I guarantee that coming into this season, no one thought that Cole De Vries (3.98 ERA), Sam Deduno (2.48 ERA), and Scott Diamond (2.93 ERA) would be the Twins' three best starting pitchers. While their respective FIPs suggest that all three are pitching over their heads (De Vries gives up too many homers, Deduno walks too many, and Diamond doesn't strike out enough batters), their sub-4 ERAs have been very nice to see, especially after suffering through Jason Marquis' 8.47 ERA over 7 starts earlier this season.
To the tidbits around MLB!
- A bunch of team-affiliated Facebook pages were hacked on Thursday, with the very first one claiming that Derek Jeter would miss the rest of the season with sexual reassignment surgery. Deadspin collected as many of the hacked messages as they could find, including my favorite, the Nationals' feed saying they were going back to Montreal while the first two comments simply say, "???". As it turned out, these messages were not hacks, but actually a rogue MLB employee that chose to have some fun. The person claims that the posts were "not intended to be seen by the public," but honestly, that's as believable as when Chip Caray claimed his Twitter feed was hacked.
- Josh Hamilton has been struggling a lot since his hot start to the 2012 campaign, and he admitted that he's going through some personal turmoil right now. Hamilton was quoted as saying...
"When the time is right, I’ll be honest with you, you’ll be right in the loop. I’ve been shown a lot of things over the past week. There’s disobedience and there’s obedience to God. I’ve been being disobedient. It may be a small thing to you, but it’s a big thing to him. There’s consequences. It’s like a father and a kid. There are disciplines. You guys can chew on that and think about it."
... which naturally has fueled speculation as to what is going on with Hamilton. Some have said that his marriage is falling apart, others have suggested that he's had another alcohol or drug relapse, and I've even seen one comment that guesses that Hamilton is actually gay. All we can really do is wait for Hamilton to come out (sorry, pun not intended there) and reveal what he's been hinting at here.
On a lighter note, how many other religious players are going to start using God's punishment as an excuse for their slumps now?
Edit: It turns out that Hamilton's issue is.... discipline. What?
"The issue is 'discipline.' Professionally, it’s been plate discipline. Personally, it’s been being obedient to the Lord in quitting chewing tobacco. I was hesitant to address the tobacco once again, because it’s an area that I’ve struggled with trying to quit in the past."
More specifically, Hamilton's been struggling with quitting his chewing tobacco, which really isn't as big of a deal to me as Hamilton had been letting on. However, it's certainly a big deal to himself, and his struggles have likely carried over onto the baseball field, leading to his recent slump at the plate. Good luck to Josh as he continues fighting yet another addiction in his life.
- We all knew about the trade deadline coming and going on July 31st, and the Diamondbacks had a quick turnaround with one of their acquired players. The D-Backs sent former Twins reliever and noted crossword enthusiast Craig Breslow to the Red Sox for reliever Matt Albers and outfielder Scott Podsednik. You may remember Podsednik from his days with the White Sox, and after failing to stick in the major leagues last season, had an impressive .387/.409/.484 triple slash in 19 games for the BoSox this year. I'm sure in Scott Pod's eyes (that's what I called him, because it sorta rhymed), those stats warranted remaining in the major leagues. Not for the D-Backs though, as they attempted to send him to Triple-A. Except that since Podsednik is a veteran player, he had the ability to reject any minor league assignments, and that's exactly what he did. As a result, he ended up being released by the Diamondbacks, just two days after he was acquired.
- Finally, I think it's always fun to see the... umm... let's go with "technologically deficient" folk attempt to read tweets from Twitter. Earlier this season, it was Shane Victorino having Phillies manager Charlie Manuel read tweets from various teammates' Twitter feeds. Our latest episode involves the silky-smooth voice of Vin Scully, which coincidentally involves Victorino once again. Here, Scully reads Victorino's introductory "twit" after being traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers. I think we should petition Victorino to get Scully to read more "twits," just like he did with Manuel.
- Bonus! I had already saved everything, wiped my hands on my shorts and called it a day, but then I found this article on Aaron Cook. You should remember that a while back, I commented on how Cook had only 2 strikeouts in 29.2 IP for the Red Sox. Well, Cook is now up to 4 strikeouts in 44.2 IP. His K/9 is at a lowly 0.81, and his luck is gone as his ERA is now at 5.24. Regardless, read that Cook article I've linked, because it's humorous. Also, because it includes a picture of Beaker the Muppet.
- Bonus #2! I showed you how Brian Dozier has tweaked his batting stance this season in that same Breakfast & Baseball post, and guess what? He's now on batting stance #4! This is just begging for a "I've got more swings than Batting Stance Guy*" rap lyric in the future. Anyway, here's our new Brian Dozier Batting Stance Timeline.
* Yes, I totally was thinking of the Beastie Boys "I've got more hits than Sadaharu Oh" lyric from "Hey Ladies" when I typed this.
I will admit that it looks very similar to Stance #2, but the slight difference is that he's now resting the bat on or just above his shoulder, whereas in #2, he was holding the bat just a little higher.
The Twins have Game 3 against the Red Sox later today. Will Josh Willingham smash a home run into the parking lot beyond the Green Monster? Tune in to find out!