Rabbit Ball: the wacky 1987 baseball season

Rabbit Ball: the wacky 1987 baseball season

1987 was the first year I truly started paying attention to baseball statistics. I didn’t really get to watch any baseball; while I experienced the 1986 Braves season and that year’s playoffs on TV, I was without cable the following few years and NBC never came in very well through our antenna. However, I did…

Showalter reiterates that Jimenez gets next start

528oscutinrefframe_1.jpg

Showalter reiterates that Jimenez gets next start

BALTIMORE—Ubaldo Jimenez will be the Orioles starter on Thursday, Buck Showalter said. 

“He’s had some really good bullpen sessions that don’t transfer to game day,” Showalter said. 

“The bullpen sessions are fine and dandy. It’s about the game.” 

Showalter thinks that mechanics are at the root of Jimenez’s problems.

RELATED: GALLARDO WILL GET AT LEAST TWO REHAB STARTS

“The same reason why he has a deceptive delivery is why he has trouble staying in sync with it. Very frustrating for him and the pitching coach. It’s part of why he’s in the zone that he’s effective,” Showalter said.

Jimenez has had trouble keeping runners on base. On Saturday, he allowed four stolen bases.

“Sometimes he loses focus or concentration,” Showalter said. 

If Jimenez didn’t start, the logical choice to replace him would Vance Worley, who worked 4 1/3 innings in relief of Jimenez when he was knocked out in the second inning on Saturday. 

“How do you know what he’s going to do as a starter?” Showalter asked about Worley, who started twice last month.

“[Worley is] one of the reasons why our bullpen has been healthy and stays intact,” Showalter said. 

He would prefer having Worley and T.J. McFarland as long relievers. 

“It’s hard to relate to a lot of people how important the job that Vance and Mac have done for us,” Showalter said.

MORE ORIOLES: KIM'S FIRST MAJOR LEAGUE HOME RUN HELPS ORIOLES TO 6-4 WIN

State of the Nats: Turner close? Plus, Scherzer's Mount Rushmore

brycecuttingglovesrefframe_1.jpg

State of the Nats: Turner close? Plus, Scherzer's Mount Rushmore

Team Record: 30-21

Top storylines

When will we see Trea Turner? - The Nationals are in first place in the NL East and could make a significant addition to their roster very soon. 

Waiting in Triple-A is shortstop Trea Turner, who is batting .319 through 47 games with Syracuse and is ranked the ninth-best prospect in baseball by MLB.com. He has yet to play with the Nationals this season in part due to his MLB service time clock, but as of this week, that is no longer a concern.

By keeping Turner in the minors until now, the Nationals preserved an extra year of Turner's rookie contract. The cutoff is 172 days on a 25-man roster, what is considered a full year of service time. Turner logged 45 days last year and there are 126 days remaining in the 2016 regular season. Add those two numbers up and you get 171, one day short of the full-year allotment.

Exactly when the Nats will pull the trigger to bring up Turner and whom will be affected is not clear. The obvious first place to look is at shortstop where Danny Espinosa is batting just .201/.299/.314. With his high average and impressive speed (16-for-16 in SB at Triple-A), Turner may represent an upgrade offensively, even if he takes time to adjust to the big league level. But what about defense? Espinosa remains a plus-defender at shortstop, while Turner has committed eight errors already in 44 games at Syracuse. That pace would give him 29 over a 162-game season, which is a lot.

When Turner comes up, the Nats will have to remove somebody from their bench. Stephen Drew is currently their backup infielder and is on a one-year, $3 million deal. Interestingly enough, Drew has a series of performance bonuses in his contract based on games played. If he reaches 80 games this season, for instance, he earns another $150,000. If he gets to 90 games it's another $200,000 and another $200,000 for 100. For 110 games he would get $250,000. Drew has only appeared in 27 games this season, so the extra money isn't a pressing concern for the Nats, but it is something to consider.

As far as his performance on the field goes, Drew's .157 batting average isn't doing him any favors, but he does bring value defensively with the ability to play three positions. Aside from the one time he lost a ball in the sun, he's been fairly solid at second base, third base and at shortstop.

Scherzer's Mount Rushmore - This week I spoke with Max Scherzer for a separate story, but also threw in some random questions towards the end of our conversation, including one on his favorite pitchers of all-time. Scherzer knew immediately who to highlight, as he had clearly thought of this before.

"My four favorites growing up, my Mount Rushmore, it was [Greg] Maddux, [John] Smoltz, Pedro [Martinez] and Randy Johnson. Those four, those were my guys. I loved the way Pedro went after and attacked hitters. I loved the way he threw the ball just with everything. Those were the guys I always tuned in to and made sure I always tried to find if I were ever going to a baseball game and knew they were going to throw," he said. 

"You can appreciate everything that those guys did, what made them successful and how they went after hitters and how they were all able to do it for such a long time. I think that's the thing. Anybody can have a great year, but when you start talking about longevity of a career, eight to 10 years of pitching at an elite level, that's an unbelievable feat."

NL East Standings

Offensive game of the week: Ryan Zimmerman 5/28 vs. Cardinals - 4-for-4, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 2 R

Pitching line of the week: Joe Ross 5/26 vs. Cardinals - 7.0 IP, ER, 6 H, 4 SO, BB, 110 pitches (74 strikes)

Quote of the Week 

"I guess the baseball gods don't want me to wear the batting gloves right now. I went up and hit a homer and came back and cut 'em up just so guys don't come out of the trash can and grab 'em and sell 'em. It's happened before."

- Bryce Harper on cutting up his batting gloves after hitting a homer in Saturday night's loss

Tweet (or Instagram) of the Week

Road Ahead

Mon. - 7:05 p.m. at Philadelphia Phillies (Roark vs. Hellickson)
Tue. - 7:05 p.m. at Philadelphia Phillies (Ross vs. Nola)
Wed. - 7:05 p.m. at Philadelphia Phillies (Scherzer vs. Morgan)
Thu. - OFF
Fri. - 7:10 p.m. at Cincinnati Reds (Strasburg vs. Straily)
Sat. - 4:10 p.m. at Cincinnati Reds (Roark vs. Moscot)
Sun. - 1:10 p.m. at Cincinnati Reds (Ross vs. Latos)

Gallardo will get at least two rehab starts

528oscutinrefframe_1.jpg

Gallardo will get at least two rehab starts

BALTIMORE—Yovani Gallardo will have at least two rehab starts, manager Buck Showalter said.

The first one will be on Thursday in either Frederick or Norfolk. Originally, Gallardo was set to start for the Keys, but in case the weather forecast is unfavorable in Maryland, the start can be moved.  

If Gallardo pitches on Thursday and again on June 7, he could be available to return to the Orioles as soon as June 12 in Toronto, Showalter said. 

Gallardo pitched in the bullpen on Monday morning, and Showalter said it went well. 

NOTES: T.J. McFarland will be activated at Norfolk. He’s been on the minor league disabled list with a left knee injury. He’ll be held off until near the end of the Tides’ game at Lehigh Valley in case Tyler Wilson, the Orioles starter on Monday, doesn’t get knocked out early. … Edgar Olmos was sent from Norfolk to Bowie to make room for McFarland. … A CT scan on J.J. Hardy’s fractured left foot has been set for Friday. … Bowie left-handed starter Christopher Lee’s next start is being skipped at the suggestion of Baysox pitching coach Alan Mills.

RELATED: KIM'S FIRST MAJOR LEAGUE HOME RUN HELPS ORIOLES TO 6-4 WIN