Alex Johnson, RIP: The fires within

When Whitey Herzog wrote his memoir You’re Missin’ a Great Game, he included remarks about Alex Johnson that must have dropped every jaw in southern California who remembered Johnson’s tempestuous tenure (to put it politely) in an Angel uniform. To hear the White Rat say it, Johnson—who died 28 February at 72, after a battle with cancer—was anything but a handful, once you played things straight with him.

Alex Johnson proudly holding a ball with his title-winning 1970 batting average.

Alex Johnson proudly holding a ball with his title-winning 1970 batting average.

Bombs, schmombs, these Orioles can be road runners, too

De Aza sliding across the plate in the eighth as a slightly stunned Miguel Cabrera (24) looks homeward.

De Aza sliding across the plate in the eighth as a slightly stunned Miguel Cabrera (24) looks homeward.

The one thing Detroit Tigers fans probably fear more than anything else happened Thursday night. The Baltimore Orioles got into the Tigers’ bullpen at all, never mind while holding a one-run lead.

The one thing Orioles fans knew above all else going in was that their power game was probably their most obvious asset, assuming they didn’t run into pitchers who could tie them up. Who knew the Orioles could perform any impression of the Kansas City Royals, never mind the one they performed in the bottom of the eighth, after homering their way for the most part to that one-run lead?

Making sense of the Peralta deal

From Biogenesis to big deal . . .

From Biogenesis to big deal . . .

So what to make of the Jhonny Peralta signing with the St. Louis Cardinals, in the wake of his having been one of the Biogenesis 13? Among other things:

1) A four year deal at $52 million dollars isn’t exactly what anyone expected to see for a player bagged over actual or alleged performance-enhancing substances. Without that issue, however, it’s a questionable deal considering Peralta’s age (32), his faltering defensive range, and his batting average-dependent on-base percentage.

Golden Trout, Golden Rookie (and yes he SHOULD be the MVP . . . )

An angelic Trout of many colours . . .

Maybe the one thing absolutely guaranteed about 2012 was that Mike Trout would nail the American League’s Rookie of the Year honours, which was made official with Monday night’s announcement. It wasn’t even close.

Trout landed every last first place vote possible as the unanimous pick. Nobody else in the running—not Yoenis Cespedes, not Yu Darvish, not Wei-Yin Chen, not Jarrod Parker—got any higher than 45 percent of a share of the voting. Bryce Harper landed the National League’s Rookie of the Year honours in a slightly tighter competition, with five more votes than runner-up Wade Miley and 70 percent of a share to Miley’s 66. The remaining National League contenders—Todd Frazier, Wilin Rosario, Norichika Aoki, Yonder Alonso (now, that’d be a name, if he had more than a little long ball power), Matt Carpenter, Jordan Pacheco—fell well behind Harper and Miley.

Too Late Tigers, Too Much Giants

Arrivederci Romo and Ring Around the Posey whoop it up with a Series sweep . . .

“We could not find our game in the World Series,” Miguel Cabrera mourned, while the San Francisco Giants partied heartily in Comerica Park’s visiting clubhouse. Actually, the Detroit Tigers found their game in Game Four, when they needed it most. The problem was finding it against these San Francisco Giants, who were so accustomed to playing with elimination a game away they didn’t know how to get comfortable on the threshold of a sweep.

So Far, All Giants, Big and Small

Who’s a bum?

Now, this is a novel position for the San Francisco Giants to assume. They’re not used to being up two games to none in a postseason set this year. This could be the start of something . . . weird?

The way they got into this position was probably weird enough even by the standards of a Giants team that’s spent at least half this postseason benefitting from the transdimensional. Can you remember any team winning a World Series game with nothing but a double play and a sacrifice fly to score the only two runs they proved necessary?

The Tigers Finish a Mercy Killing

The Tigers put the Yankees in the tank . . .

CC Sabathia sat in the Yankee dugout gazing upon the field with a look, to an outsider, that seemed suspended between resignation and disbelief, moments after his day ended two thirds of the way through the bottom of the fourth. His Detroit counterpart, Max Scherzer, who had to get past late-season shoulder barking, would remain in the serious business of absolutely throttling a Yankee lineup for another inning and a third, doing to the Yankees what Sabathia once did to the other guys.

The Yankees on the Rebuilding Threshold?

Allen Barra has dared to say what others, seemingly, can’t bring themselves even to think.  The New York Yankees, who may or may not survive the postponed American League Championship Series Game Four, will be a rebuilding team once this postseason ends, perhaps one way or another, though no one now expects the Yankees to survive the current round. Possibly including the Yankees themselves.

Of the current aggregation, and not even thinking about the fallen Derek Jeter, who was performing well enough before he stumbled uncharacteristically into an ankle fracture, Barra thinks the Yankees are bound to retain first baseman Mark Teixiera, despite a second consecutive season of falling performances that are tied, perhaps, to increasing injury proneness, though he, Barra, would still try to unload him.

Eddie Yost, RIP: The Walking Man’s Time

Eddie Yost, stroll master . . .

The Walking Man has walked home at 86.

Eddie Yost as a player could hit a little bit, sometimes with power, usually early in the order, but had one of the most remarkable facilities for wringing first base on the house out of opposing pitchers. At his death Tuesday he sat number eleven on the all-time pass list, having led his league in walks six times, and having averaged 124 walks per 162 games in his eighteen-season playing career.

The Yankees Lose a Game and a Captain

So much for the play he’s made a thousand times no muss, no fuss . . .

It’s the kind of play Derek Jeter has been making since he came into the Show in the first place. The kind of play he has made often enough that you would not be surprised to learn he could have been blind and still made it.

Nothing more dangerous than a middling little ground ball up the pipe in the top of the twelfth, courtesy of Jhonny Peralta, and nothing more strenous for the Yankee captain than ranging to his left, reaching for it, and, if he was going to tumble, as he must have known he would, shoveling the ball to second baseman Robinson Cano for a relay to first to get rid of Peralta.