Royals fan in Barcelona. Facebook: John Chappell.
Live on Fox at 2 PM Eastern. Barcelona versus Manchester United. The best possible matchup. Do not miss this one. Seems like half of Barcelona has gone to London for the game. The other half is hanging out in the streets wearing all its Barça gear. The key to the match is whether Barcelona can establish its passing game and control the ball. If they can play their game, forcing Man U back in its own half and passing and passing and passing, they will eventually score and win. Man U has to disrupt Barça's game and play for the counterattack. Rooney and Chicharrito have the talent to score off the fast break. The best way to stop Barça is to man-mark Iniesta, I think. Don't let him be the bumper in a pinball game or you are going to lose. Take a drink: Every time Sergio Busquets falls down and covers his face with his hands, thrashing on the ground as if he'd been viciously elbowed. Every time Villa blows an easy shot. Every time Piqué dicks up a pass back to Valdés. Every time Dani Alves gets caught downfield seventy yards behind the ball. Every time Xavi and Iniesta pass the ball back and forth at least five times before actually doing anything. Every time the Barça players surround the ref and start screaming at him in great indignation. Two drinks if they convince him to award somebody a yellow card. You ought to be tanked by halftime.
Jay Buente has been lousy in limited big-league action, but terrific in the minors. He's 27, too old to be a prospect, but he's likely to be a better pitcher than Davies, O'Sully, or Mazzaro. He's made five Triple-A starts this season with a 1.94 ERA. Low-risk, possible medium-reward if he turns out to be an acceptable #5.
Batters currently on the team: Frenchy 2.1, Wilson 1.3, Alex 1.2, Billy 0.8, Aviles 0.7, Treanor 0.6, Getz 0.5, Hos 0.5, Esky 0.4, Peña 0.2, Melky 0.1 (-0.9 defensively), Maier 0.1. Maybe we ought to keep Frenchy if he's still playing like this in July and August. We most definitely need to trade Melky, or at least get his ass out of center field. Pitchers currently on the team: Crow 1.2, Adcock and Chen 0.6, Coleman and Collins 0.5, Francis and Luke 0.4, O'Sully and Wood 0.2, Duffy and Holland 0.1, Soria and Teaford 0.0, Davies -1.0, and special bonus Skirt Chaser Vin Mazzaro with a well-earned -1.0. This leads to the ideas that maybe Crow and Adcock should be starting ahead of O'Sully, that Davies is so done that he's charred crispy, and that I believe in Jack but he hasn't been especially good this year.
I was surfing around the Net with nothing else to do and came across this list of boxing scandals. That led me to this Wikipedia article, which in turn led me to this brutal boxing match that should have been stopped in the twelfth, which led me to this awesome Warren Zevon song, which led me to this other awesome Warren Zevon song.
The MLB.com website has sortable stats. They're fun. Why can't SB Nation add them? Hell, even Fox Sports has them. Somebody please do something about this. Pitchers with most runs allowed in the AL this season: 1. Lackey, BOS, 35, 8.01 ERA 2. Pavano, MIN, 34, 6.64 3. Davies, KC, 33, 7.08 4. Hochevar, KC, 31, 4.91 5. Francis, KC, 29, 5.09 6. Hernández, SEA, 29, 3.36 7. Santana, LAA, 29, 4.81 8. Liriano, MIN, 28, 7.07 9. Reyes, TOR, 28, 5.00 10. Penny, DET, 27, 4.78 I bet you already picked the outlier, King Felix, who leads the league in starts with 9 and in IP with 61, and who has given up six unearned runs. He can be hit, however; he's given up 55 hits and struck out 55 batters. The rest of these guys are, to me, the definition of replacement level starting pitchers, since you would like to replace them if you could. They've been good enough at some point in their careers to be allowed to rack up innings this season, and bad enough right now that they're getting hit hard. And you could get most of them in a trade right now for next to nothing. Liriano has 27 walks, for Chrissakes. Reyes is getting hit harder than his 5.00 ERA would suggest, since he's given up eight unearned runs. The guys between 11 and about 16 on the list are Detroit and White Sox pitchers, who have been getting hit, too. The AL Central is not strong this year.
He died this morning of complications from a brain tumor at age 54. I'm not much of a golf fan, but Ballesteros was Mr. Class. It's the top story on the Spanish news. For many years Seve was the only Spanish athlete known outside Spain, not counting a few soccer players known in Europe. He was a source of pride for the country. Trivia question: Which Spanish sports figure earns the most money? (I mean of Spanish nationality, so Messi wouldn't count because he's Argentinian.) I did not get this one till I saw the answer.
Jeff asked a couple of days ago about the Spanish recipe for sangria. I checked down at the local bar on the plaza, and they told me they use, for 1 1/2 liters, over a pitcher of ice: 1 €4-5 bottle of red wine (not the wine-in-a-box stuff) Sugar Peach juice 1 shot Cointreau Vodka, usually plenty since it's mostly the tourists who order it Citrus slices The bar guy says the authentic old-time sangría recipe was used out in the country to sweeten up bad, hometown, cheap wine. They'd take a couple of liters, cut up a bunch of fruit (oranges, apples, pears, peaches, whatever), and let it sit for a few days until the wine had absorbed the flavor of the fruit and was more drinkable. My wimpy wine-cooler sangría formula is 1/3 cheap rosé wine, 1/3 orange juice, and 1/3 Fanta lemon or Sprite. Even your grandma will drink this stuff.
Or so says this MLB.com story, using a Fangraphs stat called ARM, both over 2010-11 and since 2007. His score is 33.8 since 2007, with Shane Victorino second at 20.5. It's not even close. In 2010-11 Frenchy scored 9.9, José Bautista 7.1, Angel Pagan 6.7, Josh Hamilton 6.5, and Shin-Soo Choo 5.7. Makes me think Frenchy would not be an embarrassment in center field.
I noticed that Alcides is exactly my size: 6-1, 185. Getz is an inch shorter than me. Crow is five pounds heavier and two inches taller. Melky's an inch shorter and fifteen pounds heavier. Dyson apparently has not reached puberty yet.
With the Röyals' hot start, there seems to be a change in attitude toward bringing up our top prospects from the Storm Troopers or whatever. I must confess I'm among them. The Röyals have been so terrible for so long that we want some instant gratification, and the hell with 2018. I'm starting to feel like, OK, let's do it, as soon as the prospects have had some good results at Triple-A and have proven they're ready, screw service time and let's win some MLB games. In August we could have a starting rotation of Montgomery, Duffy, Crow, Hochevar, and Francis/Chen/O'Sully/Mazzaro, with Moose filling the hole at third, allowing Aviles and Getz to platoon at second, and Hosmer replacing Frenchy in right field, with Betemit at DH and Billy at first. We could then trade Francis and/or Chen for something. Sell high on Frenchy--ideally, a catcher who can hit .250/.310/.380. Trade Melky for a lefty reliever who can go a whole inning. And if Cain is playing OK, bring him up to replace Melky. That team could win 75 games, and more if everything broke right, and woud give the prospects valuable MLB experience for next year. And it would be a lot of fun.
Jeez. This has never happened before. Selig has seized administrative control over the team. What a mess. And the Mets are next.
With one-tenth of the season played, here are your Royals batters' 2011 WAR according to Baseball Reference. Frenchy 1.0 +0.6o, +0.4d Billy 0.8 +0.9o, -0.1 d Wilson 0.6 +0.7o, -0.1d Alex 0.6 +0.6o, 0.0d Getz 0.4 +0.1o, +0.3d Aviles 0.3 +0.2o, +0.1d Treanor 0.2 +0.2o, 0.0d Escobar 0.0 -0.2o, +0.2d Melky -0.2 +0.2o, -0.4d Kila -0.3 -0.2o, -0.1d Didn't know Frenchy and Getz were such good defensive players. Didn't know Melky was such a bad defensive player. Treanor's D is average at catcher. If Alcides and Getz can OBP .300 they'll be 2 WAR players right there. Anything better than that is salsa. Kila deserves his shot, and the Röyals can afford to give him till June to show something, but if his WAR is still negative on June 30, send him down. Hitting lower in the order should help. Let's hope that whoever we try to trade Melky to likes batting average and RBIs and has never heard of WAR. Sell high on Frenchy.
First declaration of principles: I'm a Röyals fan, first, last, and always. But I don't support any particular team in the National League. Would it be ethical for me to adopt the Rockies as my...
I know this is a baseball site, but I'm the foreign correspondent, and here is a chance to see the two best teams in the world, Barcelona and Real Madrid, play four games in threeweeks. This is Yankees-Red Sox level. From Central European Time (Spain, CET), I think the difference between US Central time is minus 7 hours. All these games ought to be on some kind of sports TV, since they have so much time to fill. League: Tomorrow night, April 16, 10 PM CET. To decide the Spanish League. Barcelona comes in with an eight-point lead. They win or draw, it's over. Madrid wins and they're still in it. Cup: April 20, 9:30 PM CET. The final of the Spanish Cup. Champions League Semifinals: April 27 at 8:45 CET and May 3 at 8:45.
No fair looking it up.
I always wanted to say that. "Pulled a boner." Heh heh heh. Varitek pulled a boner, just like Fred Merkle and Fred Snodgrass. Of course, Snodgrass's boner was actually a "muff," which is just about...
Other notes: Zack threw 30 pitches in the bullpen last night, so he ought to be back pretty soon. The White Sox cut Lastings Milledge, whom we do not want to pick up. Dutton said that Dayton said that Voldemort will be back sometime during the first half of the season. Please, no. Yo creo en Jack. (Better Spanish would be "Yo confío en Jack.")
Barça plays Shakhtar Donetsk in the first leg of the Champions League quarterfinals at 9 PM tonight, which I assume is 2 PM Central time. It's on free TV here, so it ought to be on one of your many sports channels. Barça will be playing with all its top stars, except Puyol, who is still injured but will be back in a couple of weeks. Messi will play even though he's still not at 100%. Donetsk is a good team. They have a tough defense and a whole bunch of 2-3 WAR-equivalent Brazilians. Barça would really like to put the quarterfinal in the bag the way Real Madrid did against Spurs. 4-0, Crouch red-carded. I saw the game. Madrid is good. Schalke whomped Inter, 2-5,.putting that one in the bag, too. Raúl ain't done yet. Manchester United plays against Chelsea in the other quarterfinal. That'll be well worth watching, too. We will now return to our normal Royals programming.
I like the one of Fidel Castro pitching for a team called the Barbudos in 1959.
Al Lawson was quite a character, a combination of Luis Mendoza, Howard Hughes, and L. Ron Hubbard. He had only one season in the majors, 1890 (0-3, 6.63 ERA), but played several years in the minors. Then he became an aviation entrepreneur, but his big project crashed on its first flight. By the '20s he'd developed his own (useless) theories of physics, and was going around saying he'd discovered the secret to living to 200. (He hadn't.) From there he went to starting his own philosophy, Lawsonomy, which turned into a religion. He also had his own personal crackpot scheme to solve the Depression. Finally, of course, he opened the University of Lawsonology in Des Moines. The IRS shut him down, and he was investigated by a Senate committee before he died in 1954. I'd never heard of this guy before, but there's a book about him and his brother, who was mixed up in some of his schemes. I came across him while surveying the history of patent medicines in Wikipedia.
Now they're offering a minority stake in the team for $200 million. This can't be good. Each league needs a strong franchise in New York. I don't exactly know why the Wilpons are in trouble over the Madoff affair. Did they profit illegally? How? Whatever it is, they're in up to their necks. The Mets will be shedding salary and there might be some bargains in there. Just as a hypothetical, which and how many of our prospects would you trade for Wright or Reyes?
This sentence appeared in an article on Hardball Talk about the White Sox: "...journeyman Philip Humber is penciled in as the No. 5 starter." "Journeyman" doesn't mean "a guy who gets traded a lot." It means "a guy who puts in his day's work," unspectacular but competent and professional. Like, say, Grudz. Or Randa. It comes from the medieval guilds; a journeyman was an artisan who had qualified as a professional (had completed his apprenticeship) but was not a master yet. The word comes from the French "jour," day, because journeymen had the right to be paid daily, rather than weekly or monthly or whatever. Phil Humber hasn't earned the title "journeyman" yet.
He's apparently having a good spring and they want a decent price for him. Slowey is a good pitcher. We've all seen him several times since he's been with the Twins for four years. Last year for Minnesota he had 28 starts and 155.2 IP, with a 4.45 ERA, 3.98 FIP, 1.29 WHIP, and a 116-29 SO-BB ratio, for 2.2 Fangraphs WAR and 1.5 BR WAR. He's under team control through 2013. I would find out what they want and make the deal if it isn't outrageous. This might be a good time to cash in, say, our #12 prospect, Getz, and O'Sully for someone who will help the team now at a low cost. Maybe they'd want KIla. Slowey would be worth a couple of wins and make us suck less. I hate sucking. Let's at least get one good pitcher for cheap. Besides, we'd have him for the 2012 and 2013 seasons, when we're hoping to begin the wave of A prospects. And if he pitches well, he might want to sign an extension.
I'm still rooting for him. Maybe he really will make it back in four weeks. Meanwhile, Beltrán, whom I no longer have any particular rooting iinterest in, went 0-for-5 in a minor-league game. And Freddy García made the Yankees' rotation. We shoulda signed him.
Jeez. Bummer. That sucks. I was never really good, but I ran track and cross-country at Shawnee Mission South. My senior year I'd grown and gotten a lot better, running 4:45 miles consistently, enough to make varsity for track season. (I was running 10Ks in 37 minutes). Then after two weeks I came down with mono. Goodbye, track season. Flat on my back for a week and a half. Out of school for a month. I do not recommend mono to anybody. And I would dump Arroyo if you have him on your fantasy team, because there's no telling when he's going to come back or what shape he's going to be in when he does. So the Cards and the Reds are down a starter, too. A break for Zack and the Brewers?
and a couple of questions jumped to mind. 1) Is there any significant difference in AVG/OBP/SLG when there's a good base stealer on first, due to the pitcher being distracted and throwing over, etc.? If there is, you'd want a high-OPS guy hitting right after him in order to take advantage. 2) Seems quite obvious to me that you want your best hitters in the top four slots since they get the most PAs over the season. You want Billy Butler at bat as often as possible, and Chris Getz as little as possible. With the last five spots I'd play lefty-righty (or vice versa) in order to make the other team burn its lefty pitchers and gain the platoon advantage. If you have a really terrible hitter, forget about his handedness and hit him ninth. Does that make sense?
Nyger Morgan is a terrible player (650 OPS last season) and is GCAA. He is a young African-American. He's lost his job to Rick Ankiel, who is an old terrible white player, as we all know, but who is considered a solid citizen. Question: Anyone see race as a factor here, as was insinuated by a few people when Luis Castillo got cut?
"It is possible that come October, the Royals could have four current prospects in the lineup, three in the rotation, and three in the bullpen with another two to four getting September call-ups." No way.
Darren Daulton will join him soon. Lenny Dykstra would, but he's likely to be in jail. Although I suppose that aliens could abduct Lenny through the prison walls. That Philadelphia team had a lot of flakes.
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