Posts Tagged ‘Carl Pavano’

Starting Rotation: American League Central

January 19, 2010

Yesterday, I looked at the starting rotations of each American League East team. Today, I will look at the starting rotations for each American League Central team.

The American League Central is home to some of the best young pitchers in the game. As a matter of fact, five out of the last six AL Cy Young award winners have come from the Central.

Here are the starting rotations of each American League Central team as presently constructed.

Minnesota Twins

1. Scott Baker, RHP

2. Nick Blackburn, RHP

3. Kevin Slowey, RHP

4. Carl Pavano, RHP

5. Francisco Liriano, LHP

Quick Take – This rotation is littered with No.2 and No.3-type starters. However, Liriano can be a No.1 if he can regain his form prior to Tommy John surgery. Despite their lack of a true No.1 starter, this rotation has plenty of depth.

Chicago White Sox

1. Jake Peavy, RHP

2. Mark Buehrle, LHP

3. Gavin Floyd, RHP

4. John Danks, LHP

5. Freddy Garcia, RHP

Quick Take – The White Sox have the best pitching staff that nobody ever talks about. Danks is a very good No.4 starter. I will be interested to see how Peavy adjusts to the AL over the course of an entire season. Garcia will battle Dan Hudson for the No.5 starter spot in spring training.

Detroit Tigers

1. Justin Verlander, RHP

2. Rick Porcello, RHP

3. Max Scherzer, RHP

4. Jeremy Bonderman, RHP

5. Armando Galarraga, RHP

Quick Take – This rotation has more questions than answers going into 2010. Verlander threw more pitches than any other pitcher in baseball last season (3,937). How is that going to affect him in 2010. Will Porcello experience a sophomore slump? Can Bonderman and Galarraga bounce back in 2010?

Kansas City Royals

1. Zack Greinke, RHP

2. Gil Meche, RHP

3. Luke Hochevar, RHP

4. Kyle Davies, RHP

5. Brian Bannister, RHP

Quick Take – This staff is led by the great Greinke, who was last year’s AL Cy Young award winner. Nobody expects him to repeat last year’s performance in 2010, but he shouldn’t be that far off. The Royals need Hochevar to step up. This is a big year for him.

Cleveland Indians

1. Jake Westbrook, RHP

2. Fausto Carmona, RHP

3. Justin Masterson, RHP

4. David Huff, LHP

5. Aaron Laffey, LHP

Quick Take – For the most part, this is a young rotation, but it’s not very good right now. Carmona has been one of baseball biggest mysteries over the last couple of years. Having watched Masterson over the last couple of years with the Red Sox, I feel be is better suited to be in the bullpen.

Tomorrow, I will look at the American League West. The West is home to one of the top young pitchers in the game Felix Hernandez. Not only will teams in the West have to worry about Hernandez in 2010, but will have to contend with him for years to come.

More on that story later.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg


Francisco Liriano Making Strides In Winter Ball

January 5, 2010

Minnesota Twins’ manager Ron Gardenhire got some very encouraging news about one of his pitchers yesterday.

Francisco Liriano is reportedly throwing pellets in winter ball.

“I just got a report that he’s throwing the living fire out of the ball down in the Dominican (Republic),” the Twins manager said through the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “He threw eight innings the other day, and his fastball was 92 to 94 (mph) and his slider was filthy. That’s a really good thing, because he can be the bonus if we can get him on track.”

Liriano is throwing darts in winter ball

Not only can Liriano be bonus, but he can potentially be the ace the Twins need. If am firm believer that unless you have a lineup that can just bludgeon teams night after night (the Big Red Machine of the 1970’s comes to mind), you need an ace to win a World Series.

The Twins right now have a bunch of No. 3 starters on their pitching staff. Nick Blackburn, Scott Baker, Carl Pavano, and Kevin Slowey are nice pitchers to have on a staff, but none of them would be considered a No. 1 starter.

No. 3 starters get a team through the regular season, but don’t get a team to a World Series. That is why Liriano is so important to the Twins taking the next step in 2010.

Liriano can be that ace. In 2006, Liriano was 12-3 with a 2.16 ERA and looked like the second coming of Johan Santana. So the potential is there.

But Liriano had Tommy John surgery in 2006 and hasn’t been the same since.

Liriano is one of the few pitchers who has regressed since the surgery. Most pitchers who have the surgery either come back stronger or work themselves back within two years.

For Liriano its been almost three years.

Last year, I had Liriano as the “key” to the Twins’ season. Liriano went 5-13 with a 5.80 ERA, so he wasn’t as important to the Twins as I thought he would be. But I also said that with him, they would be a serious contender for the AL Pennant, which they weren’t.

Even without Liriano, I think Twins will go into the 2010 season as the favorites in the American League Central. But if Liriano is healthy and pitching like we know he can, the Twins could go from first-round fodder to a legit pennant contender.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Arbitration Roundup

December 2, 2009

For those of you who are not aware, yesterday at 11:59 pm est was the last day at teams could offer their free agents arbitration. Once a team offers arbitration to a player, that player has until Dec. 7 to accept.

A team would offer arbitration to a player–especially to a Type A or a Type B free agent because that team then would receive draft compensation as a result of that player signing with a new team.

A great example of this is what we saw this morning.

Since Billy Wagner signed with the Atlanta Braves and he was a Type A free agent who was offered arbitration, the Boston Red Sox will receive the Braves’ first-round pick (20th overall) and a supplemental pick in 2010.

Here is a list of the players who were offered arbitration by their current clubs. This list is courtesy of MLB Trade Rumors.

Type A Free Agents (10 players)

Chone Figgins

Figgins was offered arbitration by the Angels

John Lackey
Jose Valverde
Marco Scutaro
Mike Gonzalez
Rafael Soriano
Matt Holliday
Billy Wagner
Jason Bay
Rafael Betancourt

Type B Free Agents (13 players)

Justin Duchscherer
Rod Barajas
Joel Pineiro
Mark DeRosa
Adrian Beltre
Ivan Rodriguez
Marlon Byrd
Brian Shouse
Gregg Zaun
Jason Marquis
Brandon Lyon
Fernando Rodney
Carl Pavano

Yesterday was a good day for guys like Bengie Molina, Jermaine Dye, LaTroy Hawkins, and Kevin Gregg, who are all Type A free agents. Since these players were not offered arbitration and will not cost a first-round draft pick, they become much more attractive for teams to sign.

My predictions are that Molina ends up with the New York Mets and Dye ends up with the San Francisco Giants.

Yesterday was a bad day for a player like Rafael Betancourt. With him being a Type A free agent and offered arbitration by the Colorado Rockies, he is going to have a hard time finding work.

It’s hard to justify giving up a first-round pick for a middle reliever, who has been up and down for much of his career. My guess is he ends up back with the Rockies in 2010.

After Dec. 7, we will start to see the dominoes start to fall in the free agent market.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg


Yankees Sweep Twins, Advance To ALCS

October 12, 2009

If you are a New York Yankees fan, you have to start feeling like there is a lot of late 90’s magic going on with this team. When I say magic, I am not talking the clutch hitting from Alex Rodriguez or the brilliant pitching by Andy Pettitte.

I am talking the egregious umpiring that always benefits the Yankees (Joe Mauer call in Game Two), teams and players making bonehead plays they would normally not make (Nick Punto last night), and even when the Yankees make a bad play, it somehow works out in their favor (Robinson Cano misplay leads to an out last night).

Those were staples of the Yankee teams in their glory years from 1996-2000.

Pettitte was great last night

Pettitte was great last night

The Yankees lost that magic starting with the 2001 World Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks. However, they got some of that magic back in a big way against the Minnesota Twins.

The Yankees beat the Twins last 4-1 to sweep the Twins 3-0 in their best-of-five American League Division Series and advance to their first ALCS since 2004. The Yankees used some great pitching, timely homeruns, and some just brutal baserunning by the Twins to get by the Twins in this series.

What was amazing about this series, was that every single time the Twins would take the lead, the Yankees would come back to either tie the game or take the lead the very next inning. It was unbelievable.

Last night was such a perfect example of what I am talking about.

The Twins took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the sixth on a Joe Mauer single off of Pettitte, who was brilliant in this game. The very next inning, Rodriguez and Jorge Posada hit solo homeruns and just like that, the Yankees have a 2-1 lead.

I even wrote on my Twitter page that the Yankees have the Twins right where they want them being down 1-0. The tragedy of that, is that Carl Pavano was pitching the game of his life before those two homeruns.

That was the best I have ever seen Pavano look. For six innings he completely controled the game. There is no doubt in my mind he earned a multi-year deal with his performance last night.

Even down 2-1, the Twins had their chances in this game. In the bottom of the seventh, Yankees manager Joe Girardi took out Pettitte for reasons only know to himself and replaced him with Mr. Mediocre himself–Joba Chamberlain.

Chamberlain proceeds to give up a double to Delmon Young and the Twins had a runner on second with just one out. Chamberlain got Brendan Harris out on a hard grounder to third and then struckout Jose Morales to end the inning.

Do the Twins not have anyone else that can DH besides Morales? This guy stinks. Every time I see him play, he doesn’t seem even close to getting a hit.

In the bottom of the eighth is when the you know what really hit the fan for the Twins. Punto led off the inning with a double off of the suddenly shaky Phil Hughes.

The next batter Denard Span hit a chopper up the middle. Derek Jeter got to the ball and didn’t throw to first because he knew he couldn’t get Span. Punto, not picking up his third base coach thought the ball went up the middle and decided to head home.

Punto realized the ball didn’t go into the outfield halfway between home and third, Jeter threw the ball home to Posada, and Posada threw out Punto trying to go back to third.

I really thought at that point Ron Gardenhire was going to punch Punto when he got back to the dugout. He had that look on his face.

After that play, the game was essentially over.

I can’t believe how many bad baserunning plays the Twins made in this series. And this was the supposedly the more fundamentally sound team coming into this series. It really was inexcusable.

Now the Yankees will move on to play their arch nemesis in the playoffs, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. 

Game One of the ALCS will be on Friday.


American League Division Series Predictions

October 7, 2009

It took 163 games, but the American League Division Series matchups are finally set. Yesterday, I gave my NLDS predictions, so today I am going to give my ALDS predictions.

Something of note with the 2009 postseason. Three out of the four postseason matchups in 2009 are the same as they were in 2004. The only series that is different is the Colorado Rockies and Philadelphia Phillies series.

Will history repeat itself in the AL? Let’s take a look…

* means if necessary

Minnesota Twins vs. New York Yankees

Game 1: Wednesday, October 7 6:07 ET. Brian Duensing vs CC Sabathia

Game 2: Friday, October 9 6:07 ET. Nick Blackburn vs AJ Burnett

Game 3: Sunday, October 11 TBD. Andy Pettitte vs Carl Pavano

Game 4*: Monday, October 12 TBD. TBD vs Scott Baker

Game 5*: TBD

Prediction: Major League Baseball drew 73,418,528 fans this year. Let’s say overall, there are roughly 100 million baseball fans in this world.

Out of that 100 million, 94 million want the Twins to win and six million want the Yankees to win this series. People will always root for the David instead of the Goliath. Out of those six million Yankee fans, three million couldn’t name more than five players on the team, but are fans just to be “cool.”

Sabathia will lead the Yankees to the ALCS

Sabathia will lead the Yankees to the ALCS

Don’t tell me I am wrong about that. I have lived in New York my whole life and I have seen it first-hand. Unfortunately, those six million fans are going to have the last laugh in this series.

I love everything about the Twins. I love their passionate fans, the way they do business, and most importantly–the way they play the game. How could you not?

But I just don’t see it for them in this series. It has nothing to with the fact that the Twins played in a street fight last night against the Detroit Tigers.

And it has nothing to do with the fact that the Yankees were 7-0 versus the Twins in 2009. I put very little into a team’s success in the regular season versus another team.

I think in this series you will finally see them miss Justin Morneau. Morneau is a game changer and in the playoffs you need as many of them as possible.

If the Twins can somehow win this series, it will go down as one of the biggest upsets in postseason history. I would love to put the Twins in the next round, but it’s not going to happen.

Yankees in Four

Boston Red Sox vs. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Game 1: Thursday, October 8 9:37 ET. Jon Lester vs John Lackey

Game 2: Friday, October 9 9:37 ET. Josh Beckett vs Jered Weaver

Game 3: Sunday, October 11 TBD. Scott Kazmir vs Clay Buchholz

Game 4*: Monday, October 12 TBD. Joe Saunders vs TBD

Game 5*: TBD

Prediction: Every year me and my buddy Odie talk about the “feel” of the Red Sox season. 2003 and 2004 had good “feels” to them. As did 2007 and 2008.

2005 and 2006? Not so much. I knew the Red Sox faced impending doom in 2005 when they started Matt Clement in Game One of the ALDS against the best team in baseball–the Chicago White Sox.

So what about 2009? Around August 15th, the Red Sox had a feel of getting bounced in the first round. I didn’t like the way they were playing and something just seemed off about this year.

Bay will be meeting the Yankees in the ALCS

Bay will be meeting the Yankees in the ALCS

Now on October 7th, I feel very good about this team. Lester is pitching lights out and Victor Martinez has given the Red Sox a massive shot in the arm offensively. I’ll also bank on a healthy Beckett in the playoffs.

The Angels, are well, the Angels. They are a solid, fundamentally sound team that is going to try to use their speed game and to run all over the Red Sox. Seems like that is every year with the Angels though.

I have gone back and forth trying to predict a winner in this series. However, there is one scenario that keeps sticking in my mind.

Game Three, Fenway Park, Kazmir throws his usual 110 pitches in six innings, and the Angels are leading 3-2. A scenario that is very likely.

Does anyone on this planet think Jose Arredondo, Darren Oliver, Kevin Jepsen, and Brian Fuentes are going to get nine outs in Fenway without coughing up the lead? Not a chance.

For what ever reason, the Angels turn into pumpkins in October at Fenway.

Red Sox in Four


Live Blog: Detroit Tigers vs. Minnesota Twins

September 20, 2009

Despite not having one of the best players in baseball for the remainder of the year in Justin Morneau, the Minnesota Twins are making serious late-season push towards the playoffs.

Yesterday, the Twins cut the Detroit Tigers lead in the AL Central to just three games. With the AL Central race heating up, I thought I would do a live blog of today’s game between the two AL Central rivals.

Game: Detroit Tigers vs. Minnesota Twins

Date: 9/19/09

Starting Lineups:

Detroit Tigers

1. Curtis Granderson, CF

2. Placido Polanco, 2B

3. Carlos Guillen, LF

4. Miguel Cabrera, 1B

5. Aubrey Huff, DH

6. Magglio Ordonez, RF

7. Brandon Inge, 3B

8. Gerald Laird, C

9. Adam Everett, SS

Justin Verlander, P

Minnesota Twins

1. Denard Span, CF

2. Orlando Cabrera, SS

3. Joe Mauer, C

4. Jason Kubel, RF

5. Michael Cuddyer, 1B

6. Delmon Young, LF

7. Jose Morales, DH

8. Brian Buscher, 3B

9. Nick Punto, 2B

Carl Pavano, P

Top 1st

Dick Bramer and Rod Allen calling the game for Fox today. Glad to see Fox has their D team doing the game today. On the mound for the Twins is Carl Pavano who is 4-0 lifetime versus the Tigers.

Every New York Yankee fan just threw their remote at the TV.

First pitch of the game to Granderson is fouled off out of play. Granderson’s average is down to .250. He really needs to pick up here.

Maybe some other time as Granderson strikes out looking on three pitches.

Polanco rips a single up the middle. One on and nobody out for Guillen. Guillen has been hampered all year by injuries.

Jim Leyland, trying to create some offense put on a hit and run, but Guillen fouls the ball off. Polanco gets to second base anyway as Pavano throws a wild pitch.

Guillen goes down swinging as Pavano throws a nasty changeup to get Guillen. Two outs now.

On an 0-2 pitch, Cabrera bloops one to center. Polanco, running all the way with two outs — scores easily. Tigers take an early lead, 1-0.

Big two-out RBI for Cabrera.

Huff pops out to short to end the inning.

The Tigers push across a run and lead 1-0 heading to the bottom of the first.

Bottom 1st

Cy Young award candidate Justin Verlander on the mound for the Tigers. He gets Span to ground out weakly to first for the first out of the inning.

Verlander pacing himself with 96 mph fastballs to Cabrera. Verlander gets Cabrera to pop up to second for the second out.

Now comes up the 2009 AL MVP and one of the nicest athletes I have ever met, Joe Mauer.

My lord Mauer is awesome. Mauer just turns on a 96 mph fastball and launches one into the upper deck in rightfield. That ball was freakin’ crushed.

Game tied at one.

Kubel rips one, but right to Cabrera to end the inning.

But the Twins pull even, and after one in Minnesota, we are tied at one.

Top 2nd

I gotta tell ya, Ordonez’s bat looks slower than Gary Carter’s did at the end of his career. The Tigers are so pleased to be paying Ordonez $18 million next year. Worst contract in baseball next year, hands down.

Ordonez grounds out to third for the first out.

Ouch! Inge gets hit right on the elbow. That’s going to leave a mark in the morning.

Laird bloops one to right for a single. Inge stops at second. First and second with one out for Everett.

Everett hits a groundball in the hole between first and second, but Punto cuts the ball off and gets Everett at first. Inge and Laird move up a base.

Granderson, not wasting any time, swings at the first pitch and lines one deep to center, but Span tracks it down to make the catch. Granderson has had two AB’s and has seen four pitches. Way to work the count Curtis.

Bottom 2nd

Awesome crowd on hand at the Metrodome. It looks like there is a sellout.

Cuddyer flies out to deep center for the first out.

The ever-so-disappointing Young hits a seeing eye single up the middle.

If I were in the Twins dugout, I would say just sit on the fastball. Verlander’s curve is all over the place and he has yet to throw it for a strike.

Verlander can’t locate his fastball either as he walks Morales. First and second with one out for Buscher.

The Twins really could use a third baseman next year. Maybe Garrett Atkins makes sense for them. Verlander just overpowers Buscher and strikes him out on three pitches.

Wow, Punto is really battling Verlander. He has fouled off pitch after pitch.

Punto hits a grounder in the hole, but is robbed by a great defensive play by Cabrera. He dove to right, caught the ball, and then made a perfect throw to Everett to force out Morales.

After two complete, it’s the Tigers one and the Twins one

Top 3rd

Pavano is a first-pitch strike throwing machine. First-pitch strikes to nine of the 11 batters he has faced so far. Yankee fans are just fuming right now.

Polanco is such a professional hitter. Pavano throws an outside fastball and Polanco just goes with the pitch and serves it to rightfield for a single.

Guillen just looks like a shell of his former self. He pops up to third for the first out. My take on the Tigers so far is that they just look like an old team.

Cabrera rips one to rightfield for a single. Polanco stops at second.

Up is Huff who is sporting a nice beard. He kind of looks like a young Bert Blyleven. Ironically, Huff isn’t going to the Hall of Fame either.

Huff becomes the third Tigers batter this inning to go to the opposite field for a single. Huff’s single brings home Polanco and the Tigers lead 2-1. Cabrera stops at second.

It’s kind of weird. Pavano appears to be pitching well, but he has given up six hits in just 2.1 innings so far.

Ordonez really does stink. He taps one back to the mound and Pavano gets the force at second. That ball was hit so slowly that the Twins couldn’t turn two on the play.

Pavano escapes further damage as Inge hits a can-of-corn to center.

But the Tigers take a 2-1 heading into the bottom of the third.

Bottom 3rd

Fox just showed Ernie Harwell’s speech from Wednesday night. What a class act he is. He looks healthier at 91 than I do at 32.

Span starts off the inning with a single to left.

On an 0-1 count, Span tries to steal second and is gunned down by Laird. Laird threw a pea to second base. Span was out by a good foot.

Verlander throws his best offspead pitch of the day and strikes out Cabrera on a wicked changeup. Two outs.

Wow, Verlander’s curve isn’t working today, but his changeup is. He strikes out Mauer on a sweet changeup down and away.

After three, it’s still 2-1 Tigers

Top 4th

Just saw a commercial for Bud Light Golden Wheat. I bet that tastes awful. If regular Bud Light runs right through you, I can only imagine what Golden Wheat will do.

Laird flies out to shallow right for the first out.

Kick save and a beauty by Pavano. Everett hits one up the middle, the ball kicks off Pavano’s cleat to third, and Buscher gets Everett at first. Pavano wins that battle of former over-hyped Red Sox prospects.

Granderson singles to left. It seems the Tigers are taking an opposite field approach to hitting Pavano.

With Granderson running, Polanco just flicks his bat on a low and outside pitch and bloops one to right for a single. Granderson continues running and gets to third.

Another opposite field hit for the Tigers. The Tigers have eight hits and all of them are either up the middle or to the opposite field.

Guillen strikes out looking to end the inning. Not sure what Guillen was looking at or for. That pitch was right down the middle.

Bottom 4th

Fox just showed a view of the new Target Field. Can’t wait till Opening Day 2010 when it’s 25 degrees at game time.

Kubel grounds out to second for the first out.

Cuddyer swings at the first pitch and flies out to center for the second out.

Verlander pumps one up to 97 mph and strikes out Young. Hey look at that. Our first one-two-three inning of the day.

Top 5th

I have no idea what just happened. Cabrera hits a little flare to rightfield and Punto actually out-ran the ball, tried to turn around to catch it, and dropped the ball.

It goes down as a hit and another opposite field hit for the Tigers.

Huff chops one to short, but the ball is hit to slowly to turn two. Cabrera is forced at second for the first out.

Ordonez hits one sharply through the hole between short and third for a single. Huff stops at second. That is now 10 hits for the Tigers — all singles.

Inge bloops one down the rightfield line for a single. Good job by Kubel of trapping that ball. If that got by him, it might have gone for a triple.

Bases loaded for Laird. Pavano will try to get a double play ball from the slow footed Tigers’ catcher.

And right on cue, Laird hits into a tailor made six-four-three double play.

Pavano dances out of trouble again. It’s still 2-1 Tigers going into the bottom of the fifth.

Bottom 5th

Jose Morales leading it off for the Tigers. Morales loops one to left for a single.

Fox just showed Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants highlights. Brad Penny is getting rocked in LA. Not surprised. It was bound to happen.

Buscher has seen six pitches and six strikes. Again, he was overmatched and struck out. One out.

Punto hits a lazy fly ball to center for the second out.

Span swings at the first pitch and flies out to rightcenter for the third out. Verlander without his best stuff is shutting down the Twins.

2-1 Tigers after five.

Top 6th

Everett swings at the first pitch and pops it up to short.

Granderson hits one sharply to second, but Punto is all over it and gets Granderson at first. Two outs.

Let’s see if Pavano can get his first one-two-three inning. He does. Polanco grounds to third to end the inning.

If the Tigers lose this game they will be really kicking themselves in the but. They have had tons of chances to blow this game open.

Bottom 6th

I love Orlando Cabrera. I wish the Red Sox resigned him. He is just a winning player.

Cabrera, right on cue, singles to right.

Every time Mauer comes to the plate, there is an electricity in the air. That is how good he is right now. Every time he is up, you expect something to happen.

Good battle here between Mauer and Verlander. 3-2 count and Mauer has fouled off a couple of 97 mph fastballs from Verlander.

Another nice play by Miguel Cabrera. Mauer hit one into the hole, but Cabrera makes another diving stop. Since Orlando Cabrera was running, Cabrera just stepped on first for the out.

Great pitching by Verlander. Knowing Kubel is looking for a fastball, Verlander pulls the string and gets Kubel out in front and Kubel grounds weakly up the middle. Everett gets Kubel at first for the second out.

Cuddyer hits a two-hopper to second for the third out. The Twins strand a runner at third. This is where not having Morneau in the lineup kills the Twins

Top 7th

I can’t believe this John Mellencamp “This is our country” commercial is still playing. It’s sooooo 2007.

Pavano still in there for the Twins. Despite giving up what seems like 20 singles, he has pitched well today.

Guillen flies to Span for the first out of the inning.

Young makes a nice diving catch to rob Cabrera of a hit. Young has the fatest face with a body that doesn’t match. He is like the anti-Kirby Puckett.

Pavano gets Huff looking for strike three. That was a sweet slider that got the inside corner. So after not having a one-two-three inning through the first five — Pavano has retired six in a row.

Pavano’s day is probably done. Who do you think Yankees fans hate more? Pavano or Jaret Wright?

Bottom 7th

Holy shnikies! What a play by Inge. He extends to rob Young of a double, but Young beats Inge’s throw to first. Still, what a great play by Inge. That ball was ticketed for at least a double.

Carlos Gomez comes on to pinch run for Young. Speaking of Gomez, how bad has that Johan Santana trade been for the Twins?

Look for Gomez to steal at some point.

Morales flies out to left for the first out.

I have to tell you. I have been beyond impressed with Laird in this game. Gomez tried to steal second and Laird gunned him down. Laird has such a quick release.

Buscher grounds to second to end the inning. On a positive note, Buscher actually made contact against Verlander.

Top 8th

Jesse Crain comes in to replace Pavano. A solid effort from Pavano. Seven innings and only two runs. I think the Twins will take that every time.

Crain gets Ordonez and his beyond slow swing to ground to first for the first out.

Inge flies to Kubel in right for the second out. Crain throwing heat. He has been in the upper-90’s all inning.

Easy inning for Crain as Laird grounds out to second.

Bottom 8th

Verlander still on the mound for the Tigers. He has thrown 110 pitches so far. My guess is Leyland let’s him throw 160 pitches today if it means a Tigers win.

Verlander still has it as he blows away Punto for the first out.

Span gets the Twins going with a single down the leftfield line. Nice play by Don Kelly, who replaced Guillen in left to cut the ball off and hold Span to a single.

I am going to admit, I have no idea who Don Kelly is.

3-2 count now to Cabrera. Do you send Span? I would.

If I didn’t know who Kelly was before, I do know. Cabrera hits a routine flyball to left, but Kelly last the ball in the roof. The ball drops and Span ends up at third and Cabrera ends up with a double.

Leyland is going to ring this kid’s neck. Poor sap.

Mauer is being intentionally walked to load the bases for Kubel.

Big spot her for Kubel. Bases loaded with one out. This is Verlander’s game. He is pumping it up to 98 on the gun.

Kubel bloops one to left for a single and what great baserunning by Cabrera. He got an outstanding jump and scored behind Span to give the Twins a 3-2 lead.

And with that hit, Verlander exits the game.

Brandon Lyon comes on to replace Verlander. I don’t care what his numbers are — he stinks.

BOOM!!! Who needs Morneau? Cuddyer just crushes one to leftcenter field. 6-2 Twins. I can’t believe there are people out there who think Lyon is good.

Gomez flies to rightcenter and Clete Thomas, who replaced Ordonez for defense makes a nice running catch for the second out.

This is the problem if the Tigers even make the playoffs. Even if Verlander gives you seven, solid innings, who is going to pitch the eighth? Lyon is going to pitch the eigth in Yankee Stadium? No thank you.

Lyon gets Morales swinging to end the inning. But the damage was done.

The Twins score five big runs and take a 6-2 lead into the ninth inning.

Bottom 9th

Jose Mijares on to close out the game for the Twins. Mijares looks like a left-handed Juan Berenguer.

Mijares makes quick work of Everett, as Everett flies out to Span for the first out.

Boy, someone needs to talke to Granderson. His team is down by four runs and he goes up there swinging at the first pitch. He pops up to second for the second out.

Polanco keeps the Tigers alive as he doubles to leftcenter field.

With Ryan Raburn announced as the pinch-hitter for Don Kelly, Ron Gardenhire is going to make an unneccessary pitching change. He will bring in Matt Guerrier to face Raburn.

Can Mijares not get out Raburn? I mean come on.

Well, what I think doesn’t matter as Raburn grounds back to the mound to end the game.

Twins win 6-2 and now they are just two games back of the Tigers. The Twins won this three-game series and they will go for the sweep tomorrow.


Fantasy Week In Review, August 3-9…

August 10, 2009

We are getting down to the “nitty gritty” as the late, great Gorilla Monsoon used to say. We are right in the middle of the dog days of August and there is only about a month and a half left in baseball’s regular season and fantasy season.

Even if you feel you might be out of it, there is still some time to make some moves and make one last push. As always, here were the fantasy studs, the players who were a little off last week and some potential pickups from the week of August 3 -9…

Reynolds has been mashing lately

Reynolds has been mashing lately

Fantasy Studs

Mark Reynolds: .448/6/10. Is anyone realizing the year Reynolds is having? If the Arizona Diamondbacks weren’t so terrible, he would be getting MVP consideration.

Elijah Dukes: .348/1/11. Hopefully Dukes has gotten it together. It would be a big boost to the Washington Nationals if he did.

Adam Dunn: .375/4/9/.483. If the Nationals were smart, they would trade Dunn in the offseason and get some solid value for him. Are you listening Dayton Moore?

Billy Butler: .538/2/10. It has taken Butler longer to develop than the Kansas City Royals had hoped, but he has taken massive steps forward this season.

Carl Pavano: 2-0 with a 0.60 ERA and 10 K’s in 15 IP. Gets traded from the Cleveland Indians to the Minnesota Twins and then goes out and throws a gem for the Twins on Sat. Every Yankee fan just choked on their coffee.

Cliff Lee: 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA and 13 K’s in 14 IP. I think every pitcher should pitch in the NL just once so they can see how much of a difference it is.

Clayton Richard: 2-0 with a 2.63 ERA and eight K’s in 13.2 IP. I had Richard as a potential pickup last week and he has done nothing to disappoint since. This guy will be a good pitcher in San Diego.

Mike MacDougal: Four Saves with a 0.00 ERA and three K’s in Four IP. That’s three fantasy studs for the Washington Nationals last week for those of you scoring at home.

Reasons for Concern

David Ortiz: .056/0/0. Ortiz has one hit in his last 18 AB’s. Ortiz had a brief spurt in June where he batted .320 with a .409 OBP, but other than that he has been terrible this year.

With his age (33) and with the steroid allegations weighing on his mind, you have to wonder if Ortiz will have anything left for the last month and a half of the season.

BJ Upton/Justin Upton. It was a bad week for the brothers’ Upton last week. First, Justin Upton landed on the 15-day DL with a right oblique strain and then older brother BJ was dropped to ninth in the order. I am not worried about Justin so much as I am with BJ.

BJ Upton called the move to ninth a “kick in the face.” Really BJ? Last time I checked you were batting .239 with a .314 OBP. Let me know what you have done this year to deserve to stay in the leadoff spot.

Unless he goes off on a tear, I am going to consider this a lost season for Bossman Junior. If you have BJ Upton in a Keeper League format, hold on to him as he could be in line for a huge bounce back season next year.

Aaron Cook: Cook will miss his start next start on Tuesday because of what he is calling turf toe. How on earth does a pitcher get turf toe?

He is scheduled to start on Saturday, but keep an eye on this. Remember, turf toe ended Dion Sanders’ career.

Holland threw a CGSO yesterday

Holland threw a CGSO yesterday

Potential Pickups

Derek Holland: I said from day-one that Holland reminds me of Steve Avery. The good Steve Avery on the Atlanta Braves, not the bad one on the Boston Red Sox.

Yesterday, Holland tossed the very rare complete game shutout against a tough Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim lineup. If you are in a Keeper League, he is definitely worth picking up.

I think he will be a good one.

Softball Update

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, The Ghost of Moonlight Graham was going to donate $50 to the V Foundation for Cancer Research for every homerun hit during the fifth annual Ocean Beach Softball Tournament was taking place in Ocean Beach, NY.

With the tourament concluding yesterday, I am proud to say that we raised $2,100 for cancer research. There were 42 HR’s hit in the tournament including six by tournament MVP Eric Samulski (1B/OF Trinity University, 2003-2007) and Matt Manewal (P Yale University, 1996-2000).

I chipped in with three big flies (all grand slams by the way) in five games.

Thanks to everyone who played this year and we are already looking forward to next year’s tournament and raising even more money for the V Foundation.


Predicting The Comeback Players Of The Year

April 1, 2009

The Comeback Player of the Year Award is given to the player in the AL & NL who have “re-emerged” as a player during a single season. Past winners include Jason Giambi (o5, Yankees), Nomar Garciaparra (06, Dodgers) and Cliff Lee (08, Indians). Speaking of “re-emerging,” the MLB Comeback Player of the Year Award is presented by Viagra. Good times. VIVA, VIVA VIIIIIAGRAAAAAA!!! I feel that is the only commercial you see these days.

Here are the candidates and my picks for the Comeback Player of the Year…


Candidates – Chris Carpenter, Todd Helton, Aaron Harang, Nick Johnson, Mike Hampton & Jeff Francouer

Helton has been killing it

Helton has been killing it

Comeback Player of the Year – Todd Helton

WHY – This will be a race all year between Helton and Carpenter but I think the chances of Helton staying healthy are greater than Carpenters. Helton is hitting the ball all over the park this spring to the tune of a .515/4/14 in just 33 ab’s. Back injuries usually mean a player will lose his ability to hit the long ball so look for Helton to mirror Mattingly at the end his career. Which means .280-.290 with 10 hr’s and somewhere in the neighborhood of 70-80 rbi.


Candidates – John Smoltz, Brad Penny, Travis Hafner, Victor Martinez, Chris Ray, Carl Pavano, Jorge Posada & Kelvim Escobar

Comeback Player of the Year – John Smoltz

WHY – While the National League will be a 2 horse race between Helton and Carpenter, the American League has about 8-10 legitimate candidates for this award. In the end I think Smoltz will win because

1. He will have a significant impact on the pennant race when he comes back in June.

2. The fact that he is trying to comeback after surgery at the age of 42 is amazing.

3. He is “John Smoltz.” He will always get the vote over someone else.

A dark horse candidate is Escobar. After missing all of last season, he has looked really good this spring. It looks like has time table for joining the Angels has been moved up from June to May. He could have a major impact on the injury riddled Angels staff if healthy.


Pavano, Giambi & Bradley sign….

January 7, 2009

The baseball Hot Stove has been really heating up. Since we had 3 notable free agent signings in the last 24 hours, I thought I would cover all 3 in 1 post.

First, the poster boy for bad free agent contracts, Carl Pavano signed a 1 year $1.5MM contract with the Cleveland Indians. Pavano can also potentially earn $5.3MM in incentives. This is a low risk, high reward signing by the Indians and Pavano should be the Tribe’s #3 starter behind Cliff Lee and Fausto Carmona.

To be honest, I was surprised to see Pavano sign with the Indians. I had him returning to the Marlins or maybe signing with the Cardinals or Padres.  Does anyone else get the feeling Pavano will stay healthy and win 10-15 games this year? Remember, last time Pavano was pitching for a contract he went 18-8.

Second, Jason Giambi makes his return to the bay area as he signs a 1 year $4.5MM deal with the Oakland A’s with a$5.5MM  club option in 2010. Talk about taking a pay cut. Last year Giambi made $23.4MM with the Yankees.

I really like this move for the A’s. Giambi will return to the A’s (I don’t think he ever wanted to leave) as their primary DH and a .240/30/90/.390 season is realistic.  The A’s finished last in runs scored in 2008 and with the trade for Matt Holliday and the signing of Jason Giambi, the A’s are on there way to not repeating this dubious feat in 2009

Last but not least, the Chicago Cubs signed OF/DH Milton Bradley to a 3 year $30MM deal. While I liked the other 2 signings, I am baffled by this signing. Yes, I understand the Cubs needed a LH bat and yes, I understand the Cubs needed a RF but to commit 3 years to a guy who only played 19 games in RF last year and only has played over 140 games just once in his career (last year) is a head scratcher for me.

Wouldn’t the Cubs have been better off signing Bobby Abreu? Abreu has griven in over 100 runs 7 years in a row, has played over 150 games 12 years in a row and has a lifetime obp of .405. With corner OF salaries falling faster than GM’s stock, I am not sure why the Cubs would overpay for Bradley when for perhaps the same price they could have gotten a more consistant player in Abreu.