Saturday, July 5, 2014

My NL All-Star Ballot

C - Jonathan Lucroy, Brewers

Lucroy is the clear choice behind the dish and it’s not even close. He leads all qualified NL backstops in BA (.331), OBP (.399), SLG (.511) and fWAR (3.8). Look for Yadier Molina (Cardinals) and Buster Posey (Giants) to make the team as reserves.

1B - Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks

Freddie Freeman (Braves), resurgent Justin Morneau (Rockies) and Anthony Rizzo (Cubs) deserve consideration here, but Goldschmidt is an easy choice as he leads all qualified NL first basemen in BA (.308), OBP (.398), SLG (.545) and fWAR (3.3). Mourneau may get snubbed due to roster space. Freeman and Rizzo though have a good chance to be the Braves and Cubs representatives as a reserves.

2B - Chase Utley, Phillies

I had no second thoughts about Utley as my choice here, but I was surprised to see Daniel Murphy (Mets) leading all qualified NL second basemen in fWAR (2.6), and it was hard to ignore Dee Gordon’s (Dodgers) 40 stolen bases and 2.5fWAR (tied for second with Utley). I expect both Murphy and Gordon to be named as reserves. Gordon’s speed makes him a particularly attractive late inning pinch running weapon.

SS - Troy Tulowitzky, Rockies

This was probably the easiest vote on either ballot. Tulo already has posted an fWAR of 4.8 (Jhonny Peralta is a distant second with 2.8, which is mostly due to his defensive value), and Tulo also leads all qualified NL shortstops in BA (.350), OBP (.441), SLG (.608) and home runs (18).

3B - Todd Frazier, Reds

Frazier is having a monster offensive season leading all NL third basemen in home runs (17), isolated power or ISO (.214), SLG (.503), stolen bases (13) and fWAR (3.5). Matt Carpenter (Cardinals) and Anthony Rendon (Nationals) will likely also make the NL squad as reserves.

OF - Andrew McCutchen, Pirates
OF - Yasiel Puig, Dodgers
OF - Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins

McCutchen and Stanton were easy picks for me. The final spot came down to Puig and Carlos Gomez (Brewers). I opted for Puig as the starter. Gomez should make the squad as a reserve if he does not win a spot outright.

Photo Credits:
Top Left: Jonathan Lucroy, by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
Top Right: Paul Goldschmidt, by Christian Peterson/Getty Images
Middle Left: Chase Utley, by Dan Schultz
/Getty Images
Middle: Troy Tulowitzky, by Doug Pensinger
/Getty Images
Middle Right: Todd Frazier, by Andy Lyons
/Getty Images
Bottom Left: Andrew McCutchen, by Al Bello
/Getty Images
Bottom Middle: Yasiel Puig, by Christian Peterson
/Getty Images
Bottom Right: Giancarlo Stanton, by Kevin C. Cox
/Getty Images

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Hanging ‘Em Up with Style

macdime54:

After playing 15yrs professionally I’m humbled to announce that I’m hanging up my spikes. When one dream ends a new one begins. BIG thanks to everyone that has helped me fulfill my dream of playing in the show#TeamGrinders #TeamDirtDog #54

Outfielder Darnell McDonald, who signed a minor league deal with the Cubs last December, announced his retirement last night on Instagram. The 35-year old former first round draft pick in the 1997 amateur draft (27th overall by the Orioles) finishes with a .250/.314/.397 career slash line, 102 runs, 20HR, 42 doubles, 83 RBI and a 1.4 WAR over seven seasons and 331 games, 234 of those with the Red Sox.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

How to Calculate ERA

What’s that? You don’t know how to calculate a pitcher’s Earned Run Average? Let Hall of Famer Tom Seaver show you how.

Baseball fever.

Catch it.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Seven-Up

Seven teams completed series sweeps today.

  • The Blue Jays leap-frogged the Red Sox pushing them to the cellar in the AL East Division by one game in the loss column.
  • The Orioles dropped the Indians, a Wild Card rival, a game below .500 and improved to 9-8 since the June 30th trade for Jim Thome. However, the Orioles deficit in run differential also increased from minus-26 to minus-44 during that same time.
  • Similarly, the Mets are now a game below .500 after being swept by the Dodgers, who now trail the Giants by 1.5 games for the NL West Division crown, and the Braves by one game for the second and final NL Wild Card.
  • The Reds and Pirates kept pace with one another by sweeping their respective opponents, the Brewers and Marlins. The Reds maintain a slim half game lead over the Bucs.
  • The Tigers seized the AL Central Division lead away from the White Sox, who are now also a game behind for the AL Wild Cards.
  • Probably the unlikeliest sweep of the weekend though was the Athletics over the visiting Yankees. The A’s edged the Yankees by one-run in each of the four games in their series. The opening game of the series was decided in the bottom of the ninth, and today’s finale was decided in the bottom of twelfth.

I’m not yet sold on the A’s as a playoff contender this season. Their offense is ranked last in the AL in batting average, and next to last in the AL in OPS. Conversely, their pitchers have given up the fewest hits in the AL, and also lead the AL in ERA and WHIP. It will be interesting to see A’s GM Billy Beane’s approach as the July 31 trade deadline draws closer.

I’m also not ready to pronounce the Red Sox dead either. Their lineup is simply too potent and still getting healthy. Eventually Beckett and Lester will start to pitch like aces again too, right? The Red Sox need their aces to be aces, or they need to trade for an ace. The only real true ace who may or may not be available on the trade market is Cole Hamels. The Phillies though are working on a contract extension to retain Hamels. If the Phillies are successful in doing so, they might consider making pitcher Cliff Lee available in a trade. Another difference maker is the Mariners ace Felix Hernandez but GM Jack Zduriencik has steadfastly maintained that he will not even consider trading King Felix. Prying Hernandez from the M’s though is exactly the type of bold move the Red Sox need to make to salvage this season.

Photo Credits:
Coco Crisp, by Eric Risberg, AP
Brett Lawrie, by David Butler II, US PRESSWIRE
Matt Kemp and Juan Rivera, by Mike Stobe, Getty Images
Brandon Phillips, by Frank Victores, US PRESSWIRE
Andrew McCutchen, by Charles LeClaire, US PRESSWIRE
Jacob Turner, by Rick Osentoski, US PRESSWIRE
JJ Hardy and Jim Thome, by David Richard, US PRESSWIRE 

Monday, June 4, 2012

Yesteryear

Film footage from the Games 1 and 2 of the 1939 World Series between the Cincinnati Reds and the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium in living, vibrant color complete with stirring soundtrack. Yankees pitcher Monte Pearson took a no-hitter into the 8th inning. He eventually gave up two hits but completed the shutout for a 4-0 victory. You’ll also see Babe Dahlgren cross home plate after his solo home run in the bottom of the 4th to give the Yankees a 3-0 lead.

Saturday, April 28, 2012
A long, long time ago
in a galaxy far, far away…
August 16, 1969 - Pirates versus the Reds at Crosley Field in Cincinnati. Jim Merritt is on the mound, Johnny Bench is catching, Pete Rose is in right field and Tony Perez is poised for a bunt down the third base line. The centerfielder Bobby Tolan is playing so far into left field that he is not even visible in this photograph. The NL West division-leading Reds would go on to win 5-2. Jim Merritt went the distance to improve his record to 13-5. Dock Ellis took the loss for the Pirates to fall to 8-13 on the season.
Aside from Perez and Bench, two other eventual Hall-of-Famers played in this game. The Pirates Roberto Clemente had two hits including his 12th double of the season in his four trips to the plate. Willie “Pops” Stargell hit his 21st home run to centerfield to leadoff the top of the 2nd inning. Pete Rose may someday become the fifth player from this game to be enshrined in Cooperstown, but for now he is still banned.

A long, long time ago

in a galaxy far, far away…

August 16, 1969 - Pirates versus the Reds at Crosley Field in Cincinnati. Jim Merritt is on the mound, Johnny Bench is catching, Pete Rose is in right field and Tony Perez is poised for a bunt down the third base line. The centerfielder Bobby Tolan is playing so far into left field that he is not even visible in this photograph. The NL West division-leading Reds would go on to win 5-2. Jim Merritt went the distance to improve his record to 13-5. Dock Ellis took the loss for the Pirates to fall to 8-13 on the season.

Aside from Perez and Bench, two other eventual Hall-of-Famers played in this game. The Pirates Roberto Clemente had two hits including his 12th double of the season in his four trips to the plate. Willie “Pops” Stargell hit his 21st home run to centerfield to leadoff the top of the 2nd inning. Pete Rose may someday become the fifth player from this game to be enshrined in Cooperstown, but for now he is still banned.

Friday, April 20, 2012
10,000 Wins and Counting
The first professional baseball franchise, the Cincinnati Reds, became the sixth franchise to reach the 10,000 wins plateau with today’s 9-4 victory over the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. The Giants, Cubs, Braves, and Dodgers have also surpassed 10,000 franchise wins. Entering today’s action, the next two teams approaching the 10,000 win milestone are the Pittsburgh Pirates (9,887 wins) and the New York Yankees (9,774 wins).
Which team do you think will get there first?
Photo of Scott Rolen by Brian Kersey, Getty Images

10,000 Wins and Counting

The first professional baseball franchise, the Cincinnati Reds, became the sixth franchise to reach the 10,000 wins plateau with today’s 9-4 victory over the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. The Giants, Cubs, Braves, and Dodgers have also surpassed 10,000 franchise wins. Entering today’s action, the next two teams approaching the 10,000 win milestone are the Pittsburgh Pirates (9,887 wins) and the New York Yankees (9,774 wins).

Which team do you think will get there first?

Photo of Scott Rolen by Brian Kersey, Getty Images

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Signed and Delivered

Yesterday the Reds announced that they had reached agreement on a six-year, $72.5M contract extension with their All-Star second baseman Brandon Phillips. Today, the Rangers put the finishing touches on a five-year, $75M contract extension with their All-Star second baseman Ian Kinsler. Phillips’ and Kinsler’s new deals will take them both through the 2017 season.

Photo credits:
Ian Kinsler, by Charlie Riedel/AP 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

30 Clubs in 30 Days, Day 16 - Cincinnati Reds

The jerseys were relatively easy to find on eBay. Finding the undershirts though was sheer luck. I happened upon them at a generic sports outlet. The salesperson thought they were just t-shirts with patches, but I knew what they were as soon as I saw them. I bought them for $5 apiece.

I was forced to follow the Reds from 1977-1982 when my favorite childhood player, Tom Seaver, was traded to Cincinnati. ESPN and the World Wide Web didn’t exist yet, so every morning I would wait for my father to finish with the paper so that I could check the box scores to see if Seaver was scheduled to pitch or had pitched and how he did. Back then we also received an afternoon edition of the local paper. If the Reds played a late game the night before and the box score wasn’t ready for the morning edition, I then had to wait until I came home from school to check the sports section.

Ah memories.

Damn, I’m getting old.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Happy Birthday Sparky

Hall of Fame manager Sparky Anderson would have turned 72 today.

Other notable baseball figures celebrating birthdays today include Casey Kotchman (29), Daniel Nava (29), Kelly Johnson (30), JJ Putz (35), Kazuhiro Sasaki (44) and Don Wakamatsu (49).