Results tagged ‘ Starting Pitchers ’

The Filibuster

Matt Cain this week threw what some people are saying was the best “perfect game” ever.  Is it really possible to say that one perfect game is better than another and, if so, which one would you vote for?

Sal
Fresno, CA
___________________________________

Absolutism is relative.  I think.  No, I am sure it is.  Maybe.  I mean, this is the GREATEST BASEBALL-POLITICO BLOG OF ALL TIME, IS IT NOT!?!?!

I think so, but such a statement comes with the caveat that one would have a hard time quantifying it.  Why is it the best?  Because of Mr. Krause?  Because of Mr. Lung?  Because of the interns?

That’s just the very beginning of a long list of things that makes RSBS the G.O.A.T.

But can we quantify what exactly makes one perfecto better than another?  Not really.  But it’s fun trying.  For example, Matt Cain’s 14 strikeouts tied the MLB record for strikeouts in a perfect game (Sandy Koufax, 1965), which clearly demonstrates superior command and dominance over the opposition.  Cain also threw 19 first pitch strikes and never got himself in a 2-0 count.  Meanwhile, his defense did some dazzling.  Both the 6th and 7th innings featured unbelievable catches in the outfield that, had they not been made, would have sunk the perfect game effort.  The last out, a hard ground ball to third base that put Joaquin Arias in a stutter step also provided one final gasping twist to the accomplishment.  All of the above, plus Cain’s eery zen mound presence throughout it all, provide plenty of quantification for it being the “best” perfect game ever.

Still, it’s relative.  And maybe we see it as the “best” right now because it’s fresh in our minds.

I recall Randy Johnson’s 2004 effort against the Braves as being one of the most dominate games I’ve ever seen too.  The Big Unit struck out 13 in that game and was throwin’ nasty stuff all the while.  David Cone didn’t see a 2-0 count in his 1999 perfecto against the late Expos, a game where he also had to sit out for a 33-minute rain delay, on Yogi Berra Day, with Don Larsen in the stands!

But, for me, the best perfect game I’ve ever seen came on a lazy Thursday afternoon in July 2009, when Mark Buehrle pitched himself into the record books, again.  What made that game so special, for me, was that I was watching it at work and by the 8th inning, I was watching it with the UPS man, the FedEx man and yes, even the mail man.  When Dewayne Wise made “the catch” we reveled in our mutual south sidedness and gave each other big, sweaty man-hugs.

That’s the sorta thing that only happens once in a lifetime, so I’ll be hanging my hat on the Buehrle perfecto for the forseeable future.  But that’s just me.

You can hate me for that.  Just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

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An Evening with Yu

It may not have been Strasmas, but according to the lunar calendar (and millions of Japanese people) April 9th proved to be an equally auspicious day, no matter what, because it was the very first Major League appearance by the highly touted (and valiantly unashamed to be naked) Yu Darvish.

Like you would expect, I made an evening of it.  Here’s a play-by-play:

4:30 p.m.
Still at work.  I have looked at the clock every minute for the last thirty minutes, and will continue to do so for thirty more.  I finish up the last of my TPS reports, turn them in to my boss and shriek when he yells “WHAT THE HELL IS THIS???”

5:30 p.m.
At the gym.  Working on my… nah, who am I kidding, every time I look at a hot chick working out next to me she has Yu Darvish’s face, which I find as distracting as I do disgusting.  Going home now.

6:30 p.m.
Dinner (sushi, of course) has been eaten.  Feet are up.  Beer is in hand.  Let’s DO THIS!  *Belch*

7:05 p.m.
FSSW misses Darvish’s first pitch.  Nice work, dingleberries.  The biggest pitch of the year so far and you miss it.  They come back from commercial break and the count is already 1-0 to Chone Figgins.  AGGGHH!!!  Then Darvish quickly walks him.  Um… this is not how it’s supposed to go, guys.

7:09 p.m
After striking out Ackley on a NAAASTY breaking ball, Ichiro steps in.  Japan loses its mind.  Then Ichiro singles on a blooper to left and, already, I’m realizing Yu ain’t Strasburg (yet).

7:16 p.m.
Now Justin Smoak is on first, bases are loaded with one out for Kyle Seager.  Bases loaded?  I DIDN’T SIGN UP FOR NO BASES LOADED!!!

7:18 p.m.
Two-run gapper to right and now I’m pissed.  I could have been out on a date tonight!  With a real, live woman!  And I passed it up for this crap???!!!  WTF are YU DOING!?!?!

7:23 p.m.
Darvish makes Miguel Olivo look like Johnny Bench and I’m bored.  More Daisuke, less Nomo.  Not even close to Strasburg.  He doesn’t even have a weird hitch in his delivery like all the Japanese greats do!

7:25 p.m.
He just walked in a run.  It’s 4-0.  EFF THIS.

Seriously, I know this is a small sample size, but I ain’t impressed and I’m changing the channel… to watch Freese and Holliday and Molina (they all homer)… CHAMPIONS.

Hate me.  I understand.  Just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

***

Once the game was over, it was evident he battled back and settled down.  The offense helped him out and he recovered well, and even fooled some hitters.  But the hoopla was a bit much for me for him not to deliver with jazz hands.  Or maybe I’ve just been spoiled by so much great pitching the last couple years that I expect greatness every game.  Either way, I’ll check in again next time.  I just ain’t makin’ a night of it.

Absence of Ozzie Not Enough to Shut Sox Mouth

Jake Peavy sure has a loose yapper.  In fact, it might be even more loose than his formerly detached latissimus dorsi, just one of the myriad things that have led to his supreme suckage in a White Sox uniform.

Sports Illustrated recently predicted the White Sox would lose 95 games in 2012.  I don’t see that prediction as overly hyperbolic.  The Sox were awful last year, and they haven’t done much to improve.  In fact, after dealing Santos to the Blue Jays, I’d even say the 2012 team, on paper, IS WORSE than 2011′s.

Still, Peavy and his Curt Schilling-like tongue is quick to point out that such an observation is off:

“That ain’t going to happen. I can promise you that. This team has too much pride. We are going to compete. That’s all there is to it.” (link)

Whatever you say, Jake.  Whatever you say.

If Peavy is correct (he’s not) and “pride” is all it takes to win ballgames, then why don’t teams just ditch everyone they have to sign 25 George Takeis and just get it over with?

Peavy is now a shell of what he once was.  He doesn’t have the velocity and he doesn’t have the mental toughness to PITCH his way out of mistakes.  He lets his emotions dictate performance.  And he is constantly whining and bitching and talking crazy to the press.

He has done nothing in Chicago but play bad baseball and run his mouth.  Sox fans can only hope he does well enough to get traded by July.

Hate me ‘cuz I compared Peavy’s mouth to Schilling’s, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

Setting the Mahmud

RSBS Special Correspondent and long-time supporter of the Green Party, Mr. Johanna Mahmud reports:

Chess is life.

I love pitching rivalries, matchups within divisions and the occasional interleague throwdown. That’s a giant piece of cake for me!!!

What pairing will be this year’s best? Let’s examine the possibilities, with Bobby Fischer setting the stage…

“I play honestly and I play to win. If I lose, I take my medicine.”

Yu Darvish/King Felix!

“I like the moment when I break a man’s ego.”

Stephen Strasburg/Josh Johnson!

“Chess is war over the board. The object is to break your opponents mind.”

Jon Lester/C.C. Sabathia!

“Chess is a matter of delicate judgement. When when to punch and how to duck.”

Johnny Cueto???  Hmmm… Matt Garza??

PROBABLY NOT.

My personal favorite pairing of all time — the one that really captivated me — is, of course, Bobby Fischer/Boris Spassky. Sometimes Bobby battled himself even! (Fast Eddy Felson and Minnesota Fats come in a close second).

I’M A DORK.

Baseball can’t start soon enough.

–Johanna Mahmud
Follow Johanna on Twitter!

The Houston LIVANstros

It’s too bad Jimmy Crane thought better of renaming his baseball club, because with the recent Livan Hernandez signing, who wouldn’t wanna go check out the Houston LIVANstros?!?

I would.

In fact, I have to admit: I love Livan Hernandez.

He’s a horse.  A nice guy.  And without him, there is no Eric Gregg wide-strike zone comedy of errors.

Also, of all the baseball scorecards I have collected over the years, four of them are games he started.  He’s the most represented non-Cardinal in my pile and for each game I saw him pitch, he appeared in a different uniform.

Viva los LIVANstros!

No me odies, porque estoy en lo cierto.

Paz,

Jeff

The Rules: Yu Darvish Pun Edition

With the Japaranian sensation Yu Darvish making his Big League career official by signing with the Texas Rangers, I thought it appropriate to lay down some ground rules for the inevitable onslaught of awful puns that are certain to tattoo newspapers and interwebs around the world.

*Note: All italicized examples come from Lone Star Ball’s Yu! Darvish Pun Sweepstakes, and commenter credit appears parenthetically.

Number One:

Yu can’t Yuse Yu as in “You” unless Yu’re clever about it.  The proceeding sentence may or may not constitute “cleverness”.  But I can assure Yu old, crotchety sports columnists (ahem, Phil Rogers) are going to think they’re so cool by substituting “Yu” for “You” and slapping it on a headline.  It’s like pornography, Yu know it when Yu see it (rooster).

Number Two:

Flip the script.  Surprise us with just how clever Yu can be.  Don’t settle for the easy route.  Dravish highlights are ridiculous.  Yu should YuTube them (Gay for Feliz).

Number Three:

The most important rule when Yutilizing Yu puns… MAKE US LAUGH.  Even if Yu have to pull a Hollywood and recycle old gags, just make sure they work.

So, Who’s on first, What’s on second and I don’t know’s on third – I get that.

And the pitcher is . . .?
Yu.
Me?
No, Yu.
That’s what I said, Me!
No Me is catching.
Proper grammar is I am catching.
No I’s the manager, the catcher is me, and the pitcher is Yu!
I can’t pitch!
Exactly, and Yu will pitch to me. Now you’ve got it.
Arrrrgh!!

(Evil Monkey)

Yu can hate me all Yu want, Yu just can’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right in the Yuniverse.

Peace,

Jeff

Setting the Mahmud

RSBS Special Correspondent and Trombonist Extraordinaire, Mr. Johanna Mahmud reports:

“Hello little man, boy, I heard a lot about you.”

The news is in the for MLB, and well, there is no news.

But Paula Deen got hit in tha damn head with a ham!!!

Wish I  threw it.

But there is a ham fighter (and occasional nude male model) on the loose. The Rangers couldn’t keep C.J. Wilson but they sure ponied up to possibly sign Yu Darvish. After the Los Angels signed Alberta de la Pujols, Texas had to do something and they definitely went BIG.

I don’t speak Farsi or Japanesy-Chinesey like Jeffy, but I’ve been all over this kid for a couple years and am eager to see him pitch in the Bigs. I finally have a Middle Eastern brother to watch!

Decision making while tired has happened many times whilst signing Asian ballplayers has been bad, (see Fukudome, Kosuke or K, Dice) but I think this cat has it going on. He’s extremely consistent statistically, has a powerful arm and my manometer is blasting! I will make a pilgrimage to Arlington to see him, which means I’ll probably have a woman shooting at me eventually. Everybody’s packing down there!

Anyway, this was early Xmas for me, (even though the Prince isn’t a Cub yet) so I got my reindeer sweater and I’m blastin this bomb.

“Jesus, that’s wet.”

Have a great whatever you do!

–Johanna Mahmud
Follow Johanna on Twitter!

Sell Me Some Access

There was a bidding war for my services once.

Okay, technically it was more of a catfight than a bidding war, but I guarantee you it was fierce.  I was in college at the time, and I somehow duped two girls into believing I was A-list boyfriend material.  A gnarly girlpocalypse ensued.

It was awesome.

Then there was also the time in middle school where, for a small fee of one US American dollar, I would open up my father’s Playboy collection for viewing, all in the name of health and sex education, of course.

But I’ve never been Yu Darvish-ed before.  I mean, I’ve never had a bunch of folks throwing MAD MONEY at me just for the opportunity to negotiate a contract.  I know, I know, it’s hard to believe, but Nolan Ryan has never gone all in on my ass…ets.  My assets.  That’s what I meant to say.

Personally, I cannot WAIT to see Yu Darvish in action.  I’ve been salivating at his proposed Major League entry since the ’09 WBC and now it looks like I may finally get my wish.  Picture a 2012 season with an Adam Wainwright, a Stephen Strasburg AND a Yu Darvish!?!?!?  Somebody douse me with Gatorade!

Meanwhile, if Yu’s people are any good, then they got their Newt Gingrich on before teams put in their final bids.  You know it, I know it and the American people know it: no one sells access like the Grand Old Party.


Oh the Dems do it too.

Ron Paul.  That is all.

And don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

Joe Girardi and Afghanistan: A Comparison

One of the best cures for just about anything (except probably dysentery) is vacation.  Getting away from everything, giving yourself a chance to clear the cobwebs from the mind, often helps put it all into perspective.  For instance, Joe Girardi started his vacation a little earlier than expected this season and has already come to the realization that he needs better starting pitching.  Granted, pretty much any baseball fan could have told him that but sometimes you need a little time away to fully comprehend the obvious.

Maybe that’s the problem with Afghanistan and Pakistan:

They’re pretty limited on the number of countries they can visit without a visa and that definitely complicates things.  Getting a visa is a big hassle so people just leave it be.  When you do that indefinitely, though, it also limits your vacation options and next thing you know, Taliban.

There is another option, though.  It ain’t cheap but it’s a do-it-yourself vacation that only requires a couple trees:

Yep, I think that’s exactly what the Afghans and the Pakistanis need.  Come to think of it, Joe Girardi might need one, too, especially if he doesn’t find those pitchers.

-A

Moral Quandary III: The Barry Zito Story

barry_zito.jpgPoor Barry Zito.  People are really tearing him apart — as is expected because he has been awful – but sometimes the human in me can’t help but empathize.  Despite my sympathies, Bochy’s plan is to yank him from the rotation and send him to the bullpen so he can ‘work things out’.

If I’m Barry Zito, I’m loving this. 

How great would it be if I went to work tomorrow and my boss said: “Jeff, you’re doing a lousy job, so we’re going to allow you to not work so hard, lighten your stress, workload, etc. so you only have to work every couple of days or so in non-pressure situations.  Oh, and don’t worry, we’ll still pay you the salary you get paid now.”

Eureka!  Sign me up, Boss!  I’ll show up and sit on my ^ss for the first two thirds of the work day, practice making shaving cream pies and chew on sunflower seeds.  Just holler when you need me and make sure that the money is still in the bank. 

Yes, I’m being silly.  I know that Zito probably hates Zito’s performance more than anyone else ever could.  But honestly, I wish things were so “awful” in my life that I got a guaranteed 100 million dollars coming my way whether I do good work ever again or not. 

Though I previously alluded to a theory that Zito’s poor performance is perhaps rooted in his propensity for courting high-profile, high-maintenance divas, I am beginning to wonder if this isn’t just another deserved consequence of dealing with the Devil himself (in this case, the Devil is Scott Boras, not Ann Coulter, though she is still the Devil too).  Seven years and $126 million?  That’s a lot of dough.  Yet Major League teams are still willing to take on (and pay for) the inherent risks associated with any Scott Boras deal.  The J.D. Drews, Adrian Beltres and Carlos Beltrans of the world have been laughing all the way to the bank while not really living up to expectations, or their contracts.  So it seems that Zito may just be another chapter in this ongoing saga of moral quandaries teams face when dealing with the Devil.  I wonder if Boras represents Chinese speaking white dudes with an affinity for Asian antiquities?

On a lighter note, to quell the idea that I am a blatant misogynist proposed by a recent nameless commenter on a previous post, let me just say that, for me, it was hard not to notice that Zito’s troubles started shortly after his frolic with Lizzie McGuire.  I’m a guy.  I analyze.  That’s what I do.  And, generally speaking, I’m arrogant, but not rude.  I love my mother and enjoy spraying women’s perfume in department stores when no one is looking.  So sue me.    

To prove that I am indeed a fun-filled philogynist at heart, I have included some lovely pictures of Barry’s most famously attractive paramours.  It’s hard to argue with beauty — or attitude.

Thumbnail image for milano_zito.jpghilary-duff.jpg

While it’s great fun and all, looking at these pretty ladies forces me to face a moral quandary of my own; therefore, I will say goodbye, for now, so I can come to terms with the situation.  In the meantime, please don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

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