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Colorado Rockies v San Diego Padres

Every Friday, the Getting Blanked crew makes a prop bet of sorts with one another having something to do with baseball games over the weekend. Of the four competitors, whoever wins the prop bet is able to dole out a punishment on the colleague of their choice. This week’s punishment was watching and recapping Wednesday night’s Colorado Rockies and San Diego Padres game. We call this #PropHate.

The Narrative

Three of the five teams that comprise the National League West division are notable. The defending champion San Francisco Giants are staggering through their schedule, losing to teams like the Mets while fielding a roster of Quad-A players filling in for injuries and watching their previously dominant starting rotation crumble before their eyes. The Los Angeles Dodgers have bought every free agent and acquired every regretful contract that ever existed over the last ten months, and they still struggled mightily in the early going before the promotion of Yasiel Puig and resurrection of Hanley Ramirez brought them back to life. The Arizona Diamondbacks lead the division, thanks to the holy triumvirate of above average pitching, great team defense and America’s First Baseman, Paul Goldschmidt.

Then there are the Colorado Rockies and the San Diego Padres.

Here are the best things you can say about these two teams:

Padres: Their stadium sure looks nice, and I hear that the climate in San Diego is wonderful.
Rockies: They haven’t lost as many games as I would’ve thought they’d have lost.

For the purposes of deciding postseason baseball and eventually a champion of the 2013 season, Colorado and San Diego might as well not play baseball against each other. It’s a meaningless tilt. But the system of baseball’s regular season schedule is built in such a manner that even the least important games of the summer, which will have no real bearing when things matter in September and October, must be played out.

… and so, last night, out it was played.

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Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Seattle Mariners

As we can expect for the next 15 years so, Mike Trout made a bunch of news out of a seemingly mundane act on the weekend. Mike Trout saw his contract renewed at just $20 000 above the league minimum despite posting eye-popping numbers with which your a very likely familiar. .326/.399/.564, 30 HR, 49 SB, highlight reel defense, 10 WAR, Rookie of the Year, runner-up for AL MVP, blah blah blah.

That the Angels would not extend Mike Trout a modicum of grace and bump his contract by more than they are obligated by baseball’s collective bargaining agreement doesn’t sit well with some folks – some folks including Mike Trout’s agent and, presumably, Mike Trout himself.

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AP Image by Elaine Thomson

AP Image by Elaine Thomson

Yesterday, the Seattle Mariners finally announced the Felix Hernandez seven-year, $175 million contract extension, essentially making Felix a member of the Mariners for the rest of his career.

You could argue the Mariners are making a mistake in locking up this pitcher, any pitcher, for this long and this incredible amount of money. You could also argue, convincingly, that you have no soul and hate fun.

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Washington Nationals v New York Mets

Closers, man. Can’t win without a proven closer. Just like the Giants last year, who rode their established ninth inning stud Sergio Romo all the way to the World Series title. Romo leaned on the experience gained over his 17 career saves to lead the Giants to the title.

Or the Tigers, a veteran team built on leadership of their proven closer Jose Valverde Phil Coke, owner of a whopping six career saves before shutting things down for Detroit in the playoffs.

Hmm, wait this doesn’t quite add up.

As the song goes, until the arbitration system stops rewarding players for saves with more cash, the act of managing to the save is going nowhere.

Which makes the early spring paranoia over injured closers all the more ridiculous.

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Ten Stray Thoughts On A Friday

For many, Friday represents the end of a long work week that’s filled with heavy doses of drudging, sludging and other words that don’t actually exist but rhyme with “udging” and connote menial and tedious tasks that are ultimately distasteful. It’s my hope that at the end of such misery, at that moment in time that only occurs on a Friday afternoon when it’s too far away from closing time to leave work early, but too late in the day to start anything new, you’ll join us here to read some random observations about baseball and contribute your own thoughts on the subjects that are broached.

So, without further ado, I present this week’s Ten Stray Thoughts On A Friday:

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Should of been Trout

In what was easily one of the most convoluted and least organized awards presentations I’ve ever had the pleasure of following, the MLB announced the recipients for the 2012 Gold Glove Awards on ESPN2 and (for those without access to ‘the deuce’) a live twitter feed that included any and all mentions of the words ‘Gold Glove’.

Here is your list of winners, and because I had to sift through the dreck of a live twitter feed to find any useful information, I have provided an in-depth look at the biggest snubs and insight about who ‘should of’ won.
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The Detroit Tigers became the second team to advance to a League Championship Series following a 6-0 walk over the Oakland Athletics in Game Five. The Tigers landed in Oakland up two games, but a strong pitching performance by the Athletics in Game Three and delicious Jose Valverde blown save in Game Four evened up the series. Jim Leyland handed the ball to Justin Verlander tonight and cut off contact with his bullpen.

Verlander was nearly untouchable in Game One, surrendering just three hits and striking out 11 in seven innings. He dialed up the nasty once again on this night, fanning 11 in a complete game shutout. He needed 122 pitches to get the job done, which leads one to wonder why Leyland was so cautious while holding a six run lead heading into the bottom half of the seventh. YOLO, or something.

The Athletics hitters had nothing for Verlander, although Yoenis Cespedes legged out a double in the first inning. Hope was sporadic from that point forward before being extinguished forever as the Tigers began to build a lead in the third inning.

It was a series rife with defensive lapses, silenced star hitters and a manic display of judgement from Coco Crisp in the outfield. I can’t say that the Tigers were ultimately the better team, but they were tonight and that’s all that matters.

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