Zack Greinke gets no help in losing Angels debut

9 Comments

Without the injured Mike Trout at the top of the lineup, the Angels got nothing going offensively Sunday  and took a 2-0 loss to the Rays in Zack Greinke’s debut.

Greinke, who was acquired from the Brewers on Friday, was strong in striking out eight over seven innings, but Jeremy Hellickson was better, blanking the Angels on two hits over six innings. Kyle Farnsworth, Joel Peralta and Fernando Rodney — the last two former Angels — finished the Rays’ second shutout in two days.

The loss was Greinke’s first in a home start since July 31, 2010, when he was still a member of the Royals. He went 15-0 during his 23 starts at Miller Park as a member of the Brewers.

Greinke allowed both Rays runs after pitching scoreless ball for five innings. The Rays led off the sixth and seventh innings with doubles and scored one run each time. The second run came on a wild pitch.

Greinke has now gone six straight starts without a win. He’ll miss the four-game showdown in Texas this week and make his next start against the White Sox on Friday. That could work out for him; he had his best start of the year against the White Sox in interleague play, pitching nine scoreless innings back on June 22.

Imagining Theo Epstein in politics

Getty Images
3 Comments

“When Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept for there were no more worlds to conquer.”

Or: “When Theo Epstein won World Series championships with the two most championship-starved franchises in baseball history, he got bored, and decided to run for the Senate or something.”

That latter bit is the premise of a Politico piece speculating that the Cubs president could go into politics one day. The story features an interview with former Obama chief strategist David Axlerod, who thinks Theo has what it takes. Mostly what he has is fame, popularity, good looks and money. No idea what his positions on issue are, but that other stuff goes a long way in politics these days.

Bonus: given what we just elected last fall, a guy who once had a little temper tantrum and dressed up in a gorilla suit is just as viable a candidate as anyone.

Another interestingly named player is promoted by the Pirates

Getty Images
2 Comments

When you promote a player from the minors, the first and foremost consideration is whether or not he can help your ball club. But, assuming that’s taken care of, teams should really, really make it a priority to call up dudes with cool sounding names because it makes life more interesting for the rest of us.

The Pirates are doing that. The other night Dovydas Neverauskas made his big league debut. In addition to being the first Lithuanian born-and-raised player in major league history, it’s a solid, solid name. Now the Pirates are making another promotion: Gift Ngoepe.

Yep, Gift Ngoepe. He’s an infielder from South Africa, making the leap to the bigs due to David Freese‘s hamstring injury. Ngoepe, 27, was batting just .241/.308/.379 through 66 plate appearances this season with Triple-A Indianapolis, his ninth in the minors, so he’s not exactly a prospect. But man, that’s a killer name.

It’s also worth mentioning that Gift and Neverauskas were arrested together in a bar fight last August in Toledo, so there is already a good basis for some bonding here.

Good luck, Gift. Gift Ngoepe. Mr. Ngoepe. G-Ngo. Man, I could do this all day.