Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Please Go Back To The High Five.

Enough is enough. Wasn't it bad enough that Kendry Morales is lost for the season with the Angels due to an over-the-top celebration of a game winning homer? No, now Chris Coghlan of the Florida Marlins has torn a meniscus cartilage in his left knee jumping up to pie face Wes Helms after a recent victory. What's next before these guys realize that what they are celebrating one victory out of a potential 162. I cringe when I see teams celebrating a victory on a random day as if they had just won Game 7 of the World Series. I can understand the wild celebration when the team wins their first division title since Ty Cobb played or after they win the league championship. I'm not saying to celebrate, but don't be so over-the-top that someone ends up hurt because of it.

To quote Vince Lombardi who stated to a running back after an overly exuberant display of celebration: Next time you make a touchdown, act like you've been there before. In the case of the Major Leaguers, Next time you hit a walk off, act like you've done it before. High fives work as well today as they did 20-years ago.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

First No-Hitter For Each Franchise Post 1900

With Matt Garza's no-hitter against the Detroit Tigers last night, Tampa Bay was taken off of the list of those franchises that have never had a no-hitter thrown by one of their pitchers. I found this list on and decided to post it here for your information.

Angels Bo Belinsky against the Baltimore Orioles May 5, 1962
Astros Don Nottebart against the Philadelphia Phillies May 17, 1963
Athletics (1) Weldon Henley against the St. Louis Browns July 22, 1905
Blue Jays Dave Steib against the Cleveland Indians Sept. 2, 1990
Braves (2) Big Jeff Pfeffer against the Cincinnati Reds May 8, 1907
Brewers Juan Nieves against the Baltimore Orioles April 15, 1987
Cardinals Jesse Haines against the Boston Braves July 17, 1924
Cubs Jimmy Lavender against the New York Giants Aug. 31, 1915
DiamondBacks Randy Johnson against the Atlanta Braves May 18, 2004
Dodgers (3) Mal Eason against the St. Louis Cardinals July 20, 1906
Giants (4) Christy Matthewson against the St. Louis Cardinals July 15, 1901
Indians Bob Rhoads against the Boston Red Sox Sept. 18, 1908
Mariners Randy Johnson against the Detroit Tigers June 2, 1990
Mets Yet to throw no-hitter
Marlins Al Leiter against the Colorado Rockies May 11, 1996
Nationals (5) Bill Stoneman against the Philadelphia Phillies April 17, 1969
Orioles (6) Earl Hamilton against the Detroit Tigers Aug. 30, 1912
Padres Yet to throw no-hitter
Phillies Chuck Fraser against the Chicago Cubs Sept. 18, 1903
Pirates Nick Maddox against the Brooklyn Superbas Sept. 20, 1907
Rangers Jim Bibby against the Oakland Athletics July 30, 1973
Rays Matt Garza against the Detroit Tigers July 26, 2010
Red Sox (7) Cy Young* against the Philadelphia Athletics May 5, 1904
Reds Nixey Callahan against the Philadelphia Phillies July 12, 1900
Rockies Ubaldo Jimenez against the Atlanta Braves April 17, 2010
Royals Steve Busby against the Detroit Tigers April 27, 1973
Tigers George Mullin against the St. Louis Browns July 4, 1912
Twins (8) Walter Johnson against the Boston Red Sox July 1, 1920
White Sox Frank Smith against the Detroit Tigers Sept. 6, 1905
Yankees George Mogridge against the Boston Red Sox April 24, 1917

* Asterisk denotes Perfect Game

(1) Then the Philadelphia Athletics
(2) Then the Boston Doves
(3) Then the Brooklyn Superbas
(4) Then the New York Giants
(5) Then the Montreal Expos
(6) Then the St. Louis Browns
(7) Then the Boston Americans
(8) Then the Washington Senators

Cy Young holds the distinction of being the only pitcher to throw the first no-hitter in a franchise's history as a perfect game with the Boston Red Sox in 1904. Randy Johnson holds the distinction of breaking the no-hitter barrier for two teams: the Seattle Mariners and the Arizona Diamondbacks. Both the New York Mets and San Diego Padres have never had a no-hitter thrown in their franchise history.


For Further Reading:
- Click Here to see the article by Bill Chastain on the first no-hitter for each franchise since 1900.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Possible AL Triple Crown and NL ERA Dominance

Amid all the talk of Robinson Cano having an MVP type season for the New York Yankees this season, there is a possibility that there may be a legitimate shot at someone achieving the batting Triple Crown for the first time in 43 years. To clarify, the batting Triple Crown is achieved by one person leading the league in the following categories: Batting Average, Home Runs and Runs Batted In. This milestone has been reached by only 14 players with Carl Yastrzemski of the Boston Red Sox being the last to do so in 1967. The Triple Crown has happened nine times in the American League while only five times in the National League. Two players have won the Triple Crown twice: Ted Williams (1942, 1947) of the Boston Red Sox and Rogers Hornsby (1922, 1925) of the St. Louis Cardinals. The remaining list is full of baseball royalty such as Nap Lajoie, Ty Cobb, Jimmie Foxx, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle, Frank Robinson, Chuck Klein and Joe Medwick among others. So who among the current crop of Major League players in is contention? Read on.

- Miguel Cabrera
Last season, Cabrera garnered the one first place vote for MVP that did not go to eventual league MVP Joe Mauer. This season he continues the torrid pace with a .337 average (currently 3rd place behind Josh Hamilton .347 and Justin Morneau .342), 22 homers (currently tied for 2nd place behind Jose Bautista 25) and is first in RBI's with 79.

- Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers
Hamilton continues to write the story of his miraculous comeback from drug abuse and adversity by currently leading the majors with a .347 average, has 22 homers (currently tied for 2nd place behind Jose Bautista 25) and has 66 RBI's (currently 7th).

-Vladimir Guerrero of the Texas Rangers
Arguably the longshot of the three to win the Triple Crown, Guerrero has re-established himself as an offensive force in baseball after a number of injury plagued seasons with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (I really hate having to call the Angels that, LOL). Guerrero is batting .322 (currently 8th) with 20 homers (currently 11th) and 76 RBI (currently 2nd behind Miguel Cabrera)

There you go folks, here is a listing of some of the dominant well-rounded hitting in the post "*" baseball landscape (as my friend Harper refers to the "steroid" era) during the recently christened Year of the Pitcher. And speaking of the Year of the Pitcher.

-The National League ERA race
Ubaldo Jimenez generated the early season buzz in terms of a low ERA. As I posted on my Latinoball blog page on June 13, 2010 called Ubaldo Jimenez is Chasing History at the time Jimenez was 12-1 with 1.16 ERA. This placed him in the company of such pitchers as Juan Marichal and Eddie Cicotte while being in mentioned in the discussion of possibly reaching the pinnacle that Bob Gibson accomplished in 1968: 1.12 ERA. Since then, Jimenez is still on pace for an over 20-win season. He is currently 15-1 with a 2.20 ERA in 127 innings pitched with 3 complete games. Jimenez has 113 K's, 46 BB's and has given up 87 hits for a WHIP of 1.05. This is definitely not shabby in the least but Josh Johnson of the Florida Marlins has stepped his game up to trump Jimenez.

Johnson is currently 10-3 with a league leading 1.62 ERA in 128 innings pitched with 1 complete game. Johnson has 130 K's with only 28 BB's and has given up 96 hits for a WHIP of 0.97. This is especially impressive since the Florida Marlins are not an offensive force and Johnson has single-handed done his best to balance the lack of offense with a lack of runs allowed. In his last 10 starts, Johnson is 6-2 with a 0.76 ERA in 71 innings pitched. Johnson has only given up 6 earned runs in those last 10 starts. What is a shame is that in both losses in that stretch, Johnson has given up only 2 earned runs in 15 innings pitched (one was a 2-1 loss to the San Diego Padres and the other was a 1-0 loss where Roy Halliday pitched a perfect game for the Phillies). It gets even worse for Johnson. During the two no-decisions that he is credited with during that stretch, Johnson gave up only 2 earned runs in 14 innings pitched. That is truly amazing feat of pitching in a situation where run support is limited. But that's not all. Let me shed light on one more pitcher.

Adam Wainwright of the St. Louis Cardinals should not be left out of the discussion. Wainwright is currently 14-5 with a 2.02 ERA in 142.1 inning pitched with 4 complete games and 1 shutout. Wainwright has 130 K's, 30 BB's with 107 hits for a WHIP of 1.00. Wainwright poses a serious threat to both Jimenez and Johnson in the Cy Young award race. I'm thinking he's salivating for another crack at the award especially since he went 19-8 with a 2.63 ERA last season with the award going to San Francisco's Tim Lincecum.

As with the Triple Crown race in the AL, it'll be interesting to see which one of the three pitchers I highlighted will come out on top in the NL.


For Further Reading:
- Click Here for a listing of the Triple Crown Winners from Baseball

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The NL Wins the 81st Mid-Summer Classic

Amid the pall surrounding the death of "The Boss" George Steinbrenner, the National League won their first All-Star game since 1996 with dominating pitching, timely hitting and alert defense. The final score was 3-1 thanks in part to a bases clearing double by Atlanta Braves Catcher Brian McCann. McCann drove in three runs with his rope into the left field corner against White Sox reliever Matt Thornton. The NL pitching kept the AL powerful offense to only one run while striking out eight. The AL also ran themselves out of potential runs with Elvis Andrus over-sliding second base on a steal attempt and with David Ortiz being thrown out at second base by Left fielder Marlon Byrd in the bottom of the ninth. It is at this point that some controversy may develop.

AL Manager Joe Girardi had one player left on the bench. Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez was available to play and could have either pinch-ran for Ortiz or pinch-hit for Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler who eventually lined out to Centerfielder Chris Young of the Arizona Diamondbacks. But in the end, A-Rod watched with the rest of his All-Star teammates as the NL broke the AL's 13-year win streak. Already the internet is buzzing with criticism of Girardi's decision to not play A-Rod. I have to admit that I sat there watching wondering why Kinsler was still batting instead of A-Rod.

A-Rod said after the game that he was fine physically, but just didn't get the call from New York manager Joe Girardi. Here is what he said:

"I sat there for about three hours, but I was loose and I was ready to go in the eighth and ninth," Rodriguez said. "We had a couple of situations where I could have gone in, but it was up to him on which situation to put me in. But it's not my first. Thank God everything's good and I'm ready to go on Friday."

Joe Girardi had the following to say when asked about why he didn't use A-Rod in the ninth inning:

"If the situation arose, you get extra innings, he probably would be my DH," Girardi said of A-Rod. "We were talking about pinch-running him in a situation. We also had a little issue with [Adrian] Beltre, and we were concerned about his hamstring. So if we get the tying run on, Al was going to pinch-run and then go in."

I have to say that I am proud of A-Rod for his comments. A few years ago he may have been slighted by Girardi's decision to not use him causing terrible damage to his frayed psyche and made comments that would have destroyed the team's chemistry. A-Rod admitted that he missed not being at the All-Star game last year in St. Louis and cherished being given the chance to be at the game this year. I guess last year's admission of his steroid use, his subsequent humbling and the achievement of his longtime goal of becoming a World Champion has changed A-Rod for the better. It also seems as if he hold no ill will towards his manager. Hopefully for the Yankees that this is the case. In terms of the home field advantage won by that National League for the World Series, we'll find out in October if it is truly an advantage or not.

For Further Reading:
- Click Here for Lyle Spenser's article on on the All-Star game and postgame comments made by Girardi and Rodriguez
- Click Here for Mark Feinsand's article on concerning A-Rod's feelings on returning to the All-Star game

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Mr. Bob Sheppard 1911-2010

The baseball world lost a true legend today. Mr. Bob Sheppard passed away at the age of 99. The longtime Yankees Public Announcer bridges generations for the legendary franchise. Mr. Sheppard worked the public address system for the Yankees from 1951 to 2007 (Sheppard, who also announced the New York Giants games from 1956 to 2006). Described by Reggie Jackson as the "Voice of God" Mr. Sheppard's career started by announcing such Yankees names as DiMaggio, Berra and Mantle and ending with Jeter, Rodriguez and Rivera. Mr. Sheppard announced 62 World Series games in his career.

Going to a Yankees game will never ever sound the same. Rest in peace Mr. Sheppard.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Next Stop on the Cliff Lee Express? Texas!

Here is the report straight from Fox Sports:

Updated Jul 9, 2010 5:47 PM ET

Cliff Lee is headed to the Texas Rangers.

As first reported by the New York Post, the Rangers landed the ace left-hander and relief pitcher Mark Lowe from the Mariners in exchange for first-baseman Justin Smoak, right-handed pitchers Blake Beavan and Josh Lueke, and second-baseman/outfielder Matt Lawson.

The Yankees had emerged as the front-runner earlier Friday before a proposed deal stalled due to the Mariners’ concerns over an ankle injury to one of the three players they would have received, Double-A second baseman David Adams, major-league sources said.

The Rangers, identified Thursday as the front-runner by one rival general manager, made another push that was successful. The Mariners had been scouting the Rangers' farm system.

Earlier Friday, the Mariners were set to accept a package of three prospects from the Yankees for Lee — Adams, Triple-A catcher Jesus Montero and Triple-A right-hander Zach McAllister, sources said.

Montero was the centerpiece of the deal. Adams was widely reported to be the second piece.

Lee, a 31-year-old left-hander, is 8-3 with a 2.34 ERA this season. He was scheduled to pitch against the Yankees in Seattle on Friday night.

Includes reporting from the New York Post.

So Nolan Ryan finally gets a stud starter to anchor his rotation. I'm not sure if the team will be able to retain Lee's services past this year since the ownership issue of the team is still up in the air. Basically, this makes Lee a hired gun that the Rangers will utilize in their attempt to win the American League West from the perennial division champions: The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The plot out West thickens.


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

My POV on Lee and Strasburg

I have a few things that I want to touch upon right before the All-Star break. Here goes:

- Cliff Lee
Cliff Lee is arguably the best pitcher in the American League and some may even say currently pitching in the game. Sure Ubaldo Jimenez is currently 14-1 with a 2.27 ERA but he has slowed down from his torrid pace to start the season by winning only one of his last three starts and giving up 17 earned runs in 17.2 innings while in his previous 102 innings he only gave up 8 earned runs. Lee on the other hand missed the first month of the season and is 8-3 with a 2.34 ERA for a Seattle Mariners team that has had its shared of troubles this season. So far in 13 starts for the Mariners, Lee has only had two no-decisions, one start of 6.1 innings, three of 7 innings with the remaining 9 starts being of 8 innings (five starts) and 9 innings (four starts). Cliff Lee is what you would call a quality pitcher. He currently leads the A.L. in ERA (2.34), WHIP (0.95) and complete games (5). I would also venture to say that he leads the league in trade rumors. Speaking of which.

Rumors have linked Cliff Lee with two American League teams: The Minnesota Twins and the Tampa Bay Rays. Let me touch on the Twins first. The Twins have not had a pitcher of Lee's caliber since they traded Johan Santana to the Mets in 2008 and have been rumored by Jeff Fletcher of AOL Fanhouse of offering prospects OF Aaron Hicks and C Wilson Ramos to Seattle for Lee. The Cincinnati Enquirer speculated that the Reds would make an offer to Seattle in the form of prospects headlined by 1B prospect Yonder Alonzo, the 2008 first round draft pick for the Reds. Most intriguing has been the statement by Rays owner Stuart Sternberg that money would not be an issue at this year's deadline and there has been a rumored three-team trade that would involve Cliff Lee and Tampa's B.J. Upton. I've always felt that the ideal place for Lee to be traded to was the New York Mets. The combination of Santana and Lee with Pelfrey and Niese make the Mets a favorite to win the Wild Card and make them strong contenders for the N.L. East. Whether or not Seattle trades him remains to be seen. We have an interesting three weeks to go until July 31st.

- Stephen Strasburg

Those that hear me talk about Strasburg feel that I am against the kid succeeding. Not so. I have only felt that the kid has not been able to pitch in any real trouble situations since the organization has had him pitch against sub-standard MLB lineups. Before this week, the only strong lineup that he faced was the Chicago White Sox while he dominated the Pirates and the Royals and was good against the Indians. This week showed me something about him.

Strasburg faced better lineups in the Atlanta Braves and New York Mets. I watched him pitch in the Braves game and came away with the following points of view. The Braves were able to work him to longer pitch counts that other teams by showing patience at the plate. Strasburg only struck out 7 Braves while he averaged 10 K's per game in his previous 4 starts. He also faced his first real trouble spot with bases loaded and no outs in the 6th inning. To be fair, he walked Chipper Jones and gave up a scorching single to Brian McCann but would have had a runner on third with two outs if the shortstop had made the play at short instead of booting the ball. The Braves being a better offensive team, were able to capitalize on the error by scoring 4 runs off of him, of which 3 were earned. Against the Mets he also not as effective by walking 3 and striking out 5 in 5 innings and giving up 2 runs, both earned.

These two starts were more impressive to me since he was able to pitch in and out of trouble and even though he didn't dominate, it showed that he was able to play under pressure in trouble situations. All pitchers get hit and many don't win games. All I wanted to see was how he performed in those situations and he showed me that he could. One last thing about Strasburg.

This whole drama about his not making the All-Star team is ridiculous. He is 2-2 in only 7 starts. There are pitchers that have 9 and 10 wins and did not make the roster. Those players would be more deserving that him at this point. Strasburg has more that enough years to make All-Star teams. Let him earn them as every one else.