Thursday, May 29, 2008
Those of you who watched until the very end in the Wendy's hours of the morning know that it was a nail-biter in Oakland last night, one of those old-timey pitcher's duels that really doesn't need scoring to be exciting. On the unexpected side of the ledger, Doc didn't throw a complete game (coming out after 8 strong), Rich Harden didn't shatter into 1000 tiny shards of glass, and clutchtacularness from Alex Rios? BJ got 'er done in the bottom of the 9th, but did his top steppin'est best to make it dicey, walking 2 without allowing a run.
You will be glad note that today's game is on at the more civilized hour of 3:30 p.m. EST, but you will also be equally saddened to learn that it's not televised, not even on Extra Innings. Again, we are reduced to listening to Jesse Litsch take on Dana Eveland on the radio just as our caveman forebearers did.
We start the day 2.5 back in the Wild Card race with a soft June sched approaching. The Oracle was right to mock those of you who said the season was over and I hope you feel small, real small.
Really not that chuffed to hear that Curtis Thigpen has been recalled, well, and that Zaunner is on the DL for two weeks. My recollection of Thigpen is that he was little better than a right-handed Russ Adams clone: played a bunch of positions, but none particularly well, below average with the stick. He rose through the minors quickly enough, but hasn't really had a good season at the dish since low A ball in 2001 and his defence left something to be desired in the bigs last summer. (You may recall that Gibby lost confidence in him because he didn't cover his signing hand with his glove allowing opposing hitters to tip pitches). And he didn't hit for shit in Toronto, either, going .238/.294/.287 in 101 ABs. He's not a blue chipper like Travis Snider, or a solid A prospect like Adam Lind, so you don't sweep that under the rug so quickly.
Baseball America is somewhat kinder than my own recollections: He's a solid defensive catcher, but his build may not allow him to stay there for the long haul, and he's shown enough athleticism to play other positions. Thigpen has struggled at the plate so far in 2008, hitting .187/.216/.253. BA even goes so far as to call him the 8th best prospect in the organization, though it's likely he gets some added regard for being so close to the majors.
And according to these groupies, he's single and hung like a Shetland. Thanks internet, why did we need to know that? (You can hear the crickets chirping in the Rod Barajas forum...)
My beef with Thigpen was his sense of entitlement. He'd won big in college with Texas, risen through the ranks at a steady pace, and hit the bigs at 24. When he didn't win a spot on the ML roster in spring training this year he pouted to Richard Griffin rather than admit that he still had work to do before becoming a big leaguer. He skulked his way through the first month the season in Syracuse, playing some passive-aggressive mind game where he thought he could hurt the organization by playing shitacular baseball. Though he's hotted up of late, Thigpen has stunk it up this year and is totally undeserving of a promotion. This one comes by default as Robinzon Diaz simply cannot stay healthy this year.
Well, you get to wear the uni again, Big Boy. That doesn't mean we haven't forgotten that you're a bit of a whiner who doesn't have the skills to match the talk. I wouldn't expect to see him in more than a handful of games over the next fortnight; when you get in Gibby's bad books--and early indications are skip is not impressed with his foppish new hairdo--it's a long road back.
Ok, time to rock shit against the A's. Go Jays!
* Sick Bay: Tory Percival to the DL, Frank Thomas to the DL, Matsuzaka to the DL?
* For those you still following the Roger Clemens Saga, re-enter Mindy McCready.
* While tossers in Boston and New York stuff the All-Star Game ballot box with votes for their own players merit aside, fans in National League parks are actually voting for the best player at each position regardless of team affiliation. You guys are better than us, it's that simple.
-- Johnny Was