Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Curveballs for Jobu 8/31/11

Curveballs for Jobu is the daily trip around the ballparks Offbasepercentage keeps forgetting to take.

Today's honorary bat boy is Jody Davis.

[Davis' autographed 1988 Fleer. Estimated value: 11 Pop Tart crumbs]

Yankees 5, Redsox 2
. This series started, I don't know if you heard anything about it, but New York pulled to within a half game of Boston behind a gutsy (excruciating) six innings from C.C. Sabathia, who gave up a ton of base-runners but got big outs when he needed to. Frankie Cervelli crushed a home run off the Ugliest Man on Earth™ and provided his usual assortment of fist pumps. Also: big work from the bullpen by Boone Logan, Rafael Soriano and Momar-2 2/3 IP, 2 H, and the play of the day was Brett Gardner's running catch on Marco Scutaro's fly ball in the 8th, which if not caught could've caused problems. Instead, I slow-danced with a loaf of bread when he made the catch.

Tigers 2, Royals 1 (10). Tied in the 10th and need a big hit? Let Ramon Santiago playa' hate. The Detroit second baseman hit a walk-off home run against Aaron Crow to keep the Tigers five up in the Central.

Marlins 6, Mets 0. Javier Vazquez picked up his 2,500th strike out in his win over the Mets. Marlins fans making the trip to New York for the game had plenty to say about the milestone:

Indians 6, Athletics 2. Fantasy Watch-Lou Marson: 1-for-3, run scored.

Cardinals 2, Brewers 1. Edwin Jackson pitched seven innings of one-run ball and singled in the go-ahead run to lead St. Louis. Unfortunately for the Cards, still 9 1/2 back in the NL Central, their petition to have the regular season extended to 185 games was denied.

Astros 8, Pirates 2. Angel Sanchez: DNP

Nationals 9, Braves 2. Livan Hernandez continues to make all 54-year old men look bad, as he pitched seven innings of two-run ball to win his 8th game. As for the NL Wild Card-leading Braves, three of Jair Jurrjens' last four starts: 17 IP, 16 ER. Those starts came against Washington, twice, and San Francisco, which actually doesn't even have an offense any more, they just send up cardboard cut outs of Willie McCovey in different poses.

Phillies 9, Reds 0. Raul Ibanez hit a home run!

Other games, but down here....

Diamondbacks 9, Rockies 4
Orioles 6, Bluejays 5 (10)
Whitesox 8, Twins 6
Rangers 2, Devilrays 0
Dodgers 8, Padres 5
Angels 13, Mariners 6
Cubs 5, Giants 2

Mike Trout Had An Eventful Day

On Tuesday, the Angels announced they will send baseball wunderkind Mike Trout to play in the Arizona Fall League after their season concludes. This wasn't surprising news as many of the game's top prospects extend their season by playing in the AFL but Trout's destination added to the anticipation. Trout will be roaming the same Scottsdale Scorpions outfield as fellow phenom Bryce Harper giving the defending AFL champions the top two prospects in baseball. While the news is exciting, it was Trout's play on Tuesday night that left me breathing into a paper bag.

Trout got one of his occasional starts against Seattle Mariners southpaw Anthony Vasquez and made the most of it. In the second inning, Trout crushed a 3-2 changeup 408 feet for a solo home run and followed that up by hitting an outside curve out of the park for a three-run home run in the fourth inning. His next plate appearance wasn't nearly as dramatic as he drew a bases-loaded walk for his fifth RBI of the night.

Since being recalled from Double-A, Trout has only been able to rack up 25 plate appearances and Angels fans are clamoring for more. Albeit a very small sample size, Trout is hitting .409/.480/1.000 with four home runs during his second tour of the majors. Unfortunately for Trout, Vernon Wells is hitting .400/.471/.700 over the same stretch in an attempt to dissuade management from euthanizing him.

Of course, Trout's hot hitting could force the Angels hand as they desperately need an offensive spark down the stretch. The Angels remain 3.5 games behind the Rangers with about a month to go. If Trout stays hot and can somehow carry the Angels to the postseason, his name will likely be one of the first removed from AFL participation.

Either way, I have a fever and there's only one cure for it. More Mike Trout.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Nelson Cruz And Hamstring At Odds Again

The Rangers managed to batter Angels' co-aces Dan Haren and Jered Weaver over the weekend to reclaim a three game lead over their division foes but didn't escape the series unscathed. Outfielder Nelson Cruz pulled up lame on the basepath Sunday night and left the game. Cruz, playing in his 113th game of the season, was getting dangerously close to his career high 128 games played set in 2009 and his disgruntled hamstring had had enough of that nonsense.

Cruz and his hamstring have been mired in many domestic disputes for years now presumably over the choices the former has made about couches for their Texas abode. There's also the matter of running which Cruz's hamstring is adamantly against and was disappointed it had to bring it up again. Nevertheless, Cruz forced the issue on Sunday after he tried to stretch a hit into a double and his hamstring responded by tightening up as if it was preparing for prison rape.

After some tests, it appears Cruz will miss three weeks with the strain and was injected with platelet-rich plasma to speed the recovery. When reached for comment, Cruz's hamstring yelled out a few obscenities and blamed "Two and a Half Men" creator Chuck Lorre for ruining its acting career. Doctors explained the hamstring was suffering from exhaustion and was heavily doped up by the plasma.

With 28 home runs, Cruz was close to topping his career high 33 in 2009 but the .270/.322/.531 line wasn't exactly stacking up to his .318/.374/.576 production from last year when his hamstring was rumored to be involved in a torrid love affair with Khloe Kardashian.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Curveballs for Jobu 8/28/11

Curveballs for Jobu is the trip around the ballparks Offbasepercentage keeps forgetting to take.

Today's honorary bat boy is Jody Reed.

[Reed autographed 1991 Score card. Estimated value: 8 kidney beans]

Indians 8, Royals 7. Cleveland trailed 7-5 in the bottom of the eighth when Asdrubal Cabrera launched a three-run home run to put the Tribe ahead for good. That was Cabrera's 21st home run, which leads all Asdrubals.

Pirates 7, Cardinals 0. Chris Carpenter came into his Saturday start with a 2.33 ERA in 19 career starts against the Pittsburgh, but the Overbays got to the right-hander for six earned. That's not only the most he's ever allowed to the Pirates, but the most since surrendering seven to the Reds May 15. You know who else gave up seven runs that day? Brian Duensing.

Angels 8, Rangers 4. The California Angels Based Out of Anaheim hit five home runs Saturday, including one from rookie Mike Trout, MTD's new imaginary boyfriend since Chase Utley extended the restraining order to 1,000 feet.

MTD after Trout's home run: "I want to take him to prom."

Devilrays 6, Bluejays 5. While watching this game I was forced to look at this logo

and that wasn't a nice thing for the Bluejays to do.

Tigers 6, Twins 4. Carl Pavano: 6 2/3 IP, 5 ER, 2 HR, LOSS.

Dodgers 7, Rockies 6 (11). A day after becoming the fastest Dodger to reach the 30-30 plateau, Matt Kemp hit a walk-off home run in the 11th as LA won its fifth straight game.

Whitesox 3, Mariners 0. Ken Harrelson's pick to click, Johnny Danksy, twirled a three-hit shut out and had 10 hegones! The Seattle offense, which had been lost for months, was finally spotted in a grocery store parking lot in Livingston, Montana.

"I told you it was in Livingston!"

- Fake Mariners fan fighting with his girlfriend

Diamondbacks 3, Padres 1. Fantasy Watch: Aaron Cunningham: 0-for-4.

Yankees at Orioles DH ppd John Habyan
Marlins at Phillies DH ppd hot dog bun riot
Braves at Mets ppd Chip Caray skinned knee

Other games, but down here....

Reds 6, Nationals 3
Brewers 6, Cubs 4
Redsox 9-4, Athletics 3-0
Giants 2, Astros 1 (10)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Strasburg Looks Good in Syracuse

Stephen Strasburg took another step towards possibly rejoining the Washington Nationals in September. The right-hander, coming off Tommy John Surgery and making his fifth rehab start and first with the Triple-A Syracuse Chiefs, threw five perfect innings against the Rochester Red Wings (Twins affiliate) before the dynamic duo of Aaron Bates and Steve Holm led off the top of the sixth with consecutive singles.

Craig Stammen, who reportedly is going to have Craig Stammen Surgery after the 2011 season, allowed one of the inherited runners to score, so Strasburg's final line was 5 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 7 K. That's a lot better than the 23-year old pitched with the Single-A Hagerstown Suns when he made three starts and allowed seven earned runs in just 6 1/3 IP (though most of the damage came in the middle start when he allowed five earned runs). Strasburg also made one start with the Single-A Potomac Nationals and threw three, two-hit innings and struck out five.

The saddest part about Strasburg's start Saturday is that Rochester right fielder Brian Dinkelman went 0-for-2 with a strike out. That means Brian Dinkelman Bobblehead Night, scheduled for Rochester's next home game, August 30 against Pawtucket, has been cancelled.

An Open Letter to the New York Yankees

Dear Yankees,

My name is Derwood Morris and I am speaking on behalf of all frustrated Yankees fans in regards to a person by the name of A.J. Burnett. Maybe you remember Mr. Burnett-he's the guy on the team everyone hates. Well, to put it quite simply: we've had enough. We've had enough of the 36-pitch innings; we've had enough of him not getting out of the third inning; we've had enough of the diarrhea accidents on the mound (speculation).

When a pitcher has more tattoos than perfect innings, that's a problem.

[NOTE: at last count it was unofficially 67-to-59 tattoos, according to my 7th grade algebra teacher, Elias]

Just for a sample of the horrific pitching we've had to endure, here are Burnett's five August starts:

August 3 vs. Whitesox: 4 1/3 IP, 7 ER
August 9 vs. Angels: 6 IP, 7 H, 4 ER
August 15 vs. Royals: 5 2/3 IP, 10 H, 3 ER
August 20 vs. Twins: 1 2/3 IP, 7 ER
Friday vs. Orioles: 5 IP, 9 ER

I'll give you a second to excuse yourself to the bathroom and throw up tacos......

Great, everyone's back.

Listen, I remember about a month ago when I saw Bruce Chen's name penciled in as the Royals' starting pitcher and thought "at least A.J. Burnett isn't as bad as Bruce Chen." But you know what? That was disrespectful to Bruce Chen.

Let me repeat that sentence, except this time all of the words are capitalized: THAT WAS DISRESPECTFUL TO BRUCE CHEN.

Do you want to make Carl Pavano and Kei Igawa sympathetic figures? Because that's what is eventually going to happen if you keep letting this buffoon pitch against Major League hitters.

"Every time A.J. Burnett gives up a three-run home run, Kei Igawa gets his wings."

- Little girl outside the Trenton Thunder box office

Here's a text message I received from a fellow Yankees fan after Friday's loss to Baltimore:

"I'm on my way to Maryland to punch him in the face and kidnap him to keep him away from the Yankees."

I think that sums up everyone's feelings.

But we don't want him to go away completely. Let's get some value out of that ridiculous contract that you gave him before the 2009 season even though you were basically bidding against yourselves. Here are a few suggestions for what to do with Burnett:

1. Put him in the bullpen, but not to warm up and come in to pitch, but to catch.
2. Have him get a tattoo on his chest that reads I CAN'T GET OUT ANY WHITESOX.
3. Usher in section 324 during the odd-numbered innings.
4. Have him get a tattoo on his back that reads I CAN'T GET OUT ANY ORIOLES EITHER.
5. Convince him that he is a pigeon named David. Enroll him in pigeon school.
6. Francisco Cervelli's personal chauffeur.

Those are just a few ideas.

If you won't listen to me, at least listen to Glen the Movementarian, Barney, Otto, Skinner and Moe:

Derwood and millions of Yankees fans

Friday, August 26, 2011

Curveballs for Jobu 8/26/11

Curveballs for Jobu is the trip around the ballparks Offbasepercentage keeps forgetting to take.

Today's honorary bat boy is Tim Bogar.

[2001 Topps Limited Tim Bogar. Estimated value: 6 sea shell pieces]

Yankees 22, Athletics 9. Oakland led 7-2 in this game and then a whole lot of horrible happened. After a run in the fourth, New York got to work. Robinson Cano popped a grand slam in the fifth, then Russell Martin hit a slam of his own (2nd home run of the game) in the sixth. The Yankees weren't done, sending 12 to the plate in the six-run seventh, capped by Curtis Granderson's grand slam. It's the first time in baseball history one team has hit three grand slams (or "salamis") in one game, and it capped a Simply SteveTroutian day for a number of Oakland pitchers. Starter Rich Harden wasn't good: six earned in 4 1/3 IP, but compared to two people called Jordan Norberto and Bruce Billings-2 IP, 11 ER, 9 BB-Harden was Kit Keller in the championship against the Rockford Peaches. The absurd run total overshadowed the performance of Yankees' starter Phil Hughes, who stunk: 2 2/3 IP, 6 ER.

*UPDATE* - 8:17 p.m. EST - While walking to Oakland's gate at LaGuardia Airport, Billings walked a security guard and gave up a two-run double to a baggage handler.

Diamondbacks 8, Nationals 1. Paul Goldschmidt Watch: 3-for-4, HR, 3 RBIs.

Royals 9, Bluejays 6. Don't look now, but the Royals are 54-77. Seriously, don't look.

Astros 3, Giants 1. While watching these two powerhouse offenses go at it in San Fran, I asked my cat an important question: who has a smaller head, Juan Pierre or Jordan Schafer? Results are still to be determined (though my cat did throw up a rubber band, so those results have been determined), but the distance of Schafer's seventh-inning home run went further than all of Pierre's 2011 hits combined, according to my landscaper, Elias.

Reds at Marlins: no game. Projected attendance at Sun Life Stadium if there was a game: Randal McPherson and his new girlfriend, Diane, Carlos Mejia + guest, Tony Shapiro and his son, Tony Jr., Mr. and Mrs. Hector Sandoval, the Dade County 11-year old all star team.

Who is Aldridge? I can only find three Aldridges in the history of baseball, so it's two of these three:

1. Vic Aldridge, who retired after the 1928 season and died in 1973
2. Cory Aldridge, who last played for the Angels in July of 2010
3. Ernie Aldridge, who is a player I made up

Other games, but down here....

Braves 8, Cubs 3
Redsox 6, Rangers 0
Orioles 6, Twins 1
Cardinals 8, Pirates 4
Tigers 2, Devilrays 0

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Step Back For Society

Kid on the on-deck circle: "Ump, what are you doing over here?"

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Curveballs for Jobu 8/23/11

Curveballs for Jobu is the trip around the ballparks Offbasepercentage keeps forgetting to take.

Today's honorary bat boy is Kiko Garcia.

[Kiko Garcia autographed 1982 Donruss. Estimated value: 24 cat hairs]

Braves 3, Cubs 0. Jair Jurrjens allowed 13 base-runners, but no runs because the Cubs stink. Jurrjens was helped by rookie Freddie Freeman and Dan Uggla, who each hit a solo home run. Have you seen Uggla's arms? They look like my arms in that dream I had the other night when the I rode a bear around solving the townspeople's problems. I had a patch of a head of lettuce on my chest, but that's the part of the dream I didn't really understand.

Orioles 4, Twins 1. Carl Pavano: 7 IP, 9 H, 4 ER, LOSS. Just 27 more bad starts and I can move on from the New York Carl Pavano Era. We're almost there.

Phillies 10, Mets 0. Cliff Lee pitched seven shut out innings, yes, but here at Jobu we're more about the guys who give off a distinct odor while on the mound. Dillon Gee? He smelled like Cecil Fielder's undershirt after an August day game in Texas. Gee walked six and allowed eight runs in 3 2/3 innings, putting the Backmans in an 8-0 hole after just four innings. That's not going to win you any of Lenny Dykstra's licorice. Ross Gload: 0-for-1.

Tigers 5, Devilrays 2. Justin Verlander gave up a lead off home run to Matt Joyce and just two hits after that in winning his seventh consecutive decision.

Mariners 3, Indians 2. Chance Ruffin didn't let having the first name of Chance hold him down as the right-hander picked up his first major league win with a scoreless eighth. Seattle won it a half inning later on Franklin Gutierrez's sacrifice fly. Casper Wells Watch: 1-for-3, run scored.

Rangers 4, Redsox 0. I'm always a fan of new Boston players failing, so Monday's 6 IP, 4 ER performance by Erik Bedard was a pleasant experience for me. And for Vinny in Jersey.

Other games, but down here.....

Milwaukee 8-2, Pittsburgh 1-9
Nationals 4, Diamondbacks 1
Dodgers 2, Cardinals 1
Rockies 9 Astros 5

Monday, August 22, 2011

Abbott and Costello

Who's on First?

Curveballs for Jobu 8/22/11

Curveballs for Jobu is the trip around the ballparks Offbasepercentage keeps forgetting to take.

Today's honorary bat boy is Fred Manrique.

[Manrique autographed 1989 Fleer card. Estimated value: 6 pumpkin seed shells]

Yankees 3, Twins 0. Alex Rodriguez returned to the New York lineup, but the story was Ivan Nova. The rookie right-hander followed A.J. Burnett's C.P.V. (chicken parmesan vomit) start Saturday with a sterling, seven innings of five-hit ball. Nova was helped by Curtis Granderson, who hit his third career inside-the-park home run, and Mark Teixiera who followed with solo shot. The Yankees took three of four from Minnesota and stayed a half game up on Boston in the East. Fantasy update: Drew Butera 0-for-3.

Cardinals 6, Cubs 2. Chicago lost, but it's their own fault for employing Rodrigo Lopez, who allowed four home runs in 5 1/3 smelly innings. Daniel Descalso: 1-for-4.

Nationals 5, Phillies 4. The Nats did it again to Philly, rallying for a win in their last at bat for the second time in three days. Washington tied the game in the ninth on Ian Desmond's two-out, two-strike home run, and won it in the tenth when Jonny Gomes, who was a member of a dream team no one was notified about,

was hit with a pitch with the bases loaded. This loss severely damages the Phillies chances of three-peating in 2013.

Angels 7, Orioles 1. Sad news from Anaheim as it was learned after the game that this loss mathematically eliminated Baltimore from the following races: the race to cure athlete's foot, the 2012 race for the democratic nomination and the 2012 American League East pennant race.

Rockies 5, Dodgers 3. Who had Kevin Millwood is alive in the Is Kevin Millwood Alive poll? Millwood pitched seven innings of three-run ball and won for the first time since September 29. You know who else won that day? Bobby Cassevah.

Tigers 8, Indians 7. After allowing no earned runs in eight strong innings against Detroit August 10, Ubaldo Jiminez was simply Lapointian Sunday. The righty gave up 8 earned in 3 1/3 innings as the Tigers completed the sweep and moved 3 1/2 up in the Central.

Devilrays 8, Mariners 7. Johnny Damon's walk-off home run won it for Tampa, but more importantly, Wily Mo Pena and Casper Wells each hit home runs for Seattle. That's the first time in baseball history a Wily Mo and a Casper have homered in the same game, according to my neighbor, Elias.

Padres 4, Marlins 3. San Diego won on a walk-off hit the same day they retired Trevor Hoffman's jersey number. Unfortunately, the Padres did all that while wearing these uniforms:

Braves 1, Diamondbacks 0. Collin Cowgill: 0-for-3.

Other games, but down here....

Reds 5, Pirates 4
Redsox 6, Royals 1
Whitesox 10, Rangers 0
Bluejays 1, Athletics 0
Giants 6, Astros 4 (11)
Brewers 6, Mets 2

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Have fun playing golf (no, seriously)

Some of you might not realize I run an impressive media conglomerate including this site and Monkeys Throwing Darts which broke the scintillating story about the Atlanta Steam of the Lingerie Football League relocating to Charlotte. I'm not sure if that actually happened though. *removes the journalism patch my mom sewed onto my overalls*

But I wanted to share some tips our resident nonsensemedian had about making golf more fun whilst playing with the up-tights. It's baseball related because I played a par three course with Pete Vuckovich's son when we were in high school. He was good at math...

How to make a day of golf with serious golfers hilarious
By Derwood Morris

Golf GUYS take golf seriously. You have to wear the right pants, or you at least have to wear pants. You have to pick up blades of grass and toss them in the air to see which direction the wind is traveling, even though tossing blades of grass in the air to see which direction the wind is traveling is really stupid. Serious golf guys want you to be quiet. So, asking "which club is this?" every time you shoot is frowned upon.

I've developed a list of ideas for the non-serious golfer to make a day with serious golfers more pleasurable. Here we go.

1. Mention how great you are at golf at least 10 times prior to the round. Then play poorly right from the start and steadily get worse from hole to hole. Keep muttering how you "never play like this", and keep blaming things like the condition of the course and some kind of back or leg injury. When you complain about injuries, use a made-up medical term and see if anyone calls you on it. If they do, tell them they don't know anything about medicine. If they don't, keep changing the name of the medical condition each time you bring it up.

2. Disappear for 15-20 minutes at a time (it can be for longer, but no less than 15). Then join your group at a random hole. When they ask "where have you been?", you can say

A. "Been looking for my ball."
B. "I was playing tennis."
C. "I'd rather not say."
D. "Building a sandcastle!" (then storm off, maybe fake cry a little)
E. "On the third hole giving a lesson. Not a golf lesson. Karate."
F. "Well, I could ask you the same question."
G. "Playing a few holes with three other guys."

3. Changing outfits can be a great way to lighten the mood. Start the day with pants and a golf shirt, then by hole 8 you're in jeans and a Tazmanian Devil tank top. By the time you reach the 15th hole, you're in a bathing suit, flip flops and a Kansas City Chiefs jersey.

4. A lot of the times golf takes place early in the morning, so bringing a sack full of scrambled eggs and periodically reaching into the sack and eating some eggs is encouraged. Bonus points if you bring some scrambled eggs with you to putt, maybe spill a few on the green. Even more bonus points if you use an egg instead of a quarter when picking up your ball on the green.

If anyone asks you for some scrambled eggs (they won't), make a wager on a hole for the eggs. "If you can sink this 90-foot shot, you can reach in and grab as much as you want."

5. Make lots of ridiculous bets.

"If I make this putt, I get one tee from each of you."

"Let's crawl to the next hole. Winner gets to walk to the hole after that."

"I'll give $1,000 to whoever spots [insert name of rare bird]."

6. Find a random person to sign your score card. When they're done, either:

A. Hug them for an uncomfortable amount of time.
B. Ask then to dance.
C. Return no less than 5 seconds later and ask them to sign something else, like your shirt or the roof of the golf cart.
D. Try to get them to use their own pen and when they're done signing, leave them holding the score card and run off with the pen.

7. Golf guys love to talk about the clubhouse. "After 18, we'll meet in the clubhouse." "Grab a brew in the clubhouse?" The clubhouse stinks. It's time to shake up the clubhouse scene.

A. Auction off items from each of the holes: a chunk of grass from the fairway on 11; a cup of sand from 6, or just items from the clubhouse: 'how much for this chair? Hey, I got $40, do I hear $50?!' Make sure you have a gavel.
B. Announce drinks are on you, then when a guy orders a beer, single him out. "Ooooh, no. I meant everyone but you."
C. Stage a giant, loud, celebration. If people come over to see what you're celebrating (they won't), say something like 'Harry drowned in the water hazard on 12.'
D. Parade someone around the clubhouse flanked by a handful of men who look like security guards. Have the guards move people out of the way and pretend to whisper into walkie talkies. For at least 10 minutes, go in and out of different doors of the clubhouse repeating the same thing each time.

Derwood Morris writes about golf at Hole in Eleven Magazine. You can email him at

Ryan Braun: One Cool Jew

If you enjoyed the last homoerotic baseball friends video I stole from Youtube (featuring Chase Utley and Ryan Howard), you're gonna love this one. In the new cartoon, Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder talk sh*t about being fat and Jewish. Then some stuff about Saturn. I can't decide if this guy is a genius or just gets 12 minutes of Internet time per day at the asylum.

It's a thin line, folks.

But "liar, liar, Michael Cuddyer" should totally be a saying.

Curveballs for Jobu 8/20/11

Curveballs for Jobu is the trip around the ballparks that Offbasepercentage keeps forgetting to take.

Today's honorary bat boy is Luis de los Santos.

[Santos' 1989 Donruss card. Estimated value: 1 Dixie cup of mayonnaise]

That's two consecutive days for Jobu. Let the Espinoza-like streak begin!

Cubs 5, Cardinals 4 (10). It was quite a day in Chicago: the Cubs fired their general manager Jim Hendry right before batting practice, then Tyler Colvin, who after a solid rookie season in 2010 has been Simply Rey Sanchezian this season (.144/.197/.301), delivered a pinch-hit single to send the Cubbies to their first consecutive win. Meanwhile, St. Louis continues to allow 68-year old Arthur Rhodes (0 IP, 1 BB, 1 ER) and 57-year old Octavio Dotel (1/3 IP, 2 H, ER, LOSS) to pitch in games at the highest level of organized baseball.

Devilrays 3, Mariners 2. Felix Hernandez really should learn how to hit. The righty allowed one run through seven, then gave up a bunch of singles in the eighth and Tampa went ahead for good. Of course, the Seattle offense could only muster a Kyle Seager solo home run in the seventh. If Kyle Seager is your only offense, that's a problem. Let's get a Tampa fan's opinion:

Padres 4, Marlins 3. Alfredo Amezaga: 0-for-3, walk.

Nationals 8, Phillies 4. Philadelphia, which has already won the 2011 and 2012 World Series, led 4-2 heading into the bottom of the ninth when Ryan Madson happened. The Philly right-hander gave up three straight singles to make it 4-3, then after a sacrifice and intentional walk, Madson did his best Greg Cadaret impersonation, giving up Ian Desmond's single and Ryan Zimmerman's walk-off grand slam. Wilson Valdez: 1-for-4.

Yankees 8, Twins 1. Two things happened at Target Field Friday: Russell Martin actually brought his bat to the plate (2 HRs, 3 RBIs) and Phil Hughes took another step towards establishing himself as New York's No. 2 starter. The righty had his fourth consecutive solid start, tossing 7 2/3 innings of two-hit ball and there was nothing Rene Tosoni could do about it. The much-anticipated Hughes vs. Hughes match up in the eighth went Luke Hughes' way as the Twins' second baseman singled. Also, from the DJCINOSTTCDD (Derek Jeter's Career Is Not Over So Try To Calm Down Department): the shortstop is 19-for-37 (.513) during an eight-game hitting streak and has raised his average to .292 with a fantastic August.

Angels 8, Orioles 3. MTD informed me that Steve Physioc and Rex Hudler no longer broadcast Angels games. I found that sad since I had May 3, 2012 in the Rex Hudler Bludgeons Steve Physioc to Death with a Baseball Pool.

Astros 6, Giants 0. Astros win! Astros win! Astros win! Astros win! Astros win!

Other games, but down here....

Dodgers 8, Rockies 2
Tigers 4, Indians 1
Rangers 7, Whitesox 4
Reds 11, Pirates 8
Brewers 6, Mets 1
Redsox 7, Royals 1
Braves 4 Diamondbacks 2
Athletics 2, Bluejays 0

Friday, August 19, 2011

Some Friday Night Wisdom from Jose Canseco

Via Twitter (@JoseCanseco)

Also under consideration:

* Better to have a bean than a never havebean.
* Hey, has anyone been a haverbeen? No.
* Better to been have a hasbin than a neverbeen.
* At least I had a bean. You never weres.

Hanley Ramirez's Disappointing Season In Jeopardy

Hanley Ramirez is having the worst season of his career and everybody has taken notice. Okay, by everybody, I mean fantasy owners, the dozen or so of real-life Marlins fans and Logan Morrison. Over 92 games, Ramirez has 10 home runs, 20 steals and a .243/.333/.379 line. He was also giving away his usual share of runs in the field with his special brand of short stop defense which doesn't always require a glove. Ramirez's 1.4 fWAR (Fangraphs wins above replacement) places him 57th in the National League in between Dan Uggla (1.4 fWAR) and Ryan Howard (1.3 fWAR). But all of that might be over now...
There’s a growing sense in the Marlins clubhouse that shortstop Hanley Ramirez won’t be back, either.

That’s not to say that Ramirez (sprained left shoulder) definitely won’t be back. But his return would surprise many people in the organization.

Hanley had surgery on the same shoulder after the 2007 season. And he said the sprain he suffered Aug. 2 while chasing a dropping fly ball was some of the worst he’d ever felt in his career.
Marlins manger and resident octogenarian Jack McKeon acknowledged not having Ramirez was a big blow to the line-up. And it's true. Since McKeon took over on June 20th, Ramirez was hitting a much more respectable .302/.382/.496 line. I'm almost certain this was due to a heart-to-heart conversation Trader Jack and Hanley shared over a handful of Werther's Originals.

Howeva, if Ramirez's season is over, it does loan credence to some of Twitter star (@LoMoMarlins) Logan Morrison's controversial jabs at the Marlins' franchise player. Morrison was recently and unexpectedly sent down to Triple-A New Orleans after these comments...
"What we don't have is experience and a veteran who is in the lineup every day that can be an anchor for us. We don't have it," Morrison told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Morrison was asked if Ramirez could be that player.

"I guess, but he's not there every game," Morrison said of Ramirez, who was placed on the disabled list Wednesday for the second time this season. "It's 162 games. It's not a 100-game season."
Fair enough. This would be Ramirez's first sub-140-games-played season in his MLB career but I have a feeling Morrison spends more time on Twitter or Netflix than Fangraphs.

In conclusion, I can't believe I wasted the second pick in my fantasy league on Ramirez. And LoMo, shoot me an email or tweet, I live in New Orleans. We should go to the Quarter and work on our hitting (on women).

Curveballs for Jobu 8/19/11

Curveballs for Jobu is the trip around the ballparks that Offbasepercentage keeps forgetting to take.

Today's honorary bat boy is Brook Fordyce.

Jobu last appeared on June 29, when candy was only five cents and the Astros had Mike Scott. Since that time, MTD has been on a journey trying to discover the true meaning of the third day after Christmas, while Derwood took up work as a traveling air guitar salesman.

Yankees 8, Twins 4. My first Jobu since May 3 and of course we lead off with the Yankees. But this game was more about the Twins. It's been an interesting year for Minnesota, for hilarious reasons: Carl Pavano stinks, and for historic reasons: James Thome recently hit his 600th home run. But Thursday may have been the most bizarre day of the season for the Hrbeks. Minnesota came to the park with no bench, and that's not me trying to make fun of the caliber of players on the bench, or suggesting that the players were forced to stand all game. The Twins did not have anyone available on the bench: Michael Cuddyer (neck), Denard Span (concussion symptoms), and Matt Tolbert (?) were all banged up with injuries and didn't play, Jason Kubel was away from the team for family reasons, and a person named Luke Hughes missed his flight from Triple-A Rochester because HE WAS AT THE WRONG GATE. That's like the time when I was supposed to fly to New York for a family reunion, but was at the wrong airport. It's not that Uncle Ralph was mad, he was just disappointed. Anyway, Hughes arrived just in time to strike out on three pitches in the ninth, and New York stayed a half game up on Boston in the AL East.

Dodgers 5, Brewers 1. How do you slow down a red-hot team? Let Rod Barajas playa hate. The LA catcher hit a solo home run in the second to get the Barajas (new word for "party") started and the Dodgers never trailed in preventing Milwaukee from completing a 7-0 home stand. Clayton Kershaw was pretty good, too, tossing eight shut out innings in winning his 15th game.

Nationals 3, Reds 1. Now, I've been away for quite a while, but I think I may know what's wrong with the Reds: Miguel Cairo is batting fifth. Anyway, Thursday belonged to Jesus Flores, who homered for the first time since May 8, 2009. You know who else homered that day? Chris Coste.

Indians 4, Whitesox 2. The return of KenHarrelsonVoice™!

"Well, the good guys came into Thursday's game hoping to pick up a half-sandwich on the idle Tiggers. Sox got a little bingo from Pauly in the third, you can put it on the boarrrrrd, yes! Attaboy Pauly. But the Tribe came right back with two in the fourth against Zach Stewart. Stewsie left one out over the plate and Matt Laporta put it on the boarrrrrd, no. Our Sox threatened in a couple innings, but couldn't push any peas across the dish. The good guys did strike out 13 bad guys: Jason Donald in the first, he gone! Shin-Soo Choo in the second, he gone! Carlos Santana in the ninth, he gone! Wimpy's pick to click, Juan Pierre, went 1-for-5."

Braves 1, Giants 0. Mike Minor (6 IP, 4 H, 9 K) and three relievers combined on a five-hitter as Atlanta won on Paul Runge bobblehead night.

Bluejays 7, Athletics 0. Actual announced attendance: 14.

Other games, but down here...

Padres 3, Marlins 1
Angels 2, Rangers 1
Phillies 4, Diamondbacks 1
Redsox 4, Royals 3

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Jim Thome Hit A Bunch Of Home Runs

Minnesota Twin's legend Jim Thome can still hit the ball pretty far for a 40-year-old. In Detroit Monday night, Thome hit home run number 599 and 600 to become just the eighth member of that particular round number club. While the Interwebs are abuzz with Thome Hall of Fame articles today, his march for the milestone wasn't met with much fanfare. Well, at least not as much gusto as Derek Jeter's 3,000th hit but I blame that on Thome for not dating a ton of hot, young actresses.

Thome has had an amazing career spanning 21-years and five teams (who can ever forget the four hits he had for the Dodgers in 2009?). Even though he has hit 600 home runs and has a career .403 OBP, Thome's 71.0 fWAR (Fangraphs wins above replacement) is only good for 81st in between Dwight Evans and Andruw Jones. Thome is obviously hurt by his positional value (first base and now DH) but that just shows how prolific a hitter he was/kinda is.

I realize everybody is writing something about Thome's Hall of Fame candidacy or Thome being such a nice guy or Thome's marvelous career (which Joe Posnanski, of course, already nailed) so I won't bore you with redundancy. Dude hit a bunch of home runs. Fact.

I'll always remember Jim Thome for hitting two home runs for me when I had my wisdom teeth pulled on June 25, 1998. I assume he got my AOL email on that magical day.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Abreu Shows Signs Of Life Against Former Team

It was starting to look like Bobby Abreu had completely given up on hitting. Going into last night's game, Abreu had posted a .155/.263/.233 line since the beginning of July with five extra base hits and 15 hitless games, earning the Brandon Wood nod of approval. But then on Tuesday night, if only briefly, Abreu knocked some of the rust of for an important game against his former team and wild card leading New York Yankees.

Abreu went 2-5 with two home runs (and two strikeouts but I'm trying to be nice here) to power the Angels to a 6-4 win over the Yankees. He hit his fifth home run of the season in the sixth inning off of A.J. Burnett and then hit his sixth homer, more impressively, in the ninth inning against Mariano Rivera. It was the first game in August that Abreu posted a positive WPA (win probability added).

I'm by no means suggesting Abreu is turning some kind of corner here because he still looks cooked. The .103 ISO (isolated power) is the lowest of his career and, unsurprisingly, he's on pace for career lows in doubles and home runs. And since he has the mobility of a light pole in the outfield, Abreu is a fixture at DH providing negative lineup flexibility. His $9 million 2012 option has already vested but that's future me's problem to complain about. In the meantime, Angels fans will just have to hope Abreu manages to sprinkle a few games like yesterday in with his 0-fers.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Strasburg Brings Back The Heat

I may have gotten a bit swept up in Strasburg-Mania last season. Can you really blame me though? The top prospect in baseball didn't disappoint after debuting with the Nationals at just 21-years-old. Stephen Strasburg threw 68 innings and registered a 2.91/2.08/2.04 (ERA/FIP/xFIP) pitching line. He routinely hit 100 mph and had a 12.18 K/9. So you shouldn't be too surprised that I tagged him in 29 posts. What can I say? I have a tendency to both buy and propagate prospect hype.

Strasburg's promising rookie season came to an abrupt and painful end though, like most of my relationships. On August 27, I had to write the post about Strasburg needing Tommy John surgery. I wrote that I thought Strasburg, like most Tommy John-ers, would return close to his pre-injury self but I worried about the velocity on his fastball a little.

Those worries were quashed after Strasburg made his first minor-league rehab start on Sunday. He hit 98 mph on his third pitch and threw 15 of his 31 pitches at least 97 mph. Strasburg said that he worked hard on his conditioning and is in a lot better shape...
“I think I’m definitely on the right path to throw 200-plus innings every year.”

Strasburg still has a ways to go, likely four more minor-league appearances before he reaches Washington. Part of his long road back is pitch selection, as Strasburg said he focused mainly on working his fastball in this game.

“I knew I wasn’t going to go out there and necessarily throw 100 every time, and I wasn’t going to go out and snap off breaking ball after breaking ball,” he said.
Strasburg won't turn 22-years-old until late this month so there's still hope he can break every pitching record imaginable. I may have made some hasty futures bets last year.

Ryan Howard: I Could Grandslam All Day

Remember life without Youtube? Yeah, neither do I. Thanks to Twitter, I can't remember what happened 35 seconds ago. So I shouldn't be that surprised this cartoon conversation between Ryan Howard and Chase Utley has been online for three weeks without me noticing it until now. Although I do worry my Chase Utley stalking skills might be past their peak. Anyway, the video is awesome.

Immediately I wondered why Ryan Howard is talking about stolen bases unless he really savored each of his 12 career steals. Then I had to remind myself that it's a cartoon and I need to get outside more.

H/T: C.J. Wilson

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Beltre Still Broken, Will Miss August

Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre reinjured his hamstring on Saturday during a running session. See? I knew nothing good comes from running. Sitting, you don't get hurt sitting. Beltre has been on the disabled list since July 23 and will miss an additional three weeks after an MRI showed he did more damage to the hamstring.

The new Ranger was having a pretty typical Beltre season in his first year at hitter friendly Arlington Park. He has 20 home runs and a .276/.318/.505 line to go with his dynamic defense at third. Beltre's 3.9 fWAR (Fangraphs wins above replacement) is second on the team behind Ian Kinsler.

The Rangers are clinging to a two game lead over the Angels and the loser of the AL West isn't winning the Wild Card. If the Beltre is out any longer, the Rangers could be on the ropes. Josh Hamilton is back and playing well but Nelson Cruz has only hit the disabled list once this season so the Rangers organization better block off part of their day to knock on wood.

Weaver Raises Bar For Cy Young

Jered Weaver set a tough pace for his AL Cy Young competition to keep up with this weekend. Sure, it didn't hurt that he pitched against the Triple-A offense of the Seattle Mariners on Friday night. The Mariners have baseball's worst .280 team wOBA (weighted on base average) which is a full 10 points behind the next closest terrible team. It doesn't even look like the joke of a lineup the Astros are running out can catch the Mariners in futility this year and they're led by 5'3 Jose Altuve.

But back to Weaver, he pitched nine shutout innings allowing seven hits and one walk to eight strikeouts. He failed to pick up the win due to his own team's inept offense. Weaver leads the league with his 1.78 ERA and 2.58 FIP (fielding independent pitching). His 5.5 fWAR (Fangraphs wins above replacement) is just a shade, maybe one start, behind Justin Verlander's 5.7 and CC Sabathia's 5.9.

Sabathia had the roughest outing of the trio but he also had the most difficult matchup. Boston has his number this season and lit the big man up over six innings for seven runs on nine hits. On the opposing mound, John Lackey surprisingly managed to make it through six innings without giving up double digit runs, a feat Kyle Davies didn't know was possible. Speaking of Kansas City (awesome segue, me), I was stunned Verlander didn't take a no-hitter into the seventh inning against the Royals. In fact, Verlander only went seven innings giving up three runs on five hits with eight strikeouts.

Up next... Weaver dropped the appeal for his six game suspension after his temper and a fastball in the direction of Alex Avila's head got away from him last week. He will miss the Yankees series and be back on the mound Saturday in Toronto. The Blue Jays lineup is certainly no cupcake and even tougher in their hitter friendly home park.

Sabathia will toe the rubber at home against the Rays on Friday night and Verlander will be on the road in Cleveland to throw against the Indians on Thursday.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

MLB Frowns Upon Deer Antler Spray

If you aren't cheating, you aren't trying. And it seems like players will try just about anything. MLB recently had to step in and tell players to stop ingesting deer antler spray. Apparently, the ground up deer antler velvet contains an Insulin-like Growth Factor (IGF-1) which is essentially human growth hormone. Or triggers the release of HGH. What am I, a scientist? I've been using Jagermeister as a performance enhancer this whole time. But so far it's only increased my ability to hit on unattractive women and slur my words.

The problem for MLB is that IGF-1 is banned but, like HGH, undetectable in urine tests. So why is MLB issuing this warning now? Tom Verducci has all of the answers, of course...
Major League Baseball issued its warning about a specific brand of deer antler spray not because it contains IGF-1, but because it added the product to its list of "potentially contaminated nutritional supplements."

MLB, acting on reports from the drug-testing industry, warned the players that the deer spray can produce positive tests for methyltestosterone, a banned steroid under both the major league and minor league drug policies. The deer antler spray does not list methyltestosterone as one of its ingredients. The approved clinical use of methyltestosterone is to treat men with a testosterone deficiency and women with breast cancer or menopause-related symptoms.

You have to really stop and think about this warning to appreciate the layers to this cat-and-mouse game of PEDs. Baseball is warning its players not to spray under their tongues a product made out of the antlers of young deer -- not because it boasts a banned ingredient right there on its label, but because it could be "contaminated" with another banned substance that actually might show up on a drug test.
Way to try to save face, MLB. That was a lot of blockquoting. I'm exhausted. It's a good thing I ordered the IGF-1 starter kit from Nutronics Labs. I've been saying that we'll all be on HGH soon enough so why not get ahead of the curve with some ground up antler? It's not like they're harvesting unicorns, people. This stuff is natural. I think. Please refer back to "I'm not a scientist."

Stay tuned for the result of me spraying antler velvet under my tongue once the shipment arrives. I'm excited and nervous. I hope I don't grow hooves.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Those Wacky Marlins

The Marlins turned into quite the merry band of pranksters over the weekend. The gang isn't exactly Allen Funt, or some more current reference, but it's still cool to see baseball players having a little fun. It's important to keep a sense of humor during a disappointing season that finds the Fish 15.5 games out of the NL East. You know, in case those fat pay checks don't make them feel better.

Emilio Bonifacio is having a breakout season hitting .298/.372/.390 with 24 stolen bases but the kid doesn't have much pop. So when he hit his second career out-of-the-park home run, he was probably expecting to be greeted by some high-fiving teammates. But when he got there, high five ready to go, they were sitting there uninterested imitating the dozen of fans of their home crowd. It didn't last long though as they eventually got up to celebrate with the power challenged Bonifacio.

The second prank of the day was dealt out by 80-year-old manager Jack McKeon who must have been feeling pretty spry after pounding an Ensure. The skipper had a little fun with closer Leo Nunez and the trade deadline...
“Good luck,” McKeon told him. “You’re going to Chicago.”

“The Cubs?” Nunez asked, his face turning pale.

At that point, McKeon and Nunez’s teammates could hide the joke no longer and broke out in laughter.
Oh that Trader Jack is incorrigible. And incontinent. Zing. *dances off stage wearing adult diaper*

Mike Schmidt Still Active

That according to the Single-A Greenville (SC) Drive.

Every Thursday, Greenville has $1 Beer Night.

Vendor - "All beers $1!

Derwood - "Let me have a Sam Adams."

Vendor - "That's $4"

Derwood - "So which beers are $1?"

Vendor - "Natural Light and Pabst."

Derwood - "So it's Shitty Beer for $1 Night?

Vendor - "Do you want a beer or not?"

Derwood - "Yeah, give me two Natural Lights."

Behind the taps is a list of all the players with 500 or more home runs. And, according to the list, Jim Thome is just 441 shy of the milestone and Mike Schmidt remains active despite retiring in 1989 and being 61. Maybe that's why Philadelphia got Hunter Pence: to protect Schmidt in the lineup.

New Phillies order:

1. Rollins
2. Eisenreich
3. Utley
4. Howard
5. Schmidt
6. Pence
7. Incaviglia
8. Ibanez
9. Jeltz

Anyway, I had four more Natural Lights, the Yankees' farm team defeated Boston's farm team (at least according to "Pete", who according to "Dale" lives in the men's room behind section 113), and on top of the first base dugout the Drive mascot defeated the Chick Fil-A cow in a first-round knock out.

Splendid evening.