Saturday, July 26, 2003

How do the Oakland A's develop better pitching than anyone else in baseball? We all know about Zito, Mulder and Hudson. Add one more cog in that impressive machine: Rich Harden. Harden--considered one of the best pitching prospects in baseball--made his major league debut against the hot Kansas City Royals and pitched seven innings, giving up only one run. He didn't get a decision on a game the Athletics won.

Tonight he again pitched seven innings and only gave up (yup) one run to the California Angels (who are drying up faster than twinkies in the Florida sun). A ground ball pitcher, Harden has now pitched fourteen innings in the big leagues and given up just two runs. That is a 1.29 ERA. How do the A's do it and why can't other teams?

The Red Sox evened up their series with the Yankees by breaking a 4-4 tie in the ninth with a single by super-pickup, David Ortiz. The Sox have a big edge in the finale tomorrow as the Yankees are throwing Jeff Weaver. The Red Sox hung in there nicely as they almost threw the game away with two errors that allowed the Yankees to tie the game.

The Yankees Norm Johnson is back in their lineup and is picking up where he left off. He had a hit and an RBI tonight and a walk. The man knows how to get on base. There is one problem though with his addition. He is the better fielding first baseman between he and Jason Giambi. But Giambi struggled earlier in the year in the DH role and is 0-6 since Johnson returned and returned Giambi to the DH. Giambi was the hottest hitter on the team before the switch.

Giambi might be one of those players who just doesn't thrive as a DH. Frank Thomas of Chicago is the same way. He struggled as a DH. Once Chicago put in in the field, he's put up AllStar (Hall of Fame?) numbers.

Speaking of the Hall of Fame, the tandom of Gary Carter and Eddie Murray is a good one. Murray was one of the most prolific RBI men in the history of the game. Very few players in history have more career RBI to go along with Murray's 500+ homers. Carter's entrance is a sign that the Hall of Fame voting is working correctly. There was some fear that Carter would be overlooked, but he is one of the better catchers to play the game. Starting his career in Montreal didn't help Carter to gain nationwide attention.

But that attention came to Carter while playing for the Mets. Carter was an ever present yapping machine while with the Mets. He talked to anyone as often as he could. Hey...being a good self-promoter is not a bad thing.

The Hall of Fame is also inducting Bob Uecker for his broadcasting career. Uecker was a lousy player and a good broadcaster/actor/personality. That being the case, shouldn't Phil Rizzuto be in the Hall of Fame? Rizzuto was an important cog in the Yankee machine and he's been a beloved broadcaster. Uhh...umm...I just looked at Rizzuto's stats and he is ALREADY in the Hall of Fame. How did I miss that?

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