In an earlier post I made a joke about the Indians starting Dennis Martinez if forced to play a meaningless (for them) game on Monday against the Tigers. On Twitter, one of my followers, Ray Fink, asked a great question: If you had to hand the ball to a Hall of Fame-eligible pitcher to give you three innings, who would it be?
The Hall of Fame-eligible part gets rid of the recently-retired ringers, requiring a guy who has been off the scene for at least five years, ensuring that there’s a good bit of rust. I love questions like these.
My immediate answer was Mike Mussina. My thinking being that of all of the great pitchers fitting these parameters, he’s the most likely to have stayed in good shape. I mean, Greg Maddux probably still has the best pitching IQ on the planet, but he’s let himself go a bit, right? Mussina strikes me as a guy who still wakes up and does crunches and stuff.
If you extend it to December, however, you may get a better answer, because that’s when Tim Wakefield becomes eligible for the Hall. I realize a knuckleball requires practice to maintain the right touch and subtlety to the delivery, but it also requires the least raw physical effort. Jim Bouton went well more than five years without throwing his less-than-Wakefield-quality knuckler and was still able to make a comeback. I think Tim could be passable.
Then there’s Roger Clemens. I didn’t see his numbers for that National Baseball Congress tourney this summer and I realize he’s getting a bit thick around the middle, but I’m sure he can still bring it enough to not embarrass himself. Beyond the frosted tips, anyway.
So: who is your Space Cowboys-style reclamation project? Who is the old legend you dust off for one last job?
It’s raining in Detroit today. Raining so much that it could postpone this afternoon’s Tigers-Indians game. The Indians already clinched the AL Central and will start play in the ALDS next week. The Tigers, however, are a game back in the Wild Card race and will likely be playing for their playoff lives until Sunday afternoon.
Which means that today’s game may very well matter a lot for the Tigers as well as the Blue Jays and Orioles. Which means . . .
Congratulations, Indians. As a reward for the Wild Card contenders not being able to put the others behind them, you could get a day off taken away from you before the playoffs!
Which stinks, but when you think about it, it could also have some weird incentives and implications. While that Monday game would matter a lot for the Tigers and whoever is their competition for the last Wild Card, it’s a pitcher-burning annoyance for the AL Central champions. Might they be incentivized to use a crappy pitcher for it? To play it like an exhibition game or something? Might that not give the Tigers an unfair advantage and really piss off the Orioles or whoever?
I’m sure everyone will say they’re playing hard, but if the Indians go out and sign Dennis Martinez to pitch on Monday, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Alex Rodriguez made for a shockingly good analyst during last year’s playoffs. He’s clear and concise and is able to criticize players without being a jackass. That’s key, as so many current and former players who spend time doing analysis seem loathe to call out a player despite the fact that that’s what they’re there for.
Fox obviously liked what they got out of A-Rod, because he’s coming back:
Now, if they can refrain from hiring Pete Rose and if TBS brings back A.J. Pierzynski, tuning in to the pregame and postgame shows may actually be worth your time this October.