On the disabled list for the past few weeks with a sprained big toe, Aaron Cook could rejoin the Rockies’ rotation as soon as September 2 against the Phillies.
Cook tossed five innings of one-run ball Monday in his first rehab start at Triple-A and Troy Renck of the Denver Post reports that he’ll likely be asked to pitch once more in the minors before the Rockies make a decision on his status.
Colorado unsuccessfully shopped Cook at the trade deadline, with other teams shying away in part because of his medioce performance this season and part because he’s still owed $9.25 million in 2011 with an $11 million option or $500,000 buyout for 2012. He suffered the toe injury just a few days after the deadline passed.
Earlier this afternoon I mocked the Royals for putting out a terrible lineup against Armando Galarraga and the Tigers, giving them a particularly tough time for using Willie Bloomquist as their No. 3 hitter.
As noted at the time, Bloomquist is a career .255 hitter with a .305 on-base percentage and .310 slugging percentage against righties, including .205/.221/.253 this season. He has been one of the worst hitters in baseball against righties.
And so naturally he just hit the game-winning homer–off right-hander Alfredo Figaro–in the 12th inning. Seriously. Ned Yost may want to buy some lottery tickets tonight.
The lesson here is either that I’m a doofus or baseball is a funny game. Actually, probably some combination of both. They’re not mutually exclusive, after all. Seriously though, Willie Bloomquist?!
Ryan Howard went 0-for-7 with five strikeouts last night before being ejected by third base umpire and instigator Scott Barry, and manager Charlie Manuel has benched him for tonight’s game.
Toss in Howard’s pronounced platoon splits and sitting him versus left-hander J.A. Happ was probably pretty close to a no-brainer for Manuel. The right-handed hitting Mike Sweeney is starting in his place.
Howard is no doubt facing a fine and possibly a suspension, although obviously neither would impact his availability tonight. Oh, and it’ll be interesting to see what type of reaction Barry gets from the Philadelphia crowd. And by “interesting” I mean “fun to hear that much booing directed at one person who deserves it.”
Mark Bowman of MLB.com explains how Takashi Saito’s bad vision cost the Braves in last night’s loss to the Rockies:
Turns out, the passed ball that gave Dexter Fowler a chance to deliver a two-run single was directly attributed to the vision problem that Takashi Saito experiences during night games. Because of Saito’s limited vision at night, the Braves catchers are unable to call pitches by simply placing a certain number of fingers between their legs.
They are instead forced to signal pitch selection by touching different parts of their body, much like a third-base coach. After McCann signaled for a breaking ball, Saito delivered the fastball that drilled plate umpire Lance Barksdale in the right shoulder and then made its way toward the backstop.
Interesting, but it’s also worth noting that on a per-inning basis Saito has thrown fewer wild pitches in night games (passed balls are attributed to catchers) and has also been every bit as effective as he is during day games.
Saito has appeared in 208 career night games, posting a 2.15 ERA and 262 strikeouts versus just 151 hits in 213 innings. Not bad for a guy who can barely see which pitches are being called.
Not only has Jim Thome switching from the White Sox to the Twins had a massive impact on the AL Central race, Baseball-Reference.com’s blog points out that he’s having one of the best seasons ever by a 39-year-old. Here are the all-time leaders in adjusted OPS+ at age 39:
AGE 39 YEAR PA OPS+
Barry Bonds 2004 617 263
Ted Williams 1958 517 179
Hank Aaron 1973 465 177
JIM THOME 2010 273 162
Babe Ruth 1934 471 161
Thome has fewer plate appearances than everyone else on that list, but he’s on pace to finish with approximately 350 and any time you can make a top-five list alongside Barry Bonds, Ted Williams, Hank Aaron, and Babe Ruth you’re doing something really right.
And since Minnesotans are already thinking about the Twins possibly re-signing Thome for next season, here are the all-time leaders in adjusted OPS+ at age 40:
AGE 40 YEAR PA OPS+
Willie Mays 1971 537 158
Carlton Fisk 1988 298 155
Edgar Martinez 2003 603 141
Moises Alou 2007 360 137
Dave Winfield 1992 670 137
That’s a much different and less impressive list in terms of both names and numbers, which is a good reminder of how tough it is to dominate at age 40. In fact, based on OPS+ no hitter in the history of baseball has ever been as productive as a 40-year-old as Thome has been as a 39-year-old, which is something to keep in mind when it comes to 2011 expectations for the future Hall of Famer.