It is truly amazing how truly, frighteningly awful my golf picks for the majors have been so far this year. First, I was absolutely convinced Jim Furyk was going to win The Masters. He shot 80 on Day 1 and missed the cut. Then I made Hunter Mahan my pick for the U.S. Open. He shot 80 on Day 1 and missed the cut. For the British Open, I couldn't decide between Ernie Els and Justin Rose. They both missed the cut. And, I went on and on about how awesome the British Open is, and then we end up with the boringest major in a hundred years. Seriously, congratulations to Oosterhuizen and everything, but he got lucky twice with weather to get a big lead then coasted to the win and nobody ever bothered to challenge him. Impressive win to be sure, but boring as all hell.
In conclusion, I suck.
WHO WAS AWESOME
1. Carl Pavano. Honestly, what more can be said about Pavano at this point? Who would think he'd be putting up a career year at this point? His 3.48 ERA would be his third best ever, second best if you make more than 100 innings a requirement. His 1.03 WHIP would be the best of his career. His four complete games (3 out of his last six games) are already double his career best, and his 1 shutout ties his season best. A 34-year old soft-tossing nancy is suddenly one of the best pitchers in the league and capable of carrying a staff - like he did with his complete game on Saturday, just when the Twins needed it most. And he may be getting a little lucky BABIP and strand rate-wise, but really not much. This is a legit career year. So let's not waste it, kids.
2. Francisco Liriano. Might as well include him here, too, since he came up with a pretty big outing on Friday right when they needed him too. Similar ERA to Pavano, but they've arrived there in different ways. Liriano has allowed more baserunners, has struck out a lot more guys,and where Pavano has been been a bit lucky Liriano has been a bit unlucky, but either way it's clear these two are going to have to carry this team. Not saying they're Drysdale/Koufax or anything, but it certainly seems like we have ourselves a bit of a "Liriano and Pavano and pray for a tornado" kind of situation. It works better if you pronounce tornado with a bit of a schwa sound. Or like you imagine a British guy would say it.
3. Tim Lincecum. It's sort of boring to write about Wiley Wiggins here seeing as how he's won the last two NL Cy Young awards and just kind of keeps chugging along. He picked up win #10 for the year on Thursday, just cruising against the Mets with a six-hit shut-out. He is once again leading the league in strikeouts and is top 10 in ERA, and although he probably won't win a third straight, he can take solace in the fact that if you put his name into google when it does that thing where it adds words onto your search, "Tim Lincecum Weed" is the first entry. Also I know I'm not exactly the first person to make the Tim Lincecum/Mitch Kramer comparison, but come on, it's uncanny. Creepy, even. And don't forget, Mitch Kramer was a pitcher. Do you think they're the same person? Cuz it'd be a lot cooler if you did.
4. Demarcus Cousins. He tailed off a bit towards the last couple of games of Summer League, finishing 1-12 and 3-15 from the floor in the final two games, but Cousins looks like he is everything he was advertised to be, and maybe even more. What I saw with my own eyes was a guy who showed a more complete offensive game than he ever did at Kentucky. I think in college he didn't have to show an impressive offensive game because he could just overpower everyone, but in Summer League he really showed that he can score in a lot of ways. Nice. But what I read about, was how he complained about every call, got in running verbal battles with every opponent, and basically acted completely uncoachable. Kind of like he was in college, but worse. Much worse. One thing is for certain - this is going to be an interesting ride.
5. Gordon Beckham. Funny Beckham story. He's struggled all year, and was hitting just .216 going into Thursday's first post All-Star Break game agains the Twins - a game Snacks and I attended. As Beckham gets up for his first at-bat, Snacks turns to me to say, "What happened to this guy? I thought there was going to be a new guy to hate in the division for years, instead he looks like he's going to get sent down" and before he can even get to "guy", Beckham hammers the ball over the fence on his way to 2-3 night. He then went 2-3 and 1-3 before finishing the series by going 4-4 against the Twins. So to recap, he sucks. Snacks questions his ability. He responds by going 9-13. So Snacks single-handedly saved Gordon Beckham's career. Thanks a lot, A-hole!
1. Dan Gladden. I've ripped Gladden here before, both for using the nickname "Dazzle Man" as well as for being a complete dickmitten when it comes to talking about baseball, but he hit a new low on Thursday, low enough that a low-level meaningless third-rate blogger thinks he deserves his own section in WHO SUCKED. Anyway, to refresh your memory, the Twins lost to the Sawx thanks to Kevin Slowey and Alex Burnett sucking, plus little baby boy Morneau's headache kept him out of the lineup. It was the first game after the All-Star Break, and thanks to Kate J. I attended. On the way home, the Dazzle Man's reason for the loss, "You know, after three days off it's tough to get back into the rhythm of playing again." Now is probably where I should go into some kind of tirade, but this one is just so over the top I'm just going to stop talking and let it sink in. I'm not talking now. Be the ball, Danny.
2. Al-Farouq Aminu. Remember how last week I was talking about the Clippers sucked and were making bad offs-eason decisions including their drafting of Aminu and then there was that one guy who left a comment and said I was stupid? Well who's laughing now? Aminu has been B-R-U-T-A-L in Summer League. He's shot 29% in the five games, with games where he shot 4-13, 3-12, and 3-15. Even in his best shooting game where he went 4-9 he turned it over 4 times and committed 8 fouls (they allow 10 for some reason). And for a 6-9 athletic player five rebounds per game in Summer League isn't very good. Basically he's shown one skill and that's getting fouled and making free throws. Valuable to be sure, but it wouldn't kill him to hit a shot once in a while.
3. Justin Morneau. Seriously? SERIOUSLY!!!???!?!?
4. Bobby Jenks. It's always nice to know that you're never quite out of the game when you still get to hit against Bobby Jenks aka "Stupid Fat Idiot" as he's known around my house. One of the announcers kept harping about how Jenksy was 20-21 in save opportunities for the year and had saved 15 in a row, and I kept thinking that's awfully hard to believe. Then you look at his stats and see he has an ERA of 4.76 and a WHIP of 1.56, and things are even more confusing. Basically he's somehow doing an ok job, but when he flames out he flames out spectacularly, as we all know. In the ten games this year where he's allowed at least one run in half of them he allowed at least two and three times he's allowed three. So basically when he comes in the game he either shuts you right down or you're going to light him up like he was Nick Blackburn.
5. Scott Baker/Kevin Slowey/Nick Blackburn. Good god take your pick, because these guys all suck and they're killing the team's season. If they don't get it figured out, and it's seeming more and more like they won't, it won't matter how much of a career season Pavano and/or Delmon Young have - they won't win a division this way. Seriously, at this point they might as well replace these three clowns with Jeff Manship, Anthony Swarzak, and Glen Perkins. They couldn't possibly be worse. I read they're finally at least moving Duensing into the rotation, but I have a feeling it might be both too little, and too late.
Finally, and this could probably deserve all five spots on the Awesome list by itself, but here is Miguel Angel Jimenez's shot on 17 on Saturday. Sadly, it still ended up as a double-bogey, but it's still pretty sweet and the kind of thing you'd be more likely to see in a game of Golden Tee. Check it: