Sunday, July 27, 2008

Down the Stretch

We're well into the 2nd half of the season, almost to the 2/3 point even. With a lot of divisions undergoing a leader change in the past few weeks, which of these leaders are for real? Who's good enough for the wild card? So, as we enter the stretch of the baseball season, I'll toss in my two cents on how this will finish.

AL West: Los Angeles Angels

This is simply a no doubter, they've opened up a 10.5 game lead on the Texas Rangers and have the best record in the majors. The offense looks like it has come around since plugging in Juan Rivera, while benching a guy making $50M in Gary Matthews Jr.

AL Central: Chicago White Sox

This team is kind of underrated to me, they have solid pitching throughout the order in Danks, Buerhle, Floyd, Vazquez, and Contreras (currently on the DL). Combine that with an offense stroking it out of the park, it makes for a playoff team.

AL East: New York Yankees

No, this isn't a knee jerk reaction to the Nady-Marte trade. It also isn't one to the recent surge. The trade DOES legitimately puts them at the top in this division, they needed that right handed bat in the outfield and adding a good left handed reliever in the pen is always a good thing. It also doesn't hurt that they traded peanuts to get them.

AL Wild Card: Boston Red Sox

This team is too good top to bottom to miss the playoffs. The offense however, is still very inconsistent, even in the games Ortiz has come back to play in. The pitching staff is very deep however, they have a guy like Justin Masterson in the bullpen...

NL West: Colorado Rockies

What the hell!!!!! Anyway, yeah it says the Rockies. The best move this team can do is hang onto Holliday and Fuentes. This division is pretty much the gutter of the majors and Colorado is 6 back. I'm a believer in this team's ability to surge late and re-capture the magic of Rocktober. Actually, I'm just picking them because they have the best offense and it should be enough to put them at the top of this "division".

NL Central: Milwaukee Brewers

Offense clicking on all cylinders, 2 bonafide aces in your starting rotation, and a closer who has basically saved Milwaukee's life after the Gagne signing. All of these, the Brewers have. All of these things have me believing that they can take over the Cubs.

NL East: New York Mets

The Mets finally realized that their pitching was going to be what put them over the Phillies, albeit it isn't that impressive, but it's better than the Phillies rotation. After many called for Pelfrey to be sent down to AAA early in the season, he has rebelled by shaving a full point off his ERA ( 4.65 to 3.67 ) and winning 7 of those 10 starts.

NL Wild Card: Chicago Cubs

The Cubs almost fall into this category by default, there is simply no other NL team that can push them here. When they got Harden, I thought it was over, but this offense has sputtered around and they just aren't being consistent. They've even started to lose games at home, which has been the bank for them. Again, this is the NL and it will be good enough.


Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Deadline Dealing

The Trade Deadline is less than a month away and every contender has a hole or two to fill. We'll take a look at each division leader and see what they should do to keep that lead intact.

Angels: Lackluster offense, great pitching, and bundles of prospects. What else do you do with that? You trade for a big bat. In this case, the Angels are probably looking for a big left handed bat to fill the hole at DH.

Possible Targets: Adam Dunn (Cin - OF), Mark Teixeira (Atl - 1B), C.C. Sabathia (Cle - SP).

White Sox: Ever since Guillen went off on this team, they've been clicking on all cylinders and they really don't look like they have many holes. Look for them to stand pat at the trade deadline.

Possible Targets: None

Rays: For the first time in their history, the Rays can consider themselves buyers at the trade deadline. They have a hole to fill in the OF slot to go along with Crawford and Upton. They might also want to look for a solid veteran pitcher to put at the back end of the rotation:

Possible Targets: Xavier Nady (Pit - OF), Jason Bay (Pit - OF), Randy Wolf (SD - SP).

Diamondbacks: They'll mainly be looking to shore up the end of the rotation, so a solid #4-5 starter would work here.

Possible Target: Bronson Arroyo (Cin - SP)
Free Agency: Shawn Chacon (SP)

Cubs: Everyone has probably heard it, they want a starting pitcher. A top of the rotation pitcher is what many believe will put this team over the top.

Possible Targets: C.C. Sabathia (Cle - SP), Rich Harden (Oak - SP), Erik Bedard (Sea - SP), Xavier Nady (Pit - OF).

Phillies: Exact opposite of the Angels. Great hitting, they just take their time getting the opponent out, so a mid to top of the rotation pitcher seems like a great fit here.

Possible Targets: Erik Bedard (Sea - SP), Zack Greinke (KC - SP), Rich Harden (Oak - SP).


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

2008 Bowman Baseball Pack

Went out to Wal-mart today and got two packs of 2008 Bowman Baseball! Each of them cost $2.97 for those curious, so let's see what I got!

5 Veteran Base

  • C.C. Sabathia, Pitcher, Indians (Still pretty young [27] and has yet to have a year where his ERA is higher than the league average)

  • Gil Meche, Pitcher, Royals (Not a bad starting pitcher, but not a particularly good one either...)

  • Manny Ramirez, Outfielder, Red Sox (He's been a much nicer individual this year it seems, and he's a sure shot Hall of Famer with over 500 career home runs)

  • Jered Weaver, Pitcher, Angels (Anthony likes the Angels, so here's to you!)

  • Cole Hamels, Pitcher, Phillies (I forsee a great career for this guy. He's only 24, so he might win over 200 games.)

2 First Year Bowman Rookies

  • Joseph Mahoney, 1B, Orioles (I don't really know much about most prospects, but my favorite team is the Orioles, so hopefully he'll be good)

  • Matthew Buschmann, Pitcher, Padres (Again, don't know much about this guy. His card said he uses his fastball and slider well, and fields his position well, though)

2 First Year Bowman Chrome Rookies and 1 Gold

  • Luke Montz, Catcher, Nationals (I decided to look at this guy's minor league stats, and he has a pretty high OBP for a catcher. So far this year, he's batting .296 in Double-A ball, but his OBP is .383; he seems to draw a good number of walks)

  • Brian Barton, Outfielder, Cardinals (A 26 year old rookie...I'm not seeing anything special)

  • Orlando Cabrera, Shortstop, White Sox (Hard to believe the guy's 33 now...)

Well, not too bad of a pack. The only bummer is that I already had both of the chrome cards that I got from the pack. I got another pack, but I'll just put that one up tomorrow. ;)



Monday, June 23, 2008

5 Thing You Probably Didn't Know

No card busting today! Instead I got five facts about baseball that you probably didn't know prior to reading this post (and if you did, congrats to you)!

5.) Only one player during the 20th century drove in over 100 runs, but scored less than 50 runs in the same season. The player? Vic Wertz in 1960 had 103 RBI but scored only 45 times. Vic Wertz also has the distinction of being the batter who hit the ball which Willie Mays caught in Game 1 of the 1954 World Series (you know, "The Catch").

4.) As of June 24th, 2008, the Pittsburgh Pirates have had 23 different occasions where one of their players hit for the cycle; the most by any Major League club. In second are the San Francisco Giants with 21.

3.) Ben Paschal, a member of the 1915 Cleveland Indians, got just one hit all year. However, his hit on August 16, 1915 broke up Bernie Boland's (of the Tigers) no-hitter with just one out left to go. For those curious, Paschal had nine at-bats that year.

2.) Sandy Koufax hit only one player more than once in his pitching career. That player was Frank Robinson, who was hit twice by him. Koufax hit 18 batters over the course of his career.

1.) Guy Bush, Pat Caraway, and Pedro Astacio enjoy the dubious distinction of being pitchers who pitched a minimum of 200 innings in a season, but had an ERA of 6 or more during that season.

Hope you enjoyed these five facts!


Sunday, June 22, 2008

Hot or Not: Slumping Phils, Roaring Twins.


Hot: Minnesota Twins - After losing 7 of 8, the Twins appeared to be done, but fueled by a current streak of winning 9 of their last 11, the Twins remain relevant. In 8 of the 9 wins, the Twins starting pitchers have earned the victories, so they're doing their part in keeping them in the games. The offense has also come to life during this streak, they are averaging almost 8 runs a game in those 11 contests.

Record: 40-36, 2nd AL Central.

Not: Philadelphia Phillies - The Phillies had a chance to prove to everyone that they were legitimate contenders with a series against both the Red Sox and the Angels. They went 1-5 against the two teams combined, scoring an average of less than 3 runs a game against them. When the offense goes South, the focus on the pitching is magnified. After Cole Hamels, there really isn't much to write to home about. The bullpen has been magnificent so far, but if the starters can't hand it to them with the lead, what's the point?

Record: 42-35, 1st NL East.


Hot: Jermaine Dye (Chicago White Sox) - Fresh off being swept by the Cubs, it was anyone's fault but his. During this last week he went 10-24, with 5 homers, 8 runs, and 13 RBIs.

Not: Chase Utley (Philadelphia Phillies) - Why not? So far, he has 1 hit in his last 27 at-bats. The good news is in those 27 at-bats, he has only struck out 6 times, so he's making contact. If the Phillies hope to have the threepeat in MVPs, he's going to have to return to tearing the cover off the ball.


New Author

I'd like to give a big welcome to Anthony! He will be writing about the MLB throughout the season, and analyzing the game. He is a great addition to this blog. :)



Alright, I guess I'll be posting regularly on this blog from now on. My name is Anthony and I'm a big baseball fan, an Angels fan to be exact, I promise I won't be biased in anything I put on here. You're going to have to trust me on that. I'll be posting things here and there about the current season, yeah..that's about it.