One of my favorite happenings is when a baseball game goes so long, or involves so much scoring that managers are forced to use position players as pitchers, and vice versa. Many of you might remember Jose Canseco pitching an inning for the Rangers back in 1993, but how many of you remember when the Long Beach Armada of the Golden Baseball League “penciled in him into the rotation” last year. Needless to say, it was a gimic, and Jose sucked. The Brewers-Cubs game Monday lasted 12 innings, and if it would have lasted any longer, Ned said he would have used Gabe Gross to pitch, and put Dave Bush in rightfield, where he is a defensive upgrade over Kevin Mench at least. This made me like Ben Sheets more, and does a bit to quiet concerns about his passion:
Wednesday scheduled starter Ben Sheets pleaded his availability to Yost, and started going through his pregame routine of getting his back loose.
I have visions of Ben telling Ned he’s going in, and starting to stretch while Ned is telling him he’s not going in. Ben has nacho cheese on his chin. Chris Capuano is shaking his head and taking notes for his memoirs. Also, I’m a mad fan of Gabe Gross, and to see him pitch would have been awesome, though it couldn’t have been a good thing for the Brewers; said Gross:
“I’ve got a sinker, but I don’t know if it sinks. And I’ve got a cutter, don’t know if it cuts,” Gross joked. “I can throw a breaking pitch, but I don’t know what you could call it. I can throw strikes, I do know that.” How many innings could he have pitched? “I could throw a bunch, but whether I could have moved the rest of the year, we don’t know,” Gross said.
A sense of humor to rival Capuano’s. The little nuances in the game that make baseball the best. You need these stories to get you through the dog days, which aren’t here yet, and the way the Brewers are playing relative to the rest of the division, hopefully it won’t feel like there are any dog days this year. Not only is the Crew 6 games over .500 with last night’s victory at the VERY friendly confines, there isn’t another team over .500 in the Central (Houston is 10-10). They’re tied for the second best record in the Majors right now, just a half game back of the Mets. Runs are coming from anywhere at anytime. The pitching is holding up; the bullpen looks good. And despite the wrist sprain Corey Hart sustained Saturday, which he’s already over, we’re healthy. It’s good to be Brewer fan! In other blips, Kevin Goldstein at Baseball Prospectus is thinking a bit like I am:
Memo to Brewers: You want a shot at running away with the NL Central crown? Get Yovani Gallardo into the rotation and Ryan Braun into the lineup – now.
Melvin, Yost, &; Co. might be thinking right now that if it’s not broke, don’t break it, but I have to think that Gallardo is about 10 dominant AAA innings and one or two mediocre Vargas starts away from making it to the show. I like to pretend a lot, though. As ever, Goldstein is enthusiastic about what the Brewers have going down on the farm. For once, that’s not the only thing Brewers fans have to be excited about.