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Richard Kagan

Sox in Ist, 9 Games over .500, Wow. posted by Richard Kagan

People are talking about the Mets being the surprise team of the Majors in the first half.  Well, what about the ChiSox?  Led by a manager who has never worked in minors or majors, Robin Ventura, the storied former third baseman for Chicago, took helm of the team, and let them breathe.  Perhaps, Ozzie Guillen didn't work anymore with the team, and they needed a new face.  That, and an improved Adam Dunn HR production (25) and a fine year from Alex Rios who is hitting around .312 with a high slugging percentage, and a breakout year from starter Chris Sale, who is leading the league in ERA with a .229 ERA, plus or minus a few points, and you've got an improved team.

Getting Kevin Youkilis, the third baseman from the BoSox in a trade may be the heist of the year.  Youk has alread found a place with the Sox faithful.  All you have to do his hit a few Hr's, and drive in runs.  He has done this.  His 2 run HR'er were all the runs Gavin Floyd needed as he earned his 7th win.  The Sox have won 5 straight and are playing well at home.  Now they have a new guy at the keystone position has has a few WS rings won with Boston. 

It helps that Dayan Viciendo, A.J. Pierzynski, and Paul Konerko are hitting for power and driving in runs.  Pierzynski is just 2 HR's short of his career high and we have half a season to play.  Jake Peavy is pitching with command like he did in his CY Young days.  You've got a team that is a for real contender in 2012.  Don't forget Phil Humber's perfect game earlier in the season.  Humber got roughed up after that outing and has been on the DL.  Here is hoping he can regain his form.

Continue reading "Sox in Ist, 9 Games over .500, Wow."


David

Nationals handle Strasburg’s schedule with brilliance posted by David

The hype over Washington Nationals’ phenom Stephen Strasburg has been followed by terrific pitching from the young right-hander, but the Nats’ front office also deserves a lot of credit.  In his first three starts, Strasburg has faced the Pirates, the Indians, and the White Sox, all of whom rank near the bottom offensively.  While I think Strasburg has a tremendous amount of talent and is going to be a great pitcher for quite some time, I’d like to see how he fares against the heavy-hitting lineups of the Yankees, Reds, and Red Sox.

How ‘bout that?

How about Mike Leake?  The Reds’ rookie pitcher finally took his first loss of the season this week, but still boasts a 3.02 ERA to go with his 5-1 record.  His most impressive stat, however, is that he has gone at least six innings in 12 of his 13 starts.  In addition to his contribution on the mound, Leake is hitting .385 – more than 100 points higher than the batting average of the hitters he has faced (.270).  Leake has been Cincinnati’s most consistent – and best – pitcher in 2010.

How about Carlos Peña?  After hitting just .120/.233./.250 with three home runs in the month of May, Peña homered in six straight games last week and is slugging .667 so far in June.  For a guy hitting just .197 on the season, Peña has been awfully productive.  The Rays’ first baseman leads his team in home runs (15), and his 46 RBIs are second only to Evan Longoria’s 51.

How about the Braves?  Atlanta won only nine of 23 games in April but is 31-14 since the beginning of May and leads the NL East by a half-game over the Mets, who have won eight in a row.  The Braves have been particularly strong at home, evidenced by a 22-7 record at Turner Field.

Continue reading "Nationals handle Strasburg’s schedule ..."


Michael McGauley

"Bengie Molina is Back in the Squat for San Francisco" posted by Michael McGauley


I thought that ship had sailed? I also thought it was certain that Bengie Molina would be a New York Met in 2010. New York was dangling a two year deal, but Molina's camp wanted a third year option. Something went terribly wrong in the negotiations, and the two sides parted ways, which is good news for the Giants! It's hard to get greedy in this current market place, especially when you're an older player (who turns 36 in July), and playing a demanding position like catcher. I thought Molina might have ended-up in the American League where he could also be a DH.   Whatever happened at the end of last season (not playing hurt?), I say forget any bad blood that may have bubbled to the surface between Molina and the Giants, and welcome him back behind the plate with open arms. The pitchers love him. He's a club house presence and leader. He will be an excellent mentor to the young Buster Posey. He comes at a relative bargain for one year and $4.5-million, and can hit! Fortunately though, he won't be relied upon to bat clean-up for San Francisco this year (assuming the off-season acquisitions come through as expected). Molina should be much more comfortable further down in the order as a number-six hitter, behind a 3-4-5 combination of Sandoval, Huff, and De Rosa. Now I'm digging this line-up a lot more than I was just a couple of weeks ago.  Yorvit Torrealba? Rod Barajas? Bengie's going to be a better hitter than both of those guys. Last year, Molina struggled through some injuries, but still managed to play in 132 games and had 491 at-bats. The rest of the pertinent numbers: 130 hits, (only) 52 runs scored, 25 doubles, 20 homers, 80 RBI's, and an incredibly low 13 walks...Yikes! That's reflected in a .285 on-base percentage, but a fairly solid .265 batting average. Molina drove in 95 runs with 16 homers and 33 doubles in 2008; with a .292 average, and .322 on-base percentage. So, assuming he plays most of the season, you know roughly what kind of numbers you're going to get. But what if Posey is ready to go mid-season and gets the call-up? That remains to be seen. I would say Eli Whiteside begins the year as Molina's back-up with Posey down in Triple-A Fresno.  By-the-way: Torrealba sported a .351 on-base percentage and a .291 average in just 64 games with the Rockies last season, sharing time with Chris Ianetta. It's hard to really compare any other stats with fewer than half the number of at-bats, but Yorvit did manage to work 21 walks in just 213 at-bats. So, he would easily have more than 50 BB's with 500 A.B's. Barajas, meanwhile, had a descent season with the Blue Jays in 2008 as far as power numbers (19 and 71), but his batting average and on-base were dreadful in roughly the same number of at-bats. So, considering Bengie's familiarity with the Giants' pitching staff, and his overall better hitting, he was clearly the best choice of the three. The fourth choice, Miguel Olivo, had already signed with Colorado -- essentially replacing Torrealba.   Merkin Valdez, who was designated for assignment earlier last week, has been traded to Toronoto for cash considerations. Valdez just never realized his potential, but maintained a dominant fastball even after returning from Continue reading ""Bengie Molina is Back in the Squat ..."


Michael McGauley

"Randy Johnson Officially Announces His Retirement" posted by Michael McGauley

 HAPPY NEW YEAR to all Giant fans! College Football is nearly complete, and the Super Bowl is a month away...  And before you know it, Spring will be back in the air, and pitchers and catchers will be reporting to spring training in about six weeks. Personally, I just can't get enough baseball (thank you MLB Network), and keep hoping the Giants will make some more moves to improve on an 88-win season in 2009. Yes, they re-signed Juan Uribe (because he couldn't get a multi-year deal elsewhere), and picked-up the versatile Mark De Rosa; however, that's just not enough for me. Assuming Bengie Molina doesn't return (he's been offered two years by the Mets), another bat must walk through that clubhouse door come spring training. Brad Penny walked away from the Giants, who seemingly made a comparable offer to the one year deal he inked with the Cardinals ($7.5 million with incentives that could boost the deal closer to nine-million dollars). Penny joins Cy Young runner-ups Carpenter and Wainwright in a solid rotation, and Matt Holiday appears certain to remain in a line-up featuring the great Albert Pujols. Maybe Penny thought the Cards were closer to the NL Pennant than San Francisco. One pitcher who will not be in Arizona this spring is 46-year-old veteran Randy Johnson, who has officially announced his retirement after twenty-two seasons and 303 victories. A 10-time all-star, 5-time Cy Young Award winner, and World Series MVP, Johnson's accomplishments stack-up against almost any other left-handed pitcher ever in the history of the game. Too bContinue reading ""Randy Johnson Officially Announces ..."


Randolph Charlotin

Deep 86-ed posted by Randolph Charlotin

Pardon me while I go off track for a moment.

 

Last night I watched one of ESPN’s 30 for 30 documentaries. It was “Without Bias: The Len Bias Story” or something like that. It didn’t blow me away as far as storytelling goes, but it was well done.

 

Near the end of the program, the documentary quickly reviewed what happened the year Bias died. In 1986, the New England Patriots were stomped by the Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XX. The Red Sox blew the World Series against the New York Mets. And though the Boston Celtics won the NBA Championship that year, Len’s June death began the 1986-87 season. A season the Celtics were unable to repeat as champions without Bias.

 

Not mentioned by the documentary was the Boston Bruins. The Black and Gold lost in the Division Semi-Finals in 85-86 and 86-87.

 

All in all, it was a very bad year for Boston sports.

 Questions? Comments? Send to talktome@randolphc.com.Continue reading "Deep 86-ed"


Michael McGauley

"Carney Lansford the Scape Goat for Giants' Offensive Struggles" posted by Michael McGauley

  

  Do we really blame Carney Lansford for a bunch of over-anxious, free-swinging hitters?  The stats certainly don't lie.  Only the Padres, Pirates, and Astros scored fewer runs than the Giants' 657 runs in 2009.  San Francisco's 122 home runs was second-to-last in the N.L., behind only the Mets, who stroked just 95 homers with a half-injured team in their brand-new, spacious Citi Field. Walks: 392 for the Giants was dead last in the league (the Rockies had 660 walks to lead the league). And that leads us to on-base percentage; where the Giants ranked last at .309!  That is just dismal, anemic, pitiful....any other good adjectives to throw in there?

  Bottom line, this has been a consistent problem for the Giants for several years now. They never really replaced Bonds and Kent - the last time they had a legitimate three-four combination in the batting order.  Yes, they've built up the pitching big time. Yes, Pablo Sandoval can rake. But that's not enough -- we need two or three more hitters like Pablo. Hey, you've got to give up something to get something, and the time is now to part with a starting pitcher, and acquire a bat. It's not the most desirable scenario, but consider the lack of available sticks in free agency. In addition, they will have to invest some money to keep the young guys happy (Tim Lincecum and Brian Wilson are due for BIG raises, and I say, give them whatever they want!).

  Back to Lansford, I don't blame him. He won a batting title (1981 with Boston), and knows how to hit. That doesn't always translate into being able to teach others how to do the same however. Just to use a brief basketball analogy -- how good of a coach was Magic Johnson with the Lakers? Same idea, but on a smaller scale. Lansford is bright and knowledgeable, but without a couple of big thumpers, this line-up loaded with number two and number six hitters (besides Sandoval) is not going to get the job done. We all know this. The Giants know this. But for some reason, they felt like they had to make a statement with this firing. The rest of the staff was retained by the way, when it was officially announced that Bruce Bochy would be returning for two more years with a club option for a third year. Same goes for GM Brian Sabean.

Continue reading ""Carney Lansford the Scape Goat for ..."


David

Twins-Tigers game was exactly what I wanted posted by David

The 12-inning thriller that was the last regular season game ever played at the Metrodome was exactly what I wanted to see.  When the Twins and Tigers played a four-game series in Detroit last week, I found myself rooting for the Twins to close the gap in order to create an exciting finish to the regular season – ideally a one-game playoff.  When that happened, I decided it would be great for the city of Detroit to send their team to the playoffs, but what I wanted most was to see a great game.  My wish came true when the two teams played a nail-biter that could have gone either way, but eventually sent Minnesota to the postseason.  Props to both teams for giving the fans what they deserved.

How ‘bout that?

How about Jason Kubel?  The Twins slugger hit a pair of three-run home runs in his team’s must-win game against Kansas City just to force Game 163, and added a solo shot in the game against the Tigers that decided the AL Central.  For the season, Kubel hit .300 with 28 home runs, 103 RBI’s, and a .907 OPS – all career highs.  Additionally, since taking over in right field when Justin Morneau went on the disabled list and Michael Cuddyer moved to first base, Kubel has not made a single error, giving Manager Ron Gardenhire confidence in his team despite the loss of one of his best players.

How about John Lackey?  With history on their opponent’s side, the Angels were not expected to beat the Red Sox in their American League Division Series, but after Lackey’s performance last night the Halos have to be feeling good about their chances.  In the series opener, Lackey threw 7.1 innings of scoreless baseball, giving up only four hits and walking just one, leading the team to a 5-0 victory over the Sox, who had beaten the Angels in their last three postseason series (2004, 2007, 2008) while losing a single game out of 10.  If the Angels send the Sox packing early, it will be news to the remaining teams that there’s a new player on the block.

Continue reading "Twins-Tigers game was exactly what I wanted"


John Frascella

Bobby Parnell is NOT a starting pitcher. posted by John Frascella

If the Mets head into next season with Bobby Parnell in their plans for the starting rotation, I'm becoming either a Phillies or Yankees fan. I can't take it anymore...I just can't. Parnell is garbage!

Can he be decent as a one inning middle reliever in not-so-tight situations? Probably, because he has a 94-99 MPH fastball when he works short appearances. But other than that, this guy is probably closer to a AAA pitcher than a major leaguer. 

Unless you have natural ability the likes of Ubaldo Jimenez, you have to have a BRAIN to be a successful starting pitcher at the game's highest level. Parnell stays on a plain with the opposing hitters' belts, which is an obvious recipe for disaster. He has extreme difficulty shooting the knees, and that's why his 96 MPH heaters get smacked around like 87 or 88. 

He doesn't locate well, he doesn't think, and his breaking stuff is awful. He has a hard slider that he continually bounces in the dirt (ever hear of adjusting?), and his change-up is like 90 MPH and flat. What's the point of throwing a change-up if it's 4 MPH slower than your fastball?

No point, obviously. There's nothing about Bobby Parnell that tells me he can be an effective starting pitcher at ANY point in his major league career. Let's send him back to the bullpen in 2010, or I'm ordering my Jimmy Rollins jersey as soon as I get a chance. 

Continue reading "Bobby Parnell is NOT a starting pitcher."


John Frascella

Cubs Say They Will Shop Zambrano posted by John Frascella

When the 2009 MLB season comes to a close, the Chicago Cubs have announced that they will shop starting pitcher Carlos Zambrano in hopes of swinging a trade and dumping much of his monstrous contract. The question is, should the Mets be interested in the massive right-hander?

That's the question a friend asked me earlier today, and I said, "Sure. It's not like we have anyone better" -- with the obvious exception of Johan Santana. As far as physical ability goes, Zambrano isn't the 97-99 MPH flamethrower he was four or five seasons ago, but he maintains an effective power sinker that would work nicely at Citi Field. I thought he looked hurt in 2008, but I've seen the life return to his sinker this season. 

The obstacle in the Mets' way would be of the financial variety. By now many of you know that the Wilpons were ripped off by Bernie Madoff, and reports have suggested as much as $700 million in losses. If the actual number is anywhere near that figure, it would be awfully difficult for the Mets to house Zambrano's hefty contract. Only time will tell, I guess. 

Continue reading "Cubs Say They Will Shop Zambrano"


John Frascella

Pedro sticks it to his old mates posted by John Frascella

As if the 2009 season couldn't get any worse for the Metropolitans, Pedro Martinez had to go and embarrass them on national television last night. While Tim Redding (who I can't stand) pitched his ass off for the Mets, their anemic offense couldn't help him out. The Phillies' famously potent lineup was held to just one run...

And the Mets STILL couldn't find a way to win. Pedro, whom the Mets opted to pass on this offseason, went eight strong innings without allowing a single run. Pedro struck out seven, and scattered six hits. He was featuring an 88-92 MPH fastball, a sweeping curve, and an excellent change-up to left-handed hitters. 

Oh well, I guess the Mets' front office was positive that Redding was the better choice this offseason. Another real winner for this sorry organization. 

Continue reading "Pedro sticks it to his old mates"

New York Mets News

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MLB's 2015 season slated to start April 5 (The Associated Press)

Major League Baseball's 2015 season is scheduled to start with a Sunday night game on April 5 and the other 28 teams will be slated to open the following day. The regular season is to end Oct. 4, which means the World Series would be scheduled to start Oct. 28 if the current postseason format is maintained. Opening series have Boston at Philadelphia, St. Louis at the Chicago Cubs, San Francisco at Arizona, Pittsburgh at Cincinnati, Minnesota at Detroit, Cleveland at Houston, the Chicago White Sox at Kansas City, San Diego at the Los Angeles Dodgers, Atlanta at Miami, Colorado at Milwaukee, Toronto at the New York Yankees, Texas at Oakland, the Los Angeles Angels at Seattle, Baltimore at Tampa Bay and the New York Mets at Washington. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports


Wheeler struggles as sloppy Mets lose 9-6 (The Associated Press)

Zack Wheeler struggled with his command on the mound early, and reliever Jeurys Familia and the New York Mets struggled in the field late. Familia had two throwing errors and a wild pitch, leading to the three tiebreaking runs as the Marlins snapped a five-game losing streak to the Mets with a 9-6 win Monday. ''Sometimes, I try to be perfect, and I throw it away or I throw it to the ground.'' The score was tied 6-all going into the eighth before the Mets committed three of their season-high six errors and walked three batters. ''It wasn't a big-league baseball game, I can tell you that,'' Mets manager Terry Collins said. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

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