Because how can you not love a baseball player named "Bubba"?
The deadline's past, and the deals are done. Or not. A surprising number of deals seem to have fallen through at the last minute. Maybe it's the Facebook/Twitter effect. With news spreading through social networks like wildfire, the conventional media feel the pressure to get the story out quickly, rather than waiting to get it right. So they're jumping the gun a little.
The trading seemed especially feverish in the NL Central, with the Pirates, perennial sellers at the trade deadline, suddenly buyers. The Brewers are going all-out this year as well. And the Cardinals didn't let grass grow under their feet. The Reds, however, did nothing except send Jonny Gomes to the Nationals to make room for hot prospect Yonder Alonso. They are 6.5 games back, with three teams ahead of them, so perhaps Walt Jocketty has given up on winning this year. The odds don't look good...though the Reds suddenly are.
Cincinnati completed the sweep of the world champion Giants today, and it wasn't even close. I was surprised that Paul Janish wasn't in the lineup. Sunday is traditionally veteran's day off, and it was a day game after a night game.
Dusty has been putting Renteria in against lefties, and Renteria's numbers against Barry Zito are good (4-for-9, .444). Still seems odd he'd start him today. Complete loss of faith in Janish? Confidence that Cozart will be back soon, so he can use up Renteria? Desperation, with time running out?
Janish didn't help his case, unfortunately. He was subbed in in late innings because the game was a blowout, and got a fielding error when the ball took a bad hop. I think there's something wrong with the infield there. Orlando Cabrera and Edgar Renteria also missed balls that took weird hops today (neither was ruled an error, though they probably should have been). And Renteria had two fielding errors in one inning yesterday.
Janish got one at-bat today, and flied out to right. He went the other way and it left infield, at least, but it was still a one-pitch out.
I fear Zack Cozart's injury was as unfortunate for Janish as it was for him. Janish was just getting into a groove in Louisville, and he could have used a little more time there to build his confidence. Now he's in Cincinnati, not getting a lot of playing time, and not playing all that well on offense or defense. I still think he can be a major league shortstop, and would like to see him get that chance, but right now, the pressure seems to be getting to him, and not in a good way. Poor guy.
Labels: Paul Janish
Paul Janish got the start Friday night. He ended up 0 for 2 with a run scored. He was hit by a pitch in his first at-bat, and ended up scoring on a single and a forceout.
His last at-bat was a deep fly out to left. It sounded good off the bat - that ringing thunk you get when a player gets all of it. I thought it might go out for a brief moment, but it was too high. The fielders had all the time in the world to set up under it.
Still, a good sign, I think. He just missed it.
Edgar Renteria (who had the extra-innings walkoff hit last night) gets the start tonight. I would guess Janish will get the start tomorrow: day game after a night game.
Dusty seems to be arranging things so Renteria gets the starts against lefties. Renteria's left/right splits are extreme, especially this year. Weirdly, Janish's are reversed. He's hitting .171 / .209 / .195 against lefties, and .245 / .274 / .296 against righties. Odd, because he's been much better against lefties for most of his career. A fluke, or have they found a hole in his swing?
Zack Cozart had his brace removed Thursday, and played catch and hit off a tee yesterday. He'll get some swings against underhand throws today. If his progress continues, he'll be ready when he's eligible to be activated off the DL (August 8). If he's ready by then, Janish will probably be sent down again. There simply isn't time for him to make a case for himself, with only a week left, and playing roughly half the games.
Labels: Paul Janish
Paul Janish is in the starting lineup tonight. I would guess this means Edgar Renteria will start in tomorrow's day game. Looks like Dusty's planning on starting Janish 1/3 of the time, and Renteria 2/3.
John Fay has a Zack Cozart update:
Zack Cozart’s left elbow is a lot better. He hopes to have immobilization brace off by this weekend.
“Hopefully, I can start baseball activity,” he said.
Cozart is still hopeful of being able to return within two to three weeks of the injury.
Labels: Paul Janish
This game went so long that catcher Brian McCann left after nine innings with a strained oblique, the Braves announced he would go on the 15-day disabled list and by the end of the game you wondered if he was healed and eligible to be activated again.
It was just before 1 a.m. when Proctor – possibly the most lampooned Braves player since Greg Norton – became a trending topic on Twitter. Why? Simply because he was the Braves’ last non-starting pitcher left. He sat in the bullpen watching Tommy Hanson, Eric O’Flaherty, Jonny Venters, Craig Kimbel — Hah! The closer entered in only the ninth inning! – Scott Linebrink, George Sherrill and Christian Martinez pitch. Wonder how many games of solitaire he played?
The thought occurred that the Braves were trying to avoid bringing Proctor in, given he started the night with a 7.36 ERA. (The fact Martinez threw an improbable six shutout innings of relief, a relative "quality start," helped.) Any way, Proctor’s extending viewing became a running online gag. When told later he was trending on Twitter, Proctor said, "I was what?" You were a hot topic. "Oh, I’m sure. I’m not very well liked right now."
Paul Janish got his first start for the Reds tonight since being called up yesterday. He continued where he left off in Louisville, not just hitting, but hitting with some pop. He was 3 for 4 with a double and a run scored tonight. He almost got on base on an error his last at-bat; probably shouldn't have slid into first, though I understand why he did it.
He was the best hitter in the lineup tonight; hopefully it gets him some more playing time.
The Reds lost a close one, 4-2. It was exciting to the end, but the Reds' rally fell just short.
Labels: Paul Janish
The Reds have put Zack Cozart on the DL. Paul Janish has been recalled from AAA-Louisville.
Janish seems to have turned the corner in Louisville. When he was first sent down, he couldn't buy a hit. He was 2-28 his first eight games.
Then in the last week, it’s like someone flipped a switch. He went 4 for 5 in one game, and since then, he’s been mashing: .600 / .611 / .933 since that game. Including a home run, his first of the year (including spring training). His batting average was .071 a week ago. Since then, he’s pushed it up to .256. In just five games.
Don't know if he or Renteria will be the starter. The Reds play at 8pm ET tonight - ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball.
UPDATE: Tom Groeschen reports that Dusty Baker will "mix and match" Janish and Renteria. Renteria is starting tonight.
Paul Janish is definitely turning it around. He had another good day at the office today: 2 for 3 with a double and run scored. He also reached base on a HBP. (He's a hit by pitch expert, according to The Baseball Cube.)
His last at-bat was very good, and reminded me of the way he was hitting earlier this season, and last year. He started out down 0-2, but fouled off enough pitches to eventually single down the left field line on the 8th pitch.
He was the best hitter in lineup today, and just might be recalled in the near future. Zack Cozart was injured in a collision at 2B this afternoon: hyperextended left elbow. No word on what they're planning to do with him. I would guess they'll give him a night, and see how he is tomorrow. If it looks like he'll be better soon, he'll be day to day - like Janish, when he sprained his ankle earlier this season. If he needs to be DL'd, I would guess Janish will get the call. There's really no one else near ready.
I'll be a little disappointed if it happens; I was hoping to see Janish play when the Bats come to Scranton the first week in August. But I'm sure he can't wait to get back to Cincinnati.
Labels: Paul Janish
Paul Janish hit his first home run of the year tonight. He hit five last year, four in the month he was the starting SS. This year, he hadn't hit a one. Not even in spring training.
But that changed tonight, in the sixth inning. Janish smacked a pitch from lefty Yohan Flande over the fence in center left, into the bullpen. He had a great night overall: 2 for 3 with a walk, a home run, 2 runs scored, 2 RBI, and a sac fly.
The Gwinnett announcers were pretty funny. A couple of days ago they were dissing Janish and his .071 batting average. Tonight, they were wondering if anyone could get him out. “This guy is incredible, what a firecracker” – because he was 4 for 5 yesterday and 2 for 3 today. Janish raised his batting average from .071 to .222 in two games.
Don't know if Janish will play tomorrow. It's a day game after a night game, and he hasn't had a day off since he was sent down. But I bet he'll want to play. He might not want to leave Gwinnett. ;-)
Labels: Paul Janish
Paul Janish has really been struggling since the Reds sent him down to Louisville. He started out batting second, but lately has been dropped down to last. On Sunday, he had his best game with Louisville this season, going 1 for 3 with a walk and two runs scored. I hoped he was turning it around, but then I saw him in Monday's game. He was 0 for 3 with a walk, which isn't that bad.
(He's been walking a heck of a lot more since being sent down. He barely walked in spring training, despite having a walk rate over 10% in his minor league career. He was walking at less than 4% in the big leagues this year, but has rebounded to about 15% in AAA.)
Anyway, I saw part of Monday's game, via MiLB.TV. The Bats had been playing in Charlotte the previous series, and their camera work is dreadful. In fact, there is no camera work. They just have one camera, high behind home plate, that shows the whole field. The players are tiny, fuzzy blobs, you can't see the ball, and if all minor league games were like that, I'd demand my $10 back.
But on Monday, they moved on to play a series against the Gwinnett Braves, and Gwinnett has professional video coverage, like you might see at a Major League game, or close to it. I saw Janish at bat, and he looked...out of sync. I don't know how to describe it, because I'm not a coach or anything. But usually when a player is hitting well, he's focused on the ball. Seems like his entire body is locked on the pitch, with few extraneous movements. Janish was just kind of flailing. His head was moving a lot, he didn't seem to be following the ball all the way in, and everything just seemed uncoordinated.
It reminded me of when he was first called up to AAA. (I just happened to see him at a few games shortly after he was promoted. I had bought the tickets hoping to see Bubba Crosby play with the Bats, but he was on the DL. I went to the games anyway.) Janish looked so awkward at the plate back then, I wondered if he'd ever make the Big Leagues.
Of course, he figured it out eventually. I'm confident he'll eventually get out of his current funk...and he may have started tonight. He went 4 for 5 tonight, with a RBI and two runs scored. In one game, his batting average rose from .071 to .182. There was a lot of hitting in that game, to be sure, but Janish was the only one to get 4 hits.
Hope this means he's turning the corner.
Labels: Paul Janish
Interesting story here, about Joe Savery, one of Lance Pendleton's teammates at Rice. Savery was the Phillies' first round draft pick in 2007. He made it to AAA but struggled as a starting pitcher. He decided to reinvent himself, starting over in A-ball as a position player and relief pitcher.
He did well enough that he's been promoted to AAA again.
Some quotes here on the transition from starting pitcher to relief pitcher/designation hitter/first baseman.
“It was fun. It’s fun to feel like you’re good at something again,” Savery said on Thursday after rejoining the IronPigs. “Even though it was A-ball and I was way too old for that league, it was fun to be good again. It was fun to run the bases and slide. I enjoyed that time for sure.”
Labels: Joe Savery
A couple of interesting links from the Wall St. Journal. One serious, one not so serious.
First, the not-so-serious:
The Yankees on the Yankees
The WSJ asked the Yankees to rate each other. Who's the smartest? The best-dressed? The most likely to have a deer head over his fireplace?
Amusing glimpse inside the clubhouse. I'm not surprised Jorge Posada was picked as the slowest...and that he was not happy about it. Jorgie doesn't seem to have much a sense of humor about that kind of thing.
The illustrations for the articles are a hoot. Fun with Photoshop!
On a more serious note:
A Stadium's Costly Legacy Throws Taxpayers for a Loss
CINCINNATI—Here in Hamilton County, where one in seven people lives beneath the poverty line and budget cuts have left gaps in the schools and sheriffs department, residents are bracing for more belt-tightening: rollback of a property-tax break promised as part of a 1996 plan to entice voters to pay for two new stadiums.
The tax hit is just the latest in a string of unforeseen consequences from what has turned into one of the worst professional sports deals ever struck by a local government—soaking up unprecedented tax dollars and county resources while returning little economic benefit.
On top of paying for the stadium, Hamilton County granted the Bengals generous lease terms. It agreed to pick up nearly all operating and capital improvement costs—and to foot the bill for high-tech bells and whistles that have yet to be invented, like a "holographic replay machine." No team had snared such concessions in addition to huge sums of public money, Journal research shows.
So, last year I took some photos of a game at PNC Field in Scranton, PA. Including this photo of Rick Sweet, the Louisville Bats manager:
It's now one of the first images that comes up when you Google for images of Rick Sweet. Apparently, not a lot of people take his picture.
The Louisville Bats have an official blog now, and lo and behold...they're using my photo on it.
Here are the images side by side, resized so they're the same size:
And here's an overlay, with the Bats banner image at 50% transparency directly over my image:
Someone call the copyright police! My intellectual property has been stolen! I demand $500,000 in penalties and damages, in accordance with the DMCA!
Or a Paul Janish game-used jersey. That would be good, too.
Actually, if they'd just asked, I'd have said yes. It's kind of lame that they swipe pics off the net like they're a 12-year-old on MySpace.
I suppose I'm living in a bit of a glass house here, since I've been known to...er...borrow wire service images from time to time. But I'm just a fan. I'm not making a cent off my blog or web site. The Louisville Bats are a for-profit corporation. It's surprising they would just Google for images and help themselves to whatever they like, without acquiring the rights legitimately.
And they're lucky I'm just a hobbyist photographer who doesn't really care if people "borrow" my pics. If they'd swiped the image of a pro photographer, they'd likely get a takedown notice, if not a lawsuit. Pro photographers tend to be very protective of their work, since it is their livelihood.
The Montgomery Advertiser has a little mention of Andy Phillips. It's about a high school player, Blake Barrow, whom Andy helped get into college.
"It was disappointing, you could say, with us going into the playoffs ranked No. 1 in the state. We got upset by Slocumb. I'm trying to take it as a positive for me personally because it led me to where I'm going to be attending college."
"After we lost, we competed in an FCA tournament. At the banquet for that tournament, Andy Phillips, an assistant coach at Alabama, was the speaker. After it was over, I went up to him to thank him for coming. We talked, he asked me where I was going to school. He said he'd call Meridian Community College for me if I wanted. I did, and the next day the coach at Meridian called me."
Labels: Andy Phillips
Derek Jeter has gotten his 3,000th hit, and in a fashion that seems like it could only happen in a movie. He went 5 for 5 today, and the historic hit was a home run. Jeet has never been much of a home run hitter, and certainly not this year. But he did it today. Just an unbelievable moment.
It's an amazing accomplishment.
This has been Jeter’s most trying season, with a career-low .257 average through Friday. He spent almost three weeks on the disabled list with a strained calf muscle, and has hit a higher percentage of ground balls (65.3 percent through Friday) than any other player in the majors.
Naturally, some of the erosion in Jeter’s skills can be traced to age, and, perhaps, to the extra wear and tear from roughly a season’s worth of games — 147 — across 30 postseason series. He has also played no defensive position besides shortstop, the most demanding spot on the field besides catcher.
Only one other player, Honus Wagner, reached 3,000 hits while still a regular shortstop. Wagner did it in 1914.
“Physically, you have a responsibility that can be difficult, and mentally as well, you have to be in every pitch, every game,” Jeter said, referring to shortstop. “So there’s probably a reason why there’s not too many guys that have played the position that have had that amount of hits. I take pride in it. This is my job. This is the only thing I’ve done.”
Paul Janish in the Louisville Bats lineup tonight, batting 2nd and playing shortstop.
Mike Bauman has a little more of Dusty's comments on Janish.
"Paul Janish was putting a lot of pressure on himself, and his confidence was waning some," Baker said. "He needs to go down there and, more than anything, get his confidence together. He's definitely a quality shortstop, definitely a proven shortstop, one of the best there is, I think. It's just a matter of him getting his stroke together and his confidence together.
"Everybody has been pushing, pushing, pushing. We were still trying to get what we could out of Paul Janish. It wasn't fair to him, pushing for somebody else to take his job and he just got the job. Under different circumstances, had our offense been clicking completely, this might be a moot point. Even though we're among the league leaders in runs scored, we still have the potential to have a whole lot more offense here. And you know, Paul was one of the best-liked guys on this team."
Reds beat writer Tom Groeschen is reporting that Janish might report to Louisville by Friday.
LOUISVILLE — Bats manager Rick Sweet said Thursday night that shortstop Paul Janish might report to the Reds’ Triple-A club here as early as Friday. Sweet has not spoken to pitcher Edinson Volquez, who also was sent to Louisville on Thursday.
“I talked to Janish today. He called me from the airport,” Sweet said, after the Bats’ 5-2 win over Indianapolis on Thursday night. “Janny and I are pretty close. He played for me. We talked, and he might be here tomorrow (Friday). It just depends on how his flight goes today. He flew back to Cincinnati, so we’ll see.”
...“He talked about possibly coming tomorrow (Friday), but they have three days,” Sweet said. “Sometimes they need a day or two to clear their heads, and sometimes they just need to get to work. Janny’s a gamer. Whatever decision he makes, I will back. I know he’s ready to go to work, and I’m excited to have him back. He’s a good baseball player.”
Sweet said the minors sometimes can rejuvenate players who are used to being in the majors.
“Mike Leake came back and said the same thing, when he went back up,” Sweet said. “It cleared his head. It was like a breath of fresh air. You can kind of get yourself back to baseball instead of worrying about all the extra stuff going on.”
Labels: Paul Janish
Paul Janish will be wearing a Louisville Bats uniform again. The Reds sent him down to AAA today, and called up Zack Cozart.
From Reds beat writer John Fay:
–The Reds aren’t ready to give up on Edgar Renteria. They would have had to designate him for assignment in order to open his spot. He’s hit better lately. But Janish is more versatile (can play third as well as shortstop and second base) and is much better defensively. Offensively, it’s been a draw. Janish was hitting .227/.259/.271, Renteria .229/.304/.271.
–Janish was hitting a bit below what the Reds expected from him. But I don’t see him going to minors for a short spell and developing into an offensive force.
“He put quite a bit of pressure on himself. His confidence was down. He’s going down to get his confidence together. Confidence is a big part of this game. You hear and you read. When you’re getting ripped a lot, it messes with your confidence. You put pressure on yourself. He’s definitely a quality shortstop. He’s one of the best there is. It’s just a matter of him getting his offense together.”
Labels: Paul Janish
Well, the good news about yesterday's Reds game is that Paul Janish had a decent night at the plate. He was 1 for 2 with a double and two walks...which made him the best hitter in the lineup that day.
The bad news is that he had an error that ended up really hurting. It wasn't the reason the Reds lost, but it sure didn't help Janish's case. It was his ninth error of the season, and unlike the 8th, it was deserved. Meaning a crescendo of clamoring for Cozart. (Never mind that Cozart has 11 errors in AAA, in about the same number of games.)
Renteria is starting at SS again tonight. I think it's safe to say that Janish has lost the starting job.
Lance Berkman had a pretty good game yesterday. He homered in the first inning, and it was the longest home run ever in the new Busch Stadium. It was his 23rd of the year. Man, I thought Berkman was cooked after his stint with the Yanks last year. I guess not.
Labels: Paul Janish
The Reds and Cardinals will be playing before a national audience tonight. The game will air on ESPN. Paul Janish is in the lineup, playing SS and batting 8th. Lance Berkman will be playing 1B and batting cleanup for the Cards. (Albert Pujols has been activated, and is available to pinch-hit, but he is not in the lineup tonight.)
Labels: Paul Janish
It looks like Paul Janish has lost the starting shortstop position, after a mere 200 at-bats. There hasn't been an official announcement or anything, but Janish has started only two out of the last six games (counting today's - Renteria is starting against the Cardinals tonight). I don't think it's an injury, because he is getting the occasional start, as well LIDR duty. Janish had been getting 2 out of 3 starts. Now he's getting 1 out of 3, and being pulled early for a pinch-hitter when he does start.
Maybe GM Walt Jocketty hasn't lost faith in Janish, but it looks like Dusty Baker has. If so, Jocketty may be forced to make a move. Either trading for a SS, or calling up Zack Cozart.
Labels: Paul Janish
The Reds' weirdly bad luck continues. Paul Janish was charged with an error today...that was doubly undeserved. It looks like the umpire blew the call. Rolen fielded Carmona's bunt, and threw it to Janish. The umpire ruled that Janish was pulled off the bag, and Lou Marson was ruled safe.
Terrible call. Let's go to the videotape. Yes, Janish was pulled off the bag, but he was back on it before the runner got there. The only thing I can figure is that the umpire thought his foot wasn't touching the bag. But how could he tell? From his angle, he couldn't tell if Janish's foot was touching the base or not.
And what's up with the scorer ruling that a "missed catch error"? Rolen's throw pulled him off the bag. If there's an error there, it's on Rolen, not Janish.
That really was a crazy inning. Fausto Carmona took a crazy fall running to first. Looks like he just tripped over his own feet. While running at full bore. He actually flew over the base without touching it. Janish probably should have completed his throw to first. Might have gotten Carmona out. Carmona ended up being pulled for a pinch-runner. Injured quad was the report.
Unfortunately for the Reds, Carmona was probably the best chance they had at a win. They ended up getting more hits than the Indians, but losing anyway. All in all, a very strange and frustrating game.
Janish was 1 for 2, before being pulled for a pinch-hitter. Be interesting to see if he starts tomorrow.
Meanwhile, Tony Cingrani's pro debut went pretty well. He pitched two innings, giving up two hits, no runs, no walks, and striking out four.
Rob Neyer is now a believer - in the Cincinnati Reds. He says he didn't think they could reproduce last year's success. He's changed his mind, and now thinks they might win the division.
Why? For one thing, the Reds have the best run differential (+41) in their division.
For another, when I look at these fourth-place Reds -- granted, they're only three games out of first place -- I see some real upside.