Avast Ye, Matey
Did you see Matt Capps of the Pirates, after Friday Night’s meltdown, warming up before last night’s tilt with the Rockies?
He was wearing a blindfold over his left eye.
Admittedly it was a white sleeve or sock, and it was over the wrong eye, but otherwise it was a mirror image of the Pirates’ old logo (not the ’90s one that appeared to show The Soup Nazi from ’Seinfeld.’). And as pitching coach Joe Kerrigan stood next to him, it looked like the Pittsburgh closer had lost a bet, or was trying to do his impression of the late Eddie Feigner from the softball team “The King And His Court,” and couldn’t quite do the whole handkerchief-over-both-eyes-while-pitching trick.
“Capps was turning his head, over-rotating towards 3rd Base, causing his front shoulder to point behind the righthanders’ batter’s box,” Kerrigan tells me by e-mail from Pittsburgh. “You put a patch over his left eye, so his right eye can see the target, hence he can’t overturn. Simple playground stuff.”
Capps and Kerrigan, according to the Pirates’ game broadcast Saturday night, were also looking at tape of the reliever’s salad days of 2007 and the comparisons to this season are not happy ones. His arm has been well behind his body – he’s expending his energy long before his arm is fully extended and he’s ready to release the ball. Kerrigan apparently diagnosed the problem as he described in the e-mail — over-rotation — and came up with the simple solution for a bullpen session (the out-of-synch release might also explain Capps’ elbow bruising and discomfort).
Unfortunately I don’t think Capps can use it in a game.
HOW ABOUT USING GAMEL IN A GAME?
Did the Brewers really call up one of the game’s top two or three power prospects so he could sit behind the bench for a week, get some DH work during inter-league, and then send him back down?
Third Baseman Mat Gamel was summoned Wednesday from Nashville and entering play today had gotten exactly one at bat. Even when Rickie Weeks took himself out of this afternoon’s game with soreness in his wrist, the Brewers simply moved Craig Counsell from third to second, and inserted Bill Hall at third.
Milwaukee started the day with the second best record in the NL, Counsell has been hot lately, and Ken Macha and Doug Melvin have done a lot more managing and general managing than I have, but the week’s inactivity makes no sense, not in a division as competitive and seemingly as balanced as the Central. The Brewers say they want to treat him more like Prince Fielder in 2005 than Ryan Braun in 2007 but that may not be a luxury they can afford. Gamel is either a vital component (if he can improve to bare-minimum status defensively at third), or a wonderful trading chip (if he can’t, and he has to become a corner outfielder, first baseman, or DH, none of which Milwaukee needs).
Why just have him sit around?
In short, play him (at Milwaukee or Nashville), or trade him!
I wondered about the Gamel thing too. He’s been raking at the plate here in Nashville, but he’s also made a ton of errors at third so I was surprised to see him called up so soon. I figure it has to be some kind of trade bait – maybe for some pitching help a la Laporta last season.
Rickie Weeks being out for the rest of the season certainly hinders the Brewers’ chances for the postseason. Big blow to them.
I’m most comfortable with the personnel we have around us. The lefty with the Ash bat made his first full start. Though the throwing error was ugly, Gamel hit a 3-run homer and walked. And he uses an ash bat! Amazing! While I don’t foresee a trade-bait situation with Gamel, I do agree our infield is a bit overstocked. We’ll figure something out. Anyone want Escobar? He’s a thorn in my side.
The Brewers followed your advice and gave Gamel a first start, which included a three-run homer and highlight reel defensive play. By the by, the Brewers as of 5/20 are on a 21-5 run. If that were the Yanks, Mets or Red Sox, how much more national media attention do you think it would be getting? Actually, I think being a bit under the radar here is good for the Brewers. If they keep winning the attention will come, and if they slump before that happens they will have to answer fewer questions. But just sayin’.