Happy 4th, to those of you who enjoy holidays. We're half way through 2012. The 4th is often the time of insane baseball games, but this year, the game was fairly unremarkable.
Jeremy Guthrie was fairly effective in his return to a starting role. Though he allowed runs in each of the first two innings, he ended up lasting six total innings on eighty-four pitches, the longest outing from a Rockies starter in recent memory. Guthrie's controversial first inning walk of Jon Jay, who took several borderline strikes to reach Ball #4, was his only walk of the game, though he was punished for it as Matt Holliday doubled in Jay for the first Cardinals run. In the second inning, the Cardinals loaded the bases by putting together three singles. Jay again approached the plate, and was hit by a pitch, scoring the second run. Guthrie allowed six hits in all during his time on the mound, retiring 12 of the next 13 batters.
The Rockies scattered some hits early in the game, including doubles from the scorching Tyler Colvin and Wil Nieves, but the Rockies would not score until the fifth. After a triple from Jonathan Herrera, Guthrie came to the plate and slapped a ball over the infield to bring Herrera across.
In the seventh, the errors from Nieves and Marco Scutaro put Matt Reynolds (who has been quietly excellent lately) in danger of extending the St. Louis lead, but the lefty was able to work out of the jam. Adam Ottavino (who has been quietly terrible lately) in the eighth wasn't so lucky. After allowing several hits and an intentional walk, a David Freese single brought two more red runs around, extending the Rockies' deficit to three runs going into the ninth inning. Carlos Torres, recalled today to replace Josh Outman, recorded the final out of the inning.
With this half-way point loss, the Rockies are on pace for a 62-100 season, which would be by far the worst in their team history. Assuming at this point that not even a miracle can send this team into meaningful baseball, I'd say a good goal for the second half is to play just well enough to not set that new record.
31 - 50
Tune in tomorrow at 6:15 Mountain Time to watch Christian Friedrich try to salvage a series split against All Star Lance Lynn.
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Earlier today, David Ortiz launched his 400th career home run, a solo shot off A's starter A.J. Griffin in the fourth inning. He became just the 49th player in MLB history to reach this milestone, which, needless to say, is an impressive feat. And,[...]
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In order to make room for the arrival of the newly acquired first baseman Carlos Lee, Gaby Sanchez has once again been optioned to Triple-A New Orleans.
Sanchez has not done any better since his return to the majors on June 10. He left the team batting .198/.244/.302, and now he is leaving the team again after hitting .190/.230/.259 during that stretch prior to today's two-for-four performance. What is most ironic about this move is that Sanchez just finished a good game at the plate that included a game-tying solo home run that helped push the Marlins-Brewers game into extras.
When Ozzie Guillen was asked post-game about Sanchez's second demotion of the season, Guillen held nothing back.
Ozzie on Gaby Sanchez being optioned to NOLA; "he should blame himself. We gave him plenty of opportunities "— joe capozzi (@joecapMARLINS) July 5, 2012
Gee Ozzie, tell us how you really feel.
But Guillen has a point. Sanchez has gotten 196 PA in the majors and a stint in the minors to try and recollect himself. If this was a typical "balls are not falling" type of slump, I would be more lenient. But Sanchez has struck out more often, walked fewer times, and his popup rate is through the roof. He has swung and missed at more pitches in the zone this season as well, leading perhaps to more of his strikeouts. When you are making that kind of weak contact and your peripherals are down, you have to suspect something in his swing is off the mark.The Marlins were fairly likely to demote Sanchez in the coming weeks anyway, as Emilio Bonifacio's imminent return would have necessitated a move. When Bonifacio returned, a possible move would have been to option Sanchez to get more playing time, shift Justin Ruggiano to left field, and move Logan Morrison back to first base. This would have been an amiable move given Ruggiano's hot bat and Morrison's terrible fielding in the outfield.
Now the move is being done to accomodate Lee, who should get the bulk of the starts at first base. We mentioned earlier that Lee does not project as much better than Sanchez right now, but until Sanchez sees some positive results, it is difficult to justify continuing to run him out there. That being said, Lee is not a good hitter and certainly is not one for first base, so the Marlins may not even be gaining that much in such a move.
Nevertheless, this is Sanchez's opportunity to impress again in Triple-A. He hit .310/.494/.483 when he was down there last time, so perhaps a little more of that success combined with some work with the hitting coach can identify and resolve his issues. If Lee continues to play at the level he did in Houston (and that is not even that good given his 0.2 FanGraphs Wins Above Replacement thus far), Sanchez may have much of the rest of the season to work through those problems.
Finally, Al Kaline Returns A Signed Baseball For ’30-YOC’!!!! Yes, I know that there was no mail delivery today. I got a TTM return back last night, but I had too much family stuff going on to be able to … Continue reading →
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MILWAUKEE — The Marlins are on the verge of adding an impact power bat for the second half. The Marlins will acquire Astros first baseman Carlos Lee for prospects Matt Dominguez and Rob Rasmussen, according to a baseball source. … Continue reading →
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Lots of interesting stuff going on in today's game. Not only is it both the July 4th game (a day that has produced some of the strangest games in Rockies history), it is the half way point of the Rockies' season. Jeremy Guthrie is being given a second chance in the "first tier starter" role with Josh Outman unable to hold onto that role and being sent to Tulsa earlier today.The Rockies are facing Adam Wainwright, who is a less intimidating pitcher than he was before being forced to sit out of 2011, but is still putting up excellent strikeout numbers.
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As per ESPN's Buster Olney, the Miami Marlins are apparently ready to acquire first baseman Carlos Lee from the Houston Astros in return for minor leaguers third baseman Matt Dominguez and lefty starter Rob Rasmussen.
Sources: The Marlins are trading Matt Dominguez and P Rob Rasmussen for Carlos Lee.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) July 4, 2012
The deal will likely come with Houston paying off the majority of what is left of Lee's final season in his contract. Lee has $9 million remaining in his salary this season, and the Marlins would not likely send two meager prospects for the right to pay Lee's contract. Chances are the Marlins will pay only the prorated league minimum for Lee's services, making it strictly about his future performance.
The problem is that his future performance is not all that great. Lee is currently hitting .286/.336/.412 (.325 wOBA) and has hit just .265/.320/.428 (.324 wOBA) the last three seasons. ZiPS is projecting a very similar .277/.326/.431 (.325 wOBA) line for the rest of the season. All in all, it basically points to Lee being a guy who is just a little better than the league average at the plate. First basemen are supposed to be significantly better than league average to be worth your time, and there does not seem to be any sign of improvement on Lee's side.
Of course, the Marlins as a whole have gotten a .206/.261/.304 line from their first basemen, so it is understandable why even Lee's bat would be a significant upgrade. But that confuses past performance as true talent; even with the problems that Gaby Sanchez have had, we do not expect him to continue to hit .194/.240/.283 going forward. ZiPS projects Sanchez to hit .254/.328/.398 (.320 wOBA) going forward. Even if you think he is a bit worse than that projection, you are not looking at much of an improvement over Sanchez with Lee at first.There are a few other issues to discuss here as well. Emilio Bonifacio has already begun doing some swinging and should be back after the All-Star break. Once he returns, one of the options available to the Marlins in their lineup adjustment was to shift Justin Ruggiano, who is hitting a red-hot.403/.479/.790 (.501 wOBA) with three homers so far this season, to left field on a semi-permanent basis and move Logan Morrison to first base. This would provide a dual advantage of having Bonifacio return to the lineup and take away Morrison's terrible outfield glove.
With the move to acquire Carlos Lee, this appears to be on the backburner. Lee is incapable of playing the outfield effectively anymore (and one could say he never had the ability in the first place), so he would permanently take up the first base position for the Marlins. This would force Morrison to stay in left field and force a difficult situation with Bonifacio's return and Ruggiano's stellar initial play. Ruggiano returning to the bench is not a bad idea, especially since you do not expect him to hit this well going forward, but he should get more than the average fourth outfielder's worth of playing time at this point. If that is the case, who would see more bench time between Morrison or Lee?
The prospects going from the Marlins represent two potential trade pieces, but it seems that this was all they could get. Dominguez was having a terrible season at Triple-A and most of his prospect luster had wilted, so it is not surprising that he is a tack-on to a midseason deal with only one season of ramifications. In the end, Dominguez just lost too much trade value. Rasmussen was a fringe Marlins prospect heading into this season; he ranked 11th according to Marc Hulet of FanGraphs and sixth according to Minor League Ball's John Sickels. He had been doing fairly in High-A this season, posting a 3.90 ERA and 3.64 FIP. Most prospect guys had him as a possible third or fourth starter, but that was no guarantee. Rasmussen was heading to Double-A to make his debut start tonight, but as of publishing he had not been pulled from his start.
This is a puzzling move for the Marlins. It makes sense because the team is interested in improving at first base without committing long term to an option, but the projected improvement with Carlos Lee just does not seem to warrant the move. Lee is well on his decline phase and it is almost as if the Marlins were working primarily on name value. The prospects were underwhelming but still potentially useful, but the return just seems pointless even given the team's concerns at first base.
After a convincing 10-3 win last night, Atlanta looks to make it two in a row against the Cubbies.