Wednesday, September 10, 2008

This Is Not The Time For The Andruw Jones Experiment

Andruw Jones made an appearance in the starting lineup last night. Not that he is difficult to spot in the first place, but even if you look for him in the box score, he's the only one who went 0-for-4. He's now batting .158. But the microscopic average doesn't even tell the full story, for those of us watching the game last night.

Jones came up in the second inning and saw changeup, changeup, fastball, changeup. He swung at all four pitches, striking out on a 70 mph change.

Jones was more patient in his at bat in the fourth, taking two balls before taking a called strike and then weakly grounding to second on a fastball.

In the sixth, Jones saw two Reagan-era (low 80's) changeups, the latter of which resulted in a force at second (erasing Nomar Garciaparra) which was kept from a double play only when Padres first baseman Adrian Gonzalez was taken off the bag on the throw. At that point, to quote SoSG Orel in the GameThread (comment at 8:51p):

Jones is doing everything possible to get out. He finally succeeds on his third try (#1 DP but first baseman pulled off bag, #2 almost picked off first, #3 thrown out at second trying to advance on a ball that got away from the catcher)

So not only was it a poor at bat, it was compounded by ineptitude on the basepaths. A subsequent shot of a displeased Joe Torre in the dugout seemed to augur poorly for Jones' fourth at bat.

But no, Jones came back up in the ninth, for a five-pitch strikeout (his second K of the night). On this at bat, the slow-motion replay showed how badly he was fooled, as well as how jerky and back-foot-weighted Jones' swing has become. It's not a pretty sight, and it was almost as if Vin Scully was biting his tongue from saying a more acerbic comment.

Jones has devolved into a circus act, a train wreck that is only compelling to watch in that it's a looming disaster. He's getting booed on the road, for pete's sake--if anything, the Padres fans should be cheering Jones' presence in the lineup, particularly batting sixth where it can cleave any offensive momentum in two.

Look, Jones may get an occasional hit. Heck, Mark Sweeney can get a hit every one in a while (though Sweeney was 0-for-1 with a called K last night). But this is not something we want to be screwing around with down the home stretch of a tight pennant race.

Sure, it worked out last night (where the Dodgers ended up winning the game, and the Giants' win over Arizona actually extended our lead to a still wafer-thin 2.5 games), fortunately for us. But it's really playing Russian roulette to be trotting Jones out there when we're still racing for the division title. Save the postseason audition period for the meaningless games we may earn (if we're lucky!) at the end of the year.


Neeebs said...

Well said, Saxy.

berkowit28 said...

There were an awful lot of Dodger fans at that game. By the late innings, Petco seemed to be taken over by Dodger fans. So it was also probably Dodger fans, not Padre fans, doing most of the Jones booing.

Fortunately Jones' participation didn't wreck the night. Who knows - maybe it was even good for Kemp to get a bit of a break. Let's hope it doesn't take Torre even a minute longer to recognize that this was not a test worth repeating. If the Dodgers are up by 6 runs or so, he can bring Jones in for a ninth inning replacement sometime, if he must.

Steve Sax said...

Or maybe Jones can keep Tanyon company.

Orel said...

We need to use the phrase "Reagan-era changeups" more often.

Alex Cora said...

I wasn't able to watch the game last night, but there was NO WAY that I thought that Jones would be playing. Absolutely none. Then I read this post and even had to check the box score to make sure Sax wasn't lying. Man, 0-4 is pretty bad and overall it is really sad how the mighty have fallen. Could have used his bat for at least some of the season. He should be benched for the rest of the way - give him a ticket to Las Vegas to rehab. Repko is a fine back up or even DY. Wonder what we are going to do with him next year.

Oh, and it looks like Kemp was 1-1 as a pinch hitter.

Steve Sax said...

Orel, I'll confess that I swiped "Reagan-era" from Matt Vasgersian, who uses the term quite liberally on his in-game play-by-play on MLB06: The Show and MLB08: The Show.

Dave Soup Campbell also does a fine job doing color commentary on that game, with the exception of the overused "Sometimes guys go down and get the soft stuff. Not there." line.

Rex Hudler as the third commentator: eh. The Popeye commentary is tiresome.

Hmm, I think I have a post here.