Today was a big day for BHGM. For starters, we passed 500 hits today. Next, we’ve got the comments. As always, comments are a lot of fun for me. I like to see you guys work. For example, in the chat box, we’ve got the following exchange between Kevin and Jorge:
Jorge: andres torres quiero que suba ya para grandes ligas el es el mejor te queremos aguada puertorico. andres torres es el mejor.
Kevin: Si, Andres Torres es mi jugador de beisbol favorita. El es el hombre. Me amo Andres! Yo Recibi un 4.0 en espanol este ano!
See if you can guess the native speaker here. I took two years of Spanish back in high school. I’ve been out of contact with the language for about three years. I can tell you that Jorge said something about wanting Andres Torres, for major leagues in Puerto Rico, maybe. I’m really confused actually. As for Kevin, "Yes, Andres Torres is my favorite baseball player. He is the man. I love Andres Torres! I got a 4.0 in Spanish last year!" Anyway, if anyone can decode Jorge’s thoughts, leave a message. Additionally, we finally got one of those mysterious regular readers to chime in with a comment; welcome to Kevin II. Kevin II, until I get a last initial from you, that’s how it’s going to be. Check out last night’s full comments. Anyway, a couple of days ago I promised an overview of possible starting pitchers that the Yankees could acquire. I’ve said that this is, without a doubt, the deal they need to make. In any case, I had written about half of this before I accidentally refreshed the browser and lost it all. Me losing my work is kind of like a sort of classical conditioning. For the next two weeks, I’ll save a copy of each post into Word every minute. Then I’ll get lax about it, because nothing has happened. Four days later, I’ll lose a post. Anyway, on with the baseball. Oh yeah, and, the funniest thing you will ever see in your entire life will be found at the end of tonight’s post.
As mentioned before, we’re here to talk about possible candidates for a starting pitching position with the Yankees. Updates from April 26th, 2007, are in bold. Feel free to read these in a Wonder Years Epilogue Voice.
- Livan Hernandez, WAS: Livan has been having a less-than-stellar year so far. He has an ERA of 5.19 and a WHIP of 1.52. In short, he’s not earning his $8 million salary. Hernandez also stands to make $7 million next year. If new ownership believes that he is not worth what he’s getting paid, they’ll move him. Few teams need pitching badly enough to make a move for Livan, besides the Yankees. With their attendance falling as fast as their rank in the standings – actually, they’ve been in 2nd to last place all year, while their attendance keeps falling – the Nationals and their new owners need to make a move. The team will be officially out of contention by July, and it’s possible Livan could be moved for cash and a couple minor league prospects. Livan Hernandez never really got his stuff back, and was traded to Arizona, where he currently resides with a 3.96 ERA and $7,000,000 salary.
- Jason Schmidt, SF: If I had to make one pick for who I thought would be wearing pinstripes by year’s end, it would be Schmidt. He is currently in his contract year, and is known to have significant issues with the San Francisco front office. It’s highly unlikely that he will return to the Giants in 2007. Furthermore, the Giants have revealed that they will not even bother discussing a contract with Schmidt until the conclusion of the season – that is, if he’s still around. Schmidt has bounced back from an awful 2005 campaign, and now has a 3.07 ERA (18th best in MLB) and 1.04 WHIP (5th best.) However, he is making $10.5 Million this year, and few teams would be willing to pick up such a contract unless they absolutely had to have his services this year to contend. Again, the Yankees are one of the only teams that fit this description. If the Giants are out of contention by July, it is very likely that they’ll move Schmidt – and remember, he’ll likely command more money next year. Jason Schmidt did not return to San Francisco. He finished 2006 with the Giants and a 3.59 ERA. He signed with the Dodgers and is now making $16 million.
- Brad Radke and Carlos Silva, MIN: Both are trade candidates, but not necessarily to the Yankees. Radke and Silva have both had ‘bad’ years – Radke’s ERA is 7.44, Silva’s is at 8.24. However, there is clearly something bothering them both. Perhaps they’ll get on track soon. Meanwhile, Silva is currently pitching from the pen, while Radke has given up at least 4 runs in every start this year (10), with the exception of one against (who else) the Royals. The Twins are, as I said earlier in the year, still rebuilding. They just don’t know it. Right now, the Twins cheap, mini-market formula no longer works. Rookie pitchers have a better ERA and record vs. the Twins in the last 5 years than against any other team. It could be a coincidence, but it could also be that the Twins aren’t scouting. In the first matchup, the pitcher typically has the advantage over the hitter; scouting can help out, but only if you do it. Back to Radke and Silva. If the Twins believe that they can get prospects for the two, they’ll do so. The organization has various pitchers in the pipeline, (Boof, Liriano, etc,) but they could use help with the bats – they have consistently fallen short of the offensive production necessary of a contending team in recent years. If the Yankees are willing to give up hitters and take a chance on Radke and Silva, they may end up in New York. I don’t think it will happen. Sadly, Brad Radke never did pull it together. The 2006 season was his last. The Twins stuck by Carlos Silva, and he finished the season with an ERA of 5.94. He seems to have it together this year, pulling a 2.74 ERA in 4 games.
- Jason Johnson, CLE: I said so before the season began, and I’ll say it again. Jason Johnson is not a good pitcher. He is, in fact, a very bad pitcher. Right now, he has a 6.52 ERA and 1.78 WHIP. Terrible, awful, numbers. The Yankees would not pay $1 for Jason Johnson, but I enjoyed kicking him on the way out. Johnson continued to be bad, and was designated for assignment by the Indians, but was acquired by the Red Sox. He pitched in 6 games for them, and managed a 7.36 ERA. He was then optioned to Class A, which is where we lost track of him. He spent some time in Cincinnati, pitching 4 games in relief.
Other pitchers that could be seen – Bruce Chen, BAL. Barry Zito, OAK. But only if Oakland is amazingly far out of contention, and even then, it would take a miracle, as the Yankees have very little to offer. I think that we’ll see someone like a Noah Lowry type, in the end. Overall, however, the pitching market is very weak this year; many teams are running around with 4-man rotations, forced into spot-starting different pitchers. The Yankees, Royals, Rangers, Braves, Nationals, Brewers, Cubs – all need pitchers. Furthermore, many teams with arms to offer are in contention now. However, a lot will change by mid-July, and that’s when we’ll be getting down to the wire. Meanwhile, the above is clearly not an exhaustive list, and I welcome all suggestions. On with the night’s news.
- The Marlins beat the Mets. And the Royals beat the Yankees. You can expect the world to explode any minute now. How did this happen? Isn’t there someone in a control room somewhere, with his hand on an abort button? Two teams with a combined 24-66 record beat two teams with a combined record of 54-37. The Royals alone lost nearly as many games (35) as both the Mets and Yankees combined. If we needed any more evidence at how poor that team is. As for the Yankees game, they almost, almost, blew it again. As in, runners on 1st and 3rd for the Yankees with 1 out and Giambi up, bottom of the 9th, 7-6. Listen Jason, if you’re swinging on 2 strikes just to avoid the K, don’t. Strike out, and A-Rod comes to the plate with 2 outs. Stupid. If you live in New York City, batten down the hatches, stock up on various supplies, and prepare yourselves – it could be a long night. Oh yeah, almost forgot. Jeter hit #2,000. And of course, leave it to the Royals to let it happen on what was pretty much an error.
- The Tigers won, again. They’ve won 7 straight games, on the heels of winning 7 straight. And how’s this for weird: since I returned from school on May 10th, the Tigers have lost one game – the only game I attended, on May 19th. Had they not lost that one game, they’d be riding a 15-gamer right now. The White Sox lost today, pushing the Tigers 2.5 games ahead. However, Mike Maroth – who had, probably, a ‘bad’ afternoon yesterday – was placed on the DL today, with elbow irritation. I don’t like this one bit; I described Maroth as the solid, 4.50 ERA, 200 inning guy before the season started. Seems like the clock has struck midnight on that one.
- Brandon Webb is to pitchers what Albert Pujols is to Men. Webb won again today, pushing his record to 8-0. Read that again – he has started 11 games. He has won 8. His ERA is 2.13. He has walked 9 batters, and struck out 53. He has a WHIP of 1.08. He has two shutouts. See, I did not know Brandon Webb was this good. He pitches for the Arizona Diamondbacks. Randy Johnson, in the now-famous example, went 16-14 with them in 2004 after recording a 2.60 ERA and 290 K’s. Brandon is now on pace to win 24 games. If he does accomplish this feat, well, I’m not sure what will happen. He went 14-12 last year, so maybe the consequences won’t be too dire. But, just to be on the safe side… where’s that guy with the abort button?
- Your National League MVP, Albert Pujols. Yeah, big surprise there. Pujols has 58 RBIs and 23 HR. You know, there’s really nothing new on this front. I just wanted to, you know, do the whole Albert Pujols thing again… I’ll stop now.
- Has anyone been paying attention to the Angels as they stink up the joint? They’re on quite a tear of bad playing right now. First off, star Bad Player Jeff Weaver, whom I denounced many years ago. Weaver has an ERA of 6.99. He has 7 losses. He has given up 72 hits and 13 walks in 55.1 IP. By all accounts, he is not good. Yet the Angels signed him anyway. Dear Angels – this is 100% your fault. Jeff Weaver didn’t get bad. What actually happened, see, is that you gave too much money to a guy who, through some mind trick, was able to convince you that he could pitch – despite extensive evidence to the contrary. What were you thinking? Maybe Jim Bowden had a one-day stint at the helm. They’re now on a 3-game winning streak, but, you know how that stuff goes.
- Jason Schmidt just left his game against the Rockies in the 9th inning after allowing 4 hits, striking out 6, and walking 3. His ERA is now down to 2.78. I drafted him in the 94th overall pick in my Roto league… right before Brandon Webb. Waiver wire pickups for that team include Jeff Kent (some idiot dropped him, and I scooped him right up,) Alex Rios, Hanley Ramirez, Brandon Phillips, Pedro Feliz, Scott Kazmir, Mike Mussina, Bronson Arroyo, and Aaron Harang. It’s a 7-team league, if you hadn’t picked up on that already. Of course, most of the players were picked up about 5 weeks ago.
Thats all for today. We may see another post tomorrow night. But it’s gonna be short, guys. And uh, kids these days. They really like to set up basketball rims by their trampolines and basically dunk like Michael. Here’s the thing – jumping too high can sometimes be a bad thing. Things can happen when you jump over the rim that, well, shouldn’t happen. Observe… ("Oww…Oww…" "Somebody get someone!… You ok?") Get well soon, Barbaro! By the way, when we’re injured, can we not lay motionless and moan? What happened to walking it off? It would also be nice if this kids friends hadn’t run away and abandoned him to the elements. Although, the cameraman laughing at him is perfectly acceptable behavior.
Didn’t have the time to punch out a post last night and so tonight, with a light day in baseball, we’re going to cover two nights at once. Lucky treat. On the slate from last night: Scott Kazmir learns to throw – kinda, the Tigers have the best record in MLB, the Cubs are getting balls thrown at them, and Barry Bonds is forced to dodge bullets at the plate. As for tonight: Chris "The Liar" Duffy is bent that the Pirates sent him down to Triple-A. Meanwhile, the Reds are back to their old M.O. – losing games, a minor leaguer attempted to convince an umpire that he was hit by a pitch, while the Angels hand the Blue Jays a game.
Scott Kazmir learns to aim – well, at least he’s better at getting away with not doing so.
Now, Scott Kazmir of the Devil Rays has always – since his 2004 MLB Debut – had ‘good stuff.’ One problem, he can’t exactly tell that good stuff where to go. So he walks guys, a lot. In his first full season last year, he walked 100 batters while striking out 174 batters in 186 innings. He also had a 3.77 ERA and went 10-9 on a Devil Rays team. Anyway, Kazmir had a hot start last year, but he started off slow this year – and now he’s back. He’s 6-2 with a 2.73 ERA, 56 K’s and 20 BB’s. Despite the fact that he has given up 20 walks – still 3/5 off the pace he was running last year – his WHIP is a respectable 1.375. Not amazing, but pretty good. Especially when Randall is trotting out his shiny 2.00 WHIP in the last seven games or something.
When you have 4 wins in your last 19 games, people are gonna chuck stuff at you
Turns out, Life Without Lee is just as impossible as Cub fans thought it would be. That is, they can’t score runs, and their pitching is still unruly. But on Tuesday, things reached a new low. The Cubs won, 4-0, but that didn’t stop a "drunk woman" at Wrigley from slinging a ball at the struggling – I mean, bad – Jacque Jones. The ball missed and Jones escaped without harm. Here’s the thing, though. Jones is acting like it’s an isolated incident, and he "won’t let one incident ruin what I came here to do." But understand this – maybe most of Chicago won’t throw a baseball at your head. But most of Chicago is pissed that, while the team’s offense, pitching, defense, and baserunning are all in the tank, you’re being paid $16 million over three years for harming the team in three of those areas. You have a .264 avg, a .967 fielding percentage, and you just got doubled off that night and couldn’t even think of a post-game excuse for why. Here’s the deal; the Cubs are just bad this year. Again. We’ve talked about why, most recently on Tuesday.
Turns out, cheating doesn’t win you any friends.
Barry Bonds got nailed on Tuesday night, as we all know by now. I’ll forget, for a second, that it took Russ Springer five tries until he finally was able to hit Bonds. As I said last night, you might not like the guy, but that doesn’t mean you can cheer when a
pitcher intentionally hits him. The pitch that ended up hitting Bonds
was not that far from his head – see above for video. I’m the
last guy to stick up for Bonds, and fans can boo him if they don’t like
him. But it is not ok for a player to throw at Barry Bonds because he doesn’t like him, for whatever reason. Especially when you know – as Russ no doubt did – how it would be interpreted by the fans. That
is, with cheers. Retaliation is ok, to a point. But to throw a baseball at a guy because you don’t
like him – that’s assault, not sport.
The Tigers have the best record in MLB
Alright, if I’ve said it once I’ve said it 500 times – I knew the Tigers would be good, but I didn’t think they’d be this good. 27-13? The best record in MLB, 40 games into the season? 4, maybe. But 40? How? Well, tomorrow is my day off, so we’ll be taking an in-depth look at what’s going right for the Tigers. And then I’ll be attending the Tigers-Reds game tonight with Soifer and Kevin. But, for a look at a team where everything is going wrong…
Chris Duffy thinks his .194 average is too good for AAA
Well, besides the fact that .200 is the Mendoza Line which, by definition, is when it becomes not ok to be in the Major Leagues, Duffy might just be in the right here. But the Pirates disagree, and placed him in the Restricted List after Duffy decided not to report to AAA ball upon his demotion. Recall that Duffy single-handedly lost a game for the Pirates earlier this year, and not accidentally. That is to say, he told a fib, and he got in trouble for it. Of course, the kicker will come if Duffy announces that he is commencing Operation Shutdown because, hey, he’s never had to compete for an MLB job before, and if there’s competition, someone better let him know. If there’s competition, they should just eliminate him right now because he ain’t never hit in April or May and he never will. Next to the Royals and Cubs, no team has ever made losing this much fun. Ever.
Good, someone found the real Reds.
I was getting worried there for a moment. I thought the Reds might have been a legit good team. I still maintain that they’re not the "3rd worst team in baseball" as SI claims; far from it. The Reds might still be 4-6 in their last 10, just 2 games back of first, and have a 24-17 record – but the writing is on the wall. Well, let me have Bronson Arroyo, who lost to the aforementioned Pirates 7-2 last night, explain it to you:
I felt like I was embarrassed to get behind 4-1 early
in a game like that. It’s not a secret. They don’t
have a bunch of All-Stars in that lineup… I was embarrassed to be beaten by
those guys. That’s not to say you can’t be beat on any given day, but I
thought it was a horse (****) outing, especially against a team like
that. I mean, they are one of the weakest teams in baseball… This can’t
happen, period. If I can’t stand on the mound and feel comfortable
against that lineup, then something’s wrong with me.
Bronson… you do know that pitchers have to bat in the NL, correct? Strap on the elbow protector next time you step up to the plate against the Pirates next time. But the fun doesn’t stop here. Last night, the Reds finally went over on the Pirates to snap their 5-game losing streak. But, it didn’t start well. The Pirates jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the bottom of the first, (sound familiar, Texas? Minnesota?) only to watch the Reds slowly chip away at that lead as the game wore on. Final score, 9-8, Reds. The AP’s Alan Robinson had this to say about the win: "The Cincinnati Reds seemed out of this one early… Then maybe they realized who they were playing." Basically, if you lose to the Pirates, someone is going to get after you for it.
You have to see this – "Unbelievable!"
Your team is down one run, in the third inning. You don’t know how else to get on base, so you think that maybe getting hit by a pitch is your best bet. Problem is, the ball has to actually hit you before you get that free base. And if the ump tells you that it didn’t hit you – while the fans confirm as much – you don’t have the right to threaten him. You’ve got to love College Baseball. It doesn’t look like Mr. Walker has much of anything under control here. Maybe the Cubs will draft him in the first round.
The Angels just handed a game to the Jays
The Angels had this game won. Bottom of the 9th, no outs, 4-4, Chone Figgins on 3rd base. You can’t lose, can you? Actually, you can, and they did. The Angels managed to get themselves out of that inning without scoring a run, and then the Jays came back to score 3 in the top of the 10th to pretty much seal the victory. I’m not going to watch the rest of the game, but I’m assuming the Jays will win. Of course, that’s what happens when you miss two chances with speedy guys on 3rd and less than 2 outs in the late innings. That also happens when you give the opposing team 5 outs in one inning, which happened when, A) the Angels 1B forgot to pick up the ball when he went to toss it to the pitcher covering the bag, who then collided with him and nearly knocked him down, and B) Vlad catches a routine pop up, but not really, as it rolls out of his glove. The entire night, the Angels gave the Jays every chance they could to win the game. You can’t do that if you want to win baseball games. Then again, the Angels haven’t been doing much of that lately, so it looks like we’re straight. UPDATE: Another ball just flew by Vlad in right field, allowing another run to score for the Jays, 8-4.
Thanks for reading. Sorry about the posting mix up last night. Devin – it’s good to see that you’ve finally got a blog. You’re one of the more frequent readers here on BHGM so that’s always a nice thing to see. I’ll check it out tomorrow. Your comment is reasonable – that Posada isn’t exactly over performing as he isn’t putting up mind-blowing numbers. I’m just saying that he won’t be able to keep that pace up for a whole year, because he hasn’t done so in the past, and he’s only gotten older. He won’t go into a major slump for the rest of the year, he just won’t produce at the level he’s doing so now. See you guys tomorrow.
I’m back from a brief hiatus. I hope you all enjoyed the Birthday posts – I thought the last one was good enough to carry me through a rough Wednesday off the blog. So, I’ve taken my vacation and I’m back. Sorry. As for the rest of the night, I’ll lay out what I have because it’s a lot. First, I’ve actually cut out the first part of this post in the interest of length. Basically, I didn’t like it as much and so I decided to get it out of here. It can be found in Part I. There, we’ll explore the dynamics of hitting a fastball, followed with a quick analysis of Detroit at Oakland – which will actually turn out to be more like Esteban Loaiza’s Biography, The Fernando Rodney Prophecy, and why Barry Zito plays for Oakland.
Back to this post, we go over the Miller Park Crane Disaster, followed by the Mike McClary Podcast. After that, we’ll explore the Chicago Cubs Universe, which is rapidly shifting away from the Red as it implodes, with a special emphasis on Magician Larry Rothschild and holograms Mark Prior and Kerry Wood. But, we’ll also touch on Scott Eyre, possibly 2003 Marlins’ Fan inside man, who was the replacement for the Bartman ball, which Cubs fans managed to wrest from 2003 Marlins Fan by blowing up. Never mind the fact that baseball is not voodoo. After this, we’ll hit on the Yankees. Then, we’ll take a look at some interesting DL Notes.
Miller Park Construction
I was watching the History Channel last night and they showed what happened when some giant crane (right) collapsed on Miller Park as it was being constructed. How did I not hear about this? A crane twice as high as the Statue of Liberty just came crashing down on Miller Park, killing three. I don’t remember this. In 2000, the county courthouse decided the operators of the crane were 97% liable. The manufacturer of the crane was found 3% liable. Does it matter? I just felt I had to include this because, not only was I oblivious to the fact that they made cranes that high, but I assumed that if they did, they would be running them on a pretty tight ship. Not allowing them to blow over while lifting up a section of the roof "twice as large as your average housing lot, in an average development," as some guy from OSHA described it. For those of you fortunate enough not to have worked in the retail business, OSHA are basically the dudes that get after your boss when he does something bad.
Mike McClary’s Podcast
Also, Mike McClary over at the Daily Fungo has just released his first Podcast. Check it out, I listened to it and it’s good stuff. This is kind of what Kevin and I are shooting to launch in about a month, but there will obviously be two of us.
And Cubs Fans are probably ready to jump ship. Now, recall that I previously ragged on the Cubs for their dealings with Mark Prior and Kerry Wood – not exactly old news. I also cracked on Dusty Baker for being incompetent when given control of the two. For a quick recap, Baker should not be allowed near any young arms, and any order he issues regarding a pitcher should be put through pitching coach Larry Rothschild before being acted upon. Now, Rothschild is about the 2nd to last person I would trust with an arm, right before Baker. But it’s an improvement. My beef with Rothschild lies in the fact that he’s running a magical information force field around Wood and Prior. It’s almost as if the two pitchers held Rothschild’s hand as he jumped into an alternate dimension. Apparently, the three are hanging out in Arizona chucking practice pitches – despite the fact that it’s nearly May, and despite the fact that they allegedly have no injuries. Now, Larry isn’t going to let you get the wrong idea with this – "It will be more than a bullpen session – we’ll keep counts and outs, stuff like that," he said regarding Wood’s then-upcoming bullpen session. But back to the injury question – what’s wrong with these two guys
in the first place? If you ask the Cubs if Prior is always in trouble because of his elbow, they’ll tell you he has no elbow injury. If you respond by asking why he’s on the DL, they’ll tell you he has a shoulder injury, not an elbow injury. Ask him what brought on this shoulder injury, and they’ll tell you he had a virus in the offseason, and that set him back in his Spring Training preparation, but that he should still be ready for opening day. Anyone see a hole in this reasoning? A little strange that you suspect an elbow problem, but by the time you’re done with the Chicago Ministry of Information, you think that Prior suffers from a mysterious shoulder injury caused by a mysterious virus that will mysteriously allow him to pitch a game 2 weeks in the past, despite the fact that he is – mysteriously – not with the team.
Anyway, the Cubs resemble the Bad News Bears in more than the obvious ways. You see, something truly spectacular happened the other night. Derrek Lee – All-Star and team leader – and last-reliever-standing Scott Eyre were both injured. In the same week? Yes. Same game? Yes. Same inning? Yes. Same play? Yes. One thing if they did it to each other, but they didn’t. Imagine having nearly a quarter of your players on the field go down within seconds. If that’s not a bad omen, I don’t know what is – I mean, besides not blowing up the Bartman ball. See, Eyre tried to flip a bunt to Lee, but instead ending up flopping down in front of the ball. This resulted in a ‘flip’ that, had Lee been 13 feet tall, would’ve been over his head. Not realizing the enormity of Eyre’s Error, Lee tries to back up a little, oblivious to the fact that it won’t make a difference, and certainly not realizing that Rafael Furcal is about .5 seconds away from occupying the same piece of real estate. The two collide, fracturing two bones in Lee’s hand. Well, he’s out 2-3 months, and that puts you in… July when your best player returns. Eyre, apparently, will be ok. Not that it matters, because The Saboteur won’t have too many leads to preserve for Ryan Dempster after that. See you next year.
New York Yankees
In Yankee News, Mike Mussina can still pitch, and he’s really smart (Stanford,) as well. Last night’s 3-1 victory over the Jays was a big deal, because it was the first time everything clicked. That is, we got solid pitching, solid defense, and solid hitting all in one game. We didn’t need to score 13 runs to bail out the pitching, and that’s a big deal. Right now, the Yankees are 7-7. Of those 14 games, 3 have been at home. And critics will tell you that those 3 games don’t matter, because they were against the Royals – and we won all three. In any case, once the schedule evens out, we’ll be back on top. I did a detailed breakdown of the Yankees and Red Sox stats thus far on Tuesday, so you can look at that if you want.
You see, the Disabled List is a bit of a misnomer. There is no actual list of disabled players, at least not one that I’ve seen. It would be interesting to have that list, because there are some splendid treasures to be found. Here are a couple ‘highlights.’
- D. Lee was placed on the D.L. with his previously mentioned busted hand.
- The Rangers transferred Adam Eaton to the 60-day DL while he continues to recover from a broken finger. This is bad for the Rangers, as Chris Young is better than Adam Eaton’s broken finger, but they made the trade anyway. The Rangers still need pitching.
- On April 18th, Greatest Play of All Time participant (in the role of in-the-park home run hitter,) David Newhan was placed on the DL by the Orioles.
- On April 17th, Ken Griffey Jr. was placed on the DL for the 29th time in 3 seasons – that’s right, he still plays. This time, it was his fault, because on the day of the injury he told us all about how happy he was to be healthy.
- The Marlins placed OF Jeremy Hermida on the DL. An early exit for the supposed Rookie of the Year. This move probably drops the Marlins from last place in the NL East to last place in the NL East.
- On April 16th, the Royals brought Mark "The Cavalry" Redman off the DL. Redman hopes to rescue Mark "We won’t be a bad team this year, but if we are, we’re gonna battle all season long" Grudzielanek from losing the battle of his life. There are few situations where the phrase "too little too late" can be applied in week 3 of the season, but this is one.
- Ben Sheets was brought off the DL. I am still waiting for him to strike out 3 guys on 9 pitches again.
- On April 12th, David Wells was activated from the DL. On April 15th, David Wells was placed on the DL, retroactive to April 13th. In other words, the Red Sox brought a guy of the DL, then put him back on the DL the very next day.
- Also on April 15th, the Pirates had an awful day. Sean Casey was placed on the DL with ‘lower back fractures,’ which is a nasty-sounding ailment. Former good pitcher Kip Wells was transferred to the 60-day DL with another injury – surgery to replace his axillary artery. The surgery, performed over a month ago, will allow blood to flow through Well’s arm again.
- On April 14th, The Dodgers activated Kenny Lofton from the DL. Surprisingly, they have not reversed this move yet, as Lofton remains uninjured. Former Savior Yhency Brozaban also joined former Savior Eric Gagne on the DL. Unsurprisingly, the McCourt’s continue to run the Dodgers.
- In Minor League Notes, the Toledo Mud Hens – the Tiger’s AAA Affaliate – lost Don Kelly for a couple days after he was hit with a throw. Thinking the throw was heading home, Kelly had his back to right fielder Ryan Ludwick – and everybody knows you don’t turn your back to Ryan Ludwick. Unless you want to get hit in the back of the head by a relay throw, which is what happened to Kelly. I learned this in little league – don’t throw to a guy who isn’t looking at you.
We’ve added Australia, Switzerland, Norway, and China to the visitor list. Thanks for checking in, and if I don’t start seeing some more comments, I’m going to get pissed. Jeremy, I’ve seen your Lasko commercials. I thought about including those in the list, but they’re just bad, not funny. Unfortunately, those are the only comments I have to talk about right now. I’m going to go ahead and assume that BHGM’s readers are just as busy as BHGM’s owner. Does that mean I’m granting you a free pass? No. Until I see five (5) comments, I’ll remain upset. People, five is a really small number. Despite the fact that no posts were made on Wednesday or Thursday (so far,) we received 211 hits. And one comment. Pathetic.
It’s a good thing I started Jeff Suppan in my fantasy pay league tonight. Suppan managed to earn negative points for me. Rarely do you see this happen. Maybe four or five times a year. Most of the time, some nut will go out and blow a save by giving up a 2-run bomb, and you’ll get a -2.50 or something. Well, Suppan went ahead and clobbered all those guys. Dude posted a -8.50. To put this in perspective, a perfect game with 8 K’s is worth 41 points. Suppan gave up 8 runs, 8 hits, and 3 walks, while striking out 1 guy in 2 innings. Dude threw 49 pitches. All this against the Pirates. Are you kidding me?
What’s going on with Barry Bonds lately? I hear he can’t hit and he’s going to retire, but I honestly don’t know because I haven’t been following it. Well, someone posted a little article in that same fantasy league tonight.
Randy is one upset dude. He is also in 8th place in a 10-team league. Of course, the "League News" coming out of this league is kind of ridiculous.
And so the world continues to turn.
"Pitching has kept Rangers in the Mix." Is this a joke? Mix for what? Are the Mariners and Rangers competing for a separate playoff spot than the rest of the league? Since the beginning of the season, when their pitching – rotation and otherwise – was a 12-car pileup, the Rangers have made the following additions: Rick Bauer was added to the rotation. R.A. Dickey was sent down to AAA for more work. It wasn’t too long ago that I was ragging on the Rangers for their pitching. Find it here, but here’s the recap: 4/5 of your rotation would be hard pressed for a starting spot on most of the other teams in MLB. The Padilla Flotilla will have his good outings every once in a while, but for the most part that ship is constantly taking on water. The aforementioned article even starts out with:
The Rangers were three pitches away from taking a four-game winning streak into their day off on Monday in Seattle.
Unfortunately, there are no "mulligans" in baseball. Vicente Padilla
did give up three home runs in three pitches on Saturday afternoon…
Exactly. The Flotilla was looking good until he ran aground, like he always will. Do I want the Rangers to do well? Sure. I like the Rangers, and I want to see them succeed. But they’re just like a 14-year-old kid – you’ve got to let them make their own mistakes, otherwise they’ll never learn. So I’m not gonna sit here and try to lecture Jon Daniels on how to run a baseball team. But for the seventh time, I’m gonna ask why the Alfonso Soriano deal went down. It benefited nobody. I don’t want to talk about it, but I’ll just say again – if you need pitching, you trade for pitching. Not struggling outfielders.
One more quick note: last year, everyone was talking about the decrease in run production. This year, no one’s saying a word, but I thought the bats were going crazy so far this year and that pitching is failing everywhere. So, I took a closer look and, in fact, it isn’t my imagination. On April 17, 2005, the run total in MLB was 1653, or 55.1 runs per team. As of April 17th, 2006 – and excluding the rest of the tonight’s games – the run total was at 1960, or 65.33 runs per team. That’s a full 10 runs per team, which ends up being a little less than one run per game for each team, which adds up to a little less than two extra runs per game. Why? Who knows. Probably doesn’t mean a thing, but it’s pretty interesting huh? Especially since everyone was telling me that runs had decreased last year because of steroid testing, a theory I never subscribed to. I don’t think that we can blame the Rangers and Jeff Suppan for this entire increase, either.
Craziest thing ever? I love alpacas. The commercial is about fourteen times worse. We’ve got a couple standing there, telling us about how much they love Alpacas, how much fun it is, and how much better Alpacas are than cattle or horses. First, know this – Alpacas are some of the ugliest animals in the world. They’re a dead-ringer for the Llama, which is the most hideous organism on the planet. You can see two Llamas on your left, but you’ll need to click on the picture if you really want to do it justice. In fact, the I Love Alpacas commercial just got added to the short list of best commercials of all time:
- The push lawn mower that can cut down a forest of Redwoods. You have to see this commercial to believe it. According to the ad, this thing can cut down anything. They show this mower cutting down a giant forest of small trees. With a push lawn mower, not a ride-on. And, you get a free 90-day trial before you have to buy it, and you can return it for free, no matter what the reason. Say you clear your whole backyard, but there’s just one 30ft tree that’s too stubborn for the Tree Mower. Return it, no cost.
- The Motorized awning that will protect you from any weather, regardless of how severe.
"Son, we’re eating outside tonight."
"But Dad, there’s a Hurricane out there!"
"I don’t care, we’ve got a motorized awning, turn it on!"
We’ve invented invincible, motorized roofs. Now we can all have our very own Minute Maid Park in our backyards.
- Any commercial that has guys getting knocked over or clothes lined. Terry Tate, office linebacker. The FSN Northwest Mariners commercial, where guys imitate running into Kenjo Johjima and flipping over.
That’s about all for tonight. Sorry I couldn’t talk about some of the baseball games – it just wasn’t that kind of night. In other words, the Yankees lost to the Jays and the Tigers are losing to the A’s. I’ll be back tomorrow night.
It’s that time of year again. Players and teams that you never would’ve thought get a hot start right out of the gate… and the on-pace projections start to roll in. Don’t hit the panic button just yet, however – there’s a reason they’re called projections. They haven’t happened yet, and they probably never will. Here’s our annual look at things that won’t be happening this year:
- Former 21-game loser, (but good sport) Mike Maroth won’t finish the season leading the league with a 0.73 ERA and 32 wins.
- Chris Shelton won’t hit 108 Home Runs this year. Nor will he finish with a .479 average, or have 311 hits.
- Lance Berkman and Albert Pujols will not hit 230 RBI’s this year. Well, Pujols might, but Berkman won’t.
- Ryan Freel won’t steal 81 bases. Half that, maybe. If he gets anywhere near consistent playing time (150 games, maybe,) he’s got a good shot at 40-50.
- Adrian Beltre won’t steal 50 bases. I’m not making that one up folks – despite the fact that his OBP through the season is just .212, he’s already swiped four bags.
- Tom Glavine, of career season-high 181 K’s in 1996, won’t strike out 231 guys this year. On second thought, if he keeps starting against the Marlins (5K’s in 6IP,) and Brewers, (11K’s in 6IP) he has a shot.
- Last year’s Chris Shelton, Brian Roberts, won’t end the year with 0HR. As beautiful as it would be, Barry Bonds is unlikely to hit 0HR all year as well. Barry – more time in the ‘weight’ room, less time in the studio. Wait, I forgot, it’s ‘real life,’ and real life doesn’t happen in a studio.
That said, there are some teams that are in it for real this year. I’m gonna briefly hit on each of the divisions, in no particular order.
The NL West continues its circus act. In 1st place, we have the Homerless Barry Bonds, 40-year-old Outfield San Francisco Giants. Followed closely by the 7-5 Rockies, who – if anyone noticed – lost a game at home 1-0 yesterday. Second time in history that only 1 run has been scored in a game at Coors Canaveral – I mean, Field. Meanwhile, last year’s Division Whateveryou’llcallthem Padres are 4-7 and dead last. And no one cares.
The NL Central is a pretty tight race right now – well, for most of the teams. Houston leads with an 8-4 record, and the Cubs are .5 games back with a 7-4 mark. The Reds, Brewers, and Cards are all 1 GB at 7-5… and then the Pirates are 5 GB at 4-10. Recall that I got pissed at SI for calling the Reds the 3rd worst team in Baseball in their annual preview. They’re not that bad, but they’re not this good either. If Arroyo becomes (I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say ‘first’) member of the 30-30 club (30HR, 30 Wins,) then the Reds go to the playoffs. As for the Cubs…
Everyone will disagree with me here, but the Cubs aren’t this good (7-4) either. I know they’ve been without Wood/Prior, but that’s Dusty’s fault. I can’t talk about Prior without getting pissed at Baker. Good luck getting a solid read on when either of these guys will be back, because if you ask Baker he’ll probably reply with: "I didn’t disappear him, he disappeared himself. Right?" And yes, he did actually say this. In any case, the current PsyOp (short for Psychological Operation) that the Cubs have running indicates that Prior and Wood are under the care of Master Game Simulator Larry Rothschild. On Friday the 14th, Prior threw 40 pitches in a bullpen session. Rothschild’s analysis: "We’ll see how he reacts [on Saturday] but he’ll probably throw another one Monday, and that’ll probably be three sets of 15." So… I think the Cub’s official position remains that Prior does not have an elbow injury but is off to a slow start because of a virus he acquired during the off-season. The news seems to be even more informative on Kerry Wood, who was supposed to throw a "3-inning simulated game, throwing at least 15 pitches each inning." In other words, 3 sets of 15 pitches. "We’ll see how he reacts. It will be more than a bullpen session – we’ll keep counts and outs, stuff like that," Rothschild said. In conclusion, Prior is throwing bullpen sessions at 3 sets of 15, and Wood is throwing "more than" bullpen sessions at 3 sets of 15. The sports world has surmised that Prior is suffering from a ‘shoulder strain’ while Wood is recovering from August shoulder surgery and an apparent Spring Training knee injury. The Cubs are a lot like the Iraqi Minister of Information, or Harry Houdini. That is, lies and illusions.
Out in the AL West, the Rangers are struggling mightily. In other words, they have no pitching and their bats went cold. I know I’ve said before that the Rangers have no pitching, but I’m gonna go ahead and recap what I said before. That is, if over the off-season you’re staring at a rotation of Kevin Millwood, The Padilla Flotilla, Kameron Loe, R.A. Dickey, and John Koronka, it goes without saying that your main goal is going to be shoring up your ‘pitching’ staff. That said, you don’t trade your best tradable asset – Alfonso Soriano – for a struggling Outfielder. Of course, the Rangers’ line at the time was, "we need a leadoff hitter." Well, Wilkerson continues to **** and is already down to #7 in the order. Then, you traded away Chris Young, who was really the only pitcher in the organization who had a chance of breaking out say, this year. In return, you acquire Adam Eaton – a 28-year-old with a 4.34 career ERA over about 800IP, all with the Padres, (note that only 2 of those 6 years were at PETCO.) In any case, you’ve traded away the only rising pitching star in the organization for a guy that can’t seem to get good. Are the Rangers trying to keep away from good pitching? Until they stop this experiment of trying to win games with one legit starter, they’re not going anywhere. It’s happens every year – they’ll get hot with their offense, but as soon as the bats get cold they’ll plummet.
Over in the NL East, the Mets are quietly the best team in the league with an 9-2 record. Disclosure – the Mets have played 6 games against the Nationals, who are 4-9, and 2 games against the 3-8 Marlins. The Mets’ record in those 8 games: 7-1. Add a 2-1 showing against the Brewers, and you’ve got 9-2. Again… the Mets aren’t that good, they’re just not. David Wright is amazing, and Jose Reyes is also improving, but Beltran continues (inexplicitly) to decline, and Pedro, Glavine, Victor Zambrano, and Steve Trachsel make up the top 4/5 of your rotation. In other words, plug the holes. I covered the entire NL East in a huge overview earlier, check it out here.
The AL Central has Detroit, Cleveland, and Chicago in a 3-way tie for first. Minnesota is 1GB, and the 2-9 Royals are 4.5GB. It goes without saying that the 3-way tie is at a 7-5 record because these teams have done nothing but beat up on each other – each of those 3 teams have played each other at least 3, if not 4 times already. Broken record, I know, but I told everyone
before the season started how the Tigers would surprise people, and they
already proved me correct. I still stand by my AL Central Prediction of
Soxs, Indians, Tigers, Twins, Royals. Could the Tribe jump the Sox?
Absolutely – I’ve said over and over again that the Sox will come
crashing down to earth this year, and they will – it’s just a matter of how far. Could the Tigers jump
the Tribe? Yes. I know more about those three teams than any other in Baseball, and I have to say that on paper, they go White Sox, Indians, Tigers. Whether or not the season ends like that is anyone’s guess. Detroit’s team overview can be found here; the Indians can be found here.
The AL East is a crapshoot right now – that is, for who’s gonna finish in 2nd place. Boston may be on top of the division now, but they’ve been ******* wind – their offense is weak, as is their pitching. Right now, Papelbon seems to have drawn the short straw for the closing job. I’m not sure how often they do the drawings in Beantown these days, but maybe Foulke will draw it next time, or it could be Embree, or Schilling – you never know. Heck, Theo himself might make a run at it before the season ends. On top of that, whoever was running the Boston Ship during the offseason decided to dump Mirabelli in exchange for Josh Bard. Well, that experiment fell flat on its face the other day after Bard allowed 3 passed balls from Wakefield. I’m not saying that catching a knuckleball is easy – I once attempted to catch a knuckleball, but it ‘passed’ right into my face. True story. In any case, it’s tough to do, which is exactly why you stick with the guy that can do it instead of the guy who can’t. Then again, I’m speaking to the deaf and dumb on that one. Other than that, Baltimore, Tampa Bay, New York, and Toronto are all stacked up within .5 games of each other. Who knows how this will end up? Actually, we know that New York will be at the top, Tampa Bay and Baltimore at the bottom, and Boston and Toronto somewhere in between.
First things first. I was watching the clowns on Baseball Tonight again and John Kruk said, "let’s face it, we all know baseball isn’t a hard game athletically." Really? I’m smart. Are you saying I could go out and hit 50 bombs at the Major League level? Just because you’re big, and you made it to the bigs, doesn’t mean baseball isn’t a sport. I might be taking him a bit too literally, but I’m sick of Kruk, and I’m sick of Steve Phillips’ funky math numbers. He’s even worse. Let’s do some Steve Phillips’ Fun with Numbers: last year, he predicted that Jose Reyes would have a coming-out year – which I believed would happen, and did – and that he would hit 30 triples and steal 35 bases. What the eff is he talking about? When was the last time someone hit 30 triples? Never, I don’t think. As it turned out, Reyes hit 17 triples and stole 60 bases – leading the league in both categories, and off nearly 100% – in both directions! – from Phillips’ predictions. For the record, Ty Cobb – 2nd on the all-time list of triples leaders – hit 24 triples in his best two seasons, in 1911 and 1917. Just in case you weren’t ready to go out and kick him already, Phillips then went on to predict that Corey Patterson would hit 40HR and get 140RBI’s from the leadoff spot. Of course, Patterson got sent down to AAA last year, but he did manage to hit for 13HR and 34RBI’s while at the MLB level. And the 140RBI’s were just about as ridiculous as the ’30 triples’ shot he launched – only three guys had more than 140RBI’s last year; Ortiz, Manny, and Teixeira. Corey Patterson is never going to be the Dark Horse that sneaks in and wins that race. You’re an idiot, Steve. And so are you, John.
That said, I still don’t have my MLB.TV fixed, which is why I have to watch BT. I’m calling support tomorrow. However, I found myself sitting through some incredibly boring Biology research presentations yesterday for a few hours – as it happened, during Tigers gametime. My presentation was on the relation of soil pH to the size of trees within an abandoned quarry. Like I said – really boring. I checked the score of the Tigers v. Sox game, and that’s when I got pissed. We dropped one today, 5-3. You know what that means, right? Tiger’s are gonna drop the next 5, or at least 5 of 7. That’s what happens in Detroit, I can’t explain it.
Anyone see Mulder’s bomb? I love watching pitchers jerk it out of the yard. Equally amazing was Jim Edmond’s catch. It looked like a sliding backhand between the knees or something. Can’t find the video anywhere. I’m calling MLB at 11.30a tomorrow morning to fix this up, because I can’t handle it anymore. I’m dying here – MLB.TV is killing me. That’s sad. PS – I also got an email from them yesterday, not in response to my numerous email support requests, but giving me the weekly MLB.TV lineup. In other words, they had the courtesy to e-mail me so they could tell me, ‘yeah, we know you’ve subscribed and you’re paying, but we’re still screwing you. Here’s what you could be watching if we were fixing your problem instead of goofing off! Bend over.’ Meanwhile I’m stuck listening to Baseball Tonight and their silly ‘analysis.’ Harold something or other tried to explain to me how Eric Chavez is on fire now because he got his ‘timing kick’ down earlier in Spring Training. Huh? He’s a good hitter, and he’s just hot now, ok?
18 hours until Opening Night. Someone needs to inform academia that Baseball is starting, and so they can lay off the course work for the remainder of the semester. Unfortunately, Albion College doesn’t get out for a ******** five more weeks. I have a boatload of finals to take as well, so I won’t actually be going home until May 10th, 2006. This is about 3 weeks after most of my friends at other schools. There is a 110% chance that I will be attending the May 16th Twins v. Tigers game at Comerica Park. And it’s also been about a year since MLBlogs got off the ground. This blog was started shortly thereafter. So, what better time than now for some good flashbacks from the 2005 season and beyond? I encourage you to check out my first couple posts, they’re pretty funny – and interesting, because so many of my predictions came true. For example, I noted that Roy Halladay was back and no one knew it, as was Mark Prior. I also talked about Mark Buehrle being the most under-rated pitcher in the league. This isn’t true anymore, because now people know about him, but that just proves I was right. I talked about Dusty Baker mismanaging his pitching and no one noticing, including a hilarious quote on the differences between ‘bullpen by committee’ and ‘bullpen by situation.’ It’s so juicy that I have to share it with you now.
After LaTroy Hawkins blew another 1-run save
opportunity on April 23rd, Dusty announced that he was going to go with
a ‘bullpen by situation’ concept. Apparently this is due to the fact
that ‘bullpen by committee’ doesn’t work. Pardon me for asking, but
what’s the difference? Well, we’ll ask Dusty. Dusty, what’s a bullpen
by situation? "[It’s a] bullpen by who’s pitched two or three days in a
row. It could be a number of things. It’s not exactly by committee."
Well, how’s that different from a bullpen by committee? "You say
‘bullpen by committee’ and that sounds like everybody, and it’s not
everybody." Oh, ok. From what I gather, the
‘bullpen by situation’ is where Dusty decides, based on who he trusts
on that given day and who’s arm is rested, who his closer will be. On
the contrary, a ‘bullpen by committee’ is when the manager and pitching
coach decide, based on who they trust on that given day and who’s arm
is rested, who the closer will be. Forgive me for failing to see the
And of course, nothing is more disastrous than leaving Dusty Baker in charge of a bunch of multi-million-dollar-a-year arms. At that point, you’re just leaving the fox in charge of the hens and asking for a huge problem. Put it this way – deciding who’s gonna close a Cub’s game is a lot like firing a nuclear missile – at least, it should be. Anyone who’s seen Crimson Tide knows that, in order to launch a nuke, you’ve got to have more than one person think it’s a good idea. On a sub, the Captain’s key must be turned at the same time as the Executive Officer’s key, which is across the room. The Weapon’s Officer must also pull a fire trigger. This is what needs to be done in Chicago. Before Dusty picks up that phone, he needs to run it by – no, through – the pitching coach. And unless the call to the bullpen is authenticated by said pitching coach, it’s a no go.
On that note, it looks like Todd Jones might be starting the season on the DL for the Tigers. Great. Best part, injury happened on the last batter of the last game of Spring Training. Of course, the argument can be made that since Jones had been feeling a little tight in his hamstring it was going to pop sooner or later, so better now then Opening Day, I guess. Then again, another two days of rest might’ve eliminated the injury risk. Personally, if your new closer tells you he felt a little tightness in his hamstring two days ago, but now he’s ready to pitch – as Jones said tonight – you say, ‘heck with it, you’re not pitching, this is Spring Training, and you’re all ready to go anyway.’ Of course, I have no idea if Jones told Leyland about this beforehand, and I don’t think Leyland would’ve put him out there if he knew, but I just thought I would add that. Jones had this to say:
This is exactly the way I drew it up. This is perfect … exactly what
I wanted to see happen. Looks like I have to take a 15-day timeout. I’m
hoping it’s not too bad, and we’ll see what happens.
Yeah, he’s pissed. Hopefully this won’t turn into a chronic condition, because Detroit has a
way of disabling closers. That is to say, the Tigers haven’t been able to get through the year using the same closer wire-to-wire since Juan Acevedo had 28 saves and blew 7 more in 2002. Acevedo only had 35 chances because the rest of the pen actually blew 15 out of 20 saves. In 2001, they blew 16 saves, with Matt Anderson going 22 for 24, but with a 4.82 ERA. In 2003, they used seven guys. Chris Mears and the recently departed Franklyn German led the team with 5 saves each. German’s ERA was 6.04, Mears’ was 5.44. That’s really, really, really scary. The last time Detroit had a full time, legitimate closer who the coach didn’t try to steal saves away from and give to the rest of the ‘pen to screw up was in 2000. The closer? Todd Jones. 42 of 46.
And what of the previous Tigers closers? If you’ve seen Apollo 13, read this in the Tom Hanks Epilogue Voice. Matt Anderson posted a 12.60 ERA in 10 innings for the Rockies in 2005, and was a non-roster invitee for the Giants this year. Juan Acevedo vanished after 2003. Chris Mear’s 2003 stint in Detroit was to be his only Major League experience – he would never pitch for the Tigers again. Franklyn German went on to be a semi-successful reliever, but was out of options this year and released on waivers a few days ago. Ugueth Urbina, who the Tigers acquired a little ways into the 2004 season, was traded away at the deadline last year. He had a successful 2005, which was marred by the kidnapping of his Mother in his native country of Venezuela. In November of 2005, Urbina was arrested by Venezuelan police and charged with attempted murder. No one has heard from him since. Troy Percival, who was supposed to close in 2005, screwed up his right arm so badly that he could hardly brush his teeth, and has since retired. And as for the rest of us, we’ve moved on…
Again, bring in the New Year with style here at BHGM!