Good Memorial Day weekend to all of you!
Today’s entry will be a mish-mash of a few things from the past few days and the next few days. Hope it’s lucid!
Last night I went on assignment at Target Field to interview Trevor Plouffe for Upper Deck Report, which is one of a few places I write for on a regular basis. Plouffe was a consummate professional despite his recent struggles, and I can’t imagine too many nicer guys in the game to chat with. Drew Butera, whose locker is next to Plouffe, was there also, but he poked fun at me. More to come on that later….
I had some very nice chats with Judd Zulgad, Lindsay Guentzel, and Dustin Morse as well. Judd and I chatted for a few minutes on how the Twins season was starting to parallel the Vikings season. He was very candid and had some very interesting thoughts. Lindsay was also very friendly, and chatted about meeting Chipper Jones, ballpark trips, and being terrified by a specific geriatric icon (not you, Chipper). Finally, Dustin was also outstanding, and very helpful when it came to getting access overall. Thank you folks!
My latest column is up at Baseball Press here. In it I talk about how Alex Rios has been insanely unlucky this season, and how he should rebound in a big way going forward.
Likely from the “nobody cares” department: I’m currently ‘hitting’ .154/.333/.273 for my Class-A amateur team, the Metro Knights. Feel free to insert the obligatory BABIP joke. In my defense, I am squaring the ball up pretty good, and probably lead the Skyline League in groundouts to the middle of the field. Better things are soon to come, I hope.
I did a little write-up on the Indians farm system for Upper Deck Report here. It’s certainly not easy to pick just a couple players in that system that’ll help soon, but it’s still easier than the next team I’ll cover, the Kansas City Royals.
From the “completely random” department: I want this song played at my funeral. I first heard the song on the newer version of “The Manchurian Candidate” (aside: my favorite movie of all-time), and I think it’s one of the more uplifting songs I’ve ever experienced. I think I’ve still got a pretty good run ahead before I have to worry about this, though!
Francisco Liriano’s start today has been scratched. Anthony Swarzak will start in his place, though I wonder who would fill Liriano’s role if he had to go on the DL. I’m relatively confident it wouldn’t be Kevin Slowey even if he was healthy. One candidate on the 40-man roster could be David Bromberg, who’s carrying a 3.63 ERA through 22.1 innings pitched thus far in New Britain. One has to wonder what’s happened to Bromberg’s punchouts though, as his career mark is 8.6 K/9 but he’s only averaging 4.4 right now. Luckily, he’s managed to slash his walks in half to keep his K/BB rate in check. It could definitely be a reach since Bromberg is in Double-A (not exactly sure why, either…he pitched well in Rochester to end 2010), but who knows, some new blood could be what the club needs at this point.
Of course, Kyle Gibson is always an option. He has a 3.80 ERA, 9.3 K/9, and a solid 1.18 WHIP going for him, though it seems the organization wants to see just a little bit more from him before promoting him. Sort of sounds like we’ve heard that one before. (Worth noting: Gibson is currently not on the 40-man roster.)
Eric Hacker or Jeff Manship could be other options. Hacker, who has started six games in seven appearances in Triple-A, has predictably fallen back to earth after starting the season with something like a dozen scoreless innings. He currently checks in with a 4.73 ERA, with manageable 6.7 K/9, 2.18 K/BB, and a very good 1.14 WHIP. Still, not sure his stuff translates to the major league level (thanks Bert).
Jefferson Manship’s stat line makes almost no sense. Consider: 7.3 K/9, 7.0 K/BB, and a 1.39 WHIP. What kind of ERA would one expect from that? Probably not 6.23, right? Well, Manship has been victimized by the long ball, as he’s allowed four in just 17.1 innings pitched. Still, his underlying stats are pretty good, so he may be on the path to ironing out those kinks yet.
Maybe none of this will matter; maybe this is an isolated issue with Liriano’s shoulder. Would it be the worst thing if he had to go on a rehab stint to Triple-A and make a couple starts?
I guess we’ll see.