Things are pretty bad in Dodger land. The owners are in the middle of a heated divorce. Manny Ramirez is hurt, again. They lost their first six games after the All Star break. Now they are looking up at the top of the NL West from fourth place. If all that weren’t enough, they still pay George Sherrill to come in a pitch for them. What was lost in the debacle the other night is that Sherrill was the one that gave up a two run double in the ninth. He always gives up runs. That is just what he does. They could have done a lot better signing a leper to a $10 contract. Their ERA would be similar and you wouldn’t have to look at a silly goatee.
In this recession how can anyone pick up a paycheck for such ineptitude. You don’t see me going into my coworkers offices and just taking dumps. That’s what Sherrill does. He goes out there and just poops. Then Torre has to go out and clean up after him. Its just nauseating. Well I don’t blame Torre, the front office, or the like. I blame the parents. How people could raise such a lack of production is just beyond me. So please, parents, read to your children. If you don’t they will grow up to pitch like George Sherrill.
Where were you on June 23, 2010? Normally, the time between the end of the NBA Finals and the beginning of college football season is the barren dead ground of sports, but not this year. If you were as lucky as me on the 23rd, you were sitting at home on your couch, watching your high definition TV as the greatest sports day in the history of the world unfolded.
I don’t care how you feel about soccer (personally, I refer to it as women’s competitive ball kicking), Donovan’s goal in penalty time was amazing. That one goal by that one player may single handedly change the face of not only American
women’s competitive ball kicking soccer, but soccer around the world.
The introduction of the American market into world soccer would forever alter the face of the sport.
The Ghana-Germany game was also huge because it sets up the US against the only African nation left in the tournament in South Africa, where they should be dogs, despite winning their group and it pits England against Germany, another intriguing matchup.
That was followed up by the unbelievable Wimbledon match between John Isner, the 6’9 250 lb American ranked 23rd in the world, and Nicolas Mahut, the diminutive Frenchman. He became my new third favorite tennis player, behind Tsonga and Federer today (yes two of my favorite tennis players are French, deal with it). Isner and Mahut played their fifth set to 59-59, before the game was called due to darkness – it began at 2 in the afternoon.
Neither man won a single break point and they set just about every Wimbledon and tennis record in existence. Mahut put on probably the gutsiest performance I’ve ever seen from a French player. The juxtaposition of him diving head-first for multiple balls in the sixth and seventh hours of play against the French team getting bounced from the World Cup days after pouting and refusing to practice in “protest” of one of their players being thrown out of the Cup really saved what’s left of France’s reputation in the world.
In between those amazing performances, we were treated to images of Lawrence Taylor being indicted on rape, child prostitution and sex abuse.
But there was no time to laugh at LT. The best rookie pitcher in MLB history, Steven Strasburg, was pitching against the hapless Kansas City Royals…and LOST. He lost on a 95 pitch, 75 strike, one run, nine strikeout performance.
I immediately turned to ESPN U where TCU was mounting an amazing comeback against Florida State in the College World Series. In the eighth inning, the Horned Frogs’ Matt Curry hit a grand slam and Jantzen Witte (who had only hit three home runs all season long) hit another homer that lifted the crowd in Oklahoma City to chants of “TCU.”
The Horned Frogs came back from down 7-3 and put up eight runs in the inning – eight! – to win 11-7. Pitcher Kaleb Merck then got out of a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the inning with a virtuoso pitching performance that would’ve made Strasburg proud.
I nightcapped all that action by watching a replay of the Kentucky-Mississippi State thriller from the SEC Championship tournament earlier this year. There was a “Cheaters” marathon on G4, but I needed more sports.
Oh yeah, and how about the Rockies walk-off homerun to beat the Red Sox?
Wednesday truly was a great sports day. Not only was there something for everybody, there was something for everybody all over the world.
There is one case where tie does not go to the runner. It is when the pitcher of record is working on a perfect game and it is the ninth inning. That being said Jim Joyce missed an obvious call to rob Armando Gallaraga of a a perfect game. Don’t believe me? Check here.
Basically in the ninth inning of a perfect game, all players are secretly telling themselves, “please don’t hit it to me, please don’t hit it to me.” Now Joyce has given us, “Please hit a fly ball, Please hit a fly ball.”
I just checked and “My Bad” does not sufficiently cover it for apologies.
Today Ned Colletti, GM of the Los Angeles Dodgers, announced that he has the biggest set of balls in the world. He did this by having the gall to criticize the team and Matt Kemp for a lack of effort. He is either very stupid or is very much separated from reality because the troubles of the Dodgers rest squarely on his shoulders.
He was quoted on a Los Angeles radio show as saying “I’m not satisfied with the presentation. I’m not satisfied with execution. I’m not satisfied with the thought process of it.” How about not being satisfied with the personnel. Which is your side of the ball. The Dodgers woes are largely pitching related. The fact that Los Angeles started the season with two young as yet unproven pitchers, one malcontent, a knuckle-ball pitcher, and Hiroki Kuroda is Colletti’s fault, not the players.
This is a rare time in Dodger history where a team can throw up nine runs in consecutive games and lose both those games. The Dodgers rank in the top five in the National League in major offensive categories. Yet they are in last place in the West. Perhaps it is because the Dodgers rank near the bottom in every pitching category.
Back in December, Colletti insinuated he had no monetary restrictions this off season. This leads one to believe one of two things. Either he is lying and divorce proceedings drastically cut into his staffing the rotation with arms or he is a really bad General Manager with a tiny mustache.
What about Matt Kemp? Well he certainly has been mucking it up on defense and base-running. He must be cashing it in. It would very well be prudent to question his work ethic. Unless of course his manager vouches that he shows up early to get his work in and he is currently scoring most of the runs on the team.
Matt Kemp is tied for second in the majors in home runs, tied for third in RBI, and first in runs. Granted he has made some horrible gaffs. But it may be a mental aspect of the game that someone needs to talk to him or comment about. How about Joe Torre, the manager of the team.
If the next words out of your mouth aren’t “Damn I should have re-signed Randy Wolf, at the very least Jon Garland.” I don’t want to hear it.
His suspension can start during his already lengthy disabled list stay. So sadly, the only true punishment he will receive is the initial announcement that he cheated and the fact that he will still be on the Reds. However, announcements such as these are hardly treated with much fervor anymore.
Three years after the Mitchell report was released, allegations of roids and other PEDs are met with a ho-hum attitude. Mark McGwire is now treated to great applause in St. Louis. Dodger fans know only two things about baseball, cheer Manny and bring a beach ball. In New York, well Yankee fans will win at any cost so Alex Rodriguez gets a pass there too.
But in the case of Mr. Volquez I can hardly blame him. If I pitched for Dusty Baker I may need some sort of horse pills just to keep my arm from falling off.
Everyone is always dogging on this division. It used to be with good cause. However this group is deceptive. With the Rockies making noise in the playoffs in 2009 and the Dodgers beating the Cards in the divisional series, there is an argument to be made that this may be one of the stronger divisions. With that I dub the NL West the “sneaky hot” division.
Granted each team has their question marks. The top two teams may falter if their staffs cant hold it together long enough to get to their bullpens each game. This young season has already illustrated that the Dodgers pitching is so bad that the Pirates are able to tee off on them.
The Giants tout one of the best rotations in the game. They will also get a boost offensively with Pablo “I’m so fat they relate me to a panda around these parts” Sandoval having another year under his belt. The Padres have some depth, especially if Chris young can find his form. I will go out on a limb and say the Padres will win at least a couple of games this year.
Things should be tight out west. There is no clear cut power house in this small division. The two teams that will vie for control of the division may have their fortunes told by one key acquisition, Chone Figgins.
The Angels did not tout a powerhouse team last year. What they did well was to put runners on and work station to station. Figgins epitomized their strategy with his high OBP and ability to get into scoring position with his speed. Now on the Mariners, Figgins will change the fortunes of a few games in Seattle’s favor. This and solid defense will give them the edge in this division.
I would normally not count out the craftiness of Oakland. This year however, they are looking less young and promising and more old and decrepit. Their team is in perfect position to make some late season trades for more talent to stock into their farm system.
Lets work from the bottom up here. The Pirates are essentially The University of Pennsylvania baseball team with a nicer stadium to play in. You can’t approach their team with what they lack because it is so bountiful. Instead lets look at what they have. Andrew McCutchen. There that is it. So, let’s move on.
The Reds have pitchers but they will again be slain at the hands of Dusty Baker. The Astros have mediocrity so that’s a plus if you aim for the middle of the pack. The Cubs still have that goat thing hanging around their neck. Which brings us to the teams that matter.
The obvious clear cut favorite in this division of miscreants is St. Louis. They have the best tandem of pitchers in the league and Albert Pujols. Both will be enough to reach the playoffs.
The main point I want to make here is the underrated talent of the Brewers. Most have this team finishing third or later. I struggle to find the reasoning in a division of average ball clubs. They have a decent rotation with a solid bullpen. Milwaukee’s lineup has both power and speed. This should be no challenge to bypass Chicago’s curse or the Astros patchiness.
2. White Sox
The Twinkies and Sox will battle it out the whole year. Granted those of us in warmer parts of the country may have but a passing interest. In the end, Minnesota will shock some and impress most by putting together pitching and defense with timely hitting. They are a model to those teams hoping to keep the payroll down and still win consistently.
The White Sox have depth in the starting rotation. Buehrle, Peavy, and Floyd will hold down what will be the most consistent aspect of the team. The White Sox may have to worry about a lineup that can be at best explosive and at worst schizophrenic.
Looking up and down the lineup card, Ozzie has to scratch his head at the expectations. You have those past their prime in Konerko and Andruw Jones, those that are waiting to see if they can reach their best in Quentin, Alexei Ramirez, and Gordon Beckham, and those that will either falter or flail at some point in Teahen, Pierre, and Pierzynski.
The Indians, are bad. You can properly gauge how bad as I have them finishing below the Royals. The Royals are the perennial nether region of MLB. Watching a Royals game is a bit like eating a full meal from KFC. It seems harmless, even appetizing, at first. By the end, frequent trips to the bathroom are necessary. And I have the Indians below that.
There it is. That is how they will finish.
Why not start a breakdown of every division with the easiest to call. Philadelphia comes into this season every bit as talented as last year. In some senses they went and got better. They now have the best in the business in Roy Halladay. He will prove a vital tool when the Phils make it back to the playoffs. Philadelphia has a bit of karma on their side by throwing geriatric hurler Jaime Moyer every fifth day, and some say the elderly are useless, puhshaw. Philadelphia has an American League type lineup with hitters one through eight and will run away with the division, if they decide to win at home this year.
The problem for prognosticators comes at second and third place. Therein lies real challengers to the wild card race.
While both the Braves and Marlins tout strong pitching staffs, the Braves get the edge with a little more depth. Even with a sophomore jinx, Tommy Hanson will be one of the best 4th starters in baseball. He should keep his ERA under 3.50 and net at least five more wins over the Marlins fourth hurler Chris Volstad.
The Mets should find a way to under utilize Johan, Beltran, Reyes, Wright, and Bay. They will suck but not in a way that anyone will notice. Which is the worst kind of suck.
The Washington Strasburgs will sell out every five days if and when their lord and savior Stephen Strasburg gets called up.