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"Lou is not talking about mechanics when he goes out to the mound,"
~Chicago Cubs pitching coach Larry Rothschild

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Poor Robert Andino; Hampton out until 2007; Farnsworth Closes

Hey kid! Welcome to the Bigs! The Good News is, you're getting your first MLB start at shortstop today, in an important game against the Philadelphia Phillies, who currently lead you in the Wild Card standings by one game. The Bad News is, you're batting ninth behind the pitcher.

OK, that pitcher is Dontrelle Willis, who's hitting .259/.282/.346 this season. But I guess the confidence level on the kid, Robert Andino, would be, say, low at best? Anyway.

Dontrelle sharply lined to first base his first at-bat, ending up with a pinball-like 3-4-3 ground out to end the second inning. Robert Andino was the 2nd round draft pick of the Florida Marlins in 2002. His first AB to leadoff the third was a good one. Hung in there for eight pitches to earn the walk, fouling a couple off, after starting out the at-bat 0-2. Luis Castillo SAC'd Andino to second (his league-leading 18th sac bunt). After a seven pitch walk to Juan Pierre, a throwing error by second baseman Chase Utley allowed Miguel Cabrera to load the bases for Carlos Delgado. An eight pitch at-bat to Delgado led to Vicente Padilla walking in Andino.

So, the kid got to score his first Major League run. He got his first Major League hit in the fourth, hitting a ground rule double to left-center. He has his team up 1-0 in an important playoff-implication game. Not a bad day.

Update: Andino finished the game 1-3 with one run scored, but the Marlins lost to the Phillies 10-2. The Phillies scored 10 runs in the top of the ninth. TEN. I'd say the word "meltdown" comes to mind. Dontrelle finished 0-3 at the plate and picked up the loss.

Hampton Career Over? Mike Hampton of the Atlanta Braves in going to have Tommy John surgery on his left (pitching) elbow. He's out for the remainder of this year and the team says the entire 2006 season as well. That remains to be seen, but if he is out until 2007, will the 33 year old pitcher call it quits or make a comeback late in his career? We'll have to wait to find out.

What does it mean for the Atlanta Braves? It means that after John Smoltz and Tim Hudson, it's the trio of Jorge Sosa (who's having a career year at 12-3, with a 2.58 ERA and 1.29 WHIP), John Thompson (3-4, 4.76 ERA, 1.44 WHIP), and Horacio Ramirez (11-9, 4.65 ERA, 1.38 WHIP). With issues in the bullpen, another arm down is not what the Braves wanted.

Ex-Cub Alert: Kyle Farnsworth has found a home in Atlanta. Leo Mazzone has seemingly done what Larry Rothschild couldn't, and that's settle Farnsworth down and get him into the closer role. He's seven for his last seven save opportunities. In September, when it matters most, when many Cub fans thought the Farns would have a meltdown (he did, under Rothschild's tutelage), he is 5 for 5 in saves with a 1.17 ERA, 0.52 WHIP, and 1 BB/10 K. In August, he went 2-2 in saves (since converting to the closer role for the Braves on August 24th). He had a 1.54 ERA, 0.94 WHIP and 1 BB/13 K for the month. I'd say Leo has figured the boy out.

Think Kyle likes being on the league-leading, playoff perennial Atlanta Braves, closing games for one of the best pitching coaches in the game? Or getting booed in Wrigley? You decide.

Update: Farnsworth came in for the 1-2-3 save today with two K's and a fly out. Nine pitches. His eighth concecutive save for the Braves.

White Sox Fade Continues: The White Sox ran into Johan Santana, who threw eight shutout innings and got the win over the South Siders. Joe Nathan came in to close it out for the Twins and struck out the side in the top of the ninth. That AL Central lead is now at 4.0 games, with Cleveland playing game two of a three gamer with the Royals at Jacobs Field. They won game one 3-1 last night. Tonight it's Cliff Lee (16-4, 3.69 ERA, 1.23 WHIP) for the red-hot Indians up against Runelvys Hernandez (8-11, 5.03 ERA, 1.46 WHIP), and yes that's his real name.

Well, that's all I've got for now. Time to catch up on College Football action for the day.


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