Tagged: Texas Rangers

Some more pitching updates

Only time for a quick post tonight. Finals are over Wednesday so then we’ll be back.

Lately we’ve been keeping track of the number of times Bobby Cox has pulled Tim Hudson too early. Well, he did it again. It’s the bottom of the 8th, and the Dodgers are up 3-1. Braves are up to bat and Hudson, who has only 87 pitches and had been doing quite well, is leading off. But no – he’s pulled for pinch hitter Chris Woodward, who ends up making an out. Now it’s the top of the 9th, and 3 Braves relievers allowed 3 runs before they were saved by a double play. Hudson did give up a solo shot to none other than Wilson Betemit and his .125 average in the top of the 8th, so maybe Cox did make the right call. But I don’t really like it. Wouldn’t have been the biggest deal, but for two things. First, I get 10 points in my fantasy league if Hudson gets the win, and I’m fighting to go 5-0 this year. But, more importantly for the Braves, they loaded the bases in the bottom of the 9th, when Kelly Johnson singled to bring home two runs. That made the score 6-3. Edger Renteria then grounded out to end the game. Had your stinky relievers not given up those three runs, you’re looking at a tie game. For some reason, Bobby Cox is just way too freaking quick on the hook for Hudson. Hudson early yank count this year: 3.

And a weird day in Texas. First, Kevin Millwood went on the DL, leaving Texas with the Padilla Flotilla as their Ace. You know, that guy with the 5.66 ERA this season? The rest of the rotation consists of McCarthy (7.96 ERA), Robinson Tejeda (3.89), Kameron Loe (7.04), and Mike Wood (5.45 last season). That’s really, really concerning. The bullpen isn’t doing too bad, but you have to ask yourself if that even matters. Anyway, Texas played the Blue Jays today, and Roy Halladay, all-time favorite, started. Usually this means you score 2 runs. Today, not so much. Halladay gave up 9 runs, real out of character for my Cy Young pick. 

Somebody needs to pull Roy Oswalt off the Reds. After his latest win against the Reds, Roy is 19-1 against them in his career. Man is invincible.

Alright guys. Might not be back for awhile now. Finals until Wednesday, and then summer school starts Thursday. So it’ll be busy for awhile and we might get a little slow here. But stick around.

Mark Teixeira and The Rangers

When is Mark Teixeira going to get a Home Run? Here is my conversation with my fantasy baseball competitor and brother…

Me: Ah yes, Mark’s up, bases juiced, no outs.
Dave: STRIKE OUT
Me: Nuh uh… great, skies one to left, and out at the plate. You’ve got to be kidding me, double play, and with Kenny Lofton too.
Dave: BETTER TRADE THAT GUY.
Me: Not his fault Kenny plays like he’s on the wrong side of 40…

Except I feel like it is his fault. The Rangers had the bags full with no outs and they walked off without scoring a run. And don’t tell me Mark was trying to hit a sac fly, because who does that with no outs in the top of the first? This guy has to seriously pick up his game. Dave offered me Adrian Gonzalez and Nick Markakis for Tex. I didn’t take it. Simple word of advice to any fantasy beginners out there – whoever gets the best player ‘wins’ the trade. Two good players are not worth one great one, because they take up twice as much room on your roster. Kameronloe5806You would be surprised how many people ignore this rule. Either way, Nick Markakis has a cannon. Guy could throw out a laser beam trying to stretch a single into a double. And thank goodness the kid plays right field, because you know what that means – we are going to see him throw a guy out at 1st base. Ten bucks it happens to Frank Thomas. He’ll hit a blooper in front of Nicky, put his head down, and run to the bag. Meanwhile, Nick scoops it up and lets loose with a Super Crow Hop throw to first, Thomas is out. Imagine the look of shock and disbelief and Biggy’s face when that goes down. Unfortunately, such plays are not awarded points in our fantasy league. A few bizzaro leagues award points for assists though…

A little follow up on that Indians – Texans game – Kameron Loe, who is still on the Rangers, still 9 feet tall, and still not living up to his potential, gave up a 3-run Shot to Trot. Loe is getting a decent start on this season so far – 3.29 ERA in 13.2 innings – but I said it last year and I will say it again – the Rangers don’t care about pitching. They will leave this guy in here no matter what he does. Like last year when he went with a 5.86 ERA in 15 games. After your young talent puts up a season like that, it seems wrong to just chuck him back into the starting roto. But he’s only 25, so I guess they’re thinking he’ll break out soon enough. Of course, that is what the minor leagues are for. Unless you want to take the Ranger’s route and just demoralize the cr*p out of the guy until he matures. I had the same complaint about the Tigers last year when they threw Justin Verlander into the rotation. I had seen the kid pitch and I didn’t think he was ready. He proved me wrong. But that kid had lights out stuff. Kameron Loe can only fall back on his massive mound presence.

Anyway, it’s research symposium day at school, so I have no class… but I have to hit up some presentations on attempted aziridinations and sulfonilimations. Turns out, one of my good friends spent two or three years trying to create these molecules. And it never really happened for her. Well those are the breaks of chemistry. Just shake it off. So that’s why I’m around, watching baseball in the middle of the day.

It’s great to see the comments starting to stack up around here again. I have yet to see a comment for the Mariner’s Payroll post I wrote, which makes me sad. That’s the first post I’ve really been proud of writing since I got back, so I’m asking you guys to check it out. It’s "funny and interesting" according to Kevin. So dive in! Saif, good to see you at BHGM. If I understand your comment, you’re saying that the team with the most starts from their original rotation will win the rotation. I like it. Except this theory has a major flaw – it assumes that the starting rotation is a good one. If you’ve got a rotation of Kameron Loe, The Padilla Flotilla, Brandon McCarthy, Robinson Tejeda and Kevin Millwood, you aren’t going to go very far – even if they never miss a single start. Surprisingly, there really is a team in the Major Leagues trying to pull this off – the Texas Rangers. It’s funny… because I said the exact… same… thing… last year. And Joseph, thanks for the comment man. You see, that’s all I’m asking from you guys – a quick, ‘good post, keep it up. Huddy’s the man.’ That’s all we need to see around here. So don’t get embarrassed if that’s all you can contribute. Just be happy you could add something. One last update on that Ranger’s game – they’re down 5-1 now, and Tex just went another 0 fer. He’s now 0-2 on that game… Leave your comments boys.

Good thing I started Jeff Suppan tonight

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.

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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.

Coconococo_1

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…

Texas_rangers
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.

Felipe_with_live_llama
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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Don’t look now, but… Player and Team Recaps

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.

NL West
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.

NL Central
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…

Chicago Cubs
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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.

AL West
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.

NL East
Duffy_1
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.

AL Central
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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.

AL East
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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.

“This is our year!”

The Tigers are 3-0 atop the AL Central. Additionally, B.J. Ryan got booed in Rogers Center, which makes no sense, (and which I actually won’t be talking about.) The Rangers are collapsing, Chris Duffy is a liar, Jimmy Rollins is done, Eric Gagne is done, the Devil Rays are still bad, and Pedro got slapped around. We’ve got other things to discuss as well. Fun evening! This makes up for all the lame posts of the last few days, I hope.

First things first – I’ve decided this has to stop. There are a lot of you out there reading, but not a lot of you are out there making comments. For those of you MLBloggers out there, comments are a great way to get your blog read – just write your website address at the bottom of the post. Some people think this is a bad thing to do, because you might end up stealing other people’s readers… I don’t mind. No one would be reading my stuff if it hadn’t made it around the MLBlogs community, so feel free to post your own plugs. Anyway, make comments telling me I’m an idiot. Ask me what I think about something – this is how the entire Indian’s Overview got started. Most MLBloggers out here are a little shy about calling out their readers for not posting comments, with the notable exception of the Bleeding Pinstripes – and now I’m going to start taking after him. I’m obviously not afraid to take any shots at players, and I’m not afraid to bust you guys up either. I’m not trying to sound like Mark Newman here, but there are a lot of great blogs out there. Now that the season has started, it’s nearly impossible to keep your name up top the Recently Updated list. So, post your thoughts and your blog’s address in a comment. I’ll even let you pick the post. Besides, we will all learn more from each other than from me alone. So, lets get to the real business of baseball…

Detroit Tigers – It’s our year!
Tigerregal_800x600I’ve told you all before – all across Michigan, it’s the same thing every year at the beginning of the season. The Tigers win the opener, and for the next 32 hours or so, the whole state is chanting, "restore the roar!" Kids are walking around telling each other that the Tigers are undefeated this year, and that they’re in 1st place. We win another game, and it gets even worse. Even the Tiger’s homepage is joining in on the action tonight, with the headline, "Tigers look to extend undefeated streak." People don’t do this because they think it’s true – they do it because they know that after the first games of the season, they won’t even be able to brag about as much as a winning record. That said, is this year different? The Tigers beat the Royals in a short 2-game set earlier, which isn’t much of an accomplishment. However, considering that the Tigers lost to a college team a few years ago, it’s a start.

However, could this be the real thing? Legitimate changes have been made to the team. Cancers like Carlos Pena, Jason Johnson, and Franklyn German – guys that settled for mediocrity – were removed. Spring Training was a sort of experimental drug therapy, as Jim Leyland picked out all the players that deserved to make the team – as opposed to those who fit into the depth chart, regardless of their desire to play or win. That said, it would be logical to see a changed team emerge from Spring Training. The Tigers outscored the Royals 17-4, so they didn’t just beat them – they creamed them. The Royals might not be the best team in the league, but a bad team with an anemic offense can’t score 17 runs in 18 innings regardless of how bad the pitching is. Therefore, we can conclude that the Tigers must be doing something different this year. On top of this, the Tigers are up 9-3 on the Rangers right now in the bottom of the 8th. The Tigers will win this game, and then they’re 3-0 – the only undefeated team in the AL, and one of only 3 in the entire league, (Milwaukee and St. Louis.) This has to mean something. If these were 2-1, 6-5, 5-3 victories, I wouldn’t be saying a word. And it’s not a big deal to score a lot of runs against the Royals, or against the Ranger’s R.A. Dickey in Ameriquest Field. But again – it doesn’t matter how bad the pitching is, if you’re a bad hitter you still can’t hit them.

In Game 2 against the Royals, Bonderman went 6.2 innings, giving up 3 hits, 1 run, and striking out 8 while walking none. In Game 1, Rogers went 6 innings, gave up 3 hits and 1 run, struck out 5 and walked none. Make no mistake – this isn’t because Cluck – last year’s pitching coach, but no more – was bad. It’s because the Royals stink. But, the Tigers have made 0 errors this season. Anyone who watched them last year knows this must’ve taken a miracle. Can someone tell me why I can view more team stats in the MVP 2004 video game standings then I can from MLB.com standings? I want to be able to see how many errors a team has committed by looking at the standings page, or any other page, for that matter. Thanks. In any case, everyone is underestimating the Tigers this year, except those of us extremely familiar with the team. Which don’t seem to be many. I told a fellow sportswriter (as I like to call myself; this guy actually writes for the school paper,) that if the Tigers got into the playoffs this year, I’d be mildly surprised, but I wouldn’t lose my faith in the Universe. However, if you asked me what our chances were any of the past 13 years, I’d tell you zero. The Tigers don’t surprise people. They don’t suddenly go from really bad to really good for no reason. But this time, the reason is Jim Leyland and while it’s not likely, I wouldn’t be 100% shocked if the Tigers at least made a run for a spot. If the White Sox come crashing down to Earth, as I believe they will, and the Indians underachieve again, the Tigers suddenly look very good. I’m pretty confident that the Twins won’t do anything this year, and I’ll bet my life on the Royals not coming within 15 games of the division leader for the next three years. See the Tiger’s team overview for a more organized look.

That said, time for some in-game coverage. I’ve been following the game on Gameday, you see.  I have one question – who the heck is Jordan Tata? He somehow managed to hold the Rangers to two hits over 3 innings in his major league debut. He was going great until inning 2.2 of his stint – aka, the bottom of the 9th. He struck out Kevin Mench, gave up a hit to Adrian Brown, then walked Rod Barajas and Ian Kinsler before he got bailed out by Fernando Rodney, who struck out Brad Wilkerson. Michael Young is up, 2 outs, 2-2 count. Then he hits a base-clearing double, new score, 10-6. Next time, Rodney can avoid giving Young a ball down the heart. Tex flies out, game over.

Texas is freaking out
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I met a relative of the Ranger’s starting pitcher for this game, R.A. Dickey, at a Tiger’s game last year. That whole family must be in tears right now. Dickey gave up 6 bombs and 7 runs in 3.1 innings. He struck out only one, and walked another. And this is your #4 starter? If you’re the Rangers, you’re kicking yourself right now. Adam Eaton is on the DL with that bum finger, as are chair-thrower Frank Francisco and C.J. Wilson – two guys that will probably do the team more good by continuing to sit out. That means that your rotation goes Kevin Millwood, Vicente Padilla, Kameron Loe, Dickey, and John Koronka. Loe was a reliever last year, and had an ERA of 3.42. He took a 3-hit shutout into the 7th against Boston last night. Other than Loe – who is completely unproven – and Millwood, the rotation is in total collapse mode, just four games into the season. There are no words to describe how amazing that is, which is surprising because nobody thought it could get worse than it was in years past. But this is just terrible. The Padilla Flotilla is barely afloat with a 4.71 ERA after last season, and this other guy – Koronka – has a 7.47 ERA in 15.2 MLB innings. This brings up possibly the best question to be asked all year:
WHY THE HECK DIDN’T THE RANGERS TRY TO GET SOME RESPECTABLE PITCHING FOR ALFONSO SORIANO???
You’re set offensively. But you could score 10 runs a game, and with the pitching you’ve got you’ll barely break .500. How do you not turn over Soriano to the team that will give you the best pitcher you can get? You don’t need anything else but pitching. Not another struggling outfielder, but a proven starting pitcher. Not some pitching prospects – but a proven, MLB-ready starting pitcher. Especially for a guy you gave up Alex Rodriguez for. And don’t say they had to dump his salary, even though they did – remember, they signed him in the first place. If they decided it was too much dough, they shouldn’t have pulled the trigger. Additionally, Michael Young is a natural 2B forced into short when Soriano arrived. Rookie Ian Kinsler is a natural SS, forced in 2B because Young is already there. Young is the worst defensive SS in the league… am I missing something? I’m pretty sure that GM Jon Daniels should be indicted for all this. That is, if owner Tom Hicks doesn’t have him assassinated first.

Pirates centerfielder Chris Duffy is a liar
Duffy
Anyone watching the Pirates Red’s game? Bottom of the 8th, and Masher Adam Dunn hits one between Left and Center. Pirates centerfielder Chris Duffy knew he wasn’t gonna be able to get to the ball in time, so he dove for it – and clearly trapped the ball. I mean, clearly. I literally knew it would be a trap before he even started his dive. Anyway, it was clear as day on MLB.TV as well. Then, Duffy did what any self-respecting outfielder in his situation would do – jumped up and fired the ball back to the field. Wait, no he didn’t. Before he had even completed the dive, he held up the ball that had bounced into his mitt, then got up and trotted towards the dugout, with the rest of the team following. You could tell they all knew they were lying, because I’d never seen a team make it into the dugout any quicker – it was like they were taking fire from the crowd, which they nearly were. Of course, they’re doing this because it makes it that much harder for the umps to overturn the call when they have to re-deploy the teams to the field. In this case, with the whole crowd booing, it took them about a minute to decide that they screwed up. So, they gave Dunn a single. One problem, when Duffy trapped that ball, the Pirates stopped playing defense. The Red’s had a guy on 1st and 3rd, and the guy on 3rd scored. That means that the Reds are now up 6-5 in the bottom of the 8th. Of course, this pisses off Pirates Manager Jim Tracy. He argues, he gets tossed. Play continues, with the next Red grounding out, inning over – for real this time. Then, who comes up to bat first? None other than Chris Duffy. Duffy runs the count to 1-2 on Red’s closer Dave Weathers, who then throws one in the dirt. What does Duffy do? Starts to toss his bat and says the pitch hit him. Are you freaking kidding me? His pants were practically aflame right there in the batters box. You think the ump is gonna cut you a break after you just tried to pull the covers over his eyes? Not a chance. Home Plate didn’t even check the ball for dirt. Play continues, Duffy strikes out, as does the next Pirate, and the next grounds out. Red’s win. Cheaters never prosper, Chris.

Jimmy Rollins fails
It’s about time… I couldn’t say this while the streak was going on for fear of interfering, but now I’m free. This whole talk of a hit streak was ridiculous. In the cold weather and in the form he was in, expecting that thing to live any longer than five games was pure stupidity. Besides, no one cares about a 2-season hit streak, because they just don’t. It means nothing. Thanks for the favor St. Louis – I owe you one.

Eric Gagne goes down again
No way. Is this guy ever gonna pitch again? Gagne went from that insane 90-some save streak – broken up when Alex Cora dove and missed that ball, something I’ll always remember – to walking around with a semi-bionic right arm. I don’t even know how many surgeries the guy has had now. Yet another NL West curse? Not too many details either – sounds pretty sketchy. Meanwhile, Derrick Turnbow is walking around pulling old-school Gagne – 97mph fastballs, followed by an 80mph changeup. Yeah right.

Mark Hendrickson shuts out the O’s
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Hendrickson pitches for the Rays. He has a career ERA of 5.12… and somehow has pulled off one other shutout in his career. Guess lightening strikes twice after all. The Devil Ray’s team slogan this year is, "We come to Play." Not to win. But we really want you to come to watch. The Rays and Tropicana Field are the most pitiful thing in the AL, and I don’t care about ‘the youth movement.’ The O’s have Camden Yards going for them, and frankly they aren’t that bad. The Royals have a water fountain in Centerfield. The Mariners have Team Japan. Texas has offense. The Rays, however, have a crappy stadium, a ho-hum rivalry with the Red Sox, and no organizational plan. Whenever a guy goes on the DL, (as Julio Lugo just did today,) the media asks if they’re gonna call up B.J. Upton. Someone in the Rays organization flips a coin, and then Upton is either ‘still working in AAA’ or ‘still working on switching positions and improving defensively in AAA.’ Next thing you know, Upton is on the bench at Tropicana Field. Blink twice, and suddenly he’s back down in AAA, at least that’s how it went in 2004. In 2005, the Ray’s figured that until Upton can raise his fielding percentage above .905, he isn’t going anywhere near the Major Leagues. Good idea. Bad planning. A young player is a lot like a huge tanker – you can’t just stop, turn around, and head another way without considerable effort and waste.

Pedro got slapped around, cont.
As I said in my post earlier today, Pedro got slapped around today, because that’s what happens when you only throw 7 innings in Spring Training. Although the Met’s beat writer won’t admit it:

Martinez watched the decisive runs score from inside the clubhouse. He
had departed after allowing five runs, four earned, on four hits, five
walks, one intentional, and, for the first time in his career, three
hit batsmen. He also struck out six. And if his problematic toe was an
issue, it wasn’t obvious. Martinez threw 96 pitches.

Uh, how about the fact that he threw 42 balls and 54 strikes? How about the fact that he allowed 9 guys on base through some sort of walk? Maybe I’m just dumb, and this guy was being sarcastic. Maybe what he was trying to say was, ‘his problematic toe wasn’t an issue, but every other part of his body was.’ And what are you thinking leaving the dude out there for 96 pitches? That seems kinda stupid.

Thats all for tonight. Remember, leave some thoughts.

An MLB-er named Andres Torres: Part Two

You pretty much need to read Part One if you want this to make any sense. Anyway, we left off after the May 31st, 2005 game.

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June 2nd, 2005:

Kevin and I had our plan to honor Andres Torres. As the May 31st game was the  first game of the series, we still had another game two games to get back to and chat up Andres. Well I had to work or something on Wednesday, which left Thursday’s day game. The plan was to make some of those iron-on T-shirts with Andres Torres Fan Club designs on them. See illustration, (click on the picture to enlarge it.) I ended up burning my arm on the iron, but it was ok. Anyway, we made up two of these shirts for ourselves and another for Andres, which was the same except for the back, where we put our names instead of his career stats. We headed to the park on Thursday hoping to give him the shirts as our way of saying thank you.

62_tigers_game_005sm Anyway, we had been waiting at the park, in the same spot, for an hour and no sign of Andres. We told a couple of the players as they were heading in to send out Andres if they saw him, because we had some shirts for him. (Note: we are not to be confused with the old, female, crazed Indian’s fan that follows the team around and yells at the players, trying to give them t-shirts.) Anyway, gates had opened at 11.30a, and now it was about 12.30p and still no sign of Andres, and we were getting kicked out of the area since we didn’t have tickets down there. We still had his t-shirt so we had to think of something fast. I talked to the usher who stands on top of the visitor’s dugout (Ron,) and asked him if we could stick around awhile. He told us to stand a few rows above the dugout and hang out there. Then an old usher comes along trying to bust us, and Ron comes through for us and busts him up… it was good stuff.

Finally, about half an hour before game time, we saw Andres come out of the dugout. So we ran up and told him what was going on and tossed him his t-shirt – he goes, ‘meet me over there,’ and points to the right of the dugout. So we come down there and explain to him how we wanted to make these shirts as our way of saying thank you. He asked if he could sign our shirts, and of course we said sure. By now everyone else is coming down for a piece of Andres, so he had to get out of there.

We headed back to our seats in left field, which weren’t that bad. It was a 62_tigers_game_032edsm beautiful game really. I had another Rondell White Home Run land a few feet to my left, (on the video you can see someone running toward where the ball is about to land, and then turn back in disgust when someone else catches it.) And our seats were directly behind the bullpen. To your right you can see a little of what its like. I think it was like little kids’ day at the park and a lot of Middle Schools were hanging out there, which wasn’t really that bad. In any case, it was a great game, and I chatted up an usher and he ended up telling me where the team bus was after the game.

We went over there after the game and encountered a group I previously Yankees_003edsm mentioned; the ‘sellers’. The sellers are people that buy $5 skyline tickets, go the park when gates open, get autographs from all the players then (usually taking them from other people,) and then leave and come back to the team bus to get autographs then. Many of them will even arrive early in the morning when the players first get to the park. We call them sellers because they carry around binders of cards and 8×10’s which they have the players sign, and then they sell them on eBay. Before the Yankees game, when Alex Rodriguez was signing, most of the sellers had huge posters stacked up in front of them. After A-Rod left they bragged to each other about how many posters they had gotten. "Man, he signed 5 of mine, but then he looked up and I think he recognized me so that was it." I believe this behavior is pretty pathetic, seeing as many of the small children there left disappointed because they couldn’t get the autograph of their favorite player. But hey, at least they can buy it on eBay right? See the picture on the left for a quick shot of A-Rod signing at that Yankee game. And yes, I did get his autograph. Didn’t compare to Andres’ though.

Anyway, back to the team bus. As the players all filed out, none of them would sign, as we learned was fairly typical of the Rangers organization. Then Andres came out. Some of the sellers were shouting his name, asking for autographs, (these guys have at least 9 cards of everyone who has ever been drafted by a team.) Andres walked right up to Kevin and I, gave us a quick pound, and said:

Hey guys. How you guys doin? Thanks for the t-shirt, it helped me have a great game today… So, can I get you guys anything? You need anything?

I pretty much pissed my pants. Stunned, I replied, ‘Oh no problem, you’re welcome. Anytime man… we’re good though. See ya later.’ Or something to that extent. Andres then walked on to the team bus.

We were both stunned by the day’s events. I believe this to be the greatest baseball story ever told. I know it sounds unbelievable but I give you my word, every bit of it is true. We went home that night pretty much on top of the world. The only other this is… if anyone knows how to get in touch with Andres, (he now plays for the Twins,) tell him we said hey and wanna talk. Thanks.

Thanks again for your readership and feedback. I’ll try to keep the good stuff comin’.

An MLB-er named Andres Torres: Part One

For those of you who have patiently awaited the Andres Torres Story, the day has arrived. This story is very special to me, and so I’m trying to tell it in a serious tone. Besides, there isn’t much humor to be found in it anyway, but it makes me feel good about the future of our sport. I intended to post the story yesterday, but after I typed the whole thing and I tried to save it, MLBlogs asked me to log in and I lost it. Should’ve copied it… oh well. Here we go again.

First, to start out with a little background information. 531_tigers_game_018edsm_1This was the first of 11 games that Kevin and I ended up making it to over the summer of last year. Kevin had been telling me that as a kid his father and him would get to the games when gates opened and go down to the visitors dugout, where they could get a lot of autographs from the players. I decided I would give it a try and brought two of my baseballs, although I didn’t believe I could just get five autographs in one game, as Kevin claimed. Anyway, here’s the story.

May 31st, 2005: Rangers v. Tigers
The game started at 7.05p, so Kevin and I were there before gates opened at 5.30p. When they did, we ran down to the dugout and waited. Those of you who are good baseball fans know the pregame routine; hitters are taking batting/fielding practice and going in and out of the dugout while pitchers warm up in the outfield. So, there we stood, just to the right of the Ranger’s dugout (on the outfield side,) calling out to the players as they entered/exited the dugout. Now, the first rule to remember if you’re ever asking for an autograph is to be polite. "Mr. Cordero, do you have time to sign please?" If the players are too busy or don’t want to sign for whatever reason, they’ll usually flick their head in your direction, or wave, or say sorry… Sometimes they won’t do anything.

This was one of those days where nobody ‘had time’ to sign. Francisco Cordero had gone into the dugout and I asked him if he had time to sign. He said he didn’t, and I asked him if he just had time for a quick picture. He responded by tossing a ball at me, which made everyone happy. Next, Chris Young came in from the field and, when I asked if he had time to sign, bent down and tossed another ball at me, which I gave to a kid. The rest of the team had blown everyone off. In the spirit of continuing my beating on Alfonso Soriano, I’m going to have to say that he was the worst. On about three separate occasions he walked right by us, (there were about three guys with kids and a couple other ‘sellers,’ which I’ll talk about later,) without even looking in our direction. So, we were a bit discouraged.

Finally, at about 6.15p, a guy named Andres Torres emerged from the clubhouse. 531_tigers_game_019edsm_2Nobody really knew anything about the guy; he had been in and out of the club and hadn’t done anything big, but he had played for the Tigers earlier in his career. Andres saw what the rest of the team had been giving us, (he had been on the field or in the dugout for awhile I think) and came out of the dugout to talk to us. This act forever immortalized Andres Torres in my heart. He asked Kevin and I how we were doing, offered us an autograph, and when I asked if he had time to take picture, he said sure. I took one of us with my digital camera, and Torres actually asked if he could see it. Understand that people are now seeing that someone is signing, and running over to try to get an autograph. Anyway, the first picture didn’t turn out, so he offered to take another. He then offered to take one with Kevin, which we did. He signed our baseballs and then went out on the field to do his warmups.

After this we got kicked out because we didn’t have seats in that section, so we 531_tigers_game_037edsm headed up to our upper deck seats. We were pretty excited. On the one hand, we’d gotten blown off by the entire Texas Rangers. But, Andres Torres had stepped up big and come through for us, so we immediately elevated him to level of Hero. We spent most of the game talking about how to honor Andres and his stand up attitude. We came up with a plan, but it would take skill, wits, and technical know-how to pull off. It would also require me burning my arm, but I didn’t know it at the time.

On some baseball notes, I only got a chance to watch the first few innings of yesterday’s Phillies v. Yankees game. For some reason, my archived footage of the game from MLB.TV kept stopping, so I would have to close out the window and restart it. I could only put up with this so many times before I gave up. I hear there is a new media player coming out for MLB.TV in which we will be able to watch multiple games at a time, so we can get excited about that. Anyway, I’ve pretty much been in class the last two days so I haven’t been able to keep up, but I do promise to have some comments in a few hours. Until then, thanks for the readership everybody. Leave comments and emails.

(Read Part Two)