- On the rotation swap - Joel Pineiro blows, but Jake Woods might be worse. He's left-handed (giving righties an advantage), he walks a ton of batters, and he struggles to keep the ball on the ground, all while posting a strikeout rate that - while better than Joel's - fails to make up for his shortcomings. As if that weren't enough, he's done all this out of the bullpen, where pitchers generally put up better ratios than they do out of the rotation because they're able to limit themselves to their best pitches while throwing everything at max effort. So that's the bad news.
The good news? Nobody cares how many games we win anymore, and besides, replacing Joel with anyone is progress in and of itself. It took forever to make the call (just like it did with Everett), but at least we know there's a poor performance threshold below which Hargrove and company are willing to ditch their veterans. Old, stupid dogs take a long time to learn new tricks, but dammit if these last seven weeks won't be full of lessons for Hargrove to take with him to whatever poor unsuspecting organization hires him next.
In the meantime, now I get to see Jake Woods pitch in Anaheim on Sunday. Fantastic. I expect 1/3 of the fans to give him a standing ovation in recognition of his being a former Angel, another 1/3 to play with their Thunderstix and miss the first seven innings, and the final 1/3 to ask the person sitting next to them "how do those guys expect the guys with the wood to hit the ball when they throw so fast?"
- Adam Jones has 22 plate appearances in August and hasn't been able to hit since the end of the Texas series three days ago. Willie Ballgame has 36 and started every game against Oakland. If I weren't so resigned to the second half of this season being a total loss I'd be flipping a tizzy right now. Mike Hargrove just absolutely, positively hates to use young and/or unproven players unless he doesn't have an alternative. It's hard to think of a worse kind of manager for a team that's loading up on youth for a 2007 pennant run. Veteran bias, terrible lineups, unforgivably awful in-game strategy...I'm counting down the days until the offseason, when this guy'll finally be tossed on his ass out the door.
- There's something fishy going on when a total douchebag like this guy (the douchebag with the camera, not the douchebag in the sweatshirt) ends up with a girl like the one sitting next to him.
My only guess is that yesterday was Show Off Your Embarrassing Boyfriend Night at the Coliseum, which would explain both this picture and why Hargrove started Willie in center.
- Gil Meche was a mess last night. He's been worse, but his follow-through looked different practically from pitch to pitch, suggesting that there were frequent inconsistencies with his release point. It's not a coincidence that he looked great in flashes (Thomas strikeout, bottom one), but still managed to throw as many balls as he did. The good news is that at least he did something right:
"With Swisher on base along with Eric Chavez -- who singled to start the inning -- Meche fell behind Ellis, 2-0, and tried to hurl a fastball past the Oakland second baseman.
'I tried to groove one and let him hit it,' Meche said." (Source)
And oh, did he ever groove it. Might've been the one spot Gil hit all game. So in the past month or so we've had Joel admit that a "typical Pineiro start" is one in which he gets hit and walks a lot of people, and Gil admit that he's "pitching stupid" and deliberately grooving fastballs to get out of bad counts. It's only a matter of time now before Jamie concedes that "I'm really old and not good anymore."
- I was going to write something about Eric O'Flaherty's debut but I blinked and missed it. I guess I can't really argue, though, since it was so critical to let Julio Mateo get those last four outs in a game we knew we'd lose from the get-go.
I woke up really late so that's all I've got. Here's to Deanna bringing us some good luck in time for the Anaheim series, because come Sunday afternoon I'd like to be celebrating a Mariner sweep. And hey, Chris Snelling should be activated today (at the expense of either Pineiro, Soriano, or Green), so that's something.
Have a good weekend. I'll be back on Tuesday.