Friday, May 3, 2013

Friday Night with FRANCO

Hello, cruel world.  I'm back.

I want to emphasize, that as always, it's not for lack of material that I haven't posted more.  It's purely an issue of being busy and lazy.  But enough of that, let's get rolling!

I'm starting to warm up to the idea of Russell Martin.  I still don't like the idea of spending all that money on a 30 year old FA, especially when there's a first rounder who walks 10% of the time in AAA.  But hey.  Is what it is, assholes.  Let's enjoy it for what it is.

And what is it?  It's a dude who has been crushing the ball.  Hitting .274 with 6 HRs in April, after a dreadful start; love that raw power.  Hasn't exactly fixed AJ's inability to patrol the bases, but he's at a 38% CS clip on the whole, so that's pretty tremendous.  Tonight he was terrific to watch as he most certainly framed Ks for both AJ and Grilli, and led Melancon through a dicey 8th.  Those of you who know me, know that I think pitch framing is the windshield wiper fluid of automotive juices.  But listen, there are some nights when you've got a dandy of a bug on your windshield, and some nice, new wiper blades. A squirt or two of fluid can be damn satisfying.  PROVE ME WRONG.

Martin is athletic and active as a receiver.  All those times that the Cards would come to town, and we'd say of Yadi Molina "Oh, so that's what a catcher looks like"... well, we don't have that exactly, but we're a hell of a lot more competent than in the days of Barajas, Doumit, Paulino, Snyder, Jaramillo, Brown, Fryer, Pagnozzi, Toregas, Shalhoub, Kratz, Diaz, Chavez, Maldonado, Cota, etc.  So I enjoy watching that.

Of course, it's easy to say these things after watching an excellent pitching performance and a well played game.  It doesn't matter how athletic and active your catcher is when you have an asshole like J-Mac on the mound, walking 6 guys in 5 innings.  As of now, our pitchers lead the league in BBs, so it's not like we've solved the problem of our guys being bad at baseball.

Without saying too much more about why they're bad at baseball, I'll say this: they're not good enough at baseball that they shouldn't be platooning dudes even more than they are.

There is no good reason for FORT to have only played in 8 games so far.  He walks and crushes high fastballs.  He should be the designated PH for all our pitchers.

Jose Tabata shouldn't be used against pitchers.  Or in the field or on the bases.  He is very good at origami (conjecture) but not baseball.

Travis Snider and Starling Marte both have BAbips above .400; they also K ~22% of the time.  Not good! Especially not for Marte who walks in less than 6% of his PAs.  When John Wehner tells us that Marte doesn't need to walk because he's still getting better as a hitter, just remember that John Wehner is very good at horticulture (conjecture) but not baseball analysis (or baseball).

I love Mark Melancon.  He throws a nice cutter to both sides of the plate.  All of us who said he'd be the regress-back player of the year, we're looking pretty damn handsome now.

Grilli is still an overpaid strikeout specialist, but man, he's kind of fun to watch.  I was thinking while watching the game tonight, that it's hard to tell Hanrahan is even missing.  The white guy with a beard who gets Ks and isn't amazing past that is still here.  Great stuff.

On the idea of closers... I like the idea of playing entrance music, but wouldn't it be more effective to queue it up when the WPA maxes out?  Think about it.  10 run first inning, start playing Enter Sandman, put people in a good mood.  I don't know.  Think about it before writing your congresspeople.

I wish Evan Longoria played for us.

Clint Barmes' suckitude has brainwashed us.  At this point we're all completely desensitized to how awful he is that we don't flinch at an OPS in the .400s.  5.0 K:BB?? Psshaw!  That's downright respectable for Clint, compared to where he was for most of last year.  No, at this point we're looking at this asshole and thinking "Well, he's never hit below .200 in a season... maybe we'll get to see something new!"

I think FTC is moving into ownership territory on the phrase "stupid asshole."  I first used in a conversation with Nils on Pi day, 2011.  Since that time, Matt, Nils and I have uttered that phrase exactly 96,420 times.  We talk about baseball a lot.

One last thought and then I'm going to bed: Andrew McCutchen is great.  His BAbip is low, his approach is excellent.  He is terrific.  Haters gonna hate, but please don't hate on him.

That's all for this week, folks!

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