The Hanging Curve – Baseball Opinion Blog with MLB Analysis that won’t Bend or Break

Too Much Hanging

Happenings a’ plenty around MLB:

Roger Clemens still can’t manage to get out of the spotlight. You know life is fun when the Feds are questioning your associates with a polygraph exam and it actually helps deflect the media blitz on you because you…oh Jesus I can’t even say it….because you….SLEPT WITH JOHN DALY’S WIFE.

My God sir have you no shame?! Daly was drunk! You took advantage man. You took advantage.

John Smoltz decided to extend his career by completely fucking my fantasy baseball team over…which is to say Smoltz is planning on moving to the bullpen.

“I am planning on coming back as a reliever first, and more than likely for the rest of this year,” Smoltz said in a text message late Wednesday.

Actually I think Smoltz is a legitimate badass. He was apparently pitching with quite a bit of discomfort, and was still sitting ’em down; posting a 2.00 ERA (0.78 ERA before the game he left with injury) with 36 punchouts to 8 walks.

The Tigers dealt Jason Grilli to the Rockies for an empty chair in the bullpen to be filled by an upcoming minor league prospect and 3 Gordita Supreme Value Meals. Grilli is a smart man though:

Grilli File Photo
Do these look like normal eyebrows?

“I think I did a good job for what my role was,” he said. “I know a lot of people would think differently, but to those people, I’m going to say thank you as well, because I’m a bigger person than people who don’t like the way my eyebrows are on my face or the way I pitch.

What? Or in the words of prospect Francisco Cruceta, Grilli’s replacement, “Que?” Yeah I’m sure it was your eyebrows the Tigers fans really hated. Let’s just come straight out and admit it suck. Just say it man, it will make you feel better.

“We’re criticized. We’re in the limelight. We’re public figures. The one thing I had against some Tigers’ fans is that they should be pulling for their team, no matter what. I didn’t think that was always there, but I definitely enjoyed pitching for the Tigers, whether I got cheered or booed.

“What stung me the hardest is that maybe I was a lightning rod on this team. I surely wasn’t cheered as much for the role I was given. But heck, I held 70 percent of inherited runners twice. That was my job.”

Yeah well I held 70 percent of inherited runners twice half the times plus four! Maybe Cruceta was brought up to improve clubhouse communication, no?

RP Rotisserie

Trip and I were talking the other day about how ridiculous relief pitching has become. Since when was it not only socially acceptable, but common practice to have a pitcher(s) who can only pitch 1/27th of the game? At most? It’s cowardice.

Then, low and behold, the box score I was following spits out this gem of an inning:

A. Ramirez singled to left
K. Fukudome doubled to deep center, A. Ramirez to third
M. DeRosa singled to right center, A. Ramirez scored, K. Fukudome to third
R. Cedeno struck out swinging
D. Ward hit for H. Blanco
P. Feliciano relieved J. Smith
G. Soto hit for D. Ward
M. DeRosa to second on wild pitch
G. Soto intentionally walked
M. Murton hit for B. Howry
J. Sosa relieved P. Feliciano
M. Murton grounded into fielder’s choice, K. Fukudome out at home, M. DeRosa to third, G. Soto to second
R. Johnson grounded out to second

End result is Feliciano comes in to throw a wild pitch, and intentionally walk a batter, then he’s dumped for Sosa. And the Cubs play right back: they payed Ward something along the lines of $7,500 (his salary per diem) to stand in the on deck circle for a couple minutes.

Now, some of this I can tolerate. Take a Dámaso Marte. A manager might consider him a left-handed specialist because his career splits list a .193 BAA by lefties. However, righties have only hit .249, which is significantly higher, but it’s still good. The man can pitch to either side, he just happens to decimate lefties. Furthermore, these splits are for 184.2 IP for lefties and 232.2 IP against righties.

So, you have an inning with lefty-righty-lefty due up. Bring in your Marte, he’ll kill the lefties and probably get the right hander out too, but don’t use three pitchers like a goddamn coward. That’s how you get A.J. Burnett losing the game in the 14th inning.

Hanging Curves

  • Marte pitched two innings on Wednesday against the Cardinals, facing 4 righties, 1 lefty and 1 switch hitter. The lefty got a hit, but was caught stealing a play later.
  • Ironically, Sosa gets hung out to dry in the next frame of the game showed above. He ends up getting hammered while pitching the next inning, and being forced to pitch out of it to the tune of four earned runs.
  • Daryle Ward hasn’t made this much money by doing so little since he gave up competitive eating to play baseball.