So 99.9% percent of the time you turn on a television and you see guys who are supremely talented, coordinated, and gifted. That other 0.01%? Well that’s A.J. Pollock.
Pollock first caught my attention because I was the lucky winner of his services for $1 in a deep Ottoneu auction league. I figured he could be depended upon to play against left-handed pitching. He’s in an underrated lineup, and he’ll get regular at-bats; I thought to myself.
Well Pollock has started the season hitting .156, commonly missing 88 MPH left-handed fastballs down the middle of the plate. He’s just all forms of awful and I wonder what a talent evaluator saw in the guy. I can’t help it.
He’s pictured here in last night’s game – of course he volleyed a ball hit by Nolan Arenado over the fence for a home run. Pollock can’t just get out of his own way.
You watch a guy like Mike Trout for a couple of innings and then you change the channel to the A.J. Pollock show and you’re left wondering whether or not it’s the same league.
Pollock will probably be teaching 8th grade Earth Science in his hometown in two years.
The second game of our Saturday – we still haven’t slept – but this one figures to be a little less hazy. Hopefully we see some runs in this one. I thought that would be the case before I read that Trevor Cahill is a lifetime 6-0 against the Dodgers in 10 career starts, with a 2.01 ERA.
If you’re watching the game, watch it with us! Join in the liveblog chat and hang out!
I woke up at 2:00 AM and barely hung on through the rain delay at Sydney Cricket Ground early this morning. I stayed up through the entire game – and although I’m exhausted this morning – damn it feels good to have baseball back.
The Dodgers are 1-0, winning the opener on foreign soil 3-1. Scott Van Slyke was the offensive hero, but the real story was probably what a horse effort Clayton Kershaw offered. On 102 pitches, Kershaw struck out seven and walked just one to get the win; the 78th of his young career.
Wade Miley wasn’t bad for the Diamondbacks. He went 5 and 2/3, striking out eight and walking two. Yasiel Puig went 0 for 5 with three bad-looking strike outs.
Game two is tonight at 10:00 PM here in the Midwest. I already can’t wait.
The 2013 Arizona DiamondBacks went 81-81, spending a lot of time clearing water out of the boat after General Manager Kevin Towers traded Justin Upton to the Atlanta Braves declaring he wasn’t a ‘winning player’.
Paul Goldschmidt went out and became one of the best all around hitters in the game by earning a 7.1 WAR with 36 home runs, 125 RBI, and a shiny .302/.401/.551 slash-line that led to a .952 OPS that led the National League. It seemed every time we turned on the television that Goldschmidt was knocking a ball off the fence.
Kevin Towers is going to need to find a lot more ‘winning players’ if the Diamondbacks are going to make some hay in 2014 and beyond. They’re not there yet.
Major Off-season Moves:
Traded for OF Mark Trumbo.
Traded for RHP Addison Reed.
Signed RHP Bronson Arroyo to a two-year, $23.5 million dollar contract.
Signed LHP Oliver Perez.
I’m not as sweet on the DBacks as many – as I think they’re in for another year mired in mediocrity. They do have some really nice pieces, and any time you can go to battle with one of the best all around players in the game day in and day out, you’ve got a reason to be at least moderately excited. Continue reading →
Because this horrifying month is the shortest of them all, we’re down to some 28 days and a wake-up from the Major League Baseball Opening Series in Sydney Australia on March 22nd.
The opening series will be entertaining not only because it’s the first counting baseball that we’ve had since October, but it will be held at marvelous Syndey Cricket Ground.
Throw in Yasiel Puig, Paul Goldschmidt, Mark Trumbo, and Hanley Ramirez into a friggin’ cricket stadium and make them play baseball, and you’re bound to see something interesting.
There’s another thing you may not realize that will make this opener unique in it’s own way. For fans in the United States, the opener will actually take place at 4 AM Saturday morning. For fans like us, there’s a good chance we just ride out Friday evening and turn it into an all-nighter. At some point, people will need to sleep. And that’s not just because you can’t function without it. It’s because at 10 PM that Saturday evening, Vin Scully will be back on the air calling the second game of the series.
For some nutbags out there, that’s two games packed into one Saturday. Then there’s all day Sunday to recover for work on Monday.
It literally cannot get here soon enough. When I hear that jolly old man telling stories and calling the auction in the wee hours of the night that glorious March 22nd day, I’m going to be like a kid on Christmas.
Yeah, that’s kind of what this is reminiscent of. I should be watching 61* or Baseball by Ken Burns to celebrate this one. This should have been a celebration of the Reds biggest win of the season. This should have been the crowning post of the best week of baseball of Jay Bruce’s life.
Instead it’s going to be a little bit about Aroldis Chapman, and how he entered that bottom of the 9th in Arizona with hollow, empty eyes and no soul and plucked one from the win column and inserted it directly in the loss column for a Reds team that is fighting for a shot at the game’s Pantheon this season. And I’m listening to the drunks of Dayton and Kentucky call into 700 WLW declaring war on the bullpen and they’re 12 Budweisers deep on their porch and talking about bathing in Dusty Baker’s blood.
But lets talk about Jay Bruce’s game a little bit. I can’t believe what kind of run this guy is on. It’s truly something you don’t see in a lifetime watching baseball (Bruce’s last seven hits have all been home runs).
The first came off of Patrick Corbin, who is about as nasty right now as any lefty in the National league. It was the longest home run of Jay Bruce’s career, 473 feet. It was a Nintendo game shot. Let’s put it here for all to see.
Listen to the way the Arizona crowd bellows (don’t confuse it with a roar) when the shot caroms off the scoreboard in dead center.
That was the only scoring in the game for a while, and then Gerardo Parra snuck one out off Mike Leake to put the DBacks up 2-1 until the bottom of the 9th. I knew what was going to happen.
Let them get excited, they've got to face Bruce in the 9th. This isn't over yet
The second was what I feel like was a turning point in Bruce’s whole career. He knows when he hits this home run off Heath Bell in the top of the 9th that he’s better than the game right now. What he’s doing he probably fully doesn’t understand. It’s a kind of locked in that most guys don’t ever achieve even once in a career. As I’ve said many times before, there’s no book to get him out right now, and everything he hits is going to be out of the park.
He gets all of this one, and destroys Heath Bell in the process. It was as exciting of a Saturday night baseball moment as you can ask for. It got ‘Jay Bruce’ trending worldwide on twitter. Here’s the 460 foot shot:
But as the Reds did the last time Bruce came close to this hot, they squandered it. It was that magical May of 2011. He hit 12 home runs and was MLB Player of the Month that May. The Reds went 14-14 that month.
It was a moment I’ll never forget last night in Bruce’s career. But it should have been even sweeter. This is a run you don’t ever forget. Eight home runs in nine games, and he’s hit 10 since June 3rd. Jay Bruce was born to rake, we just never knew it was going to be to this extent.
The next time the man known as “Bear Jew” has a week like this, I hope he’s not owned by the guy who is hot on my tail in fantasy baseball.
There was no other player who could win the inaugural Hard Hittin’ Mark Whiten Memorial award. We won’t do an honorable mention today partly because we’re at work, and partly because Bear Jew really did that good of a job steamrolling the rest of the field.
.480 (12 for 25), no walks (but still good for a .480 on-base %), 3 home runs, 5 RBI
The weeks all blend together, but the week before he hit a couple of game-winning jacks out in LA (off League, Kershaw, Jansen) to get his team going. He’s had a monster couple of weeks. He is a Bear Jew gone mad. He’s going to have a season like Joey Votto did in 2010 when he won the MVP.
He is the first winner of the HHMWMPOTW Award. Yea, that’s not going to work abbreviating that.
The Arizona Diamondbacks provide plenty of fodder for rank relief between Heath Bell and JJ Putz. This time it was our man JJ stepping up to the plate. Like our other rank relief feature tonight, the Diamondbacks took a 1-0 lead into the 9th inning. Putz hasn’t been awful this year, but tonight he had to face the wonderfully plump Kung-Fu Panda. Angel Pagan continued his solid season by getting a hit and stealing second – but he didn’t really need to – he’d be trotting home very soon. Sandoval crushed an 0-1 pitch to deep left center field.
The damage: 2 Ks but one big long home run. JJ should be fine though. He’ll have Bell to talk him through the grieving process.
Two years ago Heath Bell was coming off his 3rd straight 40 save season. Then it all went to shit. He moved this off season to Arizona presumably because he was gritty and had the right make up to play for Kirk Gibson. Well look at what you got Arizona. Bell came in to relieve Tony Sipp and proceeded to:
6 batters, 4 hits, 1 walk, and hey-o 1 K. That’s…not good. Bell was back in a set up role, so the pressure was supposed to be off him – oh wait, he needs pressure to pitch well as a “closer”. I’m not smart so I don’t know what is wrong with Bell and apparently the Diamondbacks didn’t either. Things could get ugly quickly for Bell out in the desert if this is the kind of performance he is going to give.
To add insult to injury, on Kozma’a home run, a male fan who was in perfect position to catch the ball jumped out of the way and his (alleged) girlfriend takes one to the upper torso or somewhere around there. Check out Deadspin for the video.
It wasn’t long ago that the Diamondbacks were the feel good story in all of baseball. It seemed like that 2011 team was Justin Upton and a bunch of guys, and they rolled into the NLDS against the Milwaukee Brewers where they came ever so close to advancing to the 2011 NLCS. The model worked as it should, a team built around a young superstar overachieved a year ahead of schedule. Bruce Springsteen was being played on the stadium organ. Good times were had by all. With some luck and decent moves, a supporting cast would be built around Justin Upton for years to come.
It would never be more than a mirage for Arizona. This offseason wasn’t about who they added, but rather the trade that sent their franchise player to Atlanta to play with his brother. The package the Dbacks received in return for Upton wasn’t all that exciting, and it’s clear that they settled for much less than they could have yielded at other points if they were so set on trading Upton.
The organization continually remarked behind closed doors that Upton wasn’t “a winning player”. Go ahead and Google it now, you won’t find any other reasons behind why Upton was dealt. That’s because there were no good reasons. It was a stupid move and even when Arizona makes it back to the postseason in another eight or so seasons, it still won’t be a good move. It didn’t have to go down this way, and the Dbacks have unofficially stuck their flag in rebuild mountain.
They traded Trevor Bauer for being a dipshit, too.
Major offseason moves:
Traded Justin Upton for Martin Prado and Randall Delgado
Signed Eric Chavez
Traded for Tony Campana
Signed Rod Barajas
Traded Trevor Bauer for Didi Gregorius
Signed Brandon McCarthy to a 2-year, $15.5 million dollar contract
After the jump we’ll take a look at the 2013 Diamondbacks projected lineup and pitching staff.
Trevor Bauer looked really good in the media just days ago when he deflected Miguel Montero’s blast about Bauer not taking any of Montero’s sage advice. But alas, the PR boost was not meant to last. Bauer’s rap group, consumate4sight, released a track called “You Don’t Know Me”.
One of the iron clad rules of sports: If you release a rap album/song/anything like that, things are not going to go well. (unless you are Ron Artest) There are some dumb lyrics to the song that may or nay not refer to Montero. Bauer says it’s not about him, which I tend to believe because the song came out too soon after Montero’s comments. Whatever happened, Bauer and Montero are no longer on the same team and they don’t have to make grumpy faces at each other while they toss. At least we got to hear from a budding rap baseball star.
I considered this trade to be huge news, so the fact that I’m not getting around to writing a take on it until the week after should tell you that something pretty monumental was going on in my away-from-blogging life I try to have every once in a while.
In actuality, nothing monumental really was going on. I went with my company from my real job to Las Vegas. I gambled on Canadian hockey, saw a guy offering to be kicked in the nuts for $20 (he told me he had been kicked over 5,000 times for those of you wondering how it’s possible), and generally just did some people watching in a city that offers you a little of everything. Playing blackjack at Belagio beats the heck out of the online casinos.
The day I left, Justin Upton was dealt to Atlanta (we told you that’s where he was headed on this episode of The Baseball Show Podcast) for a package of players valued a lot less than a package for Justin Upton should have yielded.
I cannot wait to hear why Kevin Towers is the smartest man in the room on this one. Can’t. Wait. And mark my words, it will make it’s way out into the media. We’re going to know almost every juicy detail of this. Someone’s going to have some ‘splaining to do. And it’s going to be Towers.
It works out perfectly for Atlanta. They’ve now got just enough ammo to challenge the once thought to be invincible Nationals. You can just about count on Justin Upton to go off, stay free of nagging injuries, and generally be the MVP candidate he was always supposed to be. I’ve got nothing against the Braves, but no one deserves Justin Upton for a small price like that.