Hawpe continues to fall out of favor in Colorado

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A few weeks ago I mentioned how far Brad Hawpe has fallen in Colorado,
being dropped in the batting order and passed over in the lineup for
other left-handed bats late in games. So far in the postseason we’ve
seen more of the same, as manager Jim Tracy used three left-handed
pinch-hitters (Jason Giambi, Seth Smith and Ian Stewart) during
Thursday’s Game 2 win over the Phillies, while Hawpe collected dust on
the bench.




Jim Armstrong of the Denver Post thinks it could be a sign of things to come:



Not sure how this one will play out, but
Carlos Gonzalez will play every day next season and twice in day-night
double-headers. . . .




With dynamic and cheap outfielders
like Gonzalez, Dexter Fowler, Seth Smith, Ryan Spilborghs and Matt
Murton (remember him?) under team control for the foreseeable future,
general manager Dan O’Dowd could deal Hawpe over the winter. The
30-year-old outfielder is under contract for $7.5 million in 2010 and
$10 million with a $500,000 buyout for 2011. It’s worth mentioning that
if Hawpe is traded, he can void the option for 2011.




Just don’t look for Hawpe to get
much of a chance to turn the tide against the Phillies, with southpaws
J.A. Happ, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels likely lined up through a
potential Game 5.

Noah Syndergaard scratched with a “tired arm”

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Mets manager Terry Collins says that he has scratched Noah Syndergaard, who was supposed to start this afternoon’s game against the Braves. In his place will go Matt Harvey.

Syndergaard, Collins says, has “tired arm.” But also says he has some discomfort in his right biceps. He will have an MRI, but Syndergaard says it’s not serious and that he could pitch as soon as Sunday. Collins says this is an abundance-of-caution type thing, saying “we can’t take a chance on this guy.” Which is true.

The Mets ace is 1-1 with a 1.73 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 26 innings. He has walked no one this year. Not a soul.

James Paxton has a fantastic new nickname

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James Paxton of the Mariners is 3-0 with a 1.39 ERA, 39 strikeouts and only six walks in 32.1 innings of work over five starts. Last night he shut the Tigers down, tossing seven shutout innings, striking out nine and allowing only four hits. With Felix Hernandez looking less than king-like lately, Paxton is asserting himself as the new ace of the Seattle staff.

And now the tall Canadian native has a nickname to match his ace-like status:

“Pax was really outstanding and we certainly needed it,” manager Scott Servais said of the Canadian southpaw. “Big Maple is what he was nicknamed tonight and I kind of like that. He was awesome.”

“Big Maple” is a fantastic nickname. That’s the sort of nickname guys used to get back when nicknames were great. Before managers just put “y” at the end of dudes’ names and before the “First Initial-First Three Letters of The Last Name” convention took hold in the wake of A-Rod.

“Big Maple.” That makes me smile. I’m gonna be smiling all dang day because of that.