Friday, May 30, 2008

Who wants a moustache ride?

Games 48-53: Yankees

Yankees 13, Mariners 2
Yankees 12, Mariners 6
Yankees 6, Mariners 5
Orioles 6, Yankees 1
Orioles 10, Yankees 9 (11)
Yankees 4, Orioles 2

Record: 26-27

Well, the five game win streak is a distant memory, and the Orioles just took two of three from the Bronx Nine, but whatever, it's Friday, its gorgeous out, and there's still 100+ games to go in this marathon of a season. No history lessons from me today, hopefully no profanity, and no complaining either. I'm checking in before I check-out for the weekend to highlight one guy. Here's his 2008 line:
  • .393 OBP/.556 SLG/.949 OPS
  • 11 HR/27 RBI/24 Runs
  • 4th in AL in HR, 4th in AL in SLG, 4th in AL in OPS and 7th in AL in OBP
  • Hitting .339 with six homers so far in May
Who is this relatively forgotten offensive force? Well it's this guy of course:
"The 'stache is going to be here for a while." Oh yeah, the Yanks are paying him $23 mil this year (yep, you read that right), so this is the least he can do. Carry on, Moustache Warrior, carry on.

A Modest Proposal

Games 53 through 56 - Red Sox

A's 6, Red Sox 3
Red Sox 5, Mariners 3
Mariners 4, Red Sox 3
Mariners 1, Red Sox 0
Record: 32-24

In 1846, after 30 some-odd years of bickering, Britain ceded the Oregon Territory to the U.S. The territory included, among other things, the land that became Washington, which became a state in 1889.

One year later, in 1847, the U.S. Government signed the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo with Mexico, securing territorial rights to California, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Colorado, and Utah.

While it's possible that those territories offer something useful to our great nation, as a Red Sox fan today, I stand before you with a modest proposal: give 'em back. To Britain, all of Washington - Seattleites get socialized medicine and cricket. To Mexico, California's yours, amigos. And most importantly to me and my ilk, the Mariners, A's (and Angels) go join their home country's leagues and stop making me miserable. No more 10:10 pm start times. No more waking up to check the computer to see how the Sox did, only to shake my head ruefully at yet another underperforming loss. And no more underperforming losses, sleepwalking through on Pacific Standard Time. Somnambulant bastards.

I'd even be willing to throw in Arizona. That'd create all kinds of havoc with November's Presidential election, what with one of the candidates now being Mexican, but that's a minor risk I'm willing to take.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Slouching Toward Gomorrah

Games 51 & 52 - Red Sox

A's 8, Red Sox 3
A's 3, Red Sox 0
Record: 31-21

A really smart, if partially intoxicated guy recently wrote of the Red Sox' recent success, "...so I'll enjoy it for now and remember that the Sox have to go to the West Coast where the odds turn quickly."

Honestly, it's sometimes painful to be this smart and prescient (and humble, don't forget humble) at the same time. It's also painful to watch the Sox play on the West Coast. Fortunately, I live on the East Coast, and I'm presently ensconced in my parents' breezy South Carolina home, so I don't actually have to "watch".

Friday, May 23, 2008

Jerry

Game 45 - Mets

Braves 4, Mets 2
Record: 22-23

Sadly, I'll just defer to Jerry's comments in my last post and (swallowing pride) what he said before the season. Over at the Wheelhouse, Jerry ranted -- not as vehemently as he is wont to rant about Sidney Crosby or my hypocrisy, but still -- that the Mets were old, broken-down, and overpaid by dozens of millions. I bright-sided it, blocking out downside with my "upside-only blinders" (available at the Shea concession stand), and now here we are.

Everything we type here seems to get prefaced or appended with caveats, disclaimers, and concessions, and this will be no different. For the record, the Top 5 Phrases Typed at MLC are:

5. "That said"
4. "Considering that"
3. "It's still early"
2. "Lotta ball left"
1. "Keep it clean, TJ"

So we're not chicken littling it here, and there's still every chance, or at least a puncher's chance, that the stars will shine and the old guys will stop limping off the field in the middle of the game with some ridiculous injury that they say will keep them shelved for a couple of days only to be placed on the DL for the second time this season. It's just that Omar's latex paint job on the outside of this purported battleship is starting to wear thin, and beneath it the letters PT are showing through.

It takes more than Albert Einstein Bobblehead Night to smarten Mets fans up, but it's happening. Slowly, perhaps in part via well-thought-out blogs like Metsblog.com, the focus of Mets' fans ire is going from the players to the manager to the general manager who constructed this squad. While nobody's immune -- or faultless -- here, it is meet and right so to do.

Omar Minaya has been answering question about whether Willie Randolph is on the hot seat; he had to know that without a turnaround the day would soon come that the target would change and the question would be directed over his head. Welcome to that day.
That said / considering that, it's still (kind of) early and there's definitely still a lotta ball left. We'll sit back and watch whether the Mets can blow Jerry's (keep it clean, TJ) prognosis out of the water.

Back In the Saddle

Games 48 and 49 - Phillies

Phils 12, los Nacionales 2
Phils 7, Spaz-stros 5

Record: 27 wins, 22 losses

Ryan!

Dude, where you been? Holy sh!t, we were wonderin' what happened to you! Back in February we all flew down to Clearwater. Everyday, we got up, stretched, played about 4 innings and then showered and hit the links by 1:00. Chase always ran home to mama after the 18th hole but Pat and Shane always stuck around the clubhouse to have a beer or six.

Hell, even Uncle Cholly joined us occasionally and would make us tell stories about Larry. He really loved the one about when Larry threw his pitching wedge into the drink after he lost 4 balls on the 13th hole, the one with the dog leg left. Cholly never throws his clubs. He just sips his Beam after ever double bogey and farts for good measure. It usually works. We tell him that if he'd drop about 40 pounds his swing would be sweet but Cholly says beef and gravy was good enough for Pappy and he lived 'til he was 94 on nothin' but filterless Pall Malls, Pabst and beef and gravy.

Anyway, playing golf everyday for 30 days got boring but by then, we were packed and ready to return to Philly. When we got here, Pat and Chase went on a tear until they realized you were missing. Brett's not talking to anyone because he forgot how to breathe through his eyelids and Cole is too busy looking up Pokemon cheat codes in between starts to spend any time with us.

I'll tell ya, when Cole starts, he's been pretty wicked. JC got us all saying that. He pronounces it kinda funny like "wick-it" and it usually precedes adjectives like funny or awesome. He said it's a habit he picked up hanging around those rich kids up in Boston. We told him f**k Boston! Don't bring that Beantown sh*t down here but he said maybe if we act like them, we'll win like them so we figured we'd give it a try. Cholly agreed but said he personally would refrain because it might get back to his pastor back in Byooona Vista and he might think it was devil worship.

Not much else going on around here. Occasionally Jimmie will swap Jamie's cleats with Flash's just for fun. You ought to see those old bastards trying to figure out what's wrong. They slip them on and wiggle their feet and do one of those Python silly walks to see if they can get comfortable before they remember that they wear Nike, not Addidas or vice-versa. When Jimmie's really feeling ornery, he'll replace Jamie's Walkman with his I-Pod just to watch Jamie try to figure it out. Eventually Flash will wonder over with his grandaddy glasses on the tip of his nose to see what the fuss is about. None of us dare messes with their Cialis though. We all agree that Priopism is not funny.

Other than that, the fans have been great. They ask about you all the time but we just tell them your finding your groove somewhere. Someone said you were in Nepal smoking hash with Ricky Williams but we know you're afraid of heights. Glad your back now though because pitchers have figured out that Pat will swing like a Dominican regardless of pitch location and that there really is no reason to pitch to Chase when then next batter in the lineup is an automatic out. I'm not exaggeratin'! The dude batting in your slot all season long struck out 69 times in 45 games! PECO Energy has him doing advertisements on the SEPTA buses and trains.

Well, I think we're gonna start puttin' up a bunch of crooked numbers now that old RyHo is back! Sure missed you buddy.

Your Pal,

The Phanatic

Yippie-kay-yay...

Game 47 - Yankees

Yankees 2, Orioles 1
Record: 22-25

Well, well, well...look what we have here. Six solid from Ian Kennedy, Veras and Farnsworth (wow) throwing heat in the 7th and 8th and Rivera in the 9th (nice vulture win Mo). The game winning hit from the artist formerly known as Robinson Cano. And a fantastic ejection for Joe Girardi (Zapruder footage here) on a very weird call in the 9th that preceded the game winning hit. Sure, the Yanks scored a measly two runs, but they found a way to win, and that's all that matters. The stadium was rocking, and now they get the hapless Mariners over the weekend. Dare I dream of .500? (yes, I know I just jinxed them)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

A Gentleman Drunk

Games 48 through 50 - Red Sox

Red Sox 2, Royals 1
Red Sox 6, Royals 3
Red Sox 11, Royals 8
Record: 31-19

Sometimes...I get emotional...when I drink Booker's. And to see you guys putting forth this kind of effort. After I thought...you didn't care. I just...I mean...Whew. I need a minute here.

Red Sox? No, no, no. I'm talking about Whitney, TJ, and Nick. I go away for a few days (to Center City, Philadelphia, PA, USA) and these guys overcome so much to post a few hundred words of moderately entertaining blog content. I don't even have words. You'll never know how much this means to me.

The Sox, meanwhile, just dropped a ho-hum 7-0 homestand that included a no-hitter, a successful return to the bigs by Bartolo Colon, and Justin Masterson's first major league win. It is truly an embarrassment of riches right now for the Olde Towne Team. So, y'know, I got that going for me, too. As Teejay accurately notes (in 10,000 words, even a Yankee fan is bound to hit on something that's true - the whole 100 monkeys in a room for 100 years thing, and all), there's a lotta ball left, so I'll enjoy it for now and remember that the Sox have to go to the West Coast where the odds turn quickly.

Fortunately, I'm embarking on another trip on Saturday, so I can look forward to another flurry of activity around these parts. I'm all aquiver just thinking about it.

Friends

TJ, seems like you're having a tough time with that baseball "team" of yours. My heart goes out to you. No, really.
If you want to talk . . . well, here you go . . .


I'm not dead.

Games 35-46: Yankees

Indians 3, Yankees 0
Yankees 6, Indians 3
Tigers 6, Yankees 5
Yankees 5, Tigers 2
Rays 7, Yankees 1
Rays 2, Yankees 1 (11)
Yankees 2, Rays 1
Rays 5, Yankees 2
Mets 7, Yankees 4
Mets 11, Yankees 2
Orioles 12, Yankees 2
Yankees 8, Orioles 0

Record: 21-25

Man has this post been a long time coming. Whitney even beat me back to this space, which I thought darn near impossible. I gave you the scores and overall record above, so that means I'm all caught up, right? Well, not so fast, I might have a few things to say (sound of people quickly clicking away)...

This post covers 12 games. The Yankees record in those 12 games: 4-8. My BAC during a work conference last week was higher than the team batting average during that same span (they lost to Kenny Rogers and his 6.66 ERA god damn it). The Yanks currently sit dead last in the A.L. East; at 21-25 they are already 7.5 games back of the Red Sox (f u rob). The Red Sox even got a win from Buffet Colon yesterday...unreal. And a no hitter from Jon Lester on Monday. Even that homophobe Julian Tavarez realized what a good thing he has in Boston and accepted an assignment to Triple A Pawtucket. Oh I'm sorry, got off track there, I was led to believe this was a Red Sox blog...

C.M. Wang was undefeated last time I posted - now he's coming off a shellacking from the equally underachieving NY Metropolitans. Billy Wagner calls his Mets teammates out, they have closed door meeting, they beat Yank's skulls in. Willie Randolph plays Race card, then wisely plays Reverse, Skip, and Draw Four Wild cards, and all is well. Except he didn't say Uno. Sorry Willie, the Wilpons need to see you upstairs, stat. And bring your Mad Libs. Oh yeah, did I mention Wang hurt his calf last time out too? Sweet.

Hey, I hear Jason Giambi wears a jungle-themed thong when he's in a slump. Super...thanks for the insight. So what the hell was Jayson Werth wearing the other night when he did his best Hard Hittin' Mark Whiten impersonation? I must say, as a Brett Myers owner in my NL-only league, I am proud to announce weekly that my wife-beater leads the league in home runs allowed (we also have wife beaters Jorge Cantu and Elijah Dukes on our squad...it's like a Law and Order: SVU episode). Keep up the good work Brett, and let's hope that stress ball is helping on the home front.

Am I rambling? So what, I haven't been here in awhile. Just be lucky you didn't get stuck with my Steven Wright or Dennis Miller-themed posts...that would have been excruciating for you (for all 30 seconds you scanned it). The Yankees have been outscored by 20 runs on the year. They are a meek 10-12 at home, an equally mediocre 11-13 on the road. They seem beyond lethargic and disinterested during games. The only juice comes in the 8th and 9th innings with Joba and Mo, and what's that, yep, Hank is going to get his way so now Joba will be in the rotation soon. Speaking of that rotation...
  • Kei Igawa, please go cash your absurd paycheck and never be seen again (and take off those fucking sunglasses you stupid asshole). If and when Brian Cashman gets canned, this has to go down as his worst signing ever (yes, even worse than Carla Pavano).
  • Mike Mussina, I will give him credit, things were actually going quite well for him (he had won five games in a row)...until that first inning (er, first two outs) last night. And honestly, if someone would make a fucking play in the field that inning never happens. But, those be the breaks, and that is the Moose I feared we would see all year - he tees 'em up, and the opposition peppers the field with his 87 mph "fastball". Let's hope he can at least rebound to "average starter" next time out.
  • Andy Pettitte, buddy, pal, we need you to snap out of it, unless of course you are truly d-u-n, in which case I know a certain former teammate who would like to take you out back and put you out of your misery.
  • Darrell Rasner is the second-coming...of what I do not know. Aaron Small maybe? Fine by me, someone needs to stay on that mound for 6 innings each night, and he seems capable (so far).
  • It sure would be nice if Ian Kennedy would take his head out of his ass and contribute something...just look at Darrell, Ian. You see Darrell out there? You see how he has mediocre shit but manages to stay in the game past the third. Good, good...why don't you give that a shot next time out.
Where was I? Nowhere...and boring you fast. If it sounds like I'm just bitching and moaning, well, I sort of am...but this is where the venting is supposed to occur right? (and more frequently than once a week I gather based on rob's hate emails to me) But don't confuse my usual surliness for lack of faith in my ballclub. They've only played 46 (shitty) games so far in 2008...as our diminutive colleague has often said, "lotta ball left". Do they look dead in the water right now? Yep, they sure do. But the first glimpse of hope? I overheard Steve Phillips saying they were done. So we definitely know they are getting back into the race, because what have we all learned about Steve Phillips? (Whit more than most) That he is a steaming pile of excrement with silver hair and a tie. And he is dumb.

And he likes to harass women in the workplace. Drive safe everyone...and see you in July.

The Weakest Link

Game 44 - Mets

Braves 11, Mets 4
Record: 22-22

In other sports, momentum during a game is palpable and obvious, and what happens early in the contest can alter the course of a contest irreovocably at times. Football games feature chunks of unanswered points and game-changing, tone-setting plays in the first ten minutes. Basketball has runs (keep it clean, TJ) in seemingly every quarter, spurts (keep it clean, TJ) of momentum that shape the outcome. But you didn't come here to read about those other sports (or TJ's juvenilia). You came here to read about the thinking man's game.

Baseball's a different animal, to be sure. With a pace much slower and play more methodical and deliberate, setting the tone in the early going with a single event is rarer. Rallies are most often confined 'twixt the 0 and 3 in the OUTS box of a single frame. Beyond the sage wisdom of "momentum's only as good as tomorrow's starting pitcher," it's usually only as good as the next batter.

To put it into a single thought, the notion that one bad play early on could sully and taint (TJ, honestly!) an entire ballgame is improbable. 27 outs for each side over three hours and fourteen minutes should never be decided by one medium-to-slow grounder to second base in the third inning.

But it was. I saw it happen.

Bottom of the third, speedster Mark Teixeira hit a two-out groundball to Luis Castillo, he of the six-two-five salary and the OPS to match. Luis gloved it as the zippy Teixeira flashed down the line. Then he bobbled it a bit and just missed nabbing the lightning-quick Texieira at first. No out recorded, no error recorded, no inning recorded. Three runs later, 3-1 Braves, and there it went.

Over the course of the next six frames, the Mets' game disintegrated like my conversational skills over the last few hours of last Saturday night. And just as the missus indicated that there needs to be some serious changes in my game plan for future consumption, many are starting to wonder what sort of changes to the Mets' game plan -- or game planners -- need to take place.

I consider myself neither a rampant Willie Randolph-basher nor a Willie apologist. And the over-arching questions about how influential a baseball manager is, whether poor play by uber-millionaires is the fault of the guy making the lineup card, and whether the GM's more at fault here still remain. All I know is that it looked for all the world like the fellas in the gray road uni's started packing up their gear in the bottom of the 3rd last night, and that will always, always, always get the natives restless.

Welcome to the crosshairs, Willie. I gotta tell, you though -- your explanations are starting to sound even lamer than mine.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The King of Queens

Games . . . whichever through last night - Mets

[insert mediocre baseball results]

Record: 22-21


Hi there. I'm back from another hiatus at MLC, back in a typically underwhelming fashion. Yikes, I really am mimicking the performance of my team this year. Barely showing up, leaving hardly a mark on things, and slipping back into afterthought status. Good times.

I read the news today, oh boy. Take your pick of recent snippets to keep Mets fans reaching for the Prozac:
  • Pedro Martinez mulling retirement after this season to be with ailing father
  • Willie Randolph criticizes SNY booth, hints at racism in their critiques of him
  • Ryan Church (the best thing about this unimpressive start) suffers concussion
  • Mets lose two to Braves, including one to a masterful Tom Glavine
  • Mike Piazza announces his retirement
Okay, I'll choose to focus on Piazza retiring today. Because it's not actually bad news -- it's the right call now, and it presents an opportunity to tip a collective cap to a great ballplayer and, by all accounts, a great guy.
"But I have to say that my time with the Mets wouldn't have been the same without the greatest fans in the world. One of the hardest moments of my career was walking off the field at Shea Stadium and saying goodbye. My relationship with you made my time in New York the happiest of my career and for that, I will always be grateful." -- Mike Piazza
I'm rather surprised, pleasantly so, at his singling out the Met years and the NY fans. After all it was LA who gave him his chance, and he had his best statistical years with the Dodgers. Tommy Lasorda made a pitch for Piazza to enter Cooperstown as a Dodger; I don't feel as strongly about Lasorda as Irwin M. Fletcher does, but Tommy, pipe down.

I've said lots about Mike Piazza over the years here; unfortunately, I had to waste way too much MLC space here saying less than complimentary things in '03-'05 as his skills eroded and management bungled where to play him. But I think my recap of his finale as a Met speaks well for my thoughts on the guy.
What can you say that hasn’t already been said about Mike Piazza? The guy has maintained an unparalleled level of humility, understanding, and appreciation for his place since Day 1. To hear him last night in the Yankees-Angels telecast was to understand why denizens of the Township have every right to deify the man. He says the right things with a sincerity foreign to all too many professional ballplayers of any era, let alone the present batch of perspective-deficient self-aggrandizers. The Mets are only 43 years old, but they’ve seen an array of superstars don the colors; with Piazza, though, it goes well beyond the record-setting numbers. With the parabolic arc of Piazza's numbers flattening over the past few years, Mets fans have needed to gravitate to Mike Piazza the guy over Mike Piazza the athlete, but he’s always brought more to the table than the majority of his peers. That “Thunder Road” came on my iTunes shuffle (1 out of 12,016 songs) as I was typing this paragraph is amusingly fitting. Here’s hoping that, like Springsteen, Piazza enjoys a surprising resurgence in the twilight of his career, one that begins next spring. May he continue to be exciting to watch perform, worth the price of admission, and capable of cranking out hits when the masses clamor most for them. (Unless the Yankees sign him; then I hope he’s lousy. Sorry, Mike.)

Anyway, the Mets fans gave Piazza a reception to remember as the season came to a close, and my beloved 2005 Extra Innings Package concluded with a montage of Piazza moments as “These Are Days” by the Empire State’s own 10,000 Maniacs provided the accompaniment. (What, you thought something Piazza-related wouldn’t be a touch cheesy? Come on now.) Like Mike alluded to last night in the booth, the Mets and Mike Piazza in 2006 are plainly two great tastes that don’t go great together, but you just never know what might work out. Though there isn’t a single logical argument to be made for his return to the Mets, I find myself kind of hoping he does. This is reason # 749 why I’m not a big-league GM.
With the state of Mets Township less than chipper (I am definitely not indifferent to Chipper, Nick; can't endure that putz), the news of Mike Piazza hangin' 'em up is a relatively positive thing; it's one more time to take pause and remember an all-timer in Mets lore. We'll do it again five years from now when he gives his HoF speech. And we'll dig it even more if the intertwined letters are an "N" and a "Y" instead of an "L" and an "A."

Yeah, it's sappy, sentimental, and off-topic. You really want me to talk about Willie Randolph insinuating Ron Darling's a racist?

Larry King Live!


Games 43 through 47 - Phillies


Crushed the Jays

Crushed by the Jays

Nipped by the Braves

Stymied by los Nacionales

Edged los Nacionales


Record: 25 wins, 22 losses



  • Something tells me that the clock radio in the Bronx is broken. This might well be the year the Yanks sleep in.

  • Jason Varitek must know something. Tito better get the transition plan ready.

  • Can anyone say they are honestly surprised about the state of affairs in Flushing Meadows these days? Honestly.

  • Time is near for the Cubbies' June swoon followed by Mt. Sweet Lou erupting.

  • I have always been indifferent to Chipper in Rafael Palmeiro sort of way.

  • Who does Ryan Howard consult for hitting advice? I mean it.

  • Does Bob Carpenter have a clue? He actually said without employing any qualifiers or caveats, unequivocally, that Ryan Zimmerman is the best young third baseman in the game. He also stated that the Phillies are having a disappointing season thus far. Alrighty then.

  • I don’t like their nickname (old or revised.) I don’t like the fact that they are called Tampa Bay (as opposed to Tampa or St. Petersburg.) I certainly dislike their park and I detest their uniforms. However, it’s nice to see that wretched franchise turn it around after 10 years.

  • The past 3 evenings, my nine year old son has tuned in a ballgame on the radio as I put him to bed. I am starting to suspect he has been abducted by aliens and replaced with a back-to-the-future Beaver Cleaver. It’s either that or he has been secretly reading Ray Kinsella. I will let you know if he requests to “have a catch.”

  • Remember Whitney?

Monday, May 19, 2008

Baseball Fantastic

Game 47 - Red Sox

Red Sox 7, Royals 0
Record: 28-19

Really, Disney would've rejected this script as too maudlin, and far too fairy tale. Kid makes it to the big leagues. Kid gets cancer. Kid comes back, struggles, then wins Game 4 of the World Series. And then throws a no-hitter the following season. This is why we watch sports.

Since you already know the rest of the story, I give you SoSHer Corsi Combover's reaction, "Wow, if that Francona/Lester embrace doesn't make you well up, nothing will."

It was a mite dusty in my house, too, during that embrace. During his postgame presser, Francona acknowledged viewing Lester like a son, and said, "He's not just a good kid because he threw a no-hitter. He's a good kid because he's a good kid."

Watching that hug and then listening to Francona after the game reminded me of how perfect he is for this Sox team. Secure enough in himself to give the veterans rope and keep them loose, and credible and caring enough as a mentor to lead the kids. He remains perhaps the most unsung contributor to the Sox' success over the last 4 years.

Oh, and if we're counting, that makes the all-time no-hitter scoreboard Sox 18, Mets 0.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Xaipe

Games 44 through 46 - Red Sox

Red Sox 5, Brewers 3
Red Sox 7, Brewers 6
Red Sox 11, Brewers 7
Record: 27-19


I originally started this post as a bunch of notes, intending today to finish up and add my usual clever bon mots. Sadly, this 5 minutes is all the time I'll have today, so what follows is the best I can do. Consider it my e.e. cummings phase.

weird series:

rainout, day is done

matsuzaka
out of trouble all day
a youks error (!) at third (delete !)
long time off and a paps tater (ryan braun, not sucking)
dirty water

5-0 lead in the nightcap (of the odd 3:55, 8:35 twinbill)
for naught, or not?
and joy on the leaden wings of 2 brewer errors
7 gaffes between the 2 teams in game 2
baseball, the beautiful game
timlin perfect 9th for a save
whither the little-used papelbon?
dirty, dirty water

chicks pleased at the longball festival
4x2 over the fences
beckett 2006: an unwanted encore
ellsbury out on the steal. a gasp from the crowd
lugo's brain numbs on the paths (that's not weird. not weird at all.)
bullpen shaky but good enough
dirty, dirty, dirty water

later, friends, we talk of the pen
mediocre is kind

young masterson tuesday
old/new colon wednesday
the rain, it colors everything

Friday, May 16, 2008

Nothing!


Games 36 through 42 - Phillies

Lost to the D-Backs

Beat the Giants

Lost to the Giants

Lost to the Giants

Phils 5, Bravos 4

Bravos 8, Phils 6

Phils 5, Bravos zip


Record: 23 wins, 19 losses


GEORGE: Yeah, but nothing happens on the show. You see, it's just like life. You know, you eat, you go shopping, you read.. You eat, you read, You go shopping.

RUSSELL: You read? You read on the show?

JERRY: Well, I don't know about the reading.. We didn't discuss the reading.

RUSSELL: All right, tell me, tell me about the stories. What kind of stories?

GEORGE: Oh, no. No stories.

RUSSELL: No stories? So, what is it?

GEORGE: (Showing an example) What'd you do today?

RUSSELL: I got up and came to work.

GEORGE: There's a show. That's a show.

RUSSELL: (Confused) How is that a show?

JERRY: Well, uh, maybe something happens on the way to work.

GEORGE: No, no, no. Nothing happens.

JERRY: Well, something happens.

RUSSELL: Well, why am I watching it?

GEORGE: Because it's on TV.

RUSSELL: (Threatening) Not yet.
This morning, Rob asked the MLC citizenry WTF?
Well, Rob, I got nothin'.
You remember my opening post of the season where, in mind numbing detail, I listed the Phils' win totals since 2001? Brutally pedestrian stuff for sure. Made your eyes bleed. Unless of course, you were quick enough to recognize the posting of a litany of numbers and then immediately and instinctively bailed on the entry. (You'd probably do well to just bail whenever you see that lame little logo up there.) Well in that post, I lamented the fact that the Phils are just so. No, not So Taguchi. Their only 4% So. The club is a nice little revenue generator. They attract nice crowds to their Little League dimensioned park with several bona fide super stars and a bevy of journey men and also rans. Very few experts however, think much of the Phils beyond that.
To their credit the Phils do not disappoint. They are well on their way to an 88 win season or about what I predicted and about the level they have played for the past 8 years.
My participation on this blog will be driven by success or failure of my favorite team. It most assuredly will not be driven by a team that simply meets expectations. The Phils thus far are a story about nothing and nothing is what I am posting about today. I hate posting about nothing.
Make sense, Rob?

Thursday, May 15, 2008

P.S. I Love You

Game 43 - Red Sox
Orioles 6, Red Sox 3
Record: 24-19

Was it something I did? Things were going so well. You were 15-7. Every day was sunshine, puppy dogs, frolicing on the basepaths and youthful pitchers hurling gems. I even told you I loved you. Now, it's been raining for weeks, your everyday players keep getting hurt and/or playing miserably, the hurlers young and old can't get out of a paper bag, and you blow 3-0 leads in 3 consecutive games After all I've given you, this is how you repay me?

Don't give me that, "But Manny made a funny" crap. You're just trying to change the subject. Okajima's meatball to Payton wiped out all of the happy-go-luck I had yesterday. Typical. You can't even look me in the eyes. It's like I don't even know you.

And still, tomorrow you'll be all, "I'm sorry", and you'll beat the shit out of the Brewers at home, and give me that little pouty hangdog look, and I'll smile in spite of myself and let you back in the house. I really hate you, sometimes, for what you make me do to myself.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Road

Game 42 - Red Sox
Orioles 5, Red Sox 4
Record: 24-18

From the keyboard of the wise and knowing SOSHer Mystic Merlin, the following words of wisdom:

Baseball's unparalleled long season both sucks and rules. This week it
sucks. We KNOW it's only a couple of games and it's only May, but fuck.
Ayuh. Fuck, indeed.

Hell House

Games 38 through 41 - Red Sox

Twins 7, Red Sox 6

Red Sox 5, Twins 2

Twins 9, Red Sox 8

Twins 7, Red Sox 3

Record: 24-17


My inclination towards irritation and anger at losing 3 of 4 to the mediocre Twins is tempered by this: Since 2001, the Sox are 8-17 in the Metrodome, Minnesota's monstrous traveshamockery of a ballpark. Maybe it's the white on white ceiling motif. Perhaps Manny's part plant, and needs the sun's chlorophyll-stimulating rays. Or, maybe it's just dumb luck masquerading as grotesque architecture. Whatever the reason, the FIDO tag fits appropriately.

Now, should the Sox keep stumbling against a team I really dislike tonight and tomorrow in Baltimore, well, then we may have to lock up the kids before the next Sox-based MLC rant goes live.

Good on the Tampa Bay Rays, winners of 6 straight and clear titleholders to second in the AL East, a mere 1/2 game behind the Sox. They're pitching like madmen, and hitting the ball enough, as well. Don't know if they've got the horses for the full 162 furlongs, but Joe Maddon's doing a terrific job, as he has from the beginning in St. Pete.

Finally, on this exceedingly beautiful Spring day, farethewell and adieu, you fair Dominican whackjob. Julian Tavarez found the limit at which a team was no longer willing to put up with his lunacy. Seems that a 6.39 ERA and a 2.13 WHIP, even in a small sample, made the charm in rolling of balls to first and a 12 Monkeys personality wear quickly. Good luck to you, Jools, you crazy bastard.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Sense and Sensibility

Game 37 - Red Sox

Red Sox 5, Tigers 1
Record: 23-14

If Wednesday's game was Benny Hill, yesterday's was Jane Austen. Proper, perfunctory, not a hair out of place for the Sox. (Betcha didn't come here thinking we'd be dropping 19th Century Brit Lit on you. We're well-rounded like a motherfucker.)

7 innings of Beckett, 1 each of Hansen and Delcarmen (with the latter two retiring 6 of 7 in a hope-springs-eternal effort) paced the Sox, while the offense banged out 13 hits - every starter save for the increasingly-maligned Julio Lugo posted a safety. Neat and tidy, just the way we like it.

Of note, the rumors of Papi's demise appear to have been greatly exaggerated (and, probably in this case, made up for effect). On April 12, he went 0-for-4 against the Yankees to drop his AVG/OBP/OPS line to .070/.231/.140 with 1 HR and 3 RBI. Since that nadir, he's hit .318 with 6 HR and 25 RBI to raise his rates to .239/.333/.440 - still not Papi-like, but we're getting there. He leads the team in ribbies and is even with Manny and Youk atop the HR list with 7. The wringing of the hands, it seems, was for naught.

4 with the Twins over the weekend, and me winging my way to Jacksonville, so this corner of MLC will be quiet until Monday. Don't forget to send some love to the Moms in your lives, boys.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Striking Distance (or slightly beyond)


Game 35 - Phillies

Phillies 5, D-Backs 4

Record: 20 - 15


Dear Ryan-

It's brutal, ain't? Trust me, it's as painful for me to watch as I am sure it is for you when you walk away flummoxed after each at bat. I doubt you care to know that 50 K's in 35 games translates to a new MLB single season record of 231 which shatters your old record by 15%.

On top of what is a humiliating plunge into a realm inhabited only by pitchers and late season call ups, you are playing in THE WORST city in ALL of Major League Baseball for players languishing your current state. I shudder with fear at the thought of how you will be received once you fellas return to the Bank after this Left Coast swing.

I of course, am not a native of that cesspool - I mean, lovely city. That means I do not resent you. I am not angry with you. I don't want to trade you. I don't think you're a bum. Quite the opposite, I writhe uncomfortably in my otherwise comfy overstuffed club chair each time you come up. I hope against all hope that you will break free of this hellish slump. At bat after at bat, you either flail away helplessly at pitches just beyond the black, contort your massive frame against junk down and in or fecklessly stare down a pitch right on the black. When you try to lay off, they catch the black. When you try to go the other way, the ball naughtily jumps away. When you get desperate, you corkscrew yourself into the dirt.

I was going to post a picture of the strike zone. I was going to post your stats. I was going to post a link to explain the different pitches offered up my Major League pitchers. Those are the actions of a native Philadelphian. I am from a higher species. Out my way, we throw a life preserver out to folks who are drowning. I prefer to show a little charity. First and foremost, you are a likable guy. You are a lovable, modern day Sultan of Swat minus all the boorish and loutish personal behavior of your storied predecessor. By all counts, you are a dream for any front office. Right now, you need some time off. If Uncle Cholly sits you down, do yourself a favor and graciously accept it. This too shall pass and hopefully it will make you a more treacherous a hitter when you make it back.

Sincerely,

Nick

Drop City

Game 36 - Red Sox

Tigers 10, Red Sox 9
Record 22-14

Had I actually watched last night's game, I suspect I would be reporting a reaction similar to Red's today. Since I only was able to follow it on my phone, my response is a bit more muted, though the disdain for Julio Lugo probably as palpable.

The Sox twice overcame 4-run deficits against the Kitties, taking a 9-8 lead into the bottom of the 9th courtesy of Dustin Pedroia single through the infield (and if you thought Derek Jeter's range was limited, holy hell do I have an Edgar Renteria to sell you). With Jonathan Papelbon on the mound, all seemed well.

And all should have been well, even after rookie Matt Joyce led off with a meek infield single. Renteria followed Joyce with an equally limp grounder to short, and Lugo turned it into a Benny Hill routine, sans the redeeming qualities of scantily-clad nubile young things and, y'know, comedy. A sac bunt, yet another weak infield dribbler and a broken-bat gork later, and the Tigers had plated 2 to win the game. Papelbon didn't allow solid contact once in 18 pitches, and still blew his first save of the season. Gracias, Julio, a Nation turns its psychotic obsession with a team to you.

Baseball, man, it's a funny game. A funny game I'm glad I didn't watch yesterday.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

You see? You see? He's not a machine, he's a man, he's a man.

Games 34 - Yankees

Indians 5, Yankees 3
Record: 17-17

Sure, it was bound to happen sometime, but I never expected David Dellucci to be the guy to shit on Joba Chamberlain's cloak of invincibility. The Yankees lost a tough one last night, 5-3 to the Indians, after Dellucci (a Yankee for all of 21 games in 2003) cranked a pinch-hit three run homer off Joba in the 8th, wasting a damn good start from Mr. Pettitte and actual offensive contributions from Giambi and Cano.

A few Joba-related notes:
  • It was only the second home run allowed in 37 career innings by Chamberlain
  • Dellucci's bomb were the first regular-season runs Chamberlain has allowed at Yankee Stadium
  • NY is now 15-1 when leading after seven innings this season

The Kid Stays in the Picture

Game 35 – Red Sox

Red Sox 5, Tigers 0
Record: 22-13


Freddy Dolsi got up yesterday and called his parents back in San Pedro de Macoris to tell them that he was going to the show*. He arrived at Comerica Park, awed by the gleaming ironwork and the too-green grass. He stretched in the outfield, shagged the still-white BP balls, and took his seat in the bullpen when the game began, trying to avoid the spittle flying from Todd Jones’ mustache every time the grizzled veteran grunted.

Then, in the 7th inning, after Nate Robertson gave up a homer to David Ortiz, Jim Leyland trudged from the dugout and lifted his right arm. As he made the long jog to the mound, Dolsi hoped his parents were watching.

Then he looked in to get the sign from Ivan Rodriguez, realized that Manny Ramirez was standing in the batter’s box and silently hoped that maybe crazy Tio Pablo knocked out the satellite again, or that his parents could wait until the next batter to tune in. Mike Lowell, while formidable in his own right, isn't Manny Ramirez.

He took a deep breath, reared back and fired the fastball that got him 11 strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings in Lakeland this season. It took roughly 2 nanoseconds for him to realize with certainty that there are no Manny Ramirez’ in Lakeland, and 3 more for Dolsi’s first major league pitch to land well over the centerfield wall.

While not exactly the stuff of The Rookie, Dolsi did manage to settle down and retire 4 of the next 5 batters he faced. Happy ending for all involved, at least from this corner of the world – Tim Wakefield goes 8 innings and allows 2 hits and no walks (see, Daisuke, it’s a simple game), the kid saves a little bit of face, Tio Pablo sleeps off the hangover, the Sox extend their winning streak to 5, and baseball’s eternal cycle renews and refreshes. It’s a beautiful thing.

* - I’m aware that he was actually brought up on Saturday. It’s called poetic license.

That Was the Week That Was

Games 27 through 34 - Phillies

Record: 19 wins, 15 losses.

My fellow MLC denizens-

I am quite proud to announce that the reason for my week long sabbatical from this cozy nook of Baseballville is that my dear wife heroically and flawlessly delivered our 4th child/3rd son. Our family is basking in the glow of a newborn not yet fatigued enough to gripe and moan about 3AM feedings and a house that resembles a shanty in Myanmar right about now. (Is that grossly insensitive or effectively descriptive?) We are of course, quite thankful and realize our fortune. That is quite enough detail of domestic life encroaching upon this sacred space of the Pastime. It's time to talk about the first month's grades.

The Phils are in first. Holy crap! First place? In May? That can't be.

Oh, it be.

Despite starting slowly (4-6), the Phils have played very well. Mind you 4-6 isn't quite so bad as 3-7. When you start falling back 4 or 5 games below .500 as this team has done repeatedly this decade, it becomes quite laborious trying to claw your way back to respectability. That they have accomplished this with 2008 MVP Jimmy Rollins and without the services of Shane Victorino for 15 games is quite encouraging. Oh, and did anyone notice Ryan Howard is absolutely befuddled this season? Poor guy is in the mother of all funks right now. I think he is on pace to strike out 250 times this season. I know I am showing my age but doesn't anyone bother to try to just make contact when they are behind in the count? Regardless of the injuries to Rollins and Victorino and the slumping of Howard combined with the zero lineup presence of Pedro Feliz, the boys are floating atop the division tide. That is because our brethren in Gotham and Hotlanta have injury and slump issues all their own.

Now to the report card for the first term.

Starters - C+
No one is dominant. Hamels has been very good in about 5 of 7 starts and solid in the others. Myers has been solid at best in at least 4 starts and below average in the other 3. Hamels and Myers however, have given the team much needed innings (more on that later.) Moyer started roughly but has returned to his steady self. He usually surrenders 4 runs but keeps the team in the game. If Jamie goes six, you hand him an ice pack and some Geritol, put the TV on the History Channel and make him some tea. Kyle Kendrick has been slightly less than mediocre but certainly worth the patience he'll continue to be shown. He can easily return to being a very reliable and effective starter. Poor Adam Eaton is lost. He started out fairly well but his last 3 starts resemble the 2007 campaign where he dubiously posted the worst ERA of any starter in the NL.

Pen - A-
The starters have averaged nearly 6 IP per start. That has been a boon for the pen. Besides the opening day meltdown against the Nats, Flash Gordon has been astoundingly stingy as my four year old is when licking the cream from his Double Stuffs. The old man has been a stalwart and a joy to watch. Brad Lidge was brought in gently like a child whose training wheels were just removed and he has responding well. He has yet to surrender a run while posting 7 saves in 7 opportunities. JC Romero has picked up where he left off last season. Did I remember to thank you Rob? Rudy Seanez, Chad Durbin and the rest have all done pretty well bridging the gap between the starters and the late innings.

Lineup - B
Jeff Bruntlett has started to look like a suitable major league replacement for Jimmy Rollins. Pedro Feliz is starting to reward Pat Gilllick by finally returning to form as a good bottom half of the order power hitter. Carlos Ruiz and Chris Coste have been solid backstops who occasionally deliver at the plate. The story here however is the troika of Pat Burrell, Jayson Werth and arguably the best player in the National League, Chase Utley. These 3 are having tremendous years. For Pat the Bat, you have to feel good. He seems to finally be the guy the Phils drafted #1 10 years ago when he won the Golden Spikes Award at the U. Bully for you Pat!

Bench - A
As of last week, they had the best pinch hit average in the league. Jeff Jenkins is a comfortable shoe. The aforementioned Coste/Ruiz combo is suitable. The fact that Werth and Bruntlett filled in so admirably for Rollins and Victorino bodes well for when they return to role players though I suspect Werth may have won himself an everyday spot.

Manager - A
Right man for the job. In a town where cynicism, sarcasm and narcissism are desirable personality traits, this guy is the perfect buffer for a generation of kids who probably don't recognize why fans expect to win every game.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Where the Wild Things Are

Game 34 – Red Sox

Red Sox 6, Tigers 3
Record: 21-13


Things I Do When I Feel An Abiding Need to Be Annoyed:

1. Read the collected works of Ann Coulter
2. Squeeze lemon juice into small cuts in my cuticles
3. Listen to Michael Kay on any topic
4. Watch Daisuke Matsuzaka pitch

I call to your attention last night’s objet d’argh from the newly coined Nippon Nibbler (royalty payment to my colleague on the pinstriped side of the aisle for that): 5 IP, 1H, 1R, 8BB, 1K, 110 pitches, 1100 calories of nervous energy expended by me via uncontrollable leg bounce, spasmodic fingernail drumming, and ceaseless pacing.

On the plus side, Mike Lowell hit his first homer and drove in his first runs of the year, and the Sox did, in fact, win a game they probably should have lost. Craig Hansen pitched a lights out inning of relief (on the minus side, he was asked to pitch 2, but we’ll take small victories when it comes to the middle of the Sox’ bullpen). Papi continues to work his way back to normal, hitting the ball hard several times, with a 9th inning homer and a rocket single against a lefty to show for it – the big fella’s now hit safely in 15 of 18 games to raise his average to .225.

But Matsuzaka. Dear Lord of all that’s straight and controlled. The quality of his stuff is undeniable – witness his .158 opponent’s batting average and the fact that the Tigers put 10 runners on against him in 5 innings with only a single scratch – it’s his ability to consistently hit his spots that’s exasperating everyone from Terry Francona to my 87 year-old grandmother. He’s allowed more walks than hits, 27 to 22, over 40+ innings. It got so bad last night that Matsuzaka’s wildness frustrated Steve Phillips into saying something cogent, insightful, and relevant. It took Orel Hershiser 2 ½ innings to recover enough from the shock to be able to speak again.

Speaking of the pinstripes (as I was way above), can we just agree that this Red Sox/Yankees bullshit has gone too far. Witness:

NASHUA, N.H. (AP) -- A woman accused of running down a man in her car after a Red Sox-Yankees argument in a bar never hit her brakes as she accelerated toward the small group he was in, a prosecutor said Monday.

"She never braked, and she accelerated at a high speed for about 200 feet. She went directly at this group of people," prosecutor Susan Morrell said of Ivonne Hernandez, who is charged with reckless second-degree murder in the death early Friday of Matthew Beaudoin, 29.

It’s a game, people. While I quite understand that Yankee fans are mouthbreathing degenerates (my blog colleague, brother-in-law, and nephew notwithstanding), they are objects of pity, not mortal blood enemies. We kid, we kid. Lighten up, folks. And you guys with the 4 letters, how ‘bout we ratchet back the apocalyptic rhetoric, mmmkay? The relative merits of 2 professional sports teams aren’t worth dying for. Only oil and executive hubris meet that test.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Never Sharpen a Boomerang

Games 31 through 33 - Red Sox

Red Sox 7, Rays 3
Red Sox 12, Rays 4
Red Sox 7, Rays 3

Record: 20-13

We talk a lot about karma 'round these parts, and have a healthy respect for the destructive power of that particular force of nature. As if to reinforce our painfully disciplined adherence to her strict mandates, the lady delivered yet another object lesson in Boston this weekend, as the Sox broke convincingly out of their offensive doldrums against the Rays.

Tampa swept the Sox in St. Petersburg just a short week ago, gaining a share of first place in the AL East for the first time ever this "late" in the season. In the excitement of the moment, Rays fans danced in the aisles with brooms as the Trop's P.A. system blared Neil Diamond's Sweet Caroline, a song generally reserved for happy times in Fenway Park (and brandy-fueled latenight singalongs on Fire Island - so I've heard). I get it. It's a big deal for Tampa to best the Sox, for the little guy to stick one in the bully's ribs, but there some things that just aren't done.

You don't tug on Superman's cape. You never get in a land war in Asia. You don't talk about a no-hitter while it's in progress, and you never, ever taunt an opponent you'll be playing a week later.

Under normal circumstances, an early-May set against the Rays wouldn't mean much to the Sox, but I have to believe the team and the front office took more than a little satisfaction from this weekend's payback bitch-slapping. And I took more than a little solace from the 26 runs the offense posted as the starting pitching continued to do its part. If Manny Delcarmen can shake his nearly season-long funk, we'll be in long clover - provided nobody jumps ugly on that karma woman.

You using the whole fist, Doc?

Games 23-33: Yankees

White Sox 7, Yankees 6
Indians 6, Yankees 4

Indians 4, Yankees 3
Yankees 1, Indians 0
Yankees 5, Indians 2
Tigers 6, Yankees 4

Tigers 6, Yankees 2
Tigers 8, Yankees 4
Yankees 5, Mariners 1
Yankees 6, Mariners 1
Yankees 8, Mariners 2 (in progress)

Record: 16-16 (17-16?)

Having been away so long already, I decided I would wait until the Yankees actually won a game before I returned. That happened Friday night, with the Yankees besting the Mariners 5-1. But, as it turned out, I had a pretty nice little Saturday planned, you know, going to Home Depot, buying some wallpaper, some flooring, stuff like that. I wanted to get to Bed, Bath, & Beyond, but alas, didn't have enough time. The Yankees actually won again Saturday, 6-1, so maybe I should just stay away all together...

Nah...the MLC Brain Trust would never accept that, so I'm back, with a 33 Game Wrap-Up I'm calling The Good, the Bad and the Uggla (yep, I've resorted to stealing from myself). Enjoy...and see you in June (I kid, I kid).

The Good
Chien-Ming Wang is 6-0. He has a 3.00 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and .225 BAA. He's the Sgt. Hulka of this rotation, hell, of this whole team. Wang's win on Friday night was the 11th time in a row that the Yankees had won with C.M. pitching after a loss. Shit, he's the Jeff Speakman of this club...he's even striking guys out this year (32K in 45IP). It sucks for him that he basically needs to go 20-3 for this team (as currently constituted) to have any chance. Good luck my friend, and remember, enough with the pictures already, it's just a parking lot.

Hideki Matsui (.317/.408./.481) and Johnny Damon (.290/.394./.533) have been the leaders of a sluggish offense beset by injuries all over the diamond. It also appears someone reminded Bobby Abreu it's a contract year...he has responded accordingly (.303/.356./.451). And once again Derek Jeter is as dreamy on the field as off...

Joba Chamberlain and Mariano Rivera have been lights out - unfortunately, I'm not sure how long Rivera will have Joba as a running mate back there. Rivera's pitched 12 innings so far this year. He's struck out 12, is 8 for 8 in save opps, and hasn't allowed an ER yet. Not too shabby. Not to be outdone, Joba has struck out 14 in 12 IP and only given up 2 ER. His K/9 is 10.22. And it's rumored the simple sight of him warming up in the bullpen gives Hank Steinbrenner seizures.

I mentioned this to Rob the other night, but as a Yankees fan one major positive is that they are always on the boob tube (Yes, it's a positive for me, and yet another reason for most of America to hate them. Get over it). Be it ESPN, Fox, WGN, Comcast or UHF Channel 62, I have been able to see over half their games without the Extra Innings package the rest of the MLC contributors have.

The return of former Yankee OF Bobby Murcer to the booth after having a brain biopsy a month ago (in December 2006 he had surgery to remove a brain tumor). Thankfully, the biopsy came back cancer free. He called the game Friday night. Sadly, I am not sure many people realize what a good player Murcer was in his 17 year career. Me, I love him because of his career-long feud with that cheater Gaylord Perry - I found this on Wikipedia and it made me laugh quite a bit:
"Murcer had some fun with Gaylord; he once caught a fly for the last out of an inning and spit on the ball before tossing it to Perry. Another time he sent Perry a gallon of lard."

As this guy once said, this is like deja vu all over again. I know better than to bitch and moan this early in the year as the Yankees struggle. Why, you ask? Just check out the numbers below:
2007: Started 21-29, Ended at 94-68 and in the playoffs
2006: Started 11-10, Ended at 97-65 and in the playoffs
2005: Started 11-19, Ended at 95-67 and in the playoffs
2004: Started 11-11, Ended at 101-61 and in the playoffs
Soooo, you won't find me on the ledge, ready to throw in the towel...we all know it's a marathon, not a sprint. Despite the .500 record and lackluster play thus far, NY is just three back of Robert's Red Sox with roughly 130 games to go. Things could be much, much worse...which gets us to...

The Bad
Robinson Cano is at .157/.218./.261. He has only 15 hits the entire year (and only 8 XBH). It sure would be nice if someone could figure out what the fuck is wrong with him.
[Editor's Note: Cano just hit a home run. I take full credit]

Morgan Ensberg is simply stealing money at this point ($1.75 million to be exact). I long for the days of Luis Sojo and Miguel Cairo filling in at third. Ensberg's licorice bat has just 1 XBH in 55 ABs. I don't care if Wilson Betemit comes off the DL wearing an eye patch (Saaarsgaaaard), please bench Ensberg and play Betemit. I'm begging you.

Consistently inconsistent and mediocre (seems to be a theme around these parts):
Most Games over .500 (2) AND Most Games under .500 (2)
Longest Winning Streak (3) AND Longest Losing Streak (3)

Hank Steinbrenner - It's a shame I didn't get this post up Friday as planned, because Hank managed to open his mouth once again before I completed the post. This time, he actually sounded rational, and disappointed. Hank, we're all disappointed in what has transpired so far, but I do hope you believe your own statement that the team will not panic and rush Joba into the rotation. Now, give it two more weeks of .500 play, and Bad Hank is bound to appear - I can only assume it will be to tell Cashman to start Chamberlain immediately or else he's canned.

The Uggla
It's real simple, and falls into two categories: pitching and injuries. How much time do we have?

Pitching: Other than the aforementioned Wang, the Yankees pitching has been adequate at best (Hi Andy and Moose!) and downright atrocious at worst (Oh, Kyle/LaTroy, got a call for you...and tell the kids we want to talk to them after they finish their homework). The two pups inserted into the rotation have had a rough 2008, to say the least. Phil Hughes is lucky enough to fall into both "Uggla" categories, pitching like a total donkey (0-4 with a 9.00 ERA) and then landing on the the DL the other day with a cracked rib. As I typed this post today, Ian Kennedy (0-2, 8.53 ERA) was demoted to the minors, with Darrel Rasner (4-0 with a 0.87 ERA in five outings at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre) being called up to start the finale against the Mariners. And, AND, the Yankees are apparently going with a four-man rotation the next 10 days or so. Anyone seen my rosary?
[Editor's Note: Rasner just threw 6 innings, giving up only 2 runs. Let's hope he's Aaron Small Redux (wow, is that what it's come to?)]

Injuries: Now, I am smart enough to not belabor this point too much, as every team every year gets hits by the injury bug - hell, just around these parts Rob's club started the year without Beckett and that asshat Schilling, Nick's Phils are hanging in without Rollins and Whit's Metropolitans once again lost Papier Mache Martinez to the DL. But I've got to say, losing Jorge Posada and Alex Rodriguez within days of each other to the DL is a big blow, especially the Posada injury. Zeppo Molina behind the plate for six weeks I might be able to handle defensively, but his every at-bat is cringe-worthy. At least Rodriguez should be back after the requisite 15 days. The other crushing DL loss might shock some, but Brian Bruney looked like he could be the perfect 7th inning guy for this club, meaning Joba and/or Rivera would not need to be overextended in mid-summer games because Girardi doesn't trust the gristle in the pen. Basically, the Yankees need to tread water until they have their full complement of players ready to contribute, and hope that they can piece together yet another hot second half and carry themselves into the playoffs. But man is that a long way off.

******
Well lookee here, 8-2 Yanks right now...OK boys, carry on...

B.J. and the Bear

Games 27 & 28 - Mets

Mets 7, Diamondbacks 2

Diamondbacks 10, Mets 4

Record: 15-13


Up until yesterday, you had to wonder, didn't you? You'd long ago stopped doubting the Mets' desert dominance as something other than a true phenomenon, and you were fairly sure it would just continue forever. The way the Metmen zipped out of the gate Friday night like Big Brown (seriously, whose toddler named that horse?) at yesterday's Run for the Roses, it looked like more of the same.

And then yesterday's pitching equivalent of "Archie Bunker's Place" happened. It's like waking up from a good dream and realizing, "Oh . . . yeah . . . so I don't actually live in a Marseilles chateau with my eight morally casual swimsuit model roommates and respective lifetime supplies of Dale's Pale Ale and porterhouses. Alrighty."

And there it went. Pelf was superbly mediocre, as if that means anything, and Duaner Sanchez sported the worst line I've witnessed since Rob was wooing the ladies at The Third Edition in Georgetown way back when. The chances of Carlos Delgado turning on a Brandon Webb offering for a three-run job were slim. That it happened and made little difference makes it a pleasantry turned annoying in an overall wince-worthy outing.

Oh, and giving up 6 RBI to a guy named Augie? Come on. It hasn't happened in major league baseball since '45 or so, back when Augie Galan donned the woolens for the Brooklyn Trolley Dodgers. Of course, that Augie didn't take much heat for his name -- not from a roster featuring guys (yes, actually) named Frenchy, Goody, Dixie, Fats, Otho, Babe, Red, Claude, Barney, and Morrie. Plus Eddie Stanky and Johnny Peacock. Wow . . . parents sure are boring these days.

And if the name Augie doesn't remind you of Augie Ben Doggie in Hardware Wars, you need to visit YouTube very soon.

So Johan Santana takes the hill with a chance to help the Mets at least continue a stretch of winning series in Arizona, if not doing so in otherworldly fashion. Let's see that happen. What do you say, boys?

* * *

Oh, and in keeping with my pattern of using this space for my own diary of personal shame rather than any Mets analysis whatsoever, I should mention that I attended a good friend's 40th birthday party in a local bar last night. A really nice affair with food, drink, and a band -- and she had me contribute the music when the band wasn't playing. And then I got cut off by the waitress at 9:30 pm. Cut off. At a birthday party for "grown-ups." Two hours in. Class-y. Dear Diary, What's wrong with me? Sincerely, Whitney

Friday, May 02, 2008

Cliff's Notes

Game 30 - Red Sox

Blue Jays 3, Red Sox 0
Record: 17-13


I(t)'ll be short today, as the workaday world encroaches mightily.

Courtesy of the far more diligent Joy of Sox, behold the Sox' scoring output over the past 50 innings:

0100000000010000000000000000000001000000101000000000

That they actually won 2 games in that span borders on Lourdesian.

Baseball's a simple game, really. As a wise man once said, you throw the ball, you hit the ball, you catch the ball. The Sox are excelling beyond expectation in 2 of the 3 categories, and smelling like rotting skunk rectum in the other. You hear that, you lollygaggers? Rotting skunk rectum.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Deadwood

Game 26 - Mets

Pirates 13, Mets 1

Record: 14-12


I'd say this is a level of effort commensurate with the Mets' yesterday.

Don Quixote

Game 29 - Red Sox

Red Sox 2, Blue Jays 1
Record: 17-12

Updating the Red Sox starting pitching situation, we find that Messrs. Buchholz, Beckett, Lester, and Matsuzaka have combined over the past 4 games to throw 30 innings with a 0.90 ERA and a 0.63 WHIP. Over that span, they allowed 10 hits and 9 walks while striking out 32. These 4 games will quite likely represent the most dominant such streak by any rotation in the game this season (though I will not be doing the research necessary to back that claim). We're talking about some serious dealing here, boys and girls, Buzz Bissinger-level crazy performances.

Those 4 guys are 0-2 over the span in question.

Over in the corner of the locker room, Jonathan Papelbon - owner of consecutive wins - is cackling, holding his index and middle fingers up and saying, "V is for Vulture, motherfuckers!". While Dustin Pedroia, Julio Lugo, Manny Ramirez and a handful of other regulars skulk to the showers muttering apologies to the aforementioned starters. Julian Tavarez is licking the team's flat-screen television, just because he likes the feel of the static electricity against his tongue.

So, um, batsmen. A bit of alacrity in your step this evening might be nice. Those guys on the mound, they can't keep this up forever.