty evident that the White Sox and Ozzie Guillen are pretty much done with one another, and naturally the Marlins are extremely interested in having Oz helm the Marlins next year. But for the interim, the White Sox laughably are asking for compensation for the right to speak with Guillen, last year having asked for Mike Stanton or Logan Morrison.

I would have bet against it, but whatever - Marlin Maniac
John Buck has accumulated 2.1 WAR to this date. Convert to win-shares, and John Buck has successfully made back his value, and then some already. I wouldn't have bet on it happening, but honestly, I don't really care.



Stephen Strasburg to return on September 6 - The Nats Blog
Welp, the wait is over, and after the Dodgers leave Atlanta, they run right into the return of Stephen Strasburg.

Bryce Harper going back to Arizona - Nationals Journal
For the second straight year, Bryce Harper will be headed to the AFL. For the matter, guys like Sammy Solis and Derek Norris are going back too, along with recent signees, Anthony Rendon and Matt Purke.

Livan Hernandez throws 50,000th pitch, lobbies for job - MLBlogs
After he systematically dismantled the Braves for the 197th time, Livo didn't waste much time in beginning to lobby for a job in 2012 with the Nationals. Most stat guys will say no, but the fact of the matter is that Livo will work for literal peanuts, and teams can never have enough pitching depth. Since returning to the Nationals in 2010, Hernandez has been paid roughly $1,475,000, and will have delivered over $20M worth of win shares - that's almost as big of bang for the buck as Evan Longoria.

Nationals Park beer-man saves child's life - The Bog
How very typical of the D.C. mentality; child starts choking, people panic, nobody does anything. There's a joke here about how it's impossible for the intangible suckiness of the Nationals to get stuck in someone's throat, but I'll take the high road here-Thankfully, one beer vendor, who apparently works harder than 20 mortal men, put his stuff down and calmly performed the Heimlich on the child, dislodged the obstruction, and then went straight back to work. Now this, is something worth tipping a cap to.

Chris Marrero finally called up - Nationals Journal
A first rounder in 2006, he was supposed to have been up a while ago. But then he got hurt, and eventually got healthy. But then he struck out too much, and then he began to strike out less. And then he couldn't field, and so he corrected that too. Finally, he's gotten the call from the big club, and is getting his cup of coffee at first, even supplanting Mike Morse back to left field.

Three reasons to hate the Atlanta Braves - Nats NQ
Now I like this site, but I have to admit, these reasons are weaker than Johnny Damon's arm. Not just weak, but with the exception of Opening Day 2008, really unoriginal.

Shairon Martis throws another no-hitter - Nationals Journal
To those who don't remember, Martis, yet another talent out of Curacao, made a name for himself in 2006, when he threw a no-hitter in the World Baseball Classic, at the age of 22. After a pedestrian tour with the big club, he went back to the minors to really refine his stuff, and with some adjustments and changes, he's quietly working his way back up, most notably recently throwing another no-hitter in AA.

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