Tag Archives: Atlanta Braves

Let’s Hear It For The Boys!

I’m not the biggest baseball fan in the world, but I am a huge Giants fan!  So if you, by chance, were wondering why I haven’t posted anything about Lincecum’s masterful Game 1, Cain’s solid outing in Game 2, the near carbon-copy of Lincecum’s aforementioned performance by Jonathan Sanchez in Game 3, and now Bumgarner’s impressive night on the road in a close out game, a game which started as Bobby Cox’s potential finale’ … quite simply put, I wasn’t trying to jinx my boys.

Now that the NLDS is over with, and I must say, it was an exciting one at that, with each game being decided by controversial calls and a single run,  but as I was saying, now that it’s over with, I can finally give my boys some praise!  If pitching wins in the playoffs, I have to like our chances at a pennant, period.  Between our four starters, the Giants gave up three earned runs.  Do the math, three earned runs, four games.  That is lights out pitching.  Lincecum highlighted the series with a brilliant, dazzling playoff debut, in a pressure packed environment in which every pitch was magnified.  One hanging slider, one mistake, and the Giants lose.  Lincecum wouldn’t allow it, possibly dialing up the best pitching performance of the post season thus far.  I know, I’m biased, but Roy Halladay had four runs to lean against, Timmy didn’t.  And Timmy rung up 14 batters … I’m just saying.

Matt Cain followed it up, by going 7 & 1/3, only giving up an unearned run.  Although not as flashy as Lincecum, or Sanchez, Cain delivers in workman like fashion, but all that matters is, he gets results.  Unfortunately Romo ruined his playoff debut.  And how about Jonathan Sanchez?  Called upon to right the ship that was capsizing after taking a major hit, because the Giants blew a three run lead late in Game 2, losing in the 11th … but Sanchez delivered the goods.  Unfortunately Romo ruined his playoff debut.  Finally Bumgarner.  How cool is this cat?  The Braves were a desperate team swinging desperate bats, and despite some fireworks early for the Braves, Bumgarner never flinched.  He stayed calm, cool and collective, and gave us 6 & 1/3 of solid pitching. 

Onto Buster “NL ROY” Posey!  He hit .375, and outplayed his ROY counter part in every facet of the game, but what impressed me most about Posey, his ability to lead.  Name another first year catcher who can command the respect of such a mighty pitching staff?  But when anyone of the studs on the mound lost control, it was Posey who got them back.  Posey made all the right plays, even the ones that shouldn’t have counted, and he called the right games. 

I can go on and on about the Giants.  B-Willy, who resembles Jean-Claude Van Damme’s best friend in Bloodsport, and pitches as intimidating as he looks.  Aubrey Huff, Cody Ross, etc.  Euphoric is the word that best describes my feelings right now.  I’m on cloud nine, a natural high, whatever it is, I’m enjoying every bit of it … at least for the next few days.  Then my mind is on Philly.  Tough task ahead.  But these Giants are not done. Regardless of how the rest of the post season turns out for the Giants, this year’s rendition of the team is by far, my all-time favorite.  Never have we had a group of players who the fans can connect to so easily, never have we had a team, that I feel, genuinely cares about us just the same.  Never have we had a team that genuinely cares for each other for Christ’s sake!  Bonds, Kent.  Do you see the emotion these Giants let loose every time one of them comes through for each other!?  It literally made my eyes tear to see Lincecum do the Jordan fist pump in the dug out after Huff tied the game in the top of the 9th in Game 3.  Then Freddy Sanchez ,with his slide into home plate right into a jumping fist pump of his own, after scoring the go ahead run off a Conrad error!  It’s our team, it’s like rooting for the boys, it’s our city, who is yearning for a winner, it’s how we got here, it’s how we get it done, the torture, and it’s how we wear our emotions on our sleeves.  There’s a certain magic in the air surrounding these Giants, the city, the fans right now.  I’m just happy to be a part of it.

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NL Rookie of the Year Race is Crowded

With about three weeks left there are a TON of good looking rookies in the NL. For awhile I thought it was Jaime Garcia, then Buster Posey took a slight lead, then Gaby Sanchez, and now Jason Heyward is remaking his case for the ROY award with a hot streak. What I’ve found most interesting about the NL ROY race is that guys like Mike Stanton have 20 homers, Tyler Colvin has 19 homers, Ike Davis has 18 homers, Neil Walker has a .306 average, John Axeford has 21 saves, Stephen Strasberg was insanely good for a bit, and none of these guys are going to be considered for the award. It’s has been an insane year for the youth in the NL, and will probably be just like the NL West race coming down to who has the best final weeks of the season. I’m going to take a look at the top five candidates, and try to figure out which one is the best choice. I’m already leaning towards Heyward during his resurgence, and being in the big leagues all year helps his case. Gaby Sanchez is so underrated that I feel like I should almost just pick him for shock value, but I just can’t do it. Here’s my thoughts on the top five candidates in no particular order. I heavily weighted one thing in my list, and that was the word YEAR, as in playing a complete season. Continue reading


Doin MLB Power Rankings

We had some very nice weather for Memorial Day weekend in California, which is probably why we didn’t get anything posted on the blog. As the ever so powerful NBA marketing campaign has taught me, we need to get back to the top of our game. So I’m back at the computer to dish out some MLB power rankings. San Diego, Cincy, and Oakland are by far the biggest surprises in the MLB as they all hold their respective divisional leads, and nobody saw that coming. If you did, you’re a liar! It was quite an eventful weekend, and maybe if you were camping you might not have known that Roy Halladay threw a perfect game or that the Lakers and Celtics are squaring off in the NBA Finals for another classic, yippee… Anyways, here’s who I see as the top 16 teams in the league.

#1 Tampa Bay Rays (34-17)

They may have struggled a little lately. Being swept by Boston and going 4-6 over their last ten isn’t encouraging, but they have to be tested sooner or later to see if they are indeed for real. It’s a long season, and that three game lead they have in the division could disappear quickly with everyone in the AL East playing well. I think they need Pena to hit a little better than .177, and the rest of their lineup has been in a little bit of a lull. I’m sure they will start hitting again. I don’t see any Phillies like slumps coming on.

#2 New York Yankees (31-20)

The Yankees are starting to put up some runs and wins in bunches. They’ve only lost one series this whole season, and whenever you see them on your teams schedule, you are worried. I almost put them atop my rankings, but just couldn’t talk myself into it since they are three games back. The Yankees have a cakewalk in June, so don’t be surprised to see them atop the AL East by the end of the month.

#3 Minnesota Twins (31-20)

I dismissed the Twins in our predictions for the season, but when fantasy drafts came around I was all in on guys like Morneau, Mauer, and Span for all my leagues. Seems like they love their new digs. They are 19-9 in their brand new Target Field. Nick Blackburn just finished off an amazing month going 5-0 with a 2.49 era. Twins are finally liking that extension they gave him. I still can’t figure out why I didn’t see them as this good when the year started.

#4 San Diego Padres (31-20)

How do the Padres have the best record in the NL going into June? It’s a loaded question. Are they a $38 million team, built for now!?! I’ll go out on a limb and say no, but the future is as bright as the sunshine in SD. What’s amazing is they could conceivable take on some big names around the trade deadline instead of shopping AGon and Heath Bell around like we all thought they would be doing. Matt Latos went 4-1 in May with a ridiculous 1.49 ERA. Looks like they got a pretty good pitcher from Chicago in the Peavy deal. Continue reading


Things to Look Forward to in the 2010 MLB Season

Well, Mceezy did his tribute to the excitement of the upcoming baseball season, and I felt it was only fitting that I should write about sine if the storylines that will intrigue me during the 2010 season. Now that the teams have rounded third base in spring training, they are heading back home to the “real parks” for the last few preseason games. There’s a lot to look forward to that isn’t dealing with the Yankees and Red Sox (If you’re a hater like me), so here are ten things I want to watch develop.

Tim Lincecum – Can he win back to back to back Cy Young awards? If he stays healthy, I don’t see why not. He’d probably also solidify himself as one of the most dominating pitchers of all time (or at least this era) joining Gregg Maddux and Randy Johnson as the only other two pitchers to accomplish that feat. Thankfully Cy Young voters have gone away from counting wins as one of the biggest factors in handing the award out. It makes it much more likely, since he doesn’t get much help from the unfriendly Giants offense. The problem this time around is he will have to contend with Doc Halladay! Continue reading


Are the Phillies the New Braves of the NL East?

Photo from Yahoo! Sports

Photo from Yahoo! Sports

The Philadelphia Phillies clinched their third straight NL East pennant tonight, which begs the question, do they now run the division, much as the Braves did through the 90s into the early part of this decade?  I don’t see many changes to their nucleus coming any time soon.  The one glaring question mark I see is the age of Raul Ibanez.  However, there are two things that alleviate that.  First, the Phillies won their last two division titles without him.  Second, the guy just seems to keep getting better with age.  Meanwhile, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino, and Jayson Werth are all in or entering their primes.  On the pitching side, Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee have and will continue to be dominant forces.  Since the Phillies don’t appear to be going anywhere soon, it’ll all hinge on whether any other team in the division can knock them off.  Let’s take a look at our candidates…

The Mets would be the obvious threat, since they’re a perennial favorite to win the division outright.  However, the morale, momentum, and the clock, all seem to be in a downward spiral.  Until the Mets make some major moves, one has no reason to believe they’ll threaten the Phils.

The Braves have worked their way back into contention recently, but the cornerstone of the franchise, Chipper Jones, is in the twilight of his career and has even started the discussion about retirement.  Odds are 2010 will be his last year.  The Braves still have some key pieces in Nate McLouth, Brian McCann, and Yunel Escobar.  However, their pitching isn’t getting younger, at least as far as Derek Lowe and Javier Vazquez go.  The key question for Atlanta, with the imminent departure of Chipper, will not be if, but when to blow the team up and rebuild.  They have the pieces.

The Marlins are always a threat to put together one solid season and dethrone the Phillies.  Based on their history – 1997 and 2003 – they’re about due to make their traditional World Series run.  Something tells me even if and when they’re able to do that, it’ll be as the Wild Card team.

The Nationals are the Nationals.


The Rockies are White Label Hot!

Coors Light

The Rockies started off slow just as anybody would start off an ice cold Coors in April, but just after the All-Star break the Rockies have powered their way close to a .700 record turning that blue bottle label white hot indicating it’s time to pound! The Rockies have pounded the ball and surprised us with some decent pitching as well. The Rockies took the wild card lead back by one game today, and they truly look like the force they were in their last playoff run in 2007. The Rox 2.0 just picked up Jason Giambi, who arrived in Colorado today.Jason Giambi They have added him as a pinch hitter plus a sub for Helton to keep that always troublesome back of his from acting up. Giambino made his first NL atbat of his career tonight that netted a bases loaded RBI walk. He knows he’s not a major piece, but feels he can help them out with his experience saying “There is no small role when you’re in a pennant race.”  The Rockies also added Jose Contreras from the White Sox for a minor league pitcher yesterday who should fill in nicely for injured starter Aaron Cook. He should get his first start this Saturday. The move from AL to NL has been very kind to many pitchers that were performing at a much lower level (See Smoltz).

Their closest competitors are the Giants, which I unfortunately don’t see them hanging in there. I hope they can pull it out, because they have great pitching that would be fun to see in the playoffs. They still can’t consistently score runs though. They never really filled that hitting void that everyone was talking about for the months leading up to the trade deadline. It feels like they just have big holes in their lineup where you decide, they won’t score this inning before they even bat. They were shut out tonight, which could have been Hamels brilliance, but it could just as easily been that they don’t have that many good hitters. Freddy Sanchez and his continually delayed return could help a little, but they need some more power. He wasn’t the guy they should’ve gone for at the trade deadline. Penny just signed with SF, and just like the cases mentioned earlier going from the AL to the NL should treat him well or at least descent.Barry Zito Fail Zito is quietly throwing up lots of zeros on the scoreboard. It’s unfortunate that he hasn’t pitched to the level of his contract, but this is a start.

The Braves and Marlins are the next closest teams to them, but seem to have trouble playing any better than .500 ball as both teams have been just above or below there all season. I think the Wild Card winner should be a good 8 games over .500, at least we’ll hope that’s the case! Tim Hudson made his return tonight for Atlanta, and pitched pretty well. That has to help the Braves chances if he can stay healthy. He’s always been a big competitor, and should give them everything he can. I do like the makeup of the Braves, but they’ll need their pitching to step up especially Lowe. I just saw that Hanley left the game tonight in Florida with some more of that hamstring tightness he seems to have a lot of. They can ill afford to lose him, and if they do you can kiss goodbye to the wild card spot.

Ultimately I think it’s the Rockies spot to lose, since they have been consistently playing better than the other teams in the hunt over the second half of the season. I don’t care if the Giants swept them in a series, and they lost a couple more.Carlos Gonzalez They could have broken the spirits of the Giants, but now I believe it’s just a minor stumble as they are now back in first. Another reason I attach myself to the Rockies, is because they have some former A’s players on their team. With the addition of Giambi, it’s too hard to resist picking them. Carlos Gonzalez homered tonight, and he’s heated to white label hot over the last month! I hate second guessing things, but I wonder if we should have kept him over trading for Holliday. We’ll have to see how Brett Wallace turns out to answer that one, on another post.