Daily Dose: One Last Dose

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After six months and 130 columns, this is the final “Daily Dose” of the 2009 season, although Rotoworld’s baseball coverage is far from over. Our player news page has constant updates 365 days per year, so whether you want to keep up to speed on all the playoff action this month or get the latest rumors and transaction analysis during the offseason Rotoworld will have everything you need.
We’ll also be churning out all kinds of good content here at Circling the Bases, where Matthew Pouliot, Craig Calcaterra, Bob Harkins, D.J. Short, and Yours Truly blog all day every day. And if for some crazy reason Rotoworld and CTB aren’t enough to satiate the daily Gleeman fix that you’ve developed over the past six months, check out my personal blog at AaronGleeman.com and my Twitter updates.
Annoying plugs aside, I’d like to thank everyone who read this column throughout the season and offer a special thank you to those of you who sent e-mails and notes via Twitter. Writing a daily column for six months is a grind, so feedback is always nice, positive or negative. Hopefully the Daily Dose has aided your fantasy teams in some small way. And if your leagues are going down to the wire, good luck this weekend!
While writing 100,000 words in this space since April seems like a lot when you put it that way, here are some notes from around baseball …


* Picking up a win with shutout ball is nothing out of the ordinary for Chris Carpenter, but Thursday’s victory was unique for what he did at the plate. Carpenter came into the game as a lifetime .105 hitter with zero homers in 326 plate appearances, which was good for a .252 OPS that ranked fifth-worst among all active players with more than 300 trips to the plate. So naturally he hit a grand slam and a two-run double.
“I think the only other home run I hit had to be in high school,” Carpenter said. “I was a really good hitter, I guess, but I grew up in New Hampshire and we didn’t see many 90-mph fastballs.” In other words, at this point in his career Reds starter Kip Wells is more or less equivalent to a New England teenager. On the mound Carpenter threw five shutout innings, improving to 17-4 while capturing the ERA title with a 2.24 mark.
* Not to be totally outdone, Tim Lincecum completed his Cy Young case with seven innings of two-run ball, improving to 15-7 with a 2.48 ERA and league-leading 261 strikeouts. While he trails Carpenter by two wins and 0.24 points of ERA, Lincecum logged 32.2 more innings. Carpenter’s rotation-mate Adam Wainwright is one of just two pitchers with more innings than Lincecum, and he’s also 19-8 with a 2.58 ERA.
* Mike Scioscia announced Thursday that Ervin Santana will not be part of the ALDS rotation, as the Angels will instead go with Joe Saunders in Game 4 at Fenway Park. Santana is 5-2 with a 3.18 ERA in 11 starts since August 1, but his overall numbers certainly don’t warrant a playoff start and Saunders is 4-1 with a 3.24 ERA over eight career outings against Boston. Either way, the Angels’ rotation depth is remarkable.
AL Quick Hits: Scott Baker picked up his 15th win Thursday as the Twins staved off elimination … Jon Lester showed that his knee was healthy with 6.1 shutout innings Thursday and will be ready for Game 1 of the ALDS … John Lackey was limited to two innings Thursday in a tune-up for Game 1 matchup with Lester … J.D. Drew sat out Thursday’s game with a shoulder injury that’s not considered serious, but may be benched until the playoffs just to be safe … Kevin Millwood tied his season-high with 10 strikeouts in a complete-game victory Thursday … Impending free agent Russell Branyan returned from the disabled list Thursday … Chris Davis went 3-for-5 with a homer Thursday after hitting .306 with five long balls in September … Matt Garza got another tough-luck loss Thursday in a Quality Start, dropping to 8-12 despite a 3.95 ERA and .233 opponents’ batting average … Carlos Carrasco left Thursday’s start after taking a Jacoby Ellsbury liner off his leg and then fell to 0-4 with an 8.87 ERA.
NL Quick Hits: Tommy Hanson tossed seven innings of one-run ball in a no-decision Thursday, finishing his impressive rookie campaign at 11-4 with a 2.89 ERA … Jose Reyes will require surgery after tearing his hamstring earlier this week, but should be ready for spring training … Dan Haren struggled in his final outing Thursday, but still leads the majors with a 1.00 WHIP … Randy Johnson indicated Thursday that he’s uncertain about pitching in 2010 … Aaron Cook tossed eight innings of one-run ball Thursday as the Rockies clinched a playoff spot … Derrek Lee was scratched from Thursday’s lineup for personal reason … Chan Ho Park will likely be unavailable for the playoffs after aggravating his hamstring injury Thursday … Manny Parra gave up five runs over 2.2 innings Thursday, finishing with a 6.36 ERA … Cliff Lee took a loss Thursday, falling to 7-4 with a 3.39 ERA for the Phillies … San Francisco reportedly will bring back general manager Brian Sabean and manager Bruce Bochy in 2010.

Rick Ankiel drank vodka before a start to deal with the yips

9 Apr 2000: Rick Ankiel #66 of the St. Louis Cardinals winds back to pitch the ball during the game against the Milwaukee Brweers at the Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri. The Cardinals defeated the Brewers 11-2. Mandatory Credit: Elsa Hasch  /Allsport
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The story of Rick Ankiel is well known by now. He was a phenom pitcher who burst onto the scene with the Cardinals in 1999 and into the 2000 season as one of the top young talents in the game. Then, in the 2000 playoffs, he melted down. He got the yips. Whatever you want to call it, he lost the ability to throw strikes and his pitching career was soon over. He came back, however, against all odds, and remade his career as a solid outfielder.

It’s inspirational and incredible. But there is a lot more to the story that we’ve ever known. We will soon, however, as Ankiel is coming out with a book. Today he took to the airwaves and shared some about it. Including some amazing stuff:

On drinking in his first start after the famous meltdown in Game One of the 2000 National League division series against the Braves:

“Before that game…I’m scared to death. I know I have no chance. Feeling the pressure of all that, right before the game I get a bottle of vodka. I just started drinking vodka. Low and behold, it kind of tamed the monster, and I was able to do what I wanted. I’m sitting on the bench feeling crazy I have to drink vodka to pitch through this. It worked for that game. (I had never drank before a game before). It was one of those things like the yipps, the monster, the disease…it didn’t fight fair so I felt like I wasn’t going to fight fair either.”

Imagine spending your whole life getting to the pinnacle of your career. Then imagine it immediately disintegrating. And then imagine having to go out and do it again in front of millions. It’s almost impossible for anyone to contemplate and, as such, it’s hard to judge almost anything Ankiel did in response to that when he was 21 years-old. That Ankiel got through that and made a career for himself is absolutely amazing. It’s a testament to his drive and determination.

 

Justin Turner talks “Easy D”

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 22:  Justin Turner #10 of the Los Angeles Dodgers warms up prior to game six of the National League Championship Series against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on October 22, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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A couple of weeks ago our president wrote one of his more . . . vexing tweets. He was talking about immigration when he whipped out the phrase . . . “Easy D”:

No one was quite sure what he meant by Easy D. Was it the older brother of N.W.A.’s founder? The third sequel to that Emma Stone movie from a few years back? So many questions!

Baseball Twitter had fun with it, though, with a lot of people wondering how they could work it in casually to their commentary:

It wasn’t a scout who did it, but twelve days after that, a player obliged Mr. McCullough:

I have no more idea what Turner was talking about with that than Trump was. We’ll have to wait for the full story in the L.A. Times. But I am going to assume Turner was doing McCullough a solid with that one rather than commenting on the president’s tweet. Either way, I’m glad he made the effort.

And before you ask: yes, it’s a slow news day.