It was a game full of drama for the Yankees yesterday against the Mets. First, Chien-Ming Wang got the start, and he wasn’t a disaster. He allowed two runs in just over five innings. That’s not great, but it’s a heck of a lot better than he has been in a long while. Could this be a sign of progress? Later in the game, Mariano Rivera made news not once, but twice. First, he got the first RBI of his entire career when he was walked with the bases loaded in the top of the ninth. It was also his first career walk, and only his third career at-bat. One RBI every three at-bats – that’s an impressive rate. Finally, Rivera’s 18th save of the season was the 500th of his career. Only Trevor Hoffman had previously reached that milestone, so this makes him officially what he already was – the undisputed king of the American League closers.

Continue reading “Looking Back On The Weekend”

1. There’s an article today on ESPN that suggests that Notre Dame is going to go 11-1 and return to the BCS this year. Apparently they aren’t kidding, either. I’m not sure I have ever read anything more stupid. They are returning a bunch of players and all, but it’s not like they are returning BCS caliber players or anything. Experienced garbage is still garbage. Eight or nine wins is believable, but 11 is a joke – even against the puffball schedule they have given themselves this year.

Continue reading “Eight Quick Hits For Thursday”

Yesterday we looked at five pitchers who were much better at the betting window than the average baseball fan probably thinks that they are, so it only makes sense that we look at the other extreme today. Here are five guys who the public are probably fond of, but who are burning up money at astounding rates.

Continue reading “Five Surprisingly Unprofitable Pitchers”

Kevin Garnett is being held out of action until the playoffs. The official story is that there is no point in playing him in two totally meaningless games, but I’m not buying it. Wouldn’t you want to have a chance to test your knee and your fitness before the games got intense? Wouldn’t you want to ease back into action gradually? I sense that there is more to this story than we are hearing, and that makes me a bit uneasy.

Continue reading “Monday Night Quick Hits”

I’ve been sidetracked by the draft for a few days, but it is time now to get back to thinking about baseball. Here are a few of the things that caught my attention as I was getting caught back up:”

  • Barry Zito makes $126 million and now he is heading to the bullpen. That’s ugly but not surprising – he’s o-6 after all. Still, this is a massive fall from grace for a guy who was supposed to be one of the elite arms in the league. A lot of bettors are probably pretty happy to see him go, too – he’s been an underdog in every game he has played, and at some juicy prices, so a lot of people have probably been sucked in by thinking that his next game could finally be the one in which he turns it around. When he’s in the bullpen that temptation is eliminated.
  • James Shields had a ridiculously good game against the Red Sox – a two hit complete game shutout with seven strikeouts and just one walk. It was no fluke, though – this guy can pitch. He was 12-8 last year for a team that only won 66 games, and his strikeout to walk ratio was better than 5-to-1. This year he has allowed just 11 runs in six games, and he hasn’t allowed more than three in a game. His ERA dropped a full point from his first year in 2006 to last year, and it has dropped more than 1.3 points so far this year. Best yet he’s only 26, so the best is still ahead of him.
  • Since we’re on the topic of pitchers, I owe a mea culpa to Chien Ming Wang. At the start of last year I was positive that this guy was a half-weight masquerading as a top-of-the rotation starter. He’d gone 19-6 the previous year, but I had no faith in his ability to recreate it. He didn’t – he went 19-7 instead. Now he has started out 5-0 on a team that is otherwise struggling, He has had one disastrous start – eight earned runs in four innings against the Red Sox – but in that one his team managed to bail him out and win 15-9 to leave him without a loss. I still can’t say that I’m in love with his stuff or that he’s a guy I like to watch pitch, but I really have no choice but to admit that this guy is an elite starter. Now if only the Yankees had another one to join him.

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