Monday’s five for fighting

I was away over the weekend, with spotty cell service or none at all. You can imagine my surprise when, upon returning to civilization, I discovered that Major League Baseball just kept on playing games. If only someone had told me.

Today’s five links you shouldn’t miss if you did…

– Look, the practical impacts of shortening the schedule from 162 games to 154 have been vastly overstated. It would cost Major League Baseball some (but not a lot of) money, and it would mean fewer — but not many fewer — overuse injuries. To make any real, noticeable differences, you’d probably have to get serious and shave a few weeks from the schedule, or add 22 off-days rather than eight. But this is baseball, where even the most modest of changes is hailed as revolutionary if not world-shaking. Anyway, last week ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark (here) and Jerry Crasnick (here) wrote a couple of good stories about this.

– Believe it or not, projections suggest that Matt Duffy will not be a measurably better player than Casey McGehee over the rest of this season. Even though Duffy’s a better fielder and a much better baserunner. McGehee’s been terrible this season, though, while Duffy’s been pretty good. So it’s hardly surprising that the Giants have designated McGehee — who just six years took a veteran player’s job in Milwaukee — and handed third base to Duffy. Upon getting the news, as CSNBayArea’s Alex Pavlovic writes, McGee responded with great class.

– My only beef with Major League Baseball and Memorial Day? Memorial Day shouldn’t be a marketing tool. Plain and simple. And while there are certainly people associated with Major League Baseball who have pure hearts — yes, even this sort of facile, simplistic, ahistorical sentiment — comes from a good place, I’m sure — Major League Baseball the multi-billion-dollar business enterprise sees Memorial Day and (frankly) the fallen servicemembers its supposed to commeorate as a marketing tool. Plain and simple. Anyway, I tire of beating this drum every year. So I’ll leave the heavy lifting to Craig Calcaterra, who seems to have more energy this morning than I.

– Hey look! Clay Buchholz’s ERA is terrible again, just like last year! But as BP Boston’s Matt Collins points out, Buchholz has made some real changes in his repertoire this season and it’s paying off everywhere except in his ERA. 

– Finally, from October Hero to Oblivion (for now, at least) in one easy step. Travis Ishikawa: just the latest casualty of the million-man bullpen.