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July, 2009

Asher's Cliff Lee trade analysis will be performed with the assistance of long-time reader Michael Krause, who wrote the following email:

What do you think of the Phillies sending Carrasco, Marson, Knapp, and Donald to Cleveland for Lee and Francisco? How will having lefties in the one and two spot affect them? The strong hitting teams in the NL seem to have a lot of righties, are the Phils at a big disadvantage? Is Moyer out of the playoff rotation? Hamels, Lee, Blanton, Happ/Pedro. That is an interesting possible lineup.

And here is my response.

A New York Daily News report this week informs us that MLB Commissioner Bud Selig is considering whether or not to reinstate Pete Rose, which would make him eligible for selection to the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee. Selig has since downplayed the report, but it once again underscores the question, Should Pete Rose be reinstated into Major League Baseball? Gregory Pratt gives his answer.

July 28, 2009 - Ian Kinsler, Homepark Hero? - Suddenly I looked up today, and Ian Kinsler was hitting .242. What gives? Kinsler has somehow turned into a Homepark Hero here in 2009 – at home, he has 14 homeruns and 14 doubles at home, with a line of .282/.356/.569/.925. On the road, however, he has 9 homeruns, 6 doubles, and a line of .196/.264/.375/.639. It is shocking. It is appalling. It is . . . typical of baseball in Arlington.  --ABC

Through 20 starts, Dan Haren is 10-5 with a 2.14 ERA, 141 strikeouts, and 19 walks. He is putting up these stellar numbers in an extreme hitter's park with a mediocre defense behind him, a bullpen that keeps getting thinner and thinner, and little or no run support. Find out where his season ranks so far among the best pitching performances of recent years and what we can expect from Haren in the second half as Keith takes a closer look at Dan Haren.

July 23, 2009 - Lots of Fun with Intentional Walks - It isn’t often that we think about intentional walks, but the statistic is a fun one for several reasons. Albert Pujols' early career was defined by the fact that, despite his greatness, he was consistently the second best player in baseball behind Barry Bonds. Now, even with Bonds having retired, it appears that Pujols is still being overshadowed, at least in some respects. Pujols will almost certainly finish the 2009 season with more intentional walks in a single season than anyone else has ever had – anyone, that is, other than Barry Bonds.

July 23, 2009 - Buehrle Perfect Game; Wise Perfect Catch - Inserted into the game as a defensive replacement in the top of the ninth inning of today's game against the Tampa Bay Rays, DeWayne Wise went over the wall to rob Gabe Kapler of a homerun. Oh by the way, the catch secured the 25th Out of what would become Mark Buehrle's Perfect Game, the 18th in baseball history. Given the combination of the degree of difficulty and the game circumstances, this could be considered the greatest catch of all time.

Congratulations to Mark Buehrle, DeWayne Wise, and the rest of the Chicago White Sox! --ABC 

The Hunt for Roy Halladay - The entire city of Philadelphia is abuzz with talk that the Phillies are the leading contender to acquire Roy Halladay. I don’t like it one bit. The Philadelphia Phillies, right now, are a rare commodity in baseball – a team built to win now, and for the foreseeable future. They should not give all that up for one or two seasons of Roy Halladay. I would expect the team that was on the winning side of the Aaron Rowand for Jim Thome trade to understand that.

7/23/09: Helton Keeps Beltin' Two-Baggers - Todd Helton, a major reason the Colorado Rockies would be in the playoffs if the season were to end today, knocked out his much-anticiplated 500th career double last night. Helton became the 50th player ever to reach that total, and did so at the relatively young age of 35. Helton is going to breeze past 600 career two-baggers and could easily usurp Craig Biggio for fifth on the all-time list before it is all said and done. --KG

This spring, Keith drew a lengthy parallel between the 2004/2005 Chicago White Sox and the 2008/2009 Cincinnati Reds, culminating in the conclusion that this year's Reds would advance to the postseason and beyond.  Unfortunately, the Reds were mired in fifth place and three games under .500 at the All-Star break, with one of their best hitters headed to the disabled list with a severe wrist injury.As it turns out, there has been a close parallel between a recent White Sox team and a 2009 squad, but it wasn't the one Keith had made.  It is instead the 2008/2009 Rays that are following the unfortunate path of the 2005/2006 Chicago White Sox.

Due to phenomenal pitching and a remarkably injury-free first half, the San Francisco Giants found themselves boasting the second-best record in the National League at the All-Star break. Richard sizes up these Giants, evaluating whether they are contenders or pretenders. He comes to some interesting conclusions, including considering a Giant for the MVP Award and deciding there is only one veteran player worthy of their pursuit as the trade deadline approaches.

07/11/09: Error Ruins a Perfect Game - Friday night, Giants pitcher Jonathan Sanchez became the first major league pitcher to throw a no-hitter in 2009, dominating the San Diego Padres a night after Tim Lincecum took a no-no into the 7th inning. The inconsistent Sanchez put it all together in grand fashion in front of the home crowd, breezing through the Pads lineup all night long with 11 strikeouts. He was forced into the stretch only once, after a Juan Uribe error in the 8th. Backed by would-be/should-be All-Star Pablo Sandoval’s 3-run home run, Sanchez, who had never thrown a complete game as a professional, took a comfortable 8-0 lead into the decisive frame and promptly received the requisite incredible, no-hit saving catch from centerfielder Aaron Rowand for the next-to-last out of the game. Finally, on Sanchez’ 110th pitch of the night (77 of them strikes), he froze Everth Cabrera with yet another nasty slider to become the first Giants pitcher to throw a no-hitter since John Montefusco in 1976, and the first to do it at home since Ed Halicki in 1975. ~ RVZ

7/8/09: McOwen Keeps on Goin' - Seattle Mariners prospect James McOwen ran his California League record hit streak to 44 consecutive games on Tuesday night, tying The Hit King, Pete Rose, for the longest streak in professional baseball history since Roman Mejias hit safely in 55 straight for Waco in 1954. A broken-bat single in the 8th inning of the Mavericks' 12-2 loss to the San Jose Giants also gave McOwen sole possession of the 8th longest hit streak in Minor League Baseball history. ~ RVZ

7/06/09: Turbo Cueto - Johnny Cueto was arguably a snub from this year's All-Star Game, as he was 8-4 with a 2.69 ERA at the time the teams were announced. But on Monday night, Cueto provided us with a rare 2009 Turbo Tanking, allowing nine earned runs in 0.2 innings of work. That led to a 22-1 drubbing courtesy of the Phillies and balooned Cueto's ERA all the way to 3.45. Additionally, the loss gives the Reds a deficit of 43 runs on the year (334 scored to 377 allowed) while they fall to just one game under .500 and 3.5 games out of first place. --KG

7/3/09: The 100-Minus Club - Through 78 games, Adrian Gonzalez has hit 24 home runs but driven in only 48. It's hard to completely fault Adrian for this, as he is leading the league in walks due to the lack of hitters behind him and not receiving many RBI opportunities because of the lack of table-setters in front of him. On the other hand, Gonzalez is batting just .192 with men on base and .189 with runners in scoring position. This makes him a candidate to become just the third player ever to hit at least 45 homers in a season and drive in fewer than 100 runs, joining leadoff hitter Alfonso Soriano (2006 - 46/95) and fellow unprotected slugger Barry Bonds (2003 - 45/90).   --KG

7/1/09: Time to Shift Geers - Might Josh Geer be the worst homerun pitcher in baseball? Despite pitching for the San Diego Padres, who play in the biggest homerun suppressing ballpark in baseball, Geer has allowed 18 homeruns (third in baseball) in a remarkable 77.2 innings pitched. He is in the rare air of Jamie Moyer and Brett Myers in terms of pitchers who allow over 2 homeruns per nine innings, and they both pitch in a launching pad. So, naturally, the question is: what are his home/road homerun splits? Actually, they are just about even – 8 at home, 10 on the road. Yikes. Here’s the perspective – the Padres as a team have allowed 33 homeruns at home this season, and almost 25% of them have been allowed by Geer. More perspective – only 64 homeruns have been hit at Petco Park in total this season (Padres and opponents combined) and an eighth of them have been allowed by Geer. Simply shocking.  --ABC

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