Today, I thought I’d just give you a round-the-horn recap of how all our Venezuelan players are doing around the Major Leagues. Happy Cinco de Mayo folks; I’ll have a nice beaker of Venezuelan rum later to mark the occasion.
Around the horn:
Felix Hernandez (Seattle Mariners): The King still would be the ace of an all-Venezuelan staff; on Friday he got no decision against Jose Altuve’s Astros. The Royal Line: 5 innings, 2 ER, 3 BB, 6K. 89 pitches. His highness’ ERA went up to 2.53.
Franklin Morales (Colorado Rockies): The big lefty went 5 innings against Mets Saturday: 5 runs, 9 hits. In a crazy game which ended 11-10 in the home team’s favor, Morales got no decision. He’s 3-1 but with a lofty 5.05 Rocky Mountain ERA.
Jhoulys Chacin (Colorado Rockies): made it a back-to-back VZ pitcher weekend for the Rocks, as he returned from shoulder problems for his season debut Sunday: Like Morales, Jhoulys went 5 innings; he struck out 4, gave up 4 runs, walked 5 and gave up 8 hits. Let’s give the lad a mulligan for his first start of 2014, and that at high altitude. 5 BB, 4K, 4 ER, 8 hits.
Francisco Rodriguez (Milwaukee Brewers): Got his 14th consecutive save on Friday. Will the real K-Rod please stand up (and if he is already standing, the National League is in trouble, folks). When is he going to give up a run this season?
Felix Doubront (Boston Red Sox): This could be a telling season for the Bosox lefty: he’s coming off a 11-6 campaign in last year’s World Series season but is 25-21 overall in his career. This season, he’s 1-3; had a not-bad outing May 1 vs. TB, 3 ER in 6 innings. He’s had a few ‘quality starts,’ but I don’t count those for much. Win the freaking game, man. You think Bob Gibson counted quality starts?
Anibal Sanchez (Detroit Tigers), who came to the Motor City from Florida just like Miguel Cabrera, had a breakout 14-8 season last year with 2.57 ERA. He now has blister on his finger. Anibal led the American League in ERA last season and had 202 Ks for second time in career. He just turned 30; and is overall 62-61 career.
Alberto Callaspo (Oakland A’s) DH: One of the hardest guys to K in all of baseball actually struck out 3 times against John Lester on Saturday. Alberto’s average was sinking after a couple of poor games versus the Bosox. Then, instant baseball redemption on Sunday: as a pinch-hitter in the home 10th, Callaspo worked the count full and then walked the bases full, setting up Yoenis Cespedes’ game-winning infield single and a series-saving win for the pride of the East Bay.
Miguel Montero, (Arizona Diamondbacks) C: .283, fifteen points above his career average. This guy was good enough to make the 2011 All-Star with 18 HR. He also had a game winning HR last Wednesday. Setting the scene for Montero’s walk-off blast against the Rockies was Martin Prado, an All-Star second baseman with the Braves in 2010 who’s quietly averaged 40 doubles a season. Prado plays the hot corner in Arizona, and he singled in two runs to tie the game in what had been an otherwise forgettable April; the lifetime .291 hitter has his average back to respectable .252.
Carlos Gonzalez continues to struggle a bit for the Rockies at .244, although he homered in Friday’s game against New York, he also whacked his finger in the same at-bat, forcing him to the bench. Back on Saturday, Cargo hit into one of the weirdest DPs you’ll see—his towering drive was caught at the fence, and his teammate Drew Stubbs did not touch second on the way back to first. Yer out.
Pablo Sandoval (San Francisco Giants): The Panda is is danger of extinction–or at least, a less lucrative contract extension. He’s struggling a full 30 points under the Mendoza Line at.170. Marco Scutaro, with a bad back, is still on the DL, and has had 2 AB the entire season.
Miguel Cabrera (3B) and Victor Martinez (DH) are batting 3 and 4 in Detroit lineup. Let’s just say these dudes are a heavy presence, literally, metaphorically, however you want to slice. it. Unlike Kansas City’s speedsters, V-Mart and Miggy are not going to steal a lot of bases or play stellar D. They are going to whack the crap out of the ball more often than not, however.
Martinez has a lifetime .303 average and Cabrera .320–amazing for a guy with his power numbers. And moreso than even Callaspo, V-Mart cannot be struck out–he’s gone down swinging 3 times in 92 AB this year. And forget small sample–he was second to Callaspo last year and in 2011–he missed all of 2012 with an injury–as the toughest to fan in the American League. Victor’s bat is so valuable, he may catch in interleague games this season. (*update* Victor hit another home run tonight in the Tigers’ 2-0 victory. Ho hum).
(Detroit Tigers) 22 year old SS Eugenio Suarez begins this season at AA Erie Sea Wolves of the Eastern League. He may be the shortstop of the future in Detroit.
Eduardo Escobar (Minnesota Twins) SS. Eduardo has taken the opportunity of Pedro Florimin’s injury and run with it. In 18 games at short, while Florimin works his way back to full strength, the Villa de Cura native is hitting at a .325 clip, including a 4-for-4 against Dodgers’ ace Zach Grienke this week. Like the case of Yangervis Solarte (New York Yankees 3B, .289), sometimes it just takes the right baseball hothouse (or in Minnesota, cold house) for these players to blossom. Escobar just turned 25 while Solarte is 26. And again, one month of a six-month campaign is a short sample size.
*update* Escobar hit the game-winning, 10th inning home run for the only run of the game in a Twins’ victory over Cleveland tonight, May 5. Someone buy that man a Corona.
Elvis Andrus, (Texas Rangers). .227. 9 SB. 0 for 14, 1 for 28 slump with 7 errors, most for position player in AL. Elvis is struggling and had the “come to Jesus” talk with manager Ron Washington this week. He’ll get it right. Please, dude, shave the Abe Lincoln beard, it’s killing your game.
Salvador Perez (Kansas City Royals) was rested by Yost (ex catcher) after fouling ball off leg, above shin guard. Ouch! Big Sal received his Gold Glove on Saturday with Eric Hosmer and Alex Gordon. 2B Omar Infante was an All Star with Atlanta in 2010, and just turned 32. SS Alcides Escobar is only 27. But Perez maybe has the most potential, and will turn 24 on May 10. He’s a tall, big guy at 6’3”, 240–sort of reminds you of a Carlton Fisk in terms of body type. Last year was first full season in the bigs. Hit his 10th double of the year on return Sunday; still at .231. Escobar’s at .267, and Infante .280.
Jose Altuve (Houston Astros) went 3 for 5 on Friday against Seattle and The King, including a double. The little man also stole his 10th base.