May 2008 Archives

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Many congratulations to Manny Ramirez, who hit his 500th career home run off Orioles pitcher Chad Bradford tonight. He's already earned an easy pass into the hall of fame but this accomplishment is a nice, easy round number that will make people remember him more for his amazing hitting skills than his wacky antics.

I find it hard to believe that Manny has never won an MVP award considering he's been one of the top American League run producers for nearly 14 years. Still, he won the Hank Aaron Award twice (1999 and 2004) and has two more World Series rings than his closest competitor in offensive production in the AL, Alex Rodriguez.

Kudos, Manny! Here's hoping that he celebrates by actually making the All Star Game this year.

The Saturday Lunchtime Post

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SatMornPost.jpgToday!

On the heels of yesterday's huge comeback the Cubs try to keep the momentum against the Rockies... Verlander against The King as the Tigers look to go 6-0 vs. the M's... BEAT LA! BEAT LA!... In your National Game on Fox, Mets try to bounce back against the Dodgers and the mystique of Chad Billlingsley... Scott Kazmir looks to stay dominant and the Rays look to avenge last night's loss to the White Sox... The Braves try for the love of Christ not to lose again on the road... Red Sox try to build on last night's extra inning win against the Orioles... Padres look to build on last night's extra inning win against the Giants... It's the day we've all been waiting for! Kyle Davies makes his '08 debut for the Royals against the Indians... Lance Berkman's amazing May comes to an end today against the Brewers... Wang v. Boof for some of the marbles... Philadelphia looks to pile on the Marlins again and pad their newly minted NL East lead... Blanton v. Ponson one night after a 3-1 pitchers' duel in Arlington... St. Louis looks for two in a row against the Pirates... WoW CERTIFIED DUEL OF THE DAY: Marcum v. Lackey... Brandon Webb and the Snakes need to get back on track one night after dropping the series' first game to the Nats.

Enjoy your Saturday, WoWies. I'm headed to Providence.

Weekend Questions

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Hey kids, get your dirty fingers out of the marmalade jar and tune in to find out:

  • CAN the Phillies take two of three from the Marlins (including the Sunday game of the week on TBS) and claim sole possession of first place?

  • DO the first place White Sox stand a ghost of a chance in winning over the hearts of the Chicago faithful if they continue to beat the first place Rays?

  • WHICH rotation will reign supreme in the Angels / Blue Jays series? McGowan, Marcum, Burnett or Weaver, Lackey, Garland?

  • WILL that fucking asshole in the dumptruck who clipped my car and sent me fishtailing into the median on Interstate 80 get his comeuppance?

Enjoy your weekend, watch some baseball, and tune in Saturday and Sunday to read some....something.

Today's classic TV post features this delightful filmstrip about the introduction of Little League baseball to the quiet village of Roslyn, New York. It's nearly fifteen minutes long but you get a good taste about the enthusiasm of an entire Long Island town about the sport of baseball.

Thanks to Ira Gallen of New York City, who is collecting a bunch of videos on YouTube for the baby boomer generation.


Just can't keep those mothers in the kitchen!

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  • 2:20, Rockies at Cubs: Hooray for Wrigley Field Friday afternoon games! The Cubs seek to continue their crushing dominance over the National League West as they go for win number five in a row over the hapless division. The Rockies are already in "lets play out the season and wait for Jesus to save our hides" mode, and they're throwing their best pitcher into the fire. Aaron Cook is 3-1 with a 2.82 ERA in his career against the Cubs but this will be his first time pitching in IvyTown USA. Hope the wind is blowing in, Aaron! The Cubs' pitcher of choice today is Ted Lilly, who is just slightly less shitty at home than he is on the road.

What's Up Creampuff: Dudes That Got Hurt

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stretcher.JPGI'm re-reading Fast Food Nation and I just got through the chapter about Kenny, the guy that worked in meatpacking for 16 years and his litany of injuries. Broken back, severed fingers, chlorine poisoning heart attacks. Guy went to work everyday, then was fired one day while in the hospital. YOU SHOULD READ THAT BOOK, WIMPY MAJOR LEAGUERS.

  • Frank Thomas, A's: Thomas is on the DL after hurting his quadricep legging out a double. Wow, no wonder he got injured! What a high risk maneuver. He really shouldn't be putting himself in harm's way like that. BIG HURT INDEED GUFFAW GUFFAW.

  • Fausto Carmona, Indians: Carmona is expected to miss four weeks after getting his dick caught in a vice. Oh wait I read that wrong. He has a left hip strain. According to the Indians trainer, the injury is uncommon for starting pitchers and Carmona's "maximum-effort pitching style might have contributed toward the injury." Rawk.

  • Troy Percival, Rays: As his wife has told me many times, "Troy is just getting old and some stuff doesn't work like it used to. Now rub this cocoa butter on my back, my bra has been chafing." His comeback story hit a minor bumb when he landed on the DL this week with a hamstring strain. But hey, the Rays are a juggernaut now and can deal with this sort of thing no problem.

  • Eric Gagne, Brewers: Gags has shoulder tendinitis. Doctor's believe it was developed when Ned Yost broke into his house and hit him repeatedly on the arm with a tire iron.

  • Gary Sheffield, Tigers: Apparently you can't get cortisone shots in your stomach, because Sheff just hit the DL with oblique spasms. That's one of the craziest sounding injuries I've read about since writing this column. Sounds painful but also sounds like it would make him a good dancer. Like he's just standing there and then his obliques start spasming and suddenly he's doing the cha-cha.
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On Tuesday morning, San Francisco sat 10 games behind NL West leading Arizona. After sweeping the Diamondbacks in Phoenix, they're now just 7 games behind. That's basic baseball math, people. That's simple subtraction, folks. No fancy abracadabra algebra or hocus pocus calculus hokum. Last night, Randy Winn came up in the ninth against reliever Chad Qualls and hit his second tater tot of the night to win the game for the Giants. Randy Johnson's semi-historic night took a back seat and his chance for the win was lost at the hands of the Diamondbacks bullpen.

Looking at the big picture, the question arises: what the heck is wrong with the National League West? Predicted by many to be the most competitive division in baseball, they've come out of the gate choking on the dry desert air. One-third of the way through the season and the five teams in the NL West have amassed a collective 60-90 record against the rest of baseball. That's .400 baseball! Teams like the Cubs (11-2) and the Phillies (12-6) are padding their resumes by making the most of their games against the West.

Arizona was riding high through April and most of May, playing on a pace to win well over 100 games. After this sweep? They're on pace to win less than 90. Excluding the hapless Nationals, the Giants, Padres and Rockies have the three worst records in the National League. Yuck!

What lies ahead for these teams' futures? Well Arizona will still most likely win the division. The Dodgers are in the middle of a rough road trip and fell one game under .500 with their loss last night to the Mets. Their wild card chances are on the rocks. The Padres, under the advisement of superstar sabermetrician Paul DePodesta, are in a rebuilding year. The Giants are turning out to be the surprise team in the majors, mostly because there are actually six teams with worse records. The Rockies? They just outright suck.

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Hope you didn't have tickets for Opening Day of the Israel Baseball League because you'll really plotz when you hear the 2008 season just went into the crapper. What gives?

According to (league president Haim) Katz, the league's problems stemmed largely from a number of Israeli creditors who, he said, had not been paid by the IBL. "2008 is not happening, 2009 we're working on. Right now it's [nearly] the first of June, and there's no preparation. But there are many parties interested in reviving professional baseball [in Israel]."

Translation: there's no money and the league is worth bubkes. This all comes six months after the commissioner and most of the advisory board members (including Bud Selig's daughter and former Milwaukee Brewers owner Wendy Selig-Prieb and Yankees president Randy Levine) resigned because of "failure to manage capital and other resources in order to produce successful results". Translation: there's no money and the league is worth bubkes.

The league started last year with six teams that were populated with players selected by director of player development and former Red Sox GM Dan Duquette. I guess he did a real cockamamie job of assembling the teams. Whatta klumnik!

Alex Brittel of the Jerusalem Post blames the low attendance on the fact that there were too many Americans on the rosters:

Throughout the season the announcements were mostly in English, the Hebrew section of the official Web site was poor quality and the fields were difficult to get to. Israelis had little affiliation with the teams made up of players from around the world, just not Israel.

Oy gevalt! What's Bet Shemesh Blue Sox manager Ron Blomberg gonna do now with all his free time?

Here's what happened in baseball when the monolith towered over me

Braves 8, Brewers 1: Oh noes Jorge Campillo gave up his first run as a starter! No worries, he also collected his first major league hit and drove in his first two runs; too bad he had to leave after five innings with a blister. Campillo racked up six strikeouts before allowing a tater tot to new Brewer Russell Branyan. Mark Teixeira hit a three run ding dong and drove in four and Chipper Jones had two hits to up his batting average to .420. Crazy stoner.

Blue Jays 12, Athletics 0: Blue Jays starter Jesse Litsch is a wizard! Kill it! Kill the wizard! He's amassed a sixteen-inning scoreless streak and earned his seventh win of the year against just one loss. Rangers castoffs Kevin Mench, Rod Barajas and Brad Wilkerson were the offensive stars, combining for six RBI and six runs. The victory marked the 300th win of John Gibbons' managerial career; he celebrated by hunting down Shea Hillenbrand and punching him in the nose.

Pirates 7, Reds 2: Twenty-six year old rookie Phil Dumatrait is coming up so you better get this party started. Kid has the best start of his lifetime and possibly the best start by any Pirates pitcher this season, holding Cincy to one unearned run on two walks and two hits in seven innings. Wow! Nine strikeouts! Not bad for someone who was summarily waived by the Reds last year. Jason Bay had his team-leading 13th homer in the win.

I wish I could explain why a naked Swedish man is running around the bases in this video, or why I decided to post it on Walkoff Walk, or why I just switched to full screen high quality mode so I could get a better look at his ding-dong, but hurry up and watch this crazy video before YouTube wakes up and decides it violates their terms of use:

Tonight's Questions

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night game.jpgHey homoz, what's the deal with the low fat ricotta:


Then stop by tomorrow for all the answers. Same WoW time, same WoW channel.
linkpunch gorillaSometimes people write better than us. Each Tuesday and Thursday WoW gives you our favorite baseball links we've come across.

  • Jay Jaffe pens an excellent column about Marvin Miller's nose-thumbing of the hall of fame. I support Miller 100% and am glad that someone is speaking out against that awful place and the horrid people who run it. Baseball Prospectus.

  • Simon blames the Mets collapse on the curse of Julio Franco. Since Franco left, Jose Reyes' OPS has dropped 66 points and the average age of Mets position players went down 5 months. Simon on Sports.

  • Darren Rovell examines the 1989 Ken Griffey rookie card from Upper Deck. It's like the Honus Wagner baseball card of baseball cards.. Slate.

  • Enrico lets us know that New York City is good at re-writing history. Ladies and gentlefolk, your 2007 NL East Champion New York Mets! The 700 Level.

  • Beat writer Shannon Drayer gets lost in Harlem on her way to Yankee Stadium but that's not even the saddest part of the story. She covers the Mariners. KOMO News.

  • Jesse Spector does a good job assembling some raw numbers into a telling Relief Report. Shocker: Hideki Okajima has allowed 11 of 14 inherited runners to score. Touching Base.

  • Following up on Mark Cuban's piece on salary caps, Shawn thinks that salary floors would be even worse in baseball. I've always thought that shitty teams like the Royals need to spend more money to be competitive but this piece makes me rethink my original position. Squawking Baseball.

  • Forty-two different versions of "Harlem Nocturne". WFMU's Beware of the Blog.
felix jose.jpgThe Calgary Vipers, a professional team in something called the Golden Baseball League felt they needed some more pop in the lineup after splitting this weekend's series with the Edmonton Cracker-Cats. And who can blame them? We've mentioned numerous times what a joke that Cracker-Cats rotation is. To bring a little more lumber to the party, the Vipers reached out and signed, who else, 43 year old former Athletic, Cardinal, Royal, and Diamondback, Felix Jose!!!

"I'm going to try to put some hits up," says the designated hitter. "I'm going to try to help the team keep producing."

"He's a veteran player; he can still swing," says Vipers manager Mike Busch. "He'll do what he does best, and be a role model for the younger guys."

It's not the first time Jose has played in Calgary. His first visit was in 1984 with Idaho Falls of the Pioneer League to play the Calgary Expos. During the 1988-89 season, Jose was a member of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League's Tacoma Tigers, competing against the Calgary Cannons.

1984! Dayum. He's only been out of the majors since 2003 so maybe there's still some gas in the tank. Certainly it improves the mood of any clubhouse to have someone named Felix in it.

It wasn't the only acquisition the Vipers made this week. They also signed former Calgary Flame, Theo Fleury. To play baseball. In related news Sammy Sosa is retiring because no one wants him on their team.

Shattered Head: Today's Afternoon Games

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  • 1:05, Braves at Brewers: The Braves lost by 1 run again. On the road. Again. I legitimately can't remember a team having such rigid quirks about losing. Braves fans, how do you live like this? Jorge Campillo goes for the Braves. He's thrown 10 shutout innings in his two starts but has walked 9. Seth McClung, whose name sounds like a teen actor, goes for the Brewers.

  • 3:35, Rays at A's: The rubber match of this WoW hyped series sees Jesse Litsch against Dana Eveland. Last night's duel between Doc Halladay and Rich "Are My Bones and Tendons Finally Starting To" Harden was as good as expected. Halladay's victory last night put the Jays at 3 games over .500 for the first time all year.

  • 3:35, Nationals at Padres: John Lannan takes on Wilfredo Ledezma in this clash o...... zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
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After some boring speculation about where the NHL would play their next Winter Classic, Gary Bettman has finally decided that pitting two hockey teams against one another on some ice in Wrigley Field would be a fantastic idea. Sure, run with it. Seems as though the Chicago Blackhawks will be facing the Detroit Red Wings on New Years Day 2009 at the House That Gum Built.

I'm surprised that the game won't be played at Soldier Field instead. It's bigger and icier and holds many more insane Chicagoans. Wrigley being a baseball park, this brings up tons of questions. Will fans in the bleachers be allowed to boo Nikolai Khabibulin? Will some Chicago celeb like George Wendt sing "Hockey Monkey" during the second intermission? Heck, will they throw Ron Santo's out on the ice with skates on his hands just for laughs?

Chicago didn't earn the nickname "Second City" for nothing though: they weren't really the first choice of Senor Bettman:

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said last week that the proposed game at Yankee Stadium isn't as likely to happen because of a "variety of issues," according to Newsday. "There are some winterization issues, because it is an older stadium," Bettman told reporters in a conference call. "... I don't know whether or not they can be resolved."

Translation: you'll get a hockey game in Yankee Stadium over George Steinbrenner's dead bloated body.

Sizzling Blind Item

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mystery_man.jpgWhat's the deal with a certain fat Big Apple pitcher's throwing routine? Our fly on the wall says the much fussed over round mound of the mound threw 28 pitches last night in a game situation then threw 27 in the bullpen after being removed for the team's more heralded latino closer. What gives? Why not let Tons O' Fun just finish his work out on the hill? He had been throwing well and El Closero had worked the night before. Methinks the team's spaghetti twisting skipper is putting a little too much emphasis on getting his guy the save.

Anyway, with another injury befalling one of the club's waspy porcelain starters, look for Fudgy The Whale to be making his first career start any day now.
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The Seattle Mariners season started last night. Major offseason acquisition Erik Bedard had his first impressive start against a quality team as he hurled seven quality innings of 2-hit, 3-walk, and 8-strikeout ball against the vaunted Boston Red Sox offense. Bedard threw 69 of his 109 pitches for strikes and got the win thanks to a solo ding-dong from Mariner shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt.

Get excited Mariners fans! Get excited because even though your team's record is 20-34, you can still win 128 games this season! Only if Bedard pitches every game like he did last night, Betancourt turns into the new A-Rod, and you dig up the corpse of Norm Charlton to steady a shaky bullpen.

Let's check in on emo Seattle beat writer and headline-creator extraordinaire Geoff Baker to see how he's celebrating:

"But the season doesn't start in June. If this was the final week of spring training, these M's would be poised and ready to live up to their hype as the season neared. But it's May 28. All they can do now is hope the newer hype about how bad they've really been so far enables them to catch teams off guard. To sneak up on opponents the way they did in 2007. To make this disaster of a 2008 season a little more palatable in the won-lost column. And to learn something going forward. Maybe give the folks running the show a little better idea of what needs to be fixed. Their timing would be the first thing on the repair list."

Oh Christ. I can actually hear the Elliott Smith album playing in the background of Baker's hip one-bedroom loft in Belltown.

Here's what happened in baseball while I laid my weary bones tonight:

Phillies 6, Rockies 1: Adam Eaton finally grabbed the brass ring in his eleventh start, earning his first dubya of the year behind the offensive antics of the Phillies. Eaton did his part by going six strong innings and even lowering his ERA below 5.00! Yes, it's at 4.99, but shit, that's totes sub-five-point-oh. Chase Utley made me forget about my Dan Uggla man-crush for a day and hit his major league leading 17th ding dong. Don't worry, Chase...I voted for you on six All-Star ballots so far. Keep on keepin' on.

Mets 7, Marlins 6 (12): Those New York Mets got my memo and supported their manager-under-fire with a stellar come-from-behind win over the first place Marlins. Met Endy Chavez tater-totted in the ninth to hand Kevin Gregg a blown save and send the game to extras. Marlin Alfredo Amanzega ding-donged in the top of the 12th to give Florida a lead, but it was Fernando Tatis' two-run double in the bottom of the inning that forced every single human being on the field to walk off in an orderly fashion. There were seven homers in the game, two of them credited to Cody Ross.

Brewers 1, Braves 0: A pitching duel between Jeff Suppan and Jo-Jo Reyes? I'm surprised but proud of the two fellas. So sorry to see that only one gentleman could go home a winner...and that gent was Suppan, thanks to some timely hitting by Rickie Weeks. Weeks' triple in the eighth off Blaine Boyer drove in J.J. Hardy and the Braves were handed their 392nd one-run road loss this season. Walkoff Walk favorite Salomon Torres done got his fourth save. Whoopee!

Cubs 2, Dodgers 1 (10): After Alfonso Soriano walkoff-won the game in the bottom of the tenth, Chris Berman quoted Arte Johnson. Welcome to 1968, folks!

Tonight's Questions

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Hey kids, tune in tonight to find out:


Then stop by tomorrow for all the answers. Same WoW time, same WoW channel.

Holy crap, Corey Patterson was optioned to triple-A Louisville to make room for infielder Andy Phillips! I guess the Reds needed a backup first baseman to Joey Votto more than they needed a seventh outfielder/pinch runner. Holy moses smell the roses!

Here's a sampling of the comments on John Fay's report:

  • waynekrenchiki wrote: THANK YOU GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • puckhogg wrote: YESSSSSSSS there is a god
  • KevinFtMyers wrote: I want to hug Walt Jocketty.

Wow, it's like a holiday in Cincinnati today. Chili with spaghetti for everyone!

bushbat.jpgYesterday I declared the Nationals dead. Today in the autopsy I'll outline one of the major causes of death: the absolutely horrific production from the outfield. Oh sure we in the sports comedanalysis business were chomping at the bit for Lastings Milledge, Willy Mo Pena, Elijah Dukes and um... Austin Kearns to join forces, but so far they've been quiet in every imaginable way. Let's let John Perotto of Baseball Prospectus hike up his short pants and regale us with some dorkspeak:

It is certainly not uncommon for teams to get a lack of production from a certain position. However, rare is the case where an entire outfield is an offensive black hole. That has been so with the Nationals this season, because their outfielders are barely outhitting their pitchers. Center fielder Lasting Milledge has the best EqA of the Nationals' three starting outfielders, with a paltry .227 mark, while left fielder Wily Mo Pena is at .176 and right fielder Elijah Dukes at .102. The Nationals' two reserves aren't any better, as Willie Harris has a .229 EqA and Rob Mackowiak's is .202.

Right fielder Austin Kearns carried a .198 EqA onto the disabled list this past week and is likely to miss the next month after having arthroscopic elbow surgery.

I had Darren do some digging and he pulled up these OPS numbers:

  • Milledge .652
  • Kearns .561
  • Dukes .446
  • Mackowiak .489
  • Pena .558

That is not fit for a major league ball club. It's an onion of mediocrity that reveals its stink with the removal of each translucent layer. I laughed at Manny Acta yesterday for campaigning a little early for Tim Redding's inclusion on the All-Star team. I don't laugh anymore. I think he's just trying to take his mind off of his outfield.
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Indians pitcher Jake Westbrook is making his first start off the disabled list against the first place Chicago White Sox. He'll face Gavin Floyd, one of the great success stories in the ChiSox rotation this year. Four out of five starters have an ERA under 3.52, led by Floyd at 2.93.

The real story with Chicago, however, is how a first place team can have so much goddamn drama. Manager Ozzie Guillen is feuding with shortstop Orlando Cabrera, conditioning coach Allen Thomas is feuding with reliever Octavio Dotel, and DH Jim Thome is feuding with pancakes.

Your liveglog begins after the jump.

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  • 12:05: White Sox at Indians: I see you have returned, Jake Westbrook. Know that in your absence my contempt for you only grew. Chicago and Cleveland play today's early game hot on the heels of last night's wacky tilt. Gavin Floyd takes the hill for the White Sox. His last start was a complete game three hit loss against the Angels. It appears that Travis Hafner will miss his third straight game today and could land on the DL. Rob gon' glog it.

  • 12:40: Rangers at Rays: Kason Gabbard goes for Texas while the white hot Matt Garza looks to extend the 14 1/3 scoreless innings he's spun in his last two starts. After last night's win the Rangers are 27-27 bringing up one of my favorite stats of the year from WoW friend Evan Grant:

Counting the start of the season, the Rangers have been at .500 nine times now this year. On eight of the nine times when they had a chance to go above .500, they've lost the game. The one win they had was then followed by a five-game losing streak.

Lollerskates.
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I hate Mets fans. Always have. I grew up a Yankees fan in North Jersey in the 1980s, and my best friend Dave always bragged about the Mets' big world championship in '86 as if it was the second coming of Yahweh. I had to suffer ten years until 1996 before I could feel that same joy, and you better believe I've spent the last twelve years shaming Dave as much as possible. But when Yankees bench coach Willie Randolph finally got his chance to manage a big league club, I regretted the fact that he'd lead my favorite team's crosstown rival, those hated New York Mets.

After 11 seasons as a coach for the Yanks, and exactly zero seasons managing any team at any level, Randolph got the job as Mets manager for the 2005 season. Quick career summary for Willie:

  • 2005: 83-79, 3rd place, first winning record for the Mets in 4 years
  • 2006: 97-64, 1st place, heartbreak loss to Cardinals in the NLCS
  • 2007: 88-74, 2nd place, historic collapse gives division to Phillies
  • 2008: 23-26, 4th place, 6.5 games behind Marlins on Memorial Day

Okay, the Mets missed the World Series by one game in '06 and missed the playoffs by one game in '07. Theywerethisclose to greatness in both years. There are two schools of thought on this: (1) Randolph should be lauded for the team's winning records and it was just bad luck that they missed the ultimate success by a hair or (2) Randolph was hired to influence the talent on the team and make vital managerial moves that would put the Mets over the top. If you subscribe to (1), then you are willing to forgive the past two years' shortcomings and wait out the 2008 season. If you are like certain Mets fans and Mets bloggers and you subscribe to (2), you are Salome calling for his head on a charger.

I'm really not sure which school of thought I subscribe to. I don't know enough about the game of baseball to comment on what goes on in the clubhouse or dugout or in the hearts of baseball players. I also don't know shit about psychology or team-building exercises or coaxing the best performance out of millionaire athletes, so I'm not going to opine about Willie Randolph's job future right now. He seems like a nice guy and he lives not too far from me, so I might run into him at the grocery store one day. Friendliness aside, though, I just don't know enough about managing a baseball team to

I do, however, have enough information in front of me to disparage the Mets GM, Omar Minaya. He's put together a team like an idiot contractor puts together a house: with chewing gum and cardboard tubes with a foundation of maple sugar oatmeal. With the Mets, fading superstar Pedro Martinez is the chewing gum, oft-injured Moises Alou and Marlon Anderson are the cardboard tubes, and overrated-yet-underperforming Jose Reyes is the gooey oatmeal foundation. This house will not stand. After trading away four of their best seven prospects in the Johan Santana trade, the farm system is in shambles too.

Maybe Minaya should be fired too. Either way, this is a money-making corporation that is putting up a beautiful new ballpark next year; they're not going to draw 4 million fans like the Yankees so the organization needs all the wins they can get. And maybe my buddy Dave will be happy again.

Here's what happened in baseball while driving with your eyes shut:

Mets 5, Marlins 3: Johan Santana pitched more like Johan Santana and less like Darren Dreifort as he went a solid seven innings to lead New York over Florida. Santana struck out hot-hitting Dan Uggla twice and scattered eight hits. The Mets closed to within 5.5 games of the first place Marlins so that's a mitzvah for Willie Randolph indeed.

Indians 8, White Sox 2: Cleveland had the bases loaded and led 7-2 in the seventh inning, but they were impatient as heck to get that eighth run. With Ben Francisco at the plate, they figured the best way to score would be to attempt the Vaunted Triple Steal. Great success....sorta. Jamey Carroll nearly got picked off and got caught in a rundown between first and second, which prompted David Dellucci to take off for home. White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko threw towards home, but the ball hit dirt instead of catcher Toby Hall's glove. Dellucci, Carroll, and Grady Sizemore (who moved from second to third on the throw) were all awarded stolen bases.

Cubs 3, Dodgers 1: The Cubs looked good in front of a national television audience. Sean Gallagher must love the spotlight because he had possibly the best game of his life, going seven strong and allowing but one run. Heck, even Kerry Wood converted a save. The wheels came off the Dodgers' bus when third baseman Blake DeWitt made an oopsie that led to the three Chicago runs.

Brewers 3, Braves 2: With one out in the bottom of the ninth of a 2-2 game, Atlanta reliever Jeff Bennett let Milwaukee third baseman Bill Hall steal third base. Oops! Mike Cameron pounced on this opportunity and hit the walkoff sacrifice fly; the Braves lost another one-run game, and Matt_T's liveglog ended in sadness. Walkoff Walk favorite Salomon Torres got the win.

Tonight's Questions

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night game.jpgHey kids, I'm addicted to turpentine fumes:
  • CAN Johan Santana bring some light into the dark scene in Flushing? The Marlins are in town.

  • CAN Tim Lincecum bounce back from his worst start of the year and get back into form against Dan Haren and the Snakes?

  • WHICH one of the teams I declared "dead" will make me look like a complete moron by rattling off a string of 10 straight wins starting tonight?

  • Then stop by tomorrow for all the answers. Same WoW time, same WoW channel.
linkpunch gorillaSometimes people write better than us. Each Tuesday and Thursday WoW gives you our favorite baseball links we've come across.

  • Deadspin commenter extraordinaire and punny sports blogger in his own right Gourmet Spud gets word of a massive big name deal in baseball that has somehow escaped Christina Kahrl's transaction analysis over at Baseball Prospectus. Yes, J.P. Ricciardi was involved. Food Court Lunch.

  • Rich Lederer has compiled the matchups in the College World Series. Baseball Analysts.

  • And then Bryan Smith cherry-picks some of the best matchups and analyzes them. Baseball Prospectus: Unfiltered.

  • One More Dying Quail is happy that Jay Bruce is getting the big call-up to the Reds, but sad for one special reason. Bus Leagues Baseball.

  • Jbox left the 18-inning Padres-Reds game in the 17th inning, just before Adrian Gonzalez hit the walkoff ding dong. Gaslamp Ball

  • People in Wisconsin are friggin' gross and must get really bored when the Brewers are out of town. Also, they're bored when the Brewers are IN town. ZING! Obscure Store.

  • Camp Tiger Claw makes a guest appearance at Babes Love Baseball to talk up Ryan Braun and how stunningly intense his eyelashes are. Or something. Go read it. Babes Love Baseball.

  • CTC also won this nifty shirt in an eBay auction. Seriously. eBay.

Cowardly Canseco Predictably Ducking Me

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canseco.jpgOur buddy Brooks relays the news that Jose Canseco has chosen an opponent for his fight in Atlantic City. He'll be taking on former NFL Player Vai Sikahema who appears to be old as shit. WEAK. From the Philly Daily News:

"I imagine the reception will be mixed," Canseco told me. "But the curiosity factor is going to be incredible. Whether people want to see someone kick my butt, or me kick someone else's butt, I guarantee there will be interest."

Maybe even enough interest for Feldman and Canseco to launch a nationwide tour and draw attention from network-TV types who are always looking for reality programming.

Canseco, to be sure, looks the part of someone most would-be opponents might want to avoid. At 6-4 and 245 pounds, he's only 5 pounds above his 1988 playing weight. He still has guns for forearms, too, although he insists he's off the juice. He credits his Adonis physique to 20-plus years in martial arts, during which he claims to have earned black belts in kung-fu, taekwondo and Muay Thai.

Listen Canseco, you can duck me for now. You can pretend like a pro athlete is a better match for you than I am, but me and all the little Tigermaniacs know the truth. You're scared. When you feel like stepping to the plate and facing the quiet fury of a kinda in shape guy comfortably tucked behind a desk, then you know who to call. My number is still the same: 555-FIST.

Wild news out of Cincinnati today, via Reds uber-mensch beat writer John Fay: Scott Hatteberg was DFA'd to make room for Jay Bruce on the major league roster, which saves Corey Patterson's spot on Dusty's team. That's seven outfielders on the Reds.

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The Toronto Blue Jays and Oakland Athletics have matching .373 team slugging percentages, but who cares if they're the 98-pound weaklings in the American League when their pitching staffs are about as deep as the rift between Frank Thomas and J.P. Ricciardi? They've got a chance to see who can win the most games by scoring the fewest runs as they meet for three games in Oakland starting tonight. The Blue Jays are coming off a four-game sweep of the hapless Royals and the A's were pretty much treading water until the Red Sox came to town and gave Oakland a sweep of their own.

There are enough storylines in this upcoming series to fill a Grimm collection, but the biggest deal here is that these are the two best pitching staffs in baseball. Let's cut the crap and get right to the matchups:

  • Tuesday: A.J. Burnett (R) vs Dana Eveland (L)
  • Wednesday: Roy Halladay (R) vs Greg Smith (L)
  • Thursday: Jesse Litsch (R) vs Rich Harden (R)

The series is in Oakland where Harden, Eveland, and Smith are a combined 6-1 with an ERA south of 3.00. Must be all that foul territory! Or something. Jack Cust is hot hot hot for the A's, having hit seven tater tots in May versus just one in April, raising his OPS almost 250 points in the process. No Blue Jay is really stroking it (besides Troy Glaus Scott Rolen, who needs something to do while on the DL) but Lyle Overbay leads all qualified Toronto batters with a .405 slugging percentage. Yecch!

And yes, Frank Thomas will face the team that pushed him out the door after a slow start blah blah blah. J.P. Ricciardi is a failure as a GM blah blah blah. Thomas has raised his OPS about 170 points since signing on with Oakland and is now slugging higher than any qualifying Toronto batter.

My Huge Throbbing Series: Astros at Cardinals

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nelly.jpgHouston travels to St. Louis to try and sort out at least some of the bunching at the top of the NL Central. Usually when I have bunching problems it's because my boxers are too small, but I digress. The Cubs lead the Cardinals by 1 game in the loss column, and the Cardinals outpace the Astros by the same margin. Your pitchers:

  • Tonight: Chacon vs. Looper
  • Wednesday: W. Rodriguez vs. Wainwright
  • Thursday: Oswalt vs. Lohse

Chacon finally broke his record setting streak of 9 consecutive starts without a decision by winning last Wednesday against the Cubs. I had a party to celebrate but no one showed up. I had a cake that said "Congrats, Shawn" and everything. Looper also won his last start and has already pitched against the Astros this year holding them scoreless through 7 innings in a no decision.

One of the more interesting things about the Astros success is that they're doing it with a leadoff hitter that's batting .216 with just 16 walks! Corey Patterson watch, my ass. Someone needs to drop a coconut on Cecil Cooper's head before he blows this shit.

UPDATE: Bourn hit 8th all weekend. Coconut dropped.

In Memoriam: Teams That Were Dead By Memorial Day

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dead kid.jpgI hope you all had a good Memorial Day and that you still have most of your teeth. The holiday was a great chance to reflect on the cost of war, the cost of gas and how much you didn't want to go back to work. It's also a good time to start crossing off teams that have absolutely no shot at salvaging their season. On to the list of the deceased:

  • Seattle Mariners: John McLaren's boys have been epically futile thus far. 5-20 in their latst 25 futile. The team can't do anything right. They can't get on base, coming second to last in the majors in .OBP at .309. Pitching was thought to be the team's strong point but they have the worst team ERA in baseballl at 4.96. That combination is how you lose lots and lots of ballgames my friend. Oh yeah, they also suck at fielding. No relief in sight for Geoff Baker.

  • Washington Nationals: The Nationals are hitting .233. Tied for worst in the majors with the Indians. Injuries have also been a concern and they're treading water with the 4th worst winning percentage in the NL. Manny Acta is looking to right the ship by... campaigning for Tim Redding to make the All-Star team?

  • Kansas City Royals: This one upsets me. I expected better from the Royals this year. They having a ton of problems at the plate, dragging around a .314 OBP. Jose Guillen, Billy Butler and Alex Gordon have combined for all of 12 HRs. They've lost 9 of their last ten and as the AL Central continues to eat it's own they've got too many teams to jump.

  • Cincinnati Reds: Et tu Dusty? This was the most borderline team on my list. I may be a couple weeks early on the death knell, but let's look at some numbers. Volquez and Harang are proving to be valuable starters, but outside of those two the rest of the rotation has an ERA over 7 and the team ERA as a whole is 4.54, firmly in the bottom quarter of baseball. At the plate, they struggle to drive in runners in scoring position. The biggest hurdle to overcome may just be the competition in the division. St. Louis is playing better than expected, and you have to think that if Milwaukee can pull anything together (see, firing their manager) they could put a run together.

  • San Francisco Giants, Colorado Rockies, San Diego Padres: These teams are a combined 59-95. That's palindromic lousiness! It's rare for this much suck to amass in such a cluster. Well, rare that it's not at the bottom of the AL East. Injuries have mounted for all 3 clubs, especially the Rockies. They are 3 out of the 4 worst hitting teams in baseball with RISP. In the case of the Giants and the Padres, 28th and 29th respectively in runs scored, this could just be a case of small sample size.

  • On Life Support: Blue Jays, Tigers, Pirates, Ned Yost, Willie Randolph
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Superstar Red prospect Jay Bruce will get the call-up today to the big club in Cincinnati for their evening contest against the Pirates. Bruce is a center fielder extraordinaire, having gotten on base at a .399 clip and having slugged a robust .625 at triple-A Louisville. Kid is fast, too, and will continue to learn to field his position well in the majors.

Alas, this spells the end of the road for Walkoff Walk hero Corey Patterson, who, according to my Reds beat reporter boyfriend John Fay, will most likely be the odd man out on the Reds roster. After going 0-for-8 in Sunday's 18-inning loss to the Padres, he's batting .201 and his speed is going to waste, having only reached first base via single or walk just 24 times. Sure, he had a decent isolated power rate with 8 doubles and 4 tater tots, but he was simply not a leadoff hitter.

Dusty Baker's Reds are in last place and sit seven full games behind the Cubs in a surprisingly competent National League Central. Still, with Jay Bruce coming up and Edinson Volquez putting up Johan Santana-esque numbers in a year when Johan Santana is putting up Darren Dreifort-esque numbers, fans in Cincinnati have something to look forward to (read: Dusty Baker getting fired in 2009).

The Angels won on a walkoff walk! You know what that means! Shrimp video! Thanks, Rick!

Here's what happened in baseball while doing the best things so conservatively:

Braves 7, Diamondbacks 3: What's gotten into Brandon Webb? Or more accurately, what got into the Braves offense, who collected 10 hits off the Arizona ace and knocked him out of the game after just four and a third innings, his shortest outing in over two years? Or even more importantly, who put the rainbow sprinkles on my vanilla ice cream? I WANTED M&M'S! Back to the action: Mark Teixeira, in his latest audition to move to New York City, had four RBI and two hits, including a double that drove in the first runs Brandon Webb has given up in the first inning all year. (NOT REALLY...THIS STAT IS UNTRUE).

Blue Jays 7, Royals 2: The city of Toronto welcomed the Royals to town by NOT celebrating Memorial Day and the Blue Jays added to their misery by NOT letting Kansas City win any of the four games. That's a sweep no matter how you count it. Actually, the Royals have lost TWO four-game series in a row. Two times four is eight, even in Ontario. The hapless Royals managed but four runs in the four games and allowed 23. The pitching hero of Monday was Shaun Marcum who actually won for the first time since Caesar crossed the Rubicon. (NOT REALLY...THIS STAT IS UNTRUE)

Brewers 4, Nationals 3 (11): Prince Fielder almost hit four home runs but instead settled for zero. What gives, Ned Yost?

"Prince just missed four homers. He almost had a four-homer day," Brewers manager Ned Yost said. "You add up his outs, and ... it could have been 1,500 feet."
How in blog's name are you still employed, Yostypants? Whatever, because Prince scored the winning run on Gabe Kapler's pinch hit single in the top of the 11th. Walkoff Walk favorite Salomon Torres picked up his second save of the four-game series. Hey, the Brewers didn't lose a series! Whee!

Mickey Mantle Switches To Natural Light- 1980

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I don't even know where to start with today's Classic TV post. The Mick's acting? The acting of the other people? The pinball game? The fact that Natural Light once bragged about THE TASTE OF THEIR BEER? Leave that to High Life.

The commercial is also a little sad knowing how things turned out towards the end for the guy. But oh, well. Today we laugh with him. This weekend when you open a cold one, toast it to the sky then pour a little out for Mickey, will ya?



Have a happy Memorial Day weekend, everyone. It feels like we've been doing this for quite awhile but we're just now getting to the meaty part of the season. Thanks for coming back every day. Even you, BC Twins Fan. It's a treat.

Like most of our brethren we're taking the whole three days off, so enjoy some baseball the old fashioned way. Without a computer. Have fun, be (kinda) safe and we'll see y'all on Tuesday.

Brooklyn Bridge Blues: The Weekend's Best Series

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flagWolf.jpgAmerican League

Orioles at Rays: Even though these two teams are in the same division as my favorite team, I gotta say it's pretty rad that they're playing a meaningful series over Memorial Day Weekend. It's the start of a 10 game homestand for the Rays. They've won 12 of their last 13 at the Trop. Your pitching matchups:

  • Tonight: Guthrie vs. Garza
  • Satuday: Trachsel (!!) vs. Jackson
  • Sunday: Cabrera vs. Shields


National League

D'Backs at Braves: The Braves are feeling superhero tough after their 4 game sweep of the Mets. The Snakes are feeling the opposite after being swept by the Marlins. Arizona scored only 3 runs in that series and were shutout on Thursday for the first time this season. Doug Davis makes his first start after treatment for thyroid cancer.

  • Tonight: Davis vs. Reyes
  • Saturday: R. Johnson vs. Campillo
  • Sunday: Owings vs. Glavine
  • Monday: Webb vs. Jurrens


Pitching Your Ass & Arm Off

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Wayback.jpgHere at WoW we're students of the game. We have much love for baseball's early days and the characters that populated it. Unfortunately, our hands are full tearing apart current players. We've invited DMac of the stellar Philadelphia Will Do to teach us all a little bit about the ghosts of baseball's past. It's a segment we like to call "Way Back Base Ball."

I love old-timey baseball. I love the nerds who play it in 2008, I love the old daguerreotypes of players with handlebar mustaches and I love reading about the origins of sport.

In essence, I'm a bigger nerd than people who go out and play old-timey baseball. That's why I'm hoping to share with you a little slice of baseball history from time to time on Walkoff Walk. (Old-timey baseball is roughly defined as "whatever time period I decide to write about.")

But enough self-reference. For those of you who don't know, baseball wasn't always 400-foot homers, future truck drivers from India and Dusty Baker ordering his power hitters to sacrifice bunt. Baseball wasn't invented by Abner Doubleday after he singlehandedly won the Civil War, either. No, it was a little game that sprung out of other stick and ball games that came over from England; eventually, the original rules were codified by the Knickerbocker Club, a group of players with dominated early baseball until Isiah Thomas' great-great grandfather ran them into the ground.

With that in mind, I'd like to direct you to this book review of Peter Morris' But Didn't We Have Fun: An Informal History of Baseball's Pioneer Era. In it, he recounts the story of players who looked to bend the rules even in the early history of baseball -- baseball had a long tradition of celebrating players who cheated until they began to cheat with drugs, upon which they were shunned.

The classic case of this is one of baseball's first stars, Jim Creighton, who played for several clubs in the New York area right before the Civil War. Creighton trained hard with a steel ball so he could deliver a pitch as hard as possible under the rules of the day, which required an underhand throw with a stiff arm.

Creighton soon was throwing harder than any batter had seen. They flailed away at his pitches or at best popped them up. However, under the rules of the day, there were also no such things as balls or a strike zone. So batters decided to just wait out Creighton until he delivered a pitch to their liking. Morris recounts a game where Creighton threw over 300 pitches in three innings as batters waited him out for something they thought they could hit. (Creighton died in 1862 at the age of 21 of natural causes.)


Yes, Jim Creighton -- a star in his teens, apparently -- managed to die of "natural causes" at the age of 21 after (a) training with a steel baseball and (b) throwing 300 pitches in the first three innings of a game. Correlation doesn't equal causation, but... yes, I think i can safely say this man died of his arm falling off.

It is nice that pitchers back in the late 1850s trained themselves to death with steel baseballs, but millionaire pitchers today like Brett Myers train by eating as many cheeseburgers as possible.

The review also notes that, in old-timey days, umpires sat in a rocking chair drinking a glass of beer. Now that's the kind of thing we can learn from the past: Getting drunk while umpiring a game would certainly improve the officiating of, say, Cowboy Joe West.

What's Up Creampuff: Some Dudes That Got Hurt

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stretcher.JPGNo Memorial hiking, water skiing, basketball playing, or looting for these hummel figurines of the diamond. They're all busted up like a toddler falling off her big wheel.

  • Melvin Mora, Orioles: Melvin done got his hand spiked by Hideki Matsui. Matsui didn't see what the big deal was. In Japan they call that "foreplay." Mora has a laceration on his hand and is day-to-day.

  • Victor Jesus Martinez, Indians: Martinez hurt his finger in Thursday's game and was replaced by Kelly Shoppach. This week's bigger news was when he got his foot stuck in a sunflower seed bucket. I wish I was making this up. No word on whether or not he then slipped on a banana peel before falling into a puddle and having a safe fall on his head

  • Josh Willingham, Marlins: This is not a new injury, Willingham has been out since April 27, but things are not getting better. He has a herinated disc in his back and could miss as much as another month. The Marlins are winning without him but I'm sure they could use his bat. Remember kids, lift with your legs.

  • Erick Aybar, Angels: Aybar dislocated his pinkie(great picture there) which sounds both horribly painful and kind of wussy at the same time. He could miss up to 4 weeks. Rumor is he hurt it drinking chamomile tea.

  • Andruw Jones, Dodgers: Jones has some torn knee cartilage. He says he feels better but the team is skeptical and it looks like he may need surgery.This season has been a mild disappointment for Anrduw Jones.

  • Moises Alou, Mets: Ol' Pisshands strained his right calf putting him on the DL. This extends his streak of going on the DL for 31 straight seasons, an MLB record.

  • Jose Canseco: Threw his back out from shaking in his boots.

College Baseball Cram Session

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omaha.jpgAs you may have noticed, because I mention it about 5 times a week, I went to a university with a large athletic program. While most of my hipster friends here in Boston went to tiny liberal arts schools in the mountains named after famous bisexuals with enrollments of 65 students, I went to football, basketball and baseball games with thousands of my classmates. Baseball games were my favorite. We had a beautiful park and a good team. Well a great regular season team that consistently chokes come tournament time.

The college baseball postseason is most similar to the college basketball postseason. Major conferences have their tournaments than 64 teams are selected to play rounds of double elimination baseball. The first round is called "Regionals" and consists of mini round robins at 16 locations. The 16 surviving teams advance to "Super Regionals" and then the final 8 advane to the College World Series in Omaha.

It's conference tourney time, and I'll be checking in all weekend to get the lowdown. These tourneys were a true harbinger of Summer down south, and if you're interested in watching I've collected some previews for you:


Who ya got?

Baseball Before Bedtime: This Is All I Came To Do

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Here's what happened in baseball while you took my m-m-m-mind as well.

  • Braves 4, Mets 2: Johan Santana had a 2-0 lead going into the seventh and BLEW IT, DUDE. He gave up 3 runs including a go ahead hit from Chipper Jones. Braves complete the four game sweep.

  • Yankees 2, Orioles 1: Robinson Cano had the game winning hit in the bottom of the 9th. Joe Girardi got ejected in the top of that inning and I'm sure lots of Yankee fan meatheads think that's why the won. Yuh gotta have fiah when yuh coach da Yanks. Ian Kennedy scattered 4 hits and 4 BBs in 6 innings of one run ball.

  • Marlins 4, D'Backs 0: The Marlins completed their somewhat surprising sweep of the Snakes, just like Rob predicted. Andrew Miller pitched the complete game seven shutout innings.

As Mike Doughty once said, today is the ride up to the plunge down. Lots of people already out of the office for Memorial Day, Rob being one. I'll be your lackadaisical captain for the rest of Lazy Friday.

Tonight's Questions

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night game.jpg Tune in tonight to find out:

  • WHICH one of you muddy bastards stole my bank card?

  • WHY did TBS stop showing the Braves? I'd really like to watch Santana vs. Hudson.

  • IF the Marlins win tonight but no one is there to see it, is it still a sweep?

  • CAN Mark Buehrle lead the Pale Hose to a sweep over the Injuns?

Then stop by tomorrow for all the answers. Same WoW time, same WoW channel.
linkpunch gorillaSometimes people write better than us. Each Tuesday and Thursday WoW gives you our favorite baseball links we've come across.

  • Answer Man (ne David Brown) scores a fantastic interview with the best pitcher not yet in the Hall of Fame, Bert Blyleven. My fantasy team is named Ocean's Blyleven. I love Bert. Big League Stew.

  • Jamie Mottram seems to think that having a good closer is going to take the Orioles to the playoffs. It helps, but not as much as Daniel Cabrera actually having a pulse helps. Also, George Sherrill's hat brim thing is wild. Mr. Irrelevant.

  • Sports journalists are lazy, says John Brattain, because they don't take the time to educate themselves about the topics they are writing about. Brattain points to the Barry Bonds hullabaloo to prove his point. Point taken, man. Hardball Times.

  • Jay Jaffe gives the statistical lowdown for Mike Piazza's case for the HOF. Hit good no glove. Baseball Prospectus: Unfiltered.

  • This word association game will rule your life. Funny Farm.
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The Milwaukee Brewers toppled the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-1 behind possibly the worst complete game 1-run performance in pitching history. Ben Sheets allowed 11 hits to the Bucs, including at least one each for all 9 starters, and was taxed for 123 pitches. Not very good for a pitcher coming off a triceps injury. This is the second complete game the oft-injured Sheets has thrown this year and I suppose manager Ned Yost has little confidence in his bullpen nowadays. After losing pitchers David Riske, Yovani Gallardo, Randy Choate, and Chris Capuano to injury this year, who could blame him? Hey, but what ever happened to closer Eric Gagne?

Until further notice, Milwaukee Brewers closer Eric Gagne has been shut down. Although that further notice could be as soon as today or as late as this weekend or maybe next week depending on how Gagne's stiff right shoulder feels today and what route team trainers and Dr. William Raasch decide is best. Gagne left the team Wednesday night to see Raasch today, but that wasn't decided until reporters were already out of the clubhouse and nearing time for the first pitch.

Oh boy. It's things like this that get a manager fired. So, Brewers blogger Anthony Witrado, who is going to take over the closer role now?

The Brewers will again go to a closer-by-committee situation, although Salomon Torres will get most of the chances, manager Ned Yost said.

Whee! WoW favorite Salomon Torres to the rescue!

liveglog.jpg Hello everyone and welcome to my historic living room couch. It's you, me and a bottle of syzurp as we watch the Red Sox try and sweep the Royals in the first ever Head Cold Glog. If we have any Royals readers out there I encourage you to make yourself known in the comments, I don't think we've heard from you yet.

Your lineups:

Royals:
1. David DeJesus, LF
2. Mark Grudzielanek, 2B
3. Alex Gordon, 3B
4. Jose Guillen, DH
5. Mark Teahen, RF
6. Miguel Olivo, C
7. Ross Gload, 1B
8. Alberto Callsaspo, SS
9. Joey Gathright, CF

P -- Brian Bannister

Red Sox:
1. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
2. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
3. David Ortiz, DH
4. Manny Ramirez, LF
5. Mike Lowell, 3B
6. Kevin Youkilis, 1B
7. J.D. Drew, RF (FSU)
8. Kevin Cash, C (FSU)
9. Julio Lugo, SS

P -- Daisuke Matsuzaka

Live baseball in pseudohumorous text form, after the jump.

The Wellfleet Whale: Today's Afternoon Games

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liveglog.jpg
  • 1:05, Mariners at Tigers: The Tigers look for the sweep at Safeco. Mariners pitching has officially become "the thing that sucks" about the team this week. The Tigers have scored 21 runs in two games and it's a safe bet they'll score a few more today against Miguel Batista. Let's all predict Geoff Baker's next headline in the comments. Jeremy Bonderman goes for Detroit.

  • 1:10, Rangers at Twins: It's a battle of veteran pitchers that are winning a lot of games. Sorry I couldn't come up with anything more clever than that, I'm sick. 6-2 Vicente Padeeeya takes on 6-2 Livan Hernandez.

  • 1:35, Royals at Red Sox: Like I said, I'm sick. I'm feeling lousy enough that I took my first sick day in 2 years. What does that mean for you, the WoWie? Well I'm going to make up Rob's slacker ass and give you a Thursday Afternoon Liveglog. We'll watch the Sox go for the sweep with Brian Bannister taking on Daisuke Matsuzaka. And we'll do it together, just like a family should. See you then. I'm gonna go take some medicine.

Sir Sidney Of The Renaissance

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sidney-ponson.jpgDon't look now but Rangers fans are getting a little excited. They're optimistic. And why not? They just snapped a 3 game skid. They're only two games below .500 and in the uncertain AL West that's good enough to put you just 5 back. Last night featured both Frightening Milton Bradley and official WoW manager Ron Washington getting tossed. And to top it all off, a complete game victory by Sidney Ponson. Read that last one again. Got it?

Ponson spun a dominant one, recording 23 of 27 outs on groundballs or strikeouts. He only walked one. The Twins lineup isn't great, they had 4 guys in the lineup hitting .223 or below, but with the Texas bullpen situation tumultuous at best, pitching 9 against any team is huge. Ponson is now 3-0. If he stays consistent, added to a resurgent Vicente Padeeeeya (/Jon Miller'd) and an off the DL Millwood, the Rangers could have one of the better humorous veteran rotations in the AL.

So here's to you Sidney! Celebrate your great start with a 14 egg omelet and a suckling pig.

Could things get any more depressing for the San Diego Padres and their fans? Not only do they have the worst record in baseball, and not only have they just put ace starter Jake Peavy on the disabled list, and not only did a construction accident near Petco Park hurt 12 people, and not only is Paul DePodesta's blog the most interesting thing about the entire organization, but now they have to deal with Albert Pujols' one-man wrecking crew taking out everyone in his path. To wit, via Awful Announcing:

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- San Diego Padres pitcher Chris Young and catcher Josh Bard were knocked out of Wednesday night's game against the St. Louis Cardinals by Albert Pujols within a span of two batters.

Pujols hit a line drive off his Young's face in the third inning, breaking the right-hander's nose. Young immediately fell on his backside and put his right hand up to his face. Blood was running down his face.

After a few minutes of sitting on the grass, Young walked off holding a bandage on his face with blood on the front of his jersey.

Pujols' shot ricocheted to the left side of the infield for a single and loaded the bases with one out. After Ryan Ludwick's grounder knocked in one run and advanced the runners, Troy Glaus lined a single to right field.

Aaron Miles and Pujols scored on the play. But right fielder Brian Giles' throw arrived at the plate at the same time as Pujols, who slid and caught Bard's left leg.

Here's the video, via FanIQ:

Well things couldn't possibly get worse for San Diego. At least the general manager isn't throwing the entire team (THAT HE ASSEMBLED) under the bus. Oh...

Here's what happened in baseball while I was right for the first time in my life:

Athletics 9, Rays 1: Dana Eveland was super-efficient, allowing just 5 baserunners in a 95-pitch complete game win over Tampa Bay that lasted just 2 hours and 6 minutes. Wait...two hours and six minutes? If I hadn't left so early for the Yankees game, I could have live-glogged this ENTIRE game. Damn. Jonny Gomes' eighth inning ding dong was the only thing preventing Eveland from earning the A's first complete game shutout of the year. Jack Cust tater-totted twice and Emil Brown collected his team-leading 35th RBI, good enough for 4th in the AL.

Marlins 3, Diamondbacks 1: Take back anything I have said about the Marlins. They are in it to win it, regardless of the opponent. Brandon Webb suffered his first loss of the season. Sure, he retired the first 12 gentlemen he faced, but after giving up a Luis Gonzalez triple in the fifth and allowing him to score on a Matt Treanor squeeze bunt, Webb had pie on his face. Cody Ross followed up with a home run, and it was smooth sailing for winner Ricky Nolasco after that point. Wacky stat from the AP recap: "Over the past five games, the Diamondbacks are 1-for-40 the first time through the order with 14 strikeouts." Stinkeroo.

Red Sox 6, Angels 3: Bartolo Colon is alive and well and living in....Boston? Get out! Colon made his gallant return to the mound in Fenway Park, throwing a serviceable five innings with four strikeouts and picking up a well-deserved win. Jacoby Ellsbury did the heavy lifting for the offense, going 3-for-4 with 3 runs and a ding dong and single-handedly moved the clubhouse piano across the street to Jake Ivory's for the late-night singalong.

Yankees 8, Orioles 0: We need instant replay in baseball for home runs immediately.

Tonight's Questions

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night game.jpgHey kids, that looks infected. Get that looked at then tune in to find out:


Then stop by tomorrow for all the answers. Same WoW time, same WoW channel.

Angry Blogging With The Seattle Mariners

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sadgirl.JPGPart of coming into our own here at WoW has been reading and critiquing other writers/bloggers. We've pointed out things we've liked and things we haven't. Seattle Times writer Geoff Baker has garnered a few words from us, both positive and negative. For better or worse, the guy engages with his readers and commenters in way not seen in any other newspaper blog.

All that being said: FOR CHRISSAKES GEOFF. CHEER UP WILL, YA? It's not been the easiest of years for the Mariners so far, but each day Baker assaults my good cheer via the headlines appearing in my RSS reader. Here is a sample of some Eeyore-like procamations made in 20 pt. font over the past couple weeks.

  • On The Brink
  • Another Start Wasted
  • Long Days Ahead
  • White Sox Aftermath
  • Could Have Been Worse
  • The Long Road Home
  • Painful Loss
  • Coming Undone
  • Terrible Loss
Geoff, get down off the building, man! You're a sportswriter, you don't write songs for Earth Crisis. Although "White Sox Aftermath" would make a pretty kickass metalcore song.

The Shield Of Achilles: Today's Afternoon Games

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  • 3:05 Giants at Rockies: It's Sanchez vs. Jimenez and no, PaleHose, I don't know how many rounds this one is. The Giants have been hitting a little better lately, led by Randy Winn, of all people (hitting .367 with two tots during his current 15 game hitting streak), but the pitching has been lacking. They've allowed 22 runs in their last 3. Clint Barmes also has a 13 game hitting streak. Rob will not be glogging this.

  • 3:35 Rays at A's: The A's are slipping! A loss today will give the Rays their first ever sweep in Oakland and put the A's back at .500. Andy Sonnanstine has been great in his last 6 starts with a 2.98 ERA and notching 5 wins. Dana Eveland has been consistent for the A's and stellar at home posting 0.92 ERA in 3 starts, but you have to wonder if the divergent momentum here will be too much to overco.... /shot dead by a sabermetrician
cubicle.jpg

Earlier today, I alerted you to the amazing and fascinating statistic that Phillies pitcher Tom Gordon has pitched in 45 different ballparks. Well hang on to your hats people BECAUSE THERE'S MORE:

At 45, Jamie Moyer will make it 46 ballparks. When the venerable lefty steps on the mound at Nationals Park on Wednesday, it will be the 46th mound he's toed in a career that began on June 16, 1986, and has entered its 22nd season.

Stop the goddamned presses, this is mind-bogglingly wild information! What could possibly make today any more insane?

Moyer doesn't have the highest total on the Phillies. That distinction goes to Rudy Seanez, who enters Wednesday's game with a chance to reach 47.

Holy Moses smell the roses! Pat Gillick has assembled a supergroup of old pitchers who have pitched in so many ballparks, they forget where they are from time to time. Or where they left their keys.

In other news, no glog today because I'm headed out early for the Yankees-Orioles game. Sorry!

I Must Be Out Of My Mind

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canseco.jpgJose Canseco is looking for people to fight. I just responded.

Subject: Let's Fight

Hello,

My name is Kris and I want to fight Jose Canseco. I am 6'1 and weigh about 195 pounds. I'm a little heavier in the winter. As a kid I was a big Canseco fan and even had his split screen 40/40 poster in my room. Now I would like the chance to beat him up. I have no background in fighting and have not been in a fight in many years but I'm confident I could take him. I co-edit a baseball site called Walkoff Walk and am positive both Jose and I could use the publicity.

Let me at him he's toast,
Kris


I'll keep you posted.

Willie Randolph In Hot Pants?

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hot seat.jpgThe air came out of the Mets balloon rather quickly after getting swept by the Braves in yesterday's day/night doubleheader. They lost to Tom Glavine in the first game then Jorge Campillo in he nightcap. Earlier in the week, we all had our fun with Ned Yost who's still employed but really mad at Rob and I. But it's Wednesday already and it's time for people to focus their heat vision on someone else, and Randolph seems like a good candidate.

Randolph made some comments on Monday which indicated that he thinks negative media coverage of him may be racially motivated. I'm usually very open to those kind of discussions because they're often... well, true. But Willie, you oversaw an historic collapse last year and you're trying to garner sympathy by comparing yourself to Herm Edwards and Isiah Thomas? Eek. I'm gonna take this lightly and let the media slide for once.

Earlier in the season I outlined why he was on the hot seat and I still think those conditions apply. The thing is, the Mets are only 2.5 games out of first. Until they dig themselves into a significant hole, let's say 7 games, firing Randolph is counterprodcutive to a still talented but older and injury riddled team looking for its groove.

I label these rumors: Premature.

Looks like Sports Illustrated is taking a break from regular old photographs and using inspiration from some of those newfangled comic books the kids are all agog about nowadays. Hey, what's that naughty man doing to Derek Jeter?

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Okay, that's an awesome rendering of an obvious fantasy world by DC Comics guy Mark Bagley. Remember folks, it might only be May 21st but that SI cover jinx works in mysterious ways.

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I just tried to figure out how many different offices I've sat in over the course of my life, including relocations within one job. Turns out I've sat in at least ten different offices! That's a bunch of different beige colored walls to stare at and a bunch of different swivel chairs I warmed up with my tush.

Still, my number pales in comparison to Tom Gordon's. With his appearance last night at Nationals Park, Gordon has now appeared in games at 45 different ballparks in his twenty-one year career.

    With a list that includes two parks each in Arlington (Texas), Baltimore, Chicago (White Sox), Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, San Diego, Seattle and Toronto -- and the Tokyo Dome in Japan -- Gordon hasn't missed many.

Gordon pitched the eighth inning against the last-place Nationals and despite allowing a hit and a walk, allowed no runs and actually earned the win, thanks to Greg Dobbs' eighth inning RBI single. He's 40 years old and doesn't have many more pitches left in his arm. C'mon, stay one more year, Tom. You'll have the brand new CitiField to blow a game at!

Here's what happened in baseball while I heard the people who lived on the ceiling:

Phillies 1, Nationals 0: Cole Hamels and Jason Bergmann dueled for seven scoreless innings before retiring to the clubhouse for Pepsi and Nilla Wafers. They were tired, y'all! So the game was put into the able hands of their respective bullpens, but it was the Nationals bullpen that proved most distracted. Jon Rauch must have had his head in other places when he gave up a pinch-hit RBI single to Greg Dobbs in the eighth inning, the first Phillies run since gas cost like two dollar ninety-nine. Brad Lidge got the save despite allowing two walks and two stolen bases.

Tigers 12, Mariners 8: What would be the cure for what ailed the Detroit Tigers? What else, but the Seattle Mariners! Justin Verlander doubled his win total for the year, the offense hit four ding-dongs, and manager Jim Leyland smoked seventeen packs of cigarettes before the seventh inning stretch. Abbondanza! Tony Danza! Celebration all around in Detroit! The Big Tilde had a tater tot!

Marlins 3, Diamondbacks 2: I called this one wrong. Whoops! Former Diamondbacks prospect Dan Uggla hit the game-winning tater tot for the Marlins. Oh, that wild Rule 5 Draft strikes again! Micah Owings pitched well, amassing 10 strikeouts but it was that one home run that bit him in the ass. Mark Hendrickson pitched the minimum five innings required to earn the win, but reliever Kevin Gregg deserves the lions share of praise. He struck out three D-Backs in an inning and two-thirds to earn his eighth save.

Orioles 12, Yankees 2: PREPARE THE GNASHING OF TEETH AND RENDING OF GARMENTS. DEREK JETER HURT HIS LEFT HAND!

Tonight's Questions

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baby-lobster.jpgHey kids, kick back with a mason jar full of either ether or Andre Ethier and tune in to find out:


Then stop by tomorrow for all the answers AND Liveglog Wednesday. Same WoW time, same WoW channel.
linkpunch gorillaSometimes people write better than us. Each Tuesday and Thursday WoW gives you our favorite baseball links we've come across.

  • Dex heads out to the Big Apple for the National Sports Forum Executive Retreat and hears the keynote address by Tim Brosnan, Executive VP of Business at the MLB, aka the douchenozzle who tried to put Spiderman on the bases. Gaslamp Ball.

  • Pat notices that Pittsburgh closer Matt Capps is the only NL Central closer to keep both his shit together and the Pirates within reach of .500 so far this season. Where Have You Gone, Andy Van Slyke?.

  • Joe Posnanski was in attendance for Jon Lester's no-hitter at Fenway Park and puts together a remarkable piece in which he reflects on those moments when one simply 'knows' something is going to happen. Joe, where were you for ALCS Game 4 in 2004? JoeBlog.

  • I didn't realize it but wearing a black and orange San Francisco Giants cap is suddenly the hottest goddamn thing ever, regardless of what 'Duk says to the contrary. Big League Stew.

  • Tony Jackson notes that the Dodgers used three Asian pitchers from three different Asian countries to beat the Angels over the weekend. In related news, CTC had crab rangoon AND sushi last night for dinner. Inside the Dodgers.

  • Ryan Zimmerman's blog sucks. Ryan Zimmerman's blog, which sucks.
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It's a matchup of first place teams in mid-May, which means baseball bloggers like myself are giddy with playoff expectations! In reality, the Marlins have a far lesser chance of making the playoffs, both due to talent on their respective teams and competition in their respective divisions. The NL East is tight, with the Mets, Braves, and Phillies all within two games and all figuring out a way to get on top of Florida. The NL West race, however, is pretty much over, with only the Dodgers (five games back) challenging the Diamondbacks.

The Marlins were swept by the Reds and took just one game against the Royals this weekend, so they stagger into this series on a 1-5 clip. Arizona swept God's Rockies last week and took two of three from the hapless Tigers over the weekend so they're riding a 5-1 streak. Polar opposites!

Here are your pitching matchups:

  • Tuesday: Micah Owings (R) vs. Mark Hendrickson (L)
  • Wednesday: Dan Haren (R) vs. Ricky Nolasco (R)
  • Thursday: Brandon Webb (R) vs. Andrew Miller (L)

Owings has improved his numbers since last year. His walks are down, his strikeouts are up, and although his homers allowed is up a bit, Owings hits well enough at the dish to make up for a few extra tater tots. I bet the D-Backs take at least two of three in the series; they're OPSing .838 as a team against lefties.

Mike Piazza Retires

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piazza.jpgMike Piazza just released a statement saying he is retiring.

"After discussing my options with my wife, family and agent, I felt it is time to start a new chapter in my life," he said in a statement released by his agent, Dan Lozano. "It has been an amazing journey."

Piazza wasn't playing anywhere so I'm not sure the discussion lasted very long. Still Piazza leaves the game with some truly impressive offensive numbers, especially for a catcher. No hack jokes about Piazza's personal life here. I liked the guy. My only regret is that he never got to deck Clemens. Happy trails, Mike.

Wha Hahppund: Are The Tigers Done Because Leyland Is?

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leyland.jpgBob Nightengale wrote a really great piece in today's USA Today about the Tigers that reads as a psychological profile as much as it does a sports story. It opens with Jim Leyland (that asshole), his overflowing ashtray and string of profanities. But they're not the kind of angry profanities he'd use after say, barreling into a teenager, they're the resigned kind. The kind you say with your head propped up on your palm after a lousy day at the track, or after your kid gets expelled again.

"I'm embarrassed. We all are," Leyland says. "I really can't believe this is happening, to be honest with you.

"I'm not going to throw any players under the bus, but at the same tine, I'm not going to b------- them either. You have to tell it like it is.

"And we have played h--------. I say we, not them, because I'm responsible."

I'm not going to "blow" them? Is that what that first redacted expletive is? Jesus, thanks for the nightmares, Jim. If you see something contradictory about the phrases "I can't believe this is happening," and "I'm responsible," then you're a lot like me. Also, you're probably a lot like Nightengale who took one look around the clubhouse and made some rather prescient observations on what was happening.

Sheffield looks around the clubhouse. It is two hours before game time against the Arizona Diamondbacks, and video is being shown of Dan Haren, the opposing pitcher.

No one is watching.

Cabrera, who had never faced Haren, is asleep in a chair. Magglio Ordonez has his back turned to the TV and is reading a magazine. A handful are playing cards.

I'll never get on my highhorse and try and prescribe a cure for a clubhouse. I'm as bad a judge of what a team "needs" as anyone else that's never played in the big leagues. But it's no coincidence that in a story where Nightengale paints this horribly lackadaisical picture of the Tigers, he's also got a bunch of quotes from players complaining about the dead vibe of the team. There's a glaring disconnect here. Are the Tiger players blind? They may be playing like it, but I don't think so. Are they dumb? Not in baseball terms they're not. Are they lacking the proper motivator? Could a downtrodden clubhouse be better spurred by someone other than a chain smoking septuagenarian who suddenly prefers sulking to a reporter instead of getting guys off their asses? Those seem like more likely answers.

Of all the issues I've had with Jim Leyland as a manager and a person, fire and a passion for winning have never been two of them. Now, I'm not so sure.
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  • 1:05: Mets at Braves: This is the one everyone's been waiting for. Fiery competitor and notorious headcase Tom Glavine takes the mound for his former former team to face his former team AND ALL BETS ARE OFF. Meh, not really. When I looked at the day's slate of games and saw Maine vs. Glavine my brain was confused for a split second realizing they're not on the same team. As everyone knows by now, the Braves have been mad silly at home, with an NL Best 16-5 home record and an MLB worst 6-16 ROAD record. I BLAME THE REFS. The Mets bashed this weekend in two games against the Yankees scoring 18 runs.

    This is the first game of a day/night double dip. The evening tilt sees Claudio Vargas take on Jorge Campillo.

Some people really dislike all the new-fangled corporate sponsorships and technological revolutions and safer, plastic beer bottles in the sport of baseball nowadays. So instead of heading down to Shea Stadium for a game between two teams that didn't exist before 1961, they dress up like fruitcakes and play old-timey baseball!



I hope everyone in this video tears an ACL, and, because there was no arthroscopic surgery back in nineteen-aught-five, has to be put down like Barbaro.

Full disclosure: I think Matt Rivera's article is well-written and actually, old-timey baseball is awesome and I am just jealous that I cannot participate, lacking the necessary hand-eye coordination and legs that work properly.

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Last night was a good night to have the MLB Extra Innings package. There were only eight games on the ol' schedule but all eight featured something worthwhile, from a no-hitter to a walkoff single to an inside-the-park homer. I don't have Extra Innings but I pretend to: I print out pictures of baseball games and tape them to my bedroom wall.

But hey, even if you were stuck with ESPN and nothing else, you'd have still seen the ninth inning of the no-hitter and the inside-the-park homer, followed by the (usually) engaging Baseball Tonight.

To wit:

  • Cub catcher Geovany Soto hit the inside-the-park homer in Houston after Astros CF Michael Bourn misplayed the shot off the wall. Cubs win 7-2.
  • Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester threw a real live no-hitter against the hapless Royals. Red Sox win 7-0.
  • Nats pitcher Tim Redding was the starting pitcher in both Phillies shutouts this year. Nats win 4-0.
  • Twins pitcher Bobby Korecky gets an extra innings single AND the win after a double switch eliminates the DH against the Rangers. Twins win 7-6.
  • Rockies second baseman Omar Quintanilla turns a wild double play to wipe out a Giants rally in the eight. Rockies win 4-3.
  • Rays rookie Evan Longoria hits a 13th inning ding dong to topple A's Frank Thomas' pair of ding dongs. Rays win 7-6.
  • Dodgers rookie Blake DeWitt collects a walkoff single in the ninth to send the suddenly hot Reds packing. Dodgers win 6-5.

Oh and the Padres got blown out by the Cardinals. They can't all be winners.

Here's what happened in baseball while I was slipping, sliding down Highway 31:

Red Sox 7, Royals 0: Jon Lester threw a ton of pitches tonight, 130 in all, but the Royals couldn't put any of those into play safely as Kansas City was no-hit. This was Lester's first ever no-hitter, first ever shutout, and heck...his first ever complete game. Kid will never need to buy another beer ever ever ever in the entire region of New England, but if I ever run into him in...say...Peoria, I'm making him buy his own consarn beer. Jason Varitek, who has now caught four no-hitters (selfish!) added a tater-tot.

Cubs 7, Astros 2: Oh hot damn, Lance Berkman lost his hitting streak. And heck, so did Hunter Pence. Heck, the heart of the Astros' lineup was not getting the job done against Ted Lilly and the Cubs relief corps. Chicago catcher Geovany Soto even hit one of them inside-the-park home runs (that replays proved should have been a regular home run but the higher-ups won't let us have instant replay in baseball, even though I've been arguing in favor of it for years hours). Things went so bad for Houston at home tonight, even old Jim Edmonds collected a web gem on that awkward hill in center field at Minute Maid Park.

Nationals 4, Phillies 0: Don't look now, but Tim Redding is 6-3 with a 3.16 ERA and a celebrity aunt. Redding and his Washington bullpen friends shut out Philadelphia for the second time this year, but Ryan Zimmerman provided the wild glovework at the hot corner to make sure Redding went home happy. Sure, the Phils put up seven hits and two walks but all nine runners were left stranded. Lastings Milledge had the big bases loaded double to provide the offense in this one. Bang, zoom!

Red Sox lefty Jon Lester's big accomplishment of the night was preventing the Royals from getting any hits with his nine-strikeout complete game shutout. That's a no-hitter! I am shocked, to say the least. My jinx didn't even work!

Yes, Lester's big story is that he beat non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a sort of cancer. But tonight, we salute him for mowing down the sorry Royals, including Jose Guillen, a TRUE clubhouse cancer.

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Addendum: According to NESN, Jason Varitek becomes the first player to ever catch 4 no hitters. -CTC

Tonight's Questions

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night game.jpgHey kids, you can call your family tomorrow, tonight you should tune in to find out:


Then stop by tomorrow for all the answers. Same WoW time, same WoW channel.
kidsjudo.jpg

Two unexpectedly successful American League teams will be battling it out for the next three days as the second place Tampa Bay Rays face off in Oakland against the second place Athletics. If you and I were as young as the kids on these rosters, we'd be able to stay up past 10:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time to watch the first two matchups. Yes, these two teams are among the youngest rosters in the majors and both teams are well into the early playoff races in their respective divisions.

Neither team is winning with smoke and mirrors, either. Both pitching staffs have been stingy, with the Rays giving up 4.0 runs per game and the A's giving up a microscopic 3.7 runs per game. Oakland needs the solid pitching, though, because their offense is struggling to put runs on the board. They've totaled just 11 runs in the past six games, going 1-5 in the process and ceding first place to the Angels.

Here are your pitching matchups:

  • Monday: James Shields (R) vs. Joe Blanton (R)
  • Tuesday: Scott Kazmir (L) vs. Greg Smith (L)
  • Wednesday: Andy Sonnanstine (R) vs. Dana Eveland (L)

That Wednesday game is at 3:35 EDT. Maybe I'll glog it.

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In last night's Mets-Yankees tussle on ESPN, the umpires conferenced to discuss a call on Carlos Delgado's line drive to left field that was initially (and correctly) ruled a home run. After a short chit-chat, home plate ump Bob Davidson incorrectly overruled the original call and deemed that the ball was foul, which prompted an incessantly irritating conversation between announcers Joe Morgan and Jon Miller.

It also prompted a short and still irritating conversation between your Walkoff Walk bloggers, yours truly and Mr. Camp Tiger Claw, which I have replicated below, for your consideration:


Rob: can we blast instant replay
CTC: in baseball?
Rob: yes
CTC: i think they should have it for home runs
it's fucking stupid not to
Rob: BOO
Rob: i am against any rule that extends the length of games
even a proposed rule that awards me a hummer after every home run
CTC: that's totally insane
it would get use like once a month
at best
Rob: ha
i find that highly dubious
even if the managers werent allowed to challenge a call, THEYD STILL TRY TO
AND SLOW DOWN MY GAME
CTC: i find any logic against getting the score correct dubious
Rob: how about we make umpires into bionic superhumans instead
i vote for that
in theory, every call would be right
in practice, i'd rather have the umpires figure it out on their own
CTC: how about we go back to these gloves

Rob: well that's crazy
CTC: How about we take out the DH
Rob: whee
CTC: ..wait a second
Rob: like...actually take him out with a rifle?

...and scene. Commenters, what do you think about instant replay in baseball and/or superbionic umpirebots?

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Hey remember back in the early days of Walkoff Walk when I attacked Dale Murphy's son without any apparent reason? When I said he chose football over baseball because he was so ashamed of his failures at baseball that he gained a ton of weight and became a football player? And then all his friends attacked me the in comments? Yeah that was silly of me. Turns out he was drafted in the fourth round by the Miami Dolphins! Go figure! What's going on with the rest of the Murphy clan?

One of Dale Murphy's other kids (he has eight...he's a Mormon) is trying out for the Atlanta Braves! Jake Murphy is a 6'4", 220 lb high school senior with a football scholarship offer from Brigham Young (he's a Mormon) and, according to Braves hitting coach Terry Pendleton, "some skills." Nice underhanded compliment, Terry!

The Palm Beach Post caught up with Dale himself and found out he's a pretty mouthy former ballplayer nowadays:

"Barry Bonds is not the cause of the problem," said Murphy, "but he does give you the opportunity to talk about it. I was very opinionated about Barry. He made some decisions I think were wrong, and the main thing about major-league players is that young people take their lead when it comes to getting involved in that stuff." Murphy spends much of his time these days giving school speeches and running a foundation (iwontcheat.com) to raise awareness on the effects of steroid abuse and other bad choices for young people, such as academic cheating and prescription-drug abuse.

Sheesh. iwontcheat.com? I bet you $1000 he's a member of the Promise Keepers.

Bears In Space: Cubs vs. Astros

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space bear.jpgWell, interleague is over for a little while. What will we do with ourselves now!!11? How about look at some series that have actual impact on division races? Sounds good to me, and the Chicago at Houston looks like a good place to start.

Houston inserted themselves back into the anything goes NL Central race with a 7-3 road trip and returns tonight to begin a 7 game homestand. Lance Berkman is on a tear of historic proportions, but teammate Hunter Pence has a 16 game hitting streak of his own. The pitching got knocked around by the Rangers in the first two games of their interleague series, but the team rebounded with a 5-4 victory yesterday.

The Cubs are similarly hot going 8-2 in their last 10, and have perhaps the second hottest hitter in baseball in Alfonso Soriano. They're sitting in first place with a 2 game lead over the middling Cards and 2.5 ahead of these 'Stros. The pitching matchups shake out like this.

  • Tonight: Lilly vs. Moehler
  • Tomorrow: Dempster vs. Sampson
  • Wednesday: Gallagher vs. Chacon

Lilly is having his best stretch in recent memory. He's won his last 4 starts, striking out 32 and walking but 6. Moehler's made two starts since coming out of the bullpen. While he's been unspectacular, the Astros have won both.

Banditos Is More Than A Refreshments Song

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3amigos.jpgHere's some weird news that slipped below my radar this weekend. The White Sox canned three members of their Latin American scouting crew, including Senior Director David Wilder. It gets juicier. Apparently whatever their transgressions were, they're serious enough to involve the feds:

Full-time scout Victor Mateo and part-time scout Domingo Toribio were (also) dismissed for actions in Latin America that were violations of club policy and standards. The terminations resulted from findings of a two-month investigation conducted by MLB's Department of Investigations. The investigation has now been turned over to Federal authorities.

Hey Sox fans, can you hear those sirens? Well that's because you're on the South Side of Chicago, the FBI doesn't use sirens.

What could these guys have possibly done? Did they misinterpret the phrase "young talent?" Let's see, it was in Latin America and the government is now involved... I got it! Wilder and his crew were trying to organize fair labor policy for workers in Latin America and the US got wind of it and is now trying to crush the popular uprising.

Your guess is as good as mine.
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When pro athletes end their careers, they sometimes choose to remain competitive on the golf course. John Perrotto, in his Every Given Sunday column at Baseball Prospectus, names a current pitcher who may someday end up on the Champions Tour with Rick Rhoden: (subscription req'd)

Twins right-hander Livan Hernandez wants to take a shot at becoming a professional golfer if his pitching career ever ends.

Hernandez allegedly has experience with the ol' woods and irons. His current teammate Joe Nathan played with Livan back in 2002, and remembers getting his "butt whipped" by Livan on the golf course. Oh! That's just like the time Livan got arrested back in 2003 for assault with a pitching wedge:

Police said Hernandez pushed Francisco Martinez, 65, to the ground during an argument outside a warehouse he rents from the man. The dispute escalated and police said Hernandez grabbed some golf clubs from the trunk of his car and tried to hit Martinez.

The charges were eventually dropped against Hernandez and he avoided jail time, having only to attend anger management courses and perform community service. His worst punishment? Being traded to the Expos just two months after the arrest.

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As per a rumor by "Badger Blogger" posted on Tom Haudricourt's Brewers Blog, Milwaukee Brewers manager Ned Yost will be fired today. Haudricourt does not necessarily believe the rumor or even link to the blog in question but provides the following quotes:

   The blog said it could not "independently confirm" the information but said sources close to the Brewers' organization said Yost would be fired today and replaced by bench coach Ted Simmons.

   The blog said "in the midst of another horrid road trip and on the heels of a sweep by the Boston Red Sox," the decision had been made to replace Yost. It says switching to Simmons "will provide the direction and leadership this team has been so badly lacking."

After being swept by the Red Sox this weekend, the Brewers are in sole possession of last place in the NL Central. Yes, that's behind both Dusty Baker's Reds and the hapless Pirates. Firing someone for that indiscretion? Color me unsurprised.

Here's what happened in baseball while we stayed in by the telly:

Reds 6, Indians 4: Oh noes they got to Cliff Lee! Cincinnati completed the sweep of their lesser Ohio brethren behind another strong pitching start by Edinson Volquez. Volquez and Lee led their respective leagues in ERA prior to the game but both gentlemen saw their numbers skyrocket: Lee gave up 5 earned runs and his ERA went from 0.67 to 1.37 while Volquez allowed 2 earned runs for the first time ever ever ever and saw his ERA rise to 1.33. Unfortunately, the 24-year old Volquez was taxed with over 110 pitches for the third start in a row so expect his arm to fall off before season's end. Adam Dunn and Joey Votto contributed ding-dongs.

Red Sox 11, Brewers 7: Sorry Mr. Uecker but the Brew Crew just got swept and you didn't even get rezzies at Locke-Ober. What a waste of a weekend in Beantown! David Ortiz hit two tater tots to earn the title of Mr. Tater Tot on a day that both teams combined for eight tater tots. Ryan Braun's two tater tots were just not enough to make up for the awful pitching performances by starter Carlos Villanueva and reliever Mark DiFelice. DiFelice made his major league debut at age 31 by giving up Ortiz' second dong. Welcome to the show, old fart.

Diamondbacks 4, Tigers 0: Well Camp Tiger Claw called it and the National League West is just going to have to deal with it: Randy Johnson is still dealing, even without his punishing fastball. Old Randy went seven scoreless against the hapless Tigers, striking out five and walking just one. Chad Qualls and Brandon Lyon completed the shutout while Chris Young's double produced runs as prodigiously as Brian Eno produces annoying ambient albums.

Mariners 3, Padres 2: Hey, Seattle won a series! Maybe Geoff Baker and his pitchfork-wielding readers can come in off the ledge now. Sure, their victim was the extra hapless Padres, owners of the worst record in the majors but a win is a win is a win. Jose Lopez was the hero with his two-out two-run eighth inning double and Heath Bell was the dork who gave Lopez a meatball to hit. Speaking of meatballs, I could really go for some veal and ricotta meatballs right now. NOM!

The Sunday Morning Post

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televangelist2.jpg SOME OF LAST NIGHT:

AL Wins 9 out of 15 Saturday games... Red Sox sweep Brewers in day/night twin bill. Youkilis plays record 222nd game without an error at first... Who's have thought that the day's best pitching matchup would be Zito v. Buehrle? Well your cousin, but he's a fucking a meth addict. White Sox top Giants, 3-1... The Braves came this close with a 3 run rally in the ninth, but they needed four. Harden throws 7 innings of 1 run ball. Oakland beats Atlanta 5-4... Markakis ding-donged and drove in 3. Nats make it close with 3 run 8th but come up short against George "Leagues Best Closer?" Sherrill. Every team should be so lucky to have a "natural rivalry" with the Nationals. O's win 6-5... Vincente Padilla is a late bloomer. He pitched another gem to improve to 6-2, and he just got his period. Berkman goes yard again, but Rangers roll 6-2... Santana gives up 2 in the first then settles down. Wright and Reyes both dial long distance and Mets beat Yanks, 7-4... FINALLY. The Rays lose in a 10 inning slugfest against the Cards. Ryan Ludwick belts a walkoff tot.

TODAY:

  • Pirates and Cubs face off on the rubber match of their intraleague squabble. How quaint.

  • Shawn T. Estes looks to improve on the comeback story that has America captivated, against Felix Hernandez.

  • Josh Beckett tries to lead Boston to a sweep. Sorry, Uecker.

  • Jon Miller and Joe Morgan hold our hands in the big scary, Bronx. Mets/Yanks are your Sunday Night game.

  • The Celtics better beat the goddamned Cavs. I'm having flashbacks to Larry Nance.

I'm sure I missed something your favorite team did this weekend. I'm sorry. Lemme have it in the comments, and enjoy the rest of your Sunday.

UPDATE: I forgot Cliff Lee vs. Endinson Volquez. Word.

The Saturday Morning Post

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(Animoto created by WoW commenter emeritus, Gorge* Foreman)


SOME OF LAST NIGHT:

American League teams win 7 of first 13 interleague games... Jayson Werth hit 3 dingos and had a Phillies record 8 RBI in their/his 10-3 rout over the Blue Jays... Andy Sonnanstine went 7 scoreless before giving up a lone run in the 8th. He also had two hits, as the Rays beat the Cards 3-1 to go 8 games over .500... I had a hunch the Rangers might score a lot of runs this weekend in Houseon, and they made my inner monologue look like a genius. To me. Josh Hamilton hit 2 of the team's 6 t-tots, Rangers roll 16-8... Mark Kotsay's 2 out RBI double in the 8th gave the Braves a 3-2 win over their bitter rivals, the hated Athletics of Oakland... Joe Saunders went 7.1 strong innings to lead the Angels over the Dodgers, 4-2. Halos have won 6 out of las 7 in Freeway Series... Somebody had to win when the Padres played the Mariners. It was San Diego, beating Seattle 6-4... Adam Dunn drew a go-ahead bases loaded walk in the 8th to give the Reds a 4-3 win over the Indians. That's so close to a WoW, I should just post a video of a prawn on a treadmill or something...

TODAY:

  • The Subway Series kicks off today after last night's rainout. Fanfare and bombast await the 3rd place Mets and 5th place Yankees and their combined 40-41 record.

  • In a refreshing change of pace, Fox will televise neither the Red Sox nor the Yankees on its Saturday broadcast for the first time in recorded history. Buck and McCarver will warble over the Dodgers/Angels game at 3:55.

  • Speaking of the Sox, they're playing two with the Brewers to make up for last night's rainout. First game starts at 3:55.

  • Rich Harden is pitching today! Let's hope he doesn't suffer a "setback" between now and 7:10. He'll take on Tim Hudson.


It's kind of grey and shitty out. Seems like a good day to watch a lot of baseball. I'll be poking around the comments section later this afternoon.

Today's classic television post is a montage of the greatest work by one of the best baseball clowns in history. The San Diego Chicken was the first costumed mascot in baseball and we, as a society, are enriched by his antics.



Please stick around for the weekend as Camp Tiger Claw will be keeping us abreast of interleague action twice: once on Saturday and once again on Sunday.

WHO WANTS TO EAT SUSHI OFF OF BOB UECKER!?

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Big League Stew wanted you to have this.
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Today is the first day of interleague play so let's take a look at a few interesting matchups. Next, the Athletics - Braves.

As long as the Braves can avoid getting into one-run games, they'll have a chance to take the series at home against a very light-hitting A's team. After all, this weekend matchup is at the Ted and they Braves are 14-4 at home.

This matchup features the two stingiest teams in the majors; both pitching squads are allowing under 4 runs per game and feature very able fielders. Both teams are in the top eight in defensive efficiency, a statistic that would make CTC's head explode. But lo, who will be the starting pitchers this weekend?

   Friday: Dana Eveland (L) vs. Charlie Morton (R)
   Saturday: Rich Harden (R) vs. Jair Jurrjens (R)
   Sunday: Justin Duchscherer (R) vs. Tim Hudson (R)

I must admit I have no idea who Charlie Morton is, but something tells me the fella in this video isn't the gent pitching tonight. Tim Hudson is facing his former team for the first time, but none of those dudes were ever his teammate anyway so it's no biggie. Also, Hudson's teammate Mark Kotsay will be going up against the team that traded him away in exchange for magic beans.

Most importantly, the winning team of this series will determine who wins Commenter of the Fortnight for Walkoff Walk, either Farthammer's A's or Matt_T's Braves.

UPDATE: I stole my information from Rototimes, and it was completely wrong. The Braves' rotation this weekend is Jurrjens, Hudson, and Jo-Jo Reyes. OOPSIE DOODLE

A Sort Of A Song: Today's Afternoon Game

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  • 2:20, Pirates at Cubs: Intraleague is so passe. But if you insist this afternoon you can watch Pittsburgh's Tom Gorzelanny take on Chicago's Sean Gallagher. These two squads are the only ones playing baseball as god intended and not following the Sodomite lead of every other cross breeding team in MLB. Chicago has swept all 6 games of the season series thus far.

My Dusty Life: A Short Film By Camp Tiger Claw

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Yesterday our friends over at Idolator turned us on to the new movie making service, Animoto. It's (kinda) free, easy and well designed. I give it two and a half stars out of four. Anyway, to test it out, I made this short film. It's called "My Dusty Life" and features the music of my favorite Swede, Jens Lekman. Enjoy.

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Today is the first day of interleague play so let's take a look at a few interesting matchups. Next, the Padres - Mariners.

This is one of those natural rivalries that meet twice a year, every year. San Diegans and Seattlites both bitch and complain about this fact, but really, who else would you choose as natural rivals? Until there's an American League team in Tijuana and a National League team in Vancouver, you two are stuck together, so deal with it. Here are your pitching matchups:

   Friday: Miguel Batista (R) vs Chris Young (R)
   Saturday: Erik Bedard (L) vs Randy Wolf (L)
   Sunday: Felix Hernandez (R) vs Shawn Estes (L)

This series also features the two teams with the worst records in their respective leagues. Neither team can hit well, with the Padres getting on base at a major league low .303 rate and the Mariners just ahead at .306. This is the baseball equivalent of deciding whether to watch How I Met Your Mother or Bones on a Monday night. You'd be better off shooting your television and then yourself.

Still, I'm interested in (a) seeing if Hernandez can regain his April magic and (b) if the entire Mariners organization collapses in sadness and despair before the All-Star break.

What's Up Creampuff: Dudes That Got Hurt

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stretcher.JPGAlmost two months into the season, I guess we can start forgiving these guys for some of the wear and tear on their bodies, right? No way. They're weak and are a drag on the whole species.

  • J.D. Drew, Clay Buchholz, Red Sox: Well, except for J.D. I gotta give him a pass. He looks like a nice guy that went to a great university. He hyperextended his wrist sliding for a catch in right. What a hustler. He's not expected to go on the DL. On the other hand there's Buchholz who was placed on the DL the day after a lousy start in Minnesota. The culprit? A torn fingernail. Your Korean manicurist get a little overzealous this week, Clay? You disgust me.

  • Jeff Keppinger, Reds: Keppinger broke his knee cap and looks to be out 4-6 weeks. He fouled a ball off of it and it shattered like a fortune cookie. He stayed in for two more innings until tears could be seen streaming down his cheeks. This gives Dusty Baker the opportunity shuffle around the lineup and put in some more old Cubs. Keppinger will most likely be replaced by Shawon Dunston.

  • David Riske, Brewers: Riske was put on the 15 Day DL with a hyperextended right elbow. You don't see JD Drew going on the shelf for that weak sauce, do you? No. He's tough as nails. I hope Riske's injury doesn't throw a wrench in the fine tuned machine that is the Milwaukee bullpen.

  • Rafael Furcal, Dodgers: Furcal is having by far his best season in LA, but it's on hold for a little while. He was having lower back problems. He got a cortisone shot yesterday and said it "hit the spot." Sounds refreshing. Can I get one of those?

  • Nick Johnson, Nationals: Johnson is on the 15 Day DL for tearing his right tendon sheath. What the hell? Isn't that what the sheath is for? To take hits for the tendon? Wuss. Anyway, the Circle Of Life keeps working it's magic. Dmitiri Young is coming OFF the DL. Whee!

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Today is the first day of interleague play so let's take a look at a few interesting matchups. First up, Brewers - Red Sox.

Remember the halcyon days of the late twentieth century, when the Milwaukee Brewers visiting the Boston Red Sox was merely just a normal occurrence, and not some new Bud Selig creation to appease fans and increase attendance? Yeah, so do I. No matter, Bob Uecker and the Brew Crew are on their way to Fenway tonight to face Terry Francona and the Sawks. Here are your pitching matchups:

   Friday: Jeff Suppan (R) vs. Daisuke Matsuzaka (R)
   Saturday: Dave Bush (R) vs. Tim Wakefield (R)
   Sunday: Carlos Villanueva (R) vs. Josh Beckett (R)

Boston's least favorite reliever from their 2007 World Championship team returns in Brewers form, Mr. Eric Gagne. He's back as the closer for Ned Yost's team but if Milwaukee is hanging onto a close lead late, don't expect Yost to feel entirely comfortable about calling for the shaky righthanded pitcher. Ten saves out of 15 opportunities is an awful rate for a reliever. Also awful, having to take a mental break.

As far as the starters go, Jeff Suppan is also returning to face his former team while Tim Wakefield was the last Red Sox starter to face the Brewers way back in 1997. Heck, he'll probably be the next Red Sox starter to face the Brewers when they come back for an interleague series in 2015.

Here's what happened in baseball while pop psychology kept us apart:

Astros 8, Giants 7: Lance "Stained" Berkman is MADE OF MAGIC AND APPLESAUCE. He ripped his league-leading 15th homer into Barry Bonds McCovey Cove, winning the game and sending San Fran reliever Vinnie Chulk to his room without fruit cup. That three-run tater tot was worth like 38 points in Camp Tiger Claw's fantasy league with Will Leitch and some hack comic. Tim Lincecum's ten-strikeout quality start was sullied. Astros lead off hitter Michael Bourn was 0-for-5.

Phillies 5, Braves 0: Walkoff Walk commenter extraordinaire Matt_T instant messaged me earlier in the day to say that Chipper Jones was scratched, and that he recommended placing a wager on the Phillies to win this game. WELL MATT I HAVE GOOD NEWS. I phoned my bookie and I got 500-1 odds that Cole Hamels would pitch his first career shutout against the depleted Atlanta lineup (Ruben Gotay! Omar Infante! Mark Kotsay!) AND IT HAPPENED AND IT ONLY TOOK 120 PITCHES. Sell high, Cole Hamels fantasy owners...that arm won't stay on forever. By the way, my wager was $0 so I made a total of $0.

Diamondbacks 5, Rockies 0 (6): Dudes and dudettes I cannot stay up all night to follow this game but let me just say that Brandon Webb is dealing at Chase Field. Six innings pitched, two hits, zero walks, zero runs, seven strikeouts, ten groundball outs and just 73 pitches. How can you not love this man? P.S. Stephen Drew is 4-for-4 and a homer shy of the cycle. Yowsa!

UPDATE: D-Backs win, 8-5. Brandon Webb is 9-0.

Tonight's Questions

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night game.jpg Hey kids. Get your filthy asses out of my aboveground pool and tune in to find out:


Then stop by tomorrow for all the answers. Same WoW time, same WoW channel.
linkpunch gorillaSometimes people write better than us. Each Tuesday and Thursday WoW gives you our favorite baseball links we've come across.

  • The Z-Meter follows the seasons of 25 prospects on their way through the minors and is named after former UVa standout and current Nat Ryan Zimmerman. Jay Bruce is about to break the goddamned Z-Meter. Bus Leagues Baseball.

  • Joe Sheehan and Bil Burke use good, nerdy analysis to figure out why power is down in the American League this year. NOTE: IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH STEROIDS SO SHUT UP. Baseball Prospectus.

  • The only slump in Philadelphia worse than Ryan Howard's hitting slump is D-mac's winless streak in the Rock Paper Scissors City League. In my opinion, he should throw rock and then just punch the other guy in the groin. Philadelphia Will Do.

  • Dodgers beat writer Tony Jackson is a great read for 99 out of 100 blog posts, but when he relates an anecdote that has anything to do with the movie Love, Actually, it actually makes me zzzzzzzzzzzz. Inside the Dodgers.

  • Scorcese dialogue or Josh Beckett postgame comment? Surviving Grady.

Jim Edmonds As A Cub: A WoW First Look

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Footage of Jim Edmonds from today's game at Wrigley

The Waste Land: Today's NINE Afternoon Games, Part 2

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  • 2:20, Padres at Cubs: Cubs have won 5 of 6 on this homestand. Greg Maddux makes what "might" be his "final" trip "to" Wrigley. I find this suspect at best and will do no sentimentalizing. I will say that he's 12-3 with a 2.56 ERA in 22 career starts against the Cubs including 6-1/2.32 as a visitor at Wrigley. In other geratric news, Jim Edmonds is starting in center and batting sixth for the Cubs. He is currently being paid by St. Louis, San Diego and Chicago. At the same time. To hit .200. What a country.

  • 3:45, Astros at Giants: As Rob pointed out yesterday, Lance "Stained" Berkman is going apeshit. he tacked on another 2 run homer last night. Should be interesting to see him face off against Timmay Lincecum today. Unstoppable force, immovable object and all that jazz. The Astros send out Chris Sampson.

  • 4:10 Yankees at Rays: Ian Kennedy is back from the minors and boy are his arms tired. Which is very problematic for a pitcher. Joe Girardi had a 35 minute "team meeting" before last night's win. I put team meeting in quotes because I heard they were playing Mario Kart on Wii. That shit is rad. The first place Rays have ace Scott Kazmir on the hill. What better way to celebrate his new $28.5M extension?

The Waste Land: Today's NINE Afternoon Games, Part 1

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  • 12:05: A's at Indians: Cleveland goes for the sweep. Aaron Laffey started this scoreless starter streak and he looks to extend it today against the A's. The only thing that pleases me about it is that they're doing it without Jake Westbrook. I hope the streak is at 125 when he comes back and then he gives up 11 runs in 1/3 of an inning. He sucks.

  • 1:05: Dodgers at Brewers: The Dodger Blues need to pull out of their mini-freefall if they want to keep pace with Arizona. Last night was their first win in over a week, but it won't get any easier today against Ben "Stained" Sheets. Just get to that bullpen. Milwaukee has ten losses in games where they've held a lead.

  • 1:10: Nationals at Mets: The Nats look to take 3 of 4 from the middling Mets. Recently recalled Jason Bergmann will make the start for Washington against The Immortal Mike Pelfrey. Aaron Boone plays first base for the Nationals with Nick Johnson hurt. That's last place depth!

  • 1:10 Blue Jays at Twins: Just when I'd left them for dead, the Blue Jays are going for their first sweep at the Metrodome since 2003. Matt Stairs is 6-10 with 2 Ding Dongs and 5 RBI in his last 4 games. Makes the Thomas move look ok. Dustin McGowan takes on Glen Perkins.

  • 1:15 Pirates at Cardinals: Ian Snell is having a disappointing 2008. Both your WoW editors are big fans, but he has yet to validate our admiration this year. He'll take the mound against Joel Pinero, who we both think stinks. According to my friends at STATS, St. Louis has left a ridiculous 364 men on base in 42 games. That's 8 1/2 per game. For a team scoring 4.5 runs per game. That's a harbinger of bad times.

  • 2:10, Tigers at Royals: Gil Meche! Kenny Rog...zzzzzzz. Oops. Sorry. The Royals are looking to sweep the Tigers. I'm so glad I couldn't stop talking about how awesome Detroit was going to be. Why do you even read this website? According to Jim Leyland (that asshole), "We have had all the combinations that lead to losing instead of winning. Things aren't going against us. We're not making good things happen." You better make some time for that shit, Jimmy.
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Milwaukee Journal Sentinel beat writer Tom Haudricourt is a gentleman and a scholar, and today he gives us the scoop of scoops in his blog: the Brewers are about to give young slugger Ryan Braun a payday, the good kind.

If you don't remember, Braun was the NL Rookie of the Year after slugging 34 tater tots in just 113 games last year. The team moved him from third base to left field because he played defense just like Brooks Robinson, except the polar opposite. Here's the deets from Mr. H:

The Milwaukee Brewers will announce this morning that leftfielder Ryan Braun has agreed to a seven-year contract extension that will be a record in terms of both length and money for the team and the industry. The Brewers have called a 10 a.m. press conference at Miller Park to make "a major baseball announcement." Braun's agent, Nez Balelo, was contacted en route to Milwaukee this morning but said he could reveal no details prior to the club's announcement.

Wait a minute...it's a record for the team AND the industry? You mean the industry of baseball? Braun is getting a bigger contract than A-Rod or Jeter or Johan? Okay maybe I'm just misreading that line. Still, it will be the biggest contract in Brewers history, the prior record holder being Jeff Suppan's measly $42 million deal.

So what do Tom's readers and commenters think about the deal? Here's commenter xc500mod's words of wisdom:

"thanks for getting that out to us Mr. Haudricourt. This is the first place i come for brewer info. I bet you hayseeds like this news."

Yep. Us hayseeds love it, man.

UPDATE: Anthony Witrado posts some figures for other recent signings as a comparison piece. Yay Milwaukee bloggers!

UPDATE 2: Mr. H sez it's 7 years, $45 million.

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Not only is Corey Patterson not the worst leadoff hitter in the majors, he's not even the worst leadoff hitter in the NL Central. That honor belongs to the Houston Astros' own Michael Bourn. Bourn leads off and plays center field for manager Cecil Cooper's Astros; he's batting .187 and, with 14 whole walks on the season, is reaching base at just a .260 pace.

Our hero Patterson has raised his OBP by 30 points in the past week and is now getting on base at a still-pretty-bad .286 clip. He's not listed in the chart so ably-prepared by the folks at Crawfish Boxes because he hasn't reached enough plate appearances to be qualified. He's not leading off every game; Dusty Baker has been sittting him against left-handed pitching. Still, if he was on that chart, he'd be second to last! Hooray for Corey!

Glancing over the chart again, I notice Nate McLouth close to the top. While he is indeed having a very good year, he's no longer leading off for the Pirates. He's been moved down to second or third, and Freddy Sanchez has been moved up to the 1 spot. As of today, Sanchez' OBP is .282 which means that WoW favorite Corey Patterson is really just the third worst leadoff hitter in baseball! Everything's coming up Corey!

Here's what happened in baseball while bangin' like Charlie Watts:

Reds 7, Marlins 6 (10): Something wacky happened in a Reds game so you just knew I was going to tell you about it. Brandon Phillips led the Cincy offense to a 6-0 lead over Florida, giving Bronson Arroyo a chance to notch his third win after seven shutout innings. But, lo! What light from yonder bullpen breaks? It is Mike Lincoln and Francisco Cordero and they gave up 6 runs to send the game into extras! In the tenth, Johnny Cueto pinch ran for catcher David Ross and scored the winning run on rookie Paul Janish's single. Janish was just called up today to replace Jeff Keppinger and his borkened knee.

Indians 2, Athletics 0: Everything's coming up Ohio, especially for Cleveland's starters. C.C. Sabathia hurled a 5 hit shutout, extending the Indians starting rotation's streak to 43 and 1/3 scoreless innings. They're like five Orel Hershisers, except not quite as white. Grady Sizemore and Ryan Garko provided the offense with solo ding dongs off A's pitcher Joe Blanton.

Dodgers 6, Brewers 4: A day after bringing Eric "Mental Break" Gagne back to the closer role to earn a save, manager Ned Yost takes his own mental break and rests Gagne in favor of Guillermo "We Have Forgiven You For All Your Steroid Eating" Mota. Well whoopsie-doodles all around because Mota gave up the game-winning two-run double to Juan Pierre, followed by an RBI groundout to Andruw "All I Want Are Fried Plantains" Jones. Also earning a nickname tonight, Takashi "Jonathan Broxton Will Never Take My Job" Saito.

Tonight's Questions

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chicken.jpgHey kids, take your head out of that giant bowl of beef stew for a couple minutes and tune in to find out:


Then stop by tomorrow for all the answers. Same WoW time, same WoW channel.
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As much as I wanted to liveglog a Reds game, they just weren't playing this afternoon. Instead, I'll have to settle for the Red Sox and Orioles. Sigh! Jon Lester takes on Danny Cabrera today. Lester's strikeout numbers are down this season and his walk rate is up, which is never good for a pitcher.

Cabrera, on the other hand, is pitching out of his gourd mostly because he worked his walk rate down a bit. He's coming off a 1-run complete game victory over the weak-hitting Royals but Sox third baseman Mike Lowell is 10-for-14 lifetime with a ding dong in his career against Cabrera.

Follow me after the jump for your first regular season AL East liveglog!

Saint Francis and the Sow: Today's Afternoon Games

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  • 2:05, Mariners at Rangers: The Mariners are fast becoming the most depressing team baseball. The race is on to see which Mariners blogger will hang themselves first. Today they send out noted innings/tamale eater, Carlos Silva. The Rangers counter with Scott Feldman and look for the sweep. That would put the Rangers at .500 and the Mariners a full 6 games deep in the cellar. Damn.

  • 3:05, Red Sox at Orioles: The second place Red Sox will try and snap a 3 game skid by sending Jon Lester to the mound. They'll face Daniel Cabrera, who the Sox have pwned throughout his entire career. Cabrera appears to stepped up his game so far in '08 and this should be a pretty good test of that theory. The Sox have beaten him in his last 7 starts against them. I've also got a pretty good streak of my own going. I have yet to make a joke about "The Wire" during any Orioles posts this year, because that's really really hack. ROB BE GLOGGIN THIS.
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The Atlanta Journal Constitution has been stalking Andruw Jones like a jilted boyfriend since the preseason when we first reported on Jones' move to Los Angeles. Today, the AJC reprints an AP story about Jones' struggles with the Dodgers, and it just reeks of emo nonsense. Even manager Joe Torre is in on the melancholy bullshit:

    "This is the first time he's left the nest," the manager said. "He's been with an organization his whole life. He ventures out; he doesn't do very well."

Jesus, he's a big boy, Joe. I think Andruw can deal with playing baseball in a different place. Sure, he's hitting just .170 now (a full 70 points below his weight). But the Braves did go on road trips from time to time, even to the West Coast. Why is relocation so difficult for a professional baseball player? I'm sure Jones is man enough to not use that as an excuse. Or not:

"It's tough when you live in your own house, in your own bed for so many years," said Jones, who has kept his home in the Atlanta area. "It's been a tough change. My family's not here. You walk into a house you don't normally walk into. Some people take a long time to adjust."

Note to Andruw Jones' family: get off your ass and move to Los Angeles and support your goddamn husband/father/uncle whatever. He's bringing in the big bucks to keep you all in the lap of luxury. The least you can do is make him some goddamn fried plantains after a hard day's work at the ballpark.

Best Musical Tribute To Jason Bay I've Ever Seen

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I'm going to let the music do the talking here. It's a tribute to the Pirates' pretty decent outfielder Jason Bay. It's sung in an angelic falsetto and set to the melody of The Beatles' classic, "Yesterday." Make sure you're sitting down for this one.



Our producer/composer/singer is a talented young baseball lover named Julia Tucker. Shine on, you crazy diamond. If you're up for it, I've posted several other of her "reinterpretations" after the jump.
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I've been beating a dead horse for a while, but my manfriend John Fay at the Cincinnati Enquirer has been keeping me up to date with the comings and goings of Corey Patterson, and I feel the need to pass the savings on to you, our customer. Here's what manager Dusty Baker had to say on Monday regarding moving our erstwhile leadoff man and center fielder down in the lineup:

"Yeah, what makes it kind of rough is you don't want to have three left-handers in a row," Baker said. "That's what I'm trying to stay away from. He's going to get going. Guys usually end where their (career) average is. . . we don't have a bunch of speed. You need speed, especially in close games."

Patterson was hitting .196 with five stolen bases in eight attempts at the time. After going 6-for-8 In the past two games, he's up to .236, but more importantly, his position in the depth chart just improved a bit.

In last night's 5-3 Reds victory over the Marlins, starting shortstop Jeff Keppinger broke his kneecap (OUCH), forcing Baker to re-adjust the defense. Right fielder Jerry Hairston Jr. moved to shortstop, center fielder Ryan Freel moved to right, and our hero Corey Patterson, who was sitting against left-handed starter Mark Hendrickson, entered the game in centerfield. If Ken Griffey gets his wish and moves back to Seattle, your starting Reds outfield will be Freel, Patterson and Adam Dunn until Jay Bruce gets his call-up from AAA Louisville.

Here's what happened in baseball while we wouldn't stop running.

  • Rays 2, Yankees 1: Ladies and germs, your first place Tampa Bay Rays. You're going to be hearing about this non fucking stop today all throughout Blogylvania. It will ring from basement to shining to basement that with the Red Sox loss and this extra innings victory the Rays are in first place in the AL East for the first time in their history (excluding the first week of the season). Chien Ming Wang pitched 7 innings of 1 run ball for the Yankees, but Edwin Jackson did him one better, going seven scoreless. The Yankees tied it, but in the top of the 11th, Cliff Floyd led off with a single, Jonny Gomes ran for him and stole second, and Gabe "Is" Gross drove in the only run Mariano Rivera has allowed all year. Ballgame.

  • Brewers 5, Dodgers 3: Ryan Braunn continued to mash and hit a go ahead two run double in the fifth. The Milwaukee bullpen held the lead for... DUHDUH DUH DUHHHH! Eric Gagne. Gagne had himself an adventure that included hits, passed balls and fielders choices, but he got the job done. Save completed. Oh we knew we had it in him all along, didn't we kids?

  • Indians 4, A's 0: This Indians pitching is finally catching on. Paul Byrd went seven scoreless and the bullpen followed suit giving the Tribe yet another shutout. Previously lousy Travis Hafner had two hits and an RBI, Ryan Garko hit a 3 run DING DONG. Asdrubal Cabrera made a couple of nice plays but each one was only worth a single out. Slacker.

  • Phillies 5, Braves 4: The Braves are a lot like my beloved Celtics. They can't win on the road lately. With last night's lost they've now dropped 8 out of 9 away from the Ted. Jayson Werth had 4 RBI but nearly played Ba Ba Black Sheep after misplaying a Brian McCann line drive in the ninth. It turned into an RBI double, and the first run allowed by Brad Lidge all season. Lidge walked the next batter and the Brotards were getting tense. Lidge then got Francouer to fly out and the living was once again easy in CBP.

  • Padres 4, Cubs 3: Holy shit, Shawn T. Estes got the win for San Diego?? That is shocking. Khalil Green knocked in 3 but damn... SHAWN T. ESTES?

Tonight's Questions

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night game.jpgHey kids, it's super nice out, but if you're grounded tune in to find out:

  • WILL this four game series against the Yankees really be the coming out party for the Rays that everyone has such a hard on about? It starts tonight.

  • IS Hendrickson vs. Volquez the biggest matchup of surprise pitchers so far this season?

  • WHO will get a helmet thrown at them during the Hernandez/Gabbard rematch, 5 days in the making?

  • CAN either the Braves or Phillies make a statement in their 3 game series and challenge that Marlins juggernaut? Atlanta has lost 7 of 8 on the road.

Then stop by tomorrow for all the answers and Rob glogging the Red Sox/Orioles afternoon tilt. Same WoW time, same WoW channel. And no flame wars tomorrow, knuckleheads.
linkpunch gorillaSometimes people write better than us. Each Tuesday and Thursday WoW gives you our favorite baseball links we've come across.

  • Our good friend Suss-- recaps a recent Tigers game by referencing those old Burma Shave signs that nobody my age has ever seen. The Big Tilde.

  • Marlins fans are trying all sorts of math and mirrors to justify the team's hot start. Sabermetricians are trying all sorts of math and mirrors to discredit the team's hot start. Perhaps there is no reasonable explanation for the team's hot start. Except HGH. Fish Stripes.

  • David Pinto links to a Bill Conlin column analyzing Ryan Howard's slow start. Conlin relates a story about how Branch Rickey got Duke Snider to stop swinging at garbage pitches, and then Bill eats a big sandwich. Baseball Musings.

  • Forget the Marlins, Patrick Sullivan wants to know if the A's and the Rays can keep up their hot starts. Hint: yes, and unfortunately yes. Baseball Analysts.

  • The Cubs are interested in Jim Edmonds. Oh boy. Goat Riders of the Apocalypse.

  • Joe Posnanski published the entire Pat Jordan interview. JoeBlog

  • Tom Mylan made his own prosciutto. Grocery Guy.

Our Indian Friends: An Update

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Dhalsim.jpgThose pasty eating crack journalists over at Reuters UK have caught up with "Million Dollar Arm" winners and WoW favorites, Rinku and Dinesh. How are things going for them since their arrival in the states? Let's check in:

"The training has started and it feels very good," Singh told Reuters by telephone. "We've just got back after watching a match, we had no clue about the game." The left-handed Singh, who has hurled the javelin to a modest distance of 67 metres, is aware of the tough job on hand. "The first trial was held when I had taken a break from my athletics training because of injury.


So no clue about the game they're playing and already hurt. They're an intriguing mix of Barry Zito and Rich Harden. Ok. Go on...

"My father was a truck driver but he is at home for the last one year," he said. "I want to buy a truck for him, my (family) background is very bad."

Oh Jesus Ganesh, not with the truck again. In all seriousness that quote is kind of heartbreaking and you have to hope things work out for these kids. If not in a "making the major leagues" sense, at least in a "seeing the world gave me some opportunity" sense.

So, who's running this thing anyway? Someone named, "Jeff Bernstein, managing director of 7 Figures Management." Why does that name sound so familiar? Oh, he's also Barry Bonds' marketing agent. We should just all start pitching in for the truck now.

The Case for Expansion

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With baseball attendance at an all-time high and the country totally not in any sort of economic recession, it's time to consider the third expansion of Major League Baseball in the past sixteen years. Yes, I realize that Bud Selig and his cronies were considering contracting the Twins and the Expos just six years ago, but that was a power play for public funds towards building new stadiums. Baseball teams were making money in 2002 and they're making a whole lot more now. So let's ride the wave of good fortune and add two more baseball clubs to the American League, bringing the number of teams in both leagues to an even 16.

Now that we've all decided that yes, it is indeed time to add two teams, we must figure out where they are to go. In the spirit of a May 2007 Baseball Prospectus column by Nate Silver that suggested relocation possibilities for the Florida Marlins (subscription req'd), let's do a countdown of the Top Ten Best Possible Expansion Cities for Baseball:

10. Las Vegas - Not enough year-round residents to support a team, but you'd be hard-pressed to find a better destination for the jetsetting Red Sox Nation to visit for a road trip.
9. Buffalo - Was considered during the National League expansion back in 1993 but has since lost a good deal of its population. Also, winter lasts until July and starts in September.
8. Oklahoma City - Is deemed large enough to have a pro basketball team, but it may be too soon (and too dry) to support a baseball team. Also, the Rangers fanbase would flee and Tom Hicks won't be able to afford to overpay crappy pitchers.
7. San Antonio - Mark Twain once said that there were just four truly unique cities in the United States, while the rest were not much different from one another. His four were Boston, San Francisco, New Orleans, and San Antonio. He was also a filthy liar who couldn't even sign his real name to his own work, so who would trust him to start a baseball team?
6. San Juan - It's well-enough populated with more people than the city of St. Louis, but they're twice as poor. Also, they couldn't even keep their own league together.
5. Columbus - Ohio needs another baseball team like I need a hole in my head. Anyone who isn't already an Indians fan or a Reds fan probably has much more interesting things going on in their lives than dealing with a third mediocre franchise.
4. Montreal - Don't blame the good people of Montreal for losing the Expos, blame owner Claude Brochu, and later Jeffrey Loria for doing everything in their power to drive away fans. Given the right situation (and a new stadium), a Montreal franchise could once again draw 2+ million fans (and bring back Youppi!)
3. New Jersey - There are almost 20,000,000 people living in the New York metropolitan area. That's more than Cleveland, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Denver, Baltimore, Tampa and San Diego combined. Remember, New York once supported three baseball teams, and that was way back when people were shorter and lived near the water.

So here are the two cities that should get expansion franchises, along with a possible nickname:

2. Portland - The Portland Willamettes would not have a huge fanbase to work with, but they've actually got a stadium plan in the works and less rain than you think. They'd be a nice fit in the American League West.
1. Charlotte - I totally stole my #1 from Mr. Silver. I can't say this any better than he did:

"There is, to my mind, exactly one place that would clearly be viable for the 31st major league franchise, and that place is Charlotte, North Carolina. The South as a whole is underrepresented in the major leagues, which is what enables the Braves to control such a substantial TV audience. Charlotte is no metropolis, but it is conveniently located at the center of several mid-size markets, including the Winston-Salem/Greensboro/Raleigh-Durham corridor along I-40, and Columbia, South Carolina."

As long as the Charlotte team didn't combine the words "River" or "Mud" with either "Dog" or "Cat" as a mascot, I'll let them have a baseball team. Perhaps they should use the North Carolina state mammal as a mascot; the Charlotte Grey Squirrels would be a welcome addition to the American League East. After all, the Yankees and Red Sox need a new powderpuff team to beat up on now that the Rays have become competitive.

What cities did I miss? What would some possible mascot ideas be for the places I mentioned?

Asdrubal Cabrera's Triple Play

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As you've heard by now, Asdrubal Cabrera turned an unassisted triple play last evening. Coupled with Cliff Lee's nine innings of shutout ball it was a failsafe recipe for victory defeat. Here's the pertinent Indians triple play history. Footage below.

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Lance Berkman is the Big Puma and if you get in his way like Barry Zito did last night, he will pounce on you and bite your neck. Berkman went 3-for-4 with a two-run ding dong off Zito in leading his Astros to a 7-3 win over the Giants. He's actually hitting over .500 in the past 15 games, bringing the Houston Astros within 1.5 games of the first place Cubs. He's also gone and won his second Player of the Week award in the past three weeks. Lance Berkman is hitting so goddamned hot, he may have broken Bill James' thermometer:

Bill James, the statistical expert/author, has a "Who is hot?" statistic, which is expressed in degrees temperature. 72 degrees, or "room temperature," is normal. Each hitter starts the season at 72 degrees and degrees are added/subtracted based on each plate appearance. All major batting outcomes are assigned a certain number of positive and negative points.

Here is Bill James' current listing of hitters:

Lance Berkman 123°
Mike Lowell 98°
Clint Barmes 97°
Joey Votto 95°
Jason Bay 93°

Berkman is so hot, he's got people whispering about the Triple Crown. He leads the NL in RBI and is second in batting average (.393) behind Chipper Jones (.406) and is tied in ding dongs (13) with Chase Utley. More importantly than the Triple Crown, though: he may have already won the Walkoff Walk NL Player of the Month for May.

If you're wondering where the Big Puma moniker came from, turns out Berkman gave it to himself after disliking the nickname he earned from his teammates: Fat Elvis.

Gagne Ends Mental Break; Is Clearly Mental

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crazy britney.jpgI'll make this quick. Eric Gagne says he's ready to close again. Yeah, the same guy I wrote about yesterday. He says Sunday was his "mental break" and now he's ready to get back out there. Some choice quotes:

Gagne met briefly during batting practice with St. Louis closer Jason Isringhausen, who recently was removed from that role for a mental break, also.

"It always helps to talk to closers," said Gagne. "We're the only people that really know how we feel. We're a little different."

As for returning to the closing role, Gagne said: "I think I'm ready to go out there. I want to go out there as soon as I can. I know how to close. That's the only thing I know how to do.

It's the only thing you know how to do? Can someone mail him a DeVry catalog? Today?

Ugh. I know one thing he's succeeding at. Making me feel as depressed as he seems himself.

Here's what happened in baseball as your Pizza Hut was covered with daisies:

Reds 8, Marlins 7: This game was chock full of anachronisms: Corey Patterson reached base four times out of five, Ken Griffey made a two-run whoopsie-doodle as a high pop fly fell into and out of his glove, and the team with the worst record in the NL beat the team with the best record. Griffey's error helped the Marlins close to within one run in the eighth inning off closer Francisco Cordero, but Cordero sent Florida down 1-2-3 in the ninth for his sixth save in six chances.

Twins 7, Red Sox 3: Livan Hernandez isn't as bad as you think. He's 6-1 on the year, the Twins are 8-1 when he pitches, and he just beat the American League leading Boston Red Sox with his 35 MPH fastball. Hernandez didn't do it all by his lonesome: Marilyn Monroe's son Craig hit a two RBI double in the fifth to put the Twins ahead comfortably enough that they didn't need to bring in Joe Nathan to nearly blow another save. Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz hit his head on the dugout.

Nationals 10, Mets 4: Those wacky Washington Nationals made Nelson Figueroa look absolutely silly, as the peripatetic right-hander allowed five hits and five walks in five innings, leading to six Nats runs. Pitcher Odalis Perez was your fantasy glutton of the night, earning a win along with going 3-for-3 with 2 RBI at the plate. "HE HELPED HIS OWN CAUSE" is the worst baseball cliché ever. Reported attendance at the game was north of 45,000, but with temperatures below 50 degrees, I'd be surprised if there were more than 200 people at this game.

Tonight's Questions

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night game.jpgHey kids. Check out your local purveyors of fine televised baseball and find out:

Then stop by tomorrow for all the answers. Same WoW time, same WoW channel.

Shawn Chacon Feels No Joy, No Pain

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no exit.jpg In today's Houston Chronicle, Jose De Jesus Ortiz points out a record that was tied this weekend, to little fanfare. Shawn Chacon is the first pitcher in 43 years to start a season with eight no decisions. His ph balanced start matches the standard for neutrality set by the immortal Dick Stigman in 1965. Shawn you fucking nihilist, what do you think of all this?

"Today was a case of us facing a pretty doggone good pitcher (Hiroki Kuroda) and the offense picking me up late," Chacon said. "The last couple of times, I think we've been behind, and they've come back late and scored some runs, and we ended up winning the game.

"It's pretty weird. I definitely want to get a win before I get a loss. I'll keep taking them (no- decisions) as long as we're winning."


Wow. Sorry I asked. That's boring. Although I am surprised he said "doggone." When will Mr. Chacon get to experience the thrill of victory and/or the agony of the feet? Lord only knows, but rest assured Dick Stigman will be watching, ready to pop open a bottle of room temperature water if his record stays intact.

We Real Cool: Today's Doubleheaders

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  • 12:35, Braves at Pirates: The first of today's two doubleheaders starts off in scenic Pittsburgh, PA. In the first game it's Jair Jurrjens vs. Phil Dumatrait, who I believe are also UN representatives. The second game pits Tim Hudson against John Van Benschoten, the latter of whom I believe to be a UN representative. The Pirates have won 5 straight, and haven't won 6 in a row since 2004. Coincidentally that is the last time Van Benschoten won a major league decision. Pirates fever!

  • 4:05, Blue Jays at Indians: The second two-headed tilt starts in Cleveland with A.J. Burnett taking on Fausto Carmona. Carmona looks to regain some of his dominance from last year. Fausto, may I suggest you stop walking so many dudes? Toronto finds themselves banged up once again with Eckstein, MacDonald and now Vernon Wells all getting their Creampuff on. The second game pits Shaun Marcum against Cliff Lee in the best pitching matchup of the day. Lee has to have a bad start somewhere along the line, but don't expect it to be against this MASH unit of a Toronto lineup.
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Dex of Gaslamp Ball got a fantastic scoop from his connections with the San Diego Padres' front office. Turns out that former Dodgers general manager and current Special Assistant for Baseball Operations with the San Diego Padres Paul DePodesta has a blog, and he's not afraid to use it:

   "I began thinking about hosting a blog about a year ago, and back in January I took the first big step by starting an internal blog for employees of the Padres. The idea all along was to someday create an external blog to engage in a direct dialogue with our fans. Well, given the events of the past few weeks, that "someday" is now. We'll have to figure out the rules as we go since I won't be able to share everything, but I think it's important to open this avenue right now."

DePodesta was a disciple of Billy Beane with the Oakland A's and he played a significant role in that murder mystery novel Moneyball. (spoiler: it was Mark Teahen, in the conservatory, with the candlestick) He was later hired by the Dodgers to fill the G.M. role, but was let go within 20 months because Frank McCourt hates that fancy baseball math.

Walkoff Walk has been around long enough that we can welcome Mr. DePodesta to the baseballblogosphere and wish him the best of luck fending off rabid, commenting fans with knee-jerk reactions to seemingly wacky front office moves. Lucky for him, the San Diego faithful are pretty laid back; unlucky for him, the Padres have the worst record in baseball (but here come the Mariners!)

Eric Gagne: The WoW True Hollywood Story

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crazy britney.jpgEric Gagne's fall from goggled grace hit a new low this weekend after he effectively removed himself from the closer role in the Milwaukee bullpen. Gagne called his start on Saturday an "embarassment" and said he no longer deserved the job. As of Saturday night, Gagne and Yost were the last two people in America that had yet to say that, so once that shoe dropped, the manager had no choice but to demote Gagne. In Yost's expert opinion, Gagne needs "a mental break." To which I say: FROM WHAT!?

He spent all of last season shitting the bed then had a 4 month mental break called "the offseason." He promptly returned to pitching terribly. I'm positive a nap in the middle of May isn't going to wipe this dismal slate clean. Ah but wait, it's more than a mental break. There's also... um... something else!

Yost also said the staff has a handle on why Gagne has struggled and blown three of his last six save chances. He didn't reveal what the mechanical flaw was.

"It's very simple," Yost said. "I'm not going to tell you and I'm not going into it because it's nobody's real business. Plus I don't want to let anybody know in case the opposing team sees it, but it's a simple adjustment that we think can get him back on track."
So to recap. Nothing to see here. Old Ned's got everything under control. Gagne just needs a mental break. Oh, except for the mystery mechanical problem. That uh... they knew about but didn't do anything about until Gagne removed himself. Yeah, that's the ticket!

Ned Yost will be fired before the end of the season.
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Lost in the hoopla of all those wild, wacky rainouts yesterday was this wacky highlight from the Reds-Mets game in Flushing:

    "The basics: Mets reliever Pedro Feliciano started the (ninth) inning and faced catcher David Ross, hitting in the eighth spot. Ross lined out to right. The problem was Ross had been double-switched into the game in the bottom of the sixth inning as a pinch hitter for pitcher Bill Bray - slated to hit ninth - and would replace starting catcher Paul Bako, who had batted eighth the first six innings, defensively. Corey Patterson was inserted in the eighth inning to play centerfield and was supposed to hit eighth in place of reliever Jeremy Affeldt."

Translation: Dusty Baker's Reds batted out of order. Mets manager Willie Randolph spotted the error, presented his case to the umps, and was rewarded when Ross' fly out was stricken from the records and Patterson was charged with a putout to the catcher. So basically, Corey Patterson recorded an out without even setting foot in the batters box. Walkoff Walk's favorite target of derision is simply finding new ways to make outs every day! He's a Renaissance man of out-making! (Full disclosure: I like Corey Patterson and am rooting for him to do well, just not as a leadoff hitter)

Oddly enough, Ross was allowed to bat in his proper spot following this goof. He singled, but the Reds still lost 8-3.

Here's what happened in baseball as I laid down in a field of flame and heather:

Yankees 0, Detroit 0 (ppd. rain): I guess it rained in Detroit. Hm.

Blue Jays 0, Indians 0 (ppd. rain): Makes sense it would rain in Cleveland too. Michigan and Ohio are relatively close.

Braves 0, Pirates 0 (ppd. rain): Oh crap, I forgot how close Western Pennsylvania is to Ohio. Did ANYONE actually play baseball?

Let me know what I missed about Florida's seventh win in a row or the Astros come-from-behind victory after being no-hit for six or Brian Bannister's gem against the Orioles.

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After spending the day fêting your mother/grandmother/stepmother/surrogate mother/television, please enjoy tonight's nationally broadcast ESPN game featuring the Boston Red Sox and the Minnesota Twins. Old knuckleballer Tim Wakefield takes the mound for the Sox while youngster Nick Blackburn will do his best to protect the Baggiedome from hot hitting Kevin Youkilis.

Tomorrow, get ready for some weekend recaps and prepare thyself for a week full of interleague previews.

That's a huge lie. We'll probably forget about that interleague stuff until Friday. Whoops!

The Saturday Morning Post

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SatMornPost.jpg Here's some of what happened last night while you were kicking your feet up and having your boyfriend/girlfriend/roommate/mom bring you goddamn beer.

  • Cubs 3, Snakes 1: Ted Lilly was TGIFucking awesome, striking out 10 and only allowing 2 BB and 3 hits. The southpaw also drove in a run, which he decribed thusly: "I think he threw it right into my swing." Indeed. Derrek Lee had a ding dong.

  • Indians 6, Blue Jays 1: C.C. Sabathia and Roy Halladay were dueling until Cleveland hung all 6 of their runs in the seventh. Vernon Wells somehow hurt his wrist and his hamstring.

  • Brewers 4, Cardinals 3: Despite just having been violently raped by a wallaby, Rickie Weeks knocked in a 2 run walkoff single to beat Jason Isringhausen and the Cardinals. Good, I hate the Cardinals.

  • Yanks and Sawx both lawst. I don't wanna hear it, BC Twins Fan.

TODAY: The Tigers and Yankees are on Fox, which means Buck and McCarver will be extra insufferable. Now with 30% more "intangibles"... Maddux goes for 350 again, against Colorado... The Phils have to hit off Timmy Lincecum... Scott Kazmir tries to get back on track against the Angels... HOPEFULLY IT STOPS RAINING IN THE NORTHEAST.

What'd I miss? What are you doing? Let your fellow WoWies know in the cmntz. Have a good Saturday.

Weekend Questions

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Hey kids. Check out your local purveyors of fine televised baseball this weekend and find out:

  • WHICH hot AL West team will continue to notch the wins? Will it be Josh Hamilton (pictured, left) and his Texas Rangers, fresh off a sweep of the miserable Mariners or the Oakland Athletics, winners of four in a row?

  • WILL the Twinkies figure out a way to put some runs on the board against the hot pitching rotation of the Boston Red Sox? Hint: no.

  • CAN the Braves figure out a way to win more than four road games? It won't be too hard; they're going to Pittsburgh.

  • HOW awful is the timing that the Phillies are traveling to San Francisco just in time for Jimmy Rollins to make his triumphant return to shortstop? Awful enough that poor Eric Bruntlett's family won't get a chance to see the kid play.

  • WHY am I answering all my own rhetorical questions?

We owe an entire pallet-ful of Cokes to commenter star Farthammer for emailing us that awesome picture of Josh Hamilton wearing a Ron Washington t-shirt. Enjoy your weekend, watch some baseball, and tune in Saturday and Sunday to read some CTC recaps.

Breaking news: the San Diego Padres have released veteran outfielder Jim Edmonds after just 26 games. Edmonds was batting just .178 and was as slow as molasses in center field. Let the Chase Headley era commence!

(we owe a Coke to Gaslamp Ball)

In what has become a great Friday afternoon tradition at Walkoff Walk, I bring you this bit of classic television featuring Johnny Carson interviewing Bob Uecker. Let us pause for a moment and ponder exactly how Mr. Uecker, who played for just six seasons and batted .200, was ever considered a major television star. (Insert introspective pause here). Okay, well believe it or not, Bob Uecker spent five seasons playing the wacky dad in the TV show Mr. Belvedere, which was a mockumentary about a Polish vodka entrepreneur. He also made 64 (!) guest appearances on The Tonight Show, more than Joan Embery and Charles Nelson Reilly combined. Please to enjoy:



(via the Classic Television Showbiz blog)

What's Up Creampuff: Dudes That Got Hurt

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stretcher.JPGOUCH I'M A MAJOR LEAGUE BALLPLAYER AND I HAVE A BOOBOO AND I WANT SOMEONE TO BRING ME A JUICE BOX WHILE I WATCH THE WIGGLES AND I CANT PLAY TODAY BECAUSE I HAVE AN OWWIE.

  • Esteban Loaiza, Dodgers: Loiza went on the DL with tightness and spasms in his shoulder. He should have had Regis rub some Aspercreme on it. Anyway there's some speculation that this could open the door for a Clayton Kershaw call-up. Squeeeee!

  • Pat Neshek, Twins: Neshek strained his elbow. There was some confusion after an initial report quoted him as saying "it snapped." I guess it didn't snap or anything or but they're goin.....zzzzzzzzzzz. Anyway I hope it's not serious. I have a hard time disliking a guy that trades baseball cards with readers on his message board.

  • Rickie Weeks, Brewers: Raped by a wallaby.

  • David Eckstein & John McDonald, Blue Jays: Both infielders landed on the DL this week with a strained hip flexor and a sprained ankle, respectively. According to the Canadian Press, "General manager J.P. Ricciardi said he has "some irons in the fire" to bring in a player from outside the organization, widely expected to be a hitter who excels against left-handed pitching. He also won't give up a player from the big-league roster to get him." I think it's Tony Fossas. Wait I got that all wrong. It's Brad Wilkerson.
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  • 2:20, Snakes at Cubs: Day baseball at Wrigley with a rematch of last year's NLDS. The unemployed 15% of Chicago will see Dan Haren take on Ted Lilly. The Diamondbacks have a 3.5 game lead in the West and the Cubs are 1 game back in the Central.

Hey commenters, any moments from your storied athletic career you'd like to avenge? It can be little league, pickup games, office wastebasket shooting, whatever. Let us know below Commenter Participation Friday Comments Box of Comments.
Today's Classic TV Friday post brings us back to the halcyon days of an innocent America. A PSA didn't contain horrifying pictures of strung out meth heads or teen prostitutes, but instead urged our nation's youngsters not to mess with stray blasting caps. Hey kids, see this thing that looks like a bomb? Well it is a fucking bomb and here's Willie Mays to tell you about it:

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If you thought Carlos Gomez' cycle earlier this week was good, wait until you read about what Colorado high school baseball player Jobi Wall did:

   "A senior right-hander, Wall struck out six batters and retired 15 in a row in a five-inning, 18-0 victory over Coal Ridge. At the plate, the left-handed hitter tripled, singled, doubled, then homered in only four innings.

    "I was kind of aware of it, then it happened," said Wall, who is 6-feet-6, 205 pounds and also plays shortstop when not pitching. "My teammates were very supportive. Everything went right and I got a lot of lucky bounces."

Wow! He pitched a perfect game and hit for the cycle in the same game. Not even Micah Owings could do that given a million chances. Also, Owings' arm would fall off after about 2,000 tries, so that would hinder him somewhat.

Wall is a senior at Faith Christian High School. Let's see...he goes to a school called "Faith Christian", plays baseball, and lives in Colorado. He must be a Cardinals fan!

Watch as Richie Sexson charges the mound after Kason Gabbard throws a pitch at his head, sparking a riotous brawl between the Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers:



Oh shit no, that pitch was nowheres near his head. And yet Sexson charged the mound, threw his helmet, and tackled Gabbard, probably sending the dainty pitcher back to the disabled list. Maybe all this renewed energy by the Mariners will fill the seats. Or...maybe not.

(via Bugs & Cranks)

Here's what happened in baseball as you let me take my chances:

Braves 5, Padres 4: Atlanta came within one pitch of shrimp video goodness but Matt Diaz decided a walkoff single would win more praises than a mere walkoff walk. Allow me to register my disagreement, Mr. Diaz! Anyway, the Braves got off the superschneid that was a nine-game losing streak in one-run games and beat the Dads down in Hotlanta for the sweep. That's eleven losses for San Diego's bullpen. Manny Acosta got the win but with six relievers picking up the pieces after Jo-Jo Reyes left with an ouchie, I'm going to award the win to Bobby Cox for not getting tossed.

Yankees 6, Indians 3: It took three games but the Yankees finally decided to bring out their ding dong bats against Cleveland pitching. Jason Giambi, Johnny Damon, Wilson Betemit, Robinson Cano, and Federico the hot dog guy all collected tater tots off Paul Byrd and the Indians relievers. Mike Mussina got the win but Ross Ohlendorf and Joba Chamberlain were pretty pretty good in relief. Can we get these guys a coupla holds? Don't look now but Hideki Matsui has a 17-game hitting streak. Seriously, stop looking.

Diamondbacks 8, Phillies 3: Eight is great for Arizona. Brandon Webb notched his 8th win in his eight starts as the Diamondbacks scored 8 runs behind Chris Young's 8th home run and the New Pornographers (who have eight members) performed in Tucson last year. Brett Myers, who has totally lost velocity on his fastball since my sister stalked him in Clearwater, took the loss, giving up seven runs on nine hits and three walks in just five innings. 7-9-3-5? THAT WON THE NEW JERSEY PICK 4 TONIGHT

Tonight's Questions

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night game.jpgHey kids. Check out your local purveyors of fine televised baseball and find out:

Then stop by tomorrow for all the answers. Same WoW time, same WoW channel.

The Wil Cordero Memorial Linkpunch, Thursday, May 8

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linkpunch gorillaSometimes people write better than us. Each Tuesday and Thursday WoW gives you our favorite (mostly) baseball links we've come across.

  • Where's the star power in the AL this year? UmpBump

  • OH MY GOD DUSTY BAKER. JUST STOP IT. Big League Stew

  • Cliff Lee rides the subway to Yankee Stadium. This is like going in one of those shark cages to get a good look at a Great White. Baseball Analysts

  • You've got to be a real dick to make someone from Minnesota mad. RandBall

  • Eddy Arnold died. Sadness. I urge you to check out his catalog. Some of the finest old country stuff there is. New York Times
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The Seattle Mariners have fallen on hard times. Picked by many to contend in the American League West this season (not me...I picked them last) they're currently living in the basement, one game behind the godawful Texas Rangers. There's no single problem that stands out with this team, they basically suck at everything. Here's how they rank in the American League: 14th in on base percentage, 10th in slugging, 9th in ERA, 10th in fewest walks allowed. They're barely scoring 4 runs per game and playing a pretty crappy defense.

Worst of all, though...they can't get people to show up for home games. The once popular M's are just 8th in AL attendance, mostly surprising based on how beautiful Safeco Field is. I mean, cmon! They've got a train! And Dave Niehaus! Dave Niehaus loves trains!

On Tuesday night, they barely got 15,000 people, the lowest total in Safeco history. Club president Chuck Armstrong is non-plussed, though, and spins it thusly:

"No matter who we're playing, it seems like there's so much other stuff going on in May -- kids' soccer games, youth baseball, school getting out," Armstrong said. "It's been my experience that we draw better in April than we do during May."

Oh my, you are certainly the corporate spinmeister, Chuck. Next quote:

"Sometimes these things happen. Detroit has the exact same record as we do. I expect at the end we both will have better records. I hope we end in first place in the American League West."

The Tigers are on their way up the standings; yes, they're in last, but they're 3.5 games behind the first place Twins. The Mariners are seven and a half games behind both the Oakland A's and the Los Angeles Angels. At least manager John McLaren's job is safe. I hope he doesn't get that dreaded vote of confidence from Armstrong! Uh oh.

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  • 2:05, Twins at White Sox: This series has been a good microcosm for the whole AL Central thus far. White Sox take the first game 7-1. Twins take it 13-1 yesterday, in a game featuring a cycle and even more amazingly, Livan Hernandez improving to 5-1. This division is a stinkfest that no one wants to win. Today it's Kevin Slowey vs. John Danks. Slowey Danks sound like something my roommate used to sell in college.

  • 3:05, Cardinals at Rockies: Here's the best way to tell you're going to see a marquee pitching matchup. Go to the Yahoo! preview page and make sure that both SPs have headshots from other teams. That's quality. After last night's dramatic win, a victory today would give Colorado a series split. That's what I'm Roxing about! (I'm begging you, please kill me.)

  • 3:40, Phillies at Snakes: In what is becoming a consistent treat for baseball fans, Brandon Webb takes the mound for Arizona today. See, we can be nice sometimes. Irredeemable scumbag redneck Brett Meyers and his terrible goatee get the start for the Fightin Phils.

Spring And All: Today's Early Games

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sweep040905.jpgThe broom closet door may come off the hinges today. All three early games could finish off sweeps.

  • 12:35, Giants at Pirates: Matt Cain takes the mound for the Giants and the Pirates trot out Pat Maholm. The Pirates have won 12 of their last 14 against the Giants, which may be the single largest indictment I've seen of this Giants team. If they win today they'll pick up their second sweep of the year. Cain is coming off his best start of the season against Philadelphia.

  • 1:00, Padres at Braves: Unlike the seats down in SD, I'm almost certain you could get a great one in Hotlanta for about $10 for this game. I've seen sparse weekend crowds at the Ted and can't imagine a weekday would be very crowded. Matt T, I urge you to play hookie and go. The Braves send the excellently named Jo-Jo Reyes to the mound to try and pick up the team's 6th straight W. The Padres counter with Wilfredo Ledezma.

  • 1:05, Indians at Yankees: The Tribe look for their first Bronx sweep in 19 years today. The winner of this game gets to be .500! Luckily for the Bombers Cliff Lee can't pitch on 0 days rest and they'll get old timey windup Christian anti-masturbator Paul "HGH for the Lord" Byrd. Mike Mussina goes for New York, and Hideki Matsui will try and extend his hit streak to 17.

I'll be back after lunch with the rest of the afternoon games. I'm going to go back into this after riding my bike through the thick of it this morning. Eek.

Carlos Gomez Cycles; Puts Own Card In Spokes

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old bike.jpgWalkoff Walk slow clap is in order for Mr. Carlos A. Gomez of the Minnesota Twins. Gomez hit for the cycle last evening and our friends over at Twinkie Town have compiled all relevant facts about cycles and the Twins.

Do you know who the last Twin to hit for the cycle against the White Sox was? They do. None other than Hall Of Famer* Lyman Bostock!

So hat's off to Carlos Gomez. Feel free to pay tribute to him in the comments with a Youtube video containing someone crashing on some sort of cycle. Whee!

*Lyman Bostock is not in the Hall Of Fame

Via the inimitable Meech at Bugs & Cranks, I bring you the most horrific gut-wrenching video you will watch all day:


Oh the shame! Don't look at his face! That's the Reds mascot "Mr. Redlegs" having his head removed after tumbling from an ATV driven by some other dumb Reds mascot. Where have I seen Mr. Redlegs before, anyway? Oh yeah.

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Our friends at Gaslamp Ball don't have much else to do now that the Padres have the worst record in baseball (also, Greg Maddux will be stuck on 349 wins forever), so they've been scouring Craigslist to find the best deals for San Diegans looking to redecorate their swank downtown condos. Here's what they found:

   "This is a Seat from Petco Ballpark!!! In Great Condition!!! Take a look at the pictures this is no joke. A must have for any TRUE fan!!! Lucky for you I'm a A's Fan... Priced at $22750.00 OBO shoot me a Email with a number maybe we can make it happen..."

Only $22750.00? Wow, what a steal! Especially since it was marked down from $25000.00! That must be a really swank stadium seat. I bet it's the Stickley of stadium seats. Is it gold-plated? Does it come with season passes to Petco Park where you can bring the seat in and plop it down in the on-bat circle right on the field? Does it have built-in massage features like the Spinemelter 2000? I NEED TO KNOW BEFORE I WESTERN UNION THAT MAN MY $22750!

A somewhat related question: when Yankee Stadium is demolished and the city of New York sells off all those seats, how much will those cost? Using this Petco Park seat as a yardstick, by my estimation, they'll be $1.5 billion per pair.

Baseball Before Bedtime: American Hearts

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Here's some of while you were watching people pushing shopping carts.

  • Phillies 5, Snakes 4: The Diamondbacks blew two separate leads and couldn't get back on top for a third. Chase Utley drove in the go ahead run in the eighth and my PPP pick Conor Jackson had two RBI. I'm not gloating though, as Jackson fell victim to the famous "Curse of CTC" and left the game after a nasty collision with Shane Victorino at first base. When I heard the news I insisted Victorino be deported, then someone said, "He's from Hawaii." I then said, "What's your point?" Brad Lidge stayed perfect for '08 pitching a scoreless 9th for his seventh save.

  • Indians 3, Yankees 0: Fresh of his WoW player of the month award Cliff Lee began stating his case for May and pitched seven shut out innings against the Yankees. Cliffy's ERA is now at 0.86. If he keeps this up for the whole season they're gonna pull some Bob Gibson shit and lower the mound. Chien Ming Wang didn't pitch terribly himself scattering 8 runners and 3 runs in 7 innings. The Yankees are now one game under .500. HEADS ARE GONNA ROLL.

  • Rockies 4, Cardinals 3: The house was Roxing (shoot me) out in Colorado as the NL Champs staged a 4 run 8th inning comeback off Jason Isringhausen. They managed only 4 hits off of Cards ace Adam Wainwright and were down by 3 before channeling the spirits of Rocktober (what are you waiting for please shoot me). The comeback featured two eighth inning triples and I'm sure an assload of thanking God and pointing at the sky and stuff.

  • Tigers 9, Red Sox 8: Clay Buchholz gave up ten hits, a walk and 5 runs in 4 innings. I don't think that qualifies as a quality start. The Sox trailed 8-4 in the 5th before mounting a comeback capped by by Mikey Lowell's game tying 3 run ding dong in the 7th and Dustin Pedroia's go ahead pinch hit single in the 8th. It was quite the exhilarating sport match. Then in the 9th, Matt Joyce led off the inning with a single against shutdown spaz, Jon Papelbon. A Julio Lugo error on the next play put two men on and then Curtis Granderson tied it with an RBI groundout. I could already hear the meatsticks in the bar across the street calling for Lugo's head before Placido Polanco's broken bat walkoff single. If you want to blame Lugo that's fine with me, but I'm going to pin it on the 18 hits and 22 total baserunners the Sox allowed. It was the first time in 20 tries the Tigers came back from a 2 run deficit after 8.

  • Oakland 6, Orioles 5, (10): In another rollercoaster game, the A's led 4-2 going into the 8th, before the O's scored 3 to take the lead. The A's then tied it in the bottom of the inning on a fielder's choice from promising newcomer Frank Thomas. The game went into extras until Mark Ellis sent everyone back into the frightening Oakland night with a walkoff tot. Baltimore keeps sinking, sinking, sinking.

Tonight's Questions

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night game.jpgHey kids. Check out your local purveyors of fine televised baseball and find out:


Then stop by tomorrow for all the answers. Same WoW time, same WoW channel.

Here is the man who has hit three ding dongs so far in this afternoon's Cubs-Reds game. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Joey Votto:

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Watch out, he's Canadian!

Also, Votto is already on this awesome Wikipedia page. Timely!

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After a brief dalliance with American League teams last week, I'm back to the senior circuit today as the Cubs visit the Reds in the rubber game of the three game series. Veteran Cub pitcher Jon Lieber squares off against rookie sensation Edinson Volquez this afternoon, and I'll be telling you everything I learn from my trusty XM radio. Both pitchers have sub-2.00 ERAs. This is Lieber's first start since replacing Rich Hill in the rotation while Volquez has yet to give up more than one earned run in his six starts.

You want lineups? You can have them over at Yahoo!. Walkoff Walk 'favorite' Corey Patterson is leading off today, so it looks like the CPW is not quite dead yet! Whee! He's had four plate appearances against Lieber, all in a May 2005 Cubs-Phillies game; he hit a tater tot and walked twice. Slumping Cub left fielder Alfonso Soriano has the day off as Reed Johnson will be leading off today.

Follow me after the jump!

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Well, at least it's for a good cause. As per Maury Brown's Biz of Baseball blog, Nick Swisher and his White Sox teammates are gonna dye their facial hair pink:

   "It was announced today that Chicago White Sox players Nick Swisher, John Danks and Toby Hall will dye their facial hair pink in honor of Mother's Day and support of Breast Cancer awareness (today). Swisher, Danks and Hall also will make a donation to the Lynn Sage Cancer Research Foundation (Chicago) on behalf of all White Sox players."

I'm already pretty much well aware of this 'breast cancer' thing, but I salute Swisher, Danks, and Hall for going to such a humiliating degree to promote cancer research. Seriously, guys. Scott Speizio didn't look stupid enough for you?

Credit goes to Home Run Derby for predicting this would happen and makin' some great Photoshop-renderings after reading a not-so-secretive item in Nick Swisher's blog.

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  • 12:15, Cubs at Reds: Rob continues his fascination with all things Dusty today. First, he'll be liveblogging this game for you, then he's going to take out the 12 year old condom in his wallet and look at it. But I digress. It's Jon Leiber and his 1.86 ERA (?) against Endinson Volquez and his 1.27 ERA. Since I just made a point of talking how good they've been I predict an 11-11 tie by the second inning. Should be fun.

  • 3:10, Mets at Dodgers: The Dodgers will try and get the brooms out today. Mainly because Jonathan Broxton has been scarfing Triscuits all over the locker room, but also because they look to sweep the Mets in this 3 game series. This would be LA's third sweep in the last 4 series which is damned impressive. They sit 3 games back of the once invincible looking Snakes. Brad Penny takes the hill against John "Alyssa Milano? Why yes, I did Bangor" Maine.

  • 3:35, Orioles at A's: After stopping by Farthammer's for a couple gallons of malt liquor, Joe Blanton looks to lead the A's to a sweep of fast sinking Orioles. Life was good in Baltimore for a couple weeks (well, not really but the O's were playing well) but everyone is coming back to earth, and earth reeks of crabs. So far disappointing Jeremy Guthrie takes the ball for the Birds.
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The Phillies lost the second game of their four-game series with the Diamondbacks out at Chase Field last night and things couldn't possibly go worse for Adam Eaton in the fourth inning. Reproduced from the play-by-play, for your enjoyment:

  - J. Upton walked
  - M. Reynolds doubled to deep right center, J. Upton to third
  - M. Montero walked
  - A. Ojeda flied out to center
  - R. Johnson walked, J. Upton scored, M. Reynolds to third, M. Montero to second
  - C. Young grounded into fielder's choice, M. Reynolds scored, M. Montero to third, R. Johnson out at second
  - S. Drew homered to deep right, C. Young and M. Montero scored
  - E. Byrnes flied out to right

Yes, Adam Eaton loaded the bases, got light-hitting Augie Ojeda to fly out, and then walked pitcher Randy Johnson to force in a run. That's the baseball equivalent of getting gum in your hair. After allowing another run on a fielder's choice, he gave up the three-run tater tot to Stephen Drew. That's the baseball equivalent of trying to get the gum out with peanut butter and marshmallow fluff, thus making matters worse. The Phillies went on to lose the game 6-4 despite shortstop Eric Bruntlett's homer, double and 3 RBI.

To add insult to injury for the Phillies, Randy Johnson collected his 286th career win in this game, tying him on the all-time list with Phillie great Robin Roberts.

I think Adam Eaton should move to Australia.

Here's what happened in baseball as we carried our ladders down the street:

White Sox 7, Twins 1: Gavin Floyd, who was once a Philiie, camethisclose to pitching a no-hitter, going 8 and 1/3 innings before giving up a double to Minnesota catcher Joe Mauer. Floyd, the former Phillie, took a no-hitter into the eighth against Detroit last month, so expect the guy who was traded from Philadelphia to finally get his no-hitter sometime in June. Jermaine Dye hit a tater tot to support his teammate Floyd, who, if you hadn't already figured out, was formerly employed by the Philadelphia Phillies baseball club.

Marlins 3, Brewers 0: Scott Olsen, who was never a Phillie, camethisclose to a complete game, going 8 and 2/3 innings before loading the bases in ninth, prompting Florida manager Fredi Gonzalez to summon closer Kevin Gregg for the save. Kevin Gregg delivered, inducing Bill Hall to fly out. Olsen allowed just a double to Ryan Braun and a single to Prince Fielder but got in trouble in the ninth by walking two Brewers. Mike Jacobs provided the offense with a two-run ding dong in the third off loser Jeff Suppan.

Indians 5, Yankees 3: I attended this game and it gave me the red ass. David Dellucci, of all people, hit the game winning three-run ding dong off no-longer-superhuman Joba Chamberlain with two outs in the eighth. This was four innings after Andy Pettitte's only mistake pitch of the night that Jhonny Peralta deposited 400 feet away over the centerfield wall. Jesu Cristo! Quel dommage! Chamberlain, who will never be a Phillie, walked two gentlemen prior to the tater tot, which caused much malaise in the Stadium. Cleveland starter Fausto Carmona pitched like shit but the Yankees could never really take advantage, leaving nine men on base. Thanks for nothing, Melky! In other news, if Chief Wahoo taunts me in the comments, I will ban him from two websites.

Tonight's Questions

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baby-lobster.jpgHey kids, here's what you should be asking yourself if you have half a goddamned brain:

  • WEREN'T we just talking about the Tigers being back around .500? If they lose to Red Sox tonight they'll be six games under.

  • CAN heralded rookie Nick Adenhart improve on the giant dump he took in his first major league start, tonight against the Royals?

  • WHAT has science done to this poor lobster baby?

  • WHO'S more ornery, Adam Eaton or Randy Johnson?

  • IF the answer is Adam Eaton, can the Dodgers inch closer to the Snakes?

Live from the Indians/Yankees game, Rob will be commenting in this here space. I guess he has one of those Blaxberry handcomputerphones or something. So check that out. Then stop by tomorrow. Same WoW time, same WoW channel.
linkpunch gorillaSometimes people write better than us. Each Tuesday and Thursday WoW gives you our favorite baseball links we've come across.

  • FoWoW Jonah Keri examines the failure dynasties, aka the teams that have excelled at shitting the bed for an extended period of time. If he re-writes this in 3 years, expect the Mariners to be on the list. ESPN Page 2.

  • Derrick Goold notes that Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright hit a career-high pitch count last week and researches what happens to other hurlers after throwing 126 pitches. I call this "Dustyizing" pitchers. Bird Land.

  • It's your last goddamned chance to vote for the Worst GM poll! Brian Sabean! Ed Wade! Which one stinks more? Bucs Dugout.

  • Our own Camp Tiger Claw has climbed up to second place in the Player Pick Pool, riding Curtis Granderson to 20 points last week. Hack comic Mike Schmidt has tumbled to fourth place but it's still not the biggest shame of his career. Touching Base.

  • Los Angeles Daily News beat writer Tony Jackson loses his shit about Juan Pierre being actually good. I don't blame him one bit. Inside the Dodgers.

  • 'Duk assembled some of the best talent in the baseballblogosphere to remark on Roger Clemens' hall of fame chances. That guy who talks about brussels sprouts is the best. Big League Stew.

  • The best Photoshop I've seen in the past 33 days. Goat Riders of the Apocalypse.
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Pat over at Where Have You Gone, Andy Van Slyke? links us to a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette profile of Pirates center fielder Nate McLouth. In case you haven't been paying attention (and why would you? The Pirates stink) McLouth is having a pretty darn good start to his season, leading all major league center fielders in OPS and tater tots. Most importantly, he's being patient at the plate, a quality he's embodied since playing wiffle ball with his paw at the age of four:

   "Nate would take pitches," the elder McLouth said. "Honestly, if he didn't like what I threw, he wouldn't even budge." This might best explain why nobody, not Nate McLouth's family, not his high school coach, not any of his professional instructors, including those currently with the Pirates, can lay claim to that patient, sweet-swinging style that has made him one of the more compelling story lines early in this Major League Baseball season. As Pirates hitting coach Don Long put it, "That approach he has, that's not something you teach."

Sounds like you're not doing your goddamned job, Don! Shouldn't you be trying to teach the hitters to take some consarned pitches every now and then and LEARN how to wait for the best pitch to hit? You're the HITTING COACH, not the "sit back and let the players' natural abilities take over" coach. Did my calculus teacher in high school say "That ability to integrate functions he has, that's not something you teach"? No, he didn't.

Take, for example, Phillies left fielder Pat Burrell. He used to hack away at every pitch he saw, striking out a total of 162 times against just 70 walks in 2001. Fast forward to 2007 where he struck out 120 times while collecting a whopping 114 walks, while raising his OPS+ from 110 to 127. In 2001, he saw 4.03 pitches per plate appearance; in 2007, he saw 4.22. Somebody had to teach him to take some pitches.

Maybe the Pirates should just hire Nate McLouth's pop and give every player those big red bats for a day or two.

Mark DeRosa has a not terrible blog on MLBlogs.com and at the end of Sunday's blathering he posed a question to his commenters (NO DUDE, DON'T!) about what he should permanently title his blog. The answers are well... you can probably guess. It took a lot of restraint for me not to reprint the names and emails, but more than one came from an @juno.com address.

  • We love having you on the team, Mark. How about "On De-Road with DeRosa" for your blog? Sorry if it's been suggested already. (This was the second comment.)

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  • Anyway, how about "De-Scoop with De-Ro"? By the way, my wife is from Jersey as well, and we're both big fans. Good luck, man.

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  • How about De-Ro Centro

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  • Look for a sign in the stands when the team visits the D-Backs this year, she is so excited for you to see what she has been working on. It reads "Mark, you are De cream in my coffee, De Rosa in my gardens." Needless to say, she is so pleased with herself for coming up with that. Good luck this season, and if fate would have it and the Cubs meet up with Arizona in the playoffs again this year I hope you give 'em hell.
    Uncle Rodeo

    P.S. You should call your blog "My Blog- by Mark DeRosa" ~Wow, is that the best I can do?

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  • I vote you use actual words in your title, like "Debrief with DeRosa", or just something like "Positions" with Mark DeRosa

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  • I say call it derosabomb!

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  • As for a title to your blog might I suggest "Mindful Musings of Mark Derosa" and if that is to long then maybe "Cleat's Off" with Mark Derosa, or just "Cleat's Off"

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  • Blog name:
    IN THE DUGOUT WITH _________ (your name or nickname)

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There are many, many more. Read if you dare.
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Get ready to clap your hands and say "Yeah!" because this might be the final Corey Patterson Watch ever. Over the past week, Patterson started just two games and his Reds have tumbled to a record of 13 wins and 20 losses. Manager Dusty Baker finally shook up the lineup, putting Ryan Freel and his .357 on base percentage in center field and the leadoff spot.

Instead of boring you with each game breakdown, I will summarize Corey's week (which included two pinch hit appearances and one defensive replacement) as such:

5 games, 10 at-bats, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 RBI, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 1 stolen base

Patterson's on base percentage is a super low .263 and his slugging percentage has dropped to .433. After 100 plate appearances so far this season, his EQA is just .237. He's just not hitting line drives and he's just not drawing walks.

The Reds actually have a decent team despite sitting eight games back at fifth place in the NL Central. Still, they have just a 7% chance of making the playoffs so Baker would be wrong to continue to give regular playing time to Patterson. Bring up Jay Bruce!

nathan.jpgSolid and Happy Endings are the ones that come to mind.

While I cringed a little bit at the metaphor, Jim Souhan's column about Joe Nathan being a high yield stock got Darren and I diving into his career numbers. The results weren't unexpected, but still impressive. They also serve as a palate cleanser for the Gagne post. Put your numbers hat on.

Nathan is one of 6 relievers (Hoffman, Rivera, Isringhausen, F. Cordero and F. Rodriguez) to record 150 saves since 2004, the year he became a Twin. As Souhan mentions, Nathan has converted 171 of of 185 save attempts in that time. At 92.4 percent, that's the highest conversion percentage of anyone in baseball.

He walks batters at a 2.39 clip per 9 innings, while striking out 11.24. In 2006 he gave up a ridiculous 5 hits per 9 innings. Last year it ballooned to 6.7. He's also benefited from good defense behind him, with 62 of his 64 allowed runs being earned.

Before the 2006 season Baseball Prospectus had this to say about Nathan (link only avaliable to subscribers):

"There`s something vaguely disappointing about a great closer who is simply a great closer. It`s a Tom Henke sort of thing, where greatness goes unobserved due to the lack of a signature. Perhaps distracting facial hair would help; `90s style goatees aren`t like Goose`s Fu Manchu or Rollie Fingers` waxed mustachios, they`re just lazy. Until he gets a fashion consultant, Nathan will settle for mercilessly blowing away opponents with high 90s heat and a criminally nasty power slider."

I disagree. Now I've got nothing against mustaches, but Tom Henke was even more badass because he looked like a science teacher. Beyond Papelbon's FAS + ADHD routine, who really has a gimmick anymore? On a list of recent memorable closers, Rivera's gimmick has been "playing in New York." Billy Wagner's has been "playing in Philly and New York." Gagne's has been "playing in LA and sucking in Boston." Joe Nathan plays for a team that almost got contracted. That seems to be the only real setback on his path to stardom, and it's no fault of his own.

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Eric Gagne must think saves grow on trees because he is blowing through them like a spoiled teenage girl blows through Daddy's credit limit. Only in this case, Doug Melvin is Daddy and Daddy is turning a blind eye to his little girl's wasteful ways. From Tom Haudricourt's blog:

"I just spoke with Brewers general manager Doug Melvin via telephone and he told me there are no plans to remove Eric Gagne as the club's closer despite the veteran right-handers off-and-on struggles this season."

Those aren't off-and-on struggles, Tom. I'd call those off-and-really-off struggles. What's eating Eric Gagne, anyway? I dialed up David Pinto's Day-by-Day Database to find Gagne's numbers from two distinct time periods: his stint as the Texas Rangers closer in 2007 before becoming a Boston Red Sock, and his stint as both a Red Sock in 2007 and the Brewers closer in 2008:

  Eric Gagne from March 30, 2007 until July 31, 2007
  Eric Gagne from August 1, 2007 until May 4, 2008

Both time periods cover 33 1/3 innings pitched, although the former was across 34 games while the latter was across 36 games. His role changed, too. In the former period, he was the closer on a terrible team. In the latter period, he was a setup man on a playoff team followed by the closer on a potential division contender.

Here's the most interesting stat: his strikeout rate per nine innings actually went up from 7.8 K/9 as a Ranger to 10.5 K/9 as a Red Sock and Brewer. However, his walk rate went up too, from 3.2 BB/9 (bad) to 5.1 BB/9 (really bad). The strikeouts are great but if he can't get his walk ratio under 3, he's a liability as a closer.

Let's examine an even smaller sample size than the 33 1/3 innings pitched as the Rangers closer: the 14 2/3 innings pitched as the Brewers closer. Over those 14 2/3 innings, Gagne has allowed 4 ding dongs which translates to 2.45 homers allowed per nine innings. That's atrocious. The right hander allowed just .52 tater tots per nine innings all last year.

What does this all mean? I have no idea, except statistically, there's something wrong with Eric Gagne and something wrong with the Brewers bullpen. Salomon Torres to the rescue!

Here's what happened in baseball while taking this sinking boat and pointing it home:

Blue Jays 1, White Sox 0: Toronto completed a four-game sweep of potty-mouthed Ozzie Guillen and his light-hitting White Sox thanks to an excellent start by Dustin McGowan. If you're counting, and I know you are, that's nine straight quality starts by the Blue Jays rotation; they held Chicago to but 5 runs over the four-game series. Matt Stairs provided the only offense of the night with a seventh inning ding dong while B.J. Ryan survived some trouble to earn his fifth sa...wait a minute. "Some trouble"? Kid WALKED THE BASES LOADED. Who does he think he is, Eric Gagne?

Reds 5, Cubs 3: Ryan Dempster had a shitty first inning (three runs allowed) and it just didn't get better for him or the rest of his Cubs teammates. Heck, even Ken Griffey robbed Alfonso Soriano of an extra base hit with a diving catch, and he lost his best friend to cancer earlier in the day! Dempster wasn't actually charged with any earned runs thanks to errors by Mike Fontenot and Mark DeRosa that led to all five of the Reds runs. The Cubs made the game interesting in the ninth against Reds closer Francisco Cordero, who loaded the bases with one out but tagged Fontenot out trying to score on a wild pitch and induced Derrek Lee into grounding out to first. Suckers!

Angels 4, Royals 0: Brett Tomko and Ervin "Magic" Santana dueled all night long but in the end, it was the Kansas City bullpen that made all the difference. Santana pitched a complete game shutout and struck out nine Royals, while Tomko's seven shutout innings went to shit after a four-run Angel ninth capped by rookie third baseman Brandon Wood's tater tot. Santana is 6-0 now, and didn't allow more than one baserunner in any inning. But remember...it was only the Royals.

Tonight's Questions

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night game.jpgHey kids, knock back a couple Cinco cervezas and tune in tonight to find out:


Then stop by tomorrow for all the answers. Same WoW time, same WoW channel.
dodgersbaby.jpg

Ever wish that someone could come up with a baseball version of Baby Einstein, those annoyingly cloying DVD's that supposedly help boost babies' brain power but actually hinder their language skills? Yeah, me neither. Still, that didn't stop a company named Team Baby Entertainment from putting out DVD's like Dodgers Baby, for those ridiculous Dodgers fans who want to brainwash their offspring into rooting for some mediocre team:

   "You love your kids, you love your family, and you love your Los Angles Dodgers™! Now you can combine them all with this exciting new Team Baby Entertainment DVD. Dodgers™ BABY combines all the great things you love about the team, with all the things you want your young fans to learn -- numbers, letters, shapes, colors and more. Narrated by Alyssa Milano, and featuring original Team Baby Entertainment music, DODGERS™ BABY is the ideal way to raise tomorrow's fans today!"

Holy shit, it's narrated by Alyssa Milano, who has dated Barry Zito, Brad Penny, Carl Pavano, and once did this? Does she give out tips for dressing slutty to improve one's chances to hook up with a professional athlete? Who in their right mind would want to teach their daughters such things? Oh...right.

Relevant Bat Attack!

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palm_smash_bat.jpgOver the weekend, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that the Pirates had released pitching prospect Olivio Astacio after he attacked a teammate with a bat in extended spring training. Apparently Astacio has a bit of a reputation as a loonball motherfucker, having been drafted by the Red Sox in '02 but sitting out all of 2005 as a disciplinary action. The following year, he only pitched one game for AA Altoona before breaking his hand in a fight. Milton Bradley, Anton Newcombe and Bad News Brown all think this dude needs to take it down a notch.

Apparently the guy he hit wasn't seriously injured.

Duh, Astacio is a pitcher!11!ONE!!

I owe a a pair of headphones and some hip shades to Pat Lackey for the lead.
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If the season ended today, the Oakland A's would be the Wild Card representative for the American League, and if the season ended today, hundreds of thousands of season ticket holders across baseball would be pretty pissed off. So those A's have succeeded because of three things: starting pitching, Jack Cust overcoming polio, and more starting pitching. In fact, once ace Rich Harden returns from injury, manager Bob Geren may institute the six-man rotation.

Here's the current rotation in Oakland:

  Joe Blanton, 3.88 ERA, 1.35 WHIP
  Dana Eveland, 3.67, 1.28
  Chad Gaudin, 3.75, 1.19
  Greg Smith, 2.54, 1.03
  Justin Duchscherer, 2.40, 1.27

Add in Harden and you've got six guys with sub-4.00 ERA's. Perhaps the biggest surprise here is Greg Smith, who, before the season started, was expected to be a mediocre spot starter when someone (read: Rich Harden) got hurt. Smith came to Oakland from Arizona in the Danny Haren trade; five of his six starts have been quality starts and he's struck out 31 batters over 39 innings. It would be hard to bump him from the rotation, as it would be hard to bump any of the four others.

Thing is, the six-man rotation is a red herring. Teams have been talking about using it for years and yet it's never really happened. Why? Rany Jazayerli, in his 2002 article decrying the five-man rotation, used this quote from the great Earl Weaver:

"It is easier to find four starting pitchers than five."

Just like it's easier to find five starting pitchers than six. Starting pitchers are a finicky type. They get hurt, they break down, they lose focus. It's easy to move Justin Duchscherer to the bullpen when Rich Harden comes back. That's what baseball folks call a 'spot starter'. If anything happens in Oakland, it will be closer to a five-man rotation where Smith, Gaudin, and Eveland share the 4 and 5 positions in the rotation, thus keeping their young arms healthy.

leylandhat.jpgBreaking news: Jim Leyland is angry. Yes Leyland, that asshole, is upset with his teams lack of consistency on offense so tonight, he's shaking up the lineup. This is a fantastic idea, because nothing promotes consistency like inconsistency.

The Tigers certainly had some trouble scoring against the Twins this weekend and Old Smokey's logic seems sound:

"It almost looks like we think we go up to home plate and things are going to happen," Leyland said. "We've got to grind out the at-bats and hit, because we're not going to manufacture a lot of runs.

"(For today), I might shake the lineup up a little bit. I'm not sure yet. ... Maybe play a little bit of a different type of team, maybe play a little different style of game. Maybe that will be more interesting for us."

Such as putting more people in motion? "Yes," he said.

But the Tigers tied for the most runs scored in the AL last month, and currently sit first in slugging and second in OPS. Alas, the pitching staff has given up the second most runs in the AL. The problem is clear and it isn't in the lineup. Instead of tampering with his club's obvious strength, Shitgums needs to get management to deliver the help his pitching staff desperately needs.

Hey check out the awesome celebrity paparazzi photosnapshot I stole from this celebretard website via the fine Marlins blog Fishstripes:

aniston.jpg

Yes, it's Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson filming some movie (presumably about a dog who plays baseball called Air Bud Selig...zing!) at Dolphin Stadium née Pro Player Park née Joe Robbie Stadium (that's where the Marlins play). Color me unsurprised that the backdrop of this movie shows the Reds losing. OMIGOD I AM ON FIRE TODAY JUST LIKE MICHAEL MUSTO!

Update: Thanks to the super-awesome Meech from Bugs & Cranks, there is video evidence.

Here's what happened in baseball while giving you my Vincent to ride:

Astros 8, Brewers 6 (12): Hunter Pence hit the walkoff tater tot in extra innings and while he was circling the bases, his teammates brought out an enormous piece of plate glass for Pence to run through as he crossed home plate. What a celebration! Also, Eric Gagne blew his fifth save of the year by giving up a bases loaded game-tying walk to Lance Berkman, thus denying Ben Sheets a win. Relievin's hard, y'all!

Twins 7, Tigers 6: Jim Leyland, that asshole, promises massive sweeping Obama-like changes to the Tigers lineup tonight after suffering an inconsistent offense. Fine, tinker with the lineup all you want but your bullpen just blew a 6-0 lead to the Twins, capped by a two-run single by superstar catcher Joe Mauer. The real loser of the game was Tiger infielder extraordinaire Carlos Guillen who, with the Tigers up 6-3, let a two-out groundball roll between his sticky wickets. The Twins went on to score four more runs, sweep the series, and go out for malteds to celebrate.

Mets 5, Diamondbacks 2: It is my duty to alert you to all occurrences of massively egregious game-losing errors along with (most) occurrences of massively fantastic game-winning tater tots. In this case, the error may have been egregious but I am not so ready to lay all the blame on first baseman Conor Jackson, whose throwing error led to three Mets runs in the ninth inning. See, Conor fielded a ground ball with two on and no outs, and threw it towards the general direction of second base...but it sailed over everyone's heads into left field. Oopsie! Neither starter in this acclaimed matchup figured in the decision.

Athletics 3, Rangers 1: All in favor of the A's wearing their 1968 retro jerseys permanently for the remainder of the season, say "aye". The ayes totally have it! I'm feeling so Uni Watch right now, I think I might have squealed. Anyway, Jack Cust continues his reinvigoration by hitting the game winning ding dong. A's starter Greg Smith was super effective over his six innings but did not get the win. I am going to make an effort to mention Greg Smith every time he pitches because I want you to know him.

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I don't need to tell you what happened in baseball yesterday. If you haven't already seen the highlights or read the recaps, shame on you!

However, there's a special game today that we'll all be lucky enough to see unless we spent our cable money on beer and loose women. Yes, the Mets and the Diamondbacks are on TBS today at 4PM EDT. Two of the most important pitchers who changed teams in the offseason will face off...no, not Kyle Lohse and Jeff Weaver. I'm talking Johan Santana and his wicked changeup versus Dan Haren and his propensity to give up ding dongs.

Please enjoy the dulcet tones of dullard Chip Caray and we'll meet back here tomorrow morning to discuss the action.

Here's a snapshot from Citizens Bank Park last night. It's the aftermath of Pedro Feliz' home run in the fourth inning. I'd have shared a photo of Pat Burrell's walkoff tater tot if I hadn't already left the game to attend a beer-and-cake party. Whoops!

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Enjoy the rest of your weekend, WoWies.

Weekend Questions

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Hey kids, tune in tonight to find out:


Thanks to DMac for the "Convoy" poster with our favorite Indian fireballers. Weekend plans here are a little nebulous. Rob and I are both traveling, but we'll try and get something up each day. Have fun out there this weekend, WoWies and remember to have some water before you go to bed.

Baseball Bugs- 1946

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Today's Classic TV Friday post is one of my all time favorites. I'm sure you've all seen it but it may have been awhile. Bugs Bunny takes over for the Teetotalers, a wimpy team full of old guys that are getting their asses handed to them by the Gashouse Gorillas. Hilarity ensues and Bugs takes the day. This oughta put you in some good spirits for the Friday homestretch.

What's Up Creampuff: Dudes That Got Hurt

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stretcher.JPGSome very big names went down this week, proving the age old addage: "Money and fame can't buy you a set of balls, you fucking wimp."

  • Alex Rodriguez, Jorge Posada & Phil Hughes, Yankees: What a MASH unit. That's $45.1 Million on the DL. That's more than the total payroll of Florida or Tampa and almost as much as Oakland. Rodriguez has a class 2 strain in his quad which is pretty severe. It's not torn, and they're hoping he'll be ready after two weeks, but Rodriguez has said he had a similar injury in HS and it bothered him for two months.
    Posada has had four different doctors look at his shoulder this week and is waiting on MRI results from Dr. James Andrews, which is rarely good. See what happens when you make Giambi dump out all his HGH? You lose your elderly catcher to shoulder trouble in the first year of his retarded new contract.

    Finally, as we discussed earlier today, Phil Hughes has a cracked rib. He initially thought it was a strained oblique and got the bad news yesterday. He's out till July. It's a good thing George Steinbrenner isn't alive to see this.

  • John Smoltz, Braves: Smoltzy has some rotator cuff problems. The aforementioned Dr. Death, James Andrews, actually had some good news for a change saying that he saw no structural damage. When he returns he'll start in the beleaguered Atlanta bullpen.

  • Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies: Tulo has a torn quad and is out until at least the All-Star break, setting him up for the worst sophomore slump since Bloc Party. This is bittersweet because you never wanna see a guy get hurt, but I also traded him to Rob in a fantasy league for Scott Kazmir before the season started so that's pretty funny.

  • Chad Cordero, Nationals: A torn muscle in his shoulder landed the Nats closer on the DL today. He's expected to miss 4-6 weeks. I bet he's gonna get super fat on the couch eating bon bons and shit like that.
Dhalsim.jpgSo this just came across the wire from a news service called, "The Hindu." I read it about 5 times. I'm still not sure what's it's all about but for some reason I find it both sad and humorous. I tried to pick out a couple quotes to put on this post but I couldn't, so I'll just post the entire thing and add my own emphasis with bold type:

Son of truck driver hopes for career in American pro baseball

New Delhi (PTI): The son of a truck driver, 19-year-old Rinku Bhramdeen Singh can now hope for a career in American professional baseball after topping a talent hunt with an over 89 mph throw.

Rinku, along with another Indian youngster Dinesh Kumar Patel (20), will fly to the US on Saturday to be trained by prominent international trainers and scouts.

They were both selected in a nationwide competition which saw the participation of 30,000 young men from 30 major cities.

Rinku, who can throw ball at over 89 mph and was adjudged the fastest thrower in the 'Million Dollar Arm Hunt' launched in December by an American sport firm, was on Friday felicitated by US Ambassador David C Mulford.

Along with him, Patel, the runner-up in the competition, was also honoured by the Ambassador.

Rinku, who hails from Uttar Pradesh and whose father is a truck driver, won a cash prize of USD 1,00,000.

The two youngsters will receive 12 months' intensive training under the supervision of prominent international trainers and scouts in San Francisco.

If all goes well during their year-long stint at the University of South California, they may get into a Major Baseball team for the 2009 season.

A few thoughts here:

1. What the hell is felicitated and why is our Ambassador doing it to guys?

B. How much money did he get? It's called the "million dollar arm hunt" but that doesn't seem like enough zeros. Also, 89 MPH got him the dough? Todd Jones just got on a plane to New Dehli.

III. I was unaware USC had a San Francisco campus, but I bet Brian Sabean signs him to an 8 year deal.

UPDATE: Felicitated means "congratulated." Stupid sexy worthless English degree.

UPDATE 2: Apparently it's not a scam! Thanks, DMac.

Yankee Youth Movement Still Not Regular

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OH_NOES.jpgMy pal Mark Feinsand at the New York Daily News reported overnight that Ian Kennedy done pitched himself out of his next start. You may remember last week when I covered Feinsand's column regarding Yankee fan readiness for rebuilding. Kennedy's fate is still up in the air in terms of what exact steps the club is going to take with him, be it sending him down or just skipping his rotation spot and sending him to the pen for a little while. Feinsand asserts, and I agree, that if the Yankees are serious about the commitment to youth, sending him to the minors sends the wrong message.

Compounding the problem is the news that Phil Hughes is out two months with a cracked rib. This is the 21 year old's second major DL stint in as many years in the bigs. That's a little, um... troubling. Maybe they should trade him to the A's for Rich Harden. All of this adds up to a major test to the Yankees new youth-centric homegrown mission statement. Don't be surprised if cooler heads don't prevail.

Hey commenters, what's the last plan you made to improve your life that totally fell apart? Please note that I'm asking for the most recent because I'm sure there are dozens.

Cust Like a Knife

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Jack Cust doesn't really have polio but the way sportswriters treat his fielding ability, you'd think his muscles atrophied every time he played left field instead of designated hitting. True, he committed a error in last night's A's-Angels game that was so ridiculously bad, Tom Emanski himself turned over in his grave. But just because he let an easy two-out fly ball pop in and out of his glove, doesn't mean he should be responsible for the five runs scored after the gaffe.

Hey, starting pitcher Justin Duchscherer, your left fielder just let you down with a silly error. I know you were all ready to head to the dugout for some sunflower seeds but you're still one out shy. How about instead of allowing four singles and a tater tot you hunker down and strike someone out? Maybe get Erick Aybar and his .323 career slugging percentage to pop out instead of hitting a three-run ding dong? I don't know, am I asking too much?

I suppose I am because after Cust made his oopsie, the A's lost their 4-0 lead and trailed 5-4. So Jack Cust did what he does best. No, not eat a handful of steroids. Jack hit a solo ding dong to lead off the top of the fifth which catalyzed the A's to score seven more runs. All-in-all, Cust went 4-for-4 with two walks, three runs and an RBI before being pulled for a pinch runner (and, I presume, a better fielder) in the eighth.

The A's and their fans can laugh about the Cust error now, having put 20 hits on the board (woo $4 seats!) and winning the game 15-8. Still, not everyone is satisfied.

Hey commenters, who's your least favorite player on your favorite team, and why?

bruce.jpgOne of those things is true and it's not the Springsteen part. Rob is in the city of Brotherly love for a couple of basebally things. First he's checking out the "Baseball As America" exhibit at Constitution Hall, then it's onto lovely Citizen's Bank Ballpark to watch the Phils take on WoW comedy favorite, The San Francisco Giants.

Rob will be taking all kinds of neat pictures, nearly 1/4 of which can be displayed legally on the internet to you. This also means I have the only keys to WoW all day. Wooooo doggie!

Here's what happened in baseball while bleeding a trail through the lens:

Nationals 3, Pirates 2: Look out, second-worst team in the National League, because Washington is on a roll! No, not a delicious chewy Portuguese roll, but rather a four-game win streak spiked with clutch hitting and wrapped in effective pitching. So why is Nick Johnson squirming? No matter, the Nats topped the Pirates thanks to Austin Kearns' RBI single off reliever John Grabow in the eighth inning. Luis Ayala was in the right place at the right time and picked up a neat little win even though Odalis Perez put his heart and soul on the line to throw those seven innings of three-hit, two-run ball, man!

Blue Jays 3, Red Sox 0: For the third night in a row, the Red Sox failed to score before the eighth inning. Tonight, however, they failed to score during and/or after the eighth inning as well, so they lost. Toronto starter A.J. Burnett scattered ten baserunners in such a fashion where he didn't allow a single one to cross home plate whilst closer B.J. Ryan survived a wacky balk that was called after seemingly recording the final out of the game and picked up a save. Heck, he just matched his 2007 save number. Yes, that's three saves. Tim Wakefield kept the Sox in the game but a seventh inning ding dong by Alex Rios basically sealed the deal.

Phillies 3, Padres 2: Ryan Howard found his power bat tonight and used it to rip a tater tot to the right field seats (THOSE ARE SUPER CLOSE TO THE CRAB FRIES STAND) off reliever Joe Thatcher, breaking a 2-2 tie and sending the Phils to the locker room with a real live win. Those are the best kinds of wins! Howard also hit a RBI double off former Phillie Randy Wolf. Brad Lidge collected his seventh win in seven chances and has yet to be scored upon this season. (KNOCK ON WOOD PHILLIES FANS) In other Phillies news, I'm going to the game tonight against the Giants at Citizens Bank Park! Whee! Walkoff Walk road trip!

Indians 3, Mariners 2 (11): Emo Seattle beat writer Geoff Baker can finally breathe a sigh of relief. Richie Sexson hit a tenth inning home run and Baker can fend off his rabid anti-Sexson commenters for one day longer. Too bad J.J. Putz blew the consarn save. Indians second basegentleman Asdrubal Cabrera hit the walkoff single in the eleventh off Sean Green after Mark Lowe loaded the bases. In case you haven't been keeping track, that's 652 blown saves for the Mariners bullpen so far this year.

Tonight's Questions

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night game.jpg Then stop by tomorrow for all the answers. Same WoW time, same WoW channel.
linkpunch gorillaSometimes people write better than us. Each Tuesday and Thursday WoW gives you our favorite (mostly) baseball links we've come across.

  • Jeff Passan profiles Brian Barton, Cardinals player and future candidate for astronaut. Interesting stuff. Yahoo! Sports

  • The Baseball Prospectus guys talk about all the stuff Rob and I talked about this morning, except in a different language that only Rob can understand. Baseball Prospectus

  • The banged up state of Braves pitching. Sports Guy for Hire

  • Final tracklisting and release date for the new Hold Steady record! Pitchfork

  • A new Bengie Molina post. Behind The Mask

  • Deadspin spawns again. Several commenters and friends of WoW start a new Boston Sports blog. Good luck, guys! Please build in a comment filter that will blank out "douchebag." Mass Hysteria
SadGuy.jpgIt is not news that many people people in Seattle are depressed. With the way the Mariners have played so far this season the number of afflicted is growing, and now unfortunately it may be spreading to the team itself. It seems as if M's catcher Kenji Johjima has caught the ol' Paranoid Mania bug and according to Mariners PR Guy blogger Geoff Baker is TOTALLY FREAKING OUT MAN:

But (Jeff) Clement will be in there as well. He'll be the starting catcher the next two days as fading Kenji Johjima, hitting just .177, takes a seat. The manager wants him to relax.

"He's fighting himself so bad right now,'' manager John McLaren said.

Try selling Johjima on that. He's anything but relaxed and getting more worried by the second.

"He told me to relax but I'm not going to relax,'' Johjima said moments ago, through an interpreter. "Just because I'm taking two days off, it's not going to mean that for sure I'll do well on the third day.''

After that quote Kenji had 2 pots of coffee then a fistful of ludes to balance out. One cannot blame him for starting to get a little antsy about his slump. Jeff Clement is the best prospect in the entire Seattle system and he happens to play catcher. There's definite pressure there, but Kenji needs to stay in control.

There is a 100% chance that my amateur diagnosis is correct, so I suggest that he be medicated and sequestered until he cools out. Or maybe he can sit down and have a talk with Scott Rolen about overcoming your demons.
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April has come and gone which means the corporate entity known as Major League Baseball has opened the door on fan voting for the All Star Game. Online voting began earlier this week. Ushers are giving out ballots at stadiums all across the country. Heck, if you were at Camden Yards two weeks ago Boog Powell hisself would have given you a handful of ballots to wipe off your hands after eating his greasy sandwiches.

In that awful pseudo-press release on MLB.com, 'writer' Mark Newman describes the 'pressure' involved with fan voting as such:

    "If you stockpile the AL team with Manny Ramirez and those reigning world champs from up in Boston, then Yankee Universe is going to post unfriendly blogs about you. If you load it up with A-Rod and other Yankees, then welcome to the pinstripe people party. This is a decision that affects the future, because the NL has not won since 1996, and once again the league that wins the All-Star Game will have home-field advantage in the World Series this October."

Yes, folks. Vote wisely or else there will be a ton of vitriol on the Internet from Yankees fans. Oh wait, there already is a ton of vitriol on the Internet from Yankees fans.

Please, fans, listen to me: don't vote for your favorite All Stars right now! It's too soon! Teams have played only 16% of the season so far; it's absolutely ridiculous to vote and reward a player with just 100 plate appearances. They'll let you vote on MLB.com as late as July 2nd...that's over two months from today. Let the stars who are slumping (aka David Ortiz, Robinson Cano, and Ryan Howard) have their chance to make up some ground. And let the scrubs who are playing way over their heads (aka Nate McLouth, Fred Lewis, and Jeff Keppinger) have a chance to tumble back down to Earth.

Besides, Camp Tiger Claw and I haven't told you who to vote for just yet. We here at Walkoff Walk endorse the following players:

    Barry Bonds as a write-in vote for the NL outfield
    Frank Thomas as the sole representative for the Blue Jays
    Bengie Molina for having a smart blog

But seriously, wait until June 15th. Who else should we be voting for when the time comes?

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  • 12:10, Dodgers at Marlins: According to this game preview Joe Torre has used 25 different lineups so far in 27 games as Dodger manager. That's kind of ludicrous, isn't it Skipper? Schizo Joe sends Hiroki Kuroda to the mound to take on Burke Badenhop. Badenhop has an 8.32 ERA but along with Gavin Floyd he's tied for the lead in SONL (Soap Opera Name Likelihood).

  • 12:35, Rays at Orioles: The Rays pounded out 8 runs last night thanks to another homerun by Eric Hinske. It's still early, but Hinske looks like he's angling to get Tampa back to back Comeback Player of the Year awards. There's a backhanded compliment for ya. The Rays send Matt Garza to the mound for his first start off the DL (nerve trouble ) and the O's counter with Brian Burres. Burres has looked great all season, with his only rocky outing coming against, you guessed it WoWies, the Rays.

  • 2:05, Royals at Rangers: Young Zack Greinke gets on the anthill today looking to continue his sparkling '08 start against the hapless Rangers. Standing in his way will be Universal RBI Leader and WoW AL Player of the Month for April, Josh Hamilton. It's "Turn Your Troubled Life Around" Day in Arlington!

  • 2:20, Brewers at Cubs: Damn, the Cubs scored 19 runs last night. Brewer relief pitching is turrabull. Yovani Gallardo has been good, however and he brings his microscopic numbers to the hill against the mashing Cubbies.

April In Review

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trophy.jpgRemember Opening Day? That was a month ago already! Just like you, the season isn't as young as it once was. Also, your rent is due. With the turning of each calendar page, Rob and I will be discussing our picks for:


  • AL Pitcher Of The Month
  • NL Pitcher Of The Month
  • AL Position Player Of The Month
  • NL Position Player Of The Month
  • Biggest Surprise Of The Month

It's like the Oscar's but with more swearing, less dancing and the exact same amount of pills. Sometimes we can be a little harsh on the dudes that play our favorite game, but my lips are still chapped from all asskissing you're going to see after the jump. Let's get to it.

Note: This discussion took place last night before Cliff Lee gave up a home run in his start against the Mariners and before Josh Hamilton hit a 4-Run King Dong.

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Indians pitcher Cliff Lee is slumping. Poor guy is stuck in a rut out of which he cannot escape. Sure, he won his fifth straight start in the month of April and is possibly the best left handed pitcher in the American League and still has a 0.96 ERA and a 16:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio and gives up hits at the rate of one every other inning and might already be dating Megan Fox but DAMMIT HE GAVE UP A HOME RUN TO WLADIMIR BALENTIEN.

Yes, Cliff Lee's 27-inning scoreless streak ended last night in the seventh inning of an 8-3 Cleveland win over the hated Seattle Mariners. After giving up consecutive singles to Jose Vidro and Richie Sexson, Lee gave up a big fat ding dong to Balentien who was making his 2008 debut. Kid's played four games in his entire career! Lee's ERA increased three-fold after the three-run hit and manager Eric Wedge was quick to pull his starter. Actually, because he didn't record an out in the seventh inning, Cliff Lee's ERA is INFINITE over the last three batters he has faced. You can't get any higher than INFINITY!

Perhaps Rany Jazayerli was right all along. It's all a conspiracy, man!

Here's what happened in baseball while my head was on the bar:

Rangers 11, Royals 9: It was a battle of the aces! Brian Bannister! Kevin Millwood! Excuse my sarcasm! Bannister's high BABIP finally bit him in the tush as he spotted Texas a 7-0 lead after just two innings. Milton Bradley, Josh Hamilton, and somebody named Brandon Boggs all had ding-dongs off Bannister; Hamilton's homer came with the bases loaded which, around here, we call Una Slamma Granda. Not really. Millwood collected the win despite giving up five runs of his own and nearly blowing a 9-1 lead. Whoops! Hamilton leads the AL with 32 runs batted in.

Red Sox 2, Blue Jays 1: Team Red won the color wars for the second day in the row and for the second day in a row, the color wars were scoreless by the seventh inning stretch. Let us take a moment to salute both the starting pitchers (Matsuzaka and McGowan) but also the fine fine defensive units in Toronto and Boston. No errors were made in the contest and Vernon Wells even threw out a runner at home. HOWEVER the second time he attempted to throw out a runner at home he was a split second late and Manny Ramirez scored the winning run on a walkoff single by Jason Varitek and everyone went out for chocolate milkshakes to celebrate a hard fought game except Blue Jays manager John Gibbons because he is a total blowhard.

Nationals 3, Braves 2 (12): The Braves scored one delightful run in the top of the twelfth and were probably quite proud of themselves for going ahead 2-1 being just three outs away from actually winning a one-run game for the first time since the days when Otis Nixon did lines off the dugout bench. Lines of sunflower seeds, of course. Anywho, Atlanta relievers Manny Acosta and Buddy Carlyle hate nostalgia so they completely screwed up the bottom of the inning. Acosta gave up a walk and a single and then let Wil Nieves' ridiculous bunt attempt go through his wickets, loading the bases. Ronnie Belliard walked in the tying run, bringing Bobby Cox out of the dugout to make the pitching change. Carlyle must have had a dinner date at Central Michel Richard so he gave up the winning hit to Felipe Lopez, and ran immediately into a waiting limo.

Giants 3, Rockies 2: Aaron Rowand and Jose Castillo provided the offense with their ding-dongs, Fred Lewis provided the defense with his fantastic diving catch, and manager Bruce Bochy provided the Mille-feuilles and Sauternes for the post-game le dessert as the Giants won their 13th game out of 29 April contests. Hey, they're in third place! Closer Brian Wilson notched his ninth save and became the first Giants pitcher to have that many April saves since Robb Nen did it in 1999. Look how happy he is! Aww, good for you, Brian. Lewis' great catch was off a sinking line drive by Willy Tavares in the 8th; he ended the inning and prevented Scott Podsednik from scoring.