When Old Harry asked me to fill in for him this week, I really had to search for what I wanted to talk about this week, I could go on a rampage about how ignorant the ballplayers who are about to be suspended for being involved in the Biogenesis Scandal, or I could just find other things to talk about and share opinions with you. I chose the later, because I have an opinion on the Scandal which I will share later in the blog.
As Jeff mentioned yesterday, the Tigers got a pretty decent player in Jose Ingelsias from the Red Sox; and all it cost them was Baby Miggy in return. Nothing against Dave Dombrowski, but he better get used to seeing Garcia starting this weekend when the White Sox hit Motown. I really liked what I seen from Garcia, I hope he has a long, productive career starting on Friday against the Tigers; because I am rooting for him to do well.
I am however still scratching my head over a few moves the Lions made during the past off season, which are supposed to strengthen their team in 2013. I am not a big Reggie Bush fan, I know outside of his days in Miami, he never really got a fair shake in New Orleans. My question is this: On a team with a questionable secondary and linebacker core, why the hell would you sign an unproven running back and draft a nose tackle who is nothing more than a project at best? Is freaking Matt Millen back in Detroit, screwing with the Lion's 2013 draft? Guess I can look forward to another 4-12 season, because once again they really blew a draft loaded with secondary help for which they really needed.
We all know what so-called Super-Agent Scott Boras is about, and unfortunately most of the players that are about to be suspended or in the case of Ryan Braun have been suspended means that Boras won't be making that huge score this year financially. I find this rather amusing, because Boras will deny he knew that his players were shooting up or whatever they were accused of doing at the clinic. My question of the day is this: Is A-Roid smart enough to take the suspension offered by MLB, or will he accept the life-time ban? The other thought, if they were to ban A-Roid would he be able to challenge this through the union, and even the courts and win? No matter, Peralta will be back by the playoffs as well as the others who are going to be suspended on Friday.
I guess Joe Dumars felt like Brandon Knight was expendable yesterday when he traded him to Milwaukee. I am not a fan of this trade, because Knight was forced out by the signing of Chauncey BIllups. What will happen in two years, when they will need a solid replacement for Billups who will be ready to retire? Are the going to count on that kid from Kentucky to replace him, he will be lucky to get enough minutes or experience to be ready to take his place on a permanent basis.I guess Rodney Stuckey is going to be a Piston as long as Joe. D. is the President and GM of the Pistons. God I hope Gores gets sick of him and fires him after the season.
Finally, the Tigers pounded three of the National Leagues premier pitchers over the past 6 days in Cole Hamels, Stephen Strausburg and Gio Gonzales. Torrii damn near hit for the cycle today, and the rest of the team is starting to make their push towards their 3rd straight AL Central Division crown. The addition of Jose Veras is rather interesting, since they have decided to make him the 8th inning pitcher, and spot closer for when Leyland wants to give Benoit a day off. It was kind of a statement in Benoit's favor by not taking the closer's job from him.
Well guys it's time for me to go back to the books, and finish the weekly work in my courses. Hey Old Harry wherever you are, I hope you and your family are having a great time. I look forward to filling in for you again. Also a shout out to Sully, I hope you are feeling better my friend. Until next time, have a great day out there Gabbers.......
Some of the other bloggers I associate with were bragging about their baseball teams lately, so I thought I’d join in the fun. I do mention most of the other teams, especially the more competitive ones. I’m only posting a short stub here, but it’s not a very long blog if you want to read the whole thing.
We are just over halfway through the baseball season with the final few series before the All Star break coming up, so I thought this was a good time to talk about how teams have been playing lately, featuring the main team I focus on, the Angels.
I’ve been trying to write this for a little while, but one reason I don’t blog more about baseball is it never takes a break. You can want to write about a recent development, such as a no-hitter or winning streak, but if you wait a few days, the same pitcher could have had a disastrous start since then or the team you were going to write about could have lost a few games in a row. So often when I’m thinking of a baseball topic, I just give up before I get around to writing it.
The main focus of this will be performance since June 11, so if I don’t mention something different, assume that to be the time frame.
Anyway, thankfully the Angels won last night (with three runs in the bottom of the ninth to spoil what could have been a complete game win for Adam Wainwright), so they are now one of the best two teams in baseball since June 11. The other team is the Pirates, both 14-6 over that span. Not too long ago, the Pirates swept the Angels, so in reality, the Halos have been playing even better than the record indicates. The other losses during that span were one apiece to the Cardinals, Yankees, and Mariners (whom the Angels were only able to beat 3 out 4). This included a 6-0 road trip against Detroit and Houston.
When I was asked to write this blog, I am pretty sure this is not what anyone expected....
Remembering a fallen hero from my childhood,
who was overused,
because he was their only star.
He talked to the baseball,
for which everyone thought he was insane.
He was the talk of baseball in 76'
an All-Star all the same.
I wanted to be just like "The Bird"
stood like he did on the mound.
His career cut short by injury,
never reached his full potential.
Damn you Ralph Houk
for ruining a great talent
because he was your only true star.
It wouldn't be the 4th of July if I didn't light off a few fireworks of my own, screw you D-12 you pompous ass I hope you wind up in Houston because even though the town doesn't deserve your sorry ass, you will be once the star you think you deserve to be.
It also wouldn't be the 4th if I didn't give you guys something to drool over, so here is a little Kate.....
On to other things that have caught my attention, congratulations to Brad Stevens on becoming the coach of the Celtics. I just wonder to myself if the ownership group will have the patience with all the apparent changes that loom ahead to give Stevens a chance.........
I made note that the NHL First Team Stars announced on Wednesday did not include any Bruins or Black Hawks? Malkin, Crosby and Ovechkin, give me a break. I guess you don't need a team of stars to compete for a cup, you just have to get your ass kicked by the Eastern Conference Champs.
One of my favorite NASCAR races is taking place this weekend in Daytona, on the track that my uncle used to race motorcycles on during the 60's and 70's. My next favorite race is coming soon at the Brickyard, another of his favorite tracks.
Well boys, as you all go to watch your fireworks in your respective hometowns I want to wish you a safe day tomorrow while I am working. Eat a few dogs, burgers and steaks for me, and enjoy the day with your families. Thanks to Sully for contacting me and inviting me to blog with you once again while Old Harry is on a holiday.
Is this the end of the line for the Detroit Red Wings and their 22-year playoff run, I think so. I am a loyal Red Wing fan, but with the change to the Eastern Conference scheduled to take place during the 2013-14 season, and their lack of team size in my opinion in just may happen unless they take a different direction and add some size to their lineup. I mean come on, how many times can this team be punished by teams with a huge size difference for which they will face on a nightly basis.
Let's be serious here for a moment, seeing teams like the Bruins 5 to 6 times a year will not be good for the smaller Wings unless they make changes and add size and even more toughness than Jordin Tootoo and Justin Abdelkader provide. But we will see what direction the Wings head after the playoffs are over, these changes are necessary in order for them to compete in the East, and has to happen during this offseason.
Is this the answer to the Detroit Lions problems as a team, I highly doubt it. Honestly I believe Martin Mayhew missed the boat again when he drafted him number 5. I personally believed they should have drafted a tackle to replace Jeff Backus who retired during the offseason. But this is typical Lions draft strategy since the Matt Millen era, draft a project (Charles Rogers, Titus Young) and pray that they work out. When they don't they release them in order to save face. I am not knocking their entire draft, but there were a lot better players out there that were ready to play this year, not two years down the road. I guess its time for the Lions to find a real general manager, who will draft to the needs of the team, and break the draft day trend. Oh wait I forgot, that is why they are the only Detroit team that I have never seen win a championship during my near 49 years on this earth. Why is this, because they do not have a clue!
Well I have to admit that this weekends series against the Indians has been rather interesting, and not the walkover I thought it would be. Nice to see that Tito, Nick and all the other additions are starting to pay off for the Indians. If this trend continues like it should, because those I mentioned will not let the others quit, then the Central Division might stay interesting this year.
Thanks for stopping by, and I will see you the next time.
With games starting as Sunday night when the newly minted American League Houston Astros host their cross-state rival Texas Rangers on Sunday night, the 2013 Major League Baseball season is upon us. No more talk about the Hot Stove, no more trade or free agent speculation, just baseball. Pure and simple.
But we still have a few days left before the first pitch is thrown and the long, arduous season is underway. That means we have a few more minutes to make some predictions and assumptions about how things will play out and who will be wearing the crown when the dust settles.
Today, we'll work on the American League, and then we'll follow that up with the National League tomorrow. So let's get started, shall we?
American League East
1.) Toronto Blue Jays
2.) Tampa Bay Rays (WC)
3.) Boston Red Sox
4.) Baltimore Orioles
5.) New York Yankees
No team in baseball did more to improve their overall team than did the Toronto Blue Jays. Adding three quality starters (R.A. Dickey, Mark Buehrle, and Josh Johnson) to their starting five and then securing two solid top of the order hitters (Jose Reyes and Melky Cabrera) and a pair of universal infielders (Maicer Izturis and Emilio Bonifacio), the Blue Jays may be the deepest team in baseball. They will beat teams on the mound, on the basepaths, and in the batter's box. Some pundits worry about how the team will gel, but the players acquired are all professionals of the highest order and that shouldn't be an issue. The AL East, in a weakened state, should be their division to lose.
Tampa will take second place and one of the two wild-cards in the American League. The Rays have the one thing all teams envy, and that's a deep pitching staff that will keep them in any game, and help them win quite a few. Unfortunately, the line-up outside of Evan Longoria is at its most barren and Tampa will again struggle to score runs. That may improve once the team bites the bullet and promotes Wil Myers, but they'll need to wait three weeks before that happens.
I may shock some people by picking the Red Sox to vault up to third place this season, and then again some will think this is a homer pick. That said, Boston did a lot to improve themselves throughout the order, adding Mike Napoli, Shane Victorino, Jonny Gomes, and Ryan Dempster. Furthermore, the pair of Clay Buchholz and Lon Lester have looked great this spring and they'll have a healthy Will Middlebrooks back. The only question mark is David Ortiz, but the team is deeper and may be able to withstand a short-term loss of Big Papi.
The final two squads could easily flip-flop in the standings. As much as I appreciated what the Orioles did in 2012, I think they overachieved and are in for a market correction. Baltimore did little to improve on a squad that managed only a +7 run differential and won more games with their bullpen than any other team in the American League.
The AL Central is likely going to be a brutal division in 2013. The Tigers are still the toast of the town and should be better than the 88-win team that won the division in 2012. The addition of Torii Hunter and the return of Victor Martinez should make the line-up even deeper and the pitching staff should be solid, with Justin Verlander topping the rotation and a full season of Anibal Sanchez to add to the mix. Closer is a concern, but the role is overrated anyway.
The Cleveland Indians have flirted with respectability each of the last two seasons, but stumbled in the second half of both. The front office reloaded by bringing in Nick Swisher, Michael Bourn, Mark Reynolds, and Brett Myers, but we should all keep an eye on Scott Kazmir. If Kazmir can be a shadow of what he used to be, this could be a very entertaining team to watch.
The White Sox have a lot of good going for them, but they are still only a third place team at best. Chris Sale and Jake Peavy are a solid 1-2 punch at the top of the rotation, but the rest of the starting five has its question marks. Will Tyler Flowers be able to carry A.J. Pierzysnki's weight? Will Adam Dunn ever get himself away from the Mendoza line? Can the starting outfield avoid regressing in 2013? That's a lot of questions to answer to make a two-team jump for the division title.
I really like what the Kansas City Royals did this winter. The front office finally said "we need to win", and they went out and traded their top prospect (Myers) to Tampa for James Shields and Wade Davis, and acquired Ervin Santana from the Angels. Still, will it all be for naught when these markedly better Royals squad still has to jump three other teams in the division? Will they regret losing a talent of Myers' proportions?
What can you say about the Minnesota Twins? This is a still a team that revolves around Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau, but their window of opportunity has passed and the team seems to be set on building for the future. The fans will be treated to a talented rookie in Aaron Hicks and the team will likely turn to other young building blocks as the season progresses. The lack of a solid pitching staff and a young line-up likely means that the Twins will make more noise at the trade deadline than they will in the standings. Expect Morneau and Josh Willingham to be shopped extensively when the Twins fall out of contention in early June.
American League West
1.) Los Angeles Angels
2.) Oakland Athletics (WC)
3.) Texas Rangers
4.) Seattle Mariners
5.) Houston Astros
To me, this is the toughest division to pick. In the end, I went with the Angels taking the title, as they are just a dangerous team to have to face consistently. The addition of Josh Hamilton to a line-up that already contained Albert Pujols, Mike Trout, and Mark Trumbo will be devastating for even the best rotations to face. Jered Weaver is a solid ace at the top of the rotation, but the rest of the starting five is made up of number 4 starters at best, and that's giving Joe Blanton a lot of credit. Still, the team's offense should carry them.
Oakland is my runner-up, but could very well steal the division again. The starting rotation is as deep as they come, and Billy Beane's teams always seem to have another arm waiting in the wings, which they may need if Brett Anderson continues to struggle with his health. Yoenis Cespedes and Josh Reddick will likely continue to improve and are solid offensive building blocks. The addition of Jed Lowrie is another good buy-low move by Beane.
What were the Texas Rangers doing this winter? A team with so much to gain just by retaining their top offensive weapon, Texas instead let Hamilton walk to a division rival and did nothing to replace him. They have the best prospect in the game in Jurickson Profar, but no place to play him, so why they couldn't swing a deal for Justin Upton with Elvis Andrus as a center piece, I don't know. The combination of Yu Darvish and Matt Harrison at the top of the rotation is solid, but losing out on Greinke is going to hurt them.
The Seattle Mariners, like the Royals above, did a lot to improve their team, first bringing in the fences, then bringing Kendrys Morales and Mike Morse to help an anemic offense support one of the most underrated pitching staffs in baseball. Still, they face an uphill battle with the Rangers, A's, and Angels still having stronger rosters to fall back on. The presence of Danny Hultzen, Taijuan Walker, James Paxton, Mike Zunino, and Nick Franklin gives the Mariners a top-5 prospect list to be envied by any organization.
Moving from the NL Central to the AL West was the right move for the Astros and will help them create a natural rivalry with the Rangers. Unfortunately, they have a few years of building a roster ahead of them, especially after dismantling the current one. There is something to be said about building a winner by losing on the field, but entertaining is not one of them.