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Baseball Insight and Analysis

Is it panic time? Adrian Gonzalez isn’t hitting homers…

Posted by Strobl on May 6, 2011

The Red Sox brought Adrian Gonzalez over from San Diego because he can hit.  Because he has power.  But with only two homers through nearly 20% of the 2011 season, Gonzo hasn’t delivered on the long ball.  Should we panic?  You’ll have to read this to find out.

Read the story on isportsweb.com.

(I’ll give you a hint:  No.  but be a pal, and read it anyway.)

Posted in A.L. East, American League, Boston Red Sox | 3 Comments »

Diamond Thoughts – 5/6/2011

Posted by Rich Stowe on May 6, 2011

Welcome to today’s Diamond Thoughts.

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 14: Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt speaks at a news conference at Dodger Stadium prior to a game between the St. Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Dodgers on April 14, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. Large numbers of LAPD

MLB has asked the Los Angeles for even more documents relating to their finances. Baseball doesn’t believe the Dodgers can make their payroll at the end of May. If this is true, the Dodgers aren’t that far away from being sold. If I’m not mistaken, once they can’t meet their payroll, baseball has the right to take complete control of the Dodgers (not just the limited control they have now) and that means they’ll go up for sale. So, keep an eye on Craig’s List, maybe you can find a once-proud and historic franchise on there cheap.

Bryant Stow, the Giants fan beaten within an inch of his life outside of Dodgers Stadium has to have brain surgery later this week to drain fluid that is building up. According to his cousin, they are also planning on slowly weaning him off of medication which should allow him to come out of the medically induced coma, however, last time they tried he suffered seizures so they’re hoping that doesn’t happen again. Here’s wishing him and his family all the best.

Joe Maddon, the Tampa Bay Rays manager, believes in the use of expanded replay; especially after he got ejected for arguing a call that was overturned the other night. "If you really want to be intelligent about it, technology is a part of our game," Maddon said before Thursday’s game against Toronto. "The fact that replay is already utilized, those are moments that you can review at the end of the season. Log them all and then see if there is any kind of common thread and say, ‘Now this should be reviewable.’ " Replay in baseball is a hot button issue – you don’t want everythng reviewed and make the game take longer, however, the technology exists to get more calls right and that’s what I think they should do. Get all the calls right you can. I do not believe replay should be used on balls and strikes, but fair/foul, home run/not a home run, safe/out at the plate, whether an OF trapped the ball or not, those would all go a long way to ensuring there’s less blown calls in each game.

Derek Jeter was given last night off and his replacement, Eduardo Nunez, committed two errors, showing that even though Jeter is not playing well at all this year, the Yankees simply don’t have anyone to replace him. Will the Yankees look to trade for a serviceable shortstop to use when they "give Jeter days off"? As a Yankees fan it pains me to say this, but maybe they should. Right now Jeter is one of the worst offensive players in the game and when you couple that with his declining defense (which is saying something because no matter how many Gold Gloves he has on his mantle, he was never Ozzie Smith), you end up with a huge liability in that lineup.

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Diamond Thoughts – 5/5/2011

Posted by Rich Stowe on May 5, 2011

Welcome to today’s Diamond Thoughts.

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Last night, Tim Lincecum struck out 12 Mets and passed the great Christy Mathewson for the record of most double-digit strike out games in San Francicso Giants history. It was Lincecum’s 29th game with double-digit Ks. Pretty impressive seeing how this is Lincecum’s fifth season in the league and Christy pitched for 17 years for the Giants. Lincecum already has 964 career strike outs (including this season). That’s an average of 253 a season (and he’s gotten over 230 in each of the last three seasons). If he pitches for 15 years and is able to keep up this pace, he’ll approach 4,000 strike outs for his career which would put him 5th all-time ahead of Blyleven (3,701) and behind Carlton (4,136). We are watching something special in Lincecum, as if the back to back Cy Young Awards in his second and third season didn’t already tell you that.

Andre Ethier’s hit streak is on hold for now. Ethier took yesterday off because of a sore elbow. The elbow has been bothering for the last couple of weeks and it finally was bad enough for him to take a game off. He should be back in the lineup on Friday when the Dodgers face the Mets. Did Joe DiMaggio ever miss a game during his 56-game hit streak? No he did not.

The Angels and Red Sox played till 2:45am this morning eastern time. They played for 13 innings and had a 2 1/2 hour rain delay. The Angels won finally 5-3 on a Bobby Abreu two-run, two-single off of Daisuke Matsuzaka. Yes, Dice-K came in as a reliever. Both teams used 14 pitchers combined. I’ve stayed up late watching games before, but 2:45 am is just plain nuts.

Tim Hudson gave up 1 hit to the Milwaukee Brewers yesterday and recorded his 12th career shutout. Another example that this may just be the Year of the Pitcher again following last season’s Year of the Pitcher. Even the Red Sox were held hitless for the first 6 innings yesterday. I’ve lost count how many no-hitters have been taken past the 6th inning this year. Liriano’s no-hitter the other day is probably just the first of many to come.

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On Carl Crawford

Posted by Strobl on May 4, 2011

Meric/ Getty images

So the Red Sox have a phenomenal talent in Carl Crawford.  We all get that.  Slow start or no, this guy is a stud.  He’s got speed, swings a solid bat, and is a major defensive upgrade (remember Manny in left?  Please.)

But the fact is, Boston doesn’t have a natural place for him in the batting order.  Where can the team hit this guy that makes sense?  Take a look at this post and see if you agree…

Read the story on isportsweb.com

Posted in A.L. East, American League, Boston Red Sox | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

Diamond Thoughts – 5/4/2011

Posted by Rich Stowe on May 4, 2011

Welcome to today’s Diamond Thoughts.

francisco-liriano-no-hitter.jpg

Congratulations to Francisco Liriano of the Minnesota Twins. He pitched the first no-hitter of the 2011 season last night and the Twins beat the White Sox, 1-0. It wasn’t pretty because Liriano walked six, but to win a no-hitter 1-0 is very impressive. In my opinion, there is a big difference pitching in any game that is 1-0 compared to say 5-0, even more so when they’re no-hitters. One wrong pitch and not only do you lose the no-hitter but you could lose the game. The only bad thing about this no-hitter? It means a certain type of baseball fan (I’m talking mainly to a certain section of the Yankees fans), will think this means that Liriano is a great pitcher and the team should trade their best prospects to get him (Jesus Montero straight up for Liriano for example). What I say to these fans is slow down! Yes, pitching a no-hitter is a tremendous accomplishment, but if you take a look at Liriano’s stats for the season, you’ll see he entered the game with an ERA over 9.00 (2nd highest ERA in history of a pitcher to throw a no-hitter) and a WHIP just under 2.000. Any pitcher can do very well for nine innings (though the six walks and only two strikeouts means he relied heavily on his defense) but his season stats are more telling than just one game. He allows way too many baserunners and way too many earned runs.

Andre Ethier continued his hit streak last night and is now up to 29 games. He’s only gone hitless in one game for the Dodgers this season (April 1st). A hit in his next game and he’ll become only the 44th person since 1900 to hit in 30 straight and only the 41st to do it since DiMaggio’s 56 game hit streak.

Another baseball player was arrested for DUI yesterday. Shin-Soo Choo of the Cleveland Indians joins Derek Lowe of the Braves and four other major leaguers this season in the DUI club. When are athletes going to learn to either call a cab or use a designated driver? It’s not that difficult to not drink and drive! Choo is lucky no one was hurt. With the death of Los Angeles Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart in 2009 by a drunk driver, you’d think all baseball players would just stop drinking and driving. Teams need to start cracking down hard and suspending these players for significant periods of time. Not only does it hurt the team, it potentially could cause the death of an innocent person.

Derek Jeter had one hit last night and now his average is .250, his OBP is .310 and his Slugging Percentage is .269. Is Derek done? Read more on my thoughts regarding this topic by CLICKING HERE.

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Not Time for the New York Yankees to Make Drastic Changes, Not Yet at Least

Posted by Rich Stowe on May 3, 2011

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 01: Curtis Granderson #14 of the New York Yankees is congratulated by his teammate Derek Jeter #2 after his three run homer in the fifth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium on May 1, 2011 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

Derek Jeter sucks offensively this year, plain and simple. His two best hits have been doubles, but they were ground ball doubles.

Brett Gardner has more home runs than Jeter and Nick Swisher combined, but his OBP is .325 and he’s only stolen four bases but has been caught stealing four times as well.

Phil Hughes has zero velocity and it’s nothing physical based on recent tests.

Rafael Soriano has an ERA over .650 and a WHIP over 1.700.

These facts have New York Yankees fans up in arms yelling for the lineup to be shaken up and I have even seen Jesus Montero-for-Erik Bedard suggestions. All I have to say is hold your horses.

Yes, there are aspects of the New York Yankees that have fans very concerned. However, all those fans have to do is look at the standings of the American League East. If they do, they’ll see that even with all these issues, the New York Yankees sit in first place, three games ahead of the Tampa Bay Rays and are 17-9 (a .654 winning percentage).

Even with Jeter looking like he needs to retire and Gardner looking like last year was a fluke, there’s no need to panic. Not yet at least. The offense is doing just fine without their contributions and provided it can continue, there’s absolutely no need to make any changes. If they weren’t winning games and scoring runs, I’d be concerned. However, if the players mentioned above don’t turn it around soon, then Joe Girardi will have to consider making drastic changes such as dropping Derek Jeter far down the order or even using Curtis Granderson as the leadoff hitter. I’m sure Brian Cashman is already making plans to trade for some hitter to bring in if the situation calls for it, but that time is not in May.

To read the rest of this article on Bleacher Report – CLICK HERE

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Diamond Thoughts 5/3/2011

Posted by Rich Stowe on May 3, 2011

Welcome to today’s Diamond Thoughts.

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Andre Ethier has hit in 28 straight games. He’s halfway to Joe DiMaggio’s 56 game hit streak. Can he do it? When is a good time to get excited about a hit streak? I think the halfway point is the time to really start paying attention. 40 players have gotten to 28 games in a row, but only 17 then made it to 30. That means 23 didn’t get a hit in the next two games they played. DiMaggio’s streak is one of two records I don’t believe will ever be broken (not talking about records like Cy Young’s 511 wins – just records that players actually have a legit shot at). The other is Johnny Van De Meer’s back-to-back no hitters. I just believe that the press coverage once a player gets closer to 40 games will be too much for any player to handle, not too mention hitting in that many games in a row is just unreal. All it takes is one great defensive play and the streak is over – that’s how DiMaggio’s 56 came to an end, defensive plays. Here’s hoping Ethier makes it interesting and at least surpasses Pete Rose’s 44 (the closest anyone’s come to breaking the streak).

Jered Weaver of the Los Angeles Angels finally lost. The Boston Red Sox got the best starting pitcher in the American League this season to give up three runs, six hits and one walk over six innings and beat the Angels 9-5. This was important because no pitcher had gone 7-0 by May 2nd since 1891 (Sadie McMahon). Think about that for a second. Think about all the great pitchers who have thrown a pitch since 1891. How many names did you come up with? Not a single one had gone 7-0 by May 2nd. Granted, pitchers don’t get as many chances now with the five-man rotation but they generally get 7 starts on the books in April but this wasn’t always the case. Pitchers like Warren Spahn, Sandy Koufax, Bob Gibson etc, never went 7-0 by the beginning of May.

Some good news for Yankees fans. Phil Hughes underwent tests on Monday for thoracic outlet syndrome (which have caused pitchers such as Kenny Rogers and Jeremy Bonderman issues and requires surgery to fix) and the results were good. The tests were negative. However, this means that Hughes’ loss of velocity and "dead arm" is still a mystery. So, with that ruled out, hopefully they can figure out why Hughes hasn’t been the same this season.

Neftali Feliz, the closer for the Texas Rangers who saved 40 games for them last season (a rookie record), has said he wants to remain a closer for the rest of his career. This spring, the Rangers gave him three starts, but immediately moved him back to the closer’s role. "The team has told me that next year I would still have the chance to start, but I don’t want to do it anymore," Feliz told USA Today on Sunday. "This year my arm didn’t feel good after they moved me from the rotation back to closing, so I don’t want to go through that again and risk the same thing happening." In my opinion, if you can find yourself a lock down closer, you need to keep him there. The biggest problem teams have seemed to have in the playoffs recently is closers blowing games. Yes, you need good/great starting pitching to succeed, however, if you’re closer can’t do the job when called upon, how your starter does is irrelevant. Feliz is a tremendous closer and if the Rangers have the chance to have the same success the Yankees have had with their converted-starter-to-closer Mariano Rivera, you take it. While the Rangers may want to try him as a starter again, I say you find someone else to fill that starting slot and leave Feliz as the closer.

Posted in MLB (General) | Leave a Comment »

Rich’s Diamond Thoughts

Posted by Rich Stowe on May 2, 2011

I was going to call these posts Rich’s Golden Thoughts because my thoughts are pure gold, but then I decided they’re even better than that, so I went with diamond! Just kidding. They’re called Diamond Thoughts because they’re random thoughts that pop into my head about baseball. I’m hoping to present these to you as often as I can, so come back often to check them out!

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Hey Yankees fans! Yes, I’m talking to you. Well, not all of you. Just the ones that for whatever reason think the Yankees are going to trade Jesus Montero and get anything less than a pitcher of Felix Hernandez or Jeff Weaver ability. The Yankees will not trade Montero for a pitcher over 30 years old, any pitcher that is not at minimum their current team’s ace or any pitcher that spent any significant time on the disabled list last season or this season. Montero is not a free agent and they will not lose him if they don’t promote him to "The Show" this year, so there’s absolutely no need to trade him for just anyone. Who cares if he isn’t progressing as well defensively or Hughes may have a significant injury. With CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett, Bartolo Colon, Freddy Garcia and Ivan Nova the Yankees are sitting in first place in the American League East; do they really need to dump Montero for just any 32 year old, number 4 starter with injury concerns?

What is up with the Cleveland Indians? Don’t they realize they’re supposed to fight for the bottom of the American League Central and not be leading the division? They’re playing out of their minds and taking full advantage of the Chicago White Sox and Minnesota Twins not playing well. I for one am happy for them. The Indians are one of the oldest franchises in the American League and deserve to have a shot. Here’s hoping they can continue playing this way through September.

Does anyone need to tell the Colorado Rockies that it’s only May and not September? Baseball fans have become accustomed to them playing average all year long and then turn it on in September on their way to a playoff berth. I’m not sure their fans or baseball fans would be able to handle a full season of the Rockies in first place! First the Indians are playing well and now the Rockies. What’s next, cats and dogs playing together?

Here’s hoping Roy Oswalt’s return to the Phillies is a success. He left the team last week after his home and town were ravaged by tornadoes….again.

Was it weird for anyone else to see New York Mets fans and Philadelphia Phillies fans agreeing about something last night? Of course, I’m referring to when the news of Osama Bin Laden’s death spread like wildfire through the crowd. The sight of Mets and Phillies fans high-fiving each other and chanting U.S.A! in unison was fantastic. To the men and women of our Armed Forces and especially the Navy S.E.A.L. team that took him out. Thank you for everything you’ve done over the last 10 years and what you will continue to do in the future. The security and safety of this great country is in your more than capable hands. If you see a military member, current or a veteran, remember to thank them, that is all they truly ask of us.

Posted in MLB (General) | Leave a Comment »

Red Sox Monthly Review: An April to Forget

Posted by Strobl on May 2, 2011

Red Sox 2011

It is my sad duty to inform you that the Boston Red Sox have not yet turned things around.  The hot streak of a couple opf weeks ago gave way to four more losses in six games last week.  The lineup that was supposed to be so prolific has not yet gotten in gear.  Take a look at my thoughts on this awful April.

Read the Red Sox Monthly Review on isportsweb.com.

Posted in A.L. East, American League, Boston Red Sox | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

MLB Trade Ideas: Twelve 2012 Free Agents Who Will Be Moved

Posted by Strobl on May 2, 2011

Papelbon is one of a dozen free agents-to-be who will likely get traded (Dunn/ Getty)

Weekly MLB feature assignment- focusing on players who will be free agents in 20102 and who are likely to be traded rather than re-signed…

As April ends, the 2011 season moves a month closer to the trading deadline. Clubs who are carrying free agents-to-be have to start thinking about how to make the best use of those players before their tenures end, and for many teams that will mean making deals.

Small-market franchises and teams with high-priced expiring contracts are going to particularly motivated to shop their outgoing names for some return value before the off-season hits. As always, the questions of where these players will go and what their futures will be like remain tough to answer.

What’s easier to assess is the handful of names that are especially likely to be moved. It’s time to run through a dozen players who will probably be wearing different uniforms by August.

(There’s also a bonus slide for your enjoyment…)

See the full slideshow at the Bleacher Report by clicking here.

Posted in MLB (General) | Tagged: , , | 5 Comments »

 
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