Thursday, May 16, 2013

Thursday Wrap: Phil Hughes hates me, Cardinals can't lose, Astros have a new prez and reasons to hate umpires

Quote of the Day:“A lot of balls in the middle of the plate early,  After the first few guys, I kind of noticed that was an issue, and when I tried to go to my changeup, slider, curveball, it seemed like nothing was there."

-- Yankees pitcher Phil Hughes, after giving up seven earned runs in 2/3 of an inning (YA THINK PHIL!?) 

Welcome back baseball fans to today's Thursday wrap and a little over a week after I so nicely commended Phil Hughes on not sucking for a few starts (even going so far to pick him up on my fantasy team, he promptly goes out and takes a dump on my face.  Thanks Phil Hughes.  Now I have a small feeling on what life is like watching you as a Yankees fan.  Except, without the beer-guts and Italian accents. 

Today we've got a super-hot Cardinals team in St. Louis (though they're losing right now. Do I jinx everything?), the winner of Houston's "World's Worst Job" application has a famous dad, and why I hate all the umpires.  

We've also got more hurt players in todays Links Wrap Up for Lazy People and much more.  Enjoy your weekend baseball freaks, but first let's get this started.  

  Cardinals Are Hot, Mets Are Not 

What happens when you combine some of the best starting pitching right now and face them off against a struggling offense that had to sign Rick-freaking-Ankiel to pick up their bats?  You get the Cardinals taking three of four from the struggling Mets and the Redbirds are now winners of 12 of their last 15.  Not bad.  

Shelby Miller wasn't quite as perfect yesterday as he'd been the previous start where he gave up a leadoff single and then retired 27 straight batters in a row against the Rockies, but he didn't need to be.  Rick Ankiel, who couldn't find a way to stay on the Houston Astros, launched a 420 foot bomb for the Mets.  Maybe they're on to something.  I'll call Mike Hampton and Carlos Zambrano.  The other evil New York team has now lost six of seven.

 Zack Greinke back and it's like he was never gone  

The headline pretty much sums it up, but Zack Greinke was terrific in his return to the Dodgers last night.  The prize righty free agent gem of this summer went over five innings and gave up a run on five hits in his third start in Dodger Blue.  Greinke missed almost a month with a broken collarbone after a brawl with San Diego's Carlos Quentin so it's good to see him take the mound again.

The Dodgers went 10-19 when Greinke was gone so you can bet Mattingly and Co are happy to see him back.  ESPN goes as far to say that his surgeon may have saved their season...I don't know about that but it's still worth a read.  Moving on...

Stephen Strasburg wasn't always like this...

What we mean by that is that Strasburg, the Nationals ace, is different than he was growing up in San Diego.  In addition to being about thirty pounds heavier than his current, lean 225 frame, Strasburg didn't really like to, you know, work out.  Now that he's slimmed down and slinging fastballs, Strasburg has shaken off a couple rough starts to again become one of the most feared pitchers in the NL East.  The linked article talks about Strasburg's new found work ethic and a bit on his journey.  He'll return to his hometown this weekend as the Nationals prepare to face the Padres.  Hard work really does pay off.  Maybe that will motivate me to go to the gym tonight....but probably not.  

Reid Ryan, Nolan's son, will take over title of "World's Worst Job"

It's official.  The lowly Houston Astros have named Reid Ryan their new President/CEO a few days after former CEO George Postolos resigned/was fired/quit depending on which rumors you want to believe.  While Ryan has got his work cut out for him, he's got a good resume.  

Ryan was currently running minor league clubs for the Astros in Corpus Christi and for the Rangers in Round Rock so he knows a bit about the farm team.  It's a big hire for the Astros, who need all the help they can get after a series of public relations' disasters not a season into owner Jim Crane's tenure.  Ryan is energetic, young and media friendly and look for plenty of future rivalries between his club in Houston and his dad's team up 45-North in Dallas.  

 Arte Moreno: $148 Million doesn't buy what it used to 

After watching the high-priced Angels tumble to the third worst record in baseball, Angel's owner Arte Moreno has placed the blame on himself, which honestly, he should.  While teams like the Rangers and Cardinals look smarter and smarter watching guys like Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton struggle, the Angels look...well, like they suck.  

While Mike Trout is still amazing and really hot (wait, I mean, um, a hot hitter? Whew), guys like Torii Hunter is batting above .300 with Detroit while the handsomely paid Hamilton is struggling to stay above the Mendoza line and striking out at an alarming rate.  Just wait until Pujols is 38 and Hamilton is 34 and still getting paid that sum.  Yikes.  

David Price hits the DL, all thirteen Rays fans panic

It's only the 15-day DL, but still worth mentioning.  The reigning Cy Young winner experienced triceps discomfort that the Rays deemed serious enough to make a DL move. There's certainly enough young pitching on the Rays staff to pick up the slack and perhaps this explains Price's slow start (1-4, 5+ ERA).

Still, Price remains one of the most feared leftys in baseball, so let's wish him well and hope this doesn't hurt his trade value for Theo Epstein and the Cubs.  Jake Odorizzi, part of the James Shields package this winter, will be called up to take Price's spot.  This is what you get for stealing Verlander's Cy Young, David.  The baseball gods are vengeful.  

Umpires never have seen "iRobot"  

We ragged on them earlier this week for sucking, but apparently MLB umpires have no sense of urgency to not be replaced by robots and lasers, thus bringing us one step closer to the Matrix actually becoming real.  Other signs of the apocalypse: Kim Kardashian and Pinterest.  But let's start with the umpires in the Twins-White Sox matchup at Target Field on Tuesday night.  It was pretty obvious something wasn't correct here.  Take a look for yourself:

It's pretty bad...

So like, what do you have to see?  Another one here in the same game...

That one is a little bit more forgiving, given that Dunn was being Dunn and lolly-gagging it a bit down the line.  If he had leaned in or made any attempt to look faster than Don Zimmer he might have got the call.  Still a bad call.  Umpires, you disappoint me.  Look out for the robots.  They're coming soon.  

Game of the Night: Tigers vs Rangers
8:05 ET (so like, NOW!)
The Ballpark at Arlington

It's a pitchers duel as Justin Verlander takes on Yu Darvish in Texas.  Darvish has been good, Verlander has been good so expect a low score.  But also when pitcher duels are hyped up like this, one team usually scores like five runs in an early inning and I fall asleep/break my television depend on which side it is.  Catch it tonight, it will be a good one.  And if you haven't got MLB TV, do it too.  

And here it is.  Our traditional....



Jonny Venters hurt ●  King Felix Hurt  ●    Bryce Harper hurt  ●  Josh Beckett hurt  ●  David Ortiz hurt  ●  Brandon Morrow hurt   ●  Andrew Bailey still hurt  ●  Johnny Cueto still hurt   ●  Jered Weaver still hurt   Mark Texiera still hurt  ●  Zach Wheeler almost hurt  ●  Curtis Granderson not hurt  ●  Carlos Zambrano not hurt but I hate him, I also hate the Phillies so match made in heaven, right.  Philly hate meter: STRONG

See you soon baseball fans.  I'm out like Justin Morneau at the plate...or am I?