That incessant Manny-chatter was further proof that nationally broadcast
games are now pitched only to baseball-ignorant audiences who know zip
about the game, the teams, and the history of the game. It makes
televised games virtually unwatchable. Every game has to have a
pre-agreed “story line,” and that’s its context—not the pennant race,
not the real team issues. This game was, according to ESPN, about Manny
Ramirez. It was crucial not to let him get to the plate as the tying
run…that was all we heard. Disgusting, boring, and incompetent.
— Jack Marshall, Red Sox fan, perfectly capturing what I think about the direction the commentary so often takes in the big nationally-broadcast games anymore.
Drop the incessant harping on the “storylines,” networks. Thanks to the blogs and the nightly recaps on Baseball Tonight and MLB Network and everywhere else, most of them are old news by the time Saturday and Sunday roll around anyway. When it comes to the game itself, let’s talk about . . . the game itself.
Long-time rotation mainstay Tom Koehler was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans on Monday and reliever Hunter Cervenka was recalled, the Marlins announced.
Koehler, 31, made 131 starts out of the Marlins’ rotation over the last five years, but his 12 this season have not been good, so the club hopes he can figure things out with a stint in the minors. He’s carrying a 7.92 ERA with a 44/29 K/BB ratio in 55 2/3 innings. Koehler battled bursitis in his right shoulder in May and June, which may partially explain his struggles.
Cervenka, 27, posted a 4.50 ERA with a 34/21 K/BB ratio in 34 innings of relief with New Orleans. He hasn’t pitched in the majors yet this season, but compiled a 3.53 ERA over 43 1/3 innings in the bigs last year in the Marlins’ bullpen.
At the trade deadline, relief pitching is the name of the game and one of the names clearly available is Pat Neshek. Today Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reports that the Nationals, Dodgers, and Red Sox are among the clubs who are closely scouting the Phillies reliever. Last week Ken Rosenthal reported that the Brewers and Rays were involved as well.
Neshek is an impending free agent, so he may come cheaper than Justin Wilson or some of the other bullpen arms available right now. The All-Star is 36 and is posting a fantastic season, featuring a 1.12 ERA and 45/5 K/BB ratio over 40.1 innings this season.