The Baseball Update
Flipping around the games tonight. Sox are still down 4-3 in the 8th as I write this but, you know, It's the Devil Rays.
The NL Central and wild card races are a mess. I just caught a little of Cards-Reds, but the Cards look horrible. I can't figure out where the runs come from in that offense, and at this point, I've lost track of how many retreads they have in their rotation. Looper? Pineiro? (who I actually like). The Brewers seem fun to root for and will be amazing on offense for a long time (the guys who aren't already signed to long-term contracts won't be free agents for a while). The Cubs, hey, what can you say. I picked them to win the division at the beginning of the year, so of course I'm rooting for them (and for the story as well). But they have significant flaws (the Big Z, the way he is going, the pen, offensive balance). Fun chase, the best going, but no worthy playoff teams.
Last I checked, the Yanks were having their way with the Jays. The Jays really are a sad story. Kind of like the Bills in a certain respect. Neither has been relevant since the early '90s, and while both teams make significant moves/splashes (Jays: B.J. Ryan, A.J. Burnett, Bills: Takeo Spikes, Peerless Price), the guys they get, aren't nearly as good as how they played before they arrived. The Bills, of course, have had more near-misses and have never attained the prize (although, as a former Jays fan, I think their "prize" was tainted in that they basically bought the championship and then pulled a '97 Marlins following '93 - even without the lockout they would have had to drastically slash costs). I don't know. Seems like a lot of moving sideways, which is worse in my book than tearing it down and starting over.
So.. Three things I noticed: (1) Following on this post, tonight, the little things went the other way tonight - Youk getting called out on a horrible mis-call by the first place ump on a checked swing. Totally changed the momentum of the inning. There were first and second with one out when Youk struck out. Who knows how that AB would have ended up had the ump gotten it right ... Then Varitek, grounding out on a 2-0 pitch (it was ball 3) after back to back walks by the TB pitcher. HOW DO YOU NOT TAKE IN THAT POSITION? Or at least "cut down the zone". Instead, he swings at a pitch practically in the dirt. Again, he is slipping. Big time. Anyway, the little things made the difference tonight. (2) I shouldn't rag too much on the TB pen. They had a good night tonight. Ed. Note: Until the last hitter. YEAH!!!! Actually, Edwin Jackson had a great night, the HR to Papi notwithstanding. He's a beacon of hope for the Rays. The guy is 23 years old and after starting the season 0-8 has gone 4-6 since with a 57/39 K/BB ratio (it was better before a couple recent starts). Not great, I know, but (i) he's dropped his ERA by more than 2 runs since starting 0-8, (ii) he, like Kazmir, is only 23 and (iii) had sick numbers for the Dodgers in the minors before being prematurely called up. (3) The Sox should shut Lester down for the rest of the year. He's not particularly effective and just hasn't seemed right since he came back. Great story and all, but there is no need for him to pitch in games right now. They can have him throw on the side and pitch sim games if they want, but him pitching in these games is doing no good. Tavarez would be fine in that role.
A Sox Fan in Hell with a great haiku - I particuarly like the fifth stanza (do haikus, or senryus, for that matter, have stanzas?)
I have no idea what the guys at Maldanado over everything are talking about, but it seems fun. I like the idea of a blog dedicated to a slightly-above average outfielder who just happened to have posted the best OPS among Jays OFs since 1992.
An EPIC Take down of a Mike Pagliarulo site (apparently offering scouting services or something) by Ken Tremendous at firejoemorgan.com. A bit long, but worth the read. And no, I've never heard the phrase "money blanket" before.
The Death Update
Joe Zawinul, fusion keyboardist. Played with Miles. I don't have any of his tracks, other than "Birdland" when he was with Weather Report (see below). I will need to get some. Forerunner to Herbie. Solid. Obit is here
/HOLY &!%!&! PAPI HITS A WALKOFF
The Taxes Update
No update. Slow day today. New farm bill to be introduced
So, to recap. Devil Rays pen? Not so good. Papi? The MAN.