Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Wednesday A.M. Quickie:
ALCS, NLCS and More

Tigers bury Zito, A's in ALCS Game 1: Given that the Tigers just won using their 4th starter, pummeled the A's No. 1 starter and yanked away home-field advantage with a series-opening win in Oakland, perhaps my "Tigers in 7" was a bit too conservative.

Inge's HR showed fans everywhere how the Tigers' lineup has packed power up and down all season long; Ivan Rodriguez's HR contributed to the argument that he just might be the most worthy AL MVP.

(Now, before you jump on me about how playoff stats aren't counted in MVP voting, I'm simply citing it as symbolism. But it's hard to argue against Pudge arriving as a free agent to a team coming off arguably the worst season in AL history, then just a few seasons later, powering them into the playoffs, past the Yankees and to a 1-0 ALCS lead.)

Meanwhile, Barry Zito got shelled. If I was so quick yesterday to say that a quality start in the ALCS would add millions to his pending free-agency value, then should it work the other way, too?

After all: What good will it be for the Yankees to over-spend on him if he gets racked by the Tigers' lineup as much as the rest of the Yankees' overpriced pitchers?

NLCS Preview: Glavine vs. Weaver in Game 1 in New York, where the Mets are the only game left in town. (And that's for the better.)

The Top 5 X-factors:
1. Mets' relief pitching
2. Beltran vs. Cards, 2004
3. Jim Edmonds
4. Power: Pujols or Mets?
5. LaRussa's scheming

The Pick: No reservations about this series similar to my quandary about the A's and Tigers from yesterday. I said it over the weekend: Mets in 5.

A-Rod going nowhere? Brian Cashman said the Yankees have no intention of trading A-Rod, but they'll listen to offers. But SHOULD they trade him?

It will be almost impossible to get back "equal value," unless you consider getting rid of his playoff chokery as "value." I still like the deal shipping him to the Cubs for Aramis Ramirez.

The hot free-agent of the MLB hot-stove season? Japanese pitcher Daisuki Matsuzaka – who may or may not be able to throw the mythical "gyroball," but is certainly the best pitcher in Japan (if not the world, given his status as reigning WBC MVP) – will be available to MLB teams.

(The intrigue? It'll be sealed bids for the right to negotiate with him; that means that his price will likely be astronomical, as teams try to guess how much they'll need to bid -- really, how much they'll need to bid to beat out the Yankees -- to win the lottery. If Randy Johnson at the end of his career is worth upper-teen millions, is it so crazy for the Boss to offer Matsuzaka $10-15 million a year?)

What the hell is wrong with Jeremy Shockey's foot? (I can't possibly be the only one to claim it's the effects of foot-in-mouth disease.)

Why would the Jaguars – arguably the AFC's top defensive team – pick up CB Ahmad Carroll, a guy whose Monday Nightmare Football experience is still tattooed on his ass?

Karma's a bitch: Just as the "PED punter" Todd Sauerbrun was supposed to come off his four-game suspension, the Broncos cut him. And who would want a punter touched by the taint of steroids?

Well, I guess one way to prove that Mario Manningham is the most valuable player in college football is to have Michigan poop the bed against Penn State without him.

(Interesting TV note: Fox owns the rights to the BCS title-game now, and they'll announce the first BCS standings during the NFL postgame show on Sunday night following the 4 p.m. game's finish.)

Adam Morrison made a very successful NBA debut last night in the Bobcats' exhibition opener, and he was everything that his supporters said he would be: He scored 19 points (game high) on 7/14 FG shooting. Of course, the Bobcats lost, but that's not The Weeper's fault.

Who needs Ben Wallace when the Pistons can get 16 points and 8 rebounds in a team-high 31 minutes from free-agent stop-gag Nazr Mohammed in a 20-point win over the Heat? This will be VERY interesting.

More NBA rookie-watching:

(1) Celtics' Rajon Rondo had 11 points and 8 assists (7 more than C's starting PG Telfair)...

(2) Sixers' Rodney Carney had 14, compete with game-winning 3...

(3) Grizzlies' Rudy Gay had 14 (on 5/18 FG. Yikes...)

Happy 17th Birthday, Michelle Wie: I will repeat the argument I've made for four years: She is the greatest 17-year-old golfer in the history of the game.

If Wie right now took on a 17-year-old Tiger (or, for that matter, a 17-year-old Nicklaus), she would wipe the floor with him – or any other 17-year-old golfer (male or female).

Hell, I'd say that Wie's biggest competition among 17-year-olds would be another female -- the gutsy Morgan Pressel, who would also have been able to beat a 17-year-old Tiger.

I haven't talked about this NASCAR drama, but I should have. To summarize: Brian Vickers wrecked his teammate Jimmie Johnson (and Dale Jr.) on the final lap on Sunday, taking the race win for himself (even though he's out of the Chase) and wrecking both Johnson and Dale Jr's chances (both are still in the Chase).

To make things more interesting, Vickers is bolting Johnson's Hendricks team for NASCAR newbie Toyota, which has caused all sorts of off-track drama. Frankly, it's one of the most intriguing NASCAR dramas ever – and one of the only ones where non-NASCAR fans can follow what's going on and have an opinion.

All I can say is: Vickers might as well wreck himself early next race, because he's getting some "NASCAR justice," whether he wants it or not. (Meanwhile, Vickers will have the last laugh: I'm predicting that Toyota will be totally dominating NASCAR within 3 years.)

Lawrence Phillips was convicted, and the guy who puts the "R-B" in "troubled" faces up to 20 years in prison, which would easily eclipse Maurice Clarett's "mere" 3-year stretch.

Oh, and WashPost uber-blogger Dan Steinberg had a reply to my post about his post in our new blog feud. Here's the link, and you can find my reply in his Comments section. (Someone tell me why didn't I make that a post on my own blog again? D'oh.)

Genius Sports-Marketing Gimmick of the Week: The White Sox inked a $500K deal with 7-Eleven to start their games at 7:11 p.m.

-- D.S.


Big D said...

On the Tigers' powerful lineup... what the hell happened to Chris Shelton? Did he come down with "Brian Roberts Disease"?

I actually missed the game (stupid, stupid me), so I appreciate the recap.

As far as Manningham goes, I'm a big Big Blue supporter, so I'm dreading this week (and beyond, if his speed is reduced for the OSU showdown). Honestly, at the beginning of this season, who thought OSU might be involved in THREE "Number 1 vs. Number 2" games this year? Texas... maybe Michigan, and then a title game. Sick.

Mega said...

big d-
From what I've read, pitchers "figured out" Shelton, and then Shelton wasn't able to adjust, knocking him back to the minor leagues. A Tigers fan could probably give us better info though.

And about the 7:11 thing for the Sox? Love it.

Dan Shanoff said...

I wonder if NORML would pay $500K to a revenue-poor team like the Marlins for a 4:20 start time?

Unknown said...

So wait - does Shanoff think Pudge is the AL MVP? Or Jeter? Or Big Hurt? I'm so confused.

Also is it fair to say that we can stop calling him Pudge. The steroid witch hunt started picking up steam and he mysteriously lost about 25 pounds easily. He looks more like a Slim, or a Skinny now then a Pudge.

elvino_ray said...

What is the deal with your crush on Michelle Wie anyway? Shouldn't she maybe win something before you annoint her the greatest ever? I may be wrong, but hasn't Morgan Pressel actually won?

CMFost said...

Dan, you are totally wrong about Michelle Wie. By 17 Tiger I believe had won 5 Junior events. Michelle on the other hand has won absolutely nothing. She is probably the most overrated sports star. She is not as good as everyone makes her out to be. Check out her stats, she is no where near long enough to compete with the men and she is a chocker on par of A-rod when it comes to pressure situation. For you to keep bringing her up as if she is the best ever is totally wrong and it will be proven in time that she will be nothing more then a flash in the pan.


Unknown said...

One more comment about The Artist Formerly Known as Pudge being the MVP Dan. He hit .300 with 13 HRs and 69 RBIs this season for a team with at least 3 players that hit 25 HRs.

I'm almost stunned that you even made that comment since there is no chance that he is even the most valuable player on his team so how that makes him the MVP of the league. Although I am beginning to realize that every time you see someone do something good in the playoffs you talk about their MVP qualities (Jeter went 5-for-5 and you were all over him, Big Hurt hit 2 HRs and you were all over him).

Anyways I hope we can never ever speak of "Pudge" as MVP ever ever again.

Mega said...

In slight defense of Shanoff, a catcher can't be held to just his batting statistics when considering him for MVP. A catch is also hugely responsible for a pitcher's performance on the mound.

Also, the 7/11 500k deal is actually a $1.5 million deal over the course of 3 years.

The only sad part is that 7/11 took over alot of White Hen stores in Chicago. Now the deli sandwiches suck =(

Jake C said...

Zito just dropped a few mil last night and fell behind Matsuzaka for the big signing next year.

I agree with the NASCAR drama. It acutally had me intrigued last week. Don't forget, Gordon is Johnson's teammate as well, who also wrecked and fell (close to) out of the race for the cup.

Wie may have a case for the best 17 year old golfer ever...however, this is no way, or even will, give her the right to continue stinking in men's competitions when she can't even win in women's!!!

Dr. Zoom said...

Why in the world would the Cubs want to trade Aramis Ramirez for an older, pricier A-Rod?

Unknown said...

@ dan mega

It's true that you can't just go on the batting statistics with a catcher but c'mon Jason Varitek hit 12 HRs with 55 RBI and he barely played after the all-star break. Those numbers for "Pudge" are so low that it almost offsets anything he could do behind the plate.

Plus I'd need a Tigers fan who has seen more games then I have but I seem to remember "Pudge" not playing exclusively behind the plate, also playing some 1st base and DHing.

Brian in Oxford said...

Let's not get too anti-Wie, aside from the overrating of her. She has finished top-5 in at least 3 (was it all 4?) of the women's majors. So she's at least *close* to winning on the LPGA, at least.

Did they airbrush her in that ESPN mag ad? She looked a lot *less* like Chien-Ming Wang than I remembered.

Hey, as long as Ivan's called Pudge, it at least eliminates the annoying "I-Rod" moniker I've heard assigned to him. Although Fisk was Pudgier, anyway. [Geez, my brother used to ask for Copenhagen on his list to Santa, because you could see chewing tobacco ads on TV in the 70s.]

How about "Alex Rodriguez: $30 million or B.O." ?

Buster Olney made a good point today about seeing Looper come in late for St. Louis at Shea. That'll be merciless....

NASCAR needs more demolition derby-like action. Or how about this? a 400-mile race in a straight line. Like a million yokels wouldn't line a straight path from Charlotte to Daytona. If you're in Florida, you watch the start of the race on TV, and wait for them to come racing by (like the Boston Marathon). Imagine the strategy.....where to set up your pit you bring extra gas in a red can in the trunk? That at least eliminates the driving in circles, too.

Here's a side note....I listened to the highlight of Jon Miller's call of Inge's homer on ESPNRadio this morning. He sounded disappointed. I think he's overrated, anyway. What's his appeal, really?

Kurt said...

Why is this Dan Steinberg guy wasting his time on you? Doesn't he realize you don't actually believe the things you say? Or do you guys have some sort of a Jewish (Steinberg-Shanoff) marketing agreement to promote both of your blogs through e-beef?

ToddTheJackass said...

"Poop the bed"... really Dan?

Anyway, as far as I know, the posting fee (the fee that a MLB team will have to pay to get the exclusive rights to negotiate with Matsuzaka), could run anywhere in the realm of $15-$25 million. That's not even including his annual salary. Given that Boras is his agent, I think the salary will be at least $15 million/year. Which including the posting fee would run him at $20 million/year for a five-year contract...

The only knock on him that I know is that he's thrown a lot of innings in a short time. He's [I think] 26, and has been pitching in the Japanese Leagues since age 18. So he's already got a lot of mileage on him.

But let's not suggest that the small sample size of the WBC gives him claim to being the best pitcher in the world. Plus most of the Major Leaguers weren't in good form, as MLB Spring Training begins in March, whereas I believe in Japan it begins in February. A month's head start can make all the difference in the world.

Trayton Otto said...

Point of Order: Fox has no 4pm NFL games this Sunday since they're have both LCS games at "4pm" and "7:30pm" (which really means 30 minutes later). So will the first BCS standings be between games or before baseball?

Dan Shanoff said...

Great point. I have no idea how that will work.

Anonymous said...

@dan mega

ever heard of joe mauer? he put up pretty good offensive numbers as a catcher.

as for "poop the bed" and other It took two months after leaving page 2 and you are down to bathroom humor and covering nascar and women's golf. Oh right, and having a fight on the internets with another blogger.

if the tigers sweep does this take blame off of the yankees? since as we were informed last night about 20 times "the A's were the best team in baseball since July".

I LOVE stats like that. Lou Pinella is the worst color commentator ever.

If the yanks could hurry up and get Pavano's 8mil back that would be a nice addition to any offer they were considering re: Matsu.

Big D said...

How about the fifth paragraph in this item from ESPN:

How exactly do you get a "buttocks" injury playing baseball?

Even better, how about the stern words from Cashman about Pavano...

Brian in Oxford said...

Anna K. won doubles at the French Open. Certainly not Sharapovan (is that the adjective form?), but not exactly Wiesy.

Anonymous said...

Dan, you should split your posts up, to make your posts and the comments easier to follow.

Blockage said...

Pudge...why not Ramon Hernandez for MVP everyone...

Pudge - .300Avg/13HR/69RBI/.332OBP/.437SLG

Hernandez - .275Avg/23HR/91RBI/.343OBP/.479SLG

I actually laughed out loud when I read that "Pudge for MVP" claim.

ToddTheJackass said...

For more info on the Gyroball, I suggest reading these links:




From what I understand, it's still unclear whether or not Matsuzaka will actually throw it, or has on a consistent basis.

-Todd (Boston)

john (east lansing, mi) said...

First, since it's pretty much my calling card, I have to address your treatment of my Wolverines -

You just hate Michigan at this point, don't you? That's fine, our fans are admittedly really annoying sometimes. But that's about what it boils down to, right?

Also, my good buddy the Gator is the only other person I can think of that I have known to use the phrase "poop the bed" in such context. Interesting.

Also, I can't believe you could really expect Michigan to fall apart against PSU without Manningham. He's a great asset and I wish he had the whole year to light up the Heisman Watch (in the minds of football fans, not inertia-driven football writers), but Michigan is far from a one-weapon team.

I'll talk to manninghamheisman in here, too, because I'm a little confused; I thought you said you watch Michigan games. Is anybody really worried about the Penn State team that threw those two heinous interceptions to OSU in one minute, considering the fact that LaMarr Woodley will be chasing that QB down, and Prescott Burgess will be picking off the passes he forces up in sheer terror?

Has anybody noticed that Michigan starts off every game by establishing the unstoppable running game? Remember when Mike Hart ran on 5 of the first 6 plays against Minnesota, advancing from the Michigan 20 to the Minnesota 33 (with 2 yards pitched in by K. Grady)? Or gained 35 out of 61 yards on M's first drive vs. MSU?

You think we have a 'good chance' to beat Penn State, mh? I love litotes at the proper time and place, but that statement is ludicrous. Even without Manningham, Michigan has the tools to dominate Penn State just like the others.

And Dan, I'm pretty sure the Heisman is for outstanding players, not necessarily valuable ones. That's why NIU doesn't need to get to any bowl game for Wolfe to have a strong claim. Speaking of which, is there a weekly Wolfe highlight reel or anything? I haven't seen this kid run at all; I just catch the stats, but I'm intrigued.

And that guy who previously told me that Calvin Johnson catches TDs with a weaker supporting cast - Super Mario just shakes and loses and flat outruns defenders to catch TDs. Unless you think Chad Henne is way better than GT's QB at getting the ball to a WR, I think your argument is irrelevant.

Unknown said...

@ john,

that guy who throws the ball to Calvin Johnson is named Reggie Ball and yes Chad Henne is much better at the QB position than he is.

The two have basically thrown the same amount of passes with Henne completing 20 more passes, for 200 more yards and 3 more touchdowns.

I've seen Chad Henne, and Reggie Ball is no Chad Henne.

And for the record I dont think Michigan even hiccups against Penn State.

john (east lansing, mi) said...

And now Pudge -

It's hard for me to collect all the stats I need, but I'm trying.

Actually, this page captures the idea fairly well. I'm highlighting the Caught Stealing Percentage leaders among qualified MLB catchers (those who caught at least 1/2 of their team's games). I. Rodriguez looking pretty good, as they go?

On the same page you can reference the rest of Pudge's numbers as compared to catchers around the Leagues; you might notice that 12 out of 16 other catchers allowed more stolen bases than the total number of steal attempts Pudge faced. (And it goes without saying that Pudge allowed fewer steals than any of the remaining 4). Anybody want to suggest that numbers like that don't make a pitcher feel a little better every time he delivers?

And Joe Mauer's legs might not have given out like they normally do for catchers chasing batting titles, but maybe that's because he was just half-assing it behind the plate, leading to his "Zone Rating" (explained at the bottom of the linked page) of .875, compared to the 1.000 that Pudge (and a number of other good fielding catchers) put up.

Add to all that the fact that only a couple other catchers performed at Pudge's level in committing only 2 errors and allowing only 4 passed balls, and you've got a solid-ass fielder attached to that .300 BA and 13 HR. Besides, who needs Pudge to swing for the fences when Detroit fields the only postseason starting lineup ever to feature three 20-HR batters in the 7-8-9 slots?

And yeah, maybe the other half of the battery has some influence on the performance of pitchers, or else I bet nobody would bother keeping track of CERA - a category in which Pudge lands in a virtual tie with MLB leader Brad Ausmus.

So I hope we can never ever pretend the only metric for performance by a catcher is in the HR column. Ever again.

john (east lansing, mi) said...

Nice alliteration.

Unknown said...

Joe Mauer had a .996 fielding percentage in 1059.3 Innings. His offensive numbers speak for themselves at .347 w/ 13-84 for the AL Central winners.

"Pudge" had a .998 fielding percentage in 1054.3 innings. His offensive numbers were .300 w/ 13-69 for the runners up.

I'm not saying that he isn't a great catcher but I am saying that he wasn't even the MVP on his own team - or the best catcher in the AL Central. I do agree though that NOBODY runs on Pudge still and he's like 50 years old.

Unknown said...

John - I'm gonna go try and find that information because I'm sure it's not close. I cant possibly argue against Pudge and his defense because he is a fantastic defensive catcher as far as throwing out runners - nobody runs on Pudge.

However, this all started because of Dan mentioning Pudge as AL MVP which I thought was insane in his morning update. He does seem to do this a bit though as it's the third person following a great game who he has nominated as the AL MVP (Jeter and Thomas).

Anyways it's probably time to move on to more important issues - like the games tonight, I think we're all on the same page at this point anyways.