I wasn’t really surprised when the Mariners shelled out big money ($175M for 7 years) for Felix Hernandez. Seattle loves him and he’s been by far the best player on the team since Ichiro began his decline. He even brought Seattle a perfect game.
He’s thrown over 200 innings for 6 years straight and 190+ the two years before that – an absolute workhorse. But allegedly the Mariners were worried enough about his health to put an injury clause in that mega contract. His stats actually were very good in 2013, posting a career high in K/BB of 4.70 even as his GB% shrank to near career lows. Fly balls aren’t really an issue in the cavernous SafeCo. This prediction is less base on skill degradation and more based on my expectation of an injury or playing through one.
I think he will still be a top 10-15 pitcher on a nightly basis when he goes, but getting value means having home out there every five days. If this doesn’t happen, the Mariners aren’t going to be happy plunking down $25M a year for 20 starts.
And fantasy owners using a third round pick aren’t going to overly thrilled either. Maybe take a shot at Carlos Gomez or Giancarlo Stanton instead. Wait two rounds and grab David Price, Chris Sale or Zack Greinke as your first pitcher.
Officially renewed my MLB.tv premium account for 2014. Especially during the summer when I usually dump cable, being able to watch the Reds, Mariners and all the great matchups is a serious bump to the summer enjoyment level.
I’m hoping to complete the back patio so that I can come home from work, turn on the Reds game in the 3rd inning on the iPad and watch the game whilst (yes…whilst) consuming an adult beverage in the sun.
MLB.tv as a product puts every other sports package to shame. I’m assuming the others will catch up eventually but only time will tell.
Pro tip: If you don’t have cable and want to watch your home team or a national ESPN game, you can spoof your IP to make it look like you’re logging in from somewhere else. I’m sure this is breaking the terms of service so do so at your own risk.
Justin De Fratus can’t even look at the moonshot he just gave up.
The Cubs and the Phillies are both bad teams. One was smart and sold excess assets at the trade deadline for a pile of young players and/or $ relief. The other one kept all the pieces that could have helped them start to rebuild. Maybe they are happy finishing 4th for a few more years. The smart team did not give up a 3 run bomb in the 9th inning. Tonight’s rank relief was a real tag team effort. Luis Garcia set ‘em up and Justin De Fratus knocked ‘em down. The saving grace here was a pick off throw that prevented a grand slam. Generally, and let me emphasize, generally it is not a good idea to walk 3 batters in a row in the 9th inning. If I had to pick one of these teams to be a fan of for the next five years, it would definitely not be the Phillies – who are holding on to Chase Utley and Cliff Lee like they are 3 games out of the wildcard.
The combined damage: 3 walks, 1 home run. the best part was who they gave the home run up to. D. Murphy. Daniel? No. David? no. Donnie. Donnie Murphy.
Putting that sassy hand on your hip isn’t going to bring back that triple Joe.
It’s always bad news to walk players in the 9th when you are trying to close out the game. Joe Nathan made that mistake today. After walking Vernon Wells (who walks Vernon wells?) a wild pitch advanced Wells to second. It didn’t really matter what base he was on because Eduardo Nunez crushed a ball to deep center field and ended up a third base (no throw). That tied the game. With only one out, Brent Lillibridge was able to seal the deal with a single to score Nunez and the Yankees took the lead for good. Full damage below:
One walk, one wild pitch, two hits, two runs, and only two outs. The Yankees lineup is so far from what we are used to seeing, but somehow they are getting it done and hanging around the standings. It looks like they are getting Alfonso Soriano soon. They could be primed to make a run. And thanks to Joe Nathan blowing the save, the best closer ever got one instead.
These two will be slugging it out in the second half
The first half of the season has been a great one. Highlighted by Chris Davis’s home run bonanza, no hitters by Homer Bailey and Tim Lincecum, two brawls in Los Angeles, the upstart Pirates claiming the 3rd best record in baseball, Miggy cementing himself as the most dominant hitter since Barry Bonds and other great moments. The standing may not look very much like I thought they would at the beginning of the season but they are nonetheless interesting. Here’s where we stand so far in both leagues:
A few observations:
- The Red Sox, the only team I said didn’t have a shot to win the AL east, are in first place in the toughest division in baseball (sorry NL Central).
- The Pirates have had another great first half. Can they avoid another second half dumpster fire?
- Oakland has the best record in baseball over the last 162 games. Look at the roster. It’s incredible.
- My NL World series pick, the Giants, are not making me look good. I still feel a second half run.
- The Houston Astros and Miami Marlins haven’t let anybody down by being the worst teams in baseball.
This isn’t really the mid point in the season. Teams have played over 90 games. They have less than 70 games to keep their lead or make up ground. Buster Olney put together a list of the toughest schedules left among the contenders. (Insider) Hint: It’s the Royals, Braves have easiest. I think the Red Sox and the A’s end up with the AL wild cards. The Rays, Tigers, and Rangers will take the divisions. In the NL, The Dodgers and Reds will manage to get the wild cards while the Braves, Cardinals, and Diamondbacks will win the divisions.http://diamondhoggers.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=14977&action=edit
Maybe the biggest question looming over the second half is whether Chris Davis can continue his torrid pace and get over the 60 HR mark and prevent Miguel Cabrera from winning his second straight Triple Crown in the process. I’m pegging Davis to come up short of 60…somewhere around 55-57. Which, clearly is still ridiculous and will be enough to stay ahead of Cabrera.
What about some of the smaller plots? Let’s see:
- Can Max Scherzer hold onto his sizable lead in the AL Cy Young race? No. I’m going to go with Yu Darvish. Hopefully his injury issue is nothing and he’ll be right back.
- Who will be the big buyer/seller at the trade deadline? With team’s valuing their prospects more, the big deals are harder to come buy, but I think the Dodgers will make some moves now that they are within striking distance. The White Sox will definitely be unloading and, despite the public saying to the contrary, the Phillies will figure out that they need to blow that thing up.
- What will happen with the Biogenesis scandal? Who will get suspended? I’ve made it known I don’t agree with the MLB’s investigation tactics, but it looks more and more like they will suspend somewhere between a few and a bunch of players. This is going to get ugly before it gets better.
- When will Ryan Ludwick come back and help the anemic Reds offense? Just kidding…nobody cares about this.
These questions and more will be on the mind of baseball fans for another few months. We’ll get answers and most of us will have sarcastic things to say about it on Twitter. Enjoy the second half.
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I don’t really have to explain how it’s stupid to have an exhibition game between the two leagues determine for one team who gets home field advantage in the World Series, particularly given the way the rosters are put together….however.
For now I’ll enjoy the pitching show the AL put on tonight. They only gave up three hits to an all-star NL lineup. Here is the pitching numbers from the night.
For the offensive side, Jose Bautista ended up with the game winning hit – a sacrifice fly in the 4th inning. JJ Hardy and Jason Kipnis added the 2nd and 3rd RBIs. The best offensive play on the night was clearly Prince Fielder legging out a triple.
Not the most graceful slide I’ve ever but kudos for the hustle
The NL didn’t fare well. Never getting more than a hit in any inning and only advancing a man to 3rd base once.
It’s fun to see all these guys get together and play a game and mostly have a lot of fun doing it. It was fun to see Mariano Rivera get the MVP in his last game (not sure why they didn’t use him for the save).
A few final thoughts:
- Fantasy owners are pissed at Matt Harvey for knocking the knee of Robinson Cano.
- Neil Diamond is old and its hard to get New York fans to sing a Boston song. I’ve never seen more disinterested New York fans as I did during the first verse of “Sweet Caroline”.
- Has there been a better player than Carlos Beltran who has played for 5 different teams and seemingly been written off several times.
- I have no idea how Joe Mauer didn’t throw out Andrew McCutchen. Perfect throw.
- Manny Machado made another ridiculous play at 3rd. When is this guy moving to shortstop?
Try to enjoy tomorrow. It’s the only day in the year with out a game played by any major sport. Maybe read a book or do something productive with your life. You’ll only have one day to do it.
Greinke spun the ball well this week
So far this season, Zack Greinke has been known more for being in the center of brawls than for his pitching. First there was this. Then this. He spent weeks on the DL after getting trucked by Carlos Quentin in the first brawl. He’s been pitching well, but this week he was lights out. He pitched 16 innings of 4 hit ball and only gave up 3 walks in the process. Oh…and he also struck out 16. He also pitched against two pretty good offenses in Arizona and Colorado. The Dodgers paid a shit ton of money for Greinke to pitch like this and, for the moment, he is more than earning his keep.
Hot runner’s up: Tim Lincecum, Chris Archer
Icy runner’s up: Edison Volquez, Ian Kennedy
Before we get started on Price, let me announce I’m back after a long journey the opposite side of the globe. I was able to keep up on some baseball even though I took some bad losses in my fantasy league. Baseball isn’t extremely popular over in India, but they have figured out that swinging a piece of wood at a ball can be fun. I saw lots of this being played in the local Indian “sandlot”.
I was actually near this field. This enthusiastic young man wasn’t playing at the time though.
It was a great trip, but I was ready to get and just in time for the mid-summer classic. I’m hoping to come back better than ever, just like our award winner this week. David Price spent close to 2 months on the DL with a triceps injury, but came back with a bang this week. In his first 2 starts back he went 2-0 , pitched 16 innings and only gave up 1 run while striking out 16. Any worry than Price wouldn’t be quite right was quickly put to rest. The Rays’ playoffs hopes are definitely given a huge boost by Rpice’s presence anchoring the rotation and probably eases the pressure a bit on youngster Matt Moore.
Icy: Matt Cain, Jerome Williams
Hot: Clayton Kershaw, Matt Moore
Shaw hides his face after Hosmer ties the game with a double
The Cleveland Indians had been having a fairly nice year compared to expectations. After today they are trailing the Royals by a half game. It looked like Cleveland was in line for a win after Carlos Carrasco worked 7 shutout innings. The 8th inning proved to be a little trickier. After putting a man on second, Carrasco exited, leaving Bryan Shaw to shut the door. He did not. An Eric Hosmer double tied the game. And then in the 9th Cleveland goes Cleveland by giving up the winning run on a wild pitch – courtesy of Matt Albers. Not a great way to leave the field. Lets detail the mess.
The pained look on Lester’s face is shared by Red Sox nation right now.
Jon Lester just isn’t the same guy anymore. After starting the year on a decent streak, he’s been nothing but terrible over the past month. His previous six starts, he gave up earned runs of 5,4,4,3,7,5. Yikes. This week brought the 7 and 5 numbers. He’s taken losses in 4 out is last six starts with no wins. I know the Red Sox are in 1st place, but I don’t see how they hold on with Lester, supposedly the staff ace, pitching like this. Lester gets the award this week for being Icy cold on the mound. He racked up an 11.17 ERA and a 2.48 WHIP. The amazing part is that he was striking guys out. 11 Ks in 9 innings. Usually if your missing bats, you can manage to not give up 7 earned runs in a game. Maybe next week.
Matt Cain might be finally getting on track
Matt Cain has had a rough season so far. Before today he was sporting a 5.09 ERA and was only 4-3. It seemed like Matt Cain was underrated for a while and he just went out and worked innings for the Giants. One year ago he threw a perfect game against the Houston Astros. Today he may have righted his season by throwing another gem- though a shorter one. Cain went 6.2 innings while only allowing 2 hits and striking out 3. This isn’t close to a perfect game, it wouldn’t even be mentioned in the great pitching performances of the season. But for Cain, and how his season is going, it means a lot. I’ve been a fan of Cain and if the Giants want to compete he is going to have to perform more like this the rest of the season.
Anthony Bosch got the Selig angry face in the form of an inescapable lawsuit
Full disclosure: I am not a Brewers fan, but have had Ryan Braun on my keeper fantasy team for five years. I’ll try to not be biased.
News recently broke that MLB has struck a deal with former owner of Biogenesis, some sort of anti-aging, possible drug pen. Anthony Bosch has agreed to give his full cooperation to MLB in tracking down players to whom he allegedly gave PEDs. There is a laundry list of players potentially implicated: Ryan Braun, Alex Rodriguez, Nelson Cruz, Everth Cabrera, Jhonny Peralta, etc. This is a serious list of players with a few very high profile guys. Apparently MLB is going to try and hand down a few 100 game suspensions for two violations. My thoughts:
- Baseball players should not use PEDs, HGH, speed, Flintstone vitamins or whatever the MLB and player’s union agreed to in CBA. They can lie as much as their conscience allows.
- Baseball players should be punished if they do – I think the current punishments are just about right.
- Baseball players should be guilty beyond a reasonable doubt – meaning a drug test or something else concrete…say a video of Player A slathering beef roid cream all over his inner thigh.
- Anthony Bosch is a likely less than reputable guy who was sued by an organization with endless resources to pursue an extremely expensive case against him.
- He (wisely for his own sake) decided that he couldn’t reasonably defend himself even though the lawsuit was not likely to be won by the MLB. The price of this was doing what the MLB asked of him. When you push someone into a corner, they might come out swinging or they might capitulate to any demand. I suspect the latter here.
- The MLB players union is the most powerful union in major sports and has much more clout over the league than any other sport does. Yes, they agreed for all these drug policies and it is good for the game. But they will fight like hell for almost every single individual case. High paid lawyers will be brought in and will defend these players well.
- The MLB is not going to have concrete evidence in the end. They have some balance sheets scribbled on paper with code names and the word of a desperate man they leveraged with their lawsuit. I’ve seen more evidence on Crossing Jordan.
- The MLB is going way too far to try and prove these guys have done something. Drug test players. That’s it. Piss test. Blood test. Hair test. Take a swab of ass sweat if you think it will help. If they test positive suspend them. If they don’t, don’t go digging. If you think your drug test courier fucked up, keep testing anyway.
I don’t want cheating in baseball. It hurts the game. I also don’t want witch hunts either. Test, pass, good. Test, fail, bad. What if Braun did buy drugs? Did he take them? MLB won’t ever know without a drug test. Braun may well have taken PEDs but you can’t start suspending players because of leveraged testimony and some scribbled notes. It’s not good business, it’s a proud guy trying to prove it wasn’t his fault that many of baseball’s hallowed records were broken while players injected gallons of horse testosterone into their asses on his watch.
Adam Laroche started the damage off in the 9th
Bobby Parnell has a decent chance to make the All-Star game this year. Not racking up the saves on a bad team but pitching well. He actually had a chance tonight and couldn’t do it. He came in with a standard one run lead to protect. He got no people out. He also looks a bit awkward as he starts to go cover first. Bad news Bobby – that grounder found the hole and scored the game tying run. Details here:
Double, wild pitch, single, double, walk, game over. Come back strong Bobby, we’re rooting for you.
Note: I know he recorded an out technically but since it was the game winning sacrifice, I’m going to go ahead and not count it this time.
John Mayberry hit two extra inning home runs. Even Dominic Brown is impressed.
The rankest of relief performances happened tonight. You can’t get much worse than walking off and winning by 4 runs. there is only one way to do that. Load up the bases and hit a home run. You need an assist form a late inning reliever and tonight Edgar Olmos provided that. Olmos didn’t even give up a hit except for the final bomb shot. See below:
An error, sacrifice and two walks later, Olmos was giving up a grand slam on a 1-1 fastball. Neither of these teams is going to make the playoffs or contend, so it probably doesn’t really matter, but I’m guessing the morale in Miami can’t get much lower.