Posts Tagged ‘MLB’

For the NL Playoff Power Poll, click on this link.

The NL playoffs is a crapshoot.  The AL playoffs were suppose to be a sure thing until this week.  So who is a contender to make it to the World Series?  Let’s rank the participants.

5. Oakland Athletics – As a Nationals fan, I guess I should root for the A’s because they gave us Gio Gonzalez, and the guys we gave up (Tommy Milone and Derek Norris) have really produced for this scrappy squad.  Their entire pitching staff, from starters to bullpen is solid, even though you don’t know who their names are (because I know I don’t).  They lost their veteran pitchers, the rookies came in and picked up the slack.  The team plays hard every night, which keeps them in most games.  The hitting is much to be desired; they have a .238 batting average.  Who do they think they are, the Astros!  But if the power hitters come through, this team can keep their improbable run alive.  Is Disney already working on Moneyball 2?

4. Baltimore Orioles – The better of the nobody believes in us squads.  25 guys have contributed for this team, 40 in September.  Everyone is all in.  Buck Showalter has plugged and played and pushed this team along.  If it’s a one-run game, which most of these playoff games are, then the Orioles have to be a favorite to pull it out.  They have clutch hitting, led by Adam Jones which is crucial in the playoffs.  Their bullpen is actually pretty dominant, with Jim Johnson on the back-end to shut down opponents.  Did I mention that Buck Showalter is the best manager in these playoffs.  The ‘Orioles Way’ is back and hopefully here to stay.

From Greatest to Goat, just like that

3. Texas Rangers – It was all good a week ago.  The Rangers were going to be runaway winners of the AL West and have home-field in the AL Playoffs.  Then bad pitching, and bad Josh Hamilton defense happened.  Now they are in a wild card playoff with the upstart Orioles.  Where did it all go wrong?  I couldn’t put this team in the top 2 because of their September swoon (15-16, Sept-Oct included), but this team really has the talent to in the World Series.  It would really be upsetting if they didn’t because of the last two playoff runs for this team.  Also, the fact they may lose Hamilton in free agency makes this playoff run more urgent, but with the way he’s playing right now, would they miss him?  If the pitching returns to form with this lineup, the Rangers will be a tough out.  But can they get through the wild card game?

2. New York Yankees – If this was any other team, this would be my 4th ranked team.  But it is the Yankees, so of course they will win it all.  A week ago, they could have been playing in the wild-card game.  Now they are the Number 1 seed.  That’s the Yankees magic.  I don’t like their lineup because they are home-run or bust.  But watch Robinson Cano start hitting doubles the opposite way and Derek Jeter starts hitting seeing eye singles.  I don’t like their pitching.  I don’t even know who will be the 2nd starter; but watch that guy (probably Andy Pettitte pitch 7+ innings.  Why? Yankee Magic.  That’s why they are 2nd on this list.

1. Detroit Tigers – This may be the worst defense team in the playoffs, so how are they my favorite in the AL?  Well for one they have a Triple Crown winner.  No one has had that kind of weapon since 1967.  The 3-4 part of the lineup of Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder carried the Tigers into the playoffs.  The problem with the Tigers all season has been the guys not named Cabrera-Fielder, especially in the bottom of the order.  But if they can string together hits and manufacture runs, just like experts expected them to do at the beginning of the season, the Tigers will be tough to beat.  Throw in the Justin Verlander-Max Scherzer-Doug Fister pitching rotation, and they are down-right lethal.

So the Mancave picks a Braves-Tigers World Series.  Congratulations to those fans, now that will never happen.  But this is really the 2nd best time of year with NFL, NBA starting, NHL (if they would get their act together), and now the MLB postseason.  So buckle up for the ride, because I guarantee something will happen that you don’t expect.

Best Player In Baseball…By Far

I hope you are enjoying the worst day on the sports calendar; the day right after the MLB All-Star Game.  No games on, football games are weeks away from starting, and NBA free agency is lagging (even though this year, the NBA offseason has been fantastic!)  So to entertain you on this dreadful day, and catch you up on what you may have missed watching the NBA, here is the good, bad, and ugly of baseball’s first half.

Is Bryce the Real Deal?
That’s A Clown Question, Bro?

The Good – Let’s talk about some surprise teams.  The Pirates, led by easily the 1st half NL MVP Andrew McCutchen, has seemingly put it together with great pitching from James McDonald and former castaway A.J. Burnett.  Even better than the Pirates, the Nationals are the best team in the NL with 3 starting pitchers who could start for most teams, along with spark plug Bryce Harper.  In the AL, it’s the usual suspects at the top with the Yankees and Rangers.  But the Orioles have turned their fortunes around behind Adam Jones hot bat, and Cleveland is in first, if only because the AL Central is suspect.

The Bad – Well good thing we have surprise team to excite us, because these other teams have been god awful.  The Red Sox and Tigers have struggled staying at the .500 level, but it’s the Phillies and Marlins that have really been woeful.  It’s really hard to believe, since their offense is statistically better than last year with a healthy Ryan Howard and Chase Utley.  All these teams have proven that baseball is not just stockpiling the best arms and bats to overpower everyone.  The Tigers have no pitching outside Verlander and bad defense; the Marlins are more streaky than Will Ferrell in Old School; the Phillies have no bullpen, no depth and are too old;  and the Red Sox just hate each and everyone hates the manager.  Can’t win that way, can’t do it.

The Ugly – This is actually a beautiful thing for a Nationals fan like myself, but the National League is easily the NFC West of the two leagues.  There is no way that the Nats should be the favorites in the league, but top to bottom, there really isn’t a team that you could see upending them.  The Dodgers don’t have the offense or pitching depth.  The Nats just swept the Giants and their ace Tim Lincecum is struggling this year.  The Cardinals don’t have their ace Chris Carpenter either.  The Reds could come close but their starting pitching isn’t intimidating.  You can’t count on the Braves, especially after last year, and the Mets have been overachieving all year.  Could we see a Nats-Pirates NLCS?  The baseball gods wouldn’t allow that right?

As for the AL, I would love to see Yankees-Rangers again but the Angels, not led by grisled veteran Albert Pujols, but by the young gun, Mike Trout, could overtake the Rangers.  As for the Yankees, they clearly are the class of the MLB, and that’s with them cutting payroll.  So for the ALCS, I have Angels-Yankees.  It should be an interesting next two months for baseball as these races heat up.  If you don’t care about that, at least it will entertain you until football returns.

Yankees-Red Sox…We Still Get These Games Force-fed to Us!

 

Congratulations to Mariano Rivera

Posted: September 19, 2011 by dontbeskerritt in MLB
Tags: , , ,

Mancave06 Salute To You Mr. Rivera

Mariano Rivera has solidfied himself as the greatest reliever of all-time. He picked up his 602nd save today, the most all-time in baseball. In honor of his feat, here is a link to a friend of the ManCave06 and fellow brother, Andre Fields, and his excellent piece on one of the best pitchers of all time

Continuing the Legacy: A Salute to Mariano Rivera

The Hunt-er For Competitive Baseball

Posted: July 27, 2011 by dontbeskerritt in MLB
Tags: , ,

Thanks to the NFL Lockout and the mundane and annoying lockout updates that I was forced to sit through in the heat of the summer, my love for baseball has been rekindled. I don’t if it’s me just growing older and appreciating the pace of the game, similar to an old head enjoying scotch instead of young boy throwing back shots Bacardi 151, but baseball has found its way back into my heart. I live in Philly, so the talk of the town is the heavily favored Philadelphia Phillies, with their Big 4 pitchers of Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, and Roy Oswalt (though you can throw in “Vanimal Vance Worley now), along with sluggers Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, and Chase Utley. I definitely don’t root for the team, but I can’t really hate on them either….
…Except if these guys get Hunter Pence. You see, the Phillies have an Achilles Heel – their lack of right-handed hitting. It would be like buying an Audi A5, but you throw some goodwill tires on them. Car looks nice and rides great, but at any moment you could be sitting on the side of the road with a blown-out tire. That happened to the Phillies last year in the NLCS; great pitching with Halladay, Hamels, and Oswalt but they couldn’t hit at all against the Giants, who scraped together enough runs to win the series. Now the Phillies have even BETTER pitching, but still can’t hit. Pence would solve those problems with his .309 average, 11 home runs, and 62 RBI. Oh, can throw you out at home from North Philly, as his 9 outfield assists prove. And he is doing it all on the Bad News Bears of baseball, the Astros.
So of course the Phillies should try to trade for him. They already stole Lee from under everyone’s nose, traded for Halladay and Oswalt in the span of 2 years, have grown Hamels into a force, and have kept Howard, Rollins, and Utley together. I don’t want to stop the Phillies shine; let them be great. They have a plan and they execute it well. It’s not their fault their smarter than everyone else.
My problem is that they can actually be able to put together this super team. I have a bigger problem in that it seems like only 4 teams really can. It’s the same 4 you hear about at the end of every season; sometimes you get a surprise like the Tampa Bay Rays, but it’s few and far between. What makes the NFL superior to MLB and helped the football surpass baseball is that everyone has a chance to win…unless you’re the Buffalo Bills. What made this NBA Season so great is that you knew that Miami’s super team actually had a chink in the armor; you just wanted to see if a team could expose it. But in baseball, the super teams become more powerful, while the peons suffer in the unforgiving heat of summer and Halladay fastballs. As much as the Phillies need Hunter Pence to solidify their World Series run, baseball needs to get back to some sort of competitive balance to keep my interest for years to come.