News and Notes from
Around the League

5/28/05 - Keith -

Corey Patterson is making a strong bid for Baseball Evolution's 2005 Dave Kingman Award in the NL. He's got 10 homers, but just 3 doubles and 18 RBIs. .275/.310/.461 looks pretty Kingmanlike, but he needs to work a bit on his K's... one every 4.45 at-bats just won't make him King.

Twins pitcher Carlos Silva has only struck out 21 batters in 60 innings. That's a pathetic 3.15 K/9IP. Oh, but he's also only walked two batters in that span. That's a purty impressive walk every thirty innings. The formula has worked for him so far, as he leads the Twins with a 2.85 ERA.

Heading south, we find a promising Young pitcher named Chris whose development is being slowed by pitching in Arlington. In his 7 starts outside of Texas, Young is 4-0 with a 1.97 ERA. The Rangers begin a 2-week road trip on Tuesday, so grab him in your fantasy leagues now.

Speaking of home/road splits, here's an unusual one for you. Colorado outfielder Brad Hawpe has actually hit much better away from Coors in his 224 career at bats-- Home OPS: .714 Away: .850. The Rockies are returning home, so resist the urge to pick him up for your fantasy team.

In 48 at bats, Willie Harris has yet to collect an extra base hit. He's fast... you'd think he'd have gotten a hustle double by now or something. Nope. His SLG rests at .292.

5/22/05 - Asher -

Bet you don't know who the best pitching staff in baseball is. Okay, you got it. The Marlins. But, I bet you don't know who the second best staff in baseball is? Asher tells you, and tells you why he thinks they may not be second ranked for long.

Asher also tries to catch up on almost two months of lost time while he has been on the proverbial inactive list. In his triumphant return, he touches on Brian Roberts, Eric Milton, Juan Gonzalez, Rafael Palmeiro, the 300-300 club, and Ben Sheets.

Bet you thought the Curse of the Bambino died with the Red Sox World Series victory last year, didn't you? Well think again. Asher explains why the Curse of the Bambino Lives On.

Did You Know? There have been forty pitchers to post an ERA under 2.00 since 1920? How many can you name? See the list.

5/21/05 - Asher and Keith

Like characters from a work of fiction coming to life, Scott Kazmir and Joe Blanton, two young pitchers featured prominently in Michael Lewisí Moneyball, faced off Wednesday night, and for at least one inning, Kazmir was the victor as Blanton gave up seven runs on six hits and a walk in only a third of an inning before getting the axe. Blantonís performance means that Jason Johnson and Danny Graves, who each gave up five runs while only getting one out in their worst outings this season, no longer share the distinction for the seasonís worst third of an inning. Kazmir, by the way, gave up no runs on one hit in his half of the inning.

Who is the most likely active pitcher to approach 300 wins? The popular response is Tim Hudson, but beware of popular responses. Hudson turns 30 in July, and has amassed 96 career wins so far. A guy named Mark Buehrle turned 26 in March, and after winning six straight decisions, has 76 career wins. Buehrle hasn't been on the DL in over 1000 Major League innings, despite being a workhorse that averages over 230 IP/season.

While Asher appreciates Mark Buehrle just as much as Keith does, he does not think that Buehrle is the answer to the question. He reveals his answer, as well as some other analysis in his discussion of aging veteran pitchers.

Thinking about Tommy John made Asher ponder - who do you think was more surprised: Tommy John when he found out he needed Tommy John surgery, or Lou Gerhig when he found out he had Lou Gerhig's disease?

Scott Podsednik has 24 stolen bases so far, which projects to over 90 for the season. No player has even reached the 80 mark since 1988, when both Rickey Henderson and Vince Coleman eclipsed that benchmark.

In each of the past two seasons, Bobby Abreu has begun the year with 12 stolen bases and no caught stealings.

The only girl in a New York Little League, Katie Brownell, threw a perfect game against her male opponents in which she struck out all 18 batters that she faced, and never got to a 3- ball count. The 5'8" tall 11-year old may usher a new era of integration to the baseball world.

5/14/05 -

Scott:``Jason LaRue is hitting .172, and has 36 strikeouts in 87 at bats so far this season. Here's a guy who may be holding the bat upside down''

Keith:``Hitting Coach Chris Chambliss really dropped the ball on not spotting that one.''

Scott:``Chambliss must be picking at his bellybutton when LaRue comes in from batting practice and says, 'I just can't seem to get the same bat speed as the other guys, Coach...'''

Keith:``To which the reply would be, 'Have you tried swinging more often? Yes? Well, I'm fresh out of ideas.'''

Milwaulkee's Ben Sheets is still recovering from an inner ear infection that landed him on the DL on April 11. ``He can throw without any problem but still gets dizzy when he turns his head rapidly to the left,'' reports the Associated Press. This would have been a career threatening injury for former reliever Mike Fetters.

When former San Diego Padres catcher Terry Kennedy, now manager of the new independent Golden League's San Diego Surf Dawgs, asked former Padre Rickey Henderson whether or not he was still in shape, Rickey succinctly replied, 'You know I am.' Rickey, now 46, will perform for the Surf Dawgs in yet another audition to play in the major leagues.

Would any ML team sign Rickey? Well, the new look White Sox certainly need more offense, and Rickey's lingering ability to get on base and run fits in with Ozzie Guillen's offensive philosophy. Plus, GM Ken Williams might want to add someone with extensive playoff experience to the roster for their nearly inevitable October appearance.

Did you know: Rickey does not posess the all-time single season stolen base crown? That honor belongs to one Hugh Nichols, who swiped 138 bases in 1887, eight more than Rickey's modern day record of 130 set back in 1982. In all fairness to Rickey, however, a total of six players swiped over 100 bases in 1887, whereas Rickey is one of only four players to swipe triple digits since 1900.

Nichols' runner up in 1887 with 129 steals, Arlie 'The Freshest Man On Earth' Latham, has the distincion of being the oldest man to steal a base in the big leagues, doing so at the age of 49. Is Rickey after Arlie's record as well?

5/08/05 - Keith - We're 30 games into the season, and the Kansas City Royals are already 16 games in back of the Chicago White Sox. Wow.

5/05/05 - Keith - Brad Radke celebrated Cinco de Mayo with quite an astonishing feat. Not only did he pitch a 3-hit shutout, the 10th of his career, while fanning eight Indians and (of course) walking none; he threw 117 pitches, 86 of which were strikes. This means that in each of Brad's seven appearances this season, over 70% of his pitches were strikes. For the season, Radke has struck out 31 batters and walked just one, the Tigers' Carlos Guillen.

5/02/05 - Keith - Chicagoland Shenanigans: Houston center fielder Willy Taveras managed to gun down a different Cub at home plate in each game of the Cubs/Astros series. Derek Lee, Jeromy Burnitz, and Aramis Ramirez went down like lemmings at the whim of third base coach Chris Speier. The Cubs haven't been having much luck with third base coaches lately.

Not too much luck with managers, either. Listen to Dusty Baker defend himself when accused of not using young players like prtospect Jason Dubois often enough: ``That's really unfair, how could I have that attitude? I'm trying to play the best guys to win, young or old.'' Dubois is seven years younger than Todd Hollandsworth, but has started 13 fewer games depite his 1.201 OPS to Todd's .711.

On the South Side, injuries to the middle infield have made the ballclub consider drastic measures. Manager Ozzie Guillen put Jermaine Dye in at shortstop one game, GM Ken Williams seriously considered activating Ozzie Guillen to fill the void for a bit, and they settled on Minor Leaguer Pedro Lopez, who has managed all of six home runs in over 1350 Minor League at-bats, and was hitting .179 in AAA when he was recalled.

Dye's escapades remind Scott of Greg Luzinski playing an inning of shortstop for the White Sox in the early eighties. If anyone has information on the details of Luzinski's sojurn as Captain of the Infield, please email Scott.

4/24/05 - Keith - The Blue Jays fired hitting coach Mike Barnett on Monday, despite the team's ranking 6th in the AL in runs scored, 8th in OBP and 9th in SLG. Last season, the Jays ranked 13th in runs scored, 12th in OBP and 12th in SLG. So what, exactly, would Barnett need to have done to keep his job? Lead the league in scoring? If so, why didn't GM J.P. Riccardi just make the switch during the offseason? Riccardi's mistakes are piling up, he's shifting blame, and old school baseball purists are beginning to view some sections of Moneyball as comedic pieces.

4/16/05 - Keith - Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts has five homers this year, already matching his professional baseball career high in 2003. Peter Gammons credits his work ethic. Is Roberts on his way to being Brady Anderson of 1996, or Mark Grudzielanek of 2001?

The Braves' corner outfielders Brian Jordan and Raul Mondesi are hitting .400... combined. They've also combined for two doubles, one homer, seven runs scored and eight RBIs. We realize that the Braves always find a way to win, but their cumulative corner outfielders are going to have to star to outperform Baltimore's starting second baseman for Atlanta to remain the NL East champs.

Right now, the Washington Nationals are atop the NL East. This franchise, formerly the Montreal Expos, was the last Eastern Division club to end a season with more wins than the Braves, back in 1994. It's too bad that the club no longer plays in Montreal, since Canada would then represent the leading team in both Eastern Divisions.

4/7/05 - Keith - After blowing saves in consecutive days, Mariano Rivera, the best modern-day closer, now has some pitiful numbers against the rival Red Sox. Of Mariano's 28 blown saves since the beginning of 2001, 12 have been against Boston. He's blown six of his last 11 opportunities sagainst them, and six of his 20 walks last year were issued to Red Sox hitters. It's either a mental thing for Mo, or Boston has figured him out.

This raises a couple of questions:

1) Should Flash Gordon act as closer in games against the Red Sox? Gordon had better peripheral numbers than half of the closers in baseball last season, including Armando Benitez (47 Saves, 1.29 ERA), Jose Mesa (4 Saves, 3.25 ERA), or Danny Kolb (39 saves, 2.98 ERA).

2) Rivera's career ERA+ going into the year is 190, and it is well over 200 as a reliever. What would it be if he pitched for, say, the Braves, and never had to face the Red Sox? Well interstingly enough, he's had more trouble with Baltimore through the years (3.82 ERA, 73 IP) than with Boston (3.05 ERA, 65 IP).

Read Asher's opinions on Rivera.

4/5/05 - Keith - News and Notes from opening day:

Dmitri Young follows in the footsteps of George Bell and Karl 'Tuffy' Rhodes by homering three times in one opening day game. The Tigers went on to trounce the Royals 11 to 2.

Every year, experts predict Derrek Lee to break out and hit over 40 home runs. Finally, Derrek gets off to a hot start by going 4 for 5 with a homer and 5 RBIs on opening day. This aids the Cubs in scoring 16 runs off of the new and improved Diamondbacks.

Clerly, Chicago's Mark Buehrle had the most effective outing on opening day by allowing just 3 baserunners over 8 innings of work against Cleveland. That was Beuhrle's 70th career win, which isn't bad for a guy who's just turned 26.

Cinci's Joe Randa and Colorado's Clint Barmes each had walk-off homers. Randa's puncuated a 2 HR 5 RBI showcase by Adam Dunn while Clint's was almost lost in a typical 22-run marathon at Coors. Closers Braden Looper and Trevor Hoffman both failed to produce.

See News and Notes from the first three months of 2005.

See News and Notes from 2004.

See News and Notes from 2003.