Jun 25, 2008
Indeed he has been pitching well. It has been great to see. There were a couple of times early in the season where Ryan's ERA blew out a little bit, but he has been very, very steady in recent weeks, even bouncing back after giving up a few homers like he did against Dan Uggla the other day.
In bad news, poor old Chris Snelling has busted his knee up. Apparently he has suffered a 'serious left knee injury' and will undergo an MRI next week. That bites. Snello cant take a trick this year. When he was first called up to the bigs, he smacked a homer, then hurt his leg. Then he recovered and went to rehab, and was called up again. He smacked a few hits, and boasted a 2.000 OPS, but was sent back to AAA because there was no room on the Phillies roster for him. And now he has hurt his knee. We can only hope that it is nothing major, and that he will be back in action soon. It must be pretty demoralising for the poor bloke. Our thoughts are with you Chris!
Jun 23, 2008
- Grant Balfour continued his good form, striking out 4 over 2 innings, but the Rays went down to the Astros
- Ryan Rowland-Smith gave up 3 hits and 2 runs over his one inning of work today. He struck out two, but gave up a homer to Mark Teixeira, as the Braves beat the M's 8-3.
Justin Huber has begun playing at Triple-A Portland. Yesterday he was 1-for-3 with a walk. Today he was 0-for-4, with three strikeouts.
Jun 21, 2008
Seattle's starting pitcher - Erik Bedard - actually had a pretty good outing today. He only gave up 2 hits, and 0 runs over 3 innings. But then he had to leave the game with a dodgy back. The Mariners put Roy Corcoran in the 4th. He gave up 1 run. He came out in the 5th and gave up a hit, before getting one out on a sac bunt, putting a runner in scoring position. The Braves were up 1-0 at this point.
Rowland-Smith came in and blanked the Braves for 1.2 digs. He gave up no hits, one walk and struck out one. He retired some dangerous hitters including Chipper Jones, Yunel Escobar and Brian McCann. The Mariners hitters tied things up in the top of the sixth, and smacked three runs in the top of the seventh, as they
- The Tri-City Herald has a short article about the biggest transition Ryan Rowland-Smith had moving from Australian baseball to the big league US game.
- TBO.com is reporting that Grant Balfour's clutch pitching and strikout of Aramis Ramirez on Wednesday (Aus time) played a crucial role in the scheme of the match.
Jun 20, 2008
The Tampa Bay Rays are now 43-29 (.597), and sitting pretty in the AL wildcard race. Their success this year has been based on a tight defensive unit, and an outstanding bullpen. While he started the year in the Minors, Grant Balfour has really cemented his place in the Rays' pen since his call up on 30 May.
Balfour earned 2 wins in his 2 appearances for the Rays late this week against the NL-leading Cubs. On Wednesday he pitched in the very exciting, very close series opener. Rays' starter Scott Kazmir went 4.2 innings, giving up only 3 hits and 1 run. While he was economical, he was not efficient, throwing more than 100 pitches over that time. He got a bit loose in the 5th, which was when he gave up the 1 - tying - run. With 2 outs, loaded bases, and the usually dangerous Aramis Ramirez on deck, the Rays called in Balfour to get out of a jam.
Balfour did not muck about. He threw five 95mph fastballs to Ramirez. While he missed with a couple, the one he threw on the 2-2 count made Ramirez look ordinary. It tailed in beautifully across the plate, and Aramis turned to the ump knowing he was out looking. Grant worked quickly through the 6th, retiring the side on a grounder and two fly outs. He was removed from the game at the top of the 7th, after the Ryas scored the go ahead run in the bottom of the 6th - courtesy of a homer to Evan Longoria. Balf took the win, and totook his ERA to 2.08.
Balfour also took the win for the Rays today as they swept the Cubs. Rays' starter James Shields had a good outing, striking out 9 over 6.1 innings. He ran into trouble in the 7th though, and with runners on 2 and 3, the Rays turned to Trever Miller to tidy up the final two outs. He didnt though, and he gave up another run when Kosuke Fukudome smacked a double. Time for Balfour to come in and get out of the dig without any more damage. He wasnt able to do so today though, as he gave up a one-run single to Ryan Theriot, who then advanced to 2nd on a throwing error, to put runners on 2 and 3. Balfour bounced back, striking out Derrek Lee before getting Aramis Ramirez to fly out. At the middle of the 7th, the Cubs were up 3-1.
The Rays came out and pounded the Cubs in the bottom of the 7th, scoring 7 runs, to take the lead 8-3. Balfour found his rhythm again in the top of the 8th, retiring the side, - including strikeouts against Micah Hoffpauir and Mark De Rosa - on 14 pitches. The Rays went on to win 8-3, and Balf took the win. His ERA got below the 2.00 mark - down to 1.74.
Unlike the Rays, Ryan Rowland-Smith's Mariners are struggling. They just sacked their GM, and their manager, and they have under-performed all year. That said, Rowland-Smith has been pitching pretty well.
Following a bizarre turn of events on Tuesday, the Mariners turned to Rowland-Smith to calm things down. In the 5th inning, with one out, and with runners at the corners, Mariners starter induced a grounder from the Marlins' rightfielder Jeremy Hermida. The Mariners went to roll the double, and in a bang-bang call at first, the ump gave Hermida safe, meaning the run from third scored. Silva blew up, and got himself ejected.
Cold as a spud, Ryan Rowland-Smith came in to take over the pitching duties. He walked Jorge Cantu, before striking out Mike Jacobs looking. In the top of the 6th, RRS gave up a single to Dan Uggla, before getting Luis Gonzalez to pop out. Wes Helms then hit a single to left, advancing Uggla to third. Cody Ross then hit a sac fly to left, scoring Uggla, before RRS struck out Matt Treanor to end the inning. Rowland-Smith was removed in the top of the 7th. His figures were 1.1 IP, 2 hits, 1 run, 1 walk and 2 strikouts.
On Thursday, Rowland-Smith was called on to clean up after RA Dickey lost the plot again. It was not Rowland-Smith's best outing. He gave up 3 walks and 2 hits, including a 2 run shot to Dan Uggla. His line for the day was 2.1 IP, 2 hits, 2 runs, 3 walks, 2 strikeouts, and his season ERA went up to 2.65. The Mariners ended up losing 8-3 (despite outhitting the Marlins 13-11; between the Mariners hitters they left 25 runners on base - eek).
It will be interesting to see if or how Rowland-Smith's role may or may not change given the changes in the Mariners' leadership this week.
Jun 19, 2008
Jun 18, 2008
Jun 16, 2008
2. Meat substitute:Sandwiches, with or without cheese.
3. Vegemite shake: Mix it with milk, shake it up.
4. This is nuts: Mix it with walnuts and again have it in a sandwich.
5. Smile when you eat: As entertainment value. Serve it to Americans and watch their reactions. It is always good for a laugh.
- Adam Bright is pitching pretty well in the Double-A Texas League for the Tulsa Drillers; posting a 1.78 ERA over 25.1 innings pitched, striking out 20, while walking only 5.
- Brendan Wise has earned a callup to Double-A ball, after having moderate success in Class-A Advanced ball. While in Class A-Advanced, he posted a 1-3 record over 21.1 innings, with a 4.64 ERA. He was promoted to Double-A at the Erie SeaWolves in late May. Since then, he has pitched 9.2 innings, giving up 9 hits and 3 walks, while striking out 4, for an ERA of 2.79.
- Chris Snelling has wasted no time since his return to AAA ball. In his 4 games since landing back in Lehigh Valley, he has gone 5-from-14 (.357) and has also earned a walk. He hasnt produced too many runs or RBIs, but if he keeps hitting like this it should only be a matter of time.
- David Welch has won 6 of his last 10 appearances, taking his record to 8-1, 3.21 ERA and 44 strikeouts over 81.1 innings pitched
Huber is doing all he can to maintain his spot on the Padres roster. He played yesterday, in a game which he was not supposed to. Originally, Scott Hairston was to be the starting leftfielder, but he hyperextended his elbow during batting practice. Huber was there, ready as ever, to step up to the mark.
Huber started the game in left, and went 2-for-2. In his first at-bat, in the top of the third, he crushed a solo homerun to leftfield. Check it out on MLB Gameday. In the 5th inning he slapped a single to center, advancing Khalil Greene to scoring position on second. Greene then scored on a Jody Gerut single. Huber was pinch hit for in the seventh. His replacement, Paul MacAnulty, went 0-for-2 with a strikeout. Huber's contributions were vital, as the Padres had got behind early in the game. His homerun, and his later hit got the Padres in position to tie things up at 3-a-piece. Kevin Kouzmanoff sealed the game in extra innings with a grandslam homer, to put the Pads up 8-3.
Today, Huber had another game, with Hairston still out resting. Whether it was through recognition of his good form, or through a bit of luck due to other injuries in the Padres' lineup, Huber was promoted in the lineup, batting at 6. Today was not as good as yesterday, with Justin striking out 3 times, but he did manage to crack an RBI double to score one of the Padres 3 runs. You can see his shot down the left field line of Indians ace CC Sabathia at MLB Gameday.
So he is certainly not going down without a fight. In the 10 games he has appeared in since 30 May, Huber is 8-for-22 (.364 avg), with 1 homerun and 5 RBI. He is being given a real run for it by the other outfielder likely to lose out in the Chase Headley affair, Paul McAnulty. Over the same period, McAnulty is 8-for-24 (.333), with 3 RBIs. However, McAnulty injured his back today, and may need some time to recover.
In other Aussie MLB news, Grant Balfour pitched 2 innings today in Tampa Bay's 9-3 loss to Florida. He was the only Rays' pitcher not to yield a run. He faced 7 batters, striking out 4 and allowing 1 walk.
Jun 14, 2008
...had a pinch hit at bat yesterday for the Padres, in their 9-0 pounding of the Dodgers. He lined out to right field with 2 out and noone on in the 6th inning. The Padres started their interleague series in Cleveland today, with Tony Clark filling the role as DH. Having a DH means a lot less chances for pinch hitting; however I reckon Huber will get a start in the next two days, as the Padres meet more left handed Indians pitchers.
...did a bloody outstanding job today as the Mariners clean up guy. Seattle's reliever-turned-starter, knuckleballer RA Dickey got smashed by the Washington Nationals. Dickey gave up 8 hits and 7 runs over 1.2 innings, before John McLaren had seen enough and called for Rowland-Smith to mop up the mess.
After Dickey had allowed 6 runs in the second inning, and only managed two outs, Rowland-Smith came in to face Felipe Lopez, with a runner on second. He drew a grounder to second on his first pitch to put an end to the bloodshed, and that was the end of the runscoring for the Nationals.
In the third, Rowland-Smith had Wily Mo Pena fly out to center on a 1-0 fastball. He then walked Willie Harris on 5 pitches, before getting Cristian Guzman to fly out to center on a 1-0 fastball and then having Elijah Dukes fly out to right on a 3-1 fastball.
The Nationals continued to show some pretty poor plate discipline, and Rowland-Smith had Lastings Milledge ground out to second on a 1-0 fastball; Dmitri Young struck out on 3 pitches, wiffing at an 80mph changeup. Jesus Flores then flew out to right on a 1-1 changeup.
In the fifth, Rowland-Smith battled with Ronnie Belliard for 9 pitches but gave up a walk. Felipe Lopez then popped up to the catcher on a 1-2 changeup. He then finished the inning by getting Wily Mo Pena to ground into a force out to get Belliard out at 2, and had Willie Harris ground out.
RRS's line for the day: 3.1 IP, 0 hits, 0 runs, 2 walks and 1 strikeout. His ERA is now down to 2.08. He has not given up an earned run in his last 10 starts.
... has maintained his spot in the Rays' pen. There was some concern that when Rays closer Troy Percival came off the DL, that Balfour could end up back at AAA Durham. A week ago, Balfour said:
It's a waste of time to worry about. I've got no say-so. They're going to do
what they're going to do. If they want to keep me here, they're going to try and
maneuver me around to keep me here. If they don't want to, they're going to let
me go, I guess. I really want to be here. But I have no control over it. I just
have to go out there and pitch well and make the decision hard for them
However, the Rays were spared any difficult choices, by an injury to another reliever - Al Reyes. Reyes has tendinitis in his throwing shoulder, and was put on the DL the same day Percival returned, meaning Balfour's spot is secure for now.
Jun 13, 2008
For a great read about Mitchinson's success this year, and the long road to pro-ball in the US, check out this article from the Kane County Chronicle (thanks to MLB's The Pitch for finding this one).
Jun 12, 2008
Phil Stockman got a pitch in Atlanta's game against the Cubs. He came in during the third inning, and pitched 2 innings. He gave up 1 hit and 2 walks, but also struck out 2. The Braves lost 7-2.
His record for the year is now 13 games, 8-1, 3,11 ERA, 75.1 IP, 70 hits 27 walks and 38 strikeouts. These efforts were enough to earn him the Minor League Pitcher of the Week award from MILB.com.
Jun 11, 2008
...got a bit of work as a one out guy for the Braves when they met the Cubs. And he did his job well. With two out in the bototm of the 8th, and after giving up 4 runs, the Braves tossed the ball to Phil to end the inning. He faced Kosuke Fukudome and did a might fine job of striking him out. Stockman's first three pitches were fastballs in the low 90s. He missed with the first, but got called strikes on the second two, hitting the outside corner. He then plopped in a 78mph curve on the outside corner for a swinging strike three. That's a good 12-15mph less than the fastballs and damn hard to hit in that situation. That ended the inning, and Stockman was not required in the 9th, as the Braves were unable to meet the Cubs 10-5 lead.
...started today for the Padres as they faced the Mets and their hot rookie Clayton Kershaw. Huber did some good things, and some bad things. The good: he took his average up to .222 by going 1-for-2 with a line drive single to right field. He also played an important role in scoring one of the Padres' 2 runs. In the 6th inning, with 1 out and with runners on 1 and 2, Huber laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt to move the runners around. One of the runners went on to score.
The bad: in the top of the 7th inning, a regulation fly ball went to left centre field. Im not sure what actually happened, whether Huber lost it in the lights, or thought Hairston was gonna catch it, or what, but what should have been a catch dropped down for a base hit. It was not charged as an error, but it cost the Padres, as it was part of a rally that saw the Dodgers score 4 runs. Huber was pinch hit for later in the game when RHP and general big unit Johnathon Broxton was brought in for the Dodgers.
Snelling might be able to get a few good outcomes from the assignment. By going back to Lehigh Valley, he should be able to assume a senior position within the clubhouse and really develop the other outfielders in the team. The Pigs are 23-43 at the moment, and are 16.5 games off the lead. Things need a bit of work. If Snelling can exert a bit of energy, enthusiasm and improvement at Lehigh Valley, he will improve his sell- or trade-ability. The other option is that he will get some more time at the Phillies; either due to injury, or a late season callup when the rosters expand.
For now, we wish Chris well for his time back at the Pigs. Stay tuned for updates on his progress.
Jun 9, 2008
Grant Balfour pitched in the Rays' loss to the Rangers. He came into the game in the bottom of the 8th with one out and a runner on first. He battled Frank Catalanotto, throwing a couple of pickoff attempts on the way to walking him on 6 pitches. He was steady in the mid-90s against the next batter, David Murphy, and struck him out swinging on a 2-2 fastball. Balfour really pitched around Ranger's DH Milton Bradley, who is hitting .340 this year. He walked him on four pitches to load the bases and come up against Brandon Boggs. He again hit the mid-90s on his fastball, as he struck him out looking at a 2-2 fastball.
Justin Huber did himself a favour today, picking up a pinch hit single as the Padres swept the Mets. In the 4th inning Khalil Greene led off with a single, and was then out as Luke Carlin grounded into a force out at two, leaving Carlin on one. Huber came in to pinch hit and, after taking the first pitch for a strike, he kept things moving along by slapping a single to left field, moving Carlin over to second. Jody Gerut then hit a single to centre, scoring Carlin. Huber ended up being left on base. The Padres went on to win 8-6 on the back of a pinch hit homer from Tony Clark (at last), and Huber took his average back over .200; to .212.
Both the Mets and the Mariners have underperformed this year, with the Mariners struggling at the bottom of the AL West - 16.5 games behind the Angels, and the Mets 4th out of 5 in the NL East, 7.5 games behind the Phillies. Its probably no coincedence then that these teams have been mentioned as probable signers for Snelling. I think that surely either of these teams would be better options for Snelling than AAA Lehigh Valley, who have stank all year. But I guess it depends a bit on the money and the opportunities. Snelling is still quite young at 26, so he has plenty of time up his sleeve.
Jun 8, 2008
...Phil Stockman. Phil had one of the shortest ever stints in AAA. As reported on Tuesday, Stockman was optioned back to Richmond to make room for John Smoltz on the Braves MLB roster. However, within 48 hours, he was recalled to the Braves squad, as Smoltz faced season-ending surgery.
Stockman had rushed to Durham by Wednesday (Aus time) to join Richmond's game against the bulls. During the second inning he found out he had been called back up:
"Everyone was laughing when I came into the dugout ... and I said, 'Is this a joke or what?' I'd never heard of this," Stockman said.
Stockman got a few days rest with Atlanta before pitching today in their loss to the Phillies. He came into the game with one out in the top of the ninth, with the Phillies up 8-2. Stockman faced the 2-3-4 hitters in the Philly lineup: in-form Shane Victorino, NL-RBI leader Chase Utley, and power man Ryan Howard. He got Victorino to fly out to left field, and then hit Utley with his first pitch (which is probably not a bad idea the way Utley has been hitting). He then finished the inning by getting Ryan Howard to pop up to shortstop. The Braves were unable to overcome the 6-run lead, and lost 8-2.
(Kind of) A hero one day, sent packing the next
...As Phil Stockman was having his adventure to Durham and back earlier in the week, Chris Snelling was being re-activated on the Phillies' roster. He was expected to play a role in the Phillies' series against the Reds, who boast a strong right handed rotation but he did not end up making an appearance. It was not until the 10th inning of the Phils' game against the Braves yesterday (Fri in the US) that Chris got the chance to makean impact, and make an impact he certainly did.
With the game tied at 2-2, Snelling came in to pinch hit in the leadoff spot in the top of the 10th. It was a quality at-bat from Chris: he took the first four pitches, 3 balls and a strike, all of them mid-90s fastballs. With a 3-1 count he smacked the 5th fastball for a double to centerfield (you can watch the hit here). Much like his leadoff homerun against the Astros back in April, Snello's hit sparked a bit of a rally from the Phillies. His hit was overshadowed by the feats of Shane Victorino - who went on to hit a triple that scored the pinch runner So Taguchi, and then threw out the winning run at the plate to end the game - but it was an indication that Snelling can make big league impact.
After Friday's (yesterday in Aus) game, Snelling boasted a .500 average and a 1.500 slugging % in the majors this year - mind you he only had 4 at bats :). However, he now find himself being designated for assignment and optioned back to AAA Lehigh Valley. The Philadelphia Inquirer is reporting that the Phillies' Jayson Werth has returned from the DL, which means that room needs to be made on the roster to accommodate him. The loser in the piece is Snelling. Philadelphia skipper Charlie Manuel said: "He can hit, he's got a good swing. He works hard at his hitting. But the way it sets up, it's hard to keep him....If we can find the room, he's definitely a guy we'd consider keeping around to hit". You can read some fan comments on this news here and here.
Snelling can become a free agent if he doesnt accept his assignment to Lehigh Valley, but there doesnt seem to be any immediate contenders to sign him up. He has three days to decide what to do, and the Inquirer reckons that because he is signed to a $450,000 contract, he will accept it. Stay tuned for more as it happens (or as is the case today, a few days after:) ).
Huber getting lots of game time, not many results
... Justin Huber started for the Padres on Thursday (Wed in US) as they played the Cubs. He also started the Padres last two games against the Mets (Saturday and Sunday here) Friday/Sat in US), with their left handed starters Johan Santana and Oliver Perez. The Padres have won 4 in a row in this time, which is a good thing, and Huber has done some good things, but his average has dropped below .200 again, and he made a pretty dodgy defensive play today.
On Thursday the Padres broke the Cubs 9-game winning streak. It was a good pitching performance from Greg Maddux, and a closely fought game. Huber started the game in left and got off on the right foot, taking a screamer off the bat of Jim Edmonds in the 2nd inning, to rob him of a base hit (you can check out the catch on MLB Gameday. He followed this up with a 2-2 line drive single to right field in the bottom of the second, before striking out to end the 4th inning. In the sixth inning he got a hold of one to deep center, that would have probably been a homer at many other fields. However, Jim Edmonds returned the favour, showing pace that was nowhere to be seen during his time with the Pads earlier this year, to rob Huber of an XBH in front of the 400 sign and end the inning.
Batting 7th for the Padres is a tough gig at the moment, with strikeout king Khalil Greene hitting at 6, and Kevin Kouzmanoff being a bit hit or miss, the 7 hitter is often under a bit of pressure with 2 outs on the board already.
Up against the Mets' ace Johan Santana yesterday, Huber went 0-for-3, with 1 strikeout. He followed that up today by going 0-for-2, although he did drive the ball pretty hard. The bad news out of today was a bad defensive play. Huber took a catch in shallowish left field, and the runner on third tagged up, looking to score. Huber unleashed a throw , but put it halfway up the first base line, giving the runner clear passage. Again you can see this play on MLB Gameday. The look on Bud Black's face says it all: he was not impressed:
Bud Black looks on after Huber's bad throw allows a run
These latest games, and the impending interleague play have sparked more discussion about what will happen with the Padres' roster, check out some of the comments from the Ducksnorts in game discussion thread for today.
Rowland-Smith and Balfour continue to feature
Following from the big Red Sox vs Rays bench clearing incident on Friday (Thursday in the US), the Rays' starter James Shields was ejected for hitting Coco Crisp with a pitch, and just missing with a right hook! Grant Balfour showed a bit of versatility, coming on for a bit of long relief. He pitched 2.1 innings, and allowed 2 hits, 1 walk, and 2 runs, while getting one strikeout (against the never-easy to get out Manny Ramirez; who he beat with a 96mph as the 9th pitch of the at-bat). He avoided copping the loss, as Shields had allowed 4 runs in the first.
The brawl was easily better than the Mariner's stoush with the Rangers earlier this year, and is worth watching. It resulted in a few suspensions, including Shields for the Rays.
After the game, Balfour spoke about the Rays pitching staff's commitment to stepping up while the suspensions are in affect, as the Rays continue their 9 game road trip: "We're going to do whatever it takes to go after [the Rangers]", he said. You can read the full article here.
Meanwhile, Ryan Rowland-Smith has pitched in a couple of non-save situations against the Red Sox today and yesterday. I remember reading someone saying that they think Rowland-Smith gets better after his first 20 or so pitches. His outings over the last two days support the idea, as he gave up early hits, before coming back strong.
Yesterday, Rowland-Smith came into wrap things up in the bottom of the 9th, with the Mariners up 8-0. He got to 2-2 with Sean Casey, who then smacked a double to centre. Rowland-Smith then shut the gate, getting Jason Varitek to pop out in foul territory; striking out Brandon Moss, and getting Julio Lugo to ground out to third.
Today, Rowland-Smith came into the game with one out in the bottom of the 8th. The Mariners' were trailing 10-3, and there was a runner on third. He faced Kevin Youkilis first, and gave up a double which scored the run. Like he did yesterday though, Ryan really tightened things up. He got Brandon Moss to pop out to short, and had Kevin Cash strikeout swinging to end the inning. The Mariners were unable to change the score in the top of the ninth, and the game ended with the M's losing 11-3.
Rowland-Smith is going alright, he has now appeared in 25 games, pitching 27 innings. His ERA is now a very respectable 2.33, he has 2 saves from 3 opportunities, he has struck out 21, and his WHIP is also very respectable at 1.18. He has shown some good consistency lately, and hopefully will continue to be effective as we head towards the middle of the season.
Jun 4, 2008
Jun 3, 2008
It was a shaky return for Smoltz, who blew a save opportunity. He was saved by a tenth inning homer from Yunel Escobar, which avoided the loss.
Herald-Tribune.com has a podcast/webstream available of what sounds like a press conference at which Grant Balfour talks about his call up. You can check it out here.
Jun 2, 2008
Stay tuned for more news as it happens
2 hits in his third game back reads pretty good I suppose. But, he has now played 4 games, and has only 4 hits, averaging .143. He has drawn a few walks though, but has struck out twice as well. Either way, it seems unlikely that he would secure much of a role in the Phillies major league squad anyway, as the injured Phillies whose time on the DL led to his call-up have all rejoined the squad. So really, it seems more a matter of what level within the Phillies organisation Snelling will end up at.
...has now made two appearances with the Tampa Bay Rays, and has shown some real versatility. On Sunday (Sat in the US), Balfour made his first MLB appearance for the year, and picked up the save in the Rays' 2-0 win over the White Sox. He came into the game with 2 on and 2 out in the bottom of the ninth. He faced White Sox centrefielder Brian Anderson. He started him off with an 88mph slider for a ball and then hammered in a 96mph fastball to draw a fly out to shallow centrefield and pick up the save.
Today, Balfour showed his versatility, operating in relief when Rays Starter Andy Sonnanstine struggled. Balfour came in with 2 out and a runner on second in the 6th inning. He pitched 1.1 innings, giving up a double to Jim Thome, and striking out three. 16 of his 22 pitches were strikes, which ought to have pleased Rays' manager Joe Maddon.
...finally got in a bit of a rhythm, making two appearances in two days!!! UNBELIEVABLE i know. After recovering from his back spasms from earlier in the week, Huber played an important role in the Padres' 13 inning win over the San Francisco Giants on Saturday (Fri in the US). Huber pinch hit for new Padres pitcher Cha Seung Baek (who was previously working alongside Ryan Rowland-Smith in the Mariners pen), in the top of the 13th inning. With loaded bases, and 2 out, Huber worked a full count before smacking a single to centrefield, scoring 2 runs. The Padres had already scored two runs earlier that inning, to take a 5-3 lead, but Huber's single resulted in quite an insurmountable lead. You can check it out on MLB Gameday. Its worth checking out, as the footage shows some good shots of Huber's swing. He even gets a wrap for his quality at bat from the commentators! Good stuff
Huber also played yesterday, getting the start and playing the whole game!!! Huber played in left and hit in the 7 hole. He - like the rest of the Padres - was off to a flyer, hitting a double in the first inning to drive in a run. Again, you can check it out on MLB Gameday, and you will find it was a monster of a hit to left centre. Huber ended up going 1-for-3, with a hit by pitch. This lifted his average back over .200 to .209.
Compared to other Padres players, Huber seems to be making the most of his opportunities. Im sure it is not any sort of official stat, and any stat geeks out there would probably crucify me, but looking at the number of RBIs per at bat, Huber has 6 RBIs from 43 at bats, which works out at an average of 0.14 RBI per at bat. Compared to some of his competitors, he fares pretty well. Paul McAnulty has 7 RBI from 88 ABs, for 0.08 RBI per at bat, and Jody Gerut has 6 from 83 for 0.07. Even starting leftfielder Scott Hairston only has 15 RBIs, from 171 ABs (0.09 RBI per at bat). These figures are probably more a reflection of the Padres overall hitting woes, rather than individual performances, but i think it shows that Huber is putting in when it counts.