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Saturday, September 17, 2011

Strauss: Motte gets an endorsement as closer

It’s time to reconsider Mottel 6 ERA!

If Cardinals management approaches him later this month about Jason Motte’s readiness to close games for the club in 2012, bullpen coach Derek Lilliquist has a ready answer: Absolutely.

Having witnessed Motte’s evolution from almost solely a four-seam pitcher into a talent who commands a sinker and a cut fastball, Lilliquist offered his emphatic endorsement before Friday’s series opener against the Philadelphia Phillies. “I don’t have to think about it. I’ve got my answer,” he said.

Motte entered the weekend as the National League’s most dominant reliever since the All-Star break. His 0.32 ERA since the break leads both leagues, and his 1.56 season ERA ranks fourth among league relievers. Motte has ...

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Repoz Posted: September 17, 2011 at 01:28 PM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, projections, sabermetrics

Dutton: Team has to figure out what it will do with Melky Cabrera

Malted Melk, Malted Melk, try’n to drive my Royals blues away.

The Royals have three basic alternatives with Cabrera:

•Seek to trade him for a much-needed boost to their rotation. They made Cabrera available in July before the nonwaiver trade deadline but couldn’t find anyone willing to meet their price of a bankable No. 3 starter.

•Offer arbitration and brace for a significant increase from his $1.25 million salary. That keeps the club’s options open, limits its commitment and, frankly, diminishes the chance of Cabrera becoming satisfied and lapsing into his 2010 form.

•Try to work out a multiyear extension as they did with right fielder Jeff Francoeur. A two-year extension for Cabrera, which is what Francoeur got, ...

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Repoz Posted: September 17, 2011 at 01:08 PM | 25 comment(s)
  Beats: business, projections, royals, sabermetrics

When White Sox season ends, Adam Dunn will try to forget it

Operation Mincedonkeymeat: The Season That Never Was.

Get your questions in now to Adam Dunn about his horrible season of a lifetime. When it’s over in 11 days, the subject will be closed.

“I want to take this season for what it’s worth, finish this out, go home and somehow erase this, pretend this never even happened,’’ Dunn told the Sun-Times on Friday. “That will be hard, but once the last out is made, I’m never going to talk about it again. Not during the offseason, not next season. Never again.’’

...“It’s something I realize I don’t like doing, that’s for sure,’’ he said of sitting on the bench. “I ain’t built for this. Sure, I understand it. I know I’ve done it to myself. This is the first time ...

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Repoz Posted: September 17, 2011 at 12:41 PM | 27 comment(s)
  Beats: history, white sox

English: Journalists don’t belong in game

I agree…although BaseballGB does occasionally have some neat stuff.

(Richard) Griffin is the Toronto chapter president of the BBWAA. In that role he chooses the eight local baseball writers who will vote on this year’s awards. He was on the road with the Jays this week and I wasn’t able to talk to him.

I did discuss this with sports editor Jon Filson and columnist Cathal Kelly. Both defended the tradition, making the strong case that the voting process is transparent — players, other journalists and readers can learn who each journalist voted for following the vote.

“There is no one who doesn’t take this seriously. Your professional reputation is on the line. If you gave your MVP vote to someone who didn’t deserve it, you ...

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Repoz Posted: September 17, 2011 at 12:11 PM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: awards, business, media, special topics

MLB.com: Fister leads the way as Tigers clinch Central

The Tigers can start making their postseason plans.

Detroit captured the American League Central crown Friday night by beating the Oakland A’s, 3-1, as right-hander Doug Fister—who came to Detroit from Seattle in a July 30 trade—turned in another brilliant start, winning his fifth straight game.

The Tigers won a division title for the first time since 1987, when they were in the AL East, and first time since joining the AL Central in 1998.

NTNgod Posted: September 17, 2011 at 05:06 AM | 27 comment(s)
  Beats: tigers

AL West race: September 16, 2011

TEX 86-65 [9-5 in SEPT]
LAA 82-68 [9-5 in SEPT] (3.5 GB)

MLB.com: Rangers blanked, but West lead remains same

...the Rangers opened a three-game series at Safeco Field with a 4-0 loss to the Mariners on Friday night.

MLB.com: Haren hit hard…

“It hurts,” Haren said following the Angels 8-3 loss to the last-place Orioles. “Everyone knows every game is so important. I feel terrible.”

 

NTNgod Posted: September 17, 2011 at 05:03 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, game recaps, rangers

NY Times: Hills Alive With Sound of Huckleberries

heilige Kuh!

Watching Rizzuto, Ford and Berra — in video never seen publicly — on a diamond in Austria during a baseball season appears to make little sense. After all, Rizzuto still had a job then as a Yankees announcer.

But this was mid-September 1994. Major leaguers had been on strike for more than a month and the World Series was about to be canceled.

And thousands of miles away, in Austria, some aging Yankees players and some other retired major leaguers were in Yankees road grays in the village of Stockerau to play an exhibition game against an Austrian team in a country far better known for skiing than baseball.

Branca was there. So were Bill White, the former St. Louis Cardinals player and National League president, as ...

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bobm Posted: September 17, 2011 at 03:50 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: international, yankees

NL Wildcard race: September 16, 2011

ATL 86-65 [6-10 in SEPT]
STL 82-68 [10-4 in SEPT] (3.5 GB)

MLB.com: Lowe falters, Braves lose Wild Card ground

[Derek] Lowe experienced his shortest outing of the season and allowed the first of the two homers David Wright hit while helping the Mets hand the Braves an ugly 11-2 loss on an unseasonably chilly night at Turner Field.

MLB.com: Chambers’ first hit keeps Cardinals rolling

NTNgod Posted: September 17, 2011 at 03:26 AM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, cardinals, game recaps

AL Wildcard race: September 16, 2011

BOS 87-63 [4-11 in SEPT]
TBR 83-67 [9-6 in SEPT] (4 GB)

MLB.com: Beckett strong as Boston pads Wild Card lead

Boosted by the return of Josh Beckett from a sprained right ankle, Boston staved off those pesky Rays, 4-3, on Friday night.

Instead of seeing their Wild Card lead slimmed to two games, the Sox instead opened it back up to four with 12 left to play. And they snapped a six-game losing streak against the Rays, in which they had been outscored, 41-12.

NTNgod Posted: September 17, 2011 at 03:22 AM | 54 comment(s)
  Beats: game recaps, rays, red sox

Friday, September 16, 2011

Joe Mauer diagnosed with mild pneumonia, might not play again this season

Drew breath. Pain. Drew Butera. Pain+.

Twins catcher Joe Mauer has been diagnosed with mild pneumonia and will miss the next two weeks of the season, which means he will perhaps not return to the field in the 2011 season.

Mauer, who has been plagued by injury problems and illness all season, received the diagnosis after visiting the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. The Twins said he had a persistent cough on the just-concluded two-game road trip to Kansas City.

Twins trainer Rick McWane set the two-week time frame for his return.

Repoz Posted: September 16, 2011 at 10:43 PM | 24 comment(s)
  Beats: twins

FanGraphs: Cistulli: Matt Wieters Is Becoming Matt Wieters

As if being a Anthony Volodkin/Pierre Schaeffer bastardo pop king previously was so damn bad!

Matt Wieters entered his rookie season of 2009 with considerable fanfare — especially among the baseballing nerd community. Even before he’d played his first major-league game, Wieters had been celebrated both as the sporting version of Chuck Norris and, by the PECOTA projection system, as very possibly the best hitter in the majors.

...The second reason we ought to consider Wieters’ recent excellence with more weight than we would another player’s is owing to something we might call the Alex Gordon Factor. Like Wieters, Gordon was an elite college hitter. Like Wieters, Gordon was taken very early (second overall, 2005) in the draft. ...

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Repoz Posted: September 16, 2011 at 09:28 PM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: history, projections, sabermetrics, scouting

Coolstandings: Top Historic Collapses in Baseball History

hellodes, points out…“List of regular season collapses, ranked by mathematical unlikelihood:”

Here are the most dramatic regular season collapses, covering all seasons back to 1903, sorted by each team’s peak playoff chances of the season. None of the listed teams made the playoffs in that particular season!

Click on the date to jump to the standings reflecting the team’s high point for the season, and click on the team link to see its daily playoff chances. You can also toggle between our “smart” and “dumb” modes.

Repoz Posted: September 16, 2011 at 09:11 PM | 31 comment(s)
  Beats: history, projections, sabermetrics

DiGiovanna: Angels’ starting pitching could make them dangerous in playoffs

Mike Butcher, the Angels’ pitching coach, said he would take Jered Weaver, Dan Haren and Ervin Santana “over anybody’s top three starters in the game.”

That would include the Philadelphia Phillies, who have the best record in baseball and a rotation led by Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee, who have three Cy Young Awards between them, and Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt.

“Absolutely,” Butcher said. “We’re not pitching to a pitcher. I obviously respect what they do in Philadelphia. Those four guys are all very good. You can’t deny their stuff.

“But I love our three guys. They all give us a chance to win and match up well with anyone in baseball. Those three guys are as good as it gets.”

Those three guys are why many think the Angels, despite their ...

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still hunting for a halo-red october (in Delphi) Posted: September 16, 2011 at 06:17 PM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: angels

L.A. Times: Angels’ Mike Scioscia sees improvement in 2012 schedule

It appears someone in the commissioner’s office was listening to Manager Mike Scioscia’s heavy criticism of this year’s schedule.

Major League Baseball released the 2012 schedule Wednesday, and 22 of the Angels’ final 31 games will be against American League West teams. Scioscia is a strong proponent of teams’ opening and closing the season against teams in their division…

Scioscia, who as a member of baseball’s special committee for on-field matters has considerable input on issues such as scheduling, won’t be satisfied until realignment produces three five-team divisions in each league and even more division games…

“We need schedule reform that coincides with realignment and a more balanced test for each team within its division, ...

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still hunting for a halo-red october (in Delphi) Posted: September 16, 2011 at 06:11 PM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, business

SABR: Strasberg’s Quest: Deliver 50 Talks on Roger Maris This Year

Bah! I once delivered 2 pizza pies to Elliott Maddox’s house.

Strasberg grew up in the Bronx and, unlike many fans his age, idolized Maris — the polar opposite of his beloved teammate Mickey Mantle. As a teenager, Strasberg struck up a friendship at the ballpark with the reluctant superstar, passing notes to Maris in the parking lot and chatting with him before games. Maris once promised him a broken bat and delivered it after returning from a road trip to Anaheim; Strasberg still treasures the prized possession.

After Maris was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals, Strasberg — by that time a student at the University of Akron in Ohio — drove to Forbes Field to introduce his college buddies to his major league friend. They didn’t ...

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Repoz Posted: September 16, 2011 at 04:46 PM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, hall of fame, history, yankees

Prelude to a save: A closer’s guide to choosing the right entrance song

Closers need these songs more than anyone. Pitching just one inning to end the game, they rely on elements of intimidation that workhorse starters can’t sustain over six or seven innings. Closers are performers in the full sense of the word, and their entrance music is nearly as much a part of their personas as a filthy slider or 97-mph fastball. Yet few understand what makes a good entrance song. They have much to learn. Most of which, incidentally, can be found in the following guide.

Dudefella Posted: September 16, 2011 at 03:05 PM | 48 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, brewers, giants, mets, music, orioles, padres, phillies, rangers, red sox, twins, yankees

Former Reds farmhand, 100, finally gets called up

Only in baseball…

The 100-year-old rookie shortstop could still nail a runner at first.

“My arm’s in good shape,” Len Kahny said, firing an imaginary rocket across a make-believe baseball diamond. “But,” he added as he pulled himself up in his wheelchair, “my legs are shot.”

He looked down and slapped his century-old thighs. Then, he gazed in silence at a photo of him in a thick, wool Reds uniform from spring training of 1936.

The home team is honoring him for passing the 100-year-mark with box seats to Saturday’s game and birthday greetings on the scoreboard.

“I don’t expect a bash at the ball park,” Kahny said. “It’s Johnny Bench’s night.”

“That’s OK,” Kahny said. “Bench had a much better career than me. I was just lucky to play ...

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Repoz Posted: September 16, 2011 at 10:42 AM | 31 comment(s)
  Beats: history, prospect reports, reds

Terry Collins Says Team Has ‘Folded It Up’ After Completing 1-8 Homestand

Folding@home: FLOPS!

New York lost its sixth straight, one shy of its longest skid this season, and finished 1-8 on the penultimate homestand of the year. The sluggish Mets (71-79) managed five runs in the four-game series and were outscored 48-26 on the homestand.

Moments after the latest loss, Collins said he was “disgusted” with how his team has been playing and took the blame for the poor performance.

“The perception I have right now: We folded it up. And I won’t stand for that,” he said. “You want to see me be intense? You guys are going to see it. I don’t play that game.”

...As a tight game turned into a rout in the late innings Thursday, third baseman David Wright committed his sixth error in six games and eighth ...

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Repoz Posted: September 16, 2011 at 09:43 AM | 48 comment(s)
  Beats: mets

Ex-Ballplayers Offer Coffee’s Answer to Chew

Uuuggghhhh…Ga..Ga..Gaggia (blorrcch)

Matt Canepa and Pat Pezet did just that through years and years of unsuccessful amateur and minor league baseball careers. In 2008, after wrapping up their amateur season to return to California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, to finish their degrees, the two men took the saying a step further.

One too-hot night while working on an economics project, they decided to skip out on brewing a pot of coffee in favor of doing what comes naturally to baseball players: They stuffed wads of grinds in their mouths.

“The buzz kicked in and we said, ‘Shoot, we might be on to something,’” Canepa says.

That something was Grinds, tiny chewable pouches of flavored coffee grinds. Each pouch contains ...

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Repoz Posted: September 16, 2011 at 09:25 AM | 32 comment(s)
  Beats: business, media, memorabilia

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 9-16-2011

Toledo News-Bee, September 16, 1911:

Pitcher Frank Smith, of the Reds, who suffered a peculiar accident while the team was in Philadelphia, will be out of the game for the remainder of the season.  While telephoning in the room of his hotel he rested one foot on a stool.  The stool suddenly gave way, and his foot slipped through a window pane.  A large artery in Smith’s leg was cut and only quick medical attention saved his life.

With all due respect to Marty Cordova, Vince Coleman, and Glenallen Hill, I think this vaults to the top of the list of weird MLB injuries.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: September 16, 2011 at 07:29 AM | 33 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

MLB.com: Sandoval hits triple to complete the cycle

Pablo Sandoval used every ounce of speed his legs could provide to notch a sixth-inning triple against the Rockies on Thursday, and it was enough to give the Giants third baseman his first career cycle.

Sandoval’s cycle was the 25th in Giants history.

Sandoval hit a two-run homer in the first inning to set off the big night. He singled in the second inning and hit a leadoff double in the fifth.
...
Sandoval… collected the first Giants cycle since Fred Lewis accomplished the feat on May 13, 2007, also at Coors Field. It was the second cycle this season, as the Brewers’ George Kottaras hit for one on Sept. 3 against the Astros.

NTNgod Posted: September 16, 2011 at 03:55 AM | 32 comment(s)
  Beats: giants

AL West race: September 15, 2011

TEX 86-64 [9-4 in SEPT]
LAA 82-67 [9-4 in SEPT] (3.5 GB)

MLB.com: Rangers keep offense churning, pad lead

For the 10th time in the last 12 games, the Rangers scored six or more runs, and Alexi Ogando tiptoed out of an early jam to toss six shutout innings as the Rangers defeated the Indians, 7-4, on Thursday at The Ballpark in Arlington.

NTNgod Posted: September 16, 2011 at 03:54 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, game recaps, rangers

Josh Hamilton’s Grand Slam Earns Free Flooring for Lucky Customers

Many teams run quirky promotions during games but seldom do we see them payout. On Wednesday in Arlington, one finally came through.

Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton clubbed a grand slam to cap an eight-run fourth inning against the Indians. The grand slam came during a one-month promotion where customers who purchased and installed flooring and countertops from CC Carpet would be refunded if Hamilton hit a grand slam.

Hamilton’s power will floor you!

Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: September 16, 2011 at 03:28 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: business, rangers

LSU baseball: Former LSU baseball player Terry Belle killed in car accident

Former LSU baseball player Terry Belle, twin brother of former Tiger Albert “Joey” [Belle] died in a car accident last Saturday in Paradise Valley, Ariz.

Belle, 45, earned three letters from 1985-88 and played on LSU’s first two College World Series teams. He batted .276 in 135 career games with 11 homers and 65 RBI.

Belle’s two children were in the car with him at the time of the accident, but were apparently unharmed. RIP.

Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: September 16, 2011 at 03:24 AM | 29 comment(s)
  Beats: college, obituaries


Plunkett: Angels’ Abreu endures his toughest season

No need to call Nomar…Bobby Abreu is not under water!

“There’s not a player that’s 37 that has the same skill set they had 10 years ago,” Scioscia said. “Everybody in that room, as you play major league seasons, there’s a wear and tear on your body that will erode some things that you did easier 10 years ago.

“Every player that comes up gets better to a certain point and then there are diminishing returns. … There are guys whose skill sets are in decline that are off the charts. Scott Kazmir was obviously in decline to the point where he was under water. Bobby Abreu is not under water.”

...General Manager Tony Reagins said he does not regret that option year.

“At the time of the deal, it made sense for us,” ...

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Repoz Posted: September 16, 2011 at 03:01 AM | 23 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, history, projections, sabermetrics

AL Wildcard race: September 15, 2011

BOS 86-63 [3-11 in SEPT]
TBR 83-66 [9-5 in SEPT] (3 GB)
LAA 82-67 [9-4 in SEPT] (4 GB)

Angels back in for the moment (4 games without any HTH matchups is really about as far out as I want to take it at this stage)

MLB.com: Rays ride three homers to trim Wild Card deficit

A broken-bat single got the karma moving in the Rays’ direction Thursday night in a 9-2 win over the Red Sox at Fenway Park.

By winning, Tampa Bay (83-66) whittled Boston’s (86-63) lead for the American League Wild Card spot to three games. While doing so, the Rays took their sixth consecutive game against the Red Sox while moving to 10-5 on the season against their AL East rivals.

NTNgod Posted: September 16, 2011 at 02:09 AM | 98 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, game recaps, rays, red sox

Cue the ‘Sandman’: Mariano, song synonymous

Attending the Padres’ run to the World Series in San Diego back in 1998, members of the Yankees’ upper brass saw how enthusiastically the crowd reacted when Hoffman entered to AC/DC’s “Hells Bells.”

“The Yankees executives who were there saw the great entrance and said, ‘Wow, we need something like that for Mo,’” Bonner said.

Bonner started with the team in 1999, so among the first orders issued to him and scoreboard assistant Joe Pullia were to find a suitable song that would accompany Rivera on his charge out of the bullpen.

Before “Enter Sandman,” two Guns N’ Roses songs—“Welcome to the Jungle” and “Paradise City”—were actually used in games early in 1999, to lukewarm reception.

“It just didn’t have that feel,” Bonner said.

Mike ...

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Gamingboy Posted: September 16, 2011 at 02:02 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: yankees

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Catching up with ... Barry Bonnell

11:11! The universe is made of vibrating double B, double R, double N, double L energy!.....I can’t wait to disappear!

These days, writing is Bonnell’s iron in the fire. He has several projects either completed or in some stage of development. “I kind of work on what is yanking my chain at the moment,” he said via an email interview this week.

Bonnell said he’s about midway through a book he believes “will revolutionize hitting instruction.” But he’s spending most of his time on a teenage science fiction piece set in Milford called “MUFOC,” for Milford UFO Club.

“My friends and I actually had a UFO investigative club with an adult advisor, if you can believe that,” Bonnell said. “The book is based on that club, ...

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Repoz Posted: September 15, 2011 at 11:38 PM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: books, fantasy baseball, history

Marlins player cut after flight attendant incident

The Marlins cut outfielder Mike Cameron late Monday night for conduct detrimental to the team. Two sources on Wednesday gave the reason: Cameron got into a verbal altercation with a flight attendant on the team’s charter flight from Pittsburgh to Atlanta on Sunday.

The altercation did not turn physical, but the charter company filed a complaint. The Marlins’ front office believed it could not keep Cameron after the incident.

Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: September 15, 2011 at 09:35 PM | 40 comment(s)
  Beats: miami

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