Tag Archives: Philadelphia Phillies

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.

Advertisements

Doin Lines Week 2

Week one didn’t go bad, but it didn’t go all that well either. I went a less than impressive (2-3-1), while By kept it mediocre with a 2-2 start. Now that we’ve seen a whole week of football action, we are experts and shouldn’t miss another pick for the rest of the year, right!?! I’m still shocked that By called that Texans game. I actually could see the Colts winning the next nine games without anyone noticing. I don’t buy TMQ’s argument that this is Armageddon because the Texans won, but do agree it would be hilarious if Houston ended up playing in the Super Bowl in Jerry Jones billion dollar stadium. Anyways, this should be another fun week, and I’m excited to win the money back that I lost in week one, so here are our picks for week 2!

What a roller coaster opening week for me.  I hit the ground running like a Chris Johnson breakaway, after my prediction of the Texans upsetting the Colts came true.  I began imagining myself hoisting up the “I Told You So” trophy after that one.  Unfortunately that image shattered immediately, as the Houston/Indy game didn’t equate to the biggest upset of the day.  The biggest upset of the day went to me.  Because I was so damn upset at my 49ers!  What a waste of one and a half hours of a beautiful Sunday afternoon.  As you can guess, I stopped watching midway through.  Anyway, to brighten up my mediocre week, let me just say, “How about ‘dem Cowboys, huh!?” I wanted to stay away from the Jets/Ravens game, but ultimately couldn’t resist.  I originally wanted to take KC over SD, but couldn’t pull the trigger on another significant upset.  Lesson learned, always go with the gut.  But like Chappy said, we learned everything I needed to know about all the teams after the first week, and ala Vernon Davis, I predict we win on all of our picks the rest of the way! 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


Doin MLB Power Rankings

It’s been a few weeks since we had our last power rankings up, and the landscape has changed a little now that we are about 1/5th of the way through the season. There were a few teams that fell out of the rankings, and some that moved up from the first power rankings we did. I’m really pumped that I haven’t had to put the Angels on the list. I think as long as Fuentes stays their closer that will help keep them off the list. Anyways, here’s how the top 16 shaking out.

#1 Tampa Bay Rays (22-10) – Getting zero hits and zero runs in one game doesn’t lose you the top spot, especially when it was the first time they lost two straight on the road all season, and it took perfection to do it. The Rays worst starter ERA is Wade Price’s 3.18, and is the reason they are doing so well. We will see if they can hold up when they start playing in their division more. If the Yankees hadn’t mirrored their losses, I may have moved the Rays down a spot.

#2 New York Yankees (21-10) – They’ve only lost one out of ten series they’ve played in this season. Maybe if Brett Gardner played a little better they might be number one, haha, just kidding. I’m pretty shocked how good Gardner is doing, and if he keeps it up I’ll be mad I didn’t pick him up for the fantasy team. Swisher has been great lately too, which makes me somewhat root for them, because I love my former A’s players. They’ve lost a couple in a row, but there are no concerns in NY now that Texiera seems to finally be seeing the ball.

#3 Philadelphia Phillies (20-12) –After taking three of four from the Cards, and playing ten days in a row going 8-2 makes me think they must be the best team in the NL right now. Jason Werth wants that huge contract this winter hitting .329 with 26 RBI’s already! Their starting pitching is doing well as of late too only giving up 8 earned runs over their last six games.

#4 Minnesota Twins (21-11) – No Mauer, no problem. Wilson Ramos seems like he belongs as someone’s backstop in the league. He might be able to take up a few extra games behind the plate sliding Mauer to the DH more often, so he can stay a little fresher.  I don’t see why not with the way Ramos burst onto the scene last week (10 hits in his first three games). The Twins pitching has been better than I expected. They are +48 in run differential, and have allowed the sixth fewest runs, a good recipe for success.

#5 San Diego Padres (19-12) – I along with everyone are wondering when will they fade? Not anytime soon, if their pitching keeps going the way it has. They are tied with the Giants for the fewest runs allowed (97). They don’t hit for average or power, but they do lead the league in stolen bases, and seem to push the right buttons in their small ball approach. When Adrian Gonzalez starts heating up, watch out NL West! Continue reading


Doin MLB Power Rankings

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


Roy Halladay Pitches One Last Complete Game For Toronto

No, this one didn’t come from the mound of the Rogers Centre. The recently traded Roy Halladay took out a full page ad in the Toronto Sun today, thanking the Blue Jays organization and the fans of Toronto for all their support during his 15 years north of the border. Halladay has flown relatively under the radar up in Canada, but nonetheless you still never hear anything bad about the guy. The pitcher best known in Major League Baseball for his ability to finish what he starts, Doc closed out his Toronto chapter in classy fashion. Blue Jay fans have had a lot to be frustrated with over the years, but it’s moments like these that make you remember why you stick with your team during the down years. Give credit to Halladay for recognizing the importance of this. Here’s an image of the letter…


Big Baseball Moves

I don't like the Yankees, the Sox's, or big John Lackey, but I'm fully rooting for Lackey to throw some punches in one of their heated divisional games!

The Red Sox picked up John Lackey Monday, which was a solid move. I really like waving goodbye to Lackey from the AL West that is, he seemed to dominate the A’s every time he took the mound. Boston also made one other surprising signing as well. No, not Jason Bay. Matt Holliday?!? Nope, it looks like they are picking up Mike Cameron. Really!?! Interesting move Theo… I guess it’s a defensive upgrade getting a 3-time Gold Glover. Cameron has some power, and he is cheaper than the two mentioned guys. We’ll see how it pans out. I guess he could be a Johnny Damon type guy for them who has been known to be a good mentor and clubhouse guy. I just don’t see how it helps them compete with the Yankees, but oh well, I don’t really like them anyways. Another move that I saw, was the Red Sox offered Chapman a contract for $15.5 million! Ladies and gentlemen strap in for the next relevant Chapman!

The other shocking moves made Monday was the trade that sends Roy Halladay to the Phillies, and Cliff Lee is going to Seattle. I don’t really understand why they wanted to give up prospects, when they could just turn around and sign Lee keeping the prized youth, but if they sign Halladay to a long extension it might be worth it. I could really care less about Halladay landing in Philly, the main reason stems from me not really caring about the NL all that much. I’m just worried the A’s will now have to face Lee now five times a year. In the end, I’m really curious to see how Phillies top prospects pan out, they’ve had a good run of home grown talent over the last few years, so I’m sure whatever they gave up to make Toronto happy, must have been worth it!

In A’s news, we let go of JacKKK Cust, and inconsistent, wrongfully named, Santiago Casilla. I see this as an addition by subtraction. Our defense just improved by not having to ever put Cust in the field again. He makes a little leaguer trying to catch a ball during the home run derby look like a all-star out there. He also clogs up the bases with his slow station to station movements, and kept speedy guys from moving around the bases at times. This team is moving into a speed era it appears, and Cust doesn’t suit that. All in all, it’s been a crazy day for the MLB off-season!


World Series Game 4 Preview

Joe Blanton PhilliesI’m still having trouble getting excited about the World Series this year. This game is intriguing to me though. I guess it took sending a former A’s player to the mound in Joe Blanton for me to get excited about it. I think Blanton will do better than people expect him to, especially since fans in Philly and New York are doubting him. He could go six and hold the Yankees to two or three. I was kind of excited to see Swisher actually do something last night, but in the midst of Halloween celebrations, there were other things that were more worthy of my attention. The old CC on short rest storyline is always over hyped. The guy has done it like fifty times already, we don’t need to keep hearing about it. I’m sure he’ll be extra fired up after losing the first one to Lee. One thing I’ll never understand about A-Rod is how all of New York forgives him when he gets one hit. If we start hearing the Mr. October bs again, I might have to boycott the rest of the series. Hasn’t he been sucking just as bad as Ryan Howard this whole series? Hopefully Blanton’s tendency to give up the long ball doesn’t include him serving one up to A-Rod… Jayson Werth has been hands down the scariest hitter on either team. I hope Philly can pull out a win, but they might have to wait another night like when they have Lee on the mound. I’m hoping for a slugfest tonight, which would improve Philly’s winning odds. Hopefully they can get to CC early or else they probably won’t get to him at all.


Phightin’ Phils!

Phillie Phanatic Phillies Mascot

As I watched the final outs of the NLCS, I had to say goodbye to the eastcoast westcoast matchup I hoped for when the series began. I can’t say I didn’t see it coming, but nonetheless it’s always a little disappointing when it happens. There was one thing that struck me as odd though. When they made the last out, didn’t it seem like a lackluster response from the Phillies? Sure they were smiling and stuff, but I didn’t see the normal passion that most teams have after winning the National League Championship. They seemed to trot/walk it into the pitchers mound for the always predictable dog pile, but they way it slowly came together was disappointing to me. Maybe it’s the been there done that feeling, but you’d think we’d see at least one or two guys get tackled or more guys sprinting to start celebrating. All in all, I was a little disappointed in this celebration moment in sports. I bet the Phillie Phanatic showed more emotion when they won! We’ll see if they have a chance at a redemption celebration against the Yankees, er, I mean the winner of the ALCS.


California Dreamin: Big Day for the Sports World

MLB PLAYOFFS


In just over an hour, the ALCS will resume from Anaheim as the Angels attempt to make their arrival to the series.  The Yankees have a 2-0 lead thanks to some timely hitting, and some inept defense from the opposition at the most inopportune time.  Postseason legend Andy Pettitte takes the hill tonight to face off against Jered Weaver.  This is obviously a must win for the Angels.  There’s now way they could come back from being down 3-0 with the Yankees having home field advantage.  Although Weaver is having a great season, New York’s offense can only be held down for so long, so the Angels will have to outscore them and probably even need a 4+ run advantage going into the ninth so the meltdown machine, Brian Fuentes, can preserve a victory and get them back in the series.  Since this is doubtful, it’s likely the Yankees will unofficially put the Angels away, and the bandwagon fans of Orange County will quickly go back to forgetting the Angels even exist.

On the National League side, the other Southern California team will resume play in Philadelphia, where the Phillies hold a 2-1 lead after last night’s blowout.  While tonight’s game isn’t quite as urgent as for their SoCal counterparts, to go down 3-1 would be a huge hole to have to dig out of.  If there was ever a game the Dodgers should be able to take, it would be Game 4 against the capable but unsure Joe Blanton.  Blanton is usually solid, but we all know he’s prone to give up the longball.  Look for the Dodgers to even the series behind some long bombs from Manny and company.

MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL


When the 2009 schedule was released, no one would’ve been surprised to look at this game and guess that it would be a 5-0 team versus a 2-2 team.  The thing is, most would’ve expected the Chargers to be undefeated and leading the division.  Instead, while they’ve been underachieving, the Broncos have excelled to a 5-0 start, the first time they’ve done so since the 1998 season, where they rattled off 13 straight wins to start the year en route to a Super Bowl victory.  Tonight will be a battle of quarterbacks, as the overrated Philip Rivers has just 9 more passing yards than Kyle Orton, whom you wouldn’t necessarily say was underrated, but he’s better than the blind quadrapalegic the Chicago media made him out to be.  It’s hard to say how he’ll fare tonight in a hostile environment under the bright lights of MNF, but one thing is for certain.  Tonight is the night we’ll find out if the Broncos are for real, and we’ll also see if the Chargers run under it’s current nucleus has run its course.

NHL HOCKEY


Let’s be honest here, Doin Work isn’t exactly the foremost authority on the hockey world, but a big game is going down at 7pm Eastern time at Madison Square Garden.  The 7-1 Rangers, who are tied with Pittsburgh for the best record in the league, will host the San Jose Sharks.  San Jose has struggled to a 4-3-1 record, but they’re coming off a season in which they had the best record in all of hockey.  If they want to still be considered a contender, tonight’s game will be a huge proving ground for them.  Sharks’ forward Dany Heatley scored 10 points in his first four games with the team, but is scoreless in the three games since.  He’ll need to get back on track if the Sharks are going to stand a chance.  I can’t predict what will happen, or even really care for that matter, but keep the Versus Channel in your rotation tonight when MNF and MLB are both at commercial.


Previewing the LCS

Wow, that was fast!  Three sweeps and a 3-1 series and all of a sudden it’s time for the LCS.  I was primed and ready to watch some Game 1’s tonight, BUT, there are none!  I guess that’s what happens when the first round is such a dud.  I’m disappointed to see the Angels in the LCS, but at least it came at the expense of the Red Sox, who laid an egg and furthered their return to postseason incompetence.  The Rockies looked like they were going to make it a series, but Huston Street reverted back to his Oakland postseason days and blew another series.  That leaves us with four teams fighting for the crown.  Let’s take a look at the matchups….

Philadelphia Phillies vs. Los Angeles Dodgers.  Game One: Thursday, 5:07pm Pacific Time


The Dodgers are the beneficiaries of the coveted extra rest after sweeping Matt Holliday’s nuts and the Cardinals.  The question mark, however, hovers around Clayton Kershaw, the starter for game 1. Kershaw was solid this season, but you can’t help but wonder about a rookie pitching game 1 of the LCS.  It’s a high risk high reward move for Joe Torre that could – emphasis on could – pay huge dividends for his squad.  The Dodgers have yet to use Chad Billingsley as a starter, but Torre will nonetheless give the ball back to his rookie to face off against Cole Hamels.  The Phillies appear to have the advantage on paper, solely based on the pitching matchup, but both teams are heading in with a healthy dose of momentum.  We know the Dodgers offense will put up 3-5 runs per game, so the key will be whether the Phillies score 10 to win or 1 and take the loss.  It should be a tight series – I see the Dodgers escaping in 7.  Should it be a shorter series, look for the Phillies to take it in four or five.

Anaheim Angels vs. New York Yankees. Game One: Friday, 4:47pm Pacific Time


I don’t know what to hope for in this series.  It’s probably my two least favorite teams outside of Boston, but, had the Red Sox been in this series at least I’d know who to root for.  Being an A’s fan, I’m sure when the puck is dropped, I’ll find myself rooting for the Yankees.  But that doesn’t really affect what goes on on the field now does it?  My guess is, since both of these offenses are pretty capable, this series will come down to pitching.  The Yankees are going to a three man rotation with Sabathia, Burnett, and Pettitte.  Critics are, well, criticizing this move, which is wearing pretty thin on me, considering it used to be standard practice.  New York has plenty of arms in their bullpen so even if CC, AJ, or AP can only go five or six, they should be just fine.  The biggest red flag in this series seems to be Anaheim’s young pitching in the new Yankee Stadium.  We know John Lackey is a son of a bitch and won’t be bothered by the New York crowd – but he might pitch like shit.  If the Angels don’t win the first game of the series, it’d be unfathomable for Weaver or Saunders to pony up and carry the team.   I’m thinking Yankees in 5, and worst case scenario… Yankees in 6.


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.


Early Predictions for the MVP

Joe Mauer batting

Mauer has been my fantasy teams MVP this season, but does he have a case for the AL MVP this year? Currently ranked 3rd in Yahoo fantasy games, Mauer figures to be a top contender in the running for AL MVP. You can’t say that he’s been a huge surprise, because he’s always been an elite hitter consistently in the batting title race, but it’s his home run totals that have made his case much stronger for being the MVP this year. It’s pretty tough to argue with the man’s stats so far, .383 average (1st in majors), slugging .643 (1st in majors), 1.088 OPS (1st in majors), 25 homers (10th in AL), and 77 RBI’s on the season even after missing nearly the whole first month. It’s too bad the Twins are starting to fade back in the race for the central, but I feel he should win the AL MVP if he keeps his current pace. Who knows, a .400 batting average may not be out of reach either!

I don’t blame people for picking Mark Teixeira as he is having a great season with 30 homers and 86 RBI’s, but he hasn’t had the better overall season that Mauer has.Mark Teixeira home run They are both top notch gold glovers on the defensive side at their positions, so that’s a wash. Besides, nobody picks the MVP based on their defense, because that’s what gold gloves are for. If I did for argument’s sake, I’d have to say playing catcher would have to be a little more difficult than first base. In evaluating an MVP, you have to include other factors like the ballparks they play in. The new Yankee stadium is obviously a hitter’s park, while the Metrodome is much more of a pitcher’s park. Maybe that doesn’t even out the home run totals, but when you look at the fact that only 11 of Teixeira’s homers are on the road, it has to be weighed in. The Yankees have scored sixty more runs than the Twins this year. I’d assume that that is why Teixeira has more RBI’s as he has more chances. Stats would support that as well as Mauer is hitting .403 with RISP, and Tex is hitting .258 with RISP. Who is more clutch for their team? Numbers say Mauer.

Many argue that the MVP should come from a team that is going to the playoffs. This definitely hurts my Mauer argument, but it’s unlike basketball where it’s basically a requirement to be on the best team.Kobe Bryant Shooting Baseball’s voters don’t limit their view to the best teams as there have been 47 MVP’s that didn’t make the playoffs. It is one of the criteria, but it isn’t weighed nearly as heavily as football and baseball. If Kobe wants to try to take the MVP he can chuck up 50 shots a game, and surely he’ll average 35 per. Drew Brees can throw the ball 50 times in a game to put up crazy numbers (Wait, he already does that. Bad example.), but in baseball a hitter only comes to the plate once every nine players. He can’t control how many times he bats or if his teammates don’t do anything at the plate. So penalizing Mauer because his teammates are worse is unfair.

As for the NL MVP race, it’s pretty clear cut that Pujols is leading the way. He doesn’t look like he’ll win the triple crown, but it’s still not out of reach for him. He should be going for his fourth or fifth MVP by now, but for some reason the voters decided to pick someone that is more valuable to a team than him a few times. Most recently, I don’t see how Ryan Howard won the MVP over him last season. Not that Howards numbers weren’t incredible, but how can anyone really say that Pujols isn’t more valuable to his team than Howard?Albert Pujols home run The Phillies have three guys that can potentially win the MVP  every year. The easiest way to prove this theory is seeing how well Ibanez has benefitted from moving to a hitter friendly park and hitter friendly lineup. He is even in the race for the NL MVP if he can shake off the post injury rust. It’s like the Teixeira argument; he just has better players around him to help him put those stats up. Now that Pujols is matched with Holliday, his numbers should be indisputable by seasons end.