Saturday, May 10, 2008

Edmonds released; Izzy struggles

Yesterday the biggest news locally was the release of Jim Edmonds. Normally on the drive home I have the radio tuned to XX 1090, which covers the Padres; they either have Padres pre-game programming on the air or, as has been true over the past week with the Padres on the East Coast, the game in progress. Because the Padres are at home this weekend, they were doing pre-game stuff, so the Edmonds release was a hot topic.

Edmonds was bitten by two things - a slow start to the season (hitting .180), and becoming an unexpected liability in the outfield. As the Padres continued to struggle (losing 18 of their last 22 after last night's 4-2 decision to Colorado), the discussion became more and more animated out here that something needed to be done; and local fans focused on Edmonds.

He's the new guy, he's making a lot of money, and they jumped on him.

For argument's sake, here's what the other Padre regulars are hitting (minimum 81 AB; that's within 10% of Edmonds' total before he was released): Giles .269; Gonzalez .303; Bard .204; Greene .205; Hariston .208; Iguchi .252; Kouzmanoff .279. Edmonds certainly wasn't the only one struggling at the plate. Also, he wasn't the only one kicking the ball around in the outfield; witness Giles' 2 errors in one inning last week in Miami that torpedoed that game for Maddux, as an example.

I think most of us will agree Edmonds hasn't been the same player he was since the concussions he suffered in mid-2006, but I also think he got a raw deal from the Padres. And I'm sad to see him go; I didn't get a chance to see him in person at the ballpark, which I was really looking forward to doing, seeing as St. Louis comes through the week after next.

I doubt Jimmy will latch on somewhere else; he's probably finished as a major leaguer.


Speaking of players who look finished, Izzy blew his fifth save of the year last night against Milwaukee. What makes it even more painful is he had 2 outs when the rally started. Viva El Birdos had a graphic up this week detailing how Izzy's swing and miss percentage is way off this year; if I remember the article correctly, historically he's missed bats at a 11% rate, but this season it's closer to 6%. If he can't throw it by you anymore, given his recent (as in since 2006) trouble getting his curve ball over for strikes on a consistent basis, he's going to have trouble getting guys out.

This is also the third game already this season that the Brewers have rallied to score runs off him; he's lost 2 of those games, and in the third the Cardinals prevailed in extra innings.

Alarms should be going off in the Cardinal front office. They need to take a close look at Izzy and, frankly, Franklin; neither is pitching as effectively as they did last season. We cannot expect the starters to be as good over the whole season as they have been for the first 6 weeks, which means LaRussa needs a reliable option at the back of the game. Yes, Izzy has 11 saves so far, but the recent trend (1 save, 3 blown saves, runs given up in 3 of his last 4 outings) is disturbing to say the least.

I hope their record going into Wednesday's game at Coors wasn't the high water mark for the season; they've lost 3 in a row since, and two of those games they led in the eighth.


Until next time. Links to it from your site are always welcome.

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