It’s Official: Jeff DaVanon Is Back Down to Earth
The Arizona Diamondbacks began May with a win, defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-2 at Chase Field in sunny Pheonix. Claudio Vargas got his third win against one loss. Jose Valverde got his sixth save, and Dodger starter Brad Penny took the loss. He’s now 2-1. It was your garden-variety pitchers’ duel with no homers.
Former Dodger Shawn Green went 2-4, including a double. He had one RBI and 1 R. He doesn’t hit homers at anywhere near the pace he did in his Dodger days, but he’s scoring a lot of runs, relatively speaking. I mean, these ARE the D’Backs, not the Tigers. ;=)
Jeff DaVanon, who went into this game with a lifetime record against Penny of 3-8, which is a .375 BA, started in CF and batted second. He went 0-4 with a K and a DP and he left 4 runners on base. His batting average for the young season is now .292. That’s close to his career average of .286, so it is now reasonable to say that his hot streak is over, especially since he’s 3-27 (.111) and a walk in his last 28 plate appearances. Maybe now the Snakes can begin to remember who their everyday CF is supposed to be.
Believe it or not, I don’t mind that DaVanon started that game. With his 3-8 against Penny going in, I would have started him also. My gripe is that once again, he replaced Eric Byrnes. Byrnesie himself is lifetime 0-3 against Penny, but I would have put him in there, with DaVanon. If all he’s got lifetime is 0-3 that means he’s played only one game against Penny. Rather than make a judgment on Byrnes’ abilities against Penny based on one game, I’d want Byrnes to have some more shots at the Dodger starter, especially since Byrnes supposed to be my regular and is still getting used to the National League.
But DaVanon is almost always in the lineup at the expense of Eric Byrnes’ playing time. So much so that when AP reporter Janie McCauley wrote up the story on the D’Backs 8-2 victory over the Giants, she said, in the "Notes" section of her article: … Byrnes started for the second straight day in CF for Jeff DaVanon after getting a hit and driving in a run Saturday." Looks as if she perceives DaVanon as the regular CF. An understandable mistake, given what’s happened lately. (Thanks to Pat for the cite).
So if I would have started Byrnes in CF, where would I have put DaVanon? How about left field? DaVanon supposedly can play all three outfield positions; his job as the 4th outfielder–and the Snakes have only 4 outfielders on the roster– is to give the other three a breather. But he’s instead platooning with Byrnes, the youngest and most high-energy of their outfielders i.e. the one who needs the fewest breathers. When does left fielder Luis Gonzalez get a day off? He had a single and a walk in four times at the plate yesterday, scoring a run and leaving 2 on base. Not bad. But Gonzo lifetime against Penny was 3-19 (.158) with 1 BB and 4 K’s going into this game. May 1 would have been a good day to give Gonzo a breather.
I added a poll to the Byrnesblog, but I did not realize, at the time I added it, that it would disappear for the rest of the day after 100 page views. That’s the limit for people on the free plan. So if you would like to cast your vote on the question: Should the D’Backs trade Byrnes? please come back the next day if you get the error message. An upgrade to 1,000 page views per day would not be exhorbitant if I had a regular income. But my cash flow is as bad as the Royals and a blog poll is too trivial to put on a credit card.
Congrats to Barry Zito and Co. for the A’s 1-0 win against the geograhically-challenged Angels. These two teams always play each other tough. 1-0 is anything but a garden-variety pitchers’ duel.
Doug Mirabelli arrived just in time to catch knuckleballer Tim Wakefield as the Red Sox won the first of their 19 game season series against the Yankees, 7-3 at a very blustery Fenway Park.
Arielle of Dispatches from Red Sox Teen Nation described a humorous scene before the game:
"So I was watching NESN’s pregame show when they switched to footage of an SUV. Fans were surrounding it and cheering and shouting. Everyone thought it was Doug Mirabelli. Suddenly, the door opens and out walks . . . Mitt Romney. The fans all sighed, and walked away. Darn. It’s only the governor, not our backup catcher."
And against all meteorological odds, David Ortiz hit a homer. They don’t call him Big Papi for nothing.