Tuesday, April 25, 2006

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...


At 4/25/2006 11:19 PM, Blogger Jay Y. said...

My favorite minor league promotion to date was Jack Kerouac Bobblehead Night, put on by the Lowell Spinners a few years back. Goofy, and perhaps a little inappropriate, but I found it amusing.

At 4/26/2006 9:03 AM, Blogger marc w. said...

Not bad, not bad. Get a William S. Burroughs bobblehead - NOW you've got a promotion with edge!

But if that's not edgy enough, or lacks a certain flair for the topical, then try this one: The Saint Paul Saints are giving out little rubber boats on the one year anniversary of the Minnesota Vikings, um, 'cruise trip.' Wow.

At 4/26/2006 11:01 AM, Blogger Jay Y. said...

I'd go to that just to see how they try to make Burroughs into something that's fun (and appropriate) for the whole family. But placing it would be a little more difficult, I remember him being from St. Louis, but it doesn't sound like something the Cards would do...

At 4/26/2006 1:33 PM, Blogger Deanna said...

The pint glass promo is just this year. They're AWESOME though, lots of old Phillies players along with new. I'm pretty jealous.

At 4/26/2006 2:01 PM, Blogger marc w. said...

Yes, I was going to ask if you'd seen these, Deanna. Are they dishwasher safe? I'm just going through the list of players I used to watch as a kid and there is such fertile ground for promotions.
"Hey Tacoma fans, tonight, don't get 'drunk' get PLUNK! ERIC Plunk that is, back for his 3rd season with the tigers. To celebrate his return after a half-year in the bigs, you'll receive a FREE Eric Plunk pint glass filled with AAAA Stout brewed by Harmon brewery, rumored to be the very potable responsible for Eric's otherworldly BB/9 rates! Get 'effectively wild' on Pint o' Plunk night!"

Burroughs belongs not to Missouri, or to any other place crudely delimited by political boundaries. He belongs to anyone with the courage to, as you say, turn his legacy into a family-friendly promotion.
Hey, I hear there's a baseball league in the Netherlands...

At 4/26/2006 2:39 PM, Blogger Deanna said...

Yup. Actually, I first heard about them on Beerleaguer's blog, so if you were seriously curious about the glasses, you could ask him, as he probably actually has or will have some of them.

btw, I may go down to a Rainiers game this weekend on Saturday or Sunday afternoon, are any of y'all going to be there? It sounds like you go to many of the games... I'll know my plans for sure in a day or two.

At 4/26/2006 3:44 PM, Blogger PositivePaul said...

I'm pilfering Oly Rainiers Fan's ticket for Sunday afternoon. Friday and Saturday are out for me (Joey's t-ball practice and game). It'll be the first outing for the entire PositivePaul family this season. It'd be fun to gather, indeed!

At 4/26/2006 5:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Saturday is a night game (6:05) at Cheney. You should go to Sunday if you're looking for an afternoon game.

You don't know it yet, but I'm also throwing in a ticket from a rainout (good for 1 free general admission ticket) and a coupon for a free kid's game (as I don't have a kid). If you promise to return it, I'll even lend out my free parking pass... (I'll be back from New Orleans before the next Rainiers homestand).

At 4/26/2006 5:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

St. Paul Saints games are wicked fun in the promotions department. (Not so impressive play on the field, at least not the ones I've been to).

At 4/26/2006 5:45 PM, Blogger Deanna said...

Is it? On the Rainiers schedule they have Saturday and Sunday listed as afternoon games. I didn't really have a preference for time, although afternoon involves getting up earlier to drive down, heh. I guess it mostly depends on whether I can dig up any of my Tacoma friends to go to a game or not, really.

At 4/26/2006 8:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

sorry, you're right, I was looking at the 22nd. Forgive me; I'm crazy busy trying to pack for the St. Louis/New Orleans thing.

At 4/26/2006 8:56 PM, Blogger marc w. said...


Yeah, Bill Veeck's son runs the Saints - the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

I may be at the games tomorrow and saturday/sunday.

At 4/27/2006 9:14 AM, Blogger Citizen K said...

I don't think this item is worth a brand new thread, so I'm posting it here.

Dear Dave Niehaus:

Dude, here are five words for you: Say Richie Sexson's Entire Name!

I've heard Niehaus repeatedly refer to Sexson as "Sexy." As if a man old enough to be Sexson's father calling him carnally appealing isn't bad enough... Last night in the 8th inning Dave shortened that moniker to "Sex." OK. When a 70-year-old man looks at a 6'7" man half his age and the first word to come out of his mouth is "sex," there's a problem. Dave--did you know that "sex" means something else in most other contexts? Think you might be willing to put forth the extra effort to say Sexson's entire name in the future? I beg you.

Citizen K

At 4/28/2006 12:46 PM, Blogger Deanna said...

Alright, it's looking like Sunday for me for Tacoma. I dunno if anyone will actually check back and see this, but feel free to shoot me an email (dr4b at hotmail) if you want to try to hang out.


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