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First MLB Weekend Complete: Scores That Matter [WMQ]
Apr 12th, 2010 by Dan

No witty captions today, sorry.

9 April

NPB
Hiroshima Carp (0) at Yokohama Baystars (5). Not the outcome I would have expected, but Yokohama is deceptively strong at times (and Hiroshima is pretty weak this year).

Orix Buffaloes (8) at Rakuten Eagles (3). Orix made some serious upgrades in the off-season, but I wonder if they can keep this pace up all season.

MLB
Toronto Blue Jays (7) at Baltimore Orioles (6). The Orioles blow their home opener and not many are surprised. Tough break for the (orange) birds.

Los Angeles Dodgers (7) at Florida Marlins (3). Tough loss for the Fish who had an awful showing for their home opener.

New York Yankees (3) at Tampa Bay Rays (9). David Price might just have that season everyone thought he would have last year this year.

Washington Nationals (2) at New York Mets (8). About what you’d expect.

10 April

NPB
Carp (7) at Baystars (3). Now that’s what I’m talking about.

Buffaloes (1) at Eagles (6). More wins for my teams.

MLB
Nationals (4) at Mets (3). Surprising comeback for the Nats (almost any win is kind of surprising for them). Can they take the rubber game too?

Yankees (10) at Rays (0). An embarrassing shutout in which C.C. Sabathia throws 8 innings of no-hitter baseball. This one hurt.

Blue Jays (3) at Orioles (0). At least it wasn’t the Orioles closer who blew this game.

Dodgers (6) at Marlins (7). Walk-off wins are always nice.

11 April

NPB
Buffaloes (1) at Eagles (4). Yet another win for the Eagles. Their record rises to 7-10-0 for the weekend, but they’re still in fifth by 1.5 games.

Carp (3) at Baystars (6). It’s good to see them scoring runs, but the Carp couldn’t take the series. Their record falls to 4-10-0, but they’re surprisingly only 5.5 games back from first and 1.5 from fifth.

MLB
Nationals (5) at Mets (2). Washington takes the series with a huge win over Johan Santana who gave up a grand slam to Josh Willingham. The Nats are a decent 3-3 and tied for third (with Atlanta) in the NL East.

Dodgers (5) at Marlins (6). Another close one that the Fish won thanks to the powerful bat of the Mexican slugger, Jorge CantĂș. The Marlins now have a 4-2 record and sole control of second in the NL East.

Blue Jays (5) at Orioles (2). Baltimore needs to do something (but not for the next three games against Tampa) to start turning this team around. They are 1-5 in last for the AL East which, surprisingly, has Toronto leading it at 5-1.

Yankees (7) at Rays (3). Another tough loss to swallow, but Tampa Bay needs to turn around and beat up on the Os to lift their record and spirits before they head to Boston at the end of the week. Tampa Bay is 3-3 and tied for third with the BoSox.

The Price is WRONG [Wednesday Morning Quarterback]
Jun 24th, 2009 by Dan

It’s time for Wednesday Morning Quarterback, your weekly sports round-up.

There was a lot of talk about the mistakes Joe Maddon was making in not bringing David Price up at the start of the year. I think last night speaks volumes about why he thought he needed more work.

Price gave up ten runs to spearhead a 10-1 loss to the Phillies last night, meaning that he was embarrassed by a pitcher more or less twice his age (Jamie Moyer, age 46).

It’s days like these that I’m glad I can at least root for the Marlins, who won last night against the Orioles and took two of three from the Yankees this weekend. Not only did Hanley Ramirez snap his homerless streak against the Yankees, he hit himself a grand slam last night to bust open the game. Of course, the Marlins bullpen gave up so many runs that the game went on to the 12th inning, but still, go Hanley.

While I’m up here, I think it’s worth laughing at the Yankees AND the Blue Jays for each dropping two games to the Nationals last week. Way to play to win.

Last week was also notable for being the day I saw, in the flesh, Matt Wieters hit his first big league home run against the Mets. In a strange coincidence, I also heard Wieter’s second home run while listening to the Orioles at Marlins game last night.

Daisuke Matsuzaka landed himself on the DL due to sucking, since Boston can’t send him to the minors. It’s an interesting practice, but basically all a team has to do is get a sanctioned doctor to sign off on some sort of injury and, BAM, instant DL stint. This is how we get loony injuries like an anxiety disorder diagnosed through blood work. Dice-K has been having a tough season, likely from WBC-related exhaustion, so this should hopefully get him all better. Too bad he cost the Red Sox 103M$, because he sure hasn’t seemed all that worth it yet.

And that’s all I’ve got for now. Here’s hoping that the Nats take two of three from the Sox, the Marlins keep moving up the standings, and the Rays start beating the Phillies.

Not Quite As Predicted [Wednesday Morning Quarterback]
May 27th, 2009 by Dan

It’s time for Wednesday Morning Quarterback, your weekly sports round-up.

I think it’s safe to say at this point in the season that things aren’t quite going as I predicted. It’s not the end of the world to be five games back in late May, but it just isn’t coming together for the Rays who are behind the Red Sox, Yankees, and Blue Jays in the AL East. Fortunately for the Rays, the Blue Jays seem to be choking against even the most trivial of AL East teams :cough: the Baltimore Orioles :cough:, but the fact of the matter is that the Rays have to start playing better to keep it alive.

Good thing the stars aren’t aligning against them, right?

Right???

Akinori Iwamura, a heavily underrated cog in the machine is out for the entire season. Not just a few weeks, the whole rest of the year. Jason Bartlett is out with a sprained ankle. Pat Burrell is still out hurting with a stiff neck. Scott Kazmir, who has been pitching poorly anyway, is out on the DL too. This is some serious personnel out for the next two weeks or so. Joe Maddon has been starting Reid Brignac, Willy Aybar, and Ben Zobrist to replace the missing players, but this is clearly not ideal. The Rays are definitely being tested right now, so it would be good for the replacement players to step up instead of…well…

David Price, the holy grail of AL rookies finally got the call up to the bigs to pitch on Monday, only it didn’t go quite as planned. Poor control managed to get him through only 3 1/3 innings with five walks and six strikeouts and, luckily only two earned runs. Some say it was because he sat for quite some time while his team racked up a 10-0 lead. The only real problem is that the bullpen, clearly not expecting their rookie phenom to throw over a hundred pitches in three and a third, couldn’t hold the 10-2 lead that Price left them with. That’s right, the Rays actually lost the game 11-10 Cleveland. Pathetic.

Pick it up Tampa, you’re making me look bad! I know you can outplay the Yankees, Blue Jays, and Red Sox, you’ve done it all year already.

Here’s some perspective: last season the starters had an ERA of 3.95 and the bullpen had a 3.55 mark to bring the team to the World Series. Meanwhile, the Rays are sporting a 4.95 starting ERA with 4.16 in the bulllpen. While I’m sure you’re admiring the neat statistical anomaly that the starting pitching’s ERA has risen by exactly one point, it still shows that the key factor in the Rays not performing this season resides in the pitching staff.

Meanwhile Florida is sitting 5.5 games back too in the NL East battling through some pitching injuries and just playing mediocre ball. I know they were playing much better last season, so it hurts to see a better squad where they are right now. On the plus side, they’re not starting Emilio Bonifacio, but they also took a big hit when Cameron Maybin didn’t hit at the start of the season. The once proud 11-1 team is now sitting at 21-26. Pick it up Marlins!

The Fish also only managed to win one of three against the Rays and were soundly spanked in the ones they lost. That was also the series that Iwamura got hurt, which makes it even more painful.

Here’s hoping for better news next week.

Almost Time… [Wednesday Morning Quarterback]
Apr 1st, 2009 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.

We’ve finally arrived at the last WMQ before the baseball season. Congrats are in order for us all, but I honestly don’t know how we made it so long without our beloved baseball. Here are a few quick notes about things that have been going on:

Everyone’s hurt! From Cole Hamels to Alex Rodriguez, there are tons of stars hurting who might not be ready for Opening Day starts. It’ll be a chance for some younger players to showcase their talent, but, if I were them, I wouldn’t get my hopes up too much, it’ll only be for a month or so this year, then it’s back to the bench or the minors.

Speaking of the minors, David Price has been sent back down. Many call it a travesty, asking “How awesome do you have to be to stay in the show?” but I have faith in the Rays skipper. Joe Maddon is no fool and if he thinks that Price can do with some time in the minors before he comes up, then I think it’s probably not that bad an idea. Look at Evan Longoria, American League Rookie of the Year for 2008. He started last season in the minors in April and then he came up and spanked the AL.

The Marlins are batting former leadoff man Hanley Ramirez at third again this season, an expirement that mostly failed last year. I imagine that the Fish realize that they’ve just gotta make it happen at some point. He’s just got too much power behind his bat to hold him in the one hole.

The Cubbies have selected their closer and it’s NOT Carlos Marmol. A rough spring in both the WBC and Spring Training caused Lou Piniella to select former Marlins closer Kevin Gregg instead. Marmol’s disappointed, but, as I’ve heard from multiple sources, the outs by the set-up man are just as important. There’s no reason to think that his club is spurning him an important job, he’s still gotta make vital outs.

The season starts on Sunday, with the Phillies against the Braves. Get ready for a wild one! I’m gonna hold off predictions perhaps until next week, but possibly until the end of the month. We’ll see what happens with my schedule. Ah, baseball, I can almost taste you…

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