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Spring Training [Wednesday Morning Quarterback]
Mar 17th, 2010 by Dan

Josh Johnson warming up in Nationals Park on 4 August 2009

It’s gonna be a short one this week.

Spring Training continues down in Florida and Arizona as teams are making cuts to their rosters, sending players down to the minor leagues or releasing them as they see fit. Most team rosters are starting to take shape and both Stephen Strasburg and Aroldis Chapman have pitched (quite beautifully) a couple of games each.

The Tampa Bay Rays are leading the Grapefruit league (for all that it matters) with a 10-3 record, while the Marlins are tied for fourth with an 8-6 record. Prospects-wise, it looks like Desmond Jennings might not be earning his spot on Tampa Bay’s roster until Crawford is gone, but in the Marlins camp, the competition between Gaby Sanchez and Logan Morrison has all but been decided in Sanchez’s favor. I’m not sure if the Marlins will have Mike Stanton on the opening day roster, but the way he’s playing, they damn well should.

Pitching is looking a little weak for Florida since the lefties on the team, Andrew Miller and Sean West, are not performing along with Chris Volstad who has had an awful spring. What the team does with its rotation will be interesting.

And that’s about it for this week. We’re down to 18 days before the regular season starts. I got a Longoria jersey in the mail a few days ago, so I’m ready for some baseball!

Sweet Maps, NL East?, NL West [Wednesday Morning Quarterback]
Jul 1st, 2009 by Dan

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

Ever wondered which baseball team you should be rooting for, based on geographic location in the US? Wonder no more.

I do believe you have now found an acceptable excuse for not rooting for a baseball team if you live in Utah.

Injuries, Home Losses, and the Fish Are Back!

The NL East has had what some may call a troubled month.

The NY Mets are basically fielding a AAA team due to all the injuries their players have suffered on the field. It’s a wonder that the team is even in contention at this point, but it seems like it’s starting to catch up to them. The recent losses in interleague didn’t matter too much, since the Marlins and Phillies also lost a few, but they’re now three games back. It’s kind of crazy to think about how close they are, considering that they’re a sub 0.500 team. Who in their right mind would have believed that the Giants, Rockies, and Reds would have better records than the Mets so close to the All-Star break?

Meanwhile, the Phillies have a bit of a problem. They almost never win at home. Their 13-22 record in Citizens Bank Park (that’s a 0.371 win rate, if you’re curious) just looks ridiculous compared to their away record of 26-12 (0.684). For those of you keeping score at home, the only team with a worse home record: the Washington Nationals (13-25 0.342). Pathetic. It’s a wonder they’re in first place.

Which brings me to my next point: the Marlins are only 1.5 games out of first! We’re coming back! This is mostly due to Josh Johnson’s fantastic pitching combined with Ricky Nolasco’s recovery from his minor league stint and some fantastic performances put up by rookie Sean West. Our young rookie didn’t do quite as well last night, but the Marlins were still able to put together a win. If they keep at it, it’s possible the Fish could even be in first by the all-star break.

West Wins?

A lot of strange things have been happening out in the west of late. While LA remains six games ahead of the Giants and wants for a challenge, the Giants have miraculously emerged as a powerhouse, leading the wild card race with the Colorado Rockies (I know!) 1.5 games back. There’s got to be something wrong with this picture…

My best guess: the NL East is really hurting right now, the NL Central is weak and beating up on each other, and the NL West is bizarrely having a great year. This could throw my pre-season predictions completely off balance!

The rest of the news

Manny Ramirez will be starting back up with the Dodgers next week as he completes his fifty game suspension. There was a lot of talk about his playing for the minor leagues when suspended, but I think it’s alright. I mean, if the rules were in place to forbid it, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation. MLB wants it this way, so why does everyone care?

Another letter of mine was featured on an ESPN podcast. If you listen to the 24 June Play Ball! episode you’ll get to hear a letter written by me criticizing the press’ (specifically Christine Brennan’s) perception of bloggers. I want to note that I fully support Brennan’s work as a journalist and I think she’s a fine example for women everywhere, I just took umbrage with her claims that the enthusiast press, for lack of a better term, was useless, uninformed, and unethical. We don’t have the training or the access, but I think we do an important job. I’m pretty sure my brothers would know nothing about baseball if it wasn’t for this weekly post I did, so it can’t be all that bad.

The All-Star game approacheth! The game will be played on 14 July, approximately two weeks from now. My plan is to live-blog it (for real this time) on Tuesday night. As a result, there won’t be a true WMQ post that Wednesday (15 July) unless I want to sum up the game. I can’t wait for the game. I hope the NL can finally knock the AL down from its lofty perch.

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