Dave’s Free Play, Sunday 7/27/14
Sometimes I hear stuff that just forces me to shake my head. It’s not a conscious decision on my part. It’s just a reflex action that cannot be avoided. If it’s really crazy, the head shake might get accompanied by the open mouth “what the $%^& did I just hear?” maneuver, but that’s generally reserved only for remarks made by Skip or Screamin’ A on whatever that show is called.
I was doing a lot of head shaking on Saturday as I kept on hearing that Jake Peavy is 14-2 lifetime against the Dodgers, and that’s why the Giants were so eager to get him for the stretch drive. While it’s true that Peavy has those awesome career numbers against the chief rival of the Giants, he’s also 1-0 against the Dodgers since 2009. In 2009, Jake Peavy was still with the Padres and was not far removed from being one of the most dominant pitchers in all of baseball. I think it’s okay to conclude that the 2014 Peavy, while not as bad as the 1-9 record might indicate, is no longer one of most dominant pitchers in all of baseball.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking the Giants for swinging this deal with the Red Sox. They had to fork over a couple of pitching prospects, but this is a team trying to win its third World Series in five years, and the Giants needed another starting pitcher. The rumor mill had them being very hot for David Price, but it now appears as though Price is staying in Tampa Bay for at least the rest of this season. Maybe they’re in on Cole Hamels if the Phillies decide to actually trade with someone. But lots of teams will be making offers for Hamels. The same holds true for any other front line arms that become available.
The Giants decided they had to try and firm up the rotation for the season’s last two months. I cannot disagree with that assessment, and Peavy is, in fact, a pretty good fit for the Big Phone. He’s a fly ball pitcher and mistakes that were flying out of Fenway and other AL East ballparks might just stay in play in San Francisco and a couple of other NL West locales. Peavy probably isn’t going to set the world on fire at this juncture, but he’s not being asked to. The Giants need a guy who can give them six innings and three runs every fifth day, and it’s not a reach to suggest Peavy can do just that.
As for the 14-2, it means little to me and shouldn’t to anyone who really understands the game. If he’s 15-2 against the Dodgers after tonight, it still doesn’t mean anything. One of the mistakes baseball ‘cappers make, at least in my opinion, is putting too much meaning on what happened years ago. It might look good in a writeup on a game, but that’s about as far as it goes. However, feel free to shake your head reflexively if you disagree.
My Saturday started off badly as the Cubs bullpen fell apart yet again, and the Indians then coughed up a 5-0 lead and lost to KC. But I got a lucky winner as the White Sox and Twins somehow stayed Under 7.5, hit two more late plays including the comp on the Angels, and nailed a 2-0 CFL sweep. So 5-2 for the day and the good run that’s taken place here for nearly two full months continues. I probably won’t have much today as it’s not an attractive card, and I don’t like forcing plays.
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Also take note that for those preferring to just play individual games or who don’t want to play every day, you can now access selections at pregame.com. I’l also be doing quite a bit of forum interaction there starting this coming week, as I go overtime with the day’s most interesting topic from the Las Vegas Sportsline show on ESPN1100/98.9 FM. It should be lots of fun and I’m looking forward to it!
Another solid showing from Matt Shoemaker and a really good effort by former UNLV star Efren Navarro as the free play on the Angels came through. I’ll look at one of the ugliest games on the Sunday slate for today’s comp.
07/27 10:35 AM MLB (903) ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS at (904) PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES
Take: (903) ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS +100
There is something noteworthy about today’s game between the Diamondbacks and Phillies. It’s very possibly the final home game for one or more veteran Phillies. The trade deadline is near, and rumors galore are swirling. Aside from that, it’s 45-59 vs. 45-59, so this is about as meaningless as it gets for a late July baseball game.
The Phillies are not losing every game, but sometimes when watching this team, it’s a wonder they don’t. I’m not saying it’s all the time, but there are just too many games where the eye test suggests these guys are mailing it in. No emotion, no fire, just 25 guys showing up for work. I can almost envision a time clock just out of camera view where the players punch in and out before and after the game.
It’s not like the Diamondbacks are any great shakes, either. There’s going to be an overhaul taking place for the Snakes as well, but it’s not as dramatic as what I think we’re about to see in Philly. But the Diamondbacks have some young guys who are now playing most everyday and I can tell you from watching most of their games, there’s some enthusiasm with this entry. That’s not translating into lots of wins, as the talent just isn’t in place right now. But I at least like the energy.
Vidal Nuno starts for the road team today, and he’s strictly back of the rotation material. But Nuno isn’t necessarily the worst starting pitcher in action at Citizens Park today, as the former Fausto Carmona will be on the mound for Philly. Trying to guess which version of Roberto Hernandez will show up is a challenge, to put it mildly. When he’s locating that sinker, Hernandez can be pretty tough. But when he loses his command, that’s a different story. Of late, Hernandez has been closer to okay than mediocre, but that means little as far as figuring out what he’ll do today.
My take is that this is as dead even as a game can be on paper. But the intangibles spell out Arizona. The DBacks got a terrific extra inning win on Saturday night, and I really feel as though the Phillies clubhouse atmosphere today could be very somber. I’ll take the team I believe is going to be more excited to play today, and that’s the Diamondbacks.