Jack McKeon was named manager of the Florida Marlins, replacing Jeff Torborg! Perhaps the best move the front office could have made. I think Jack is a great fit for this ballclub in that Jack's six stints as an MLB manager have always come by way of a firing, so he's familiar with what it takes to become acquainted with the organization and more importantly the players. McKeon also has a knowledge of the game, having been around it since 1949. He was named National League Manager of the Year in 1999 when he piloted the Reds to a 96 win season. I would think that a replacement for Torborg has lifted some of the negativity from the clubhouse, as evidenced by the Marlins' wins since his placement. All in all, I'm glad Jack's back because I don't believe he deserved to be let go by Cincinatti in 1997. Jack is now 72 years old and the Marlins' sixth manager since 1993.
Thought this was cool:
Weekly Austin Report Line from two days ago:
7IP 6H 4R 4ER 0BB 7SO 3HR
May 6 5.1IP 105 Pitches May 12 7.0IP 122 Pitches
Now this doesn't look horrible until you get to the 3 homeruns. I'm also concerned about his pitch counts since he's still trying to make the transition from reliever to starter: At this rate, if Jeff gets to go nine innings it looks as if they'll let him throw 140+ pitches, doubtful but....
He doesn't get the win (or loss) or a "quality start", but he didn't do too bad:
5 1/3IP 6H 2R 2ER 1BB 3SO 1HR
Austin did this against an explosive Cardinal's lineup after having shut down a ferocious Colorado homefield advantage a few days earlier. Now if he can only get to the point that he can consistently go 6+ innings. The main positive here is the fact that he's getting the Red's deeper into games. Just build on it Jeff, just build on your present success and have fun!
You're probably wondering who the heck this Austin 'kid' is, so point your browser here and this is why he was drafted #4 in the First Year Player's Draft by the Kansas City Royals in 1998. If that's not enough, check these standings out from 1998. I just found this and thought it was neat, Jeff's player journal from his days in Omaha. Check out the others who made entries!! It's rather unfortunate that the site as a whole isn't intact, but neat nonetheless.
Here's what Jim Bowden thought of Austin a when he acquired Jeff:
"He throws 90 to 93 mph," Bowden said. "They took away his curveball. We're going to bring it back. We think it was his best pitch coming out of Stanford. The good thing about getting him this early is he'll get a chance to work with (pitching coach) Don Gullett. We'll see if he can work his magic again."
This statement just goes with all the other info I've compiled on these pages about Jeff Austin. If you're not at least somewhat hopeful after going through it, then you don't have a heart!! Just kidding.
It's hard to believe a month plus has gone by, so I wanted to put something a little special up. How do you measure efficiency or abuse?
How would you use your ace? Would you keep him well rested? Or do you have a favorite "horse" in your pen? You know the one -- the one
that you could leave in a little too long or use em' a little more often than they should be used. Whichever, your philosophy enjoy the offering below!
What I'm throwing you now is for your edification...CATCH IT!
Some cool numbers below:
# of Pitches/Inning Pitched C. Zambrano 18.2 37.0TIP 675TP 6 Games G. Rusch 18.1 36.1TIP 652TP 7 Games J. Beckett 17.9 39.2TIP 699TP 7 Games
Total Pitches B. Sheets 836 54.2TIP 15.5P/IP 7 Games K. Wood 780 45.0TIP 17.3P/IP 7 Games R. Oswalt 755 46.2TIP 16.4P/IP 7 Games
Total Innings Pitched B. Sheets 54.2 836TP 15.5P/IP 7 Games M. Morris 51.2 747TP 14.6P/IP 7 Games H. Nomo 49.2 715TP 14.6P/IP 7 Games
# of Pitches/Innings Pitched J. Lackey 19.1 37.1TIP 705TP 7 Games J. Moyer 18.3 35.1TIP 641TP 6 Games F. Garcia 18.1 42.1TIP 759TP 7 Games
Total Pitches F. Garcia 759 42.1TIP 18.1P/IP 7 Games T. Hudson 748 49.2TIP 15.3P/IP 7 Games B. Zito 744 49.0TIP 15.2P/IP 7 Games
Total Innings Pitched T. Hudson 49.2 748TP 15.3P/IP 7 Games P. Martinez 49.1 698TP 14.2P/IP 7 Games B. Zito 49.0 744TP 15.2P/IP 7 Games
Wow, what a cool glimpse. Ben Sheets looks very overworked at first, but when you take a look at his "Pitches Per Innings Pitched" you see that he's not necessarily being pushed. In fact if you dig deeper you'll find that he's been fairly consistent by looking at his "per game pitch count":
94 106 112 104 89 112 92
These are the per game pitch counts for the 7 games he's started (every 5 days) with the average being 101.3, so you can clearly see that while he's on top in pitch count and innings pitched in the NL he hasn't been asked to go above and beyond the call of duty. He even has a complete game in the mix as well! As for where his other numbers sit:
54.2 IP 58H 32R 29ER 11HR 12BB 29SO 1.28WHIP 4.77ERA
The RED tells the tale...giving up way too many hits and dingers making for an atrocious WHIP! Other than that he's sporadically shown the Brewers why they drafted him. With time, patience and caution he should easily mature into their staff ace of the future.
As for the rest, do your own "ciphering" and enjoy the different pictures that develop!
Man, wouldn't you love to have these guys on your squad all together!! Check out the LA bullpen, they're performing some similar feats...
American League Mussina NYY 0.89 Loaiza CWS 0.91 Wells NYY 0.91 National League Prior CHC 0.93 Vazquez MON 0.96 Williams STL 0.97
Mussina is 6-0; Loaiza is 5-1; and Wells is 4-0. Wow, makes sense. Now let's look at the NL -- Prior is 4-1; Vazquez is 3-2; and Williams is 4-0. The only anomaly here is Vazquez. The sampling is really too small, but I'm sure he's just a sufferer of Montreal defense, not to mention their somewhat anemic offense.
On that note, Vladimir Guerrero just hasn't been himself lately. Supposedly, Vlad has been experiencing some sort of pain and has been trying to play through it, keep an eye on this one.
Randy Johnson had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee to remove pieces of loose cartilage...OUCH!! It's being reported that he'll be out 3-6 weeks, which I believe will be longer because of his age. The Associated Press quoted the head physician as saying that the 3 week time frame was "overly optimistic." However, he has a world class work ethic and a strong desire to return to HIS level of play as quickly as possible so, we'll have to wait and see.
Mark Redman, with the Florida Marlins, is out with a broken thumb on his pitching hand. The injury occurred as a HBP while he was bunting. According to reports, the ball richocheted off the bat into his thumb. A time frame for return has not been stated, yet. At least he doesn't have to be worried about his arm being groundup by Torborg's incessantly stupid usage of his pitching staff. Torborg, however, will have the opportunity to rip up several young arms in Redman's and Burnett's absence; like Justin Wayne, Nate Bump and Dontrelle Willis to name a few.
On a brighter note, Jeff Austin, Cincinatti's newest starting reliever shutdown the Colorado Rockies offense today at Coor's Field:
6IP 2H 2R 2ER 5BB 4SO 0HR
Not bad. Not bad at all. Two of those five walks came at the top of the 7th, when he was given the hook. Jeff had this to say about those two walks:
"Maybe I changed a little bit here. I threw a few more sliders than curves. Those walks in the seventh inning bothered me. I didn't like to finish that way. I had gotten there by attacking hitters. Then I started to nitpick."
Here's what he had to say about pitching at Coor's:
"You just go out and pitch like anyplace else -- keep the ball down, hit your spots, change speeds, nothing more," Austin said. "Baseball is baseball. You've got to pitch your game."
Man, that's over simplifying it, but that's what you're supposed to do as a pitcher. Especially when pitching at Coor's Field. This kid may just have taken a babystep towards being a "big league pitcher"...only time will tell.