Yesterday on our fine site, Drew Fairservice told you about a scary situation involving Red Sox centerfielder Jacoby Ellsbury and the injury he sustained sliding into second base and get fallen on by Rays’ shortstop Reid Brignac.
Brignac landed on Ellsbury’s shoulder causing him to yell out in extreme pain and giving every Red Sox fan more reason to worry about their team’s fortunes (First World Problems alert). The ironic (read: rather amusing) thing is that the incident occurred in a game in which the Red Sox humiliated the Rays 12-2, giving the Beantowners just their second win of the season. That team simply cannot catch a break right now.
Making matters worse for the Red Sox and their fans is that Ellsbury, the man who probably should have been the AL MVP last year, will be out six-to-eight weeks with a separated (err, subluxed) shoulder.
I’ve recently been critical of the hyperbolic reaction of fans and the media to the Red Sox slow start, mostly because when you really break it down, they still have an excellent team and a more-than-reasonable chance to make the playoffs, but this loss hurts.
Andrew Bailey being hurt and a rotation that includes Felix Doubront are minor issues compared to the extended loss of Ellsbury. Still, Red Sox fans should remember that Dustin Pedroia, Adrian Gonzalez, Kevin Youkilis and David Ortiz still man the middle of their order and Jon Lester and Josh Beckett are still at the top of their rotation. Losing Ellsbury for 50 or so games likely isn’t enough to tank the whole season.
Still, losing Ellsbury is not a positive step and it certainly won’t do anything to quell the emerging ulcer in Red Sox Nation.
And the rest:
Josh Thole had a rather amusing brain cramp during yesterday’s Mets-Phillies game in Philadelphia when he inexplicably starting jogging back to first base after being sacrificed to second via an R.A. Dickey bunt [Adam Rubin, ESPN New York]. When watching the replay (linked above), it looks as though Thole thought the bunt was hit foul and therefore thought it his obligation to jog back to first. But after the game, he admitted there was no rationale for his decision:
“I even saw the ball on the ground in fair territory,” Thole said about Dickey’s bunt to first base, where the knuckleballer was retired. “The video is incredible. I don’t know what I was thinking.”
Former Major League outfielder Mike Cameron signed a one-day employment agreement with his former team, the Seattle Mariners, in order to officially retire a member of the team and yesterday threw out the first pitch [Josh Liebeskind, MLB.com]. Most likely due to the fact that he was traded to Seattle in the Ken Griffey Jr. trade with the Reds, Cameron was never fully appreciated by Mariners fans and was wholly underrated throughout his playing career. Cameron actually ranks 90th all-time among outfielders in fWAR ahead of such names as Moises Alou, Kirby Puckett, Bernie Williams and Frank Howard. During his four-year stretch with Seattle from 2000 to 2003, Cameron actually ranked higher than Griffey in fWAR and was also ahead of Larry Walker, Shawn Green and Magglio Ordonez during that time.
Of all the people in the world, Dodgers pitcher Aaron Harang nearly broke a 42-year-old record held by Hall of Famer Tom Seaver. Seaver struck out ten batters in a row on April 22nd, 1970, and Harang struck out nine in a row during his game yesterday against the Padres before Will Venable took him deep. [D.J. Short, NBC Hardball Talk]. Harang went on to pitch 6.1 innings and racked up a career-best 13 strikeouts allowing four runs on four hits with two walks. As much as a line like that may seem unlikely now for a pitcher like Harang, he did lead the NL in strikeouts back in 2006 as a member of the Reds. Of course that was six years and several Dusty Baker-managed starts ago.
Hiroki Kuroda was terrific in his Yankee Stadium debut yesterday against the Angels. Why, you ask? Jack Moore of FanGraphs gives you the details.
Sticking with FanGraphs, Paul Swydan looks at Willie Bloomquist as a leadoff hitter and breaks down the Diamondbacks lineup construction. Reading his piece, it’s hard to fathom that this team actually won 94 games and the NL West in 2011. The luck dragon loves that team.
Kevin Goldstein of Baseball prospectus has vowed to right up every single first-time call-up to the Majors this season. Yesterday, he looked at Angels righthander David Carpenter, Royals outfielder Jarrod Dyson and, most importantly to many readers of this blog, lefthander Evan Crawford of the Blue Jays.
His colleague Max Marchi (a must-read every single time) looks at defensive shifts and asks whether or not we’ll see a Birdie Tebbetts shift. A Birdie Tebbetts shift is one where one of the infielders is shifted to normal outfield depth, giving the team three infielders and four outfielders. He surmises that it might be a decent strategy against extreme flyball hitters when the game is on the line and an extra-base hit would do the most damage.
One more BP article (seriously, they’re kicking all kinds of ass these days): The amusing and talented Sam Miller looks at the three best pitches from the week that was in Major League Baseball through the lens of MLB.com apps that are still in development.
Just for the record, Stephen Strasburg secretly throws a lefthander’s slider:
Kyle Boddy of Hardball Times scouts potential number-one pick Mark Appel as he pitches for Stanford. Here’s a video he took of Appel pitching in awesome slow-mo.
Bill Baer, czar of Crashburn Alley, has done some GIFing of second baseman (who should really be playing shortstop) Freddy Galvis. Turns out, he can play defense.
If you’re allergic to shameless self-promotion, you may want to apply some cream: I just launched a new site this past week called Runs Batted Out featuring many excellent and talented writers including Steve McEwen, Matt from House of the Bluebird, Matthew Kory, and Dave Kaufman.