Posts Tagged ‘Dustin Pedroia’

Starting Nine: American League East

January 11, 2010

I was rummaging through some articles last week and I came across a piece by Morgan Campbell of the Toronto Star. He gave an early look at what the Toronto Blue Jays’ starting lineup might look like in 2010.

That piece got me thinking. With all the moves that happen during the free agency period it’s hard for a casual fan to keep up with their favorite team. Why not take an early look at each lineup in baseball as presently constructed?

So what I will do give each team’s starting lineup by division for the next six days. Obviously this will change as the offseason progresses, so I will do an update to these posts as the season approaches.

We will start in the American League and with the best division in baseball, the American League East.

New York Yankees

1. Derek Jeter, SS

2. Nick Johnson, DH

3. Mark Teixeira, 1B

4. Alex Rodriguez, 3B

5. Jorge Posada, C

6. Robinson Cano, 2B

7. Curtis Granderson, CF

8. Nick Swisher, RF

9. Brett Gardner, LF

Quick Take – Best and deepest lineup in baseball. Could made even better if Johnny Damon accepts a one-year deal to play left. Cano and Posada could flip-flop between fifth and sixth in the order.

Boston Red Sox

1. Jacoby Ellsbury, LF

2. Dustin Pedroia, 2B

3. Victor Martinez, C

4. Kevin Youkilis, 1B

5. David Ortiz, DH

6. Adrian Beltre, 3B

7. Mike Cameron, CF

8. J.D. Drew, RF

9. Marco Scutaro, SS

Quick Take – Not a classic Red Sox lineup. Not a lot of high OBP guys and nobody jumps out and scares you. Terry Francona is loyal to Ortiz, so he bats fifth ahead of Beltre in the lineup.

Tampa Bay Rays

1. B.J. Upton, CF

2. Carl Crawford, LF

3. Evan Longoria, 3B

4. Ben Zobrist, 2B

5. Carlos Pena, 1B

6. Pat Burrell, DH

7. Kelly Shoppach, C

8. Gabe Kapler, RF

9. Jason Bartlett, SS

Quick Take – This lineup will go from very good to great if Upton and Burrell come back strong in 2010. Kapler will find himself in a platoon situation with Matt Joyce to start the season.

Baltimore Orioles

1. Brian Roberts, 2B

2. Nick Markakis, RF

3. Adam Jones, CF

4. Luke Scott, DH

5. Nolan Reimold, LF

6. Matt Wieters, C

7. Ty Wigginton, 1B

8. Garrett Atkins, 3B

9. Cesar Izturis, SS

Quick Take – First four in this lineup is very good, but after that, this lineup gets very weak. Orioles are still looking for a first baseman, so don’t expect Wigginton to be a starter for too much longer.

Toronto Blue Jays

1. Jose Bautista, RF

2. Lyle Overbay, 1B

3. Aaron Hill, 2B

4. Adam Lind, DH

5. Vernon Wells, CF

6. Edwin Encarnacion, 3B

7. Travis Snider, LF

8. Alex Gonzalez, SS

9. John Buck, C

Quick Take – My lineup is a little different than Campbell’s as I have Overbay hitting in the two-hole. This lineup has the potential to be good, but Gonzalez and Buck represent too many automatic outs to be really dynamic.

Tomorrow, I will cover the American League Central.

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

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Dustin Pedroia Moving To Shortstop?

December 1, 2009

Desperate times call for desperate measures.

According to ESPN’s Peter Gammons, the Boston Red Sox have asked 2B Dustin Pedroia if he would be willing to move over to shortstop.

They’ve asked me if I think I could play shortstop,” says Pedroia. “They’ve put it out there and I’ve told them I’m all for it. I can do it. I can’t wait for Tito [Terry Francona] to call me and ask, ‘Can you do it?’ I can do it. I really want to do it.”

Why don’t the Red Sox just hold open tryouts for shortstops at this point?

You know how Texas A&M has the tradition of the “12th Man Kickoff Team” where members of the student body get to try out for the football team? The Red Sox should do that to fill their shortstop need in 2010.

Pedroia could be fielding balls at short in 2010

The Red Sox should just go to Boston College, Harvard, Providence, and UMass to find a shortstop in 2010.

Now if anyone can make the transition from second to short it could be Pedroia. After all, he was an All American shortstop at Arizona State University.

And like Gammons said, moving Pedroia to short would allow the Red Sox to pursue one of the top-tier second baseman on the market this winter. There are better options at second base via trade or free agency, than there are shortstops.

Orlando Hudson, Dan Uggla, Brandon Phillips, and even Mark DeRosa are all second baseman, who can be had this winter. If Pedroia does move to second, out of the group above, Brandon Phillips might make the most sense.

Uggla can’t play defense, DeRosa is more of a third baseman at this point in his career, and Hudson seemingly gets hurt every year. Phillips is a great defense player and is a player that could thrive in the deep Red Sox lineup.

I wrote about the pros and cons of trading for Phillips last month.

The more I think about, the more I think this has a very good chance of happening. Pedroia is the ultimate team player and will do what ever it takes to win. If that means moving to second, then so be it.

“When the idea of moving back to shortstop was floated to me, I welcomed it,” says Pedroia. “I’m excited. Tell Derek (Jeter) to enjoy the gold glove and silver slugger awards while he can. Obviously, I’m not serious about the fun I have with Derek, but I’m never stopping believing in the goal. I believe I can play shortstop and help get the Red Sox back where they belong.”

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

Boston’s Bullpen Implodes, Angels Sweep Red Sox

October 12, 2009

The Boston Red Sox had not one, not two, but three opportunities with two strikes and two outs in the bottom of the ninth with a two run lead to close out the game and couldn’t get the job done.

The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim stunned Red Sox Nation by scoring three runs with two outs off closer Jonathan Papelbon to win 7-6 and sweep their best-of-five ALDS 3-0.

For 162 games in the regular season, Red Sox manager Terry  “>Francona went to his bullpen and for 162 games, they delivered. In game 165 however, Francona’s reliable bullpen imploded.

The Red Sox went into the eighth inning with a 5-2 lead thanks to some clutch hitting from Dustin Pedroia (two-run double in the third) and JD Drew (two-run HR in the fourth and some solid relief work from Daniel Bard (two innings, no hits, no runs, and two K’s).

It was all set up perfectly for the Red Sox. They would go to Billy Wagner in the eighth and then to Papelbon in the ninth. Wagner and Papelbon would get the final six outs and the Red Sox would live to see another day.

There was no celebrating for Papelbon today

There was no celebrating for Papelbon today

Well, things didn’t work out that way.

Wagner and his 9.28 lifetime postseason ERA entered the game in the eighth. I remember taking my dad to Game One of the 2006 NLDS between the New York Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers.

Billy Wagner came into that game to close out the Dodgers in ninth with a two-run lead. What I remember most about when Wagner came into the game was the uneasyness of the Shea Stadium crowd when he came out of the rightfield bullpen.

I felt the same uneasyness when Wagner came into the game today against the Angels. It’s never easy in the postseason with him. It always seems there are runners on base when he pitches.

Which is odd for a guy who used to throw 99 mph and now still throws 95.

Wagner allowed a double to Bobby Abreu and walked Vladimir Guerrero. To be fair to Wagner, the Abreu double was not really a double. Kevin Youkilis tried to make a do or die play along the first base line and the ball hit off his glove and went into the Sox dugout for ground-rule double.

Wagner left the game with two outs in the eighth with runners on second and third. Francona called on Papelbon to try to get four outs.  

Papelbon came in and on his first pitch gave up a two-run single to Juan Rivera to make the score 5-4. Reggie Willits came on to pinch-run for Rivera and got promptly picked off first.

I have no idea why Mike Scioscia has a man crush on Willits. Everytime I see this guy play he never does anything right. I’ll put him in the Brett Gardner and Carlos Gomez category until I see otherwise.

In the bottom of the eighth, the Red Sox even got an insurance run to make it 6-4 on a Mike Lowell single that scored pinch runner Joey Gathright. At that point, you definitely thought there would be a Game Four tomorrow night at Fenway.

In the ninth, Papelbon got the first two outs rather easily. He got Maicer Izturis to foul out to Victor Martinez and then got Gary Matthews Jr. flew out to Jacoby Ellsbury.

Then the nightmare began.

Papelbon had Erick Aybar 0-2 and with Martinez setting up for a high and inside waste pitch, Papelbon decided to throw a fastball right down the middle. Aybar promptly singled up the middle.

Papelbon had a 3-2 count on Chone Figgins and walked Figgins. That was the killer AB in this inning for the Red Sox. I am sorry, but there is no way on this earth you can walk Figgins in that spot.

He was o-for-600 in the series, can’t hit a HR, and he had looked clueless his last two AB’s. Papelbon can’t walk a guy like that.

Up came Abreu and you just knew Abreu was going to get a hit. I just want to say something about Abreu. He has proved me wrong.

I watched him for the last couple of years with the New York Yankees and what I saw was a guy who produced “empty stats.” He would always have great numbers, but I never thought he was a winning ball player.

However, with the Angels, he has become the leader of the team and their MVP. Just like with Izturis and Figgins, Papelbon had two strikes on Abreu. And just like with the two batters before, Papelbon couldn’t put away Abreu.

Abreu doubled off the monster and now the game was 6-5 Red Sox. Francona decided to intentionally walk Torii Hunter to get to Guerrero.

No complaints there. I would have done the same thing. Hunter is 3-for-5 with a HR lifetime off of Papelbon and Guerrero is a shell of his former self.

The move backfired. On the first pitch, Guerrero ripped a single to center and the Angels took a 7-6 lead.

I could have woken up in the morning with my upper lip stapled to my pillow and I would have been less shocked than I was when I watched what unfolded in the ninth.

Even when the Angels had the bases loaded, I still thought the Red Sox would get out of the inning. After all, if you have watched Papelbon all season, this was par for the course.

I can’t tell you how many times he loaded the bases during the regular season, only to see him get out of the jam. Today, it was not meant to be.

Listen, it was bound to happen with Papelbon. He can into this game with 26 consecutive scoreless innings in the postseason. He was bound to blow a save sooner or later.

Even Mariano Rivera has blown his fair share of saves in the postseason.

The Red Sox went quietly in the ninth and the Angels finally beat their arch nemesis in the playoffs. Going into this series, everyone talked about how the Red Sox had the advantage in the bullpen.

Unfortunately for the Red Sox, today their bullpen became their weakness.

Looking Back On Some Baseball Bets

October 5, 2009

Before the regular season started, I gave some predictions on some prop bets for the baseball season. Now that the regular season is almost over, I thought it would be a good time today to look back at some of those predictions I made.

All lines were curtesy of Bodoglife.com

Player Bets

Aubrey Huff. Over/Under 23 1/2 Hr’s – I like the Over Huff had 15 Hr’s

Dustin Pedroia. Over/Under 40 1/2 Doubles – I like the Over Pedroia had 48 doubles

Josh Beckett. Over/Under 14 1/2 Wins – I like the Over* Beckett won 17 games

Joba Chamberlain. Over/Under 13 1/2 Wins – I like the Under Chamberlain won 9 games

Derek Jeter. Over/Under .303 average – I like the Over Jeter hit .334

Evan Longoria. Over/Under 107 1/2 RBI – I like the Over Longoria had 113 RBI

BJ Ryan. Over/Under 34 1/2 Saves – I like the Under* Ryan had two saves

Zack Greinke. Over/Under 13 1/2 Wins – I like the Over Greinke had 16 wins

Miguel Cabrera. Over/Under 34 1/2 Hr’s – I like the Over Cabrera has 33 Hr’s

Gary Sheffield. Over/Under 18 1/2 Hr’s – I like the Under Sheffield had 10 Hr’s

Bobby Abreu. Over/Under 99 1/2 RBI – I like the Under Abreu had 103 RBI

Brian Fuentes. Over/Under 32 1/2 Saves – I like the Under Fuentes had 48 saves

Ken Griffey Jr. Over/Under 18 1/2 Hr’s – I like the Under Griffey Jr. had 19 Hr’s

Brett Myers. Over/Under 11 1/2 Wins – I like the Over Myers had four wins

Albert Pujols. Over/Under 117 1/2 RBI – I like the Over Pujols had 135 RBI

Adrian Gonzalez. Over/Under 29 1/2 Hr’s – I like the Over Gonzalez had 40 Hr’s

Randy Johnson. Over/Under 10 1/2 Wins – I like the Under Johnson had eight wins

Team Bets

Tigers. Over/Under 81 1/2 Wins – I like the Under* Tigers will have 86 0r 87 wins

Twins. Over/Under 83 1/2 Wins. I like the Over Twins will have 86 or 87 wins

Braves. Over/Under 84 1/2 Wins. I like the Over Braves won 86

Dodgers. Over/Under 84 1/2 Wins. I like the Over Dodgers won 95

Mets. Over/Under 89 1/2 Wins. I like the Under Mets won 70

Cardinals. Over/Under 82 1/2 Wins. I like the Over* Cards won 91

Giants. Over/Under 80 1/2 Wins. I like the Under Giants won 88

Royals. Over/Under 75 1/2 Wins. I like the Over Royals won 65

* indicates Best Bet

Not bad. I went three out of four on my “best bets.” I was really surprised the Tigers had the year they did. I definitely didn’t see it coming.

Overall, I went 16 for 25. That’s 64 percent for those of you scoring at home. If Cabrera can hit two Hr’s on Tuesday night, I can get up to 68 percent.

I think if you went to Las Vegas and won 64 percent of the time you would take it.

I will revisit the rest of my predictions after the season ends.

Why The Draft Matters For The Boston Red Sox…

June 12, 2009

When Theo Epstein was named GM of the Boston Red Sox on November 25th, 2002, his goal was to turn the Red Sox into an “Organizational Machine.” He wanted to turn the Red Sox into an organization that competes for a championship every year, while also developing a farm system that feeds players into the major leagues. Not an easy task.

However, in the last seven years the Red Sox have won two World Series and just as important, have developed a farm system that has been one of the best in baseball over that time period.

Many deem the major league baseball draft not as important as the NBA, NFL or even the NHL because there are so many rounds, and the majority of the players drafted don’t even make it to the majors. Not Theo Epstein. For Epstein and his staff, it all starts with the draft.

Epstein loves the draft

Epstein loves the draft

Take a look at some the players Epstein has drafted from 2002-2006…

2002: Jon Lester, Brandon Moss

2003: Jonathon Papelbon, David Murphy

2004: Dustin Pedroia

2005: Clay Buchholz, Craig Hansen, Michael Bowden, Jed Lowrie, Jacoby Ellsbury

2006: Daniel Bard, Justin Masterson, Lars Anderson, Matt LaPorta (LaPorta was drafted by the Red Sox but didn’t sign)

That my friends, is one heck of a track record when it comes to the draft. It looks like Epstein has used the draft as his own personal playground. This list doesn’t even include players that the Red Sox have developed in their farm system over the last seven years. Players like Hanley Ramirez and Kevin Youkilis.

Even players Craig Hansen and Brandon Moss, who were some of the Red Sox lesser prospects, were used as trade bait (Both were traded for Jason Bay last year).

How did Theo and company do in the 2009 draft? One of the foremost authorities, Keith Law held a live chat on Wednesday. Henry from Columbus asked Law this question:

“Since you don’t do grades, care to give a team you thought has had the best draft so far? Just one team…”

Here is Law’s response:

Red Sox

The Red Sox keep feeding the machine. That’s why the draft matters to Theo Epstein and the Boston Red Sox.

You can check out Keith Law’s live chat here.

On a side note, we as baseball fans know there is nothing better than sitting down to watch a baseball game with a cold beer and some great food. There are two really good cooking sites that I go to if I want to make something quick for the game.

Check out Hartley Confections and The Gourmet Dude. Both offer great recipes that are simple and easy to make for any baseball fan. Enjoy.

2009, The Year Of The Second Basemen…

May 14, 2009

Normally, when I am drafting my fantasy team I like to take a top 2nd baseman early because there are so few good ones out there. That strategy has been blown out of the water this year because it is looking like 2009 will be the year of the 2nd baseman. Has anyone else noticed the depth of the 2nd base position this year? There are 15 to 16 2nd baseman right now who are having legit fantasy seasons and that doesn’t even include 4 other 2nd baseman who have the potential to be in the top 10 at the position.

Look at these fantasy numbers put up by 2nd baseman so far in 2009….

Aaron Hill – .357/9/30

Orlando Hudson – .343/3/20/.424 and 4 sb’s

Felipe Lopez – .328/4/9/.390 and 4 sb’s

Alberto Callaspo – .327/2/12

Ian Kinsler – .326/9/28 with 8 sb’s

Dustin Pedroia – .320/1/12 with 4 sb’s

Luis Castillo – .318/0/11/.392

Asdrubal Cabrera – .318/1/17 with 6 sb’s

Freddy Sanchez – .317/3/11

Robinson Cano – .313/6/18

Chase Utley – .294/10/23/.419

Brian Roberts – .281/4/13 with 4 sb’s

Akinori Iwamura – .277/0/12 with 7 sb’s

Rickie Weeks – .274/8/22

Brandon Phillips – .265/6/22 with 4 sb’s

Those are some pretty impressive stats through the 1st month and a half of the season. How about the performance of Aaron Hill so far? He has carried the Blue Jays and it looks like the side effects of the concussion he suffered last year have seized. Do I think he can keep up this pace? Probably not. I mean, he is on pace for Ruthian 50 Hr’s and about 163 RBI. I can see the average being there at the end but, it’s more likely Hill will end up with 25 HR’s and 80-85 RBI.

That list doesn’t even include 4 guys who are off to slow starts and have the ability to be a top 2nd baseman…

Howie Kendrick – .241/4/19

Kelly Johnson – .235/3/11

Dan Uggla – .193/4/20/.310

Jose Lopez – .248/3/19

Poor Dan Uggla, he really hasn’t been the same since that disastrous All-Star Game performance last year at Yankee Stadium. He hit .226 in the 2nd half last year and is off to a .193 start this year. I wonder if that game did permanent damage to Uggla mentally? It would be a shame if it did.

As you can see, you should have no excuse finding a quality 2nd baseman this year for your fantasy team.

Also, you may have have noticed a new Link Category to the right called MLB Memorabilia. The folks over at Bigflysports.com, who are fans of The Ghost of Moonlight Graham are happy to offer a 10% discount to all my readers.

Simply click on the link to Big Fly Sports and enter the Promo Code:  ICGHOSTS

Red Sox vs Angels…

April 12, 2009

With the rain coming down in the Big Apple and me stuck inside the apartment, I thought it would be a good time to do another live game blog. Today’s game blog will cover the Red Sox vs Angels.

Game – Red Sox vs Angels

Date – 4/11/09

Starting Lineups

Red Sox

1. Ellsbury, CF

2. Pedroia, 2B

3. Ortiz, DH

4. Youkilis, 1B

5. Baldelli, RF

6. Bay, LF

7. Lowell, 3B

8. Lowrie, SS

9. Varitek, C

Starting Pitcher – Penny

Angels

1. Figgins, 3B

2. Kendrick, 2B

3. Abreu, RF

4. Vlad, DH

5. Hunter, CF

6. Morales, 1B

7. Rivera, LF

8. Napoli, C

9. Aybar, SS

Starting Pitcher – Saunders

Top 1st

First pitch of the game on a gorgeous day in Anaheim, ball 1. The Sox are going with their new road jerseys. They look like the road jerseys from 86 except there is a Red Sox sock logo patch on the sleeve and the player’s names are on the back.

Ellsbury ropes a 3-2 fastball for a single to CF. With the Sox offense struggling they need Ellsbury to get going. On the first pitch to Pedroia, Ellsbury steals second.

Saunders has fallen behind 2-0 to both Ellsbury and Pedroia. Never good when you throw 85 mph. Pedroia, on a 3-1 pitch flies weakly to Abreu in RF. Not a very good AB to be honest. Need to get that runner over to 3rd.

Ellsbury gets picked off second base. I have no idea what Ellsbury was thinking? You have a lefty batter at the plate and you try to steal 3rd?

So after the Sox have a runner on 2nd with nobody out, they fail to push a run across as Ortiz grounds out to 1st. Inning over.

0-0 with the Angels coming to the plate.

Bottom 1st

Penny making his Red Sox debut takes the mound. I think the Sox will be happy if they can get 5 out of Penny today. Good start to his Red Sox career as he walks Figgins on 5 pitches.

Right off the bat Figgins steals 2nd. Runner on 2nd with nobody out. Kendrick playing great team baseball, hits a grounder to 2nd which pushes Figgins to 3rd. That is why year in and year out the Angels are so tough. They always do the little things.

Abreu grounds to 2nd and Figgins scores. 1-0 Angels. So the leadoff walk comes back to haunt Penny.

Vlad smokes one to 3rd but Lowell, showing he still can field with the best of them, smothers the ball and throws a bullet to 1st to get Vlad. 3 outs.

So after 1 full inning it is the Angels 1 and the Red Sox 0.

Top 2nd

Youkilis draws a leadoff walk to start the 2nd. For the 2nd inning in a row the Sox have their leadoff hitter on base. Baldelli batting 5th in the Sox lineup, not sure why he is hitting before Bay.

Baldelli bloops one to right and it is 1st and 2nd with nobody out.

Bay hits a lazy fly ball to CF and Hunter catches it. 1 out. Terrible AB by Bay. Looked like he had no game plan at the plate.

Lowell grounds into a 6-4-3 double play. For the 2nd inning in a row the Sox have the runner on 2nd with nobody out and they don’t score. Someone needs to check Francona’s blood pressure.

Bottom 2nd

Penny hitting 94 on the gun K’s Hunter. Penny hit 91+ on all his fastballs to Hunter.

Penny throws what seemed like a wicked splitter to Morales and Morales grounds to 1B. Youkilis flips to Penny for the 2nd out.

Penny hit 95 on the gun on an 0-1 count to Rivera. Penny is getting in the groove. Rivera grounds out to Lowell and the inning is over.

After 2 in the books it’s 1-0 Angels.

Top 3rd

Lowrie who was up 3-1 in the count gets beat with a 90 mph and fouls it off. On a fastball count, you shouldn’t be beat with a mediocre fastball. Lowrie works a walk and for the 3rd inning in a row, the Sox have the leadoff runner on.

It’s Varitek’s 37th birthday today. That sound you hear is Scott Boras creating a war and peace sized binder of all the catchers who have had career years over the age of 37. And on that note, Varitek flies to 2nd. I just once wish Francona would bunt with Varitek.

Announcer Kenny Albert just pointed out the Red Sox have lost 9 straight regular season games to the Angels. Unfortunately for Angels fans, Mike Scioscia turns into a pumpkin come playoff time against them.

Ellsbury grounds into a double play to end the inning. Make it 3 innings in a row, the Red Sox get their leadoff hitter on and don’t score. You have to wonder how long Saunders can keep dodging bullets.

Bottom 3rd

On the 1st pitch of the inning, Mike Napoli crushes one to left-center for a HR. 2-0 Angels.

Aybar flies weakly to CF. 1 out. Figgins, attempting to bunt pops up to Varitek. 2 outs.

Kendrick bounces one up the middle for a 2 out hit. Penny should have caught that. I am going to guess and say Penny is not the best of fielders on the mound.

Penny on this AB to Abreu keeps looking at his finger. I wonder if he is starting to develop a blister. Abreu walks, 2 on with 2 out for Vlad.

Vlad hits a HIGH fly ball to center but Ellsbury is under it and the inning is over.

2-0 Angels after 3.

Top 4th

Pedroia grounds weakly to 2nd and there is 1 out. There is ZERO spark in this Red Sox lineup right now.

The Monster Formally Known As David Ortiz K’s on a pitch about 6 inches outside. When things are going bad, they are going bad.

Youkils lines out to Hunter and on just 7 pitches the inning is over. The Red Sox are really grinding out those ab’s today.

Bottom 4th

Oh my lord. Jason Bay just made an unbelievable catch. He went back to the wall, the ball bounces off his glove, juggles the ball and makes the catch. How the ball didn’t hit the wall is beyond me. Torri Hunter hit that by the way. 1 out.

Penny still throwing 95 in the 4th which is a good sign for the Red Sox. Only 51 pitches too. Morales ropes one to center for a single.

Rivera grounds into a pitcher’s best friend…A 4-6-3 double play.

2-0 Angels after complete at the Big A.

Top 5th

On a side note, I just mentioned the Big A in Anaheim. For those of you who haven’t seen it yet, check out the New K in Kansas City. The Royals made $250MM in renovations to Kaufmann Stadium and it looks amazing.

Baldelli flies out to right on the 1st pitch. Seriously, way to grind out those ab’s.

Kenny Albert just mentioned that Bay has the 4th most HR’s of any Canadian born player. That is like having the 4th most goals as an American in soccer. Bay works a walk. That is one great thing about Bay, after usually looking clueless on his 1st ab, he does a great job of adjusting in his later ab’s.

Lowell just smokes one over the LF fence for a 2 run HR. Wow that was a frozen rope. Game tied at 2. Lowell definitely uses Just For Men. He was grayer than Jack’s dad on Lost last year and now there is no gray. Keith Hernandez would be proud.

Lowrie flies out to right for the 2nd out. Varitek singles off the glove of Aybar.

Ellsbury grounds to Kendrick to end the inning.

So Lowell’s HR ties it at 2 headed into the bottom of the 5th.

Bottom 5th

On the 9th pitch of the AB, Mike Napoli goes yard again!!! Man is Napoli strong. 3-2 Angels.

Napoli went yard twice

Napoli went yard twice

Aybar hit a one-hopper to Pedroia, Pedroia dives to his right, gets up and makes the play. That is why he is the MVP, great play. 1 out.

I think Penny might be on his last legs. Figgins doubles down the left field line. All 3 batter have hit the ball hard this inning.

Now Kendrick smokes one to right but Baldelli is there to make the catch. Figgins advances to 3rd with 2 outs.

Penny induces (dying to use that word) Abreu to ground to Lowrie to end the inning.

Figgins is stranded at 3rd but the Angels retake the lead on a Napoli HR. 3-2 Angels after 5.

Top 6th

Pedroia flies out to deep left center and there is 1 out. In Fenway that is a double but at Angels Stadium it is a long out.

Ortiz hits a rope to CF, but Hunter is there again to make the catch. 2 Torii Hunter catches, 2 outs.

Youkilis flies out to right and the Sox go down quietly in the 6th. That was a pretty pathetic inning. I don’t even think Saunders broke a sweat.

Bottom 6th

Wow, I can’t believe Penny is still in there. I would have 100% thought Penny was done after last inning.

Vlad pops out to Pedroia for the 1st out.

Amazing, the Angels have a guy coming off a shoulder injury who was laboring last inning and they go up there hacking. Hunter swings at the 1st pitch and grounds to Lowell for the 2nd out. 3 pitches as 2 outs. I know it is not the Angels philosophy to takes pitches, but this is ridiculous.

Penny whiffs Morales on a 95 mph fastball to end the inning. A very, very impressive inning for Penny.

6 innings, 5 hits and 3 runs given up by Penny. The Sox will take that any day of the week. Penny is still down however, 3-2.

Top 7th

Baldelli beats out an infield hit and has 2 singles on the day.

Bay hits a line drive 2 run HR, right over the fence in LF. Again, Bay always adjusts after the 1st ab. 4-3 Red Sox.

Lowell hits a hard 1-hopper to Figgins and despite the high throw, he throws out Lowell who was crawling to 1st.

Lowrie K’s and is now 1-17 on the season. Way to hold off Lugo Jed.

Fox just shows an Albert Pujols grand slam off of Roy Oswalt. I didn’t keep Oswalt in one of my Keeper League’s because of the WBC factor. Looks like a smart decision so far.

Varitek doubles down the LF line. Scott Boras is giddy. Ellsbury swings at ball 4 and pops to Figgins to end the inning.

But a Jason Bay 2 run HR gives the Sox a 4-3 lead.

Bottom 7th

Ramon Ramirez, who has been sharp as a razor so far this season comes in to replace Penny. What a debut by Penny. 6 innings, 5 hits, 3 runs, 2 walks, 3 K’s and a chance for a W.

Penny had a solid debut

Penny had a solid debut

Ramirez on a nasty change, gets Rivera to ground out to Lowell for 1 out.

Up comes Mike Napoli who has been a one-man-gang for the Angels today. Boy can Napoli rake. He rips one past Lowell, down the line for a double. Napoli is now 3-3 on the day and every fantasy owner is checking their league to see if he is available.

Aybar flies out to shallow CF for the 2nd out.

Figgins swings at a pitch in the dirt and K’s to end the inning. The-one-man-gang Napoli is stranded on 2nd.

After 7 it is 4-3 Red Sox.

Top 8th

Kevin Jepsen is in to relieve Joe Saunders. Jepsen has a healthy 16.50 era heading into today’s action.

Pedroia grounds out to Kendrick for the 1st out.

The Monster Formally Known As David Ortiz flies out to shallow LF. Not sure what to make of Ortiz at this point in the season. Is he in a slump or is he in a major decline? I guess only time will tell.

Youkilis hits one to DEEP CF, but Hunter is there like he always is to make the catch.

Bottom 8th

In the 2nd surprising move by Francona (leaving Penny in to start the 6th was the 1st), Ramon Ramirez is out for his 2nd inning of work.

Kendrick flies out to the warning track in CF for the 1st out. Kendrick just missed that one.

Ramirez is throwing gas. He just painted a 94 mph fastball on the outside corner to Abreu for strike 1. Wow, there is something you don’t see everyday. On a 3-1 count, Abreu goes outside the strike zone and swings and misses.

Abreu hits a hard grounder to first, Youkilis dives for it, off his glove and with Pedroia backing Youkilis up, flips to Ramirez to get the out. Just your routine 3-4-1 out.

Francona goes to the mound and it looks like it will be Papelbon to come in to get a 4 out save. A 4 out save, somewhere Goose Gossage is smiling.

Fox just showed that Pujols hit his 2nd HR of the game and now has 7 RBI today against the Astros. Patting myself on the back right now for taking him with my 1st pick in my draft.

Vlad flies out to Bay to end the inning. That Papelbon vs Vlad confrontation lasted all of 2 pitches.

Still 4-3 Red Sox heading into the 9th.

Top 9th

Justin Speier replaces Jepsen. Speier signed a 4 year $18MM contract with the Angels back in 2006. I will check that off as a bad signing by the Angels.

Baldelli flies to left for the 1st out of the inning.

Bay has done it again. Another HR for Jason Bay and another HR right over the left field fence. 5-3 Red Sox.

Bay is talking to Smoltz about that HR. Smoltz is like the zen master. No matter what he says, it just makes sense.

Lowell swings at one over his head and somehow grounds the ball to SS. Aybar can roll the ball to 1st and still get Lowell. 2 outs.

Lowrie flies to CF for the 3rd out. Lowrie is now 1-18 on the season. Julio Lugo is excited. I wonder if Lugo poisoned Lowrie’s 5 hour energy drink and made it into a 30 minute energy drink?

Bottom 9th

Bay’s HR looms large now because Hunter just crushes one to right CF for a HR. What was more impressive about that HR is that the ball wasn’t even close to being a strike. 5-4 Red Sox.

Morales rips a double to right on an 0-2 pitch. This was the 2nd batter Papelbon had an 0-2 count on and couldn’t put them away. Reggie Willits is now on to pinch run for Morales.

Terrible AB by Rivera. Rivera grounds out to SS which doesn’t advance Willits. 1 out.

Now the-one-man-gang Napoli comes up. On a 2-1 slider Napoli swings and misses out of his shoes and the count is now 2-2.  3-2 now to Napoli, with 1st base open I would throw him a slider, make him chase one. Papelbon is on the same wave length but the slider misses and Napoli walks.

2 on, 1 out for Erik Aybar. Papelbon clearly doesn’t have his best stuff today. This inning has been a battle so far and there is still only 1 out.

Aybar K’s on a wicked, I mean wicked splitter in the dirt. 2 outs and up comes the pesky Chone Figgins.

Papelbon is now down 3-0 to Figgins. A walk puts the potential winning run on 2nd for the Angels. Figgins walks on 4 pitches and they weren’t even close. I am not sure if Papelbon has anything left to get out Kendrick.

Papelbon has thrown 2 beautiful sliders on the outside corner to quickly go up 0-2. Kendrick is battling as he has fouled off 2 tough fastballs from Papelbon. Another foul on a fastball. 0-2, I would throw a slider on the outer-half of the plate. Slider on the outer-half and Kendrick fouls it off. My lord, another foul.

Papelbon up to 34 pitches now. 35 pitches has he fouls another off. 36 pitches on ANOTHER foul.

And on the 37th pitch of the inning, Kendrick flies out to Baldelli to end the game. What a battle. I am guessing we won’t be seeing Papelbon for a couple of days.

Penny gets his first win of the season and his 1st win as a member of the Boston Red Sox. Papelbon gets his 2nd save of the season and Red Sox end a 3 game losing streak to run their record to 2-3 on the season.

On the other side, Saunders gets the loss and drops his record to 1-1 on the young season. The loss drops the Angels to a 2-3 record as well.

Hope everyone enjoyed the live analysis and I just wanted to wish all who celebrate a Happy Easter!!!

The Real 10 Most Hated Players In Baseball List

April 6, 2009

One of the great things about the internet is that any idiot like myself can pick up a laptop, start a blog or a website and give an opinion. Someone can formulate an opinion on anything from the best looking women, celebrities, recipes to who is going to be selected with the 1st pick in this coming NFL Draft. I choose to write and give my opinion about baseball. Now the things I write and give my opinions on are not gospel. Sometimes I am right, sometimes I am wrong and there are always going to be people who disagree with what I write. That is one of the drawbacks of starting a blog, you open yourself up for criticism. If you have noticed I have not commented on other people’s blogs or sites because I feel everyone is entitled to an opinion. At the end of the day it’s just someone’s thoughts, no big deal. However, I came across an article yesterday that really has me confused and I feel I need to comment on.

I was on Ballhype.com, which a site that gives you the ability to view posts from sports blogs from across the web (yes, my blog is on there). One of the posts I came across was Askmen.com’s “Top 10: Major League Baseball Players To Hate.” Interesting topic and was something I was anxious to read. After I read the article, I am wondering if the person who wrote this article knows anything about baseball or has even watched a game in their life?

On this list was Josh Hamilton?? The reason? “It’s a feel good story only Disney could concont” and “The only issue with Hamilton is that he makes a normal guy who can’t go into the office after a few too many scotch and sodas at happy hour look like a p#*sy..” Words can’t even describe how rediculous this is. Hamilton is hated so much that 50,000+ New Yorkers gave him a standing ovation during last year’s Home Run Derby. But wait, it gets better.

Also on this list is Ryan Braun. Ryan Braun? Why would anyone hate Ryan Braun? The reason…”He seems impossible to hate, which is good enough reason to hate him.” I am really starting to wonder if Askmen.com did any research prior to writing this article.

#7 on the list is Joel Zumaya. Nobody cares enough about Joel Zumaya to hate him. Really? Joel Zumaya one of the top 10 most hated players in baseball?

#5 on the list is David Wright. Now I can understand if you are a Phillies, Braves or even a Yankees fan that you might have a dislike for the Mets 3B. But here is one of the reasons that Askmen.com gave…”He collects double goody-two-shoes bonus points for his David Wright Foundation, which provides aid and assistance toward the health, emotional development and education for children in need.” Wow, the guy does charity work. What a bastard!!!

For a site that claims they get over 7MM readers a month, I would think they would have a better baseball person writing for them. Any way you slice it, this Top 10 is just not cutting it. So it got me thinking. Who are the most hated players in baseball?

Here is my Top 10 Most Hated Players In Baseball list. Teams and fans hate playing against these guys because they are the grinders, the guys who do the little things, they will always get the big hit and they will do anything for their team to win. Not because they are a great comeback story. I will do my list position by position. Of course, this is just my opinion. Disagree if you like…. 

C – AJ Pierzynski, White Sox – Just a bad-ass. He’ll fight you as Michael Barrett will point out and a noted wrestling fan, would suplex anyone on the Twins if he got a chance. Teams hate him while his teammates love him.

1B – Kevin Youkilis, Red Sox – Youkilis is so intense that he is sweating like Patrick Ewing in the 4th quarter before the 1st pitch of the game. Makes fans and players of opposing teams crazy with the way he grinds out ab’s. The modern day Paul O’Neill.

2B – Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox – Nobody likes a guy who is 5’7″ who acts like he is 6’4″. He is pesky, does all the little things and is just a winner. As small as he is, he always comes up big in the clutch. And oh yeah, he was the MVP last year.

Jeter will always be hated

Jeter will always be hated

SS – Derek Jeter, Yankees – The starting SS for the Yankees will always make a “Most Hated” list (unless you are writing for Askmen.com). Say what you want about Jeter, but when the game is on the line you can put it in the bank that he will come up with a clutch hit. I feel silly saying that Garciaparra was better than Jeter back in the day. Kind of how Yankee fans feel now when they said Cano was better than Pedroia.

3B – Chipper Jones, Braves His real name is Larry, he goes by Chipper and he is enemy #1 amongst Mets fans. Jones has killed the Mets during his career, but he has killed most teams as well during his great career. The face of those great Braves teams in the 90’s and nobody likes someone who is this good and wins all the time.

LF – Eric Byrnes, Diamondbacks – The “Crash Test Dummy” has to be on this list. He is always hurt because he plays so hard. He would literally run into a wall to win the game. 

CF – Shane Victorino, Phillies – Was a key cog in the Phillies postseason run last year. The “Flyin Hawaiian” does all the little things to win a game. Plays great defense, steals a base, hit a clutch HR, get under the other team’s skin and as the Dodgers found out in the NLCS…all of the above.

RF – Denard Span, Twins – There has to be a Twins player on this list. Teams hate playing against the Twins because they do everything right. As a fan, it’s infuriating because you know they will never beat themselves. Span fits perfectly into the Twins system of solid baseball and a guy who teams and fans hate to play against.

SP – Roy Halladay, Blue Jays – Why is Halladay on this list? Because there is a 66% chance your team is going to lose when he pitches. If he ever played on a good team it would be closer to 90%. He is the best pitcher in baseball and he makes it look so easy.

Util – David Eckstein, Padres – The pure definition of overachiever, Eckstein looks more like your accountant rather than a World Series MVP. Eckstein is famous for fouling off pitches, which drives fans and opposing pitchers crazy.

Hope you enjoyed this list and ENJOY OPENING DAY!!!

Placing Some Baseball Bets…

March 28, 2009

I was surfing the web and I happened to come across Bodoglife.com, a site that allows you to place bets on various sporting events. I checked out the baseball section and noticed they had prop bets for both players and teams.

Here are the prop bets I like and don’t like for the upcoming season…

Player Bets

Aubrey Huff. Over/Under 23 1/2 Hr’s – I like the Over

Dustin Pedroia. Over/Under 40 1/2 Doubles – I like the Over

Josh Beckett. Over/Under 14 1/2 Wins – I like the Over*

Joba Chamberlain. Over/Under 13 1/2 Wins – I like the Under

Derek Jeter. Over/Under .303 average – I like the Over

Evan Longoria. Over/Under 107 1/2 RBI – I like the Over

BJ Ryan. Over/Under 34 1/2 Saves – I like the Under*

Zach Greinke. Over/Under 13 1/2 Wins – I like the Over

Miguel Cabrera. Over/Under 34 1/2 Hr’s – I like the Over

Gary Sheffield. Over/Under 18 1/2 Hr’s – I like the Under

Bobby Abreu. Over/Under 99 1/2 RBI – I like the Under

Brian Fuentes. Over/Under 32 1/2 Saves – I like the Under

Ken Griffey Jr. Over/Under 18 1/2 Hr’s – I like the Under

Brett Myers. Over/Under 11 1/2 Wins – I like the Over

Albert Pujols. Over/Under 117 1/2 RBI – I like the Over

Adrian Gonzalez. Over/Under 29 1/2 Hr’s – I like the Over

Randy Johnson. Over/Under 10 1/2 Wins – I like the Under

Team Bets

Tigers. Over/Under 81 1/2 Wins – I like the Under*

Twins. Over/Under 83 1/2 Wins. I like the Over

Braves. Over/Under 84 1/2 Wins. I like the Over

Dodgers. Over/Under 84 1/2 Wins. I like the Over

Mets. Over/Under 89 1/2 Wins. I like the Under

Cardinals. Over/Under 82 1/2 Wins. I like the Over*

Giants. Over/Under 80 1/2 Wins. I like the Under

Royals. Over/Under 75 1/2 Wins. I like the Over

* indicates Best Bet

Team USA Humiliated….

March 15, 2009

The team that was representing the country where baseball was invented was humiliated last night at the World Baseball Classic. Team USA was mercy ruled in a 11-1 loss to Puerto Rico last night. The last time I was witness to the mercy rule was when I was coaching Little League back in 2000.

This game was a disaster for USA on all levels. They made the remarkably average Javier Vazquez look like Tom Seaver for 5 innings (5 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 2 K), Jake Peavy and Matt Thornton were throwing batting practice and their 1-5 hitters went a combined 1-15.

In my “Looking At Team USA’s Roster For The WBC” post, I wrote that “If Team USA doesn’t win the WBC, the starting rotation will be the reason.” Well, unfortunately that prediction so far seems to be holding water. Team USA’s starting rotation of Peavy, Oswalt, Lilly and Guthrie have a combined era of 10.69. That is not going to cut it when you are playing against some of the best players in the world.

Oswalt needs to step up tonight

Oswalt needs to step up tonight

Roy Oswalt gets the first crack at turning things around tonight in an elimination game against the Netherlands. If there is a team that can cure USA’s pitching problems, it’s the Netherlands. In 5 games so far in the WBC, the Netherlands has only scored 7 runs. 

If Oswalt and the rest of Team USA can’t turn it around against the Netherlands, it will be another WBC disappointment for the country that invented the game all the way back in 1846.

In other Team USA News

Orioles 2B, Brian Roberts will replace Dustin Pedroia for the rest of the WBC. Pedroia will miss the rest of the WBC because of a strained oblique muscle. While Roberts is a more than capable replacement, losing Pedroia is another blow to USA’s chances of winning the WBC. Since the original USA roster was announced, they have lost Sizemore, Nathan, Hawpe, Ryan and now Pedroia. That is a lot of talent to lose.