Saturday, November 7, 2009

Yankees receive big return on investment

It wasn’t so clear at the beginning of the season but then they caught their stride, ended up with the best record in baseball, and by the time the playoffs rolled around we’re the consensus favorite. Now all the haters are lining up to take shots at the Yankees because of their payroll, the steroid confessions, killer bees in South America, etc. The truth is, even if you’re not a New York fan, you have to admire ownership that is willing to do what it takes to put a winner of the field. Say what you will about the payroll, but the Yankee franchise has a very high bar to reach and you’re a fan of one of those teams that hasn’t made the playoffs in a millennium then perhaps you should hope they follow the example the Yankees have set. First they literally went out and got the best money could by to put a winner on the field despite the luxury tax. Then they built the best stadium possible for that team to play in and their fans to watch them, lastly they play the game in an “all or nothing” style which is the way it was meant to be played. Over the past years, people loved to laugh at the Yankees as the afore mentioned efforts didn’t bring any rings, and convinced themselves that the formula didn’t work. Now, you only the grumbles and complaints that the small markets can’t compete with the wealth of the big ones and how it’s ruined the game. Unfortunately, you can’t have it both ways now that the returns are finally coming in on the Yankee investments. The bottom line is they have consistently done things that successful franchises do to stay on top and if you bleed for your club the way real fans do, then you would hope they would adhere to the example and make your club the team that everyone’s talking for months after season’s end. What do you think of the Yankee blueprint? Let us know here and in any of the quick links:
World Series Game 6 Box Score
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Tickets with a discount

Monday, November 2, 2009

Will Girardi’s pitching gamble come back to haunt the Yankees?

The Yankees would love to have some of the rain from games 1 and 2 come back now as it would give Joe Girardi a reprieve if they can’t take one of the last two games at home to close out the World Series. Joe gambled by attempting to get through with a 3-man rotation and now in games 6 and 7 he’ll need Pettitte and CC to go on only 3 days rest. AP has typically not done well on short rest and 30-something will need to be at his best as Philly is riding the Mo’ after a strong game 5. I tell ya, if the Yanks don’t get it done tonight it’s not such a given with CC in game 7 as Philly will be able to get a couple of, if not a few, relief innings from Lee and Joba “the hut” has not been lights out in his WS appearances and NY may not be able to get to super Mariano. What do you think, can the Phillies sweep a pair from the Yankees and take a title in the process?

Philly left World Series hopes out on the Lidge

Tied at 4 with 2-out, no one on, and an 0-2, the Phillies were one strike away from getting the opportunity to even the series with a run in the ninth. Instead their closer Brad Lidge served up a 3-run two-out rally to all but end Philadelphia’s hopes for a repeat. Prior to that the failings of Lidge during the regular season had all been forgotten as in his previous 4 innings of work he had allowed just 1 hit and no runs. However, these are the Yankees, and with the ‘stick’ the boomers have throughout the lineup you’ve gotta finish strong and once Lidge let Damon off the hook with a 2 strike base knock, the roof just caved in. Was this the Iceman from last year’s playoffs or some a character from the film “surrogates”? Either way, the Phills must now turn the same trick they did on LA, by taking 3 straight. However, unlike their previous series, two of those games will be on the road. So now comes all of the second guessing, should Charlie Manuel have started Lee in game 4 and the answer is no. Joe Blanton did all that he could and left Philly in the as good of a position as you could ask from a starter, aside from having the lead, going against a lineup like he did, down 1 after 7 where a walk, stolen base, and base knock and you’re even, or better yet, a bloop and a blast and you’re tied 2 games each. So he did HIS job, even the relief kept them where they needed to be, had only the titular closer done his they’d be talking about how great of a position the Phillies with Lee on the bump in game 5, and a chance to go back to the Bronx up 3-2 needing only one win to uncork. What should be more widely discussed is how the defensive error that allowed Damon to take third ended up being the most important play of the series thus far. As it took the slider out of the Lidge arsenal and steered him into serving up some cheese to A-Rod which he promptly deposited into the gap for what proved to be the winning run. What was the turning point in game 4? Do you think the Phillies have a chance of coming back and making it a series? Let us know here and in any of the quick links:

Friday, October 30, 2009

Yankees get the performance they need from AJ, now must avoid road sweep

AJ Burnett pitched his best game of the post season in game 2 as the Yankees evened the series with the Phillies at a game a piece. Burnet previously had a 4.57 ERA against the Phillies going into game 2 but shaved that significantly, allowing just one run seven innings of work. Now if the Empire can avoid a three-game sweep by Philadelphia at home they’ll get an opportunity to win it at home. One positive is that Philly will have to beat CC again if they hope to make good on Rollin’s prediction and avoid going back to Yankee Stadium, however the key bat in game 2 was Hideki Matsui (DH) who as a DH, will not be in the starting line-up for all three games in Philly, but will be a stick in waiting for DH purposes. Interleague didn’t make much a difference this year to the Yankees so they added strategy of deciding weather to pull a pitcher for an opportunity to score more runs is one they have managed well. How Godzilla will perform sitting on ice for perhaps 7 innings is another question. Everyone knows Philly had the worst home record of any of the playoff teams but is 4-1 in the postseason with the only loss coming at the hands of Rockies in a tough 1-run game. They obviously have proven they can run off consecutive wins as illustrated by a sweep of the Dodgers who had the best record in the NL this season. Of course, repeating the feat against the club with the best record in the AL, is a different task all together. However if they can pull it off there’s rings waiting for them at the other end of it. Can the Phills sweep away the Evil Empire? Let us know here and in any of the quick links.
World Series Scoreboard
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Complete Game 1 Box Score
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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Lee pitches a gem as the Phillies take game 1

He had the Yankees shut out for the first time in their history through nine games an only an error on Rollins allowed the Yankees to get an unearned run as Cliff Lee went the distance and gave the Phillies a 1-0 series lead with a 6-1 victory. Now Philadelphia has home field advantage and if they can hold serve at home will make Jimmy Rollins a prophet. Chase Utley provided all of the offense the Phils would need with two solo jacks. Although they were on 6 days rest, the Phillies didn’t lose any of their pop or momentum that disposed of the NL’s best team in 5 games, and they have their sights set on the team with the AL’s best record. The Yankees certainly can turn this around but they’re going to need to get into that Philly bullpen to do so. Round one to the City of Brotherly Love, let’s see how much sleep NY gets now that they’re down 0-1. Do you expect the Yankees to bounce back? Can they take a game in Philadelphia? Let us know here and in any of the quick links, also chime in on the poll question.
Howard and Pedro not pullin' punches, now Phills have to back it up

Rollins called hit shot on the Jay Leno show, saying the Phillies would win the series in 5 games, and Pedro Martinez said he was the most influential player ever to play in the house that Ruth built. Now that they got the Yankees all hot n’ bothered they need to step up and deliver. What they did do was land the first punch in the Heavyweight Brawl as now weather they really are or not, they have the perception that they’re NOT intimidated by the Yankees, and haven’t come to kiss their rings but win one at their expense. Meanwhile if New York needed any motivation other than another World Championship, they now have the bulletin board material needed to jumpstart their effort and make sure they don’t come out flat. Were the comments by Rollins and Martinez equivalent to waking the sleeping giant or did Philly need to send a message that they weren’t intimidated? Let us know here and in any of the quick links:

Sunday, October 25, 2009

“Freeway” World Series turns out to be I-95

As the Dodgers and Angels had the best records in their respective divisions for the entire season and best even the Leagues for some, many on the West coast dreamed of an I-5 Series. The second half of that vision was derailed Sunday evening as the Yankees put the finishing touches on a 100 win season with a game 6 victory over the LA Angeles and another trip to the WS. However there will be an interstate series, it will just run north/south on the I-95 between Manhattan and Philadelphia. The Empire has struck back and now are only 4 wins away from returning to glory. Lost in the hype of the Bronx Bombers are the defending World Champions who looked more that poised to repeat the feat as they disposed of the team with the best record in the NL the Dodgers in a quick 5 game series. The Phillies don’t feel respected and perhaps that’s the chip on their shoulder they’ll need to stave off the intimidation factor. There’s no doubt these are the best two teams in baseball with lineups that can do damage top to bottom. The question is can the Philly pitching hold up against a Yankee lineup that 45% of their batting order would be hitting clean up for other teams. It they can get 7 games in between weather delays it could be one for the ages, so buckle up. Who is your pick to win the series and in how many games? Let us know here and in any of the quick links.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Sun setting quickly in LA

October in the Golden State started with dreams of an I-5 World Series but although the weather for the East Coast teams has been cloudy, rainy, and even snowing, the horizon looks much better than it does in LA where the games have been played in sunny 72 degree weather, because LA Dodgers/Angels (take your pick) find themselves down 3 games to 1 and headed to Malibu for the winter. In the Dodgers case the one component that figured to be in their favor, the bullpen, has let them down. Even the reliable John Broxton couldn’t get the three outs needed to take home filed advantage back and now the Blue Crew is one game away from elimination, and facing a rested Cole Hamels in game 5. The Angeles had their opportunity in game 2 but couldn’t deliver with men in scoring position on multiple occasions and finally froze in the middle of a bitter cold New York night, in extra innings. So unless they both have a Hollywood ending written we can expect to have a sub-zero World Series beginning next week with one thing guaranteed, there will be plenty of action for fans of the long ball in the Fall Classic. Who do you like to win the whole thing? Let us know here and in the MLB chat rooms and team rooms. Also visit any of the quick links:

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Matchups set for Championship Series

It may not be the final four many expected but it is full of the usual suspects. The National League will be a rematch of last year as the Dodgers and Phillies will match up again, only this year LA will have home field advantage. In the AL it will be two familiar foes as well as the Angeles and Yankees meet again and the road to the series must go through Manhattan. In surprising fashion the Dodgers dispensed of the Cardinals in straight sets allowing only six runs in three games. The St. Louis Boardwalk & Parkplace (Carpenter/Wainwight)couldn’t get in done in the first two on the road which the Cards expected, and then they were surprised by a pitching gem by Padilla, the late season acquisition, in his first post-season start. Obviously, the pivotal point in the series came in game 2 with the ‘Holliday hearkbreak’ which will go down in halls of shame with the Buckner and Barton, but just the same the cardinals bullpen’s inability to close games out deserves just as much criticism.

If you look back at our post from before the All-Star game we called an I-5 world series between the Dodgers and Angels when they both had the best record in their respective leagues. Since then the Yankees caught fire and past them both but the Angels were playing the best baseball going into the playoffs of anyone still left and they continued that pace by giving the Red Sox a new curse to think about by sweeping them in 3 straight after all the talk was how many time Boston had taken them out. The pivotal point in this series came in game three when Paps couldn’t get the save for the first time in his post-season career. Not one of the 38,704 in attendance or millions watching on TV thought Paps could blow a two-run lead, but then again most of those people had the Sox and Yankees matching up to decide the AL as well.

Unfortunately the Yankees/Twins series will be remembered for as the series that was the catalyst for the initiation of instant replay to baseball. The outcry for umpires to “get it right” will fall outweigh the purist or time concerns as the foul ball that wasn’t will continue to be brought up until the Yankees lose, and if they win the whole thing, well…It was bad and it did cost them the game, but c’mon Twins fans, the mental lapses you displayed on the base paths, in games where runs are at a premium, were inexcusable and would have come back to haunt you with or without replay.

Not without it’s own controversial missed call was the Philly/Rockies series where a swinging bunt that clearly hit the plate was crucial call that also cost the Rockies a game that could have given them a commanding lead and a chance to close it out at home. Instead the drop the next two and are hitting the slopes instead of batting practice. However, the common denominator in all of the teams home for the winter is the lack of ability to close games out and the Rocks had a two-run lead with their ace on the bump needing just 3 outs to survive and advance and they couldn’t get it done (please see Red Sox). You can’t score 3 runs off a swinging bunt.

So on one side we’ve got a rematch on the NLCS from last year Philly vs. LA and a vintage East Coast vs. West Coast, LA vs. NY, in the other. Who do you like to advance to the series?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Dodgers, Yankees, and Angels in driver’s seat at 2-0

The gift came out of left field but the Dodgers will take it as Holliday’s error turns a 1-1 series tie into an overwhelming 0-2 deficit from which no National League team has ever recovered in the history of the 5-game series. There’s no way around it, it may not have been a game 7 but it’s in the same park as Buckner’s in 86’ because the game was over. Now the series is over for the Cards. Meanwhile LA rides into St. Louis with a chance to sweep, which had better happen because they have the unpredictable Chad Billingsly is on the bump for them in game 4.

The other play that will be talked about when this year’s post season is folklore is the home cookin’ the Yankees got at home, with the phantom foul ball call that would have been the go ahead run prior the single the next batter hit. The Twins have not only hung in there but should have been going back home with a split similar to the Cards but they’re down 0-2 (0-9 vs. NYY all time) and it doesn’t look good but the “piranhas” didn’t get their name by accident. They’ll take the first one in the dome but all bets are off for game 4.

So much for jinxes, and the Sox should know all about that. This time their the victim of the antidote as the Angles seem to have all the answers to the Red Sox bats only allowing 1 run in 18 innings en route to a commanding 2-0 lead. There’s no relief for Boston in game 3 as Kazmir’s a gamer and although he may not go 7 1/3 like the two previous LAA on the bump, look for him to go 6 strong and leave the Angels pen 3 innings away from the ALCS.

Will any of the 2-0 teams be pressed to a game 5? Let us know here or in any of the quick links. MLB Wild Card Standings

Monday, October 5, 2009

Playoff picture finally set, almost.

Twins at Yankees – Coming off one of/the best 1-game playoff games ever the Twins overcame a 3-0 deficit to defeat the Tigers 6-5 in 12 innings, adding insult to injury, as the Tigers let a huge divisional lead slip away down the stretch(3 games w/4 to play). Now they try to ride this momentum into the Bronx to take on the Evil Empire, winners of 103 games on the year. The Yankees are well rested but haven’t had to play that has mattered in months. Will that be enough to balance the scale? We don’t think so. It has been amazing run for the Twins, winners of 17 out of 21 (0-7 vs. the Yankees on the year), but the dream ends here.

What else can you say after a marathon 162 game season isn’t enough to decide winner. The Tigers have had more than enough chances to put this division away, now it’s one game for all the marbles and now they’re have to go on the road to do it, due to losing the season series. Going 4-6 down the stretch did not help their chances and now all the hopes of the city of Detroit, rest on the arm of Rick Porcello (14-9), the Twins will counter with Scott Baker (15-9). After the being the focus of attention in MLB over the past two weeks and magazine covers from Time and SI, the Tigers have simply wilted under the pressure and needed some great defensive plays to avoid dropping game 3 to the ‘South Siders’ on the last game of the year. Add in the fact that, although a 14 game winner, Porcello is 0-2 against the Twins this season with a stratospheric ERA just over 6 and its starting to look like the Tigers will home before it’s time to carve pumpkins.

The other matchups are inked to go but surprisingly the pundits seem to think they will not be much of a contest, but we beg to differ.

View Complete Playoff Schedule Here

Cardinals at Dodgers – The Cards late season acquisition of Holliday gives them plenty of ‘stick’ in the lineup and on paper it appears that they will just shell the Dodger pitching staff which has not looked good down the stretch but keep this in mind; the Cards are hitting just over .220 against left handed pitching and LA starts to tough, young, lefties that are pitching as well as they have all season. Furthermore, St. Louis has lost 8 of their last 10 coming into the post-season and isn’t exactly setting the world on fire. We think this one will go 5 games and the home field advantage that was there for the taking that no one seemed to want, may make the difference. Dodgers in 5

Rockies at Phillies – The Defending champs attempt to be the first team to repeat since the Big Red Machine of 75-76 and the table is well set for them. Finishing with the second best record in the NL, they host the Rocks, and normally the Wild Card is the team that no one wants to play because they often come into the playoffs playing the best baseball of everyone because they need to get on a solid run just to get in, this year is not so much the case and this is not the same Colorado team that came in last winning 21/22 games en route to the Show. However, do not forget that the Phills do have some questions on the consistency on their pitching and if they drop one at home and have to move up to Mile High in a must win situation, they could find themselves on the outside looking in, but we like the Phillies in 5.

Who do you think will advance to the NL/ALCS? Let us know here and in the live chat rooms and team rooms.
Which team is most likely to take a first round exit in this years playoffs?Let us know where and in all of the quick links:

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Unlike other sports home filed doesn’t seem to matter in baseball

Firstly, if things got started today here's how the matchups would look like:

American League
Detroit at NY Yankees (Yankees Lead Series 5-1)
Red Sox at LA Angels (Angels lead Series 5-4)

National League
Cardinals at Dodgers (Cards lead Series 5-2)
Rockies at Phillies (Phillies lead series 4-2)

Down the stretch of this year’s MLB season one thing has become incredibly evident, that the division leaders in the NL don’t seem to be any hurry to wrap up their respective division or secure a home field advantage in the upcoming DS/CS, especially in the National League. The Cardinals and Dodgers have both gone 4-6 their last 10, where mere percentage points separate the three division leaders LA, Philly, and STL. The Dodgers STILL haven’t even wrapped up the division as they’ve had a magic number for what seems like half the season, and they’ve failed to nail it down in five consecutive tries and now they’ve opened the door for the Rockies to come into their house and take it from them with a sweep. Perhaps it’s an “LA thang” and they’re taking their cues from the Lakers who were not fond of putting teams away either en route to a championship. Not sure what Joe’s is saying to them in the clubhouse but it’s not motivational. The Cards have an opportunity to host a home series AND dictate when it begins to benefit an very potent pitching staff but also can’t get out of their own way with only a 3 game set with the non-contending Brewers to deal with. Which brings us to Philly, who is percentage points behind LA for the best record, but you wouldn’t know it by their .500 performance of the their last 10 games. They get the ‘Stros for one then the Marlins for 3 at home to finish but then again, with the worst home record of all remaining playoff teams maybe they know something we don’t. Who is in the best position to advance past the Divisional Series? Let us know here or any of the other quick links:

Major League Baseball Schedule

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Playoff picture not quite set

Firstly, if things got started today here's how the matchups would look like:
American League
Detroit at NY Yankees (Yankees Lead Series 5-1)
Red Sox at LA Angels (Angels lead Series 5-4)

National League
Cardinals at Dodgers (Cards lead Series 5-2)
Rockies at Phillies (Phillies lead series 4-2)

Perhaps we were a bit pre-mature with our assertion that everything was decided coming down the stretch in MLB with the exception of the Wild Cards and home field. Then without warning or proclamation the Twins went on a tear and won nine out of ten and find themselves only 3 games back with a 4-game series coming up with the Tigers, who had previously gone three of their last ten before recognizing where they were and winning three straight. Not to pick on the Tigers as there are a few clubs that may be taking their positions for granted but have some major issues to address if they’re going to hold on to their playoff position and/or advance beyond one series. Starting with the Dodgers, who have actually increased their lead in the NL West over the last 10 days they haven’t looked good doing it, getting fat off the likes of the sub .400 teams like San Diego, Pittsburgh, and Washington. Even with that schedule they could only go 7-3. The spotlight is on the NL Wildcard race which completely resides in the west as the Giants and Rockies battle to the final game. The major question facing LA is starting pitching which has really come down to earth and when the Rockies made their charge had it not been for the bullpen going 23/24 scoreless relief innings, with best eras in baseball (Belisario 0.49, Sherrill 0.77, Kuo 1.31, Broxton 1.44) they might be more in the WC conversation than division winners. Ironically, despite all of this, the Dodgers have the best record in the NL right now and a magic number of 4, so we must allow them some latitude, however once the real season begins in less than a month all bets are off as we think the Dodgers are very susceptible to a first round upset.
The Wild Card race could be even closer than it looks on paper, as although the Rocks have a 3.5 game lead but six of their last nine are against the Cards and Dodgers who will certainly want to go into the playoffs with some momentum. For most of September it looked like that final series was going to decide the NL West and Wild Card but now the Rocks may need to get out of LA with more than just a series win to take on the Cards in the ALDS, and now Atlanta and Florida are in the picture as well. Which team is most likely to take a first round exit in this years playoffs?Let us know where and in all of the quick links:
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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Wild Cards and home field is the only thing left to be decided

With all of the tight races early in the season we had every reason to believe that this year was going to be one of the best ever as we came down the stretch. Unfortunately, all of the divisions did a complete 180 as the only division that was all but sealed after the all-star break (the NL West) turned out to be the only close race with LA finally getting some space with 20 games to go. The other pennant races have long since ended. We know the Series will be hosted by the AL again, but getting there may still be a topic of discussion as the road my take many paths. In the AL buy your subway tokens now because it’s gotta go through Manhattan as the Angels are too far back to catch the Bomers but solidly with the second best record. As dominant as they have been this year the Yankees would gladly like to see someone else knock LA off as the Angels have owned NY in recent playoff years. In the NL the Dodgers lost their grip on the best record in baseball a long time ago but have managed to hang on to the best in the NL. Having to fight off the Rockies as actually helped the quest to hold off the Cards simultaneously. Trust me, know one wants anything to do with the Cards pitching staff in a 7-game series, ad the only thing worse is attempting to do it on the road. However, the price for having the best record will dealing with the pesky wild card teams. The reason why so many Wild Card teams have advanced to the World Series as they tend to be playing the best baseball of the season at the right time (ie; 2008 Rockies) and this year will be no duck walk as the Rockies and the Red Sox should be the teams last on the boat and neither LA or NY want to see them in their respective parks. View the current Wild Card Standings Here. Are the teams with the best records headed to the World Series? Does home field make any difference in baseball? Who do you like to advance to show? Let us know where and in all of the quick links:
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Monday, August 17, 2009

Dodgers beginning to fade down the stretch

The 162 game major league baseball season is a marathon by the most lax of comparisons and a triathlon by the rest. In the case of the latter the Dodgers’ arms are growing tired and looking like they could drown before they reach the shore. The arms we’re referring to are the arms of the LA pitching staff which has fallen from it’s perch as the most complete in baseball, top to bottom, even though they still posses the 2nd best ERA in the majors. Dodger closer John Broxton has failed in 3 of his last 5 save attempts which have cost them wins, Kuroda is out for an indefinite period after being hit in the head by a line drive, and the setup men have been lit up in their last two series. LA had the league’s best record for most of the season through the suspension of ManRam while holding the largest lead of any division leader, but the timely hitting has become far less consistent and all of the sudden LA’s losing most of those 1-run games they built they’re huge lead on. To make the tide even stronger, the schedule only gets more difficult for LA with the first place Cards, second place Cubs, and the Rockies who are now right behind them in the NL West. Joe Torre may have had a great run, unless the Blue Crew get some pitching help, they may make it out of the water but don’t look for them to take a long ride in the playoffs. Will LA be around come October? Let us know here and in the MLB chat rooms and team rooms.
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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Are the Dodgers and Angels headed for a freeway series?

The Dodgers have the best record in the NL, the Angels have the best record in the AL, they both reside in the City of Angels and are separated by less than an hour(depending on traffic), and a stretch on the 5 freeway. Is this gong to be the geographical layout for the World Series come October? Many people west of the Mississippi think so and why not, there hasn’t been more consistent baseball this year than they’ve been playing in LA. The Dodgers rank 2nd in batting average, have five players with over 50 RBIs, the highest run differential, and are second in pitching. Meanwhile the Angels have the highest batting average in the league, are the hottest team in baseball, and now posses the best record. So do you make the reservations to spend your fall in the So. Cal sun? Well there’s a few people in the Tri-State area and in the city of brotherly love that think differently. Why, well one could argue that the Dodgers have gotten fat on the weakest division in baseball and that recent series defeats against the Cards and Marlins was a harbinger on how they will do in the NLCS, and although the Phills have cooled off a little they are still the top team in the league. Despite the fact that the Angels own the team in pinstripes, no one from the Bronx believes when the money is on the table that Yankee experience won’t prevail. Lastly, there is the team with the most rings in this decade that resides in Beantown. The Sox are only a half game out and have made it to the show as the wildcard before. In short, the teams from tinsel town do look good but don’t book those plane tickets just yet. Who do you think will be left standing come October? Let us know here and in the MLB chat rooms and team rooms.
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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Dodgers and Cards. An NLCS preview? The defending champs might have something to say about that

In a preview of what should be the NLCS the Cards show that the addition of Holliday may be the missing piece to put them over the top and exposing the Dodgers weak leak in the process. For the first time the season LA has lost three games in a row, the last team in Major League Baseball to do so. LA dropped 2 of 3 to the Marlins and has been beotch slapped in the first three games of their series with the Cards. Although the third game was a 15 inning classic that if it was played in October would go down as one of the best ever played. The series itself has shown why these are the best two teams in the NL and should be the last two standing with stars delivering in the clutch, good starting pitching, and amazing defense. One area that might come back to bite LA is their relief staff. The brightest spot on their staff has been Jonathan Broxton who had converted on all but two of his save opportunities going into the St. Louis series but couldn’t close a 1-run lead, as the Cards tied it in the bottom of the 9th and eventually won in 15. The Dodger starters have consistently got into the 6th or 7th inning but after that the wheels come off the wagon and come playoff time, with the spotlight on, that weakness will be exposed. The Dodgers have five players in their lineup that have driven in over 50 RBIs this season, with Philly being the only other team that can make that claim, but they do leave a plethora of runners on base. The Cards addition of Holliday solidifies their lineup and gives them a ‘murders row’ middle lineup. Holliday has hit in seven straight games since coming over and has sparked a string of clutch hitting making the Cards the favorite of many despite LA having the best record in baseball. What stands out is the outright OWNERSHIP of the Dodgers by the Cards (8-2 last 10 going back to 08’). I know, don’t leave Philly out of that equation but right now this series has been incredible to watch and if this is prologue to what might be coming in Fall, then pass the beer nuts and enjoy.
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Friday, July 24, 2009

Cards close the Holliday deal and look to revive his bat and thier BA

The Athletics and Cardinals have completed a trade that sends outfielder Matt Holliday to St. Louis in exchange for third baseman Brett Wallace, outfielder Shane Peterson and right-handed pitcher Clayton Mortensen in addition, the Athletics will throw in $1.5 million to the Cardinals. Holliday, 29, is eligible for free agency after this season, and has had a lackluster season overall with the Athletics, hitting .287 with 11 homers and 54 RBIs. But he has hit well this month, batting .344 with a .421 on-base percentage, and one scout who has seen him play said Tuesday that Holliday is swinging the bat as well now as he has all year. The first place Cards have been searching for a way to upgrade their offense to build some lineup protection for Pujols, but is this the right move? Many times in various sports have we’ve seen “a change in scenery” make all of the difference (Randy Moss, Lamar Odom, Corey Dillion) as both the player and the team get a shot in the arm and improve their games. However is this going to be one of those situations? Holliday has not been all that and a bag of chips since he left the Rockies and at 13mill per perhaps he should be. Any move in a positive direction is worth it for the Cards who despite hitting a dismal .254 (24th in the league) still find themselves in first place in the NL central, but eventually the sand runs out on timely hitting and inconsistency is exposed. The Cards are spending what cash they have left to go all in for this year. Is this going to be the move to get them back to the NLCS? Let us know here and in the MLB chat rooms and team rooms.
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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A look at the division Leaders, who will stem the tide?

Yankees - finally hiting a hot streak and take the lead in the AL East
The streaky Yankees have now won five in a row on the heels of three consecutive losses that followed a run of 13 wins in 15 games. And this time, their streak has provided a tangible bit of success. Shortly after Rivera recorded the final out at Yankee Stadium, the Rangers completed a 4-2 victory over the Red Sox in Texas. The Yankees, five games out of first place less than a month ago, now stand in sole possession of it, with solid starts coming from all members of the starting rotation.

LA Dodgers - Manny leaves game after getting hit by pitch

Manny Ramirez, who was hit on the left hand by a pitch from Cincinnati’s Homer Bailey in the third inning. X-rays were negative and he’s now listed as day-to-day. The Dodgers are 7-3 in their last 10 games and have opened up a 9-game lead in the NL West, the largest of any division leader. It was the Giants who flinched first as both teams started hot after the All-Star break but SF had a tough series with Pittsburgh where they dropped a couple of 1-run games that gave back the two games they made up during Manny’s absence.

Philadelphia Phillies – Looking like champs that aren’t ready to give up their crown
To say that the Phills have come out of the box strong is a massive understatement. Going 10-1 their last 11, with only 2 games being 1-run games they have been winning, and winning easily until the Cubs put an end to the streak with a win to salvage the series. However it doesn’t get any easier for Philly as they get the division leading Cards next. Finally over .500 at home they may be peaking at the right time in order to make a convincing titile run.

LA Angels – Quietly going after the best record in the AL
The Angels got the best medicine you could ask for when trying to increase a division lead on the road, a date with the KC Royals and after sweeping a double header to take 3 of the first four the Angels have opened up a little breathing room however small (3 games). However LA has gone 8-2 in their last 10 and now has a .587 winning pct just behind the NY which they own in head-to-head.

St. Louis Cardinals – (for now!)
Is this a great division or what??!!! Five teams within 2 ½ games of each other?? To try and predict who will be left standing at the end of this one is an exercise in futility. This has just been a great race to watch all year and it promises to only get better. For now the Cards have seat after the music has stopped, but a torrid schedule that includes series with the Houston, Philly, LA, with Houston again could drop them as far back as 4th place in the division. That could mean the current front runners might find themselves a distant 3 games back in early August.

Tigers - Doing their best to fall out of first but manage to hang on
Detroit has only managed to go seven games above .500 for the season and more recently, 5-5 in their last 10 but that is good enough for them to maintain their two game lead in the AL Central because the Sox and Twins can’t seem to gain any kind of mo’ either. The Tigers have held the top spot for a while but series with the Yankees and Mariners might bring them down to reality.

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Monday, July 20, 2009

Are the Phillies poised to repeat?

I know we’ve called them one of the teams to watch in the second half of the season but the Phillies are making believers of the rest of the league and making us look like prophets in the process. With Jack Nicholson wearing a Yankees cap and watching from a front-row seat, the Phillies wasted no time picking up where they left off in their first game back in Philadelphia since before the All-Star break. Raul Ibanez hit a three-run homer, Carlos Ruiz and Ryan Howard each went deep, and the Philadelphia Phillies won their ninth straight game, 10-1 over the Chicago Cubs on Monday night. Ruiz also had an RBI double during a four-run fourth inning that helped the NL East leaders turn this one into a rout. Rodrigo Lopez (2-0) allowed one run over six innings to give the Phillies their 13th win in their last 14 games. The Phillies are on their longest winning streak since 2006 and improved to 23-23 at home. They were 13-22 at home before they went 9-1 in their last homestand. Ted Lilly (9-7) was rocked in his shortest outing of the season for the Cubs, who snapped a four-game winning streak. The teams boasted the two longest winning streaks in the National League, but the start of the anticipated three-game series was all Phillies. Can the Phills pull off the first repeat since the Jays teams of the 90’s? Is it possible in today’s era? Let us know here and in the MLB chat rooms.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Smacchat Teams to watch in the second half of the season

New York Yankees – For an “Empire” they sure have been quietly going about their business, playing .580 ball (which would be good for first place in every division but one), the lineup is still stacked from top to bottom, with a batting average that is 2nd best in baseball. Pitching wise, core starters Burnett, CC, and Joba are all coming off good months. If they can keep the mo’ going the Sox will have to continue their torrid pace just to hold them off which won’t be easy. Look of the Yanks to take the reigns of the AL East by the end of August and win a tight race to the tape because they know if they go in as the wild card they’ll draw the Angels who seem to have Luke Skywalker managing them when it comes to NY.

San Francisco Giants – If the adage holds true and the ‘good pitching will stop good hitting’ then the Giants are a team that no one will want to play. Second only to Philly as the hottest team in the NL over the last 20 games, the Giants nucleus, of “Board Walk & Park Place” starters Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain, both 10-2 on the year, will be a problem for any team in a seven-game series regardless of who they play. The SF team ERA 3.51 is the best in baseball but their hitting is where they need to improve. Could you imagine if they had a certain someone in the lineup that just happens to be greatest home run hitter in the history of the game? Look for them to get in as the Wild Card winner and set up a heated NLDS with their hated rivals from So Cal who should hold the best record in the NL. Who do you think will be the surprise of the second half? Let us know here and in the Chat rooms and team pages.
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Philadelphia Phillies – I know how do you pick the defending champs as a “team to watch”?? Well, firstly they come into (and out of) the All-Star break the hottest team in baseball and they still are only playing .500 ball at home, in itself is a big improvement. Moreover, they are likely to make a move prior to the trade deadline, possibly for Halladay which instantly would make the favs to get back to the show. Even without the Halladay move the Phills look like a comer as the bats are finally starting to come around hitting just .261 there is plenty of room for growth, and if they can keep the consistency, they’ll be around come October.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

American League continues All-Star Dominance

For the 13th straight year(1 tie) the American League has proven to be superior in the “best vs. best” competition as they topped the NL 4-3 at the Mid-Season Classic in St. Louis. This was one of the best opportunities for the NL to get a win as the starting pitching was in their favor but it was the AL pitching who allowed only 2 base runners over the last seen innings, and also got to the AL got to “the freak” early for 2 runs in the first inning. From there they used a home run robbing play from Carl Crawford that would have tied the game and had Super Mario come in and get his record 4 All-Star game save. Despite raising the stakes by awarding home field to the winner, the AL still continues to make the NL their punk and hold a sizeable advantage in interleague play as well. What can the NL do to turn this around? Is AL really that much better or is the ALG and Interleague not a true gauge and should stats be the judge? Let us know here and in the MLB chat rooms and team rooms.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

All-Star Game Starters Announced

2009 Starting All-Star Game Starting Line-Ups

National League Pos. Player Team
C Yadier Molina Cardinals
1B Albert Pujols Cardinals
2B Chase Utley Phillies
3B David Wright Mets
SS Hanley Ramirez Marlins
OF Ryan Braun Brewers
OF Raul Ibanez Phillies
OF Carlos Beltran Mets
P Tim "the freak" Lincecum

American League Pos. Player Team
C Joe Mauer Twins
1B Mark Teixeira Yankees
2B Dustin Pedroia Red Sox
3B Evan Longoria Rays
SS Derek Jeter Yankees
OF Jason Bay Red Sox
OF Ichiro Suzuki Mariners
OF Josh Hamilton Rangers
P Ray Halladay
Who should not have gotten in and who got snubbed? Let us know here and in the MLB team rooms and chat rooms.
View the complete American League All-Star Team Here.
View the complete National League Roster Here.
National League Home Run Derby Contestants
Prince Fielder
Adrian Gonzalez
Ryan Howard
Albert Pujols

Major League Baseball reaches Mid-Season

Half way through the marathon that is a major league season the division races have only gotten closer since the last ‘mile post’ as for the first time since the inception of the new format, five of the six divisions three teams within three games of the lead. Most of the clubs have had an opportunity to get healthy, train up or train out the young talent, and solidify roster positions, but trying to make sense of who’s really good and who won’t be around when the leaves turn brown is another story. Here how the divisions are shaping up at halftime

Predicted to finish somewhere in the pack the Tigers didn’t get the memo on their insignificance and continue to lead the Central at the midway point of the season. Ok, it’s not enough room to cover getting swept in a series but who is consistent enough to step up and take if from them in the second half?

The heavyweights are still going toe-to-toe and it looks like this one is going to go the distance. Unfortunately, this was supposed to be more of a steel cage match with at at least three participants but the defending AL Champions have begun to lose sight of the leaders. It made for the story of the year last year but we’re questioning if the Rays have any staying power.

The Angels have managed to weather the storm of injuries and lack of pop from Vlade’s bat to hold on to a tie for the lead in the AL West but this race is far from over. After getting out to a red hot start the Mariners cooled off but a revived Jr. and inhuman consistency from Ichiro have put them back in the mix and with a lot of mojo. Look out for the M’s in the second half of the season.

The closest division in baseball top to bottom where even the Pirates are still within striking distance. If .531 is good enough to lead then as these teams beat each other there will be plenty jockeying for position in the second half of the season.

Philly still can’t seem to win at home but it doesn’t seem to matter as they still have the best record in baseball on the road. The Marlins are playing their best baseball since the first week of the season, but the Braves who were supposed to be in the midst of a two year rebuilding process might be ahead of schedule.

LA continues to hold the best record in baseball and is trying to go wire to wire but have slowed down from the feverish pace they set in the early season (.680) and the Giants now look like they may be poised to make them work a little come second half of the season.

Who has been the biggest surprise of the first half of the season and who will be around at the end? Let us know here and in the MLB chat rooms and team rooms.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Interleague continues to intrigue

As the interleague schedule wraps up before the first half of the season they saved some of the best for last as the border wars, subway series, and unfinished business, series continue through the weekend. The marquee matchups this week have to be the Yankee/Mets series but it’s a little tainted as the Metropolitans are going through a tough 4-6 stretch right now, and the most fervent matchup, the “windy city war” between the Cubs/Sox. Both teams are competing for their respective divisions, as the Obama backed ‘South siders’ are coming off a 2 out of 3 against the best team in baseball (Dodgers), and both teams are in 3rd place in their divisions and within striking distance. From the “we owe you one” department you can’t beat the Phillies/Jays matchup as the defending World Champs still think they should have another piece of jewelry in the box from the 93’ series and Mitch Williams still hasn’t come back for a cheesesteak. However the best “baseball” matchup was last week as the only matchup of division leaders took place when the Dodgers match up with Angeles in the I-5 series. The Dodgers kept their best record in tact (but the sox are close) in taking 2 of 3. Which of the interleague series most interest you? Which one would you like to see? Let us know here and in the MLB team rooms and chat rooms.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Mitchell wakes sleeping Tigers, leads them to 6th national championship

The Tigers won their sixth national championship Wednesday night, defeating Texas 11-4 in the deciding game of the College World Series championship series at Rosenblatt Stadium. It is the first national championship for LSU coach Paul Mainieri, a former Tigers player, who was hired in 2006 to return the program to prominence. LSU got out to an optimal start as Jared Mitchell hit a three-run homer in the first inning providing a cushion for the Tigers, taking the pressure off, and giving them the lead that they would not relinquish. Mr. Momentum did put on ‘burnt orange’ for a half an inning as Texas tied the score at 4 but the Tigers answered with a monster 5 in the top of the seventh to put the game out of reach and take the wind out of the Horns’ sails. Texas will have to dwell over the summer on game one where it had the opportunity to put the Tigers on ice and force them to win two straight rather than the reciprocal but didn’t get it done, instead they were watching the dog pile on the mound instead of participating in it. What does need to be noted is what a great series and tournament this was. College Baseball took a major step to bridging the gap between themselves and football/basketball as the CWS continues to improve in the ratings. Do you think the CWS will ever get on par with the NCAA Tournament or BCS? Let us know here and in the individual University Rooms or CWS Chat room.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Jungmann tames the Tiger bats, as the Horns force a final game

The Tigers played right into Texas’ horns in game two by only pushing one run across the plate during a 5-1 loss in game two of the College World Series. Texas who normally lives by paying 'smallball', as they led the NCAA with over 100 sacrifices during the course of the season, got a complete game from Jungmann who scattered five hits and allowed just one notch in the ‘S’ column. The fabled LSU sticks, known for putting up big numbers were silenced for the first time in the tournament while not lighting up the board past the 3rd inning. No one has been able to keep those bats silenced for two games in the row and I can‘t see it happening in game three despite the pressure. One could argue that Texas should have this thing wrapped up by now as they held a two run lead late in game one but now it becomes a 1-game series and the Horns have the Mo’, but I still like the Tigers to come back strong and take the prize. Who do you like in game 3? Let us know here and in the College World Series Chat room.

Hard to believe, but the All-Star game is around the corner and another 20-games have passed so the updated Smacchat Power Rankings are out and the Dodgers and Sox are still running 1 & 2. Check out the rankings here.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tigers give the ‘Horns a taste of their own medicine

The LSU Tigers became the first team to beat the top-seed Texas Longhorns after trailing in the 8th with a 7-6 11th inning victory in game one of the best-of-three College World Series. The Tiger trailed by two and were two outs away from going down in the series 0-1 when they took advantage of a little wildness on the bump getting a couple of walks, and scoring two in the ninth to tie, and one in the 11th for the win. All of this despite Texas dropping five solo home runs by far their most this season as the Horns were known for their version of “small ball”, as they are only the fifth team to record more than 100 sacrifice bunts in a season. In the end it was the Tigers version of ‘small ball’ that got it done as they manufactured a three-hit rally in the 11th with the winning run coming on a base hit and scoring the winning run from second. After some many comebacks in this years’ tournament to get to this point do they have any left in the tank? Even if they do, you can’t like their chances to take two straight from the number 3 team in the country even though Fresno State pull the trick last year. A 25 inning win was impressive on the way to show but now they need another 18. Let us know what you think of their chances or are the Tigers ready to get another major NC trophy on the mantle? Let us know here and in the College World Series Chat room. Also view the stat page here.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Boys of summer take center stage, and it’s a great show if you take time to look

Now that the NBA and NHL have crowned their champions, baseball has the stage and when the nation’s eye’s focus they’ll recognize that one of the most competitive years is unfolding. As the newest steroid scandal rocked the baseball world this week, Sammy Sosa’s drug test from 2003 revealed a positive test and another of pillar of the game has toppled. Unfortunately, every time this season has gotten it’s just reward for great games, competitive division races, and excellent play, another negative story cast it’s shadow, and perhaps not without justification, so A-Rod, Manny, and Sosa aside, as the MLB season is a third of the way done, here’s who’s making positive waves.

Firstly, how nice are the defending champs for sitting atop the NL east after the hangover of a world championship wore off. They’ve opened up a little breathing room over the Mets and are beginning to come back to form. If they can manage to start winning a couple of games at home (13-17) the Phills will put the division to bed early. Will they have the stamina to make it all the way back to show?

Make a special note of ‘Big Unit’ reaching a milestone of his own with his 300th win, as you will not see a career like that, start to finish, in your lifetime. In the era of set up men, closers, and 5 man rotations, there simply aren’t enough opportunities to get it. Parlay that with short leash that pitchers have today and you understand how amazing his accomplishment was. What’s even more amazing is that most of his wins came after he was in his 30’s. Where does The Unit rank among top lefties in the history of the game?

This year may go down as the most competitive in history as five of the six division races have less than 2.5 games separating the top two clubs, also the AL East and NL Central with 5 teams within 5 games of each other. Unlike other seasons in the past, you won’t have half of the fans looking to football season for solace come July. There’s still 23 teams with a legitimate shot at waving a pennant come September so it’s way too early to start making reservations. Which of the current division leaders will be able to hang on to win their respective divisions? Let us know what you think here and in the MLB chat rooms and rooms and team rooms.
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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Yankees in first for the first time since 06’, Dodgers and Cubs in a rematch of the NLDS

Great story lines in MLB this week as, behind the strength of five scoreless innings from the ‘roidless’ Andy Petitte, beat Cleveland 3-1 (adding to their depression this weekend) and took over first place in the AL wild wild East for the first time since 2006. Yes, for a team that was supposed to be the most dominant of the decade that is not a real impressive stat (please see Atlanta in the 90’s), but one can argue that after all they’ve been through it’s been an impressive way to start the season. In the toughest division in baseball, where there are not many days off, NY is playing almost .600 ball and winners of 7 of their last 10. Of course the season is only 25% over, do they have the staying power to outlast the possibly deeper clubs in the East? Meanwhile the former manager of the afore mentioned Yankees is still enjoying his “honeymoon in Mannywood” even as his leading man is on a honeymoon of his own. The Dodgers are so far in front they may start resting people in June but as we saw last year with NLDS too much rest may not be a good thing. Speaking of the Cubs, LA and Chi Town are locking up for a four game set, splitting the first two. The Dodgers sure could have used Manny’s stick in the first two low scoring games, as they been more manufacturing runs than powering them. Just the same they still lead by 8.5 games in the NL West, posing two questions: Can they hold the lead without Manny and are they as good as their record indicates or the beneficiary of playing in a perpetually weak division? Let us know here and in the MLB chat rooms and team rooms. We also have all information you need for the baseball week:
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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Season hits ¼ mile post with best pennant races in over a decade

The closest division is the AL Central (7.5 games back top to bottom) as all the teams are still in the hunt, and if any club can put together a streak of better than .600 ball for more than 10 games, they’ll find themselves with a little breathing room. The Tigers continue to surprise as offensively they’re getting just enough timely hitting to increase their run differential (+43) to the second best in baseball. They Royals stopped the free fall and only find themselves down 3 games with a home stand upcoming and a chance to make up some ground. The Twins continue to be a great story in 09’ as they continue to win even though their payroll is probably less than this blog’s. A plethora of analyst and pundits are going to owe them an apology if they can manage to hold down the lead at the break.

The NL Central also has the three front-runners all within ‘one series’ of each other as the Brew Crew, Cards, and Reds are separated by only a game and a half, with the Reds doing ‘more with less’ as their run diff (+9) is the lowest among contending clubs at the top of their division. Losing the baggage of Jr.’s salary and cemented spot in the lineup, they’re getting production from unknown power sources and timely hitting.

With a quarter of the season in the books we can finally intelligently comment on the hierarchy in the League and thus the first Smacchat Power Rankings are out for the 09’ season. This is not just about best record, but who is playing well right now, who has the potential to continue moving up, players coming off the DL, or conversely, who might be headed south for the same reasons. Let the banter begin, here’s the totem poll:
Smacchat Power Rankings May 25 2009
Los Angeles Dodgers 1 Dodgers 30-15 First in the ML in team batting average(.291), and Broxton (5-0, 1.17 ERA, 11 saves) is sixth in wins and third in the National League in saves.
New York Yankees 2 Yankees 25-19 The Yankees have five walk-off wins in May, the most walk-off wins in one month since September 1988. 7-3 last 10, leading the league in jacks (73) right hits at the right time
Boston Red Sox 3 Red Sox 26-18 Boston has won 16 of its past 20 games at Fenway Park, fifth in the league in BA (.273)
St. Louis Cardinals 4 Cardinals 26-18 St. Louis' starters have allowed four runs in their past 46.2 innings (0.77 ERA).
Texas Rangers 5 Rangers 26-17 Surprisingly, Texas' pitching leads MLB with five complete games.
Milwaukee Brewers 6 Brewers 26-18 Milwaukee needs urgent help in the infield after injuries to Rickie Weeks and J.J. Hardy coupled with Bill Hall's slump.
Philadelphia Phillies 7 Phillies 24-18 The Phillies have baseball's best road record at 16-6.
Detroit Tigers 8 Tigers 24-18 Dontrelle Willis has a 3.57 ERA in three outings since returning from the disabled list.
Toronto Blue Jays 9 Blue Jays 27-20 The Blue Jays have lost nine games against teams with records better than .500.
Atlanta Braves 10 Braves 23-20 Jair Jurrjens has allowed two runs or fewer in nine of 10 outings.
New York Mets 11 Mets 23-20 The Mets have hit 29 home runs this season, tied with Pittsburgh for the second-fewest total among MLB clubs.
Los Angeles Angels 12 Angels 23-20 Vladimir Guerrero is scheduled to return to play after missing 35 games thanks to chest pain.
Tampa Bay Rays 13 Rays 23-23 Led by Carl Crawford (28-for-28), the Rays lead MLB with 77 stolen bases.
Cincinnati Reds 14 Reds 23-20 Closer Francisco Cordero (1.91 ERA) has converted 11 saves in a row.
Chicago Cubs 15 Cubs 21-21 The Cubs have lost seven games in a row and have scored only five runs in their past six games combined.
Kansas City Royals 16 Royals 22-22 Since Joakim Soria's injury, Royals relievers have failed in seven of nine save opportunities.
Minnesota Twins 17 Twins 22-23 Joe Mauer has 10 home runs in his first 22 games after belting only nine in 146 games in 2008.
San Diego Padres 18 Padres 22-22 The Padres have outscored their opponents 35-16 during their nine-game win streak.
San Francisco Giants 19 Giants 20-23 The Giants rank last in baseball in home runs with only 23.
Seattle Mariners 20 Mariners 21-24 Ichiro Suzuki raised his batting average from .291 to .319 during his 18-game hitting streak.
Florida Marlins 21 Marlins 20-25 After their 11-1 record to start the season, the Marlins have gone 9-24.
Chicago White Sox 22 White Sox 19-24 The White Sox got two straight shutouts after allowing 20 runs on Thursday. They're the first team in MLB history to achieve the feat.
Pittsburgh Pirates 23 Pirates 20-24 The Pirates have won eight of their past 13 after eight straight losses.
Arizona Diamondbacks 24 Diamondbacks 19-25 The Diamondbacks are 7-8 under new manager A.J. Hinch.
Houston Astros 25 Astros 18-24 Shortstop Miguel Tejada has hit .346 with five home runs and 21 RBIs in May.
Baltimore Orioles 26 Orioles 18-26 The Orioles are tied with the Nationals for the worst run differential in MLB at minus-51.
Cleveland Indians 27 Indians 17-28 VĂ­ctor Martinez is second in MLB in hitting (.371), but has gone hitless in his past 13 at-bats.
Colorado Rockies 28 Rockies 18-25 Todd Helton (.342 average, 6 HRs, 31 RBIs) could draw attention from clubs in need of a first baseman.
Oakland Athletics 29 Athletics 16-25 Of Jason Giambi's 401 career home runs, 192 have come with the A's.
Washington Nationals 30 Nationals 13-30 The Nats have lost 12 of 15, but Ryan Zimmerman has reached base in 42 straight games.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Yankees not ‘walking off’ into the abyss just yet

After three consecutive walk off hits in as many games, the Yankees find themselves back in the mix for the AL East, winners of 8 of their last 10, 5 games over .500 and only 3 ½ back. A combination of replacing an American iconic stadium, a superstar steroid scandal, and questionable starting pitching had pundits crossing out the pinstripes but the bomers are making believers of many outside of the Boston area. Now A-Rod has gone deep in 4 straight, CC was on the bump and got their 7th straight win and all is forgiven. However, north of the border Gaston and his gang continue to go about their business like it was 1995 all over again, 16-6 at home and 11-9 on the road, the Jays won’t be dismissed as an early season surprise as they continue to hang on to the American League’s best record, but their litmus test is coming early has they pay a visit to Fenway to battle the “Sox of Second Place” for a three-game stint. Then host the same Sox at the end of the month. Check back with us as Summer begins to see if the birds are still in the catbird seat. Who will be the first of the big 3 in the East to get some separation? Let us know here and in the team pages and chat rooms.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Manny suspended for 50 games just as MLB reaches 30 game mile post

Well……….we were in the midst of writing about the great stories of the year and were going to avoid the drama that was 2008, guess again as one of the biggest names in the league, playing in the second largest city in the country is riddled by scandal. Manny Ramirez of the LA Dodgers will be suspended for 50 games beginning immediately after testing positive for a women’s s fertility drug commonly used to restore the body after steroid use. More to come as the information is made available.

MLB is off to a great start as it comes to the 30-game milepost mainly because there are other intriguing storylines other than steroids, court cases, and the AL East. Well, the best team record wise in baseball still has an east cost feel as the LA Dodgers (coach Joe Torre is Yankees and Manny from the Red Sox) started the year by setting a Major League Record for consecutive home victories at 13 and lead by 6 games in the NL West.
Another great byline are the KC Royals who sit atop the AL Central, however early, by 2 games but this is the best they’ve looked since the days of Brett, Patek, and McCray. I know it’s too early to start chanting to the Yankees but it gives us another reason to watch the Royals other than their new light blue home digs. Also what about Jr. going back home, playing with Ichiro, and Seattle finally competing for a pennant long overdue for the afore mentioned players. All we need is A-Rod in that mix to complete the picture, well we already mentioned the Yankees once. We also have the defending champs going on a winning streak and shooting to the top of the AL Central and looking like they last a little longer at the top than Lenny Dykstra did. Lastly, how bout the team from the great white north!? No, the Expos don’t play ball any more but the Blue Jays do and very well, .667 to be exact, and lead that division that we’re not talking about by 2 games. Similar to their World Series Run over a decade ago, the Jays are doing it with no-name players, a familiar manager, and a lot of guts. Ok, reality check, when the dust settles in the end it will probably be the usual suspects standing but in the meantime it’s a nice breath of fresh air. Let us know your thoughts here and in the MLB chat rooms and team pages.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Marlins (and Yankees) are the early season surprises

Who would have thought the Florida Marlins would be the team of discussion in the NL East with all of the off season moves the Mets made, but at 11 and Deuce (5-1 & 6-1) the Marlins are also the talk of the league. They’re plus 24 in run production, which was their problem of contention last season, and already have opened up a 4.5 game lead in what promises to be a tight division. The question facing the Marlins is will their pitching keep up? On the flip side, who would have thought with all of the momentum of the new Yankee stadium, the arrival of CC and other off season acqisitions, the bombers would be getting would be getting bombarded in their own yard? The lack arm strength is what is ailing the Yanks right now fortuneatly for them the rest of the East hasn’t realized the season has started yet either and .500 ball is enough be in the thick of things, but don’t let the Jays get too far out in front. Manny, Joe, and the kids are quickly turning LA into a baseball town as they have picked up the excitement where they left off last year and have gotten out to a 10-3 record, unbeaten at home, and have the highest run differencial (+42) in the league. The scary thing is that Manny hasn’t really gotten started yet, and if teams keep pitching around him to get the rest of the lineup it may help the Dodger youth grow up that much faster. They look like the most complete team in the Big Leagues right now as their starters are consistently getting into the sixth and seventh innings, while Broxton is a monster closer without missing any save opportunities. When Manny starts being Manny again LA may have more to love.
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Thursday, April 9, 2009

Tragedy mars start of the season as Adenhart killed in accident

Angels rookie right-hander Nick Adenhart died early Thursday morning after a hit-and-run car accident in Fullerton, Calif. The Angels said that Adenhart, 22, died as a result of his injuries after undergoing surgery at University of California-Irvine Medical Center. No other members of the Angels organization were involved, the club said. Thursday's scheduled game against the A's was postponed. No decisions about a makeup game had been made.

"The Angels family has suffered a tremendous loss today," Angels general manager Tony Reagins said in a statement issued by the club. "We are deeply saddened and shocked by this tragic loss. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Nick's family, friends' loved ones and fans." A man and a woman who were with Adenhart were killed and another person was seriously injured in the accident, which involved three vehicles. Authorities were blaming the accident on a motorist who ran a red light with his van and then fled the scene on foot. He was later found and taken into custody. Adenhart was one of four occupants in a silver Mitsubishi. Fullerton Police reported the Mitsubishi proceeded through an intersection, when a van ran a red light and broadsided the vehicle. The Mitsubishi slammed into a light pole.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Boys of summer are back and 30 dreams take the field

As the madness of March winds down the madness of Summer begins, and 30 different versions of “field of dreams” are still alive and well, for at least the first month of the season, but that’s what makes this the best time of year. There’s always the off-season moves of familiar faces coupled with the anticipation of the rooks that give fans of cellar dweller the previous season with hopes of going ‘worst to first’. With all 30 books wide open let’s take a look at each team, division, and league. Here are our divisional picks as well as the wild cards but visit each individual team page here and in the MLB chat rooms. Also see the weekly schedule, pitchers and odds in the Players Club MLB room.

NL East: NY Mets
NL Central: Chicago Cubs
NL West: LA Dodgers
NL Wild Card: Philadelphia Phillies
AL East: NY Yankees
AL Central: Minnesota Twins
AL West: LA Angeles
AL Wild Card: Tampa Bay Rays

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Team USA makes gutsy comeback but far from redemption

It took a 3-run, ninth inning rally to propel the USA to Semi-Finals of the World Baseball Classic. David Wright's two-run single capped the comeback for the US which will make it’s first semifinals appearance. An amazing comeback and made great TV but the truth is that the US was “mercied” earlier in the tournament and was 3 outs away from another shameful exit similar to the last WBC where they finished so far out of the top 3 the decorum prohibits us from mentioning it here. When the Beijing Olympics began the US Men’s Basketball team had two goals in mind, obtain the gold medal and restore the reputation of US Basketball. Team USA competing in the WBC has stated as similar mission statement but may be on borrowed time. First they lost the rain soaked seeding game to Venezuela 10-6 meaning their next game will be against the Pool 2 winner which will in all likelihood will be defending champion Japan in a situation where if they lose they are going back to Spring training. On top of that the US will be nursing some injuries, as early injuries knocked infielders Dustin Pedroia and Chipper Jones and reliever Matt Lindstrom out of the tournament. Outfielder Ryan Braun is sidelined with a sore right side, but he's expected to be available when Team USA plays in the semifinals this weekend in Los Angeles. Manager Davey Johnson operated Wednesday's game with one position player on his bench. Rules for replacing players leave the Americans hard-pressed to come up with a substitute for Youkilis, Johnson said. In other words if the US is going to follow through with its mission statement it will have to be on the strength of the American pitching arms which have been hammered thus far. In short, the US may need a miracle on grass.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Free agent derby hits the home stretch

The free agent derby is almost coming to an end and when the dust has settled it appears the rich have just gotten ‘richer’ as the evil empire landed the two biggest prizes in the sweepstakes by signing first basement Mark Teixeira and pitcher CC Sabathia in a middle finger extension to the luxury tax. Of course, loading up does not necessarily translate into precious finger jewelry, as the Yanks can attest to, but it sure does make them the team to beat again. Meanwhile the team that seems to have the cost/benefit analysis down to a science the BoSox, have resigned Kevin Youkilis to a four-year contract and added Takashi Saito, a great closer when healthy, to the ALCS runner-up lineup so let the fireworks begin. Aside from the two that everyone talks about the Angeles appear to only have gotten weaker this off season by tightening up on their wallets. Letting ‘Tex’ was a major mistake and they will be scrambling to replace his stick in the lineup. Last but not least Manny does not know where he will be Manny as of yet as there are not any takers right now who are willing to sign a long-term deal to a 40-year old who will be a liability in the field shortly. He wants full time money for DH time, and although LA could use him now, they may have another AJ on their hands if they agree to a 4-year deal. Who has done the best work during the off season? Let us know here and in the MLB blogs.
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