Tag Archives: baseball

The Twins, the playoffs, and you

I decided to call my friend, March ElGringoLoco, to discuss this year’s baseball playoffs.

Me: How’s it going. You know, the Twins won 88 games this year.
MEGL: 88, huh? Probably good for 3rd in the AL Central.

Me: Not really, actually, the Twins went 88-75
MEGL: 75? That means they played a one-game playoff? Lemme guess, they lost to the Mariners in the one-game shot for the Wild Card?

Me: No. The Mariners actually lost 100 games
MEGL: OK, Cleveland. Sabathia has pwn3d us the last few years.

Me: Well, Sabathia could win the Cy Young, but no, it wasn’t Cleveland, and it wasn’t for the Wild Card
MEGL: Again? Damn, I thought he would fall back to earth…and if it wasn’t for the Wild Card, it had to be for the Central. I guess the Tigers’ offense was just a little too much.

Me: No, actually, the Tigers finished in last.
MEGL: So we lost to the freaking Royals?

Me: Well, 2 of the last 3 at the Dome, but it was actually the White Sox. They ended up losing in the first round of the playoffs.
MEGL: Ha. Who’d they lose to? The Red Sox? The Yanks?

Me: Actually, the Rays.
MEGL: HAHAHAHAHA, no seriously.

Me: Yes, the Rayz. They won the East by 2 games over Boston.
MEGL: You mean the Yanks, right?

Me: No, Tampa Bay.
MEGL: So, you’re telling me that the Tigers finished in last, and the Rays finished in first? Whatcha gonna tell me next, Cliff Lee is the front-runner for the Cy Young?

Me: Well, actually—
MEGL: You’re kidding, right. I thought Sabathia was the Cleveland lefty that would win it.

Me: Sabathia may win the Cy Young. The NL Cy Young.
MEGL: Ah, he got traded. Probably to the Cubs, they needed some more pitching. Ryan Dempster as a starter? I bet that didn’t work out so well.

Me: Dempster was actually very good. Actually, Sabathia went to the Brewers.
AEGL: Sonofa—-

Me: Easy, easy, this is a G-rated blog.
AEGL: Fine, fine. How did Johan do?

Me: Very well. Led the league in ERA, even pitched a complete-game shutout on the next-to-last-day of the season.
AEGL: Guess it makes sense, the Mets probably wouldn’t start the playoffs until Thurs—

Me: Actually, the Mets didn’t make the playoffs. They blew another lead down the stretch.
AEGL: Willie Randolph should be fired.

Me. He was. In June. He was replaced by Jerry Manuel.
AEGL: HAHAHAHAHA. No wonder, his Zen bullcrap never did work with the White Sox.

Me: Actually, Manuel led the Mets to the 3rd best record in the majors down the stretch. He even referred to Johan as “gangsta.”
AEGL: Well, I’ll be damned. So, I’m guessing the Cubs are fixing to win the World Series now. It’s been 100 years.

Me: Actually, they were swept by the Dodgers. James Loney hit a grand slam in Game 1 that really turned momentum, and Manny hit 2 absolute bombs in the first two games at Wrigley.
AEGL: Manny? Is that your nickname for Andre Ethier or something?

Me: Actually, Manny Ramirez got traded to the Dodgers in a 3-way deal that sent Jason Bay to Boston.
AEGL: So…the Red Sox traded Manny for Jason Bay? I bet that cost them.

Me: Actually, Boston had a better winning percentage with Bay than Ramirez. Heck, Bay even hit 2 homers against the Angels in the first round of the playoffs and scored the Series clinching run.
AEGL: Wait…you’re telling me the Cubs got eliminated and the Red Sox beat the Angels in the playoffs? I guess some things never do change.

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Big Day in Sports

For the 17th time in their history, but first since 1986, the Boston Celtics are YOUR World Champs. Their 131-92 pounding of the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 6 was the culmination of a season of dominance for the Celtics. Their struggles against the Atlanta Hawks and Cleveland LeBrons notwithstanding, the C’s were clearly the best team in the NBA, and deserved it. Congrats especially to Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, and Paul Pierce (the MVP of the Finals), 3 very good players and individuals who had gone waaay too long without winning a ring. Kevin Garnett, in particular, was fired up after the win

So congrats to Boston (and the true C’s fans that stuck with them, and weren’t into the whole “fantanking” business like some folks).

Two days after perhaps his most impressive victory ever, a 91-hole victory over a very game Rocco Mediate on one leg, Tiger Woods is finished for the rest of the year. Woods will have surgery on his knee that will require him to miss the rest of the season, which frankly shocks me. I figured he’d at least try to play the majors and then do the surgery to be back in time for the Masters next year. Then again, if I got this while I was off, I may do the same thing…

 

Also, in one of the more dispicable moves I’ve ever heard of, the Mets fired Willie Randolph…at 3:15 a.m. Tuesday morning. GM Omar Minaya, the architect behind the firing, tried to explain himself, saying

11 p.m. at night, after a game … standard procedure in letting a manager go in this game.

Of course, there was the whole part of it being 2 a.m. on the East Coast, and making Randolph get on a plane and fly cross country before doing this, but then again, this is the Mets. Not shockingly, even with the wondrous  Johan Santana on the mound, the Mets fell 6-1 to the Angels last night. The new manager of the Mets is Jerry Manuel, who was with the White Sox from 1997-2003, and won the 2000 AL Manager of the Year but was criticized for not being “fiery” enough and was fired in 2003, leading to the Ozzie Guillen era on the South Side.

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Pope Khayat Touches Down

Pope Benedict XVI, otherwise known to the world at large as University of Mississippi Chancellor Robert Khayat, landed in D.C. yesterday before a motorcade took him through the downtown area. Among those who attended a morning reception with Khayat Benedict was former Los Angeles Dodger manager Tommy Lasorda. One has to wonder if Lasorda had any funny anecdotes, like the time Dave Kingman hit 3 homers against his team or Kurt Bevacqua accused him of ordering beanballs.

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What in the world is wrong with the Tigers?

If you had told me after the first weekend of the season that my beloved Minnesota Twins would be 3-4, I wouldn’t have been too shocked. Maybe surprised we were doing THAT well, but hey, it’s a long season yet. I may not even have been shocked that the Cardinals and Brewers would be co-leading the NL Central. But I would have been absolutely stunned if you would have told me that after the first week of the season, that the Detroit Tigers, the Sports Illustrated preseason pick to win it all (mine should be no shock: the Metropolitans, with some new left-handed pitcher from Minnesota by way of Tovar, Venezuela), would be 0-6, and even worse, averaging a paltry 2.5 runs per game. This was a team with an offense featuring, by my count, no less than 7 legit All-Stars (Miggy Cabrera, Pudge Rodriguez, Carlos Guillen, Placido Polanco, Edgar Renteria, Magglio Ordonez, and Gary Sheffield) and another soon to come back from the DL (Curtis Granderson). The only question mark was the left-field platoon (manned by the two-headed duo of suck that is Marcus Thames and Jacque Jones, no offense to either person-both are considered to be among the nicest guys in the league-intended) and the bottom half of the pitching staff (despite his funky throwing motion, Dontrelle Willis hasn’t even been a league-average pitcher since his otherworldly 2005 season). However, the best hitter the team has had so far is Brandon Inge, and the 2nd best very well may be rookie outfielder (and official cousin of ElGringoLoco) Clete Thomas.

Is it too early to panic in Detroit? Probably, although the road gets no easier, with trips to Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, and Toronto, with a two-game home series with the Twins sandwiched in between in the next two week for the Tigers, in addition to what looks to be a tough division (the White Sox look much improved, the Indians are still dangerous, and the Royals’ young talent may finally start to be maturing…even the Twins look somewhat feisty). If the Tigers don’t improve by the end of the month, the molehill that is their 0-6 start may turn into Mount Everest. Or Olympus Mons

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My team is going to suck

 Anyone who knows me knows I am a baseball fan, and also a fan of the Minnesota Twins (blame Kirby Puckett and Bud Selig, if you must). Having said that, the Twins may not be…well, they may be god-awful this year. The offense may not be too bad from 2-5, with the addition of another MLB-level bat in Delmon Young in right field, which along with Joe Mauer at catcher, Michael Cuddyer in left, and the meastiness of Justin Morneau at first, gives the Twins 4 decent bats in the lineup. That, however, will be offset by unknown quantity Carlos Gomez (one of the key components of the Johan Santana trade) in centerfield, Brendan Harris at 2nd (career .273/.331/.418 hitter, not too great, but on this team a damn bona fide threat), Mike Lamb (.281/.339/.427, not bad numbers for a shortstop, but not really for an AL 3rd baseman) at 3rd, Adam Everett (.248/.299/.357, godawful for any position) at short, and either Craig Monroe or Jason Kubel at DH (both have shown signs of being good hitters, Monroe-who had a monster 2006 playoffs with the Tigers-in particular, but neither have been consistent enough to warrant full-time spots with their teams). The pitching will be anchored by a young lefty with possibly the filthiest stuff in the game. However, this guy does not wear #57, he wears #47, and he is coming off Tommy John surgery. His name is Francisco Liriano, and he will be starting the season in the minors. Liriano was downright filthy in 2006 and along with current Met Johan Santana gave the Twins the best 1-2 punch in the AL for about 2 months before Liriano’s elbow exploded. Along with Boof Bonser and Scott Baker, both of whom should be improved with a year’s experience,  he will lead a young Twinkies rotation this year, with Livan Hernandez brought in to help strengthen the backend of the rotation. Kevin Slowey will probably be the #5 starter, although University of Minnesota grad Glen Perkins will be in the running later on. The bullpen should still be fairly solid with the excellent Joe Nathan closing out, and Pat Neshek (who could probably close for many teams) as the set-up man. Juan Rincon, Jesse Crain, and Matt Guerrier should give the Twins some options in the 6th and 7th innings, with Dennys Reyes being the LOOGY (left-handed one out only guy) and the aforementioned Perkins being the primary long reliever.

 The Twins will probably struggle this year to score runs, and their pitching will probably not be lights-out enough to survive that. Add to that a division that includes two bona fide World Series contenders in Detroit and Cleveland, and an up-and-coming team in Kansas City, and the Twins may be fighting an uphill fight for 4th in the division with the White Sox.

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