Hey, thanks to Craig Calcaterra at Hardball Talk, we at The Platoon Advantage have identified yet another suspected plagiarist. Sadly, this plagiarist is just a measly blogger; some punk kid named Murray Chass who probably writes from his mom’s basement.
Chass wrote about what he saw as a burgeoning conspiracy to hold back information about whether Mike Piazza used “PE”Ds until after the Hall of Fame vote:
Maybe Simon & Schuster has innocently planned the Piazza publication for soon after the announcement for marketing purposes, but it might just as easily have agreed to a post-election publication to insure that the book would not keep Piazza out of the Hall.
If, on the other hand, the book includes a steroids admission, all I can say is shame on Piazza and his publisher. With that possibility in mind, though, the voters would be wise to withhold their votes from Piazza until a future election. He will have 14 more chances.
Now, Chass’ evidence that Piazza used “PE”Ds has never consisted of anything more than seeing the catcher’s back acne in the locker room when he was playing. And now the timing of this book, which, as Craig pointed out this morning, comes out just before Spring Training, when virtually every single other baseball book is published. If you’ve read The Common Man’s work, you know what he thinks of people who toss around steroid allegations (or insinuations) without evidence, and who advocate for not voting for HOF players based on that lack of evidence.
The Common Man thinks those people are probably using this controversy to distract the world from their ongoing unsuccessful attempts to prove they aren’t plagiarists. We see through you, Murray Chass. We know what you’re trying to do. But you can’t make us forget that you’re suspected of plagiarizing every single thing you ever wrote for the venerable New York Times. Prove the widely held suspicions that you’re a plagiarist (a conclusion we’ve come to based on the same evidence you use against Piazza) wrong, and maybe we’ll take your non-accusations seriously.
And around the rest of the league:
Pitcher of the Night: Justin Verlander, 8 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 8 K
Verlander was dealing again last night. Since the start of 2011, he has won 30 and lost 9 of his 48 starts and has struck out 353 batters in 352.2 innings. His ERA+ is 165. He’s pitched more than 20 more innings than the next closest pitcher. And he’s been the best pitcher on the planet by a good margin. There’s not a lot else to say about him, except just wow.
Hitter of the Night: Matt Wieters, 4-5, 2 2B, 2 R, 5 RBI
With last night’s big game, Wieters is hitting .258/.338/.451 on the year. He’s certainly not the world-changing player we expected at this point, given how much he was hyped four years ago. But he’s pretty clearly the best catcher in the American League right now. He’s well above average at the plate with good power, and he throws out 36% of potential basestealers behind the plate. He’s also allowed just 9 wild pitches, fewer than any other AL catcher with more than 28 starts behind the dish. That’s really impressive considering how big Wieters is.
Defensive Play of the Night: Alexi Casilla
Casilla has been a huge disappointment this year for the Twins, hitting just .239/.284/.317, and has recently been relegated to the bench in favor of Brian Dozier and Jamey Carroll. The Twins really needed Casilla to at least lock down one of the middle infield positions if they were going to be respectable in 2012, and he hasn’t lived up. He seems destined to go the Luis Rivas route at the end of the year, and try and make it as a utility infielder/AAA cannon fodder from here on out. He’s just so maddingly inconsistent.
Cliche of the day:
"We're battling each game, we're right there each game. I think we'll keep battling and start winning some ballgames here." - Travis Wood, Chicago Cubs
Self-Aware Quote of the Night:
"It could have been very easy to be down, no question. I guess it's the resiliency cliché." - Jason Bay
Vin Scully-ism of the Night:
Vinny had the night off, but he still has an important message for you from our friends at Gillette Razors:
Astros: Brett Myers, 1 IP, 1 H, Sv
With 16 saves and a 1.99 ERA in 25 appearances, Myers is bound to make an attractive looking chit, even if the strikeouts aren't there for him like they used to be. Maybe a return to Philly is in order, if the Phils can make a little run in these next few weeks.
Mets: Johan Santana, 5 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 BB, 6 K
Santana has had two straight rough starts since his no-hitter, in which he threw 134 pitches. But before anybody goes and implies anything prematurely, let's take a moment to remember it's only 2 starts, one of which was against a good hitting Yankees team (especially against LHP). And he struggled in different ways in those games. Against the Yankees, Santana gave up four bombs and one walk against 23 batters, whereas he issued four walks and no homers against 24 Rays batters. What's more, in the Rays game, Santana actually improved in the 4th and 5th innings, after struggling in the 2nd and 3rd, suggesting that fatigue wasn't a problem. And again, we're talking about two rough starts. Maybe hold off before we hold a funeral for Johan's left arm.
Orioles: Steve Pearce, 2-4, 1 HR, 1 2B, 1 BB, 5 RBI
Pearce will always be a favorite of The Common Man because he was the star of the Williamsport Crosscutters when TCM was the clubhouse manager there. Hopefully, his 2-4, with a homer and a double and 5 RBI will get him some extra playing time, and hopefully Pearce will make the most of it. Go get 'em, Steve.
Twins: Trevor Plouffe, 1-4, 1 HR
Yet another homer for Trevor Plouffe. That's 12 total on the season. One in each of his last three games. Five in his last six. Eight in his last 13. He's crazy locked-in right now.
Phillies: Jim Thome, 1-3, 1 HR, 1 BB, 3 RBI
Another homer for Jim Thome at Target Field too. And off a left-hander. This was his 24th in 337 plate appearances, which is incredible, since he didn't start playing there until he was 39. He has, by far, more homers in that ballpark than any other batter. And Thome apparently hit the ball so hard that it disappeared into the Speed Force. Fans spent innings and innings digging for the ball amidst some potted flowers the Twins have along the railing in right-center field and never found the ball.
White Sox: Adam Dunn, 1-3, 1 HR, 1 BB, 3 RBI
After last year, TCM did wonder if Dunn was done. He is now tied for the Majors lead in homers. Good for him.