Posts Tagged ‘Randy Johnson’

Mariners Bring Back Erik Bedard

February 7, 2010

Erik Bedard is one of the great teases in baseball. He is a left-handed pitcher with a ton of talent. There are very lefties in the game that have the stuff that Bedard has.

The problem is, he is always hurt. Not only is he seemingly always hurt, but some–including myself–have questioned his mental makeup. I believe he is one of the pitchers that would rather win in a small market than win in a big market.

Bedard has been a tease in Seattle

Bedard was involved in one of the most lopsided trades in recent years when he was sent from the Baltimore Orioles to the Seattle Mariners for Adam Jones, George Sherrill, Kameron Mickolio, and Chris Tillman. This trade has set the Orioles up for years to come, while Bedard has been a disaster in Seattle.

In two seasons, Bedard only made 30 starts and has gotten hurt every year. This is why Bedard is a tease. When he has been on the mound in a Mariners’ uniform he has pretty good for them.

In those 30 starts, Bedard had a 3.25 ERA, a 1.26 WHIP, and averaged 9.8 K’s/9. Not bad at all.

Bedard’s 2009 season ended at the end of July because of a shoulder injury. Bedard eventually needed shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum.

The injury couldn’t have come at a worse time for Bedard. He was entering his free agent year and at 30-years-old, Bedard could have been inline for one more big pay-day.

Bedard didn’t get the big payday because his injury will sideline him until at least May. However, he will be returning to the place that I didn’t think he would return to.

According to Marc Brassard of Le Droit, Bedard has re-signed with the Mariners. The deal is for one-year and 1.5 million plus incentives with an $8 million mutual option for 2011.

If Bedard reaches all his incentives in 2010, he could earn around $8.5 million.

I am really surprised Bedard is returning to the Mariners in 2010. After his two injury plagued seasons, I didn’t think the Mariners would bring him back.

Then I got to thinking, the Mariners need all of the pitching help they can get. The Mariners actually needed Bedard.

Yes, I know Seattle has a lethal one-two punch at the top of their rotation in Cliff Lee and Felix Hernandez, but what do they have after that? Ian Snell? Ryan Rowland-Smith? Doug Fister?

None of those guys strike fear in anyone. If the Mariners go into a three game series with those three pitching, they would be underdogs in all three games against most teams in the American League.

Now you can tell me that the Arizona Diamondbacks won the 2001 World Series with really only two starters and you would be correct. Outside of Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling, the Diamondbacks had nothing that year.

However, there is one big difference between what the Mariners have and what the Diamondbacks had in 2001–offense. Whether it was legit or not, Luis Gonzalez did hit 57 home runs that year and finished third in the MVP voting.

They also had Reggie Sanders who hit 33 home runs that year and Matt Williams, when healthy, was still capable of hitting the long ball. Mark Grace also hit .298 with .386 OBP.

Those players were able to bail their bad pitchers out because they could score more runs than their opponents. I don’t see that with this Mariners’ lineup.

If and that is a big if, Bedard can come back around mid-season, he would give the Mariners the third pitcher they need and a big lift as the season goes on.

Bedard will be entering his eighth season in the major league and has a career record of 51-41 with a 3.71 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP with the Orioles and Mariners.

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

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The Great Randy Johnson Announces His Retirement

January 6, 2010

On a conference call straight out of “The Office,” Randy Johnson announced his retirement last night.

Not wanting too much attention and not wanting to take away from the announcement of who will be elected into this year’s class of the Baseball Hall of Fame, Johnson decided to hold a conference call to say he was hanging up his spikes at around 7:00 pm ET on Tuesday.

Johnson announced his retirement on Tuesday

I say it was a scene out of “The Office” because when the call first started, it was complete chaos. Johnson started his speech and then stopped and then had to start it again. Reporters were dialing into the conference call at different times, so all you heard for the first five minutes were beeps.

I was like what is going on here?

But things got settled and Johnson went into the reasons why he was retiring. Johnson said he accomplished everything he wanted to in the game (I’ll say) and he wanted to retire on his own terms.

A lot can be said about Johnson, the pitcher. Here is what I wrote about Johnson when he won his 300th game last June:

“When he was on top of his game, there was nobody as intimidating and as dominating as Johnson. He is without a doubt a sure-fire first ballot Hall of Famer.

“Is he the greatest left-handed pitcher ever?

“That I can’t answer. I certainly never saw Eddie Plank, Lefty Grove, Warren Spahn or Carl Hubbell pitch. And I only saw Steve Carlton towards the end of his career when he was hanging on with Phillies, Indians and Twins.

“What I can tell you is that he is the best left-handed pitcher in the last 25 years. His only competition would be Tom Glavine and I would take Johnson any day of the week over Glavine and twice on Sunday. I am not even sure that is an argument.

“For my money, if I had to pick one pitcher in his prime to win me Game Seven of the World Series, Randy Johnson would be that pitcher. I am sure the Johnson detractors (Mostly Yankee fans who saw Johnson crumble in the postseason when he was with them) will point to his 7-9 postseason record and say Johnson didn’t do it in when it counts.

“That is the biggest bunch of Tom Foolery I have ever heard.

“In 1995 with Seattle and in 2001 with Arizona, Johnson single handily beat the Yankees in both series. He went 3-0, won the World Series MVP in the 2001 World Series, and even pitched in relief on one day’s rest.

Period. End of argument.”

Seven months later, I still stand by Johnson has the best left-handed pitcher of the last 25 years and the one pitcher I would take to win me a Game Seven.

He was truly one of the all-time greats.

Johnson will finish his career with a record of 303-166 with a 3.29 ERA, 100 complete games, 4,875 strike outs, and five Cy Young awards in 22 seasons with the Montreal Expos, Seattle Mariners, Houston Astros, Arizona Diamondbacks, New York Yankees, and San Francisco Giants.

His 4,875 strike outs rank second all time to Nolan Ryan’s 5,714. His five Cy Young awards also rank second to Roger Clemens’ seven.

Johnson will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2015.

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

The Freak Does It Again: Lincecum Wins NL Cy Young Award

November 19, 2009

My preseason NL Cy Young pick: Cole Hamels

NL Cy Young award winner: Tim Lincecum

For the second year in a row, San Francisco Giants’ ace Tim Lincecum has won the National League Cy Young award. Great, now I have to hear St. Louis Cardinal fans whine some more.

Is there a fan base in sports that is more sensitive about their players winning awards than Cardinal fans? It’s overkill.

And if you don’t believe me, here is the “tweet” of the year from Keith Law: “Do the Cardinals sell a pacifier with the team logo on it?”

Just spot on.

Lincecum received 100 points to beat out Cardinal pitchers Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright in a very close race. Carpenter received 94 votes and Wainwright received 90 points.

Lincecum won his second Cy Young today

Just like with his fellow Cy Young award winner, Zack Greinke, Lincecum’s win total didn’t reflect how good of a year he really had. Lincecum only had 15 wins, which tied him for forth in the NL with seven other pitchers.

Lincecum however,  led the NL in strike outs with 261, complete games with four, quality starts with 26, was second in ERA with 2.48, and was forth in WHIP with 1.05.

Lincecum is off to an amazing start in his career. Do you realized that he has pitched just two full seasons in the majors and has won two Cy Young awards?

That is ridiculous.

The only one I could think of off the top of my head who has accomplished something like this would be Roger Clemens in 86′-87′. Clemens started 15 games in 85′ and then broke out in 86′.

Lincecum becomes the first pitcher to win back-to-back Cy Young awards since Randy Johnson won four in a row from 1999-2002.

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

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.

For One Day In His Life Mark Buehrle Is Perfect…

July 23, 2009

Chicago White Sox ace Mark Buerhle accomplished, in my opinion, the hardest thing to do in sports today – he threw a perfect game. Buerhle retired all 27 batters be faced in the White Sox 5-0 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays.

Buehrle tossed a perfect game

Buehrle tossed a perfect game

Buehrle threw 116 pitches and threw a ridiculous 76 of them for strikes. Even more importantly, Buehrle threw first-pitch strikes to 19 out of the 17 batters he faced.

Why can’t all pitchers work like Buerhle? Work quickly and throw strikes. If you pound the strike zone you will get hitters out at any level. That is a fact.

Buehrle’s perfect game marks just the 18th time a pitcher has retired every batter he has faced in a game in major league history.

With the win, Buehrle improved to 11-3 on the season. Along with Zack Greinke and Roy Halladay, Mark Buehrle is now a serious Cy Young candidate.

Interesting note from the RaysIndex.com’s Twitter page. Only two out of the 17 previous teams that have had a perfect game thrown against them have made the playoffs that year. The 1988 Los Angeles Dodgers (Tom Browning threw a perfect game against them) and the 2004 Atlanta Braves (Randy Johnson tossed a perfect against the Braves).

Baseball’s Best Starting Rotation: Midseason…

July 8, 2009

In the next installment of the Baseball’s Best: Midseason” series, we are going to take a look at baseball’s best starting rotation. The starting rotation is the backbone of any team and now we are going to see which team has had the best starting rotation for the first half of the season.

Baseball’s best starting rotation will be judged on four categories – ERA, Innings Pitched, WHIP, and OPS. As you noticed, I did not include wins as a category. My reasoning is that wins doesn’t necessarily reflect how good a pitcher – or a rotation for that matter really is. Just look at Javier Vazquez’s  and Dan Haren’s years for proof of that.

Each category is worth 10 points. If a team isn’t in the top 10 for that particular category, that team received zero points.

In my preseason edition of baseball’s best starting rotation, the San Francisco Giants had the No.1 rotation in baseball.

10. – 6. Kansas City Royals, Arizona Diamondbacks, Chicago White Sox, Colorado Rockies, Chicago Cubs

5. Seattle Mariners – 22 points

ERA – Five

IP – Zero

WHIP – Ten

OPS – Seven

"King Felix" has been an ace this year

"King Felix" has been an ace this year

Analysis – Before you saw this post, if you had to guess who was the only American League team to finish in the top five who would it be? The New York Yankees? Boston Red Sox? Detroit Tigers? Well, as you can see it is the Seattle Mariners.

The Mariners are led by their version of the “Big Three.” Felix Hernandez has become a legitimate ace and has gone 8-3 with a 2.62 ERA and 114 K’s in 116.2 IP. Free-agents to be Erik Bedard (2.50 ERA, 1.13 WHIP) and Jarrod Washburn (3.06 ERA, 90 hits in 105.1 IP) have really stepped up and pitched well for the Mariners in the first half.

4. Atlanta Braves – 25 points

ERA – Seven

IP – One

WHIP – Eight

OPS – Nine

Analysis – The Braves spent the entire offseason trying to revamp their starting rotation, and it has paid off. The Braves rotation goes five deep and features three starters who have sub-three ERA’s.

Javier Vazquez, who was acquired in the offseason from the White Sox has really been the ace of this staff. Despite a lack of run support which has cost him plenty of wins this year, Vazquez has a 2.95 ERA and has been one of most consistent pitchers in baseball. He has 12 Quality Starts in 18 games.

The Braves also have gotten a solid season from Jair Jurrjens (2.91 ERA) and have gotten a nice lift from top prospect Tommy Hanson (2.25 ERA, 1.25 WHIP).

Offseason free-agent signings Derek Lowe (4.56 ERA) and Kenshin Kawakami (4.46 ERA) round out the rotation.

3. Los Angeles Dodgers – 27 points

ERA – Nine

IP – Zero

WHIP – Nine

OPS – Ten

Analysis – The Dodgers’ starters rank second in ERA (3.67), second in WHIP (1.26), and first in OPS Against (.684). It might be really nice to pitch in Chavez Ravine. Dodger Stadium can even turn Jeff Weaver and Eric Milton into respectable pitchers.

The Dodgers have been really led by three pitchers in the first half – Chad Billingsley, Randy Wolf, and Clayton Kershaw.

Billingsley is the ace of this staff and has pitched like it so far this year. Billingsley is 9-4 with a 3.14 ERA and has held right-handed batters to a ridiculously low .588 OPS throughout the first half of the season.

The Dodgers have also gotten Hiroki Kuroda back from injury and he has chipped in with a respectable 3.94 ERA and a very good 1.01 WHIP.

2. St. Louis Cardinals – 28 points

ERA – Eight

IP – Ten

WHIP – Four

OPS – Six

Analysis – I was shocked to see the Cardinals so high on this list. I wouldn’t expect a staff that features the likes of Todd Wellemeyer and Brad Thompson to be one of the best in anything. It just goes to show you how valuable Pitching Coach Dave Duncan really is to the Cardinals’ organization.

As long as the Cardinals can keep Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright healthy, this staff will give the Cardinals a chance to win. Carpenter has been lights out this year with a 2.32 ERA, a 0.82 WHIP, and nine Quality Starts in just 12 starts.

Wainwright has also been impressive this year. The Cardinals’ righty is third in baseball with 122.1 IP and sports a 3.09 ERA in those 122.1 IP.

Lincecum leads the Giants' staff

Lincecum leads the Giants' staff

1. San Francisco Giants – 34 points

ERA – Ten

IP – Eight

WHIP – Six

OPS – Eight

Analysis – The Giants’ starting rotation was the preseason No. 1 and at the midway point in the season, they remain No. 1. I guess it helps to have the two leading Cy Young candidates on the same staff – Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain.

Lincecum and Cain have been the best one-two punch in baseball with a combined 19-4 record with 1.14 WHIP, 234 K’s, and a 2.33 ERA in 236.1 IP. If they keep this up we might have to change “Spahn and Sain and pray for rain” to “Lincecum and Cain and pray for rain.”

The Giants also can turn to two former Cy Young award winners to start games in Barry Zito and Randy Johnson. Zito has pitched better this year and has held batters to a .247 batting average this year.

Johnson, even at the age of 45 can still get it done. Johnson has a WHIP of 1.32 and has still been able to strike out 80 batters in 90.1 IP this year.

Tomorrow I will take a look at baseball’s best outfield.

*Please note all stats were calculated before today’s action.

Mark DeRosa and Randy Johnson Head To The DL…

July 7, 2009

So much for Mark DeRosa making an immediate impact for the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cardinals placed DeRosa on the 15-day DL today, retroactive to July 1, with a sprained right wrist.

In one of the worst economic times in baseball, where owners are counting their pennies, the Cardinals go out and actually add payroll, only to have that player go on the DL only about a week after he was acquired. 

This has to be frustrating if you are a Cardinal fan.

Look on the bright side Cardinal fans. At least Khalil Greene won’t be returning to thirdbase to take the place of DeRosa anytime soon.

DeRosa is expected to be back shortly after the All-Star break. 

In other DL news, the San Francisco Giants placed Randy Johnson on the 15-day DL with a strained left shoulder. Johnson hurt his shoulder in Sunday’s game against the Astros.

Giants’ manager Bruce Bochy believes the injury isn’t that serious and Johnson should be able to return after the 15-day period. I personally think Bochy is being very optimistic.

Johnson is no spring chicken at 45 and this is not like a hamstring or a sprained ankle. This is an injury to his pitching shoulder. It wouldn’t shock me if Johnson was out longer than 15 days.

Jonathan Sanchez will return to the rotation to take the place of Johnson.

Fantasy Week In Review, June 29 – July 5…

July 6, 2009

I hope everyone had a great July 4th weekend!!! It was finally nice out for more than one day here in the northeast so the bbq’s were grilling, the beach was crowded, and the softball’s were flying.

Last week was a very intriguing week in fantasy baseball. We finally saw everyone’s preseason man crush get crushed and we saw one pitcher who is trying to make a run at something that only two other pitchers (Greg Maddux and Randy Johnson) have done in the National League – win back to back Cy Young awards.

Here are the fantasy studs, players who have us concerned and the potential pickups for the week of June 29 – July 5.

Fantasy Studs

Derek Lee – .250/4/12. Lee only had seven hits during the week, but four of them cleared the fence. That is being efficient.

Albert Pujols – .429/3/8/.571 and one SB. The look on David Weather’s face when Pujols hit the grand slam off him on Friday was priceless.

Casey McGehee – .370/2/10. McGehee is doing just fine filling in for Rickie Weeks.

Shin-Soo Choo – .409/3/9. Any guy who has seven RBI in one game is a fantasy stud.

Marlon Byrd – .450/3/9/.556. Byrd has filled in nicely for Josh Hamilton. Now with Chris Davis being sent down (more on that later), Byrd should continue to get AB’s.

Oswalt was a stud last week

Oswalt was a stud last week

Roy Oswalt – 2-0 with a 1.06 ERA and 14 K’s in 17 IP. Oswalt got off to a slow start, but has really turned it on as of late.

Ricky Nolasco – 2-0 with a 1.13 ERA and 20 K’s in 16 IP. It looks like Nolasco’s time in the minors served him well. Good to see him back to his 2008 form.

Tim Lincecum – 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA and 17 K’s in 16 IP. Lincecum is making a serious run at his second consecutive Cy Young award. If the season ended today, I would vote for him.

Reasons for Concern

Chien-Ming Wang – The New York Yankees placed Wang on the 15-Day DL with a right shoulder strain. At this point, I am confident in saying this isn’t Chien-Ming Wang’s year.

From his early season struggles, to being put in the bullpen, and now to being put on the 15-day DL this season has been a disaster for Wang. He is 1-6 with a 9.64 ERA this season.

There is no time table for Wang’s return.

Randy Johnson – Johnson left Sunday’s game against the Astros with a left shoulder strain. Johnson is going for an MRI today.

Hopefully for Johnson owners, the MRI is just a precautionary move. If it’s anything more, there is a good chance Johnson could be placed on the DL.

Davis was finally sent down

Davis was finally sent down

Chris Davis – Well, well, well everyone’s preseason man crush finally crushed the hopes of fantasy owners across the world. Davis was sent down to Triple-A in order to make room for the returning Josh Hamilton.

Davis was batting just .202 this season and was leading baseball in strikeouts with 114. I am guessing this won’t be the last we will see of Davis this year.

Potential Pickups

Ryan Sadowski – Two starts, two quality starts, two wins, and more importantly – zero runs allowed in 13 innings. As long as he is pitching in the very pitcher friendly AT&T Park, Sadowski has a chance.

As long as he keeps pitching the way he has, he will stay in the rotation for the San Francisco Giants.

Alfredo Aceves – With Chien-Ming Wang headed to the DL, Aceves becomes the likely choice to replace him in the rotation.

I will ignore that Aceves has the most inappropriate nickname in baseball “Ace,” and focus on what he can bring to your fantasy team. With the Yankees’ offense rolling, Aceves should be in line for some five inning, seven to four victories.

Softball Update

It’s been awhile since I have done a softball update, so I thought I would give one today. It’s been a rough couple of weeks for the Vipers. The players we lost from last year’s team that made the finals is starting to show in the lineup. Not being able to score runs in softball is probably the most frustrating thing ever.

We started off 4-1 and now we sit at 6-4 through 10 games.

As for me, I am hitting .520 with three HR’s, nine RBI, and seven runs scored in 25 AB’s. Very Miguel Cabrera-like. I am also fielding like Miguel Cabrera would if he was to play shortstop, but that is a different story.

Two big games for the Vipers this week, so I will give another update next Monday.

Ten Things We Learned In June…

July 1, 2009

Can you believe it is July 1st already? Maybe I don’t think it is the middle of summer because it rained almost every freakin’ day in the northeast in June. What a terrible month for weather.

Despite the bad weather, there was still plenty of good baseball that was played. The month of June usually separates the pretenders from the contenders, and this year was no different.

Here are the top 10 things we learned about baseball during the month of June…

10. The MLB Draft goes mainstream. For the first time, the MLB draft was on TV and on in prime time on the MLB Network. This was a good job by baseball realizing the increased importance of the draft, and fans should get insight on who their team is drafting.

To nobodies surprise, the Washington Nationals made San Diego State RHP Stephen Strasburg the No. 1 pick in the draft. Strasburg is probably the most hyped draft pick in the history of the draft and if you are a Nationals fan (all 100 of you), you better pray this guy is worth every dime he is going to get.

Speaking of rookies and the draft…

9. Tommy Hanson is good. Tommy Hanson made his debut for the Atlanta Braves on June 7th and since then he has gone 4-0 with a 2.48 ERA in five starts.

While his walk to strike out ratio isn’t the greatest in the world (17 walks to 18 K’s), he has wiggled out of trouble, kept his composure, and looks to be the real deal for the Atlanta Braves.

Speaking of the Braves…

8. The trade winds are a blowin’. The Atlanta Braves fired the first shot of the season by trading three prospects for the Pittsburgh Pirates’ All-Star CF Nate McLouth.

The Pittsburgh Pirates were very busy in the month of June. Besides trading Nate McLouth, they traded Eric Hinske to the New York Yankees, and traded Nyjer Morgan and Sean Burnett for Lastings Milledge and Joel Hanrahan.

The Pirates weren’t the only NL Central team that was busy. The St. Louis Cardinals acquired perhaps the most versitle player on the market – Mark DeRosa from the Cleveland Indians.

Not only does DeRosa give the Cardinals someone to protect Albert Pujols in the lineup, but they also prevent DeRosa from being traded to his former team, the Chicago Cubs.

While on the subject of the Cubs…

7. Even All-Stars can be benched. The Chicago Cubs benched Milton Bradley, the Philadelphia Phillies benched Jimmy Rollins, and the Detroit Tigers sat down Magglio Ordonez. Kind of a rough month for these former All-Stars.

Did someone say something about former All-Stars being benched?

6. The demise of David Ortiz was premature. David Ortiz hit just .143 in May and everyone thought the Red Sox needed to trade for his replacement. Not so fast.

“Big Papi” wasn’t going down without a fight and Ortiz had a tremendous month of June. Ortiz hit .320 with seven HR’s, 18 RBI, and had a .409 OBP.

Let’s see if Ortiz can keep up the hot streak in July. Staying in the AL East…

5. The AL East is the best division in baseball. The Red Sox ended June with the best record in the AL, the Yankees have won five in a row and the Tampa Bay Rays have the best record in baseball after April.

Throw in the Toronto Blue Jays, who are three games over .500 and the Orioles, whose lineup can hit with anyone, it’s easy to see why the AL East is the best division in baseball.

It appears there will be two playoff spots for three teams.

On the topic of the American League…

4. The American League Dominated interleague play. The American League took the National League behind the woodshed in 2009. The AL had a 137-114 record against the NL.

While the NL has the Los Angeles Dodgers, the team with the best record in baseball, the AL from top to bottom is just a stronger league. If you put the Toronto Blue Jays in the NL, they probably would be the second best team in the league right now.

There was one team that stood out in interleague play. That team was…

3. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are back on top. The Angels had a brutal April and May. John Lackey, Ervin Santana, Vladimir Guerrero, Scot Shields, and Jose Arredondo all missed time for the halos. And of course, they went through the Nick Adenhart tragedy.

However, the Angels used interleague play to turn their season around. The Angels went an interleague best 14-4 and have returned to their customary position of AL West division leaders.

While the Angels were hot…

2. The Rockies were the team of the month. The Rockies fired Clint Hurdle at the end of May, hired Jim Tracy, and then the Rockies started beating teams left and right.

The Rockies lost their first three games in June and then only lost four more the rest of the month. At one point, they won 17 of 18 games, reminding fans of their great World Series run of 2007.

The Rockies are now 41-36 and are just 1.5 games out of a wild card spot. There may be another “Rocktober” in Colorado.

The Rockies were the team of the month, but the players of the month and the No. 1 thing we learned in the month of June was…

1. Randy Johnson and Mariano Rivera are first-ballot Hall of Famers. It was a milestone month for Randy Johnson and Mariano Rivera, two of the greatest pitchers off all-time.

Earlier this month, Randy Johnson became just the 24th pitcher and just the sixth lefthanded pitcher to win 300 games by defeating the Washington Nationals 5-1. The way the game is played now, Johnson might be the last 300 game winner.

Then later in the month, Mariano Rivera became just the second pitcher to record 500 saves for his career. Rivera now only trails Trevor Hoffman in all-time saves.

In my opinion, Randy Johnson is the greatest lefthanded pitcher of all-time and Mariano Rivera is the greatest closer of all-time. Both pitchers put an exclamation point on their already Hall of Fame careers.

That’s a wrap for the month of June. July should be even more exciting, as the July 31st trading deadline is one of the most interesting and exciting days in baseball.

One other thing I wanted to mention. As we all know, the title of my blog The Ghost of Moonlight Graham, was inspired by Burt Lancaster’s character in the movie Field of Dreams.

Well now the real life story of Archibald “Moonlight” Graham has been told. Brett Friedlander and Bob Reising have written the book “Chasing Graham.” It’s a fascinating story about a truly amazing man.

Brett Friedlander is a sports columnist covering ACC football and basketball for the Wilmington Star-News in North Carolina. He also writes for the Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook and the ACC Sports Journal. 

His co-author, Bob Reising is an English professor at the University of the Cumberlands in Kentucky and is the former head baseball coach at South Carolina, Duke, and Furman.

You can purchase this fascinating book here.

Congratulations To Randy Johnson…

June 5, 2009

Earlier today, Randy Johnson became just the 24th player in major league history to win 300 games. Johnson pitched six solid innings, allowing no runs and just two hits against the Nationals. Brandon Medders, Jeremy Affeldt and Brian Wilson pitched the remaining three innings to secure the Giants 5-1 win.

The greatest lefty ever?

The greatest lefty ever?

When he was on top of his game, there was nobody as intimidating and as dominating as Johnson. He is with out a doubt a sure-fire first ballot Hall of Famer. Is he the greatest lefthanded pitcher ever? That I can’t answer. I certainly never saw Eddie Plank, Lefty Grove, Warren Spahn or Carl Hubbell pitch. And I only saw Steve Carlton towards the end of his career when he was hanging on with Phillies, Indians and Twins.

What I can tell you is that he is the best lefthanded pitcher in the last 25 years. His only competition would be Tom Glavine and I would take Johnson any day of the week over Glavine and twice on Sunday. I am not even sure that is an argument.

For my money, if I had to pick one pitcher in his prime to win me game seven of the World Series, Randy Johnson would be that pitcher. I am sure the Johnson detractors (Mostly Yankee fans who saw Johnson crumble in the postseason when he was with them) will point to his 7-9 postseason record and say Johnson didn’t do it in when it counts. That is the biggest bunch of Tom Foolery I have ever heard.

In 1995 with Seattle and in 2001 with Arizona, Johnson single handily beat the Yankees in both series. He went 3-0, won the World Series MVP in the 2001 World Series and even pitched in relief on one day’s rest. Period. End of Argument.

Congratulations Mr. Johnson on winning your 300th career game. I guess the only question remaining with Randy Johnson is whether or not he goes into the Hall of Fame as a Mariner or as a Diamondback?