Baseball Thread April 2008

This is it the general-purpose place to celebrate, gloat, bitch or moan about your team or any team.

For me I find Detroit’s failures the most interesting story so far. I am hoping to get the perspective of someone that follows the team and watched the games.

For me, the Yanks have some good and bad notes. The hitting is beginning to come around, but they need to put some rallies together now. Wang has started the season great and Hughes looked very good in his first outing. He got out of trouble, looking like a vet and not a 21 year old near rookie. I missed Kennedy’s debacle, but by all accounts, the really bad news from that game was the tandem of Hawkins and Farnworth(less).

The brightest spot has been the big two in the bullpen. Between Joba Chamberlain and Mariano Rivera they have 7 shutout innings, 3 saves, a win and two holds. As good as any could hope for in 6 appearances. Yesterday in particular was great. Joba got the team out of an inherited sticky two runners on with no out situation in the 7th with a K and a double play and then he pitched a perfect eighth and Mo’ had Tampa go quietly in the ninth.

So far, the most annoying news stories locally are the constant stupid questions to Boston about the trip to Japan causing their early (minor) problems and the Joba Chamberlain being too emotional on the mound reports. The crappy writers with too much time and too little skill are making me feel sorry for the Red Sox players and the old biddies bitching about Joba sound like they have nothing better to do and are just looking for a news story to run with.

So what say you all? What is up with your teams?


Yeah, what’s up with that? Weren’t they supposed to be doing a little bit better than that?
In an earlier thread, I predicted that the St. Louis Cardinals would do better than expected this season, and so far it looks like I’m right. Granted, they haven’t had the toughest schedule yet, but they’ve been playing like contenders. In particular, the starting rotation, which was supposed to be their weak spot—expected to, at best, keep things from falling apart while we wait for our four injured starters to come off the DL later this season—has been stellar, with an ERA under 1.

I couldn’t agree more. Every person who goes on WFAN in New York to whine about Joba Chamberlain pumping his fist after he gets an out should be required to keep a pacifier in his or her mouth for 24 consecutive hours immediately following the completion of the call.

The New York Mets are off to their usual baffling start. They’ve made a couple of incredibly ordinary pitchers look like Cy Young, Jose Reyes hasn’t hit a bit, Carlos Beltran strikes out looking more than any top player in my memory, and Luis Castillo, hitting out of the two hole, has attempted a drag bunt in every at bat this season. And the Pedro Martinez Experience lasted four whole innings this year. But, again as per usual, they’re getting better-than-expected contributions for role players - Brian Schneider is hitting well, Angel Pagan and Ryan Church have both started very well, and the bullpen has looked solid - and David Wright is a star, so the overall outcome could be worse.

I think one of the more interesting stories so far has been the Kansas City Royals. A lot of those quick-start teams are pretty fluky, but the Royals are built around real talent. Billy Butler and Alex Gordon form a pretty interesting nucleus, and it’s always been possible that Zach Grienke would become an ace. Exciting.

Pettitte is a worry for the Yanks, and now I read an article about Hughes having a mechanical problem affecting his velocity. Link.

As for my Sox, they were apparently exhausted by the very long road trip they just concluded-some home cooking should be just what they need. I am optimistic about Clay Buchholz, a tad worried about Beckett, but am confident about Dice-K. Lester had better improve his control. And Bartolo Colon lurks in the minors… Boston has had some bad luck-they’re getting outscored by 9 runs despite a 30 point edge in OPS.

Well, the Braves are 3-3, having taken 2 from the Mets (rainout Fri. night), after starting 1-3 vs. the Nats and Pirates. Mike Hampton got hurt warming up and immediately went on the DL (shock!), but Smoltz outduelled Santana Sunday afternoon. The Braves can rake, but will their pitching hold up, especially the 'pen?

You rang?

After 25 games, the Tigers were 4 games above .500 last year. I’m not panicking. The cream will rise to the top. So far, What Exit?!, your analysis of the pitching was right on. Unfortunately, so was mine. They’re too good to suck the entire year, though, so it will turn around.

I haven’t got to watch all the games. Such are the perils of working 10 hours a week, 7 days a week. I watched a good chunk of last night’s game, though.

When the weather heats up, things will get better. I really REALLY wonder why we went into the season with the bullpen we have. My prediction is that Porcello will get called up very soon.

I’m…concerned about the Dodgers. The pitching so far has been as good, if not better, than I’d hoped for. In six games, they’ve only given up 11 runs, so the ERA is less than 2, and no member of the regular bullpen (Saito, Broxton, Proctor, Tronscoso, Beimel) has given up a run at all. On the other hand, the Dodgers have barely scraped together 20 runs themselves, and only 8 against a pretty weak Giants’ pitching staff.

Russell Martin, Andruw Jones, Jeff Kent, Juan Pierre and Matt Kemp – people you really need to produce in the line-up – are so far batting a combined 11 for 87, or .126. The Dodgers know from years of experience that you can’t rely on pitching to carry you for the entire season, so here’s hoping the bats wake up quickly.

I am, however, pleased with Blake DeWitt, a guy who had never played above AA and got forced into starting at 3rd due to injuries. He’s 5-18 so far with two strikeouts and four walks, and he’s playing decent defense. Since we have really no idea what to expect from Nomar or Andy LaRoche once they’re healthy, it’s comforting to know that we’ve still got an option out there who can do more than just be a warm body on the field.

Anyway, given the cold offensive start*, I’m happy to be 4-2 with two series victories. The upcoming series against the D-Backs will be an interesting test.

ETA: I should also point out in all fairness that the Dodgers cold offense is also partially attributable to running up against one quality Giants starter (Matt Cain) and two VERY good Padres starters (Peavy and Young). But if we’re going to hang around in the NL West this year, we can’t make excuses going up against that kind of quality.

The Colorado Rockies, who ended the season last year on a hitting tear and with nearly flawless fielding, are off to a horrible 1-5 start. They have four errors in the six games, are hitting barely over .200 as a team, and .100 with runners in scoring position.

I was at the game yesterday, and it seemed like they would pull one out despite the poor hitting. They went to the 9th with a 1-0 lead, having given up only three singles. With reliable Manny Corpas on the mound, they promptly gave up a hard single and a line drive HR. Although they tied it in thier half, they went on to lose in 10 innings. Looks like tonight will get snowed out vs. Atlanta.

Ooh, nice thread! Can we keep it current for 156 more games?

Me, I am as excited about the Cincinnati Reds as I’ve been in awhile. We took the opening series from the D-Backs, losing only to Webb in a close game, and have won 2 against the Phillies in a four game series wrapping up tonight.

Francisco Cordero is giving this team a big boost…no more late-inning meltdowns that cost us games.

And I want to say: keep your eyes on Johnny Cueto and Edison Volquez, especially Cueto. Dude is a monster. 10k in his big league debut, only one run given up (a homer) and the nastiest changeup I’ve seen in about forever.

You’ve been warned, NL Central!

The Indians are sitting at 3-3, after avoiding getting swept by Oakland yesterday. Victor Martinez pulled a hammy opening day and since then the offense has been mostly putrid. Victor could be back today, that’ll help bunches.

Fortunately, the pitching has been pretty good. Westbrook, Carmona and Lee all have looked really good. Not sure what’s up with Sabathia, but it’s a free agent year for him, so I’m sure he’ll turn it around.

While Hawkins and Farnsworth were less than sharp last Friday, the 4th, Ian Kennedy looked lost on the mound. Even from my perch in the upper deck, I could tell the umpire had a teeny strike zone, and Kennedy could not work around it. Yankee starting pitching is suspect, middle relief is non-existent and any move not to groom Chamberlain as the heir apparent for Rivera would be foolish. That said, Albaladejo, Ohlendorf, and Traber combined for 4 2/3 scoreless innings, and I can’t figure out why either Ohlendorf or Traber was pulled after only 1 inning each. Ohlendorf threw 9 pitches, Traber 13. Game was 6-4 before Hawkins came in and stunk up the joint.

You know it is April baseball when the Orioles sit atop the AL East. Found it amusing to see them in first and Boston in last.

Very much enjoying the Royals ride. The larger part of me says “enjoy it now, because it won’t last long.” The little, hopeful part of me says, “the Royals have usually had problems with bad starts; if they managed to win in games where Meche and Greinke weren’t spectacular, then once these guys get their bearings, the season could be great!”

Yankees coming up next - let’s see how that works out.

Heck yeah! Cueto looks awesome,Jr. off to a good start.

Get REDdy for Red October!

Tigers off to an 0-6 start at home. Wow! How ya feelin Tiger fans?

I’m trying not to get too excited just six games into the season, but the Cards did look solid. And with four starters coming back over the next three months, we may have gone from pitching poor to rich. The Ankiel story line is just flat out cool, with three homers, six RBIs and a .348 BA, plus he has made some excellent plays in the outfield. Can all this keep going?

Thudlow, I’m originaly from Rushville about 60 miles due west of you and the town was always a 50/50 split between Cards and Cubs supporters (Cards fans have a had pretty good run over, say, the last 100 years :smiley: ). Do you find the same mix in Springfield?

Oh yeah: Springfield’s right in the heart of Cards/Cubs rivalry land.

I totally agree, I finally got to catch a Dodger game and it was Saturday against Peavy. When they put of Martin’s batting average it was a .057. About the only thing you forgot to mention was closing pitching which is amazing and I think will allow us to stay near the top again this year. If we can get a lead to our closers we’ve got the game locked up.

As Lamar Mundane mentioned, Rockies are sucking so far, but 6 games is just a drop in the bucket. Our ace, Jeff Francis, is having a rough time, with two bad outings (thankfully, the first one didn’t count!). Matt Holliday is off to a slow start… no, let me rephrase that, <insert offensive player’s name here> is off to a slow start. Helton and Atkins are doing fine, but they can’t do it alone!

Frank Morales was pitching well yesterday. Kept the Dback’s bats queit early, then kept his cool under pressure with some base runners.

One thing will always stay the same: ESPN will continue to show primarily Yankees and Red Sox games.

Reds lost tonight and sit at 4-3. They fell in an exciting ninth-inning rally against the shaky Brad Lidge.
We’ll bounce back and fuck up the Brewers, whom appear to be as hot as a Wiggles potato.

Tigers have had a perfect combination of wimpy pitching and bad hitting. When they come out pitching well ,like Verlander , Rogers and Willis did, they hit zero. They all went 5 innings with little damage. But the hitters put the pitchers under heavy pressure. Middle relief has been weak . Todd Jones has done well but has not been in areal game saving spot.
The hitters have been strange. Inge who they tried to trade has hit well. But the rest of the team has hit the ball hard often. But at a fielder. They hit into 5 double plays Sunday.
The competition has not run away so they are in a decent spot . But they better start winning . It is hard to play a long time under pressure.