Tag Archives: barry zito

Random Thoughts Vol.2

Hit me... I dare you.

It’s been a month… time for more random thoughts.

I’m pretty sure that even if Dontrelle Willis’s improbable comeback as a pitcher fizzles out, he can be a DH or first baseman with that bat.

The Pirates are now dead… I knew it couldn’t last.

FC Barcelona losing to Chivas USA is the equivalent of Michigan losing to Appalachian State.

Justin Verlander might throw 6 more no hitters this year… I’m not joking about that either.

The U.S. Women didn’t choke.

(I mean did you watch the game? Japan never died. They kept fighting back and took advantage of the opportunities that were given to them. Sure the U.S. missed chances in penalty kicks where the Japan goaltender all of a sudden looked like Ken Dryden. However, you can’t say that they choked the game away when Japan played well in the face of adversity. Sometimes teams give games away but most times teams pull victory from the jaws of defeat. That’s what Japan did.)

Isn’t it funny that Ben Roethlisberger provided good off-season news for the Steelers as opposed to everyone else?

I’m surprised Steve Williams didn’t rip Tiger Woods even more than he did.

The Red Sox have not had a solid starting staff for the entire season with bullpen issues… yet have been in first place since June. And you think Adrian Gonzalez doesn’t deserve MVP?

Randy Moss aint done… seriously.

Are Tyler Seguin and Brad Marchand the more extreme version of Mike Richards and Jeff Carter?

Seguin and Marchand are really enjoying winning the Stanley Cup.

I hate Merrill Hoge… but he was right about Tim Tebow…

And LeBron James would back him up wouldn’t he.

(My least favorite basketball player who shrinks in the moment defending the most overrated athlete not named Jimmer Fredette… god has a sense of humor.)

Kevin Durant dropped 66 at the Rucker… somewhere Russell Westbrook was seething.

Nice to see that Shea Weber got $7.5 million in arbitration… he’ll get that when he’s a Red Wing next year too.

The most aggravating rotation in baseball would consist of A.J. Burnett, John Lackey, Barry Zito, Edinson Volquez and Zach Greinke… with Burnett leading the league in headaches.

(I hate A.J. Burnett.)

The Eagles are the new Heat.

Osi Umenyiora can talk about a new deal all he wants. However, if he follows up another big sack season with a small sack season… kick rocks.

Ocho and Brady… Jesus.

What do you think Carson Palmer will do with all that money now that he’s retired?

Kyle Orton has lost his starting jobs to Jay Cutler, Rex Grossman and Tim Tebow…if he went on a 12 month bender I wouldn’t judge him.

Oklahoma is no.1 in the coaches’ poll. The last team to start the season no.1 and finish it as such… 2004 USC… good luck Boomer Sooner.

Strasburg is coming back… *giddy face*.

Shaq and Barkley on TNT… I need my cable back and fast.

The Red Sox traded for Erik Bedard to help their rotation… his ERA at Fenway is near 7 lifetime… I’m starting to feel ok that the Yankees didn’t get anything before the deadline.

Ryan Howard in his last 3 games has 3 home runs and 6 RBI, yep it must be August.

Michael Irvin on the cover of a gay magazine to promote equality of all people. Don’t know if I would’ve done it but very gutsy.

I win... again.

Duke being investigated for violations in recruiting… told you that no one is clean anymore.

When is Verlander’s next start again?

(We’re at a point with Verlander that he is must see TV. Verlander throws harder than anyone else in the league and his location has improved to the point where now he is close to pinpoint accurate. If you play the Tigers and Verlander is up on the mound then you might as well take it as a loss. He’s currently baseball’s best hurler and he hasn’t even hit his prime yet. Imagine this guy in 4 years… scary.)

Yani Tseng is the most dominant athlete in the world right now. And I am well aware that she is a 22 year-old female golfer and not many people watch women’s golf, but you should watch her.

Dan Uggla has a 25 game hitting streak… yet is batting .213… ummm?

NFL players like talking smack about how bad Roger Goodell is in the media, yet the signed this new CBA like everything is ok. Either take action or shut the hell up.

Is it wrong that I’m more excited for Syracuse football than Ohio State football? Keep in mind that I’m an OSU grad though I grew up with the ‘Cuse.

When A-rod retires there will be no specials on his greatness, no lauding over his accomplishments… hell there maybe a party thrown just for the fact that we never get to hear his name again.

(I haven’t been on A-Rod in a while but he’s like a bad ex-girlfriend he always finds a way to drive you crazy.

Really A-rod… illegal poker rings? And you still go after MLB and the Yankees tell you not to?

The Yankees are in a pennant race, one game back of Boston with the biggest part of the season approaching and you decide to blow a few thousand in front of low lifes, coke users and violent outcasts.

Eat your heart out Red Sox Nation.

I always say that I’m over A-rod but I really mean it this time. If this is true and A-rod did violate MLB policy then the Yankees should find a loophole in his deal, drop him like a bad habit and let Eduardo Nunez go through his growing pains at third.

I’m over the A-rod drama, I’m over the fact that there is always something with him and I’m ready to move on from him. Hopefully the Yankees brass feels the same.)

Kate Upton’s a Yankees fan, thank you God.

Had to end it off positively. Have you ever seen Kate Upton? That would make anyone feel good even when your third baseman is a perennial screw up.

Baseball Preview Day 1: San Fran’s Rebirth

Yep... those are your World Series Champs.

Four years ago the San Francisco Giants were Barry Bonds team.

At age 43 he was the aging, controversial face of the franchise that was on the verge of breaking sports greatest record all with the cloud of steroids hanging over his head.

He was mercurial, powerful, flawed, eye-popping and everything in between. He was also San Fran’s biggest hindrance as much as he was its main attraction. Even though he smacked balls over outfield fences with Herculean ease and it drew millions of fans and thousands of media personnel, his involvement in the steroid era is what drove the Giants over the edge.

Bonds and his life became bigger than the Giants. No one cared about the individuals that surrounded him, that coached him, or that hit behind him… it was all about him. The homeruns, the walks, the flaxseed oil, the cream, the clear, it was all about Barry Bonds all of the time. It didn’t matter that J.T. Snow was still playing three years after he should’ve retired, or that their rotation wasn’t good enough to contend in the Pac-10 it was the Bonds show 24/7-365.

When Bonds finally did break Hank Aaron’s homerun record in 2007 you could see a shift in the organization almost immediately. In plain view the organization praised Bonds, celebrated him, honored him, behind the scenes however, they were planning on how to move forward.

You see as much as Bonds dragged the Giants through the mud with his pursuit of Aaron and evasion of the feds, the Giants went along with it because of the financial gains that came with such a chase. After the chase was finished the Giants were eager to start anew and it showed.

At the end of the season Bonds was not resigned. All of the murals, signs and everything that had to do with Bonds were quickly removed. The mission was simple, the Giants wanted to get as far away from Bonds as possible and recreate their identity.

The Bonds era was a gift and a curse for the Giants.

They had young guys that they were dying to trot out on to the field, able bodied young men who could bring the heat on the mound and the wood at the plate. Guys like Tim Lincecum, Jonathan Sanchez, Matt Cain and eventually Buster Posey and Travis Ishikawa. These were there building blocks for the future, the guys that would make the Giants relevant again as a team.

Let’s just say the Brian Sabean was right in his methods.

4 years later there isn’t a quirkier, weirder, more fun group of players on one team the there are with the San Francisco Giants.

One look at the roster and you would think that this couldn’t possibly be a serious Major League contender for a title. Lincecum looks like he belongs in an emo band, Cain looks like a Judd Apatow comedy character, third baseman Pablo Sandoval’s nickname is Kung Fu Panda and his weight last year could’ve verified that and Brian Wilson is… well… Brian Wilson.

The team is more like the Goonies than a professional ball club. The personalities make for fun fodder in the media and on television; however the product on the field more than outshines the 30 million quotables we might hear from these guys this year.

For all of the talk about the Phillies Fab 4 of Halladay, Oswalt, Hamels and Lee, the Giants have a case for the best rotation in the league. Lincecum is a two-time Cy Young winner and at age 26 who might be the best power pitcher in the league at 5-11 165. Cain might be more talented than Lincecum and began coming into his own last fall with 21 1/3 innings of stellar pitching where he only allowed one earned run. Sanchez has a no-hitter under his belt and even though he has spells of inconsistency he can be a sub 3 ERA, sub 1.2 WHIP guy. Finally how about Madison Bumgarner? The brightest star of the World Series last year will get his first full season of pitching under his belt after watching his 8 inning shutout of a gem in Game 4 at Arlington last October. When you think about it Barry Zito was brought in to be their ace 4 years ago at 19 million a season over 7 seasons, now he’s the fifth starter and had no impact on their title run last year at all. If he can finally break .500 and go 5-6 innings consistently then how can this rotation not be considered the best in the bigs?

The lineup is more of a crap shoot, but they have guys that can get the job done when asked. Veteran Aubrey Huff was a perfect fit at first base and had one of his best years statistically last year and with Sandoval in better shape those numbers could go up. The star of the group is Posey though. Posey was a mate may call-up that fit in right away and was a stud at and behind the plate. He led the team with a .305 average and 18 homeruns in the last four months of the season. He became the bat the Giants craved for years and he also matched the hype that came attached to his name coming out of Florida State.

Meet Buster Posey a.k.a. baseballs next great catcher, and the face of the Giants.

His work behind the plate was amazing as well. Even though Lincecum struggled at times last year the Giants led the National League in ERA (3.36), strikeouts (1331) and batting average allowed (.236).

He’s arguably the face of the franchise and is well on his way to be the best catcher in the league.

The best of all of these guys has to be Brian Wilson. His antics are great for TV with his “tanned” beard, his “gimp” looking buddy the machine walking around and his penchant for the ridiculous. His pitching is decent too.

Wilson has established himself as the game’s best closer leading the league in saves last year with 48 and a fastball reaching 100 on the gun. He is this generation’s Mariano Rivera, because once he’s in the game its lights out for the competition.

Watching this group come together last year was a fun experience and a reminder of how quickly an organization can change.

4 years ago they were club Bonds with limited membership. This year it’s a gang of misfits who enter 2011 as World Series champions and have a great shot at repeating. It’s a great turn around a great team to follow.

With the way that they are built they should be good to follow for a long time.

A Little Baseball Reality Check

Don't panic, Tex will turn it around.

You know what you learn from the first two weeks of baseball? Nothing. The first month, two even for that matter. The first two weeks are like extended spring training where pitchers and hitters play with each other in full game action without any short limits on pitch counts and can go full speed. All these two weeks are, are just like the opening night of your favorite play: they’ve rehearsed, dry runs and costume designs, or redesigns (love the Tampa Bay blue unis) and now let’s put it all together in front of a nice crow.

So naturally there are going to be some bumps, bruises and miscues as the show goes along. Just keep this in perspective baseball fans… THERE ARE 162 GAMES IN A SEASON!!! DON’T CRY ABOUT YOUR TEAM SUCKING WHEN NOT EVEN 10% OF THE SEASON IS IN THE BOOKS!!!

This isn’t the NFL were having two bad weeks of football could kill you by week 17, its ok that Mark Teixeira is hitting .114, its ok that the White Sox are having troubles hitting the ball, or that Jimmy Rollins and Brandon Webb on the DL. We haven’t even hit interleague yet.

Here are some early season trends that will continue, will come to a halt soon, or if they’re not fixed could mean trouble down the line:

Mark Teixeira, New York Yankess: .114/1/6. Tex is a slow starter by nature, last year he didn’t hit his first home run of the season until his 58th at-bat, he finished with a league leading 39. The Yanks have jumped out to a fast start thanks to great starting pitching (no not you Javy Vazquez) and timely hitting from 5th in the order down. Tex normally heat up in late May so keep your shirt on.

Prince Fielder, Milwaukee Brewers: .244/0/3 15 strikeouts. This is a guy that’s averaged 40 homeruns and 120 RBI in the last 3 seasons establishing him as one of the premier first basemen in the game. What’s disturbing is his strikeout total. He’s on pace for over 200 K’s this year and he’s never had 140. A visit from the pitching inept Pirates should start to get him going.

The Boston Red Sox: 4-9, 4.65 Team ERA. Their lead hitter is Jason Varitek, every starter has an ERA of more than 4 except Clay Buckholz, Kevin Youkilis is hitting .211 after a brilliant opening game against the Yankees and David Ortiz is still ready to set Boston reporters on fire… as much as I want this to continue it won’t. Youkilis is one of the best hitters in the game, but he has no protection in the lineup with Ortiz struggling early behind him and Victor Martinez hitting .208 in front of him. it would also be of help if Jacoby Ellsbury would get out of his personal funk and become the threat on the base pads that he was last year, he has only two swipes so far this year. The rotation is a different story. Dice K’s shoulder still isn’t responding properly and Time Wakefield, Jon Lester, Josh Beckett and newcomer John Lack have been awful. Lackey’s bomb on Monday against Tampa was the latest shelling suffered by the starting rotation. They have the best bullpen in the game, but it means nothing if the rotation can’t get their stuff right and give the pen the support they need. I think the Red Sox will get it together, but with the way that the Yankees and Rays have jumped out, it might be a little hard to come back if this is still the case in May.

New York Mets: 5-8. David Wright is struggling, again. Jose Reyes can’t hit, and Johan Santana is struggling. The papers in New York are calling for phenom Ike Davis to come up and bring some thunder to the struggling lineup. They need Crash Davis and Ike Turner at this point. I knew the Mets weren’t going to be good, but they may be worse than I thought.

Jason Hayward, Atlanta Braves: .302/3/15. He’s been better than advertized in Atlanta thus far from the opening day homer to the game winning hit on Sunday. However, he is a rookie, he will hit a wall and his average and production will dip. His strikeout total will continue to rise.

Barry Zito, San Francisco Giants: 2-0, 1.86 ERA, 0.88 WHIP. Zito looks like the guy from his Cy Young winning days in Oakland. A bust in his first two years in San Fran Zito has looked like an ace again going 6 innings in each of his first three starts. I don’t think he’ll keep up at this pace all year but he certainly won’t be the bust that he’s been the last two seasons.

Barry Zito is starting to earn his money.

Houston Astros offense: .233/2/12. You think they need Lance Berkman? Carlos Lee is batting .104 in the early going. Team that with an already erratic staff and you see why they’re in last place in the Central, and will stay there.

Roy Halladay, Philadelphia Phillies: 3-0, 1.12 ERA 21 K’s. yeah, like you didn’t expect that to happen.

Josh Willingham, Washington Nationals: .359/3/10 .692 slugging. He’s making Nats fans forget that Adam Dunn is… well… done. His power numbers aren’t a surprise because he was a big bopper in Florida. His average is shocking as he’s never hit more that. 277. His average will drop but he should go for 30/100 this year.

Chicago White Sox: where do we start? They’re 5-9, no one has a batting average over .260, Jake Peavy is struggling, so is Gavin Floyd, they are last in the majors in hitting and run production and Mark Buerhle is the only thing going good for them pitching wise. They sit in last place currently, yes the Royals are Hitting, pitching and playing better than them. While I don’t think it will continue, you have to wonder if the Chisox are capable of pulling themselves out of this mess. The leadership of Jim Thome and Jermaine Dye is missing and nothing that Ozzie Guillen is doing thus far seems to be working. Hopefully they get better, but who knows.

Ok, there. There are a few things to digest early in the season. Some guys are hot and get cold and vice versa, unless you’re the Mets, they’re already done. Just keep this in perspective, its April there is time for change. However, early bad habits do have lingering effects.