Friday, May 28, 2010
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In 2009 the tennis world was shocked by Robin Soderling's defeat of Rafael Nadal. The defeat came out of nowhere for Nadal and helped Roger Federer complete the career grandslam.
The defeat also means that for only the 2nd time of his career*, Rafael Nadal is not defending his title at Roland Garros. As a result the gambling lines for Nadal moved into the realm of contemplation. At the start of the tourney you could find lines as good as 1:2. While this line isn't the most appealing in the world, putting up more money than you would win in return is never the most desirable decision, but in reality its easy money. Nadal has already won the French Open 4 times in his career. He has yet to lose this season on clay, having won three tournaments during the clay season. In those three tournaments Nadal dropped a total of two sets.
Through two rounds at the French Nadal looks healthy and is on complete cruise control. Rafael Nadal is winning this tournament there is no ifs ands or buts about it. My bigger question would be just how many sets does he lose the entire way?
*The first time being the French Open he ever played in.
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Early this week Steve Phillips opened his mouth and forced me to create a post surrounding his ludicrous statements. As a result of writing this post I looked through my archives to find the picture to the right, in the process of finding the picture I stumbled across this post surrounding Steve Phillips Red Sox offseason thoughts in 2007 which included a trade as baffling as the Oswalt for Strasburg trade. So just for fun, let's debate which thought by Steve Phillips was worse.
Trade 1, 2007 Offseason: Jacoby Ellsbury, Jon Lester & Clay Buchholz for Johan Santana
During the 2007 offseason the Red Sox were kings of the world having swept the Colorado Rockies 4-0 in the World Series, but Johan Santana was the best pitcher in baseball and the Twins quite obviously were looking to deal him. The Red Sox were amongst the whispered favorites so Steve Phillips master ESPN commentator was asked what he would do if he was Theo Epstein. This is when Steve Phillips lost his mind and said that he could see the Red Sox dealing Jacoby Ellsbury, Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz for Johan Santana.
At the Time: At the time we didn't know that Lester was going to emerge as one of the best pitchers in baseball but we did know this, he threw 5.2 shutout baseball in the World Series after beating cancer and his stuff in the process looked electric. We also knew that Jacoby Ellsbury was a heart throb in Boston and was their leadoff of the future having hit .438 in the World Series. Clay Buchholz was a 23 year old stud prospect who threw a no hitter in his first month of professional baseball.
At the time Johan Santana was still regarded as the best pitcher in baseball but was coming off his worst season as a Twin. There were concerns about his arm and he was about to command a huge extension as he only had 1 year remaining on his deal. But again Johan Santana was a proven commodity, in his prime, and was still really really good.
In Retrospect: In retrospect this trade would have been GOD AWFUL for the Red Sox. First off Jon Lester has been the equal to Johan Santana over the past 2 1/4 seasons. His stats are slightly inferior but he pitches in a much more difficult league and has not been injured in either season. Ellsbury has been a solid catalyst for the Red Sox in his first two full seasons and led the AL in steals both years. Buchholz did not live up to the hype in 08 but found his groove towards the tail end of 09 and has arguably been the Sox best pitcher in 2010.
And of course the biggest reason why this trade would have been a complete failure is money. Not only have the Three players been more valuable to the franchise than Johan Santana would have been, they also cost a hell of a lot less. Their combined salaries in 08, 09, and 2010 is under 9 million. Meanwhile Johan Santana is going to make $60 million dollars from 08-10.
Trade 2, 2010 Midseason: Roy Oswalt for Stephen Strasburg
I could go into this trade again in full detail but it was already done on Tuesday, so let's just sum it up. Stephen Strasburg is the biggest pitching prospect ever. Ever. In the history of baseball there has never been more hype surrounding a pitcher than Stephen Strasburg. Meanwhile Roy Oswalt is 32, making way more money, and has not lived up to his standards in either of the past two seasons. Granted he looks like he might be having a bounce back year, but you can't give up the best prospect in the game for a player who's past his prime and you will owe at minmum 33$ million dollars over the next two seasons whereas Strasburg is just owed 15$ million over the next 4 seasons.
Both trades would be horrendous and it's almost impossible to decide which one would be more moronic, but I'm going to say the Red Sox - Twins deal would have been the worse move. The Red Sox would have given up three premium players that are all essential components of their franchise for now and for the foreseeable future and were on the books for 1/8th the amount Santana has been paid. Neither Lester, Buchholz, or Ellsbury are what Strasburg is supposed to become but the combination of the three is certainly greater.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
I think we already know Steve Phillips' has extremely poor judgement but the words which came out of his mouth yesterday were so befuddling that I can't even contemplate how he ever was in a baseball front office nevermind General Manager of an MLB team.
Steve Phillips yesterday said that if he was the GM of the Astros and the Nats called about Roy Oswalt he would ask for Stephen Strasberg and potentially more. Quite obviously if Ed Wade started off trade conversations with Mike Rizzo with this line of demands he would be laughed at and hung up on quickly. While this would be a dumb way to start up negotiations with a GM, it isn't completely and utterly ridiculous. What was completely and utterly ridiculous was this:
...if I think that I want Roy Oswalt to help me win this year, you know what? I'm one of the guys, I make that deal...
Now this could be in any context and make sense. Like... Would he give up Josh Willingham and Destin Hood for Roy Oswalt? Or slightly less like, would you give Jordan Zimmermann and Jeff Kobernus for Roy Oswalt? But when the context is Stephen Strasburg for Roy Oswalt straight up, you are criminally psychotic. Steve Phillips would potential give up the best pitching prospect in history, a pitcher who is probably the better pitcher RIGHT NOW for an overpriced post prime 32 year old.
This man was once the GM for a team that made the World Series. How is this possible? How could a main with his judgement and decision making move up the ladder that much? I think this is one of life's great mysteries. Steve Phillips, somehow still employed and still talking baseball and only God knows why.
H/T DC Sports Bog
Monday, May 24, 2010
As one can easily see on the chart above, sometimes the Pink line is the only line that matters. Mike Brown is coming off back to back 60+ win seasons and back to back #1 seeds in the East, yet the pink playoff line has been on the decrease since the Cavs unlikely trip to the Finals a few years back. As a result, he found himself on the chopping block this week with his only saving grace being a public vote of confidence from Lebron James. The vote of confidence did not come, Mike Brown is now fired, and the Cavs will hire whichever coach they think is most likely to keep Lebron in Cleveland. Let the Lebron games begin...
For whatever reason I have a small thing for people that are so out there that they often refer to themselves in the third person. It takes either incredible arrogance or simply being that out there. Jose Lima was that out there and while he wasn't a very good pitcher for the majority of his career, you certainly weren't ever bored watching him. So when Lima Time passes at just 37 years old it is a sad day and we all can hope that Lima Time is dominating today in heaven (or purgatory or hell wherever he wound up).
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Oh look, delicious Pork Chop on a stick. Let me have that Kim Jones.
Friday, May 21, 2010
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After getting dismantled by the Rays in their two game series in the Bronx, falling 5 games back, it feels as if the Yankees team is in complete disarray. But then you look at the Standings realize that the Yankees aren't in any dismal position, they still actually have the 3rd best record in Major League Baseball. So this in turn moves your attention and focus back towards the Rays and the realization that this team is eye openingly good.
The Rays are 30-11. They are 17-4 on the road. 17-4. That is truly unthinkable in baseball*. Their pitching staff is currently far and away the best in baseball. All 5 men of their rotation are 28 or younger, are over .500 for the season, and have an ERA under 3.40. Their lineup is full of speed and power and of course more youth. Only two of their everyday starters are older than 28 (Pena and Bartlett) so perhaps unlike the Yankees they will not be overly susceptible to major injuries.
The Rays really show no reason why they would slow down. The Rays are currently on pace to win 118 games and if you look at their roster and compare it to that of the 2001 Mariners team that won 116 games, it looks far superior. So if we were going to set odds on the Rays equaling or besting 116 it would likely still be a low number like 7:1 but if it was 7:1, you probably would have to think for a minute or two about throwing some money on it because these Rays are that good.
*Now if only the most exciting baseball team of the past decade or more could draw fans at their home stadium. Obviously Tampa is a complete shit market.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Today in fun charts we look at David Wrights seasonal progression of Hits and Strikeouts. Good ole David is currently leading Major League Baseball in Strikeouts so why not take a look at the rapid pace with which it grows and how it's easily eclipsed his hit total.
David has had more strikeouts than hits ever since mid April. Since mid-April he has gone from a 0 balance to a grand total of 18 more strikeouts than hits. When you strike out in over 38% of your at bats it makes it a little bit difficult to hit anywhere near .300 and as a result Wright is currently having far an away his worst season for batting average (his previous worse was .293 in his rookie year, he's currently hitting .265). But if he's on your fantasy team there is a consolation prize, Wright already has 8 homers and 8 steals which puts him on pace for a 30/30 season.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
The Name of the Year Tournament has reached the Elite 8 and I still have a chance to nail the entire Final Four with my predictions from March. Unfortunately both Starzanne Stripes and God's Power Offor are currently being upset. Starzanne Stripes is a lost cause, getting pummeled by Steele Sidebottom but God's Power Offor is locked in a heated battle which is currently being decided by the Bible Belt and the Mormons. The biggest swing states in the vote are Mississippi, Georgia and Utah. So go vote for God and make sure Georgia doesn't get their way.
Monday, May 17, 2010
So for those of you that don't know me, I am a mixed bag of Boston / New York fandom. Blame my father for growing up in the one neighborhood in Worcester Mass that was dominated by Yankee fans (aka the Italian section). As a result I am both a Yankee fan and a Bruin fan, so Friday nights debacle was eerily similar to 2004. For the fun of it let's just compare which was a worse collapse using six different criteria: Opponent/Opponent's Ramifications, Effect On the Franchise, League History, Games 1-3, Games 4-6, Game 7.
Opponent / Opponent's Ramifications
The Bruins loss to the Flyers was against a local rival but obviously does not compare to the Yankees loss to the Red Sox. The Yankees were coming off the heart wrenching Game 7 win over the Sox in 2003 and pretty much had owned baseball for a decade. Both the Flyers and Red Sox were in long Championship droughts but even if the Flyers win this year it won't hold a candle to the Red Sox snapping the 86 year drought. Collapse Edge: Yankees
Effect On the Franchise
The Yankees loss prolonged what turned out to be a 9 year gap in titles which holds nothing on the Bruins who have not won since 1972. The Yankees went out afterwards and spent money on pieces that didn't work (i.e. Carl Pavano / Kei Igawa / etc.), the Bruins will likely continue their prolonged Stanley Cup absence as their team's best opportunity for a trip to the Finals was quite obviously this season. Collapse Edge: Bruins
Hockey is historically the one sport where 4 game tail sweeps happen. The Bruins were the third victim of 3 games up and 4 games down in NHL history. Meanwhile the Yankees were the first MLB team to suffer the fate, a fate which really no MLB team has ever even sniffed before. Collapse Edge: Yankees
The two series actually have a lot of parallels betweens game 1-3. Each team squeaked out victories in games 1 and 2 and then romped in games 3. Collapse Edge: Push
The Bruins lost game 4 in OT but were pretty much outplayed the entire game and it was just the combo of a lucky goal and a last second goal that got them there. In games 5 and 6 the Bruins were completely outclassed. The Yanks on the other hand had Mariano in the game two times looking to slam the door. He failed twice. Collapse Edge: Yankees
Game 7 is truly the game that puts the Bruins in the equation. The Yankees went out in Game 7 and were out of it by the second inning. Yankee fans just needed to sit through 7 innings of inevitability. The Bruins however got out to an enormous 3-0 lead, a lead that in most Hockey Games is pretty much a lock solid victory. Unfortunately the Bs returned to their game 5&6 ways in the second period and wound up tied going into the third. And in the 3rd, one dumb too many men on the ice penalty in the third was enough to wrap up the game, series and season for the Bruins. Collapse Edge: Bruins
The Bruins collapse was terrible but in reality it still doesn't quite hold a candle to the Yankees collapse. The Yanks collapse got the Sox their first title in the lifetimes of 99.99% of their fans. The Yankees were expected to win the World Series while the Bs were a measly 6 seed. The Bruins symmetry of going up 3-0 in the series and 3-0 in game 7 just to lose both 4-3 is brutal, just not as brutal as watching your archenemy parade with the trophy on duck boats.
Friday, May 14, 2010
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And now we can all officially speculate about something that we all have been speculating about for nearly 3 years now, where will Lebron James be signing a contract in the summer of 2010. As of right now your early favorites are still the Cavaliers. They are closely followed by the Knicks who are followed more distantly by the Bulls, Nets, Clipshow and Heat. The odds will obviously change throughout the offseason as more news comes out but let's just give some thoughts to each of the 6 squads.
Cavs - The Cavs are the favorites for the obvious reason, he is currently a member of the Cavs, he is an Ohio lifer, and his legacy will never be as strong winning championships as it would be if he won them in Cleveland. Even though the team he would go to would be a completely rebuilt ship (outside of Chicago) it will always feel like he bailed for a better scenario and couldn't get it done on his home turf. With that being said, I think the Cavs royally messed up this season. The Cavs were in position to be cap flexible this offseason. All they had to do was not give out a few dumb contracts and not trade for a dumb contract. What did they do? They signed Varejao to a dumb 5 year contract and even worse traded for Antawn Jameson who was useless in the playoffs. And now goodbye cap space and goodbye 90% chance to keep Lebron.
Knicks - The Knicks offer status, Manhattan, Broadway, and that's about it. In order for New York to work he's going to need to convince a sidekick to come in and pray for a few role players to come in. If it's him and Bosh it might work. If it's him, David Lee, Wilson Chandler and slop then he blew off Cleveland and is going to be on a crappy team anyway.
Bulls - The talent in Chicago is nice with Rose and company but why would Lebron want to live in the shadow of MJ. He could win 4 titles in a row and still he'll be second fiddle in the history of the town. If he goes to any of the other logical places and wins 4 titles he's king shit for eternity. Not in Chicago. But maybe his ego can handle that and the Bulls give him a solid club.
Nets - Two years ago I said by trading away RJ they got into the Lebron game but that the Lebron trade would only have relevance if they moved to Brooklyn. Too bad they aren't because I think this would be a logical move. The Nets suck, but they do have nice talent, the potential #1 pick and plenty of cap space. But they still play in Jersey, and well Jersey is not an ideal professional sports location.
Clipshow - The Clippers are the worst basketball franchise in the history of the NBA, going there would just be odd, dumb and likely to cause season ending injuries. (See Blake Griffin)
Heat - It could be Batman and Robin in Miami, but despite the fact he'd be Batman, he'd still be second fiddle in the sun as Wade already has that title and is already the head honcho of the franchise.
My bet would be he stays in Cleveland. He stays loyal to his roots and is driven to prove to everyone that he can get the Cavs and the city their first championship in his lifetime.
Friday, May 07, 2010
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If you were to play Vegas for a moment, I think one of the most intriguing Over/Unders you could put together for the remainder of the 2010 season would be how many wins 2009 Cy Young Award winner Zack Greinke will wind up with. Greinke went the entire month of April without a victory despite numbers that frankly were top of the line starter stuff. Greinke's statline through 6 games reads 39.2 IP, 2.27 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 33 Ks. So why does he yet to have a recorded a win this season? Well he plays on the Royals to start. The team has yet to score more than 4 runs in any of his 6 outings. Then you throw on the fact that he's working with the Royals bullpen, who gives up ample runs once he leaves the game, and you have an 0-3 pitcher with tremendous numbers.
So lets rebring up my original question, if you were to set the line on Greinke victories this season where would you put it? He's still is in line to start 27 more games. He's healthy and pitching better fantastic over his last three starts (22 innings 3 runs) but the Royals do suck. I truly believe he's no different than he was last year and will pitch to an ERA somewhere along the lines of 2.44 but to set a win total means trying to figure to calculate the factors of Royals offense and Royals bullpen.
If I had to set the line, I think I'd still set it relatively high. Say 13 over his next 27 starts. So would you take the over or the under on that bet?
Wednesday, May 05, 2010
When I was driving into work this morning I heard on the radio that New York Jet fans were polled and said that they expected the Jets to go 15-1 and this season. Now I know that Jet fans can be cocky assholes sometimes, despite never really ever having anything to brag about, but I also know that the average Jet fan is overall pretty pessimistic so this result didn't make much sense to me. And then you take a look at how "15-1" was actually reached and you realize that it is a completely bogus report.
The survey didn't actually ask fans what they thought the Jets record would be. They didn't take an average of how many wins each Jet fan thought they would win on the season. Rather the surveyed Jet fans on all 16 games to see whether or not Jet fans on average thought they would lose any one particular game. And when you have a team that likely all Jet fans will win 10-12 games then chances are you aren't going to get many "consensus" losses because people will think that the team will lose on different weeks of the season. And thus the only week Jet fans definitely think their team is going to lose is against the Patriots at Foxboro.
In reality when you take an average percentage picked for a win for all the games of the season, the Jet fans picked a little over 13 wins for the 2010 Jets. This is overly optimistic and skewing towards a fantasy world but not nearly as psychotic as the full blown lie of 15-1 that ESPN is yelling about.
Many people do walks for charity, I'm thinking maybe I'll donate 25 bucks to whatever I can deem as Nick Johnson's favorite charity for each mile he "Walks" this season. Currently through 1+ months of the season Nick Johnson has walked 22 times and at a rate of 90 feet per walk he's reached the equivalent of 0.375 miles.
Nicky J needs no bat!
Monday, May 03, 2010
And just for fun lets look at where Robinson Cano will end up if he managed to keep up the pace he currently is on...
Cano would finish with 243 hits, 60 HRs, 155 Runs, 141 RBI, and 13 steals. Quite obviously he needs to pick up his speed game because he's slacking.