Friday, May 14, 2004

E-mailin' it in... 

This is a test of Blogger's e-mail posting system.

And, Ryan from West Coast Bias introduced himself yesterday.  He wanted to remain anonymous because he wanted to work more on his writing, but it seems to me he writes purty good rite now.

Silence is Golden? 

So Randy Johnson sounded a little miffed yesterday. So what? Randy always seems to sound a little miffed, and, frankly, who wouldn't -- the guy throws an excellent game Wednesday, and his team's offense can't get two lousy runs. You'd be mad, too.

I'm a little more worried about Gonzo's comment after last night's game -- "I'm so (mad) right now," as the Republic put it in this morning's paper. (I think we have a pretty good sense that what Gonzo actually said rhymed with, oh, "wrist cough".) Admittedly, he should be after his Canseco-like misplay. But that's not like Gonzo, or at least the Gonzo one normally reads about in the press.

Frankly, I'd rather have a scowling (and silent) Randy than a "mist toff" Gonzo.

(On the upside, the relievers did OK, save for Andrew Good, who's probably on his way back to Tucson right now...)

And we have the Expos this weekend. I have a feeling this series will either go really well (as the D-Backs take out their frustrations) or poorly (as the D-Backs try too hard).

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Two More Blogs 

Jim at But It's a DRY Heat already pointed out the resurgence of Out in the Desert, which may be unique (you never can be sure) among active D-Backs blogs as being the only out-of-town blog. It's another quality blog. I especially enjoyed his recitation of watching three games, without which I wouldn't have known about the Alex Cora-Matt Clement battle royale. You can listen to an abbreviated version of Vin Scully's call over on MLB.com. Takes about 3 minutes, well worth it.

Also, I've found another extensive Diamondbacks blog -- West Coast Bias. The blog's been up for more than a month now. I'd recognize the owner, but couldn't find the name -- c'mon, introduce yourself!

Hello? Anybody There? (Mets 1, D-Backs 0) 

"It's like a morgue in here," said one of my bleacher-mates to nobody in particular. Out in left-center field, the crowd last night couldn't get motivated to save their life. And admittedly, Randy Johnson and Tom Glavine were making it very difficult for offensive-minded fans to enjoy the game at all.

I missed the game's only run, or, rather, I could only hear a slightly muffled "gwap" or something like that and I had to look at the TVs as I walked to my seat to see Matsui race around 1st then slow down to a trot.

And that was that. I thought Johnson had perhaps slightly better stuff than Glavine (especially from the 4th inning on), but the D-Backs looked fairly baffled, too. And the fans fell asleep.

Other random thoughts:
-- Been a long time since I've sat in an outfield seat. Made me appreciate Finley's outfield positioning and Mike Cameron's cannon of an arm.
-- Seemed like Brenly took zero baserunning chances last night. I can understand he was probably in a no-win situation as he would've been pilloried had one of the few D-Backs runners run into an out, but still...
-- And I guess the paper confirmed what it seemed to me last night - the stadium was a lot emptier than I'd expected. I know that it was a Wednesday night game, but it was a Johnson-freakin'-Glavine matchup, people. 27 thousand and change, apparently, the smallest since the opening series against the Rockies. Have Phoenix fans already signed off for the season?
-- Casey Fossum starts Friday night. I keep telling myself, "OGDNATM," especially against the Expos.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Throwing Good Money After Bad? 

I didn't get a chance to point out Paola Boivin's column yesterday on a new administrative/ownership structure for the D-Backs. I'm not quite sure why the column was published, except for 2 reasons:
1. It wasn't a widely-reported change. (And, true, this is the first I can remember of it.)
2. It might portend Bad Things for the D-Backs.

The implication of #2 is that Colangelo loves to spend anything to win, and the new owners might be skinflints looking to the Devil Rays and Brewers as models of team ownership. I tend to be dubious of that concept -- I tend to believe most owners, having made money in other fields, want to enjoy that money in the professional baseball field. And indeed the quotations in the column give zero indication that we're about to become Tampa Bay West.

The column does raise the issue of the team's salary structure and what it means for certain players. I want to look into this more, but I believe that Gonzo is owed $10 M next year and Randy $16.5 M, or nearly half of what I recall at one point the target being for total team salaries -- $55 M. Mantei has, I believe (I don't have the link), a $7 M option (that he calls), Brandon must be up to at least $2 M... you do the math. It doesn't look good for Finley or Bautista (that may be good or bad depending on your perspective), and it makes signing Sexson for the $8 - $10 M he's probably due that much harder. [Edit: just saw on another website that Sexson's already making $8.7 M -- the site I'd seen before said $4 M. So make that range $13 - $15 M.] More thoughts on this in the days ahead.

As for last night's game, two points of note:
1. Elmer thankfully does not require D-Back bloggers or Brenly to pull out the OGDNATM rule by pitching well last night. I'd expect to see Fossum up here by Friday (giving the D-Backs a couple days to decide whether to send down Bruney or Good).
2. Shea has had a good four-day streak going (.526OBP -- no walks, natch/.842SLG). Shea may be writing his FGDNATM corollary (Four Games...), but whenever Sexson comes back his decent recent hitting along with Tracy's defensive struggles will make Brenly's decision at 3B harder. Hey... I am by no means advocatin', I'm just sayin'...

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

One Game Does Not A Trend Make (D-Backs 12, Mets 8) 

I would like to establish my first acronym, an American tradition as venerable as mom, baseball (appropriately enough), and apple pie. That acronym is OGDNATM -- One Game Does Not A Trend Make. I've thought about the phrase often enough that I think it deserves its own aconym. Especially after last night.

I was all set to write this morning about how Richie Sexson's absence has been matched by a decline in Luis Gonzalez's numbers. And, up until last night, there was some validity in the admittedly small sample size -- through April 28, Gonzo had a .396OBP/.617SLG. For April 30 through May 9, he was hitting .357/.457. But because Gonzo went yard (note hip use of insider terminology) 3 times last night, his post-Richie-DL numbers climbed to .383/.700. Now, I expect his numbers to gradually decline once more until Sexson is back in the lineup. But that's what I get for actually planning articles.

So somebody please tell Elmer that I have my article "Elmer Is The Worst Diamondbacks Pitcher Ever" ready to go for tomorrow.

Also of note: Brenly moved Tracy to leadoff and Hammock to 2nd while moving Cintron down to the 7-hole (again with the insider terminology) and Kata to the 8-spot. I would prefer to see someone with a little more patience at the plate in the 8-spot, since it's unlikely that batter will get many decent pitches batting in front of the pitcher, but they'd both been pretty cold as of late, and it seems like a smart move until they heat up or Tracy cools off. In addition, Villareal was put on the 15-day DL ("Hey, a forearm problem -- they'll buy that!") and Andrew Good was brought up from Tucson. Good pitched 2 innings, gave up 1 hit. I don't know what pitching last night means in relation to him taking Elmer's place in the rotation (and I think only a no-hitter tonight will keep Elmer in the rotation).

Finally, an interesting article here in the But It's A DRY Heat blog on whether the D-Backs' defensive woes have actually cost them games. And I also want to thank Robert at Veteran Presence for being the first blog to link to this one. I like to consider this blog the palate-cleansing sorbet between the more detailed and rigorous thoughts of those blogs.

Monday, May 10, 2004

Blogger and Comments 

Blogger rolled out some fancy-spangled revisions, including the ability to have comments. Not that anybody has taken advantage of the commenting set-up I currently have, but I think I'll try this for now.

Let's Try To Phorget This Weekend (Phillies Sweep D-Backs) 

This was painful to watch. In Friday's game, Randy Johnson pitches well only to be pulled out and have the bullpen let him down as they lose 4-1. Saturday's game... well, if you had told we'd score 7 runs with Brandon Webb on the mound, I'd've virtually guaranteed you a D-Backs win, but Brandon has a poor outing for his career, and they lose 8-7. Sunday, the bats disappear once again (not even a single walk), and Steve Sparks doesn't pitch well as the D-Backs lose 7-1.

Were there any high points? You know, when Shea Hillenbrand's offense is a high point, it's really not worth mentioning much. After yesterday's 0-walk performance, I was curious to see if the D-Backs were a team of -- as my friend's golf bag tag says -- "Sir Hacksalot"s. But they rank 11th in the NL, not that far away from the median. Poor, but not awful.

Other news from the weekend included Scott Hairston being sent back to Tucson while right-handed reliever Brian Bruney was sent up to Phoenix. Bruney has already seen action in two games, whereas Hairston was barely used (if at all). He's pitched OK, not great, and could easily be the 3rd-best right-handed reliever on staff (after Valverde and Koplove).

The other, bigger news was that Casey Fossum is getting better and freakin' pitched warmup at BOB yesterday. How's that for a wakeup call for (or gratuitous dig at) Elmer Dessens? ("Hey, Elmer, I hear Tucson is lovely at this time of year. The temperature's a few degrees cooler, they get better bands touring than Phoenix... wanna go?") Clearly, given the number and tenor of articles on Fossum in the Republic recently, Fossum will be called up this week and will likely pitch in Elmer's spot Sunday against the Expos.