JJO echoes what has been said about Cecil Cooper countless times around here: he has had a disastrous time managing our bullpen. Go up and down the line, and seemingly every reliever for the Astros has been adversely affected by our manager. The bullpen was supposed to be our saving grace this season, and Cooper had to have known that with a weak starting rotation the Astros would go nowhere with a depleted and mismanaged group of relievers.
The Official Scorer, Zach Levine, describes the casualties of the baseball strike of 1994. Among those players whose careers ended in 1994 were Rick "I love, love, love, love, LOVE the Chicago Cubs" Sutcliffe, and Bill Pecota. Levine notes that Tony Gwynn, Craig Biggio and Matt Williams were on pace for record breaking seasons, but I remember Greg Maddux having a Gibson-esque 1994 campaign before the strike occurred. His line through 2/3 of that season is like a work of art: 1.56 ERA, 10 complete games, an ERA+ of 271 and a .896 WHIP.
Speaking of Mr. Sutcliffe, sometimes a pitcher just has to hit somebody. Sometimes I think the ESPN crew dwells too much on, and sensationalizes to a great extent batter-pitcher skirmishes, but Sut makes a few decent points in this article. Note that on the sidebar of that page, Bud Norris gets his props from the research department at ESPN.
Berkman...seems to have several years more at near-peak left in him, plus a couple of contract years coming up. With almost 1500 hits and over 300 homers, it's time to start thinking about Berkman as a possible Hall of Famer. As for his leg, it shouldn't be an issue.
As for our friends in St. Louis, Carroll notes that Troy Glaus thinks he can be back in time to be a pinch hitter in September.
Want to peer into a crystal ball? Have a look at Roy Oswalt's projected career. I dunno about his pitching until age 41, but pretty cool to see regardless. The next guy after Oswalt is Albert Pujols, who is projected to finish his career with 729 HR and 3515 hits.
As we head into Milwaukee, it's time to become acquainted with Alicdes Escobar, the Brewers new shortstop. As for the man that Escobar replaced, JJ Hardy, his situation has the potential to get downright messy:
So why did the Brewers send him down? Yes, Alcides Escobar is a nifty prospect and they understandably wanted to get a look at him, but September call-ups are a couple of weeks away, so it’s hard to imagine Milwaukee would have done this to Hardy to get an extra two weeks look at Escobar in the big leagues. But, there is another explanation, even though Doug Melvin denies it was a factor.
Service time. If Hardy would have remained in the majors through the end of the year, he’d have had five full seasons of service time, gotten a raise in arbitration, and been eligible for free agency after 2010. If he stays in the minors for three weeks, he will fall just short of a full year of service in 2009, which would make him a 4+ year arbitration guy again this winter and delay his free agency until after the 2011 season.
As the beer stein turns....