Some Thoughts On Day 11 Of The 2011 MLB Playoffs

Poo holes

Okay, so look. Ordinarily I hate this. Ordinarily, I hate when people say one guy looks like another guy. I've done it myself - I've done it a bunch - but I'm trying to stop, because everybody does it all the time, and it's annoying. Rarely are the comparisons thought through, so they usually fail. Yet because people make bad comparisons so often, the occasional good ones suffer, because nobody wants to hear them anymore. It's like a bunch of years ago when I was at school and Chappelle was still on. Drunk assholes would walk around loudly reciting the same lines over and over, and it killed the better Chappelle references for the rest of us. Just let us pretend to be funny by repeating somebody else's funny!

So anyway, I'm trying not to make likeness comparisons anymore. I'm trying to drop them from my repertoire and stay ahead of the curve. But there's one I just can't resist pointing out. It's one that just came to my attention tonight while watching Game 2 of the NLCS. The pair:

Zack-greinke-brewers-conference_medium Mlb_a_roenicke1x_300_medium

On the left, we have Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Zack Greinke. On the right, we have Milwaukee Brewers manager Ron Roenicke. Or, as you might recognize him, Zack Greinke in 25 years.

I was going to run a photo of Greinke through some aging software as proof, but for one thing, I don't know where to find decent free aging software, and for another thing, I don't know why I'd bother, since it would just spit back a picture of Ron Roenicke. I'll grant that the two pictures above might not be the most similar two pictures you've ever seen, but I'm limited by the pictures that are available on the internet. On TV, when you see one, and then you see the other, it's spooky. Ron Roenicke is Old Zack Greinke.

I wonder if that makes Greinke uncomfortable. I wonder if he's noticed. I wonder if Roenicke has noticed. If they've noticed, do you suppose that makes their bond stronger, weaker, or unchanged? I don't know how I would feel were I in one of their pairs of shoes.

Zack Greinke and Ron Roenicke. It's weird. I hope that my making this comparison was worthwhile. And if it wasn't, well, whatever, it's a dead art form anyway. Everybody throw dirt on the dead art form! Have fun trapped in your coffin for eternity, art form!

  • The first batter of this afternoon's Tigers/Rangers game was Austin Jackson, and Austin Jackson walked on six pitches. The second batter was Ramon Santiago, and Ramon Santiago went up there to bunt. He showed bunt on the first pitch, pulled back, and took a ball. He showed bunt on the second pitch, pulled back, and took a ball. Then he showed bunt on the third pitch, pulled back, and took a strike. He took the next pitch for a strike, then singled.

    What happened in the rest of the at bat doesn't matter. Or it does matter, but it doesn't matter in this particular bullet point. This particular bullet point is about the insanity of bunting when the count is 2-0. Do you know what the average American League hitter hit this season after getting ahead 2-0? .289/.508/.481. Do you know what Ramon Santiago has hit in his career after getting ahead 2-0? .307/.522/.458. Do you know what batting line Derek Holland has allowed after falling behind 2-0? .341/.534/.573.

    A 2-0 count gives the hitter a huge, huge advantage. Santiago isn't much of a hitter, but he isn't a bad hitter, and Holland isn't a good pitcher. Plus Santiago had the platoon advantage. He should not have been showing bunt. It doesn't matter that he didn't bunt in the end; he was going to, and then didn't. That's a bad process.

    Bunting when the count is 2-0 or anything of the sort is almost always going to be a bad idea. Obviously it depends on the circumstances and the personnel involved, and I'd probably still bunt with a pitcher, but not with Santiago, not then. It didn't help matters that there was nobody out in the top of the first. Any kind of bunting that early is nuts.

    I don't want to make too much of this - it was just a bunt attempt. The bunting idea doesn't make Jim Leyland a bad manager. Jim Leyland is probably a very good manager. But, yuck, bunting. Trying to bunt with just about anybody in a hitter-friendly count is a waste, or an attempt at a waste.

  • The Tigers decided Delmon Young was so critical to their chances they rushed him back from an oblique injury and had him play today through pain. It's a minor injury, and the Tigers say it isn't an "oblique oblique" injury, but it still hurts, and they had to figure that Delmon Young would be playing at less than 100 percent. You know who isn't very good, even at 100 percent? Delmon Young. Even at the best of times, the man struggles to get on base, and the man can't field. These are not the best of times. Andy Dirks must feel real shitty about himself.

  • Derek Holland had one of his clunkers today, and didn't make it through the third inning. The big problem for him was control, as he walked four guys without whiffing any. In the top of the second, he walked Brandon Inge on four pitches. Then he walked Austin Jackson on five pitches, with the one strike being a generous call. He wasn't all over the place like old Rick Ankiel, but he was missing, and missing up.

    We've seen that kind of thing from Holland before. Remember Game 2 of the World Series? Holland came out of the bullpen and threw 11 consecutive balls before getting a called strike. I don't want to suggest that this is just a thing of his, but today didn't come completely out of nowhere.

    After the Jackson walk, Holland had two outs and the bases loaded. All three baserunners had reached on walks. Ramon Santiago stepped in, looking to tie the game with a base hit. Failing that, he could draw another walk.

    Holland threw him a first-pitch curveball. Strike one.

    It was a little moment that I immediately wanted to make into a bigger moment, and in truth it probably wasn't that significant. Maybe Mike Napoli just felt like Holland had a better chance of getting his curve over than his fastball. But when you have a pitcher struggling the way Holland was struggling, you expect that he'll go fastball fastball fastball until he gets himself re-set. He came at Santiago with a curve. He got ahead. Then he came at Santiago with another curve, and he got out of the inning.

    I liked that first-pitch pitch call, I guess is what I'm saying.

  • Leyland: What do you think?
    Pitching Coach: Could be running out of gas.
    Leyland: Glove's still popping.
    Pitching Coach: I gotta get out there and look in his eyes.
    Pitching Coach: /climbs dugout stairs
    Pitching Coach: /jogs to mound
    Pitching Coach: Hey, how we feeling?
    Scherzer:
    Pitching Coach:
    AHHH
    Pitching Coach: AHHH JESUS

  • With two outs and runners on second and third in the top of the ninth, Ron Washington ordered Neftali Feliz to intentionally walk Miguel Cabrera to face Victor Martinez. Here's another way of writing that sentence: with two outs and runners on second and third in the top of the ninth, Ron Washington ordered the right-handed Neftali Feliz to intentionally walk the right-handed Miguel Cabrera to face the switching-hitting Victor Martinez, who hasn't historically favored either side. Victor Martinez posted a higher wOBA this season than Kevin Youkilis, Mark Teixeira, and Evan Longoria. The truly terrifying thing is that walking Cabrera might still have been the right decision. Miguel Cabrera signed an eight-year, $152 million contract with the Tigers in March 2008, and I don't think they're feeling too bad about that one at the moment.

  • After the intentional walk, Martinez hit a soft flare into shallow center. Elvis Andrus ran after it and made a fairly easy catch to end the threat. Except when I say easy catch:

    Andrusmartinez_medium

    That close. That close to so many people being so mad. Instead those people aren't mad at all. They're happy! They should be a little mad. Or at least aware of how close they came to being mad. Maybe that just makes them happier.

  • Here's my impression of Houdini trying to get out of a major jam on the mound:

    Houdini:
    Houdini:
    Houdini:
    Houdini:
    Houdini:
    Houdini:
    This isn't what I do you guys
    Houdini:
    Houdini:
    Houdini:
    Houdini:
    /looks at baseball
    Houdini:
    Houdini:


  • Tonight, Albert Pujols became just the fourth player in postseason history to collect four extra-base hits in a game. Before today, there was Hideki Matsui in 2004, Bob Robertson in 1971, and Frank Isbell in 1906. After one of Pujols' three doubles, the camera cut to a view from behind Cardinals batting coach Mark McGwire, and McGwire nodded and pointed to Pujols at second base in acknowledgment. Mark McGwire probably thinks he's one hell of a coach.

  • I admit that I didn't expect it to be this wide when I looked it up.

    Nelson Cruz

    Home, career: .943 OPS (1000+ PA)
    Road, career: .726 OPS (1000+ PA)
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