FriarBall: Slumping no more?

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Slumping no more?

So right after I write about guys being in slumps and needing to get out of them soon, Adrian Gonzalez hits his first home run in a long time and Greg Maddux goes out and gets the job done (even if the pen almost gave the game away). And we even had a heroic Geoff Blum citing to boot.

Watching the game on MLB's Gameday, I was shocked when I logged on in the top of the second and saw Maddux struck out the side to open the game. Having Maddux on one of my fantasy teams, I know firsthand that his strikeouts have been few and far between. But to watch him strike out 6 was great and would have been better if I had actually started him last night. Oh well, the Padres winning that game is good enough for me.

But the biggest question after last night's game now has to be what to do with Scott Linebrink. I have previously gone on record to advocate that he should be given the time and opportunity to get himself out of this funk but letting two guys get on and then giving up a 3-run HR when all you have to do is get three guys out is not a good sign.

While Linebrink looked like he was turning things around at one point, he has struggled off and on since June 1, giving up 9 earned runs in 18 2/3 innings. He has also given up 21 hits in that span and 4 of his 5 blown saves have come during that span. But luckily for him, SD has come back to win 2 of those 4 games.

If you look at his home/road splits, that appears to be part of the problem as hitters are batting .303 with an .880 OPS against him on the road and .163/.528 at home. But then again, last night's fiasco was at home, so numbers only tell part of the story.

As I look at my ramblings I really have no idea what to do other than to suggest that Heath Bell should take over at the 8th inning specialist if Bud Black is going to insist on having one. I think Linebrink has had enough time to straighten things out and it isn't happening so now a move has to be made.

Of course, with SD eventually winning last night and maintaining its place as one of the top teams in the NL, I guess I shouldn't be too picky. I mean, the Padres actually could have lost last night.

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