Monday, May 25, 2009

Notes from a weekend

* NUN Jamie Hoffmann got a start Sunday and did something with it — a homer for his first major league hit, a double and four RBIs.

He also reportedly popped teammate Orlando Hudson in the head with his elbow.

And while I'm on the topic — when I posted upon his call-up last week that Baseball America didn't think highly enough of him to put him in the prospect book, I was wrong. I had the 2008 edition in front of me at the time. The 2009 edition ranks him as the Dodgers' 22nd prospect: 

Hoffmann can play all three outfield positions — center field capably ... (he) remains one of the Dodgers' best defensive outfielders. Mostly a gap hitter, he has some power but has an open stance and sometimes loses his timing in his swing. ... If he learns to hit lefthanders with more authority — he has just 21 extra-base hits and three homers off lefthanders the last four full seasons— he could hit enough to be a regular. 

That kind of reverse platoon split over a period of years  is exceedingly rare. Sure enough, his homer came off a righthander (Matt Palmer) but the double came of a lefty (Darren Oliver.)

* I caught a bit of the Cubs-Padres game Sunday afternoon, just enough to see a questionable decision by Cubs manager Lou Piniella. 

Bottom of the sixth inning, scoreless game. The Padres have one out and men on second and third and Josh Wilson, backup infielder hitting under .2oo, up with the pitcher, Chris Young, to follow. Sweet Lou has Wilson walked intentionally, apparently with the notion of setting up the double play, to bring up Chris Young — hitting, according to WGN, .294 at the time. Young promptly smacks a two-run single with his second hit of the game.

Just to make matters worse, David Eckstein followed with a suicide squeeze bunt that Cubs pitcher Ted Lilly threw to the backstop in a misbegotten attempt on Wilson. 

Piniella isn't near the top of managers at issuing intentional walks, according to Baseball Info Systems, but he's had seasons in which the IBB has frequently made matters worse for him. If he walks the No. 8 hitter frequently, it ought to.

* Sunday's Mauer HBP was an odd one — not because the ump changed the call (I know of at least two World Series games that turned on a ump reversing a HBP call) but because the ump apparently didn't change the call immediately upon seeing the evidence. 

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