Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Tuesday Recap: Anibal is an animal, Braves cool off, everybody's hurt and the journey of Casper Wells.

Quote of the Day: 

"Anibal is number one, I'm number two and [Justin Verlander] is just average."  

-- Max Scherzer, joking after Anibal Sanchez's 17 strikeout performance against the Braves. Scherzer's career high in strikeouts is 15, while Verlander's is 14.  

So I guess he's maybe got a point?  The Tiger's rotation is striking out everybody right now.  

Happy Monday Tuesday baseball fans.  If you checked in yesterday, hoping for the Monday recap that we promised you on a more consistent basis, I'm sorry.  First of all, I'm lazy.  Second of all, it was a busy start to the week.  Thirdly, I was spending the time I hoped to do for the recap with my own recap for a fantasy baseball league I'm in.  So yeah, my entire life revolves around baseball.  

Hopefully you checked back in today.  Today's recap we've got Anibal the Cannibal Sanchez throwing the year's best pitching performance to date, the Braves are suddenly cold due to playing in cold weather (at least J-Upton's still hot), Phil Hughes[?] makes it happen, ditto for Russell Martin and Josh Donaldson, and Casper Wells has a boat-ton of frequent flier miles.  All this and more in today's recap.  Let's lead off!  

Anibal is an Animal

Anibal takes the ball against the best team in the National League on Thursday and promptly sat down 17 Braves batters on strikes.  After striking out the side in the 8th inning, Sanchez tipped his cap to the crowd, providing a standing ovation at Comerica Park.  At 121 pitches he wasn't going back out for a shot at the MLB record of 20.

Perhaps the most impressive about Sanchez's feat is that he only issued one free pass in eight innings.  Most of the time, when you're breaking balls working and biting, a pitcher will let a few batters get away from him but not that night.  Perhaps he was helped out a little bit by the free-swinging Braves but regardless, it was an  absolutely dominating performance.  The Tigers have now won five of their last six and sit at the top of the AL Central.  

Oh and to commemorate his 17 K night, here's an "Animal" song for Anibal... 

I'm sort of a hipster.  Sorry.

Braves Cool Off (Literally)

After a 13-2 start to the season, the Braves then promptly went out and got swept by the Pirates and Tigers with a 2-1 series with the Rockies sandwiched in between.  It was the Colorado series that got the most attention though.  With two of baseball's hottest teams and 13-5 each, the temperature at Coors Field for the start of the series opener was 23 degrees, the coldest ever at Colorado.  It didn't cool off Justin Upton who jacked his 10th home run and leads the majors with 12 as of today.  

Braves look to get out of their funk with a home stand against the Nationals.  They started well last night against Strasburg, winning 3-2 in the opener.  The Braves are 4-0 on the year against their new NL East rivals.  

Phil Hughes Shows He Still Has Potential

The Yankees proved Sunday that Toronto still has a long way to go if the Blue Birds plan on competing in the AL East.  Phil Hughes whiffed 11 batters and the reeling Jays dropped to 9-17 on the season.  Not exactly the type of start they were hoping for after basically giving up a top five farm system in the offseason only to see Jose Reyes go to the DL, Josh Johnson struggle and R.A. Dickey still transitioning to the AL.  

Hopefully they will bounce back (or a lot of our preseason predictions will look really bad).  Meanwhile, Hughes provided his third straight quality start after a shaky start to the season.  If he can anchor the backend of the Yankeees staff, look out Boston.  Or Baltimore.  Or Tampa.  Really anyone can win that Division.  Buckle up East Coast baseball.  

It Only Took David Price ____ Starts to Get a Win

The exact number is six.  Six starts for the Ray's ace to pickup his first win of the season in an 8-3 win over the White Sox on Sunday.  That's what you get for stealing Justin Verlander's Cy Young last year.  Okay, I'm over it.  But a good cure for a struggling ace is to face a team that basically has been told not to draw walks.  Wade went over a bit of that here.  

Price struck out nine in seven innings of work after laboring for the first couple of innings.  The Rays split their four game series with the South Siders and sit a game below .500 on the season.  The Sox are worse and are last in the AL Central.  Time for both to get things figured out.  

Price no likey bad words from angry man

The bigger news developing is Price's claim that home plate umpire Tom Hallion used an expletive towards him after Price disputed a pitch in the 7th inning to Dewayne Wise on Sunday.  Of course, Hallion then called Price a liar which prompted the social media savvy Price to head to Twitter to complain, possibly violating MLB's social media policy.

So what exactly did Tom Hallion say that prompted Price to erupt like that?  I've got a few guesses:

"It's about time you get a f******* win."

"Hey, you'll still never catch the f****** Red Sox."

"F*** you David, I'm a boss and I MAKE the f****** rules."

"How does it feel to have a hundred f******* fans watching you every game?"

"Your Twitter is b*******.  You're not as f******* funny as you think you are."

"B******* Cy Young last year!"  

"Someone with a 5.21 ERA shouldn't be f******* complaining about balls/strikes."

"The f******* Yankees won't want you after this year if you keep pitching like this."

"Justin f****** Verlander is better."
"F*** you Price and your ******, ****ing, and your ******* weird coach, ***** *** stadium and your ***, ***** because if you *****, I'll *** your **** or ****** you up because you're a ****** and *** the ****.  The Ray suck and  ******* always will!"  

I can see that last one being a problem.  Hopefully this gets resolved peacefully.  If Hallion did swear at him, it would puzzling because on replay, it clearly shows he missed the call.....

 I don't know enough about Hallion to say that he's a bad umpire but to call Price a liar?  Umpires should try to remain in the background and generally keep their mouths shut.  Ultimately the call didn't matter and we shouldn't judge umpires based on a few missed ball/strike calls but we also shouldn't have to deal with them publicly attack the pitchers they call games for.  Someone's going to get disciplined.  Stay tuned for more.  

Reds Can't Buy a Hit off Zimmermann 

The Reds got one-hit for the second night in a row on Friday and this time it was Jordan Zimmermann that followed Gio Gonzalez the previous night with a shutout of his own, needing only 91 pitches in a 1-0 victory.  It was the first time the Reds had been one-hit in back-to-back games since....1900.  No, that's not a typo. 

Like Sanchez, Zimmermann impressively issued only one free pass and struck out four, allowing only three base runners.  If he can stay healthy, he has the talent to help anchor this Nationals rotation with Strasburg and Gonzalez.  And if the Nats pitching can keep it rolling, watch out.  

Your Players of the Week: Russell Martin and Josh Donaldson

Thanks to a .375 batting average with four homers and a .958 slugging percentage, catcher Russell Martin captured the NL Player of the Week award after overcoming a slow start to the season.  He can now send a fruit basket to the Cardinal's pitching.  Here at the Full Count, we thought that the Yankees made a big mistake letting Martin walk and hopefully Martin can keep up the production and make us look even smarter.  

A pretty nice guy for a Canadian.  Now that Francisco Cervelli is out with a broken hand, I hope the Yankees have fun with Chris Stewart catching. 

 Keep killing the ball Russell.  Every time you do well, the Yankees look dumb.  I like that.  Oh, and don't look now but the Pirates are in first place.  Their best player is at a .216 average.  Their staff ace is being paid CEO money not to pitch for the Yankees.  Baseball continues to be a weird sport.  I love it.  Keep making me look smart, Pirates.  

On the AL side, it was Josh Donaldson who capture the Player of the Week award, with a .545 batting average, seven walks and ten RBI.  It was the journeyman third basemans' first time being named player of the week, bumping his batting average almost 75 points to above .300 and making a lot of desperate fantasy owners very happy people.   Billy Beane continues to find diamonds in the rough for the surprising A's.  Look for Justin Timberlake to play him in Moneyball 2, coming out in the summer of 2015.  

Phillies Sweep the Reeling Mets in Matchup of Two of my Least Favorite Teams

Ryan Howard came off the bench to hit a pinch-hit double to break a 1-1 tie against the Mets to back Cole Hamels and complete a sweep of the Mets.  The Mets have lost five in a row and seven of the last ten.  Well, at least they have Matt Harvey.  Oh, and they lost to the Marlins in 15 innings last night...yes, the Marlins.  Queens baseball is going to need some help soon.  Meanwhile  Howard is starting to find his bat and the Phillies may work their way back into the NL East conversation with sitting a game back of the second place Nationals.  

They've got the pitching experience to do it and the season is still young even though Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay are not.   

Casper Wells has gotten pretty good at packing this year

The White Sox have acquired the outfielder from the A's this week.  This will be Wells' fourth team in the month of April (!?!?!).  The journeyman outfielder started the season on the Mariners before being claimed off waivers by the Toronto Blue Jays.  Since then, he was given the dreaded DFA (designated for assignment) by the Jays on April 15 and traded to the A's for cash on the 22nd.  He went 0-5 in three appearances with the Athletics before being being DFA'ed again and picked up by the White Sox.  

Oh and if you don't read the links in the title posts, you should at least read this one as the White Sox blog "South Side Sox" gives a hilarious take on Wells journeys this season.  It also makes fun of Raul Ibanez's defense which is always cool.  I've linked it again here. Read it.  Seriously.  Still no?  Okay fine.  Godspeed Casper Wells.  May your quest to break Reggie Sander's record for most teams played on go smooth and not be broken at least for a few months.  

That's about enough for today, but a wrap up wouldn't be complete without a [drumroll..........]


Today's theme is "Everybody's Hurt."  Let's roll...

●   Giancarlo Stanton hits homers, gets DL'ed   ●    Kung Fu Panda has kung fu sore elbow      A bad back is no excuse for getting rocked   ●   Foul balls off ankles apparently hurt   ●   Flyin' Hawaiian still grounded    ●   Just when you thought things couldn't get worse for Angels   ●   This would be, like, really bad for Rockies   ●   Youkilis still sore, MRI will show more   ●   Reyes cast off, I hope Casper Wells still got to sign it   ●   McCann close to being back   ●   Greinke throwing, hopefully practicing punching too    ●   Get hurt, lose your closer job   ●   Lackey back and beats Astros, so yeah, that doesn't say much    ●   Scheduled Doubleheaders? I like it!   ●  Noooooooooo Strasburg.  Oh wait, good  

That's it for today, we've got baseball all week.  Until next time baseball freaks.  I'm out.  Oh and just because we love our readers....here's Kate again.  She helps our site traffic too.  


Friday, April 26, 2013

Jeffrey Loria at it Again Plus Tidbits from Around the League

Happy Friday Baseball Fans!!  Today we touch on Jeffrey Loria's latest disaster, plus go around the league for a bit of news

First up is Jeffrey Loria and his ridiculous meddling in to the on the field product in Miami.  Miami had a double header up in Minnesota, with 20 year old rookie Jose Fernandez and highest paid Marlin and veteran Ricky Nolasco scheduled to start the two games.  Standard procedure around the league is to allow the more veteran pitcher to choose which game he would like to start.  However, because he wanted his young star to pitch in warmer temperatures, Loria instructed manager Mike Redmond to start Fernandez in game 1 during the day and Nolasco in the nightcap.  This did not sit well with Nolasco, the team, or really the entire league.  Yes, Loria signs everyone's checks, but owners that meddle in the on the field product have no place in the game.  Loria just continues to prove that he is one of the most hated men in baseball.  Seriously, does his family even like him??

Alfredo Aceves was designated for assignment.  He has really struggled for the last year + but he has definitely shown in the past that he can pitch.  He has some off the field issues, but a couple teams should look to acquire the veteran swingman.  Will it be the Cubs? Astros? Padres?  I sure don't know, but I definitely expect the bottom rung teams to inquire about the fiery right hander.

Hawk Harrelson was on MLB Network with Brian Kenny and Harold Reynolds yesterday to discuss sabermetrics and all of the statistics in baseball.  Being the oldest of old school guys, Hawk has consistently spoken out about how sabermetrics are hogwash.  This has nothing to do with me being a Cubs fan, but to me, Hawk is the most annoying man in baseball. I can't watch White Sox games solely because listening to Hawk is insufferable.  Hawk even created his own stat, TWTW, or the will to win.  Check out the whole video HERE

I know Chris brought this up yesterday, but Joe Maddon is one of the best managers in baseball.  Not only is he a good in game manager, but he also knows how to keep his team relaxed throughout a long season.  Maddon invented the theme road trip, where the entire team dressed according to different themes on their road trips and now he is bringing penguins into the clubhouse.  Check out this VINE of the penguin wandering around 

Lastly, I have to touch on the Cubs.  While the bullpen, defense, and hitting have struggled, the starting pitching has been PHENOMENAL.  The starters rank 2nd in baseball in ERA and Carlos Villanueva, Travis Wood, and Jeff Samardzija have been outstanding.  Villanueva is quickly becoming my favorite player to watch pitch.  He commands 4 pitches, can throw them in any count, and does this while topping out around 88 MPH.  Plus, you know, the whole awesome facial hair thing.  The Cubs have 3 more against the Marlins and another 3 against the Padres coming up, so don't be surprised if the Cubs make a little run here.  I can easily see the Cubs taking 5 of their next 6.  O, and Carlos Marmol is the closer again, just don't tell him that, as he pitches better when that's the case according to manager Dale Sveum.

Lastly, I just want to show you all one of my new favorite sites, CUT4.  This takes a ton of GIFs and short video clips from around the league and compiles them, giving us hours of entertainment.  Perhaps the best of the bunch is THIS ONE, which has an overlay of 5 different pitches by Yu Darvish.  Notice how the release point is almost the same on every one, yet all 5 go in different directions.  That is pretty much impossible to hit.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Thursday Wrap: Rays heating up, closers can't close, and the return of Papa Grande

Quote of the Day:

"I'd like to see you throw a split-finger in that." 

-- Reincarnated Tiger's closer, Jose Valverde when asked why he didn't throw any split-finger fastballs in the sub-35 degree temperature at Comerica Park in last nights win over the Royals.  

Welcome back, Potato.  Please be good.  

Welcome back baseball fans.  Today we've got a quick wrap with links for a few good games last night and what to look for today and this weekend as we wind down the first month of a crazy and entertaining first month of baseball season.  

Joe Maddon has a double life as a zookeeper.  

A six game home stand has the once lifeless Rays on a tear, going 5-1 after last night's win over the Yankees.  Could Maddon's antics be playing a role in the resurgency of the Rays?  It's possible.  What better way to take a mind off a hitting slump than wonder what the hell penguins are doing in your locker.  

Two six-year old penguins were found waddling around in the Rays club house, hours before last nights game.  The Rays then promptly went out and beat the Yanks.  Before Maddon pulled his Mr. Popper impression, he also gave the locker a DJ, a magician and a cockatoo.  It's okay being weird if it works.  

Chad Billingsley out for year with Tommy John

More bad news for the Dodgers as former All-Star pitcher Chad Billingsley underwent Tommy John surgery to fix a torn elbow ligament.  He could have opted for surgery last Fall but choose rehab instead.  Now he'll be out the rest of the 2013 season and a good chunk of 2014 if all goes well.  

The silver lining is that TJ surgery isn't the end of the world.  That's old news.  See this super cool explanation of how exactly the procedure works and how if all things go right (*fingers crossed) that Mr. Billingsley could be back stronger than ever.  

The Dodgers activated veteran lefty Ted Lilly who will immediately enter a rotation that needs him after Greinke and now Billingsley's injury.  Good luck with that.  

Edinson Volquez decides to be good 

A Brewers team on a nine game winning streak?  A Padres team that had lost five straight?  What could possibly go wrong?  Edinson Volquez ended up stymieing Milwaukee, giving up only five hits on seven innings for the Padres and Carlos Quentin hit a home run that's still on its way back down as the Padres won 2-1 against the Brewers last night.  Volquez sported a 8.84 ERA entering last nights.  Baseball is a funny game.

I'd also tell Carlos Quentin to imagine that every single fastball he sees is Zack Greinke's face.  What a moonshot.   

Red Sox update: Victorino hurt, Aceves not good. Both out.  

Shane Victorino left last night's game with stiffness in his back...the same problem that made him miss two games over last weekend.  Fantasy dudes, keep an eye on this because he may need a DL stint.  Also the Red Sox optioned right handed reliever Alfredo Aceves to Triple A Pawtucket.  Aceves sported a 8+ ERA in five appearances and reportedly had behavior issues. 

If you're not going to be good at baseball, at least behave yourself in the clubhouse.  Rumors are the Sox are trying to trade him, but who would take him?  

Also John Lackey may come back soon.  Jon Lester is 4-0.  Jacoby Ellsbury is 10-10 in stolen bases.  Red Sox are 9-0 in games started by Lester or Buchholtz.  The duo are 8-0 with a 1.61 ERA.  Andrew Bailey has five saves.    

David Ortiz has an unusual 16-game hitting streak, his longest as a member of the Red Sox. It started in July, included one game in August, and now has gone four games in April. He is 8 of 16 since coming off the disabled list.

Okay, enough about the Sox.  


Jordany Valdespin (who may be included in our "best names in baseball" coming soon) hit a walk-off grand slam as the Mets beat the Phillies in the 10th.  It saved a sub-par performance by phenom Matt Harvey, who allowed a human-esque three runs in sixth innings.  It was his first mortal performance of the season but the Mets still won anyway with Valdespin's first career grand slam that deserves a video.  

Dang, I love baseball.

Give Yu Darvish eleven runs and he'll win.  

The Angels are slowly but surely becoming my least favorite team so anytime they lose I'm pretty happy.  Also anytime Yu Darvish pitches and pitches well, I'm happy.  We got both last night as the Rangers pushed eleven runs across the plate (nine in the fourth inning alone) which was more than enough for Darvish to pickup his fourth win and clinch the series for the Rangers over their rivals in Anaheim.  Miss Texas yet, Josh Hamilton?  

The Rangers sit in first place and have not lost a series or back-to-back games this season.  That's a recipe for success in any division.  Meanwhile the Angels are back trying to figure things out.  
Closers?  Not so much here, here, and here .

Not a good day for closers as Brandon League and Craig Kimbrel both blew saves, Jim Johnson walked in the go-ahead run.  Here's one guy, though that no one expected to pick up a "S" yesterday...Jose Valverde, aka "Papa Grande" who like a Dominican Napoleon Bonaparte, skipped out of the Tigers' dugout with a goatee dyed blonde on one side, to face the Royals with a two run lead.  

Valverde retired all three batters he faced to pick up his first save of the season, just one day after signing a contract with Detroit.  Expect a few more weeks of intense scrutiny, rollercoaster 9th innings and antacid if you're a Tigers fan.  Reports out of training is that Papa Grande is showing much more command with his fastball and his splitter is biting hard.  That's the good news.  The bad news is that I don't know if I can take much more out of the closer's spot.  

At least it gave us this:  

Dance, potato.  Dance. 

And finally...


Who knows when Jeter will be back.   John Axford closer again (Brewers fans: WTF!?).   Yanks top prospect gets DUI.   Putz will be closer for D-Backs.   Aramis don't need no rehab.   Toronto GM: "I DO WHAT I WANT #swag.   Astros hit home runs.   White Sox finally win.   Matt Garza's arm is dead.   D-Bag's Barry Bond's home run plaque missing.   A new Mariners shortstop

Peace out baseball fans.  Until next time.  

Oh and as a bonus for reading this as soon as it was posted, Justin Verlander is taking on James Shield's right now so check it out on mlbtv.com

Monday, April 22, 2013

Monday Recap: Sweeps, Neil Diamond, and Matt Harvey is kinda good...

Quote of the Day: 

"I don’t think [anyone’s] invincible if you’re not performing.  It’s not about what we think can happen three or four years from now. It’s time to perform on a consistent basis."

-- Dale Sveum (we're talking about YOU Starlin Castro/Anthony Rizzo) 

Rizzo responded by hitting his sixth homer, scoring Castro in yesterday's loss to the Brewers.  

Happy Monday baseball fans.  Now that we have a full staff on deck again, now that tax season is over, we can finally not do our work bring you consistent baseball coverage on the most godforsaken, boring day of the year.  We'll try to make Monday Morning Recaps a consistent feature.  (DISCLAIMER: "But probably not.")  

Today, we've got Neil Diamond singing, "Sweet Caroline" as baseball is back in Boston, Ryan Braun hates being good, teams like sweeps, and Matt Harvey is the next Stephen Strasburg?  

This and more, let's get started.  

●   Matt Harvey is kind of good, we guess.  In a match-up of future NL East aces, Harvey out-dueled fellow phenom Stephen Strasburg in a 7-1 Mets win.  Harvey didn't allow a hit until Strasburg, ironically, laced a double in the 5th.  

Strasburg took the loss and also gave up two home runs in the 6th inning...the only time he's ever been tagged twice in one inning.  I'll take that.  But Harvey was just better on Friday, allowing one run on four hits in seven innings with seven K's also.  He's been so good, his ERA actually went up.  

Enjoy him now Mets fans.  Before you screw up something nice again, like you always do.  The, "HARVEY'S BETTER" chant was epic by the way, though.  

●  Baseball is back in Beantown! After a lockdown during a manhunt that ended in the capture of the one the suspects in the tragic marathon bombing, the Red Sox resumed scheduled play by taking on the Royals in an emotional return. We touched in the whole tragedy earlier last week here, but it was great to see

With the emblem "Boston" engraved on the front rather than the normal "Red Sox", we watched Big Papi return from the DL to drive in a run and Daniel Nava hit a three-run blast in the eighth to win it. Oh, and this happened right before Nava's blast. 

 Apparently, Daniel Nava's a fan.  Good time's never seemed so good, indeed.
Welcome back Boston, we're happy when you're happy this week.


Okay, six teams got swept this weekend which means fans of six teams were plastered last night celebrating and fans of six other teams were also plastered, panicking about April results. I was one of them. Can you guess why? Bust out the brooms, we're going over all of them. 

● It only took Buster Posey until April 21st to hit his first home run as the Giant swept the really, really, really awful Padres. Hey, it took Albert Pujols until May 6th last year.

I'm sure more will be coming.  The Giants are now in second place in the NL West and need to catch...Colorado?  Who saw that coming?  In other news, San Diego 3B Chase Headley finally was activated from the DL. That's about all the news we'll have on the Padres all year. Or at least until Carlos Quentin faces Zack Greinke again. 


● The Brew Crew swept border rival Chicago. And man, were those some ugly-ass uniforms on Sunday. I mean....

Do you really like the gold unis? Can you sincerely be a Brewers fan and like that better than the Navy Blue classic? Did you buy one yesterday?

I'll tell you what, if you're a Brewers fan that attended Sunday's game against the Cubs and bought one, pleasepleasepleaseplease e-mail us and explain why. Not because we want to make fun of you, I just really want to know the thought process. 

Ryan Braun loves hitting baseball but apparently not as much as he doesn't love striking out.  He nailed his fifth home run of the season yesterday.  His next at-bat he struck out.  He then tossed his bat and got ejected.  Do not make Ryan Braun mad.  Ryan Braun will toss bat.  Ryan Braun will get ejected.  Ryan Braun will also hit home runs.  Oh, and the Cubs are really bad right now.  Enjoy it now NL Central, the Theo-Jedstein project is a year away.  


●   Boom! You just got "Harang'ed!"  Which means you were the Rangers and got to face journeyman pitcher Aaron Harang.  Getting "Harang'ed" is not a bad thing.  It means you'll probably score a boat-ton of runs on the way to a sweep of the Mariners.  The Rangers got "Harang'ed" on Sunday as they knocked in eight runs off the starter in 4 2/3 innings.  It clinched a dominant sweep for the Rangers who outscored the hapless Mariners 23-3 over the weekend series.  


●   Mark Trumbo hit a walk-off home run in extra innings yesterday as the Angels finally got the pitching they needed to sweep Detroit.  The Tiger's suddenly-anemic offense may have played a major role in making the Halo's pitching staff actually look good for a change as Detroit's offense has only managed five runs the last five games and have fans panicking all over the web.  Normally a team hitting slump in April wouldn't be a reason for major concern, but it's apparently a major reason for concern among a lot of fans.  I hate the Internet.  

SWEEP #5  

●   Minnesota swept the Chicago White Sox in a matchup of AL Central rivals.  With the sweep the Twins move to 8-7 on the year and hopefully that means they'll at least be competitive enough that we can hate the Twins again without feeling bad.  The Royals will move on top of the AL Central, with the Twinkies second and struggling Tigers third.  It should be an exciting race for mediocrity in this trash division.  Yikes.  


●  In St. Petersburg, the pitcher formerly known as Fausto Carmona won his first game since he was known by that name.  The real Roberto Hernandez pitched six innings of one-run baseball against Oakland  to become the first Rays starter over thirty years old to win a game in almost five years. 
With the sweep, the Rays climb out of the AL East cellar, a division like the AL Central but with good teams and should be tight all year.

ALMOST SWEEPS #1, #2 and #3

The Dodgers avoided getting swept by the Orioles on Sunday as Matt Kemp went 3-5 after being dropped to the cleanup spot in the order.  Kemp is in a bit of a early season funk but look for him to heat up with the weather.  The man is too talented not to be good, as simple as that statement may seem.  Oh, and the Dodger's pitching is terrible.  $216 million doesn't buy what it used to.  

In other NL West action, the Diamondbacks rallied against the Rockies to avoid the sweep and also ended Colorado's eight game winning streak.  In a cruel twist of irony, Eric Young Jr. ended up being the last out of the game with the tying run on third on his dad's bobblehead day.  And for all the fans joking on Twitter that "Eric Young Jr not as good as dad #disappointed ", keep it in perspective.  I'd be thrilled with a son that makes the last out of a major league baseball game rather than a underemployed blogger, drowning in student loan debt and remember that you can also be Tony Gwinn Jr.  

Toronto avoids getting swept by New York in the other near sweep of the week, while hot J.P. Arencibia hits three home runs during the week while Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista had one combined.  Baseball's a funny game.  The Blue Jays are last in the AL East by the way.  


After a hot start, the Braves hit a wall after losing three of four from the Pirates so Yahoo Sports digs for some answers (since it's like, totally rational to panic and over-analyze a three game bump in April).  BJ Upton has a potty mouth.  Joey Votto is kinda good at baseball...and walking (take notes White Sox).  A dude writes about Roy Halladay's decline here, and of course Doc goes out and stymies the Cardinals.  Erik Bedard starts for the Astros while the four Astros fans debate if a rookie should replace him.  Ubaldo Jimenez has a sucky start, and then a still-sucky-but-not-as-sucky start. Chad Billingsley hits the DL again.  Major League Baseball is taking kids to see "42".  

And because I found it funny...

I think the moral of the story is either:

A. If you're going to date someone, date a Cubs girl (or at least a girl with a Cubs fan as a dad)
Or B. Alway wear a baseball hat when sneaking into houses.
Or possibly, C. Don't date girls that aren't baseball fans.  
 Probably: All three.  

Am I right Tommy?  

I'm out baseball freaks, until next time, here's Kate again...  

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Offseason Polls and Baseball-ish Stuff

Quote of the Day

“I was crying the other day. First day here, just like that. It seems like it’s been just like that, four years just flying by...but now I feel like I can work harder than some people because I legitimately want to and I enjoy it. I enjoy working hard, you know what I mean? I want to get better." --
Evan Gattis

If you haven't heard of Braves catcher Evan Gattis, then it's probably time that you read about it.  I won't go into all the details but this article sums up his improbable, inspiring story as well as anything else I've read, so I'll link it below.  Take a few minutes to catch up on his life.  You'll be glad that you did.  

"Braves slugger Gattis has a story. Man, does he ever"
-- David O'Brien, AJC

I'm not usually a fan of polls.  But I love clicking on things and I love even more to push my opinion on people.  Especially when I know that I'm right and they're wrong.  Extra bonus when I can do it anonymously behind a computer screen.  

We gave readers the ability to do the same thing this past offseason.  You may have thought that your vote was a waste of a precious mouse click, but we saved all of them.  Let's review the polls and the offseason before the season moves on and we realize how dumb we all were:

 Well, this one was pretty easy.  If you know my personal leanings, you'll know that I hate the Yankees with a passion.  Apparently so do the plurality of our readers.  A whopping 7 (keep in mind that each numeral represents 1,000, 0000 voters) have the Bronx Bombers as their least favorite team.  And what's funny is that these Yankees aren't the Yankees of the 90s where Steinbrenner was seemingly buying every World Series.  Yankees suck.  There.  I said it.  And this is hilarious. Check it out

Slightly behind, was the Red Sox with just about two (million) votes.  But since no one can not be a Red Sox fan right now, we're just going to go ahead and give their votes to the Yankees.  Fair, right?  

And our hatred of the Yankees doesn't just extend to a high payroll, an arrogrant/annoying fan base, and a home city where gas costs $5 and bans soda.  We have a few historical reasons why the Yankees should be your least favorite team too, in case they weren't already:

  • In 1947, Ted Williams won the Triple Crown but lost MVP to Joe DiMaggio
  • Darryl Strawberry
  • Yankees retired Reggie Jackson and Billy Martin's numbers (combined 12 seasons with New York and .261 average)
  • Derek Jeter
  • Ted Williams led six offensive categories but lost the 1942 award to Joe Gordon who only led one -- strikeouts
  • Thurman Munson
  • Bill Mazeroski batted .320 and hit the series-winning home run in the 1960 World Series but the MVP went to Yankee Bobby Richardson
  • George Steinbrenner
  • The Yankees let Frank Coleman and Roy Weatherly wear Babe Ruth's sacred #3 jersey before retiring it.
  • Alex Rodriguez
Moving on...

Our next poll came out when (you guessed it), the Baseball Writers Association of America decided to give baseball fans everywhere a giant finger by electing a grand total of no one into the Hall of Fame.  We actually did an entire post about their douche-baggery here.  

So we did our own poll and found that our intelligent, well-informed readers would actually make pretty good HOF voters.  Craig Biggio was the only member elected but totally well deserving.  It's good to see good guys like Alan Trammell and Jack Morris get some love and even better to see Bonds and Clemens get little.  You rock, Full Count readers.  I hope you all can go to Cooperstown one day.  Awesome place.  

Again, moving on.  For the next week's poll, which happened shortly after Winter Meetings, we simply asked which team had the best offseason.  The results were not surprising. 

 Like myself, you readers obviously get distracted by shiny things like when Toronto acquires Jose Reyes, R.A. Dickey, Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle to name a few.  While it is yet to be seen if such transactions will pay off for the Blue Birds (or if Jose Reyes can learn how to slide when he gets back from the DL), I don't think anyone who follows baseball can say the Blue Jays weren't the most improved team after their offseason transactions.  The caveat?  Well, all the prospects that the Jays gave up were pretty good so there's that.

But as someone who cheers for a team like the Tigers who seem to win every time prospects are packaged for proven big league talent, I'm generally a fan of getting established commodities rather than hang on to potential.  With the exception of the James Shields-Wil Myers trade between the Royals/Rays, unless you don't have the money, get the proven talent rather than potential talent.  Reyes and Dickey especially, are as good as they get at their respective positions.  

You may get burned a few times in trading prospects for talent but more often than not, the team with talent wins.  And usually has higher payrolls.  Doesn't matter.  You can always be an Angels fan.  

Okay, now on to the next.  

I personally loved the World Baseball Classic.  But I think it could be better.  We covered this one too in an earlier post so be sure to check that out if today's an especially boring Thursday.    

But another kudos to our readers as six million just love baseball.  And the WBC provided plenty of baseball.  I love seeing All-Star-ish type teams taking on other teams and no one can beat the atmosphere of that format than the World Baseball Classic. 

 Now get a few things straightened out and in order and we can really have a true "World Cup of Baseball."  Here's a picture of Canada and Mexico fighting for no reason.  

"No we're America's favorite neighbor!" "No, we are!"
Next week we asked a simple question about who our readers thought was the best division in baseball.  The results were not surprising:

 Like most years, the AL East is still considered the best division in the game.  Which isn't surprising. The AL East has produced 13 of the last 17 wildcard winners before an extra wildcard team was introduced last year.  This season already looks to be no different and it looks like the readers nailed it on this one.  The AL East is a beast that no one wants to face. 

Already into the season, we're looking at a resurgent and inspired Red Sox, a surprisingly competitive Yankees, a pitching-loaded Orioles and a talented Blue Jays.  The Rays can't hit right now but they'll be in the mix too if they ever remember Wil Myers is kinda good. 

With all the offseason moves that the Angels made, a scrappy Oakland squad, and a still-competitive Rangers lurking, the AL finished runner up.  While the Angels pitching is a disaster right now, Oakland looks hot and Texas is playing some pretty good baseball.  

Okay last poll, promise.  

Was anyone really surprised?  Our longest poll of the offseason actually lasted nearly two weeks so of course we were somewhat disappointed when only eleven million people answered our question.  In the end the Blue Jays won with four votes, but the Tigers, Angels, Braves, Nationals, Cardinals, Giants, and "other" also picked up votes.  

Would anyone change their vote now that we're midway through the first month of the season?  Maybe that Angels guy would but again the season is still young.  Any of those teams voted for could very well lay claim to the best team in baseball.  We also added a weekly power poll where one of our analysts will choose their top ten teams in baseball.  Which is also, like, entirely subjective.   One thing is for certain: it's going to be a heck of a year! 

Our newest poll is up and it take a little different flavor this week.  

If you haven't seen "42" be sure to check out our friend Jim Reed's review: 

It sounds like it's worth checking out.  Well, that's all I've got for you today.  Thanks for tuning in and we'll catch you soon, baseball freaks and just because it's been a while and do I really have to give a reason(?), here is Kate again.