Tagged: diamondbacks

Love the Home Run Derby! Go Young, Cabrera, and Holliday!!

So, the Home Run Derby is going on right now. 

I just think that this is a great event.  Can’t help it.  I know that some people whine about it being meaningless or messing up guys’ swing, but I think it is great entertainment and I love watching it each summer.

Maybe I love it because guys’ I have rooted for have taken part in the derby over the years.  Sammy Sosa, Andre Dawson, George Bell, Carlos Pena, and, of course, my favorite player of all time, Ryne Sandberg.

So I’ve had lots to cheer for over the years. 

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Who Ya Pickin’?

I decided to chronicle the derby as it goes along.  Why?  Mainly for my own fun rather than anybody’s real entertainment.

Here are my picks to win it:

            Chris Young

          Matt Holliday

            Miguel Cabrera

I went with 3 guys just because it’s my blog and I can do what I want.

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Round 1

Chris Young            Wow, this guy did not look comfortable at all.  He hit one nice dinger, and that was it.  I think he has a ton of talent and is going to be in more All-Star Games in the future, but this was a dismal display. 

Outcome:  

 

 

Matt Holliday        Wow, that was awesome!  He had 9 outs and 1 dinger.  Then he proceeded to fire up the launch pad!  Wow.  He only ended up with 5, but one of those homers was 497 feet!!  He is in second place right now.  We’ll see what happens. 

Outcome:

 

Miguel Cabrera        He really launched some long balls.  Wow.  He sure showed what kind of a hitter he is: complete.  I loved the long ball in the water that Big Papi said, “In the water…you see that?”  Funny.  Overall, a great performance.

Outcome:

 

Other Ruminations

        Corey Hart put on a great display in Round 1.  Honestly, I did not think he would do well at all.  He blasted 13 homers and boy, oh boy, were they long!  He had a 464-foot shot that was just majestic.  Man, was it annoying to listen to A-rod talk while Swisher was hitting.  I do not respect that guy at all, and to hear him try to talk about respect for the game makes me want to puke.  Hanley Ramirez was great.  I have to admit, though, after his disrespect of the game earlier this season, I was rooting against him.  He sure showed me.

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Round 2

So, all I’ve got left is Miggy.  I suck.

Miguel Cabrera        Damn.  This has been great to watch, but none of my guys did anything!  Right now my wife is rubbing it in that she chose Big Papi and that he might win.  There is a foot rub riding on it!  Miggy really let me down.  Don’t know who to root for now.  Maybe Corey Hart.

Outcome:

 

Other Ruminations

 Ramirez looks good.  Wow.  He is really surprising me.  Not the biggest surprise, though.  Corey Hart’s first round was something else.  I’m rooting for Hart to move on to the finals and win it all.  (Wow, Hart really stunk it up!)

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Finals

Ruminations

Big Papi did not disappoint, that’s for sure.  Man, that guy just launched moon shot after moon shot.  Incredible.  Ramirez just had nothing left in the tank (good!) and he could not find a rhythm in that final round.  What I thought was pretty cool was watching Ortiz interact with his kid.  It was really sweet. 

Well, I’ve got a footrub to administer.  I’m a loser…

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Aw C’mon…Again!? No-no Way!!

There isn’t alot to say.

No fan wants to write a post such as the one I am about to write.

It is hard to believe, but for the second time this season, the Tampa Bay Rays have been victims of a no hitter. 

That makes three in two years. 

Sheesh.

I don’t exactly know what kinds of records were broken tonight (I am sure that few teams have been no-hit twice in the same season), but I know how it feels to watch your team struggle to get a single damn hit.

It stinks.

Dallas Braden made the Rays look like fools all the way until Gabe Kapler was thrown out as he loafed down to first base to end the game.  The no-no was almost forgiveable because Braden did it on Mother’s Day and he had lost his mother not too much earlier.  So good for him.

But Edwin Jackson, the guy the Rays deemed expendable after the 2008 season, so much so that they banished him to Detroit for the “Next Big Thing,” Matt Joyce, throwing a no hitter against the team he REALLY wanted to throw a no hitter against, well, that is just downright unfair.

It isn’t as if the Rays didn’t work it.  They had 8 walks in the game, for goodness sakes!  They had walked the bases loaded in the 3rd! 

But as has been the case so often recently, the Rays were not able to “get the man in” with a base hit and they paid the price.

What a steep price.

I don’t want to think about the game anymore tonight.  I am going to turn on the tv, hit “Start Over” on my Bright House cable and watch the NHL draft.

One thing that is for sure, the Tampa Bay Lightning and Chicago Blackhawks won’t get shut out tonight.

Sheesh…

What a Weird Series This Is

Tonight the Rays start a series that holds alot of promise.

It would be an understatement to say that the Rays have underachieved the last month, winning only 11 out of their last 28 games to relinquish 1st place to the Evil Empire and find themselves in danger of falling into 3rd place in the most competitive division in the league.

However, this is the perfect time for our Boys in Blue to take on the team that entered the league the same year they did: the Arizona Diamondbacks. 

The D-backs are scuffling themselves this season.  They sit in last place in yet another difficult division (the Pads, Rox, Dodgers, and Giants ain’t no slouches), but in last place nevertheless.

The Rays should be able to right the ship this weekend against one of those teams that good teams are supposed to beat.

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Some of the Weirdness…

So here are some of the things about tonight’s game that just scream WEIRD (to me, anyway).

1–The Upton family reunion will take place tonight.  The Rays’ BJ and the D-backs’ Justin will square off for the first time ever.  Pretty exciting.  While Justin is having a much better season (and had a better off season as well after signing a mid-term contract extension), BJ rises to the top when he is in intriguing situations.

2–The Rays will suit up without Dioner Navarro.  Navi was sent down to Durham to make room for Matt Joyce.  You can’t blame the Rays for sending down their longterm catcher–the guy was hitting .207 with 1 homer and 7 RBIs.  It was time, considering the emergence of John Jaso and the free agent signing of Kelly Shoppach.

3–Two guys facing each other who were once traded for one another.  Edwin Jackson will start for the D-backs.  Matt Joyce will start in left field for the Rays.  These guys changed teams a few years ago when Jackson was dealt to the Tigers for Joyce.  Always fun to see those matchups.

4–These two teams came into the league at the same time in 1998.  I know I already said it, but I love when teams matchup who are the same age.  It isn’t quite the same when the Marlins and Rox match up since they see each other multiple times each year.  But the Rays and D-back see each other (possibly) once every 3 years, so it is kind of neat.

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This is a series the Rays need to sweep.  Sure, it is only June, but when you are in a division with the Red Sox and the Yanks, every win means alot.  I think that the Rays will have a great chance to sweep.  They will avoid Dan Haren and, after Jackson, will take on two pitchers who have been hit and miss all season long.

Enjoy the weirdness!!!

Obligatory (and fun) 2010 MLB Predictions: National League

Pretty much every blog in the universe remotely related to baseball has been making its predictions for what will happen in the majors in 2010.  Some have done it division by division, and some have done it in one big shot. 

I’ll be subscribing to a combination of both as I go league by league.

I will not be including records because, well, I’m just not that smart. 

I see 2010 as a season that will have more than just a few surprises.  Sure, teams such as the Phillies and Yankees will be right there until the end, but there are other squads that I think possess much intrigue because of their offseason moves and the emergence of their younger players.

More than likely this is an effort in futility, but it sure is fun.

Today I will break down the National League.  Tomorrow the American League.  Tuesday I’ll put out my playoff predictions.

NL East

Phillies                        Nobody’s better in the NL.  They would be better with Cliff Lee AND Roy Halladay, but they are pretty darn strong as they stand.

Braves                        I like their mix of youth and experience.  Their pitching will be a strength for them, especially if Tim Hudson can turn in a strong season.

Marlins                       How can you pick against them?  Nobody knows how they do it, but they win every year.  Ricky Nolasco is back and Josh Johnson is solid. 

Mets               How can you pick FOR them?  The addition of Jason Bay would seem to bode well for the offense, but the recent injury to Daniel Murphy won’t help.  Neither will the fact that they seem to have given up on their pitching.

Nationals         I don’t want to pile on.  They are not a good team.  But their offseason moves and slow dedication to a youth movement points them in the right direction.

Playoff team:

 

NL Central

Cardinals         Makes me sick to say it, but they are darn good.  Their offense will more than make up for any pitching deficiencies.  They have the potential for closer problems this year, though.

Cubs                I love this team, but it seems no matter how much talent they get on the squad they do not win.  Sure, they won the division for three straight years, but that was about it.  Last year was an abomination.  Marlon Byrd, and a healthy Aramis Ramirez, will really help the offense.

Reds                They could be the surprise of the division in 2010.  I like their staff (and the addition of Cuban defector Aroldis Chapman, even though he is in the minors now) and their bats.  Might sound crazy, but I think these guys could push for a playoff spot this year.

Astros             Sure Lance Berkman is hurt, but this team has some talent.  They are getting older at some positions (Carlos Lee, Berkman, Oswalt) and injuries could derail their season.

Brewers          Their pitching is horrendous.  Yovani Gallardo can’t stay healthy and one of their starters, Jeff Suppan, is already out.  Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun are not enough.

Pirates             Andrew McCutcheon will be fun for the entire league to watch and will more than likely represent the Bucs in the All-Star Game.  That’s about it.

Playoff teams:  

 

NL West

Giants              As fans of the Tampa Bay Rays know, pitching wins.  And there are few staffs (provided Barry Zito is actually good this year) as strong as the Giants’.  “Kung Fu Panda” Pablo Sandoval will really shine this year.

Dodgers          Why won’t they win the division?  Health.  I just think that they are going to have some big injuries this year and that Manny will do all he can to distract the team from winning baseball games.  I like their young starting pitching, but it won’t gel enough this year. 

Rockies                       Coors Field seems like a great place to watch a baseball game.  Its offensive stats seem to have calmed down a bit.  The rise of Ubaldo Jimenez and his ability to induce ground balls will help this team have a solid season.

Padres             I love their youth.  Everth Cabrera, Mat Latos, Chase Headley.  I like ’em.  This will be a big surprise if they don’t finish in the basement of the division again.  I think they have some surprises in them.

Diamondbacks            It will be a surprise if these guys DO finish in the basement.  I like Dan Haren and their emerging catcher, Miguel Montero (he’s on my fantasy team!).  But I don’t see a lot to get excited about in the desert.

Playoff team:

 

Well, that was fun.  No doubt, some of my picks might be debatable. 

 

And, if they are debatable, feel free to tear me apart.

 

Let’s play some baseball!

 

Upton Signs a HUGE contract…but Not the One You Think…

Apparently, an Upton is about to sign a big ol’ 6-year $50 million contract. 

The contract will be given to the Upton who plays for a team that began playing major league baseball back in 1998.

This Upton plays the outfield and has great potential.

Alas, this Upton plays in the hot desert instead of the hot beach sands.

This Upton is of the Justin variety, not the BJ.

Congrats to the Arizona Diamondbacks on signing one of the more talented young hitters in the game in Justin Upton.  It sounds like they are about to ink him to a long-term deal so that they don’t have to worry about this yearly arbitration nonsense.

Anybody in the Rays and/or BJ camp listenting?

While he is the self-proclaimed “better” baseball brother of the two (at least according to what he said to MLB Network while being interviewed with BJ by his side), you have to imagine that the brother in St. Pete is fuming a little bit.

He’s been playing longer, has had some big moments, and yet will make a “paltry” $3 million compared to his Arizona D-back brother’s nearly $7 million.

Now that is a pretty big difference in money makin’.

The younger Upton hit .300 with 30 doubles, 7 triples, 26 homers and 86 RBIs last season.

Would be nice to get that out of the older Upton, wouldn’t it Rays fans?

Let’s hope that BJ and the Rays can put together a fair contract that will give the older brother a chance to relax in a Rays uniform and produce the way we know he can.

Maybe this will motivate BJ to sign a long-term deal with the Rays.  The rumor through alot of last season was that Andrew Friedman had made several overtures to BJ in the hopes of getting a long-term deal done. 

 

Right now would seem the perfect time to do it considering the potential loss of Carl Crawford at some point this year and, maybe, a little sibling rivalry stirring things up.

I mean, don’t underestimate how competitive brothers can be. 

Keep in mind that BJ was only a millionaire for two weeks longer than his little brother.  Eeesh.

I might be an Upton basher from time to time, but I understand his talent.

And I’m also scared to death about losing CC and then losing BJ right after.

So…

C’mon BJ, let’s get a similar deal done.

Just like your “little” brother…

CC Is Your MVP!! Rays Represent at the All-Star Game! My ASG Recap…

Carlos Pena showed the country last night that we can hit the ball out of the park. 

Carl Crawford showed viewers that we can also bring the ball back in.

 

I was hoping.  I was hoping that CC’s 1-3 night and amazing game saving catch would be enough. 

It was.

Our own Carl Crawford took home the MVP trophy for tonight’s All-Star Game–the first Ray ever to do so.  It was an amazing feat that shows exactly how far this franchise has come the last few years. 

I was excited that tonight’s game was going to showcase 5 Rays and help get the nation more acquainted with our squad of hard workers.  Our guys helped to show the naysayers that this team has alot that will be said before this season is over, playing solid enough defense to lead the AL squad to a 4-3 victory over the NL.

It is no coincidence that fielding has been a hallmark of Joe Maddon’s teams the last few seasons, and to emphasize the point Crawford went blazonly at the fence after Rockie Brad Hawpe launched a long ball towards left center field.  CC did what CC does best–he took away a hit.

 

Only this time, the “hit” he stole was going to be a game-tying home run.

Hawpe hit it to the wrong side of the ballpark.

Crawford exhibited his typical humble personality in his postgame interview.  In fact, he seemed happier to have gotten an autographed baseball from our nation’s president than he did to be the winner of the MVP of the All-Star Game.  He told Chris Rose of FOX that it was his teammates, his Rays coaches, and manager Joe Maddon who helped him to be comfortable enough to go out there and play well. 

Lucky for the AL, he did play well.  In fact, the American League team that makes the World Series (ahem, the Rays) owes Carl a debt of gratitude for giving them home field advantage.

What a great night. 

Congrats to CC on being named the AL’s All-Star Game MVP. 

Congrats to the Rays on demonstrating the “Ray Way” of playing the game.

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ALL STAR RECAP

Overall I would say that the game was a success.  I enjoyed it MUCH more than the Home Run Derby the night before.  There was alot more drama and more excitement.

Plus, I would say the pitchers last night fared much better than the pitchers at the derby….

Here are some things I noticed about last night’s game:

 

PITCHING

Wow.  Somebody get out a stopwatch because those pitchers were trying for some kind of speed record out there.  They got the ball and threw, no hesitation.  Of course, it didn’t help that many of the hitters were swinging away at the first or second pitch. 

 

I felt especially bad for Raul Ibanez.  The guy gets his first All-Star Game nod and swings at the first pitch he ever seeing in an ASG and fouls out to third.  Ouch.  Not many good memories there.

 

FIELDING

Aside from CC’s amazing catch, I thought the fielding was adequate. 

The game was punctuated by great catches in the outfield, one for the AL (Crawford) and one for the NL (Jayson Werth’s snag in the 8th to stop an AL potential rally).

Albert Pujols booted one early in the game, but came back to make a few good plays after that. 

 

Jason Bartlett almost made an amazing play diving for a grounder up the middle. That would really have shown everybody how we play defense at the Trop.

(It was kind of cool in the 9th when Bartlett threw out an Upton–Justin Upton)

 

SUBSTITUTIONS

I know that does not sound exciting, but I felt like the managers were not making a big effort to get guys in during the game.  Especially the pitchers.  It seemed like Maddon and Manuel were managing to actually win the game.  That is great, but doesn’t that detract from the FUN aspect of the game?

 

People tune in to see their guys get in.  The Pirates are not going to have alot of success this season, but seeing Freddy Sanchez and Zach Duke get into the game is kind of neat.  Neither made it. 

I know that I was looking forward to seeing Ted Lilly throw an inning–or part of an inning.  Unfortunately, the only guy who got booed by the always hospitalbe fans of St. Louis did not make an appearance.

In all, the AL used 25 guys and the NL used 26.  That means 7-8 guys on each team made the trip to St. Louis, and that was all.  The fans who bought the All Star jerseys never got to see their favorite players wear them on the field. 

Of course, the job of a manager in a game such as this is tough.  But trying to add more significance to the game (home field advantage in the WS) might just be the thing that is taking away some of its sparkle.

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In all, I had a great time watching the game.  The Rays did well (they got the MVP of the game, duh) and the game moved quickly.  The competition was high and there was a level of fun involved. 

Now it will be time to get back to the business of real baseball.  Something that, I am sure, every player and fan has been itching for since Ben Zobrist caught the final All Star out.