Posted on: May 29, 2008 10:25 am
Edited on: May 29, 2008 2:47 pm

Thursday's Must-See Bloggy

While sipping on your morning protein shake, here are the top 10 things you need to know about for Your Morning Constitutional:
  1. Dice-K's next start in jeopardy: Daisuke Matsuzaka left for Boston Wednesday to get an MRI on his fatigued pitching shoulder. Manager Terry Francona has not ruled him out for Monday's start at Baltimore. There's a day off in there, so the Red Sox could juggle the rotation a bit, according to The Boston Globe. Tim Wakefield could start Monday, and Justin Masterson had his debut at Triple-A Pawtucket moved up from Saturday to Thursday, which would put him in line to start Tuesday against the Rays.
  2. Pedro could return next week: Pedro Martinez threw six solid innings in a Class A rehab start for Port St. Lucie on Wednesday. The hamstring injury is behind him and he's just building up strength at this point. He gave up two runs on four hits (82 pitches), with six strikeouts and no walks.
  3. Pedro who!?!?!? David Price outpitches Mets' superstar: The Rays' No. 1 overall pick from 2007 threw six scoreless innings for Class A Vero Beach against Pedro Martinez's Port St. Lucie team. Price has now thrown 11 consecutive shutout innings to start his pro career. He allowed two hits and one walk -- and nine strikeouts. "I want (Pedro) to go home and one day tell his grandchildren about me," Price said. You have to like that!
  4. Celtics win again at home, Rip questionable for Game 6: The Celtics went up 3-2 in the Eastern Conference Finals after Ray Allen dropped 29 on the Pistons. And now Richard Hamilton has an elbow injury that puts his start back in Detroit in question. Kevin McHale is still counting the bolts in Boston.
  5. Crosby scores first two goals of Cup career, Penguins win: The Pens do their best to make this Stanley Cup Finals interesting, and they finally score a goal against G Chris Osgood (6-1 in Finals history). Sidney Crosby scores his first goals to get his Stanley Cup career going. Pittsburgh is 9-0 at home, but the Red Wings are now 14-2 in their past 16 Finals games.
  6. Johan Franzen scores 13th goal of postseason: The Wings center leads all scorers in the playoffs. My question is, where does the 28-year-old Swede get drafted in Fantasy play next season? He'll be entering his fourth season in the NHL, coming off a career year (27 G, 11 A, 14 PPG). Going into this past season, he was the 44th center drafted on average and he ended the season owned on only 44 percent of Fantasy Hockey leagues. From March 2 to the end of the regular season, he has 20 points (15 G, 5 A, 7 PPG). Only Alex Ovechkin scored more goals than him in that span, and only six players had more points. Franzen could be a sleeper pick that could drop to the third round of a 12-team draft.
  7. Royals suck and blow: The former is for their 10th consecutive loss Wednesday, and the latter is for blowing a five-run lead with two outs in the ninth inning. Then they make sure they keep Joel Peralta in -- after he gave up the tying homer to Craig Monroe in the ninth -- so he can give up the go-ahead homer to Morneau on the first pitch of the 10th.
  8. Fernando Tatis hits game-winning double for Mets: Tatis hit a two-run double in the bottom of the 12th to beat the Marlins. He has been out of baseball for two seasons and he's already stealing headlines from the high-paid disappointments in the field. If you recall, Tatis hit 34 homers for the Cardinals in '99 before taking a step back in '00. Then the Cardinals traded him in the spring of 2001 to Montreal to make room at third base for a prospect named Albert Pujols.
  9. Michael Cuddyer interview this afternoon: Things I plan on asking the Twins RF for today's podcast: 1. After a breakout '06, along with MVP Morneau and batting champ Mauer, he fell off in '07. What's tougher: establishing himself or maintaining? 2. He went to the same high school as the Upton brothers, who he's still friends with -- which one will have the better career? 3. He was drafted in a great OF class of '97 (Berkman, J.D. Drew, V. Wells), but he was drafted as a shortstop. When can we get five games played there for Fantasy eligibility?
  10. Cody Ross wins Fantasy POD for Wednesday: Thought about giving it to Jose Reyes for his 2-for-5, HR, SB evening, but Ross likely helped his owners more, with two homers and four RBI against Reyes' Mets. Ross has a fireplug body, with a scary Xavier from X-Men head. He now has nine homers -- just four away from the career high 13 he hit two seasons ago, but the .202 batting average (and just 18 RBI) in part-time work hurts his value. Although, he's only owned in three percent of leagues -- which I'm going to guess is the lowest number of any player with nine home runs in the majors.

The interview with Cuddyer went very well -- super knowledgeable guy that understands why Fantasy owners would listen to an interview with him. But from now on, in the office, he's known as Michael Cuddeeay.
Posted on: April 15, 2008 1:59 pm

Ben Sheets Interview

We just got done doing an interview with Ben Sheets for our podcast -- here's the link. And here are a couple thoughts:
  • Obviously, we wanted to hear what, if anything, he has done differently this spring or entering this season to try and prevent any injuries. Unfortunately, his answer didn't make me feel great about his chances to stay injury free for the rest of this season.
  • When Emack asked him about the Brewers' rotation, he mentioned that he loves to watch Yovani Galllardo pitch, but then he also dropped some praise on Carlos Villanueva -- not Manny Parra. Interesting.
  • His thoughts on Prince Fielder's vegetarian diet: He don't eat meat and he's pretty sure he'll hit a homer at some point this season ... And I agree on both accounts!
And here's our link to our normally scheduled drivel in the form of an audio podcast.
Posted on: April 8, 2008 10:15 am
Edited on: April 8, 2008 6:12 pm

Mets Get Rick Roll'd

I explained last week that Ross Devonport has turned me on to what getting Rick Roll'd means (someone sending you a link that you think is to something else, but instead sends you to a video of Rick Astley singing, "Never Gonna Give You Up").

According to the /page/NYM">Mets/2008/04/08/2008-04-08_team_brass_s
ees_astley_as_ghastly.html">N.Y. Daily News, the Mets got Rick Roll'd.

The team asked for fans to vote on a new eighth inning sing-along song to be played at Shea Stadium, likely carrying them into new CitiField next season. Some of the songs among the options: "Livin' on a Prayer," "I'm a Believer," "Movin' Out," "Sweet Caroline" and "Build Me Up Buttercup." Fans from the website Fark.com inundated the Mets with write-in candidate, "Never Gonna Give You Up." And of course, it won. So the team is scrambling now to come up with a reason why that won't be the song, despite it being the fans' choice.

Anyway, we started thinking of some songs on our own that might be good for the Mets in the eighth:
  • "Loser" -- Beck
  • "Top Jimmy" -- Van Halen (for Jimmy Rollins' prediction last season)
  • "Cocaine" -- Eric Clapton (in honor of the Mets from the 80s)
  • "Achy Breaky Heart" -- Billy Ray Cyrus
  • "Chokin' in the Boys Room" -- Motley Crue (this is Ross' contribution and twist on a classic)
  • "Another One Bites the Dust" -- Queen
But nothing beats this one.

Here's our podcast from this afternoon -- Scott Eugene White Junior makes his podcastorial debut.
Category: MLB
Posted on: March 27, 2008 8:36 pm
Edited on: March 27, 2008 10:02 pm

Fun with Fantasy

I Heart the 80s
Tonight, I'm joining a group of friends, some SportsLiners, some former SportsLiners, in a 10-team 10x10 Rotisserie league. It's basically one to just joke around back and forth with each other on, but our theme is "80s." For the first quarter of the season, all of our teams have to be associated with 80s TV shows (then video games in the second quarter, music in the third quarter and movies in the fourth). I'm "Gonos in Charge" this week. Some other great names: B.A. Baracus, Dan Fielding, King Kamehameha, Mayday Malone, Miami Vice, Que Pasa USA, Small Wonder and Wha'Choo Talkin' Bout, Willis?

We made this a 10x10 league because we wanted to do something different and see what came out of it. The regular 5x5 categories are all weighted at two points for each spot in the standings, and the new 5x5 categories we're adding are worth just one point:
Additional Hitting Categories
  • OPS (On-base plus slugging percentage)
  • Strikeouts (fewer the better)
  • Doubles
  • Triples
  • Walks
Additional Pitching Categories
  • Home Runs Allowed
  • Batting Average Against
  • Holds
  • Innings
  • Quality Starts
I'll try to keep you abreast as to which players are really making the difference in this league. Right off the bat, I'm thinking Carlos N. Lee is going to be a monster in nearly every category but steals and triples.

The More Things Change, The More They Stay the Same
So the Rays sent Evan Longoria down. Everyone points to them being ultra-cheap and the fact that it's so they can save him from being a free agent by 2014. I'm not arguing against that, since it does make more sense than him not being major-league ready, but let's look at a few different points that don't make sense. Why would they not, at the start of the season, say they were going to start Longoria in the minors no matter what, if this was indeed a financial decision? Why give him a chance to explode in spring, only to make them look cheap? They have already stated that they plan on signing him to a longterm deal before he's even arbitration, much like they did with Rocco Baldelli and Carl Crawford, so the 2011-14 thing doesn't make sense there either.

Let's not forget that Longoria was starting to drop off at the plate, going from well over .300 to just .262 within 10 days. And look back at the start of last season -- both Emack and I were very high on Alex Gordon and Kevin Kouzmanoff. Yet, once the season started, both struggled mightily. They both came out of their funks at different times, but with the success of Ryan J. Braun (and at a different position, Hunter Pence), the Rays figure one month (or even six weeks) in the minors can do nothing but help him in the long haul.

Now, here's my argument against my argument. Longoria has become a favorite in the clubhouse, and many of the veterans had mentioned they wanted him to stay with the club. And this team doesn't exactly have a fan base that they can afford to get back after a 9-win April. They need to start strong right out of the gate -- in order to get good gate receipts. Longoria was sure to be a fan favorite, much like Carl Crawford and B.J. Upton are. Carlos Pena would have loved to have him somewhere near him in the lineup, just to keep pitchers honest.

Anyway you cut it -- Fantasy owners are ticked. Whether it was for financial reasons or not, Longoria's demotion hurts a lot of us. I'm still betting he puts in five months of at-bats though, and those that were able to stick him on their reserves will be happy they did so.

What you'll hear on today's podcast: Emack and I discuss a few things that have changed since the beginning of spring, we go over what our predictions are for awards this year, and we make fun of Jamey I think too.

Category: MLB
Posted on: March 25, 2008 2:22 pm
Edited on: March 25, 2008 5:26 pm

... Sorta Opening Day?

First game of the 2008 season for our national pastime -- in a different nation once again
Dice-K was shaky early on (30 pitches in first, 30 pitches in second), but he settled down in the next few innings and actually impressed us by bouncing back for a solid start. If this happened next Monday, you wouldn't be as worried as you might be today, since it's the only game on the docket and has a ton of fanfare.

You have to like Manny's two-base triple though off the wall in right-center ... Manny being Manny ... Gonos being Gonos I guess is me taking a book into the can to knock out a chapter.

How much will Brandon Moss' ownership go up in the next day or so? He's owned in one percent of leagues (keeper probably) right now, starting in less than one percent. J.D. Drew's back injury could affect him for Wednesday's game also, but we don't expect it to be anything that makes Moss more than an AL-only flier.

They played "Sweet Caroline" in Japan. Do you think Oakland, the "home" team, appreciated that? Do you think anyone cared? Me neither.

Joe Blanton actually looked pretty good to start the game, by the way, which only people that got up early would be able to appreciate.

Trivia Question!
Throughout the afternoon, random trivia questions get asked among our group -- here's a good one: The Heat and the Dolphins have an excellent chance, depending on the NBA lottery balls, of having the No. 1 picks in the same year. Can you name the last time that happened with two teams in the same city in the four major sports? (It's not too hard, but I AM interested in knowing who did it before that if you want to do some research.)

Some things you might hear in today's podcast: Emack talking about his mailbag, Tout Wars thoughts and the Longoria Chronicles. Some things you won't hear: Emack slurping his coffee (we had to restart because he's a slob), Jamey say anything about football or GO Yankees!
Here's a quick link to our features page for Commissioner leagues that I have not seen before.

For WEDNESDAY's BOS/OAK game -- Try this
Last night, I set up my Tivo/DVR to record the game at 6am, then I got up at 7am and started watching. I skipped the commercials and basically got caught up in time at 8:30am to shoot into work. That extra hour of sleep can make or break you!!!

Reds' rotation
The Dayton Daily News notes the differences between Edinson Volquez and Homer Bailey this spring:
  • ERA: Volquez 2.70, Bailey 5.21
  • Strikeouts: Volquez 26, Bailey 11
  • Walks: Volquez 4, Bailey 16.
  • Hits: Volquez 21, Bailey 24.
Look at that strikeout-to-walk ratio of Volquez, that's what caught my eye all spring. Granted, a starting pitcher that calls Great American Ball Park home is a dangerous proposition, but considering that the Reds had to give up Josh Hamilton to get him, both teams believe highly in his talents. He's owned in 44 percent of CBSSports.com leagues.

After the Frandsen Fallout
I know many of you are scrambling all over the place trying to figure out what to do now that Kevin Frandsen is out for the season with a ruptured Achillies' tendon (owwwwwww). Eugenio Velez already made the Giants' team with a great spring, but now he could take over Frandsen's spot as the utility infielder and sometimes starter at second base. Got cheap steals? Pick up Velez, who led the majors this spring with 13. The Giants are definitely going to have to manufacture runs going station-to-station considering they don't have much power, and Velez can turn back-to-back singles into a run scored.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com