Thursday, May 31, 2007

Fantasy Land Revisited... and other silly news

I only have time for a quick post, but I thought that both of these items were interesting. First off, this piece in Slate about obsessing over one's fantasy team is pretty accurate and funny. No fan in their right mind cheers for their team to win 3-1 and for the opposing pitcher to have 8 Ks in a loss. Ah... but we've all been there. And, please let's drop the Clemens thing. I am ashamed of myself but there really is no more penance that I can do.

Ironically, last night I was switching between games on TV. Yes, Daisy and I ordered the MLB package a couple of weekends ago so that we could watch the Mets beat up on the Yankees. As expected, our collective laissez-faire attitude has meant that our agreement to order the package for a special weekend of fun has turned into a week plus! Anyway, back to my story. The Blue Jays were trailing the Skankees 5 to 6 in the top of the 9th and it was some how more compelling than the Red Sox bottom of the 9th after failing to bring home a single run with the bases loaded and no outs in the 8th! ARGH. Well, as luck would have it, we got to witness this. As noted in the first week of the season, by yours truly, Arod's mental age must be closer to his shoe size than his actual age. Last night's action doesn't surprise me and it certainly confirms my suspicion that Arod is in fact a little kid trapped inside a superhuman body. Do you think he still sleeps with stuffed animals or a blanket?

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

A-Rod to be Traded???

Ok, you're the GM for the Yankees. Your team is struggling (14 and 1/2 games out as of this morning). You need a spark. You also get the sense that your third baseman is opting out of NY at the end of this year. To boot, said third baseman is now supposedly involved in a scandal (he was seen hanging out all night with a blonde woman...they went upstairs at the hotel in which he was staying).

Do you trade him?

Now, that might seem insane at this point, but also sane. What do I mean by this?

The insane part is that the Yankees are still not out of it, this early. But do they need a scandal on top of all their woes? They already seem to have one with Giambi's comments. I would venture to say that the ship is teetering on the edge of taking on just too much to bail out.

They need a change.

Remember that Nomar was terribly unhappy. The Sox were flat. The FO in Boston traded a Red Sox god. The new players lit them on fire...the rest is history.

Now, what would be a good deal? It is fairly common knowledge that A-Rod and Piniella are very close. The Cubs are only 6-games back in the NL Central. What about Aramis Ramirez for A-Rod? What if they could swing a deal that let A-Rod play SS?

I am not looking for the Yankees to get better or to make a huge run. Somehow, reading about the scandal thing this morning (and the fact that the Yankees are probably looking for a fall guy now), makes a trade of a huge contract seem to be a reasonable assumption.

I think something like this becomes a lot more likely if our Boston Red Sox sweep this weekend.

Hey, maybe the Yankees can pick up Carl Everett???

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Fun with numbers....

One year ago today, the tigers had just run off 8 straight and 15 of 16 to bring their record to 35-14 and that brought all the speculation and number crunching. - if the Tigers go just .500 in their remaining games, they will win 105 games etc, etc. Well it turns out that MN were actually 12.5 games out and did come back and win the division on the last day of the season, which of course did not stop the Tigers from advancing to the WS.

In 2005, it was the White Sox who started 33-14 on their way to 41-19 and much of the discussion again was "if they just go .500."

Well, I have not read the papers today, but I imagine it won't be long before we see the #'s for this year's Sox. At 33-15 and NY (and TOR and BAl) at essentially 21-16, if the Sox go .500 , they will win 90 games. That does not sound like a ton, but given the state of their competition, it could/should be enough to win the division. NY would have to go 70-45 just to win 90. I guess they could do that - it is only 98 win pace and many people had them at that before the season - of course that is pre-Roger, but also pre Damon, Cano and Abreu forgetting how to hit. And its not that unprecedented. MN went 79-42 from May 15 last year, I have a feeling this will get interesting again.

But I do believe it is only a matter of days before we start seeing the numbers.....

Friday, May 25, 2007

Helton, revisited

A couple times now we've discussed the possibility of Todd Helton being traded to the Sox (here and here for example). The major knock on him was his serious power decline. But so far this year (yes, I know it's early), his slide hasn't seemed to continue. He's slugging the same as he was in 2005 - which was way below his 2004 numbers but nowhere near as low as one might reasonably expect given the trend (anyone have his "official" projections for 2007?). Plus he's hitting and walking more than ever - BA of .361, OBP of .480. The numbers (year/BA/OBP/SLG/OPS):

2002 .329 .429 .577 1.006
2003 .358 .458 .630 1.088
2004 .347 .469 .620 1.089
2005 .320 .445 .534 .979
2006 .302 .404 .476 .880
2007 .361 .480 .538 1.018

The other thing everyone points out is the massive offensive boost he gets by playing half his games in Coors Field: sure enough, in every year from 2002 to 2006, his OPS is consistently 200-250 points higher at home than on the road. But this year - again with the caveat of small sample sizes - that discrepancy is totally gone:

Home .361 .495 .528 1.023
Away .360 .466 .547 1.013

Likely just a fluke. But you have to assume he's not going be a Rockie by August...

P.S. Another change for 2007: he's adopted the same ginormous goatee that Kevin Youkilis has. Or, as I like to call it, the 'frotee.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Speedy

As much as I'd like this story to be true, I just don't buy it. The article provides no sources, or even an inkling of what information their "Exclusive" is based on - apparently it's so weak they can't even refer to an "anonymous official". The closest the article comes to "evidence" that Giambi failed a drug test is this little journalistic gem:
Giambi himself hinted at the failed test...in his eye-opening interview with USA Today last week, when he said that he is "probably tested more than anyone else."
There you have it. He said he's been tested a lot, and therefore he clearly must have failed one recently. Score one for the New York Daily News.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Wanged up


Damn, that game sucked. When Wake is off, he's off. The upside is that we get treated to all sorts of Wang headlines. Or, as I like to call them, Wanglines. Today's aren't as good as when the Sox smack Wang around...but you can't win them all. Anyway, while it says nothing about A-Rod's massive explosion, or the much-anticipated return of the Rocket, George King's article probably has the best Wangline of the day:

Wang Makes Things Right

Truer words have never been spoken.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Caution: Stupid People Ahead


By now we've all heard about Giambi's "confession" in USA Today on Friday. I know this is not a favorite topic of this blog, but I think this is worthy of posting simply because it strikes me as career suicide.

My guess is that Giambi wanted to lay claim to the vacant job of poster-boy for cleaning up baseball. It's a stretch, I admit but why else would he shoot himself in the foot? We've seen what has happened to Palmeiro and McGwire who opted for silence. They have been shut out. Maybe Giambi saw the writting on the wall and thought he could get more out of playing the confessed sinner card. A risky gambit for sure, but potentially the only move he had (other than silence). The timing of it is smart because Bonds still hasn't tied the record. As soon as he does, reporters are going to start asking questions and now Giambi is positioned to become the spokes-person for the formerly guilty. This will certainly get him air time. Although, he might not want it after the fall out.

At least one media outlet picked up "Giambi as hero" story (albeit a fringe group called NewsBlaze): "Giambi teaches Bonds a lesson". Far more news outlets are reporting about Giambi's lack of timing and potential permature end of his career with the Yankees. Last night on air, Gammons called Giambi's judgement into question. MLB has taken the silence approach, refusing to talk about it until after next week (read the Red Sox/Yankees series is over). As for the Yankees, Cashman has come out and put up a wall.

Where does this leave our "hero"? Shit out of luck.

My guess is that the Yankees will not terminate his contract right away, but might try to find a middle ground (e.g. set a date for reviewing his contract at the end of the year). My guess is that Selig will be happy to let this play out in the quiet of the offseason and can always point to Mitchell's "progress" or involvement in the investigation (including Giambi's recent remarks). It's not like the clubhouse at Yankee stadium could get any worse so I am sure the Yankees won't care as long as he hits (which is a problem right now).

(Photo courtesy of Bostondirtdogs.com)

Friday, May 18, 2007

Checking in on Predictions...

Here's a little something I posted before this last stretch of Sox games:

"My guess is that the Sox go 8-5 or 7-6 during that stretch. Split with Oakland, beat Seattle, 1-1 against Minnesota (it's Wakefield and Tavarez), 2-1 against Toronto (top or the rotation), 2-2 against Detroit."

I asked the question...are the Sox better than this? To give a little perspective, the Yankees were heading into a long stretch of Seattle/Texas games...How'd I do?

They split with Oakland...check
They beat Seattle...check

then I think I had some problems reading their schedule...

The Sox played 3 against Minnesota. Took 2 of them.
They swept Toronto...(better than I expected)
I completely missed the Orioles series...they took 2 of 3.
Then 3 of 4 against the Tigers.

12-3 over that run...Ridiculous. And some of those wins were gutsy, comeback victories. Many of those wins had guys like Hinske, Cora, Wily Mo, and Pedroia making major contributions.

This team reminds me of the 1986 Mets...(I know, poor taste to mention them on a Red Sox blog)...You expected everyone to contribute...You expected them to win every time they went on the field. Even down by 4 or 5 in the ninth, you don't stop watching.

That was a tough stretch of games. Now, though, they are going to have one or two spot starts...Beckett is missing two...Hansack and Gabbard...can they keep going against the Braves and Yankees? Time will tell...

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Double Dip

Discussion on the double header???

Sox grab 1-0 lead in the first on a Manny Ramirez single.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Red Sox win... Earl gets hitched!

What a whacky game! Honestly, I am not sure how I feel about that win, I guess lucky is the right word. Anyway, I'll take a win any way we can get it. With the Tigers and Atlanta on the schedule this week things could get interesting.

In other news, Earl got hitched this weekend. Not that it's Red Sox related but it is certainly GYS worthy! Congrats Earl!!! I was dissapointed Wally wasn't there but there was beer!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Ridiculous item of the week

Okay, so last week, I noted that I thought Torri Hunter has lost a step. He must read GYS and have felt the need to prove me wrong because he came up with a gem last night.

But the silliness is that one of the Twins beat writers is saying that it might be one of the five greatest catches ever. Now, I'm sorry, but good grief. NO catch in May, can be one of the greatest ever. It was pretty. Well, maybe not pretty since he slipped when he was going after int. The writer even compared to the Willie Mays catch. Actually his comparison just shows how JV the article is - it named, I kid you not, Wikipedia, as a source of information. Amazing.

But back to catches. Five greatest. How about a few that easily come to mind:

Endy Chavez last year NLCS
Willie Mays
Devon White had an amazing catch in one of the TOR WS 92 or 93
Dewey in the 75 WS, resulting in a double play
Torii Hunter robbing bonds in the ASG
Ted Williams broke his elbow making a great catch in the 1950 ASG
If you want early season catches, how bout the one last year in TEX (I'm thinking Gary Matthews, but I know that is wrong)
Kevin Mitchell bare handed
Bo Jackson catching and then running along the top of the fence
Jim Edmonds had one where he went flat out toward the CF wall, back to home plate
Dimaggio got robbed in one of the Yankee WS by some no name - almost as famous for him kicking the dirt at second after he saw that the OF hung onto the ball after his dive
And some will say Jeter on 7/1/2004, even though he totally played that up - caught it while still in fair territory and for some reason had trouble slowing down (it amazes me how so many people make it now seem like he laid out and actually caught the ball in the stands, it was not even close)

So, no, Torri's catch last night was good. But not even close to top 5 ever.

Also, did anyone see the Marlin celebration after D-Lowe gave up the walk off to Willingham. I really thought willingham was going to get into a fight with Miguel Cabrera. His teammate. Strange.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Clemens - predictions

After watching last night's drama unfold in the Bornx (well, actually I didn't watch it, but followed the game on my blackberry while at the sharks game), it reinforces that Clemens will not be their savior. So, GR threw out some numbers, but I figured I would give it its owne thread.

Clemens 8-4 17 starts 92 IP 105H 95K 4.25 ERA

To put that in perspective, I believe that Beckett will have as many wins by the tinme Clemens takes the mound as Roger will get in his 4 months of pitching (plus his requisite 15 day DL stint for a pulled hammy).

Monday, May 07, 2007

Need to Ground the Nation a Little

To listen to many Red Sox fans today, you'd think no one wanted Clemens...Ridiculous.

The next step is that they are giving the ownership credit for not over-bidding. But they weren't given the chance. They might have if Roger's people had gotten back to them.

Once again, the Yankees beat the Sox to the punch...
But how's that really worked out so far?
Pavano?
Contreras?
and the one they didn't win...Daisuke?

So what is the real impact of this?

Clemens won't be pitching until June, and I doubt Torre will let his first outing be in Fenway against the Sox. Yes, a huge boost for the Yankees IF Roger wins, but could be a HUGE failure if Roger loses as he did in his first two outings last year.

He averaged (last year) about 5 and 2/3 an outing.

He beat:
The Chicago Cubs (twice)
The Pittsburgh Pirates (twice)
Milwaukee (once)
Cincinnati (once)
Arizona (once)

He lost to:
Detroit
Minnesota
Cincinnati
Philadelphia
Atlanta
Florida

Now, he'll get a lot of run support in NY. He'll also have a terrible bullpen for, at least, a while. He won't get to the eighth to hand it directly to Rivera. He'll lose the close ones, yet again.

My best guess is that he really does help the Yankees. 9-3 or 9-4 with a 4+ ERA. 9 wins might be high if he doesn't get constant run support, but I'll give the NY lineup the benefit of the doubt. I hope no one really believes that he'll maintain the well sub-3 ERA...

He'll miss the May Sox series, and the early June Sox series (more than likely). That means that 12 of the 18 games will be out of the way. Maybe the Sox see him twice. Probably beat him once. No advantage there.

My guess is that even someone like Igawa (spelling?) in Clemens's spot would get the Yankees 5 wins with their lineup. So, is he that much of a difference maker?

He doesn't rest the pen. In fact, looking at his numbers, one has to think that going into one of his starts that you are looking using 3-4 relievers (even if he gives you 5-6 innings...as he won't have the pitcher hitting for the auto out). The Yankees still have to use their overused pen a lot...this should concern those who route for them.

He wins you a few more games (4? 5?) than someone else in that spot.

And here's the other concern. The Yankees are trying to limit payroll....ok, not really...but...
they spend this huge amount on Clemens. They still have 2 injury prone starters in Mussina and Wang (can Pettitte be put here?), Pavano is gone...Igawa is very weak...Their pen is atrocious. Should they have spread the wealth around a little more instead of just getting a guy who will give them 5-6 innings a start?

5-6 innings for the Sox is a different story. Clemens would have locked the division up for the Sox. The Sox have the pen to get to Papelbon. For the Yankees, however, he may highlight some of their weak spots a little more than he helps...Only time will tell.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Random thoughts for a Saturday

In no specific order....

Not too many years ago, Torri Hunter would have caught JD Drew's triple last night. No doubet about it. And he didn't even lay hiimself all the way out trying to get it.

What is up with Okajima's head when he throws the ball. How does he hit the target if he is not even looking at it.

And what is the deal with the Lugo crotch grabbing. And the Brendan Donnelly crotch grabbing as well.

Where are all the naysayers now on the Beckett deal. Sure, Hanley is having another great season (maybe even better), but Annibel has walked 19 guys in 30 innings and is back in AAA. Meanwhile Beckett has bee pretty good this year.

Speaking of Beckett..... Last year through 6 starts. 3HR. This year. Only 1.

I was going to touch on Pavano as well. It is hard to resist the temptation to gloat, but with all these injuries, and with all that cash, I worry about what the Yanks will do. Dontrelle? A chance on Harden?

that was an interesting stop and stare at the HR by many on Thursday.... I'm surprised the next batter (I think it was Youk) did not get a fastball in the back.

Drinking and driving kills. We all know that. but I really don't like the angle with which this story is being portrayed. Frist it was whispers of what was he doing in that neighborhood. Now it is whole drinking in the clubhouse. The saddest part is that this was someone's life.

An unassisted triple play and 4 HR in a row all in one + week. Nice.

This morning's AL East standings are pretty neat. Boston alone in first. And all four other teams 6.5 games back.

Candor

Brian Cashman, on Carl Pavano:
It clearly hasn’t worked out, there is no doubt about that. We signed a player who we expected to be a horse in our rotation. Physically, he hasn’t held up, period.
I can't understand why they expected he'd be a "horse" (though I'm sure there's a good Barbaro joke in there somewhere). The folks at Baseball Prospectus certainly didn't agree:
2001: Expect to find Pavano’s picture under the definition of "tendinitis."
2002: Pavano’s medical history reads like a script from ER minus the incestuous frolicking by an ethnically diverse cast.
Nice. But what blows my mind is that the Sox were going after him as well. Really, what were they thinking? And this isn't the first time the high-spending Yankees saved the Sox from making a disastrous free agent signing (see Contreras, Jose). Has Theo ever said anything publicly about this?

Thursday, May 03, 2007

April showers bring May flowers?

What has that got to do with anything? Nothing. I just thought it sounded nice. Plus I can stretch this out to a fun little anology. Showers equals NY's slump and flowers equal Roger Clemens. There is an interesting take on the Clemens Decision 2007 Yea.. at this point I think Roger's Annual decision is worthy of a Fox Newsesque title... Decision 2007.

The Sox quick start certainly makes things more interesting as does the Yankee's slump. Roger clearly has more connections and friends in NY (not to mention championships), but would he put those friendships over winning? If the Sox can keep up this pace they certainly can make a compelling argument for Clemens to join them and forgot about those slumping Yankees. That being said, would George open his purse to offer even more (oh, wait is that a man-purse?)? We know how Roger loves the green-stuff.

As a Sox fan, I am slightly torn. The idea of a starting rotation made up of Schilling, Beckett, DiceK, Clemens, and Wake/Lester/Taverez is awesome. That being said, the extra perks that Clemens wants (not traveling with the team on road trips) will surely be a clubhouse annoyance. Not to mention the fact that Roger will certainly steal the limelight from Schrilling and can you honestly see Clemens and Manny/Ortiz doing the high-five routine in the dug out?

At this point, I'd pass. Clemens may make a sweet addition to the line up and I certainly don't want to face him in New York, but I think he'd be more distraction than additional value.

Go Sox!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

South Dakota and Wyoming

Dino and I were at the game last night. Grr. One exciting change at Fenway (maybe new only to me): for each player's at-bat there's now a unique tidbit about that player. "So-and-so had seven multi-hit games last months, tying him for twelfth all time for right-handed shortstops in the month of April." For Mark Ellis, we learned that he has more career home runs than any other player born in South Dakota...41! Second place was Dave Collins (also from Rapid City) with 32. Terry Francona (Aberdeen) was fourth, with 16. Other notable South Dakotans include Keith Foulke, Sparky Anderson, Justin Duchscherer, and Kerry Ligtenberg. (Also, two guys named Jug and Jiggs.)

Anyway, on learning about Mark Ellis's amazing South Dakotan slugging ability, I announced that Mike Lansing, my Second Favorite Red Sock Of All Time (second only to this guy of course), had the most home runs of all players born in Wyoming. We then argued over how many he actually had, and decided the one furthest from the correct answer had to sponsor his BR page. So, keep an eye on this (the sponsorship should be posted within 24 hours).

Regardless of the bet, it turned out my initial assertion was wrong. Only twelve players in MLB history were born in Wyoming. But Lansing, with 84 career HR, is actually second on the Wyoming career HR list. Mike Devereaux, from Casper, hit 104. However, Lansing is 1st in steals, runs, doubles, and walks.

Therefore, Mike Lansing is awesome.

The end.

Hazel Mae naked

Hazel Mae nude Hazel Mae hot Hazel Mae is hot Hazel Mae pictures Hazel Mae photos
Hazel Mae boobs (I won't use the T-word since Jesse does not like that.....)

Okay. Done.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Jinx (Hey its never to early when it comes to NY)

Phil Hughes has a no-hitter in the 4th. With the Yanks up 6-0 and Hughes pitching well, I'm sure all the headlines will be how Phil saves the season.

April Sox Recap

Now that May is here, it is time for the April Sox recap...

We'll begin with the starting pitching.

Schilling: Off to a great start. Despite the one rocky outing against the Royals, he's been all that he claimed he would be.

Beckett: What else can you say about this kid? Everyone in camp said that he would be lights out, and he's been nothing short of it.

Daisuke: He's been very good. He's prone to one bad inning per start where he throws a ton of pitches. He's got to get past that...and a little more run support wouldn't hurt either.

Wakefield: Off to a phenomenal start.

Tavarez: Objectively looking at Tavarez, he could be a serviceable fifth starter for the year. The defense hasn't been very good behind him, and he has a tendency to get himself into trouble with walks. But he gets a lot of double plays...With some better fielding, he'll be fine.

Batting:
Lugo- Decent start. Hope his average comes up (and it seems to be), but he runs the bases well, and has a wide range at short.

Youk- Doing everything he's supposed to do.

Ortiz- Ortiz

Manny- Hopefully, his last day in NY is a sign that he is heating up. Very slow start. Lots of weak grounders.

Drew- I have to give this one to X. The guy is good.

Lowell- WAY better than I expected. In fact, he's better than last year and I look forward to watching him hit...Despite his errors, the guy is a vacuum at third. Some of the errors, really should have been ruled hits.

Varitek/Mirabelli- Not too bad, not too good. Mirabelli has been a surprise. Tek is striking out a lot.

Crisp- I am happy with him. I wish he'd be a little more patient at the plate. Too many weak pop-ups and grounders...

Pedroia- Weakest spot on the team. He flies out a lot to right field. He does work the count, but a sub-200 average is tough to stomach.

Bench: Wily Mo...a home run now and then doesn't make up for a ton of strikeouts...a disaster in the field. I think they are hoping for a hot streak so he might become a trade commodity.

Hinkse- Shouldn't play first base. Incredibly slow first step so grounders are by him in a hurry. I like him off the bench, though.

Cora- A professional's professional. Does whatever needs to be done.

Bullpen:
Not too many weak links out there. I am a little concerned that Papelbon and Okajima will tire out if they pitch so much. Donnelley should get more innings. Timlin is not good...Snyder is being limited, which is also good.

Piniero and Romero? What can you say about them? They aren't a problem, and they probably won't be used too much. I would almost say that you should trade one of them and let Delcarmen pitch in the majors again...there are enough arms out there to save him if needed.

This team is in good shape. Plenty of starting pitching (and Lester seems ready), good bullpen, great closer and setup man. The lineup has days where they are completely shut down, but those seem few and not too worrisome at the moment. Add Manny's bat to the mix, and scoring runs won't be a problem. They will probably look to add another bat at some point, and perhaps another bullpen arm. Now, as opposed to the recent past, it seems like they have a lot of potential chips with which to trade.

This team is 16-8 and playing like it. They are heading in to a tough stretch, so let's see what happens. I am not granting them the crown, yet. There's a ton of baseball to be played. If they can keep the pitching staff healthy, they are in great shape...