Friday, May 16, 2008
*Lance Berkman, LSWTF Player of the Week*
Michael: [in the office, imitating the terminator] I'll be baaaaack! And I am baaaack!
Pam: How'd it go?
Michael: No. No, Pam. I'm baaaaaack! For gooood!
Yes, one of the greatest quotable shows on tv……ever "The Office"! Let’s see, a lot has gone on in the past 2 weeks. I am engaged, the gang went camping, and I am job hunting….again. My apologies go out to the devout masses who look forward to my weekly power rankings. The theme of the week has been pitching, lots and lots of good pitching. Without further ado, let the debates begin.
1 (2) Arizona Diamondbacks (26-15) – They have struggled a lot at the plate these past weeks. Reynolds, Byrnes, and Young just can’t seem to click in May. Luckily for the Backs they have Webb (9-0), Haren (4-2, .99 WHIP), and Owings (5-1).
2 (4) Chicago Cubs (25-16) – First off, Dempster tossed 9 k’s in his last start; which is a testament of things to come. The guy was a reliever for all these years and is making good on his rare spot starts. Soriano is playing terrible baseball and the Cubs brought in Jim Edmonds to “Motivate” him. Yeh, nice try. What I love about the Cubs is that middle infield depth consisting of Mike Fontenot, Ryan Therot, Mark Derosa, and Ronny Cedeno.
3 (21) Tampa Bay Rays (24-17) – A lot has happened in 2 weeks, one being the complete dominance of the Rays in the AL West. Let’s break it down: Swept the Angels, took 2 of 3 vs the Jays, and took 3 of 4 from the Yanks. Sure the Saux swept them earlier in the month, but the O’s remedied that quickly, eh Dewey? Oh, did I mention Scott Kazmir is back?? Hmmmm danger Hank Steinbrenner, Danger!!
4 (8) Oakland A's (23-19) – They deserve this and everyone here knows it. They may not play sexy baseball but they win. They dominated April (A month we all know them to truly suck in). However, they are currently struggling in May but so is everyone else. True, they got roughed up by the Indians but ask Oriole fan (whom the A’s swept earlier in the month), this team is for real. Oh, and somebody give Emil Brown a cookie for carrying the offense on his back (.269, 4HR, 33RBI).
5 (1) Boston Red Sox (24-19) –It pains me to keep them on the top 5. I mean Red Saux Nation went into Camden Yards and was HUMILIATED. Despite Dewey’s bombardment of trash talk (The whole Jon Lester argument), Dews still managed to be humble. Also, need I remind you that the Twins took 3 of 4 games prior? But im not couting the Saux out just yet. Ellsbury is playing like the ROY candidate of last year and ManRam can still hit. 2 HR away to 500! Side note- Fatollo, errr Bartolo Calon is pitching excellent in AAA right now.
6 (25) Houston Astros (24-18) – Even I need to take a step back and reflect. We all knew the offense was good, but the recent success of the pitching took me off guard. Oswalt is pitching great, Wandy Rodriguez is proving to be a solid #2, and Brandon Backe is well, back! Let’s not forget that the Stro’s have won 9 of their last 11 games. Props to Lance Berkman for playing like an MVP candidate. Oh, and Miguel Tejada must be like fine wine. The older he GOT, the better he is.
7 (3) LA Angels (24-19) – They own first place in the West by a thread and their pitching savior, John Lackey got r-o-u-g-h-e-d up!! But pitchers coming off major injury tend to do that, so don’t drool just yet A fan. Santana and Saunders continue to pitch well but can they keep doing it through September. I think not! I believe the success of this team rests on the shoulders of Vlad the Great (.269, 4HR, 20RBI). Yikes!
8 (16) Cleveland Indians (22-19) – C.C Sabathia, Cliff Lee, and now Aaron laffey. They have the starters and now Kobayashi closing games. I love the pitching in Cleveland. But the problem is now in the hands of the offense. Sure, they can get on base but nobody can drive them home. Casey Blake leads the team with 25rbi. They need a more consistent RBI guy if they want to win those close games. Oh, props to Grady Sizemore for reminding the young folk what Ricky Henderson meant to baseball back in the day (That awesome lead-off HR and then follow with another on Saturday) *Jack- Not a comparison but it was refreshing to see a lead-off hitter imitate, even for one day*
9 (11) Baltimore Orioles (21-19) – Calm down Dews, the O’s earned this for making ME excited about Oriole baseball over the weekend. That sweep silenced Red Sox Nation at least for a weekend. As we all know, its not easy to quiet them. To be honest, I don’t think the momentum will last as the rotation seems to be overworked and the offense is non-existent (Well, except for that JAY PAYTON Grand Slam). And for the record, Nick Markakis isn’t the best Greek in baseball, that honor would go to Kevin Youkalis. Sorry bra’.
10 (15) Florida Marlins (23-17) – I know Marlin fan must be disappointed with the 10 rank and I don’t blame them. But a sweep against the Nats followed by GETTING swept by the Reds doesn’t help much. The offense has proved they are top of the pack in the majors. Hanley Ramirez is awesome and Dan Uggla is proving that you can still succeed despite a terrible sophomore season. My only beef is the pitching. The pitching is terrible in every aspect.
11 (7) St Louis Cardinals (24-19) – I think the luster is starting to fade on the Cardinals. Sure, Albert Pujols is playing like an MVP and the pitching is looking solid (With the exception of Izzy in the closer role). But The Pirates took 2 of 3 as did the Brewers. They need to win those series! I do love that outfield though; Skip Shumaker, Rick “Man Child” Ankiel, and Chris Duncan. Not sexy, but productive.
12 (20) Philadelphia Philly’s (23-19) – Cole Hamels; my fantasy savior, threw a brilliant CG SO against the Braves last night. I do, however, feel this team needs serious help (Brett Myers got LIT THE FUCK UP against the Braves earlier in the week). The pitching is still horrible, and Pat Burrell’s hot streak seems to be at an end as well. BUT, Jimmy Rollins is back and Chase Utley is still cranking balls. There might still be some hope in Philly. SIDE NOTE- Yes, the Giants took 2 of 3 games vs the Phills over the weekend.
13 (17) LA Dodgers (21-19) – I still think they are in deep trouble and getting swept by the Astro’s doesn’t help either. AndrEw Jones hit a homerun (I think that’s worth highlighting). The pitching has been so-so; as Derek Lowe proved to me once again why I need to drop him from my fantasy team. I do see a bright shining star though in a cloud full of smog, Blake DeWitt.
14 (5) Chicago White Sox (20-20) – I think they are a much better team than #14 rank. But Thome has 1 hit in his last 3 games, Nick Swisher is proving that Clint can see into the future and should be considered a witch/sorcerer/The Emperor, and the Sox middle infield is crap. It is worth mentioning that a fellow fantasy owner offered me Paul Konerko for Tyler Walker…….In the words on Quagmire “Giggidy Giggidy GOOO, Aaaaaallrigh”.
15 (9) New York Yankees (20-22) – I am not ready to kick them out of the top 15. Call me stubborn but its true. Sure they are in last place but with the talent and payroll that they have, it’s only a matter of time until they break the slump. Arod is back next week which is an immediate upgrade and good reason to keep them at this rank. The pitching is terrible, but rookie Darrell Rasner could be a bright spot (2-0, 3.00 ERA).
16 (13) New York Mets (21-20) – They are out of the top 15 for a good reason. How are they this bad??? Carlos Beltran is getting better and that could be a good sign. I never would have thought the best pitcher in baseball, Johan Santana (4-2) would be this mediocre. Oh, it’s not his fault but still. It boggles the mind!! Oh, and good luck recovering from that awful series with the Nationals. 1 win out of 4, come on!!
17 (6) Milwaukee Brewers (20-21) – Their record is exactly where it should be. Rickie Weeks, Bill Hall, and Prince Fielder have a combined AVG of .211. Those are everyday starters!! I think its time to dump Bill Hall, put red hot Ryan Braun back at 3b, and call up super-man-giant rookie Matt LaPorta. I still like the rotation even without Gallardo, but the Gagne experiment needs to end!!
18 (23) Atlanta Braves (20-20) – John Smoltz is the teams new closer. I think this is an excellent move. The rotation needs young blood and well, a closer. This move addresses both needs. Oh and when did Mark Kotsay become good again? The guy is playing with passion again!! That, and if you have been living under a rock lately, Chipper Jones gives all Brave fans a reason to smile.
19 (29) Texas Rangers (20-22) – I still hate this teams pitching, but Vicente Padilla is FINALLY playing respectable baseball. That and my pre-season theory of simply outscoring the opponent to win games are being utilized. That and Josh Hamilton IS an MVP and Comeback player of the year right now. The guy is simply making up for lost years.
20 (19) San Francisco Giants (17-25) – You God Damn right we stay in the top 20. Sure we had a few bumps but name another team behind us that is doing any better? We took 2 of 3 against the Philly’s, Matt Cain finally won a game, and Tim Lincecum is showing the world that he can win on a mediocre team. Sure the Astro’s beat us up but we did keep it competitive. Aaron Rowand (.333 5HR, 20RBI, 12 doubles) is playing PHE-NOMINAL baseball. His lack of RBIs is accredited to the fact that nobody in front of him can get on base.
21 (28) Pittsburgh Pirates (20-21) – Ok, the Pirates did sweep the Giants, but it’s my rankings so I’m allowed a discrepancy. The rotation lacks consitancy as does the rest of the bullpen. I do find it funny that the more Jason Bay bashing that I do, the better he becomes. So for the remainder of this week, he is UTTERLY USELESS!!
22 (24) Minnesota Twins (20-20) – They may warrant a top 20 but all you need to do is look at the record. Yeh, they beat up on the Saux, but they were also Toronto’s whipping boy as they got swept. Morneau is finally driving in runs but he only seems to drive in Joe Mauer. The team needs more offensive weapons. Don’t get me started on the pitching, unless you really want me to say that Livan Hernandez is this team’s ace. I know I threw up also just writing it.
22 (30) Washington Nationals (18-24) – Who would have thought the Nats would do what they did against the Mets. I did?? Nah, but seriously, the pitching is looking pretty solid now. Tim Redding and John Lannan are carrying the rotation and support guys like Odalis Perez and Shawn Hill a little better (All 4 with ERA’s under 4).
23 (27) Kansas City Royals (19-21) – They swept the Tigers…..AGAIN!! If only they played Detroit everyday. The problem in KC is that nobody can score any runs. Yes, they hit for average and yes they can draw walks, but nobody has stepped up to drive them in. Zach Greinke and Brian Bannister are pitching good enough to compensate for bad hitting. If Meche can get on track, the Royals could have a formidable 1-2-3 in the rotation. The AL Rookie favorite of mine, Luke Hochevar, is making a decent case for ROY. Good stuff!
24 (22) Toronto Blue Jays (20-22) – Vernon Wells, The Jays BEST player, is out 6-8 weeks. Yeh, that is Granted, they got the sweep over the Twins but I don’t see any player in the organization picking up his slack. I foresee bad days ahead in Canada, Eh.
25 (26) Cincinnati Reds- (18-23) – I think there is a good future in the Reds rotation, along side Harang we have Cueto and Volquez. The problem isn’t really the pitching though; it’s the complete lack of offense. Sure they swept the Marlins, but the team’s best hitter, Jeff Keppinger, is out 6 weeks with a broken kneecap. And yes, I said Jeff Keppinger is their best player.
26 (12) San Diego Padres (15-27) – What the hell happened here? I have no explanation. I literally have nothing to say *I am laughing my ass off right now though*. Padre fan was convinced the Giants would occupy last place. Sure, the Giants COULD in the future, but just not now. *Yes, im still laughing my ass off right now*
27 (14) Colorado Rockies (15-26) – Again, I sit here laughing my ass off. How does a World Series team go from great success to utter failure? Helton and Holliday are not producing and the pitching is garbage.
28 (18) Seattle Mariners (16-26) – It is a bad sign when Ichiro is hitting under .300 and failing to score runs. The team relies on the one universal truth, and that is him GETTING ON BASE. I think the Jeff Clement and Wladamir Balentien experiment has been an utter failure as well. Erik Bedard and Felix Hernandez are pitching very well but not getting any run support. Just 4 wins combined.
29 (10) Detroit Tigers (16-25) – Parody does in fact exist in baseball. If you don’t believe me just take a look at the Tigers. Crap for pitching (With the exception of Armando Galarraga) and crap for offense (with the exception of Magglio Ordonez). What happened to this powerhouse team? What sad is that I think things will get even worse!! D-Damn Tigers, you cant get swept by the Royals twice!