Keeping it short this week, since I have to head to the airport soon. Yes, I'm heading out to New Jersey again. There may be some drunk blogging, but I have to take it kind of easy since I have to be all involved in the meetings and can't just spend the whole time hungover. Or at least that's the theory.
WHO WAS AWESOME
1. Brian Duensing. I'm assuming you probably saw Duensing's start on Friday, but if you didn't, you missed a thing of beauty. Perhaps in was magnified by the type of starting pitching I'm used so seeing out of the Twins' rotation, but I am now really impressed with Duensing, and am starting to think he's got a good future; not an ace, but a middle rotation kind of guy - so the Twins' ace, basically. Against a quality offensive team in the Rangers, he went seven innings and gave up just three hits and walk, while allowing no runs and striking out a career-high eight. He's definitely starting to come around, and he doesn't walk anybody, has a decent strikeout rate, and gets a lot of ground balls. My new favorite Twins' pitcher? Yes. Yes, indeed.
2. Hakeem Nicks. I have been dying to write this guy up, but since we didn't do our Keeper League draft yet, I didn't want to tip my hand. Now that it's complete (yes I got Nicks) I can tell you: this guy is the real deal, and showed it with 6 catches for 144 and 2 tds in the Giants' loss to the Jets Saturday. He has good size and strength, making him an excellent red zone target, has the best hands of any receiver in the draft, and runs excellent routes. The only knock on him at all is his speed, but he was able to get behind the defense and out-run everybody for 71 yards for one of those TDs saturday and had a 55 yarder in the Giants previous game. Oh, and you know who else was thought to be slow coming out of college? Jerry Rice, Cris Carter, and Terrell Owens. And Nicks is from North Carolina, which gives me an excuse to re-post this:
3. Ernie Els. I suppose if I wanted to pick somebody from The Barclays this weekend, it would make more sense to pick little known and little ranked Heath Slocumb (no relation to the fat, crappy relief pitcher of the same name from the 90s) who drained a 20 footer for par on 18 to win - a putt that if missed would have put him into a playoff against Tiger, Paddy Harrington, Els, and Steve Stricker, but I'm going with Els instead. Ernie had seemingly dropped out of the ranks of the elite level golfers, having one just once since 2004, but has really come back on of late. He's been on quite a run, culminating in his runner-up finish this weekend in New Jersey. Prior to that he finished sixth at the PGA, and has picked up a top 8 finish in four of his last six tournaments. Big Easy might be back.
4. Zack Greinke. What more can even be said about Greinke at this point? Ho-hum, he pitched a complete game shutout, 1 hitter against the Mariners yesterday. Greinke is now first in the league in ERA by almost a half run (2.32 vs. Felix at 2.77), first in WHIP, first in OPS against, second in batting average against, third in K/9, second in K/BB, first in complete games, first in shut outs, second in strikeouts, and third in quality start percentage. And yet, because he's "only" 13-8 and plays for the crappy Royals, he won't win the Cy Young Award, in what will be a true travesty. It'll go to Beckett or Sabathia or Verlander, Texeira will win MVP, and anybody with any rational thinking skills who hasn't realized it yet will realize the MLB awards are often a joke.
5. Matt Leinart. Leinart has spent more time in hot tubs since entering the NFL than studying his playbook, and it's showed. Last season the job of QBing the Cardinals was his to take, but he lost out to 50 year old Kurt Warner, and this season a report came out that Leinart was in competition for even the back up job. Well, this weekend he took a nice step towards solidfying that back up role, throwing for 360 yards and 3 TDs against the Packers. Yes, it was the second half and thus the second team defense, but anything is a positive for Leinart now. Although there's pretty much no way he was going to lose the backup job to Brian St. Freaking Pierre - although if that motivated him, bravo Cardinals coach. Bravo.
1. Steve Marino & Paul Goydos. Nobody trusts lower tier golfer types when they have the fifty-four hole lead, and this weekend was a perfect illustration of why. Marino and Goydos were tied at nine under par going into Sunday's final round - 2 shots clear of the rest of the field, when it was all settled, Goydos dropped to ninth, Marino fifteenth. At least Goydos had the decency to take all the suspense out of it right way, double bogeying the third on his way to a four over par 75. Marino actually was part of the crowded group at the top of the leader board but completely melted down with a triple bogey at 15, and then closed out with bogeys on 17 and 18 to finish with a 77 - the worst round of the day.
2. Chicago White Sox. The always suck, but they sucked even worse this weekend, getting swept by the Yankees and getting one-hit by Sergio freaking Mitre. Just how bad are the White Sox these days? They are 1.5 games back of the Twins.
3. Toronto Blue Jays. Didn't they start the year well and look like they might be a factor in the East? Not so much anymore. After getting swept by the Red Sox, they are now 58-70, 23 games out of first. Guess you probably should have traded Halladay, huh Ricciardi? This trade deadline, when you had all the leverage. You think you're getting more for him next year? No. Whiffed on your best chance to rebuild around Travis Snider and the guys you could have gotten from Philly. Have fun in the basement for the next decade, even the Orioles look like they're figured out how to build a team.
4. Trent Edwards. Perhaps you recall once reading on this very blog how J.P. Losman was poised for a good year. Well, I was wrong. That doesn't mean the Bills have got it figured out yet though, as their starter for this year, Trent Edwards, is looking like all kinds of crap. Against the Steelers this weekend, Edwards completed just 6 of 13 pass attempts for just 31 yards and tossed a pick that was returned for a Steeler touchdown. Now, Edwards also had a game this preseason when he was a perfect 10-10, which reminds us that the preseason is generally not overly useful when it comes to evaluating players, but I still feel pretty comfortable saying Trent Edwards sucks.
5. Michael Cuddyer. I know you're thinking Cuddy had a hit in all three games this weekend, how could he have sucked? Well, I'll tell you. Saturday night, sixth inning, Twins down 2-0. Runners on 1st and 3rd. Cuddyer strikes out on a slider outside and in the dirt. Same game, Twins down to their last out - Cuddy strikes out. Sunday, Twins down 3-2 in the 8th, two runners on, Cuddyer strikes out on a slider outside and in the dirt. It's maddening. Look, I have no major issue with strikeouts. A lot of very good hitters strike out a lot. But the way Cuddy does it, he's not even getting beat by the pitcher, he's beating himself because he's either too stupid or too stubborn. I'm starting to think I could strike him out if I had a 1-2 count on him. It's enfuriating.