Happy fourth of July everyone. And that will be the entirety of my introduction.
WHO WAS AWESOME
1. Mike Cuddyer. It pains me to praise Cuddy. There's so much to hate: inability to understand what a "strike zone" is, inability to realize that he's getting that down and away in the dirt slider every time he has 2 strikes, and constant media whoring to name a few, but sometimes you gotta give credit where it's due: Congrats on making your first all-star time, Cuddy Bear. There's something to be said for a guy who can and will play LF, RF, 2b, 3b, 1b, and SS, especially on a team with a bunch of prima donnas who "don't like to DH" or "refuse to play anywhere except catcher." More importantly though is he almost seems to have a knack for picking up his hitting when the team needs him most. First, back in 2009 when he basically carried the offense on his back after Morneau went down and then currently with all the injuries with him being on fire since May. He's not really an all-star, but they do have to pick one person from every team (Ron Coomer made it once for christ's sake) and I gotta say - guy deserves it. Mainly because Kubel got hurt, but it still counts. So congrats Cuddy. I hope they trade you.
2. Vance Worley. As you've probably heard, the Philadelphia Phillies have quite the pitching rotation - Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, and Roy Oswalt each would be the ace of nearly every other team in the league. So the last thing they need (from an opponent point of view) is a good fifth starter, which means everyone should be looking around a little nervously after Worley's outing against the Red Sox on Wednesday. He threw 7 innings of 5 hit, 1 run ball against the red-hot Sox, which now brings his ERA down to 2.57 on the year. He's still more of a reliever being stretched into a starter, but with Oswalt on the shelf now they'll need him in the rotation full-time. I was going to write something else but honestly does anybody give a crap about this guy right now? Let's just wait for the playoffs and then we'll talk about him if we need to.
3. Nick Watney. He won the AT&T National by 2 shots after going bogey-free over the last 27 holes, shot a 62 on Friday to break the course record at Aronimink, and is on my fantasy team. The perfect trifecta that every golfer shoots for.
4. Aramis Ramirez. I don't know if any single hitter is hotter than Ramirez right now. He homered 4 times this week including a couple ninth-inning jobbers, one of which was off of Giants' closer Brian Wilson to tie the game - the first homer allowed by Wilson all year. He also pinch hit and knocked in the winning run in the bottom of the ninth in a different game against the Giants and has hit .400 with 7 homers in his last 11 games. To be completely honest there's little that bores me as much as the Cubs and the worldwide obsession with them, but sometimes someone just keeps hitting home runs and game winning hits off of people who don't generally give up those kinds of things and then sometimes I take notice. This is one of those times.
5. Bryce Harper. Yes, Brian Harper's kid is proving himself to be a bit of a douche by doing things like blowing kisses to opposing pitchers after he goes yard, but he is also hitting the ever-loving shit out of the ball. After demolishing the pitching in single-A this year to the tune of .318/.423/.554 with 14 homers, 17 doubles, and 15 steals, he just got promoted to double A ball. At the age of 18. He's killed the ball at every stop so far (Instructional League, Arizona Fall League, and now single-A) and there really isn't any reason why he shouldn't continue to do so. So basically a total asshat is going to fly through the minors without any issues and arrive in the big leagues with zero humbless and 100% asshattery. This is going to be spectacular.
1. Matt Capps. I am so sick of Matt Capps and his stupid fat face and his stupid fake Jesse Crain necklace. It was a stupid trade when they made it, especially when you consider how the team's starting catcher is more brittle than the 6-month old skeleton of that dead hooker I have in my closet, and it's an even more stupid trade now that Cappsy completely refuses to get anybody out. Not that it should surprise anyone since the only really remarkable thing about his pitching is his consistent opportunities to get saves for shitty teams. His career ERA, career WHIP, and career mediocre stuff basically scream middle reliever/low-end setup guy, but in 2007 the Pirates didn't have anyone in the bullpen and, after trying Salomon Torres with little success, made Capps their closer and he saved 18 games in mediocre fashion and has been tabbed a closer ever since, which is how we ended up here, with no back-up catcher and a shitty bullpen. Huzzah!
2. Nick Blackburn. Speaking of mediocre as shit pitchers who get far too much credit, welcome back to reality Nick Blackburn. A soft-tossing nancy can actually have a long and lucrative career as long as he's left-handed, but seeing as Blackburn throws correctly he will instead continue to flounder about as a 5th starter, maybe 4th, and although he'll have very good stretches at times (like earlier this year) he'll also always fall back into line as a 4th or 5th starter, tops. Regression to the mean is a very real thing, and also a cruel mistress. And not the good kind. You know what I'm talking about.
3. Joe Mauer. I know what you're thinking - "Dude, the Twins aren't playing all that badly right now, why so many Twins call-outs?" And it's because these three guys have been just brutally bad. I won't get into Mauer's deal too much here because I plan on writing an entire post about it later this week, but let me give you a little spoiler: he sucks.
4. MLB All-Star choices. Way to go morons. And I'm not even talking about your average mouth-breather who shows up to games and votes for Derek Jeter and every other Yankee. I think we've washed our hands of them, yes? Then it's up to the managers to get everything else right. Well not really. Enter poor Andrew McCutchen. Maybe the best hitting/fielding combo outfielder in the NL, but doesn't make it. Why? Because they took Pirate "closer" Joel Hanrahan instead because he has a bunch of saves and is actually having a really good year now that I look it up and he's a totally worthy all-star so I'm kind of losing some wind here. But McCutchen is really awesome and deserves it. Actually the fact that he doesn't make it and Cuddy does should really be enough reason to overhaul the whole thing, but I just got my new KC Royals hat in the mail so what do I care?
5. Kenny Britt. This guy is taking the art of "talented headcase" to a whole new level. Whereas your classic headcases like Randy Moss and Terrell Owens generally don't harm anyone other than themselves (and possibly their teammates), Britt seems to be heading more down the Lawrence Phillips path. Britt surrendered himself to police this weekend because of two warrants for giving false information on a drivers license application, which sounds pretty lame but then you combine that with his three arrests for resisting arrest, including one that ended up in a police chase, and he's going to end up doing something really, really stupid one of these days soon. If you have him in a keeper league I'd unload immediately. Call me.
Lastly, I'm sure you all want to know what was on the menu for 4th of July dinner. Credit goes to Mrs. W on this one - she made a cucumber dill dip (awesome), blue cheese meatballs for the grill (super awesome), and corn on the cob. The first two were just tremendous, and then corn on the cob is always good but kind of boring. Anybody know a good way to fancy it up a bit?