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The Baseball Roundup (6/14/15)

June 14, 2015

Tony:

Really excited for the Thrones season finale tonight, but there is still baseball to discuss.

Let’s start with two more big prospect call-ups. The AL Central just got a bit more exciting with the announcements that Byron Buxton will join the Twins and Francisco Lindor is headed to Cleveland. Buxton was pretty much the consensus #1 prospect in America, and after a tough season last year that included a variety of injuries, he has been hitting. The Twins have had nothing going on in centerfield, so even if he doesn’t turn into Mike Trout by Wednesday, he should help. Lindor is in the same boat. The Tribe has gotten so little hitting out of the SS position, that Lindor’s mediocrity at the plate shouldn’t be too much of an issue. Plus, he has been better over the last month. Regardless, he has gold glove capability and that should help the Tribe pitching staff. Even with the call-up though, I’m not suddenly bullish on the Tribe. I love the staff but I’m not convinced they are about to start scoring more runs… A good start would be Carlos Santana providing some production.

He got a start on that yesterday, welcoming Justin Verlander back with a home run that helped propel the Tribe over the Tigers 5 – 4. He now has 7. Your boy JD Martinez hit his 11th home run.  Kip was 1/4 with an RBI and Carlos Carrasco pitched well, though not spectacularly. in 5 2/3rds he allowed 8 baserunners, struck out 8, and gave up 3. Yoenis Cespedes was 3/5 and Miggy 2/4. Verlander did hit 97mph on the gun, but only notched 2 strikeouts.

Brandon Moss has also been underwhelming for the Tribe offense this year. He didn’t register a hit Saturday. I don’t expect much more than a .250 avg and his 10 home runs isn’t that far short of what the Tribe could hope for, but his OBP has declined for the 4th straight year.

The Nationals beat the Brewers 7 – 2. Bryce Harper was 3/3 with 2 RBIs but exited in the 9th after taking a fastball to the knee. Hopefully it’s just a bump that will be fine in a couple of days.

It took 11 innings, but the Braves beat the Mets 5 – 3. Cameron Maybin was the story of the game. An error in center allowed the Mets to go ahead, and getting thrown out at home couldn’t secure a lead, but an RBI in the 9th helped send the game to extras and he delivered the game winning 2 run single in the 11th. He will be getting his first start for my fantasy squad on Monday after an extremely hot month. Jeurys Familia wasn’t available for the Mets last night due to the birth of his son on Friday. The bullpen was unable to close it out without him. Andrelton Simmons managed to notch 4 hits. The game featured two big arms. Shelby Miller allowed a season-high eight hits and three runs, which boosted his ERA from 1.84 to 2.02. Jacob DeGrom pitched seven dominant innings, striking out nine. He allowed five hits and one run.

The Blue Jays won their 10th straight, beating the Boston Red Sox 5 – 4 in the 11th. The run came in the 11th off of a lead off home run from Russell Martin. Martin had a rough day behind the plate, allowing three past balls. Really that’s more of a reflection of RA Dickey’s knuckleball last night. Dickey retired 10 of his last 11 batters and allowed three earned runs or fewer for his third straight start. In six innings, he gave up three earned runs, six hits and one walk with five strikeouts.

The Astros fell to the Mariners, 8 – 1. All 8 runs were scored in the first 3 innings. Logan Morrison, “friend of the podcast,” had two home runs. Gosh how I miss the fantasy baseball podcast… It was a rough night for Collin McHugh who allowed nine hits and eight runs in a season-low three innings. Fausto did the long relief for the Astros. He struck out five in four scoreless innings. Your boy Altuve had the night off to rest his bum leg. George Springer was 2/4 while Carlos Correa was unable to register a hit.

I’ll end with the Marlins. They won 4 – 1 over the Rockies. Matt Latos returned from the disabled list for the fish, stricking out a season-high 11 batters in seven innings. He gave up 1 run and 4 hits. Giancarlo Stanton registered all 4 RBIs for the fish, hitting a 2 run double and a 2 run homer. He now has 23 homers, leading the league, and has driven in 12 runs over the last 6 games. It’s been tough to face him in fantasy this week…

AJ Pollock is slowly starting to get noticed in Arizona… Soon the general public will be able to name 2 of their starting 9!

There’s a lot of talk right now about how excited Cleveland is about the Cavs and how great a sports city we are, but I’m beginning to be embarrassed by it all. Between Lebron’s exit and Lebron’s return, the only Cavs hype happened when LeBron was in town. In less that a year, the city went from embracing Jonny Football to ripping him hard than everyone else (and jeering him about rehab, and throwing bottles…), and the Tribe has been pretty interesting for the last three years, and yet

On the season, the Indians have drawn an average of 16,836, with only the cloudy-future Rays spinning fewer turnstiles. Cleveland was also second from the bottom last year, and in 2013 they ranked just one spot higher despite 92 wins and a Wild Card berth.

People simply aren’t coming out to see a competitive team that plays in a gorgeous ballpark and has affordable ticket prices. The worst part? CLEVELANDERS kind of really know this… I’m not the only one, listen to a stadium security guard:

“This place will fill up if we make the playoffs… Outside of that, and I hate to say this, I’m not sure this is a big baseball town. Not like it used to be, anyway.”

Last time I was at a Cavs game, it was just as much about getting a Michael Simon “B Spot” burger, catching a glimpse of Machine Gun Kelly, and watching the overload of stoppage time entertainment as it was about watching Kyrie and the Cavs. It was so much I got a headache and we had to look for seats that would provide respite from the piped in crowd noise. Has Cleveland somehow gotten so entitled about its misery and losing history that we can’t even muster some earnestness and excitement and root for our teams without it being “easy” because the King is back or because we made the playoffs? I don’t even know how to explain the phenomenon. I guess we got too tired of waiting and rooting? We just got tired and sad and cynical? The other explanations are scarier: that we actually enjoy the notoriety we get for our losing and revel in it? That we were never much a baseball town? That the 90s were a phenomenon spurred on by the fact that the Browns left? That really we aren’t a Browns town anymore? That “the return” has lost its luster, and with nothing but losing, we are just average football fans now? Maybe we were never much of a basketball town? I don’t know. I don’t like it. It’s insanely expensive to go see the Cavs or the Browns. But there are so many damn promotions at Progressive Field that you can get in and out for 15$ a person including a drink and parking or public transpo… With that on the table, what’s the problem?

Meanwhile, many props to Wayne Kirby, who now coaches in Baltimore. If you think back to that 90s run for the Tribe…

Kirby was a reserve on a talent-laden club that featured a starting outfield of Manny Ramirez, Albert Belle and Kenny Lofton. Ramirez was 23 years old at the time, and in his first season as an every-day player. He was already something special.

“Manny was gifted,” Kirby told me earlier this season. “His hand-eye coordination was unbelievable. He was studious, but at the same time, everything came natural to him. I once saw Manny hit three home runs in a game with three different bats. It happened in spring training. He just picked up bats and hit home runs.”

As for having been a fourth outfielder behind a trio of All-Stars, the former Indian wasn’t complaining. He knew talent when he saw it.

“In baseball, you have to accept your role,” said Kirby. “I was a starting right fielder but then Manny came along. I always tell people that I hit .293 and lost a job. You open your eyes and see what’s happening, and I saw how good that kid was. I tip my hat to him.”

Class.

We never discussed the Cleveland Bullpen ransom note sent to Brandon Moss. After Brandon Moss hit his 100th career home run earlier this month, it was held ransom by the members of the Indians’ bullpen. The shenanigans made for a good story, and the dinger itself was meaningful, as the Tribe went on to beat the Royals by a count of 2-1. Fantastic practical joke and so much healthier for the team than drinking beer, eating fried chicken, and playing video games when not on the mound (looking at you Boston)…

Maybe you will cover the Tampa game. The interesting takeaway? Yesterday, Tampa Bays Chris Archer walked a batter for the first time since May 22. Over his last four games, the emerging ace has issued one free pass and fanned 43 over 30 innings.

I wrote about the joke voting for the AL all-star team this year. Dave Cameron proposes an overhaul. It involves a 4 team tournament with teams compiled by age. His suggested teams?

Screen Shot 2015-06-14 at 4.44.32 PM

This seems right up your alley, Mose. What do you think of his idea? His teams?

Kevin:

Good writeup today. For those of you dying for lengthy Moser writings about random bullshit, be advised that IM BAAAACCCCKKKK!!!

To begin, Royals drop one 3-2 to the Cards. Jason Heyward makes a lucky catch off a Mark Reynolds hit in the 8th that saved the game. Heyward described being unable to see the ball and just sort of feeling where he should be. Royals manager Ned Yost was much more blunt, simply saying, “That was a lucky catch.” The aforementioned Reynolds jogged it out, saying, “I figured it was either out of here or it was a can a of corn.” I immediately fell in love with this phrase, thought I think I’ve heard it before. What does it mean you might be asking?

can of corn

A high, easy-to-catch, fly ball hit to the outfield. The phrase is said to have originated in the nineteenth-century and relates to an old-time grocer’s method of getting canned goods down from a high shelf. Using a stick with a hook on the end, a grocer could tip a can so that it would fall for an easy catch into his apron. One theory for use of corn as the canned good in the phrase is that a can of corn was considered the easiest “catch” as corn was the best selling vegetable in the store and so was heavily stocked on the lowest shelves. Another theory is that the corn refers to the practice in the very early days of baseball of calling the outfield the “corn field,” especially in early amateur baseball where the outfield may have been a farm field. Frequently used by Chicago White Sox broadcaster Ken “The Hawk” Harrelson. Bob Prince, Pittsburgh Pirates’ announcer, used a variation, ‘A #8 CAN OF GOLDEN BANTAM’. Also, a phrase used to refer to something that is not challenging. Informally, can of corn may be used as a phrase to describe mild excitement, personal acknowledgement or recognition of significance.
Not shockingly, the above is from wikipedia.

The Cards are now 41-21, and on pace for 107 wins. Every freaking year. It’s impressive. They must be the best run organization in sports, perhaps of the last 50 years. Especially playing in a small market. I mean, it’s wild, and almost can’t be touched on enough. They make it all look easy, make smart trades, grow from within, it’s like the ABC’s for them…Also, I’ve gotta remember to keep checking in on Heyward. Jonner called him a bust and gave up much earlier this season, but only time will tell. I’m inclined to think he’ll work out, mainly because it’s the Cardinals. He’s currently hitting .257 with 5 HR, so not great but not awful.

Rays took down the Sox 5-4. They’ve now won 10 of 14. Souza Jr. had two RBI’s to ice the game for them. Win went to Rays reliever Boxberger. I simply love that name. It’s in the top 10 this year for sure. Rays are quietly at 34-29 and looking pretty good. What do you make of their prospects the rest of the way? How many guys on the Rays you think the average sports fan could name? One? Longoria? I almost think a lot of fans would talk themselves out of Evan..No way he still plays there. They broke up that team…My guess would be 1 on average at most from that lineup.

O’s take down the Yankees 9-4 behind a Machado  4 RBI day. This kid is good. And everyone forgets how young he is. Still only 22 despite a season lost to injury and 350 GP already in his career. A-Rod went over the 2,000 RBI club, and I continue to weirdly root for him. Just because of how much people hate him, and how funny it would be if he crushes these records. Orioles are over .500 for the first time since early May, on the backs of a 6 game winning streak.

In that Rangers game, Gallo had his first no strikeout game. Pretty remarkable. And the Prince went 2-5. He’s still leading the American League in batting average. We gotta be going hard at daily updates on these two guys. Can Prince really lead the league in batting average? Would he be the fattest guy to ever do so?

Greinke takes the loss 2-1 against the Padres. Upton hit the big RBI. What’s your take on Greinke…Specifically, is he a future hall of famer? What would he have to do to put himself into that conversation? It seems like every year he puts up numbers, and his secondary numbers are always even better than his counting stats. Another Cy or two necessary?

Leaving some other games on the table, but I’ve got to get to your Cleveland stuff. This city is electric right now. They are surrounding the Cavs with crazy support; just look at the pictures outside the stadium and of downtown. The streets are literally packed with people, making it difficult to walk through. I know they’ve cooled on the Indians lately, tough with Cavs fever, and difficult because, first and foremost, this is a football town.

They turned on Johnny, but that it a Cleveland thing. We want to love our athletes, we want to feel we can go to battle with them, and we want to feel they are a part of our blue collar culture somehow. Johnny sort of shit in the face of all of that. He went out parting with his crew, didn’t show up on Sundays, and lacked the charisma to make this sort of stuff okay. It doesn’t help that, with the Indians and Browns, we have two extremely poorly run franchises. The Dolans simply won’t open up the checkbook and make it happen. That’s depressing and disheartening. The Browns have a criminal owner who can’t find a coach he likes, and doesn’t seem to have the organization on the right track. That said, people STILL sell out every Browns game, even in the cold weather.

When you are in Cleveland, 40 percent of your conversations will drift back to the sports teams here. This is a wonderful comforting and cool thing. It’s a knock I have on Houston. People don’t care at all. The fans might not be flocking to the Tribe games the way they once were, but it’s early, and they’re currently the third horse in town. Give us time to enjoy the LeBron experience.

As to your, ‘we like being cursed’ dynamic…that I can buy into. Especially old-timers. I worry what life will be like for 50 year olds that have been, both jokingly and seriously, using the ‘wait till next year,’ mantra. What happens when all your life you’ve been waiting for next year, and then you win it all? What portion of your life’s purpose was tied up in this negative optimism (is that a thing?). For more, check out To Rise Again at a Decent Hour. This book covers many topics, one of the main ones is a middle aged Red Sox fan, and what he does when the Sox finally win the Series. I believe I’ve been hounding you to read this book for the last year or so, so get your shit together and do it.

Love the idea of the age bracket tournament. My money would be on the 25-30 crowd. Filthy lineup. Great bull pen, and some power. Would be really interesting. Meanwhile, my man really put down the celebrity softball game, so I’ll rework that. How about a legit celebrity baseball game for professional athletes that have at least dabbled in baseball. We would have one footballers team, since football players that also played baseball is a stacked list, and one other sports/famous people.

Football team:

Dwight Freeney, LF, Bro lettered in baseball 5 times and was apparently a monster in high school

Daunte Culpepper, RF, Couldn’t find any cool stats about his baseball career but there was this….Near the end of his high school team’s state basketball championship game, the referee called traveling on Culpepper when he was driving for the game-winning lay-up. Since then, Culpepper has celebrated his football touchdowns by moving his hands in the motion that a basketball referee makes when calling traveling, also known as “the roll”.

Golden Tate, CF

Chris Weinke, 3B

Johnny Manziel, SS

Russel Wilson, 2B

Jack Del Rio, 1B

Tom Brady, C

Colin Kaepernick, SP, In his senior year of high school Kaepernick had an ERA of 1.265 with 13 starts and 10 complete games. He finished the year with an 11-2 record with 97 strikeouts and 39 walks. This includes 2 no-hitter

Deon Sanders, DH

Other bench guys: Akili Smith, OF…HIS REAL FIRST NAME IS KABISA! That’s awesome….Sheldon Brown, Cedric Benson, Ricky Williams (former minor league teammate Jimmy Rollins said, “he’s the fastest guy I’ve ever laid eyes on”), Javon Walker, Pat White, and Michael Vick…He got drafted after never playing baseball beyond the 8th grade mainly because he could run a 4.25 40 and might be the freakiest athlete we’ve ever seen….

Bullpen: Jameis Winston, Brandon Weeden, and John Lynch who threw the first pitch for Erie Seawolves and could throw 95 mph heat.

Other athletes and celebrities team:

Michael Jordan, OF

Jarome Iginla, OF

MC Hammer, OF

Eric Lindros, 3B

Kurt Russell, 2B

Charlie Sheen, SS

Nelly 1B

SP- Scott Burrell

Bullpen: Charlie Ward

This would be a blast to watch. Imagine Johnny Lynch throwing a 95 mph fastball up and inside to Charlie Sheen. Charlie potentially pitching just to relive his Major League days. Michael Jordan potentially not facing curve balls could mean… a Michael Jordan that could be great at baseball. Also, 2 hockey players mean that if a fight breaks out, the non-football team kicks ass, I would think… Though the presence of Dwight Freeney may swing the odds. What do you think about this for the ‘celebrity’ aspect of all star weekend? Don’t you think people would watch the shit out of it? Because it has a full football team involved, would it potentially beat the ratings of any baseball game the whole year, as some people may be tricked into thinking it’s OTA’s…And finally, TOM BRADY! He would never, ever, ever, ever do this, but it’s worth a try. Who do you pick as managers for these teams?

I will be having some thoughts this week on the Thrones finale, but I’ll leave you with one last question…who is the character you would most be okay getting killed off? Least okay? Is there a character that would ruin the show if murdered?  We will also have some Jurassic World thoughts, via the Bogey and I. Spoiler alert: pretty entertaining, not very good.

Peace out

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