Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Nightcap


McPaper published a nice profile of Chad Cordero today, noting---among other things---his unfashionably dorky style of cap-wearing, his easy-going nature, the good deeds he does, and his exceptional (and somewhat surprising) pitching that will no doubt carry him to the all-star game. This snippet rather sums up the gist of the profile:


Cordero is 23 going on 13: During games, he sits in the bullpen popping Starburst candy and drinking Coke or Pepsi. But when the call comes from the dugout, Cordero comes in and goes right after batters.


[Aside: I wonder if Cordero has constructed a statute of Frank Robinson out of Starburst candies, like that freak on the television commercial. "It's made out of the cherry ones, Frank, because your lips smell like cherries." Eh, never mind . . . ]

Yesterday, I revealed myself a skeptic on Gary Majewski and Luis Ayala, the two main bridges (so far) to Cordero, the bullpen ace. Today, I intended to turn my attention to Cordero; however, while it's unrealistic to expect the 0.94 ERA and 0.99 WHIP to continue the balance of the season, I can't get similarly depressive about Cordero, simply because:

1) you try to find something foreboding about this stat line; and,
2) how am I going to express extreme caution about the track record of a guy who's been nothing but successful since day one and, in fact, is only improving his control record right now?

Still, as a team, the Nats are getting by on . . . I don't know, call it what you want: Scrap. Chemistry. Moxie. Frank. Luck.

But if it is luck---and here's where citations to the team's record in one-run games potentially become more than just nitpicks at success---then the Nats are walking an extreme tightrope; the stellar performances of Majewski and Ayala and Carrasco and even Cordero, if aided by luck, must at some point operate without such a benefit. Put it another way: when your closer has a 0.94 ERA and you're just getting by, he could still be a quality pitcher and you might not still get by.

In short, Cordero is the real deal, but he's not this real. Very few are.


________

Nonsense quote of the day, culled from a WashTimes story about Frank Robinson polling unfavorably among Major League players:


Colorado Rockies manager Clint Hurdle, among others, questioned the validity of polling athletes who carry their own agendas. "If you're gonna buy a car, do you talk to players?" he asked. "They're gonna tell you to buy a car that you can't afford."

Huh. I'm not exactly sure that's what Hurdle meant, but then again, I'm not exactly sure what Hurdle was saying at all. And I'm not at all sure it has any bearing on Frank Robinson's status in the game, except to say that lots of players would prefer a (perceived) better or more attractive (professionally-speaking, of course, because no one holds a candle to Frank's looks) manager.

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