Chris Perez

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

40 Comments

Indians 3, Red Sox 2: There are certain games in which teams of destiny define themselves. I’m not saying the Indians are that kind of team — hell, I’m just as confused as the rest of you and thus will make no claim to being on the bandwagon earlier than anyone — but if they do turn out to be that kind of team, this game will be featured prominently in the highlight DVD at the end of the year. As lightning flashed and thunder crashed just west of the ballpark, the Indians came from behind in the eighth inning thanks to a Michael Brantley RBI single and then an RBI double by that man, Asdrubal Cabrera, scoring Brantley. Chris Perez allowed two base runners in the 9th but induced a Carl Crawford GIDP to end it.

Astros 4, Dodgers 3: Some comebacks may be season-of-destiny-defining, but just because your season isn’t destined for anything special doesn’t mean that a comeback can’t simply be fun. Bill Hall was 4 for 4 with two doubles, but it was his single in the bottom of the ninth that helped key the Astros’ comeback from a 3-1 deficit when they were down to their last out. That and a little double steal action that put Hall at third and pinch hitter Angel Sanchez at second to score on Michael Bourn’s game-tying double.  Two batters later Hunter Pence singled Bourn in for the game-winner.

Brewers 11, Nationals 3: Corey Hart blasts three homers and drives in seven. Coming in to this game he was batting .237/.275/.329 with no homers and a single RBI.

Phillies 10, Reds 3: Chase Utley returns and with him comes the offense. Of course correlation is not the same thing as causation so don’t read too deeply into his 0 for 5 night. Placido Polanco, Raul Ibanez and John Mayberry Jr. each had a couple of RBI, however, and that made for Philly’s biggest offensive night since, like, ever.

Tigers 6, Rays 3: Close until the eighth when the Tigers strung together two two-run hits off Juan Cruz. Tigers starter Phil Coke left the game in the top of the fourth after injuring his ankle whilst chasing a bunt. He was replaced by rookie lefty Charlie Furbush, who picked up the win in his major league debut. In other news, there is a pitcher named Charlie Furbush.

Mariners 8, Twins 7: Good thing the Twins traded top prospect Wilson Ramos for Proven Closer Matt Capps last year, because there is no way that Jon Rauch or someone else who has not gone on the Proven Closer Vision Quest and had the secrets of the Proven Closer Elders handed down to them could have blown that save in the ninth last night.

Rangers 4, White Sox 0: Josh Hamilton returns with a bang, homering in the first inning of his first game since April 12th. Meanwhile, Alexi Ogando’s post-blister problem run continues nicely, as he takes his third straight decision in what was his best start of the year so far (CG, SHO 5 H).

Blue Jays 7, Yankees 3: Bartolo Colon follows his best start of the year up with his worst. Well, his second worst, but it looks bad compared to that gem against Baltimore last week.  Carlos Villanueva filled in for Jesse Litsch nicely, allowing one run on two hits over five innings. J.P. Arencibia had four RBI and Jose Bautista hit a homer.

Angels 4, Athletics 1: Torii Hunter was the hero in the field and at the plate, nailing Andy LaRoche as he tried to score in the seventh and driving in the go-ahead run with a double in the eighth. On a night when some teams who had not been scoring runs lately broke out with some nice offense, the Athletics remain in the offensive desert.

Cardinals 3, Padres 1: At least the A’s have some company in the offensive desert, as San Diego continues to treat run scoring as if it were radioactive or something. And hey, Albert Pujols hit a homer!

Who Should win the Rookie of the Year Awards? Who Will?

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 05:  Corey Seager #5 of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts to his three run homerun for a 6-0 lead over the Arizona Diamondbacks during the fifth inning at Dodger Stadium on September 5, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Getty Images
3 Comments

With the regular season ending on Sunday and most of the playoff spots locked up, there’s really only one big thing left to argue about: postseason awards. So let’s spend some time looking at who should win each of the four major awards and who will win them. Which are often totally different things. Next up: The Rookie of the Year Awards

This is a whole heck of a lot easier than the MVP and Cy Young Awards, that’s for sure. It’s a two horse race in the AL and a one-horse race in the NL.

Who should win the AL Rookie of the Year Award?

It seemed like Tigers starter Michael Fulmer would be the no-brainer choice for a good long while, as his low ERA and solid performance helped carry the Tigers when their starting pitching wasn’t doing them any favors. But then the Yankees called up catcher Gary Sanchez at the beginning of August and all he’s done since then is hit .303/.378/.672 with an astonishing 20 homers in his first 51 games. Fulmer has continued to be solid — he’s just short of qualifying for the ERA title, but does have the league’s lowest ERA at 3.06 — but Sanchez has been spectacular.

The MVP and Cy Young Award require full season contributions. Not everyone takes the Rookie of the Year Award quite as seriously, it seems, and are thus more willing to entertain smaller samples of excellence over large samples of solid work when it comes to the award. That’s how Bill and I think about it anyway, giving the nod to Sanchez’s historic two-month run. Ashley, however, favors Fulmer’s larger volume of work. You can’t really go wrong with either choice:

Craig: Sanchez
Bill: Sanchez
Ashley: Fulmer

Who will win the AL Rookie of the Year Award?

Hard call. I have no idea what voters will do on that quantity/quality calculation. I’ll guess Fulmer, but it’s just a guess. I could just as easily see Sanchez given some quasi-MVP credit for helping the Yankees remain relevant after the trade deadline and throw it his way.

 

Who should win the NL Rookie of the Year Award?

If you say anyone other than Corey Seager, and his .311/.369/.519 26 homer batting line, the state has authorized me to have you taken to a hospital for 48 hours of examination, at which point your competence to reenter society will be gauged. But there is ice cream there.

Craig: Seager
Bill: Seager
Ashley: Seager

 

Who will win the NL Rookie of the Year Award?

If any BBWAA voter lists anyone other than Corey Seager at the top of his or her Rookie of the Year ballot, the state has authorized me to have them taken to a hospital for 48 hours of examination, at which point their competence to reenter society will be gauged. They will not, however, be allowed to have any ice cream because, really, they should know better. They’re professionals.

Jeremy Giambi vs. David Ortiz

jeremy-giambi
4 Comments

The 2002 Red Sox won 93 games, only to finish 10 games behind the Yankees in the AL West and six back of the lone wild card. They named Theo Epstein the GM that November and allowed him to begin reshaping the team, then led by Pedro Martinez and Manny Ramirez.

The Red Sox didn’t make any big splashes that winter. Their biggest free agent signing was Ramiro Mendoza, who got $6.5 million for two years. They also signed Mike Timlin and Bill Mueller (who played behind Shea Hillenbrand at third initially). They traded for Todd Walker. They stole Bronson Arroyo off waivers.

What Epstein did totally overhaul was a first base-DH situation that held the team back the previous season. 2002 trade deadline pickup Cliff Floyd exited in free agency, as did disappointments Tony Clark and Jose Offerman.

Brought in was a three-headed monster of underappreciated, high-OBP, Moneyball-type players. First, the Red Sox traded Josh Hancock to the Phillies for Jeremy Giambi, who had just hit .244/.435/.538 in 156 at-bats after coming over from the A’s at midseason. He hit .272/.402/.475 in 684 at-bats total between 2001 and 2002, and he looked like he was still very much in his prime at age 28.

The day after the Giambi trade, the Twins made the move to release David Ortiz. No one pounced, though, and Ortiz remained unsigned for a month before joining the Boston on a one-year, $1.25 million contract. Ortiz, who was entering his age-27 season, hit .272/.339/.500 in 412 at-bats for the Twins in 2002.

While that was going on, the Red Sox were working to bring in Kevin Millar for first base. Millar hit .306/.366/.509 in 438 at-bats for the Marlins in 2002 and was even better the previous season, but he was a poor outfielder and third baseman and the team already had Derrek Lee at first base. So, the Marlins, rather than trade Millar for a player, sold him to Japan for some much-preferred cash. Millar, not realizing that he was a desired commodity around the league, went along with the plan. That’s when the Red Sox broke an unwritten rule and claimed Millar off waivers. It turned into a long ordeal, but the Red Sox were finally able to land Millar in February by buying him from the Marlins.

I remember at the time being most excited about the Giambi acquisition. He couldn’t play defense and he had gotten himself exiled by the A’s for some transgression the previous year, but he looked like an awesome offensive force with his terrific power and ridiculous walk rate. Ortiz was certainly worth taking the chance on, too, but I thought Giambi would be better and leave Ortiz with little to do.

Indeed, Giambi started over Ortiz on Opening Day. However, both got off to lousy starts and Giambi’s playing time quickly diminished. Giambi finished April at .125/.288/.292 in 60 plate appearances, starting only once in the final week of the month. Ortiz came in at .212/.311/.346 in 61 plate appearances.

Both players found their strokes at the beginning of May. For Giambi, though, it amounted to all of about two weeks of success. He peaked with an .828 OPS on May 16. Ortiz’s build was slower, but it lasted. He had a .942 OPS in May, a .961 OPS in June, a .987 OPS in July and a 1.097 OPS in August before plummeting all of the way to .977 in September. He finished 5th in the AL MVP balloting despite playing about half the time the first two months.

Giambi, finding himself more starved for at-bats after Ortiz heated up, landed on the DL in late June with a bad shoulder. At the time, it looked like it might have been a made-up injury to get him playing time in the minors for a spell. It wasn’t. He returned a few weeks later, but he still wasn’t right. He made his last appearance on Aug. 1, going 0-for-3 against the Orioles. He landed back on the DL and then underwent surgery to repair damage in his labrum and rotator cuff.

As it turned out, Giambi never played in the majors again. As he was trying to come back from the shoulder surgery the next spring, he developed back problems. He played in 17 minor league games with the Dodgers in 2004 and nine with the White Sox in 2005. That was it for him, and he was done at 30 years old. In early 2005, he admitted to using BALCO-provided steroids and said that he regretted it. The strength training likely played roles in both his emergence and his downfall, given the breakdown of his body.

Things worked out a little differently for Ortiz…

Ortiz through 2002 (age 26): .266/.348/.461, 108 OPS+ in 1,693 PA
Giambi through 2002 (age 27): .269/.381/.437, 114 OPS+ in 1,549 PA

Ortiz after 2002: .290/.386/.570, 148 OPS+ in 8,387 PA
Giambi after 2002: .197/.342/.354, 81 OPS+ in 156 PA

And those 2003 Red Sox? Well, they won 95 games, which was good enough for the wild card this time. Still, they lost to the Yankees in seven games in the ALCS. They were still one year away.