Thursday, May 31, 2012

For at least one day, it all worked for the Mariners

From Cliff Lee to Erik Bedard to the 2008 season to Chone Figgins, not a lot has gone as the Seattle Mariners had planned over the past few seasons.

Big prospects have disappointed, rebuilding plans have gone awry and the specter of Felix Hernandez and Ichiro Suzuki finishing their runs in Seattle without a trip to the World Series hangs over the team.

Yet last night, for one wonderful night, it all seemed to click with their young line up.
In one glorious night against the two time defending American League Champion Rangers, the young Mariners flexed their muscles and looked exactly like the team they wanted to build.

24 year old Dustin Ackley, the second overall pick in the 2009 draft? He went 2-5 with a homer and 3 RBI. His OPS went up to .691.

Ackley's teammate at UNC, Kyle Seager, went 4-6 with a pair of doubles and two RBI.

22 year old Jesus Montero, the prize of the Michael Pineda deal, reached base 5 times, drove in 4 runs and launched his 7th homer.

25 year old Justin Smoak, the key of the Cliff Lee trade, collected 3 hits and a walk, crushed a pair of homers and drove in 6 runs.

25 year old Michael Saunders, their super prospect from 2009 and 2010, went 3-6 with a pair of doubles.

It looks so easy when it is done right. If those five (plus Ichiro who sat out last night) could do that on a regular basis, the Mariners would be a contender and Felix Hernandez would win 25 games every year.

Hopefully for Mariner fans this was no fluke.
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Wednesday, May 30, 2012


It only took 49 games, but the Red Sox can finally say they have a winning record. And for all games to do it, it was the "Verlander vs. Bard" match up that had Massacre written all over it.

After all the grotesque games and banging our collective heads against the wall, the Red Sox are somehow only 3 games in the loss column out of first place!

Now let's not get ahead of ourselves. This team is a classic win 5 then lose 5 festival of frustration. And I still don't think they should trade any young players for a "Win Now" mandate.

They ARE still in last place.

But give credit where it is due.
They are 21-14 since the massacre by the Yankees.

Good job Sox.
I would LOVE to go to the "All you can eat Crow Buffet" for the Sox regarding their contender status!

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The Best Magglio Ordonez Home Run YouTube Videos - Latest for Bleacher Report

Magglio Ordonez retiring. To honor him, I decided to find the 5 best YouTube clips of amateurs capturing his famous Pennant clinching homer in 2006.

I found them and made it part of my latest article for Bleacher Report.

You can see the whole article here.
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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

That didn't take long for Matsui to make his mark

THIS is why the Rays are going to win the East.
They need a bat and the 2009 World Series MVP just happens to be available.

They plug him in and he homers in his first game.

Think the Red Sox would trade Crawford for Matsui in a heart beat?
Matsui always scared me. Now he's back in the AL East.

Man oh man if only fans showed up to Rays games.

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Gio González Should Be the Cy Young Front Runner Now - My latest for Bleacher Report

The National League is filled with preseason Cy Young favorites. If you picked Cliff Lee, Tim Lincecum, Roy Halladay, Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke or Matt Cain before the season began, you would have probably felt good about your prediction.

Not a lot of people probably had Gio González of the Nationals as their pick.
But at the 30% mark of the season, I make the case that he should be in the lead on Bleacher Report.

You can read the whole article HERE.

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48 games in... Pirates need to win 58 more games

I picked the Pittsburgh Pirates to win the 2012 NL Central title.
That might have been a bit of a contrarian pick. It might have been me wanting to stick my neck out.

(What courage would it take to pick the Reds?)

One of my outlandish picks seems to be working out. I picked the Dodgers to win the NL West.
The Pirates aren't exactly setting the world ablaze but they aren't sinking either.

Like the Red Sox, the Pirates are currently a .500 team.
Unlike the Red Sox, the bar for Pirates success this year isn't that high.

It is 82 wins. 82 wins will take all of the "They haven't had a winning season since 1992" talk off of the team. It is the 20th anniversary of the last good Pirates team and it is starting to get nuts.

Now last year, the Pirates starting getting hot and for a while took over first place in July before a disastrous second half made it just another 90 loss season.

But now, with just about 30% of the season in the can, the Pirates have a truly legitimate shot to end this streak.

They could use a pair of bats, maybe even off of the bench and a lefty reliever. I'm not talking about trading the farm and bringing in Cole Hamels.

Just a few parts from some floundering teams to give them some depth.
Now last year they did make a few deals including bringing in Derrek Lee. But this year, they may be able to build on last year's rise and fall.

Can the Twins part with Josh Willingham?
Would the Royals listen about Bruce Chen?
Are the Brewers selling?

Get a few parts and aim for a 58-56 record the rest of the way.
Get this monkey off of your back.

Go for it!
Aim for mediocrity.

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Monday, May 28, 2012

Richard Napão Perez talks Astros on The Sully Baseball Show

Monday Night Around the Majors/The Sully Baseball Show 05/28 by Seamheads | Blog Talk Radio Toro Times writer and Astros nut Richard Napão Perez joins The Sully Baseball Show podcast to discuss the current team, their AA players that he sees up close and his thoughts on the team's move to the American League.

It is on the second hour of the Seamheads Tuesday night block.

Listen to internet radio with Seamheads on Blog Talk Radio

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Angels needed some Seattle coffee to wake up

Originally I was going to call this post "They aren't dead. They are Angels."

But I realized there was a problem with that.

Technically, aren't Angels good ghosts?
Aren't Angels the good souls of dead people?

I am not sure I can make a good analogy regarding someone being dead and turning out to be an Angel because, and I'll have to check the rule book on this one, Angels don't really come back from the dead and they help others not themselves.
So  I scrapped that title for a Java reference.

Man oh man, has this team turned it around.
They were 9 games out and 8 games under .500 at the end of April.
Pujols stunk, the team was in a funk and they looked like a colossal big budget flop.
The Battleship of the American League.

They are 17-10 since. Now they are still 6 1/2 games behind the Rangers. They are still a game under .500. And yes they have been beating up teams like the A's, Mariners, Twins and Padres.

But good teams beat up the bad teams to pad their record.

And the personnel is starting to play to their abilities. C. J. Wilson and Albert Pujols are pulling their weight. And yes, the team is hitting with the change in the coaching staff.

With 2/3 of the season left, THIS Angels team is scarier than the lousy one in April.

If they were called "The Zombies" I could have made an apt comparison.

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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Folks... this is what the Red Sox are going to be all year

This is why I am not doing a "Dodged Bullet/Teeth Grinder" comparison with the Red Sox this year. I could see it around Easter.

This is a team that will lose a bunch and win a bunch.
Lose dramatically one day, win dramatically the next.

And what better example than the past 2 days.

Yesterday they win with a walk off come from behind 9th inning homer.
Today Aceves coughs up a 9th inning come from behind homer to lose it.

They have 4 games against the Tigers to finish up the month of May.
It is a good bet that they will split those 4 games.

It is who they are.

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Should Nationals Fans Be Called 'Long Suffering'? - The latest for Bleacher Report

There hasn't been a Washington DC World Series title since 1924.

That should be enough to label DC fans as "Long Suffering" right?

But does the 30 year absence of baseball and the success of the Orioles relieve it?

These are the burning questions I asked in my latest article for Bleacher Report.

You can read the article HERE.

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Saturday, May 26, 2012

When you lower your expectations, Red Sox wins are awesome

Come on Red Sox fans.
Admit it. You thought today was a lost game.

And Salty comes through with a walk off homer and the Red Sox are at .500 again.

Hey, I still don't think the Red Sox are going anywhere this season. But hey. Walk offs against the Rays are always cool.

I'd love to partake in the "All You Can Eat Crow Buffet" regarding the Sox and their playoff chances. But if today was just a fun win, then that isn't so bad, it it?

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The Nationals Should Bring in Strasburg for the Third Inning - My latest for Bleacher Report

I make my case for using Stephen Strasburg from the third inning on in my latest for Bleacher Report.

All I a want is to have the best pitcher on the mound late in the game. It is bonkers. It makes sense to ME, but I am strange.

To read the article CLICK HERE.

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Friday, May 25, 2012

Red Sox fans... we're not contenders

I wrote a piece for Bleacher Report about why the Red Sox need to deal Josh Beckett. And I got a lot of flack from readers who did not agree with my assessment of the team.

I claimed the Red Sox are not legit contenders in 2012.
For some reason a lot of people disagreed with me.

Well tonight illustrated yet another example of why the Sox are not contenders. Going into the season, Jon Lester was the only pitcher I had any faith in.

He lost... again. And his ERA is 4.72.
That's not good. It is barely mediocre. And we are past the 1/4 mark of the season. The whole "It's early" excuse is getting flimsy.

The Sox lost to the Rays. Never good. This is a team the Red Sox are supposedly chasing.

But here is the most convincing stat I can give anyone to make my case that this Red Sox team is not a contender. In the Schedule and Results section of Baseball Reference, they break down the games, head to head match ups and amount of time in first place among other details of the season.

Here's the entry for the 2012 Red Sox in terms of "Most Games Above .500" for 2012.


They haven't been above .500 once all season.

We're almost in freaking June and they haven't been in the black for a day.
So yeah, the Red Sox should listen to offers for Kevin Youkilis, Kelly Shoppach AND Josh Beckett.

That's not blowing up the team. That's making some changes based upon moving some players who might help another club in 2012 and won't make much a difference in 2013.

But please. Don't call this team a contending team.
Contending teams have winning records.

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The Dodgers Should Try to Acquire Ichiro - My latest for Bleacher Report

The Dodgers should at least try to acquire Ichiro Suzuki from the Mariners. It would give the team the perfect star power boost to make them THE team of L.A.

I make my case in Bleacher Report.

You can read the article HERE.

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MLB Should Have Kept Just One Concrete Donut Stadium - My latest for Bleacher Report

How can anyone defend the concrete cookie cutter multipurpose stadiums of the 1970s?
Well, I found a way in my latest article for Bleacher Report.

You can read the article HERE.

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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Who should the Yankees hire to replace Girardi? - My article for Bleacher Report

In one of my latest for Bleacher Report, I go there.
If the Yankees don't win it all this year, Joe Girardi will almost undoubtedly be shown the door.

But who should get the gig?
I break down 10 choices.

Read the article HERE.
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Yes, the Indians are still winning

We're past the first quarter mark and the Tribe is still winning.
Every time I think "Well, now they are going to come back to Earth" they win again.
Every time I think "NOW the Tigers are going to make their move" the Indians beat Detroit head to head.

It is players like Jason Kipnis and Vinnie Pestano who are pulling it off. How many pre season prediction articles for the pennant race included Vinnie Pestano.

I can't even get a handle on this team in terms of the heroes. Last year you had people like Carlos Santana and Travis Hafner and Shin Soo Choo getting dramatic hits. This year, they just kind of sort of win.

Nothing spectacular. Nothing that makes you perk up and say "Wow, are we seeing something special?" Just "Oh, the game is over and look at that! The Indians have more runs."

I picked the Tigers to win the Central (as did most people in the Solar System) and I bet when the final 3/4 of the season is played out that Detroit will right the ship and this strange anonymous Cleveland team will fade back.

Or will they?
This reminds me a little bit about how I felt about last year's National League West race. I kept thinking "Well this Diamondback team is clearly not going to keep this up. Eventually the Giants will pull away."

And it never happened.

I can't figure out this Indians team.
The Tigers had better solve them before they wonder what the hell happened in 2012.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Why isn't #26 retired on the Red Sox?

Look, I'm happy that Scott Podsednik is on the team and homered for the Sox today.
His homer matched his regular season total for 2005. (He hit 2 that post season.)

But why is #26 available for him to wear?

Seriously Red Sox. Wade Boggs wore #26. He was a Hall of Famer who played 11 straight seasons for the Red Sox, winning 5 batting titles and being a key player on the 1986 AL Champs and the 1988 and 1990 Division winners.

There is no excuse for having Scott Podsednik, coming back from injuries and trying to make it as a 4th outfielder and having him say "Can I have a Hall of Famer's number?"

It is absurd.

I covered this already in my Bleacher Report Article about numbers.

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Can Red Sox fans co opt all of the Jeremy Lin puns?

All of that "Lin-sanity" stuff didn't get the Knicks very far.
But Che-Hsuan Lin may have just saved the game for the Red Sox with his great catch in the 8th inning today.

And frankly with each day a young Red Sox player shows some heart and guts, the more I am liking this team. Each catch by Lin, hit by Will Middlebrooks or solid start from Felix Doubront make me excited.

No not for 2012. I still don't think this team is a contender. We're past the 1/4 mark and the Red Sox still haven't spent one day above .500 yet. Wake me when they get 5 games above .500 before you start having images of playoffs dancing in your head.

But the more holes they can fill from within with young, inexpensive and eager to succeed players, the less likely they will be an expensive bloated team in 2013.

What if Lin can be a speedy outfielder to combine with a healthy Ellsbury to give the team solid defense and speed?

What if Middlebrooks and Jose Iglesias give the Red Sox a left side of the infield for years to come to go along with Pedroia and Gonzalez on the right side?

What if Bard and Doubront can be back end of the rotation pitchers while Mark Melancon and Junichi Tazawa can provide some bullpen depth?

Then the off season turns into fill in a couple of gaps in the rotation, pen and maybe one bat and all of a sudden the team can be an exciting one.

Just be careful with the Asian puns.

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At least everything on the field is good for Aroldis Chapman

This has been a strange week for Aroldis Chapman.
He was arrested for speeding with a suspended license. Now I have never had a suspended license, but if I ever did, TRUST ME the fastest I would ever drive is 54 MPH. It's a good rule to keep.

"I shouldn't be driving. What's the one thing I can do to avoid a policeman from finding out that I am on the road illegally? Oh yeah. Speeding!"

Then he is involved in some lawsuit regarding human trafficking, ratting out someone who was smuggling people, being a stooge for the government and escaping the country. It is so bizarre and convoluted that the man suing him is either 100% correct or 100% out of his mind.

Once again, it is a situation I have no frame of reference to understanding.
I've never been involved in a situation where my friends are trafficking people.

And if any of you, my dear readers, are doing anything like that, don't share it with me. Let's just talk baseball.

So that's a pretty messed up week. Kind of puts my day to day issues in perspective.

That being said, it looks like the Reds finally came to their senses of what to do with him before he gets into more legal trouble. HE'S CLOSING!

As I've been screaming for them to do, they have a remarkable weapon who can shut down the other team in the 9th  in a way that doesn't seem fair.

His ERA is still 0.00.
Sean Marshall's is 4.80.
Chapman has let up 7 hits all year.
I think I saw Marshall let up 7 hits in his last outing against the Yankees.
Chapman has 41 strikeouts in 23 1/3 innings and strikes out nearly 6 batters for every walk.

In his first 2 games as the Reds closer, he has 2 innings pitched, 3 strike outs, no walks, no hits, no nothing. (Both games had a runner reach on an error.)

Of course they didn't use him as a closer on Monday and the Reds had a nail biting 9th with Arredondo and Marshall.

Is Dusty Baker being overly cautious based on his experience with the Cubs? Did Kerry Wood's retirement remind him of an arm he wore down to the ground?

Relax Dusty. It's the Cuban Missile.

I'm not saying that Chapman is making the best decisions in the world. But maybe a slightly reckless person chucking the ball in triple digits is just what the Reds need.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

This is NOT how the Rockies drew it up

Remember the Colorado Rockies?
They were that team that won the National League pennant out of nowhere a few years ago.
They were also the team in 2009 that looked like the smartest kids in the room.
They didn't make the playoffs in 2010 but made a big charge for it and looked like contenders for years to come.

They traded Matt Holliday and managed to steal Carlos Gonzalez in the deal. And they kept him and Troy Tulowitzki in town for long term deals and had a great pipeline of solid talent coming into Denver.

Remember how they were going to have a homegrown team winning a vulnerable division year in and year out with a core of players that the fans could relate to?

And on May 5 of 2011, the Rockies had a 4 game lead in the NL West.
Everything was working perfectly.

They are 70-104 since then.

And the Denver fans not trading in their Tebow jerseys for Manning shirts are calling for manager Jim Tracy's head. They are falling like a rock and only the Twins and Cubs are keeping them from being the worst team in baseball.

Michael Cuddyer isn't hitting as advertised, Todd Helton looks done and the pitching looks like someone has shut off the humidor.

Call me crazy, but I don't think the Rockies should do anything drastic. And that includes keeping Jim Tracy in his job.

First of all, there is hope for this team. They could do a patented Colorado run for the Wild Card. Plus the Dodgers (while I did indeed pick them) are a super hot team that could go super cold. And who knows what the Diamondbacks, Giants and Padres are going to be at the end of the season.

The West is a wildly unpredictable division. In 2006, it looked like the Padres were going to win it for the foreseeable future. Then in 2007 it looked like the Diamondbacks had it figured out. Then in 2008 it was the Dodgers for years and years. Then in 2010 the Giants staked a claim. A turn around isn't too crazy of an idea.

Gonzalez is still hitting and Tulowitzki should turn around soon. Plus there are many young players like Wilin Rosario, Alex White, Jhoulys Chacin and Drew Pomeranz who could make their mark. Third baseman Nolan Arenado could be up in Denver before the season is over.

There is no reason to scrap the team or change course because of a bad 365 days. The best thing the Rockies can do is provide some consistency and that includes management. Very few people picked the Rockies to win the 2012 NL West, so they should use that to their advantage.

What they were creating was a stable franchise with an identity and a certain kind of player wearing a Rockies uniform. And of course a few stars that the fans can call their own.

Trust me, the NL West changes power from year to year. Be prepared when it is the Rockies turn.

Don't fire the guy.
Something good is going to happen.

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Spring Cleaning on The Sully Baseball Show

Monday Night Around the Majors/The Sully Baseball Show 05/21 by Seamheads | Blog Talk Radio

On The Sully Baseball Podcast, I included parts of two previous interviews that were originally cut out.

I enjoyed my talk with So Buttons author Jonathan Bayliss about baseball movies and WFAN's Jason Keidel and I had a long Pete Rose discussion.

I couldn't find a place to put them in previous shows, so I shared them on this one.

It is on the second hour of the Seamheads Tuesday night block.

Listen to internet radio with Seamheads on Blog Talk Radio

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Monday, May 21, 2012

The Red Sox are as good as the Yankees this year

Yankee fans, I don't want to hear anyone talking smack against the Red Sox.
Yeah the Yankees were in first place a month ago. Yeah they were 5 games over .500 on May 14.

Yeah the Red Sox started the season 1-5 and were 5-10 at one point. Yeah the Red Sox were the laughing stock of baseball.

Well guess what?
They have identical records now.

The Yankees and Red Sox are equals in terms of being over paid, over hyped, under achieving embarrassments.

Neither have anything to crow about.
Neither team can brag.

It's 42 games into the season, just about 1/4 of the season has passed, and both teams are .500.

So I hope Yankee fans didn't think the Red Sox start was too horrible.
Because the Yankee start was just as rotten.

I have the numbers to prove it.

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