Archive for the ‘Hitting Pitchers’ Category

Oh My! (Lions unavailable)

June 23, 2009
Clark, Addison, Michigan, Trumbull... Check

Clark, Addison, Michigan, Trumbull... Check

Today starts the mid-week series between two APIAS homers in my Tigers and 2SL’s Cubbies.  Obviously this is an interesting interleague matchup between 2 historic teams.   It is also a rematch of the 1945 World Series, which I’m sure you all remember, was won by Los Tigres 4-3.  This was the same Series Cubs’ writer Warren Brown called “The World’s Worst Series.”  Seems like there may have also been somewhat of an international conflict going on around then, but who can say for sure?

The 1935 classic  was also won by the Tigs (4-2). 

You have to go all the way back to 1908 to locate a Cubby win against the boys from Motown.  Something sticks out about that year… but I digress.

More interesting these days, however, might be the pitching matchups those in the Chicago and Detroit metro areas (and all of us with MLB.tv) will get to enjoy.

Let’s take a look at what we’re getting this week.

Tonight:  Carlos Zambrano, RHP (4-2, 3.44) vs Edwin Jackson, RHP (6-4, 2.39)

Big Z is looking more like his old self after a quick stint on the DL.  He’s rocking a 2.20 ERA since rejoining the team.  Jackson, on the other hand, continues to be the horse everyone thought he was coming over from Tampa last year, only more impressive.  He is currently #1 on the team in ERA and has thrown more innings than Tiger ace Justin Verlander.

Tomorrow: Rich Harden, RHP (4-3, 5.27) vs Rick Porcello, RHP (8-4, 3.54)

This battle of relative newbies should provide plenty of contact but not much scoring.  Harden has held his spot nicely since coming over from Oakland and 20 year old Ricky P is doing nothing but validating his enormous signing bonus in 2007.  He may wear down sometime toward the late summer (having never pitched above single-A before this year) but don’t tell him, with his 8 wins and sub-4 ERA.

Thursday: Ted Lilly, LHP (7-4, 3.04) vs Armando Galarraga, RHP (3-7, 5.62)

Galarraga is one more bad outing from losing his job in the rotation.   The Tigers have hit LHP’s well this year, but Lilly has been consistently solid, with a team-leading 11 quality starts.  I’ll take the Cubs to win here, but the story really will be: Can Armando find the 5th inning?

Get ready for some good-time historic baseball this week.  I’m a sucker for tradition, so you can bet I’ll be on the porch watching this one.

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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.

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.

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.

APIAS Road Trip: Detroit Holy Shit

April 29, 2009
That's why its antihero comes in a convenient cup

That's why its antihero comes in a convenient cup

Well, we’re back. Barely. Somewhere between Detroit and Toledo the brakes on the ‘Rango decided to… what’s the word here… FALL OFF THE FUCKING CAR! So that was awesome. A trip that took us right at 5 hours (and one big air high five to Big Butter Jesus) to get there returned at approximately 7.5 hours. But hey, you guys don’t care about the rolling death trap we charted through three storms and endless Dayton traffic anyway.

You’re sitting there thinking, wrap it up, TGC, where’s the recap… where’re the pictures?  Okay okay.  I’m getting to that.

First let me ramble a little bit about the Greektown Casino.  This story ends with it being my fault for continuing to open my wallet up and pull money out, but before that, let’s go over the details.

(more…)

Opening Week: Best and Worst, episode 2

April 15, 2009

Best Math: Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan.  According to Passan, the Cleveland Indians have hit the “Panic Number.”  Which is 1-6.  Which is technically two numbers. 

See why we call 1-6 the Panic Number?

It gets uglier when looking at the full seasons of the wild-card era. Since 1996, only three teams have finished above .500 after starting 1-6: the ’04, ’06 and ’07 Phillies, who seem to have a knack for reversing ugly starts.

It’s an interesting read.  Check it out.

Worst season opening scheduling:  Detroit.  The Tigers are in the midst of a 6-game 1pm start time streak, to be followed by 10pm, 9pm, 4pm (Sunday) and then three more 10pm games.  What’s a guy got to do to watch the Tigers on the back porch after work and not be up til 3am?  Sheesh.

Best Relief Pitcher-Hitter:  Nick Swisher.  In the throws of a 15-5 rout by the Rays, Swish pitched a scoreless 8th inning for the Yanks (oh, and homered).  He’s also hitting .458 with 4 dingers so far on the year.  And Eday had a beer with his dad in 2006.  What a guy!

Worst Relief Pitcher Hitter: Gabe Kapler.  Struck out against the first non-pitcher to throw in a game since Wade Boggs did it in 1997 (also for the Yankees).

Best APIAS homers surprise:  BobWicket’s Reds.  They’ve looked good and they are above .500.  Those two things haven’t been said in the same season since 2005.  I love the makeup of this team, now if only Dusty B would play more small ball.

Worst APIAS disappointment:  TIE Smooth’s Metropolitans and 2SL’s Cubbies.  The Mets have struggled in the close ones (3-4 overall), but the pitching is coming around and Johan is going to be fantastic.  The Cubs didn’t go undefeated.

Best Week Ever Ever:  Patrick Schuster. All Schuster did last week was throw 3 no-hitters.  No shit.  THREE NO HITTERS!  And his coach couldn’t be less enthused.  “He’s on a roll and he’s got confidence in every pitch he’s throwing right now,” Mitchell head coach Scot Wilcox said of his ace. “That’s why we’re seeing so much success out of him.”  Yeah, and I guess Scarlett Johanssen isn’t the ugliest girl in the bar tonight.  Schuster is a University of Florida signee, but something tells me he might not make it to Gainesville.

NOTE:  MLB has forced the takedown of all Youtube video of Nick Swisher pitching.  I’m thinking Steinbrenner had something to do with that…

Opening Week: Best and Worst, episode 1

April 9, 2009

cc_sad

The long-awaited opening week is halfway over.  We are now securely in the throws of regular season baseball. Let’s take a minute to review the weeks highs and lows, bests and worsts.

Worst $161 Million spent:  CC Sabathia.  The newest gazillionaire in pin-stripes (Main St, not Wall St people) showed up for his first day of work to a battery of hazing, delivered by the MLB equivalent of annoying 5th graders–the Orioles.  4.1 innings, 6 runs (that’s a 12.47 ERA).  Sabathia explained it this way, “We swung the bats well today and scored five runs. We should win the game when we swing the bats like that. It was just one of those days – a bad day.”  One would think, for $100+Million, you could buy what you needed to avoid bad days.  Just ask A-Rod.

Best Mustache:  Brian Tallet. Not only has Mr. Tallet had a good week on the hill, (2 games, 6 batters faces, no hits or walks) but he showed up to the dance with the best set of facial hair since Rollie Fingers.  I mean if I could grow a lip collar like that, I would do it in a heartbeat, sex with females be damned.

Worst off-season defensive upgrade: Adam Everett.  The Tigers blamed a lot of ’08s failures on lack of range, and defensive weakness, namely Edgar Renteria.  They planned to remedy the situation by signing Everett away from the Twins (who played all of 48 and 66 games the last 2 years).  His contribution so far 3 assists, 1 error (that led to a 5-4 loss), and no hits.  Stay loose Ramon Santiago.

Best Opening Day Starter: Roy Halladay.  Halladay has the B-Jays  4-3 on opening days (meaning, yes, Doc has gotten the nod 7 straight years).  The 2003 Cy Young winner, and last year’s runner-up, continued this feat going 7 strong Monday for the W.  He’s now halfway to Jack Morris’ record of 14 straight opening day starts.

 Worst New Closer:  TIE Brandon Lyon and Brian Fuentes.  Lyon spent most of spring training giving up 8th and 9th inning runs and ended up losing the closer job to Fernando Rodney before camp broke.  Fuentes won the job, but has already blown 2 saves in 2 tries.  Watching these guys try to get 3 outs is like watching Iraqis try to do jumping jacks.

APIAS Road Trips – Summer 2009, part I

March 25, 2009

The air is warming up, the fairways are turning green, the snow is gone (finally), and baseball is around the corner. All of this can mean only one thing. Pounding the pavement.

I want to take a minute to outline the (ever-changing) APIAS Summer Road Tour 2009 schedule.  You’ll remember past tours to Detriot (again), Bristol, and of course Keeneland.  This year’s tour will include venues old and new.

And down the stairs he falls!

And down the stairs he falls!

Not to take away from the preview Smoothron will no doubt write next week, but the first order of business once you switch your thermostat from heat to A/C is, of course, Keeneland in Lexington, KY.  The final few stages of Kentucky Derby prep racing take place April 3-24.  The majors of this meet are the $750K Blue Grass Stakes on April 11, and the $350K Lexington Stakes on April 18.  Burgoo, spirits, short dresses, big hats, bo… sorry, Smooth will get you the preview at a later date.

Gotta love the 2 block walk to the stadium.

Gotta love the 2 block walk to the stadium.

The next order of business will be back to the land of Leyland.  Fuzzybuzz and myself will be jetsetting (read: Dodge Durang0) to Michigan for the Yankees-Tigers series April 27-30.  I don’t care if the Greektown Casino did file bankruptcy, they should better mark their Roulette tables.

I know theres a Jimmy Johns around here somewhere...

I know there's a Jimmy John's around here somewhere...

Soon after that, on May 2, the whole crew can be found on 4th street in Louisville under the Twin Spires.  It’ll be this cowboy’s first time to the Derby, but not the first beer on 4th Street.  Hell, I might even catch a concert or two.  Maybe a nice balcony bike ride.  No promises or apologies either day.  (Race you to York?)

See you there.

Other potential stops include Richmond, VA, Atlanta, GA, Austin, TX, San Diego, CA, Omaha, NE, Cincinnati, OH and Knoxville, TN.  Feel free to weigh in.

Venezuela Tigers have Puerto Rico on ropes

March 17, 2009
No doubt longing for the smoky halls of Joker Marchant. (SB Nation)
No doubt longing for the smoky halls of Joker Marchant. (SB Nation)

The team from the Rich Port is in danger for the first time in this tournament, losing 2-0 last night.  Stymied by a solid pitching effort out of Venezuelans Felix Hernandez, Enrique Gonzales, and K-Rod himself throwing 1 1/3 hitless to close it out, Pudge’s boys are one loss from elimination.

Tonight’s game between the ‘Ricans and the ‘Merkins will be the second time in 4 days the two teams have met with PR taking a 11-1 mercy-rule win back to the HoJo on Saturday.
In the past two days, the United States has seen four players go down with ailments — Dustin Pedroia (left oblique strain), Chipper Jones (right oblique strain), Ryan Braun (right side) and Matt Lindstrom (strained right rotator cuff).

Scheduled to pitch for the injury-riddled USA is Ted Lilly, who gave up only 3 hits and 1 run–a solo homer–in his first start (against Venezuela).

Call me unpatriotic (and if you do, say the same thing about Todd Helton, Andy Sonnanstine, Tim Lincecum, etc), but tonight I’m just hoping for a game that goes the full 9-innings. 

The Tigers are already in the semis.

[WBC]

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…)