Another brain dump: 5/26
It’s been a while, yet I don’t really have any dumb off-field observations (that I care to share) that I can stretch over four paragraphs, so here’s what I’ve been seeing on the field.
- Don’t look now, but former TinCaps RHP Mat Latos might be turning it around. Eight strong innings against the Cardinals last time out.
- Former TinCaps OF Blake Tekotte made his MLB debut last night with a pinch-hit at-bat. Aside from Latos (who really wasn’t in town that long in ’09), Tekotte is the first player from that championship team to get to the big leagues.
- San Antonio RHP Casey Kelly: He’s good.
- Why is it that now the team isn’t winning, people want to move the fences in and install artificial turf at Petco Park? That park can be a huge advantage and the Padres are in the process of molding their roster to fully exploit it.
- It’s been a good road trip… The TinCaps started the year going 3-13 away from Parkview Field. They’re 6-3 on this trip.
- They’re allowing a little over 3 runs per game (which is good), but they’re scoring almost 5 runs per game, including outbursts of 9, 8 and 9. That’s a HUGE contrast from the offensive struggles earlier this year.
- How inept have they been with Adys Portillo on the mound? The TinCaps have scored less than 2 runs per game in the games started by Portillo. While Portillo is actually IN the game, they’ve scored a TOTAL of five runs in the seven games, and never more than ONE run in any game while he’s in there. That’s brutal.
- Rymer Liriano has especially looked good with his approach this trip. Last year when he struggled here, he lunged out at the pitcher, “stepped in the bucket” striding toward third base, rarely took a walk. This year he’s walking more, looking fooled less. Three at-bats that have really impressed me: at Lake County, runner at second, less than two outs. Got an inside fastball, but kept his hands in and hit a grounder to the second baseman to advance the runner. I about jumped out of my chair. And yes, I’m a small-ball nerd. Another game at West Michigan: Doubled to the gap in left-center one at-bat, tripled to the gap in right-center in the same game. He’s been more patient and he’s using the middle of the field. Impressive stuff, and remember he’s still only 19 years old.
- Luis Domoromo has never looked overmatched here despite being 19 years old. But lately, he’s been put into the three-hole and he’s been outstanding: six games, .423 OBP, 2 homers, 8 RBIs.
- The arrival of Rico Noel has put the lineup back in more of a natural flow, despite Noel’s numbers: Noel has the speed of a true leadoff hitter, Liriano has been in the two-hole, Domoromo has taken off in the third spot, Jake Blackwood stays in the cleanup spot and everybody falls in line after that. Where you hit in the order tends to affect the quality of pitches you see, and this lineup seems to suit the hitters better.
- Chris Franklin, who was easily the leader in the team’s “Mustache May” competition, shaved his mustache. He claimed the sweat dripping off the ‘stache was distracting, and people kept staring at him when he walked into restaurants and other going-out type places. I’ve never been more disappointed in a player than I was when he walked onto the bus sans-mustache. It was like he stole his mustache from Principal Rooney from “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” Actually, maybe that’s why he shaved it. Never mind…
- Yesterday we played a morning game in Lansing. The amount and quality of the press-box spread was off the charts. Scrambled eggs,
frenchfreedom toast, biscuits and gravy, sausage, ham… it was like I’d found the source of all breakfast food in the entire universe. But I’d still put my breakfast food up against theirs.
- After the game on Sunday, a few of us staff types went to dinner in Grand Rapids. We weren’t going to stay long until we found out a WWF (I refuse to call it WWE) event was coming on TV that night. The peoplewatching would make it worth our while. People were booing/cheering at the TVs, chanting, it was nuts. But the wrestlers don’t have half the charisma they did when it was Hulk Hogan/Jake the Snake/Ric Flair, etc. These new wrestlers just look like they spend an uncomfortable amount of time lifting weights and tanning. If I wanted to see that, I’d just go to any run-of-the-mill neighborhood dance club and watch the Jersey Shore wannabes for two hours.
- With that in mind, here’s a long-overdue goodbye from Bill Simmons to “The Macho Man” Randy Savage. We all knew wrestling was cheesy and fake and larger than life, but that’s why we loved it. It’s just not the same anymore. And the Macho Man was a minor-league baseball player, so there’s that.
- TinCaps manager Shawn Wooten told us about the time he went to Wrestlemania II. My respect level for him was already high, but now it’s through the roof. There are other non-baseball things we’ll be discussing with him sooner than later, too.
- Dear Seattle: Thanks. Signed, Cleveland.
- Between Ray Small and Club Trillion expanding on the potential violations at Ohio State, it’s pretty clear the Buckeyes are going down hard.
- I know you’re wondering how my time at home with the dogs went. Well, the black lab had a broken toenail and his paw was swelling up, but he’ll be fine. Both dogs broke the no-sitting-on-the-couch rule while I was home. I’m like the fun grandparent who gets to spoil the kids every time I come to town. And they know it. Also, I went to dinner with the family at Covered Bridge Pizza which has the most eatable pizza in the universe. I ate way more than I should have and I still wanted more. I don’t know what they put in there, but if everyone used it we’d be an even more obese nation than we already are.
- Last year before he resigned in embarrassment, strength coach Rick SantaBarbara and I went to Gym Bumz, the workout facility here in Lansing and became homeboys with the gym owner. I may or may not own not one, but two Gym Bumz shirts. Jealous?