Archive for the ‘Bullpen’ Category

Vegas Winter Meetings Recap

December 12, 2008

Bear with me as I try to recap the MLB Winter Meetings in Vegas without succumbing to the use of terrible casino puns.

las-vegas

This year’s baseball winter meetings didn’t have the spark and flair of 2007’s when the blockbuster Willis/Cabrera Tigers trade finally launched the Rock City Cats over the hump and to a world championship… what’s that?  Oh… really… last place huh? Willis threw 6 innings all year?  Single A?!  Well, shit.

Okay, so no front page news this year, but there were some clear winners and clear losers.  And some not so clear situations.  Let’s take a look.

Winners

The Metropolitans.  Oman Minaya, fresh off a contract extension, did nothing but make his team better without giving up any talent.  In two days he fixed the bullpen that cost him the NL East the last 2 years.  He signed single-season save record holder Francisco Rodriguez as well as traded for JJ Putz, who himself has notched 91 saves over the past 3 seasons.

More recapitulations after the jump. (more…)

D-Train’s tracks headed toward The D?

July 21, 2008

With the series split in Baltimore, the Tigers pull back to .500 and have named former starter-turned-reliever-turned-starter Zach Miner as the newest in what has become a revolving-door 5th spot in the rotation.  This news out of Detroit had me wondering what the heck D-Train is up to down in Florida.

The guys over at LFTBlog were awesome enough to post a little video of Willis throwing last week in his first start with Lakeland.

As you can see below, its pretty clear that the Tigs pitching staff has calmed down his ridiculous leg kick and slowed down his approach to the plate considerably in light of his recent diagnosis of tendinitis in his landing-leg.  The differences are pretty clear. 

Here’s D-Train last year:

Here’s last week:

What does that mean for his short- and long-term prospects with Rock City? Freep has it this way.

Lakeland pitching coach Joe Coleman told The Lakeland Ledger that Thursday’s outing was “a very positive step toward Dontrelle’s return to Detroit.”

We’re going to learn a lot in the coming 12 days (3 with the Royals, 3 with the Palehose, and 4 with the Indians).  Here’s hoping our $29M man is around to contribute.

[LFTBlog] [Freep] [WWL]

Halfway point brings turtle head out for Tigs

June 30, 2008

On the day of the season’s 81st game, the Tigers pull out of loserdome and into a winning record.  With a 3 game sweep of the Rockies (who’s season couldn’t get much rockier… boo..) the Rock City Cats poke out one game over .500 to 41-40.

As I alluded to back in May, the day the Tigs climbed out of the cellar for the first time, 2SL’s ill-advised public faith in the Cubs, Eday’s consistency with his support of the Elephants (cheap shots be damned), and Smooth’s positive outlook for the Manuel era… all these things make baseball season around APIAS headquarters great.

Well, and hotdogs and beer too… obviously.

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Lakeland, FL; the place to be post-injury/sucking

June 16, 2008

A few days after Tigers’ flamethrower Joel Zumaya departed Lakeland, FL for his rehab assignment, the laid back tiny baseball town in Central Florida probably thought it was headed back to minor-league business as usual.  Well, not with Dave Dombrowski calling the shots in Rock City.

Last Tuesday, after Dontrelle Willis’ 1 1/3 inning, 2 homer, 5 walk, 8 run debacle, he was optioned down to the Single-A team to work on “control and command” with the Instructs staff, the organization’s pitching coordinator, Jon Matlack, and Lakeland pitching coach Joe Coleman.

Today the front office announced that the D-Train will be getting some company.

Gary Sheffield is heading south in order to rehab his strained oblique

Gary Sheffield will begin a major league rehab assignment with the Flying Tigers on Monday in Sarasota against the Sarasota Reds. Sheffield is expected to play in Lakeland for the Flying Tigers when the team returns to Joker Marchant Stadium on Thursday, June 19th at 7:00 p.m. against the Tampa Yankees. He is anticipated to be with the Flying Tigers for one week.

This makes the total salary of the Lakeland Flying Tigers weekend roster somewhere just over $20.3M.  With Sheffields $13.3M and Willis $7M taking the lion’s share.

No word yet on whether Dombrowski and Leyland like Lakeland so much for the warm temperatures, coaching staff, small town atmosphere, aging cleat chasers or delicious Rib Sampler from Brother’s BBQ.  At any rate, it seems to have worked for Joel Zumaya, who’s unprecedented recovery from AC Joint replacement should have him back with the big club before next week.

Here’s hoping Dontrelle and Gary can find the same magic potion… or at least a delicious Pork Chop Platter for only $6.25

[MiLB] [Tigers.com] [Brothers BBQ]

Dropping Bombs; Tigs sweep Park Rangers

April 25, 2008

The get-out-of-town game couldn’t end quickly enough for the Texas Rangers’ pitchers.  After shredding them for 29 runs in the first 2 games, the Rock City Cats took another approach Thursday afternoon dropping 5 bombs on them, 2 by Magglio.  That is the most in a single game by any team in the  bigs so far this year.

Even Grando, on his second day back, pitched in, knocking the first pitch of the 1st inning over the left field wall.  Guess the finger is okay.

This is the kind of offense Tiger fans have been salivating for since December.  One can only hope it keeps up.

The 4 in a row drives the record to 10-13 and puts them a game up from the cellar, currently occupied by Cleveland (which is in Ohio, which already smells funny).

Tonight brings struggling Tiger Nate Robertson (0-2) against red-hot Ervin Santana (3-0) who just licked the Mariners for 3 H, 0 BB, 8K in 8 strong.

Then again, the Mariners didn’t put 5 free baseballs in the outfield stands on Thursday.

FWP: Tiger’s Already Won!

April 11, 2008

fwp.jpgFearless Weekend Predictions is a weekly column running on Friday afternoons where our resident soothsayer (or whoever we can get) locks down what will transpire in the coming 72 hours. It’s better to get these out before the 7-year is open.  The crystal ball gets cloudy.

Hmm, I’m a little scared to try my hand at predicting anything after last week’s debacle.  I guessed wrong on Carolina and UCLA winning, the Mets winning anything, Tony Stewart winning at Texas, a great croquet game and who the Lady Vols would beat in the National Championship.  Luckily, it was a great weekend and we’re almost positive Billy Clyde slept with someone’s girlfriend.  Fortunately, a new weekend is upon us and Keeneland is still running.  Even without college basketball, this shapes up to be quite a weekend in sports.  The Masters is going on all weekend, baseball is in full swing, the NBA’s regular season is winding down and Keeneland has its biggest race all year long.  Hell, I can’t do any worse than I did last week, right?

Tiger Woods will win the Masters.  I know I’m not going out on any limb here, but he’s really amazing.  Instead of talking about whether he’ll win the tournament or not, he gets asked about if he can win the Grand Slam.  This is also in no way to be seen as a reverse jinx on Tiger, because I may have a wager against APIAS.net friend, Brubaker, on if Tiger will win two or more Majors this year.  Definitely not.  Not at all.  It’s in the bag.

Jamie McMurray will win the race in Phoenix Saturday night.  I really just picked this one out of thin-air.  Actually, I looked through the list of qualifiers and found one with a funny sponsor.  Crown Royal sponsors McMurray, which seems like such an odd pair.  Is Crown really a pre-race drink?  How about during the race?  I’ve never been to one so I don’t know, but I’m here to make predictions, remember?

Johan Santana will beat the Brewers.  This guy has been awesome, no matter how the Met bullpen has tried to do the opposite.  He’s pitched fourteen innings this year and only given up three runs.  The Mets finally beat Philly after losing to them nine times in a row, and actually beat them twice.  Here’s hoping they get on the right side of .500 this weekend and don’t look back.

Visionaire will win the Bluegrass Stakes.  Saturday is a huge Derby-prep day.  It will do a lot to set the field for the first weekend in May.  Pyro is the (worthy) even-money favorite, but there is NO money to be made there, so one must find some value.  Visionaire is becoming a trendy pick, but some girl I went to middle school with told me it was a winner. 

Billy Gillispie will sleep with your girlfriend and be tempted to go to Stillwater, OK.  Bill Self is stupid.  He was offered to be paid like he won’t be anywhere else to coach at his alma mater.  Oklahoma State was ready to let him be the coach there and create a legacy.  Oh well, I’m sure someone will say how nice it is that he’s staying and how loyal he is.  Screw that, show me the money!  Anyway, Billy G is said to be another top candidate to be the next coach of the Cowboys.  Hey, it wouldn’t be the first time a UK coach who maybe liked to drink a lot left Lexington for Stillwater.  Yes, I’m talking about you, Eddie Sutton.

Kevin Love and Darren Collison will declare for the NBA Draft.  You know, they reportedly declared and then they reportedly hadn’t declared.  I can’t figure out which is the bigger joke: the fact that these two just won’t admit they’re going to the NBA; or that Darren Collison is actually declaring for the NBA Draft.  Apparently, he didn’t see his performance against Derrick Rose and Memphis.  He was terrible offensively and defensively… and that’s about what basketball is all about.  Love should go, Collison should stay, but just announce it already.

This weekend is going to be awesome.  Bluegrass Stakes day always brings in huge crowds and we’ll certainly be there with the thousands.  Beer will be flowing, horses will be running, cornhole will be played and cougars college co-eds will be in skirts.  It probably doesn’t get much better than this.

Sam Zell scoffs at your traditions; profits

February 27, 2008

 

In a move sure to upset one 2SL and other baseball purists the globe over (read: me), Sam Zell, CEO of Tribune Company, which owns (and is actively selling) the Beloved Cubbies, has publicly opened the door to sell the naming rights to Wrigley Field.

During an interview on CNBC, Sam Zell says despite Wrigley Field being known world-wide, he didn’t get a discount because he wasn’t going to use the naming rights that the field represents.

Zell said he plans to sell the Cubs and Wrigley separately and in his own time frame. He also disclosed that Major League Baseball has approved “four or six” potential ownership groups and that any one of them would be fine.

Personally, if it’s going to happen sometime, I hope Wrigley’s Gum ponies up the cash in the name of all that is holy in sport (and in breath tolerability).  This way we could all double our pleasure!  It’s like 69.  Everybody wins.

And honestly, Mark Cuban has got to be as bored with the NBA as I am, right?  I mean, at least with baseball you get a season that stretches over 8 months and allows you to enjoy the playoffs for several weeks… what’s that… oh right. My mistake.

 Side Note:  2SL’s well documented journey to the North Side last summer appears to have come just in time.  Hey, at least we got in while the gettin’ was good (and original).  Beware the Standing Room Only Ladies.

[CBS2Chicago]

2007 Cubs Baseball – A Beginning

October 9, 2007

Cubs NationWhat an absolutely horrendous way to end the baseball season for the Chicago Cubs; Soriano, Lee and Ramirez went a combined 6 of 38 in the playoffs. Wow, 6 of 38. Talks of managerial decisions and discipline at the plate will dominate this off-season. As painful as it is was to watch the Diamondbacks sweep the Chicago Cubs, there is a silver lining to this 100 year old dark cloud.

Understanding growth, development, and the big picture can be tough in a world of instant gratification. The Chicago Cubs franchise is not a one-hit wonder. It is almost impossible for a team of the Cubs’ stature to make the postseason one out of every five years, and hope to turn one of those years into a World Championship team. Look at the last few one-hit wonders of this generation, the teams that showed up in the playoffs, put together a great run and magically won the whole thing: Diamondbacks 2001, Angels 2002, White Sox 2005, Marlins 1997 and 2003, . What is the one common component of these organizations? None of them were carrying the weight of an entire city, one of the largest fan bases in the country and a curse on their backs. Every one of those teams could just play baseball. There weren’t swirling expectations or the lingering taste of a “cursed” organization.

The Chicago Cubs are not afforded such a luxury. With every passing year comes a greater expectation, a greater desire and a growing anticipation of a World Series. Compound this by ten in a year when the team actually stands a chance of making the playoffs and contending for a ring. Any year the Cubs make the playoffs they take a 25 man roster, a coaching staff, and now 100 years of agony, 100 years of loyal fans begging for just one. (more…)

Real Life Playoff Predictions – Division Series

October 3, 2007

Rockies v. Phillies

I don’t know much, and I sure as hell don’t know what a Philly is, but I do know that if I have this

I win.  Even if they are girly.  (i.e. Horse is to Rock; Horsie …. yeah terrible joke)  Predictions after the jump.

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Just One Time…

October 3, 2007

I BELIEVE………DO YOU?