Echo Box, 7.22.15
Dr. D learns more from the denizens than they do from him


Hey Sammy!  Howzit goin' amigo.  Your observation,


So I'm a noob. Just figured out what BABVA means...

But I was thinking just that watching Cano bat today. It was actually good to see him emotional about missing that 96 mph Feliz first pitch fastball down the pipe. He paced around behind the umpire and looked like he wanted a mulligan. Like wanted to be the one to put the M's ahead. Like he would have swung at ball 4 just to get another chance at a good pitch to hit, like you do in slowpitch. He is in the zone.

Hope it isn't too little too late...


Blowers had an accurate comment on TV, accurate as nearly always we sez.  "The M's can make a run but it has to start now."  Just so.

As to Cano ... I agree withchoo that his vibe is different since he started pulling his $25M weight.  In sports it is easier to get emotionally invested once you have hope, and you get hope once a few things go right.  It's not really any different, IMHO, than an NBA team on the road, been down 15 points all game, grinding away manfully but drearily.  And then the club gets some turnovers, dunks, and they're down 7.  Now they "care" and you see a bunch of passion.

We're all human, and sports psychology is one of the most interesting aspects of our hobby.  :: kurt cobain ::  I know, I know, a dirty worrrrrd ...

More than a SoSo comment there amigo.  Keep it comin' :- )


Grizzle sez,


Right. It would be fairly surprising if Walker wasn't up and down as a pitcher. He's still 22 and has only been a full time baseball player for four years.


Forgot the "full time baseball player" part, but that's true, idn' it?  +1

Taijuan Walker threw the ball well yesterday, and any scout/player ... well, most players ...would tell you as much.  First of all, they're playing the Tigers, and when J.D. Martinez hits a home run on you it doesn't mean you are horse hockey.  Second of all, the third baseman on TV, when Taijuan gave up the second homer ... "They just aren't getting away with any mistakes."  That's baseball-speak for "That one wasn't really his fault."

If pitchers could throw the ball into teacups every single pitch, there wouldn't be any runs, or any baseball, for that matter.  If hitters could do what Barry Bonds did, and cover up any pitch in the strike zone for a deep fly ball, there wouldn't be any baseball then.  Walker misses his spot sometimes, as all pitchers do up to and including Greg Maddux.  The Tigers are just doing a tremendous job at the plate.  Some other team might easily have been shut out.


But in his current form, Taijuan is all fastballs all the time.  The fact that the hitters have the catcher's signs is never helpful.  When Taijuan hits the point to where he can upset the hitters' timing, then even great lineups in "Red Hot" mode will get locked down.  For a rookie with one reliable pitch yet, Taijuan is doin' great (good #3 starter and improving quickly). 


They had a great discussion at Hey Bill on the best and worst baseball names.  Vic Power is nice if you're stepping into the batter's box; Dunn is not so nice if you're 35 years old and striking out.  Billy Martin tells a story about a huge, not-so-handsome rookie named Cage.  One of his players said "You're supposed to have your name on your jersey, not your home address."  Bob Walk was a terrible name for a pitcher.

All of a sudden Dr. D realized why he always calls the kid Taijuan!   And he's got a lousy pitching count on the back of his jersey.  He winds up and it says WALKER 3-2.  

The punch line:  in his last 11 starts, Taijuan has 65 strikeouts and 4 walks.  ... ?!? ... go find the last time Felix had a run of K/BB that matched it.


We didn't write up Mike Montgomery's last start.  Bill James once said about lefties, if they don't have any balance and grace -- think Moyer or Iwakuma doing an easy flamingo pause -- you can forget it.  Montgomery still has an erratic and ugly decleration, which is why his control remains a big concern.  (In fairness to Bill, he was referring more to soft-tossing lefties than he was referring to Chuck Finley or Clayton Kershaw.)

But Moe talked about Montgomery's head, and I watched that, and ... blamed if he doesn't have a GREAT head in the EARLY part of his motion.  80% of pitchers, including Felix and Taijuan, look around at different things during their backstroke.  Montgomery's locked into the mitt then, and his eyebrows are as still as they can be.  Moe will agree, we bet, that it's great compensation for his mechanical flaws.  If a golfer is PGA-perfect up through the point where he is accelerating into his downstroke ... well, a comical Lee Trevino finish might not be the end of the world. 

The strikeout rate (6 or so) is no issue, because his change-speed game and velocity are plenty for those to go North.  You just saw 9 strikeouts -- ALL SWINGING -- in 6 innings.  Got to keep your eyes on where a pitcher is going, not just where he has been :- )


Random comment:  I couldn't believe his cutter/slider last game out.  It wasn't just a fastball with a little bit of twirl on it, as most cutters are; it was a legit hard power slider, busting in on righties and doing a LOOGY-style wipeout of left hand batters.

You know we love his David Wells-style change curve; his changeup itself was the scourge of the Kansas City Royals.  But now an effective FOURTH pitch?  The kid might not have a pitching motion yet, but he's got some serious offspeed weaponry.  A this point call it 70-80% that he's going to have a career.  As in starting 100+ games in the big leagues.  With a 10-20% lotto ticket of making the big bucks.


IceX sez, regarding McGwire and Sosa and the roids,


I just ignored them and watched Griffey.


Which still makes for a good M's game, whatever their record.  You can watch Taijuan and Paxton and Carson and Montgomery and you can think about the future.  Actually, it's what I do.  Though as Blowers said, they've got 10-15 days to *start* a big run if that's what they want to do.

Be afraid,

Dr D



Lloyd told him to throw strikes, even if it meant they tee'd off.  Just so.

But guys with mild/moderate gopheritis -- 1.4 to 1.5 HR is gopheritis if done over 200 IP, but we've got short data here -- a change speed game would help a whale of a lot.  That said, if you are at 1.4-5 homers but your CMD is 65:4 ... there is something going on and it is good.  He's traded a buck's worth of hittability for $10 worth of CMD and who else is capable of that?

As you say, Felix was capable of it.

Good 'put amigo.


Lloyd "told him"  (scolded/berated/chewed on) to throw strikes.  He's doing it.  Bet you Zunino starts moving that glove off the plate.


My nomination is Grant Balfour.  Front to back I can't think of a worse baseball name.   Taijuan Walker is another terrible baseball name.  It sounds like "tie-on walker".  There's nothing worse than a tie on walker, except maybe a tie on walk off. 

GLS's picture

On both actually. I like both of those names A LOT as baseball names. I hated the name "Gil Meche" though, even though I liked the guy okay as a pitcher.


Funny memory. I was listening to Tony Kornheiser's radio show one day, maybe a month or two after Meche made his debut. This was before TV ruined Kornheiser. Whoever he had on was talking about young players that he liked and mentioned Seattle's Gil Meche. Before he could say that he was a pitcher or anything about Gil, Kornheiser chirps up, very excited: "Gil Mash? That's the greatest baseball name I've ever heard!" He was very disappointed to hear that it was Meche and that he was a pitcher.

Hilarious that this thread pulls that out of the memory banks. Thanks for that. 


That one is pretty much unsurpassable.  Unless some day we see a "Host Granslem" then Ball Four is going to own it.

Funny how many players have names that are the OPPOSITE of their skills.  Prince Fielder?


I literally have no memories of the McGuire/Sosa home run chase, other than mild distaste for the roids, even though I was 13 or something then.

I just remember the Mariners hitting home runs, RJ ripping up the league and the M's getting booted out of the playoffs by Baltimore :(


I'm not sure Robbie's, um, emotional investment? is because of hope. If there has been any stretch where you would expect the Ms to LOSE hope, it's these last 2 series. My hope is just that he feels better physically. And maybe frustration at all of the hard hit balls run down by Rajai Davis et al (just watched him smoke one in the "gap") have gotten him out of his normally calm element. In any case, I like it and want to see more of it from everyone


Greatest baseball name I ever heard came a couple years ago when I was out in Geneva Illinois watchign a low-A Kane County Cougars game. Big lumbering kid comes up to the plate and gets announced, "Rock Shoulders." No joke, his name was Rock Shoulders. He hit a HR, I think.


Rock Shoulders! 

How about Milton Bradley as a bad baseball name?  "Why?" you ask.  Here's why:  Board games are played clockwise, which means negative bases.  Actually, this isn't true.  Parker Brothers makes those type of games.  Milton Bradley has some sweet baseball board games, including Battleship, where you drop bombs until your enemy sinks, Jenga, where you cause instability until your opponent collapses, Yahtzee, the game of juggling a roster construction, Operation, where you try to sneak a small object through a small space without getting lit up, and Connect 4, which is the whole point of baseball.  Milton Bradley is a great baseball name.

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