Another great game today, and a lot more than usual to talk about, so let's get right to it.
Jason LaRue Bereavement
Apparently his grandfather passed away unexpectedly and he'll be out to be with his family. Our thoughts and best wishes go out to him and his loved ones.
I know from the search terms that lead to hits on RHM that there are a whole lot of other LaRue fans out there who would probably also like to send their condolences, but I wasn't able to find any contact information on The Official Site. The lack of easy access to an email or snail mail address for players is a beef I have with MLB that I fully intend to vent about at some more appropriate time. In the mean time, maybe the forums or mail straight to the stadium would be a passable solution for those of you who want to express your sympathy.
Austin Kearns To Louisville
When I heard that Austin Kearns was optioned to Louisville, I was surprised. Not because it was a shocking move, but because I hadn't thought of it first. This management has made some bad signings, mystifying on-field decisions, and poor clubhouse-decorating choices, but I've agreed with a whole lot of the player moves they've made this season.
I have no idea what Kearns must be thinking about now. He seems to be a particularly cool-tempered, level-headed guy, but I'm sure it stings something fierce and seems frighteningly drastic. I hope he'll take at face value the assurances that he's not up for immediate trade (though that might not look so bad about now) and make sincere use of this opportunity.
Kearns was freaking awesome out of spring training, and there's no reason to believe that he can't go beat up on some AAA pitchers for a while and come screaming back onto the scene. I'm confident enough about it, in fact, that I'm not even postponing my research for his Human League profile.
And In Their Places…
Dane Sardinha is coming up to fill in for LaRue until he's back, no earlier than Wednesday. Kenny Kelly will be filling in for Kearns. Kelly looked overmatched the one time I saw him play, but his numbers certainly indicate otherwise, so I'll be interested to see what he has to offer.
Day To Day
Ryan Freel and Wily Mo Peña were both out of the lineup again today and have both been listed as day-to-day, projected to be back soon. That would be all good if experience didn't tell us not to expect to see them again until sometime in August.
Finally, On To The Actual Game
When Ramón Ortiz gave up the three-run home run in the second inning, all I could think was “here we go again.” When he gave up the solo shot in the third inning, I was steaming with frustration. But when it was all said and done, you look back on it and see a guy who gave up a handful of hits and two homeruns to Sammy Sosa. That's hardly territory worn exclusively by poor performers.
It must have been gratifying for Ortiz to see both Baltimore leads immediately dashed. I know that it was gratifying for me finally to see this offense we've all been hearing so much about. Every single person contributed. On the suspicious side, Jacob Cruz was pinch-run for again, but I seem to be the only person bothered by that, so I'll move on to my last point, which is that…
Rich Aurilia Is Kicking Ass
Yeah, that's what I said. Wanna make something of it?
Hitting The Road
Next up: a three-game trip to Boston. The offense that has suddenly appeared the last couple days is going to need to be in full effect for Milton's start tomorrow. If nothing else, it'll be great water-cooler kiss-up opportunity for me as my boss is a BoSox fan (“My my, that David Ortiz really is quite the hitter, sir!”) Ought to be a good time.