Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Clearing the bases: Let Matt Kemp hit
First base: Donnie Buntball. The situation: The Giants lead the Dodgers 2-1 in the bottom of the eighth, no outs, runners at first and second, Mark Ellis up, Matt Kemp on deck. What do you do? Don Mattingly had Ellis bunt. The Giants of course put Kemp on and brought in lefty killer Javier Lopez to face Andre Ethier, who grounded into a double play to snuff the rally. As Dodger Thoughts author Jon Weisman headlined, "That's why you don't bunt with Matt Kemp on deck." There were three main problems with bunting here: (1) You already had the tying run in scoring position and with two runners on and nobody out, you were set up for a potential big inning; (2) Ellis isn't exactly Chone Figgins, as he has a .377 OBP this season; maybe he would have drawn a walk against a tiring Ryan Vogelsong or gotten a hit himself; (3) Most importantly, you knew the Giants would walk Kemp and bring in a lefty to face Ethier. While Ethier has been decent versus left-handers this season (.286/.352/.449), he's been terrible in the past (.220 with 40 strikeouts in 151 PAs in 2011) and Lopez held lefties to a .163 average in 2011. I'm guessing Mattingly won't be employing that bunt again anytime soon.
Second base: Rockies call up Friedrich. After dominating Class A ball in 2009, Rockies left-hander Christian Friedrich was one of the top pitching prospects in the game. Keith Law ranked him No. 36 on his top 100 list entering 2010. But after struggling for two years in Double-A and battling some arm problems, Friedrich spent a few days over the winter working out with Cliff Lee. Friedrich told MLB.com that Lee reinforced the importance of downhill plane. He also talked with Jamie Moyer during spring training. The results in Triple-A were positive: 30 innings, 23 hits, four walks and 27 strikeouts. He makes his debut today in San Diego, looking to end the Rockies' five-game skid.
Third base: Dempster's bad luck. Cubs starter Ryan Dempster is averaging seven innings per start in his five outings and has allowed six runs, has a 36/10 strikeout/walk ratio and 1.02 ERA. He's 0-1, drawing a no-decision on Tuesday after allowing one run in seven innings in the Cubs' 3-1 loss to the Braves. And then there's Clay Buchholz, the worst starter in baseball so far. He's allowed 34 runs in 32.2 innings, including 10 home runs, and has a 9.09 ERA. He 3-1.
Home plate: Tweet of the day.