Another Heh Heh Heh Heh Laugher 

In the post-game (w)rap last night, Krukow mentioned that Barry Bonds before the game had decreed that the game would show what the team was made of. I didn't realize Barry reads El Lefty Malo. Welcome, Barry.

Turns out that as a barometer of the season, the game was inconclusive. Jason Schmidt proved he could wiggle out of jams with only his change-up working. Jim Brower turned in his best performance of the year; Felix, too. Durham, Alfonzo and Feliz each had a clutch hit, but Alfonzo also failed to get a run home from third with less than 2 outs. Hammonds watched a called third strike after Bonds was walked intentionally to load the bases.

It was a nice win, not a statement.

However, with Deivi Cruz's debut with the team--a pinch-hit double that should have led to an insurance run if Alfonzo had more than one at-bat's worth of clutch in him--El Lefty Malo is now on the "Deivi Cruz, Starting Shortstop" bandwagon. Unless his defense is so horrific that his presence on the infield would counteract any potential gain on offense, play him. (And come to mention, is anyone thrilled about Neifi's defense this year? Remember that play in S.D. when he took his time and Sean Burroughs beat the throw, which led to a rally? ¡Qué coño!)

Wait a second--Deivi's career OPS is seven points lower than Neifi's (.674 to .681). How is this possible? Their career OBPs are virtually the same (Deivi .290/Neifi .301). Their career SLG%s are virtually the same (Deivi .385/Neifi .381). Their names are virtually the same: -ei-i -r-z! Good God, have they ever been seen in the same dugout together at the same time?

As of last night, yes, they have. So what makes them different? Without actually crunching park-effect numbers, I think it's fair to say that four full years of Coors Field helped inflate Neifi's SLG.

His Coors SLG: .444, .382, .403, .427, .445.
His post-Coors SLG: .302, .303, .348.

Meanwhile, Deivi put up some decent numbers at the cavernous Comerica Park, at least for one season (.302/.318/.449, including 46 doubles, in 2000). That was his career year: he hasn't topped a .670 OPS since. Camden Yards and Qualcomm, Cruz's home fields the past couple years, are hitters parks, but not mile high. So let's give Deivi's "true" slugging percentage an edge over Neifi.

Given neither player will get on base much, why not go for the guy who'll at least hit the ball to or over the wall once in a while? Especially when he's hitting 8th, where a bunt single with two outs and no one on doesn't really help much.

Unless someone can show me that Deivi's glove has fingers missing, I'm riding this horse hard.


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