Tuesday, December 25, 2012

S25 Hall of Fame vote

It just don't get any easier than this folks.   We've got five ARod legends up for the Hall this year.   Let's not embarrass ourselves by not voting a couple of these guys in (again).

1)  Emmanuel Aquino  -  13 All-Star appearances, 2nd all-time to Dante Ming, S6 AL ROY, S7 All-Star game MVP, 2x World Series Champ, 8x Silver Slugger and S14 AL MVP, Aquino's racked up some amazing stats.  Check out this slash line over 17 seasons - .325/.405/.643/1.048;  add 716 HR (#5 all-time),  2126 RBI (#4 all-time), 1871 runs (#5 all-time), 1100 walks, 500 doubles and dude could run too - 229 SB.   Aquino was never a magician (1 Gold Glove at 2B)  in the field but playing most of his career at 2B, he had a .985 fielding% while there.   If this guy isn't in the HOF this year I will have to question the collective intelligence of this world.

2)  Jack Redmond  -  10 All-Star appearances, tied for 3rd all-time, 4x AL Cy Young winner, 2x World Series Champ and S15 AL Gold Glove pitcher, "Black" Jack is in the discussion of best pitchers in the history of ARod and as if you needed more evidence - 253 W(#4 all-time) - 108 L in 523 GS; 2871 K(#3 all-time) vs. only 1044 BB;  career WHIP of 1.19 and ERA of 3.12.

3) Dan Stuart   -   6 All-Star appearances, 3x NL Cy Young winner, 2x World Series Champ, 2x NL Gold Glove pitcher, The Big Train was the most durable and dominant pitcher the NL has seen.  281 W(#2 all-time) - 159 L, 104 CG(#1 all-time) in 561 GS, 4002.2 innings pitched (#1 all-time), 2793 K(#5 all-time) vs. only 1088 BB and a career WHIP of 1.22 and ERA of 3.53.  Oh and he's #1 all-time in Shutouts(31), Quality Starts(357) too......Get'r done!!

4) Tony Weiss   -  9 All-Star appearances, tied for 4th all-time, S16 AL MVP, S6 NL ROY, 10x Silver Slugger, Weiss was one of the greatest non-power hitting hitters in the history of ARod and his MVP season was one for the ages----he hit .384 with an OBP of .451, scored 164 runs and ripped 262 hits (an all-time single season record) and stole 57 bases---not bad eh?   For his career he hit .324 with a .399 OBP, ripped 2961 hits (#5 all-time), scored 1809 runs, had 1321 RBI and walked 1031 times......almost forgot the 778 SB's (#3 all-time) and the 545 doubles (#5 all-time)!!!

5) Sal MacDougal   - 7 All-Star appearances, tied for 6th all-time, S4 AL Cy Young winner, S16 World Series Champ, MacDougal was the AL's answer to Dan Stuart.   He may not have racked up quite as many Cy's, but if you needed a Win, look no further - #1 in all-time wins with 286, #2 in innings pitched with 3814, #4 in CG with 77, #2 in Shutouts with 29 and #1 in K's at 3053.  Nuff said!!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

S24 All-World Team

P -  Elrod Coke
C - Brant Ducey
1B - Vincente Bennett
2B - Ralph Kydd
3B - Benito Rijo
SS - Ajax Maybin
LF - Dan Blair
CF - Hi Shouse
RF - Pat Dougherty
DH - Dioner Monero

Congrats to cebola & Tampa Bay

1)  2nd World Series title for cebola in 4 years

2)  4th consecutive World Series title for the NL South

3)  8 of the last 11 World Series titles for the NL

Thursday, December 6, 2012

S24 LCS Recap by cebola

It was guaranteed that the NL champ would come from the NL South for the 5th consecutive season, as division rivals Iowa and Tampa squared off in the best of 7. In each of the first two games, Tampa came from behind late to steal the 2-0 series lead. Iowa got another superb start from Bruce Mullens (7 innings, 1 run) in game one, but the bullpen could not hold on, as Tampa comes up with 5 runs in the 8th to erase a 4-1 deficit. Kid Flair delivered the 2-run, 2-out hit to give the Dons the lead. In game 2, Iowa’s Cutter Darr staked the Rounders to a 4-0 lead in the first with a big 3-run blast off Rob Cormier. Tampa got huge lifts from a couple bench players as Ronnie Rapp got his team back into it with a pinch-hit 3-run homer in the 5th to cut Iowa’s lead to 2. And when Harry “Met Sal” Lee was able to come out of the pen and give his squad 3 scoreless/hitless innings, the Dons positioned themselves to make a comeback for the second straight game. Flair played hero again with a 2-run homer in the ninth to put Tampa ahead by a run, and closer Alfonso Villafuerte closed the door for the second straight game. Game 3 was more of a typical contest for these two clubs, as Clinton Puffer spun a beauty (7 innings, 1 run) in Iowa’s 2-1 win, thrusting his team back into the series. Sammy Cochrane got the big 2-out RBI hit in the 8th to put the Rounders ahead to stay. Doug “Buck” Rogers was the hard luck loser (7 innings, 1 run.) Tampa got great pitching in the next two games from Rich Sobolewski (8 shutout innings) and Rob Cormier (6 innings 0 earned runs) to seal the series with wins of 4-0 and 7-2. Game 5 was a 2-1 contest through Iowa’s half of the 6th, but Tampa was able to break it open with 3 homers the rest of the way, including another pinch-hit blast by Rapp. Tampa ends Iowa’s quest for the Three-peat (I use the term with Pat Riley’s permission), and get back to the series for the 3rd time in 5 seasons.

Iowa had another great season and looked to be on a mission to win their third consecutive title. There’s no doubt they will be back next season to add to their legacy and do whatever it takes to win it all! Great job.

In the AL Championship Series, Trenton stormed out to a 3-1 series lead with a couple of dramatic come-from-behind wins of their own. Game 1 was a great pitching performance by co-ace Karl Hurst and three relievers to stake them to the early series lead with a 3-1 win. Game 2 saw the Thunder come back from a 4-1 deficit by scoring 6 in the final two frames to win 7-4. John "lil Ichiro" Suzuki and Don Fukudome "No Fukudome You" each had a 2-run HR in the 8th to go ahead. LA took game three 4-3, on a brilliant pitching performance by Derek Hardtke, who tossed 4 innings of relief for the win. In game 4, Trenton survived a 5 run first inning by LA (Darren Ferguson and Andrew Gipson HR’s with ducks on the pond) to come back again and win 8-6. A couple of 2-out RBI hits by Victor Morales and Ober Furcal tied the game in the 5th, and Javier Rivera and Suzuki supplied the RBI’s in the go-ahead 7th. In game 5, the Dodgers again staked themselves to a 5-nil lead in the 1st on another 2-run blast by Ferguson, and a homer by Tony “The Crooner” Bennett. This time, they were able to make it hold up, as Paul Merrick throws 6 innings, giving up only 1 run on 5 hits and a walk. LA starter Don Wallace (7 innings, 1 run, 5 hits, 1 walk) comes up huge in game 6, outdueling Pat “Puffy” Combs in the 2-1 win that forces a game 7. In the do or die finale, the Thunder took a 6-5 lead to the 8th. Trenton’s Suzuki had a couple homers and LA got some big timely hits by the likes of Bennett and Geovany Molina. But Trenton broke it open in the 8th on a Victor Morales 3-run homer, and the Thunder hold on to win game 7 and advance to the World Series for the second time in 3 seasons.

LA had another terrific season, and definitely has a championship caliber team. You know the Dodgers are built to win for the long haul, and should be back in a position to contend for the title next year. Great job.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

S24 NL Awards

NL MVP -  Benito Rijo
     *Dig deeper....Rijo was a monster AWAY from Coors this year and should have gotten a Gold Glove at 3B.   It's time for his 3rd MVP.

NL Cy Young - Santo Cerda
   *My apologies to Donte Zoltan who put up ridiculous numbers in the light air of Colorado....but could the blog give his own guys both awards?? :)   As for Cerda, he's the reason Scranton wasn't in the toilet this year.

NL ROY - Shawn Lo Duca
      *I know Oleg hit alot of bombs and drove in a lot of runs, but for some reason I find myself more impressed with this rookie locking down 33 of 37 save opps......perhaps its my own history of never having a guy who can do that.....

NL CoY -  patrick71665
     -As much as I'd have liked to give this award to bigparb13, the wins in Colorado weren't as much of a surprise as what happened with Washington's run to the NL title.  Game recognizes game....

Monday, December 3, 2012

MWR - The loosecc decision

“After a thorough investigation, careful consideration, and much deliberation, the veterans committee has decided to grant owner loosecc a one-year probation for failing to meet this past season’s minimum win requirement. He will be required to win 67 games next season in order to stay in ARod; there is no "2nd" probation.

There were many factors involved in the decision, including the fact that loosecc was invited to join the league as a relatively inexperienced owner to take over a team with a recent track record of losing, before the minimum win requirement was "officially" established. This fact, combined with loosecc’s demonstrating a sincere dedication to improving his team and a commitment to improving his knowledge base was another consideration. The committee feels that the franchise is more likely to succeed with the current owner than it would be otherwise.

If you have any questions about the decision making process, you may contact any of the members of the veterans committee. Please know that this decision was not taken lightly, and that the committee acted with the best interest of the World in mind.”

S24 Playoffs - Division Championship Series Recap by cebola

The Jackson-Trenton series featured two great, relentless offensive attacks. It seemed that every time one of the teams built a lead, the other would come back. After Jackson’s game one 7-4 win, which featured 2 HR by Bryce Dupler & 4 hits by Jaret Walters, Trenton bats came alive. In game 2’s win, they took a 9-3 lead to the 8th, riding on the back of MVP candidate John Suzuki (2 homers, 4 hits, 3 runs, 3 ribbies), only to see Jackson give them a scare by scoring 4 in the 8th before holding on. Game 3 saw the Thunder come back from an early 3-1 deficit to forge ahead 5-3. But Jackson again got the bats going in the 8th to tie it up on a big 2-out, 2-run double by Malachi “Cornfield” Neal. Jackson had runners on the corners in the ninth with no outs, but Tyson Griffiths was thrown at home on a potential sac fly, killing the rally. Trenton got the win, walk-off style in the 9th. Nick Jacquez led off with a sinble and was plated on a hit by Guillermo Solano. In Game 4, Trenton again seemed in control, building an 8-3 lead, courtesy of Jonathan Hamelin’s 2 HR and 5 RBI. But Jackson would not to down easily in this potential series clincher, as they score 4 in the 6th to tie it, and forge ahead with a run in the 8th on another big hit by Neal. They actually had a chance to tack on, but Bryce Dupler made an out on the bases, squashing the opportunity for a big inning. The Jackson lead is short-lived, as Ober Furcal leads off the ninth with a game-tying homer. Trenton again walks-off in the ninth as the table setters get on for slugger Jacquez , who delivers the series ending sac fly. Hamelin drives in 14 for the series and takes the MVP. Trenton gets to the League Championship Series to face the mighty Dodgers for the second time in three seasons. LA will surely be looking to avenge that 7 game series loss.

It was another great season for Jackson. Special thanks to the new ownership for taking that franchise where they were expected to go. The team is still stacked and should be in contention for a long time. Hopefully, we can keep it in good hands!

How good was LA’s pitching in their three game sweep over Charlotte? How about only 1 run on 10 hits allowed for the entire series, including the epic no-hitter in the clincher. Mikey James went the first 6 of game 3, and Carlos “Exxon” Valdes tossed the final three in the ARod instant classic. LA’s deep and balanced attack gave the staff all they would need to get the job done quickly. Pedro “Hack” Bonilla hit .462, and Tony “The Crooner” Bennett drove in 4 runs in the series. Valdes threw 3 scoreless innings in each of the other two games as well to earn MVP honors. If LA gets through 6 with a lead against anybody, look out.

Charlotte got back to the post season with another great season. Their core of sluggers is still in their prime, and Estaban Guapo is poised to become their ace for the next several seasons. Great job.

Tampa’s three game sweep over Colorado was decided by only 5 runs and featured 2 tight one-run nail biters. After jumping out to a game one 10-7 victory, Tampa’s bats remained hot as they score an extremely crooked 8 in the 3rd of game two. Kid Flair had a big bases clearing double in the frame to stake the Dons to an 8-0 lead. But the Shock’s dominant line-up, which contains not a single weak spot, chipped away and eventually tied the game at 10 in the 7th. Hector Pena brought the club closer with a 2-run blast and another RBI hit, but it was veteran Raymond Brock’s big 2-run HR, following a Kid Flair error, that was the game tying blast. Tampa’s mid-season acquisition Kenta Itou came in to pitch 2 scoreless innings to put out the fire before Roy Miller pinch hit for him in the 9th and smacked a solo shot to give him and the Dons the victory. Game 3 was a pitchers’ duel, pitting Colorado’s Rafael Beltre, who has won at least 15 games in each of the past three seasons, against former Cy Young Award winner (and former Shock), Rich “Say It Ain’t” Sobolewski. Tampa’s first 2 hitters drew walks to start the bottom of the first to set the table for clean-up man Derrick Grissom who belted the 3-run blast that would hold up in the 3-2 series clinching win. Sobolewski hurled a complete game gem, the only real blemish a Marc Clarke solo homer in the 5th. The Shock had the tying run on third in the 9th, but Brock struck out to end the series.
It was another great season for Colorado.

They are a legit championship caliber team with a stacked line-up, deep bench, and tremendous pitching. No doubts they will be back next season in strong position to make a run at the title. Great job.

Iowa took the first two games of their series against Helena in typical Rounder fashion; great starting pitching and timely hitting. Cy Young hopeful Elrod “Rum &” Coke pitched 7 shutout innings (6 hits, 0 walks) in game one, and Bruce Mullens settled in after allowing 3 early runs to earn the victory in game 2. Both games featured a rash of 2-out RBI’s by Iowa’s balanced attack. With no margin for error, Helena sent 21-year old former first overall pick Darrell Bigby to the mound for game three. Bigby showed flashes of brilliance during the course of the regular season as well as in his 2 wins in the last series against Washington. He did not disappoint, as he earns the 5-2 victory to keep his team’s hopes alive. All the runs scored on homers, one each from the big guns in the middle, Gerald Hull, Cristobal Chavez and Hersch Glynn. He gets support as well through 4 shutout innings by his pen. But in game four, Coke was up for the task. Even as Iowa attempted to gift wrap some runs for Helena by committing four errors, Coke just kept getting big out after big out. He earns the series’ clinching win by going six strong, giving up only 2 runs in the 6-2 win. Cochrane, Darr and Chris Cust were in the middle of the offensive attack all day, scoring 4 and driving in 5 between them. Coke earns MVP honors for his two wins. Iowa moves on to face division rival Tampa for the rights to advance to the Series.

Helena proved that last season’s emergence was no fluke, as they follow up with another playoff appearance. This is a young team with lots of talented players on both sides of the ball. Glynn, Hull Chavez, Bigby, and Santiago to name a few. Great job.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

S24 AL Awards

AL MVP - Ralph Kydd    
    *As great as guys like Geovany Molina and Nick Jacquez were this year, this one is really a no-brainer.   Ralph "Billy the" Kydd not only led his team to an ARod best 106 wins, but he did it in style.   Check these numbers out, there's nothing he didn't do:   .354 BA;  .439 OBP; 131 runs; 213 hits; 32 doubles; 20 jacks; 111 RBI; 2/1 BB/K ratio (84BB - 40k); 51 SB and only 11 errors in over 1000 inning at 2B.   In the process Kydd moved into elite All-Star territory by picking up his 8th All-Star berth - he's just the 19th man in the history of ARod to earn at least this many All-Star berths;  and his 6th 2B Silver Slugger award - tying legendary slugger Pedro "Hack" Bonilla for the most AL 2B Silver Sluggers ever.   Kydd also earned his 2nd AL ARod Blog MVP (previously winning in S17).

AL Cy Young:  Pat Combs
     *Yes, I know Kennie Parrish was fantastic, but for a reliever to win the Cy Young he's gotta be better than fantastic.   This race came down to the two men at the top of the Trenton Thunder rotation, the $20 Million Dollar Man Pat Combs and 3-time AL Cy Young winner Karl Hurst.   As much as the blog likes creating legends, getting Mr. Hurst a 4th Cy Young this year just isn't going to happen, as Mr. Combs was just flat out better -  W/L (18-5 v 17-5); innings (226.1 v 190.2); ERA + WHIP (3.75 v 3.77); OAV (.208 v .214); QS (23 v 19); SO/BB (2.79 v 2.58).  Congrats on your 1st Cy Young Mr. Combs.  On a personal note, it's nice to see someone actually live up to the $20mil/year salary.

AL ROY:  Casey "Sam" Adams
     *The #10 pick in S20 draft picks up a 2nd ROY award for the S20 draft class (Wellington Rijo won the NL ROY award in S23).   In his first year in the show Mr. Adams gave us a glimpse of his future Gold Glove level defense in CF - why he played 20 games at DH is beyond anything the blog can imagine.  To go along with his special glove, Mr. Adams displayed as very solid bat by hitting .312, ripping 32 doubles and swiping 17 bases.  "Sam" Adams should be a fixture for the Maroons in CF and in the #3 hole for the next 10 years.

AL COY:  dengodd2 
     *It would be easy to give the Coach of the Year Award to the team that wins the most games but the blog couldn't ignore the fact that the "commish" put up 99 wins in easily the toughest division in the AL. The good times continue to roll in Augusta.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

S24 Playoffs---Rd 1 Recap by cebola

Incredible action during this season’s round one. Lots of legendary games and performances

Things were looking bleak for Cincinnati by the 8th inning of game 2. In a 0-1 series hole to Trenton (courtesy a gem by Pat “Puffy” Combs) and down to their final 6 outs trailing 2-0 in game 2, they get 3 runs to take a one run lead. Trenton’s Placido “My Funny” Balentien had been cruising along, surrendering only 1 hit through the first 7. The big blow was a two-run blast by 9th place hitter Andy “Psycho” Hitchcock. Al Lopez pitches the final 3 scoreless innings to steal the Thunder’s thunder and even the series. Cincy was able to keep momentum and take game 3 behind playoff veteran Roger “Mister” Andrelczyk’s 6 scoreless innings and by getting to Karl Hurst for 4 runs. Trenton’s series -evening game 4 win was an extra-inning nail-biter as they blow a 3-2 lead in the 8th. They take the game in the tenth on John Suzuki’s two run blast to set up the deciding game 5. The game was everything a deciding game should be and created a legend in the process. Cincy broke through first with three runs in the 5th, on a John Martin RBI triple and a Davey Diaz 2-run homer, only to see Trenton answer with 5 of their own in the bottom half. Vin Mendoza belts a grand slam in the inning and one ups the MVP candidates Suzuki and Jacquez. Cincy ties the game in the 7th on a couple of solo shots by Alving Rivera and Jose Avila (say those 2 names a couple of times real fast!). Then with 2 outs in the bottom of the ninth Mendoza cements his legend and hits a series walk-off three-run blast. Mendoza earns series MVP honors as Trenton moves on to face the force that is the Jackson Colonels.

Congratulations to the Cincinnati Sextons. They win 90-plus games for the third time in four seasons, and have become an offensive force to be reckoned with. Odds are that the shrewd ownership will not stand pat and will keep the Sextons on track to continue to make runs at the title. Nice job.

In Charlotte’s 3 games-to-one series victory over Augusta, The Minute Men got solid starting pitching and great relief work to keep the ‘Bears offense in check. Front men Einar Tavarez, Estaban Guapo, and Phillip Bryant each earned a win and the relievers combined to pitch 10 scoreless inning in the series. Augusta’s ace, Flip “Lennon &” McCartney, was shaky in his two starts, allowing Charlotte’s bats to adequately support their great pitching performances. Augusta’s series highlight was game 2’s 6-2 win, in which they got all of their runs via the long ball, two by beast Cleatus Alexander "The Great". For Charlotte, the offensive attack was just as balanced as their pitching. Kenneth Adams earns MVP honors. He drove in 6 runs in the series, including 4 in game 3’s 7-2 win, which included his three-run blast that staked his team to the 3-2 lead from which they would not look back. After almost squandering their 7 game wildcard lead in the final week and a half of the season, Charlotte seems to be back on track and could be a team of destiny. They move on to face reigning AL champs LA, who seem to be on a mission of their own.

Congratulations to Augusta for another tremendous season. They just missed winning 100 games for the third time in the past three seasons. They’ve won 90-plus for an amazing 10 out of the past 11 campaigns! The main pieces of the team are still in or haven’t yet reached their primes. We should be seeing these guys making runs for a long time. Great job.

Tampa jumped out to a 2-0 series lead by taking both games in Cleveland by scores of 8-4 and 8-5. The Dons built early leads in both games, and had just enough in the tank to stave off the Cobalts’ relentless hitting attack. They wouldn’t be fortunate in game three however, as this game was an instant playoff classic. The teams took a 3-3 tie into the 7th before Cleveland broke it open with 3 in the top half. Art Krause hit his second two-run homer of the game in the inning. Fellow MVP candidate Andy Jacobs added an insurance run in the top of the ninth to give the Cobalts a 4 run cushion. But Odalis Tavarez blasts a game-tying 3-run homer to tie it up and send it to extras. After exchanging goose eggs in the 10th, Cleveland gets a huge grand slam from catcher David Soriano to go up 4 and put them in position to take game 3. Tampa answers with four of their own in the bottom of the 11th, the big hit a 2-run single by Hi Shouse, and on we go. Cleveland gets and RBI double from mid-season pick-up P.T. Moya (it’s getting to point of initials only, I guess)in the 13th, only to see Tampa answer once more with a run of their own. Tampa squanders a great opportunity to win the series at this point, but Kid Flair grounds into a bases loaded 5-2-3 DP to kill the rally. Andy Jacobs blasts his second homerun of the game in the 14th, this time a 2-run job, and this time Cleveland is able to make it stand up, but not without a little excitement. After getting back-to-back doubles to start the inning to cut the lead to 1, Hong-Chih Nakamura gets Tampa’s Justin Long (loved him in Jeepers Creepers) to strike out with the tying run on third with only 1 out. Cleveland takes the dramatic game 3, 14-13 in 14 innings. In game 4, Cleveland was 6 outs away from tying the series after getting another homer by Art Krause to give them a 2 run lead. But Tampa gets three in the bottom of the 8th to go up by a run on a big two-out pinch hit single by Peter Clark. Closer Alfonso Villafuerte gets the final three outs of the series to send Tampa off to meet Colorado in the next round.

Cleveland won the division for a second year in a row, and is good position to make it many more in the future. Jacobs and Krause are absolute beasts and should anchor that line-up for years to come. Alex Estallela is around for at least another season at the top of the rotation. Great job, Cleveland.

If you thought Tampa-Cleveland’s game three was something special, you wouldn’t believe game one of the DC-Helena series. The Peacemakers were cruising along, following the formula that made them so successful during the regular season. They got 6 shutout innings from Rico Petit and another 2 from super set-up man, Wellington Seanz. A couple of solo shots by Gerald Hull and Cristobal Chavez in the 6th built a 3-0 lead. But in the 9th, the Senators got to closer Stump Matheson, who blew only 2 saves all year. Back-up 3B Claude Walters belted a dramatic game-tying 3-run homerun to send the game to extra frames. Helena squandered bases loaded opportunities in both the 10th and 11th, while DC had their bases loaded in their half of the 11th, only to see Ernest Puffer strike out to end the threat. Scoring opportunities were few and far between the rest of the way, as Helena’s Valerio Santiago (3 plus innings) and DC’s Kid Spahn (5 innings) kept the opposition at bay, trying to allow their respective offenses to break through. Vet slugger Les Callaway’s sixth hit of the game was a walk-off 2-run blast in the 18th to give DC the dramatic game 1 win. In game 2, Helena rode an early three run homer by Leon Justice and got a solid outing from starter Darrel Bigby to even the series, and won game 3 behind an absolute gem by Paul “Absolut” Cintron (7 shut-out innings, 10 K’s). DC tied the series with a big go-ahead RBI by Homer Hill in the 7th inning of game 4. Kid Spahn throws another 2-plus innings in relief for the win. But in game 5, Helena gets stellar performances by Hersch Glynn (2 big hits, 3 RBI) and young starter Darrell Bigby, who picks up his second win of the series in going 8 shutout innings, striking out 8 and walking none. Bigby gets MVP honors and Helena moves on to face defending champ Iowa for the second season in a row.

The Washington franchise gets back to the playoffs for the first time since season six! Ownership has done a tremendous job putting that team back on the map, and turning them into serious contenders. Great job, DC, and here’s betting you’ll be back next season for another run.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

AL Playoff Push (Special Addition) by cebola

After making up 6 games in 6 days, Montreal is on the verge of one of the greatest late season runs in ARod history. Going into the last series of the season, the Maroons trail Charlotte by one game for the final playoff spot. The odds seem to be against Montreal completing the comeback, as they face a tough Cincinnati squad for their final three, while Charlotte visits the 97-loss Sante Fe Sluggers. But hey, the odds were against them getting it this close!

The Maroons have been getting key contributions from a couple of rooks, in Louis Foster (26 HR) and ROY front-runner Casey Adams who has put up a .315/.400/.493 line while playing gold-glove caliber centerfield. Veteran Enos Hoffman has been the big run producer in the middle of the line-up, with his team-leading 35 HR and 109 RBI. 2B Keith Rivera had been a force as well, belting 27 HR while driving in 106.

But the big story has been the Montreal bullpen. The late inning trio of Tom Benson, all-star set-up man Ben McKinley, and Stevie “I Have a Pony” Wright have combined to go 17-8 over 230 innings of relief while posting a 1.13 WHIP and 2.60 ERA. Oh yeah, did I mention their closer Kennie Parrish, who is the sure bet to win the Fireman of the Year, and should also get serious Cy Young Award consideration? He has 58 saves. Four of the starters have double-digit wins, led by Andrew Gates’s 15. Their other starter has won 9.

Great job, Montreal! It’ll be a great final series to watch.

Friday, November 23, 2012

AL Playoff Push by cebola

A couple teams still have an outside chance of getting in, but for the most part, the stage seems to be set for the “tournament.”

Defending AL champ LA boasts a formidable murderer’s row out West. Seven players have 30-plus homers, and six of those have 90-plus RBI. At the top row are three MVP candidates in Geovany Molina (.288/.396/.536), Clay Stanley (.293/.363/.576) and Jamie “Fire” Byrne (.295/.386/.528). Spot starter and veteran Derek Hardtke leads the team with 14 wins while having the hot hand down the stretch. He has a .198 opponents’ BA, a 0.99 WHIP and 2.61 ERA in over 120 innings. Carlos "Slim" Valdes is handling another huge workload out of the pen and has a 1.19 WHIP in over 140 innings.

Jackson will claim another South division title and are thriving under its new ownership. Three starters have 15-plus wins. Hector Batista leads the team with an 18-8 record. Perennial MVP candidate Ralph “Billy the Kidd” Kydd(.353/.439/.524) is thriving after being dropped in to order to take advantage of his productions skills. The team has responded with one of their best offensive seasons in years. Bryce Dupler (34 HR/101 RBI), Dan Blair (27/104) along with Kydd, have each driven in more than 100 runs.

Trenton repeats in the East. Nick Jacquez is having a nice little follow-up to his Triple Crown season with a line of .300, 38 HR and 112 RBI. His middle-of-the-order mate, John Suzuki is boasting a .282, 38, 106 line. Second year 2B Jonathon Hamelin has also smacked 36 homers and Victor Morales should soon hit his 30th to join the club. What makes Trenton dangerous however, is its top of the rotation. Pat Combs (17-5, 2.77 ERA) and Karl Hurst (15-5, 2.87) are each doing their thing, and youngster Victor Diaz (11-8, 3.28) isn’t a bad third starter option. The pen is strong, led by Ricky Mullin (1.13 WHIP in 83 games) and closer Charles Chen (31 of 36 saves.)

In the North, Augusta and Cincinnati are going at it again for the division title. The ‘Bears have the upper hand at the moment with a 3 game lead, and are favorites to take back the division title. Their middle of the line-up is stacked with the likes of Cleatus Alexander (.275/.425/.511), Javy Alvarez (.275/.375/.507) and Tony Juarez (.291/.346/.546). Alexander leads the squad with 127 RBI, all three have at least 30 bombs. Their deep rotation boasts 4 guys with at least 13 wins, led by Cy Young hopeful Flip “Lennon &” McCartney, who’s 18-10 with a 3.18 ERA and 1.20 WHIP. Pedro “High” Sierra is also having another strong season at 13-4, 2.85 ERA and 1.09 WHIP. Osvaldo Castillo is having a great follow-up as the team’s closer, converting 30 of 33 save chances.

If Cincy can’t catch Augusta again, they’ll claim one of the wild card berths. Starter Guillermo Manzanillo is having a career year at 29, in going 15-5 with a 3.76 ERA, and is the star of the rotation. The line-up is stacked. There remains at outside chance that 4 guys will slug at least 30 homers and drive in 100 runs. The ones who are already there are C Brant Ducey (37/101) and newcomer Dioner Moreno (37/102). John Martin needs just one more ribbie to join the club (31 HR), and Pedro Quitero needs 7 more to go with his 35 bombs.

Charlotte will get back to the tournament as a wild card after taking an uncharacteristic year off. Peter “Crazy Ole Building & Loan” Bailey has provided a lift after coming over from Chicago midseason. He’s slugged 27 homers and driven in 64 since his arrival. He joins mainstay slugger Carlos “Exxon” Valdes (33 HR/88 RBI), Omar Estrella (30/87) and Tommy Jordan (28/82). Kenny Adams has swiped 67 bags while being caught just thrice. Mr. Consistent Estaban Guapo is having another outstanding season at the top of the rotation, going 12-8. Veteran Einar Tavarez made the All-star team, and is having a great year at 14-5 with a 3.64 ERA and 1.25 WHIP. Relievers Norm Cohen and Charlse “1000 Ways to” Dye are solid options at the back end of the bullpen.

Jackson earns one of the first round byes. LA and the winner of the North are battling for the second.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

NL Playoff Push by cebola

Down the homestretch and still plenty of teams playing meaningful ball…

The Colorado Shock built a big enough lead to enable them to stave off the hard-charging Helena Peacemakers in the NL West. The Shock’s ten game lead was made possible by several MVP candidates in veterans Benito Rijo (36 HR/119 RBI) & Marc Clarke (36 HR/116 RBI), and youngsters Felipe Mercado (.335/.393/.633) & Dock Sanders (.321 BA with 18 steals and 104 runs.) Dante Zoltan is getting Cy Young consideration for his 16-5 mark with and ungodly Coors Field 1.12 WHIP .

Defending champ Iowa has separated themselves from the rest of the tough NL South, and currently hold an eight game lead over Tampa. The Rounders’ frontrunner for the Cy Young is Elrod Coke, who is putting together an incredible season with a WHIP of 1.02 in over 200 innings. He and fellow ace Bruce Mullens, who may be looking to test the market this off-season, each have 18 wins. On-base machine Bob Newson (91 walks) is making life easier for run producers Curtis Lewis (30 HR/92 RBI), Cutter Darr (18/81) and MVP hopeful Sammy Cochrane (30/111.) Five guys on the team have at least 20 steals and another 3 have double digits, making their attack a nightmare for the opposing team’s catcher.

In the East, Washington DC is feeling the heat of the Philadelphia Colonials, who are absolutely on fire. DC’s lead is down to three. Veteran slugger Homer “Henry” Hill (2.94/.390/.511) and ROY favorite, courtesy of his 38 HR and 109 RBI, Oleg D’Amico (great baseball name!) are trying their best to maintain their lead. DC’s pitching staff ranks second in the league in ERA, due in large part to a tremendous depth. The rotation is led by Birdy “Boys of Summer” Henley, who remarkably has only 9 wins to go with his 1.17 WHIP in over 220 innings. Estaban Colome and Bill Scheppers each have 15 wins, and 38 year-old legend William Wagner has pulled a Smoltz and has become a reliable closer in the, dare I say “twilight of his career.”

Cleveland has built a 7 game lead in the North, due in large part to the efforts of veteran starter Alex Estalella, who is 16-8 with a 1.97 ERA and 1.13 WHIP. The line-up boasts a legit MVP candidate in Andy Jacobs (36 HR/97 RBI). Veteran Wil Pote has 24 homers to go along with his 43 steals and gold-glove caliber D in right. Art Kraus is also a beast on both sides of the diamond, locking down 3B while slugging 26 homers.

The wild card races are where most of action is, as most of the division also-rans are battling with each other for the final two spots.

Tampa is trying to hold on for dear life and currently hold a one game lead over Helena for the 5th seed, fueled by great performances by starters Rob Cormier (15-5) & Harry Lee (16-8), and by closer Alfonso Villefuerte (43 of 47 saves.) The line-up features mainstays Hi Shouse (20 HR, .297 BA) and Derrick Grissom (94 RBI) as well as a slew of veteran role players, such as Lew Evans (19 HR) and Roy Miller (.305/.362/.646), who have excelled in limited roles.

Helena boasts tremendous depth as well, and have not only stayed the course, but excelled while dealing with several nagging injuries to key players. Hersh Glynn should be getting some MVP votes thrown his way, as his 122 RBI lead the team. His 31 HR are second on the club to the aptly named Butch Power, who has 33 while serving in a platoon role. Christy Rivers has done a great job from the top of the order by getting on base (.370 OBP) and by stealing 53 bags. Gerald Hull has manned CF while contributing a line of .292/.364/.506. Starters Babe Colin, Rico Petit and and Darrell Rigby all have double-digit wins, but the pen is mightier, as set-up men Pasqual Estrada (1.03 WHIP in 77 relief innings) & Wellingto Seanz, and closer Stump Matheson (40 of 42 saves) make any late inning lead a near-automatic W.

For Philadelphia, Gary Pressley has been the difference maker, as he’s gone 7-3 with a 2.40 ERA since his arrival. Another mid-season pick-up, Clarence Coleman, hasn’t been as successful, but has nasty stuff and can shut down any line-up when he’s on. Charlie Rushford provides the veteran leadership in the rotation, and leads the team with 11 wins. Closer Shawn Lo Duca has been near automatic with 31 saves in 33 chances. 22-year old Geoffe Cunningham is making a name for himself in his second season by clubbing 36 homers and driving in 81. Vicente Bennett is having a career year and should get serious MVP consideration. He leads the team with 104 RBI and has a line of .332/.401/.540. The Colonials are currently 4 games out for a playoff spot.

Tied with Philly and equally as hot are the Texas Wildcats. Their recent three-game sweep of division rival Tampa thrust them into the hunt again. They have an extremely young but talented line-up, fueled by Alvin Logan (.378 OBP, 49 SB and 99 runs) at the top. Last season’s ROY Wellington Rijo isn’t putting up last year’s numbers, but his 107 RBI lead the team. Francis Kelly (37 HR/97 RBI) and Randy Stoops (21/81) have been lighting it up as well. But what gives the Wildcats a legitimate shot are the veterans at the top of the rotation in Alex Gabriel (16-6) and Reese Hemphill (12-9, 3.16 ERA). These guys have pitched a big game or two, and will help tremendously down the stretch. Luis Brito has stabilized the closer’s role in going 7 for 7 in save opportunities since taking over for the struggling Chris Bowen (12 losses, 6 blown saves.)

Long shots, but still breathing: St. Louis, Milwaukee and Scranton.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

ARod Top Ten - S24 - 11/10/12

1)  Los Angeles Dodgers (70-46) - There's not shortage of power in the City of Angels, though slashtc's lineup isn't hitting as well as they have in the past (see the low OBP and low OPS).   The starting pitching has been OK, but the strength of this team appears to be its bullpen.  Hardtke, Valdes and Jones have been great at closing out games!!  (1)

2) Augusta Polar Bears (75-43)  -  The commish is getting some great starting pitching from Flip McCartney, Pedro "High" Sierra and Clavin "Sweet as" Sugarwara.   Couple this with masher Cleatus Alexander "The Great" and the Polar Bears will be trouble for anyone in the post-season. (6)

3) Colorado Shock (79-39) -  The Shock have been absolutely great at home this season posting a record of 45-16.  MVP candidates Benito "Bam Bam" Rijo and Felipe "The Count of Monte Cristi" Mercado lead an offense hitting nearly .300 as a team!! (3)

4) Jackson Colonels (79-39) - Kydd and Blair,  Blair and Kydd;  either way it's magic.   sneekes has taken this team to the next level, but get Jackson to the World Series?   The blog isn't sure about this and needs to see more for the Colonels to move up this list.  (4)

5)  Cincinnati Sextons (70-48) - Moreno, Ducey, Martin, Quintero -  The Bash Brothers!!!   This group continues to carry sex and his Sextons to the promise land, but that pitching has been borderline atrocious for a top-end team.   The Beer League Bombers are having their way so far. (2)

6) Iowa City Rounders (69-49) - Nothing new under the sun in the corn fields of Iowa.  Pitching continues to be the story, though Curtis Lewis and Sammy Cochrane are certainly doing their part at the plate.  The Rounders are a team no one wants to see in the playoffs!!  (6)

7)  Washington D.C. Senators (68-50) -  38 yr old William Wagner, a former Cy Young winner in Chicago, has re-invented himself as a lock down closer.   Wagner veteran presence has been a huge reason for the Senators sudden emergence.  Combine Wagner with RBI machine Oleg D'Amico and the Senators have a great change to make noise in the post-season.  (8)

8)  Charlotte Minute Men (65-53) -  Veteran pitcher Einar Tavarez is leading the way for safetyman and his Minute Men who are picking things up down the stretch.   Has Jackson ran out too far for Charlotte to catch or can Charlotte hold on to their wild card spot?   Tommy Jordan and Pete Bailey are sure to have something to say about this.  (NR)

9)  Tampa Bay Don Caesars (67-51) - The blog feels like this might be a little low for cebola's squad after seeing the Don Caesars take 2 of 3 from his beloved Shock.   Clearly they have lost their air of invincibility but TB is still tough with guys like Hi Shouse and Rob Cormier leading the way.  (9)

10) Montreal Maroons (65-54) - Young star Casey Adams has quietly put together a Rookie of the Year seasons in the cold north of Canada and Kennie Parrish has closed out 43 of 46 games.  I don't think he's going to break the record of 63, but it could be close!!

On da Cusp:  Helena, Trenton, Texas, Cleveland, San Diego

Friday, October 26, 2012

ARod Top Ten - S24 - 10/26

1)  Los Angeles Dodgers (51-28) - slashtc and his gang keep rolling along.  Not only are the Dodgers working their way towards the World Series, but Geovany "Little Hannibal" Molina is looking to snag his 2nd AL MVP!!  (1)

2)  Cincinnati Sextons (47-32) - The pitching in Cin-Town is bordering on not being good enough, but so far  Sex and his Sexton's have been successful playing softball and just outscoring the other team.  Fours guys have over 20 HR.  For real?? (2)

3)  Colorado Shock (52-26) -  The pitching is getting it done for the Shock where they've managed to keep a respectable team Home WHIP and ERA of 1.40 and  4.26 to match with their NL best Away numbers of 1.24 and 3.13.  (5)

4)  Jackson Colonels (51-27) - sneekes has taken over and has kept the engine firing on all cylinders.  It looks like Ralph "Billy the" Kidd will have something to say about the AL MVP.  Hector Batista has (so far) made the folks of Jackson forget all about Reese "Smokin" Hemp-who.  (8)

5) Iowa City Rounders (46-33) - Pitching, pitching, pitching....did I mention pitching.....what a deep and talented group of pitchers.  Elrod "The Dealer" Coke has been unhittable this year.  Mullens?  Puffer?  They aight too.... (10)

6) Augusta Polar Bears (47-32) - ARod holds it's collective breath as we witness the possible awakening of Cleatus Alexander "The Great".  When will this monster finally fulfill his destiny?  You know .400 with a 1.200 OPS, 75 HR and 150 walks is gonna happen.  (NR)

7) Helena Peacemakers (45-33) - Hersh Glynn, Babe Colin and Stump Matheson are leading the way for mtg54 and his Peacemakers.  Glynn in particular is not going to let the boppers in Colorado run away with the NL MVP race. (4)

8) Washington D.C. Senators (47-31) -  It's time that the blog and the rest of ARod give their respect to patrick71665 and his young guns.   Homer Hill is having another great season.....what a solid bat this guy has been over the last 5 years.   And don't forget young flame thrower Birdie Henley who is as good as any other SP in the NL. (NR)

9)  Tampa Bay Don Caesars (44-34) -  Let's get real, cebola and his gangsters are getting it done at the plate and on the mound and in the field.  Top 5 in all three areas in the NL.   (6)

10) Montreal Maroons (44-35) - dawg and his morons are getting it done in the field----2nd most + plays in the AL.  Sorry Travis Jones, Kennie Parrish now the #1 reliever in the AL.  Can he break Jones single season saves record of 63?  The blog will be keeping a close eye on this one. (7)

On da cusp:   Charlotte, St. Louis, Cleveland, Trenton, New Orleans

Monday, October 15, 2012

ARod Top Ten - S24 - 10/15

1)  Los Angeles Dodgers (30-19) - As far as the blog is concerned, unless slashtc and his crew falls apart, they are the odds on favorite to win it all this year.

2)  Cincinnati Sextons (32-16) -  Solid pitching to back a murderer's row that makes Colorado blush........could any two guys be better fits in Cincinnati than Monero and Martin?

3)  Trenton Thunder (28-21) -  Best rotation in the AL (Hurst, Combs, Diaz) - Check,  two best position players in ARod (Suzuki and Jacquez) - Check.

4)  Helena Peacemakers (30-18) -  Look around ARod and you'll find no better "team".

5)  Colorado Shock (34-15) - The bats are clicking in that thin Rocky Mountain air....can't the pitching keep up the pace?

6)  Tampa Bay Don Caesars (28-21) - cebola better get better on the road and in a hurry......this division is brutal top to bottom.

7)  Montrael Maroons (30-19) - If dawg can manage his team to the lead deep into the game there's no better closer to turn thing over to than Parrish - the dude shuts things down.

8)  Jackson Colonels (32-17) - The Colonels would be higher if I could stomach ranking a sim'd team higher.....if sneekes can keep up the winning ways Jackson will climb this list in a hurry.

9)  Cleveland Cobalts (26-22) - The Cobalts are playing a bit below their talent, but with guys like Krause, Soriano, Pote, Gardner and Estalella this won't last long.

10) Iowa City Rounders (27-21) -  ahsowhat and his 2x defending champs are lurking........did I mention this is the 2x defending champs?

On the cusp:  Augusta, Charlotte, Washington DC

Friday, September 21, 2012

S24 Hall of Fame

We have had a somewhat sad history here in ARod when it come to getting HOF worthy players their ultimate recognition, which is trip to The Hall.  Why is this....stupidity?  nah, we all smart as a whip!!  Apathy?  perhaps.....

For many seasons the blog has labored, mostly in vain, to get our legends their due, but this season should be  walk in the park when considering these next 3 guys....

1)  Feast your eyes on arguably the 3rd or 4th best hitting in the history of ARod - Omar Castillo.  For the longest time Mr. Castillo held the all-time best career batting average in not just ARod but in all of HBD!!!!  (The blog is unable to confirm if he still is #1)   We did it things right by getting Ming and Bell into the HOF and now lets honor Mr. Castillo with our vote.   

2) Jack Redmond:   4-time Cy Young winner, 10-time All-star and 2-time World Series Champ.....nuff said!!!

3) Dan Stuart:  3-time Cy Young winner; 6-time All-Star and 2-time World Series Champ....and check the ARod record books.....again...nuff said!!

Both these guys should get 32 votes.....don't embarrass yourself....get it done!!!

Fringe Candidates include (in no particular order):  Tony WeissAlfredo SosaDavid PrietoSal MacDougalNeifi Domingo,    

Monday, September 10, 2012

World Series Recap by cebola

Here we go folks - LA vs. Iowa City for all the marbles......this one promises to be a good one!!
LA overcomes a 4-1 defecit in the 8th of game 1 and takes the 5-4 victory walk-off style. The big blast was a 3-run homer by Shock castoff Alberto Puente in the 8th to tie it, and the game winning hit was by Clay Stanley, which plated Matt Crawford who reached of CF Victor Bennett's error. LA's 1-2 punch at the back of the bullpen, Valdes and James combined for 4 innings, 1 run.

The story of game 2 was the brilliant performance of 37 year-old vet Fritz Mullin, who pitched 6 shutout innings, surrendering only 3 hits. Jamie "Fire" Byrne hits his 4th homer of the post season in LA's 4-1 win.

The Dodgers jump out to the commanding 3-0 series lead on the back of SP Charlie Rushford, who earned his 4th win of the playoffs in going 7 innings, giving up only 3 hits and 1 run. Tony "The Crooner" Bennett delivers a 3-run homer in LA's 6-1 win.

With Iowa down 2-0 in the 6th and champagne a-chillin' in the visitors' clubhouse, the Rounder bats finally come alive to score 4 in the 6th. Sammy Cochrane's 2 run shot was the closest thing to a Dave Roberts moment, and Clinton Puffer goes 6 effective innings in the 4-2 victory that stave's off elimination.

LA pitching did their part in game 5, as Iowa collects only one hit for the game. But that hit was a big 2-run single by Bob Newson, set-up by 2 costly LA errors, one by Geovany Molina and the other by Bennett. The usually sure-handed Bennett commits his 6th miscue of the post-season. Iowa clings to the life raft with the 2-0 victory on a brilliant 8 inning outing by Elrod "Rum &" Coke.

LA goes up 3-0 early in game 6 on a solo-shot by Bennett and a Molina 2-run single off Bruce "Money" Mullens, as the wearers of game 5's goat horns try to make amends. But Iowa puts up 2 in the 5th and another 2 in the 6th to take the 4-3 lead. Light-hitting SS Felipe Andrus (.244, 1 HR for the regular season) hit the 2-run HR to cut LA's lead to 1, Sammy Cochrane hit the double to tie it, and Al Posednik hit the go-ahead sac fly. Vinny Cortes, who was bumped from the rotation when "Money" Mullens returned, pitched 3 shutout innings of relief and Sal Jacobson earned his 4th save of the playoffs in the 4-3 win. Iowa is making the unlikely happen as they win three staight to send the series to the deciding game.

Iowa comes out of the gate strong and pummel Charlie "Mount" Rushford for 5 runs on 7 hits and 2 walks, and they never look back. Clinton Puffer gives his team 3 gutsy innings on only 3 days rest giving up only 1 run. 5th starter Jerry May comes on in relief to give his team 4 shutout innings and earn the historic win, completing the Rounders' dramatic series comeback to defend their title. Curtis Lewis hit his 5th homer of the playoffs, a crushing 3-run job.

LA had a terrific season, and were just innings away from the title. They have a team of veterans with great make-up, so there is little doubt that they will be back to try to finish the job next season. Great job!

Iowa keeps their trophy and all bets have it that it will even tougher next season to pry in away from them. Puffer, Coke and Mullens all return next season, and they aren't losing any of their big guns in the line-up either. For the season, they were tops in the league in team ERA, runs against and opponent on-base %. They were first in fielding % and first in plus plays, and 4th best in minus plays. Runs are tough to come by against this team! On the offensive side, they manufactured runs as they were 3rd in the league in OBP and 1st in steals. All in all, this was another great performance by a great team, as they go 7-0 in elimination games this post-season. Great job Iowa, congratulation on a victory for the ages!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

League Championship Recap by cebola

In the AL, Cincinnati took a 3-1 series lead over LA as the teams got right back to it after each of their dramatic 5 game Division Series victories. In game 1, Cincy takes advantage of a rare error by Tony "The Crooner" Bennet ( who is usually as cool a cat as Bobby Darin was during his "Beyond the Sea" years) in the 8th of a 1-1 tie. Brant Ducey's 2 run double and Cam Weston's 2-run HR were the damage-doers once the floodgates were opened by the miscue. Paul Merrick pitched 8 strong in the 7-1 win.
The Sextons got 6 key innings out of the pen from Al Lopez in their game 2 come-from-behind win. Davey Diaz tied the game at three with his solo shot off closer and former Cy Young winner Travis Jones. Ducey once again delivered the big hit, a 2-run double in the 10th in the 5-4 win.
Merrick pitched another beauty (8 shut-out iniings) in game 4's 8-1 win that staked Cincy to the 3-1 lead.
LA comback began with big homeruns by Colorado castoff Alberto Puente in both games 5 and 6. He had a 2-run shot in 5's 9-7 victory and a granny in game 6's 10-3 thrashing that forced the rubber match.
LA worked its formula for victory to a tee in game 7, as they got 6 workable innings from starter Charlie Rushford, who then turned it over to ace reliever Carlos "Exxon" Valdes for 2 scoreless. The LA big bats did their part by banging out 17 hits in the 8-3 win that decided the series. Clay Stanley belted 2 homers and Jamie "Fire" Byrne hit one as well. Paul Merrick just didn't have enough in the tank in his third start of the series.

Another great season by the Sextons. The foundation of the team is sound and in its prime, and ownership knows how to add the extra pieces as needed. Great job, sir Sexton!

In the NL, Helena took 2 out of the first three in a series of dramatic nailbiters. The run differentail in those first 3 was Helena +2. In game 1, Helena saw their 6-1 lead disappear in the 8th on a big hit by Sam Cochrane, only to win it in the 9th on a couple RBI hits by Leon Justice and Barolo Posado (4 RBI for the game.)
In game 2, Iowas scored single runs in the 7th, & 8th to tie it, and then again in the 10th in their walk-off 3-2 win. Chris Cust hit the game-winning solo blast. Iowa's lock-down bullpen pitched 4 scoreless in support of starter Elrod "Rum and" Coke.
In game 3, it was touche for Helena as they spoil Bruce Mullens's return from the DL. He obviously wasn't affected by the layoff, as he throws 7 innings of 1-hit shutout ball. But Cristobal Chavez is the walk-off hero as he erases a 2-o defecit with a 3-run blast in the bottom of the 9th.
From this point, the series belonged to Iowa, as they again get 7 shutout innings from their starters in each of the next 2 games. Clinton Puffer in game 4 and Elrod "Rum and" Coke in 5.
Helena got out of the gate quickly with their backs against the wall in game 6, as they score 3 in the first on homers by Gerald Hull and Hersh Glynn, only to see Iowa answer right back with 4 in the bottom half. Gary Girardi's 3 run homer was the crushing blow, sending Paul Cintron to the early shower. But Ronald "Third Degree" Byrne pitched brilliantly out of pen for Helena (4 2/3, 1 hit, 0 runs) to allow his teammate, Cristobal Chavez to tie it up with another dramatic PH homer in the 8th. But the game and series ends in a way nobody could have expeced. Curtis Lewis gets into scoring position with a key steal in the 11th inning, and with all of Iowa's position players burned, reliever Carlton Magee is forced to bat for himself in the key situation. He delivers the walk-off single, advancing Iowa to their second consecutive World Series.

Helena came out the the bowels of rebuild to shock the World and win two playoff series against tough opponents, and gave the champs a run for their money. Without a couple of key injuries during the playoffs, who knows what may have been?! By the way mtg, I considered your wish to have tmantom see your team now and sitemailed your team link to him. Whether he got it or not, we shall probably never know! Great job, sir!

Monday, August 27, 2012

AL & NL Division Series Recaps by cebola

Jackson took a 2-1 series lead over LA, with the big win coming in game 2's 13-7 thumping in which Jaret Walters drove in 5. With a chance to clinch at home, the Colonels were thwarted by veteran Adrian Messmer's gem in LA's 5-0 win, evening the series. Jackson's bats could not get going in the clincher either, as they're held to 1 run by Charlie Rushford. Jamie "Fire" Byrne's (how come my Don's can't get players like this?) 2-run double in the 5th would be the game and series deciding hit as LA wins 2-1 to take the series.

Jackson was once again strong and most of their line-up seems to be intact for at least a few more seasons. They always churn out good young pitching, so even with a possible defection by Reese "Smokin'" Hemphill, they'll definitely be back next season. Great job, Jackson!

Trenton also jumped out to a 2-1 series lead over Cincinatti on the strength of Karl Hurst's 6-0 gem in game 2, and the 13-5 game 3 thrashing that saw probable MVP Nick Jacquez homer thrice. Cincy showed their mettle by bouncing back to take a 9-2 lead in game 4 before the Thunder started booming. They scored 5 run in the 8th to cut the lead to 9-8 before releiver Mathew Gibson put out the fire by getting the final 4 outs to seal the victory. Game 5 was an instant classic (it's on ESPN Classic tonight), as the Sextons overcame a 4-1 defecit at the hands of Hurst by scoring 5 in the 7th. They blasted 3 homers in the inning, the biggie a 3-runner by Harry Sosa. Trenton tied it up in the bottom of the inning, but their pen could not keep the Cincy bats at bay as they surrender 4 in the 9th. The Sextons go on the next series against LA and keep their team-of-destiny stature alive.

Trenton had a season for the ages, but could not top it off with a title. They are undoubtedly in terrific shape to make many more runs at it with a line-up of MVP candidates and a staff of Cy Young hopefulls. A job very well done!

Except for Iowa's 8-3 win in their do-or-die game 3 win, all 4 games were decided by 1 or 2 runs in this series between division rivals. Curtis Lewis had the big 3-run homer in game 3 to give Iowa the spark they needed to keep hope alive. With Tampa still ahead 2 games to 1, they had their two veteran aces on the hill, each with a chance to win the series, but Rich "Say it Ain't So" Sobolewski couldn't hold a 2 run lead in the 7th, as Chris Cust (why can't my Dons get players like this?) comes up with the big 2-run single to break the tie and send Iowa to the 4-2 win. And when Harry "Met Sal" Lee gave up 4 in the first two innings of game 5, the series was all but over as Rounder pitching continued to silence Tampa's bats. Vinny Cortes and the Iowa pen cruised to the 4-2 win and the series victory.

The Don's and cebola had a great season and should be tough once again next year.  Can cebola add that bat or two that might put the Don's over the hump?  Can't wait to see!!!

Mighty Cleveland seemed to make a statement in their game one 12-2 victory over bottom-seed Helena, as 5 Cobalts had at least 2 RBI, and they blasted 5 homers (2 by Darren Ferguson.) But Helena continued their quest as the NL's version of team-of-destiny by taking the next three, including game 2's dramatic 11 inning affair. Helena could have crumbled after blowing a 6-1 lead in the 8th & 9th to send the game to extras, but Ronnie Rapp hits a huge 3-run homer in the 11th to give the Peacemakers hope and momentum. In game 4, Babe Colin gets his 3rd win of the postseason and clean-up hitter Hersch Glynn drives in 3. Game 4 may have been the best of all though, as catcher Troy 'How much is my" Farnsworth erases a 4-2 deficit by blasting a grand slam in the 8th to send Helena soaring to the 6-4 series clinching win.

Cleveland will be back next season, I'm sure, as they boast a line-up with a couple MVP candidates and several other all-stars. Great job getting that team back on top!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

NL Round 1 Recap

Iowa began their title defense with a three game sweep of Scranton. The two teams met in last year's second round with the same result. The quick victory allows Iowa to set-up its rotation for their next series against division rival Tampa Bay. Scranton's best opportunity to make it a series was in game 1, where ROY candidate Santo Cerda threw 7 innings of of 2-hit, shutout ball to stake them to a 1-0 lead into the 8th. But LF Curtis Lewis got the big 2-run HR in the top of the 9th to give Iowa the lead and the win. The series was defined by Iowa's deep, relentless pitching staff - Scranton tallied only 2 runs in the 3 games. The managed only 4 hits in the series clinching 6-0 loss. Lewis gets the MVP for his game 1 heroics; he also added another homer and drove in 5 in the series. Earl Butler hit .333 for Scranton, but the tean as a whole batted just .161. They also got strong starts from Cerda and Chad Pinto, who had a break-out season with his 13-10 record.

Scranton had another fine season, and always seem to be in the mix. I don't see anything being different next year, as their good young pitching will only get better; and it always helps to have a perenial MVP candidate, like Pat Doughery, in your line-up!

In Helena's 3-1 series victory over Colorado, the teams split the first two at Coors, game 2 being a 15-9 thin-air spectacular (someone forgot the humidor.) In game 1, Helena got 2 HR and 6 RBI from 3B Omar Arnold and a gutsy win by Babe Colin, as he scattered 14 baserunners through 7. Colorado took an early 11-2 lead in game 2, but let it get to 11-9 before they buckled up and evened the series with the 15-9 win. Marc Clarke went deep twice and drove in 5. With the series moving to Helena, we get 3 lead changes through 5 in game 3, with Colorado taking a 6-4 lead into the 5th. The Helena bats then come alive as they go on the 13-6 victory, pushing the Shock to the brink. Butch Power had a big game-tying 2-run homer, and Gerald Hill hit a two-run shot in the 7th to put the game out of reach. Rico Petit threw 4 1/3 scoreless innings of relief to earn the win. Game 4 was the Babe Colin show, as he pitches 8 innings (2H, 1R, 8K, OBB) against the formidable Colorado line-up to win the clincher and earn his second win of the series. Geralg Hull takes series MVP with a .500 BA, 7 RBI and 2 HR.

Colorado hit .329 for the series and scored 27 runs in the 4 games. Mike Brinkley and Marc Clarke drove in 7 apiece. The pitching staff had a 9.26 ERA for the series, however. It was another strong season for the Shock and they proved to the World that they are a serious contender. They keep adding quality pitching to go with that amazing line-up. They will undoubtedly be in the mix again next season. Great job!

AL Round 1 Recap

Cincinnati continued their hot streak against division rival Augusta by taking the first two games of their round 1 series. Cincy had previously swept the Polar Bears at the end of the regular season to snatch the division title from them and earn home field advantage. John Martin had a 3-run homer and 4 RBI total in the game 1 11-2 thrashing. In game 2 Cincinnati put togther rally after rally in scoring single runs in 5 consecutive innings to wear down Calvin "Sweet As" Sugawara in their 6-3 win. Augusta bounced back with victories in the next two to even the series, with game 4 being a 15-inning 2-1 nail-biter. Gane 1 hero for Cincy, John Martin, left 7 men on base, including leavin' 'em loaded in the 14th. Augusta had just squandered a bases loaded opportunity in the 13th. Augusta's bullpen was unbelievable as they pitched 8 shut-out innings after Pedro "High" Sierra went the first 7, surrendering only 1 run. Danys "Don't Ask," Dotel lofted the game-winning single over the heads of the drawn in outfield to score Ugueth Roque, who had tripled with 1 out. In the clincher, Cincinnati took care of business early, scoring 5 times in the first in their 10-3 win. Ryan Hicks picked up his 2nd win of the series and earns series MVP, and mid-season acquisition Cam Weston hit the big 3-run homer to send the Sextons to the next round to face Trenton.

Augusta was again a force to be reckoned with and they won't be going anywhere soon. They have a strong front four in their rotation with McCartney, Sierra, Sugawara and Bell. Their solid, well-balanced line-up, featuring the likes of Juarez, Alvarez and Alexander will surely keep them in the hunt for next season and beyond. Great job!

Jackson and Tacoma alternated victories in the first four games of the series, with 25 year old Tacoma starter Erick Durham outdueling veteran ace Reese "Smokin'' Hemphill in Tacoma's 10 win. Durham pitched 7 innings giving up just 4 hits and 0 walks. Bonk Lincoln provided all the offense he would need with a solo homerun. Game 3 was just as intense as Jaskson tied the game at 2 in the top of the 9th on an error by RJ Ordonez with 2 out. But he was picked up by Phil Matsui's walk-off homer in the bottom half to give Tacoma a 2-1 series lead. Jackson responded with their backs against the wall by winning the next game 7-3. Roy "Purple" Hayes got the win in going 7 strong, and Enrique Hernandez provided the big three-run homer to break it open. In the deciding game, Jackson's line-up full of playoff tested veterans built a 6-1 lead through 7 on a three-run shot by Ralph "Billy the Kidd" Kydd and a couple of solo shots by Dan Blair. But Tacoma would not go down without a fight, as they get homers from Javy Ortiz and Adam Smith (2 run shot) to cut it to 6-4 in the 8th. They scratch out another un in the 9th, but come up short, as Jackson takes the series. Dan Blair earns series MVP by scoring 7 runs to go with his 2 jacks and 4 RBI.

Tacoma gets to the playoffs for the first time since season 13, and there is a lot to look forwark to. Hitters Adam Smith and Bonk Lincoln are still developing and starters Erick Durham and Alving Guerrero, who missed the series due to injury, are going to get better. Great job, and we'll see you in the running next season, I'm sure!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

S23 Overall Awards

MVP -  Nick Jacquez

Cy Young  -   Karl Hurst

ROY -  Welington Rijo

COY -  slashtc


S23 NL Awards

NL MVP - Hi Shouse:   I know there could be arguments out there for some other guys (Roland Soriano and Art Krause in particular) but the blog don't want to hear that nonsense!!!  Shouse was simply amazing this year ---sure he smacked 39 HR, had 107 RBI, 217 hits, 103 runs, and a slash line of .327/.379/.550, but we can't overlook the fact that he was the second coming of Ken Griffey Jr. in CF this season.  35 plus plays is obscene!!!!

NL Cy Young - Rafael Beltre:   This one was tough.  As far as the blog was concerned, it came down to Beltre and his running mate, Bryan Christiansen.   Both men clearly benefited from that fact that they put up the numbers they did in hitter friendly Colorado.   Neither men put up the dominant number seen by Hurst and Valdes in the AL, but considering where they were pitching, they were more than solid.   Beltre was 15-7, 218 innings pitched, 1.35 WHIP, 3.46 ERA, 22 QS, 5 CG and 2 Shutouts.  Christiansen was 15-3, 182.1 innings pitched, 1.28 WHIP, 3.16 ERA, 19 QS and 2 CG.  In the end the fact that Beltre threw about 40 more innings, had 3 more CG's and had 2 Shutouts were the deciding factor.   Time to lock this young man up long term!!!

NL ROY - Welington Rijo:   Any other year and this award would be going to Santo Cerda ( hell, for that matter 5 more wins and he would probably be winning the Cy Young as well), but unfortunately Mr. Cerda ran into the second coming of ARod legend, Omar Castillo!!!  Rijo came up after the 20 game call up mark to save a year of eligibility and immediately started bashing NL pitching.  In 141 games, he finished with 98 runs, 168 hits, 39 HR, 123 RBI, 66 walks, 125.246 RC and a slash line of .319/.395/.608!!  Mr. Rijo is a beast!!!

NL Coach of the Year:  With a 24 win improvement and a jump from the cellar to the playoffs, mtg54 just edges out ARod pioneer and S3 World Series Champ, richard46920 who made a hugely successful return to the world (can we put the venom on the beginning of the season behind us?)  If richard46920 didn't have a solid team left behind by holer to work with the script could be flipped, but in the end mtg54's huge improvement and shrewd pickup's have the blog leaning his direction.  Congrats to mtg54!!

S23 AL Awards

AL MVP - Nick Jacquez:   When it come to hitting it just doesn't get better than this.  Mr. Jacquez only put up the 1st Triple Crown the blog is aware of in the post-steroid era of World ARod.  If not for Mr. Riggan going crazy with the long ball in The Lou, we'd be talking about a ML triple crown.
      -Slash line:  .357/.432/.661; along with 237 hits, 140 runs, 50 HR, 152 RBI

AL Cy Young - Karl Hurst:  Its hard to believe that a guy could put up a line like Hurst did.....23-3, 0.95 WHIP, 1.89 ERA, 23 QS, a opponent slash line of .202/.250/.287....and not be considered a stone-cold lock for the award, but 8-time All-Star Carlos Valdes did just that.  Valdes was amazing out of the pen for slashtc and his Dodgers this year with herculean 172.1 innings pitched in 80 appearances, he went 15-3, 8 saves, 0.91 WHIP, 1.71 ERA and an opponent slash line of .205/.249/.298.  In the end, the blog has flipped a coin on this one---Hurst is about to win his 3rd Cy Young.

AL ROY -  Kirk Lee:   This one was not a coin flip.  18-9, 1.29 WHIP, 4.03 ERA, a workhorse 212.0 innings pitched, and a solid opponent slash line.  Lee is a 25 yr old who has been patiently biding his time in the minors, but after 3 years of AAA ball and a serious stress fracture in his arm last season, the #9 overall pick in S16 proved he was worth the wait.

AL Coach of the Year -  While a lot of people around the league feel 50below had as good a claim on the COY award as any, the blog feels the manager who deserves the award for S23 is slashtc.   This was his 3rd season in a row of 100+ wins but instead of running roughshod over a weak AL West, he was instead dealing with a young, hungry Tacoma squad that made the playoff, a San Diego squad that is moving in the right direction and a Seattle team that is slowly getting better.  This wasn't a cake-walk this year, but he still got 101 wins.  Good job slash!!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

AL Playoff Picture by cebola

AL North

Augusta is currently 5 games up on Cincinnati, in large part to an outragous hot streak. Hot streaks happen when you have a couple CY Young candidates at the top of the rotation. Former ROY Pedro "High" Sierra has set a carrer high in wins with his 18-8 record to go with his 2.76 ERA, and fellow All-Star Calvin "Sweet As" Sugawara is 17-10 and 3.53. The 'Bears got a bad break when they lost closer Osvaldo Castillo for the year, but replacement Alex Butcher has been solid in his place. The line-up is stacked with the likes of steady C Victor Lawson (22HR, .277/.346/.485), all-star slick-fielding SS Doug Jennings (26 HR), and three MVP candidates in Javy Alvarez (35 HR/93 RBI, .285/.365/.533), Cleatus Alexander (43 HR/112 RBI, .301/.397/.590), and Marvin Crabtree (.320/.418/.569.)

Cincinnati is getting a career year from veteran starter Paul Merrick at 16-8 with a 3.56 ERA. Reliever Sammy Gueravara is 12/12 in save opps in a 109 IP out of the pen. The line-up is well-balanced and is getting solid production from the likes of 2B Vicente Blasco (.290/.370/.482), RF Peter Quintero (23HR/81 RBI), John Martin (42 HR/105 RBI, .889 OPS), and Harry Sosa (.298/.372/.498 and 36 SB). If Cincy can't make a run at the red-hot Augusta, the wild card is definitely in their sights.

AL West

The LA Dodgers have an 11 game lead on Tacoma. Reliever Carlos "Exxon" Valdes earned his 8th career All-star selection and is having perhaps his best year. He is 15-3 with 7 saves in 159 innings pitched. He has an ERA of 1.81 and a WHIP of 0.94. Morris James is doing the heavy lifting from the rotation with a record of 12-7 and a miniscule 2.42 ERA. Closer Travis Jones is having an uncharacteristicly bad year, but seems to be righting the ship at exactly the right time. The legendary lineup features a host of MVP candidates, including Pedro "Hack" Bonilla, whose somewhat human .846 OPS is the lowest of his career, C Clay Stanley (.321/.387/.654, 1.014 OPS), 3B Tony "The Crooner" Bennett (30 HR, 89 RBI, and GG caliber D), and Geovany Molina, who is rebounding nicely from his injury-plagued S22 campaign, with 37 HR and 89 RBI with an OPS of .914.

Tacoma has made pushes here and there for the division, but remains in great shape for a wild card berth if they can't get er' done. Their pitching staff is solid, if unspectacular (4th in runs against) led by Erick Durham (17-9 2.65 ERA), Chris King (12-7, 3.45) and closer Kenta Itou (31 saves). The team's superstar is Vinny Keats, who can do it all; .284/.369/.507, with 24 HR, 85 RBI, 15 SB, and is the front-runner for the gold-glove award in center. Bonk Lincoln (yes, "Bonk." Is WIS even trying, anymore!?) has a .351 OBP to go with his 33 SB and 81 runs scored.

AL South

Jackson is 8 games up on Charlotte, who is in grave danger (is there any other kind?) of missing out on the tournament for the first time since season 16. Neither team sent a single player to this season's mid-season classic, which is remarkable considering the legendary status of these two clubs. It was a statistical oddity , as both teams are stacked with solid performers. Two-time Cy Young winner Reese "Smokin'" Hemphill (soon to be FA?) is 13-3 with a 2.68. The Colonels seem to always churn out good young pitching, as Kirk Lee is a candidtae for this year's ROY. He's 16-9 with a 4.38 ERA. 2B Ralph Kydd is living up to his huge contract extension in going .318/.411/.438 with 40 steals and 96 runs. Bryce Dupler (36 HR/102 RBI), C Wes Dickerson (.827 OPS), and FA signing Jaret Walters (25 HR/99 RBI) are the featured stars in a productive offense.

Charlotte got a tough break when they lost 3-time Gold-glove winning SS Deacon Larson for the season. Last-year's MVP Carlos "Exxon" Valdes is having a nice little follow-up season with 40 HR and 117 RBI with an OPS of .923. Wayne Key (39 HR/83 RBI) and Tommy Jordan (32/91) have been huge contributors, and starter Estaban Guapo has been huge in going 15-5 with a 3.58 ERA.

AL East

Trenton is 16 up of the New York Mets. After starting the seaon 9-12, Trenton has gone 83-42 since, and is clearly the team to beat. They are first in runs in the AL and 2nd in runs against. Nick Jacquez leads all three triple crown categories at this point (.360/47/143) and appears a shoo-in for two of those. His 47 HR appear to be the only category that might be in question. The team sent 7 guys to the All-star game, including its two-headed beast at the top of the roation in last season's Cy Young Karl Hurst (20-9, 1.84 ERA) and Pat "Puffy" Combs (13-8 2.84). John Suzuki is also a legit MVP candidate with a slash-line of .326/.410/.594 with 35 HR, 83 RBI and 34 SB.Reliever Ricky Mullin is 8-2 with 6 saves in 118 innings pitched.

With original A.Rod franchise Syracuse leaving the World at the end if last season, I'd like you all to "meet the Mets, meet the Mets, step right up and greet the Mets"! The new NY franchise has done a great job continuing the rebuilding process and have set themselve up to snag one of the wild card berths. All-star closer Rex Gray has 25 saves and a 1.90 ERA. A couple of rooks are making solid contributions in Anibal Olivares (31 HR/93 RBI, 9 SB, and only 1 error all year at 1B), and Shawn Durocher, who is playing Gold-glove defense in RF to go with his 27 HR and 83 RBI). LF Philip "Don't Call Me Christopher" Robbins is producing as well, with a line of .270/.340/.438, while scoring 92 runs. Starter Albert Brower was on the verge of having his break-out season (10-8, 3.65 ERA) when he was lost for the year.

Wild Card

Whoever does not win the North is the front-runner, along with Tacoma, for the wild card spots. The Mets and the Minute Men are 5 games out and are just one hot-streak away from applying the pressure. Richmond is on the radar, 8 games out.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

NL Playoff Picture by cebola

Heading down the stretch, fewer than 30 games to play. All it takes is spot in the tournament, and it's anyone's trophy! Here's how we're shaping up...

NL North

The Cleveland Cobalts, with their star-studded line-up, hold an 8 game lead over Milwaukee. New acquistion Wil Pote joins sluggers Darren Ferguson (25 HR/85 RBI) , Andy Jacobs (36 and 108), and MVP candidates Roland Soriano (.341/.403/.577) and Art Krause (30 HR/109 RBI). Mariano Padilla leads the pitching staff with 13 wins; new acquisitions Benito Pulido and Alex Estalella join the staff to make a run at securing a division title and first-round bye.

Milwaukee is making their push and are 8 games out. If they fall short of Cleveland, they are still in good shape for a possible wild-card berth. SP Paul Heiseman has been hot and cold coming off his 20-4 season and is 14-12. Rookie sensation Ossie Diaz is 9-6 with a 3.13 ERA, and joins workhorses Stu McCurry and "Don" Juan Bennett to round out a formidable rotation. The offense is built around young gun Sam "We've Got" Bush, who has 25 HR and 101 RBI. Dennis Larson has 52 SB's to go along with his 103 runs scored. Eduardo Aguilar supplies a nice balance of speed and power (19 HR/81 RBI/22 SB)

NL West

Colorado is hot and holds a 5 game lead over Helena. The Shock bolstered their staff with 2 solid SP to make their run. All-star Bryan Christiansen and Donte Zoltan have combined to go 6-3 since their arrivals. Those two join Cy Young candidates Rafael Beltre (13-6 and a solid thin-air ERA of 3.82) and Gio "The Hybrid" Hernandez (15-8). The offense is loaded with production from the usual suspects, highlighted by Mark Clarke (.335/.421/.614, 35 HR/117 RBI), and Benito "Blame it On" Rijo (.322, 34 HR/122 RBI). They are joined by ROY candidate CF Felipe Mercado (23 HR 94 RBI) The Shock could be peaking at the right time and make a push for a title and first-round bye.

Helena is only 5 out and is the mix for the Wild Card as well. The money thrown at closer Stump Matheson was well-spent as he has converted 37 of 39 save chances and has helped the Peacemakers become serious contenders. Hersh Glynn leads the offense with 30 HR, 95 RBI and a slash-line of .312/.391/.517, but the pitching is the story here. 21-year old Babe Colin (13-7, 3.61), Valerio Santiago (11-9, 3.53) and Paul Cintron (14-2, 3.73) lead the rotation and can shut down any opponent on any given day. With that pitching staff, long losing streaks just ain't gonna happen!

NL South

Both Iowa and Tampa Bay have shared time at the top of the division, and are currently tied. Iowa is, as usual, top in the league in ERA and runs against, led by Cy-Young candidate Clinton Puffer (17-12, 3.75). Puffer's looking to win 20 for the 2nd time in his career. Relief pitcher Carlton Magee made the All-Star team and has thrown 101 effective innings out of the pen, helping to make up for the loss of starter Bruce Mullens, who is lost for the season. (If my math is right, maybe a WS return?) The line-up is solid too, as MVP candidate Sammy Cochrane (.318, 31 HR, 103 RBI), CF Victor Bennett (.370 OBP), and All-star 2B Bob Newson (.282/.391/.387, 27 SB, 96 runs) lead the attack.

Tampa is second in the league in runs against, and has gotten a solid performance from veteran starter Doug "Buck" Rogers (16-4, 4.14 ERA) Closer Alfonso Villafuerte has 42 saves. FA signing Tony Rodriguez has been solid (.294/.395/.549, 33 HR and 88 RBI) and CF Hi Shouse is having a career year (.330/.381/.538, 31 HR, 91 RBI) at the plate as well as in the field, where he hopes to win his second career gold-glove.

NL East

Scranton is 5 games up on Louiseville and 8 up on Philadelphia. Scranton's line-up is solid, as it has 5 guys who have 21 HR or more, led by former MVP Pat Dougherty (.330/.401/.626, 41 HR 97 RBI) and catcher Red Westmoreland (.294/.348/.453). The Squirrells too sent a middle relief pitcher to the All-star game in Gene Garcia, who is 8-2 with 6 saves and 3.13 ERA. All-Star and ROY candidate Santo Cerda is 11-9 with 2.52 ERA

The aptly named Louiville Lumber are third in the league in runs scored, led by veteran Sandy Fielder, who transitioned to 2B after spending most of carrer in center. It has worked out, as he is the front-runner to win the Gold-glove there, and he posts a hitting line of .310/.408/.554. 3B Dusty Riggan (53 HR/118 RBI) and OF Santo Soto (41 HR/97 RBI, .295 BA) have been beasts. The Lumber is last in the league in team ERA, however, and their pitching has kept them from maintaining a winning record. Since Scranton has struggled at times too, the Lumber may just have enough to slug their way to the top.

Philly could be a dark horse in this race if they get hot and the teams ahead of them have trouble pulling away. They have a nicely balanced squad with 2nd-year man Virgil Campos having an All-star season with an 11-4 record and 3.35 ERA. 2B Dennis "Green Eggs and" Hammel (.326/28 HR/89 RBI) is the front-runner for the silver-slugger, and gold-glove candidate 3B Max Kelly has been solid at the dish too, with 21 HR and 69 RBI. Donn Jones is in the running for ROY, due to his .280/23 HR/80 RBI production level.

Wild Card

Whoever doesn't win the South is the current front-runner for the top wild-card spot, while New Orleans joins Helena and Milwaukee in the mix for the 2nd spot. Look out for St. Louis too, as a recent hot streak has put them on the radar. New Orleans, who is currently 2 games out of a playoff spot, is getting monster seasons from rookie 3B Herbert Johnstone (32 HR/106 RBI), and catcher Jose Zurbaran (27 HR, .305/.374/.572). Veteran Benji Mangual has been his solid self with 30 HR, .and a 271/.340/.508 line. while playing gold-glove caliber RF. Reliver Tim Sheets has pitched 101 solid innings out of the pen, posting an 11-3 record and a 3.30 ERA.

There should be some good action down the stretch, as another round of divisional games finish the season. Good luck to all!

Monday, July 16, 2012

S23 Ranking Update

1)  Iowa City Rounders  (1)
2)  Trenton Thunder  (2)
3)  Augusta Polar Bears (6)
4)  Tampa Bay Don Caesars  (7)
5)  Los Angeles Dodgers  (4)
6)  New Orleans Pelicans  (28)
7)  Helena Peacemakers  (19)
8)  Milwaukee Boomers  (8)
9)  Charlotte Minute Men  (3)
10) Cleveland Cobalts  (16)
11) Colorado Shock (11)
12)  Cincinnati Sextons  (12)
13) Tacoma XMEN  (31)
14) Texas Wildcats  (15)
15) Jackson Coloniels  (9)
16) St. Louis Red Birds  (5)
17) Scranton Squirrels  (10)
18)  San Diego Beards of Zeus  (25)
19)  San Francisco Bishes  (14)
20)  Richmond Ravens (21)
21)  Wichita Rocks  (22)
22)  Louisville Lumber  (29)
23)  New York Mets  (24)
24)  Montreal Maroons  (17)
25)  New Britain river rats  (23)
26 ) Santa Fe Sluggers  (27)
27)  Philadelphia Colonials  (30)
28)  Seattle Water Wolves  (32)
29)  Chicago Blagos  (18)
30)  Rochester Rakers  (26)
31)  Norfolk Turkeys  (13)
32)  Washington DC Senators  (20)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Minor Leaguers bout to make an Impact on S23

Position Players
Philadelphia's Geoff Cunningham -  Cunningham has his name reserved in the starting lineup after 4 more games, and he plans to man left field and the 3 hole of the Colonials lineup for a long time.  What a great prospect!!

Trenton's Javier Rivera -  Rivera's combination of bat, baserunning, glove and makeup are great indicators a a long, successful big league career.......only his 51 health and catastrophic injury will derail this train. You know there's a spot in the bigs for Rivera!!


Milwaukee's Ossie Diaz - Wow.....what a staff bigjasui is going to be able to roll out......with Diaz locking up the #3 starter role for the next 10 year the rest of the NL North has got to be shaking in their boots.   What a scary 1-2-3 and all under 25.

Wichita's William Matsumoto -  Is he a SP or a LRA?  It doesn't really matter does it.....great control, a plus vR split and 3 quality pitches.....what's not to like.  barjaz has got a gem on his hands and could use the help now.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

S23 Pre-Season Team Rankings

1)  Iowa City Rounders
2)  Trenton Thunder
3)  Charlotte Minute Men
4)  Los Angeles Dodgers
5)  St. Louis Red Birds
6)  Augusta Polar Bears
7)  Tampa Bay Don Caesars
8)  Milwaukee Boomers
9)  Jackson Coloniels
10) Scranton Squirrels
11) Colorado Shock
12)  Cincinnati Sextons
13)  Norfolk Turkeys
14)  San Francisco Bishes
15)  Texas Wildcats
16)  Clevland Cobalts
17)  Montreal Maroons
18)  Chicago Blagos
19)  Helena Peacemakers
20)  Washington DC Senators
21)  Richmond Ravens
22)  Wichita Rocks
23)  New Britain river rats
24)  New York Mets
25)  San Diego Beards of Zeus
26)  Rochester Rakers
27 ) Santa Fe Sluggers
28)  New Orleans Pelicans
29)  Louisville Lumber
30)  Philadelphia Colonials
31)  Tacoma XMEN
32)  Seattle Water Wolves

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Welcome dawg39759

1) Why did you pick ARod?

       A:  Looking to play in a league and build a strong franchise.

2) What's your favorite aspect of HBD?

       A:  Competition and the chance to improve year to year.

3) What do you plan/hope to do with your new franchise?

        A :  Win a World Series :)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Welcome loosecc

1) Why did you pick ARod?

         A:  Why ARod? You happen to be seeking new owners just at the moment I'm looking to get hold of a franchise. It is several years (real time) since I last played on WIS and now seems a good time to get back into the swing of management. What is good to see is the very small number of non-returning members which tells me that the world is well liked, managed and enjoyed. Long may that continue. I certainly intend to be around for season 23 and the next decade!

2) What's your favorite aspect of HBD?

         A:  Favorite aspect? HBD allows you to see the rookies make their way up through the ranks and, hopefully, reach their potential in the majors. Of course, it is up to you just how quickly they progress - that's when you find out if your budget management is good: $ spent on training, coaches, medical or just pay over the odds for a few high profile guys to try obtaining instant success. Winning a game at any level feels like a success but then there is the disappointment at finding your star player has to go on the DL.

3) What do you plan/hope to do with your new franchise?

          A: Plans? The franchise did not have a bad season 22 but still fell short of bringing home titles. The ML roster needs some tweaking especially as the starting pitching roster consists of five left-handers: not a good balance! The batting line-up is short of power and a good HR hitter will be number one priority. The minor league rosters will be trawled to ensure that players are in the correct level for their experience and ability. I certainly feel comfortable in promoting a player if their performance suggests that they deserve a chance at the higher level but, equally, will drop a guy down a level or two if they are just not cutting it.

In reality, if I can manager the ML roster to an above-500 W/L record this coming season then I will be pleased. Playoffs a target for season 25 and a WS title by season 29. Only time will tell as will be my wheeling-and-dealing in the free agent and trade markets.

Welcome habslmets

1) Why did you pick ARod?

          A: I picked ARod for a couple of reasons. For one, I had finally decided to try HBD, and ARod was available. Second, I checked out your blog, and was impressed by how seriously everyone took the league.

2) What's your favorite aspect of HBD?

          A: There are many reasons why I enjoy HBD, and frankly my favorite part is just how in depth it is. Compared to some of the other dynasty games on WIS, HBD seems to be the closest to the real thing. It has everything from International Scouting, to the Rule 5 Draft and Arbitration. I'm new to HBD, but not to baseball in general, so I can't wait to get started.

3) What do you plan/hope to do with your new franchise?

           A:  I landed one of the worst franchises in the league, so I have realistic expectations. If I could hit the 70 win mark in my first season I would actually be happy, seeing as how I've never done HBD before and my team is really terrible. However I really hope to make a turn around quick, and a minimum have a winning record, and hopefully a playoff birth pretty soon.

Welcome phlsfan

1) Why did you pick ARod?

       A:  Seen a lot of veteran owners

2) What's your favorite aspect of HBD?

       A:   just being able to build the team the way you want via through draft and ifa and on occasion ditr

3) What do you plan/hope to do with your new franchise?

        A:    I plan on building this team for future while competing for division and so forth

Monday, May 28, 2012

AL Playoff and World Series Recap by cebola

In the AL 2nd round, Trenton stormed by Jackson after losing game 1 to (who else) Reese "Smokin'" Hemphil. They were already dealing with the abscence of superstar Nick Jacques to injury, and they could have been down 0-2 after blowing a 6-1 lead in the 8th of game 2. But they came back to win that one on a huge walk-off hit by Wade Kirk, and then took games 3 and 4 to win the series 3 games to 1. John Suzuki had a big 3-run blast in game 3 to overcome a defecit, and free-agent signee ace Pat Combs threw a gem in the clincher (7 innings, 1 ER, 11 K's.)

Jackson had another very fine season, and will continue to compete as they still have a solid core left from their not-to-distant champioship sason. Way to go, Jackson!

LA's series win over Charlotte took even more than all 5 games to be decided, as the final took went into extras. The series was marked by stellar pitching, especially in the first 2 games as the teams traded W's. "The Professor" Alex Gabriel pitched 8 and 2/3 in his win for Charlotte and LA's JD "Tool Belt" Schneider tossed 8 shutout innings in their game 2 win. Charlotte took game 3 and a 2-1 series lead then Felipe Estrada hit a game-winning HR in the 8th. LA need 13 innings to tie the series and force the game 5, but only after surrendering the lead in the 9th. Last season's Cy Young winner Travis Jones did something he only did 5 times during the past 2 seasons combined; blew a save on a Dan Larson RBI single.. But his teammates covered for him and took the game on a Travis Wells RBI double in the 13th. The deciding game had us all on the edge of our seats, as Charlotte had a slim lead heading into the 8th. LA tied it up and the game went to the 11th, where it was won on a "Bobby Thompson Style" walk-off HR by Andrew Gipson. Carlos "Exxon" Valdes pitched 3 and 2/3 crucial hitless innings for LA in the win.

Charlotte proved once again to be a force to be reckoned with, coming a few outs short of making it to the LCS. Since they always make it into the tournament, I'm betting a ring is in their near future. Great job once again.

In the LCS, LA went up 3-1 in the series, and things looked grim for Trenton, as they were still playing without slugger Nick Jacquez. Old "Tool Belt" Schneider pitched 6 innings of 1-run ball and their game 1 win, and they got a huge game 3 from Clay Stanley, who blasted 2 HR's. Trenton won game 2 on the back of their original ace Karl Hurst who went 8 shut-out innings for the win. LA tipped the scales to give them the 3-1 series lead by again working their extra inning magic. This time Tim James got the game-winning RBI in the 14th. With the medical team fighting and scrapping to get Jacquez back in there, the Trenton squad play their hearts out with their backs against the wall to get the game 5 victory. Combs spins a beauty to earn the win and Damaso Espinoza comes up big with 2 HR and 6 RBI. Game 6 finally marks the return of Jacquez and he makes LA rue the day for not taking care of business in game 5. Jacquez blasts 2 homeruns in his return and Karl Hurst gets his 2nd win of the series in the 5-0 Trenton victory. In the deciding game, Schneider has little in the tank as he attemps to go on three-days rest for LA, and he surrenders 6 in the 11-3 Trenton win. Jacquez continues his return party with another homer.

The Dodgers had another fantastic season and was not far from reaching the series. They have a strong well-balanced team on all levels and will undoubtedly be back bext season. I bet they can't wait to roll! Very nice job.

Very close games in all 4 World Series contests, but Iowa proves too much for Trenton. The Rounders overcame a 2-0 defecit to win game 1 4-3. Bruce Mullens goes 6 and surrenders only 2 runs. Game 2 was a walk-off, Sammy Cochrane Style, in Iowa's 3-2 win. Clinton "Puff Daddy" Puffy goes 6, surrendering only 2 to keep his team in it long enough to come through. Elrod "Rum &" Coke continues the trend of outstanding pitching by tossing 6 and 2/3 and giving up just a single run. It was Coke's 3rd win of the playoffs. Jaret Walters finally has a big playoff game in hitting a homer and driving in all of Iowa's runs in the 4-1 win. Mullens doesn't mess with the formula for victory as he pitches 6 innings of 1-run ball in the game 4 series clinching 4-1 victory. Super swing-man gets the final 9 outs for the save.

Congratulations to Trenton, who made the move from a tough, competive team, to a legit contender. The 1-2 punch of Hurst and Combs at the front of the rotation, and a healthy Nick Jacquez should keep them in the mix for seasons to come. Look out! Great job, Trenton; League Champions!

Iowa had a season for the ages. They led A.Rod with an amazing 112-50 record and .691 winning %. They won the division by 15 games; were 13 games better than the next best team in the NL, 11 games better that the next best team in the World. Their expected winning % was .702, based upon their run differential. Expected % is usually a solid indicator of how good (or bad) a team really is; any variance between expected and actual can usually be attributed to luck, as winning (or losing) close games can cause a variance. This means Iowa was actually UNLUCKY this season. They should have won 114, and with a little luck going the other way, could easily have won 116-120.

After an early 7 game losing streak and a tough 8-10 start to the season, they proceeded to go 104-40, which is a .722 winning %! They had another 6 game losing streak early on, but then they lost NO MORE THAN 2 IN A ROW at any point over their final 109 games! Their winning streaks just got longer and longer as the season went on; an 8 game streak, followed by a 12, and then a 16! Oh yeah, they finished their season with 8 games a row in the playoffs against the best competition. They went 11-1 in the post-season.

NL Rankings ...

Number 1 in team ERA at 2.89 (next best 3.47)
Number 1 in runs allowed 523 (next best 608)
Number 1 in WHIP 1.10 (next best 1.27)
Number 2 in fielding % .987

All pitching and run prevention? Not quite!

Number 2 in runs scored at 835; only Colorado's Murderer's Row Mach II scored more.

Iowa extended the contact of SP Clinton Puffer and has him through season 27. Mullens is signed through 24, and Coke is final-year arb eligible next season, and will undoubtedly be locked up long term. They realized they couldn't replace Gio Hernadez's innings and performance with 1 guy, so they signed a bunch of great alteratives to give them effective innings; Roger "Mister" Andrelcyzk (13-5 3.06 ERA), Andres Lopes (6-1, 1.44 ERA in relief), Carlton McGee (10-3, 7 saves, 3.24 ERA), Vinny Cortes (11-4 3.06 ERA), Jay Clemens (8-4, 2.86 ERA), and of course, PJ O'Shea (35/38 saves, 0.88 WHIP, 1.59 ERA).

The more research I do, the more frightened I am of having to compete in the same division! Excellent job, Ahsowhat, of putting together what will prove to be one of the best all-time seasons in A.Rod. You deserve the championship, enjoy the trophy!