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A Case for Yadier Molina as 2013 National League MVP

Yadier Molina
Nobody is a clear-cut favorite to win the MVP in the National League for 2013. Some names have been bandied about, some deserving and some not. Let us start at the top. Dodger ace Clayton Kershaw is said to be a strong candidate. If you don’t think the Cy Young Award is sufficient reward then maybe he is. I never, I said never liked the idea of a pitcher getting the MVP award. Even in 2011 when Justin Verlander won both prestigious awards with a 24-5 record and an ERA of 2.40. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on October 25, 2013 in MLB

 

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Braves’ Lew Burdette’s Two Flirtations with Perfection

Lew Burdette

Did you ever have one of those days when it seemed as if everything went right? It was like some spiritual or universal force was guiding your every move. Would you call that a perfect day? All went well, nobody close to you was sick or dying.

Lew Burdette had two days which were similar to that. One was his and the other one he was watching. My father said Burdette was nicknamed “Fidgety Lew” because he never kept still for a moment. He was on the mound that Tuesday night, May 26, 1959 in old County Stadium when diminutive southpaw Harvey Haddix pitched 12 innings of baseball perfection. Seriously, 36 up and 36 down, no runs, no hits, no walks, no HBP, no errors. The man pitched a perfect game (for 12 innings, not 9), yet he lost 1-0 in the 13th inning.

You may have heard that at some point, but you probably were not told that the winner of the game pitched pretty well himself. Burdette won the game that night by going 13 hard innings for the Milwaukee Braves and staying until the end. His line that night showed 13 IP, 12 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO.

So, you may ask, what has that to do with Burdette and perfection? He watched his counterpart twirl 12 masterpiece innings and stayed the course for the win. He saw what it was like for someone to flirt with perfection.

Fast forward a year to August 18, 1960. The same venue as the last, Burdette’s home yard, County Stadium. This time it is the Philadelphia Phillies, fresh off a three-game losing streak at the hands of the Pirates at Forbes Field.
“Long” Gene Conley was slated to start against Burdette who was last seen four days earlier throwing a five-hit shutout against the San Francisco Giants.

Conley was also a power forward in the NBA with the Boston Celtics. He was huge in baseball terms.

Burdette had retired the first 13 Phillies he faced and was working in the fifth inning of a scoreless game. With one out and the bases empty, centerfielder Tony Gonzalez came to the plate. The only bad pitch of the game for Burdette, and one that shall live in infamy, hit Gonzalez and he was the first runner for the Phillies. Third-baseman Lee Walls came up next and hit a ball hard to Eddie Mathews. He threw the ball to Joe Adcock at first, who then fired to shortstop Johnny Logan who tagged Gonzalez.

Burdette never allowed another runner. In the home half of the eighth inning with the game still scoreless, Burdette leads off the inning. He hit a hard grounder down the left field line and raced to second with a leadoff double. Center-fielder Billy Bruton came up next and rifled a grounder down the right field line for a standup double which scored Burdette, and consequently the only run of the game.

In the top of the ninth Burdette had retired both Jimmy Coker and Ken Walters leaving only Gene Conley standing between Burdette and a no-hitter. Manager Gene Mauch pinch hits for Conley, sending Bobby Smith to bat for him. Smith hits an easy fly to right-fielder Hank Aaron who easily makes the catch to preserve the win, complete game shutout, no-hitter and nearly a perfect game for Burdette.

What a night! Not only did he  pitch a masterpiece, he scored the only run of the game, and was 2 for 3 at the plate.

The box score will show that Burdette faced the minimum of 27 batters. The AB however, will reflect only 26 since Gonzalez HBP didn’t result in at AB and he was wiped clean with a twin killing.

I wonder how much thought he put into the game in ’59 when he was watching Haddix fiddle with baseball immortality.

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Posted by on March 19, 2013 in Historical, MLB

 

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The Mis-Management of Kyle Lohse

What reasons are there that one of the best pitchers in 2013 is shopworn and now sitting on an end cap with no reduced rate? Perhaps the greed of Scott Boras?

Boras, noted for his tenacious negotiating skills, is Kyle Lohse‘s agent. The longer this freeze-out continues, the worse Boras’ image looks, not to mention the effects on the career of a 34-year old pitcher.

The new rule that states a team signing a free agent who declined a qualifying offer from his team would have to surrender a draft choice to said team. Doesn’t sound like the union thought that one out to the end does it? Did anyone think it through?

Lohse has had a good run with the St. Louis Cardinals. In his best three of five years with the Cards his record is 45-17 with an ERA of 3.34. In 2009-10 he only averaged around 100 IP per season.

We watched and waited with baited breath while Michael Bourn was passed over by one team, then another and then the previous one again, ad nauseum. News Flash: Bourn is another player in the Boras stable. Think of the money this guy makes. I don’t know what his take is, but just a small percentage of guys like Alex Rodriguez, Prince Fielder, Matt Holliday, Robinson Cano, Carlos Gonzalez, Barry Zito, Jayson Werth, Stephen Strasburg, Jacoby Elsbury and many, many others. How would you like to have only 1 percent of their many for a year?

Obviously Boras is looking for outrageous money for Lohse. It is rumored to be around $80M for five years. My calculator works when my mind doesn’t and that looks like $16M per season. That is a lot of jack for a man who has a career ERA+ of 97. In case you are not aware (not trying to dummy anything down here), that is 3 points less than the average pitcher in the league. Since we are talking average here, the aforementioned Bourn has a career OPS+ of 90 and look how they all salivated after him. It looked like the Walking Dead going after a dead horse.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a Lohse fan. The longer he sits the less attractive he becomes. If Boras doesn’t want him ruined for good, he should mark down the price on Lohse. You know, rollback – Walmart style. I don’t mean have a fire sale, but let the man work and do what he does best.

 
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Posted by on March 7, 2013 in MLB

 

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Octavio Dotel Bad-mouths Miguel Cabrera

miguel cabreraAccording to Eric Adelson, Pitcher Octavio Dotel doesn’t hold the Triple Crown Winner, Miguel Cabrera in high regard as a team leader.

You have to step up and say something. Miggy’s more about his game. I don’t see him as a leader … Everybody has their eyes on Miggy Cabrera.”

Most say Cabrera is a soft spoken guy and some have gone as far as saying he is introverted. He may be, but he is still a very agressive, boisterous player on the field. Without question he is one of the top five players in MLB right now. Cabrera doesn’t feel it is his place to be the locker room ring leader, perhaps it is something to do with his bouts with alcohol which have been publicized widely.

A Hall of Fame caliber player does not make for a team leader, refer to Ty Cobb and Reggie Jackson among many others and see why.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on February 22, 2013 in MLB

 

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Indians Sign Minor League Deal with Daisuke Matsuzaka. Oh How the Mighty Have Fallen

It doesn’t seem that long ago (2007) that Dice-K was all the rage. Boston bought him from the Saibu Lions of the Japanese Pacific league. In his sophomore season Matsuzaka won 18 games for the Red Sox against just three losses. He had an excellent ERA of 2.90 and finished fourth in the CYA race. The trophy went to Cliff Lee that season.

 

He made $10.3M last season with Boston and managed only 45+ innings. He won one and lost seven and had a deplorable ERA of 8.38. He only finished six innings in two of his 11 starts. In his six-year career he has a record of 50-37 with an ERA of 4.52 and has only one complete game in his resume.

 
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Posted by on February 10, 2013 in MLB

 

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Cleveland Indians Lose Interest in Slugger Jim Thome

Thome cardshotKen Rosenthal reported that former Cleveland Indian slugger Jim Thome is no longer on their radar. They do not wish to take up roster space with a dedicated designated hitter, which apparently is what he is reduced to at this stage in his very good career.

Thome is currently seventh on the all-time list of home run hitters in MLB with 612. He claims that he is healthy and wants to continue. He is clearly within range of surpassing No. 6 on the list, Ken Griffey, Jr who has amassed 630 in his certain Hall of Fame career.

Thome has a total of 1699 RBI (24th all time) to go along with those homers, as well as 1583 runs scored. He also has a decent slash line of .276/.402/.554 with a very good OPS+ of 147. He is seventh on the all-time list in walks with 1747.

If he would only see 200 PA this year he would pass Reggie Jackson as the MLB strikeout king. He is just 49 short now and he strikes out at the rate of 24.7 percent

The Oakland A’s are about the only team that would be a viable landing spot for the 42-year old as far as I can see. They are the only team that doesn’t have a DH listed on their depth chart. It is doubtful if a National League squad would taken him in as just a pinch hitter. At this stage of his career he goes for pennies on the dollar. He made $1.25M last season. The last three campaigns added together are only $5.75M which is a pittance considering he made $15.7M in 2008.

Thome’s next stop just might be Cooperstown.

 
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Posted by on February 8, 2013 in MLB

 

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Is Michael Bourn All He is Hyped-up To Be?

Michael Bourn is a decent baseball player. There, I said it. Not great, not so spectacular that we need to read everyday that he is still sitting on the top shelf at the market. Wonder why?

For starters, let us look at his numbers. Always go to the numbers. The first thing that I see instantly is that he is 10 degrees below zero in OPS+. For his career Bourn sits at 90. In only two of his seven years in MLB has he been at least average in that department. If you aren’t aware, 100 is the league average, everything above is good, everything below is, well..below average. He has played with the Phillies, Astros and Braves thus far.

One of his strengths is his speed and therefore base-stealing. His last two seasons of stolen base ratio has been below the level of greatness, which many consider to be 80 percent success. In 2012 his was 76 percent and he led the league in ‘caught stealing’ for the second time in his career. He was the Grand Theft Bases champ from 2009-11.

His average is decent, but his OBP for a lead-off hitter is not that hot. Plus his K/BB% is 2.29 which is just a little below league average of 2.13. He has never scored 100 runs. His XBH% is 5.7 percent, 2.1 percent below the league average. He has been selected to two All-Star teams and has two Gold Glove trophies on his mantel. He is not Ty Cobb. Why does Scott Boras think he is worth so much money?

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Posted by on February 7, 2013 in MLB

 

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