I’m home. Well, that’s not technically true because I never lived here, in my mother’s place outside Chicago.
I’m here because she died. I can’t understand that. We never got to finish watching Kevin Costner’s movie about Shoeless Joe, though she did take the El with me down to see the White Sox in 2005, when the Yankees’ Shawn Chacon beat former and soon-to-be-again Yankee El Duque. She actually said aloud that she wished Mariano Rivera, her favorite player, had gotten to pitch. She knew about him because she loved me and baseball was the only thing besides fear of not going to work that could get me to stop sleeping back then when I was sick. So she watched Yankee games so that we could talk about them, and that’s how she learned about him. So I’m going to use this blog to steal away for a minute and talk about baseball. And the Dodgers, whom she and my dad took me to see so many times in LA, where she helped me dress up as Ron Cey for Halloween one year, and where I grew up until my Dad was transfered to the Chicago area just before Postseason of 1981, setting off 15 years of avoiding baseball, except a few games at Wrigley. And Brooklyn, where I work now, in the high school where Sandy Koufax played (Lafayette). And Jackie Robinson, who made that team what it is, and whose number is worn only by my mom’s favorite baseball player. Because, as Mark Gremse said so often “That’s baseball.”
But, on the surface, these are really just a few trivial lines about movie: WYIN – public television out of NW Indiana – is showing The Jackie Robinson Story (1950), which, as I just discovered, can be viewed on Google Video here.
Regular readers know I’m a softie for great lines from broadcasters. Here’s one from the movie, spoken right before Jackie steps to the plate in the 9th, with the Dodgers down by 1 and hoping to clinch the Pennant: “Brooklyn hearts have skipped more beats than an absent-minded policeman.”
Ed Randall on his radio show “Talking Baseball” mentioned this just before interviewing Bears manager Tim Raines, another former Yankee. MLBTradeRumors oonfirms:
How great to be able to go see Chacon pitch again in person — makes me think about how the Yankees could use him again now. After all, Derek Jeter stands behind his former teammate’s character, despite what Astros manager Wade said about the altercation.
Always thought Chacon got a raw deal from the Yanks. Of course his effectiveness had declined – He’d been pitching hurt (knee?), his start dates became irregular, and then rumors about moving him to the bullpen hung unresolved too long.
SHAWN CHACON Makes Houston’s Rotation!
“Chacon pitched five innings, allowing three hits and one run with four strikeouts in Houston’s 8-7 win over Atlanta.
“Astros general manager Cecil Cooper said after the game that the right-hander has ‘got to be 1 of the guys’ who will join ace Roy Oswalt in the rotation.” KLTV 7 (East Texas) 3-20-08“Chacon’s work in win over Braves earns spot in Astros’ rotation” (AP) http://www.kltv.com/Global/story.asp?S=8044019&nav=1TjF
“‘Chacon retired nine of his first 10 batters before allowing three hits in the fourth, and overall, he held the Braves to one run. After giving up five runs over three innings in his previous outing and rating it ‘G,’ for ‘garbage,’ the right-hander was considerably happier with this showing.
“‘That’s a lot better,’ Chacon said. ‘I just pounded the strike zone from the first inning. That’s the difference. I had a good changeup tonight, threw the breaking ball for strikes. I didn’t get as many ground balls as I’d like, but I’m not complaining at all.'” “Chacon throws himself into the rotation: Cooper says righty practically a lock after Wednesday’s outing” by Allyson Footer, MLB.com 3-19- 08 http://houston.astros.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20080319&content_id=2445882&vkey=spt2008news&fext=.jsp&c_id=hou
ZACK GREINKE Is Back, Shuts Down White Sox A-Team!
“The Royals…built leads of 5-1 and 6-2 behind Zack Greinke, who limited the White Sox to two runs and four hits in six innings. Greinke struck out six and walked one…
Greinke got stronger in each of his five spring starts. In all, he gave up 12 runs and 18 hits in 20 innings but just three runs and seven hits in his last 11 innings.
“‘I was a little worried at the start of spring training,’ he said. ‘I started off way worse than I ever imagined. The first game was horrible. I had no idea where anything was going or what it was going to do. I just felt lost out there.'”
“‘The last two outings, I’ve been really happy with how they’ve been.'” “Royals’ Day in Camp” by Bob Dutton 3-23-2008 http://www.kansascity.com/baseball/story/543682.html
SHAWN ESTES Wins in Relief!
- 2 scoreless hitless innings of 10, ending 3-2 over KC on 3-22!
Lefty tosses two scoreless, hitless innings with two K’s by Alan Esquew Special to MLB.com March 22, 2007 http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20080322&content_id=2452369&vkey=spt2008news&fext=.jsp&c_id=sd
- + 2 SO’s and 3 groundball outs! one walk.
- Was in Minors last year from 2006 Tommy John surgery
- “‘I’m getting more comfortable on the mound,’ Estes said. ‘I felt like I was going in the right direction today. My breaking ball was coming around. It’s hard to gauge after two innings, but I felt like I was throwing the ball a little bit better today.
“‘That was the hope all spring that I gradually got better. I didn’t feel like I would struggle this bad with my command, but I’m improving, making progress.'”
- “Padres manager Buddy Black liked what he saw of Estes against the Royals.
“‘Shawn threw well,’ Black said. ‘I liked Shawn’s sink on the fastball. He had some good running action and got some grounders. He ran it in on some lefties and away from righties. He looked good.’
“Black noted Estes hasn’t missed his turn in a game or throwing bullpen sessions. ‘So that’s a great sign for Shawn that he’s coming around physically,’ Black said.”
“‘It’s just a matter of fine-tuning some things, finding my release point more consistently, being more consistent with my mechanics, being more fluid,’ Estes said. ‘Now that I’m full strength, it’s like the first time I’ve picked up a baseball. When I get on the mound, I feel great at 80 to 85 percent, but when I get that extra 10 to 15 percent effort, things have been falling out of whack a little bit.
“I’t’s a matter of being able to throw and compete at full-strength again, mentally knowing that everything is fine, now throwing strikes. It’s just been different. It’s been difficult.'”
"It might be time for SHAWN CHACON [3.60 ERA] to
replace Tony Armas (11.57
ERA) in the rotation. (23)"
"20 – Innings pitched by SHAWN CHACON prior to last night’s game [on Tues. May 1], the most for any relief pitcher in the major leagues." — Jim Rodenbush
[What? More than Proctor?]
This will be a surprising stat to those who don’t follow Bucco Blog: take a wild guess who leads all pitchers on the Pirates staff on getting ground balls hit off them?
Shawn Chacon, who also has an amazing 95% strand rate.
And how about Jonah Bayliss with a startling high 79% of balls in play hit off him converted to an out.
You have to like the Pirates bullpen so far until you look at Salomon Torres who has allowed one in every four fly balls hit off him to go yard.
Of course, the stat won’t surprise those of us who loved watching Chacon strand man after man as a starting pitcher for the Yankees, even if he did load the bases first, just for fun! It seemed like his special tease for Torre, who turned positively green on the bench. No surprise he didn’t make the club the next year, I suppose, but I miss him. I’ll bet even Torre misses him now, with Mussina, Wang, and Pavano down.
As I remember, Chacon had quite a good record as a closer for Colorado a few years ago as well.
…yeah, yeah, yeah. We know.
This week’s Yeah, Yeah, Yeah Awards go to…
- David Wells (2-4, 4.71) Fri 9-14-06 5IP 2ER 1 BB
Wrap + Box Dodgers-3 Padres-2 Wells-L Maddux-W–19-19–4.22, Broxton-H-9-2.51, Saito-S-19-1.93
Wells pitched a beautiful game against the Dodgers, excepting the 4th inning, when he unravelled after surrendering an unheard-of — for him — walk. Unravelling — for him — nowadays means giving up 2 runs in 5 innings. Why just 5, I do not know. Fellow 40+ man Greg Maddux no-hit the Padres into the 7th, leaving Wells no offense to work with.
- Shawn Chacon (6-6, 6.49) Th 9-13-06 7IP 2ER 1BB
- Wrap + Box Milwaukee 2 @ Pittsburgh 1 Chacon-L Sheets-W–5-7–4.08, Cordero-S-18–3.61
Chacon drew a hand very similar to Wells’ when he lost 2-1 to the Brewers. Like Wells, his opposing pitcher — Ben Sheets in Chacon’s case — pitched a no-no deep into the game. Unlike Wells, he will receive less sympathy, despite his recent return from the DL for knee problems, like Wells, which, unlike Wells’, are unrepaired. Chacon is playing hurt — what he has is a publically-realeased diagnosis, better than he got from the Yankees, who gave him nothing but rumors, a demotion, and, in the end, a 1-way ticket to Pittsburgh.
Ed Eagle of MLB.com describes RHP Shawn Chacon as "hobbled."
l RHP Shawn Chacon will not make his scheduled start Monday
against Milwaukee because of soreness on the outside of his right knee.
Chacon had fluid drained from the knee and a cortisone shot prior to
Friday night’s game.
Chacon said he has been feeling pain on
and off in the knee throughout the season, and there was considerable
soreness after he lasted just 1 2/3 innings and allowed seven runs
Wednesday night in a 14-1 loss at Houston.
from the New York Yankees in a July 31 trade for Craig Wilson, said he
will likely need arthroscopic surgery at the end of the season to
remove torn cartilage.
"It’s a case where the doctors say I
can’t hurt it any worse if I continue pitching on it," Chacon said.
"I’d rather finish out the season than have surgery and miss the rest
of the season. It’s a situation where I’m just going to work to keep it
RHP Victor Santos, who has been working in long relief
for the past month after beginning the season in the starting rotation,
will likely start in Chacon’s place.
This would explain his poor second start for the Pirates, which was
a let-down after regular rest following his well-received win over
Atlanta the week before. I wonder how thoroughly the Yankees tracked
his DL-worthy leg contusion and any subsequent injury that might have
developed as he tried to pitch around it. Could it explain his
alternating spurts of near-brilliance and wild absence of control,
compounded of course by his irregular pitching assignments and
scheduling when he was a Yank. It comforts me to read even speculation
about a possible injury before his next start comes around.
Photo by Gene J. Krupar, AP Box Wrap (by David Briggs) New Pirate Shawn Chacon threw 45 of his 79 pitches for strikes in his debut, in which he held Atlanta to one run on three hits and four walks over five innings.
|PIRATES 3 BRAVES 2|
Pitches-strikes: Hudson 101-65, Paronto 8-5, Ray 20-13, Chacon 79-45, Grabow 18-11, Capps 11-8, Marte 3-3, Torres 1-1, Gonzalez 16-11.
Marte 0-0, Torres 0-1, Gonzalez 1-0.
Inherited runners-scored: Marte 1-0, Torres 1-0.
Shawn Chacon just nailed his first win for his new team, the Pittsburgh Pirates, holding the Atlanta Braves to just 1 run over 5 innings in which he pitched into and out of trouble, as is his wont. Batting against Tim Hudson, the Pirates were unlikely to produce too many runs, and it was therefore especially important to control the hitting by the Braves, who can be prolific with their scoring! I think Chacon responds to the pressure! Joe Torre, manager of his recent team the Yankees, did not enjoy the anxiety. Imagine if Steve Trachsel were on the Yanks’ rotation, as I have often wished he were!
I can’t even tell you the last time Chacon started a game on normal 5-day rest. The last time he stayed in a game long enough to qualify for a win, he lost, 3-2 to the Marlins, on 6 days’ rest on June 24th. He had started the game the night before but stopped due to postponement for rain. The next evening, the Marlins changed pitchers, but not the Yankees, who also did not muster enough runs to keep him from being penalized for allowing 3 runs. Penalized? Yes, penalized. They announced that his next start would be skipped, insulting him and virtually ensuring a poor start, as 8 days would pass before he would pitch next. Predictably, he pitched poorly, was pulled early, and was demoted to the bullpen. (As I have often said, the bullpen is a demotion only if it is not where you started or not where you want to be.) Relief appearances were spotty, with the exception of an impossible Underdog-like save-the-day bases-loaded no-outs performance recently in Texas. See what I mean? I think he likes pressure! Anyone who cared to keep Chacon on staff and productive would have studied his record on the Rockies, where he, too, had spotty times, but excelled as both a starter and a reliever under one very identifiable condition: a regular assignment with predictable workdays. Thus, he saved 35 games for the Rockies in 2004. It says a lot that the Yankees did not look to him for 9th inning pitching on days they were not using Mariano Rivera. Pardon the pun, please, but it looks like he was set-up, man. In fact, the way the Yankees spread his starts farther and farther apart, leading to irregular bullpen work and trading rumors is what we at Sophie’s call "dirty pool." Different sport, same idea.
I hope Pittsburgh manager Jim Tracy is as welcoming as he has sounded. Perhaps Chacon and Xavier Nady — just traded from the Mets — will find appreciative niches as Pirates. In the meantime, go Pirates!
In today’s article by Mark Feinsand, you can find out more about our new extra first baseman — who split his time in right field — who has replaced Shawn Chacon. Excerpted, here is the winning record he put together, despite significant DL time and no rehab starts:
"Chacon went 7-3 with a 2.85 ERA in 14 games (12 starts) for the Yankees last season, helping lead New York to an eighth consecutive American League East title. This year, Chacon was penciled in as the Yankees’ fourth starter, but he went 4-3 with a 6.58 ERA in 11 starts before being yanked from the rotation.
In six relief outings, Chacon is 1-0 with a 9.00 ERA, making him 5-3 with a 7.00 ERA for the season. He had a memorable outing last Wednesday, escaping a no-outs, bases-loaded jam against Texas without allowing a run."
Let me get this right. Despite pitching with an undiagnosed injury, despite spending significant time on the disabled list, and despite apparently not meriting a rehab start or two in the minors, Chacon builds a winning record in both starts and relief appearances this year. Despite his winning records as both a starter and reliever in a year of injury, and despite his consistent excellence which undeniably made the postseason feasible last season, and despite his youth and future — rare qualities on the Yankee rotation — and despite the Yankees’ desperation for pitching, we traded a WINNING PITCHER for a position player who isn’t even injured? Andy Phillips and Jason Giambi are healthy at first base. We just traded for Bobby Abreu who will play right field. Aaron Guiel has been astonishing off the bench and in right field, but we sent him down to Columbus and brought in Craig Wilson? Nothing against Wilson, but…
…Is this about Joe Torre? Is this about his ulcer? (Does he have an ulcer or just look like he does?) You remember that quote, right? Something to the effect that he didn’t enjoy watching Chacon pitch because he loads the bases, etc. Oh, sure, it was great last August, when Chacon was new and "unflappable," or something like that, but this year sounds like it’s all about Joe’s stomach lining.
"He’s the best .233 hitter I’ve ever seen."
About whom did WCBS radio’s John Sterling say this? He said it today, Sat. 7-29-06 during the Yankees-Devil Rays game. The same player had completed 11/12 stolen bases at that point.
Answer: Miguel Cairo