Tagged: Coaching

However many wins Tim Hudson finishes this year with, feel free to add one

Well here’s what happened. Huddy, (who, as you may remember, we discussed recently,) had a real gem going. Whole sha-bang. 8 innings, 12 K’s (12!), 6 hits. Now we are entering the 9th and dude has a pitch count the wrong side of 100. The Braves are up 3-0 against the Marlins. On the one hand, it is the Marlins, and you’ve got Huddy on the mound and, after all, your closer is Bob Wickman. On the other hand, it’s only a 3 run lead, and Huddy is north of 100 chucks on the night. So if you’re Bobby Cox, do you keep Huddy in and let him go for the complete game shutout, or do you pull him for Big Bobby? Well Cox chose to keep Huddy in, who promptly gave up three consecutive singles. Now, with the bags juiced and no outs, he reverts to Plan B, and pulls Huddy for the Wickman. Well that was a smart idea. Miguel Olivo then doubled, scoring two runs. Wickman intentionally walks Borchard, re-loading the bases. Now it’s 3-2, Braves. Wickman then throws in three consecutive balls to Josh Willingham, all three of which looked, from the Game Day, to be in the dirt. He somehow pulled back to strike out Josh.  Just when you thought the fire might be dying down, Amezega singles, bringing in the tying run. Dan Uggla’s up, and Wickman throws a wild one in the dirt to bring home the winning run. Fantastic.

Hudson’s line before the 9th:
8 IP – 12 K – 6 H – 0 ER
Hudson’s line after the 9th:
8 IP – 12 K – 9 H – 3 ER

Now, I could really go on a tear about this… except that Bob Wickman is a great guy – from personal experience (you’re going to want to go near the bottom of that post for this story) – and Bobby Cox is probably one of the greatest managers this century. So, I guess you could chalk it up to that simple point-counterpoint argument we had at the top of the post. Cox just figured it was worth the gamble to leave Huddy in. However, when Hudson allowed that first single, he should have been pulled. You don’t throw a guy like Bob Wickman in the mix when you’ve got the bags loaded, no outs, and a meager 3-run lead. If you’ve got Francisco Cordero , (8 saves, 17 K’s, 0 ER, 9.1 IP), then you make that move. But not with Bobby Wickman. The L goes to Wickman, thank goodness, but the W stays away from Huddy. And, the three runs Wickman let score stay with Huddy as well. Just not right.


Nats owner news, Royals, Mariners, and big news

We all know the Nationals have a new owner now. What we didn’t know is that this makes them a better baseball team. Well, at least ESPN’s Tim Kurkijan thinks so. Actually, don’t read that article. It’s absolutely ridiculous. I’m serious. I’ve never read anything so BS in my life. Here are some quality excerpts:

Our long Nationals nightmare is over…now the team can start moving forward… The Nationals can begin to operate like a realmajor league team… The team has struggled this year, and attendance is down slightly, mainly because it was a rudderless team that
hasn’t gotten the support it needs from MLB, or the city… The first year and one month of existence for the Nationals was just practice. Now, the franchise officially begins… All the Nats needed was an owner. And now, finally, they have one.

No. The Nationals nightmare is not ever, and the team still isn’t going anywhere. The reason they’ve been so bad this season is not because they didn’t have an owner, it’s because they’re a flat-out bad team. The players don’t put up good enough numbers to win games. Don’t try to tell me that they went out there last year under the impression that they were playing 162 exhibition games. This team stinks, no two ways about it. If having an owner makes you a championship-caliber team, there would be (theoretically) 30 teams with .500 records at the end of the year. Tim also cites RFK stadium as being a "significant disadvantage" for the Nationals. Why is that? When the Nationals come up to bat, do they push the fences back 20 feet, only to move them back in when the opposing team steps up to the plate? Do you really think the Nationals are gonna go and set the world on fire now that they’ve got an owner? Heck no. Sure, firing Jim Bowden will make your team better, no doubt. But again, too little too late. Remember, call your shot in the Jim Bowden firing pool – so far, Jason has dibs on June 19th.

The Royals are still bad, and now they’re "your team"
The Nationals still have a shot at saving this season, but the Royals do not. By the way, they lost again last night. They’re now 5-20. As I said before, but how can you be that bad? Imagine taking the field five times and walking away with one win. The Royals also have a new slogan – "Your team. Your town." Of all the bad baseball slogans, that’s probably the worst. First off, that doesn’t tell me anything. Second – if I lived in Kansas City, that’s exactly the kind of thing that would make me want to move to, say, St. Louis. I’m guessing the average K.C. citizen had these thoughts upon seeing that slogan:

Just because I live in K.C., I have to be associated with the Royals? What will my friends think of me? Will I still be able to get a job? Will I be able to take out a loan? Rent a car? Vote?

Hearing that the Kansas City Royals are "your team" has got to feel a lot like getting hit in the forehead with a ton of bricks; pain so severe and hideous that you just black out. And of course, whenever I mention the Royals I need to mention PFC Mark Grudzielanek. Whatever General is heading up Mark’s War needs to develop a new battle plan. The current strategy isn’t working. Reports from the front indicate that the army is retreating, blowing up every bridge behind them, and that soldiers are deserting en masse. Doesn’t look good. If you don’t know why I continue to refer to the Royal’s season as a military campaign, wait until the "What you missed" post, coming up tonight or tomorrow. Or hunt the reference down here.

Everyday Eddie out of the closing role; Mariners still bad
Well, you didn’t need a crystal ball to see this coming. The Mariners have finally put Eddie out his misery, removing him from the closer role. Who’s the new closer? The best arm in the game, closer-by-committee. If you don’t know what this is, see Dusty Baker’s explanation. I’ll say the same thing here as I did when someone drafted Eddie as the #86 pick in my pay league draft this year – two picks in front of Thome, no less: "You can’t go wrong with Everyday Eddie. Wait… that was 2002." His career stats are misleading as well. For example, in 2004 he had just a 2.78 ERA. However, he blew 7 saves out of 25 total opportunities. If you’re the Mariners and you’re struggling to stay one step ahead of the Royals, you really can’t afford those kinds of losses. Then again, if you’re going to run an organization based on sound logic like that, you wouldn’t give a guy like Adrian Beltre $64 million for 5 years. Beltre’s 2004 fluke with the Dodgers was probably the most standout anomaly in the world. Of course, 2004 was Adrian’s contract year, so after he went wild he jumped ship and signed with Seattle. For the following statistical analysis, we’re going to look at Beltre’s stats for 2004 compared to his average stats from 1999-2003 and 2005, when he played full-time. I present the following visual aid:
Beltrebust2_2 Note that the difference between the slugging and batting averages is diluted because of the scale; they are .443/.629 and .265/.334. As shown, Seattle is probably very angry with Adrian. Now, Adrian didn’t just fall from the sky in 2004. LA had been waiting for him to develop for some time. But after he went wild in 2004, did they try to re-sign him? I’ll give you a hint – the Dodgers are in the NL West. Remember the old 7-man batting order trick? Anyway, you’re probably asking – how can I jump on Seattle for signing him, yet jump on LA for not trying to sign him? Well, that’s a good point. But if you’re the Dodgers and you think you’ve got the sell-high candidate of the century and you’re convinced that he had a fluke of a year, so you don’t want to give him the money that you know he doesn’t deserve, you don’t just let him walk away. You test out the market and see if you can move him. If you think you can, you resign him and flip him away. If you didn’t think he had a fluke of a year, you shell out the cash to better your team. Beltre is currently hitting .202 in Seattle, with 1 HR and 6 RBI in 104 AB’s.

Tigers lose; Leyland’s clothing at fault
Remember when I talked about superstitions? I said that although Steve Finley’s magic bag doesn’t make him a better hitter, he thinks it does, so it does. Looks like Jim Leyland just developed a real good superstition. One that’s gonna make him a really popular guy whenever the Tigers are winning. Leyland had been wearing the same clothes since the Tigers began their 6-game winning streak. However, when the Tigers played the Angels today at home, Leyland had to change because he "looked like a hobo," and the team is about to go on a road trip. Well, the Tigers lost this afternoon, 7-2. Good job, skip. The team is now 19-10. So we’re still above .500, which is Detroit’s benchmark for success. If the Tigers had won today, it would have been their first 7-game winning streak since 1993. I was in elementary school then.

Quick notes
Jose Contreras has won 13 straight… I have nothing. San Diego is currently on a four-game win streak, dating back to last Sunday’s miracle win over the Dodgers. I suggest you read that, because it’s unbelievable. Let’s just say the World’s Worst Offense came back from being down 5-0 in the bottom of the 9th. On a related note, of the six division leaders, the two worst records belong to – guess – the AL and NL West. No way. Texas and Colorado both have 16 wins and 12 losses. If another 82-80 team goes to the playoffs, it’s Game Over. BPS agrees, as we’ll see soon. Check out the solution to this problem that I wrote a few days ago. By the way, that’s probably the 80th time I’ve made a post saying that the Padres and NL West are bad.

Comments and Notes
BHGM got some serious run on BPS today. Thanks Geoff.

I sauntered over to our boy Reid’s blog a few days back
and read one of his many posts bashing the Padres and the NL West [found here]. The BPS had consistently come down
pretty hard on the Pads and their whole miserable, rotting, wasteland
division. And you have to understand, Reid is the type of dude who asks
for his readers to throw him some questions, and then he proceeds to
hammer out an elaborate discourse on whatever it is they come back
with. Why? Because, as I commented on his blog a few days ago, he is
the Original Dedicated Baseball Monster. The ODBM. My question to him
(just to see what he would do with it) was what MLB can do about
wretched, barely-.500 teams like the Pads from ever making the playoffs again. Take a look
at what the kid wrote.
Great stuff. I have no idea how long it took him, but I know these
things don’t take fifteen minutes. The ODBM, a dedicated monster.

I would have paraphrased that (and I did take out a few words), but then you wouldn’t be getting the full effect. It took me about an hour and a half. But that’s really not that bad, because I spent the rest of the day – no joke – in class, from 8a-3.30p. Made that post at 5.45p. See how it goes? As for the next 5 days at BHGM, leading up to May 10th, when I go home – we’ll either be seeing a lot of posts or a little. I’m not sure how hard I’ll be studying for finals, (one on Saturday, Monday, and two on Wednesday.) However, the "What you missed" post is on it’s way. BHGM has picked up a lot of new readers in the past couple weeks, and they’re probably pretty confused when they read things like the account of Mark’s War found above. I’ve already made the list and I’m currently writing it out. It might even get out tonight. It should be good for a lot of laughs. As for the comments – your June 19th bid has been recorded, Jason. Thanks for the submission. If anyone else wants to enter the BHGM "Call Jim Bowden’s Shot in the Unemployment Line" Contest, drop me an email or leave a comment anywhere. There will be a prize. I haven’t decided what yet. See you guys later tonight.

Maroth, Dusty Baker v. BB, and Marlins

Tonight we’re gonna focus on Maroths (un)earned run, Dusty Baker wanting to do away with the Base on Balls, why the Cubs and Marlins are sad, upcoming games I’ll be attending, and tonight’s Yankees game.

Maroth came off the ERA leader board today, just as everyone was starting to cash in on him. He allowed 9 hits, giving up 4 runs and 3 walks while striking out 2 in 6 innings against the Angels today. Typical Mike Maroth, really. Now, I obviously didn’t see the game, but one of the runs scored when Chone Figgins stole third and continued home on Brandon Inge’s fielding error. For the rest of the inning, we had a ground out to short, a ground out to third, two walks, and then a fly out to right. So, in order for a run to be termed ‘unearned,’ a reconstruction of the inning without the error would have showed that the run hadn’t scored if the error hadn’t been committed. I’m going to assume that the scorer decided Figgins would have scored on the ground out to short. But still, isn’t a run scored on an error the definition of an unearned run? Scoring can be pretty interesting sometimes, huh. In any case, the Tigers finished the game with 2 hits, 5 walks, 8 K’s, and 2 errors. And no runs. John Lackey pitched the 8 solid innings for the Angels, accounting for the 8 K’s and 5 walks, as well as 1 hit.

It’s possible that the above game is the only case where Dusty Baker is right about any in-game tactic. A couple weeks ago Baker said,

I think walks are overrated unless you can run. If you
get a walk and put the pitcher in a stretch, that helps. But the guy
who walks and can’t run, most of the time they’re clogging up the bases
for somebody who can run.

Oh, alright. Well, like I said, this could be the only case where Baker is actually right. If you get 5 walks and only manage one hit in that time,  those walks are basically no help to you. Of course, that’s the only tiny part of Baker’s statement that’s correct, and even that’s a one in a million shot. The day Baker made the above statement, the Cubs had just lost to the Cardinals 4-1. In the second inning of that game, the bases were "clogged" after two singles and one of those annoying walks, with Aramis Ramirez up. Ramirez grounded out but managed to knock in the Cub’s only run on the play. The Cubs had 6 hits and 4 walks through the whole game, yet only mustered that one run. See, it’s not that walks are useless, it’s that Dusty Baker is probably the worst in-game manager in the league, and he can’t take advantage of walks. He can’t honestly believe that walks are worthless. He’s gotta be saying that to prove to everyone that he really is "old school," or whatever.

In related news, the Florida Marlins won a game today against… the Cubs. Final score, 7-5. The Cubs and Marlins are two of the saddest teams in the league, but for different reasons. The Marlins are sad because they simply can’t produce anything, and when they do make a play, you’re surprised that they actually pulled it off. But, as much I rag on the Marlins, it’s not their fault. They’re not underachieving. It’s Jeffrey Loria, the Marlins’ owner, who should be held 100% responsible for the disaster that is the 2006 Marlins. Of course, it’s easy to argue that after 2005, when the Marlins were widely predicted as taking the NL East but didn’t come anywhere near the top for the entire season, that he decided to break up the team that wasn’t working and start over. And I guess that works. It’d be more believable if they had brought in just one quality veteran to help rebuild, but oh well. As for the Cubs, they’re sad because every day you look at the box score and you’re disappointed. It never adds up. For example, the Cubs drew 6 of those darned walks today against the Marlins, but managed only 4 hits and struck out 9 times. See, that should never happen. You just can’t see that many pitches and not put up more production, it’s just not possible. And 9 strikeouts? Lord. Look at some Cubs box scores for the next week, and I promise you that you’ll find at least one thing every day that just doesn’t add up.

Padres_028Additionally, it’s official – Kevin and I, along with another friend of ours, Matt Soifer, will be attending the May 16th Tigers game against the Twins at 7.05pm. This is the first Tiger’s home game after the three of us get back from our respective institutes of higher education. We’ll likely be at the section you see on your right. We’ll also be in Section 103, Row G, in the Bleachers – sorry, the Pepsi Bleachers – on Wednesday, May 31st… for the Yankees; those tickets have already been purchased. We’ll probably make it to another Yankee game and a few games other games between the Yanks and aforementioned Twins.

Albert Pujols is currently the best baseball player in the game. More on him later in the week, or next week.

I’m currently watching the Yankees – Devil Rays game. First off, I’m getting really tired of hearing every broadcaster tell me about how dangerous Gary Sheffield is, and how hard he hits foul balls down the third base line. Now Jeter just singled to juice the bases. We’re down by 2, bottom of the 10th, 2 outs, Gary Sheffield up. 0-1. Sheffield takes 3 time outs, and they meet at the mound. 1-1. 2-1… Sheff grounds right to Wiggington at third, who bobbles it. I yell. Wiggington recovers, throws to 1st. The throw looks high… but it’s not. Game over. No big deal, really. You’re not gonna beat the Devil Rays, Royals, Mariners, etc, every time. And it was an extra inning loss, it’s not like we were never in it.

I was watching Law and Order earlier. Basically the cops busted into this place and found about 60 guns sitting around on the table. What do the inhabitants say? "I understand all those guns laying around doesn’t look good." No, they really don’t.

Well now I’m upset. No comments, from 10a Tuesday until now. That’s probably the worst performance I’ve ever seen. I mean, I don’t know what else to say. Are you freaking kidding me? I’ll be back tomorrow, as usual.

David Wright stays, C. Young, Rocket, and Chi Sox

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David Wright won’t be traded
Good news. Turns out, David Wright won’t be traded after all. I know, you thought the "next Jeter" (which he isn’t,) was as good as gone, right? Again, maybe I’m the one living under the rock, but I had no idea that such a rumor was circulating. Apparently the Marlins were going to trade Dontrelle Willis to the Mets for our man David Wright. Why? Well, forget for a second that Marlin’s owner Jeffrey Loria says the rumor was "the invention of some irresponsible reporter," and "never happened." Frankly, I’m inclined to believe him, but lets pretend that someone in either organization wanted this trade to go down. If so, they’re the greatest Saboteur this side of Scott Eyre. Think about it. The money-starved Marlins trade away one of the best pitching values in exchange for a power-hitting 3rd baseman. The Mets get to replace Victor Zambrano in the rotation with Willis, thereby nullifying every aspect of the infamous Scott Kazmir trade, and further enraging their fans. Miguel "Runs like a Bus" Cabrera gets to head back out to the outfield to make room for Wright… no, I’m sorry. Nothing about this trade discussion that "never happened" makes any sense at all. The Marlins trade away the future and bedrock of their franchise for the future and "next Jeter" of the Met’s franchise. No way. Never. I’d give up Jason Schmidt for Ryan Vogelsong before I do Willis-Wright from either side of the table, and that really happened.

Chris Young
More good news – I’m even more scared now than I was yesterday. Now I’m terrified. See, Young has some pain in his pitching thumb. When I first heard this a few days ago, my first reaction was a ‘not good but probably temporary.’ But I’ll admit, I was scared he would turn around and pull a small-scale Kip Wells on me. From what I gathered, there was not only pain but a slight loss of control in the thumb, which made me suspect a circulation problem. Apparently I was right, as Young is now going on medication to correct the "decreased blood flow" to his thumb. All this after jamming a finger? That’s no good. I’m currently searching for a replacement for Young for my pay league Fantasy Team. If the medication doesn’t work, Young will take a trip to the DL. I’m gonna go way out on a medical limb and suggest that he’s taking something like Coumadin, a sort of blood thinner. I’m no doctor, but I thought it’d be fun to take a stab. In any case, the medication is obviously not a long term solution to the problem. If it’s serious enough that it doesn’t fix itself, Young will probably get an extended DL stint. Something more minor, (C’mon, who hasn’t jammed their finger like 10 times playing ball?) and he’ll do a couple weeks.

Rick Monday
I want to talk about Rick Monday’s 30-year anniversary of the Flag Saving. However, my writing style precludes such discussion. It’s hard to offer an opinion on situations like these without offending or alienating someone. Obviously I’m the first guy to take a shot at someone’s actions if they do something stupid, but I’m not here to bash people’s personal views and beliefs, regardless of whether or not I agree. That said – Monday was a stand-up guy for what he did. Even more, he describes it as somewhat of a knee-jerk reaction. Good to know that Monday, a former member of the Marine Reserves at the time, had his head in the right place.

The Rocket
And how about the Rocket Race? Is he coming back? I’m 100% positive that even he doesn’t know yet. Think about it – would there be anything more un-Rocket-like to keep the media hype going when he knows it’s unwarranted? If he knew he wasn’t coming back, he would’ve told us a long time ago. If he knew he was coming back, he wouldn’t be saying things like, "It’s very flattering [but] it would be a mental challenge [to come back]." We also have some other variables to consider. For example, why did Rocket take a short term contract last year in Houston? It wasn’t because that was all they would give him, it was because that was all he wanted. He knew then that he wasn’t sure whether he’d be back in 2006. Furthermore, recall that Rocket retired once already, but returned to active duty for Houston, saying that being close to his family was a primary reason. Meanwhile, the Rangers, Yankees, and Red Sox are currently the front-runners for bringing him back. That said, why would he sign with the Yankees or Red Sox? I’m also assuming Clemens doesn’t want his time to go to waste, so why would he go back to Texas? I’ll bet good money that if Rocket does come back, he’ll be back in Houston. I won’t hazard a guess as to whether or not he’ll be back, but I would say he’s more likely to stay in retirement, but not by much. 45/55 maybe?

Mark Buehrle and Ozzie Guillen
Ozzie Guillen labeled Mark Buehrle as ‘underrated’ after going 3-0 with a 1.13 ERA in his last 3 starts. Guillen claims that, "every day he has done the same thing for three years and nobody talks about him. The only time they talk about him was last year when he threw like a one-hour game." Uh, that’s not true. Sure, Buehrle is the most underrated pitcher in the game. It’s been that way for the last two years, which is why he’s been a member of four of my last five fantasy teams over the last three years. Frankly, I was convinced that would change after all the attention he would get from the World Series, but it hasn’t. Buehrle has always been one of my favorite pitchers because he’s fun to watch (quick) and he’s downright consistent. I suppose the only other time people were talking about him last year was when he snapped his 48 (or something) consecutive 6 inning start streak by intentionally beaning a batter, (I plan on talking about the League’s phantom beaning rules in a subsequent post). In fact, on April 30th, 2005, I said, "Mark Buehrle is the most underrated pitcher in the
Big Leagues. He has amazing control and makes batters look foolish when
he’s on." And no, Ozzie, that wasn’t the only time they talked about him last year. I’m sick of Ozzie Guillen lying and exaggerating, but I’m even sicker of everyone subscribing to his worldview. It’s tired, it’s old, he’s an *ss, and I don’t like him. Does it work? Getting on your players for playing bad baseball works, a little. Swearing at kids for asking for an autograph, or swearing at the media for asking a question, or swearing at the general public for doing whatever they do – that doesn’t win baseball games.

Carl Everett
Turns out, Chicago wasn’t big enough for two A-Holes, (three if you count Frank, which I’m not willing to do.) So, one of them had to go. GM Ken Williams opted to send off Carl "Fan is short for fanatic – he’s crazy about something he doesn’t know
about. And it’s proven that 99 percent of baseball fans have no idea
what they’re watching" Everett instead of Guillen. And yes, Carl Everett did say this. Then again, he also believes that we should implode Wrigley, and that if "everybody in the world" got on steroids, we’d still lose more kids to a war than steroids. Anyway, getting run out of town didn’t sit too well with Everett, who claims that the White Sox lack leadership with him gone and will finish third in the AL Central because of it. He now plays for the Mariners, and claims that Ken Williams broke up the White Sox chemistry. When asked before Monday’s game against the White Sox if he would say hello to his "buds," Everett launched the following shot:

What buds? All my buds got traded. They’ve still got some cool people
– Jermaine (Dye) and I are still cool. But I’m not here to talk about

Nice class, Carl. When asked about this, Guillen replied, "He didn’t mention me. He mentioned Kenny. Ask Kenny." Luckily, ‘Kenny’ Williams was able to douse the flames by saying he had not and likely would not talk to Carl. Good to hear that they’re taking steps to prevent another Frank Thomas-like disaster in Chi-Town.

Jason isn’t gonna let you forget that Brandon Phillips did win the NL Player of the Week. And as for Julien, hailing from France, I can’t agree with you more, and I encourage you guys to check out his comment. Not surprising that you ended up here googling for "baseball athletically." Keep the comments coming guys. I don’t think we’ll be seeing much game coverage until at least Thursday. Finals are coming. I also remade the sidebar over the last couple of days, check it out.

Bruce Bochy, Burnett, and Games

Bruce Bochy – Word Inventor

The more I learn about Chris Young’s ‘injury,’ the scarier it gets. When I first heard about it, I was led to believe that he merely had some pain in his thumb that had been bothering him. Next, I thought there might be some structural damage done, because I heard he was gonna get an MRI today. But now I’m scared. Padres Manager Bruce Bochy said,

I’ve never seen anything quite like this. It is hard to figure out what is going on. It has us buffaloed.

Buffaloed? What does that mean? Stumped? Are you left guessing as to the nature of the injury? According to urbandictionary.com, ‘Buffaloed’ means "to have your spirit broken." Does that mean your chances of finishing on top of the worst division in the history of sports have decreased from 0 to 0, and now you’re depressed? Now, it’s possible that I’m the one under the rock here. Maybe people walk around saying buffaloed to each other all day, and it’s a regular in the American lexicon. Maybe. Why do I bring it up? Because it will probably end up being the most exciting thing that happens to San Diego all season, as they continue to duke it out in their mile-long park and crappy division.

A.J. Burnett and the Info Mask
According to "noted orthopedic surgeon" (Medical Note: these guys tend to be real jerks,) Dr. James Andrews, A.J. Burnett has no structural damage in his arm. Instead, he’s suffered a ‘reoccurrence’ of his Spring Training injury – the whole scar tissue thing, the one that, with some rest, would be good for another two years or so. Interesting. You see, there’s nothing wrong with him. It’s normal to make just two short starts between DL stints. Is this the same Dr. James Andrews that works for Cubs Pitching and Co.? I can understand Roy Halladay being "fine" but still missing two of three scheduled starts, but I don’t understand Burnett having "no structural damage" yet not being able to pitch. Of course, that’s not as bad as Prior having "no elbow injury" but being unable to throw a baseball. Or Kerry Wood being "right on track" but with no timetable for a return. This is why the Cubs will always be my favorite team to take shots at – they make it so easy. In case you haven’t been paying attention, I’ve probably beat up Larry Rothschild and Dusty Baker in each of my last 20 posts.

Bank of America Presents the National League Player of the Week Brandon Phillips
That’s commercial he11 right there. But it gets better. The last sentence of this ‘article,’ or advertisement, was so crowded I had to re-read twice to understand it. And even then, I knew something was wrong, so I read it a couple more times and then finally deciphered it. Here, it’s your turn, codebreaker:

In recognition of this honor, Tourneau, the world’s largest watch
store, is proud to award the Bank of America Presents the National
League Player of the Week Brandon Phillips with a Tourneau luxury Swiss

Ok? Is Brandon Phillips a dude or a corporation? And did you know that Bank of America – one of the largest banks in the world – started out as an immigrants "Bank of Italy," and took off after the Great San Francisco Earthquake, somewhere around 1911?

When I got back from a long, hard day playing Butcher and dissecting little pigs, I decided to flip to The MLB.TV and see what was on. Turns out, jokes’ on me! No games on. I mean, unless you count Cincinnati v. Washington, Colorado v. Philadelphia, and Florida v. Chicago. If you watched or went to any of those games, you’re a real fan. Not to take another shot at Bobby’s Fish, but especially the Florida v. Chicago game. Is there a worse matchup then the undisputed worst team in the league (Florida,) minus their DL-riding "Rookie of the Year" v. the Prior-Wood-Miller-Lee-less Chicago Cubs? Probably not. The only exciting thing about this is Carlos "I’m about to lose control" Zambrano. Despite the fact that he managed to give up 3 runs to the Marlins in 7 innings, he has 12 K’s. This is not as cool as it seems, as one half (yes, .5, or 1/2) of the Marlins 8 starters in the lineup are hitting below the Mendoza line. For those of you unfamiliar with the Mendoza line, it’s .200.


It’s generally accepted that if you hit below the Mendoza Line, you shouldn’t be in the Major Leagues. Then again, that’s irrelevant as the Marlins don’t really seem to be in the Major Leagues anyway. Oh well. And Zambrano has only thrown 116 pitches through those 7 innings. At this rate, he’ll still have enough bullets left at the end of the game to pitch two innings tomorrow. At least, that’s what Dusty tells me. Meanwhile, Marlins starter Jason Vargas held the Cubbies to just one hit, walking four in 6.1IP.

Justin; I don’t really think the Tigers will put it all together this year. They need at least one winning season before they make it to the Big Time. But, if by ‘put it together’ you mean, ‘get above .500,’ then yes, I do believe this is their year. I think their offense is a lot more set than the pitching, however. We could use one more #3-caliber starter, but I’m not gonna push it. One more thing for all you commenters out there – leave your website address at the end of your posts. I want to be able to check out your sites as well, (I really do mean this.)

If I see any games tonight I might be back. But it’s gonna be a busy next two weeks, culminating in a Calculus and Biology final on May 10th. Post May 10th, I’m headed back home. A couple weeks after that, I’ll hope to have to podcast up and running on http://www.baseballradioshow.com. Until then, check out Mike’s Tiger’s Podcast at http://dailyfungo.mlblogs.com.


Reds v. Brewers, Cubs, Yanks, and FireFox

Remember how the Brewers started 5-0? Well, did you know that they’re currently 8-9, and that the Reds are 11-6? The Reds are Brewers are currently doing battle at Miller Park. Actually, they were doing battle, but now they’re just playing around. Here’s a classic pitcher’s duel for you:
Dave Bush, (MIL): 7IP, 85 pitches, 1 hit, 0ER, 2BB, 9K’s.
Brandon Claussen, (CIN): 3IP, 86 pitches, 8 hits, 9 ER, 3 BB, 3K’s.
In the fourth inning, Bill Hall homered off Claussen. Damian Miller followed with a 2-run shot. Brady Clark followed with a 2-run shot. J.J. Hardy followed with a solo shot. Chris Hammond came in for relief. Prince Fielder followed with a solo shot. That’s 7 runs scored on five HR’s in one inning, and in case you’re wondering, that does tie an MLB record. Yikes. It’s currently the bottom of the 7th and the Brewers are up 10-0. As for Dave Bush, you may remember him from Toronto. He’s 26. He’s on a decent team. He doesn’t have a terrible track record for a guy his age. And with today’s game, he has an ERA of 3.81 so far. Bush finished the game allowing 4 hits, 2 walks, and 9 K’s in 115 pitches. I think that as the season progresses he’ll turn in more and more quality performances.

Can someone tell Dusty Baker how to use a double switch? I know I rag on the Cubs more than any other team. That’s because it’s fun and it’s easy, and I’ll never get sick of that picture you see to your left. I don’t watch a lot of NL ball, but I’ve seen enough Cubs games to know that Baker doesn’t really know how to use the Double Switch. That is, he never used it. At least not until today, when he managed to remove the lineup’s second and third best hitters – Todd Walker and Matt Murston – with two. I’ve been watching the Cubs v. Cardinals game for a few minutes now and I’ve already seen three double-switches. On top of that, one such double-switch brought Scott Eyre in the game. He’s still alive? After the beating he put on D. Lee, practically ending the Cub’s season? Surprising that no one has called his shot in the death pool, (I don’t participate in the death pool nor do I think it’s tasteful, but you should know it’s out there). In addition, Baker informed us that all walks are good for is "clogging the bases," which is why three of the six runners his pitchers put on for free scored. On the ‘information’ front, Kerry Wood was set to throw on the side yesterday – but complained of pain in his armpit. Of course, the Cubs have nothing else to say regarding when he will return, or if he still does, in fact, pitch. Ditto for Mark Prior. And Wade Miller was moved to the 60-day DL. Also, Cubs ‘pitching’ coach, who is more deserving of the title "Minister of Information," had this to say about reliever Bob Howry: "He’s got the cool, calm demeanor of an assassin. He wants to go out there and pitch every day." That’s bad news. Howry probably has, at most, one month left before he’s run down by overuse and experiences some freak accident… and oh great. Izzy came in to ‘shut’ the door against the Cubs, and he ending up dropping a routine toss from Pujols as he was running towards 1st, allowing Jacque Jones to reach 1st on the error, and now there’s a man on 1st with one out instead of empty bags with 2 down. That’s a concentration error. Dude dropped an easy, soft toss directly to his chest for no good reason. Ended up not making a difference in the game, but still – that’s not gonna win you any goodwill in this town.

Yanks won today. Watched that game for a little bit as well. Who would’ve thought Shacon would come back from getting skipped in the rotation to allow just 4 hits, 1 run, and 3 walks over 7 IP? Strange, especially after we saw Wang get owned last night. This win was also good news for the Yanks because, not only did our number 5 hold a team to one run, but we one without the big home run. In fact, Matsui’s double was the only extra base hit we had. Only 7 hits, but 7 walks. That’s big, and by putting men on base like that, you manage 6 RBI’s.

Firefoxscreenshot_1 I also want to talk about Mozilla’s FireFox browser. I’m obviously a fan. I switched over about two months ago and I love it. It’s especially useful now that I’ve started reading a variety of different blogs. This involves what’s called RSS feeds. For those of you stuck in IE, RSS means nothing to you because you can’t use it unless you have one of those aggregators or something. With FireFox, all you have to do is hit an orange button in the address box, and it adds this feed to your bookmarks. It looks something like what you see on your right. It’s very easy to access blogs this way, and all you have to do is hover over the link to see what’s new. The feed automatically updates, which is what makes it so valuable. Instead of checking all of these sites yourself, all you have to do is check to see if there’s a new headline up there through your favorites, as IE users may know them. It’s also great for tracking simple news feeds, such as RxSN Baseball (almost every MLBlogger is featured on this site and probably doesn’t know it,) or Deadspin. FireFox is also, in my opinion, a much better browser than IE. FireFox is gaining in popularity very quickly; of the last 100 visitors to BHGM, 29 used FireFox and 67 used IE, (in case you’re wondering, Opera and Safari were also on the list.) There are very few compatibility issues when using FireFox – the only website I have trouble with is the auto-updating Fantasy Scoreboard on CBSsportsline.com; every so often the scripts will stop running. There are also thousands of add-ons, which are little ‘extensions’ created by other programmers for FireFox that do little useful things. For example, an in-browser Gmail notifer and in-browser media controls which can be easily downloaded and immediately applied to the browser. In any case, you can get FireFox right here. And there’s always a link in the site tools section at the bottom of my sidebar.

The Nationals and the NL East

XzczlozhFrank Robinson won his 1,000th game as a manager the other night with the Washington Nationals. Well, congratulations. Now, let’s take a look at the Nationals. Before the 2005 season started, things weren’t looking so good – in fact, they were looking awful. MLB had just awarded the team to DC, but then there was the whole issue of how the stadium would be funded. Then it looked like the deal was off. DC had a team for about 12 minutes, before they said, "wait, you’re gonna have to pay for half of the stadium… you’re still coming, right?" to which MLB replied, "Uhh, see ya later."

That was pretty close to being a disaster. Then someone stepped in at the 59th minute of the 11th hour to rescue the team from another disturbing year in Montreal, where they apparently don’t like to play baseball. However, by hiring Jim Bowden as their GM – and no, I don’t know who ‘they’ is, since the Nats still have no owner – they made a colossal mistake. If your goal is to
drive from Detroit to Orlando, you don’t start by shooting holes in your gas tank, slashing your tires, and punching out your headlights. Yet, this is pretty much the handicap the Nationals were forced to deal with when they started – not exactly helpful. For more on why I hate Jim Bowden, check out here. And here, here, here, and of course here. Nonetheless, they beat the odds and shocked millions when they started out the year and carried all the way through the All-Star Break on top of the NL East. Then they found their place and nosedived, managing to finish in last place in the NL East. Now, that was with an 81-81 record, and had they been in the NL West and won exactly two more games, they would’ve walked away with the division. That said, the Nationals haven’t really recovered. In fact, they’ve picked up right where they left off. After they made the mistake of the year by picking up Soriano, which was actually just routine incompetence for Bowden, they started off the regular season losing games again. Actually, they were already working on being bad in Spring Training. After Royce Clayton bobbled a "tailor-made double play
ball," he decided to toss it to Vidro at 2nd, mostly just for fun, since the play was already over. He missed, and Vidro proceeded to literally sulk after the ball as it rolled to third. For a while
it looked like the ball might out ‘run’ Vidro, but he eventually caught
up with it. By then, the Nats had already made 48 errors. Not good.

Ph2005052200834_1Like I said, it was bad news from the get-go. Back to the story of the 1,000th win. Before departing on their current road trip, the Nationals were 2-8. At that pace, Robinson was probably worried that he would have to wait until 2007 to get that win. But, a miracle came in the form of 2 three-game sets against the Marlins and Phillies – or so we were led to believe. The Nationals lost the first game against the Marlins 3-5. In game 2, they just barely squeaked by with a 2-1 win. And, in the all-important game 3, they were able to come out ahead 7-5. Fantastic – you just took 2 of 3 from the worst team in the game and you only managed to out-score them by one run. And so the Nats dragged their 4-9 record to Citizens Bank Park, where they beat a Philly team I had mistaken for a contender, 10-3. Next game, they lose 6-7. Tough. Now Robinson is sitting at win number 999. And the Nats manage to beat on the Phils, 10-4. Robinson has got to be going crazy inside, right? Actually, no. Apparently the post-game ‘celebration’ went something like this, according to Mr. 1,000 himself:

Mitchell Page was shaking my hand after the last out and he said, ‘Congratulations.’ He was holding on to my hand, shaking it. And I told
him, ‘Let go. What are you doing? Let go of my hand.’ He said, ‘Congratulations on your 1,000th win.’ I said, ‘Oh, that’s right.’ It
was the 4-2 road trip I was looking at… I tell you one
thing, they didn’t have the champagne iced down, though, because they
weren’t too sure when the win would come. But it tastes pretty good,
even hot.

So the dude was more excited about taking 4 of 6 from the Marlins and Phillies than he was about winning number 1,000. That’s when you know things aren’t going well. And then, Robinson was ready to take some shots at his team. Speaks for itself, really. The Nats are already having a straight-up bad year, and it’s only April. They’ve got six guys on the DL: Luis Ayala, Ryan Drese, Brian Lawrence, Robert Fick, Cristian Guzman, and Pedro Astacio. The club dodged a huge bullet after Jose "lose the ‘tude" Guillen strained his oblique in BP and had to sit out 6 days. Soriano isn’t doing half bad, and somehow has his average at .299. I know, a really shifty stat in the beginning of the year, but that’s remarkable for Soriano and his career .321 OBP. The problem with the Nats is that they have those holes – and they don’t have a player that can just load up and carry them through a bad stretch, and the team isn’t deep enough to perform consistently.

As for the Mets, I haven’t decided whether they’re for real or not, but they were certainly helped along by their weak schedule. The Braves, on the other hand, haven’t looked good of late, but they still are. Again, baseball’s version of a vampire. Their pitching seems to be back under control. Oh yeah, and after losing to the Mets 3-4 on Monday, they went ahead on them 7-1 and 2-1. Now they’re 8-8. Not dead yet, huh?

Still pissed about the comments. After I called on you guys to post a big 5-spot, you put up a meager three. Three. Now, I know I only gave you about 18 hours. I know the last two posts were a long one-two punch. But three is pathetic. Keep your eyes on the prize, guys. As for John requesting a link to the Greatest Play of All Time – I try to work that in whenever I can. Apparently, that story pretty much has taken on a life of its own. It’s posted on message boards, emails, and is quite a hit on Google. One such email even made its way to Korea. Which is good, because it deserves it. Check it out here. Also, if you ever need it really bad, there’s always the Classic Posts on the sidebar. And the search is working again, (try that out at the bottom of the sidebar.) Good to hear from Jason and Aaron again as well. Obviously Jason is another Yankee guy who made the trip to Toronto. Aaron runs another Tiger blog, for those of you interested.