Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Day Baseball

Ah, the joys of day baseball. A gorgeous day in Tacoma, and I had four seats to myself. Sadly, I had four seats to myself because the people who said they were in backed out at the last minute, and the Rainiers lost a tight one to Oklahoma. But hey, I think the positives still outweighed the negatives. Maybe.

Pro: Jon Nelson continued his hot streak, with a big two run triple in the 9th that brought the R's within one. That said, he was stranded on 3rd after a remarkably ugly K from Rob Johnson and a weak chopper from Osvaldo Navarro.

Rich Dorman pitched quite effectively in long relief of Clint Nageotte, going 4 IP and giving up 1R on 1H, with 2BB and 5Ks. His big breaking ball was working well, though Juaquin Arias nearly hit one out (he got the one hit, an RBI double).

Rob Johnson threw out 2 of 3 runners trying to steal - every throw was pinpoint. The less said about his day at the plate, the better, but hey, he's quite adept at controlling the running game.

TJ Bohn went 2-4 with a double, getting the first hit off Robinson Tejeda, who started brilliantly for the JetHawks.

Clint Nageotte, one of my favorite Rainiers, is just hanging on to his pro career. Nageotte can't get Ks anymore, in large part because his FB simply isn't good enough, and because it's damned difficult to reinvent yourself on the fly. The whole Frank Tanana metamorphasis is a best-case scenario, and it's really, really hard.
Clint's FB was at 88MPH today, and although his slider was quite good at times, if hitters know what's coming, they're going to hit it. Part of the problem may be that there's no longer enough of a gap between his slider and FB. He was throwing the slider at 81 or so... Getting his FB up to 90mph consistently would really help. But beyond velocity, Nageotte still has trouble commanding that FB. In one AB, he threw 5 offspeed pitches to 1 FB. That one FB? A wild pitch. Nags was removed after four innings, having thrown 60 pitches, which isn't great, but isn't all that bad either. I keep telling myself that he's coming off of injury and they're trying to work him back. With a lot of luck, he'll gain back some velocity AND command and be a call-up candidate in September. He's got a lot of work to do before that, of course..

The entire line-up allowed OK starter Robinson Tejeda to coast through the first few innings. This looked eerily similar to the first 5 innings against Adam Loewen and Baltimore - the Rainiers kept swinging at bad pitches, and making lots and lots of quick outs. Tejeda took advantage to go 5 1/3 1R 1HBP 1BB 5Ks for the win. Osvaldo Navarro was guilty of a couple of quick, wasted ABs, but the guy who just won't take many pitches is Jon Nelson. Nelson gets a free pass from me since he hent 2-4 with a 2b and a 3B, although it must be said that both of those XBHs were sun-aided (the SS dropped a pop-up for what was *charitably* scored a 2b, and then the CF lost his deep drive in the 9th for a 3b).
Michael Garciaparra went 0-2 on a grand total of 4 pitches (1k), and then hurt his leg on a ground ball up the middle fielded by...Navarro. Not sure exactly how that happened, but he had to be taken out of the game. I know he's just coming back, so let's all head over to PI and see if JAC knows what's going on...
Finally, and most puzzling, something doesn't look right with Chris Snelling. His average is down in the .230s, and though he picked up a walk today, he also Kd twice, the last time on a steady diet of breaking balls from Kevin Walker. He seemed to have real trouble identifying the pitch, which led to three horrible swings. It's the sort of thing that happens to everyone, but, um, this is Doyle we're talking about here. I'm not used to the *Texas Rangers* org fillers making Chris freakin' Snelling look awkward. Maybe there's something to this impingement thing, and maybe there's not (the fact that he's continually in RF makes me think it's a paper move only), but it's not like this 'injury' has sapped his power: he can't make contact. Snelling has now struck out in 1/4 of his Tacoma ABs this year. Compare this year's stats to his career line. His walks are right where they should be - but his K's are definitely up. His slugging's down, but that might have something to do with injury, and a freakishly low BABIP on the road. But why is he struggling to make contact?


At 8/02/2006 11:24 AM, Blogger PositivePaul said...

How many times do you have to be told. There's nothing wrong, injury-wise, with Chris Snelling. He's fine. His shoulder's fine. If anything, he's being Edgar'd in Cheney by a manager who doesn't want him anywhere near his team, evidently. Not sure why he's struggling at the plate, but I don't think it's permanent. Probably in a bit of the slump. With Larry's Markets going under, he's probably having a hard time finding his Veggiemite ;-)

Bryan LaHair may have Sean Casey's first base power, but he's still a decent hitter. Jon Nelson looks promising, too. He'd be better, like you say, if he took some pitches. I still really like Robby Johnson. I was really surprised to see Navarro go yard. Of course, guys like Navarro and "Ramontiago" and Ugueto seem to have no problem hitting the occasional HR out of Cheney. Which, when you think about it, seems sort of backwards.

I'm sad about Clint, too. He's definitely shown some promise, but has been yet another victim to the old ballplayer's tale that it's harder to stay in the majors than to get there. He's only getting older, too.

I'm also acknowledging that I'll likely never see Little G in person. Sucks to be battling the injury bug right when things start to be clicking offensively.

At 8/02/2006 3:54 PM, Blogger marc w. said...

No, it's clearly not the impingement - I don't think the problem is physical. I've just never seen him look lost against meh AAA pitching before. I've occasionally seen him blown away by a good, high fastball, but this swinging weakly at 2-feet-outside curves thing is kinda scaring me.

I still like Johnson too. He seems really raw, but the talent's there, particularly behind the plate. He's like the opposite of so many catcher 'spects, in that he's got the footwork/release/arm to throw people out, but the bat isn't there yet. The antithesis of Justin Huber or something...
I'd still like to know what's up with Little G. The last two times I've gone, he's broken his nose and picked up a 'left calf strain.'

At 8/02/2006 5:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Concur with Marc. It's not anything in Snelling's swing, it's more his pitch recognition and/or decision-making regarding which pitches to swing at and where to swing to hit them. He has been looking off and on, clueless at the plate this year. Occasionally going on a tear, then being really dismal - which makes you wonder which are the lucky or unlucky occasions of the two.

Rob Johnson = my favorite Rainier. Love that accurate and quick release thorwing out those base stealers. But man, he looked awful offensively yesterday.

I heard they were going to announce the PTBNL in the Choo/Broussard trade Tuesday, yet it's now Wed afternoon and I've heard nothing. I very much don't want it to be Rob.

Marc: you coulda come down since you were deserted. We had room.

At 8/02/2006 5:59 PM, Blogger PositivePaul said...

I remember seeing Felix a few times right before he was called up to Seattle. He was putting all kinds of folks on base, definitely wasn't his polished self. I commented that it was, perhaps, because he was bored.

Now, it would likely be unprofessional of Snelling for him to have the same attitude, but I really am wondering if it is an effect of being "Edgar'd" in Cheney. He's shown that he was ready, and maybe he's just starting to get tired of all the rehab and all the time in Cheney. It's unlike him to be that way, of course, but you do have to wonder if things are really affecting his state of mind, and that negative state-of-mind is harming his performance.

There's obviously something, and Bavasi hinted at it when I talked to him (and by his decision to DL him). He may realize that it's not in the cards for him as long as Hargrove's there. After spending as much time rehabbing and keeping on track, I'd be pretty frustrated and under-motivated myself, if I were treated thusly.

At 8/03/2006 5:23 PM, Blogger marc w. said...

I hear ya Paul, but it seems like a counterproductive way to stick it to Hargrove... 'I'll swing at this terrible, 56 foot slider. There, you happy now Grover?'

Edgar just got better and better, even though he was getting messed around by the FO. His 88 and 89 seasons in Calgary (short little cup of coffee in 89, really) were fantastic. If he let up, which would be understandable, it didn't show in the stats.
I just hope you're right, and that Snelling isn't having confidence or recognition issues.

Yeah, perhaps, but one retiree from my office came (though he brought his own ticket, meaning I threw away three that I bought...grrr), and it was nice chatting to him. You could've come over and seen the game through the screen. Hmm, when I put it like that, it doesn't sound all that cool.


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