Way too tired from the weekend at the cabin to do a true introduction here, so I'm not going to. And the fishing sucked.
WHO WAS AWESOME
1. Cliff Lee. Cliffy just keeps driving his price up. He's about as white hot as a pitcher can get, throwing 17 innings this week and giving up just four runs while striking out 13 and walking just two. That included a complete game win over the Yankees, which made Lee's third straight complete game and the fourth in a stretch of five games. His ERA is now down to 2.34, and his strikeout-to-walk ratio is 100-8. Yes, 100-8. Frankly, dude is redonkulous and he's peaking right now. It might be expensive for the Twins to get him, but if they haven't given up on the season yet (and frankly, they might want to consider that) they need to pay whatever Seattle wants, because if Detroit or the White Sox get him, it's over. Well, more over than it already is.
2. Carl Crawford. He ripped up the Twins pretty good, which followed him ripping up the Red Sox pretty good, in a season where he's ripping up pretty much everybody. And I just love this guy. He could stand to walk a little bit more, but how can you not love a guy who's going to hit .300 for you with 15 homers, 30 doubles, ten triples, and steal 60 bases at about an 85% clip? In baseball history, a player has stole at least 50 bases, been caught 10 times or less, and hit 10 home runs in a single season just 19 times - Crawford has done it three times (Rickey also did it three times). And guess what kids? He's a free agent after this season. If they are actually committed to making Cuddy Bear into a third baseman, I say go all the way and put him there full-time next year, sign Crawford, let Thome walk, and move Kubel to full-time DH. Seriously, Crawford is so good. Gimme gimme gimme I need I need.
3. Justin Rose. Pretty good bounce back for Rose this week at the AT&T National. Last week, Rose looked like he was going to be the runaway winner at the Travelers after stringing together three good rounds, but a disastrous 75 on Sunday dropped him to ninth. This week, rather than let that derail what has been a good year, he went out and did it again, racing out to a big lead by Sunday, but avoided the crash and shot a final round 70 in route to a one-shot win over Ryan Moore. That means his last three tournaments have gone win-should have won-win, and he's absolutely peaking for the British Open in two weeks, a tournament where he generally plays pretty well. And I was just able to snag him early this week at 33-1 to win.
4. Matt LaPorta. You remember LaPorta, right? He was the big centerpiece in the deal the Brewers made to acquire C.C. Sabathia from the Indians (a deal that, despite the results, should be the blueprint for the Twins to acquire Cliff Lee). Since then he's kind of puttered around, hitting .254 in 200 ABs last year and .236 so far this year, all while showing the power of Nick Punto - not exactly what was expected of him. But since the Indians traded Russ Branyan last week and installed him as the full-time first basemen he's shown flashes. He started the week with a home run in three straight games, bringing his season total to four, and then closed the week with a three-hit game against Oakland. It might not be much, but he has raised his average from .211 when he was sent down in early June to .236 now, so maybe he's figuring it out. Or maybe it's a small sample size fluke.
5. Miguel Olivo. If you've been paying any attention to Matt Wieters, and I know I have, you know he sucks beyond anything since Mark Salas. The reason I bring that up, is that Wieters sucked so bad we had to bench him in fantasy, and to replace him in the lineup Snake picked up Olivo - and it's paid off brilliantly. After thrashing the Padres and Giants this week to the tune of .409/.435/.727, which included a 9-16 stretch, he's now hitting .307 for the year with 11 home runs and 39 RBI. Notice anything fun about those numbers? Yep, they're all better than what Joe Mauer is doing. Just a brilliant move by the Royals letting this dude go and instead tossing a shitload of money at crappy old Jason Kendall instead. There's a reason Kansas City hasn't been relevant since the early 90s. Also Miguel Olivo is better than Joe Mauer. Fact.
1. South America. Brazil and Argentina were two of the favorites to win the World Cup, and may even have been the top two teams, depending on who you asked. And with teams like England, France, and Italy already eliminated their paths to the final looked almost preordained. Unfortunately for them, Germany and the Netherlands had other ideas. First, the Dutch knocked of Brazil 2-1 thanks to an own goal and an ejection, and then the Germans completely destroyed Argentina 4-0, their third game with four goals in the tournament. They are looking awfully good right now, and I'd expect the winner of Germany/Spain on Wednesday day ends up taking this thing. No offense to Uruguay or the Netherlands, but I'd put my money on the Germans.
2. Timberwolves. I'm sorry, but they are seriously confusing the crap out of me. I don't really know what they were doing with the draft last year, I don't know what they were doing this year, and I don't have any idea what they're doing with their cap room. Bringing over Pekovic is fine, and it sounds like he's supposed to look pretty good, but signing Darko to a 4-year, $20 million when nobody else was going to offer him four years or $5 per year? This contract should have been either 4 years/$8 million or 2 years/$6 million. Such a bizarre decision. I heard somebody on the radio describe David Kahn as the scariest GM in ball, but not because of his plan or anything, but because he seems to be doing the kind of long-term damage that can ruin a franchise. I believe it. I seriously have no idea what he's thinking.
3. Matt Guerrier. Not a great week for Mr. Guerrier, who allowed at least one run in three of his four appearances this week, including that complete meltdown on Saturday. His overall numbers are still good (ERA of 2.82, WHIP of 1.12) and he continues to be effective despite mediocre stuff, so let's hope this isn't the start of his annual "tired arm meltdown." Despite all the times perception doesn't match reality, occasionally they sync up; Guerriers ERAs for April-September: 3.59, 1.97, 2.75, 3.15, 4.66, 4.27. He's heading towards a possible third straight year leading the league in appearances, so I'd say the burnout is more likely than not. Let's hope Neshek and/or Condrey are ready when his arm gets tuckered out so they can just be plugged in.
4. Dontrelle Willis. Well you got to figure that's about it for Willis, barring a complete reinvention, after he was designated for assignment by the D-Backs earlier this week - which makes two teams that have given up on him this year (the D-Backs got him from the Tigers for essentially nothing). He walked 27 batters in 22 innings for Arizona, and has basically been a walk machine since he went crazy bananas back in 2008 when he walked an astonishing 35 batters in 24 innings, which followed a 2007 where he led the league in runs allowed (as in he allowed the most runs, not the fewest). Hard to believe this is the same guy who burst on the scene and won rookie of the year in 2003 and then put up a gem of a season in 2005 and finished runner-up in the Cy Young voting. He's only 28, but I'm not betting on a comeback because that's now three full seasons of complete disaster. I am now resisting putting a "D-Train/Trainwreck) joke. I'll save those for Jesse Crain.
5. NBA Free Agency. I know I already mentioned the Wolves, but overall this has been pretty boring, right? Nowitzki back to Dallas. Pierce back to the Celtics. Gay back to the Grizz. Joe Johnson gets his max deal (mistake), but it's to go back and be a Hawk again. Lame. The only remotely interesting deal so far is Steve Blake to the Lakers, which is a nice deal for everyone involved. It sounds like Amar'e has either already agreed or is close to agreeing to a deal with the Knicks, and the Suns have clearly moved on, signing both Channing Frye and Hakim Warrick, so maybe this will get things moving. I'm thinking Wade and Bosh to the Bulls, LeBron to the Knicks and then they swing a deal for a point guard (Tony Parker?). I don't know what is going to happen to the Wolves, but I'm willing to bet they overpay for David Lee despite the fact that his numbers came on a bad D'Antoni team and as such are inflated two ways, and then, since they have Lee, Love, and Jefferson they'll trade Jefferson for fifty cents. Great. Awesome. Sweet.
Also way too tired for an outro. If you don't like it you can go to hell. I have an 8am fart-tastic meeting tomorrow, what do you want from me?