Wednesday, April 15, 2009
WHO WAS AWESOME
1. Denard Span. Don't look now, but when nobody was paying attention Span turned into the perfect leadoff hitter, or at least a pretty damn good one. He started the game with a ten pitch at bat (that ended in a groundout), then got the team's first hit and scored the first run, and later got an infield hit and stole a base. I'm just completely enamored with him right now. A .324 average, with 7 walks (to just 4 Ks) to bump his OBP to .439, with just a little bit of power and enough speed to beat out infield hits and steal bases (3 steals on 3 attempts). He's everything I ever wanted in a leadoff hitter and I just can't get enough of him. I could have gone with Crede for getting the game-winning hit to snap the world's longest losing streak, but I can't get over Span. I think I'm developing a serious crush.
2. Kansas Jayhawks. Ok, this actually happened on Monday, but I'm just now getting to it - both Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich of the Jayhawks said they are coming back to school for another season. I have seen in a couple places where Kansas is now considered the favorite to win the National Title this year, and why not? Collins and Aldrich were one of the top inside/outside combos last year, and will probably be the best this season with another year of experience. They went 14-2 in conference last year, and are losing nothing but end of the bench, Kevin Payton types. Soon-to-be-sophomores Tyshawn Taylor, Marcus Morris, Travis Releford, and Markieff Morris - all top 100 incoming freshmen last year - will only continue to get better, and the Jayhawks have two newcomers for next season who rank in the top 30 freshmen. Even without Aldrich and Collins, the cupboard wasn't going to be bare, but with them it looks like Kelly Clarkson's secret junkfood drawer at fat camp.
3. Nick Swisher. I wrote about Swishy pants in my weekend review this week, about how he's tearing up pitchers like he tears up the broads. Then on Monday, he hit another home run, his third of the year, not to mention pitching a shut out inning in relief, but I figured I probably shouldn't write about him two days in a row, at least as long as he refuses to grow back his sexy locks. Then yesterday, he hits another bomb and adds a double, raising his average to .458 and a league-leading slugging percentage of 1.208. Leading the league in slugging and sporting a 0.00 ERA? Could Swisher be the reincarnation of Babe Ruth? I think it's pretty obvious.
1. Marco Scutaro. I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "Marco Scutaro has always sucked. Why is this news, assface?" Well jerk, in case you missed it Scutaro actually started out the season hot, going 10-23 and adding in a couple of home runs, and everybody suddenly decided he was the sleeper of the year at shortstop. Well guess what morons? He's a career .262 hitter with a career OPS+ of 88 and a highs of .273 and 96. Do you really think he's going to suddenly become the next Cal Ripken? Welcome back to earth Mr. Scutaro, who after going 0-4 last night is now in an 0-11 slide, bringing his average back to a normal, though still too high, .294. And no matter what Dawger says, Ripken is one of the greatest players ever - Scutaro not so much.
2. Rays Bullpen. Remember last year, how the Rays pen was so good with Balfour (that one hurts), JP Howell, and Danny Wheeler? Not so much last night, with both Howell and Wheeler blowing up to lose the game for Tampa against the Yankees. Howell, who was nearly unhittable last season with a 1.13 WHIP and 2.22 ERA, picked up the loss last night giving up two hits and a run in his inning of work and has been less than impressive this year, racking up a WHIP of 1.88 and ERA of 4.91 in his four appearances. Wheeler had been fine this season up until yesterday, when he got rocked for four hits and four runs to run his season ERA to 12.00. I wouldn't exactly panic or anything just yet, but if those two (and Balfour whose ERA is over 20 right now) continue to struggle, it's going to be a real problem.
3. Cleveland Indians. Sitting at 1-7, it's suddenly looking like the Tribe's problems are not all Cliff Lee's fault. They lost last night to the perky Royals 9-3 despite a decent outing from human disabled list Carl Pavano (longer at least than the one inning he lasted in his previous start), mainly thanks previously unhittable reliever Rafael Perez giving up three walks and four runs in just over an inning pitched. There are plenty of reasons the Indians suck this year, and Sizemore's .176 average doesn't help, but it's pretty hard to look past a league worst team ERA of 8.46 - that is not a misprint - and a team WHIP of 1.8. Think about it, that's almost two opposing runners on base in EVERY SINGLE INNING. It's early still, but it's awfully hard to think they can turn it around without a single pitcher who can throw a good game and a suddenly shaky bullpen.
Tonight I will be in attendance at the Twins' win over Toronto in Scott Baker's triumphant return. Or to see him throw 1.1 innings and leave in pain, then see Phil Humber get knocked around the yard. In any case, the daily post probably won't be up until the afternoon tomorrow, so you'll have to find some other way to get through the morning at your dead-end job. Try this article, sent to me by Snacks this morning.