As I was watching the Tigers put up some runs on CJ Wilson today, it hit me, I genuinely hate the Rangers. I hope anyone BUT them wins the World Series. I guess I had so much respect for my favorite A’s coach over the past two decades, Ron Washington, that I was blinded that they were in the same division as my favorite team and was inexplicably rooting for them to succeed. I can comfortably say the A’s are now under the Curse of the Wash, and I’m no longer rooting for the Rangers to do anything good ever again. Under Nolan Ryan, they’ve been a well run organization that makes solid decisions with trades, signings, and draft picks (sucks, sucks, and sucks). I’m guessing there’s a little jealousy mixed in there. My disdain for CJ mostly came from his comments in August about how A’s fans suck, and that was the tipping point. Since then I’ve been rooting for injuries to the guy, and I can’t say that about many. Especially since he’s one of the main guys helping keep Hamilton off the junk.
All hatred aside, I honestly don’t see the Tigers being able to win the next two in Texas to take this series. They have a ton of injuries, and even home run swings are painful at times. They seem to be hanging on by a thread every inning as the Rangers constantly have men in scoring position, but one can only hope that Texas collapses and they slowly get labeled playoff chokers. If the Tigers can get to Fister for a game 7, you never know what can happen. He shut them down the Rangers offense in game 3, but I’m not entirely sure he can duplicate that in Arlington’s launching pad of a park even though he’s a ground ball pitcher.
The bottom of the 6th was the most enjoyable inning of game 5, which started with a single by Raburn. Then Miguel Cabrera bounced one off third base which went over Beltre’s head (who used Oakland’s offer as a bargaining chip this off-season) gave me a little feeling of vindication for shunning us. V-Mart’s triple was pretty solid, but the one that really got me going was Delmon Young’s second homer of the game. Maybe it’s also a little because I said the Tigers wouldn’t be where they are without Delmon about a month ago, but watching the Rangers miserable inning made me happiest I’d been all playoffs. I wasn’t sure what my point was when I started this post, but if it gave you any reasons to root against the Rangers, I think I did my job!
Over the past couple weeks there’s been a lot of buzz on how good the Detroit Tigers are, and I agree with the sentiment that they are a very good team. Usually the conversation goes something like Verlander is amazing, Cabrera is a great hitter, and Valverde hasn’t blown a save all season, but that doesn’t explain this recent 11 win hot streak at all because those three have been on the team all year. Could you point to Doug Fister’s addition to the rotation? Probably a little, but since they were still playing just .500 ball since he was acquired to when they got the real piece that has had them on an offensive tear, I’d say no. That piece offensive piece was Delmon Young.
Delmon had a terrible year in Minnesota. I was one of those fantasy owners that held onto him way too long hoping he’d show some glimpse of what he did last year. On August 15th the best thing that could’ve happened to him did happen when he was traded to Detroit. He was instantly inserted into the 3 hole in the lineup, just in front of Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez. His bat has reeked of burnt wood since the move. After making that lineup adjustment, they are an impressive 22-6. While Young was playing in Minnesota he had no protection with Mauer and Morneau always being hurt and out of the lineup, now he has a ton of protection, and is not only getting good pitches to hit, but isn’t missing many of them. Since the trade on August 15th Delmon has hit .313 with 5 homers, 20 RBI’s, and 19 runs scored over 28 games. Is it a coincidence that Detroit has scored the most runs in the league since he joined their team? Not in my opinion since this offense was average at best before he arrived, and now it seems like everyone is hitting in thier lineup, even Miguel Cabrera has picked it up after his arrival as hard as that may be to believe. With Delmon on this team they’ve also increased their division lead from 2.5 games all the way up to their now 12.5 game lead in just a month of his presence. I just wanted to give Delmon some love since it seems like he got lost in the media when they talk about Detroit and the Verlander for CY and MVP…
Tigers fans are probably cringing right now. Matt Nokes has got to be one of those names that just makes any Detroit fan shake his head. I may have been just a little whippersnapper in 1987, but I remember a pretty good AL Rookie of the Year race. Of course it would eventually go to my hometown hero, Mark McGwire, on the strength of 49 homers and 118 RBI. And first runner up may have gone to Kevin Seitzer of the Royals, but the guy I remember challenging McGwire for the trophy was Tigers’ catcher, Matt Nokes. Nokes was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 20th round of the 1981 draft. He spent a few years in the minors, made his big league debut in 85, went 11 for 53 and was dealt the following offseason to Detroit in a multiplayer deal that was essentially the swapping of poo poo platters between the Giants and Tigers. Nokes made just 24 plate appearance for Detroit in 1986, but then he broke out in 87. While batting .289, the Tigers new star player jacked 32 home runs and drove in 87 RBI, which earned him an All-Star berth, a Silver Slugger award, and third place in the AL ROY voting. He even got some clown to give him an MVP vote. The future looked bright for Nokes….. but it wasn’t. He never topped any of those numbers, and despite a slight resurgence in New York with the Yankees in 91-92, he never really made any noise. Those were terrible Yankee teams, so the numbers didn’t mean much. To be honest, I probably haven’t even thought of Matt Nokes in years. I was contemplating a feature on Glenallen Hill or Milt Thompson, and somehow I stumbled upon Nokes. Here’s to you Tiger fans!
Way to go Jim, you just made the single worse call in the history of regular season baseball! Stealing Galarraga’s perfect game on the third out in the 9th no less, on the most routine of calls. I’m pissed and I could care less about Detroit or the AL.
Hopefully I see you this weekend at my little cousins pony league game, because thats where you should umping for the rest of your days.
Tough break for Armando Galarraga tonight. The Tigers pitcher had a Perfect Game through 8 2/3 innings, only to see it snatched right out from under him by a blown call at first. Who deserves the blame? The obvious culprit here is first base umpire, Jim Joyce, who will probably receive some much-deserved hate mail over the next week or two. But in reality, there are two other individuals who indirectly affected the outcome of this game. See, the Perfect Game is widely considered the rarest feat in sports. From 1880-2009, there were only 18 ever thrown. 1880 was also the only season in which two Perfect Games were thrown – until this year. First Dallas Braden threw the 19th in history, followed a couple weeks later by Roy Halladay. Suddenly, the Perfect Game was becoming more common. Enter Galarraga, who was putting in a solid bid to throw the 21st Perfect Game in 130 years, but also the 3rd in the last month. Somewhere the powers that be were cringing at the thought. I’m not crying foul here, but someone’s emotions got the best of them here. Usually you’ll see the umpire give a pitcher a little more leeway behind the plate down the stretch of a No Hit bid, but if not for Braden and Halladay already notching Perfect Games this year, that umpire calls it an out. You can’t argue that. I’m not sure why all of a sudden pitchers are throwing no hitters three times more often that Ian Kinsler and Grady Sizemore are homering, but maybe pitchers are just getting better. It’s like they say in basketball, great offense always beats great defense (who is that, Mark Jackson?). Perhaps in baseball, great pitching always beats great hitting. So, they may have stopped Armando Galarraga this time, but there’ll be another guy, and another guy after that, who can’t be stopped by a close call. The bottom line is it’s going to happen, and maybe lose its luster a bit, but the game hasn’t changed that much. Before you know it, there’ll be a five or six year span where no one does it. You can’t change history – it’ll all even out over time. So here’s a big BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO for Jim Joyce.
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
We now we have three solid weeks of baseball action in the books, and it looks like it’s time to look at how the top 16 teams stack up. MCeezy did a premature power rankings four games into the year, and it looks like that will likely be the last time the Giants and A’s lead the way. I’d love to see Battle of the Bay Part II, but unsurprisingly I don’t see anyway that would happen.
#1 Tampa Bay Rays – Nobody should be surprised to see the Rays playing so well or at the top of the rankings. We knew they could score runs, but we didn’t know that they’d have Garza and Price dominating the way they have! The Rays are 9-1 on the road including a sweep of the ailing Red Sox. They are trying to make a push in what could be the final year they are all together. I hope they do, and that’s why I picked them to win it all!
#2 Minnesota Twins – Who needs Joe Nathan!?!
Is this the Bash Brothers Version 2.0?
Losing him hasn’t hurt them on their way to one of their best starts in recent memory at 13-6. Rauch has been a huge pickup for fantasy teams, and has been great for the Twins closing out games. Justin Morneau looks like he’s finally healthy and back to his old MVP form. Mauer wants to continue off his stellar 2009 campaign, and has kept that MVP form thus far. Maybe Nike should look into getting these two guys some MVPuppet commercials.
#3 New York Yankees – They just lost their first series of the year, but this biggest concern should be Vasquez, who has been terrible donning the pinstripes compared to his solid 2009 season in Atlanta. It’s just reminding us that moving from the NL to the AL East isn’t a good move (see Brad Penny). Tex still isn’t hitting, but he will eventually…
#4 St. Louis Cardinals – Speaking of Penny, going from the Sox to the Cards seems to have helped him regain his form (3-0, 0.95 ERA). They’ve have great offensive players that don’t need to be mentioned, and now a trio of solid pitchers. Even Piniero is pitching well. Dave Duncan know how to mold pitchers to their strengths!
#5a Oakland Athletics – 12-8 doesn’t seem like that noteworthy of a start, but there is noway before the season started you could convince me that they would be atop the west for this much of April or any of it for that matter. Since 1992, they have only started 12-8 once, so there’s some reason for renewed but reserved optimism in Oakland. Their new style of play has them winning sooner than expected. Lots of injuries already though, and hopefully it’s not a sign that 2007-09 injury plagued seasons are going to continue. Gio has the highest ERA of 3.68 out of all their starters, which is amazing! This stat sums up the main reason they lead the league in starters ERA, and are close enough to win any given game.
#5b. San Diego Padres – Bud Black seems to have his guys playing some great baseball. This is the second team in a row that everyone, including myself, had very low expectations for. You may want to call their owner Uncle Scrooge with their $38M payroll, but the guys in there are playing smart, and have been opportunistic on the base paths, and helped them score some runs! It’s surprising how good their offense has been, and just like the A’s they are stealing bases, and have guys hitting for good averages. We will see if that starting pitching can hold up… Continue reading
Just saw this poll on espn.com, and I can’t believe the good people of Missouri, Kansas, and Nebraska actually think the Royals will win the AL Central. I’m an expert in blind faith to your local team, but really? Winning the division? ESPN asked, “If Joe Nathan is out for the season, who is the favorite to win the AL Central?” This question is a bit misleading, because if Joe Nathan WERE healthy, would the Twins even then be the favorites? Probably not. I think irregardless of Nathan’s situation (hmm, has a nice fantasy team name ring to it), the Twins are not the favorites. Despite Miguel Cabrera’s slumping trend and the downgrade from Granderson to Damon, the division still runs through Detroit. But what stands out to me most is that in three states, the majority of voters predicted the Royals would win it. I’m the first guy to go on record saying I like the talent in the Royals system, but until they actually contend within their division, I can’t even begin to speculate that they’d actually win it. Missouri is the state where the Royals play, so that makes sense, although for every Royals fan, there’s got to be 2 Cardinals fans who dislike the Royals. And sure, Kansas shares a name with the home of the Royals, but you’re equally close to the Rockies, so you should know better about your teams winning divisions. Lastly, Nebraska is where the Royals triple-a affiliate is, so I can see where all the Mark Teahens and Billy Butlers to come through your town would give you plenty of reason for optimism. But let’s get serious here, no matter how promising the talent on the Royals roster is, they’re still the least likely team in all of baseball to ever win their division. I’d say it’s pretty much a two horse race between the Royals and Nationals to be the team that never wins their division in our lifetimes. Having said all this, look for my next post about why the A’s will win the AL West this year. After all, they did acquire the Royals best player, Coco Crisp!
I’m sitting here at my desk at work going nuts listening the Tigers-Twins game… what could be better?! Oh yeah, watching the game at home on TV with a beer. Why does the one game tiebreaker always have to be a day game? I get it… the winning team needs time to travel. But seriously, they know they’re going to New York, and the NL playoffs are both scheduled for tomorrow already. SO, why not let this be a night game? I mean, think about it, even the East Coast had to miss the beginning of the game. There’s no reason this game should be played where only a fraction of fans can watch. Now that this one-game playoff tiebreaker is an every year thing, perhaps it’s time MLB took a look at how to best capitalize on this. Now, back to AM radio I go!
By now you’ve most likely heard about Miguel Cabrera’s domestic altercation over the weekend…Which resulted in him showing up to the ballpark with a large and very visible scratch across his face. Now, the focus of the story will shift to Tuesday, and whether he plays in the Tigers biggest game of the year against the Twins. Jim Leyland and the Tigers are clearly in a no win situation either way they play it.
Somehow the Tigers have found themselves in a tie atop the AL Central after a mild implosion coupled with a red hot Twins team. This marks the third straight year that we will have a pre-playoff playoff game. This will be the Twins second consecutive year that they are playing in a tiebreaker game as they lost last season to the White Sox. The game will be held Tuesday in the Metrodome in it’s second farewell to the regular season. As today was supposed to be the last game played there, and 51,000 showed up to show their support of a great longtime stadium. Now they have one more game with the winner advancing to the ALDS ti face the Yankees. The Twins own the regular season head to head tie breaker between the two clubs, and have the right to home field advantage. The starters for the game will be rookie Rick Porcello (14-9, 4.04) for the Tigers, and Scott Baker (15-9 4.36) will be tossing for the Twins. I think this is the first time I’ve been even mildly excited about the MLB playoffs so far, mainly because whoever comes out of this game as the winner, I’ll likely be forced into rooting for them take the AL Championship.
It’s been quite an amazing run for the Twins since former MVP, Justin Morneau, went down for the season. They’ve picked up their game and have gone 16-4 in their last twenty games to give themselves one final chance to get in.
Home hankies will be in full effect Tuesday!
They’ve been getting contributions from everyone including decent pitching (not the middle relief) but overall effective, and some very timely hitting. Delmon Young hasn’t been a stranger to receiving standing ovations at the Metrodome lately. He has been coming up with clutch RBI’s in a lot of games, which is very reminiscent of the way BJ Upton heated up for Tampa Bay in their playoff run last season. Joe Mauer has been quiet for his standards, but it’s mainly due to getting pitched around and walked more often. With this type of playoff push I hope this convinces MVP voters that Mauer is the obvious choice over Derek (I get way too much media hype) Jeter. When you look at the playoff matchups on paper, I think the Tigers would have a better chance of taking down the Yankees lineup wise, but the Twins are white label hot right now so it seems like you can never count a team on a roll out. As Billy Beane once said “It’s a crapshoot once you get in the playoffs, you just have to get there first!”
I’m predicting the Twins to win 5-4, and advance to play the Yankees.
Let me first admit I completely stole the idea of the RFP aka Random Forgotten Player of the Day. Some genius used to run THIS BLOG, but mysteriously stopped posting a little over a year ago. Not sure why he left off on Danny Tartabull, but I hope he’s okay. And if you’re reading this, Mr. Originator of the RFP of the Day, I’d really like to know why you stopped.
Anyway, without further ado, I present to you Lloyd Moseby. It’s no coincidence that I chose Moseby. Chappy and I went to kindergarten with his daughter. One day he came to give our class a pep talk, and he was our favorite player for a good portion of the late 80s. He played 12 seasons from 1980-1991, 10 with Toronto and his final two with Detroit. He was an all-star in 1986, but his best season came in 1987, when he hit .282 with 26 HR and 96 RBI, along with 39 Stolen Bases.
On the heels of Chappy’s MVP predictions, I figured there’s no reason not to start talking about the Cy Young races. Today, we’ll start with the American League, where I’ve narrowed it down to six guys. I had my list at seven, but after comparing the numbers, it was obvious that Edwin Jackson simply didn’t belong. There were others you could make a case for as well, such as Jarrod Washburn and Mark Buehrle, but ultimately, they wouldn’t have a chance to win it, so for that reason, we’ll leave them out. So, without further ado, I’m envisioning the award coming down to this group: CC Sabathia, Josh Beckett, Roy Halladay, Justin Verlander, Zack Greinke, and Felix Hernandez. Fortunately, the Cy Young Award seems to place less emphasis on the team’s win-loss record than, say, the MVP award. So, you could still argue that Halladay, Greinke, and King Felix are at a disadvantage, but I don’t think at this point it takes them out of the running.
Rather than making a case for each guy, I’m going to cut right to the chase. I put these 6 guys side-by-side (by side by side by side by side) and one player stood out: Roy Halladay. See for yourself. If you asked me who I thought the frontrunner was, I would’ve said Josh Beckett or Justin Verlander. Given Sabathia’s well-documented success in the month of August, I’d have given him the inside track to make a late charge. I also would’ve thought that Zack Greinke’s dropoff since his outstanding start to the season would have taken him out of the running, but he still has very solid numbers. His 2.33 ERA is still the best in the league. So, if he were to regain his form, his final numbers might end up too good to ignore.
For now, though, it’s Roy Halladay who deserves the honor. Part of me thinks he might get overlooked because he’s won the award in the past, but that was six years ago. His 13-5 record is pretty remarkable when you consider he’s playing for a team that’s 8 games under .500. It’s too bad he didn’t get the opportunity to pitch for a contender on a bigger stage down the stretch run of the season. Nonetheless, if he keeps up what he’s doing, it would be a disgrace to give it to anyone else. He’s easily the most consistent and dependable of the group. All five of the other pitchers have been prone to blowups. Halladay’s worst outing, numbers-wise, came two weeks ago against the Yankees, where he gave up 5 ER on 9 H in 7 innings pitched. If that’s the WORST start you have all year, you take it in a heartbeat. On top of that, Doc basically ranks in the top two in this group in each relevant category. His 2.65 ERA is second only to Greinke’s. His 173 IP is only short of Sabathia’s 178.2. His 13 wins is only one less than Beckett and Verlander’s 14. Most impressive, his WHIP (1.08) and walks (21) are far better than anyone else’s. The only knock on Halladay’s numbers are the number of hits he’s given up and the low strikeout total – however, he’s right on par with Beckett and Sabathia in that department. As for the hits, it should be noted that Halladay gave up a league-high 253 during his 2003 Cy Young campaign. The key for him is damage control. His strikeouts are limited because he excels at going deep into games. He has 45 career complete games, only 7 less than the other five guys combined. There’s no harm in giving up hits if they don’t score.
I hope this all makes it as clear as it is to me. Like I said, I would’ve never put Halladay in the running before I dove into the numbers. Obviously, there’s plenty of baseball to be played, but for now, the Cy Young trophy should be in the Doctor’s waiting room.
The Tigers, White Sox, and Twins all earned wins Friday night to keep the AL Central race tight. Detroit battled out a 3 hit shutout by Zack Greinke to earn the win behind a 3 hit shutout of their own by Jarrod Washburn. Brandon Inge’s 9th inning walkoff home run sealed the victory for the Tigers.
The White Sox, meanwhile, edged out an 8-7 victory behind Alexei Ramirez’s 10th inning solo shot. Bobby Jenks gave up 2 out singles to Ryan Sweeney and Tommy Everidge before retiring Nomar Garciaparra to close out a Chicago win.
The Minnesota Twins shut out the Cleveland Indians by a score of 11-0 behind Scott Baker’s 2 hit shutout to remain 5 games back of the AL Central lead. Jason Kubel went 3-4 with 5 RBI to lead the charge for Minnesota.