Archive | April 2013

Let’s think about this…

Ok, so by now everyone has heard that the Detroit Tigers have signed Jose Valverde to a Major League contract and he has been named to the closer role.  RUN!!!!  That’s what everyone is thinking, from what I have been seeing on the Tigers Facebook page is everyone is an armchair GM…

“Seriously. This is a disgrace to those who currently play in this team, to those who actually buy tickets to come watch, to those of us who follow on their phones and in their living rooms. As a cousin if one who played in 68 I say shame in you whoever made this decision. Pay him out if your salary!!! We are certainly doomed if it comes down to the bullpen.”

I think that might be a bit extreme.  But here’s another one…

“That is a terrible decision. Whoever made it should be fired!”

Dave Dombrowski and Jim Leyland made this decision, remember the guys who built the team for their run to the WORLD SERIES last year, which had Valverde on it. They each have 3 pennants and 1 World Series ring.  Leyland is a 3 time Manager of the Year.  Dombrowski has had some serious talk about him becoming the next Commissioner of Major League Baseball…  FIRE THEM!!!

“OMG he cost us the World Series last year!!!  Didn’t they learn??????”

Wait, he pitched???  Oh no, he didn’t pitch in the World Series and if he did that would have meant there was a Save Opportunity, which there wasn’t.  The Tigers were only up at one point in the World Series, in the 3rd inning of game 3 until the Giants tied them in the 6th.

“*puts head into hands and silently weeps*”

This must be a Royals fan who is scared of Valverde, who has a career high 20 saves against them.  Valverde has led the MLB in not just Saves (110) over his last 3 years with the Tigers, but also in Save Percentage (93%).  Oh no!!!  Why would they ever sign him, he blew 5 saves last year…

“Ugghhh with Leland and Valverde throwing games we will NEVER see a world series! Big disappointment Detroit!!!”

LEYLAND and Valverde were both on the team last year that saw the World Series, oh it must not count.

Let’s settle down.  First of all, he wasn’t the worst closer in history.  In 2011 people still hated him even though he was 49 for 49; maybe he could’ve done better (NOPE!).  Last year he had 5 blown saves.  Motte (7), Axford (9), Chapman (5), Betancourt (7), Clippard (5), Putz (5), Wilhemsen (5), Aceves (8), Broxton (6), Jansen (7), Casilla (6), Bell (8), Cook (7), League (6), Parnell (5), Belisle (7), Hernandez (6), Rodriguez (7), and Strop (7) all had as many or more blown saves than Valverde did, most of them in not as many Opportunities.  If this works out, which it definitely could, then the Tigers look like geniuses.  If it doesn’t then cut him and they are right back to where they were before.  He knows how to close games, as he has proven, his velocity was just down last year and he has regained that form according to sources (Wait is this ESPN???).  I like this signing, Villareal was struggling this year more than Valverde was last year (Tigers fans on Facebook now HATE Villareal too).  Let’s give this guy a shot again, he has proven he can do it once and I think he is hungry to prove it once again.  I’m backing the Tigers this season and I trust in Jim Leyland and Dave Dombrowski, that’s why they are at their jobs and I’m sitting at my computer.  If it doesn’t work out then let’s just blame it on Leyland because he smokes, that sounds like logic to me folks…

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National Championship Game

 

2013 Playoff Picture

After making my predictions of who is going to win each division and also get the Wild Card berths for the playoffs, I will make predictions of what I think will happen in this postseason. In the AL I had the division winners being the Orioles, Tigers and the Athletics. In the National League the division winners that I predicted were the Nationals, Reds and Diamondbacks. The Wild Card teams were the Indians and Rangers in the AL and in the NL the Braves and Pirates.

Wild Card:

ALWC:

Indians over Rangers – I think that the Indians will actually win this one game playoff, even though I think that the Rangers are a more complete team and have a much better pitching staff. I love what the Indians new lineup looks like and the Rangers does not look at all like the one that took them to back to back World Series.

NLWC:

Braves over Pirates – I don’t care who pitches for the Braves in this game, Kris Medlen or Tim Hudson will shut down the Pirates in a one game playoff and then hand the ball to the best closer in the game right now, Chris Kimbrel.

Divisional Series:

ALDS:

Tigers over Indians: Tigers will just be too much for the Indians, both with their lineup and their pitching staff. I do not see a more complete team than the Tigers have. They just need to fill that closer role, which I am sure someone will stand out soon enough.

Orioles over A’s: The Orioles ability to persevere and win games late will be the reason they win this series. And Chris Davis is another.

NLDS:

Reds over Braves: Dusty Baker will out manage Fredi Gonzalez and utilize his players better. The Reds lineup is deeper than the Braves and so is their rotation. The back end of their pitching staff with Chapman and Broxton is going to be tough to get late inning hits too.

Nationals over Diamondbacks: The Diamondbacks benefitted from a division that kept beating each other up, which is why I do not have a Wild Card from what I think is the best division in the NL. They will be wore out by this time of year and won’t put up much of a fight against the young and talented Nationals.

Championship Series:

ALCS:

Tigers over Orioles: Tigers win in 5 games. Orioles pitching staff won’t be able to match up against the Tigers lineup. Hopefully not too early for another long break like the last two times they were in the World Series.

NLCS:

Nationals over Reds: This is going to be a very good series. The Nationals will win in 6 games, Strasburg and Gonzalez are going to be a great 1-2 combo in the rotation for a playoff run.

World Series:

Tigers over Nationals: The Tigers will win the World Series for the first time since 1984. They have no holes in their lineup. Torii Hunter will give this team a great defender, a great number two hitter who knows what to do when to do it but most importantly I think he will be a leader with Victor Martinez that this team needs. The Nationals have a very great team but I think the Tigers rotation is not only better but 1-5 is much deeper than the Nationals. The Tigers were in this situation last year and got embarrassed. I think that they will it their goal to do as much harm in this Series as they can to make up for last year’s let down.

Thank you for reading my blog. If you have missed any others make sure to read them. Feel free to comment, this is my opinion and I would enjoy hearing yours. Remember to click FOLLOW in the bottom right of the screen to become a follower.

NL Playoff Picture

After making my predictions for my American League playoffs team, today’s post will be about the National League.  I really respect the National League managers because they have to manage the game a lot more than American League.  They have to decide whether or not to keep a pitcher in if he is pitching well and take an out or to pull him and have a pinch hitter.  I do think that next year the DH rule will be enforced over all of baseball which is saddening because of the tradition of the NL but with everyday interleague play there needs to be a level playing field.  It will also provide more jobs to players and keep bigger names in the game for longer.  Here are my picks for the NL Playoff Picture.

The Washington Nationals are one of my favorite teams in the NL. I love the way that Bryce Harper plays and even though people such as Ozzie Guillen and Cole Hamels were trying to get into the youngsters head, he wouldn’t let it happen.  I think that he will get better this year than last; he had 22 home runs and a .270 average.  He is moving from the 2nd batter in the lineup to 3rd where he should get more opportunities for RBI’s.  The addition of Denard Span adds a true leadoff, a base stealer, and a very rangy centerfielder that will give the Nationals the option to have Harper play LF.  Their pitching staff with Gio Gonzalez, a full year from Stephen Strasburg and the newcomer Rafeal Soriano as their closer, this team could make history in the fall.  The Atlanta Braves are going to be the first Wild Card team that makes the playoffs.  They have a good team especially when they added the Upton brothers to play in the same outfield but have some weak spots in their lineup, most notably catcher and 3rd base.  Gerald Laird is a very good defensive catcher but he lacks at the plate.  They have Chris Johnson and Juan Francisco as their 3rd base options to fill Chipper Jones shoes.  Hopefully for their sake Brian McCann comes back quickly because Laird is definitely a backup catcher at this point in his career.  The Phillies pitching staff is very good and with Chase Utley and Ryan Howard back in the lineup they will do better this year than last but will ultimately come up short.

In the NL Central I think that the Cincinnati Reds are the clear favorite.  They have very good relief pitching with Chapman, Broxton and Marshall and good starting pitching to with Cueto, Latos, Bailey and Arroyo.  The addition of Shin-Soo Choo alongside Phillips, Votto, and Bruce will give the Reds a very good lineup.  I think the Pittsburgh Pirates are going to get the final WC spot and make it to the playoffs for the first time since 1992.  The St. Louis Cardinals have been the Wild Card the past two seasons but will fail to make it this year with the loss of Lohse and Furcal.  The Mets and Marlins will be terrible this year.

The San Francisco Giants won the World Series in four games last year against the Detroit Tigers. The Los Angeles Dodgers were purchased for 2.125 billion dollars, the highest price tag for a team in the history of sports.  The Giants have an MVP in Buster Posey and Cy Young Award Winners in Barry Zito and Tim Lincecum.  The Dodgers have 7 Silver Slugger Awards and 7 Gold Gloves among Hanley Ramirez, Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Matt Kemp and Andre Eithier; and two Cy Young Awards in their pitching staff.  With all that being said, the Arizona Diamondbacks are going to win the NL West.  As good as Justin Upton was he needed a change of scenery and the DBacks got Martin Prado in return plus good prospects especially in Randall Delgado.  The trade also levels out their outfield and gives Parra, Kubel and Ross more consistent playing time.  They also have two young prospects in Adam Eaton and AJ Pollock that will finally get a chance to prove themselves in a full season.  Their pitching staff is very good with Kennedy, McCarthy, Miley among the others.  JJ Putz, who I have played “catch” with, is a veteran guy who has 77 saves and a sub 3 ERA over the past two seasons as their closer.  Paul Goldschmidt, Miguel Montero and Aaron Hill are not the biggest names in the Major Leagues but they will definitely be the spark plug that gets the Diamondbacks to the postseason.  This was my toughest decision but I think that none of these teams will be the Wild Card because they will be beating up on each even though they have 3 very good teams.

NLWC – Braves vs. Pirates

NLDS – Reds vs. Braves/Pirates

NLDS – Nationals vs. Diamondbacks

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AL Playoff Picture

After the first games of this season and seeing a little bit of how most teams will fill out their lineups I am going to give my predictions for each division.  This took me quite a bit of thought and some rolling of the die, not really but probably would have ended up better.  Here is my prediction of the American League.

In the AL East I have the Baltimore Orioles winning the division.  Yes I have seen the Toronto Blue Jays lineup and it does look disgustingly good but half of these players were also on the Miami Marlins team that looked disgustingly good too.  I just don’t trust this team right now, I could definitely see them putting it together down the road but in my opinion this year is not going to be theirs.  Baltimore’s ability to grind out games and find ways to win is what it takes to reach the playoffs and become successful.  Games are not played on paper.  The loss of John Farrell to the Red Sox will be worst than expected.  For the first time in a long time a Wild Card team will not come from the AL East either.

In the AL Central the Royals and Indians will both make a play for the Division title but the Tigers pitching and experienced lineup will be too much to handle.  The additions of Martinez and Hunter, as I have said many times before in previous posts, will be very crucial.  I think that the White Sox will not do as good this year as they did last year.  They will fizzle out around the All Star break.  The Royals will make a strong push for the division and even stronger for the Wild Card but they will come up short, look for them to make a run next year though.  I do believe that the Indians will end up getting the final spot in the AL playoffs as a Wild Card.  The additions of Francona, Swisher, Reynolds, and Bourn will put this team into a lot of situations that they were not in last year. 

I had the toughest time with the AL West.  The Astros intrigue me a lot but their young lineup needs a lot of development and their pitching staff needs some help,  Bud Norris cannot pitch in every game.  The Mariners lineup is greatly improved and they have one of the best starting pitchers in the league with King Felix.  With their outfield fences moved in this year it will be exciting to see what Montero,  Morse and Morales will be able to do.  I chose the Oakland A’s to win this division once again this year.  I love their lineup with the addition of Jed Lowrie and Chris Young.  Their pitching staff is always producing, which might have something to do with former Central Michigan University pitcher and current Oakland A’s pitching coach Curt Young.  The Wild Card team came down to the Rangers and the Angels, which was a very hard choice for me.  I think that the loss of Torii Hunter will be a lot bigger than expected and the addition of Hamilton will not be as good as expected, especially since he was hitting in the Rangers hitter friendly park for half of his games.  I expect Trout to go through a sophomore slump and Albert is not the same hitter than I think he was in St. Louis, his contract is one of the worst I have seen in a long time.  Their pitching staff does have Jered Weaver who is a stud but I think that CJ Wilson is a little bit overrated, he usually folds in the playoffs and I’m not sure how he will perform in big games.  Texas is the team to make the playoffs with the first Wild Card spot.  Elvis Andrus, Ian Kinsler, Nelson Cruz and Adrian Beltre are going to lead this team to the playoffs once again.  They have been there before and know how to win games.

ALWC – Indians vs. Rangers

ALDS – Tigers vs. Indians/Rangers

ALDS – Orioles vs. Athletics

 

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Detroit Tigers 2013 Opening Day!!!

HAPPY OPENING DAY TIGERS FANS!!!  This season is one that I am very excited for.  The Tigers are clear favorites to win the AL Central and have also been linked to making another return to the World Series.  I am really excited about their lineup and their starting rotation this year.  The additions of Torii Hunter and Victor Martinez back to the lineup as well as the clubhouse is going to be very crucial this season.  They are both veterans that are great clubhouse guys that will be able to take the younger stars under their wings and teach them how to cope with the game mentally and physically.  Getting Omar Infante and Anibal Sanchez for a full year with give the Tigers a great advantage to what they started with last year.  The AL Central has improved a lot but they should still be able to get it done. 

I love what Jim Leyland has done with his roster but there are a couple changes that I would like to be done:

1. The closer position has been the most debated topic so far this spring.  I completely agree with the fact that the Tigers kept Rondon down in the Minors to develop his game, he needs to work on the control of his pitches.  A lot of people just want pitchers to go up there and throw as hard as they can and that will take care of anything else.  This might work for a little while but these hitters would figure him out pretty easily if that were to happen.  I think that they have very capable guys who can get the job done. 

Phil Coke is my favorite player for the job.  He show what he can do last year in the playoffs and has a bull dog mentality that would be huge for the guy with the most mental position in the game.  Closers have to know that they are the best and they can get the job done every night.  He has to be able to rebound from a bad night and not let any failures get him in a slump.  Octavio Dotel can come in and pitch in any scenario, the guy is a complete veteran that knows what to do in almost every situation but I would not feel as comfortable with him in an everyday closer role.  

Benoit did have a subpar year last year for what he has done in the past.  He didn’t give up that many hits but when he did they seemed to be home runs.  Hopefully he will have a rebound year this year and I think he is another guy who could close in certain situations but I wouldn’t feel as comfortable with him in the job as Dotel or Coke.  Villareal and Albuquerque are two young pitchers who have great stuff and could develop into great relief pitchers.  I love  the potential that they have a could see them fill the role in a few years but just not this year especially with the three pitchers that are in front of them.

2.  I wish there was some more speed of the bench but they did not really have many options for it.  Quintin Berry would have been nice to be able to keep on the roster but he was hurt for a while during Spring Training so he needs some time to get into form.  I am really excited to see what Tuiasosopa can do and I love that he can play the corner OF and IF positions.  He adds a lot of versatility to go along with Kelly who plays the same positions but hit from the left side instead of Tuiasosopo’s right-handed bat.  Berry will be up sooner or later this season and so will Danny Worth, especially if a Peralta, Infante or Santiago do get hurt. 

3.  The starting rotation is very good but I would have given Smyly the starting job.  Both Porcello and Smyly are very capable pitchers especially for the 5th starter.  I would have liked a lefty in the rotation to get some different lineups from opposing managers.  I also like what Porcello does in only a couple innings of work, which is what he would be doing in a long relief spot on the team.  Through his first 2 innings of work during his games he has a 3.83 ERA while a 4.27 ERA in his 3rd and 4th innings and then a 5.02 ERA in innings 5 and 6.  He did have an awesome Spring Training but those games don’t really mean much, he has a ton of potential to be great and I could see them displaying him in the 5th spot so that they could get a big trade for him towards the deadline date. 

 

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