Sunday, May 30, 2010

LeBron's Destination

I may or may not weigh in on where I think King James ends up. But in the mean time, you should probably consult The Onion's opinion.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Early Season is over, time to look at trends.

It's already been almost two months in the baseball season this year, so most anomalies have gone away, and now teams are beginning to play on the field like they "should" be playing on paper. So here are a few interesting things I've noticed:

Chad Billingsley is dominating - Of course I'll start off with the Dodgers. Everyone panicked right away when Bills had a couple bad starts at home and Cincinnati. Now he's got zero critics, and is looking very much like the pitcher with a career 3.56 ERA. He's strung together a few quality starts in a row, and has even pitched into the 7th inning twice in a row, something he hadn't done since the Summer of last year.

The Giants Offense sucks - You know what you have when your team Batting Average is .257 and you've only scored 175 Runs? A crappy offense. Everybody knows that the Giant's Pitching is awesome, but when your offense is 14th in the National League, with teams like San Diego and Washington above you, your doing that offense thing wrong.

The Nationals are Good(!) - At the time of this post, they are 23-22, and only look to get better as the year goes on. They'll likely get Jason Marquis back from the DL, along with Chien-Ming-Wang (pitchers who, on paper, should improve the team, although Wang is a question mark), Matt Capps has been amazing, and there's also this Strasburg kid you might have heard about.

The Tigers are Great - Call this blogger surprised, because I thought the Tigers would finish third in the AL Central and a good distance behind the Twins and White Sox. Their hitting has not missed Curtis Granderson (yet), with Austin Jackson and Magglio Ordonez being big reasons for that. Their pitching has also been solid, even with Porcello struggling so far. They'll have to get better to take down the Twins, but they might just be able to with some luck.

The Red Sox Offense is still Good - No, it's not going to hit Over 9000 Home Runs per year anymore, but anyone who thinks the Red Sox have a bad offense needs to learn a bit more about Baseball. Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis are very very good, Victor Martinez is one of the best hitting Catchers not named Mauer, and Adrian Beltre is looking like he's going to be a Middle of the Order threat. Big Papi even stopped sucking, surprisingly enough. But with their pitching, this offense is more than adequate.

Andre Ethier was walked to get to Manny Ramirez, more than once - Read that out loud. I shouldn't have to say much more.

The Braves Offense is Good - This is mostly a Mea Culpa on my part, as I was sure that the Braves Offense was going to be around 10th-11th in the National League, around the Cubs and Mets and just above the Giants. They've proven to be like the Red Sox Offense - good enough for their pitching. But some batters even have some pop, like that Heyward guy you might have heard of.

The Angels and Mariners are struggling - These are the two teams that were most often picked to win the AL West, and they are 3rd and 4th in that division respectively. Now, I can't just write each team off yet (after all, I picked the M's to win the AL West myself), but each team is looking pretty bad right now. The Angels pitching has been inconsistent, to say the least, while the M's hitting has been downright dreadful.

So there you go. Some of those things are easy to spot, even for the casual fan, but some of those are much more difficult, or, are hidden under all the NHL and NBA playoff talk on Sports Shows and websites. If you've noticed anything else below, or think for some strange reason that I'm wrong, leave a comment below.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Which Ace, Exactly, Did You Want the Dodgers to Get?

I hear and read stuff like this all the time these days: the Dodgers desperately need an ace. Their failure to do so was their white flag before the season even started, indicating that, as Petros Papadakis has recently been fond of saying, the Dodgers as an organization are rotting from the top down.

Really?

Well, yes, really. The Dodgers would love to have a true, bona fide ace. They need someone who they can count on to shut opposing hitters down one out of every five games now, and one every three in the playoffs. Yes, yes, they need an ace.

So why haven't the gone out and signed, uh, well...signed...Jarrod Washburn? Or maybe they could go pick up...um...Pedro Martinez? Well, I guess Washburn and Pedro don't really qualify as aces, so why don't they go trade someone for an ace? You know, make a deal like the Phillies did and get an ace that someone is willing to give up...like...uhh...

Gosh, know what I just remembered? It's May. And no one seems to willing to give up an ace in May.

This is the thing about the "the Dodgers need an ace" mentality: for all of the calls for Ned Coletti to go get an ace, nobody seems to have a great idea of one they should get. Which means the discussion turns into, "Well they should've gotten Lackey or Halladay or Cliff Lee". Go back and click the link I first gave- it is exactly that way.

But fine, let's play that game. How about Lackey? Were the Dodgers really going to pay him more money for as many or more years as the Red Sox? I sure hope not. I hope they never even thought about doing that. John Lackey is good, but he isn't worth that much.

Halladay? Wouldn't leave the east coast and had a full no trade. Coletti said the other day he talked to the Blue Jays around 25 times to try to work something out. If Halladay doesn't want to come to California and if the Dodgers are prospects are mostly in A and AA, then what can you do?

Lee? Again, Coletti insists that he made a strong play for Cliff Lee, but that the Phillies first, then the Mariners had better prospects. And you know what? I believe him. You know why? Because look at the prospects that got moved in those deals: they are better, or at least closer to the Major Leagues, than the Dodgers' prospects.

Where does that leave us? Right back where we started: with the wish that the Dodgers had an ace. Coletti also says that he has made a lot of early calls this year on pitching but that, of course, no one wants to deal yet. And once again, there is not reason to think he is lying.

So what the Dodgers need to do now is stop playing bad defense, shore up a bullpen that has been inexplicably shaky, and get Kershaw and Billingsley pitching more consistently. The offense could be a little more consistent, but which MLB offense couldn't? The last couple weeks have seen some of this start to happen: the defense and bullpen have been noticeably better, and even Kershaw, after getting shelled by the Brewers on Tuesday, dominated the Rockies yesterday and handed Ubaldo Jimenez his first loss of the year.

Getting an ace would be great, yes. So if the Dodgers can play a solid month and a half and start lining up as buyers at the trade deadline, maybe they can find themselves one. That is what Dodger fans should be hoping for now.