I had one of those "where is my car?" moments this morning in the parking lot of Target. I was visiting this particular quality department store because part of me keeps stubbornly insisting on the rest of me engagin in activities that require running. As a result, I needed to replenish my sock supply. Hanes 6-pack with extra padding in the heel and toe. Yeah, I knew you wanted to know that. Anyways, it started to rain, and I had no idea where the van was parked. I can name off the top of my head the starting line-ups for all of the major league baseballs teams, but that particular bit of information, curiously, did me little good. Anyway, I finally found my way through the showers to sanctuary in the form of a Ford Freestar. It took way too long. In other words, I think I know exactly how Zack Greinke felt in yesterday's game.
Anyway, we have a lot coming up in the next couple weeks--as Will touched on in the fanshot--but there were a couple things I wanted to bring up today:
* Chris Lubanski, potentially useful MLB platoon player? It doesn't sound like much for Chris to aspire to, but recently someone brought up in a comment Lubanski's splits. Lubanski, after an awful start, is now up to .268/.337/.497. Yes, that's still not very impressive for a corner outfielder in the PCL, but Lubanski could still improve overall. While we're not talking about a potential star, of course, Lubanski is more interesting to me than stiffs like Costa Now!, Maier, and the Amazing Aviles, as Chris has raked left-handed pitching to the tune of .308/.359/.598 and has actually retained some prospect status as he's moved up through the system. He could stand to work the count more, but that line is pretty nice even for a hitter's league. If Lubanski can keep up the good work, I don't see any reason not to call him up late in the year to see how he can do as a DH/OF versus righties. He will very probably never live up to his draft status, but let's not let that obscure that he could be useful. I mean, could he be that much worse than the undead Ross Gload? Especially if Lubanski keeps making progress this summer?
* By the way, Gloadie, I don't blame you for being you, but you can't blame me for hating it. Are you one of the vampires in the video? (And yes, this is my attempt to trump Will's Nada Surf post for "lamest band referenced.')
* We need to get an official RR-sanctioned nickname for Ramon Ramirez, because it should be pretty apparent to us now that the guy is pretty neat to have on this pitching staff. By WXRL Ramirez edges out Ron Mahay for the spot of best non-Soria reliever on the team. In 25 innings, Super Captain Laser Hero (that's my nomination for his nickname, I went to the Kenny Mayne school of overstatement) has struck out 30, amassing a 3:1 K:BB ratio. During that span, he's given up exactly 0 dingers. That's a 10.66 K/9 and a sparkling 0.0 HR/9, for those of you scoring at home...or sitting alone in your underwear in your mother's basement. In other words, that's "closer material" (I won't get in the fact that today's bullpen usage is so hideously backward compared to some other advances FOs and managers have made) stuff that Ramirez is throwing. Could he be the best reliever on a good team? Looking at his cube page it's clear Ramirez has always had good K-rates and that his performance in 2008 isn't necessarily an outlier when taken in the context of his very good 2006. In 2007, he was injured a lot, and mad props to Dayton Moore for this pick-up. Anyway, we won't see Ramirez as a closer candidate until Soria is moved to the rotation, so it's academic for now. Still, I'm on record as saying Ramirez or Nunez could handle the job if Joakim graduates to starter status.
* Gil Meche appears to have recovered from his workload hangover after posting a 3.69 ERA in May with good peripherals to back it up. It's interesting to note, however, that despite Meche dragging to start the year after last seaon's career-high innings and pitches total, Trey Hillman hasn't deigned to give Meche a break. Now, there are some pitchers who can weather high "PAP" totals, but I'll once again point out that I don't think Meche is one of them. From those of you unfamilar to the system, Category 1s are 100 pitches are less, Cat2s are debatable if they're harmful depending on the pitcher, and Cat3s and Cat4s are...scary when you've invested in a pitcher for three more years after 2008. Great to see that Daisuke Matsuzaka is all the way down to 23rd on this list. Thank you, Tito.
Elsewhere in the beisbol world:
* Will Carroll reports that John Smoltz is out "for the year ."
* John Brattain of The Hardball Times has some tough love for Blue Jays "star" Alex Rios.
* Also from THT, Frank Thomas's copy of the Oakland Athletics schedule has been leaked. Does Mike Sweeney have a similar list? Nah, I say, he's too nice and boring.
* Start your ESPN insider free trial right now if you want to view Keith Law's draft article. Unlike a lot of the ESPN hacks, Law's actually pretty good at what he does. Unlike a lot of the ESPN hacks, Law's a Scouts Inc. guy. Go figure.
* Rob Neyer seems to think Ozzie Guillen's days are numbered. I am inclined to disagree. What a surprise.
That's all I've got for now. What say ye?