Posts Tagged ‘Eric Sogard’
The Kansas City Royals’ Jeremy Guthrie started September with another strong start as his team battles to win the AL Central. Guthrie gave up just 1 run and 8 hits over 7.0 innings against the Texas Rangers. But Royals fans are more concerned with Guthrie’s start tonight against their division rivals, the Detroit Tigers. If Guthrie can bring the same level of pitching, the Royals may be able to hold onto their 2-game lead.
Also strong on the mound this past week was the White Sox’ Matt Lindstrom, who pitched a total of 2 innings in relief, giving up just 2 hits and no runs. Unfortunately, the White Sox are well out of the post-season, so Lindstrom’s performance will only make a difference for his own career, not the White Sox’ season.
After a few weeks of getting to the plate in dribs and drabs, the Texas Rangers’ backup infielder Adam Rosales finally saw some regular plate appearances, and responded with an exceptional week. Rosales was 7 for 14 (.500) last week, with 5 runs scored and 5 rbis on 2 home runs and 4 walks. And this past week’s performance boosted Rosales’ season average to .350, although on a mere 40 at bats.
Rosales was far from the only Mormon player who performed well last week. Jacoby Ellsbury was hot, going 10 for 24 (.417) while the backup shortstop for the As, Eric Sogard, was 7 for 16 (.438) with 4 runs scored, 3 rbis and 7 walks.
Despite his weeks on the disabled list earlier in the year, Doug Fister’s record this year is fantastic. Last week he pitched twice, earning a 1.42 era over 12.2 innings, giving up just 3 walks and 12 hits in the process (1.18 WHIP). For the season his era is just 2.69 — among the best in the majors this year. His strike out to walk ratio is 5:1, and he earned his 10th win of the season this year—putting him on the leader board for the first time this year (he hasn’t pitched enough innings to qualify in most other categories).
It seems impossible, but when the number of events is small enough surprising things can happen. And with the All Star break cutting down the number of games this past week to three (on Friday, Saturday and Sunday), we probably shouldn’t be surprise that 4 of the 5 active Mormon batters in the majors managed to hit .500 last week. Exactly .500.
Of course, the more at bats someone has, the more surprising .500 is. And over the three games the highest number of at bats came from Jacoby Ellsbury, who was 6 for 12 over the three games this past weekend—boosted by Sunday’s game in which Ellsbury was 4 for 4. He was followed by Bryce Harper (5 for 10), Darwin Barney (2 for 4) and Eric Sogard (2 for 4). The other Mormon batter, Adam Rosales, was 0 for 3.
While it might not seem the case, playing well in a backup role is hard. Because the batter doesn’t see as many pitches, its harder to do as well at the plate. So, when a backup player is doing well, that is noteworthy.
In that sense, John Buck’s current performance is great. He was 4 for 10 last week (.400), and his season average is up to .271 (on 59 at bats). Buck has only hit better than that in one season of his 11 year career, so it seems unlikely that he will keep up that level for the rest of the year—especially as a backup catcher. But his performance so far is still great.
After falling into a slump that lasted most of the month of May, Jacoby Ellsbury stole his way back toward his customary performance last week, going 8 for 23 (.348) with 5 rbis and 4 stolen bases, despite an overall mediocre performance by his team, the Yankees. The stolen bases are particularly noteworthy, since they raised him from 11th in the majors last week to 6th overall. During his career Ellsbury has 3 times led the American League in stolen bases.
He isn’t the only Mormon to do well at the plate last week. The As Eric Sogard also cracked .300 — going 5 for 13 (.385) with a run scored. But Sogard’s part-time role means he gets fewer plate appearances, and his record reflects that. And while Sogard is popular with fans, its hard to justify his presence in the lineup when he is hitting just .207 for the season.
While Jeremy Guthrie isn’t known as the kind of pitcher who will lead your rotation, he does usually provide the kind of solid starts that a good team can use. He fits well as a 4th or 5th starter, let’s say. But occasionally even 5th starters show a little brilliance, like Guthrie managed last week. He pitched for 7 innings against the White Sox, giving up just 1 run, 3 hits and 2 walks. For the game he had a 1.29 era and a 0.71 WHIP—exactly what you want from the ace of your staff. I’m sure Guthrie wishes he could pitch like this every start.
Its amazing how different the regular season can be from spring training. Last week, Elliot Johnson was on top of the Mormon players in spring training, and this week, in the regular season, he is on the bottom, while Jacoby Ellsbury, mediocre in most of spring training, has transformed into the best performer among the Mormon players.
Ellsbury started the season in 3s — hitting .333 (7 for 21), scoring 3 runs, stealing 3 bases and walking three times. All this he managed while his team (the Yankees) managed a mediocre performance.
If it is possible to “win” spring training, then Elliot Johnson has pulled it off this year. Johnson, who has built a career as a utility infielder, did what he needed to. He was .345/.387/.586 during the spring—numbers that would attract the attention of any manager. But Johnson has managed similar numbers in previous years in spring training—in 2008 and 2011—but his performance during the year has fallen far short. His best year in the majors was 2012, when he hit .242/.304/.350. Still, his performance has won him a spot in the opening day roster. Without doubt, he will be trying to do still better this year.
Johnson was particularly strong during the last week of spring training, when he led all the other Mormon players except the Rangers’ Adam Rosales. Rosales was 5 for 11 last week (.455) with a run scored. But Rosales hasn’t done nearly as well as Johnson, recording a weak .191 spring batting average. And also unlike Johnson, Rosales has been designated for assignment to AAA.
The Washington National’s Doug Fister has been very strong in his few innings of work this Spring Training, despite working through elbow inflammation that delayed his work. Fister has thrown for 5.2 innings and given up just 1 earned run and 1 walk while striking out 6. This past week he worked for 3.2 scoreless innings. So far he has the best record among Mormon pitchers albeit with some of the fewest innings of work.