Count me among those who believe last night's winning pitcher's future is in the bullpen. Radhames Liz threw a great five innings last night and earned the win in his 2008 debut. But I still believe that he'll be better served out of the bullpen in the future, where his stuff can be maximized. I can see him as a top-notch setup guy or maybe even a closer. Although, I haven't seen enough of his makeup to know whether or not he can fill that role. Still, the Orioles are correct to try him in the rotation right now. Because he does have the type of stuff that could develop into a top of the rotation type. I just think he's better off going with his one or two best pitches and getting 3 outs that way.
Speaking of fine pitching performances, the Shorebirds got one last night from Luis Noel. The 20-year old, (21 in September) is now 6-1 with a sub-3.00 ERA in A-ball. He has won his last four starts, and has surrendered just 12 hits in those 17 innings. He isn't tremendously overpowering (46 K, 57+ innings), but he gets guys out (opponents hitting just .208 against him.) Last night, he beat Ryan Miller who was 7-0 entering for Lake County of the Indians Chain. Noel spent most of the season in rookie league Florida last year, before surrendering 10 runs in 3 appearances for Aberdeen late in the year, but has made a nice transition to Delmarva this season. We think he's one to watch as the season develops.
So you over the shock that Syracuse won't have its top returning receiver next year? Just in case you were holding out hope that he might return, don't count on it. Kevin Maher of the CBS affiliate in Syracuse, reported yesterday that Williams was dismissed for cheating in one class on several occasions. Sounds to me like the door to return is closed. Just remember, that all Syracuse needs to do to improve on last season is win 3 games. Start looking at the schedule and try to find where those three wins are going to come from.
Could one be the opener at Northwestern? A few days ago the hope was a little higher. Not so much now. The game is likely to be played at Noon on the season's opening Saturday and be an ESPN2 broadcast. A month ago or so, I really thought it would be the nighttime primetime Big Ten Network game, but as the schedule is rounding into shape it appears Noon is the best bet. (Thanks to Matt Sarz for his help with this analysis).
So how those Yankee fans feeling about Joba Chamberlain in the rotation now? Kinda makes you think he isn't the savior, doesn't it? Maybe Kei Igawa wasn't such a bad solution. Look on the bright side, you still have LaTroy Hawkins in the bullpen.
Got into a little discussion, ok maybe debate, as to whether or not Chase Utley is the best player in the game this morning. It is hard to argue against him. But that is what i tried to do. Truly, I think that Lance Berkman has had a better year thus far, but do think that Utley has been better over a 3 year period or so. I also think that Dan Uggla has been better over the last month than Utley at the same position. But that is certainly a small sample. The other individual believed its either Utley or ARod. Utley has certainly outperformed him this season, but I'd probably take ARod if I was picking sides for a seven-game series right now. (As long as ARod didn't get wind that the seven-game series was anything more than a regular season series).