Author Archive

1/3 Season Baseball Review

June 9, 2009

While you were out on the golf course, or laying by the pool, or working your life away, the Major League Baseball season has kept right on trucking.  This week marks the 1/3 point in the regular season for most teams.  It is safe to say we’ve had a few surprises, a few disappointments, and at least a few what-in-the-hell-were-they-thinking moments.

Let’s take a three-day, partially homerrific look at the good surprises since April.

(1 of 3) Surprises that make GM’s look like geniuses:

Guess he could manage talent after all.

Guess he could manage talent after all.

We can’t have a GM/genius conversation without first mentioning Dodger head man Ned Colletti.  Now, while pulling over a free-agent Joe Torre back in ’07 was more or less a no-brainer, what I’m giving Colletti props for here is locking him up with a 3-year deal, when the all-knowing Steinbrenners wouldn’t even offer two.  All he’s done in LA is produce a playoff baseball team in year 1 and rock out the best record in baseball for most of 2009.  All the while doing most of his damage without Manny Ramirez.

Up by Lake Erie, Dave Dombrowski’s rookie-or-bust campaign seems to be working out.  Of all the preseason prognostications I saw, only 1 (Joe Morgan’s) had the Tigers making the playoffs as AL Central winners.  With plenty of questions in the starting rotation and bullpen, that was admittedly fair to say.  World Champion GM Dombrowski had a few ideas (along with manager Jim Leyland) on how to buck the system:  keep a couple of 19- and 21-year-old rookies with the big club out of Spring Training.

All that has done so far is prove dead on.  21 year old Ryan Perry (he of the 101 mph fastball) has more than done his job in a setup role (with Zumaya out) and in long relief.  He was recently sent down to Triple-A to make room for the return of Jeremy Bonderman, but not due to performance.  My assertion is that it was due to the gigantic (and ridiculous) contracts he already agreed to with Nate Robertson  $7M, Dontrelle Willis $10M, and Brandon Lyon $4M (otherwise known as the “Theiving Bums” around these parts.)

The other was 19 year old high-school pitcher Rick Porcello, who had no experience above Single-A ball before 2009 camp.  Porcello notched 6 straight wins and was in the tops of the AL in several categories for the month of May.  Arm strength duration may become an issue as he gets into the 20’s with games started, but for the first third of ’09, it was clearly the right move to make.  And with the Tigers sitting in 1st place most of the year, who’s to argue?

This way to the show.

This way to the show.

Other happy findings this year have been the surprise Reds with young talent all over the field, currently sitting only 3.5 games out in the NL Central, and the San Francisco Giants with All-World pitcher Tim Lincecum and the (new) ageless wonder Randy Johnson.  Nobody saw the Giants making any kind of splash this year, yours truly included, yet here they sit hovering around the NL Wildcard slot.

Honorable Mention: Zach Greinke (even though the Royals have fallen back to Earth), Roy Halladay, Texas Rangers pitching, the A’s Matt Holliday trade, and Trevor Hoffman.

We’ll continue with 1/3 season disappointments and  strange moments later in the week.  Now get back outside and enjoy the summer air.

I’ll leave you with my June 9, 2009 playoff predictions.  AL – Red Sox, Blue Jays, Tigers, Angels.  NL – Braves, Cubs, Reds, Dodgers

Paging The General; 80 days

June 9, 2009

In honor of secondary recruiting violations becoming national news, I would like to remind you that it is only

80days

until the pom-pons fall from the Glocker Haslam Bridge , the  checkerboard flowers are planted outside the UC, and the official inaugration of the new First Orange Family.

Sports Illustrated aptly named

June 8, 2009
I guess he's looking into becoming a manager.
I guess he’s looking into becoming a manager.

I’m not sure what’s funnier, that it has already been updated once, or that it is still online a week later.

Defining Success, SoCar style

June 2, 2009

This doesn’t even need an intro.  However, here are a few facts: Football Titles = 0, Baseball Titles = 1, Basketball Titles = 0.

Baby steps, Cock fans.

Baby steps, Cock fans.

Breakfast Wagon 27: ping ping ping ping ping ping ping

June 1, 2009

 

3rd fastest ever. (Reuters)

3rd fastest ever. (Reuters)

Danica Patrick apparently has no problem with cheating… winning on the other hand… [USA Today]

Columnist Dan Patrick asked Danica Patrick if she would take a performance-enhancing drug that she could get away with, if it allowed her to win Indy.

Danica: Well, then it’s not cheating, is it? If nobody finds out?

Dan: So you would do it?

Danica: Yeah, it would be like finding a gray area. In motorsports we work in the gray areas a lot. You’re trying to find where the holes are in the rule book.

Fox rates NFL Franchises by arbitrary criteria.  Raiders, Lions, Browns still bring up the ass end.  [Fox]

Gay comes in behind Bolt’s and Johnson’s.  [Reuters]

Ohio State ends baseball season… um… emphatically?  [Yahoo!]

Jason Stidham, the regional’s most outstanding player, hit a two-run double as the Seminoles scored eight times in the first and cruised past the pitching-depleted Buckeyes (42-19), who trailed 32-0 in the fifth.

An Economic Analysis in Detroit; baseball version

May 27, 2009

Now that we are a quarter of the way through the season, I thought it would be fun to take a second and evaluate the Tigers old and new against their free-agent winter prospects.  I’m using the 2009 salaries provided by ESPN.com and for a quantitative look at productivity, the ESPN Fantasy Player Rating.  Admittedly this is not the most scientific study, but it does provide two comparative data points with which to evaluate Mr. D’s spending habits.  (And let’s not forget, we are still in first place.)

Dollar value is calculated by multiplying the players 2009 salary by his current player rating (as of 5-27-09) and then dividing by 100,000 to get a usable number.

(c) TGC MMIX

(c) TGC MMIX

On first review, the Tigs fall right where you think they should.  Namely, Cabrera is worth every penny, Inge and Curt need raises, and Nate Robertson and Brandon Lyon are thieving bums.

Look a little closer though and you’ll argue that Dontrelle hasn’t had enough data points this year to accrue a valid rating, making his value an outlier.  I would argue that the guy makes $10 Million a year and that the evaluation is accurate.

Everette and Santiago are, as expected, in the middle of the pack and well worth the cost.  Josh Anderson has been a nice surprise with a league-minimum salary yet a positive player rating, while Gerald Laird is worth so much more than he’s given credit for here in unmeasureables.

So anyway, nothing too spectacular here as far as shocking information, but it appears that this confirms Dave Dombrowski as a man that knows how to spend a dollar wisely (for the most part cough… Gary Sheff… cough).

Binary Duet in KC; Conchords file suit

May 26, 2009

I don’t know about you, but I’m a sucker for a pitcher’s duel and some small ball.   Let’s bunt the man over, manufacture a run.  Let’s hit-and-run, let’s take the extra bag and get thrown out trying to stretch a double into a triple.  And if you’re of the same persuasion as me (asians and baseball obvs), you’ll enjoy tonight’s matchup on MLB.tv from Kansas City.

In a battle of #1 and #4 in AL ERA (min. 30 innings) Royals’ ace Zach Greinke (7-1 0.82) will be taking on Tigers’ newcomer, and German-born African-American, Edwin Jackson (4-2 2.88) at 8:10pm Eastern.  Get ready for some zeros folks.

When comparing their WHIP’s, we can see that Jackson’s is a little bit bigger at 1.10 to 0.91, while Greinke gets paid a bit more at 3.25M to Edwin’s 2.2M.

Since April 24, Zach’s given up 1 run (unearned by the Tigers) and amassed 36 K’s.  In the same timeframe, Jackson has been nearly as impressive to the tune of 5 ER and 13 K’s in 3 games.

With fastballs busting inside at 95 mph and two quick-working pitchers, tonight should be a fun one.  My guess is it will come down to the respective setup-closer performance.

Until then, sit back, relax, and watch the zeros get hung.  I’ll meet you on the patio.

Memorial Day Weekend; Bull Durham style

May 23, 2009

Ah yes, a long weekend filled with baseball, beer, hotdogs, and racing.  The Tigers are on a winning streak and Tony Stewart is feelin’ the flow in Charlotte. Let’s have some fun goddamit.

And don’t forget to let a stranger drive you around (and sing Biz Markie) if you have a few too many cold beverages.

Oh yeah, it wouldn’t be the same unless I left you with a weekend-song-stuck-in-head. Here you go, you magnificent bastards! Wear those bad-boys all weekend.

Peter Falk, you have my number

May 14, 2009

The APIAS crew is out of pocket for the weekend.  Let’s be honest though, you guys should be out by a pool drinking Coronas or on the golf course anyway.  It’s A’s/Tigers this weekend, so pick your Eday/TGC sides now. 

If you need me, I’ll be cursing the diety somewhere in central Tennessee. 

Have a good weekend you magnificent bastards.

(Maybe if you get lucky, you’ll hear from Smoothron or Bru.  If you do, let me know where they’re hiding.)

Welcome back Dontrelle

May 8, 2009
Packed up and ready to go!

Packed up and ready to go!

Thirty years ago today, the number one song in the land was “Welcome Back” by John Sebastian of Lovin’ Spoonful.  Today we can apply that to Motown (the baseball team, not the genre).  The $29 million D-Train will join the team tonight in Cleveland with plans to be activated next Wednesday as the starting pitcher.  The move will send aptly performing Zach Miner back to the pen.

You’ll recall (or not recall as it were) that since Willis’ signing prior to the 2008 season, he’s wracked up a mighty 8 appearances, 18 K’s, 35 BB’s a 9.38 ERA, 1 knee injury and 1 anxiety disorder diagnosis.

It is generally assumed that this trip to the bigs is his last chance in a Tiger uniform.  Dombrowski has shown already this year he’s willing to flush big money to make a move (see: Gary Sheffield).  Skipper Jim Leyland feels the same, “This is not a trial. This is not experimental. This is not developmental. This is the big leagues.”

You can count me among those pullling for D-Money to get back to 2005 form when he won 22 games and was 2nd in Cy Young voting.  There are plenty of detractors floating around various Tiger blogs, but I imagine that if he wins enough, those goobers will disappear.

Looking back, things have never really been the same for him since he got caught peeing on that car in Florida.  Maybe an older, wiser Willis is just what the Tigers’ hodgepodge rotation needs.

Aim for the bowl, Dontrelle, TGC is pulling for you.