Wednesday, June 30, 2010

I know where LeBron James is heading... TURKEY

Oh it is a long shot... but sources close to LeBron have told the staff at Sully Baseball that no matter if you call it Istanbul or Constantinople, LeBron will call it home.

LeBron will say goodbye to Cleveland... 7 years is enough.
New York? Too crazy and too lousy a team.
New Jersey? Is there even a plan there?
The Clippers? Not as long as Sterling is there.
Miami? They can't afford Wade AND LeBron.
Chicago? Not interested in that coach.

No, he'll sign with Effes Pilsen in Istanbul and pile up the titles.

He'll make his dough and become a brand in Europe AND the Middle East.

It is the path less taken, and he'll be doing it in the land of Kings.

While I am talking about LeBron, for the past 5 years, Knicks fans have been talking about LeBron as if his arrival in Madison Square Garden was a given.

Once LeBron arrives everything will fall into place.
Any talk of rebuilding seems to be under the assumption that LeBron James will be a Knick.

What if he doesn't show?

You know a team doesn't have a good plan when their strategy for turning things around mirrors the drama company of Blaine!

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When it looked like Clay Buchholz was going to go on the DL, the Red Sox summoned Fabio Castro from Pawtucket to help out the bullpen.

But when it was clear they needed more infield depth with Pedroia going down, Theo pulled off a deal with the A's to bring in utility man Eric Patterson and Castro was designated for assignment without appearing in a game.

How could you do it, Tito?
How could you NOT bring in Fabio Castro?

You have the ability to have the P.A. announcer say "Now pitching... FABIO CASTRO!"

And you passed that up?
For what? For Manny DelCarmen to get another appearance?

I hope nobody claims him... I have no idea if he sucks or not. I just want to hear the words "Fabio Castro gets the out."

And be honest with me... you do too.

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Write it in ink... the Angels are winning the division

I don't care that the Rangers have a 3 1/2 game lead, currently the biggest lead in the bigs.

I don't care that Kendry Morales ended his own season.

I've been saying this for the past month and a half and I stand by it.

The Rangers will wither, the A's are a few horses short and the Mariners are waving the white flag.

I am sick of the Angels in the post season too but it is going to happen whether we like it or not.

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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Wait... it's just a two game series with the Rays?

How the hell does THAT work?
The Sox have a day off on Monday AND a day off on Thursday and only play 2 against Tampa.

It's like the schedule makers knew the Red Sox were going to be all banged up and needed a few days to rest.

Funny, they could see the Red Sox needed a breather but they couldn't see the G-20 Summit was on the calendar and screwed over the poor Blue Jays.

Ah well.

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Ladies and Gentlemen your WINNING pitcher, Brad Lidge

As I wrote yesterday, I still get impressed by a big win total even though we're supposed to call wins irrelevant these days.

A prime argument why?
Mr. Brad Lidge!

He coughs up a 9th inning, 2 out, 3 run game tying homer to Joey Votto tonight... and gets the W because the Phillies won in extra innings.

He owers Raul Ibanez a BIG steak dinner tonight for his game winning rally in the 9th.

So Phillies fans, how do you feel with Bradley Lidge back closing games as only he can?

Call me crazy, but if I were running the Phillies, I might be looking for a closer. Run with me on that one.
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We'll take the ugly wins

Oh the Red Sox bullpen WANTED to make this interesting. Oh they tried to let Tampa back in this one... but I can't call it a dodged bullet. Even when they brought in Papelbon, I never thought this game was in real danger of going in the L column.

It's a big one.

With all the injuries on this squad, they have to hold their own until everyone is done mending.
Win one of the next two games and we've got a series win against a top team with a depleted staff.

The thing that was most startling about this win was reading the box score. Lackey is 9-3? Doesn't it feel like he's been mediocre this year? And yet he'll wind up a 15-17 game winner by the time the year is done.

Go figure.
I'll take the W.
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The scheduling Gods are smiling on the A's

Since being in first place by themselves on May 31st, the A's went into an awful tailspin.

They went 6-16, going from 4 games over .500 and on top of the division... to 6 games under .500 and 10 1/2 games back.

That is an ugly turn of events... the kind that gets managers fired.

What could possibly turn things around?

A wonderful back to back series that would have been tough in 1979 but is "Win Column Padding" since the mid 1990s.

3 with the Pirates... 3 with the Orioles.
Now the A's have won 4 in a row and are 2 wins against the Orioles away from being back to .500.

It's nice to catch two once proud franchises in "Who the hell cares?" mode.

Get back in the race, A's... these are the "Gimmes!"
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It's nice to see the Mariners in full "Wreck the rental" mode

It's safe to say nobody is monitoring Cliff Lee's innings.
The Mariners know they are putting their ace out there for the highest bidder and what better way to up the asking price than showing he can give 9 innings and kick some butt?

Well that's what he did in Yankee Stadium tonight.

That means 4 of his last 5 starts have been complete game victories. Hell, if the Mariners trade him to an American League team, he might wind up winning the AL Cy Young award.

The Mariners are going to squeeze every inning out of him. He's in full "What do we care? He's just a rental!" mode.

Ironically the last time I saw "wreck the rental" from a team, it was the Milwaukee Brewers when they had Cliff Lee's ex teammate and fellow Cy Young winning Indians lefty C.C. Sabathia and seemed to pitch him 5 times a week.

Enjoy the Pacific Northwest, Cliff. You'll be somewhere else in 3 weeks.

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Should the Yankees trade Joba Chamberlain for Franklin Morales?

I think it is a trade worth considering.

Now Yankee fans reading this who think this is an awful deal, remember I am not talking about the Joba Chamberlain that everyone projected he would be.

I am talking about what Joba actually IS.

The debate over Joba has died down... there are no longer people saying he is an ace pitcher who should be in the rotation. And the people saying "He's a dominating closer and Mariano's heir apparent."

There's no Cy Young talk for Joba.
There's no shut down 8th inning talk for Joba.

The Yankees needed a #4 starter last post season and were going to turn to Chad Gaudin because Joba couldn't cut it as a starter.

This year when the Yankees needs are listed, bullpen depth is always at the forefront. Joba isn't even a mediocre reliever this year. His ERA is a big fat 5.29 and he can't be trusted in big games.

I wrote last March that the Yankees should deal Joba out of mercy to get him out of the circus.

But now I am thinking it is in the Yankees interest as well. Yeah, he's only 24... but this is year #3 of "Waiting for Joba."

The Yankees had a talented pitcher and because of the Joba rules, spectacular indecision, media scrutiny and incompetence, created a formula for failure that would be the envy of Bialystock and Bloom.

Next year he'll be 25... and if he is still a lousy reliever and an ineffective starter then he might have little to no trade value.

A few years ago, he could have fetched Johan Santana. If he keeps this up, he couldn't get Carlos Santana.

At this point in a less stressful environment might have him flourish. But a few more years of being neither a good starter nor reliever and I might have to include him on my "Can't Miss Aces Who Missed" list.

Which brings us to Morales.

Franklin Morales' tenure with the Colorado Rockies can best be summed up in his grotesque 5th inning of Game 1 of the 2007 World Series.

With the Rockies already down 5-1, Morales came into the 5th inning to replace starter Jeff Francis. Joe Buck and Tim McCarver began gushing about how talented he was and that he was a budding ace.

And in 2/3 of an inning, he let up 6 hits, gave up a walk, and committed a balk. All 7 base runners came home for earned runs and the Rockies were sunk.

He was listed as one of Baseball America's top 10 prospects in all of baseball before the 2008 season. But his record as a starter has been awful and the Rockies attempt to make him the closer have back fired as well.

Like Joba he came into baseball in 2007. Like Joba he has playoff and World Series experience that isn't pretty. Like Joba he's been shifted back and forth from the rotation to the pen.

Like Joba he is 24 years old but running out of chances with his home team.

Joba is a big right hander who has been shriveling in the glare of the spotlight in New York.
Morales is a slight left hander who could benefit of getting out of Coors and pitching with some run support and a steady closer behind him.

Maybe they should switch places.

Maybe a lower key baseball environment like Denver could be the perfect place for the big kid from Nebraska with the Star Wars first name.

Maybe being among superstars and having a fresh start is just what the left hander from Venezuela needs.

Each fan base was expecting stardom from these arms and both have come up short.

Why not swap places and see what happens?
How can it be worse than driving their careers into the ground?

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Attention! In coming wounded Red Sox!

I've never been so depressed after seeing the Red Sox win 3 out of 4 games on the road against tough opponents.

Our disabled list has too many players that were on my "We can't survive without them" list.

Josh Beckett... Jacoby Ellsbury... Mike Lowell... Jeremy Hermida... Victor Martinez... Dustin Pedroia...

And that's NOT including Clay Buchholz who were are all holding our collective breaths isn't too hurt.

Yeah, it was fun to beat up the National League. But guess what? The Red Sox went 16-2 against the National League in 2006 and looked like a locomotive.

Then the injuries piled up... and they missed the playoffs.

The Rays are coming in, and they are going through their OWN issues. This has become as must win series for the Red Sox. They need to hold the Rays back and keep pace in the Wild Card, which they still lead.

But everyone else on the Sox had better stay healthy. Any more injuries and they might have to resort to Meatball Surgery to fix the team!

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Monday, June 28, 2010

I know we're not supposed to be impressed by wins anymore...

Wins are no longer in vogue to demonstrate the value of a pitcher.
Someone once said to me it was an irrelevant stat. And while it isn't always the most accurate barometer for quality (look at my Bert Blyleven article if you don't believe me) it IS the goal of a pitcher to win the game.

If someone wins 20 games in a season, chances are all 20 games weren't flukes.

So while I don't put all my eggs in the win basket, I don't throw the basket away either.

And there is something to think about regarding Ubaldo Jimenez's season.

He has 14 wins already and 1 loss.
His ERA has SOARED to 1.83.

But those 14 wins stick out.

If he wins 4 more games this year, he will have the highest single season win total in the history of the Colorado Rockies.

Now granted, the Rockies don't have a rich pitching history like the Dodgers or Giants... but this IS their 18th season. There were players drafted this year who can honestly say "The Rockies have existed for all of my life."

And Pedro Astacio, Jeff Francis and Kevin Ritz all logged 17 wins in a season.

Jimenez might top that by the All Star break and is now only 20 wins away from passing Aaron Cook as the franchise's all time career wins leader.

Not sure what all of this means.

I am guessing it means it is late and I should go to bed.

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WATCH THE KILBORN FILE! (Keep Sully employed!)

Alas The Bonnie Hunt Show is over and I still miss it... but Sully has to work and feed his kids and wife.

And guess what? I landed on two feet on the new Fox talk show The Kilborn File hosted by Craig Kilborn.

It's a fun solid 1/2 hour of comedy with headlines, a power panel, current event comedy and guests (whose interviews are produced by your pal Sully.)

But don't take MY word for it.

Check us out.

OK, back to baseball.

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Sunday, June 27, 2010

So was Torre's plan to have Broxton pitch until he died?

Yankee fans got to have all sorts of nostalgia this weekend.

They got to see Don Mattingly again.
They got to root against Manny Ramirez again.
They got to rewind lots of great clips of World Series past again.

And they got to see Joe Torre bungle the bullpen again.

Three batters into the 9th inning it was clear that Jonathan Broxton was toast. Even Charlie Steiner and Rick Monday were talking about it on the broadcast. His fastball was flat and he was nibbling.

And the inning kept going... kind of like a Star Wars prequel... you kept hoping for that awesome thing to happen but as it kept going on you realized it was going to end up sucking.

And Charlie and Rick kept pointing out "nobody is warming up in the Dodger bullpen."

Once the Yankees tied it 6-6, I turned it off. They won it right then and there. There was no need to play the bottom of the 9th nor the 10th. The entire planet knew the game was over.

And I had a great blog post all written in my head... and instead all I've got is this half assed entry.

Tip of the cap, Joe.
Now off to San Francisco.

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Red Sox vs. Giants was fun... let's do it again in October

Lester came to the rescue today, but Heaven forbid the Red Sox have a game without an injury!!!

So with Dustin Pedroia, Clay Buchholz and Victor Martinez banged up, the Sox leave San Francisco with 2 wins.

I am glad about that... and I will root for the Giants in EVERY game for the rest of the season.

They are my National League team.

I went to high school in the Bay Area and I rooted for Los Gigantes in the 1987 and 1989 post season.

I would cut class from time to time and drive up to Candlestick Park and see Will Clark, Kevin Mitchell, Matt Williams and Big Daddy Reuschel play for the great Hum Baby teams of Roger Craig.

And I also have seen many games with Barry Bonds at both the Stick and on China Basin.

And then there is the matter of my dad and my son.

My dad is the single biggest Giants fan I have ever met in my life.

He is up listening to the post game show when the Giants are 20 games out.

He is the first to call me when a big Giants prospect has been called up.

He was a Giants fan way back when they were in the Polo Grounds and he has cheered them from Coogan's Bluff to Seal's Stadium to Candlestick Point to China Basin.

And his grandson, my son Aidan, whose middle name is also my dad's name, loves his grandpa (or Poppy as he is known) so much that with no prompting he has claimed the Giants as HIS team.

He doesn't know the players yet... but when asked what his favorite team is, with great pride he says "The GIANTS!"

So for the generation before and after me, I hope the Giants go all the way to the World Series.

And I hope the Red Sox are there too.

And I hope the Sox SWEEP!

(Love for family can only go so far)
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The A's telecast last night was DY-NO-MITE!

I am guessing most of you didn't catch the A's - Pirates game last night. It's a shame, because while the game itself wasn't exactly suspenseful, the look and feel of the game was, let's face it, OUT OF SIGHT!

It was turn back the clock to the 1970s night in Oakland. And the Pirates and the A's both would love turn it back to that decade when (and brace yourself young fans, this is going to sound strange) BOTH teams were powerhouses and won multiple division titles and World Series Championships.

(Sounds strange now, doesn't it?)

The A's were decked out in their classic yellow bottoms and yellow tops from the 70s glory days.

Personally I preferred the green tops to the yellow tops but it doesn't matter.

They LOOKED like champs again!

And like it was in the 1970s, the manager and coaches wore the white hats.

Bob Geren might not be a Hall of Fame manager, but for at least a day he LOOKED like Dick Williams!

(Would it have KILLED Bob Geren to wear the correct warm up jacket?)

But the A's looked awesome. How about the other team?

Cue up Sister Sledge! The Pirates looked like the Family again!

Black tops... black bottoms... the flat top yellow hat.

Personally I prefer the black hats, but either way, they looked like Champs from the 1979 World Series... a personal obsession of mine.

There are not a lot of Stargell Stars on their hats, but if you've seen the Bucs play this year, not a lot have been earned!

The game itself was cool, but the Comcat Sportsnet broadcast for the A's made it even cooler.

They did not use any graphics that weren't around in the 1970s.

So in came the bright yellow chyron font. The score wasn't permanently in the corner, but flashed on the screen from time to time.

The information when the batters were up was also "Just the facts."

Name, what they did tonight.

No breaking down of how they hit against left handers or their OPS.

(The Yellow font against the yellow jersey was a bit rough.)

Also the count and the number of outs were not always on the screen but would pop up between some pitches.

I'm not saying it is better like this... but it gave everything a nice nostalgic feel.

And speaking of nostalgia...

The announcers for Comcast Sportsnet busted out the yello blazers and the logo on the breast pocket.

And kudos to A's broadcaster Glen Kuiper for the fake 1970s 'stache to make the outfit complete.

Color commentator (and former 1970s A's star) Ray Fosse didn't need a fake 1970s stache. He has the real McCoy!

(Nice touch for the engineer to be all hippied out as well. Chances are that's how the 1970s looked in the East Bay!)

So nice work A's and Pirates and nice "above and beyond the call" for Comcast Sports Net.

Two teams that might be going nowhere this year did something cool, funny and fan friendly (as a lot of people in the stands were dressed a la 70s.)

The Pirates don't come through Oakland each year, so a nostalgic look back to the 1970s isn't an annual tradition for these two teams.

Another fun wrinkle for Interleague Play.
Another thing to keep in mind when you hear people trash interleague play.

I say those people are talking jive!

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Saturday, June 26, 2010

Oh please don't be hurt too badly, Clay!

The Red Sox got 2 key homers, made a bunch of terrific defensive plays and got a stellar effort from the bullpen.

They won a tight game and picked up a game on the Yankees.

So why am I not jumping up and down?

Because we've lost our 2007 ALCS MVP, 2007 World Series MVP, the two time defending stolen base king and the 2008 AL MVP to the disabled list.

Do we REALLY need Clay Buchholz to hurt himself too?
JUST as he was flexing his ace muscles, he hyper extended his knee running the bases? How hard is it to run the damn bases?

Let's take the good news and update the tally.


April 4 - 9-7 win against Yankees (On Opening Night, the Red Sox overcome a 5-1 Yankee lead with a game tying HR by Pedroia and a go ahead passed ball.)
April 10 - 8-3 win against Kansas City (Beckett out pitches Zack Greinke and nearly gets decapitated by a line drive.)
April 14 - 6-3 win in Minnesota. (Okajima gets Morneau to pop up with the bases loaded in the 7th and Papelbon wiggled out of a 9th inning jam.)
April 20 - 7-6 win against Texas. (Darnell McDonald introduces himself to Boston with an 8th inning game tying homer and a walk off hit in the 9th.)
April 21 - 8-7 win against Texas. (The Red Sox were down 4-0 early only to win it on Youk's 2 out 11th inning double.)
April 23 - 4-3 win against Baltimore. (The Sox blow a 3-0 lead but win it on Adrian Beltre's bases loaded walk.)
April 24 - 7-6 win against Baltimore. (The Red Sox score 6 in the 7th and hold off a late Baltimore comeback attempt.)
April 26 - 13-12 win at Toronto. (The Sox blow an early 5-0 lead but hang on for dear life in a slugfest.)
April 27 - 2-1 win at Toronto. (Buchholz holds the Jays down for 8 but it takes a bases loaded walk in the 8th to go ahead.)
April 28 - 2-0 win at Toronto. (Daniel Bard wiggles out of trouble in the 8th to help Lester shut down the Blue Jays and finish the sweep.)
May 4 - 5-1 win against the Angels. (Juan Rivera misplays Jeremy Hermedia's 2 out flyball into a 3 run game winning double)
May 5 - 3-1 win against the Angels. (Papi and Beltre homer and the Sox hang on despite squandering many potential rallies.)
May 6 - 11-6 win against the Angels. (Dice-K puts the Red Sox in a 4-0 hole before they even bat. The Sox bats respond.)
May 10 - 7-6 win against the Blue Jays. (Sox blow an early 2-0 lead, take advantage of some errors and hang on.)
May 18 - 7-5 win in New York. (Sox climb back from a 5-1 hole. A day after hitting a walk off homer, Marcus Thames drops a fly ball to start the winning rally for the Sox.)
May 25 - 2-0 win in Tampa. (Big Papi supplies all the offense as Papelbon wiggles out of a 9th inning jam.)
May 29 - 1-0 win against Kansas City. (Zack Greinke holds the Sox to one run, but they make it stick)
June 1 - 9-4 win against Oakland. (Lackey puts the Sox in a 4-0 hole but Victor Martinez goes 5-5 and the Sox score 9 runs late.)
June 2 - 6-4 win against Oakland. (Dice-K puts the Sox in a 3-0 hole before they come to bat, but come back thanks to Papi's homer.)
June 8 - 3-2 win at Cleveland. (With Papelbon unavailable, Okajima, Ramirez and Bard hang on to make a winner out of Wakefield.)
June 19 - 5-4 win against the Dodgers. (Sox make 4 errors, blow a late lead and let Manny homer, but they win it in the bottom of the 9th on a Pedroia single.)
June 20 - 2-0 win against the Dodgers. (Dodgers blow an early bases loaded scoring opportunity and allow Buchholz to settle down for the win.)
June 24 - 13-11 win in Colorado. (The bullpen lets up 9 runs in 5 innings, but Pedroia homers 3 times including with 2 outs in the 10th to win a wild and stupid game.)
June 26 - 4-2 win in San Francisco. (An injury running the bases takes Buchholz out in the second, but the bullpen and Mike Cameron's bat and glove win the game.)


April 6 - 6-4 loss against the Yankees. (Scutaro's error leads to the winning run.)
April 7 - 3-1 loss against the Yankees. (Sox leave the winning run on in the 9th only to lose on Granderson's 10th inning homer)
April 9 - 4-3 loss in Kansas City. (Bard coughs up the lead, denying Wakefield a win.)
April 17 - 3-1 loss to Tampa Bay. (The Sox can't score with the bases loaded and nobody out in the 11th... lost it in the 12th.)
April 17 - 6-5 loss to Tampa Bay. (The Red Sox comeback falls a run short, leaving two on in the 8th)
April 25 - 7-6 loss to Baltimore. (The Sox blow a 4-1 lead, leave the winning run on second in the 9th, let up 3 in the 10th and could only score 2 in the bottom of the 10th)
April 30 - 5-4 loss in Baltimore. (Tejada ties the game with a 2 out 8th inning homer and wins it with a bloop in the 10th)
May 1 - 12-9 loss in Baltimore. (Dice-K and Wakes get pounded, wasting 2 homers from Ortiz and an early 4-1 lead.)
May 2 - 3-2 loss in Baltimore. (Varitek is thrown at home trying to score with 2 outs in the 8th. Sox get swept in the 10th.
May 12 - 3-2 loss against the Blue Jays. (The Sox rally in the 9th comes up a run short and Kevin Gregg gets an ugly save.)
May 15 - 7-6 loss in Detroit. (The Sox blow a 6-1 lead and lose it on a 2 out bases loaded walk in the 12th.)
May 17 - 11-9 loss in New York. (The Sox come all the way back from a 5-0 first inning hole to take a 9-7 lead in the 9th... but Papelbon lets up a 2 run game tying shot to A-Rod and a 2 run walk off shot to Marcus Thames.)
May 21 - 5-1 loss in Philadelphia. (Big Papi's bid for a game tying 9th inning grand slam is caught at the warning track.)
May 27 - 4-3 loss to Kansas City. (Dice-K walks the go ahead run in and lets another score on a wild pitch as the Royals no name bullpen shut down the Hot Sox.)
May 28 - 12-5 loss to Kansas City. (Sox blow a 3-0 first inning lead to be blown out in Fenway.)
June 3 - 9-8 loss to Oakland. (Sox lose a slugfest where two Boston runners are thrown out at home.)
June 6 - 4-3 loss in Baltimore. (Sox rally to tie the game in the 9th only to lose it on a small ball rally in the 11th.)
June 10 - 8-7 loss in Cleveland. (Sox blow an early 5-0 lead and then after rallying in the 9th to take the lead coughed it up with 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th)
June 13 - 5-3 loss to Philadelphia. (Sox 9th inning rally comes up short)
June 22 - 2-1 loss in Colorado. (The Sox waste a solid Lester start and twice leave the bases loaded.)
June 23 - 8-6 loss in Colorado. (The Sox batter Ubaldo Jimenez around but Papelbon lets up 2 homers in the 9th to lose it.)
June 25 - 5-4 loss in San Francisco. (The Sox strand 11 runners in the last 4 innings wasting a solid Wakefield performance.)

Up to +2

Lester vs Lincecum tomorrow... NOBODY GET HURT

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