Archive for the ‘FTW: Five To Watch’ Category

Yesterday’s FTW was a little bit of a bust. Don’t get me wrong, the games were entertaining enough (mind you, I’m entertained by anything roughly called baseball), but many of the pitchers-to-watch ended up performing well below expectation in their first starts of the season.

Jamie Moyer had the chance to become the oldest pitcher ever to record a win, but didn’t look particularly good surrendering four runs on five hits in five innings to the Houston AAAstros. He did manage to control the zone well allowing only one walk while striking out two, but his fastball sat around 79 MPH topping out at 81; that’s slow even for Moyer. He gave up home runs to both Jordan Schafer and J.D. Martinez and the Rockies were shut down by Lucas Harrell, dropping the game 7-3.

Of course now many people will be jumping off the Moyer bandwagon after just one start and although he didn’t look good, it’s hard to write him off after only one start. All things considered, Moyer didn’t look terrible and there’s no reason to think he can’t get better with a few more starts under his belt.

Madison Bumgarner, another pitcher-to-watch from yesterday had trouble with his command and got rocked by the Diamondbacks surrendering four runs on seven hits while allowing two walks over just four innings. He gave up two home runs to Aaron Hill of all people and just never really looked right. Despite his struggles, his fastball velocity looked every bit as good as normal and he did manage to strike out three. We’ll chalk this up to a bump in the road on the way to a Cy Young Award.

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Finally, Major League Baseball’s myriad of Opening Days is over. Stretched over four different days, the “event” yielded some great moments. Baseball was played in the early morning, it was played in a brand new, albeit slightly terrifying, ballpark, it was played for 16 edge-of-you-seat innings, and it was played with Mariano Rivera blowing a save. Baseball’s back, kids, and it’s just as entertaining as ever.

Today marks the very first day that all 30 teams are in action so I present to you, for the first time in the 2012 season: Five to Watch for Saturday, April 7th.

It should also be mentioned that I assume pretty much everyone reading this blog will be watching the Blue Jays and Indians at 1:05 pm EST when Brandon Morrow takes on the suspension-appealing Ubaldo Jimenez at the Jake (“Progressive” Field, my left cheek), therefore that game is not included here.

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A few tiny tidbits before you head out to face the weekend. These are the dregs, my friends. Until January comes around, when complain they’re the real dregs. It is all relative, I fear.

There will be news in the coming weeks, as arbitration offers are declined and the free agent “frenzy” kicks off. Thankfully, there is no Free Agent Day in baseball like other sports, with GMs clambering around trying to make deals like a bunch of frat bros at 1:59am.

There is no fear that all the good free agents will be “gone” and some poor, misguided GM with a wad of cash burning away in his pocket will just toss it at anyone to avoid holding the bag. Such insane/idiotic spending is what gets teams and leagues into trouble, spending money to avoid losing it.

Plus I’d have to work, like, late at night if that was case. And that “me” time is important, y’all.

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It’s the last weekend of the regular season. Tedious as the final games can be, I already miss baseball. Playoff baseball is on the horizon but, just beyond that, lays the vast wasteland of a baseball-free winter. That, my friends, scares me. Let us drink in this final full slate of games and revel in the greatness that is a walkoff celebration among go-nowhere also-rans and pennant contenders alike.

Before the bullet points come fast and furious I will indulge in another Friday tradition: the social media dumping ground. Make sure to follow Parkes, myself, Travis Reitsma, Sam Miller, The Common Man, Bill TPA, and even Stoeten on Twitter. Like the Getting Blanked facebook page for, uhh, good times and subscribe to the Podcast feed (iTunes/RSS).

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Without treading on Parkes TSTOAF territory too much, it is time to put a big wet stamp on the rest of my week and send a listicle of my own down the pipe. Start your weekend right with the handy guide to baseballing good times, the feature formerly known as Five to Watch!

Before the bullet points come fast and furious I will indulge in another Friday tradition: the social media dumping ground. Make sure to follow Parkes, myself, Travis Reitsma, Sam Miller, The Common Man, Bill TPA, and even Stoeten on Twitter. Like the Getting Blanked facebook page for, uhh, good times and subscribe to the Podcast feed (iTunes/RSS).

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Several aces and Kevin Correia will be making their third starts of the season tonight. Hopefully, that translates into me not staying up until the wee hours of the morning again.

Milwaukee Brewers (Shaun “North Of Steeles” Marcum) at Pittsburgh Pirates (Kevin “Just North” Correia) 7:05 EDT

Tonight is the right time to renew your love for the former Toronto Blue Jays changeup master as Shaun Marcum and his Brew Crew travel to Pittsburgh where they’ll face the Pirates Opening Day starter, Kevin Correia. I’m not even kidding. For more shocking news, check out the standings, where you’ll find that the Brewers and Pirates are tied for second in the NL Central, two games back of the Cincinnati Reds.

Tampa Bay Rays (David “The Right Is” Price) at Boston Red Sox (Jon Lester “Bangs”) 7:10 PM EDT

After last night’s blowout, it will be interesting to see how the Red Sox respond with their ace on the mound. The only problem of course is that Tampa Bay will be responding with some studly stuff of their own. Surprisingly, Price has only ever pitched one game at Fenway Park when he went six innings, only allowing a single earned run during a game last season.

Oakland Athletics (Trevor “Benny” Cahill) at Chicago White Sox (Edwin “Action” Jackson) 8:10 PM EDT

Speaking of pitching battles, Trevor Cahill, who just signed a five year $30.5 million contract, will take on the suddenly phenomenal Edwin Jackson. Over his first two starts Jackson has struck out 20 batters in only 14 innings, while walking only five of the 54 batters he’s faced. Cahill, meanwhile has only allowed a measly two runs over 12 and two third innings. This game should be done around 8:30 PM EDT.

Toronto Blue Jays (Ricky “RR Cool Jay” Romero) at Seattle Mariners (Michael “Hit The” Pineda “With A Stick”) 10:10 PM EDT

In his rookie debut, Michael Pineda averaged more than 95 mph with his fastball. I don’t know what that means for a team that generally likes to swing at fastballs, but I’ll be interested in watching the pitcher who many compared favourably to Jays rookie Kyle Drabek.

Los Angeles Dodgers (Chad “Just Bring Me The” Billingsley) at San Francisco Giants (“Tiny” Tim Lincecum) 10:15 PM EDT

New Rule: Anytime Tim Lincecum pitches, the Giants are on this list.

As always, follow me on Twitter and we can argue about the games and make snarky comments back and forth while they happen.

Just when you thought your day was made complete by monkeys on dogs herding mountain goats at a baseball game, allow me to inform you that there are some equally compelling match ups tonight in the world of baseball.

Tampa Bay Rays (Jeremy “Raise A Little” Hellickson) at Boston Red Sox (Daisuke “10 Pitch K” Matsuzaka) 7:10 PM EDT

It’s difficult to think of two teams that got off to a more disappointing start, although the Houston Astros are up there or rather down there, than Boston and Tampa Bay. Tonight, look to see if Hellickson doubles in age while Matsuzaka pitches, or just watch so that you can continually refer to the game as the battle of the basement dwellers while it’s still an accurate description. If you’re a fan of pitching, it doesn’t get much more fun that following Hellickson’s pitch selection. He’ll mix his fastball, changeup and curve all into the game equally.

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