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Changeups and Screwballs: A Southpaw’s Perspective for 9/6/11

I hope everyone enjoyed his or her holiday weekend as much as I did.  Lots of exciting things happening over Labor Day weekend, so let’s jump right in.

- I finally caved and joined Twitter.  Follow me @sp_flips to get up to date info and nonsense.

- So much for having a bunch of exciting finishes across multiple divisions this year.  With the Giants, Indians, White Sox, and Cardinals failing to gain any ground whatsoever; it appears as if the only exciting race might be the AL West.  Unless the Rays can somehow make a run for the wildcard in the AL East, that is.

- George who?  Kottaras? What a special night it was for the back-up catcher.  Hitting for the cycle is rare enough, but how rare is it to see a back up catcher do it?  I am not completely sure, just sure enough to say that you probably won’t see it happen again in your lifetime.

- Seeing old Charlie Manuel play a game under protest took me back to my youth summer league days.  Did he have to put up a $100 cash like my coaches did?  Or do you think the front office covered it for him?

- Congrats to Adrian Beltre- now the youngest 3B to ever amass 2,000 hits.  Just imagine what could be if he knew how to stay healthy?  Wow.

- Watching Josh Beckett go down was rough.  Not only does he play on my fantasy squad, but he also proliferated the notion that pitchers are not athletes.  Just watch this and tell me where/how he hurt himself. (FF to the 21-second mark.)

- How about Javier Vazquez?  Dude has been looking like it’s 2009 again.  Make sure nobody steals his Delorean.

- I can only imagine the silence in the Jays front office boxes as Brett Lawrie did this.

- Have a great day everybody, and remember…there are only 4 days left in this workweek.

Golden Sombrero: Mike Carp

Top 1: Mike Carp struck out swinging against Josh Tomlin

Top 3: Carp singled to center against Tomlin

Top 5: Carp struck out swinging against Tomlin

Top 6: Carp called out on strikes against Joe Smith

Top 7: Carp struck out swinging against Rafael Perez

Top 9: Carp grounded out to first against Vinnie Pestano

Final Line: 1-for-6, 4 K

Notes: With the Mariners leading 9-2 entering the ninth inning, Carp stepped to the plate for a chance at the first platinum sombrero of the season.  But like so many others, he was able hold-off history and put the ball in play.  After posting a .449 wOBA and .307 ISO this season between two stints (66 games) at Triple-A, Carp has cooled off considerably since snapping a 20-game hit streak on August 22.  Since then, the first baseman has gone 3-for-27 with one XBH and two RBI.  With a 27.8 K% and .385 BABIP, Carp is prone to slump.  So in reality, the fact that he put together a 20-game hit streak is pretty remarkable.

Total 2011 Sombreros: 96

Changeups and Screwballs: A Southpaw’s Perspective for 8/26/11

-       I am glad to see Jim Thome waive his no trade clause and return to Cleveland.  He is the anti-LeBron for that city, not to mention they could really use his bat to make a final push at the playoffs.

–       Talk about a grand showing by the Yankees last night.  Did anyone else find it as fitting as I did that Curtis Granderson was the guy to hit the record setting 3rd grand slam?  Thank goodness it wasn’t Derek Jeter.  I am tired of hearing people talk about how great he still is.

–       Just to point out a few stats the back up my claim that despite his recent “resurgence” at the plate, Jeter is still not very good anymore.  His .299 avg. is completely hollow.  His isolated power stands at a paltry .088 (lowest of his career).  This in turn leads to his meager .388 slugging percentage and an OPS of only .747.  He is on pace to set career lows in runs scored and total bases.  I am not here to pile on with the Jeter haters.  I just wish people would put it into perspective that despite his mashing of late, he is still set to have one of the worst years of his career.  Dude is still a 1st ballot HOF though…so don’t get it twisted.

–       Those of you who saw California’s Braydon Salzman take a comebacker right of the brim of his hat witnessed something amazing.  For the science behind why he was not killed immediately upon impact check out this video from ESPN’s Sport Science.

–       I watched The Sandlot last night on AMC and was reminded of why that movie is the Best Baseball Movie of All Time.  For more details on that, look for my write up on the movie to come out later today.

–       Lenny Dykstra has been charged with indecent exposure.  Supposedly he exposed himself to women he met on Craigslist…Hello ladies, why else do you think a washed-up, has-been, like Lenny Dykstra wants to meet you based on an internet personal ad?

–       And ending on a good note for my Astros today, we actually won a real, live, major league baseball game last night!

Golden Sombrero: Travis Hafner

Top 2: Travis Hafner called out on strikes against Gavin Floyd

Top 4: Hafner grounded into double play against Floyd

Top 6: Hafner hit an RBI-single to center against Floyd

Top 8: Hafner homered to right against Chris Sale

Top 9: Hafner struck out swinging against Sergio Santos

Top 12: Hafner struck out swinging against Jesse Crain

Top 14: Hafner struck out swinging against Jason Frasor

Final Line: 2-for-7, HR, 2 RBI, 2 R, 4 K

Notes: Pronk’s golden sombrero on Tuesday night against the White Sox marks the first time a player has homered and fanned four times in a game this season.  Our favorite Vin Diesel look-alike wasn’t the only one to rack up the strikeouts, as White Sox pitchers fanned 19 in the 14-inning, 8-7 win.

Total 2011 Sombreros: 90

Golden Sombrero: Kosuke Fukudome

Bottom 1: Kosuke Fukudome grounded out to short against Doug Fister

Bottom 4: Fukudome struck out swinging against Duane Below

Bottom 7: Fukudome struck out swinging against Daniel Schlereth

Bottom 10: Fukudome called out on strikes against Phil Coke

Bottom 12: Fukudome struck out swinging against Joaquin Benoit

Bottom 14: Fukudome hit by pitch by David Pauley

Final Line: 0-for-5, 4 K, HBP, RBI

Notes: A week ago, Fukudome was a hit by a pitch in the 14th inning to drive home the game-winning run and secure a 3-2 victory over the Tigers.  With a potential platinum sombrero on the line, Fukudome wisely stuck out his elbow and wore the David Pauley fastball.

Total 2011 Sombreros: 87