Tag Archives: Texas Rangers

What’s your problem Bud!?!

With the first pitch of the World Series only minutes away, I ran across the story about Dallas Mavericks finals MVP, Dirk Nowitzki’s bid to throw out a first pitch at one of the games in Arlington Texas was denied by Bud Selig. Apparently he’s an avid Rangers fan that goes to the games, and has thrown out a first pitch before. The decision apparently wasn’t because of the lockout or anything like that, but more so because he’s not a recognizable enough of a figure. I’m sure the country singer they decide to put in there every sports fan will know…

Well, let’s start with the girlfriend test. Could my girlfriend (who doesn’t know much about sports) tell you who he is? Yes, she could pick him out of a group of awkward looking tall white guys. Maybe there’s more recognizable players in the NBA you could put out there, but where are most of the people that will be watching one of the lowest rated WS in recent history? People in Texas, where Dirk is a god. To top it off saying Dirk doesn’t have national appeal is very shortsighted. Didn’t he just give every white boy with hoop dreams hope after winning the finals MVP during the highest (TV) rated finals ever? It’s funny how the NBA finals will easily outproduce the MLB World Series in the ratings. Maybe that’s how much Selig hates Cuban. He doesn’t even want his employees around baseball even if they aren’t a threat to buy a team.

Even if Dirk did throw out the first pitch, how many times do we even see the unofficial “first pitch” televised? The only times I actually see that celebrity “first pitch” is on youtube clips when the person throws the ball 20 feet short of the plate or into the backstop over the catchers head. When I go to games I can’t even remember a time that I ever saw the first pitch, let alone cared that much who it was throwing it. It might be a 15 second event at most. Seems like if the Rangers wanted Dirk, they should’ve gotten to put Dirk out there. Maybe Selig is making some of his last attempts to keep baseball’s pre-historic thinking in tact. Man I hope he retires and we have a new MLB commish in 2012. Maybe then we’ll actually hear what the verdict is on the A’s territorial rights…

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Doin ALCS Thoughts…

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!


For Real? MLB Contenders Or Pretenders…?

Let’s play a little game called, “Just the Tip.”  Just for a second, just to see how it feels. Now let’s see which MLB teams can hang over the course of an entire season. Every year, someone comes out of nowhere and contends longer than they were supposed to. It then becomes a game of “will they or won’t they.” This year there are two teams that have come out of nowhere to lead their respective divisions at the time of this post. There are also two honorable mention teams that just so happened to meet in the World Series last year, but still, they don’t necessarily look like the best teams in their divisions.

The Giants, defending World Champions, don’t look like a championship team, but their pitching has kept them atop the NL West. Not sure if that’s so much a credit to the Giants, when you consider the division just seems pretty bad top to bottom. The Rockies have underachieved, and the Dodgers and Padres are pretty much irrelevant. Arizona has been a surprise, but no one really believes they can hang around and contend for the NL West crown. For that we say, the Giants will.

The Rangers, on the other hand, came into this season more or less as favorites to win the AL West. But, a lot of people saw either the Angels reclaiming the division, or the A’s making the jump and riding their pitching to a postseason berth. Instead, the Rangers have played just well enough to hold a 5 game lead over the Angels in the division. Their offense was never in question, but they’ve had surprisingly strong pitching that has kept them perched atop the AL West.

On to the real surprise teams of the 2011 campaign. I’ll start with the Indians because I sort of saw this coming. To be honest though, I’m sort of waiting for the team to fall off, as part of me doesn’t really believe they are for real. I at least thought that Grady Sizemore and Travis Hafner could manage to stay healthy, and combine that with two guys who I knew would be solid this year, Asdrubal Cabrea and Shin Soo Choo, and it seemed the Indians were poised for an improbable run at the trophy this year. Unfortunately, Sizemore and Hafner have been sidelined often, Choo’s blood-alcohol level has exceeded his batting average, and Asdrubal Cabrera is left with few RBI opportunies costing him much deserved MVP attention. I’m also questioning whether that starting rotation can hold their ground for the remainder of the season.

Finally we come to the Pirates. I don’t think anyone saw this coming, but if they did, post a link showing off your premonition like I am once again HERE. Like many good teams, they’ve ridden their pitching to a division lead in late July. I honestly don’t remember the last time I saw this. I believe the statistics say it was 1992. That’s a long time. Correct me if I’m wrong, but the Pirates have the longest streak of futility in ALL of professional sports. Is that right? Either way, I’m a big time Pirates fan this summer and fall. I wonder how many players I can name on that team….? Let’s count. Andrew McCutchen, Garrett Jones, Pedro Alvarez, Jose Tabata, Jeff Karstens, Ryan Doumit, Joel Hanrahan ….that’s all I’ve got. But I’m on board. Will they hang on? Not a chance. With Milwaukee, St. Louis, and Cincinnati (my other World Series pick)  all chasing them, they’d be lucky to finish third this year.


Sick Day Special

Much like when you watch a baseball game, there’s the possibility that you may witness something extremely rare. Well, the same can be said for Doin Work. Today was a very rare occasion, as yours truly actually stayed home from work. I’m like Brett Favre in the office. Though as bored as I was throughout the day, it gave me some time to catch up on some news. Here’s what I was thinking about……

Might we see Ellison in front of more purple backgrounds soon?

Larry Ellison Can’t Manage To Buy an NBA Team – Well documented was Ellison’s late bid to buy the Golden State Warriors last year. What I didn’t know was that he also tried to buy the Sonics when they were getting ready to leave Seattle. Now I’ve come to find out he supposedly offered $350 million to buy the Hornets, but was rejected, only to see George Shinn sell the team to the league for $300 million. Obviously the dollar amounts can be argued, but the fact remains that Ellison has tried to purchase at least three franchises now, to no avail. So now he is reportedly turning his attention to the Kings, with the intention of moving them to Anaheim. What I don’t understand is why he is widely rumored to want to move the Kings to LA, but his preference for the Hornets would be to move them to San Jose. Not sure why the different destinations for the different teams. Maybe next he can take a shot at buying the Raptors and moving them to Winnipeg.

Athletics Need To Get Michael Young – I know there aren’t many rumors linking the A’s to Young, especially since Young’s no-trade clause only includes 8 teams, of which Oakland, not surprisingly, is not included. If I know Billy Beane, though, the A’s front office is making a serious play for the third baseman turned DH. It’s been no secret that the A’s have been trying to replace Kevin Kouzmanoff at third. For a while they were rumored to be trying to work out a Kouz for Chone Figgins deal, but that seems dead. The Mariners aren’t that stupid. Therefore it’s looking like Young is our best option. They’ll just have to come up with a deal enticing enough to convince the Rangers it’s the best for the team, while at the same time, enticing Young to waive his no-trade clause to come to Oakland. Most experts are seeing the A’s as the most improved team in the AL West, and the most likely to challenge Texas for the division title. I’m sure he’d rather be in Anaheim, but wouldn’t he love to stick it to his old team in the green and gold? Maybe not.

Big East Is Stacked – They’re now the laughing stock of college football’s BCS automatic bid conferences, but they’ve emerged as the premier college basketball conference. The title had traditionally been held by the ACC and/or the Big Ten, but the Big East is dominating now. By my count, they’ve got 8 ranked teams, and are looking poised to send 11 teams to the NCAA tournament. Though they are arguably the best conference from top to bottom, the Duke-North Carolina game is still the biggest one on the day’s docket.

Alex and Cameron don't look so hot after a bag of popcorn and a few drinks.

A-Corn Is Ridiculous – I was as amused as anyone when Fox cut away to Camerom Diaz feeding Alex Rodriguez popcorn in a suite, but I didn’t expect people to still be talking about on Wednesday. True, it was an embarrassing shot, but word is A-Rod went on a tirade, demanding that they don’t show him again. It’s like Mike Greenberg said today, A-Rod is the ONLY guy this could happen to. Anyone else would brush it off and have fun with it, but A-Rod is continuing to amaze by making himself even less likable than he already was. To top it off, I caught some TMZ today, where they showed Rodriguez shopping for clothes while Cameron walked around bored, texting. To make matters worse, A-Corn was caught numerous times checking out his own ass in the mirror. To top it all off, the cameras caught him picking a pretty decent sized booger out of his nose. Apparently, A-Rod is just as tragic off the field.


MLB Playoff Gloating, and Some Old Wounds

Rangers and Giants World Series

Did you seriously think I couldn't out coach Girardi!?! What planet are you on?

Is it really going to happen? The two teams I wanted to win could be squaring off in the World Series. I’m always a fan of the underdog, so usually my teams get knocked out just after I decide to root for them. Naturally, it makes me not care much who wins the championship when the teams I don’t care about are in the final series. This year has been different though, and the teams that I’m rooting for, for some reason, are actually winning. It’s like when I get excited seeing one of my bets at halftime correct, only to see said team fail to cover. Maybe, because neither series is over, especially the Giants and Phillies because it’s only a 2-1 series lead, and the Phillies have the pitching and hitting to come back. Plus the Giants seem to have a hard time closing out their opponent, (see the regular season against the Padres). The only reason I feel like that series is a done deal is because my 80 year old grandpa said to me over the phone last night that the Giants would win the WS. Sure, he’s been a big Giants fan his whole life, but MCeezy will vouch for him that if he says it, it will come true! It’s one heart attack win after another for the Giants all season long, so I hope grandpa didn’t jinx them. In the other league, my ALCS prediction was spot on. It’s been awhile since I was able to gloat about a prediction, so here it goes with the things I was right about! The Rangers made the Yankees look old, check. They scored every way imaginable while running all over Posada, check. Ron Washington out coached Joe Girardi by not over managing and getting his players motivated, check. The only thing I didn’t predict was how good the Rangers pitchers would be, and honestly aside from the bullpen meltdown in game 1, they dominated the best hitting lineup in the league. Now that the Rangers are up 3-1 I feel comfortable saying they will be in the World Series. Even if the Yankees somehow shake it off, and win the next two games they will have to face Cliff Lee in game 7. I’d say that means series over anyway you look at it.

Kirk Gibson Still Grinds My Gears

It’s been 22 years since Kirk broke my heart as a young baseball fan with his gimp pinch hit home run off the A’s unstoppable Eckersly. At seven years old, I didn’t think I’d hate his name still 22 years later, but reading about him selling off that historic pinch hit bat making me relive that experience yet again filled me with that same hatred. It’s bad enough they show his fist pumps around the bases every month or two during the season, but having to read about the intricacies of the bat and jersey made me throw up in my mouth a little. Here’s what Gibson said that made me relive one of my worst childhood sports moments,

If you look at the handle on the end of that bat, there’s an ‘x’ because it was a reject. I really only got it because it was so light, I was hurt, so I started to get that ready,” he said. “The cleat marks at the head of the bat where I hit my shoes, there’s indentations at the beginning of the bat. At the end of the bat, it was so deep, there’s really deep indentations, the red ink from the foul balls I hit is on it. You can actually see the spot where I made contact with the ball. It’s preserved very well.”

I can take a little solace in the fact that he is a dick, and many people don’t like him, but it just reminds me that some things you never really get over. I guess holding grudges is part of being a fan. Devastating moment #2 was probably the “Tuck Rule.”


Who Thinks the Rangers Can Win? THIS GUY!

Even though I had my doubts when the Rangers drew the Rays in the first round, they still came through. For some reason I like the Rangers chances even more against the all mighty Yankees than I did against the Rays. Back in September when the Rangers swept the Yankees, I started to believe in them, and wrote a little about why. In that series they were without Josh Hamilton, and the Yankees were without A-Rod, so I figure those two injuries evened each other out lineup wise. What they got from that series more than anything was some extra confidence that they belong with the best. The Rangers have a swagger to them, there’s no way around it, and they’ve been that way all year. I know I brought this up in an older post, but I remember one game back in June when Ian Kinsler was yelling at the Angels players after the game in Arlington to get off their field. I thought it was kind of stupid since they played each other the next day, but it speaks volumes about this team’s mentality, and how together they are. I mean, how many teams would do a separate ginger ale celebration because one of their players is an addict? How many teams survive a manager’s dirty drug test? How many teams would have survived a bankruptcy during a season seeing guys that played in Texas eight years ago, still not being paid what was owed to them? Not many can go through that much turmoil in the workplace, but I think all those outside distractions just made them closer. They don’t roll over like the Twins did when things went wrong, they just move on to the next pitch. Continue reading


Two Things on Tuesday

Game 5 Rangers vs. Rays

This must’ve been the most even match up, because it’s the only game 5 we’ll get. These are two very similar teams. I’d argue that Texas has a little more pop in their lineup, but they also manufacture runs as well as the Rays. We get Lee vs. Price part II. I’m expecting Price to be a little sharper than he was the first time out. I don’t expect a shootout, and if I had to put my money on someone, I guess I’d pick the Rangers simply because of how Lee has dominated in playoffs past. I hear one of the knocks on the Rangers is that the only guys with much playoff experience are Lee, Vlad, and Molina. The Rays whole team went to the World Series a couple years ago, so they have the supposed edge there. People are also saying that the Rays have all the momentum after winning two in a row. I think momentum in baseball isn’t real. Maybe within a game, but even that theory fails on games like the Braves and Giants in game 3. What the Yankees did to the Twins wasn’t about momentum it was about owning them. For baseball, experience doesn’t matter, just look at those Marlins teams that took out the mighty Yankees. How much playoff experience did those teams have? Probably less than the Rangers! Prediction: Rangers win 4-2. My picks this year don’t seem to be working out, so confidently put your money on Tampa to win.

Brett vs. the NFL

Who cares about Brett Favre’s pending investigation? I sure don’t. I didn’t really like him before all this came out, so does this make me like him less? Thinking, thinking… Nope, same amount of hatred towards the guy.  Do I give two craps about the Vikings? No thinking. I could care less about them and what they are doing aside from a couple fantasy players. Throughout MNF game I tried to decide if I felt bad for him on any level while he was getting pounded into the ground by the Jets defense? Not at all. The theme of this story is that I don’t really care what is happening in Brett’s life. So what if he texted Jen Sterger pictures of his penis. Is she accusing him of harassment or something? That’s the only reason this story should stay relevant this long. I’m no superstar player with a huge bank account or the ego to match, so I don’t really know if this is the norm. Maybe it is. It seems like guys in the NBA text pictures of their junk, so why not the NFL! Whatever the reason was that Favre picked out Stergen for the sexts doesn’t really matter. Why couldn’t he have bought her off? There’s no way this story needed to see the light of day, and she started the rumor back in February. Those are some damn slow charges to bring up. Anyways, I don’t really find any of Brett’s actions all that bad, he’s just being the horny redneck he always was. If it takes some crazy Mel Gibson type twist, I might get more interested, but until then, I’m over this story…


Texas Rangers Aren’t Fading For Once…

The Rangers have gotten a ton of play on the MLB network over the past month or so. I can’t remember seeing more of their games on TV at any point in my life. They’ve earned those televised games, as they are the clearly the class of the AL West, and playing as good as any team in the league right now. They usually fade during July and August when their home field turns into a launching pad, but not this year. I was hoping for an implosion from them, so maybe the A’s would be able to sneak into the playoffs, but that’s like hoping for the Raiders to show up in back to back games. Once again, I’m starting to wonder if the A’s are cursed. Not because of the numerous injuries they suffered for a third straight year, but because we let Ron Washington go. I’d much rather have Washington as the manger over Geren, but Beane was very pro Geren, so we’re stuck with the schlep. Until A’s fortunes change, I think we are still under The Curse of the Wash. Normally I’d root against the AL West winner if it wasn’t the A’s, but I found myself pulling for the Rangers to succeed this postseason.

The Rangers sweep over the Yankees showed us exactly what they’ve been doing well all year long. Come from behind to win. They came back to win two of the three games, and even made one of those comebacks while Rivera was on the mound. That kind of win can’t be understated when it comes playoff time, and just knowing that they have already beaten up the most dominant closer of all time is a feather in the cap. They also had their ace (Cliff Lee) back on the hill to close out the sweep. It was his first start in two weeks. He showed how healthy he was shutting the Yankees down for 8 innings giving up only one run. It’s only the second time all season the Yankees got swept! What made this even more impressive was that they didn’t need their MVP candidate Josh Hamilton, who is still out with a bruised up ribcage. There’s no rush to get Hamilton back, since they do have a commanding lead in the West (8 ½ games). Now that the Yankees and Rays starting to come back to earth a little, does this give the Twins and Rangers an edge? I’d probably put both of them above the TB and NY on power rankings if I made them right this moment. I’m already envisioning an ALCS matchup between Minnesota and Texas. Maybe that’s a little presumptuous, but if Morneau and Hamilton come back healthy, who’s to say that these two teams are the favorites to make it to the ALCS?

Another thing I’ve noticed about this Rangers team is their swagger factor. It’s crazy how together these guys are. Early in the season after they took out the Angels in the opener of a series in June, right after the final out of the game was recorded Ian Kinsler was out there yelling for them to “get off our field”, as the Angels were heading to the showers. At the time I thought Kinsler was just being the dickhead he is, but now months later I think it was a statement of things to come. It was like they finally believed in themselves before anyone else did, and knew they weren’t going to have a collapse when the weather got hot. They were no longer going to be a pushover and would play every game hard, just the way Wash would’ve played. They were paying attention to more details than they used to, even doing the small ball stuff that wins games utilizing their speed in Bobon and Andrus. We will see if they can continue their good play through the last 19 games. I don’t see any reason for them to slow down since they don’t have the division locked up yet, but they are in as good of a position possible for a solid postseason run, and can let guys like Josh Hamilton and Cliff Lee take some extra rest if it’s needed. I’m glad my prediction of who would win the AL West is working out thus far!


What do Baseball Trades, Stephen Curry, and Brett Favre Have in Common?

They don’t really have anything in common, it’s just what I felt like rambling about today. I’ve had a stretch of stuff to do, and that didn’t include much blogging. I guess it’s not a bad thing to have too much to do. If only there were more hours in the day! Anyways, it’s been somewhat slow in the sports world lately, but there were some things I felt like I wanted to get my opinion out there on, so skip to whatever interests you.

MLB Trade Deadline: I liked how much action we saw leading up to, and during the July 31st trade deadline. It seemed more active than normal. Everyone is praising the Yankees for their haul of Berkman, Kerns, and Wood.

Not too many poo poo platters this trade deadline... Mr. Hankey Approves!

Sure it’s nice, but I don’t really see any of them making much of a difference. All three of these guys would’ve been nice acquisitions four or five years ago, but now, not so exciting. After this weekend, I think the Rays did just as good by making a small move to get Chad Qualls. Maybe it’s the NY media trying to make everyone believe the Yankees made some genius moves, but I’m not really buying it. For me it comes down to two teams that were the big winners. The Rangers and the Padres made the moves that made the most sense for their teams to get to the playoffs. I won’t include Houston or Arizona, since we don’t really know how the trades will affect them for a few years. The Rangers addressed their biggest need in getting an ace, Cliff Lee. He hasn’t won a lot since he joined the rotation, but he’s saved the bullpen from having to do anything throwing complete games like it’s a AAA squad. They also added Christian Guzman and Jorge Cantu. They plugged up their hole at first base, and also found a replacement for Ian Kinsler since he went to the DL. I loved the meaning behind all three trades. It was especially surprising for a franchise that is bankrupt. Same goes for the Padres who have their layover until new management is in place, and they were also big winners in my eyes. They’ve been nothing short of amazing with the pitching staff and defense, but didn’t have many hitters that you really feared outside of Adrian Gonzalez. I thought they were done when they got Tejada, which MCeezy or me at this point really understand how he fit in. One thing about Tejada though, is if he’s in a good situation, he is going to fire everyone else up around him. Maybe being in the playoff hunt will spark his bat a little too. They also added Ludwick, which I was shocked to hear. Now they have a legitimate guy to put in front of or behind Gonzalez. I think these moves keep them ahead of the Giants in the NL West.

Stephen Curry’s New Team – I’m already ecstatic on the Warriors upcoming season, and adding David Lee to the roster is welcomed after the original shock of losing Anthony Randolph. Proven guy vs. a guy with a seemingly limitless ceiling. I guess you can’t argue with the proven guy that works hard with everything he does. With the new face of the franchise being Lee and Curry it may have moved the Warriors into a good character type of player instead of the me first attitude we’ve had over recent years, Monta, SJax, Baron (at times), Harrington, etc. The reason I started this ramble was that I am pretty pumped to see Curry made the cut for final 15 on team USA. No, not just because of the mancrush I have on him, but for the experience he’ll gain, and how it will help him down the road. I’m not sure he’ll make the final 12 man roster, but either way it’s a great thing for him to be there around some of the elite younger players in the league over the next month. Too bad his new teammate (David Lee) had to withdraw because of his finger, but here’s what should happen to Curry from this experience. A) He gets to play with guys that aren’t in the D-League (Pretty much the Warriors roster for the 2nd half of 2009-10). B) He might not be able to make a pact like the Miami Trio, since the dubs have him locked up for awhile, and hopefully never let him get away. I mean, he could try to make a pact with a guy like Durant, but that’s unlikely, so maybe he could make a pitch to Iguodala or Granger to move over to the Bay when their contracts are up (4 years). C) He gets to learn from Coach K., and hopefully gets some pointers on defense, and maybe learns a trick or two to stop turning the ball over. D) He gets to learn to play the ultimate team game, since winning is the ONLY thing that matters for Team USA. I don’t think I can say the same for a Nellie led Warriors squad that seems to just want to entertain at times. Hopefully when Nellie starts taking vacations in the season, the new owners dump him.

Brett Favre – Weird, he says he’s retiring for a third time, even though we saw him playing catch a few weeks ago with some High Scool kids. It’s a GREAT thing when a rumor comes out, and nobody believes it. Usually there are people on both sides of the fence, but with this one, nobody seemed to really believe he’s actually made his final decision. I guess it’s the ol’ boy who cried wolf. Love or hate the guy, he’s good for the league. I hate the guy, but do want to see him out there. I was giddy during that NFC Championship game. It was great to root for the Saints to pummel him over and over, and fortunately, they did! If he sucked last year like he did with the Jets, nobody would care half as much, and might be believing the rumor. It’s crazy that he’s the one controlling the NFC North. Is he texting to start a gambling conspiracy? The odds jumped quite a bit as soon as it was announced he is retiring, I’m just sayin… I hope it’s not true, because I like to root against him. It’s like Tiger for me, it’s not fun to root against him when he isn’t dominating. Or like my Raiders. Growing up, I would get crap from people all the time (hater nation), but now friends just feel sorry for me after losing for so long. Brett we need you as a villain, so I, like everybody else, don’t believe that you are retiring. Personally, I think it’s just a cop out, so he doesn’t have to go to training camps, and can make the Vikings bend over backwards buying him an armadillo farm to hunt at. Maybe he just likes the attention, but whatever the reason, I have a feeling he already knows what he wants to do, and that will be to play football.


There Goes More ‘Stros

As a die hard A’s fan, I can empathize with any fan of a losing team. But I definitely don’t envy Astros fans. While the A’s don’t have the financial means to load up their roster with proven talent, there’s always a boatload of talent in the farm system. Remember, they’re only 4 years removed from an LCS appearance, and guys like Andrew Bailey, Trevor Cahill, Brett Anderson, Ryan Sweeney, Daric Barton, Chris Carter, and Michael Taylor give plenty of reason to believe they’ll be back sooner or later. And while I’m waiting for the front office to trade away a guy like Coco Crisp or Michael Wuertz (hopefully Wuertz), the Astros have already gotten started. Frankly, it’s about time. They’re clearly headed nowhere, so it really made no sense for them to hang on to Roy Oswalt. While it’s still to be seen whether or not they move Carlos Lee – I doubt there’s any takers – or Lance Berkman, they’ve at least brought in some young guys who may play a significant role if and when they decide to rebuild, because they need to. In other trade news….

The Padres picked up Miguel Tejada, but I’m not sure what role he’s going to fill. I can’t see them replacing Chase Headley, so Everth Cabrera is going to be the loser in this move, but he’s hitting .199, so Tejada should be an upgrade at the plate. But are they expecting Miggy to play shortstop? Not sure what they’re envisioning there, but maybe it puts pressure on the Giants and Dodgers to make a move as well.

The Rangers acquired Jorge Cantu, which makes more sense in the short term, since Ian Kinsler is headed to the DL. They already swung a deal for Cliff Lee, so making it clear they plan to hold on to the top spot in the AL West.

The Twins picked up Matt Capps, which doesn’t excite me, but may have been the smartest move by any of these teams thus far – except of course the Phillies getting Oswalt. But Capps will move into the closer role, demoting Jon Rauch to setup duties. Your move, White Sox.


Power Shift in the AL West

Looks like we're moving again kids!

Well, I just posted about David Lee’s jump to the Warriors, so I may as well dedicate today as Lee day, and talk about the Rangers acquisition of Cliff Lee. The Rangers are already 5 1/2 games up on the competition in the standings, and the Angels continue to slide, losing four in a row, and seven of their last ten without their main man Kendry. The power in the west shifted even more today, as Texas acquired Cliff Lee from Seattle for Justin Smoak (2008 first round pick), and four other minor leaguers. The Cliff Lee sweepstakes took a surprising turn when pretty much everyone had him going to the Yankees earlier today. He instead will be heading to Texas in a deal that had to make Nolan Ryan crack a smile. It’s a good move to do it now, so they can get an extra three or four starts out of him instead of waiting all the way to the trade deadline. As a rabid A’s fan, I’m not completely against making our current division leader better, because if there was a team I wanted to win outside of the A’s, it would be the Rangers. Maybe that’s why I picked them in our predictions at the beginning of the year. Their biggest weakness was pitching, and now they have a true ace of their staff that they’ve been missing for so many years. If they get back Rich Harden from the DL after the all-star break, and he is what he used to be with Oakland, they’d have a very solid top of the rotation with Lee, Harden, and Colby Lewis. They might get rocked here and there in the home run friendly confides of Arlington during the dog days of August, but all of these guys know how to pitch when healthy. Does this make the Rangers a contender to win it all? Most would say no, and I’d agree with that, but the way their offense is set up they can beat good pitching, and now acquired one of the best pitchers in the game that will surely give them a win every fifth night. As long as Ron Washington is there, I’ll be rooting for that club to do well, and with some pitching to back up that great offense this deal couldn’t have worked out better for them. Side note, it also feels good to be a Vlad supporter again after he spent so many years on the Angels.


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


Give Wash a Break

So Ron Washington failed a drug test for cocaine. Shame on him. But since the story broke, I’ve witnessed a man take responsibility and hone up to his mistakes better than any other sports figure of this generation. While most of these guys deny accusations for months, sometimes years, until their glass house of lies comes crumbling down, only THEN to make apologies and fess up to their misdeeds, Ron Washington submitted a dug test, notified the administrators he would likely fail it, and then proceeded to communicate with each party of interest what was going on. Wash has always been a mastermind on the field, but he showed me that he is one off of it too. This news surely would’ve outraged the media in most scenarios, but Wash has been one step ahead of the game the entire time. He’s an unproven, black manager of a non-contending team. Major League Baseball and/or the owners could have easily made an example of him, but Wash is a guy who earns respect, and I think it’s obvious that all parties involved respected the way he took responsibility for his lapse in judgment. I always suspected Wash of being a closet pothead, but now we know that third base wasn’t the only line he was handling all these years.

Here’s where I think Ron Washington is not just one, but two steps ahead of the game. He’s long been heralded a player’s coach. Guys seem to play harder for Wash – Chappy alluded to it a few months back, how the A’s demise over the last few years may very well be a direct correlation of Washington’s departure. The manager said he used cocaine once last season, and that’s what caused him to fail the test. He ran the risk of alienating himself from the owners and his ballclub. Instead, you see players like Michael Young coming to his defense. But there’s one player in that clubhouse who suddenly can relate to Wash more than anyone. That player also happens to be the team’s best player. Josh Hamilton, as everyone knows, has had his own battles with cocaine. While Washington’s incident is nothing compared to Hamilton’s years of addiction, when Rangers fans think of drug use, they won’t be zeroing in on him anymore. Wash took the heat, for lack of a better word, off of Hamilton – not that there was much, but still. The best player on the team and the manager just got that much closer on a personal level. Any time the best player on the team and the coach are on the same page, it’s a recipe for success on the field. We’ll see how it plays out, but Washington’s blunder off the field may very well be the best move he makes all season in terms of his teams’ performance on it.

Wash loves that whiiiiiiiiiiite girl.....


Is the AL West the Best Division in Baseball?

I guess it might be a stretch, since none of the four teams residing in the AL West are truly considered a threat to knock the Yankees off their thrown, but is there really anyone that looks like they can derail the Yankees besides injuries? I don’t think so… Can you name the only division that had three teams finish the season with 85 wins? Surprisingly, it’s the AL West! Sure you can argue that the AL East had three 84 win teams, but the basement is a lot worse than it is in the West.

The Yankees have pushed over the $1 billion mark in payroll a long time ago, and the Red Sox aren’t all that far behind, so we’ve been trained to see the East as far superior. Surprisingly the AL West had a great record versus the East going 95-79 in 2009. I think the best team in the West (Angels) regressed a little over the off-season losing their horse/ace in Lackey, and their versatile infielder Figgins, and that has put the division up for grabs.

I felt that Seattle made the biggest push to be a force in the west by trading for a bonafied yearly Cy Young contender, Cliff Lee, and last year’s runner up Felix Hernandez was already there setting up one of the deadliest duos in the league. They also stole Figgins away from the Angels, which should get them two guys on base if Ichiro and Figgy are hitting one and two. Milton might be able to knock them in if he’s on the field for more than 80 games, but that’s a big IF.

The Rangers bolstered their roster, but there are question marks already on the health of the players they signed. Vlad seems past his prime, but if he can be productive anywhere, it’s going to be in Arlington where careers being revived happens. They also signed the often injured Rich Harden, which could be a boost if they have a plan b for all the starts he gets scratched from each year. They were in the race for the West crown up to the last couple weeks, and have a ton of young talent that will only be better this coming season. It seems like a lot of the experts are picking them to win the west this year, but those predictions don’t seem to have much confidence behind them.

I’ll do my A’s preview a little closer to the season when I’ve gathered all my expectations of them, but honestly, all I’m hoping for from them is to stay healthy for once. We’ve used the DL more over the past two years than anytime in franchise history, and broke records two straight years in a row for DL usage. Not a good stat for a young team trying to figure out what pieces go where, and far from a recipe for success! Not sure about the offense, but the pitchers must be happy to have a true ace on the staff in Sheets. They owned a better run differential than Seattle last year, so there’s some hope!

All in all, I’d say the top teams of the AL West aren’t as good as the AL East. From top to bottom though, the West has teams that will be able to pull out wins night in and night out. You know you aren’t getting that from Toronto or Baltimore, who have both probably already given up on this year. I’d say that one distinct advantage that the West has over the East is in the farm systems. The East gets better through buying free agents that most of the time we can’t afford, and the West gets better by building up their prospects from within. I’m pretty pumped to see how it all shakes out, and one thing is for sure, the West is up for grabs this year with none of the teams completely out of the picture. Can’t say the same for the AL East.

What really defines the best division in baseball? The degree of difficulty? The balance from top to bottom? General intrigue?

Maybe I’ve been worn down from all the northeastern hype, and the YES network, but I believe there’s a solid argument that the west is the “best” division in baseball!