First I give some credit, then I reiterate yesterday's point
Who likes Starlin Castro batting second?
It goes against all I believe, putting a barely 20 year old kid in such a position. Every great offense in the history of baseball relies on the leadoff man getting on base, and the second hitter moving him along either by hitting or walking. This seems like a lot of pressure, but I suppose if he truly is going to be one of the Greats of the game, when you are five-six games under .500 might be a good time to see if Castro can handle it. He does make a lot of contact, and he made good contact in the 11th. But more on that in a second.
The 2010 Randy Wells is not the 1988 Greg Maddux, but he is a damn good third starter, and Sean Marshall has been simply invaluable the past four years. Marmol blew a save, but good golly, Grabow just grunged up a whole big dunghole and threw Carlos in it. I might be playing favorites here today, but I don't hate Marmol today. I have already fallen on my Grabow sword.
Just another big wad of wasted money, but nowhere near as big a wad as Z's. I'm not even going to touch THAT mess today.
I want to talk about the 11th inning. Castro got on with his 3rd single, and Ramirez hit the walk-off homer. Is he back? God only knows. In fact, this incident kind of proves one of my points. A player can lose "it" in a number of ways. He can lose it physically, mentally, or both, I guess. Geo Soto lost it both ways last year, although since he was young, his ailments relatively minor, and his decline was almost entirely self-induced, he has been able to return nearly to his ROY form.
Ramirez's 2010 decline appears to be much more severe than 2009 Soto. But we all wondered - was it physical, mental, or both? The physical decline has to be a given. He doesn't even much physically resemble himself from the past five years. However, after the bad strikeout the other night with the game on the bases, I had pretty much given up on him mentally, too. Had he forgotten how many times he has come through for us over the years?
Apparently, not. Yes, he did not come through last week, but he came through last night in his next big-time tight-and-late situation, so it is likely that the mental edge is still there for him, and when whatever physical limitations he is suffering from right now (and there is NO way anyone is going to convince me otherwise, the man looks skinny, weak, and in pain), he very well may return to most of what he has always been, Clutchy McClutcherson.
It was just nice they had him batting third last night, right behind Castro, so that he has some....what?
Oh yeah! Clutchy was batting 4th. Right behind Derrek Lee. What did Lee do with Castro on base, needing only one run to win?
He lined out.
Gee. At least he didn't GIDP, or strike out, or walk, to let his .170 hitting buddy do his heavy lifting for him, yet again. But, yet again, when the nutts are cut, Derrek Lee is AWOL.
Folks, I will disclose something. As a ballplayer, I can't stand him. I thought he was an easy out when he was with the Padres, and with the Fish. He came here in 2004, he started out poorly, and down the stretch, as the team most picked to not only win, but win it all, he stuck his head in his ass along with the rest of the crumbling bums. He put up monster numbers for an also ran in 2005, then spent the next three years hobbled with what we all thought was a wrist injury, when it turned out it was a neck injury. WTF?
Last year, he started out poorly yet again, and he DID catch fire, but by the time he caught fire, we were already 10 games behind the Cardinals. We got close again, even taking first for one whole day in August, and he did have a HUGE September, but as his trend arrow was rising, like in 2005, at the same time ours was falling. He plays better when the pressure is off.
He is not clutch, he is not particularly impactful, like Mark Grace, he is our best fielder in our least important defensive position, and also like Grace, he does not produce satisfactorily in the 3rd spot in the order. In the NL alone, he cannot claim having the past production of Helton or Berkman, he doesn't have the present production of Gonzalez, Pujols and Howard, and no way he has the future of Mark Reynolds, Joey Votto, Ike Davis and whats-his-name in Atlanta. He might be Prince Fielder, but that's it. And I wouldn't touch THAT tub of goo, either.
I am officially sick of Derrek Lee. That makes me a bad man? Whatevs.