Welcome to the bigs, Bobby
As you undoubtedly know by now, Bobby Livingston's major league debut did not go, er, swimmingly. After striking out th first batter he faced (Jim Thome!), Livingston had problems putting people away. He gave up a HR to Jermaine Dye, and a crushed GR 2b to Paul Konerko. Thome also got back at Livingston with a line drive hit to right.
Doc had problems with righties, and appeared hesitant to go to his curve against them. Instead, he tried to sneak some 77-79MPH change-ups by hitters, and while a few worked well (he had Konerko way out in front of one), it didn't work enough times in an AB to put righties away consistently. Indeed, if he missed, Sox hitters crushed the ball. He finished with a line of 1 2/3 IP, 5h 4R 4ER 3BB 1K. The walks are too high, and while he was getting squeezed by HP umpire Hunter Wendelstedt, he just didn't trust his curve enough to really get K's. In the minors, he occasionally had better control of that pitch than his change - the M's may want to consider calling for the curve more often, especially to righties.
Frankly, it's not exactly a shock that he struggled - JAC said that he's struggled in his initial call-up in each level he's pitched. And despite the struggles, there were some positives. His FB hit 89 on the safeco gun with some regularity, sitting between 87-89 all night. He threw a cut FB/2 seamer at 83-84, a change at 77-79 and a curve at 71-73. He showed flashes of his potential here and there, but he also showed that his margin for error will be extremely small.
In happier news, the Rainiers beat Fresno 5-4 in a game featuring two blown saves. The other Tacoma pitcher I've talked up here and elsewhere, Sean Green, got the win after giving up a run on three hits in the 9th (yes - add in the hyping of Stephen Kahn, and I'm really on a roll. Let's just try this - Albert Pujols may have a future in baseball; LeBron James is a good basketball player). But Asdrubal Cabrera, making his first start in 13 days, saved the day with a walk-off double (edit: wrong! Cabrera scored the winning run on a walk-off hit by the legend that is Scott Youngbauer). Cabrera had been holding his own in AAA, as evidenced by his 5/3 BB/K ratio - but his power was waylaid in Wisconsin, of all places, as all 5 of his Tacoma hits this year had been singles. Well, maybe the time off helped - he went 3/4 with *3 doubles* and 3 RBIs. Shin-Soo Choo hit another HR, his 5th, underlining the fact that whatever adjustment period, slump, or park effects caused that big drop in power last year is no longer an issue. The combination of an increasing K rate and decreasing ISO power has led many, including me at the beginning of the year, to write off Choo as a fourth-OF at best. He's proving such hedging premature, and reminding everyone why he was such a talked-about prospect to begin with.
Rob Johnson's in a bit of a slump, but he did throw out another runner trying to steal.
Wlad Balentien hit a 2b and HR in yet another San Antonio loss to midland.
Mark Lowe is still dominant; he gave up 1H and struck out 6 in 3 1/3rd, but he gave up the go-ahead run in the tenth on a Matt Tuiasosopo error. Tui, by the way, now has a K/BB ratio of 23/2, but redeemed himself with a hit to tie the game in the bottom of the 10th. The Sixers eventually prevailed in 12, with Stephen Kahn getting the W - despite striking out zero in 2 innings. I feel like I jinxed him; after telling a scout he had nothing left to learn in the Cal League, he's looked a bit more hittable.
Eric O'Flaherty continues to look good coming back from injury, as the Walla Walla product struck out 3 in 1 2/3 scoreless IP for Inland Empire.
Marwin Vega got hammered in the Midwest league.
To close on a happier note, the Reading Phillies (AA, eastern league) feature a number of promotional give-away days - standard stuff. But look again: they give out pint glasses with some regularity, including a Jimmy Rollins glass and a Bob Boone glass. Ladies and Gentlemen, I'm not one to bash my beloved home town, but some of the jibes about Tacoma being a haven of alcoholics have, well, more than a hint of accuracy. HOW does Tacoma not give out pint glasses, when some two-bit Philadelphia hamlet whose sole claim to fame is being a monopoly RR property has multiple pint-glass giveaways? I understand Tacoma's rebranding as a wired city has been successful, and that attendance may not support higher-cost promotions, but if we have to make do with magnetic schedules and clapping for local honor students, have we properly accounted for the *costs* of progress?
I would pay dearly for a Lance 'You Sunk My' Blankenship pint glass...