The tragic number remains frozen at 14 after Tuesday's games. It's been a while since it stayed steady.
"What have I seen from (Alex) Rios? A lot of outs. The only batting ninth guy making $5 million was me. This (blank-blank) is making $10, $12, $14 million, he ain't going to be batting ninth (in 2010). I'm going to make sure he earns his money. But right now I have to put him there because he's struggling. Next year, if we have Rios batting ninth we're in deep (bleep) once again.''
—Ozzie Guillen on outfielder Alex Rios, due some $60 million from the White Sox over the next five years.
Since the Blue Jays surprised the White Sox by handing over Rios and his lousy contract for the waiver price, Rios has hit .140 with a .153 on-base percentage and .215 slugging percentage. My previous entry pointed out how badly the Twins middle infielders have hit this year; Rios, as a White Sox, is making them look good.
Another take on Rios, this one from an unidentified scout for a National League team via the Chicago Tribune: "He's a teaser. He can get you fired."
Joe Mauer went 2-for-3 Tuesday, so over his last three games he's a mere 8-for-10. At this writing he leads the AL in batting average by 21 points over Ichiro Suzuki, in on-base percentage by 17 points over Kevin Youkilis, in slugging percentage by 40 points over Kendry Morales and in OPS by 61 points over Youkilis.
Following up on this afternoon's post about the Twins middle infield hitting: Nick Punto's 3-for-4 raised his batting average for the season over .230 for the first time since May 2.
And Orlando Cabrera had two hits, one a homer. On this day, the middle infield wasn't a drag.
Incidentally, when I wrote this afternoon's post, Punto had zero votes in my poll about which of the incumbents should be in the 2010 middle infield. Since then, there have been two added votes, both for Punto.
Cabrera, in Cleveland's big fourth inning — when the Tribe scored three runs — provided a good example of the difficulty of telling what's pitching and what's defense. With one out and a man on second, Jhonny Peralta hit a ground ball to the left on second base. Watching on TV, I thought: A perfect DP grounder. And then the ball rolled on into center field, Cabrera being nowhere near making a play on it.
I don't know what the deal was. Maybe Cabrera was playing Peralta to pull the ball. Maybe Cabrera, at age 34, doesn't have the range he once did. What I do know is that I've watched several hundred games, on the tube or in person, and I expected a ground ball hit in that location at that velocity to be fielded by a major league shortstop.
Bert Blyleven blamed Scott Baker for making a bad pitch; I blamed Cabrera for not making the play. I don't know that either of us can convince the other.
Rany Jazayerli's blog on the Kansas City Royals has a place on my blogroll, but he's shutting it down out of disgust with the K.C. organization. I'll leave it on the roll for now in case the winter eases Dr. Jazayerli's pain, but I suspect that eventually it will have to come down.