Friday was all about Kuroda having a great slider and great command. He has been great this year with a 1.99 ERA so far he is wheeling and dealing with good stuff and good command. I had not watched him much when he was in LA but I have liked him from the first day he was here and he has been a great pickup and a great resigning.
Saturday saw Phelps give us more quality innings. Phelps had a very good slider all day. He used it as a change of pace, but it is a good pitch because it appears the batters don’t pick up the slider rotation quickly on it and he throws with a similar motion as his fastball. It is not sharp, but it breaks late which makes it very effective (compared to a pitch that can be recognized quicker. Phelps is not a dominant guy, but he is a solid rotation guy (even if back of the rotation). He is a heck of a lot more consistent than Hughes and while Hughes has got his velocity back, a few years ago I was talking about how Phelps could give us everything Hughes can…
Some crazy stuff in the game helped us out as Phelps was in some trouble early on. Phelps had walked 2 guys and had 2 outs but a 3-1 count on the batter when Bautista got picked off at 2nd base! That is simply inexcusable and an enormous blunder. Honestly that could have been the game. I know I was just speaking highly of Phelps (and I do think he is not a weak starter), but he was having first inning troubles with control and after 2 walks and a 3-1 count what was Bautista thinking? HUGE play.
In the 2nd inning, Toronto bunted and their batter stepped fully out of the batters box (his foot was behind the plate) but nobody caught it and nobody said anything. Could have gotten an easy out there.
Toronto messed by not turning 2 on a comebacker and instead of being out of the inning we rallied for 3 runs with 2 outs. Their defense has been bad against us.
Overbay made a great scoop on a tough in between hop after Nix made a very good play to get the ball over to him. I let out a cheer when I saw that play as it saved a run.
David Adams, who appears to now be our 3rd baseman until the MASH unit comes back, is an important person for us. Mostly because he represents what I have been writing about for the past few years; bring up our minor leaguers instead of signing the Ichiro’s and Ben Francisco’s of the world. Let our minor league guys play as well if not better than the veterans but more important develop them. I didn’t like signing Gonzalez to play short, but it is possible we didn’t have anyone, but no we get rid of him and bring in Reid Brignac. At least he is a lefty and known as a solid defender. He won’t give you much stick, but he should give us more than we have now. I like this move better than Gonzalez, but it is still not a long term solution, it is a band aid…but at this point it was fine.
Adams has played pretty well so far and showed some good awareness on a tag play where he caught the ball as he was moving his glove toward the runner (who was correctly called safe on a very close play). Those are the subtle differences that can make the difference, even if it didn’t this time.
I like Granderson in RF and benching Ichiro. I wasn’t sure who would play RF and who would play LF (not sure I care that much), but I wanted Gardner in CF.
Melky made one of his patented throws that I used get annoyed with as he took five steps before uncorking a very good throw that was late. I am a believer that getting rid of the ball quickly is as important as the throw itself and I think the overall time it touches the glove to getting to the tagging fielder is longer when you take so many steps.
We are doing better than I expected with so many guys out…enjoy it!