Bizarro World: Where’s Panda?

June 7, 2010

We’re a third of the way through what has been a historically crazy season of baseball. From extremes of perfection and incompetence to umpires gone wild and a new crop of fantastic rookie pitchers, I dare even the games most knowledgeable experts to try and predict what will happen in the remaining four months of the season. I double dog dare you! Grady Sizemore worthless. Jose Bautista leading the bigs in bombs. Jaime Garcia staking a claim to NL ROY honors. Cries of “replay!” from every mountain top, seas boiling, rain of toads, dogs and cats living together as Yogi would say, “Who’d have thunk it?” Here’s a little round up of what’s been going down are the diamond…

Ken Griffey Jr. had a fantastic career that came to an end 23 years to the day from when the Seattle Mariners first drafted him. Whether at the plate or gliding across the outfield, Griffey was as close to a fucking rock star as baseball had in the 90’s. Injuries cut short his claim to the all-time homer crown, but in an age of ‘roided out freaks, Junior took the high road and accepted his body’s natural limitations. Had he been so deranged as to jack himself up like The Hulk, he probably would have out-banged Bonds. Thanks for the memories Griff, we’ll see you in Cooperstown.

Props to Bruce Bochey from putting his best hitter in the eight hole on Saturday night. It stands to reason that a guy like Panda, who swings at everything, would prosper with the pitcher hitting behind him. That’s sarcasm. Sandoval was back hitting third today and went 2-5 with an RBI and a run scored in todays 6 – 5 Giants win over the Pirates. Sandoval’s been scuffling lately, largely due to a .306 BABIP, handcuffed to a paltry 15.5% LD rate. Last year those numbers were .350 and 18.6% respectively. His power has dropped as well, from a .226 ISO last season to a pedestrian .145 ISO coming into Sunday. While that sounds grim, his .59 BB/K rate isn’t far off of the .63 he posted in ’09 and his contact rate remains high at 82.4% versus 82.6% in the last campaign. While he may not reach 25 homers, like last season, his average should pick up with runs and RBI to go with it. If I could do it again, would I have kept Sandoval? No. However I’m not looking to dump him as he should still prove to be a solid contributor in the remaining two thirds of the season.

Kevin Correia isn’t right. Padre manager, Bud Black isn’t worried, but I am. His latest debacle in Philly cost me dearly in my H2H league. Little surprise here actually. How could he be right after the recent death of his brother? I can’t imagine being able to maintain the focus needed to perform at the major league level, while dealing with such a catastrophic loss. After the 2008 season, much was written about how the death of his father affected Pedro Martinez‘ pitching perhaps more than the injuries he was recovering from. Having lost people close to me, I know how hard it can be to put on a mask of sanity and go out one’s business. Since returning to the mound after the tragedy, Correia’s only had one Quality Start and he walked six in that game. I’m giving Correia one more start, next week against a soft Mariners lineup. We’ll see where we go from there.

Buster Posey is good at hitting baseballs. Not this good however. I see him as a .290 hitter at season’s end and that may be generous. Drawing only his first walk as a 2010 Giant today doesn’t bode well. If I owned Posey in a redraft league, I’d sell while his value is at it’s peak.

Hey Tex, it’s June. You can start hitting now…

I’m really really happy that I traded Nelson Cruz for Kevin Youkilis in the Big Ballers League.

I’m shocked that Armando Galarraga is still on waivers in the BBL. Does a guy have to throw a perfect game to get some respect? I was pretty surprised to pick up Dallas Braden off of waivers this week too after he was dropped. I’m thinking of taking Galarraga over Hisanori Takahashi, who’s been dreadful in his last two starts against the less than intimidating Padres and Fighting Fish. The gracious Galarraga isn’t as good as he was last week against Cleveland, but he showed some positive signs in 2008. Gotta be worth a flyer in a league so deep!

Mike Stanton will bring his minor league leading HR power to The Show this week, showing either Cody Ross or Cameron Maybin to the pine. Maybin’s been a disappointment and it’s easy to see why he’d be benched. After being the centerpiece of the deal that sent Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis (who made his presence felt in his D-Backs premiere this weekend) to Detroit however, I feel the Marlins have to give Maybin every shot to succeed. Hopefully for The Harlem Hangovers, I’m right, but Ross has definitely been the one deserving of playing time.

Jaime Garcia continues to throw Quality Starts as he dances between raindrops. I’m not looking forward to his crash back to Earth.

Kevin Gregg’s best chance to keep his closer job involves not pitching. Nobody in the Blue Jay pen seems to want the gig, so Gregg keeps it by default.

Harlem Hangovers fall to 92 points, down to 5th place. Lima Time Forever loses 7 – 4 and finishes the week 15 games under .500, tied for second to last place. It’s not looking good. Changes are in the wind.

Share


Perfect Day For Dallas

May 10, 2010

This afternoon the Baseball Gods smiled upon Dallas Braden and graced a guy, who’s life has been less than perfect, with the 19th perfect game in Baseball history. Call it karma, fortune, good pitching, defense or all of the above, but Braden’s perfect Mothers Day must hold a special significance to the 26 year old pitcher.

Raised only by his mother in a world rife with poverty and crime in Stockton California, Braden’s difficult childhood got even bleaker when he lost his mother to cancer while a senior in high school. With his grandmother stepping in to guide him, Braden managed to steer clear of disaster, on his way to being drafted in the 24th round by the Oakland A’s in 2004. Now six years later, after 52 fairly indistinguished Major League starts, the soft-tossing lefty better know for barking at Alex Rodriguez for jogging over his mound last month, somehow managed to set down 27 Tampa Bay batters in succession. With his grandmother watching, Braden dispatched a potent Rays lineup with 109 pitches (77 strikes) on his way into the history books. With the perfect game, Braden joined Catfish Hunter as the only A’s pitchers to perform the improbably feat.

The sight of him hugging his grandmother after the game touched not only those lucky enough to see the performance in person, but I would imagine just about anyone with a heart who witnessed the moment on TV. Braden’s perfect game was one of those transcendent moments in baseball, when our past time becomes something more than the sum of it’s parts. Pondering Braden’s achievement on a personal level, it’s a moment that shows that there is light to be found even in the darkest of times, something that I’ve had to remind myself a lot lately. Congratulations Dallas Braden. You deserve it.

For a great wrap up of 15.3 chance in a million feat, check out Jack Moore’s piece on Fangraphs.

Share


When The Going Gets Weird… Notes From Week 3

April 25, 2010

Barry Zito returns from the grave to haunt fantasy owners

Weird happenings from around baseball this week…

An $18 million dollar starter with a penchant for implosions gets banished to the bullpen. Zambrano the set up man debuts in Milwaukee. Fantasy owners who drafted him collectively double over as Sweet Lou kicks them in the nuts.

Ivan Rodriguez and Livan Hernandez lead the NL in Batting Average and ERA respectively.

The Yankees tripled up, in a game that will be better remembered for A’s Dallas Braden taking umbrage to A-Rod’s breach of baseball etiquette.

Hebrew Hammer, Prince and The Brews build their reputation for intimidation at the expense of Pirate goyum. 20 – bupkis.

Barry Zito is fantasy baseball’s Solomon Grundy. I believe potent magic has finally dispelled the curse of Alyssa Milano. I feel your pain my friend. He out dueled my ace in the battle of mega-curveballs.

To end this recap of a bizarre week, I’m going to recommend the ageless Jamie Moyer for deep-league owners looking for two good starts to stream in this week. The 3% owned lefty has a start in SF against Todd Wellemeyer and the punchless Giants and then comes home to face Oliver‘s Army and The Mets.

In honor of The Brews 20-0 beat down…

Share