Matthew Pouliot

Kevin Towers

Is there room for Wade Miley under that bus?


Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers is a dinosaur, no doubt, but he’s also in charge of a major league baseball team, so we have little choice but to take him somewhat seriously, even when he goes on to a radio show (Arizona Sports 620’s Burns and Gambo show, to be specific) says stuff like this:

“I was sitting behind home plate that game and when it showed up on the Diamondvision of stuffing bananas down their throats, I felt like we were a punching bag,”

“Literally, if I would have had a carton of baseballs I would have fired them into the dugout from where I was sitting behind home plate.”

“You’d think the GM comes down and makes it a point to talk to the staff about it that at we need to start protecting our own and doing things differently. Probably a week later Goldy gets dinged, and no retaliation. It’s like ‘wait a minute.”

“Some of [the pitchers], contractually, it’s tough to move. But I think come spring training, it will be duly noted that it’s going to be an eye for an eye and we’re going to protect one another.”

Well, with quotes like that, one would think the Diamondbacks must have been plunked, what, twice as often as they hit batters? At least significantly more often, right?

No, of course not. Diamondbacks pitchers hit 60 batters this year. Their hitters were plunked 43 times.

But not all hit by pitches are created equal. What about the Diamondbacks’ big star, the aforementioned Goldy. The guy opposing teams were throwing at weekly. Or monthly. Or every other month.

Paul Goldschmidt was hit three times all year, on April 22 by the Giants, on July 31 by the Rays and on Sept. 19 by the Dodgers.

Interesting enough, Wade Miley was the pitcher all three times Goldschmidt was hit. And he was the one who never retaliated. The sophomore left-hander hit just four batters all season.

So, get rid of him, obviously. He’s making practically the minimum, so he’s not one of those guys who would be “contractually tough to move.” That was kind of an odd comment, too. The Diamondbacks’ only pitchers who would be tough to move without eating cash are Brandon McCarthy and relievers J.J. Putz and Heath Bell. And McCarthy would only be tough to move because the Diamondbacks backloaded his two-year deal so that he’ll make $9 million next year. Even so, there might be interested teams. Trevor Cahill isn’t exactly a bargain at $20 million for the next two years, but there are teams that would take that on.

So, get the Padres back on the phone. Ian Kennedy was the closest thing the Diamondbacks had to an enforcer this year, setting off a brawl with the Dodgers and hitting 10 batters in all. Which didn’t stop Towers from giving him away at the trade deadline. But if Towers asks nicely enough, surely the Padres will send him back to Arizona for that softy Miley.

Anyway, a lot of this is Towers diverting attention after his remade roster did no better than his old one. Not only is it a pathetic way to do so, but it should really get him fined by the league. Baseball doesn’t need its general managers publicly advocating throwing at and hitting batters.

Jake Peavy finally a postseason success with Red Sox

Jake Peavy

In truth, a four-game series was probably the best-case scenario for the Red Sox.

Sure, sweeps are great, but there’s nothing wrong with being tested a bit. And not only did the Red Sox pass their test with flying colors, but they got to use Jake Peavy in their Game 4 victory over the Rays rather than have him sit around for another week.

That delay certainly would have been a source of concern for Red Sox management. Peavy, the team’s big trade deadline acquisition, was more solid than stellar in 10 starts for Boston, going 4-1 with a 4.04 ERA. The team was 5-5 in his outings. He’d also taken ugly losses in his only two ever postseason starts with the Padres in 2005 and 2006. He gave up 13 runs and 19 hits over 9 2/3 innings, striking out just five, in a pair of NLDS defeats. Both came versus the Cardinals, and the Padres failed to advance both years.

Those playoff performances weren’t chief among Boston’s worries or the Red Sox never would have given up Jose Iglesias for him in the first place. But they couldn’t have wanted him to have to make his first start in the ALCS having gone three weeks without pitching in a game.

In Tuesday’s win, Peavy scattered six hits over 5 2/3 innings. He seemed well in control until Yunel Escobar ripped a line drive down the left-field line in the sixth that just missed going over the fence and turned into a double. Escobar came around to score on a one-out single, but Peavy got Wil Myers afterwards He still seemed to have quite a bit left in the tank at that point, but this being October and all, the Red Sox smartly went to the pen and brought in Craig Breslow to face James Loney. The relief corps combined for seven strikeouts in 3 1/3 scoreless innings the rest of the way.

Because the Red Sox failed to score until the seventh, Peavy didn’t get a win for his trouble. That hardly matters now, though. After 12 seasons, the former Cy Young Award winner is going to an LCS for the first time.

Boston’s incredible stolen base streak gets snapped, sort of

Quintin Berry, Ben Zobrist

When Daniel Nava was thrown out trying for second on a hit-and-run in the eighth inning Tuesday against the Rays, it marked the first time in the team’s last 46 attempts that a Red Sox player was caught stealing.

Of course, technically, that’s mixing regular-season and postseason games. No matter what happens the rest of this month, the Red Sox will have finished the regular season with a streak of 39 straight steals, and depending on how you want to look at it, they’ll also carry that into next season. It’s not some sort of sacred record, so MLB probably doesn’t care much either way.

But the Red Sox’s streak of 45 streak steals is somewhere around as unlikely as a 45-game hitting streak would be. Besides the Red Sox, AL teams were successful on 72.5 percent of their steals this year. That 72.5 percent is also roughly about how often a .300 hitter gets one hit per game. The major league leader (Adam Jones) had 121 one-hit games this year or 75.6 percent of his games played. Miguel Cabrera was up at 79.8 percent, while Andrew McCutchen was at 70.7.

Maybe that’s not the best comparison. But a team that stole at a .725 clip, like the rest of the AL, would have a 1 in 1.9 million chance of making it to 45 straight without being caught. Bump that up to an 80 percent success rate, it’s still 1 in 23,000. And then there’s Chase Utley; he’s the best percentage basestealer (min. 100 steals) since they started tracking caught stealing at 88.356 percent. Even at that success rate, getting to 45 in a row is a 1 in 262 shot.