Plouffe had a nice game offensively and defensively. His throws from third were a little off-line in the first two games, although they were mostly on target. Today, Torii Hunter laid down a bunt that had base hit written all over it. Instead, Plouffe charged the bunt, grabbed it with his bare hand and fired a strike to get Hunter at first. It was just one play, but it was a nice play from a player who was having huge issues making accurate throws just a couple seasons ago. Plouffe also added a missile to left field and a drew a walk, all off of a right-handed pitcher. It was an encouraging game.
I wasn't a fan of the Josh Roenicke addition, and it hasn't looked good so far. Leaving and also entering the land of small samples, everyone else looked great today. Brian Duensing got Mike Pelfrey off the hook in the 6th. Tyler Robertson and Casey Fien bailed out Roenicke in the 7th. Jared Burton walked the lead-off hitter in the 8th, but then struck out Jhonny Peralta and coaxed a double play from Alex Avila.
Bottom of the 8th
The bottom of the 8th was really fun to watch. With one out, Justin Morneau had an excellent at bat and worked a walk. Ryan Doumit doubled, moving Morneau to third. Plouffe lined out. Chris Parmelee came up without a hit on the season. He smoked a ball to Prince Fielder, who couldn't come up with it. Morneau scored, as Parmelee hustled all the way to first for his first hit of the season. Parmelee stole second (sort of) and then Jamey Carroll walked to load the bases. Pedro Florimon dumped a double down the left field line to add two more runs. Then, Aaron Hicks got his first MLB hit, on a solid line drive to right, driving in two more runs. He looked so happy and could barely hide his smile. It was really fun to see. After the inning ended, it was 8-2 and the game was pretty much over.
Oswaldo Arcia made his AAA debut today. He doubled in the first inning, driving in Rochester's first run. He worked a walk in the third. Then, he hit a bomb over the center field wall in the 6th. He had an excellent debut. Chris Colabello debuted today as well. He went 3-4 with a home run of his own. If he can post good AAA numbers, he could get a call-up to Minnesota, and it would immediately become the feel good story of the season. I hope it happens.
Other MLB Thoughts
Brian Roberts was injured sliding into second base on a stolen base attempt in the 9th inning of today's game. I really hope it was just a hamstring pull, because I really don't want to see Roberts miss a lot of time. He has battled so many injuries in the past few seasons and it would be awful for him to suffer an injury in his first series back. Seriously, check out his injury history at Baseball Prospectus.
From 2004-2009, Roberts posted a robust .290/.365/.438 triple slash. He was a good defensive second baseman and a doubles machine (278 in those six seasons). He was a fun player to watch and got the most of out of his abilities. Like I said, I hope it was just a hamstring pull. Yesterday I wrote about how much better Baltimore's offense is this season, and a healthy Roberts was a big reason why.
Joe Blanton had a very Joe Blanton-y start. He has kind of perfected the "oh hey, the peripheral stats look pretty good, he has a pretty nice K-rate and pretty nice BB-rate and thus a nice K:BB ratio and yet he isn't good" routine. He gave up 7 hits, 5 runs (4 earned), and 3 home runs. But, he had a 4:1 strikeout to walk ratio, which is elite. What an odd duck.
The Nationals are so good, and that has nothing to do with their sweep of the Marlins. Their lineup is crazy good. The top four: Denard Span, Jayson Werth, Bryce Harper, and Ryan Zimmerman. Oh man. The rest of the lineup is good too, but man that top four! Their top four starters: Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmerman, and Dan Haren. Oh man again. Oh, their defense is good too. Pretty wild stuff; they are outstanding.
Thank you for reading my notes. What were your impressions of today's games?