Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Sunday MLB Recap: No Need to Panic

There's a scene in King Kong vs. Godzilla where Godzilla appears over the horizon and attacks a train, knocking it to pieces. Of course, as the travellers are mobbing the exits, there's a train conductor standing in the middle of them, yelling, "Please! Don't panic!" I felt like that conductor this week as I watched baseball columnists and Yankee fans wailing and gnashing their teeth at the horrors that befell the team in its opening homestand. You'd never have known that the Yankees, instead of being eaten by Godzilla, went 2-2 against a pretty good team, the Indians. Granted, there's no good way to spin a 22-4 loss, and this could be a sign that the pitching (especially Chien-Ming Wang) isn't as good as we thought. But the new Yankee Stadium is a sturdy piece of architecture; it can withstand worse.
With that in mind, here's a recap of some busy Sunday action with a look at what this means for the coming season.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

FAIL @ Men's Journal

I'm amazed that a seemingly respectable magazine would actually print this. This is terrible on every possible judgment of the "terrible" meter. It's the sort of article a drunken moron would piss out after a bad day at Yankee Stadium. There is no fact in this article, not nearly enough to justify the anger. The writer's utter cluelessness and ignorance about the game of baseball and, apparently, life, is enough to make me optimistic about a career in baseball writing. I sure as hell can't do any worse than that, an article for which Matt Taibbi was presumably paid good American currency.


(h/t Shysterball)

Monday, April 13, 2009

Blast from the Past: 2006

I know that advertisers are finding new ways to horn in on MLB TV. They're not just buying awards, they're trying to sponsor every segment or every pause.
The worst is the WebMD injury report. Now, this doesn't sound that bad at first. It's flagrant ad-placement, yes, but hey, it's nice to explain to a fan just where the ACL is or what the oblique muscle does. It could be useful.
Instead, WebMD used their CGI 3-d rendering of a human body's musculature to illustrate, for the viewers at home: a sore wrist. I'm not f***ing kidding. How inconceviably DUMB do you have to be to need a TV animation to explain to you what a SORE WRIST is?!

"Phyllis, I've got an ouch."

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Final 2009 Predictions

American League
NL East
New York Yankees (98-64)
Boston Red Sox* (93-69)
Tampa Bay Rays (87-75)
Toronto Blue Jays (79-83)
Baltimore Orioles (73-89)
* -- denotes Wild Card

NL Central
Cleveland Indians (88-74)
Minnesota Twins (84-78)
Chicago White Sox (79-83)
Detroit Tigers (78-84)
Kansas City Royals (72-90)

NL West
Los Angeles Angels (85-77)
Oakland Athletics (84-78)
Texas Rangers (78-84)
Seattle Mariners (70-92)

ALCS: Yankees over Indians
World Series: Dodgers over Yankees
AL MVP: Mark Teixeira, Yankees
AL Cy Young: Josh Beckett, Red Sox
AL Rookie of the Year: Matt Wieters, Orioles
National League
NL East
New York Mets (95-67)
Philadelphia Phillies* (89-73)
Atlanta Braves (87-75)
Florida Marlins (76-86)
Washington Nationals (65-97)

NL Central
Chicago Cubs (91-71)
St. Louis Cardinals (84-78)
Milwaukee Brewers (80-82)
Cincinnati Reds (78-84)
Houston Astros (67-95)
Pittsburgh Pirates (66-96)

NL West
Los Angeles Dodgers (93-69)
Arizona Diamondbacks (87-75)
San Francisco Giants (78-84)
Colorado Rockies (76-86)
San Diego Padres (62-100)

NLCS: Dodgers over Cubs
World Series: Dodgers over Yankees
NL MVP: David Wright, Mets
NL Cy Young: Johan Santana, Mets
NL Rookie of the Year: Kenshin Kawakami, Braves

NL West Preview: Manny to the Rescue

1 – Los Angeles Dodgers
2 – Arizona Diamondbacks
3 – San Francisco Giants
4 – Colorado Rockies
5 – San Diego Padres

Los Angeles Dodgers
Last year's NL West race came down to the final week of the season, with L.A. just edging out the Diamondbacks. This year's race looks about the same, with the Dodgers and 'Backs pacing the division. What really separates the two is L.A.'s great opportunity for improvement; they've got the young talent to take the division by storm.
It starts in the rotation with ace Chad Billingsley. The Dodgers will miss Derek Lowe, but Billingsley should be able to step up and do just as well, if not better. Last year, Billingsley posted a 3.14 ERA and struck out 201 batters in 200.2 innings. The only concern here is the big increase in innings pitched in 2008 (65.1 more than in 2007, including the postseason) as well as his 80 walks allowed. The other young stud in the L.A. stable is Clayton Kershaw. Long-term, Kershaw's ceiling may be higher than Billingsley's, but he's still quite young; he just turned 21. But while he may not top 200 innings, Kershaw looked pretty sharp as a 20-year-old rookie last year, managing a 4.26 ERA with 100 K in 107.2 IP.

Friday, April 03, 2009

NL Central Preview: Can the Cubs Three-Peat?

My Prediction:
1 – Chicago Cubs
2 – St. Louis Cardinals
3 – Milwaukee Brewers
4 – Cincinnati Reds
5 – Houston Astros
6 – Pittsburgh Pirates

Chicago Cubs

The Cubs are strong favorites in the NL Central once again. They’ve kept together most of the key players from 2008, while other teams in the division are either taking a step back or just struggling to stay in place.
The team is returning its top four starters in Ryan Dempster, Carlos Zambrano, Ted Lilly and Rich Harden. It’s a strong group, although there are concerns about Harden’s ability to make 20 starts, let alone 30. The team also took a big step back at closer, losing Kerry Wood to free agency and replacing him with trade acquisition Kevin Gregg. The Cubs have clearly overrated Gregg, due to his status as a Proven Closer. They’ve still got a great safety net in Carlos Marmol, but the Cubs will see a big difference between Gregg and the departed Wood.
Chicago has a unique depth to their offense.