Thursday, 17 April 2008

Pointing the Finger (at The Big Hurt)

"Sense of Urgency?" That's so March... or maybe just so Doc?

A frequent bone of contention for many posters over at Batter's Box is the encore April suckage from Frank Thomas that's unfolding before our very eyes. The statistically and economically inclined are arguing that a Thomas/Stairs (Tomstairs?) platoon at DH would actually increase productivity from the spot, force the promotion of Adam Lind (who continues to show that he's put last year's trouble behind him) to get PT in left field, and probably deny Thomas the requisite plate appearances he needs for his 2009 option to vest.

I've been reading comments of this nature for a few weeks, nodding without really agreeing. And I think I'm starting to do a 180.

Wilnerites will argue that that Thomas finished 2007 with a respectable .277/.377/.480 line and 125 OPS+, more than enough to earn his keep as a high-priced slugger. But this line of thinking conveniently omits the fact that he disappeared for the month of May while the team spiralled into a horrific losing steak that more or less killed their season. Bottom line: he racked up plenty of walks, hits and RBI when it no longer mattered.

(Wilner's talking about it now on JaysTalk and says "I'm not pulling the chute yet on Frank Thomas" but recommends some off days.)

Vincente Padilla clearly pitched around V-Dub to get to Big Frank tonight, which should be a humiliation of sorts for the soon to be Hall of Famer. Can you blame the Drunken Mexican?

Thomas has been ice cold this year outside of the Bosox sweep from Apr. 4-6. 2 of his 3 home runs and 8 of his 11 RBI came that weekend. He's 6 for 40 (add an O-fer tonight to that) with only one extra base hit (a dinger) in all other games. This 270-pounder literally is the elephant in the room.

I'm not hitting the panic button by any stretch of the imagination, but have not forgotten that things need to go beautifully right this year if we're to go to the playoffs.

-- Johnny Was

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