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Fred Lewis Goes Golden Sombrero

In a game where Clayton Kershaw strikes out 13, you can imagine at least one player would be threatening for the Golden Sombrero. On Wednesday night, the unfortunate victim was Fred Lewis. Just to show you how “on” Kershaw was, he K’d Lewis three times. Fred was probably the Giants’ hottest hitter entering the game, batting .417 and slugging .625, so you know Kershaw really cooled him off.

Fred punched out all four times up and he was equal opportunity, striking out looking twice and swinging twice. Can’t give Kershaw credit for everything because it was Jon Broxton that gave him the whiff treatment his last time up. Lewis is a good player and will get his fair share of hits this year. Hard to expect too much from a lefty facing a southpaw who has a good fastball and a devastating curve the way Kershaw does. Not that I have any sympathy or anything because if the Giants never scored another run the rest of the year I’d be quite satisfied.

Carlos Pena Scores the First Golden Sombrero of the ’09 Season

A year later and it’s almost like nothing has changed. May 7th of last year, Rays first baseman Carlos Pena took the Golden Sombrero against the Blue Jays. To refresh your memory since it’s been so long, the LBS Golden Sombrero Club is designed to recognize players who achieve the dubious distinction of going 0-for-4 in a ballgame with four strikeouts. The even more difficult task is going to bat five times in a ballgame and not even touching the ball. The 0-for-5 with five strikeouts game is the more rare variety of the Sombrero, known as the Platinum Sombrero. Andruw Jones was the only player of record since the Club’s inception to get the Platinum Sombrero.

Anyway, picking up right where we and Pena left off last year, Carlos Pena achieved the first Golden Sombrero of the year. Pena had the unenviable job of facing Josh Beckett, who brought his A-game for the Red Sox. Beckett allowed just two hits over seven innings, striking out 10 Rays. Pena was the victim three of those times. Justin Masterson completed the sombrero, k’ing Pena in the 8th. Pena went down swinging twice and looking twice, so he was definitely equal opportunity. This was only one game of 162 for Pena, so we know brighter days are ahead. The guy’s a power hitter with back-to-back 30-homer, 100 RBI seasons — strikeouts are part of the game. Boy is this guy hit or miss.

Rocco Baldelli, Chase Headley Commit Double-Sombrero

It’s not so much that LB’s been too busy to keep up with Sombrero watch, it’s more that Golden Sombrero’s are a rare occurrence. And that my friends, is why we must recognize each one. There was a special Sombrero in Boston on Monday night. Rocco Baldelli whiffed four times, leaving four men on base, as the Rays got shut out by the Red Sox 3-0. Baldelli thrice took the gas pipe against Jon Lester, twice swinging and once looking, and punched out his final AB against Jonathan Papelbon. What makes this sombrero so interesting is that Jon Lester continues to spit in my face, pitching gem after gem for the Red Sox. Apparently he heard me chide him for his no-hitter, calling it a fluke. I guess at 14-5, the joke’s on me. On the other side of the coin, even though he had a poor offensive night, it’s still nice to see Rocco Baldelli back in the lineup for the Rays. He busted onto the scene as a youngster a few years ago and showed plenty of promise. It’s really good to see him back, and I’m not just talking about sentiment here; Baldelli’s swinging a strong stick and has had some clutch hits since coming off the disabled list.

Chase Headley on the other hand, has less of which to be proud. The Padres’ rookie punched out three times against the aging Greg Maddux, and once against left-hander, Joe Bobblehead Beimel. To give you an idea of how lost Headley was compared to the other hitters in the lineup, Maddux had four strikeouts on the night. Three were Headley. Chase has a bright future, though hitting in Petco Park is a tough proposition. He’ll have plenty of better days. As for Maddux, he hasn’t exactly given the Dodgers what they had hoped for when he was acquired.

Ryan Zimmerman Goes Golden

You know, if the Nats really want extra coverage on LBS, this is all they really have to do. Contributor JS emails in with the news that his Cubbies handed it to the Nationals on Sunday, giving Ryan Zimmerman the coveted Golden Sombrero. Considering Zimmerman’s the three hitter for the Nats, you wouldn’t ordinarily figure that he’d be taking the Golden Sombrero if it came down to any of the batters in that lineup. You’d probably guess that Austin Kearns, Angel Hernandez, or the likes of Willie Harris would struggle to make contact against top arms like Dick Harden, Carlos Marmol, and Jeff Samardzija. But no, it was Ryan Zimmerman who took the shaft punching out all four times on Sunday.

For Zimmerman, taking the Golden Sombrero was really indicative of the way his whole season’s gone. Zimmerman busted onto the scene in ’06, the year after he was drafted by Washington, driving in 110 runs. His encore performance last year included a 24 home run season. Zimm definitely took a step back this year as he’s been battling a bum shoulder. And in case you were wondering, Zimmerman punched out three times against fireballer Dick Harden, and the final time against Jeff Samardzija. I’m guessing Zimmerman will see better days. Kinda hard to do worse.

Jim Thome Joins the Club

As you can imagine, I’m quite pleased to have yet another established slugger join the coveted ranks of the LBS Golden Sombrero Club. The elite franchise that is the LBS GS Club has no room for the Paul Janishes of the world; we’re all about the Hall of Famers, the 500 home run club members. Jim Thome could be the club’s proudest inductee up to this point. Anyway, if Thome had been halfway productive on Saturday against Tampa Bay, maybe his team wouldn’t have lost 5-3. Then again, with the way Scott Kazmir shut them down (except for Jermaine Dye), you really can’t blame him.

Thome thrice took the gas pipe against Scott Kazmir, twice swinging and once looking. Then in the 9th, Thome punched out swinging against Dan Wheeler. For the second straight game against the Rays, the White Sox bullpen blew a late innings lead, this time they gave up 4 runs in the 8th to fall behind 5-3. On Friday night, the pen gave up 3 in the 8th and 3 more in the 9th to lose 9-4. As White Sox fan extraordinare Lance Johnson says, if the White Sox lose the division by one or two games, blame it all on Octavio Dotel. Surely not Jim Thome — those 500+ home runs have to come at a price, right?

Dan Uggla, Mike Jacobs Commit the Double-Sombrero

Honestly, admit you thought this was something straight out of Dean Wermer’s book. Not so. It’s been a while since we had any new introductions to the elite LBS Golden Sombrero Club. Aaron Rowand, don’t think I didn’t notice yours a few weeks back. I let you off easy on. Anyway, LBS reader Adam is a Cubs fan and made sure I didn’t miss the fact that the Marlins 4-5 combination of Mike Jacobs and Dan Uggla committed the double-sombrero on Sunday in a 9-2 loss against Chicago. Now in case you were asking whether or not this was the first of its kind, my homey Elias works for some Sports Bureau and confirmed that this is indeed a first. I mean last time I was so elated to have Andruw Jones go where no position player had gone before — Platinum. But a double-sombrero? That’s unprecedented. That’s ground breaking.

Clean up hitter Mike Jacobs punched out three times against Ryan Dempster and then once against Neal Cotts. Uggla was rung up three times by Dempster as well and took the gas pipe in his final AB against Jeff Samardzija. Jacobs has 25 dongs on the season, but has a .241 average to go with it. Uggla’s got 26 bombs and his average is a less-ugly .260. With power numbers like those, we’re assured to see better days from both. Alas, they’re both welcome additions to the club. We’re working on quite the star-studded roster now.

Andruw Jones Goes Platinum Sombrero

It was just over a week ago that Andruw Jones had come off the disabled list to the tune of an 0-for-5 game with four strikeouts. At that time, we said there would only be brighter days ahead for Mr. Jones, and that it wouldn’t be long before “U” joined the Golden Sombrero Club. Well, no doubt about it — eight days later — I am proud to induct Andruw Jones into the LBS Golden Sombrero Club as the first position player to achieve the Platinum Sombrero. Honestly, this is quite the honor; I hope Andruw appreciates his company because it really is difficult to see at least 15 pitches in one night and not be able to touch at least one of them.

I knew that we were heading for a magical night following Andruw’s second at-bat. He was so clueless at the plate, just waving at breaking balls in the dirt. Jones was so lost he would have punched out even with a tennis racket for a bat. And that’s not even an understatement. Seriously, if you missed it, Andruw looked like a 12-year-old kid at the plate who was seeing a curve ball for the first time. It was a pathetic joke. It’s no coincidence that Andruw struck out swinging every time up, against three different pitchers no less — they did their homework and realized the guy can’t touch a curveball. And what major leaguer doesn’t make an adjustment mid-game to try and hit a ball towards right field, or at the least, lay off a breaking ball in the dirt after the 15th time in one game? I am fully confident that I could have stepped out there last night and thrown three straight curves in the low-70s and struck Andruw out. I’m not even exaggerating because that’s how awful and clueless he was.

This guy is so bad it’s now becoming fun to see just how bad he can get. He his hurting this team so much with his lack of production that its almost time to either shut the dude down for the year, or just outright release him and eat the salary. Dude is not going to turn it around this year, at least not without a road map and a compass. The Dodgers need a freaking hitter at the plate, not somebody who makes Angel Berroa look like Honus Wagner. Oh yeah, and if the Dodgers have a charity auction, “A Day with Andruw Jones” would be the hottest commodity on the block if they ensure the winning bidder the opportunity to punch Jones in the face after he makes that stupid smile following a strikeout. Tell me you wouldn’t pay 10 grand to deck him after one of those smiles.