Sunday, September 25, 2011

Opening Day Part Deaux

The home-standing Cubs takes a 5-4 win over the visiting Brewers. Willie Izquierdo kept the Brewers guessing until tiring in the 8th as the Cubs broke out with 4 runs to tie the game. The venerable Joey Tracy pinch hit in the bottom of the ninth ended the game.

St Louis scored early and held on for a 4-3 win over Cleveland as miscues almost cost them the game.

Houston invaded Charlotte and used their usual long ball to their advantage in a 5-3 win.

Salem downs Frisco 4-1 in 11 innings. After a near disasterous first inning by Salem, pitchers settled down on both sides as the fans fell sleep before games end.

Toronto invaded Tiger stadium and came from behind to win a 3-2 decision. Detroit scored 2 in the first but just couldn't get anything going after. Toronto eked out single runs in the sixth on a strange inside the park homer, in the seventh on a wild pitch and a close call at home in the ninth (even replay analysts aren't sure as too much dust was kicked up to tell).

Atlanta filibustered Washington 10-6, as each side belted 13 hits but the Senators just couldn't get things done when needed. Sounds oh so familiar.

In the revenge game in Little Rock, Tampa Bay erased a 3-2 deficit for a 5-3 win in the top of the ninth. Little Rock had a chance for the win in the bottom of the inning but a little lame pop up ended a Head come back as usual.

The ancient Slob, Dan Hitchcock, was the story in San Diego as the Padres were out foxed for 6 innings but held a 1-0 lead. Denny Matheson's 2-run blast in the top of the seventh was the deciding factor in the Slobs 2-1 win.

Opening Day

The words "Play Ball" has finally echoed the start of the season as half the world began play. Two upsets, well maybe not but they were shutouts, highlight the opening day festivities.

In New York, the Mets recorded an unusual feat of shutting down the Phillies with a 3-0 shutout win. The star of the game, Chun-Lim Satou, went 3 for 4 but didn't garner an RBI or a run scored, go figure.

In Dover, Boston went down to defeat in grand fashion with a 8-0 shellacking. Star of the game, Cesar Rincon, went 8 innings for the win trying to atone for last years utterly disappointing season.

In Arizona, the Dodgers took the lead in the top of the 11th but the bull pen failed as Arizona tied it in the bottom half before star of the game, Darren Cambridge's 3-run blast sealed the deal.

In Pittsburgh, the Pirates pitching staff shut down the Reds offense in a 5-2 victory. Bill Riley became the star of the game going 3 for 4 knocking in 2, who would have thought that.

In Helena, the Hot Pockets pitching staff had a habit of serving up gopher balls. The Angels had 17 hits, 4 dingers and 3 doubles among them in the 9-6 win.

In Mexico City, the Marlins escaped with a 4-3 win in extra innings. The play that tied the game in the top of the ninth leaves me wondering though. I am sure there could have been a play at the plate instead of trying for a double play that didn't happen either. Then again IJ's sister may have played an important role somewhere.

Seattle took batting practice in Minnesota with their 12-1 demoralization of the Twinkies. Winston Maxwell went 8 innings for the win on his quest for a third straight 20 win season. Ariel Serra was the star of the game with a 2 for 2 performance, both were homers, 2 walks with 5 RBI's and 3 runs scored.

In Arlington, Kansas City had several big innings drubbing the Rangers 11-4. Star of the game, Neil Rigdon had two homers one of which was a grand slam that accounted for 4 of his 7 RBI's. Black Bart got the scoring started early with a quick 2-run blast in the first.

Stay tuned in as the second half of opening day will be forthcoming.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Predictions

It is time to start another wonderful season! Do you have what it takes to be a winner? Let us see what the crystal ball indicates.

NL North

The North looks to be about the same as last year. However I do see the Brew Crew as the team to beat. The ball sees it this way, the Brewers have the better lineup and pen while the Pirates have the better rotation and defense. It very well could end up in a tie. The Reds and Cubs still look a little weak comparatively and will fight it out for third.

NL East

The crystal ball doesn't think the East is gonna change at all. The Phillies are still the team to beat. The Browns, Mets and New Look Indians will be formidable and all three possibly vying for second place once again. Well, that is a bit of a change in a way.

NL South

This one could be a surprise but don't get all that excited. The Astros and Marlins will be fighting it out all season once again. The Red Devils and Knights will put up a struggle but the crystal ball doesn't see enough oomph down the stretch.

NL West

Salem looks to be the best team in the NL. Can they do it is the unanswered question. Arizona and Frisco are going to put up a valid fight to the end which could see the Trees being cut down. The Dodgers entering the fray doesn't seem likely.

1. Salem - Just because they look to be the team to beat.
2. Florida - Everything is in IJ's arm and his sisters lap. Woohoo!
3. Milwaukee - Someone new in the top four is inevitable.
4. Philadelphia - Not a given but the division isn't all that strong.
5. Houston - Just because they can and no one else is gonna.
6. Arizona - The surprise team this year if Pittsburgh struggles.

AL North

The North will see the Toronto offense versus the veteran Seattle bunch once again. Which will it be? The crystal ball sees the Mariner pitching staff doing its job once again. The Twinkies will vie for a spot also. Detroit is a tough unknown entity that looks good but may not live up to the task.

AL East

Boston has the upper hand once again as Washington, Dover and Atlanta looks to struggle in keeping up.

AL South

Don't look for a surprise finish from Little Rock this year. Tampa Bay looks much better on paper, then again didn't I say that last year. Texas has a good chance but I really am not sure the pitching staff is up to the task. Kansas City could be one of those streaky teams.

AL West

Always a fight by all four teams and this year will be another round of the same. The crystal ball likes the Las Vegas pitching staff by a large margin this year. Will Helena falter down the stretch again while San Diego picks up steam? Will Anaheim make a move? Oooh it is up for grabs.

1. Seattle - Still like this veteran playoff team.
2. Helena - Just like surprise upsets.
3. Boston - Green Monster dents.
4. Tampa Bay - Will jinx them once again.
5. Toronto - Why not.
6. Las Vegas - Had to choose between one of the five that could wind up here.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

First IFA Of The Season Signs

Einar Gimenez was honored as the first International player signed this season. A right-handed starting pitcher that has a decent chance to one day make a ML roster. The St Louis Browns gained the rights with a bid of $3.3M and a date with Whitney in her nurses uniform.

Monday, September 19, 2011

A New Season, New Rich Kids

The highlight of the off-season comes in the form of the Free Agents seeking absurd amounts of money for their services. So who achieved Nirvana in the weak market?

Jesse Brennaman was paid $12.1M for a four year deal by Toronto. Seems like a can't miss deal but then for some reason Toronto always ends up on the bad end of the terms for some reason.

Howie Drabek was nabbed by Florida in a relatively cheap contract, about $5M in a five year deal. However the $10M upfront cash makes this an unusual mating.

Clark Key garnered a five year deal for $8M by Mexico City, who you would think won the lottery. I think so anyway as I figured he would go over 10M a year.

Bernie Castillo was paid nicely for his bull pen services by Tampa Bay.

Santiago Mangual felt he hit the lottery as he garnered a three year deal for more than $6M a year for his aging services in the Boston bull pen.

Those that didn't serve an A in Free Agency but still reaped the benefits?

Vernon Leach was paid $5M for a four year deal by Minnesota. Maybe not a prolific player but his speed and multi-position capability will help a team in need.

Danys Candelaria got a cheap one year deal in Boston. This may have been the steal in the market.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Seaatle Wins!

For three seasons in a row now Seattle was the best team in the AL but met with terminal stymied cataclysm in the previous two. Third time is a charm they say and so it was that Seattle overcame their fears and delivered unlike the misfortune of the Buffalo Bills. As predicted it was a hard fought series: Two 1-run games, four two-run games, two extra inning games, and three in a row ending at 6-4. I actually expected fewer runs scored, but the theme of four seemed to resonate with a loud bang. As predicted the better offense proved to be the dimensional upshot.

How tough was it? The AL Cy Young winner, Winston Maxwell, started two games and never finished 5 innings in either start but only allowed two runs. Ivan Johnson didn't fare all that well either as he had four appearances giving up six earned runs with three long balls.

Congrats Seattle!!!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Post Season Awards

Murray Ramsey won the NL MVP award almost unanimously and I believe deservedly so. Might not be so hot at stealing bases and his fielding was a bit undeservingly sub-par but the best choice.

The AL MVP award went to Raul Izquierdo in a hectic voting frenzy. I am a little miffed also as he is a one dimensional player. Hard to vote for a DH in my books. Especially one who only led the league OPS and doubles. In my thinking, the multitalented Pepe Feliz was a much better choice though his average wasn't up to snuff for a MVP.

The NL Cy Young was not won by Ivan Johnson who had an under-performing season. Rumor is he kept having a recurring crotch cricket problem which caused some severe on and off field problems. According to a leaked source from the league office, they were looking into possible infractions in Mexico City where IJ's younger sister who accompanied him on a trip got into a drunken orgy with several Red Devils at a local (ummm) cantina. The problem surfaced a few days later the first time. However it was learned that she was a shave-tail and led to a rather hairless end. After several recurrences of the problem, the wife, sister and hotels have all been ruled out. DNA evidence seems to have proven criminal activity however.

Reagan Mathews did win the coveted award however. Omar Elcano had the resume' to win the award again also but the votes went to Reagan. Which was actually better? The cagey veteran or the youngster. I chose the youngster because he put up some real good numbers on a team that wasn't great.

Winston Maxwell won the AL CY Young award hands down. IMO he wins the award because of the stadium and team. Truth be told Shaggy Stratton had a better season if you consider team and stadium also.

The Rookie of the Year voting was a bit mystical as it was shared in both leagues. I had a very hard deciding also. The AL had two pitchers, one a starter the other was used in long relief. Both were good so maybe they both deserved to share. Hmm, call in IJ's sister to break the deadlock maybe. In the NL, well we just had to vote on who we thought was the best. It wasn't an easy choice as none were what you would call outstanding.