A few weeks after acquiring Heath Bell, the Diamondbacks made another addition to their bullpen on Tuesday, picking up lefty Matt Reynolds from the Diamondbacks for infielder Ryan Wheeler.
Reynolds, 28, had a nice debut with the Rockies in 2010 but was pretty mediocre since, amassing a 4.09 ERA in 2011 and a 4.40 ERA in 2011. While he’s been used primarily as a specialist, he’s only been a bit better against lefties (.262/.309/.459) than righties (.259/.323/.506) in his career. The Diamondbacks are apparently banking on the fact that he’s been quite a bit better on the road (.210/.290/.435) than in Coors Field (.294/.333/.514) in his career.
Wheeler, 24, came up this year and hit .239/.294/.339 with one homer in 109 at-bats for the Diamondbacks. He hit .351/.388/.572 in 362 at-bats for Triple-A Reno before his callup, but that was in a very friendly offensive environment. He hit .294/.358/.465 in Double-A in 2011.
Wheeler is a long shot to make it as a regular — his glove won’t be a big asset at third and he probably won’t have the bat for first — but he makes plenty of sense for a Rockies team that isn’t quite set at either corner infield position. Plus, now the team can find someone better than Reynolds for a specialist role, if it opts to carry a specialist at all.
With the Dodgers trying to make it back to the World Series for the second year in a row — and trying to win it for the first time in 30 years — it’s worth looking back at the last time they won it. More specifically, it’s worth looking back at the signature moment from the last time they won it. Which, really, was one of baseball’s all-time signature moments.
Yep, I’m talking about Kirk Gibson’s famous game-winning home run off of Dennis Eckersley of the Oakland Athletics in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series, which happened 30 years ago tonight.
All playoff magic for anyone too young to remember Bill Mazeroski’s homer in 1960 is measured against Gibson taking Dennis Eckersley downtown to turn a 4-3 deficit into a 5-4 win. Heck, even if you were around in 1960, it’s far less likely that you saw Mazeroski’s homer than it was for you to have seen Gibson’s. Nationally broadcast in prime time to a nation of millions who had not yet fragmented into viewers of hundreds of obscure cable channels and various forms of streaming entertainments, it was a moment that sent shockwaves through the world of sports.
For my part, I was fifteen years-old, sitting in my living room in Beckley, West Virginia watching it as it happened. Like most of the rest of the country, I was convinced that the Dodgers had no chance to beat the mighty Bash Brothers and the 104-win Oakland A’s. Especially given that the Dodgers’ leader, MVP-to-be Gibson, was hobbled and not starting. Even when he was called on to pinch hit, I had no faith that he’d be able to touch Eckersley, the best relief pitcher on the planet, let alone hit the ball with any kind of authority.
But, as Vin said when he called it, the Dodgers’ year was so improbable that, in hindsight, it made perfect sense for Gibson to have done the impossible: