This was bound to happen someday to somebody: Kendry Morales, the Anaheim first baseman, hit a game-winning grand slam in the bottom of the 10th Saturday and jumped into the mass of teammates waiting at home plate to pummel him — and now he's out indefinitely with a fractured leg.
"It'll change the way we celebrate," promised Angels manager Mike Scoscia. Gee, ya think?
Back in April I posted the first of my "Ex-Twins watch" items with Carlos Silva as the subject. The portly pitcher had won his first three starts with the Cubs, and I figured I'd better get him in while the getting was good.
I could have waited. Silva is now 7-0 — the rest of the staff is 17-26 — and he's even striking hitters out. He had 11 K's Saturday in his seven shutout innings against St. Louis.
It isn't just the weaker National League competition either. Judging from the ESPN highlights, he's got more movement on his pitches — especially his favored two-seamer — than I recall from his Twins days.
A comment to my Saturday post on Nick Punto said in part:
I see a poor base runner. Getting picked off vs. the Yankees last season in the play-offs is his norm.
It's OK to think poorly of Nick Punto, but the emperical, measurable evidence on his baserunning couldn't be more different. According to Baseball Info Systems, Punto in 2009 made one baserunning out. (The BIS numbers are regular season only; the playoff blunder wasn't included.) The blunder vs. the Yankees isn't his "norm," it was merely memorable.
Punto rated as a plus 27 as a baserunner last season, the best on the team. Only 11 players in the majors rated higher. In 2008 (the first season from which BIS publishes its baserunning analysis) he was a plus 11 — not the best on the team, but still good.
There are legitimate criticisms to be made of Punto. But if you look at him and see a poor baserunner, you've been blinded by something.
(The BIS numbers, incidentally, were gleaned from the annual Bill James Handbook. And I urge you not to view "plus 27" as suggesting that Punto's baserunning gained 27 runs or 27 bases or 27 specific anythings, because I don't think BIS is saying that. Their formula incorporates a variety of percentages and league averages.)
The Twins on Monday begin a week-long swing to Seattle and Oakland, with most of the games starting too late for The Free Press to get into its print edition. As usual under such circumstances, I'll post photos and links to the box scores and game stories here.