Monday, June 13, 2011

Week in Review - 6/13/2011

Guess who had Ruler on Ice to win the Belmont at 42-1?   Yep.  I know my only published pick (via Twitter) was Master of Hounds so you'll just have to take my word for it.  That means I've nailed the winner in the last two triple crown races and my two picks finished 2nd and 3rd in the Kentucky (and I picked the winner of the derby last year).  I think it's safe to say I'm awesome at handicapping horses.  So I celebrated by cooking up some steaks, and I want to share the method here with you - the Alton Brown method.  Simply salt and pepper your steak, then turn a burner on the stove up to high and preheat your oven at 500 degrees.  Once everything is heated up, toss some olive oil in a cast iron pan and throw the steaks in there on the burner.  2-minutes each side to get a nice sear.  Then throw them in the oven and go two minutes per side again (may have to adjust up or down for desired doneness).  And that's it.  Super simple and completely delicious, maybe even superior to using the grill.  Give it a shot.

Now on to the boring part.


1.  Francisco Liriano.  He ended up losing the no-hitter and the shutout, but Franky's outing on Sunday against Texas was far, far more impressive than the actual no-hitter he threw earlier this year.  He was actually hitting his spots (first time ever?), his fastball had some major tail action on it, his slider was basically unhittable, and he was even using his change-up effectively.  He was perfect through six and didn't allow a hit until the 8th, which was almost inevitable after the Twins kept him on the bench for nearly a half-hour by battering a couple Texas pitchers for five runs in the bottom of the seventh in that rare occasion when you actually want your team to hurry up and get out.  You could tell his rhythm was broken after that (that's on him, of course, you need to be able to adjust to that) but altogether his performance was nothing short of dominant.  This version of Liriano is an ace, a game-changer, a slump stopper, and a potential playoff killer.  It's just too bad we only see this version once a month or so. 

2.  Ben Revere.  Snacks already claimed him as his new favorite player so I won't step on any toes, but man I really like Revere right now.  He's not perfect or anything - he doesn't walk enough to be an elite leadoff guy, he has no power at all, and his arm would be better suited to playing second base - but what he does have is energy, speed, great center field instincts, and he's giving the team what they need - a jolt of energy.  Infield hits, bunt hits, reaching base on a wild pitch after striking out, stealing bases, he's just really fun to watch.  Now, I know this schtick will get old unless he learns to walk, learns to have a little power, or can hit .330, but for now you can put me in the "big fan" camp, and I think he has far more potential than Gomez.  I don't know that he'll ever develop much power, but his plate discipline says he should learn to walk and he did hit over .300 at every minor league level, so I'm encouraged.  Side note - I was going to sponsor his page, but some jackhole beat me to it. 

3.  Dallas Mavericks.  It's tempting to give most of the credit for the big finals win to Dirk, but really there are a bunch of guys who carried this team at times.  Terry had a monster game in the clinched and was their whole offense in the first half, Kidd was hitting his shots and running the offense as only an old man can, and Tyson Chandler had the kind of finals that makes guys millions, if only he was a free agent.  Hell, even Deshawn Stevenson made a difference, both with his defense on baby soft Lebron and his 3 big 3-pointers in the first half tonight.  I hate manufactured crap like "this is what happens when a real 'team' takes on 'superstars"", but for this series at least it was the truth.  Miami had no answer for the fluid way Dallas played together and thank god.  On a happiness scale I'm not sure if I'm happier that Dirk won or Lebron lost, but they both rank way up there.

4.  Mike Leake.  Welcome back, Mr. hippie surfer shoplifter, welcome back indeed.  He had an insane rookie year that saw him skip the minor leagues entirely and get off to an absolutely blistering start (5-0, 2.22 ERA through early June), but since then things have been very rocky.  He ended up burning out last year and was shut down in late August after he put up an ERA of almost six and a half in his next 10 starts and a disastrous move to the bullpen.  This year has been rough as well with an injury, the whole shoplifting thing, his first ever minor league action, and a move to the bullpen, but things might be coming around now.  Back-to-back 8 inning efforts with just two total runs allowed and and 11-to-2 strikeout to walk ratio this week.  Love this guy, love everything about him, and very glad to see him back to makin' hitters look like fools, as well as seeing him back on our fantasy team.

5.  Mike Moustakas.  Yet another one of Kansas City's stud prospect, third baseman Mike Moustakas made his debut this past week and .  Eric Hosmer looks like the real deal and Alcides Escobar is their SS of the future who is valuable even if his hitting doesn't come around, so they've got 3/4 of the infield covered.  Now, Moustakas and Hosmer were generally ranked #1 and #2 in their system, so not everyone else has their pedigree, but it's notable that they have catcher covered (Wil Myers, #8 prospect in all of baseball by Keith Law) so if they can just find a few competent outfielders (I think Jarrod Dyson has a future similar to Escobar, but in CF) their future lineup should be pretty well set.  The biggest question will be enough pitching will develop to make them competitive, but the minors are pretty heavily laden with big-time pitching prospects (including Danny Duffy, Jeremy Jeffress, Aaron Crow, and Tim Collins who are already up).  Things better come together, because I have a $100 bet with Snacks that the Royals will win the AL Central before 2015, and god knows I can't afford to lose that kind of money.  I would hate to have to choose between booze and feeding my kids.  I think we all know which way that one is going to go.


1.  Colby Lewis.  You remember good ole Colby, the dude who the Twins chased on Saturday after just more than an inning?  You might remember him as the guy who gave up two hits each to Alexi Casilla and Delmon Young despite pitching just one and third innings.  Not to mention giving up a sick number of hits/runs in between and getting run early with a final line of 1.1ip/7h/6er.  Ouch.  But what you might not know is that he also pitched against the Tigers earlier this week and might actually have pitched worse.  Line:  3.1 ip/10 hits/9er/4 hr.  Yes, that's nine earned runs and 4 homers allowed - two of which were to that piece of crap Brennan Boesch.  So, in case your math skills are bad or you are a girl, that's 15 earned runs allowed in one week and that includes a game against the Twins triple A lineup.  In all seriousness I really hope Mr. Lewis has been saving most of his money, because that paycheck might be drying up pretty quick here.  Actually what do I care?  Guy sucks.  Get a real job, hippie!

2.  Tim Lincecum.  Since he's in the NL you probably have no idea he's been brutal. In fact, even if you're paying attention he doesn't look that bad - 3.41 ERA and 1.19 WHIP - but this week he's been completely brutal.  He had two starts this week and in the longer outing he lasted five innings, and that was against the epically shitty Nationals.  The Reds are at least good, but when you're Lincecum you just don't give up 7 hits and 7 runs in 4 innings to anybody - and he only struck out one guy.  Very bad if you're a big fan of diminutive whirling dervish floppy haired pot-smoking hippy pitchers - or Wiley Wiggins.  The good news is nerd stats (I'll spare you) don't point to anything that's significantly different that normal so this is more likely a blip on the radar rather than indicative of a Soria-style breakdown or anything, but god, getting ripped by the Nats is just freaking embarrassing.  It'd be like getting busted by O'Bannion. 

3.  Oakland Athletics.  Wow are these guys god damn awful.  Look at that lineup and count the actual major league hitters.  I see David DeJesus and Josh Willingham, both who would be good fourth outfielders for a team, and Coco Crisp who is a quality leadoff hitter.  That's it.  Their infield has to be the worst collection in the league - other contenders like Seattle and San Diego at least have one quality bat (Justin Smoak and Chase Headley), but Oakland has nothing.  Throw in the injuries to starters Dallas Braden, Brett Anderson, Tyson Ross, and Brandon McCarthy and you can see why they've won just one of their last 14.   Of note:  they still have a better record than the Twins.  FML.

4.  Ryan Howard.  No, not the mid-level executive from a mid-tier paper company in Pennsylvania who was addicted to cocaine and then committed fraud, I'm talking about the fat first baseman for the Phillies.  You know, the guy who was inexplicably given a 5-year $125 million contract THAT DOESN'T EVEN START UNTIL NEXT SEASON despite the fact that his body type (fat to mostly fat) and playing style (high strikeout power hitter) mean that, at best, he's going to be a blacker Matt Stairs by the end of that contract.  And this week was a preview, because he had three hits all week (not counting today where he had three hits and three rbi which kind of negates this point but I already typed all those words before I looked it up and saw he had a good day today).  Any way the point is that Ryan Howard is fat and that was a stupid contract.  Like, Mauer-stupid.

5.  Lebron James.  I almost feel like you could just call out the entire Heat team as sucking, but the difference is that there were games where Bosh played amazingly well (including tonight), Wade pretty much carried the team the entire series, and Lebron was straight up invisible way too often so you have to pick him as the goat.  Not only did he handpick this team to win championships, but he hand picked this fucking team to win the championship.  This shit was orchestrated with one goal in mind and they failed.  And they didn't fail because of Wade (no surprise, the guy was nails in the playoffs and finals) and they didn't fail because of Bosh (surprisingly good this entire finals), they failed because Lebron was unable to carry the team for even small stretches and was about as valuable as that fat kid in Teen Wolf in the fourth quarter.  God there is just an amazing psychology paper waiting to be written on Lebron.  If I wasn't so dumb I would totally write it.  That's not true.  I'm too lazy.  I just want to go fishing.  

Lastly, just to brighten your week, here are WonderbabyTM's mad baseball skills on full display:

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