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The End is Nigh [Wednesday Morning Quarterback]
Jul 21st, 2010 by Dan

Ian's Wedding and 4th of July 184

We’ve hit the point of the season where teams are starting to know whether or not they’re gonna make it. Teams like the Marlins, Nationals, and Mariners have to realize by now that the playoffs aren’t in their futures, but other teams, like the Rangers and Padres are realizing that they’re in this thing.

What this means:

– Texas has taken on Cliff Lee.

– The Padres will not trade Adrian Gonzalez.

– Washington can rest Strasburg without worrying too much

– Florida should think about dealing Cantu or Uggla

– Tampa Bay needs to think about creative ways to bolster their lineup because New York will supplement theirs with cold hard cash

I realistically expect the Rays to either take the AL East or get in via the Wild Card. Beyond that, I think the Braves and Yankees are locks for the postseason, but those are the only three whose futures I feel good about predicting.

I’ll need to do a mid-season report soon, so expect that next week-ish.

Just Barely Squeezed In A Win: Yesterday’s Scores That Matter and Some Light World Cup Notes [Wednesday Morning Quarterback]
Jun 30th, 2010 by Dan

Sliding Back to First

It's from the Baltimore series, but there was no way I could make it to Puerto Rico for this one.

Leo Nuñez likes giving everyone near heart attacks. He blew the save last night, but Florida still managed a win thanks to Dan Uggla.

29 June (David’s Birthday!)

NPB
Yomiuri Giants (12) at Hiroshima Carp (9). Six Giants homered (Ramirez homered three times) to put the Giants way ahead of Hiroshima who managed quite an offense themselves. An ugly game that puts them at 27-40-2. At this rate Yakult might pass them.

Rakuten Eagles (0) at Orix Buffaloes (3). Few teams play more erratically than the Orix Buffaloes, but they’re doing consistently well against the Eagles this year. Tanaka’s Tuesday role is not doing the Eagles any favors as he gives up three over eight and the team moves to 32-38-2, good for last in the PL.

MLB
Oakland Athletics (4) at Baltimore Orioles (2). A pretty solid start for Brian Matusz, but it just wasn’t enough to keep the Athletics at bay. I’m a little bitter that I’ll be missing Matt Wieters bobblehead night today, so that’s all I’ve got for Baltimore. They are 23-53.

New York Mets (6) at Florida Marlins (7). The Marlins were lucky to win this one in the ninth thanks to a walk-off single by Dan Uggla. The game also featured a Hanley Ramirez grand slam, but far fewer homers than the night before. Florida remains in fourth, but now holds a 37-40 record.

Tampa Bay Rays (5) at Boston Red Sox (8). The pitching just wasn’t there for Jamie Shields who gave up a few too many to an ailing Boston team. Tampa needs to take two out of three in this series to regain second and the wild card. The Rays now sit at 44-32 in third.

Washington Nationals (7) at Atlanta Braves (2). The Nats do everyone in the East a favor by knocking down the Braves and winning their first in ages. It’s a good thing, because Washington starters whose names don’t contain Strasburg have been seriously struggling of late. Their last place record improves to 34-44.

I’m With Teddy: The Weekend Scores That Matter [WMQ]
May 17th, 2010 by Dan

Me and Teddy at Nationals Park

Let Teddy Win!

No, I didn’t go see the Nats this weekend, but I did finally upload this picture.

14 May

NPB
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!

MLB
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.

15 May

NPB
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.

MLB
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.

16 May

NPB
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!

MLB
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.

MLB 2010 Season Projections [Wednesday Morning Quarterback]
Mar 31st, 2010 by Dan

Another year, another season! 2010 looks to be another good one. The Marlins don’t look like they’re about to run away with their division, but the Rays have a fighting chance this year. I’m getting ahead of myself, so let’s back up and go through this division by division like we do every year.

AL East

After a (glorious) season where the Yankees didn’t make it to the playoffs for once, the Bronx Bombers came back with a vengeance and took it all. The Yanks may have lost Damon and Matsui, but they’re still in a strong position in the AL East and look poised to make the playoffs in the division. Players are getting older on that team and the pitching isn’t as strong as they’d like, but, barring some kind of major injury, I stand by that prediction.

The Red Sox also made a few big moves, getting rid of Jason Bay and adding in Adrián Beltré, and they’re projected to have a solid season with strong defense and slightly weakened bat strength. I think a lot of how well they do this year depends on whether or not they’re able to produce runs at the plate with David Ortiz, who did not perform to standards last year.

My favorite in the East, the Tampa Bay Rays, have had a super strong spring. With the best spring record of the AL, they could upset the Yankees or Red Sox if and only if their rotation and bullpen return to 2008 form. The offense is there, the defense on the field is there, it’s just a matter of making outs. Will Rafael Soriano be enough to solve their closer woes? That alone will tell you what this team will do this year.

I’m excited to see what the Orioles put together this year. Their investment in youth is starting to bear fruit as prospects make their way onto the field, but this young, inexperienced team is up against juggernauts in the Yankees, Red Sox, and Rays. I’m going to call this a building year for the Orioles, even if that’s selling them a bit short. They would have a good chance in any other division, but not the East.

There are few teams in baseball that bore me more than the Blue Jays (:cough: Royals, Pirates, and Padres :cough:). This is a team that acknowledged that they have no chance to make a run of it by trading Roy Halladay to the Phillies.

Projected Standings:
Yankees
Rays
Red Sox
Orioles
Blue Jays

Remember that I’m a Rays fanboy and my positioning makes sense. I think the Rays have a strong chance to take the AL wild card this year.

AL Central

For a while there, this division was the Twins’ to lose. Then the second best closer in the game, Joe Nathan, went down for the season, muddying up the waters. Add in that the team is moving to a brand new ballpark and things could get interesting. Gone are the super-competitive advantages of the Metrodome, replaced by what will be a SUPER frigid open-air ballpark that will take some getting used to. When it comes to Joe Mauer, I’m reminded of the fictional words of Michael Bluth, “You gotta lock that down.” Lucky for the Twins, they managed to get that done with an eight-year, 184 M$ contract. It should help.

I hear a lot about Chicago’s rotation being so vastly improved, but it’s almost always followed by the caveat that Peavy needs to pitch well. It’s been a long while since his 2007 Cy Young campaign and he hasn’t been able to remain healthy. Despite how much Obama loves this team, I can’t stand A. J. Pierzynski and, by extension, the team.

Detroit has a team that I want to love. Those poor guys live in a third world city that is on the verge of absolute collapse. They keep giving Dontrelle Willis chances to succeed (and he might be in the rotation this year), but I’m not sure that they will be able to keep up with the Twins this year thanks to weak pitching. I’ll be keeping an eye on these guys.

The Indians may be on the upswing and ready to bounce back, but I’m not ready to believe that yet. I don’t see much happening for this team.

Kansas City has an awful team aside from Zack Greinke.

Projected Standings:
Twins
White Sox
Tigers
Indians
Royals

AL West

Despite their stupid long name, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have had one of the most consistent teams of the century. They contend every year and make it to the playoffs almost every year. It’s hard to ignore how solid this team is. Unfortunately, they’ve been fighting a war of attrition these past two years with Texas and Seattle getting closer and closer to robbing AL West dominance away from them. They gained Matsui, but lost vital starter Lackey. Will it be enough?

Seattle wants it this year. They went and signed Cliff Lee and even took the risk of signing the volatile Milton Bradley to bolster their bats. Things were looking great for Seattle until Cliff Lee ended up on the DL and Milton Bradley got himself ejected from two straight spring training games. Will they be able to keep it all together and make a real run for the West?

The Rangers are solid, but they have a lot of reliance on players like Josh Hamilton who are very injury prone. They’ve been just short of the playoffs for several years now and they’re real hungry for it.

I have so much apathy for the Athletics. I’m sure their team is pretty good and has a chance this year, but it never seems to pan out for Oakland.

Projected Standings
Mariners
Angels
Rangers
Athletics

I’m going out on a major limb there. I could be dead wrong.

NL East

My favorite division also contains two of my least favorite teams in baseball, both of which are set to have great seasons. Last year’s NL Champions, the Philadelphia Phillies, are still just as good with Roy Halladay instead of Cliff Lee. They’ve still got a great lineup with good pitching and, even without their closer, they should still have a solid season. They are The Team To Beat (TM) in the East.

Atlanta, my least favorite team, has got stars in their eyes for Jason Heyward, a top-prospect who made the team this spring. Heyward’s bat, combined with Hanson and Kawakami’s arms, could be very formidable in the East. This is a team that worries me.

The Mets have had such terrible luck recently that it’s almost bound to start swinging back in the other direction…right? With an adjusted outfield to help home runs, their offense might perform a little better, but that injury-riddled team is not looking all that much better this year. If they outperform the Marlins, I’ll be surprised.

Speaking of teams that won’t outperform the Marlins, Washington is almost guaranteed to make marginal improvements this year. Their rotation is still a mess, but veterans like Chien-Ming Wang and Liván Hernández can combine with the brilliance of Stephen Strasburg and the promising performance of Drew Storen and produce what might actually be a major league rotation. The lineup needs some work to score runs, but pitching is infinitely more important for a team that wants to win.

Speaking of a team that emphasizes pitching, we’ve finally arrived at my favorite team, the Florida Marlins. Over the off-season they finalized a strong contract for Josh Johnson and kept Dan Uggla, keeping the rotation and lineups strong. Combined with Hanley Ramirez and Chris Coghlan destroying NL pitching and Ricky Nolasco’s brilliant performance on the mound, this is a solid team with only a few holes that need filling. If Cameron Maybin and Gaby Sanchez live up to their potential, I don’t see much standing in this team’s way. There’s always a question of pitching with the back end of the rotation, but Chris Volstad has been looking good of late and Anibal Sanchez fluctuates, but trends on the better side most times. The real question is in the bullpen where the Fish will be relying on Leo Núñez to close games. I’m not confident in Núñez yet.

Projected Standings:
Phillies
Marlins
Braves
Mets
Nationals

NL Central

The Central has a chance to be interesting this year with strong squads being fielded by St. Louis, Cincinnati, and “this is our last chance for a while” Chicago. St. Louis has the best chance here thanks to strong pitchers Carpenter and Wainwright and their strong offense in Pujols and Holliday. Cincinnati has been a dark horse so many years in a row now that they’d better start performing. The promise of Aroldis Chapman could push them ahead if the offense follows, but otherwise the team has a strong uphill climb. The Cubbies don’t have much time left before they have to start “rebuilding”. If they don’t put together a playoff season this year, it might be a while before we see one happen again. I still love Fukudome, even if the Cubs don’t. He’s a consistent and solid player.

I don’t know much about Milwaukee’s squad this year, but they’re usually a solid team, but I didn’t hear much in the offseason that would convince me they were ready to push ahead of last year’s performance.

The rest of the Central, the Pirates and the Astros, really don’t make an impact in baseball nowadays. Pittsburgh is really a AAAA team and Houston has failed to make any kind of splash in a long while.

Projected Standings:
Cardinals
Cubs
Reds
Brewers
Astros
Pirates

NL West

Colorado made the biggest turnaround I’ve seen since the last time they did it in 2007 to win the wild card last year and make the playoffs. After that strong finish and with LA’s messy divorce keeping them from making significant progress on their team, I see Colorado as the frontrunners in this division.

A messy divorce has been draining Dodger ownership of cash and the ability to run their team. At best, the Dodgers remain as good as they were last year. Realistically, they fall behind the Rockies and maybe even the Giants too.

Solid pitching, but not much offense. It’s been the same story for years now. A strong team only because it keeps the run count down on the opposing team.

What about the Padres?

Projected Standings
Rockies
Giants
Dodgers
Padres

I’m bound to be dead wrong, per usual, but we’ll see how I’m doing in July and again in September. I can’t wait for Sunday/Monday!

Good Things Are Coming For the Fish [Wednesday Morning Quarterback]
Jan 27th, 2010 by Dan

After being slammed by the players and owners year after year, the Marlins have finally started to buckle and spend a lot more for their personnel. You can partially thank the finalization of the stadium deal for this renewed vigor, of course, but the benefit is the same no matter what the source of this change is: actual spending on player talent.

That’s why, for the first time in years, the Marlins have actually entered a season looking to capitalize on the previous year’s success with a squad that mirrors the year before. Josh Johnson, one of the ace pitchers of the NL, has been offered a 4-year contract worth $39 million and Dan Uggla will not be traded at this point in the year either. It’s looking like the core producers will still be around.

On the cheaper side of the fence, the rookie-of-the-year performance by Chris Coghlan last season will hopefully begin to motivate the other up-and-coming stars, Cameron Maybin, Gaby Sanchez, and Logan Morrison, to get their act together and begin to produce at a professional level. It’s not great to have a team that’s 100% young, but the Marlins need to bring at least two of them up to cover holes at first and in the outfield. Good luck to you, rookies.

Other than that, it’ll just be a question of whether or not the Marlins rotation will produce consistent wins. Headed by Johnson, hopefully it will.

Grand Slam: The MLB All-Star Game
Jul 16th, 2008 by Dan

This will be in a sort of liveblog fashion.

First off, let me state that I hope we’ll get a NL win this year, I’m so tired of seeing the NL lose to those AL jerks…

Lineup announcements:

Slight cheering in the NL until they reach Mets players, then booing. How great is that?

In AL, booing at the Red Sox players. Yankees fans can do something right, I guess? If only I can get them to boo the Yankees too.

First commercial break:

I’ve said this time and time again, Flomax commercials are like the male Tampax commercial…

House, M.D. has new doctors. Not sure if I like them…

Back to the game…More Lineup Introductions

Rollie Fingers has a great mustache

So does Goose Gossage, just not as ridiculous.

The whole Hall of Fame thing with the positions is actually really cool. In case you didn’t see, they’ve got a whole lineup of Hall of Famers standing at each position. They announce all of them and then the All-Star voted in goes up to that position and stands next to them.

I didn’t know Cal Ripken, Jr. was originally a shortstop. I guess as he aged they moved him to a less demanding position.

FUKUDOME! Yeah, expect to see a lot of that if he does well tonight.

Josh Hamilton kicked some major ass in the home run derby last night, it’s too bad he didn’t win.

Yogi Berra is way shriveled up. Got a lotta cheering though.

Second Comercial Break:

I’ve got to see Sarah Connor Chronicles one of these days.

National Anthem/First Pitch

Sheryl Crow was ruined for me by a work CD when I was at Busch Gardens. She plays it safe. I wanna see a José Feliciano type event. Stealth bomber flyover is cool though.

Goose Gossage, Reggie Jackson, Yogi Berra, and one other guy (I missed his name) pitch to a bunch of other Yankees. Neat event.

More Commercials

Can it really still be called Prison Break if they’re not in prison? Maybe they’re trying to make a statement about the free American life being a prison itself? Maybe I’m over thinking this…

More Pre-Game…Sheesh, Start it Already…

I really wish they weren’t tearing down Yankee Stadium. It’s got so much history and awesomeness…What a crazy choice by the Yankees.

Frutista Freeze

The Diamondbacks Taco Bell Frutista Freeze commercial is HILARIOUS. I hope it’s on Youtube later…

Game Time! Top of the 1st

Hanley strikes out =[

Cliff Lee is burning through the NL so far. Two strikeouts now in under ten pitches. Too bad Chase…

Berkman flies out to center. Sheesh…1. 2. 3 first inning.

No more commercial counting…

I’m pretty sure the new Mummy movie is gonna stink…

Lou Piniella fake screaming commercial is great. Maybe I’ll reference these commercials tomorrow? (SEE BELOW FOR EMBEDDED COMMERCIAL)

Bot 1

Ichiro flies out on like the first pitch.

Ugh…Jeter…He gets on with a hit that basically bounces against Utley’s face. Should have let Uggla start instead.

Bah…Jeter steals…

Hamilton strikes out. Two outs.

Now it’s A-Rod who pops out to Soto. That wraps up the first, with Soto slipping on a weighted bat getting that pop up.

Top 2nd

Pujols to A-Rod who tosses him out.

Chipper Jones gets a single. Man do I hate the Braves.

Matt Holliday moves Chipper to second, but is out at first.

Ryan Braun, the Hebrew Hammer, strikes out. Three outs.

Bot 2nd

Manny, Manny, Manny…almost hits a home run. Foul ball saves us. Chases one into the dirt and strikes out. Way to go Ben Sheets.

Milton Bradley, whose name is a board game company, steps up. By the way, I like seeing the players in their own team uniform instead of league uniforms. Sheets walks Milton. Camera spots him mouthing a giant F-bomb.

Kevin Youkilis, one of seven Red Sox involved in the game tonight. Shameful…Bradley steals, Soto fails to stop another stolen base. Youkilis’ batting stance is so stupid. Sheets strikes him out.

Holy cow, Ben Sheets got himself a $50,000 bonus for starting tonight.

Joe Mauer steps up. Draws a walk.

Another Red Sox player up to bat, it’s Dustin Pedroia. He has the most annoying batting glove adjusting routine between pitches. Without fail, he will adjust his gloves between each and every pitch. Drives me mad. He flies out to FU! KU! DO! ME!

Top of the Third

Joe Saunders comes out to pitch for the AL. Fukudome up to bat. He almost hits a homer, it goes wide left. FOX is being cheeky, Fukudome’s name and stats appear in Japanese. Ball goes to Youkilis, Fukudome is out.

Soto flies out to Hamilton. No good.

Stop interviewing Yogi Berra, you’re not calling the game very well when you do that.

Hanley’s back up! Hanley gets a base hit with a ball to right field.

Chase is back up for his second round. He hits a bouncer to Youkilis and is out.

Holy cow, Berra is short. I saw a highlight of him in his prime as a catcher, he’s a short kid.

Bot 3

Oh man…Step Brothers looks so stupid. Why do people pay Will Ferrell to be such an idiot?

Carlos Zambrano comes out to pitch against Ichiro. Ichiro gets a base hit to right on the second pitch. This is his 8th All-Star game and he hit the first ever inside the park home run in an All-Star game last year.

Jeter hits into a 6-4-3 double play. Two outs.

You know, nice work on kicking drugs and making your life get in line again Josh Hamilton, but I’m getting tired of hearing the story so often. I think it’s just cause I’m keeping on top of baseball coverage, so I’ll be soft on this point for the rest of the night. Hamilton hits into an out.

Top of the 4th

Roy Halladay takes over pitching duty for the AL against Lance Berkman. Sheesh, another strikeout.

Pujols is up. He hits a long one into the corner, but the slowpoke gets greedy and Ichiro tosses him out at second with ease. Slow motion shows that Pujols was actually safe, but no big deal.

Chipper hits out to Jeter. That’s three.

Bottom of the Fourth

Zambrano is still in the game against A-Rod. He strikes out. Yay!

Carlos almost hits Ramirez in the head with a breaking ball that gets loose. I like their neat little breakdown of the strike zone batting averages. Ball goes to Utley, he manages to catch it this time and tosses him out at first.

Milton Bradley up to bat again. He’s safe as Hanley’s toss is high. Hanley ends up getting an error.

Youk is up. Whoops, Bradley gets thrown out at first.

Commercials

I’m excited for Pineapple Express It’s gonna be funny. I haven’t seen Judd Apatow fail yet.

Upper 5th

Josh Hamilton is now in left field, Grady Sizemore is in center, Ervin Santana is pitching.

Matt Holliday is up to bat. HELL YES! Matt Holliday homers. At this point I’d like to mention that Matt Holliday is the top home run hitter of my fake MLB Power Pros team. He even broke the MLB record with somewhere around 150 homers in fake MLB land. Nice work Matt!

Braun hits it to Pedroia.

A-Rod comes out of the game for Joe Crede at third. My man Fukudome comes up. He strikes out with an uncharacteristically undisciplined swing. Wow, that was ugly.

Useless stat: There are 41 players on the All-Star lineup whose salaries are more than what it cost to build Yankee Stadium back in the day ($2.5 million)

Geovany Soto strikes out. That’ll be the end of that half of the inning.

Bottom 5th

Dan Haren on the mound, Nate McLouth in Center, and Russell Martin at the plate

Youkilis up to bat.flies to Holliday.

This was the first game since 1990 that was scoreless into the 4th.

Joe Mauer comes up to bat. He hits one over Haren, who knocks the ball slow and kills the play. Mauer at first. Ian Kinsler comes in as a pinch runner.

Dustin Pedroia up to bat. He’s doing that stupid glove thing again. Kinsler steals because Martin’s throw is too high. They could have had it if it was lower, I think, contrary to the announcer’s comments. Pedroia walks with Ichiro coming up. Bad move Dan Haren

For someone who is 43 years old, Sarah Jessica Parker’s kind of a hottie when she’s not in her ridiculous Sex and the City getup. She gave some presentation with Sheryl Crow and another dude about cancer before the game.

Ichiro strikes out (whew), but now Jeter’s up (uh oh)

He’s showing some discipline in the count, racking it up to a full count with two outs. It’s go time now Dan. Jeter hits it back to Haren, he catches it this time, tosses him out on first.

Piniella commercial again, I love it.

Couldn’t find

Top of the 6th

Justin Morneau on first, Ian Kinsler on second, Pedroia out, J.D. Drew in right, Jason Varitek at the plate.

Justin Duchscherer is pitching. What a long name. He pitches a great pitch to Hanley who gets a base hit with a ball to Left field.

Utley up to bat with Hanley on first. Apparently there are twelve players in the game who have never played a game in Yankee Stadium. This is Chase Utley’s first. Hit and run play, Utley gets a base hit to Right, Hanley gets himself all the way to third base with the cleanup hitters of the NL coming in. This means trouble for the AL.

Berkman up to bat. He hits one all the way back to the warning track. Sac fly for Berkman as Ramirez runs in. 2-0. Gross…Hanley gives Chipper a high five. I guess they’re on the same team, but still.

Derek Jeter comes out for Michael Young of the Rangers. Pujols comes up to bat. He doesn’t swing at a beautiful first pitch, but that’s ok. Base hit into center up the middle. Utley to second, Pujols to first.

Laaaaarry is up to bat. Chipper may have the highest batting average in the Majors and play for the National League, but I can’t put my Braves hatred aside. I silently pray that he gets out. Chipper strikes out. I am happy.

Holliday back up to bat. Pop fly to Kinsler. End of inning.

Bottom of the 6th

“You either discover a star or you don’t. You arrogant punk”

Adrian Gonzalez now at first. Dan Uggla at second. Miguel Tejada at short. Aramis Ramirez at third. Corey Hart in right.

Hamilton gets a base hit. Holy cow, I remember this guy’s story now. Back after the Marlins world series win there was an article in Sports Illustrated about how the Tampa Bay Devil Rays picked Josh Hamilton over Josh Beckett. Back then he was so stoned and suspended from baseball that it looked like a really stupid idea. I’m actually now really happy about this guy’s story. Too bad Tampa lost him, he’s really producing now. Good work dude.

Crede up to bat. Pops out to Uggla. What defensive work =p

Sizemore up to bat. Hamilton steals. Martin throws a WILD ball to second that goes into center. Fourth stolen base for the AL. Grady racks up a full count. He strikes out on a ball to the corner. You gotta swing at those buddy.

Bradley up to bat. He’s caused lots of trouble, but he flies out to McLouth in Center.

7-Up

Carlos Quinten in Left, Joe Nathan pitching.

Ryan Braun steps up to the plate. Things are gonna get tougher for both teams now with closers coming in to pitch. Ryan Braun has a really terrible check swing and strikes out.

Nate McLouth up to bat taking over for Fukudome (boo!). Fly ball to Grady Sizemore in Center. Two out.

Up to bat is Russell Martin for his first at bat. Another fly ball to Sizemore. 7th inning stretch time.

Josh Groban comes out to sing “God Bless America.” Whatever happened to “Take Me Out to the Ball Game”? This lanky kid has a deeper voice than one would expect. I guess the song is a classic, but I find “God Bless America” boring. What a voice Groban’s got on him though. Good stuff for a small guy.

Can’t wait to see Heath Ledger’s Joker soon. The Dark Knight should rock.

7-Down

Ryan Ludwick in Left. Edinson Volquez on the mound.

Justin Morneau at the plate. Hits one past Corey Hart in center to get a double.

Ian Kinsler up to bat. Grounder to Tejada. Morneau to third, Kinsler out at first.

Dioner Navarro of the Tampa Bay Rays comes up to bat for Jason Varitek. He stays at the plate for a while, racking up six pitches before striking up looking. Two outs.

J.D. Drew up to bat now. Damage control time Volquez, keep Morneau from scoring. Camera cuts to show former catcher Joe Girardi catching in the bullpen. That’s crazy to see a GM catching in the pen. J.D. Drew hits a homer to right. Tie game against the pitcher with the lowest ERA in the majors. Barely makes it over the fence too. Too bad the Yankees fans cheered this Red Sox home run.

Now up to bat, Michael Young. I’m starting to worry now. NL hasn’t won an All-Star game since 1996. I’d like to see this streak end. Young strikes out.

Top of the 8th

Dioner Navarro is catching now. Jonathan Papelbon is pitching. Greeted with boos. He supposedly said he should close the game, so the Yankees hate him.

Tejada up to bat. Single to Right field.

Dan Uggla up to bat. Strikes out on a terrible pitch.

Adrian Gonzalez up to bat. Tejada steals second and a bat throw gets him to third. Sac fly brings Tejada in. That could have been bad, but how awesome is that? NL has the lead.

David Wright up to bat for Pujols. He strikes out. Yankees fans boo Papelbon off the mound. I love it. If only there was another stadium full of people to boo Yankees fans tonight.

Bottom of the 8th

Roommate just made some cup noodles. He’s making me hungry for some cheap, salty noodles.

Carlos Quinten up to bat. Brian Wilson up to bat. NL leader in saves. He’s pitching poorly on his first two pitches. Fly ball to Nate McLouth in Center. One out.

Carlos Guillen pinch hits for Joe Crede. Francona out of bench players at this point. He’s supposedly the last substitution. What about Evan Longoria? Guillen gets up to a full count on seven pitches. He strikes out. That’s two.

Billy Wagner comes in for the last out in this inning. Sizemore up to bat. Longoria on deck. I saw Giuliani in the stands. Sizemore singles to right.

Evan Longoria up to bat for Milton Bradley. Was this wise? Bradley’s done one of the best offensive jobs in this game, but I guess they wanna give Evan a chance to hit. Sizemore steals second, this is bad…Martin doesn’t even throw. Longoria hits a double down the left field line. As much as I love the kid, I can’t help but be upset about the RBI ground rule double.

Morneau taps one to Wagner, Morneau out at first.

This is upsetting since Papelbon won’t get the loss and now the NL win is looking like it might be in dire straits, what with Mariano Rivera coming in to pitch.

I like the Cubs girls in that BoA commercial.

Top of the 9th!

Huh, I was wrong. K-Rod comes in. Francisco Rodriguez is pitching for the AL.

Aramis Ramirez up to bat. Aramis is taking some terrible swings. He takes it to a full count. The walk goes to Ramirez.

We watch Tejada’s stolen base again that brings the NL to three runs and then Sizemore’s run and Longoria’s hit.

Cristian Guzman pinch runs for Ramirez. Hart flies out to right.

Ryan Ludwick up to bat. K-Rod goes out of the game, Mariano Rivera comes in. They play “Enter Sandman.” Great music to come in on. Flashes all around the cheering stadium.

One on one out. Rivera has never missed a save opportunity this season…

Ludwick will have to do his best to get a hit. He’s having a disciplined at bat when he whiffs and brings the count up to 2-2. Cheers erupt from the crowd. You’d think he struck out. Full count. Strikes out. Guzman caught stealling at second by Navarro. End of the inning with a double play. Talk about dramatics. Wish it would have gone the other way.

Bottom of ze 9th

Is Bones any good? Saw a funny commercial tat makes me curious.

Ryan Dempster pitching to Ian Kinsler. He’s got a crazy pitch with wavy glove motions designed to confuse the batter, I guess. Francona’s kind of in trouble if this game continues, what with no position players left on his bench. Kinsler strikes out.

Dioner Navarro comes up to bat. That goofy glove motion is really strange to watch. I’m gonna have to see if they try to reproduce that in MLB Power Pros 2008. Dioner racks up a full count and then strikes out.

J.D. Drew comes up. Dempster will have to be careful. Full count again. Drew watches strike three. EXTRA INNINGS! Way to go Dempster! Three straight strike outs.

10p of the 10th

Nate McLouth up to bat. Rivera still pitching. How long can he hold out? Doesn’t really matter, since Francona has plenty of pitching left. He racks up a full count. Strikes out looking.

Russell Martin is up now. Interesting fact about Rivera, he only throws one non-fastball pitch, he just can move it in two directions. Martin is staying alive in this at bat with four foul balls and seven pitches before a base hit past Kinsler to Drew.

Miguel Tejada steps up to the plate. Let’s make something happen NL. Tejada gets a base hit down the middle past Young. I can see Rivera’s sad face as he sees the situation he’s in: runners on first and third.

Dan Uggla up to bat. Can he make a difference? Man I hope so. Marlins having a decent showing tonight, it would be sweet to see more. Uggla hits into a double play. Dammit…

Rivera gets lucky.

Bottom of the 10th

If Tejada had slid in, would we have seen a slower throw keep Uggla safe? Michael Young hits one to Uggla, it bounces out of his glove. Error.

Carlos Quentin up to bat. By the way, Aaron Cook is pitching. Ball smashes to Uggla under his glove. Runners at first and third. Error.

Uggla doesn’t get pulled from the game. He’s gotta feel terrible right now. I feel bad.

Cook intentionally walks Carlos Guillen. This is looking way dangerous.

Grady Sizemore up to bat. Outfield and infield playing in. No outs. Sizemore hits to Uggla. Dan catches it, tosses it home, gets the out.

Evan Longoria up to bat. Uh oh. Infield plays back for double play. Evan looks like this is the easiest thing he’s ever done. He’s laughing at the plate. Longoria to third. Guzman gets it, throws it home. Two outs. Come on NL, you can get out of this yet…

Now we see Morneau. My heart is beating rather quickly now. They keep showing Dan Uggla. Slow roller to Tejada who barely gets the toss off to first. What a save! Uggla is thanking the baseball gods right about now.

Let’s finish this up, please NL. I’ve got to go to work in the morning.

Top of the 11th

I’m pretty sure we won’t see Rivera when the 11th starts. We’ll probably see George Sherrill of the Orioles.

I’m wrong, Joakim Soria of the Royals is pitching instead. Adrian Gonzalez is up to bat. Base hit to Sizemore in center.

The announcers are talking about a potential Tie. I was pretty sure that baseball wasn’t gonna ever do that again.

David Wright steps up to bat. Whiffs his way to 0-2. Strikes out. Thanks dude.

We’re now up to Cristian Guzman with one out, man on first. He takes two quick strikes before popping out to Sizemore and getting the second out of the inning.

Corey Hart is now batting for the NL. Hart misses a pitch down the pipe. Misses another for a 2-2 count. Pops out to J.D. Drew in Right.

:sigh: Bottom of the 11t

Ian Kinsler lines to center for a base hit.

Dioner Navarro. Looks to bunt, but abandons on the next pitch. Martin FINALLY throws someone out as he catches Ian Kinsler. Replay shows it’s a miss. Navarro walks.

Drew gets a hit down the center. Runners on first and second.

Michael Young at bat. Ball up the middle, base hit. Navarro comes around third, but Nate McLouth throws him out from center. Great out.

Last out of the inning. Runners on second and third. Aaron Cook is having a crazy night. Announcer states that three of the last five NL outs have come at home plate. Quentin is up to bat. Ball to Guzman who makes the play at first. Three blessed outs.

Top of the Twelfth

OK NL, it’s 0026, make it happen tonight.

Ludwick at the plate against Soria. He walks to first base.

Nate McLouth puts a bunt down and MAKES IT TO FIRST SAFE. What a good call by the first base ump, that was really close. No outs, runners at first and second.

Russell Martin up now. Pushes a bunt to first, runners at second and third. One out.

The hot bat of Miguel Tejada is up, Soria intentionally walks him to load up the bases for the double play. This will put Dan Uggla up again. Oh man do I hope that the last double play was just setting up for this great game-winning hit. Uggla’s great at the walk-off in Florida, please let us take this now.

Dan steps up. Swinging strike one. My heart thumps yet again for this game. He watches a beautiful strike two. Uggla strikes out. Damn.

Francona comes out to swap in George Sherrill for the Adrian Gonzalez at bat.

Man…I was really hoping Dan Uggla would be able to redeem his errors. I didn’t want him to feel bad about this game. At least Hanley did a great job tonight.

Francona’s only got one pitcher left: Scott Kazmir. Gonzalez is up to bat. Two strikes right off the bat (ha ha). Strike three. We move on to the bottom of the twelfth.

Bot 12

“The Most Interesting Man in the World on Rollerblading:”

“No”

Carlos Guillen comes within two feet or so of being a game-ending home run. Guillen gets to second.

Sizemore’s dangerous bat comes up against Cook. Aaron does a questionable balk move. Ball goes to Uggla who can’t catch it, but knocks it down and sends it to first. Guillen is at third. Normally a great defensive player, I think Dan is just feeling the pressure of the game, but then again, every error on the NL team has come from the Marlins, one of the weakest defenses in baseball.

Now we see Longoria at the dish yet again. Martin makes another great defensive play on a foul ball. Longoria strikes out. What luck for Aaron Cook’s first strikeout.

Cook now faces Aaron Morneau. who is intentionally walked for Ian Kinsler.

A perplexing choice, but will they also walk Kinsler? Runners at first and third for Ian. Morneau steals second. Doesn’t get a stolen base due to indifference. Ball to Guzman, tossed out at first.

Wright, Guzman, and Hart coming up.

Top of the Unlucky 13th

David Wright picks up a stick against Sherrill. Base hit on a shattered bat pop fly into center that no one can reach.

Now we see Cristian Guzman at the plate. He signs bunt, but Guzman bunts too far to Sherrill who is able to take out Wright at second.

Corey Hart steps up. Whiffs and strikes out for the second out.

The lineup gets us back to Ryan Ludwick. Sherrill runs the count to 3-0 before he throws his first strike. Ludwick wisely doesn’t swing at it, but it’s a clean fastball down the pipe. Pops up to Kinsler. Time for the bottom.

We’re Still Going? Bottom of the 13th

Here’s hoping for a 14th, even though I need to go to sleep. New Yankee Stadium is gonna have the same dimensions, which I think is pretty cool. Hopefully the feeling doesn’t change much.

Carlos Marmol gets on the mound against Dioner Navarro. Ball goes to Uggla who tosses Dioner out at first.

J.D. Drew against Marmol now. He works to a full count. Bad hop ball to Uggla, Drew makes it to first. Jeez that looks bad. Error again for Dan. All four NL errors against Marlins, three against Dan. It’s a tough break for the guy, but we all know he’s good.

Dan has set the record for most errors by any one player in an All-Star game.

By the way, Michael Young has been up to bat and he’s at a full count. Young strikes out, Drew steals second on a bad toss to Uggla. Martin tosses out a few profanities.

Carlos Quinten at the plate. This guy is dangerous. He thankfully strikes out. 14th, here we come.

Time-Wise Longest All-Star Game’s Top of the 14th Inning

I’m afraid to say it, but I can’t stay up longer than 0200 tonight. I hope it doesn’t come to that.

Sherrill pitching against McLouth. Goes back to the track, almost fools us into believing it’s a home run. He’s out.

Russell Martin up again. Pretty soon some of these guys are gonna be approaching a real nine inning game. Rest-wise it’s way better to be a starter in the All-Star game, I guess. Martin knocks one almost to the warning track getting everyone’s hopes up again.

One of the better players on the NL team steps up with Miguel Tejada. The out comes with a hit to Young tossed back to first.

Bottom of the Gruelingly Long All-Star Game’s 14th Inning

I can’t hate Evan Longoria, but I can be annoyed that he’s made me stay up this late.

Brandon Webb takes the mound for the NL against Carlos Guillen. Tejada catches a nice line drive for the first out.

So many dangerous bats on the AL. Grady Sizemore comes up against Webb. Funny thing about saving starters for the end of the game is that I feel they lack a lot of the oomph that a closer brings to these games. Starters are about the stamina, not taking these hitters out with stellar stuff. Webb totally makes me look stupid by sinking a ridiculous pitch against Sizemore and scoring the strikeout.

Webb vs. Longoria. If anyone was gonna end this, I wouldn’t mind it being him. He strikes out on a pitch in the dirt.

15th Inning…Wow. The Top

Longest ever All-Star game goes to the 15th. Will this game beat it? After making home field advantage such a huge part of the game, will Selig end the game in a tie again if Kazmir pitches too many innings?

Uggla up again against Kazmir. I don’t think Dan has historically hit well against Kazmir. Stirke out again.

Adrian Gonzalez up to bat. Francona has gone through his pitching too fast. What will he do if Kazmir racks up a huge pitch count? Fly ball to Quinten.

David Wright! Can he do it? Walked.

Guzman. Grounder. Game continues.

Bottom of the (Yippee!) 15th

Still amused by the Piniella commercial.

Brad Lidge up to pitch against Morneau. I’m seeing the wear of the long game start to take its toll against the hitters who have been in the game a lot longer. Base hit into center.

Sportscasters tell me to expect Kinsler to bunt, but he swings away. Two strikes, his bunt chance is more or less eliminated. Ryan Ludwick makes an amazing diving catch to keep the game in check. One out.

What’s gonna happen now with Navarro at bat? Base hit into Center. Men on first and second.

Oh no. J.D. Drew up to bat. Lidge seems to be pitching outside of the zone. I’m not sure I can watch another inning, my eyelids are getting quite heavy. Wild pitch kept down by Brian McCann whose entrance into the game I completely missed. Lidge issues a walk. Bases loaded.

Michael Young up to bat. Pops up to right. Will this be a sac fly? WHAT! He was totally tagged out, but he’s called safe. The streak continues with an AL win.

The ASG MVP has been named to be J.D. Drew. I, quite frankly don’t buy it. Evan Longoria’s tying RBI was way more valuable than Drew’s 2-run home run. I guess he had a lot of things happen with him throughout the game, but I just don’t see it for him. Oh well, he gets a car.

Night guys, it was a wild night. On replay, the tag was late. It was a clear win. Nice work AL, I hate you guys. See you guys tomorrow.

Wednesday Morning Quarterback: State of the League – A Look at My Predictions and the Necessary Adjustments
Jul 16th, 2008 by Dan

You’ve probably heard the saying that hindsight is 20/20 on Monday morning, so just imagine how well I can call ‘em two days later on Wednesday. That’s right, it’s time for Wednesday Morning Quarterback, your weekly sports round-up.

Way back on the 7th of May I published a blog post with my predictions on the way the MLB season would unfold (along with a recap of my mechanical bull and bowling experiences). How well did I do? Were the predictions spot on? Let’s take a look at the state of the league and compare it with what I thought.

AL East

Not even I could have predicted how amazingly awesome the Rays have been this season. A month in and I thought the major competition for the Rays would be the relatively unimportant Orioles. Little did I know their main competition would actually be the defending champs, the Boston Red Sox. Despite having dropped seven in a row coming into the All-Star break and losing their hold on first place, I’m fully confident that the Rays will continue to play dominant baseball all the way to the playoffs. If they don’t make it in the division due to the Red Sox, I see at least strong contention for a wild card berth.

The Red Sox are a very strong team and they will either place first or second in the AL East, based on whether or not the young Tampa team can manage to keep it together in the second half. The real wild card in the AL East is, surprisingly, the Yankees. At six games back, they’re certainly doing much worse than anticipated. For quite some time now they’ve been a second half team, so we’ll have to see what happens after the break. Can they remedy that large deficit and be competitive in the division?

Forget about the Orioles and Blue Jays. There is no way they can properly compete with three ridiculous powerhouses in the AL East.

Projected standings at the end of the year:

Rays (I really want them to win this year)
Red Sox
Yankees
Orioles
Blue Jays

AL Central

Here’s one where I was part right, but for the wrong reasons. The Twins, a team which I made almost no mention of, are especially close to first in the division, sitting only a game and a half back from the White Sox. The Tigers are further away than I thought too, sitting a whole seven games back. This division still will get more exciting and heat up, but not at all like I thought it would. The Royals and Indians are a pathetic twelve and thirteen games back, respectively, with almost no chance of actually winning. Even the Indians know that they’re a lost cause this year, after being World Series contenders last season, they’ve traded away C.C. Sabathia to the Brewers for prospects to cut their losses in the future.

The White Sox are the real story in the AL Central. They’re doing quite well and caused some to predict a Cubs vs. White Sox World Series. I’m not so sure, but they will continue to do well in their division.

Projected standings at the end of the year:

White Sox
Tigers
Twins
Royals
Indians

AL West

What a pathetically one-sided division. The Angels are a ridiculous six games up on the nearest team, the Athletics. The A’s must sense that their post-season chances have dwindled away to nothing, because they’ve just dealt away Rich Harden to the Chicago Cubs. Still, they have strong pitching and will hold on to second place in the AL West.

The Mariners are an absolute mess this season. They’ve been forced to fire management, release players, and are still TWENTY games back in the AL West. At this rate, they’ll be lucky to break a .400 win percentage. They are, without a doubt, this year’s biggest waste of money team.

Texas may have a chance to compete in the division, but it’ll take much better playing to catch up to the Angels. The release of Harden might propel them past the Athletics, but certainly not beyond Anaheim.

This is at least one division that I’ve gotten mostly right and I’m proud of that.

Projected standings at the end of the year:

Angels
Athletics
Rangers
Mariners

NL East

My favorite division, NL East, is actually shaping up to be as close and competitive as I thought it would be. After closing the gap to half a game, the Marlins fell to 1.5 games back and are now in third place behind the Mets (half a game back) and the Phillies (first place). Can it be any more tight at this point? I think not. Let’s get down to it then, after a celebratory self-pat-on-the-back about being right about two divisions so far.

I don’t think the Phils will be able to hold on for too much longer. After firing Willie Randolph as the GM, the Mets have catapulted back into a competitive position in the NL East. It may be to early to say it, but I think the Mets are back in contention in NL East this year. Can they stay above the marlins and the Phils? This I’m not so sure about.

The Marlins have gotten major pitching boosts with the return of Josh Johnson, the major league debut of Chris Volstad, and the eventual return of Anibal Sanchez after the break. As a team with remarkably weak pitching, despite its win-loss record, the Marlins are set to do much better in the second half so long as their amazing offense continues to produce runs at an AL team’s rate. Dan Uggla, Hanley Ramirez, Jeremy Hermida, Jorge Cantú and more have combined to give the Marlins a Major League leading 135 home runs this season. You can bet they’ll continue to do well in the second half. Many a sportscaster has lamented youth’s ability to do well in the post-season, but I say again and again, look at the 2003 Marlins World Series victory.

Oh yeah, the Braves and Nationals are also in the NL East. At sixteen games back, I think we can mostly rule out the Nationals. Despite having a strong April, they’ve continued to slip and slip this season. Miracles wouldn’t be enough to bring them a post-season berth. I can’t let my intense hatred of the Braves let me give them a fair shake either, I think they won’t really be able to make a dent in the crowded NL East.

Proposed standings at the end of the year:

Marlins
Mets
Phillies
Braves
Nationals

NL Central

Here’s another division where I didn’t do too terribly predicting. The Cubs and Cards certainly do sit at the top of the division, but the Cards are an alarming 4.5 games back with the Brewers half a game further behind at five.

I pretty much think the Cubs will be able to hold strong in this division. Their team is doing amazingly well against just about anyone in the majors, but will it be enough to end the curse? God, I hope not. I love seeing the Cubs lose every year and a World Series win would just ruin that.

The Cardinals have more or less reached their limit, so they won’t do much against the Cubs, but the Brewers could stand a chance now that they’ve added Sabathia to their starting rotation. We’ll see what happens between these three teams, but I’d more or less rule out the Pirates, Reds, and Astros. None of those three teams are closer than eleven games back on the Cubs and I don’t see them doing any better.

Proposed standings at the end of the year:

Cubs
Brewers
Cardinals
Reds
Pirates
Astros

NL West

We now come to the last division in baseball and one of my more incorrect predictions. The Diamondbacks are not, as I predicted, the best team in baseball. With a full ten wins less than both the Red Sox and the Cubs, they’re still managing to stand strong at the top of the NL West, but not with as much dominance as the earlier parts of the season. The undefeatable Brandon Webb was dealt his first loss by everyone’s favorite Marlins and hasn’t really pulled together many wins since then. That being said, they’re still a strong team, but they’ll have to work hard to stay ahead of the Dodgers who are currently one game back.

L.A. can definitely be strong this season, but I’m not sure they can knock out the Diamondbacks. Those are really the only two teams that can possibly compete in the West though, since the Rockies, Padres, and Giants will never be able to mount a proper offensive unless they have one of those amazing streaks that the Rockies had last year. I’m pretty sure the Diamondbacks will be the team to watch in this division.

Proposed standings at the end of the year:

Diamondbacks
Dodgers
Rockies
Giants
Padres

So that’s that, let’s see how my well predictions have done come October. I’m gonna hold off on World Series team predictions until, at the very earliest, the playoffs, since at this point it would just be a wild guess.

Now let’s see the All-Star game recap in the next post.

Wednesday Morning Quarterback: 2nd =[ and the MLB All-Star Game
Jun 4th, 2008 by Dan

You’ve probably heard the saying that hindsight is 20/20 on Monday morning, so just imagine how well I can call ‘em two days later on Wednesday. That’s right, it’s time for Wednesday Morning Quarterback, your weekly sports round-up.

As I write this, something terrible has occurred: The Marlins are sitting in second place in their division, 1.5 games behind the :shudder: Philadelphia Phillies. “How could such a tragedy happen?” I can hear you all ask. The answer is pretty simple, the Fish have gone two for five in the last seven games they’ve been on the road. As I said before, this road trip would be a true test, and we’re not really passing it. We dropped two to the Mets, two to those dastardly Phillies, and this most recent game on Monday to Atlanta (remember, I’m writing this on Tuesday). Really, our only strong hope is to pick up these next three games against Atlanta and hope the Phillies cool off a bit on their homerun nonsense.

There are a couple of other big reasons why we haven’t been winning, but they all ultimately boil down to defensive mistakes on both the mound and the field. The Marlins are tied for first with the Pittsburgh Pirates for the most errors committed on-field (49) and are 22nd (of 30) with an Earned Run Average of 4.46 compared to the league high of 3.32 held by the Blue Jays (really?). In at least two of these last seven games, I distinctly remember watching the Marlins either come from behind or have a lead and lose it near the end of the game to end up with another loss. I think I’ve also seen another stat around somewhere that the Marlins have one of the lowest run differentials (scored vs. scored against) in the MLB and certainly the lowest among top teams in each of the divisions.

With all that thrown out there, I don’t think the Marlins are headed for a losing season all of a sudden. They’re still playing with one of the strongest offenses in the game after all, they’ve just got to turn the defense up a notch. Hopefully we’ll see some help with the starting pitching soon when Anibal Sanchez gets off of the DL and starts pitching again.

At any rate, it’s still cool to see the Marlins in a decently secure (if they don’t choke against the Braves) second place and to still have the Tampa Bay Rays standing proud atop the AL East a whole 1.5 games ahead.

I hope you’re all excited about the All-Star game coming up in just under five weeks. So far it seems that the Marlin’s own Hanley Ramirez might technically be the first Marlin to be selected to play for the NL All-Star team. The only other Marlin to ever play for the team was Gary Sheffield, who was traded to the Marlins rather close to the deadline in 1993 and received most of his votes while playing for the San Diego Padres. This would be a huge honor for the shortstop considering that Marlins fans probably contribute the least votes to the All-Star ballot (with their MLB-leading lowest attendance), yet he’s still in the lead (by only 8000 votes, but still in the lead). Now if only we could get Chase Utley to stop being so awesome, we might get Dan Uggla in as the NL second baseman…

EDIT: The Marlins finally snapped their losing streak with a 6-4 win against the Braves this afternoon. We love you Hanley!

Wednesday Morning Quarterback: Marlins, Red Sox, Tigers, and Intramural Softball
Apr 9th, 2008 by Dan

You’ve probably heard the saying that hindsight is 20/20 on Monday morning, so just imagine how well I can call ‘em two days later on Wednesday. That’s right, it’s time for Wednesday Morning Quarterback, your weekly sports round-up.

So the Marlins are off to a decent start this season, leading the NL East at the moment with 4 wins, 3 losses. They suffered two brutal losses to the Mets, but came back and slapped the Pirates around for two games. The Pirates fought back the third game with a large victory, but the Marlins have hit the road strong with a 10-7 victory over the Washington Nationals. Check the videos on the game recap to watch Dan Uggla, Hanley Ramirez, and Robert Andino’s 2nd home runs of the season, bringing the Marlins to 5 players with 2 home runs each.

This probably won’t be the Marlins’ season though for one great big reason: pitching. The Marlins just don’t have the men on the mound to keep the opposing offenses in check. With VandenHurk sent back down to the minors and Anibal Sanchez getting oh so close to healthy again, we should hopefully see decent arms on the mound very soon. The majority of the starters are very green though, so I expect needing a season or two to really hit their stride. If Jack McKeon is actually right and Andrew Miller is the next Beckett, he’d better start shaping up. He has yet to go more than 5 innings in a ball game. He hasn’t been dropped to the AAs like Vandenhurk though, so the Marlins must see something budding in Miller.

The Boston Red Sox were looking a bit bad after losing three straight to the Toronto Blue Jays, of all teams. What could they possibly do to bolster their confidence? Play their home season opener against the still winless Detroit Tigers. We’re all actually quite surprised that a team with as tremendous an offense as Detroit does have can still be 0-7. Most cite poor pitching and I’m inclined to agree. Even when the Tigers aren’t getting shut out 5-0 (!) by the reigning World Series Champs in Boston, they still can’t hold back any offense. When the Kansas City Royals are kicking your butt rather soundly, I think that you need to go back to the drawing board and come up with something. Anyway, as much as I love watching Detroit sit at the bottom of the standings, I do rather love Dontrelle Willis and Miguel Cabrera, two former Marlins who ended up on this squad, and my hatred for the Bo Sox wants them to snap out of it and bring the hurt to Boston.

In more local news, our coed intramural softball team, Walt’s Winners, managed to dominate the law school grad student team 11-4. This was completed even with two of female players (that’s half of them) HUNGOVER. Still, Lee was a monster out in CF, catching everything that came his way, Kristen was ruthless on the bags, advancing bases every chance she got and picking up something like four or five RBIs, and the other team just couldn’t mount an appropriate defense. Even I did pretty well, batting in at least one that I remember, but probably more. The standings (select Softball->Leagues->Co Rec->Sun 03:00PM) have yet to be updated, but with our team as strong as it is this year (especially compared to last year’s disaster) we’re looking to be very competitive this season.

This has been Wednesday Morning Quarterback. And now, back to Bob with the weather.

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