Tagged: atlanta braves

Tough Choices for ROTY

The Rookie of the Year race this year was as close as can be in both leagues. In the National League it could have gone four ways and in the American League I think it was totally up for grabs. Marlins’ outfielder, Chris Coglan, took the award in the NL and in the AL, it was A’s closer Andrew Bailey bringing home the award.

Let’s begin with the AL and here is how my ballot would have gone:

First place vote: Andrew Bailey
Second: Rick Porcello
Third: Elvis Andrus

porcello.jpgWhen I initially thought AL ROTY, my first instinct was Porcello, who was solid for most of the season. Although by the end of the year, he only had the fourth best ERA in his starting rotation (behind Justin Verlander, Edwin Jackson, and Jarrod Washburn) and it was 3.96. His strikeout numbers weren’t that great and he had a bad June and July. He is a groundball pitcher who will have success in this league but he won’t overpower anybody. This isn’t a knock on him, but expect a Derek Lowe type career from him.

And I see better things coming for both Elvis Andrus and Andrew Bailey. The reason I have Andrus third is because, with a .267 average, I’m not sure how much love you’re going to get. However he does have a solid glove and huge upside, the kid is only 21.

But Bailey flew under the radar all throughout the season and even at the end of the season, the casual fan still probably couldn’t tell you he was tearing it up in Oakland. The A’s weren’t all too great this year and they played in the western time zone so it makes a little sense if you didn’t know who the kid was. But the kid is electric. To go along with his 1.84 ERA, he struck out 91 batters in 83.1 innings. He was 26 for 30 in save oppurtunities and he didn’t get his first two saves until May and didn’t blow any saves after June 16.  Talk about finding his place. It wasn’t that long ago that another A’s closer won ROTY as well, when Huston Street did it in 2005.

For the NL, it was a tough one and it really could have gone either way but here’s what I would have put down:

First: JA Happ
Second: Chris Coghlan
Third: Tommy Hanson

It was so close that I think I may have needed some hometown bias in this one. But really, Happ lead the Phillies starters in ERA, on a staff that includes a few All Star caliber pitchers. He threw two complete game shutouts, as a rookie, in the National League. He was the most reliable Phillies starter this season and always kept the team in the game. He knows how to pitch and he disguises his pitches well and he sure has a rotation spot locked up for next season.

 But Coghlan won the award, who was equally as impressive this year, he barely beat out happ by 11 votes. He really came into his own in the second half this year after being called up mid-season. He is a true leadoff hitter as he was mentioned in many sentences this season with Hall of Famers and All Stars today regarding his hit totals. He drives the ball to all fields and takes a decent approach at the plate. He’s the tablesetter that Hanley Ramirez and Jorge Cantu needed. Congrats to him for winning the award.
coghlan.jpgAlthought however, Tommy Hanson and Andrew McCutchen fell farther back than I thought they would. I thought that this race was going to be a lot closer. Tommy Hanson has some dirty stuff and if he can avoid injury will post huge strikeout numbers in his career. The Braves are sure to have one of the best rotations in the league next year and Hanson will be a big part of that. Then there’s McCutchen who is a five tool player that, at the rate the Pirates are at now, will trade him for more three decent-but-nothing-special Double-A players sometime in the next few years. Kidding of course. The Buccos know they need to hang on to this kid if they ever want to be good in the next twenty years.

I’m expecting all four of these guys to have great careers.

The AL Cy Young announcement is tomorrow, I’m expecting it to be Zack Greinke. No one else is really too close. Then the Manager of the Year announcement is on Wednesday. Jim Tracy is going to run away with the NL while Mike Scioscia and Ron Gardenhire are my co-winners in the AL.

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Stadium Resume

After a exciting, yet dissapointing, series in Pittsburgh that I’d rather not blog about due to frustration, I’ll give you all the stadiums I’ve been to.

Just a quick note on the Fightins. Hopefully they can start scoring with runners in scoring position. Last night they should have put the Pirates away in the first inning with the bases loaded and no outs. It is frustrating to watch and that leaves JA Happ with no room for error. Other than Garrett Jones’ rainmaker, he pitched very nicely, just as he has been all season long. Right now I am about 50/50 as to who I’d pick for NL Rookie of the Year between Happ and Tommy Hanson in Atlanta.
happ.jpgHopefully they score some runs on the Braves and get some solid pitching tonight from Pedro to bounce back from that series.

Anyways, here’s the list.


 Major League Baseball (no longer in use)
Veterans Stadium — Philadelphia Phillies
Tiger Stadium — Detroit Tigers
Shea Stadium — New York Mets
Olympic Stadium — Montreal Expos
RFK Stadium — Washington Nationals

Major League Baseball (in use)
Citizen’s Bank Park — Philadelphia Phillies
Rogers Centre — Toronto Blue Jays
Camden Yards — Baltimore Orioles
PNC Park — Pittsburgh Pirates
US Cellular Field — Chicago White Sox
Fenway Park — Boston Red Sox
Coors Field — Colorado Rockies
Busch Stadium — St. Louis Cardinals
Citi Field — New York Mets

Minor Leagues
AAA International League
PNC Field — previously Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons (Moosic, PA)
Louisville Slugger Field — Louisville Bats (Louisville, KY)
McCoy Stadium — Pawtucket Red Sox (Pawtucket, RI)
Durham Bulls Athletic Park — Durham Bulls (Durham, NC)
AAA Pacific Coast League
Secuirity Services Field — Colorado Springs Sky Sox (Colorado Springs, CO)
AA Eastern League
Blair County Ballpark — Altoona Curve (Altoona, PA)
FirstEnergy Stadium — Reading Phillies (Reading, PA)
Mercer County Waterfront Park — Trenton Thunder (Trenton, NJ)
Prince George Stadium — Bowie Baysox (Bowie, MD)
altoonacurve.jpgA Carolina League

Daniel S. Frawley Stadium — Wilmington Blue Rocks (Wilmington, DE)
Calvin Falwell Field — Lynchburg Hillcats (Lynchburg, VA)
Salem Memorial Ballpark — previously Salem Avalanche (Salem, VA)
A Florida State League
Joker Marchant Stadium — Lakeland Tigers (Lakeland, FL)
A South Atlantic League
Grayson Stadium — Savannah Sand Gnats (Savannah, GA)
Joseph Riley Ballpark — Charleston River Dogs (Charleston, SC)
McCormick Field — Ashville Tourists (Ashville, NC)
Short-A New York-Penn League
Ripken Stadium — Aberdeen Ironbirds (Aberdeen, MD)
Damaschke Field — Oneonta Tigers/Yankees (Oneonta, NY)
Centennial Field — Vermont Lake Monsters/Expos (Burlington, VT)
Donovan Stadium at Murname Field — Utica Blue Sox (Utica, NY) no longer exist
Rookie-Adv Appalachian League
American Legion Field — Danville Braves (Danville, VA)
Calfee Park — previously Pulaski Blue Jays (Pulaski, VA)

Atlantic League of Professional Baseball
Campbell’s Field — Camden River Sharks (Camden, NJ)
TD Bank Ballpark — Somerset Patriots (Bridgewater, NJ)

Misc. Ballparks
Field of Dreams (Dyersville, Iowa)
Doubleday Field (Cooperstown, NY)

I think that’s all.

Monday Ten

 This week’s power rankings.

1. St. Louis Cardinals (17-8) (2)
Apart from the Pirates, the Cards have the league’s lowest ERA at 3.57 and continue to win ballgames.

2. Toronto Blue Jays (18-9) (1)
They’re still in first place in the AL East. They’re 7-2 in one run affairs and have the highest batting average in the majors thus far.

3. Los Angeles Dodgers (18-8) (4)
Chad Billingsley is leading a pitching that was supposed to be a question mark. The Dodgers also boast a 3.93 team ERA.

4. Boston Red Sox (15-10) (3)
Kevin Youkilis is now hitting .407 even though the team just had a rough series in Tampa.

5. Kansas City Royals (14-11) (7)
Zack Greinke is being dubbed “the best pitcher in baseball” and the bullpen is really coming together. I think its up for grabs in this division. Keep up the success and pitching and its theirs for the taking.

6. Seattle Mariners (15-10) (5)
They won yesterday in the millionth inning, and did it by coming back. Once John Lackey and Ervin Santana are back in the Halos rotation, I don’t expect the Mariners to stay at the top.

7. Chicago Cubs (13-11) (8)
Hoping to get going like they should, they are coming off three straight wins against the Marlins but Big Z going down (after he bunted for a hit?) will definately hurt the rotation.


bigzinjury.jpg8. Florida Marlins (14-11) (10)
As I said, they’re currently on a three game skid and look to turn it around this week against the Reds, Braves, and Rockies.

9. Philadelphia Phillies (12-10) (Pushing)
Split against the Mets this weekend but still need to get that pitching down. Someone also needs to put the Cole Hamels voodoo doll down.

10. New York Yankees (13-11) (NR)
Mark Teixiera’s hitting around .200 and the Yanks are still scoring the most runs per game, imagine what will happen when he starts to raise that average.

Pushing the Ten: Milwaukee Brewers (13-12)

Dropped out:
Detroit Tigers (13-11)
Pittsburgh Pirates (12-12)

Monday Ten

heathbell.jpgThe MLB scene changes a lot in a week during its beginnings and with it, changes my “Monday Ten.” Here’s this week’s power rankings.

1. Los Angeles Dodgers (10-3) (last week: 4)
Only team with an average over .300, they’ve won eight straight, and now Manny’s hit a few out.

2. Florida Marlins (11-1) (2)
They just win ballgames and the bullpen’s been unreal thus far. But, six of those wins have come against the Nats, who have won just once. That’s the only thing kept them from the one spot.

3. Toronto Blue Jays (10-4) (5)
The starting pitching is doing a great job so far this year, something unexpected. The Jays are also scoring runs too, something else unexpected. They also boast the highest batting average in the AL.

4. St. Louis Cardinals (8-5) (1)
Carpenter going down for a while will certainly hurt this squad. But the offense is doing a great job manufacturing runs.

5. Seattle Mariners (8-5) (3)
Lead the entire league in team ERA. King Felix and Bedard are a nasty combo.

6. San Diego Padres (8-5) (NR)
I didn’t include them last week because I still thought they were terrible but after watching them play hard against the Phillies all weekend, this team can play small ball and win close games. Once teams figure out their young guys, things may start to go downhill. But for now, Heath Bell is a monster.

7. Kansas City Royals (7-5) (Pushing)
Kyle Davies is 1-0 with a 2.89 ERA in three starts with 21 strikeouts in about 18 innings. He’s the x-factor here.

8. Chicago Cubs (7-4) (6)
As a team, they’re striking out more than a batter per inning.

9. Detroit Tigers (7-5) (NR)
Miguel Cabrera is a monster and if Armando Galarraga can pick up this staff and lead it this season, they could turn out alright.

10. Boston Red Sox (6-6) (NR)
A four game winning streak and a dominating start by Jon Lester only leads me to believe that the best is yet to come. This team is on the up.

Pushing the Ten: Cincinnati Reds (6-5) 

Dropped out:
Colorado Rockies (4-7)
Los Angeles Angels (4-8)
Atlanta Braves (6-6)
New York Yankees (7-6)

Still to early (hence all the teams that dropped out), but I’ll continue to do this.

Nobama Today for Phillies

With the passing of Harry Kalas, the Phillies cancelled their visit today to the White House to be recognized as worold champions there. Coming off the heels of a victory yesterday against the Nationals, the Phillies will use today to remember a great man who was very important to the game.

With heavy hearts, the Phils beat out the Nationals yesterday in an offensive-minded game. In the game, Ryan Howard and Shane Victorino launched their first homeruns of the season while Raul Ibanez hit his third of the year. Howard has been using all of the field thus far this season. He has taken the ball into the leftcenter gap numerous times with power this year and yesterday one finally went out. Chase Utley was held hitless for the first time this season and the Phils still put up nine runs.

This offense can even do better though. Jimmy Rollins is hitting .121 so far this season and we all know that once he starts to get on base more and more each game, he will steal and take the extra base and give the middle of the lineup every chance to drive him home.

The pitching on the other hand, is improving but still isn’t doing it’s job. Jamie Moyer had a better outing than his first and what we saw yesterday is probably what we should expect from Moyer this season. Six innings and four runs with a walk or two with some good and bad days in between.

Brad Lidge let up a two-run bomb to Ryan Zimmerman. The second homerun of the year he’s let up. Luckily, an insurance run in the top of the eigth kept Lidge from earning a blown save but he does worry me. Although I shouldn’t really be worried when I take a look at the statistics. He’s only surrendered four hits and a walk in five innings with seven strikeouts (1.00 WHIP). The two homeruns he’s surrendered to Zimmerman and Matt Diaz are the runs he’s let up so hopefully he starts to lower that ERA a bit becuase we won’t have a two or three run lead every game.

KEEPIN’ THE NATS BEATEN

Tomorrow the Phils will look to keep the Nationals without a win on the 2009 season when they send Joe Blanton to the mound. Blanton will attempt to rebound from his rough first start against Atlanta in which he lasted four innings and gave up seven earned runs. He was said to have looked the best coming out of spring training out of all the Phillies pitcher so a return to that would convienient.

Monday Ten

mondayten001.jpgHere are my power rankings after week one. I’ll try to give my “Monday Ten” every Monday weekly. So here they are:

1. St. Louis Cardinals (5-2)
Lead by strong pitching and some nice offensive production thus far, the Cards have jumped out to lead the Central. It appears that Chris Carpenter is back.

2. Florida Marlins (5-1)
How exciting is this young team. Josh Johnson is the true ace of this staff and he’s showed it so far. Bullpen is still suspect.

3. Seattle Mariners (5-2)
They’re winning close ballgames and they have the lowest ERA in the AL through seven games. I’ve mentioned before, I love seen Junior in the uni again.

4. Los Angeles Dodgers (4-3)
Lowest WHIP in the NL but Manny may start stirring up some problems.

5. Toronto Blue Jays (5-2)
Scoring the most runs per game this year and how about Adam Lind? Called it.

6. Chicago Cubs (4-3)
Soriano has gotten off to a good start for once.

7. Colorado Rockies (3-3)
Offense is looking really good. Whether or not they can keep carrying this production–time will tell.

8. Los Angeles Angels (3-3)
The Angels, with the death of a fellow teammate on their hearts, are playing hard baseball. The cleared benches may have sparked something as well.

9. Atlanta Barves (5-1)
Took advantage of the Phils starters not locating pitches and then the played the Nationals? The bullpen absolutely imploded in Philly though.

10. New York Yankees (3-3)
Not sure where they would be after two road series to start the season. But now we know CC does have his stuff.

Pushing the Ten: Kansas City Royals (3-3)

It’s still the first week though, so take all of this lightly.

Patience Pays Off in First Victory

ibanez.jpgFirst of all, congrats to Raul Ibanez for hitting his first homerun as a Philadelphia Phillies player. It’s nice to see a homerun coming off of our bat for once this series.

Heading into the bottom of the seventh, down 10-3, I had lost all hope and figured that the Phillies were going to swept right out of the opening series by the homer-happy Braves. In fact, I was willing to give up on the game once Joe Blanton had a rough third, and even more so ready to throw in the towell when JA Happ gave up the two run shot to Jordan Schafer in the fifth.

Then just as I was about to leave the radio and head off to the gym, Chase Utley blooped a single into center and Ryan Howard was hit by a pitch. I figured that I would stay until the end of the inning. Well, eight runs later I was still sitting at my computer listening to the game.

The Phils bottom of the seventh consisted of five hits, six walks, eight runs, and four Atlanta relievers. The Braves bullpen imploded. They couldn’t find the strikezone and I’m suprised the Phillies aggressive bats let the Braves put that many on. One thing the Phillies didn’t prove to me during the playoffs last season was that they aren’t the team to work the walk. They would swing at ball three or ball four in a 2-2 or 3-1 count. But today, they discovered a patience they never had before and it turned out to be the difference in the ballgame.

In that dreaded seventh inning for the Braves, Eric O’Flaherty, Peter Moylan, Blaine Boyer, and Jorge Campillo surrendered six walks and five singles. All eight runs scored were earned by the Braves pitchers and Moylan and Boyer don’t even have ERA’s.

How clutch did the Eric Bruntlett sac fly turn out to be? In the bottom of the eighth Bruntlett brought home a run as insurance for Brad Lidge. It turned out that it was needed and kept Lidge’s streak alive. Lidge ended up giving up a homerun to Matt Diaz on a slider but no blown save was to be had. Lidge recorded his first save of the year after a slider in the dirt got Garrett Anderson to swing and miss.

“Put this one in the win column for the Fightin’ Phils.”

CHARLIE DOUBLE SWITCHES

Charlie Manuel ended up using the double switch today in that pivotal seventh inning. He sent Matt Stairs up to hit for Carlos Ruiz (maybe a fear factor for the pitcher). Brought Chris Coste in to pinch hit for the pitcher, then sent Coste in to catch and the pitcher spot was now in the eight hole. To anyone that doesn’t know, there was concern that Charlie didn’t know how to use the double switch. Well today he utilized it (even though it wasn’t the usual double-switch situation). I applaud you Uncle Charlie.

RING CEREMONY

Those rings are nice aren’t they? It was awesome to see Pat Burrell back again (I think he got emotional–hence the shades). And yes, we did boo Adam Eaton.

SOUTHPAW SQUAREOFF AT FENWAY

It looks like Scott Kazmir got the best of Jon Lester tonight in Boston. Through four innings, Lester looked great. But then in the fifth, a few flyballs fell in that probably could have been caught. Both flyball “singles” involved Jed Lowrie running backwards and I’m not sure if he got in the way of Jason Bay and Jacoby Ellsbury, but it looked like it. So don’t look at Lester’s five earned and think he got rocked. Although Carlos Pena did rock one pitch on the three run bomb to center.

Jed Lowrie seems to be the goat of the night. There were the flyball situations, and he also struck out twice. Once was with the bases loaded and two outs late in the game. Even if Julio Lugo was healthy, I would stick with Lowrie at short. Who cares about how much he’s getting to sit on the bench? Jed’s the future.

How good does Akinori Iwamura look at the bottom of that lineup? Normally the nine-hole is also called the “second leadoff spot.” Aki, along with Jason Bartlett and Carl Crawford combined for nine hits in fourteen at-bats. That will definately make this lineup go as the season progresses and they may be the key.

I look forward to the rest of these Rays/Sox matchups.