Monday, May 28, 2007

Welcome to the wacky fun house that is the NL Central

Ah, sorry about the break guys. My older brother got married this weekend, congratulations Dave. We'll talk about something that, criminally, I've been avoiding this season - the Brewers and Cardinals. I've always loved the Brewers, especially when they had Carlos Lee. Lee is, by far, the most underrated player in the game, I believe. He consistently puts up great numbers. For example, he is currently leading the NL with 45 RBI's, (he's with the Astros). Back to the Brewers.

You may recall there being a bunch of buzz about this team early in the season. We were told they came out of nowhere to take the NL Central by storm. Well, to the team's credit, this is not entirely true. The Brewers have been a team on the ups for quite some time now, and in many ways could be compared to last year's Tigers. That is, they weren't that bad in previous years, but they were deceptively bad if you simply looked at their record. In 2006, they won 75 games. In 2005, 81. So, they weren't terrible. In fact, the Brewers and Tigers were the only teams to start the 2006 season 5-0. In any case, the Cardinals came crashing back to earth this year. That kind of opened up the division a little bit. The Brewers are 17-8 against the NL Central, of which they are the only team above .500. They are a combined 10-13 against the East and West. Right now, they're 28-23, (three games of interleague play were not counted in the previous splits.) So they're not world-burners. They're also 2-8 in their last 10 games, including a 6 game losing streak. So, how is everyone so excited about them? Because the team is, like I said, on the ups. They're maturing. Prince Fielder, J.J. Hardy, (who will come fall back to earth, trust me,) Rickie Weeks, Geoff Jenkins - that's a pretty solid core you have. Not to mention Cordero, and Turnbow, who's a bit split-minded, but he'll figure it out. You can't throw that hard and be bad for too long. So the Brewers are young, and getting older. And people love that. They're drawn to that like bugs are drawn to the light. There's just something about aging...

Speaking of which, lights-out closer Francisco Cordero (0.47 ERA), who we have discussed, has basically been unemployed since May 20th, which was the last time he was needed for a save. He did pitch this afternoon in a non-save, (losing) situation. In fact, in the Brewer's last two road trips, they've won only three games. Two of them were blowouts, leaving Cordero with only one chance to pitch. Manager Ned Yost said, "I don't know why I even bring him on the road." And it's true, the Brewers are 11-15 on the road. That's something they may want to work on.

Then again, they can probably lose every road game for the rest of the year and do just fine for themselves. Now, I don't want to start counting all the little chickens before they hatch, but lets be real here. Baring some major influx of talent in the NL Central - of which there are none on the horizon - the Brewers can just about start selling playoff tickets. It's very NL West-esque for a .549 team to start declaring victory - much less in May - but the NL Central is behaving a lot like the NL West. The Central is, in fact, worse than the West. It's like these two divisions got together before the season and said to each other, 'alright, we'll play really bad if you play really bad too.' There are four 30+ win teams in the top four divisions, (AL East-NL East), and zero in the bottom two. But to focus on the NL Central. Again, the Brewers have lost 8 of their last 10, and they're still 5 games up. Heck, Chicago is in 2nd place. Pittsburgh is in 3rd. And St. Louis is three lousy games up on the last place Reds.

The Arches
It's like we're watching the NL Central in some bizarro universe, where up is down, and left is right. The Cardinals have a 3-man rotation, in which Braden Looper, who has been a touch-and-go reliever for the last few years, has a 3.10 ERA. 'Staff Ace' Kip Wells has a 6.10 ERA and a 2-9 record, (seriously, has he even pitched 11 games yet?) Todd Wellemeyer has an 8.06 ERA, and was recently promoted from the bullpen to start games. Bradthompson_2That's when you know it's time to call it quits - when you're promoting guys with 8.06 ERAs to start baseball games. I don't think Wellemeyer will be playing the role of stopper anytime soon. I think that the unofficial rotation (correct me if I'm wrong,) includes Adam Wainwright and Brad Thompson (right), who looks a lot like a lady. So, how many games, prior to 2007, have the bottom four members of the rotation started? One. Not exactly what you would call loads of experience. And again, Kip Wells isn't really a pitching sage. Chris Carpenter? Mark Mulder? Yeah. But not Kip Wells. Speaking of Mark Mulder, where is he? Well, he's not on the active roster. He's recovering from rotator cuff surgery, and we're not sure when he's going to be back. And, apparently, neither is anybody else. Chris Carpenter, we know, is out for quite some time. Jim Edmonds is still trolling center field in his walker, and hitting .230 at the plate. I like the guy. And that's why I don't want to see a repeat of 2005, when the Mariners took Bret Boone out back and, you know... cut him. Frosty Boone was, at the time, hitting a very frosty .231. So Taguchi is just waiting for the full-time center field job, and he can do it too. He's not great, but he's better than Edmonds right now. And you have to think the Cardinals can find an outfielder with an OBP above .300. So, Edmonds might want to think of launching a preemptive strike of the "you can't fire me, I quit," variety. The Cardinals will hold on to him because hey, he's not costing them the division. But you know what they're thinking. So come this off-season Jim, it's get them, or get got.

Right now the Cardinals are in danger of becoming the 2nd best team in Missouri. Indeed, they're only up on their Royal Brethren by one game. One day you're hoisting the World Series trophy high in the air, the next you're fighting off Mark's Army for 1st place in the state least deserving of two baseball teams, (there are about 2.8 million fans per team in Missouri. California, by contrast, has 6.8 million fans per team. I know. Where does he find this stuff.)

Alright. The comments are getting out of control. Did someone take away your commenting privileges? We're 0 for our last 4 guys, lets get something going. Rally caps, bubble gum, do whatever you need to do. But make it happen.

NL West - Citizenship Revoked - March 19th, 2006

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Does this really need to be a big deal?

Red Sox and Yankees are fun, there's no denying that. But is it really as big a deal as ESPN would have you believe? After watching the first 10 minutes of the 6p edition of Sportscenter I had had just about enough. I mean... is there really a bigger non-issue than A-Rod's slide? First off, look at the play carefully. The dude was way, way, way off-balance. And maybe he intentionally threw himself off. But, the way I see it, he was trying to break up the double play, and somehow or another managed to get his body confused between a pop-up and a take-out slide. That's why, if you keep watching after he "throws the elbow," as John Kruk so lovingly put it, you'll see Alex stumble to the ground and fall flat on his backside. Kruk is, not surprisingly, still an idiot. No, the play was not dirty. Alex was not going into 2nd with the intention of giving Dustin an ugly bruise in the crotch.

And, you may say to yourself, "Dustin who? Who is this guy? How dare he talk smack about A-Rod!" Listen. If you actually heard what the little guy said in his post-game, he was not putting anybody down. He said just enough to keep from looking like a coward, but he also went out of his way to say that he was only doing what he had to for the team, etc, etc, etc. Dustin doesn't care. Alex doesn't care. Does Curt care? I guess we'll see tonight. To my knowledge, he hasn't yet commented on the issue on his personal soap box, the Don Patrick show. But I have this to say - if Curt does drill A-Rod tonight, which he won't, I will view it as one of the lamest moves in baseball. If you hit the guy, you're only playing into this whole ESPN-propagated rivalry hype. ESPN loves to make something out of nothing. But there are always a couple guys on every team that like it even more. A-Rod and Varitek fighting down the baseline? That was a heat of the moment, legit fight. Curt drilling A-Rod would just be stupid and childish. Hopefully he has enough sense to know that.

Lets see some comments boys...

Are John Kruk and Steve Philips stupid? - April 10th, 2006

Monday, May 21, 2007

Andruw Jones tells us about bad days

andruw jones Andruw Jones, as you are probably aware, is one of the better fielding center fielders of his day. As you may also be aware, he swings a pretty big stick. In fact, in 2005 he hit 51 HR, followed by 41 in 2006. He is also from the Netherlands. Doesn't that make him a Euro?

But Andruw is having a problem lately. He's beginning to enter the Adam Dunn K-Zone. On Sunday night, Andruw went 0-5 against the Red Sox. Generally what you might consider to be a "bad day" at the plate. What made it worse was that Andruw struck out all 5 times. By comparison, the entire Red Sox team struck out 3 times. Basically, his day was a disaster. Hindenburg-type disaster. Throughout his 5 K's, he took a grand total of 5 balls, and swung at at least one ball clearly out of the zone, (one in the dirt,) in three of those five at bats. Andruw has always had a propensity towards the windmill. But right now he has 51 K's in 156 AB's. Which is, really, not acceptable.

Tomorrow night, Jones will trot out his shiny .212 batting average. That means he's just a couple bad games away from the Mendoza Line. Is he upset about all this? Not in the slightest. "I swing the bat the way I want to swing, the way I swing it all the time. So some days you're going to have bad days, and some days you're going to have good days." That's denial. Andruw knows he needs to step it up a bit, and so do the reporters. There's no use acting like a defiant 2nd grader about it. You're not fooling anybody. And, quite frankly, five strikeouts isn't a 'bad day'. Especially when the last one comes as the last out of the game, when you represent the tying run for your team.

Continuing on that note of the Braves, Tim Hudson had an equally awful day at Fenway. Huddy went just 4.2 innings, giving up 8 hits, 2 walks, and 6 earned runs. Three of those runs were the result of a 2-out, 2-strikes, bases loaded triple by, who else, but Jason Varitek. It was Jason's 11th triple in 10 major league seasons. Varitek then scored for a 4-run 1st inning. In the 2nd, a runner reached base on a fielder's choice, better known as botched double play by Martin Prado, who had just come up from AAA. The 2nd would have ended there; unfortunately, it didn't, and 'unturned double plays' can't be counted as errors. That runner then scored. That's 5 runs through the first 2 innings. Finally, Hudson gave up a 'blast' to Kevin Youkilis - a 303ft blast, which wouldn't have been a HR had the game been played in my backyard. So, had Huddy's cutter actually cut on Varitek, Prado turned that double play, and if not for the World's Shortest Porch in Right Field, Huddy continues on without giving up a single run. Revisionist history, yes. But proof that Hudson didn't just turn bad suddenly. I'm pretty confident that he's still in for a good season.

Finally, an interesting story. One of my friends broke her foot jumping up in down in celebration after the end of the semester. Which reminded me of a good story from a few years back. You know how, when you're a little leaguer, you have that dream of hitting a game-winning grand slam? I mean, what could be better, right? Well, AAA 1B Tagg Bozied was living the dream. Game winning grand slam, and ferocious victory trot around the bases. Maybe a little too ferocious, in fact. As Tagg jumped up to stomp on home plate, "I saw my kneecap pushed up into my quads," and suddenly the dream became the nightmare. The pain was so tremendous that he blacked out in midair and woke up in a hospital bed, out for the season with a ruptured patellar tendon. This basically causes the patella to move up towards the thigh, as its lost its anchoring to the tibia. Yup. Pretty painful. The question is, how can you achieve one the most athletically difficult feats in all of baseball, but still be enough of a spaz to shred your knee in celebration?

Alright guys. Time to step it up in the comments. In the last 6 posts we have 2 comments. I know the writing hasn't been spectacular, but c'mon. All you need is a quick flip. "Hey man, you don't know what you're talking about." That works. See you guys soon.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Turns out, managers can't hit or pitch after all

If you're a Cub fan, you may have entered this season under the impression that, with Dusty Baker gone, your franchise would accomplish great things. With Lou here, the team would excel. Or so you were led to believe. Sadly - but predictably, nonetheless - this is not the case. The Cubs are 20-21 right now. This record is highly deceiving. Of the Cubs 20 wins, 12 came against the Pirates, Reds, Cardinals, and Nationals - teams that are a combined 66-98, which is a .402 winning percentage.

Whether or not you buy into this 'strength of schedule' argument, all you really need to do is look at the Cubs lineup. The Cubs have exactly one guy with an average over .300 - his name is Derrick Lee, who, as you may be aware, is currently injured. Last year, the Cubs had five guys with 180+ AB's and an OBP over .300. By comparison, the Marlins had nine regulars with OBP's over .300. The Pirates had 10. It's really not a big feat to get half of your lineup over the .300 mark for on base %, but the Cubs barely did it. Why is this relevant? Back to our first point. Cubs Fan was led to believe that, despite the fact that only one major offensive change was made - the addition of Alfonso Soriano and his .326 career OBP - the team was good to go for the year. Unfortunately, you cannot win games if you cannot get on base. Last year, the Cubs finished 29th in OBP as a team, just 5 thousandths of a point above the Devil Rays. They had a team OBP of .319. This translates into a difference of about 500 plate appearances throughout the year between a team with a good OBP and a bad one. This turns out to be about 3 extra plate appearances a game. Which, of course, amounts to just about one extra inning a game. Imagine how crippled your offense would be if, as your team was leaving the field to go up to bat, the umps told them to head back out there - your team's half of the inning was going to be skipped. This is essentially what happens to the Cubs every game. To make matters worse, the Cubs aren't what you would call efficient at the plate either - they were ranked #21 in total bases last year.

The moral of the story is, as usual, that only hitting begets runs. Managers do not beget runs. Poorly spent money does not beget runs. A couple bargain pitchers do not beget runs. I stress this point because we have seen it recently with the Blue Jays, the Mariners, and whoever else you want to accuse of being run deprived. In most cases, if you cannot put a guy on base, you're not going to bring him home.

Ironically enough, my impetus for writing this post was watching Jason Marquis - who I was hoping to give me a few good points in my fantasy matchup, go up 5-3 on the White Sox, only to give up two more runs and leave the game 5-5. To make matters worse, the opposing team was starting Vazquez, who was set to win the game for the White Sox. And then the Cubs go and win it, 11-6. Make of that what you will.

What do you mean, Baker's out? - October 17th, 2006

Friday, May 18, 2007

Are you or someone you love suffering from an avulsion?

This is no laughing matter, folks. Avulsions are very serious problems. In fact, millions of Americans will suffer from an avulsion this year. One of those millions of people needs your help. His name is Josh Beckett, and he has an avulsion on his pitching hand. It's so serious, in fact, that he's headed to the Disabled List.

An avulsion, by the way, is a blister.

I don't call this guy Blisterin' Beckett because he's fast. Without fail, he develops a blister on his pitching hand, every single year. I'm not one to rip on guys for getting hurt, (despite what you may think after our previous post,) but this is simply one of the most preventable injuries in sports. That's not to say that if you do everything right, you will never get one - it just means that if they keep cropping up, there are certain things you can do in the future that may keep them from coming back. For example, Moises Alou pisses on his hands. This is one way to toughen your skin and prevent blister formation. I know that's gross and all, but if you make $6.66 million a year to throw a baseball - as Joshua is - you might just want to man up, and whip it out. Now, at this point you may be saying to yourself, "but I thought he had a finger injury - I saw no mention of a blister," or, "I saw on Sportsline that he has a torn flap of skin! That sounds pretty serious." Yeah, it is serious. But the word avulsion is kind of like the word puma. An avulsion is a blister, is a torn flap of a skin, is an avulsion. A puma is a lynx, is a mountain lion, is a puma. It's all about fear. If someone tells you, "hey hand me that shotgun, here comes a mountain lion," you might move a little faster than if you think you're about to get attacked by a tennis shoe. Just like you might have a little more sympathy for Josh if you think he's suffering from a torn flap of skin, or an avulsion. Those sound pretty serious, after all. A blister, on the other hand - that's something you get from working out in the yard.

As usual, I'm going to make the assumption that baseball players aren't idiots, and they don't want to go to the DL. So why, Josh, do you keep getting sidelined by these blisters? Pee on your hands. Clap them together after you throw, (this causes the blood to rush to your hands, decreasing the likelihood that you'll develop a blister.) You might even have to change the way you release the ball. But figure it out, because it's just a blister.

For the record, I'm not making fun of blisters. They hurt like heII. I went a little crazy at the cages last week and developed six deep blisties on both hands. They hurt for five days and then they go away. But no one is paying me millions of dollars a year to not get blisters. Heck, I don't even play for a real team anymore. And better yet, now that my hands have calloused up, I don't need to worry. Of course, if I really didn't want a blister, I wouldn't have taken 150 swings - again, simple preventive measures.

Anyway, I've seen parts of a bunch of good games lately. I just haven't had the time to write about it, but stick around guys. We're not going anywhere. As for the comments - thanks to BigFoote in the chat box for the compliment. RumorMill - I agree. The Blue Jays could have made some bigger improvements, but as I said originally, all they needed was a healthy team, and that should have been enough, since they did fairly well for themselves last year. Saif, I'm not sure how confident I am that the Jays can salvage anything from this year. It depends on when they get their guys back and if they're still in contention on July 31st.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Blue Jays injury woes

Hey guys, sorry about the lack of material lately. We had finals and then straight into some summer classes so this is the first chance I've had to really sit down and punch out some good material. I hope. We're going to try to cover a variety of topics in the next couple days. We'll start with this.

Who cursed the Blue Jays?
If you live in Toronto and you see a dark-haired man of average build, a shade under 6 ft, with a goofy smile and even goofier glasses, look out, because Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi has got to be homicidal at this point. The Jays finished a strong 2nd in the AL East last year, as I predicted. This year, they were looking to improve on that. Everything was falling into place for them. A healthy A.J. Burnett who wasn't missing his first 10 starts of the season. A strong Cy Young candidate in Roy Halladay. A closer in B.J. Ryan who was automatic last year - a 1.37 ERA and 38 saves. They brought in the aging Frank Thomas, who defied everything we know about time and had a pretty decent year in Oakland in 2006. Reed Johnson and Alex Rios were both coming off career years. Victor Zambrano, Tomo Ohka, and John Thompson were brought in to shore up the back end of the rotation - a risky move at best, but cheap. And on top of all this, the Yankees looked like it was their year to fall, with a struggling pitching rotation.

And then it started... and quickly turned into a cascading disaster. The Jays now have 9 players on the DL, 7 of them key members of the team. LF Reed Johnson - out until at least July with a whacked up back. B.J. Ryan; Tommy John, out for the remainder. SP John Thompson; tendinitis, no return date set. RP Brandon League is on the DL for throwing too slow - literally. SP Gustavo Chacin; sore shoulder. SP Victor Zambrano; sore forearm. Starting catcher Gregg Zaun; non-displaced fracture in his pitching hand. No one knows why reliever Davis Romero is on the 60-day DL, and Roy Halladay is out for about 6 weeks after an emergency appendectomy. These are all serious injuries. Why go through the trouble of listing all of them?

Because the majority of these have not been freak accidents. Sure, you can't prevent Roy Halladay's burst appendix or Gregg Zaun fouling a ball hard enough off his hand to break it. But you can prevent the various forms of tendinitis and soreness, which accounts for Romero, Thomson, League, Zambrano, and Chacin. Johnson and Ryan may have just gotten unlucky and it may have only been a matter of time for them. But when the Jays signed Zambrano and Thomson, they knew they were getting injury-prone pitchers that, even if they were healthy, wouldn't contribute a whole lot to the team. The question is, did the Jays make this move out of desperation because they had no one else to fill up the rotation? Or did they really think these guys would help them win? Either way, they needed to prepare for the likelihood that someone else would have to be pitching. Now the Jays are stuck with 4 injured starters and 3 injured relievers. I've seen this point made by other general managers - namely Jim Leyland - that you must have the capacity to fill up holes in the rotation from inside the organization. Take notes, J.P.. This means that, at the start of your season, you should be able to throw out the names of at least two pitchers that you're confident you can bring up from AAA to fill in, because that's the reality you are going to face at some point in the season. Very, very rarely will you not need a spot starter all year. The key to this is that these guys have to be ready, or close to it, because you're going to pay about 5 times what you should if you try to acquire a decent pitcher mid-season. And of course, it doesn't make sense to bring up a guy if he's only going to kill his confidence.

Additionally, it seems like someone has to be keeping a closer eye on the pitching staff. There are numerous ways to prevent tendinitis and soreness. Sometimes you're going to get sore because you push yourself too hard - but it's the trainers and coaching staff's job to make sure you don't.

Blue Jays and Roses... Spring training - March 5th, 2006

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Some more pitching updates

Lately we've been keeping track of the number of times Bobby Cox has pulled Tim Hudson too early. Well, he did it again. It's the bottom of the 8th, and the Dodgers are up 3-1. Braves are up to bat and Hudson, who has only 87 pitches and had been doing quite well, is leading off. But no - he's pulled for pinch hitter Chris Woodward, who ends up making an out. Now it's the top of the 9th, and 3 Braves relievers allowed 3 runs before they were saved by a double play. Hudson did give up a solo shot to none other than Wilson Betemit and his .125 average in the top of the 8th, so maybe Cox did make the right call. But I don't really like it. Wouldn't have been the biggest deal, but for two things. First, I get 10 points in my fantasy league if Hudson gets the win, and I'm fighting to go 5-0 this year. But, more importantly for the Braves, they loaded the bases in the bottom of the 9th, when Kelly Johnson singled to bring home two runs. That made the score 6-3. Edger Renteria then grounded out to end the game. Had your stinky relievers not given up those three runs, you're looking at a tie game. For some reason, Bobby Cox is just way too freaking quick on the hook for Hudson. Hudson early yank count this year: 3.

And a weird day in Texas. First, Kevin Millwood went on the DL, leaving Texas with the Padilla Flotilla as their Ace. You know, that guy with the 5.66 ERA this season? The rest of the rotation consists of McCarthy (7.96 ERA), Robinson Tejeda (3.89), Kameron Loe (7.04), and Mike Wood (5.45 last season). That's really, really concerning. The bullpen isn't doing too bad, but you have to ask yourself if that even matters. Anyway, Texas played the Blue Jays today, and Roy Halladay, all-time favorite, started. Usually this means you score 2 runs. Today, not so much. Halladay gave up 9 runs, real out of character for my Cy Young pick. 

Somebody needs to pull Roy Oswalt off the Reds. After his latest win against the Reds, Roy is 19-1 against them in his career. Man is invincible.

Alright guys. Might not be back for awhile now. Finals until Wednesday, and then summer school starts Thursday. So it'll be busy for awhile and we might get a little slow here. But stick around.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

A look at some comeback pitchers

Well, like I said earlier, I've been sick and such, that's why I've been gone. I encourage you to check out the Birthday Bash post from earlier today, it's much better than anything you are going to read here. Now we're going to take a look at some pitchers who at some point have been left for dead, but are actually still some of the best in the game.

How about that Francisco Cordero kid? He had a bad year last year, and he looked finished. This year? 11.1 IP, 10 saves, 19 K's, 7 walks, 0 runs. And the dude has allowed 2 hits. I don't understand why this isn't a bigger story. The 7 walks show us he has a little control issues, but still... 2 hits? The guy has faced 41 batters. That's an average of .059. He obviously can't stay this lights out forever, but it's still an amazing performance.

I think it's safe to say that Tim Hudson is back. He's showed good command over his first six games of the season, walking only 12 batters so far in 45 innings, (I never understood how Zito and Hudson fit into the Moneyball Scheme in Oakland, where they both gave up about 80 walks a year.) He's allowed only 7 runs. He's 3-0, but he should be, if not 4-0, 5-0. We wrote about how Hudson got one win janked from his record two starts ago, but it happened again last night. This time, it was in reverse. In the bottom of the 8th the Braves were up to bat, score 2-2. Men on 2nd and 3rd, 2 outs, when Huddy's spot comes up. Again, a tough spot. Do you leave your pitcher in, who has only allowed 5 men to reach base all game with 94 pitches, and hope you can score later? Or do you take him out for a guy like Brayan Pena, who's batting average against righties is .60 lower than Hudson's? Obviously, Cox chose to jerk Hudson for Pena, who promptly grounded out to Brett Myers, (who is still pitching in relief...?) And then, of course, the Braves score 3 runs in the bottom of the 9th to take the game. So, Hudson should be 5-0, but instead he's 3-0. We're going to start keeping track of this. Hudson early yank count: 2.

And Roy Halladay is still the best pitcher in the game. Roy won the Cy Young in 2003, but turned in a less-than stellar year in 2004 with a 4.20 ERA, the only time besides 2000 that he finished with an ERA above 4. But people thought he was a fluke. I drafted Halladay incredibly low with the 51st pick in my 2005 pay league. He is now 4-0 with an ERA of 2.28. And the thing is, he can keep that up all year. He leads MLB with 47.1 IP. He even went 10 innings for a complete game win against the Tigers - for the 2nd time in his career. This guy is hitting on all cylinders. 0.89 WHIP, 33 K's, 7 walks. I've long said that he will win the Cy Young again. Well, last night he struck out 8, allowed just 5 hits, and went the full 9 innings for the win. After that, Jay's manager Jay Gibbons said, "he's a security blanket... He saves bullpens, he continues winning streaks, stops losing streaks, and that's how you get things going." That's probably one of the best compliments you can get as a pitcher. And it's true. Halladay is one of only a few starters in the league that can actually make a huge impact on the team as a whole. You've got Santana, maybe Chris Carpenter, Roy Oswalt, and Halladay, that's about it.

Finally, Jake Peavy is another comeback story. The kid looked to have lost it last year, going with a 4.09 ERA. But this year he's started solid, with a 2.06 ERA and 46 K's in 39.1 IP. He's 3-1. It's tough to get wins on a team as bad as the Padres, (in his two no-decisions, he allowed a combined 1 run in 14 innings against Colorado and Arizona,) but he'll manage to put together a good year if he keeps this up.

I want to see someone get 300 K's in a year. Randy Johnson got 290 in that oh-so-memorable year of 2004, where, as you might recall, he pitched 245 innings, (2nd place,) with an ERA of 2.60 (1st place among starters,) a WHIP of .90, (1st among starters,) those 290 K's, (1st place,) and an OBA of .241 (1st among starters.) He made 35 starts, so you're thinking, wow, dude most have gone like, 25-2 or something, right? Sadly, that was not the case. Johnson played for the crummy Diamondbacks that year, and he went just 16-14. He even missed out on the Cy Young award, which went to Roger Clemens. That's pretty awful.

And now for a guy who isn't doing so hot. Mark Redman, who now pitches for the Braves. Have you ever noticed that every time you look around, this guy is on a new team? That's because it's true. In 1999, Redman pitched 12 innings for the Twins and was welcomed back again in 2000. That was the only time he has ever pitched for the same team two years in a row. Now he's in Atlanta with a 10.13 ERA and no wins. There's talk that if he gets kicked around again tonight, he'll lose his spot in the rotation... I don't know about that. If the Braves had another option for their #4 spot, they probably would've put him in already. They've got Chuck James in the 3 spot, and Kyle Davies in #5. They don't have anyone better. Mike Hampton has been on the DL since about this time two years ago. Maybe they will just come up with some bizarro rotation where Tim Hudson and John Smoltz pitch on three days of rest. I could definitely see that happening. And I would be all for it. Because seriously, how often do the Braves make a big mid-season trade? They just bring up guys from the minors that somehow fit right in.

Well that's all for now. Don't expect anything big for the next week or so. Finals are over on the 9th, so we've got that to look forward to...

Birthday Bash Flashbacks! - Turns out, bad can be funny - May 1st, 2007
However many wins Tim Hudson finishes this year with, add one - April 25th, 2007

Birthday Bash Flashbacks! - Turns out, bad can be funny

BHGM celebrated birthday #2 on Sunday the 29th, and as promised, we've got more Birthday Bash Flashbacks. Another two-fer today. The theme is, really bad things can be really funny.

First we're going with the classic "Kazmir, Cubs, Duffy, and College Baseball Lying" post from May 19th, 2006. Had a lot of bad stuff happening then. Scott Kazmir can't put the ball in its place, a drunkard chucks a ball at the terrible Jacque Jones while he tries to play the outfield, Barry Bonds gets an intentional walk of the most untraditional sort, and the Pirate's Chris Duffy commences another Operation Shutdown. Bronson Arroyo forgets that pitchers bat in the NL, and says, after his embarrassing lose to the Pirates, that "there is something wrong with me if I can't feel comfortable against that lineup... they're one of the weakest teams in baseball." Next, we have a video of a college baseball (PING!) player faking a hit by pitch on a pitch that clearly came nowhere close to him, which is hilarious. Finally, the Angels start playing like a group of scrubs. Classic stuff, really is.

And then we've got the original "I guess Operation Shutdown also involves Cocaine," April 22nd, 2006. Many of you may recall when Pirate Derek Bell claimed that, unless the Pirates gave him a spot on the roster which he clearly, (previous season's avg: .173), didn't deserve, he wouldn't engage in "competition" for a spot. This was a short post so I recommend checking it out. But because I can't resist, here's what went down after:

Bell went AWOL from the Pirate Ship and was released two days later. Operation Shutdown was in its 49th month when Bell was pulled over and the cops found a "warm crack pipe" in the car. Looks like Operation Shutdown just became Operation Go to Jail. As the SuperFreak himself once said, " a hell of a drug." And I'll never miss a chance to work that in.

So there you have it. The best screw ups just make for the best humor.

Kazmir, Cubs, Duffy, and College Baseball Lying - May 19th, 2006
I guess Operation Shutdown also involves Cocaine - April 22nd, 2006
Take a look; you'll never see a worse team than the Royals - May 25th, 2006
Yankees SP, Friday in Review - May 27th, 2006