So, say you’re the general manager of the disaster that is the Royals organization. You’ve got no talent, you’ve got no money, and you’ve got no fans. Then, some guy offers you a veteran outfielder with a career average of .270 for the ridiculously low price of Leo Nunez, him of the 6.99 ERA and 67 career MLB innings. You’re going to want to take that deal no matter what, right? I mean, you can’t even rip someone off like that in fantasy baseball.
And this is exactly what happened when the A’s tried to ship off the ticking firebomb that is Milton Bradley to the Royals. Milton was perfect for this deal. He’s just the fire that KC needs. And we’ll get to that in second. The point is, Kansas City canceled the trade when they discovered Bradley had suffered an oblique injury. This is just nonsense. I don’t care if Milton comes to you with a fractured leg and he’s bleeding from his ears. You take the guy! He’s talent! He’s got to be better than 7 of the guys you’re starting now, easy. And what is your argument for this? That you need a player now, so you’re holding on to Nunez? Nunez isn’t even in the majors. He hasn’t pitched in MLB all year. So even if you have to wait 6 weeks on Bradley, which is generous, he’s still going to give you more than Nunez.
And now Milton is out of luck. No one else is going to take him because he’s about as volatile as jet fuel over an open flame. Only the Royals need talent that bad, and Kansas City is about as small a market you can get, where you can just reasonably hope that when he screws up, no one will
notice care. So this was a great deal. But hey, Milton is a full 29 years old, and you never know when he might be a worse bet in the outfield then Emil Brown or David DeJesus. Or any of the 9 guys on your DL. Mark Teahen (RF) can actually hit, but you can always send him back to 3B and kick out Alex Gordon. But now, for fun, let’s explore the dangerous world of Milton Bradley:
- April 2004: Indians trade Milton Bradley to make room for Coco Crisp.
- June 2004: Ejected by Terry Craft, Bradley leaves his equipment in the box and returns to chuck a bag of balls on the field. Suspended 4 games.
- September 2004: Fan throws plastic bottle on field. Bradley responds by throwing plastic bottle violently at man nowhere near original launch site. Suspended 5 games.
- November 2004: Police pull over Bradley’s "friend." Bradley stops alongside his friend on the highway, and approaches police yelling, "why did you stop my friend." Officer: "Return to your vehicle." Milton: [Hands behind back] "Arrest me." Officer: "Alright, let’s go to jail." Served 3 days in the slammer.
- August 2005: Calls Jeff Kent a racist.
So, yeah. There’s really no telling when Milton is going to strike next. Or where, for that matter. And the Royals canceled on their chance to get a hold of this gem of a guy? Why?
There is one thing you have to love about interleague play. You can beat it up for screwing with the team’s records. You can knock it for forcing AL pitchers to hit. Heck, you can even take issue with the over-commercialized, we’re-going-to-stuff-it-down-your-throat advertising. But you can’t say a bad word about some of the great Interstate match ups that take place every year. And I’m not talking about the Subway series, or the freeway series, or any of that garbage. I’m talking about Florida v. Tampa Bay. And, new to this year, St. Louis v. Kansas City. What used to be serious three-day slaughterhouse is now a send-in-the-clowns matchup. We’re talking about two of the worst teams in the game right now. And tonight, they’re pitting off for the decisive game 3.
It’s been a real rubber band series so far. Mark Teahen had a single, double, and a triple to lead the Royals to a Game 1 victory over the Cardinals, 8-1.
But the Cardinals came surging back to take Game 2, 7-3. And now Kip Wells faces Scott Elarton for the tie-breaker. Hows this for a series-deciding matchup? I don’t even know what to say. I mean, is Kip Wells the better pitcher because his ERA is a full point less than Elarton’s, at 6.33? Or is Elarton the better pitcher because he only has 2 loses, and not 10? Seriously guys, this game could go either way. You can just see these two clubs battling it out on the diamond. Beating the heck out of one another. After all, winner is the best baseball team in Missouri, right? And who doesn’t wake up every morning wanting exactly that? Are they even playing this game at a major league ballpark? Is anyone even going to show up? Does anyone even care?
And after this, the Royals play the Marlins. There’s another interleague matchup we have all been dying to see. Two teams that, quite frankly, could pack up their tents tomorrow and go home, (or move to Las Vegas, I guess,) and no one would notice. Who was the scheduling genius at MLB who decided, "hey, we’ve got this great marketing tool here with interleague play. It really gets the fans involved. Shows them something they’ve never seen before. And you know what the Missourians need to see? Another 100-loss team." Exactly. Maybe it will keep Royals fans from selling their loyalty on eBay when they realize, ‘man, my fellow Marlins fan has got it even worse than I do. I think I’ll hold on for one more year.’ Don’t hold your breath, brother. And by the way, once Dan Uggla comes crashing down from his turbo-orbit, that team is going to fall apart. Again. And it won’t be Lou Piniella’s fault this time, Curt.
I just (at 10pm) returned from Chicago. I have spend nine hours in a pickup truck, with 700 pounds of glass in the bed, which was covered by a
sail tarp, which was further covered by a light, 5×5 foot piece of wood. And then, riding along the wonderful parking lot that is I-90, we had to stop. Suddenly. Which caused the aforementioned 700lb of glass to come sliding forward, right into the back of the cab. I guess we were lucky that it didn’t go through. Anyway… in the end this whole ‘going to Chicago’ thing just became a 5-day, 55-hour long shift. Anyway, caught some Sportscenter this morning, because instead of going to Denny’s, I… watched TV. It wasn’t that I wasn’t hungry, because I most certainly was. Rather, I stepped out of my hotel room at 6.00am to find that the U.S. Army had invaded Denny’s and established a defensive perimeter surrounding the building. I mean, they really took care of business – HUMVEE’s, deuce-and-a-half’s, guards, the whole deal. I think they were really hungry too.
Now, I heard that the Royals won. Apparently Sportscenter heard this too, because they ran a pretty lengthy piece on it. Hilarious, really. Now, it went something like this. Royals "Starter" Kyle Snyder went 2 innings, giving up 9 runs on 10 hits. Ok, only 5 of them were earned. But by then, you’re splitting hairs. The pot is calling the kettle black. Does it really matter who was worse – the gloves or the arm? No, not really. Anyway, that puts the game at 11-4 in the middle of the third inning. The Royals had lost their previous nine home games. See as they’ve won a total of 6 road games – a marked improvement over the two they had won last time I checked – we can just assume that they hadn’t done a lot of winning of late. In fact, they were 4-21 prior to Thursday’s game. Which was, actually, an improvement over their previous pace – they now have a winning percentage of .271, which is slightly higher than the last time I took note, when it was below .250. Anyway, back to Thursday’s game. It’s 11-4 in the middle of the third, Royals on bottom. Then they score 4 runs. Then one more. Then another. All of the sudden, the Rangers went from up 7 in the third to up one in the 6th. Then, in the bottom of the 7th, the Royals drop a 6-spot on the Rangers. Just like that, the Rangers go from up 7 to down 5. Isn’t it supposed to be the other way around? Hmm. Looks like the Rangers may not have fixed those pitching problems after all. But wait! The Rangers are not done yet. They put up one run in the 8th. Final score, KC 16, Texas 12. Now, there was more to it. Apparently, David DeJesus – him of sorely missed career numbers like a .280 career average, 16 HR in 855 AB’s, etc – went 3-5. Four RBI’s. Congrats, David. Now, I’m going to conclude on the same note that Sportscenter did. Manager Buddy Bell said something along the lines of, "Yeah, I don’t know where that came from." But don’t get too excited – your team is still 15-43.
This is great for me. I’ve talked in length about the Kerry Wood/Mark Prior information problem. Namely, Larry "The Magician" Rothschild, who has apparently sheltered Prior and Wood in some sort of Spring Training limbo/purgatory while the rest of the team struggles through the lost cause of the 2006 Season. Anyway, here’s the good part. Kerry Wood came back from the DL, and before I could even talk about it, he went back on the DL. Now, let me say something very important. Something that I’ve said here before, but that nobody seems to have remembered. Kerry Wood struck out like 20 Astros or something in 1998, right? Ok, great for him. In the last like, three years or so, he hasn’t done a thing. He’s an average pitcher, but he’s never healthy. I’m not saying Cub fan should throw him away, because he’s got gas – if he ever gets better. I’m just saying, you’re going to have to give him, say, a whole season before he gets ‘good’ again. Chances are, he won’t last that long. At least when Prior is healthy, he’s dominating.
The Tigers are something like 3-7 over their last 10. And Todd Jones is still the closer, but mainly because he is being called the closer. It’s one of those weird situations where some pitcher is being paid closer money, so he is getting in on closer situations. Mike McClary at Daily Fungo voiced a good opinion on his 6th Podcast about this issue. He can tell you more than I can, frankly, since I haven’t been able to see a single detailed game account in the last 2 weeks. But basically, Todd is blowing games left and right. He allowed three runs in the eighth to drop the Tigers from a 7-7 tie with the Jays to a 10-7 loss. You can expect that to be one of the last such appearances he’ll make… more on this issue later, I hope.
I said a few weeks ago that, with Gary Sheffield coming back, the Yankees needed to deal for a Pitcher, not an outfielder. Right now, it no longer looks like Sheffield is a lock to come back next year. Therefore, dealing for an outfielder is starting to make sense… and, as usual, we’re not hearing any specific rumors – which means that, any day now, we may wake up to find Barry Bonds trotting out to Left field, or something horrific like that. Remember when Alan Embree came out of the bullpen in a Yankees game last year? Heck, even the guys in the booth were shocked. I mean, no one knew what was going on. Embree was kind of like last year’s Terrence Long. I think Embree described it best, saying that he felt like he had parachuted behind enemy lines. Fascinating… can you imagine that? Anyway, does it make sense for the Yankees to deal for another outfielder now? I think that the two needs are about equal – we should trade for a pitcher or a hitter, whichever opportunity presents itself at a lower cost.
Chris Young has been on fire lately. I wanted to call everyone’s attention to that fact. 5/30: 8IP, 1H, 2BB, 8K’s. 6/04: 8IP, 2H, 1BB, 4K’s. 6/09: 6IP, 5H, 3BB, 12K’s. Let’s review – 24IP, 8H, 6BB’s, 24K’s. Not bad. One problem, however. The opponents. Colorado. Pittsburg. Florida. AAA team. AA team. AA team. But still, as I’ve said a million times here before, a bad pitcher can’t do amazing stuff against a bad team, if he’s still bad. But, you’re also gonna have your mediocre pitchers do amazing stuff against amazing teams. Like Don Larsen. You know how it goes.
That’s it for tonight. It’s midnight, which is about 4 hours later than I would like to be up. Tomorrow is my first day off in 16 days. I’m very happy about that… I’ll see you guys later. By the way… I’m really so tired right now that I have no idea what I’m saying, so I’m sorry about that.
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.
Now, it’s no secret that the Royals are bad. We all know this. In fact, I write about it nearly every day. And, of course, we’re all familiar with PFC Mark Grudzielanek, who, in probably the most used quote on this site, said, "We will not sit back and get used to losing.We’re fiery guys. I guarantee you we will not accept being a mediocre
team. If we start looking like one, we’ll fight against it all year." In other words, ‘we’re not going to be a bad team, but if we are one, we’ll fight it.’ Hence the birth of the storyline "Mark’s War," the Royals 2006 Campaign. Now, I’ve always said that Mark knew he would have to fight a fight – he didn’t know he’d have to fight a war. Today, the war escalated to an all-out nuclear holocaust.
The Tigers orchestrated a glorious come-from-behind win on Tuesday night. We talked about this in length. And today, they took to the field again, with Mike Maroth pitching for Detroit. Maroth entered the game with something like the 3rd-best ERA in the AL, at 2.45. Here is how his afternoon went:
- Esteban German singles.
- Shane Costa pops out.
- Reggie Sanders doubles. German to 3rd.
- Emil Brown doubles. Royals up, 2-0.
- Tony Graffanino homers. Royals up, 4-0.
- Angel Berroa homers. Royals up, 5-0.
- Doug Mientkiewicz homers. Royals up, 6-0.
- Ramon Colon relieves Mike Maroth.
Mike’s line? .1IP, 6H, 6ER, 3HR. His ERA went from one of the AL’s best at 2.45 to a very average 3.56. That’s a full 1.11 points. The Tigers are now down 6-0, and their starter is out of the game, having gotten one out. The game looks all but lost for the Tigers, and with that, their 5-game winning streak. And the Royals look like they’ll finally break that 12-game skid.
Here’s how the rest of the game went down. In the top of the 2nd, two walks and a hit loaded the bases for the Tigers with 1 out. An error allowed Brandon Inge to reach base, pushing each runner along. Royals still up, 6-1. Another single, another run, 6-2. Placido Polanco is hit by a pitch, 6-3.
In the top of the 4th, Craig Monroe singled and Marcus Thames hit a home run. Now it’s 6-5. Then, in the bottom, Esteban German homers for the Royals. 7-5, Royals.
Flash to the bottom of the 6th. Reggie Sanders walks, reaches 2nd on a wild pitch, and scores on an Emil Brown double. 8-5, Royals.
Now it’s the top of the 8th. Craig Monroe singles. Thames and Inge fly out. There are now two outs, and one man on 1st. Typically, not a tough spot for the defense. Well, you know what’s coming next. Curtis Granderson singles. Polanco singles; Monroe scores and Granderson gets to 3rd. 8-6. Pudge triples, two runs score. Game now tied, 8-8.
The Royals do nothing in the bottom of the 8th inning. Now, the Tigers come up for the top of the 9th, game tied. Omar Infante flies out. Then, Craig Monroe homers. Thames homers, again. Tigers up, 10-8. Inge and Granderson single, Pudge hits another homer. 13-8, Tigers, and that’s your final score.
Think about this for a second. Take a step back and look at the situation. The Royals scored 6 runs in the first .1 inning of the game, knocking out the starting pitcher in the process. Yet they still lost the game by 5 runs. Five runs. Five runs is a bad loss anyday. If you’re leading by six runs a third of the way through the first inning, a five run loss is unthinkable. Especially if you score two more runs in the rest of the game. On Tuesday, I said that if the Royals had won I would’ve expected the planets to collide. But, this time, I figured they just couldn’t lose. Yet, they managed to find a way. The Royals are now 10-35, having lost 13 straight. Next up for them are the Yankees, so make that a 16-game losing streak. Next is a 3-game set with Oakland. Maybe the Royals win a game, probably not. We’re looking at 19 straight loses when they arrive in Seattle on June 2nd. Now, is it possible to mercy a team’s season? Can MLB just take the Royals out back and shoot them, (metaphorically, of course.) They’re 10-35. They can’t even win a quarter of their games. Heck, you could sub in any club’s AAA team to play for the Royals the rest of the year – they’d probably do a lot better.
About the only dark spot for the Tigers, besides Maroth, was Jack Hannahan, who grounded out four times, and flied out twice. That’s 0-6. Hannahan was called up after Dmitri Young went on the DL again. Young, who is due in court on charges of domestic abuse, has had a rougher season than usual, batting .169 with a total of 7 singles and 3 doubles all year.
I predicted that the Tigers would do ‘well’ before the season started; that is well-documented. I knew they would surprise everyone, because they really weren’t a bad team last year – they were about 4 games under .500 on July 31st. But, as is detailed in the above link, the Tigers organization had a losing culture. Meaning, it was ok to call up young guys at the end of the season, because it was ok. Leyland has changed that, clearly. It’s not all him, because the best manager can’t make a bad team great. But between Leyland and a maturing team, the results have been much better. The Tigers are now 33-14, 1.5 games ahead of the White Sox. Next is a 3-game set with a Cleveland team that just hit .500, followed by 4 games with the Yankees (I will be there on May 31st,) 3 games with the Red Sox, and 3 with the White Sox. In other words, the best three teams in the AL. Those 10 games are going to tell us a lot about this team.
UPDATE: Kevin noted in the comments that there was no way I knew the Tigers would be this good. That is also correct. As I’ve said nearly as often, I figured we would be in contention throughout the year, but I didn’t think we’d be 33-14 on May 25th – not a chance.
First up is Tigers-Royals, then Yankees and pitching, then some, well, rather fascinating stories of people who just didn’t want to go away to jail.
Tigers v. Royals
I was very scared for awhile tonight. I was watching the end of the Royals v. Tigers game. I know. What was I doing watching another Royals game? Well, when I saw the score online at 5-3, Royals up, in the bottom of the 7th – I had to intervene. So I turned the game on. It was two outs, bases empty, Craig Monroe – the most unclutch player in history, possibly – to the plate. The Royal’s current pitcher, Ambiorix Burgos, had struck out the last three Tigers. It didn’t look good. But then, Craig Monroe walked. Elmer Dessens came to the mound. Omar Infante singled on a looper to center, Monroe advanced to 2nd. Inge hit another looper to center, Monroe scores, Infante to 3rd. Royals still up, 5-4. And then, it happened. We needed some more runs to take the lead. And the Royals, being the Royals, gave them to us. Curtis Granderson hit a soft liner to center, and it looked like Aaron Guiel would catch it. But he didn’t, he kicked it. It’s the kind of thing that, having followed the Royals this year, you expected to happen. You knew that something just like that had to happen. After all, had the worst team in baseball beaten the best team in baseball, the planets could collide at any moment. So now the Tigers are up 6-5 – we’re safe. But, the Royals wanted to make sure that we had this game. So, Placido Palanco singled up the middle, bringing home Granderson. Tigers up, 7-5. Bottom of the 8th, no runs for the Royals. Top of the 9th, Craig Monroe hits a 2-out, 3-2 pitch over the 3rd baseman’s head to knock home Guillen, 8-5. The Tigers had 4 hits and no runs going into the 6th. In the 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th, the Tigers had 13 hits and 8 runs. The Royals went from, "up 4-0," to "losing 8-5." One fan was so "disenchanted" that he brought out the grocery bag and wore that on his head. That works. You can sell your Royal’s loyalty on eBay, or you can wear a grocery bag to the park. Whatever lets you sleep at night.
Other highlights of the game – PFC Mark Grudzielanek was a one-man artillery squad earlier in the game, when he hit two home runs. Needless to say, if you could win a battle with one man, war would be a lot cheaper. And the Royals would be able to win a baseball game. As it is, we have the opposing team’s announcers having the following conversation:
"They’re one out away from losing their 11th straight. It would be their second 11-game losing streak of the season."
"And we’re not even to June!"
"Two of them already!"
Well, there aren’t too many different ways to go 10-33. And that’s what’s most surprising. They might have two 11-game losing streaks, but they’ve lost 11 more games on top of that, while only winning 10. In other words, take out two 11-game losing streaks, and the Royals are still 10-11, a winning percentage of .476 – which still puts them in 2nd to last place in the AL Central. And that’s inches above what would be the new last place team, the Twins, with a .444 winning percentage. Unbelievable. Find me another team who, if you took away 22 losses, would still be a game or two above last place in their division. Heck, only eight other teams in the AL even have 22 losses, and surprise, four of them are in the AL West. That’s the entire division, by the way.
"If you’ll be 29th, I’ll be 30th…"
On that note, another bad team won today. Or is it, another bad team lost today. Heck, both are true. The Marlins beat the Cubs, again. I have nothing.
Yankees; pitching moves
And the Yankees won today. Have to hand it to the BPS, who did predict a thorough beating of Wakefield tonight. I only got a chance to catch the last couple innings after I got home from work, but from what I gather, it looks solid. Wright went 5, giving up just 4 hits and no runs. Proctor, who was the "get rid of him, wait, he’s looking better, keep him," guy, gave up 4 runs in 1.1 IP. Again, don’t know how those runs scored, but they did. A-Rod homered. Good for him. Can someone tell me how many home runs A-Rod has against the Red Sox since he came to the Yankees? Less than 10? Meanwhile, in San Fran, the game isn’t even over and Albert Pujols has already hit another home run. A-Rod, 11. Pujols, 23. Just a second, we’re going to put Albert on hold for a minute. Sheffield was back as well, and that’s obviously huge. But, like I said last night, the big thing is the starting pitching. That’s who I believe Cashman will make a deal for, if he makes a deal this year. Geoff asked me if I had any ideas for said trade, and I haven’t had the time to look into it, but off the top of my head, I’m thinking it’s going to be someone Shawn Chacon like. Not a big name, but a known name. I’ll be back with more tomorrow.
Back to Pujols. Can I just say something? Why are people still pitching to this guy? I mean, I would be devastated if they started walking him, (I thought the Nats figured it out…) but still – it doesn’t make sense. On Saturday, the Royals pitched to Pujols with two men on, and he hit a home run. Same inning, man on 2nd base, and they intentionally walk the 40-year-old Juan Encarnacion to set up the force. Hmm. Anyone know why this team isn’t winning games?
What’s with people violently resisting arrest?
Every once in a great while, something so extraordinary happens that, despite the fact that it has really nothing to do with baseball, I just have to talk about it. Today is such a day. David McCann was found outside a bar at 2am on Saturday morning, with his shirt unbuttoned, and yelling at passers-by that he was "Luke Skywalker." First off, you already know this is going to end badly. Because, quite frankly, people like that don’t just calmly walk away when you tell them to cut it out. And David was no exception. At first, one officer asked David to leave, after he (allegedly) got into a verbal confrontation with two women. Instead of leaving, David charged the officer, who then sprayed him in the face with "an irritant." Two officers then tried to handcuff David, but were unsuccessful, as he continued to wildly flail his arms in all directions. "He continued to attack with superhuman strength and made no attempt to escape," according to the official police report. So, the cops repeatedly kicked and struck David with a baton, but to no avail. He kept wildly resisting arrest. Finally, backup arrived with the Taser. After being Tasered three times and struck with a baton an additional four times, McCann was finally able to be handcuffed and hauled away. Needless to say, the school at which David is a physical education teacher decided not to renew his contract.
This reminds me of an age-old classic tale, one involving Former NFLer Barret Robbins. One night, Barret had a furious struggle with three cops in a ladies bathroom while they were investigating a burglary call. According to the police, Robbins beat the first cop to the floor, picked up the next one, slammed him into a wall and then flung him into another wall, then grabbed the third cop by the face and slammed him into a corner. He then grabbed that cop by the forearms, but was shot twice in the torso. At that point, he dropped to his knees, snarled and growled, and slapped the cop’s gun out of his hands. According to police, he was laughing throughout the attack. Scoreboard: Three counts of attempted felony murder, two counts of depriving an officer of his weapon, two counts of resisting officers with violence, and trespassing. Seven felonies, one misdemeanor, up to life in jail. What a scene that must’ve been. Taking bullets in the chest, laughing and growling, bouncing cops off the walls, knocking guns out of their hands… it’s like the Terminator, but real.
What is it with these people? Are they thinking, ‘geez, here are the cops… if I can just beat these guys up, I won’t have to go to jail.’ That’s not how it works, sadly. Maybe you can beat up the cops. But you can’t beat their radios, you can’t stop their bullets, and you can’t defeat their backup. Sooner or later, the police are going to get what they want, and you’re going to go to jail.
And that’s it for tonight. We’ll be back again tomorrow, and since I’ve got the early shift at work I should be able to catch a few games as well. Or, the Mets and Phillies could just go into 16 innings again. I mean, they’re still playing, and I’m still watching. 8-8, top of the 16th… Chase Utley just got hit by a pitch while trying to bunt. Promise you will see the picture turn up somewhere soon. Utley was facing towards the mound, and when he saw the incoming, he jumped up on one leg, closed his eyes, went limp-wristed, and dropped the bat. Never seen a better fairy imitation in my life.
So the bad thing about Sunday is that it’s usually day games. By the time I got home from work, all the games – with the exception of Yankees-Mets – were over. So here are a few various items, from both yesterday and today.
Marlins v. Devil Rays
When the Marlins lost to the Devil Rays again last night, 4-3, they blew their fourth game in a row after leading in the ninth inning. The only other MLB team to accomplish that feat? The 2002 Devil Rays. How special. In fact, the Battle for Florida Supremacy, as we’ve taken to calling the series, was so important that D-Rays manager Joe Maddon was "out of town" for the first two games, leaving his bench coach in charge. But in all seriousness, the Rays got a fantastic game out of Scott Kazmir tonight, to take the series 3-0. Looks like we found the best team in Florida, right? Right? Loser heads to Las Vegas, right? Anyway, Kazmir struck out 11 Marlins, going 8 innings, walking one, and allowing just 4 hits and no runs. Funny, because I just wrote about how Kazmir seemed to be back on track, and more importantly, for real this year.
Cubs v. White Sox
So the Cubs beat the White Sox in game 3 of that big Chicago v. Chicago thing. Uh, that pretty much means no repeat. I know the Cubs have been getting attention for being bad lately, but I don’t think people are aware of exactly how bad they are. One of the worst teams in the league, the Pirates, are in the same division and have 14 wins. The Cubs have 18, and one more loss. And it will get much worse before Lee returns. So basically, if the Cubs played the Pirates in a 4-game set, they’d be likely to lose at least two, if not three, games. Anyway, regarding yesterday’s Throw Down by Michael Barrett upon A.J., a few notes. First, A.J. is known as the biggest a-hole in baseball. I mean, this was something people knew years ago. Here’s a list, basically, of why the world should thank Barrett for punching A.J, from Sporlitics. And let me explain to you, exactly, why
Barrett was so upset after A.J. knocked him around sliding into home. He didn’t just train Barrett. He trained him when there was no play at home. And after that, he got up, pounded the plate, and stared down Barrett. Barrett then gave A.J. a quick hug before coldcocking him. As you can see to your right, A.J. never saw it coming. But, Barrett hugged A.J. so they could have a quick chat – what did he say? "I didn’t even have the f*cking ball, b*tch."
I also want to make sure everyone saw the video on YouTube. Actually, MLB already managed to get it taken down – dang, that was fast! Look, I get the whole anti-copyright thing, and it’s cool – I don’t like it, but I can see that if you let people start posting plays on YouTube, it will eventually weaken the fan’s appreciation for the sport, right? Wait… whatever. It’s not about that, right? It’s about something bigger – the principle, right? Look, if you’re going to interfere with the free market that YouTube provides and supports, then you need to provide a better or at least equal service. Which you don’t. If I wrote Bud Selig and asked him if I could post a video from a baseball game on YouTube, would he respond? And would he grant me expressed permission if he did? Alright.
Reds v. Tigers
I was able to attend the first game of this series, which was the only game of the Tiger’s last 10 that we lost. My luck, right. The Tigers won last night on a Felipe Lopez throwing error, and won this afternoon as well – 1-0. Good job. You don’t see a lot of 1-0 games from two clubs which are both in the top 5 of all MLB teams in HR – Detroit at #2, Cincinnati at #4. Anyway, Nate Robertson pitched 7.1 shutout innings, allowing 3 hits and striking out 7, but walking 5. Obviously, he wasn’t lights out – but he was pretty good. Especially considering what Nate Robertson usually is. And, again, the Tigers are one game above the White Sox in the AL Central.
Albert hit another home run today. In related news, the sun came up this morning. Albert’s HR contributed to the St. Louis Albert Pujol’s 10-3 thrashing of the Royals.
Cain one-hit the A’s on Sunday, also allowing just 3 walks. Matt who? The Giants are now 23-21, which means they can pretty much start printing playoff tickets right now. That is, as soon as they overcome the first place, 25-19, Rockies.
The Twins, my pre-season pick for the surprise bad team of the year, remain bad. They lost to Milwaukee today, and are now 19-25, good for 4th place and 10.5 games back from the AL Central Division-leading Tigers.
The Citizen Soldiers of the Kansas City Royals are in dire need of a victory. They’re on a 9-game losing streak. Coming up? A 4-game set with the Tigers, and a pair of 3-game sets with the Yankees and A’s on the road, where the Royals are 2-20 this year. In other words, PFC Mark – who returned to the team after being gunned down on Saturday night, trying to score from 1st base – and Captain Bell will trot an impressive 19 game losing streak onto the battlefield when they arrive in Seattle on June 2nd. They will have won 5 games in all of May – three by one run, one by two runs, and one by three runs.
That’s about all for today. Again, didn’t get to do much baseball stuff today, so that’s why we have the short post. I have tomorrow off, but then I have to work 36 hours, in 5 days of 6 days, with only Thursday off. And of course, they wanted me to come in on Thursday too. After that, I’ll be heading to the Tigers-Yankees game on May 31st, and then it’s down to Cincinnati, where BHGM will be on vacation for about 3 or 4 days. If anyone is interesting in posting some guest writings here, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out the liveblog from last night, and lets see some comments too, people.