Saturday, April 29, 2006


The Brewers scored 16 runs today and had the third highest run total in baseball. Good day for run scoring in the majors, wouldn't you say?

Esteban Loaiza had what would have been yet another awful start erased from the books today due to rain in Kansas City. Remember before Loaiza was a decent pitcher with the Nationals he was a mediocre pitcher with the Yankees? And before that he was a surprise great pitcher with the White Sox? But before that he was a pretty lousy pitcher with the Blue Jays? Well I think he might have come back around to that phase of his career. No worries though, the A's have plenty of money, they can easily afford to eat the remaining two years and $14 mil on his contract if it comes to that.

Congrats to Felix Hernandez for his first win of the season. Likewise, congrats to Adrian Beltre on his first home run of 2006. 48 homers was clearly not an anomaly for him.

Josh Towers' loss to the Yankees today puts his record at 0-5 with a 10.45 ERA. The amazing thing is not that he's off to such a terrble start as much as it's come with a respectable 12-10 Blue Jays team. Numbers like that usually end up on a pitcher with some horrible team like the Reds. Yeah, I know the Reds are 17-7. But I made a decision today that I'm sticking with my original sentiments of their club, even if it means living in denial all season. Don't think I won't do it. Anyway, Blue Jans fans (yes, I have a Blue Jays fan reading this, and yes, it's possible he might share this thought with some other Blue Jays fan at some could happen) your team is 12-5 in games not started by Josh Towers. Something to chew on.

Thursday, April 27, 2006


Ben Broussard had how many RBI tonight? Truth is, it's not the 8 RBIs that bothers me. He's supposed to have power. But how is he hitting .407? This is in direct contravention to my Ben Broussard sucks ass policy. We're going to have to fix this.

And Sidney Ponson is 3-0? No, I'm sorry, that can't be. The only thing firmer than my Ben Broussard sucks ass policy is my Sidney Ponson sucks mega-ass and enjoys it policy. I'm not comfortable with this turn of events.

So Barry Bonds has made me look a little stupid I guess. Way to go hit two homers in two days including a game tying shot. I still don't care. You don't walk anybody in the first inning, no matter how big a threat he might be. Perhaps the 9th inning would have been a good time to walk him though. Ah well.

I don't care about Delmon Young.

Edgardo Alfonzo is unhappy with his limited playing time. Well you know, Fonzie, I love you as much as anybody, but uh, ah gee, how do I put this? shouldn't have been terrible the last 4 years. There I said it. I'm sorry. It's not you, it's me. Let's be friends.

Johan Santana got his first win of the year today. You know he's a slow starter. We're a month in now. I think he's ready to lock in.

You know the Reds are 15-7? I think Bronson Arroyo is something like 11-0 so far. Are they this good? They do have a good offense when they aren't messing with it for shits and giggles, but their pitching, man, it's bad. Right? And David Weathers is terrible, he can't continue to be an effective closer all year long. I'm going to hold firm and say that no, the Reds will not be this good by the end of the season. Then again, nobody thought the '99 Reds were going to be that good on paper, and they won 96 games and tied for the wildcard (woo, Al Leiter, one game playoff!). And Ron Villone was their damn frontline starter. So who the hell knows.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Pitch to him!

Was I in a coma when Barry Bonds was replaced by an automatic home run generating machine? Must have been. Because if he were just a human, I'd assume that the Mets might have pitched to him in the first inning of tonight's game. But given that it wasn't actually Barry Bonds, but a robot programmed with absolute certainty to hit one out every single time, I can understand Willie's call.

I should note, this isn't Mets loss related sour grapes. I've said for years that Barry Bonds gets walked way too much. Even at his best you still have a 60% chance of getting him out. You don't play those odds in the first inning? And particulalry now with Bonds limping out of the gate, pitch to him. I feel like all these managers leave their own thoughts the airport upon arrival in SF and just follow the conventional plan of walking Bonds every time he comes up posing the slightest threat. And thus you have Willie Randolph walking Bonds twice to set up a 5 RBI night for Moises Alou. Nicely done.

Oh, speaking of Willie, I should comment on Adam's comment about lifting Zambrano yesterday. I think it was the right move to stick with him. As long as the guy is in the rotation you can't be on high alert all the time ready to lift him at the first sign of trouble in the 3rd or 4th inning. You have to let him try to get out of that. If you have such little confidence in him, then don't let him start. But if you're going to run him out there every 5th day, you can't be preparing to yank him that early. Especially given that the bullpen pitched 8+ Friday night, and had the game tonight SF, you need to try to get innings out of Zambrano. This is why I disagreed with pulling him for the pinch hitter in the top of the 5th. You've already let him blow the game, may as well save the bullpen at that point. As it turned out the big guns didn't have to come in, but you have no guarantess of that when you turn to the pen in the 5th.

Edwin Encarnacion made his 8th error of the year tonight. No analysis there, just wanted to call that to your attention. Because that is a lot of errors.

Prince Fielder stole his 2nd base of the year tonight. This matches the number of stolen bases his father had in his entire career. Not that I'm expceting Prince to shatter his dad's numbers in that category, but it's interesting to note.

Monday, April 24, 2006

The Reds listened to me

I'm going to be quick before Keith Hernandez sees me and declares that my place is in front of the TV, not at the computer blogging.

Anybody watching the Cubs-Marlins game? Carlos Zambrano struck out a few minutes ago and promptly snapped the bat over his knee, Bo Jackson style. That's what you want to see, your ace pitcher performing pointless feats of strength that could imperil any number of body parts. Zambrano isn't a bad hitting pitcher, but it's not like he's expected to be a major cog in the Cubs' offense, so perhaps the George The Animal Steele routine was a bit over the top.

Hey, you know, I've noticed something. The Mets seem to have the wrong Zambrano, since Carlos' worst outings are usually better than Victor's best. The Mets need to address this by swapping Zambranos with the Cubs. (Hey other EB - think Carlos refers to Victor as "Much Worse Zambrano?")

So Wayne Krivsky obviously reads this blog as the Reds finally took a step in the right direction, designating Tony Womack for assignment today. The move came after Cincy acquired Cody Ross from LA. I commend the Reds for taking a little bit of the clutter out of their 2B situation. But if Jerry Narron gets the bright idea to start working Ross into the platoon situation, I will promptly leave my house, get in a cab, go to the airport, fly to Cincinnati, and murder all of them myself. I'm watching you, Cincinnati Reds organization. So beware.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

He's MUCH better than Scott Kazmir

The great thing about having a blog is the ability to disseminate my thoughts to events as they transpire. So I'll use this forum to state that Victor Zambrano is a sack of crap who should be pulled from the Mets rotation. 2 outs and the pitcher up - how do you turn that into a grand slam?? He's just lucky that didn't happen at Shea, I'm not sure he'd have made it back to the dugout in one piece.

That is all.

Late night wrapup

Doing my late night stroll through the boxscores, and I noticed that Matt Holliday is already up to 22 RBI. When did this happen? I don't mean it in the "who is Matt Holliday" kind of way - he was a prime candidate to break out. I mean it more literally: I haven't noticed more than one Rockies game in which Holliday has driven in a run, and now I see he's among the league leaders. Is this some sort of hoax? It is, isn't it? You bastards.

I notice that Jim Leyland called upon Fernando Rodney to get the save today even though Todd Jones returned and got the save Friday night. Trying to ease Jones back slowly or the makings of a closer by committee approach here? Not having read anything that sheds light on this, my guess is it's the former. They're not spending so much of Mike Illitch's money to have Todd Jones serve as a set up guy, regardless of what makes the most baseball sense (what made the most baseball sense was not to sign Jones anyway, so whatever.)

Nomaaaaaah played in his first game for the Dodgers tonight and went 2 for 4. Over/under on his next trip to the DL: July 25th. Feel free to place your bets.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Mike Maroth, or Christy Matthewson? I ask you!

Mike Maroth and Wandy Rodriguez are now 3-0, with Maroth possessing an ERA lower than Anderson Hernandez' batting average. When does a string of a couple of good games become a legitimately good season in the making? May 23rd. There, I dispatched with that rhetorical question quite nicely.

Seriously though, Maroth has nowhere to go but down, considering that most pitchers finish their seasons with ERAs a tad over 1. This is why I opted not to be that guy who rushed to add him to my fantasy teams, and I'm standing by it. As I said last week, I think Maroth could be in for a nice year, but I don't think this start is the signal of a huge breakout campaign for him. And Wandy Rodriguez has been awful in his career to this point, so how good will he stay all year? Truth is, I haven't seen a single pitch either of these two have thrown all year, and not all that many pitches either has thrown in their repsective careers, so I'm in no position to point to specific changes that could be causing their early success.

You know, Dave Magadan is still very attractive. Sorry, he just came on for an interview during the Mets-Padres pre-game show I've got on the TV here. Very attractive.

Barry Bonds hit his first homer today. Good. There was a huge void in my life with Bonds at no home runs, and I'm so glad it's been filled. How thrilling his every move is! Anybody commenting that Manny finally hit his first (and second) yesterday?

Thursday, April 20, 2006


So Kaz Matsui once again pulled off his annual year opening don't suck for one at bat trick. It's pretty cool, and he's the only player in history to homer in his first at bat in each of his first three years. However, the good folks at Elias told the team at SNY that Ken Griffey, Jr. homered in his first AB three years in a row - '97,'98, and '99. Or, as Griffey likes to call those years, "The years I should have retired after."

Julio Franco became the oldest person in history to hit a homer. When this was reported it sounded accurate enough to me before the sentence was finished.

Derrek Lee is going to miss 2-3 months with a broken wrist after Rafael Furcal ran into him. The first time I watched the highlight it didn't look obvious how Lee had been injured. After watching a second time and seeing that Furcal probably bent Lee's wrist back on impact, well, ouch. Like that arm wrestling scene in The Fly, which is the only part of that movie I've seen but assured that I will never see any of the rest of it, or engage in arm wrestling again (this is probably for the best anyway). And I know it's Mets-centric of me, but I can't watch anything Vin Scully announces without waiting for the call to turn to, "behind the bag...gets by Buckner..."

So the clueless Reds are off to a nice 10-6 start, with Brandon Phillips driving in 6 runs today, 13 for the year. Phillips has struggled to get his once promising career off the ground, but it's still not too late for him. He's shown signs of life to open the year, and I'd like to see if the Reds do the smart thing by giving him the playing time. So far they've gotten him starts. I do know the temptation to get Scott Hatteberg and Tony Womack at bats, given the massive upside of both, but I think the Reds would be smart to play Aurilia at first and Phillips at 2nd. And, as I've said before, keep Freel in the OF and move Dunn to 1B when Griffey returns. But we might see flying cars before Griffey returns - which, as we all know, will come in 2015, along with hoverboards and clothing that dries itself.

Brandon Inge had a 15 pitch at bat after getting down 0-2 against Justin Dushscherer, which setup the Tigers' rally to come from behind and beat the A's. An at bat like that is totally lost on the non-fan or the casual fan, but I don't know a true baseball fan who doesn't love the drama and the battle in a long at bat. Kudos to you Brandon Inge. Kudos.

Monday, April 17, 2006

The Idiot Is A Star

So it appears that I'm a celebrity. I promise, I'll stay grounded, won't let the fame go to my head. I won't forget all you people who got me here.

That's right, I was on TV this evening during the ESPN broadcast of the Mets game. Top of the 4th, Pedro strikes out Jorge Sosa to end the inning, and a minute later I get a call from Joe Greene that I was on TV right after the strikeout. Not part of a group. A closeup of me high fiving Sinensky. This call was followed a minute later by Stew Koenigsberg's call to alert me to my appearance, followed by Stew's demand that I mention him in the blog for having called me. Stew, you were late on the notification, and beaten by Joe, come on. That's embarassing. But there's your shout out.

Truth is, why shouldn't they want a close up of me? I performed both in The Chopin Playoffs and the Law Revue this year, not to mention productions during my NYU career. The real surprise is they didn't mike me so that Rick Suttcliffe could engage in awkward quasi-celeb in-game interview banter with me. Maybe next time.

And....done. Baseball thoughts:

Jose Valentin absolutely should not be in the major leagues. I'm pretty sure he shouldn't be in the minor leagues either, but that isn't really my concern. Good job by Sinensky pointing out after Floyd's injury during the game that having Victor Diaz on the roster would have come in handy at that very moment, if not for the team having sent him down five hours before to bring up Pedro Feliciano.

Speaking of not belonging in the major leagues, the Royals really shouldn't be forced to go through this farce of fielding a team every day. It's just getting awkward and uncomfortable for all of us.

In a convo with my roommate last week I set the over/under for Griffey's first DL trip at June 15th. Well, I was way off.

Another strong pitching performance at Coors tonight, this time by everybody's favorite fantasy sleeper, Chris Young. "Hey pal, he can't be a sleeper if he's EVERYBODY's favorite sleeper." "Oh yeah? Well why don't you go to hell!!!" That wasn't constructive at all, I apologize.

Jason Marquis may be off to a hot 3-0 start with a sub-3.00 ERA. But let me ask you the more important question? Did he remember to count sefirah?

He hit another one

I've just been accused by Mr. Groner of having a fascination with Chris Shelton. So now I may as well get my money's worth - he hit ANOTHER one today. That makes 9.

Am I crazy, or is that a lot of home runs?

That's a lot of home runs!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Easter Spectacular

I'll admit right off the bat: I have no clue what "Easter Spectacular" is supposed to mean or imply.

So, um, Albert Pujols isn't human, right? Yeah, I didn't think he was, just wanted to double check.

The Phillies beat the Rockies 1-0 at Coors today. You know, people say that Coors is a hitter's park, but this is already the second 1-0 game in the park's history, and it's only 12 years old. And they've had four 2-0 games there. So I'd say it's probably more of a neutral park.

At the very least, Jim Thome will have had as good a year in '06 as he did in '05. This trade could end up being a steal for the Sox.

Today's news reported that LAX air traffic control spotted a pig in the airspace of the flight path of a Delta jet from Boston. By the way, Ty Wigginton is among the league leaders in homers and RBI with 5 and 13, respectively.

Prediction: Chris Shelton will slow down at some point and will NOT hit over 100 homers this season. And Mike Maroth's ERA will rise above 1. But damn. I wouldn't go nuts on predictions for Maroth to have a breakout year just yet. A couple of strong starts can happen to any pitcher at any time; it just looks better when it comes at the start of the season. But he's only 28 and could be in position to put together a good season, even if "breakout" would be an overstatement. Of course, if he gets shelled next time out we're probably done talking about him.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

This post just shows a total lack of respect for my readers

Chris Shelton now has 6 homers and 12 rbi on the year. This guy could be in for a huge year.

Alright, that's all I've got, Passover starts in 20 minutes. See ya'll Saturday night. Stay away from that leaven folks.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Bondson Arroyo

I think I had Wayne Krivsky all wrong. I questioned the wisdom of trading Wily Mo Pena for Bronson Arroyo, considering that Wily Mo still has plenty of time to develop into the slugger he's been projected to become. Well, we see who the slugger is now, don't we? Somebody in the Cincy front office did his homework, because the Reds seem to have acquired the hitter that they could only have dreamt Wily Mo Pena would be.

The real question is when does the switch happen? The Red Sox waited four years before converting Babe Ruth to full time OF duty. I doubt the Reds will want to wait that long. Four years is a long time. I think by the end of this year you'll start to see Arroyo starting at least two games a week in the field to get his potent bat in the lineup.

You know, if these Reds had Babe Ruth, I feel like they could screw that up too. Can't you just picture it? "Sure, we like Babe's upside, but for now we just feel like we need to get Scott Hatteberg his ABs."

But I digress. I was wondering if a pitcher had ever done what Arroyo did. Hang on. Now might be a good time to stop and tell you, if you haven't heard, that Bronson Arroyo hit a homer off Glendon Rusch tonight, which he also did last week. Although if you kept reading this far the whole time having no clue why I was talking about Bronson Arroyo's slugging prowess, I should have been content to keep you in the dark, because you'd be an idiot.

Anyway, thanks to Elias, I know that the answer is no, a pitcher has never homered in his first two ABs of the season. Had ESPN not published this Elias factoid, I could have instead relied on common sense.

Then again, does common sense cut it when you can rely on a stat service? Sure, my gut may tell me not to do something stupid, but doesn't it carry more weight for an announcer to tell me that "Elias has just informed us that no person in history has survived lighting himself on fire and then feeding himself to a ravinous mountain lion."

A pitcher has homered in consecutive games though. Wes Ferrell, the all time leading home run hitter among pitchers, did it, as well as having a number of multi-homer games. Check out this link for a list of all his home runs:

And for a list of the top home run hitting pitchers, you can check out this link on Wikipedia:

I suppose it's not shocking to see good representation on this list by HOFers like Lemon, Spahn, Gibson, Drysdale, Johnson, etc, considering that HOFers are the ones with careers long enough to get on a list like this. Still though, lots of pitchers, while falling way short of the hall, could conceivably pitch for long enough to compile enough homers to be on the leaderboard, so there shouldn't be that strong a correlation between this list and hall of fame status. Then again, maybe it's the hall of famers who are the better athletes and have the extra hitting ability that their pitching peers lack.

Or, alternatively, who gives a damn.

Monday, April 10, 2006


In Atlanta tonight, Oscar Villareal recorded his 3rd win of the season. He's pitched in 5 games. Good ratio. Villareal was preceded by Mike Remlinger, whose entry into the game prompted me to exclaim, "HEY - Mike Remlinger isn't dead after all." Just like that Mark Paul Gosselaar thing.

So it looks like the Brewers and Tigers magic carpet super terriffic happy fun ride is over, with both teams dropping to 5-2 today. And speaking of the Tigers game, Jim Thome hit home run #4. Think he's back?

Hey, did anybody see Darren Daulton's interview on ESPN yesterday? I'm sorry, that's confusing - I should have used his new name. Anybody catch Captain Crackpot's interview yesterday? I mean, what the hell is going on in his head? He's "skipped" through time? Besides sounding vaguely gay, isn't that impossible? Something about how the day of reckoning is going to come in 2012 also, like the Simpsons episode where Homer is screaming that the rapture is about to hit Springfield. (Darren Daulton = sexy Homer Simpson? Perhaps.) The best part is at the end of the interview he said he'd still be open to a managerial job. Yeah, wait by the phone there Darren. You and Wally Backman should be getting the call any week now.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Central Powers

The Detroit Tigers man. 5-0. You know, I don't want to gloat, but we're now a mere 76 wins away from my 81 win prediction for Jim Leyland's team this year. I mean, I've really already been vindicated, we're just waiting for it to be official.

The 1984 Tigers started off 35-5. Are the '06 Tigers as good? Not too early to say yes. Chris Shelton is on pace for more rbi than have ever been driven in by all other baseball players combined. Justin Verlander is going to win the rookie of the year, Cy Young, Branch Rickey Award, and quite possibly the Vezina Trophy for good measure. Mike Maroth won't lose 20 games. And Brandon Inge is, well, we know how good Brandon Inge is.

And then you've got the Brewers. Too soon to annoint them NL Central champions? I think not. I mean, come on, they've got Rick Helling. He won 20 games before! Rick Freaking Helling baby.

I'm an ass.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Post-game wrapup

I'm experimenting with a new system of posting in incriments throughout the day. I don't know if this will serve the blog well, but I figured I'd try it. So I've posted twice today - your reading assignment is this post and the one below it.

Mark Hendrickson pitched a complete game shutout today for the Devil Rays. Read it again. Take it in. That's just messed up.

At this rate Chris Shelton will hit over 200 homers. That's good. That's very good.

Is it me, or are an abnormally large number of pitchers getting lit up here in the first few days? I know that any little thing gets magnified when you don't have the context of an entire season around it, but it just strikes me that there have been a lot of very short outings so far. Today Jorge Sosa and RA Dickey got hit pretty hard, with Jeff Francis, Esteban Loaiza, and Ramon Ortiz pitching just a notch better. I know that's not Walter Johnson, Warren Spahn, and Steve Carlton I just listed, but still. Man, RA Dickey is just such a stupid name.

Gagne's getting elbow surgery again with no timetable for his return. Man, LA should turn Dodger Stadium into a convalescent home. And JD Drew hasn't even gotten injured yet. Yeah, I'm feeling pretty good right now about predicting them to win that divison. Pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty good.

New Mets park, but not a new Shea

The Mets unveiled their new stadium plans today, with a planned groundbreaking in June. As expected, the new park is going to be evocative of Ebbets Field, with a very similar rotunda. This is good, and the park looks nice, but I hope Fred Wilpon doesn't go overboard with this Brooklyn Dodgers stuff. The Dodgers have been out of New York for 50 years, and the people who have warm and fuzzy memories of Ebbets Field are, quite frankly, mostly dead. (I should clarify - most of the people who have warm and fuzzy memories are dead, while some are still alive. It is not that all of the people who have warm and fuzzy memories are mostly dead but not entirely dead, which would be impossible. Sorry for the confusion.) I don't get goosebumps just hearing about the Brooklyn Dodgers, and I think it's cool that the Cyclones exist because it's nice to have a minor league affiliate in town and because the Coney Island area is a fun area for a ballpark - not because of some notion of BROOKLYN BASEBALL BABY!!!

What I find bothersome is the Mets are paying all this lip service to the memories of New York baseball past - the Ebbets Fieldesque rotunda, naming things around the park, etc. But they're basically spitting on the easiest and most important way to honor the past. Instead of calling the new park Shea Stadium they've stated that they're actively looking for a naming rights partner. It's lovely to honor the Brooklyn Dodgers' history; isn't it better to honor the New York Mets' history? I don't want to take my kids to Citigroup Field or State Farm Park or whatever the hell it is, I want to take them to Shea Stadium. I understand that there's money to be made here, and I understand that other teams with just as strong connections to their original stadium names sold it off (Comiskey Park for instance). I can understand, it doesn't mean I have to like it. Somebody made a joke on Metsblog that hopefully Met Life will buy the rights. That would be funny.

As for the design itself, the park looks nice. I can't say it's a radical departure from the "retro" garbage I posted against a while ago, but at least the Mets are coming by it honestly by claiming to pattern themselves on a specific ballpark. I looked at pics of the new Busch Stadium, and from what I could tell, that is the exact model of what I've been complaining about. There doesn't appear to be anything about that park that makes it look different from Philly, Detroit, or 5 others. I hope the Mets work to avoid that in ways greater than calling some section the East Side Stands (East Side - New York has an East Side. Get it? Genius, right?)

I'm very curious to see how the Mets are going to execute building this thing. The groundbreaking starts in the middle of the season right on one of the 2 major parking lots. Not that this is without precedent - I went to a game at the Vet when Citizens Bank was under construction and I was directed to park in some food distribution warehouse parking lot (which proves that yes, Shea Stadium DOES have a rival for the least interesting ballpark environs in the majors). They'd better not start charging to park at the tennis center. Wait, I don't want that secret to get out too much. I mean, I am unaware of anything about parking at the tennis center for free and therefore have no interest in whether or not the Mets start to charge to park there.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Sandman my ass

In all the fuss over what song he was going to warm up to, one small detail was overlooked: Billy Wagner actually needs to save the damn game. As a general rule, winning > entrance music. Hey, it's the Sandman everybody!

No, it's not.

It's the guy who cost the Mets the game. Although let's not forget the Mel Rojasesque Jorge Julio for doing his fine work.

I meant to weigh in on this stupid little "controversy." The minute it started playing on Monday I said, "Hey, that's Rivera's music." Now, I don't give a damn about the stupid argument that Wagner isn't showing the proper respect by using that music. Last time I checked, Metallica isn't Hetfield, Ulrich, and Rivera. Mariano Rivera is a baseball player just like Billy Wagner, and there is no deference owed to Rivera. Yankee fans who argue that that's Rivera's song in Rivera's town are idiots. Of course, Yankees fans who cure AIDS are idiots, because they are Yankee fans, and Yankee fans are idiots.

However, I'd like Wagner to have his own music anyway. I don't want to give Yankee fans ammo, and I would like my closer to have a song distinct from Rivera's. Wagner was perfectly willing to break with his routine by signing with a strange team that offered him a lot of money - so why must he be wedded to Sandman because it's his ritual? Isn't there another Metallica song he could find?

Actually, you know what? Come into whatever song you want. Just don't give up a game tying homer to Ryan Zimmerman, how does that sound?

Annoying loss for the Mets tonight? Yeah, just a little. Now I'm going to try to avoid making this too much of a Mets game reaction blog, but I ask for your patience as I feel my way through the whole blogging during the season thing. I'll get it right.

Two interesting philosophical questions came up during tonight's game. As you may know, Brian Bannister had a no hitter going through 5.1 innings. I buy into the superstition and don't say anything about it. When your team has gone 44 years without ever having a no hitter, you do what you can. Sinensky asked what I would do if it were the 8th inning and wanted to make sure a friend was watching the game. If you don't believe in the superstition then you call and tell him exactly what's going on. If you do believe in it, do you call at all? I say you may call but can't say why. You can't say "watch the game," and nothing else - if your friend doesn't get why you can't elaborate he's not a friend worth keeping around anyway.

And yes, I know the superstition is ridiculous. But indulge me.

The other question is a little more interesting. How much of your team's season would you be willing not to watch if it ensured a good year? Obviously you'd be happy to skip a couple of games. And presumably you wouldn't offer to watch nothing. What would be the point of being a fan? You'd lose the connection with the franchise if you couldn't watch at all. I don't watch any of AC Milan's games, and I don't care if that means they're winning. So what's the tipping point? And you can't cheat by offering to skip games you'd skip anyway - that means no volunteering to forego Friday night games, you crafty deal making street rioting Jews out there (I can say these things because I once met a Jew). I feel like I'd skip about 20% of the games, but this is obviously not very scientific.

Pushing it further, imagine this scenario: Your team is in Game 7 of the WS. If you don't watch it/listen to it/follow it as it unfolds, they'll win. If you do watch, 50/50 chance. Nobody will know about your decision, so you don't have to factor in people knowing you as the asshole who ruined it for everybody else by watching the game. I'll tell you: I'd watch the game. Same logic as above. Who wants to be on the sidelines, why would you get enjoyment out of that? I'll take my chances by watching the game and participating. I've gotten one agreement and one disagreement on this so far. What are ya'll thinking about it?

The D-Rays scored 6 runs on 13 hits tonight. And they lost 16-6. I have a feeling there are going to be a lot of games like that this year for that team. Although maybe Mark Hendrickson, Doug Waechter, and Seth McClung are really good pitchers who just all need a change of scenery. That sounds about right.

Monday, April 03, 2006

We missed you friend

Baseball's back. Amazing. That's all I can say. Nothing like waking up on opening day knowing that you're going to the ballpark and it's going to count, and that for every day from now through September you've got a ballgame to watch. Love it!

Some opening day thoughts from around the league:

Anderson Hernandez made a spectacular play throwing from the hole in the first inning of the Mets game. He had a brain cramp in the third inning when he neglected to tag the runner coming from first to second on a fielder's choice, instead throwing for an out at first when the lead runner was easily taggable. But that first inning play showed some serious ability, and by virtue of not being named Kaz Matsui, Andy Hernandy's an improvement.

Tough day to be an ace. Well, it was a good day for some of them, but has any previous opening day been this rough for so many starters?

Why do the Yankees always open in Oakland now?

Today was exhibit A in the case against Chris Reitsma as Braves' closer. Worth watching.

We didn't finish predictions yet. So, finally, the NL East:

Braves 95-67
Mets 93-69
Phillies 87-75
Nationals 78-84
Marlins 61-101

I'm predicting the Braves there because that's where they always end up. You can analyze the roster all you want every year, but Bobby Cox gets his team to the top of the division. I'll keep picking Atlanta to win the division until after they've been deposed. I know that Mazzone's gone now, but I'm still not picking against the Braves to win the NL East.

I'm putting the Phillies where they are for the same logic. They just seem to know how to fall in that win range even if they should be better on paper. So I'm sticking with the trend.

I think I've balanced wishful thinking and objective projections for the Mets. This team can and should win over 90 games. Considering their pythagorian W-L was 89 wins last year, 93 shouldn't be a big stretch. I'm not picking them to do better because I'm afraid to.

The Nationals were a middle of the pack team last year, and I see no difference this year. I do think Soriano will have a better year (at least offensively) than many are predicting, but so what. He's just one player. I think they're a hitter and a pitcher short from joining the mix of wild card contenders.

I think the Marlins are fairly obvious.

So we've got a playoff picture as follows:

NL: Braves v. Dodgers, Astros v. Mets
AL: Yankees v. Angels, Indians v. A's

NLCS: Dodgers v. Mets
ALCS: Yankees v. A's

WS: A's v. Mets
A's win.

I'm not comfortable predicting the Mets to go this far. As a Mets fan I'm trained to think they won't really get this far. So it's a lukewarm prediction, because I need to play it safe. Don't want to tempt fate. But I ended up giving them one of the 4 best records in the league, so what can I do. And I think the Braves will make their customary first round exit (man, the way I've been predicting this stuff I would end up predicting rain tomorrow because it rained yesterday - very logical, but whatever.) I think the Mets can beat the Astros and Dodgers. So there you go. I don't truly believe it, because I can't. But trying to stay consistent under my system, that's what I have to do.

I just feel like the A's can really gel this year. I think their pitching can beat anybody in a short series. And I think it's that organization's time to get past the playoff disappointments and put it all together.

Eh. I don't know. Maybe. I don't know if I believe what I just said. But picking the A's to win it all makes me feel bold. So boldness it is.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Man I could really use Gray's Sports Almanac

Ok, a few disclaimers as a I pray that the 3 hour rain delay in Chicago isn't going to be greeting us tomorrow at Shea:

1. I considered the possibility that my predictions might be impossible when taken together - that the total records of all my predictions wouldn't equal a .500 record across baseball. I opted not to worry about this, because I'm already on the precipice of insanity and don't want to do anything that will push me over prematurely.

2. The A's, as Ander pointed out, can't go 92-71 unless the Red Sox are going 91-72. I actually originally predicted the A's to go 91-71, then realized this would in fact tie them with the Sox. Not believing this will happen, I decided one of them is going to win it outright, and gave the A's an extra win, but forgot to take away a loss.

3. I'm not comfortable writing the Red Sox out of the postseason. As I said, it kind of just happened after I predicted each team's win total. But I'll be bold and stick with it.

NL Central:

Astros 89-73
Cardinals 88-74
Cubs - 82-80
Brewers 78-84
Pirates 74-88
Reds - 67-95

I have the defending division champs taking a 12 game hit in the standings. I feel like their lineup isn't so scary anymore. I think Rolen will bounce back, and Pujols is Pujols. But Edmonds is getting older, and I'm not especially fond of the rest of their starters. As for the pitching, I like Carpenter-Mulder as a 1-2. But the law of averages (and I'm a lawyer, so I know) says that Carpenter won't be as good again. Plus, Sidney Ponson is on the team. That's never good.

So my NL Central Champs are the defending league champs, coming in with the same record as last year. I can't say I feel great about this pick. Gotta love Oswalt and Pettitte, but they're both fragile. Don't love the back end of the rotation. And I feel like Phil Garner is supposed to revert back to being a bad manager at any point now. But I do like the lineup, and I can see Preston Wilson having a big year there. And they'll play enough garbage teams in the division to get their wins. This is a team I could see making a noteworthy trade on July 31st.

The Cubs. Hmmm. I don't really like them that much. I've written off Mark Prior until he can stay healthy for a full year. Greg Maddux? He's starting to pitch more like MIKE Maddux!! WOW, I am witty. Yeah, I really can't believe people still get their shits and giggles by making jokes like that. We get it. Greg Maddux is a hall of famer. Mike Maddux was a journeyman pitcher of little note. They are brothers, therefore making this contrast humorous. You should go into comedy.

Ah hell, now I'm off track. Oh yeah, the 2006 Cubs. I just see them as average again.

The Brewers are a sort of popular pick to surprise people in light of their 81 win campaign last year. And if you're into the pythagorian W-L record, they actually "should" have won 84 last year, so it wasn't an unrealistic win total based on their team. And you have to like the Brewers future. Even their present isn't that bad considering their recent history. But I just think 2006 will be more of a learning curve year for their young infielders, resulting in a small step back this year.

The Pirates are starting too many young pitchers to be good this year. I know the A's did it last year. A better man than I would give a reasoned explanation detailing the differences between last year's A's and this year's Pirates. I'll hang my hat on, "just trust me, ok?"

The Reds stink. And that isn't just sour grapes over them not assuring Ryan Freel a starting job. I mean, it is sour grapes I guess. But coincidentally, they also stink.

Ok, we'll conclude with the NL East and awards tomorrow.

Wait, I'm not a robot, I can't leave without shouting:


Saturday, April 01, 2006

Wild West

Clever title.

I hereby guarantee that the AL West will look like this on October 2, 2006:

Angels - 94-68
A's - 92-71 (which appears to make them my wildcard)
Mariners - 80-82
Rangers - 78-84

The scary thing about the Angels is they're good now and look good in the future - think Wood, Kendrick, Morales, McPherson, and Weaver. I'm nervous about Garret Anderson, who seems to be breaking down. And I think the world finally realized that no, Darren Erstad isn't good, and yes, he does stink. But I still like the lineup. And take a look at Casey Kotchman's numbers in limited major league time last year. It projects out nicely, and factoring in a year of development he could be in for a big year. I like the pitching (but don't love it in a short series), like the bullpen, like Mike Scioscia. That's why they're my pick at the top of the division.

The A's just know how to do it every year. No sense picking them to fall out of the mix until after they've done it. Not that it's hard to envision success for this team. How can you not like their rotation? Same with the bullpen. Street and Duchscherer were excellent last year, and Witasik and Calero were very good as well. I'd like to see another question mark free hitter on this team (Swisher - bad year, Crosby - injury year, Bradley - crazy, Thomas - elderly, Kotsay - overrated). But I just can't pick this team to perform poorly. Although it will be interesting to see what happens with Barry Zito, particularly if Oakland gets off to their typical awful start.

I just can't believe the Mariners were 69 win team last year. They seem better than that, don't they? But they don't really seem that good either. So around .500 sounds ok to me. Notice that I'm not predicting the King Felix messiah effect that some are. The guy is 20, let's calm down a little.

Same as last year with the Rangers - love the hitting, hate the pitching. The Kevin Millwood contract was a joke, as I wrote at the time. Adam Eaton could miss three months. Vicente Padilla? Eh. R.A. Dickey? What the hell is an R.A. Dickey? In truth, I could even poke some holes in the perception that their lineup is that great. But why bother. I think "hitting good, pitching bad" is accurate enough.

Over to the NL West. I had to give this one a lot of thought, as I didn't have the same gut feeling I had about the other divisions so far. We're going with this:

Dodgers - 85-77
Padres - 83-79
Diamondbacks - 79-83
Giants - 79-83
Rockies 66-96

I don't love the Dodgers or the Padres. I think the Padres are pretty much the same as the team that won 82 games and the division title by default last year. I think Eaton for Young is a wash. Mike Cameron is a nice addition (although he's starting off on the DL) and Josh Barfield is a rookie of the year candidate. And they have The Immortal One, Mike Piazza, who I still maintain holds his own among all the catchers in baseball. But Vinny Castilla is on this team. So that tells you all you need to know.

I'm picking the Dodgers to win 85 because somebody has to win this division with a few more games this year, and I guess they're best suited to be that team. Ringing endorsement.

I see the D-Backs as mostly treading water this year, improving only by 4 on last year's win total. I said this during the offseason. Get some more pitching. I do think Eric Byrnes is a nice bounceback candidate.

I like the Giants pitching. I hate the Giants hitting. Number one, I'm not sold that Barry Bonds will be a dominant force this year. Number two, even if he is, how much can he carry this team now? I mean, I'm pretty sure the host from Tales From The Crypt is somewhere on that roster. They are just remarkably old.

The Rockies are just awful and its amazing there was ever a time they were worth discussing.

Ok then. Two more divisions and awards left to predict. Will we get to all that tomorrow? Now that I've left you with that cliffhanger, I'll bet you'll be back.