Around the League: April 16 Edition
I don’t like the Mariners anymore than I did a month ago, but with Bedard and King Felix pitching as well as they have, their chances of sneaking up and snatching the West are rising with each start.
-The A’s are playing about as expected; starting a bit slow with hit-or-miss starts by Brett Anderson, Trevor Cahill and Dana Eveland. The good news is they are sitting at 4-4 in the midst of their Red Sox series. If they are to win the West, Oakland will have to make a late season run as their pitching matures.
Fantasy owners should keep the name Josh Outman handy. It’s not everyday a 24-year-old left handed starter who throws in the mid-90’s gets called up.
-Between the two of them, Kevin Milwood and Brandon McCarthy have three quality starts between them in all three of their outings. A definite improvement from last year.
-It is very tough to gauge the Angels in the aftermath of the Nick Adenhart tragedy, but despite heavy hearts the show goes on. L.A. plans on addressing their rotation holes from within. The Halos are now missing four of the five starting pitchers they planned on using this year with John Lackey, Kelvim Escobar and Ervin Santana still out.
-The Indians have started the year 1-7. Cleveland is digging themselves into a gaping hole, led by lead potato digger, Grady Sizemore – who is intent on obliterating the strikeout record. He has 13 in 34 at-bats this year. — in a division with very little disparity.
-Fantasy owners world-wide were encouraged with Justin Verlander’s second start. The Tigers are thrilled with his 12.46-K/9 but would like him to cut down on the walks. He is averaging just over 6.00-BB/9.
I may have just coined BB/9, though I doubt it, so don’t credit me. I don’t want Bill James coming for my head.
-So far so good for the Royals. Can everyone’s 2009 darlings keep it up? Then again, Sidney Ponson is in the rotation.
-The Twins were in high spirits with Scott Baker making his first start Wednesday and Joe Mauer set to return within the next two weeks. Then Baker got roughed up. The spirits are slumping, as are the Twins.
-The White Sox are having center field issues and signed Scott Podsednik to address them. Podsednik, “arguably in the best shape in quite some time” according to this piece.
Why is it every veteran is in the best shape of his career whenever a team takes the plunge and signs him for a comeback tour of sorts? Why can’t the player and or team ever tell it how it really is: “You know, I have been running on the treadmill for the past couple of weeks, but I spent most of March watching the tourney, so I missed some valuable time in the weight room. I’m a little flabby for my tastes but give me a few more weeks, I’ll get there hopefully.”
-The Red Sox have to be more than a little nervous after Dice-K had to be removed after only one inning against the A’s on Tuesday. He’s headed to the DL with “arm fatigue.” That can’t be good for moral.
–Travis Snider has a very short, smooth and extremely explosive swing. He leads the club in OPS, is tied for the team lead in home runs and has the third most RBI. All from the bottom of the lineup. Tell me again why the Blue Jays are hitting him ninth?
-I will keep telling you the Orioles have a gem in Nick Markakis until you start paying attention. He’s hitting .343, and you’d know why if you caught an O’s game from time to time.
-If you were to tell me that through ten games Nick Swisher would not only lead the Yankees in home runs, but have twice as many ding-dongs as any other pin-striped fruit loop player, I would have stopped just short of quaintly chuckling and saying, “Yeah and I just caught Derek Jeter and A-Rod in the backseat of an old jalopy doing their best Bert and Ernie impression.”
Though that wouldn’t all together surprise me. The Jeter/A-Rod liking dudes part. Not the Swisher home run part.
–Evan Longoria is good. Really good. Really, really good. So fantastically good I almost want to move to Tampa to watch him carry the Rays in person.
To help bring my gushing to an end, let’s just say Egore won’t be taking home a Poop Sundae this month. What’s a Poop Sundae? If you don’t know you will find out at the end of the month.
-It may not matter if Chad Billingsley is ready to become the ace of the Dodgers, because Clayton Kershaw is developing into the ultimate scene stealer. He has tallied 19 strike outs in only 12 innings pitched. Did I mention he has only given up two runs? How does this guy not have a win yet?
-If only Adrian Gonzalez wore blue instead of brown, or light brown, or that disgusting camo color the Padres continue to wear. I could actually appreciate his game if he played about 120 miles north of SD.
-If I find out that in order to help Barry Zito get on track they had him work out with Tim Lincecum this winter, thus resulting in Lince’s total suck-a-tude, I will fly to San Francisco and wring the neck of every Giants player, coach and front office member I can get my hands on.
Then I’ll enjoy a platter of piping hot garlic fries. Mmm… garlic fries…
-It is a travesty, a shame and a mockery that Dan Haren is 0-2 for the Diamondbacks. It’s a traves-sham-ockery.
–Huston Street has looked both un-hittable and like a fat old coach throwing B.P. In other words, his time with the Rockies hasn’t been any different than his Oakland tenure. The good news for Street owners? Manuel Corpas hasn’t exactly been lights-out himself.
–Albert Pujols is in a world of his own. He is so locked in you would think it was June if you you didn’t know any better. The Cardinals just put Chris Carpenter on the DL for the first and probably not the last time in ’09.
-The Astros are throwing Mike Hampton and Russ Ortiz back-to-back.
(Hold on… I can’t keep a straight face on this one. It’s just too hilarious and utterly unbelievable.)
Wait a minute, Houston really is throwing Hampton and Ortiz? That isn’t funny, it’s just depressing.
-I’m absolutely giddy at the thought of 3B phenom, Pedro Alvarez, potentially breezing through the minors and joining the Pirates in September.
If I write this blog as often as I plan — twice a month — we should end up with 12 of these suckers when all is said and done. If I set the over/under for number of times my Pittsburgh blurb is about Alvarez at 11, would you take the over or the under?
I seriously don’t know which I’d choose.
-How in the name of Nolan Ryan did Rich Harden have sharp enough stuff to record eight of his nine outs on strikeouts and yet walk four and give up four runs in the three innings he lasted? It’s enough to drive the Cubs crazy. Not to mention the 101 years of losing.
–Joey Votto has started the year red hot, but Brandon Phillips has not. The Reds are .500 through eight games, and I’m beginning to think that’s about what they will be after 162 as well.
–Ryan Braun keeps swearing he is healthy and feeling great. But as a Braun owner myself, I have something in common with the Brewers; seeing just isn’t believing at this point.
-The Nationals are far and away the worst team in MLB, starting the year 0-7. Lastings Milledge was demoted to Triple-A this week. I’m thinking they should consider sending everyone but Adam Dunn, Elijah Dukes and Cristian Guzman down. It’s not a good thing when Guzman is one of your best three players.
-I was among those saddened to hear Tom Glavine may be forced to hang ’em up this season. He hasn’t even had his chance to reach for the rosin one final time in a Braves uniform. Glavine will be forever known for his uncanny ability to paint the black.
-Think the Marlins are good now? Just wait until Mike Stanton joins them. Stanton and Alvarez are engaged in a tremendous battle for the honor of my biggest minor league man-crush of ’09.
I think I severely underestimated this young bunch. Florida has started the year 8-1, taking the NL East by storm. Before the season started I thought Florida could make some serious noise in 201o. Now, I’m starting to become convinced they and not Philadelphia will be the second team representing the East in the NL playoffs… this year.
-I haven’t heard anything about this yet, so just call it a hunch. But if Mike Pelfrey and Oliver Perez don’t start performing, I have a feeling we may not have seen the last of Pedro Martinez in New York. The Mets didn’t go out this winter and spend just shy of $30-million on K-Rod, J.J. Putz and Perez this year alone, to watch the Marlins and Phillies outplay them.
–Cole Hamels is slated to start on Friday. Here’s to hoping the Phillies can coax something out of that elbow this year.