Earlier in the week, I made a spontaneous trip down to Tampa Bay, where among the things I did, I went to a Rays game. They're not quite the Marlins, but they're surely worse off than the Braves when it comes to attendance, and at the start of first pitch, there couldn't have been more than 2,500 people in the ballpark. It's a shame too, because the game turned out to be a pretty wild and exciting game, as the Rays hung seven on Mark Buehrle in the third inning, only to watch the Blue Jays chip and peck away at the lead, and after a Fernando Rodney meltdown, lose on a J.P. Arrencibia go-ahead homer in the ninth.
It was especially ironic that our old pal Yunel Escobar was brought in by the Rays as a defensive replacement as early as the sixth inning, only for him to pretty much single-handedly give the game back to the Jays; he was only credited with one error, but was solely responsible in three critical plays that led to the eventual tying and go-ahead runs scoring.
The point is, stuff like Craig Kimbrel's own meltdown against the Reds on Tuesday night happens to everyone at some point, regardless of skill, talent and luck. The important knowledge we hope Craig gets out of it is to perhaps mix in his curveball a little bit more, or to be more careful of Shin-Soo Choo, or that the dimensions of Great American Ball Park aren't really that forgiving. Either way, there's little reason to doubt that Kimbrel won't still be the game's current most dominant closer after a blown save.
Welcome back to the basement.
Roy Halladay to DL with a litany of shoulder problems - Phillies Nation
Well, the good news is that it's not DL for sucking, and there's justifiable reasons for why Roy Halladay has sucked this year. Unfortunately, the reasons aren't just one nagging injury, but several:
Halladay announced he has bone spurs, a frayed labrum, and a partially-torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder
A frayed labrum is what put Brian McCann on the DL, and a partially-torn rotator cuff cost Adam LaRoche almost an entire season at one point, and Halladay has been playing through both at the same time? Yeah, maybe not such a good idea. He will have surgery next week, and claims that he will be capable of pitching again later this year.
For such a supposed intelligent pitcher, he sure foolishly hurt the team trying to play through it - Phillies Zone
It kind of reminds me of the exaggerated start of the Jerry Maguire film, where the hockey player is in a hospital bed asking if he can play, because of an appearance clause in his contract. There was no way Halladay was going to pitch 315 innings to activate his 2014 option, but he still tried, despite knowing that he was in pain, and ends up hurting the Phillies worse in the process with lackluster performance, and also himself.
Charlie Manuel "respects" Halladay for trying to pitch through - High Cheese
He appreciates Halladay's integrity, but makes no mention of his intelligence.
What happens to Roy Halladay in 2014? - TGP
Well for starters, he probably won't be in Philadelphia, unless he feels some sort of obligation to come back. But if he wants to actually get a chance to win a title again, he should probably go elsewhere. Man, now that I think about it, if this were 2006-2008, would anyone have imagined that both Roy Halladay and Johan Santana are essentially in the same boat of being once legendary pitchers relegated to limping guys who will be seeking employment in 2014?
Charlie Manuel becomes longest tenured Phillies manager - Phillies Zone
The Phillies began in 1883, and it sure looks like he's been around since that long, too.
Mitch Williams comes out of the woodwork and blasts Rich Dubee; Charlie Manuel defends pitching coach - Phillies Zone
Williams insinuates that the Phillies are in a desperate need of change now that they're not a good team again. Charlie Manuel vehimently disagress. Roy Halladay has less nice things to add to his critique of Dubes.
Chase Utley says Phillies fans booing the Phillies doesn't help - Crossing Broad
Has Chase Utley forgotten exactly what city he plays for?
Domonic Brown crushes a splash hit in San Francisco - Beerleaguer
You know, if I had to pick, I'd have to say that I actually prefer the Phillies over the Giants, especially if the Phillies aren't really that good this season. I just don't like the Giants, period. That being said, I actually find enjoyment out of seeing Domonic Brown hitting a splash hit home run in AT&T Park.
Uh, Matt Harvey is really good at this baseball stuff - AA
Aren't we glad a rainout prevented the Braves from having to face Matt Harvey? In his following start, in spite of a bloody nose, he proceeded to one-hit the White Sox through nine full innings with zero walks and 12 strikeouts, and didn't get a decision due to it going into extras. The folks at AA look at Matt Harvey's first seven starts compared to the Mets' Cy Young winners, and well if I didn't mention that, there's clearly a reason to find out how he stacks up.
Mets fans go ballistic at prank by Mets PR guy - NY Daily News
See this is kind of why I don't use my twitter account, because everyone freaks out at everything and there are even more knee-jerk reactions there than on Talking Chop following a single Braves loss. Mets PR guy claims Matt Harvey will skip a game to go watch the Rangers in the NHL Playoffs, and chaos ensues. Joke dies a worse death than the saddest episode of Futurama.
Mets appear to be waiting to promote Zack Wheeler - MetsBlog
Mets waiting until Super Two cutoff date to promote their top pitching prospect? Shocking.
Should the Mets trade John Buck? - Yahoo Sports
Yes. Yes they should. He's playing out of his mind this year so he can get paid, and will potentially bring back a decent haul for his current level of production.
Terry Collins claims that Frank Francisco will not close ahead of Bobby Parnell upon returning - MetsBlog
Somehow, this doesn't seem to be anywhere near the same level of the Nationals' scenario last year where they were mun about having Tyler Clippard continuing to close when Drew Storen came back. This is kind of a meh reliever replacing another meh reliever.
Sandy Alderson claims to continue to have faith in Ike Davis - NY Daily News
They're really hoping he had a repeat of last year, where he goes ballistic in the second half of the season and finishes with 30 HR again. More importantly, it's announced that the rained out game against the Braves will be made up in mid-June, which means the Mets and the Braves will have a five game series, with two of them being a split doubleheader.
The Post plays the ever-popular "retrospective game" - NY Post
The insinuation behind this article is that the Mets shouldn't have made the Johan Santana trade back in 2009 because Carlos Gomez is good in 2013 and the Mets sure could have used that kind of outfielder today. Genius!
What do Marlins Park, Oakland Coliseum and Tropicana Field have in common? - Marlins Diehards
They're all parks that have to tarp their upper decks because their attendance sucks. What don't they have in common? Marlins Park is just two years old, and is actually a really nice ballpark. As much flack as the Braves get for lackluster attendance, just remember that the Marlins make Turner Field look as jam packed as St. Louis or Boston.
If you read between the lines, yeah it's the Marlins' fault - Miami Herald
The Miami Dolphins, a team that is actually loved and supported in Miami, can't get any public funding to renovate Sun Life Joe Robbie Shark Player Stadium. Why? They don't actually say it, but it's very clearly insinuated - it's because the city is still steaming and trying to move past getting burned by the fleecing done by Jeffrey Loria and the financing of Marlins Park.
Kind-of high prospect Derek Dietrich called up on account of an entire roster on the DL - Fish Stripes
After an injury to second baseman Chris Valaika who was brought in to fill in for the injured Donovan Solano, the Marlins had little choice than to dip into the prospect well and call up Derek Dietrich, whom MLB has rated #9 in the Marlins system. He had a decent spring, albeit in just a tiny sample, but has been hitting well in Double-A, notably with a .913 OPS.
Most of the Opening Day roster is on the DL, if you didn't just hear - Palm Beach Post
With the addition of Valaika, the Marlins currently have 11 players on the disabled list at the time I'm writing this, including Donovan Solano, and both Casey Kotchman and RHP Henderson Alvarez were transfered to the 60-day DL, ensuring that there are at least two guys that won't be around for quite some time.
At least Logan Morrison is headed in the right direction - Fish Bytes
Hard to say that "right direction" means towards the Marlins, but the Fish can use any warm bodies they can get at this point. LoMo started playing in extended spring training games on Tuesday.
Marlins rookie Marcell Ozuna symbolizes the season so far - Marlins Diehards
Padres' Will Venable hits a fly ball, Ozuna loses it in the lights... and then the seats.
Jayson Werth is still suffering from a balky hamstring - Nationals Journal
He's missed almost a week of games due to it, and with poor weather, the Nationals are sitting him down as well. It's getting to a point where he's needing an MRI on it to make sure that there's nothing serious with it, but since he hasn't played, he could theoretically be retroactively DL'd if need be. MRI reveals negative, Davey Johnson cites problems as dehydration.
Jordan Zimmermann's scoreless inning streak ends, but still wins - MASN
After 20 scoreless innings that encompasses starts against the mighty Reds and Braves, his streak comes to an end against the Tigers, but he still gets the win to bring himself to an NL-best 6-1 record.
Bryce Harper gets ejected, and because it's Bryce Harper, it's newsworthy - Nationals Journal
In a game against the Pirates, umping from third base, John Hirschbeck called Bryce Harper out on a check swing appeal. Harper disagreed and apparently "showed up" the ump, resulting in an ejection. Because it's Bryce Harper, the incident was put under investigation, and the fact that Harper was not fined despite throwing bat and helmet, indicates that perhaps the umps are little ornery lately.
The Case for Stephen Strasburg and a personal catcher - Nationals Journal
In three starts with Ramos behind the plate this year, Strasburg has a 1.80 ERA over 20 innings with 18 strikeouts, 13 hits allowed and two walks. In three starts throwing to Suzuki, Strasburg has a 5.19 ERA over 17 1/3 innings with 19 strikeouts, 10 walks and 20 hits allowed.
'Nuff said! Personal catcher!
You know who isn't suffering from attendance problems? The Nationals - Nats Insider
The defending NL East champions are averaging a hair under 32k a game, which is the largest increase in MLB currently. Some might think it has to do with the opponents, but in actuality, season tickets in general have gone up, which has contributed greatly to this increase.
Drew Storen has noticed that he's not really getting used as much - Nationals Journal
Part of the irony in this story is that Storen's workload has been diminshed mostly by the fact that the Nationals have Rafael Soriano closing out games now, but also the fact that Davey Johnson isn't coddling his pitchers as much, and when they're not losing games outright, they're going deep into games, negating the need for the setup man at times.
Drew Storen also still is against the wave in spite of his pro-wave teammates - The Bog
Oh lord, is this really going to be an ongoing story in NatsTown throughout the summer?
Jayson Werth has started untucking his jersey in victories now - MASN
I used to be mildly amused by old stories of Rafael Soriano staring at a hole in the wall in deep focus when he was on the Braves. That was about as idiosyncratic as he got. But after stints in Tampa and New York, he's picked up a few more odd habits, one of which he's brought to the Nationals, with the celebratory untucking of the jersey after finishing out a game, which I kind of think is obnoxious. Anyway, Jayson Werth has started doing it too, at Ian Desmond's behest.
And unfortunately it's spreading - Nats Enquirer
C'mon, not Roachy, he's better than that! The worst of all is that even the Nationals' bat boy is doing it too; I don't know why, but it always bugs me when bat boys get excessively involved in team celebrations. It's like whenever I see highlights from 1995, there's a bat boy trying to get into the dog pile in several of the iconic photos, and for quite a few years at Nationals Park, there was a giant photograph of Ryan Zimmerman celebrating on a home plate dog pile after a walk off, and amidst the crap players they used to have was dead red center, the bat boy.