Posts Tagged ‘Matt Lindstrom’
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.
Yes, Jacoby Ellsbury is good. Even in the “off year” he has had this season, Ellsbury has been well above the average major league player. But this past week his performance was stunning — moving him substantially closer to his career average. Last week Ellsbury was 12 for 23 (.522) with 4 home runs (bringing his season total to 14), 2 stolen bases, 6 runs scored and a stunning 9 rbis. And he only struck out once last week. Ellsbury may finish the season very hot, and with the Yankees just 3 games out of the wild card, that could make a big difference.
Also strong last week was the Nationals’ Bryce Harper, who was 6 for 20 (.300), built mainly on three home runs. Harper’s average for the year is now up to .268 and he has finally reached double digits in home runs.
The Washington National’s Bryce Harper found a groove last week, hitting 2 home runs and earning 7 rbis in 21 at bats. After an injury-diminished and less-productive season than might be expected from Harper, last week had to be very welcome; his 2 home runs last week are a third of his total for the year so far and his 7 rbis raised his season total to 23. No doubt Harper hopes that he is back to his expected form.
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.
Earning his 5th save of the season last week, the White Sox’s Matt Lindstrom is looking like a solid closer at the moment. In his two one-inning appearances last week he gave up just 1 hit and 1 walk — for a 1.00 WHIP and 0.00 era. For the season his era is down to 2.81 in 16 innings of relief and 8 save opportunities. But Lindstrom isn’t expected to keep up this level of performance for the whole year.
While last week the Mormons in the major leagues managed almost a bust, those who weren’t injured seemed to come roaring back last week, led by the Yankee’s Jacoby Ellsbury. Last week Ellsbury was 8 for 18 (.444) raising his season batting average to .333. He also hit a home run, earned 3 rbis and stole two bases and jumped back onto the stat leaders board in 3 more categories.
On paper, Ellsbury was followed by the Mariner’s John Buck, who hit .750 last week and scored two runs. But Buck’s performance came from one game, against the hapless Astros, in which he was 3 for 4. That game raised Buck’s season average to .300 — but since Buck is a backup catcher with only 20 at bats so far, its hard to see much significance in a single game’s performance.
The backup role is hard. I’ve wondered for some time what toll the backup role takes on a player’s performance. Take John Buck, for example. As a backup this year the catcher has played in just 4 games so far, while last year he had played in 16 games by April 20th. And last year at this point Buck had a .293 batting average, while this year he is hitting just .231. How much of this difference is because Buck isn’t playing every day this year? And how much is because he began last year on fire?
This past week, despite his backup role, Buck was .333 at the plate with a walk and 2 strike outs, raising his batting average for this year to near his career average. Still, in a backup role its hard to have much higher expectations of Buck.
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.
We are a week away from the first Spring Training baseball games, and most players have already reported. And as always happens during the off-season, many players have moved from one team to another as managers search for just the right combination of players, and players look for more money or better opportunities.
Of course, the Mormons in professional are no exception. Here is a rundown of the Mormons who played at least one game in the majors last year and where they are at the moment. Tomorrow I’ll give a rundown of those who only played in the minors last year.
Four Mormon players are on teams that have clinched a berth in this year’s playoffs, and another 5 could still make it — and two almost certainly will. Jacoby Ellsbury (Boston Red Sox), Doug Fister (Detroit Tigers), Elliot Johnson (Atlanta Braves) and Eric Sogard (Oakland Athletics) will all experience the post-season. In addition, John Buck and Kyle Farnsworth (both with the Pittsburg Pirates) are very likely to also make the post season. And Jeremy Guthrie (Kansas City Royals), Bryce Harper (Washington Nationals) and Adam Rosales (Texas Rangers), all still have a chance of seeing the post season, if their teams win and others lose.