Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.
Join 4 other subscribers
He's kind of a big kid.
The Marlins went down to Puerto Rico to play a series against the Mets and build baseball interest in the Caribbean. Almost everyone else took the day off.
New York Mets (3) at Florida Marlins (10). The Fish got some serious offense going last night. Mike Stanton hit his second major league home run, a 3-run blast, and Nolasco had himself a quality start for the first time in a while. The Mets scored all three runs on two Jason Bay home runs, but couldn’t do much else against the Marlins. Florida’s record improves to 36-40. Manager news might come at the end of the week.
Washington Nationals (0) at Atlanta Braves (5). On a night where Washington needed to knock the Braves down a peg or two, there’s no better pitcher to rely on than Stephen Strasburg, except he had what may have been his worst start of the season with absolutely zero run support. It’s funny, of course, when you consider a regular quality start the worst start of his career, but Stephen went 6.1, gave up 4 runs (3 earned thanks to Desmond’s league leading errors), two walks, with seven strikeouts. He can have off-days like this if his team scores him runs, but the sleeping offense led to their current 33-44 record. I’m hoping they pick it up, because Braves losses can only be good for the rest of the NL East.
Gonna see the Cubs this weekend!
Washington Nationals (3) at Detroit Tigers (8). Deja vu. Atilano loses again. Change of scenery tomorrow, but this sweep was ugly. 31-36 in last.
Texas Rangers (6) at Florida Marlins (4). Ricky Nolasco just hasn’t been the same in so long. Guy gets two earned, but the other unearned were on errors by him. 31-35 barely in fourth.
Tampa Bay Rays (1) at Atlanta Braves (3). Jason Heyward and the Bravos beat the struggling Shields. The Rays have not played well this month at all. They are still tied for first with their 41-25 record.
Three of my teams managed to notch wins in the final innings of their respective games. It takes a lot of luck and skill to take a game in the 9th. Bravo, teams.
Hiroshima Carp (5) at Nippon-Ham Fighters (4). Eishin Soyogi gets the walk-off RBI single in the 9th to push the Carp ahead while Ryuji Yokoyama holds on for the save. Hiroshima’s record rises to 21-31-0 after the tilt.
Hanshin Tigers (2) at Rakuten Eagles (3). TEPPEI! Ok, so his cheer isn’t really conveyed with that text, but Teppei Tsuchiya made himself known with a single up the middle to win the game in the bottom of the 9th. Rakuten’s record improves to 25-28-1, tying them for fourth.
Baltimore Orioles (1) at New York Yankees (3). Last night was Baltimore’s big chance. The starters get harder from here. Tough break for Brian Matusz whose rookie season is not going how he anticipated it would. Baltimore drops to 15-37.
Tampa Bay Rays (7) at Toronto Blue Jays (6). Former Marlins closer Kevin Gregg blows the save in the 9th, allowing the Rays to pull ahead in a dramatic fashion thanks to a Sean Rodriguez bases-loaded double. This wild game also got Joe Maddon and Kevin Gregg ejected in the 9th. It was a fun one to watch. Tampa’s record improves to 25-18, putting them only 2.5 ahead of those accursed Yankees.
Milwaukee Brewers (4) at Florida Marlins (6). Nolasco has another night where he’s not super sharp, but the bats that awoke last night remain clubbing. Cogz (Chris Coghlan) managed three hits last night, including a home run, which is so reassuring to those of us who were worried about his huge slump. Sure, .237 isn’t .321, but there’s a lot of season left. Florida’s record improves to 27-26, good for third. When did the Phillies drop to second?
Washington Nationals (7) at Houston Astros (8). You can’t lose to Houston if you want to compete, Nats. Storen is still a little wild, Capps blows another save, and the Nats just can’t hold on in this wild one. Their record falls to 26-27 in last.
With that out of the way, the Nationals have finally announced the official first start of rookie Stephen Strasburg. He will get his first chance to strut his stuff on 8 June against the Pittsburgh Pirates, a home game that shouldn’t provide too much of a challenge. I’m gonna try to get tickets myself, but we’ll see if I can afford them.
In other prospect news, the Marlins are very close to calling up Mike Stanton, who has already hit 20 homers in the minors this year. Where he will go is anyone’s guess, but it’ll have to be Coghlan, Maybin, or Ross who is replaced.
San Francisco also finally called up Buster Posey whose bat presence will help the offensively struggling team. Will it help to propel them past the Friars? We shall see.
I don't have any pictues of Kenta Maeda to put up, so this is the next best thing.
I don’t know why I’m surprised to see Maeda pitched when I see the Carp played a shutout. He really is the best pitcher in the Central League so far.
Chiba Lotte Marines (0) at Hiroshima Carp (3). Maeda scatters four hits over 8 while Yokoyama notches the save. This brings Hiroshima’s record up to 20-29-0 in fifth.
Rakuten Eagles (3) at Yakult Swallows (3). Both teams battle into a tie in the 12th, unable to break the deadlock. Rakuten’s record kind of rises to 22-28-1, tying them with the Fighters in fifth.
Washington Nationals (4) at San Francisco Giants (5). The Nats lose the game in a disastrous 7th inning pitched by Stammen, Burnett, and Walker. Their 24-24 record ties them for fourth with Florida.
Oakland Athletics (7) at Baltimore Orioles (5). Mark Hendrickson blows this game in the eighth by giving up three. It’s no wonder the Marlins got rid of him. Baltimore’s record falls to 15-33 on the year in last.
Atlanta Braves (8) at Florida Marlins (3). Ricky Nolasco has a mediocre start cut short at four innings by a rain delay and the Marlins relief corp couldn’t hold on. Their bats couldn’t contribute either, so the Fish went down, yet again, to the accursed Braves. They are now playing 0.500 ball again at 24-24
Chicago White Sox (1) at Tampa Bay Rays (5). It’s important to establish dominance yet again after the embarrassing sweep the Rays just suffered. Not to mention the fact that Jeff Niemann is the last remaining lossless starter in the American League. He holds on to that title, improving to 5-0 while the Rays increase to 33-15.
Ok, so this space isn’t really about Lost, but how great was it? Oh yeah, there was baseball played too.
Hiroshima Carp (7) at Softbank Hawks (1). Kenta Maeda is a beast. Really. This guy is the best pitcher in the Central League with his 1.59 ERA and he’s consistently dominant.
Yomiuri Giants (4) at Rakuten Eagles (5). Always good to see the Giants lose.
Baltimore Orioles (5) at Washington Nationals (3). Shocked that the Nats dropped any to Baltimore, but I guess it can happen sometimes.
Tampa Bay Rays (1) at Houston Astros (2). This was an even worse loss. At least it wasn’t a blowout.
Florida Marlins (0) at Chicago White Sox (8). Mark Buehrle really dominates Florida teams and Ricky Nolasco had a terrible outing.
Carp (4) at Hawks (7). Hiroshima gets some runs in on the starter, but it’s not enough to hold back the Hawks’ strong offense.
Giants (5) at Eagles (3). Rakuten can’t afford to lose games Iwakuma starts. Sure, he gave up three, but the relief core gave up the winning runs.
Marlins (1) at White Sox (4). Another bad game for the Fish. The offense just couldn’t solve White Sox pitching.
Orioles (6) at Nationals (7). Sloppy pitching by both teams, but the Washington offense came out on top.
Rays (4) at Astros (2). This is much more like it. No more losing to bad teams, Tampa.
Saitama Seibu Lions at Carp. Rained out. The Carp end the weekend 18-27-0 in fifth.
Eagles (7) at Chunichi Dragons (2). Something happened to Chunichi’s starter, because he was pulled after 3.2 after only giving up three. It’s strange to see Rakuten’s offense awaken at random times, but it does exist. They close the weekend at 21-27-0 in fifth.
Orioles (3) at Nationals (4). Washington wins this one in extras on a walk-off home run by The Hammer, Josh Willingham. Washington closes the weekend at 23-22, tied for third with the Marlins.
Marlins (13) at White Sox (0). The recent trend is for the Fish to kick major ass whenever Josh Johnson is on the mound shutting out the opposing team. Johnson destroys the Sox over six while the Fish hit five home runs, two by Cody Ross alone. Their record sits at 23-22 in third.
Rays (10) at Astros (6). David Price has an uncharacteristically bad start, but the Rays offense helps him out by scoring a ridiculous amount of runs while the bullpen held the Astros to only one. Tampa Bay’s record jumps to 32-12, putting them a HUGE six games up on the Yankees.
Let Teddy Win!
No, I didn’t go see the Nats this weekend, but I did finally upload this picture.
Rakuten Eagles (8) at Hiroshima Carp (7). Knowing how badly the Eagles have been so far this season makes this worse. I want the Carp to win!
Cleveland Indians (1) at Baltimore Orioles (8). My friend went to this game to see the fireworks and watch with an out-of-town friend of his. I’m glad he saw a win.
New York Mets (2) at Florida Marlins (7). I watched every game in this series. Spoiler alert: it ends well for me.
Seattle Mariners (4) at Tampa Bay Rays (3). I was shocked by this, but I guess you can’t sweep all your opponents.
Nippon-Ham Fighters (0) at Carp (1). I knew this was a Maeda game the second I started writing the score. It’s great that Hiroshima’s got such a solid part of the rotation, but they need a lot more arms.
Eagles (2) at Hanshin Tigers (3). Not too surprised that one of the top teams in the CL could beat the Eagles. I’ll be surprised if Rakuten splits the series.
Washington Nationals (2) at Colorado Rockies (6). Inclement weather has ruined the past two series for Colorado, but still allowed them to rack up wins. They notch one in this first part of the doubleheader.
Mariners (2) at Rays (3). Now that’s more like it. Nothing puts a bigger smile on my face than a walk-off jack. Willy Aybar earns himself the job with one swing of the bat, sending Pat Burrell down for assignment. Good riddance, Pat. Never buy a player from Philly again, Tampa Bay.
Indians (8) at Orioles (2). Now that my friend’s not in the ballpark, we can resume the usual win schedule.
Mets (5) at Marlins (7). This game should not have been this close, but the Marlins bullpen likes to make things interesting. Note that this series has seen remarkable hitting from both Chris Coghlan and Gaby Sanchez so far. Dan Uggla has done well for himself, too.
Nationals (3) at Rockies (4). The doubleheader just doesn’t go in Washington’s favor. Tough break for the previously surging Nats.
Fighters (6) at Carp (2). Knowing how terrible the Fighters are makes this a thousand times worse. The Carp close the first weekend of interleague play out with their record standing at 16-25-0, good for fifth in the Central League.
Eagles (7) at Tigers (3). A fair split for Rakuten allows them to end the weekend on a high note with only one loss in interleagues so far. Their record at the end of the weekend: 19-24-0, good for FOURTH!
Mets (8) at Marlins (10). Another game that should not have been this close. Ricky Nolasco almost watched his bullpen lose him a game again, but they managed to pull together at the last minute to secure the series sweep. It was the first time Florida ever swept the Mets at home in a four-game series in the team’s existence. That’s good enough to raise the Marlins record to 20-18, putting them four games back, tied for second with the Nats.
Indians (5) at Orioles (1). The losing ways continue. Baltimore falls to 12-26 in last. My friend’s got a bet going that the Orioles record will be better than the Pirates, but they’ve got to start performing if he wants his money.
Mariners (1) at Rays (2). A pitching duel between Cliff Lee and Matt Garza decided in late innings. Way to go TB. The Rays now have a 26-11 record good for first.
Nationals (1) at Rockies (2). An ugly sweep, but at least Washington seemed to be making a real contest of it. They close the weekend at 20-18 in second place with the Marlins.
The Marlins put together two wins against the Cubs and Coghlan is hitting again. What else to do but celebrate?
I listened to about half of the Marlins at Cubs game in Spanish to get some practice. It’s surprising how much I was able to understand easily despite not really knowing much about baseball in Spanish. My favorite part: the center fielder is translated as central gardener.
Seattle Mariners (5) at Baltimore Orioles (1). I almost went to this game, but I’m glad I didn’t. The weather was miserable and the team didn’t even win. Good luck tomorrow, Baltimore (9-24).
Washington Nationals (6) at New York Mets (8). Tyler Clippard has his first genuinely bad outing of the season as he blows the game in the 8th. Washington falls to 18-15 and is tied for second with the Mets again.
Florida Marlins (3) at Chicago Cubs (2). The Fish take another against the Cubbies in a solidly pitched game by Ricky Nolasco. Both runs came in via home run this game, one two-run blast by Cody Ross and a garden variety solo homer by Gaby Sanchez. The good night raises Florida to 16-17 in fourth, still 4.5 back.
Tampa Bay Rays (7) at Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (2). The Rays notch another win to hold on to first place against former teammate Scott Kazmir. Their record sits at 23-10, but they’ve still got the Yankees breathing down their necks one game back.
I did a search for "blooper" in Flickr to express my frustration and this unexpectedly came up. Not what I had in mind, but it relieves some of the stress.
My PS3 decided to stop reading discs correctly for the second time in its lifespan, temporarily halting my video game NPB season with the Carp just about to widen the gap between third and fourth by beating the Swallows. Hopefully I get the system back before next week, but it’s leaving me at a loss for stuff to play this week. Looks like L4D2 and Sam & Max will be getting my attention.
Chunichi Dragons (0) at Hiroshima Carp (9). Nothing like a solid, blowout, shutout win to get the weekend started.
Orix Buffaloes (1) at Rakuten Eagles (2). Winning the close ones is key. Rakuten’s weekend rotation is among the strongest in the NPB, so it’s nice to see them get wins.
Boston Red Sox (4) at Baltimore Orioles (5). The only thing better than the Sox losing to the Orioles in a game is being there in person to witness it (which I was).
Washington Nationals (7) at Florida Marlins (1). What happened Ricky?
Kansas City Royals (3) at Tampa Bay Rays (2). Probably the only time all year KC’s bullpen will outduel anyone. There’s a reason Maddon is riding the starters hard in Tampa. Still, it was a strong effort by Jeff Niemann, yet again.
Dragons (12) at Carp (6). Chunichi gives back as hard as it took.
Buffaloes (1) at Eagles (2). Two nights in a row!
Royals (4) at Rays (2). Another late inning loss despite solid pitching by David Price.
Red Sox (9) at Orioles (12). Daisuke Matsuzaka’s first start back doesn’t go quite like he hoped, giving up six earned (seven total).
Nationals (1) at Marlins (7). This is what I like to see. Way to go Volstad, who throws a complete game gem against the Nats and finally gets his stuff together this season.
Buffaloes (2) at Eagles (3). Whoa! Series sweep! This puts the Eagles tied for fourth with their 15-19-0 record!
Dragons (3) at Carp (4). Hiroshima takes the rubber game and holds on for the series win. 13-18-0 has them a game behind Yokohama and half a game up on the Swallows.
Nationals (3) at Marlins (9). Another solid win for Josh Johnson who was not as sharp as last time, but sharp enough. Both Florida and Washington end their weekend at 13-12, tied for third, 1.5 back from first.
Red Sox (2) at Orioles (3). Another sweep for the weekend. These three wins put Baltimore at 7-18. They’re still in last, but now they’re only 9.5 games back.
Royals (0) at Rays (1). An old fashioned pitching duel between Greinke and Davis ends with Wade on top. The Rays go into this week still in first with an 18-7 record and a 1.5 game lead.
It’s time for Wednesday Morning Quarterback, your weekly sports round-up.
Ever wondered which baseball team you should be rooting for, based on geographic location in the US? Wonder no more.
I do believe you have now found an acceptable excuse for not rooting for a baseball team if you live in Utah.
Injuries, Home Losses, and the Fish Are Back!
The NL East has had what some may call a troubled month.
The NY Mets are basically fielding a AAA team due to all the injuries their players have suffered on the field. It’s a wonder that the team is even in contention at this point, but it seems like it’s starting to catch up to them. The recent losses in interleague didn’t matter too much, since the Marlins and Phillies also lost a few, but they’re now three games back. It’s kind of crazy to think about how close they are, considering that they’re a sub 0.500 team. Who in their right mind would have believed that the Giants, Rockies, and Reds would have better records than the Mets so close to the All-Star break?
Meanwhile, the Phillies have a bit of a problem. They almost never win at home. Their 13-22 record in Citizens Bank Park (that’s a 0.371 win rate, if you’re curious) just looks ridiculous compared to their away record of 26-12 (0.684). For those of you keeping score at home, the only team with a worse home record: the Washington Nationals (13-25 0.342). Pathetic. It’s a wonder they’re in first place.
Which brings me to my next point: the Marlins are only 1.5 games out of first! We’re coming back! This is mostly due to Josh Johnson’s fantastic pitching combined with Ricky Nolasco’s recovery from his minor league stint and some fantastic performances put up by rookie Sean West. Our young rookie didn’t do quite as well last night, but the Marlins were still able to put together a win. If they keep at it, it’s possible the Fish could even be in first by the all-star break.
A lot of strange things have been happening out in the west of late. While LA remains six games ahead of the Giants and wants for a challenge, the Giants have miraculously emerged as a powerhouse, leading the wild card race with the Colorado Rockies (I know!) 1.5 games back. There’s got to be something wrong with this picture…
My best guess: the NL East is really hurting right now, the NL Central is weak and beating up on each other, and the NL West is bizarrely having a great year. This could throw my pre-season predictions completely off balance!
The rest of the news
Manny Ramirez will be starting back up with the Dodgers next week as he completes his fifty game suspension. There was a lot of talk about his playing for the minor leagues when suspended, but I think it’s alright. I mean, if the rules were in place to forbid it, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation. MLB wants it this way, so why does everyone care?
Another letter of mine was featured on an ESPN podcast. If you listen to the 24 June Play Ball! episode you’ll get to hear a letter written by me criticizing the press’ (specifically Christine Brennan’s) perception of bloggers. I want to note that I fully support Brennan’s work as a journalist and I think she’s a fine example for women everywhere, I just took umbrage with her claims that the enthusiast press, for lack of a better term, was useless, uninformed, and unethical. We don’t have the training or the access, but I think we do an important job. I’m pretty sure my brothers would know nothing about baseball if it wasn’t for this weekly post I did, so it can’t be all that bad.
The All-Star game approacheth! The game will be played on 14 July, approximately two weeks from now. My plan is to live-blog it (for real this time) on Tuesday night. As a result, there won’t be a true WMQ post that Wednesday (15 July) unless I want to sum up the game. I can’t wait for the game. I hope the NL can finally knock the AL down from its lofty perch.
Insert another credit, because it’s time for your weekly video game news and you’ve just hit the Game Overview screen.
Maybe not the most interesting edition of GO for you readers, but I’ve finally completed my MLB PP team and played quite a few games as them. As of right now, I’m not doing so hot, with a 6-9 win/loss record to make the Alaska Yetis look bad sitting five games back in the NL East (behind the Braves, Phillies, Mets, and Marlins (in that order), but ahead of the Nationals). Why NL East when Alaska is clearly a western state? I love the NL East and that’s where I recognize the most players, so that’s where I wanted to play. I shuffled the Pittsburgh Pirates out to AL Central and added another expansion team, the Hawaii Samurai, to balance out my expansion team.
As for why I’m not doing so well, I’m still sort of ironing out the difficulty level. With the hitting too hard, I can’t score any runs, but I also don’t want my players to be able to hit home runs every at bat. Getting pretty close to finding that proper balance.
My roster looks something like this (last names left off for privacy reasons, but repeated first names do not imply that they are the same person):
C – Dan (me)
1B – Eric
2B – Dan
SS – Ian
3B – James
LF – Cu
CF – Lee
RF – Phil
So, after 15 games, let’s check out who’s doing best on the team compared to the best in the league:
BEST: .526 Cu (Yetis)
BEST: 9 Dan (me) (Yetis)
BEST: 21 Alou (Mets) / Jacobs (Marlins)
BEST: 9 Phil (Yetis)
Dave: 5.68 with 19 innings pitched (Starter)
Will: 3.18 with 5.2 innings pitched (Reliever)
Gordon: 3.18 with 5.2 innings pitched (Closer)
BEST: 0.75 Lohse (Cardinals)
Dean/James: 2 (Relievers)
Josh/Varun: 1 (Starters)
BEST: 3 Nolasco (Marlins) / A. Miller (Marlins)
BEST: 5 Fuentes (Rockies)
BEST: 24 Smoltz (Braves) / Sheets (Brewers) / Paulino (renamed player not in MLBPA) (Reds)
Here are the team stats as a whole, with which place in the league in parens:
ERA: 6.68 (6/6)
Runs (scored on): 104 (6/6)
Hits: 251 (6/6 by like 100)
Home Runs: 20 (2/6)
Strikeouts: 55 (6/6)
Walks: 3 (1/6)
Batting Average: .343 (1/6)
Runs: 80 (4/6)
Hits: 188 (2/6)
Home Runs: 30 (1/6)
Sacrifice Hits + Sacrifice Flies: 0 (6/6)
Stolen Bases: 12 (3/6
I’m definitely enjoying the game so far though! Hopefully the Yetis can slowly move up the standings in the east to keep from looking like they were a mistake to establish.
100th post! YAY!