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!

Friday, May 25, 2012

NL Playoff Recap by cebola

Scranton goes up 3-2 through their half of the 7th in game 1 of their series against Iowa. Marc Webster continues his hot hitting and drives in 2 on a pair of RBI singles. In the bottom of the 7th, Sam Cochrane gets a big two out hit to tie it up, and Iowa gets 2 in the 8th to take the lead. Former Squirrel PJ O'Shea gets the save. Game 2 was tied 4-4 through 7. Iowa took a 3-0 lead in the 3rd on the rare feat of back-to-back-to-back triples, one of them by pitcher Clinton Puffer. Scranton answered with 3 to tie in their bottom half, which included a 2-run blast by RA Tucker. After exchanging runs to get us to 4-4, Iowa scratches out the lead run in the 8th, and O'Shea pitches a 1-2-3 ninth to preserve the one-run win. In game 3, Elrod "Rum and" Coke pitches 8 scoreless (4 hits, 0 walks, 5 K's) and Iowa clinches the series with a 4-0 win. Vinny Okajima provided all the offense they would need with a couple RBI's. Iowa advaces to the league championship round to face the winner of St. Louis and Colorado.

Scranton got a tough break when they lost reigning MVP Pat Dougherty to injury in their first round win. It's tough enough to score on Iowa's pitching staff. The Squirrels had an outstanding season, and have a great mix of young talent and guys in their primes. I'm betting they're in the running for the whole enchilada next season. Great job!

Game 1 of the St.Louis-Colorado series was tied 3-3 through 6. Colorado's Diory Silva hits a 2-run shot, and Gill Ashby drives in 2 with a single for St. Louis. John Ueno goes yard in top 9 to give Colorad the lead and Ronn Aumont protects the lead for the save. St. Louis frustrates Colorado starter Miguel Carrasco by scoring single runs in each of the first four innings to a 4-0 lead. SS Omar Estella hits a solo shot. St. Louis starter Benito Guerrero gives up 10 baserunners through 6, but allows only a single run in earning the series-evening 4-1 win. In game 3, Gio Hernandez strikes out 9 in 7 strong innings to earn the 4-2 win that puts Colorado on the brink of winning the series. Alvin "The Run" Logan and Ray Brock go back-to-back in the 3rd to put the Shock ahead 2-1. Ueno hits a 2-run HR to provide insurance, and Aumont gets a 1-2-3 ninth for the save. In game 4, St. Louis build a 7-0 lead through their half of the 5th behind a strong start by Pedro Borges (who also drove in 4 in the game.) Wil Pote got a 2-run double in the 1st to get the Redbird off to a fast start with their backs against the wall. Estrella goes deep for the 2nd time in the series, this time a 3-run blast and the series is tied after the 17-4 St' Louis win. Estrella gets hurt, however, and is forced to miss the deciding game. Game 5 was a nail-biting 2-2 tie through 6 and 1/2. Carrasco and 2 time Cy Young winner Alex Torres match each other frame for frame. Ray Brock got Colorado on the board with a soloshot in the 1st, and Louie Santiago answered for the Redbirds with a 2-run shot in the bottom half. Santiago got to the plate after a Wil Pote bloop single that many felt could have been caught by LF Jason Swann. In the 7th inning of the tie game, Gill Ashby comes through for St. Louis with the go-ahead single. Gio come in in relief, but can't limit the damage as he allows 2 inherited runners to score, and then allows 3 of his own the next inning. St. Louis advances to the next round to face Iowa qith the 8-2 game 5 victory. Santiago hits .350 with 2 HR and 8 RBI to take MVP honors.

Colorado put togther an unbelievable team with a short but effective rebuild and a tremendous off-season, and almost got themselves to the league championship series. Their long time division rivals were the only thing standing in their way. I'm sure the Shock will continue to add the pieces necessary next season to make this team into an even more dangerous one. Excellent job!

In game 1 of the League Champioship Series, St. Louis keeps the momentum of their big game 5 win going by scoring 3 in the first off of Iowa starter Bruce Mullens. Santiago remains hot with an RBI single and Rip Anderson gets a big 2-out RBI double. Iowa answers in their half of the 1st off Benito Guerrero, courtesy of a 2-run blast by #2 hitter Hank Roberts. Guerrero settles down in a huge way and gives up only a single hit during the rest of his outing in going 7 innings for the 5-2 win. Stump Matheson allows the tying run to get the plate in the 9th, but JD Shunick gets Gary Girardi to end it. A CG gem by Iowa starter Clinto Puffer evens the series at 1-1. Puff Daddy gives up only 4 hits in the 5-0 shutout. St. Louis jumps out to a 2-0 lead in the 2nd inning of game 3 on a 2-out, 2-run single by Ted Anderson. But Iowa goes ahead 3-2 with single runsin the 3rd, 4th and 5th off St. Louis starter ruben Calderon. Bob Newson gets a pair of RBI singles and Sammy Cochranes hits a solo homerun. Iowas then explodes for 6 in the 6th off reliever Orlando Hernandez. Hank Roberts geta a 2-run triple and Cochrane adds an RBI single. Iowa goes on to the 11-3 win to take the series lead. Bob Newson gets 4 hits, scores 2 and drives in 2. In game 4, Iowa gets back-to-back RBI doubles from Jaret Walters and Cochrane in the 5th and take a 4-0 lead to the 8th. The Rouders could have had more, but they had 2 runners thrown out at the plate in the early innings, limiting the damage and keeping St. Louis within reach. Mullens tosses 5 shutout innings giving up 2 hits and striking out 8. St. Louis scores 2 in the 8th on an Ashby solo HR and a 2-out single by Pedro Juarez. Nick Woods hit a 2-out solo shot in the 9th off closer PJ O'Shea to cut the lead to 4-3. Ted Anderson gets on base as the tying run, but Ashby grounds out to end the threat and the game. In game 5, the Redbirds finally muster something off of Clinton Puffer and score 3 to talke a 3 run lead into the 7th. Starter Benito Guerrero helps himself with a 2-run single and Rip Anderson adds a solo-shot. Gary Girardo hits a huge 3-run bomb off Guerrero in the 7th to tie the game. St. Louis squanders a chance to take the lead in the 8th, as they get Santiago to the plate with runners on 2nd and 3rd with only 1 out, but fail to score. Cochrane gets his 4th hit of the game in the next half inning, a huge 2-run HR, and O'Shea pitches a perfect 9th to seal the victory and the series for Iowa. Cochrane gets series MVP for going 10 for 17 with 2 HR and 6 RBI. Iowa advances to play in the World Series.

Congratulations to St. Louis for another fantastic season. Year after year they continue to be a legitimate contender. Great job once again; I'm sure you'll be a-knockin' next season!

Monday, May 21, 2012


NL MVP:  Raymond Brock - Perhaps I am too close to this one, as clearly this is a tight race between Mr. Brock and Pat Dougherty.  It is impossible to find fault in the numbers "The Baker" put up this year; #1 in HR's (53), #9 in RBI (123), #3 in AVG (.328), #2 in OBP (.408); #1 in SLG (.692), #2 in OPS (1.100)....he also threw in 14 steals, 65 walks and 106 runs.

Mr. Brock was equally as impressive and involved in the legendary chase for .400.  He just missed however finishing with an amazing .399 AVG.  Brock took advantage of the thin air in Colorado and put up some rather impressive numbers; obviously #1 in AVG, #2 in Runs (146), #1 in Hits (242), #1 in Doubles (50), #4 in RBI (134), #1 in OBP (.443), #2 in SLG (.662) and #1 in OPS (1.105).....he also threw in 26 steals, 32 HR's and 45 walks.  Neither men distinguished themselves in the field, though Dougherty holds a slight edge there.

Where there is separation for Brock is in the extended stats---RC and RC27.  Brock's RC27 was 12.366 and Dougherty's 10.447 was a distant 2nd.  In RC Brock put up a monster 179.908 to Dougherty's 144.617.  If they were close, I might buy the Colorado effect arguement, unfortunately Brock's season was huge and he led the Shock to more wins than Dougherty led the Squirrels.  In the end, the edge goes to Brock.

NL Round 1 Recap by cebola

In game 1 of the series between Scranton and Tampa, 23-year old Japanese sensation Richard Nomo delivers in a big way by piching 6 innings, giving up 1 run and striking out 6. Nomo had his breakthrough year this season for Scranton, piching 207 innnings and going 13-4 with a 3.13 ERA. Mark Webster got the big 2-run homer in the 7th, turning a tight 2-1 game into a more comfortable 4-1 game. Dan Lane and Enrique Mercado lock down the final 3 innings to preserve the Scranton victory. Game 2 was all Tampa, as they bang out 22 hits in the 15-4 win. Blake Leary (HR/3 RBI) and Emil Cortez (4 RBI) each go 4 for 5. The big news of game 2 however, was the injury to reigning MVP Pat Dougherty of Scranton, who pulled a hammy and would miss the rest of the series. After losing their big gun, Scranton gets a huge lift from game 3 starter, veteran Raul Cora, as he pitches 8 innings giving up just a single unearned run. Tampa slugger Derrick Grissom comes to the plate with the tying runs on with 2 outs in the 9th, but fails to deliver off closer Mercado, and Scranton takes the 2-1 series lead with the 3-1 win. In game 4, Rich "Say it Ain't" Sobolewski rebounds from his shaky game 1 outing and pitches 8 innings, giving up only 1 run in the Tampa 4-1 victory. Jamie "Fire" Byrne drives in 2, including a homer.

Most experts predicted a pitchers duel in game 5 and figured veteran Cy Young candidate and former Squirrel Harry Lee would get the better of young gun Richard Nomo. Nomo pitches an even better game than his game 1 gem, and he one ups Lee and earns the series clinching win by throwing 7 shutout innings in the 2-0 win. Mercado earns his 3rd save of the series. Nomo earns series MVP honors for his two masterpieces.

Hopefully my Dons will be back to compete again next season. We're hoping Jamie Byrnes picks up his half of the mutual option for next season, thereby keeping the nucleus together to make another run at the title. We shall see!

The Milwaukee-Colorado series got the Fox primetime 8:40 start for each game that they would play, as Milwaukee's much-ballyhooed three-headed ace in Heiserman-McCurry-Bennett would face off against the contemporary Murderer's Row of the Shock. In game 1, the Shock's relentless attack got to Heiserman for runs in each of the first three innings to take a 4-0 lead. They explode for 4 more in the 6th to go on to the 10-1 win. No stranger to the playoffs, Benito Rijo drives in 5 in his first post-season game for his new club. Rafael Beltre goes 8 and 1/3 for the win, giving up the lone run.

Colorado jumped on ace #2 and got 3 runs in the first inning of game 2 off of "Don" Juan Bennett. Rijo hits a 2-run jack in the frame. The Shock tack on 2 more, including a homer by Marc Clark, and Milwaukee's offense continued to sputter in the 5-0 shut-out. 23 year-old Miguel Carasco spun a beauty, 7 innings, 0 runs, 2 hits.

Game 3 was a classic thin-air free-for-all as Milwaukee's offense wakes up from their slumber in a big mother-freakin'-way, as they build an 18-0 after 4! Juan Alarcon, Geraldo Valdes, Edge Edwards, and rookie Sam "We've Got" Bush all go yard. Pablo Diaz and Bush each drive in 5. Ace Threely, Stu McCurry pitches a gem, as far as Rocky Mountain gems go, going 8, giving up 5 in the 21-10 win. $130 million-dollar man, Gio Hernandez, can't get out of the 2nd and gives up 8 runs. Game 4 saw Milwaukee take a 2-0 lead through their half of the 3rd, but Colorado scores 3 in the bottom to take the lead. RBI-singles by Denny Tazawa, Rijo, and Jason Swann account for the runs. 'Rado tacks on another to take a 4-2 lead, but Milwaukee explodes for 6 in the 5th, including the go-ahead RBI single by pitcher Paul Heiserman and a 3-run blast by Valdes. Heiserman and Miguel Martinez hold off the Shock through the final 4 innings to seal the series tying 8-4 win. We head back to Milwaukee for the big game 5 and both magers decide to go with their starters from the game 3 slugfest, and both on only 2 days rest. Big money man Gio H was the odds-on favorite to start the big game for the Shock, but in a somewhat surpising move, Milwaukee skips Juan Bennet on regular rest to go with McCurry, who did have a better season. The decision proves to be the right one, as McCurry pitches 8 scoreless, surrendering only 1 hit. The problem was that Hernadez matched him frame for frame. When Milwaukee got a leadoff single from Benji Ramos in the bottom of the 8th, they had no choice but to pinch-hit for McCurry, but they failed to capitalize. New pitcher Miguel Martinez got he first 2 men in the 9th, but Rijo singled and Marc Clark hit the huge 2-run homer to give Colorado the lead with three outs to go. The $130 million man proves his worth and gets the final 3 himself in the 2-0 complete game shutout. Benito Rijo gets MVP with 3 HR and 10 (yes, 10) RBI.

It was another great season for Milwaukee, as they no-doubt will be back in the tournament next season to make a serious run at the title. Great job!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

AL Round 1 Recap by cebola

After splitting the first two games of the series, Charlotte blasted Pittsburgh in the final 2 by a comined score of 28-0 to take the series 3 games to 1. Game 1 was a pitchers' duel through 6 as "The Professor" Alex Gabriel outlasts Carlos Tavarez, who threw on only 1 day's rest. Felipe Estrada knocked in 3 in the 5-0 Charlotte victory. Game 2 was another tight one as we saw a 5-5 tie through 6. Pitt explodes for 5 in the 7th to go on the 12-5 win. Richie Rupe drove in 3, Yank Bryant and Enos Hoffman 2 apiece. Charlotte got 6 runs in the first in game 3, half of it courtesy of a Tom Lewis 3-run bomb. Phillip Bryant (6 innings) and Spike Worthington (3) team up for the shutout. A spent Carlos Tavarez tries to play hero with his team's backs against the wall, by asking for the ball on short rest again (3 days this time). He gets blasted for 14 runs, 11 in the 3rd alone, and Charlotte clinches the series with the 18-0 drubbing. Dennis Larson goes 5-7 with 3 RBI and 4 runs scored. Felipe Estrada is named series MVP for his .333 showing, with 7 RBI and 5 runs.
Charlotte moves on to face the 101 win Dodgers.

Congratulations to Pittsburgh on taking a team that had been in the trenches for many seasons and getting them into the playoffs. There's a solid foundation there, especially throughout the line-up, that should keep the Steelmakers a legit contender for seasons to come. Very nice job.

In game one of the other AL series, Jackson's ace Reese "Smokin'" Hemphill got touched for 7 runs (5 earned) in Augusta's 9-2 game 1 victory. Calvin "Sweet as" Sugawara goes 8 strong for the W. Jackson gets a huge lift from Hector Batista in game 2, as he gives up only 2 runs in 7 innings in the 6-2 win. Wes Dickerson clubs a 2 run homer. In game 3, Roy "Purple" Hays outguns Flip "Lennon &" McCartney in the 4-2 Jackson win. In the 3rd, Bryce Dupler gives the Colonels the 3-2 lead they would never look back from. As a rookie last year, Jackson starter Jason Matthews had a huge postseason, pitching strong in several big games, including game 6 of the World Series with his team on the brink of elimination. He gets the job done in game 4 as Jackson takes the series with the 8-2 win. Matthews and Pedro "High" Sierra were duking it out through 6 as Jackson held a 1-0 lead. Mathews did give up the lead in the 7th on a huge two run blast by SS Doug Jennings, but the Colonels answered right back, in a big way, with 7 runs in the bottom half. .219 hitting Conor "Don't Call Me Harmon" Killebrew hit the go-ahead 2-run homer. Wes Dickerson takes MVP honors with his .364 average and 4 RBI. For Augusta, Arnold and Alexander combine to hit .348, but the rest of the offense falls flat. Sugawara was set to go for a game 5 if they had been able to get 9 more outs. Jackson moves on to play Trenton in the next round.

Yet again, another solid season for Augusta, as they get to the tournament for the 5th straight season. Odds are that they make it again next year to give themselves a shot at the title. Good job commish! 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

NL Playoff PIcture by cebola


Tacoma's frantic run may be too little, too late as Milwaukee has an 11 game division lead on the strength of an extremely well-balanced line-up and pitching staff. 8 players have at least 13 HR and 5 have at least 70 RBI. Rookie of the year candidate and super-utility man Sam "We've Got" Bush has 30 SB's and 91 runs scored. Edge Edwards leads the power categories with 23 HR and 79 driven in. Veteren Paul Heiserman is the front runner for the Cy Young award with a mad 18-3 record to along with his 3.13 ERA. He and fellow All-Star starters Stu McCurry (15-6) and "Don" Juan Bennet (14-7) boast arguably the best top 3 in the league. Chief Lecroy is having another great season with 40 saves.

Injuries have ravished the Tacoma pitching staff, but hurlers Mariano Padilla (11 wins) and Howard Taylor ( 25 saves) are doing their best to keep them in the race. The offense is led by All-star 3B Art Krausse who has a solid .293/.352/.530 line, including 27 HR and 85 RBI. Catcher Darren Ferguson is on pace for a career year at .281/.366/.478


Scranton seems to be on the verge of ending Burlington's five year run at the top, as they hold a 14 game division lead. All-star catcher Red Westmoreland is having another good year and reigning MVP Pat Dougherty is simply a beast with 45 homers and 101 RBI. His slash-line is a sick .306/.391/.661! Carlos Blanco has driven in 100 with his 39 bombs, and Earl Butler is doing his job at lead-off with a .352 OBP and 35 SB's Richard Nomo (12-3) and Raul Cora (12-8) head the starting rotation and Dan Lane already has 98 innings pitched out of the pen. All-star closer Enrique Mercado is 35/38 in save opps.


Iowa also boasts an extremely balanced line-up and pitching staff which has them on top, ahead of Tampa by 10 games. Jaret Walters is having an MVP-like season with 36 HR and 115 RBI and a line of .295/.360/.572. Sammy Cochrane is .305/.363/.536 while hitting 26 homers and driving in 93. Bob Newson has been getting on base ahead of the sluggers at a .370 clip (despite hitting just .249) which has enabled him to score 90 runs to go along with his 29 steals. PJ O'Shea has been lights out as closer with 31/33 saves and puts himself in the Cy Young conversation. The injury bug has stayed away from the rotation this year, allowing Phil Coke (11-9), Clinton Puffer (11-6) and Bruce Mullens (13-5) to keep their reputation as the best in the business despite the defection of Gio Hernandez to free-agency.

Tampa is getting a career-year from 3B Derrick Grissom (.303/.375/.536) with his 25 HR, 101 RBI and 21 steals. Jamie Byrne is having another solid season from the middle of the order (285/.370/.501) and has 24 homers and 86 driven in. CF Hi Shouse is bidding for his 2nd gold-glove while contributing 22 HR and 82 runs scored. The rotation has a solid front three with Rich "Say it Isn't" Sobelewski (12-8) and Rob Cormier (16-6.) And when Harry "Met Sal" Lee won his 15th last week, he put himself into the Cy Young discussion.


St. Louis has an 8 game lead on Colorado, which is the closest race in the league. Former MVP and owner of 2 Series's Rings Louie Santiago is doing it again with .305/.379/.540 and 34 HR and 109 RBI. 3B Will Pote made his 6th All-star appearance this season and has put up a line of .314/.376/.472 while playing stellar defense. Anderson-squared have been dynamite as well (Ted - .300 BA, .416 OBP with 91 runs and 39 steals; Rip - 30 HR and 107 RBI). Stump Matheson is again one of the top firemen in the league and has saved 42 of 46 games. The rotation is deep and strong with Benito Guerrero (11-6, 3.14 ERA), Rueben Calderon (15-6), Pedro Borges (13-6), and Alex Torres (10-3.) David Polanco is 37 and has taken a step back, but can be a valuable weapon for a post-season team.

The Shock are getting in done with the sticks as 4 players already have 100 RBI and 6 have at least 20 homeruns. Raymond Brock is flirting with .400 (and the MVP award.) He's currently at .402 with 27 HR and 111 RBI. Newcomer Benito Rijo is enjoying his first season in the thin-air, as he has 35 HR and 123 driven in. Jason Swann has a line of .337/.387/.571 and lead-off man Alvin "The Run" Logan has 132 runs scored, a .367 OBP and 47 SB's. It's hard to find traditional success stories on the pitching staff, as Rey Camilli's 4.73 ERA is the lowest among the starters. New ace Gio Hernandez is 10-8, Rafael Beltre is 12-9 and Benny Calderon has 9 wins in relief.


Tampa and Colorado hold the top two spots in the race with Las Vegas 7 games behind and Tacoma 10 behind. Vegas has 4 players with at least 19 HR, led by rookie-of-the-year front runner Darwin Rhodes's 25. He also leads the team with 74 RBI. Groucho Hargrave has 24/71 and Juan Estrada has 22/74 and a line of .308/.370/.489. Veteran All-star Matt Livingstone leads the rotation with a 13-6 record and 2.85 ERA. Swing-man Willie Callaspo is 32/34 in save opportunities and has also made 3 starts.

Good Luck!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Team Rankings 5/4/12

1) Los Angeles Dodgers
2) St. Louis Red Birds
3) Iowa City Rounders
4) Charlotte Minute Men
5) Tampa Bay Don Caesars
6) Augusta Polar Bears
7) Pittsburgh Steel Makers
8) Colorado Shock
9) Trenton Thunder
10) Scranton Squirrels
11) Milwaukee Boomers
12) Burlington Booya
13) Jackson Colonels
14) Cincinnati Sextons
15) Las Vegas Bishes
16) Jacksonville Porters
17) Texas Wilcats
18) Syracuse Psychos
19) Wichita Rocks
20) Washington D.C. Senators
21) Tacoma Downriggers
22) Helena Peacemakers
23) Rochester Rakers
24) Scottsdale Pings
25)Toledo Mud Hens
26) Santa Fe Sluggers
27) New Britian River Rats
28) Chicago Blagos
29) New Orleans Pelicans
30) Philadelphia Colonials
31) Arizona Sun Dogs
32) Seattle Water Wolves

Thursday, May 3, 2012

AL Playoff Picture by cebola

Heading down the stretch, here is how things are shaping up...


Augusta currently holds a 3 game lead over Pittsburgh. With all due respect to the Trenton Thunder, I'd have to say the Steel Makers are the surprise team this year. They've done a great job turning this franchise into a contender. 36 year-old journeyman Aramis Herrera has thrust himself into the Cy Young race with 14 wins and a solid 3.25 ERA. Pitt is getting strong seasons from All-Stars Keith Rivera in his first full season, and from free agent 3B Enos Hoffman, who has hit 26 longballs to go along with a solid .355 OBP. OF Randy Kapler is having his break-out season at 26, hitting 25 bombs and posting a .380 OBP and .546 SLG%

Augusta is getting the job done with their usual cast of characters in Marvin Crabtree (30 HR/80 RBI) and Cleatus Alexander (27/75.) Javy Alvarez is on pace to duplicate his last year's Silver Slugger season when he hit 49 homers and drove in 139 while posting a .397 OBP and .589 SLG%. Mac Sano is having a career year with an OBP of .365 and on pace to score 100 runs. Vet closer Albert Jackson is doing his thing with 27/29 saves. Starters Flip "Lennon &" McCartney and Calvin "Sweet as " Sugawara both have double-digit wins.

Cincinnati is staying within striking distance at 9 back. They've gotten a boost from new-aquisition Davey Diaz, who's hit 22 bombs and driven in 62 since his arrival. A solid top three in the rotation in Craig Jones (16 wins), Richard Lennon (13) and Ugueth Nunez (9) are getting the job done.


In the AL East, Trenton has broken away from the pack this year, and is 11 up on Jacksonville. Nick Jaquez is having another incredible season to lead the attack. He has 33 homeruns and has driven in 91. All-Stars John Suzuki (21 HR, .385 OBP) and SS gold glove candidate Vin Mendoza have had solid seasons. The two-headed beast at the top of the rotation in Karl Hurst (12 wins) and Pat Combs (10 W's), has made it easy for the Thunder to avoid long losing streaks. ROY candidate Victor Moya has 11 wins, and super-long man Ricky Mullin has 11 victories out of the pen.


The South has the closest race going on with Charlotte leading long-time rival Jackson by 1 game. For Charlotte, Carlos "Exxon" Valdes is duplicating his MVP season in which he hit 61 bombs and drove in 147. All-Star Felipe Estrada has a .304/.378/.494 line. Dennis Larson is scoring his usual ton-of-runs, 94 to go along with 43 steals. Tom Lewis is playing gold-glove caliber 2B while hitting 24 homers and scoring 88 runs. They have a pair of ROY candidates in DH Melvin Rose, who has an OBP of .366 and has 31 HR as part of his .570 SLG%, and SP Estaban Guapo who is 12-4.

Jackson has a deep starting rotation led by the great Reese "Smokin'" Hemphill (14-7, 2.60 ERA). Hector Batista is 13-7 and vet Fritz Mullin is staying strong at 36 with a 9-3 record. Ralph Kydd continues his reign as one of the top lead-off men in the game with a line of .331/.408/.481 with 47 steals and 91 runs scored. Bryce Dupler is having another great year at .324/.361/.529


The LA Dodgers have run away with the division for the second year in a row (22 up on Scottsdale), but should be in a fight for one of the two all-important byes. Last year's Cy Young Award winner Travis Jones, who saved an unheard of 63 games in 64 chances, has been merely super-human this year. He is again in the running for the award with his 39 saves, but has come down to earth by blowing 4 chances. I'm sure slash isn't losing any sleep over this development, however. Morris James is 11-5, JD Schneider is 13-6. 1B Andrew Gipson is on pace to eclipse his carrer high of 46 homers and has a line of .292/.413/6.08. Pedro Bonilla is of course in the hunt for another MVP award in going .297/.366/.545. The thrid member of the squad who is monopolizing the MVP candidacy spots, Geovany Molina, is on the DL, but should be back in plenty of time for the post-season.

In the Wildcard race, Pittsburgh is 6 games ahead of both Jackson and Cincy for the top spot. Jacksonville is 4 games back, Syracuse 6, and Sante Fe 8. This should be a wild race to the end! I'll touch more on the teams in this hunt on my next report.

Good luck!