Sunday Lightning 5.8.2011

Let’s go ’round the league.

Free passes for “abuse”.

I’ve always found it laughable that certain teams are given leeway for moves that would engender ridicule or outright abuse to others.

The Red Sox made the unusual decision to place Clay Buchholz back out on the mound after a rain delay of over 2 hours.

If it had been the Mets, Royals or any other frequent target of capricious attacks for the sake of it, there would be an uproar over this maneuver; because it’s the Red Sox—a team that supposedly has a statistical or logical reason for doing what they do—they’re given a pass other clubs aren’t.

It’s only fair I suppose.

There was never a clear correlation between the most notable rain delay decision/injury—the Marlins Josh Johnson being allowed back on the mound by Joe Girardi in 2006 and needing Tommy John surgery shortly thereafter—but Girardi was blamed by owner Jeffrey Loria for Johnson’s injury. The rain delay was an hour and 22 minutes.

To put it into greater context, if the Devil Rays had done something like this in 2007, they would’ve been roasted for cluelessness; if they did it in 2010, they knew what they were doing in ignoring statistical and paranoid dogma in handling their pitchers.

It was the same management team in place in 2007 and 2010.

The Red Sox have been deft in deflecting responsibility for deals or strategies that didn’t make any sense or betrayed their so-called statistical adherence.

But that comes from winning.

Win and you can do what you want. Critics don’t like it? Too bad.

Can we stop expecting anything from Chris Young now?

Chris Young of the Mets was scratched from his start against the Dodgers because he couldn’t get loose. He’s going to have an MRI on his shoulder on Sunday.

No kidding.

Young is a terrific pitcher when he’s healthy, but he’s never healthy. The expectations after he was signed and got off to such a notable start against the Phillies on the mound and at the plate weren’t unrealistic, they were deranged.

I’ll say it again: expect nothing, be happy for something.

As for replacement starter Dillon Gee, this is another case of a pitcher who’s doing well and is being judged based on results in his first time through the league. His stuff isn’t impressive, but he throws strikes. Greg Maddux got by with decent stuff, historic control, intelligence (and maybe a spitball) for years.

I’m not comparing Gee to Maddux, but that style of pitching can be effective.

That said, don’t jump on Gee’s bandwagon based on a few starts. Learn the lesson from Young. Diminished expectations limit disappointment and overreaction. If you corner the Mets front office and asked them point-blank if they’re surprised by Young’s frequent maladies, they’ll tell you no. And if you ask them what they’re expecting from Gee, they’ll shrug.

You should too.

Lance Berkman was and is a great hitter.

Why is there this shock at Lance Berkman’s MVP-quality start?

He’s not old (35); he was a great hitter for his whole Astros career; he had a subpar 2010 with a bad Astros team, impending free agency and was out of his element when traded to the Yankees. Now he’s back in his comfort zone in the NL Central with a good Cardinals team and solid lineup and he’s hitting again.

The only reason there’s a “wow” reaction to Berkman is that he was essentially a little-known star in the eye of the casual fan. The production went up every single year. Intelligent observers knew Berkman and knew that he was a low-cost/low-risk bat for the Cardinals to bolster their lineup.

That’s what he’s doing.

One bit of Viewer Mail:

Oilers21 writes RE me:

This might have had more impact had nearly the last half of the entry not been “buy my stuff!” “It’s here and here and here!” “Want my signature??!!” “Become a fan!!”””

I have a question: am I not supposed to promote my stuff?

Do you watch games on TV? Do you see the ubiquitous GEICO ads? The hawking of beer, personal-injury lawyers? Medications? Films?

Is that allowable to your delicate sensibilities? Maybe if I put a chick in a bikini, it’ll be more palatable.

Those who read me regularly have already bought the book and supported me and can bypass the daily links I provide to my books, discussion forum and other activities. Others may have wound up on the site after a linking and weren’t aware of my existence.

I would like people to purchase and read my stuff. You don’t want to? Don’t. And if you don’t like it, don’t read me at all.

It’s not very difficult.

****

Speaking of which…

I’m administrating a discussion group on TheCopia.com. Click on the link to leave a comment or start a new topic. Check it out.

****

Please purchase my book, Paul Lebowitz’s 2011 Baseball Guide. It’s great reading even if you hate my guts. I bring the pain.

I published a full excerpt of my book here.

It’s available now. Click here to get it in paperback or E-Book on I-Universe or on Amazon or BN. It’s also available via E-book on Borders.com.

It’s out on Amazon Kindle and Barnes and Noble Nook.

If anyone would like to purchase an autographed copy, leave a comment; Email me; contact me on Facebook or Twitter.

Become a fan on my Facebook fan page. Click on the link.

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