First, here is the initial entry. In this particular entry, the comments below it are a big part of the entry itself.
My predicted record: 86-91 wins
Actual record: 96-66
This might seem like a bad prediction on my part, but I would like to point out that it wasn’t as off as you might think. Had the team that started the year played the whole season, I think they would have ended up in the low 90s. Who added those extra five or so wins you say? Well one of their question marks going into the season was their bullpen which they revamped through deadline trades. For example, they picked up: Koji Uehara, Mike Gonzalez, Mike Adams, and some other reliever whose name escapes me.
I was also right in my prediction that the Rangers would have to out-score opponents to win. Although they had either four or five 14 game winners, no one behind CJ Wilson’s ERA would indicate that they would have as many wins with any other team. The second best starters ERA behind Wilson’s 2.96 was a 3.94. So even though this shows their starters stayed away from injury and persevered in the Texas heat, no one behind CJ Wilson was a bona fide #2 starter, like I predicted in my preview entry.
I would like to explain the grading scale. Even though I gave the Rangers a C, that doesn’t mean I predicted they would fall off. A C meant a team would be just as good as they were the previous year. Anything above a C would mean that they would be a better team, and anything below a C meant that I thought they would be a worse team. The degree by which the team would be either better or worse would depend on how far away the grade was from a C. So I predicted the Rangers had tread water in the offseason. Personally, I don’t think the team that started the year would have made it to the World Series again, but with their additions they made it to the same place as last year.
I think I got this team pretty well when you adjust for the mid-season trades. What would you say?
Ah Sunday Night Baseball. The lights, the people, and the only game going on at that time. The ballhawk’s nightmare. First, there is the normal weekend crowd. Then, there is the Sunday Night Baseball crowd. Then, there’s the fact it is a Yankee game.
So a ballhawk like myself would have to get there extra early right? Well, I didn’t. I set myself up to get to the ballpark at 5:30 but because of the MTA’s modified 1 train schedule on weekends which has it not working from my station to the stop before Yankee Stadium. In a nutshell, I got to the ballpark at 6:24, my ticket blew away into the street as I was told to take out my phone. Not a good day to that point.
From this, it is no surprise that my first ball was thrown. Seeing little hope for Home Run snags, I headed over to foul ground to get a ball from the pitchers warming up. I initially lined up behind Neftali Feliz because of the Spanish factor but moved onto new pairs as the former pairs didn’t throw me a ball.
Finally, Mark Lowe saw my Ranger’s gear and tossed me his warm-up ball for Ball #1 on the day. I was relieved. It seemd like the perfect set of circumstances to get shutout.
I then moved back into fair territory and as this happened a ball came to Neftali Feliz. He threw it back but I managed to get in the words, “la proxima, por favor?” which translates to, “the next one please”. Within five minutes another ball came to him and he lofted it to me for Ball #2 on the day. I was ecstatic. I had just matched my season average in Yankee Stadium on the weekend.
Under the red arrow would be ESPN’s John Kruk picking his favorite seat of Yankee Stadium as he will every Sunday Night Baseball.
Here he is doing the actual segment:
The listed attendance was 40, 811 and for once it felt like that. This picture is from before the game and it is still pretty full:
The snagging room was as good as it ever will be because of the brief spurts of rain/lightning.
The view to my left:
The view to my right:
Sadly, the only ball that came within 100 ft of me went into the second level just as I thought I had it caught.
The game as all I have gone to at Yankee Stadium was indeed exciting. The Yankees won again by scoring a run in the eighth off of Arthur Rhodes.
Rangers 5 Yankees 6
As I left, I saw the set atop a parking garage of Baseball Tonight:
- 5 Balls at this game
- 11 Balls in 4 games so far this season= an average of 2.75 Balls Per Game
- 29 straight games with at least 1 ball
- 6 straight at Yankee Stadium (just to clarify I only got one ball at the old Yankee Stadium waaay before this blog so Yankee Stadium refers to the new one)
- Competition Factor 40811 fans* 5 balls= 204,055
- Time at game 6:24-11:14= 4 hours and 50 minutes
Well, they are the defending American League champions:
Adrian Beltre, Yorvit Torrealba, Mike Napoli, Arthur Rhodes, Brandon Webb, and Dave Bush.
Cliff Lee, Jeff Francoeur, Rich Harden, Frank Francisco, Jorge Cantu, Bengie Molina, and Vladimir Guerrero.
Why?: Well actually, after losing out on Cliff Lee I thought the Rangers had a pretty good off-season. They certainly increased the depth in their line-up. Despite this, the reason I give them a C and not higher, is that Cliff Lee’s role as a role model for a very young rotation might have been greater than his individual contribution to the team. When Nolan Ryan first joined the Rangers as an executive, he wanted to have the pitchers throwing more innings and more strikes. Well, no one this side of Roy Halladay does this better than Cliff Lee. Although, Yorvit Torrealba did have some experience in managing a budding staff with the Padres last season and he will probably be the starting catcher for the Rangers for most of this season. As Mike Napoli’s defense behind the plate is a concern for the coaching staff and front office.
I see the Ranger’s becoming a better version of their 2005-2009 clubs, an offense that has to score more runs than the starters give up. True, they have more depth than those teams had, but they still have no clear cut #2 after CJ Wilson. I do like best, their acquisition of Brandon Webb more than that of Adrian Beltre. I think that he could get back to being a top of the line starter. Will he? Probably not but if he doesn’t, you are only paying a million dollars for most likely a veteran who contributes in the back of the rotation. This is dependent on the fact that Michael Young is staying but, I think that the only team without a weak roster spot ie the Yankee’s fourth and fifth starters or the Red Sox’s Catcher.
Predicted Record range: 86-91 wins and 76-71 losses. Which will be good for either 1st or second place in the West depending on the Athletics’ record but I don’t see them reaching the World Series if they do win because of the lack of a dominant ace, though they do have a plethora of depth in the rotation. There is always the possibility that they have the World Series loser syndrome, which is to say that they will fall off substantially but I think that they will keep the pace because of their youth. True that this could be a reason for their demise but… where was I going with this? Can I change my mind now? Oh well, I already wrote the entry.
Up Next: Oakland Athletics
P.S. I know this isn’t a letter but, did anyone notice that even though I wrote a pretty extensive entry on Spring Training beginning. I was not featured on the Mlblogs home page (for those who don’t know how to get there click on the Mlblogs Network in the upper left corner) I mean there were entries that were only three sentences and even one that only had eight views when I saw it (#15).
I know I haven’t written anything in a while. I started a world series preview but this was as far as I got by the first game
I personally prefer a good pitcher’s duel to a shoot out. That’s why I love this series. Four good pitchers for the Giants, three for the Rangers, it will be amazing.
MVP: Matt Cain-
This may seem strange as a choice for MVP. Now, I am not saying that he will be voted MVP of the series or even that he will be the best pitcher on his team. I do not think Cain’s scorless streak will last the world series but will pitch close too that quality. I predict Tim Lincecum will pitch almost as well as Cain if not as well. However, Tim Linceucum is going against Cliff Lee two, possibly three times. I think that Lee will pitch better than Lincecum and beat him in at least one of those games. Cain on the other hand, is pitching against C.J. Wilson twice and will not have to pitch as well as Lincecum to win a game. I think the Giants will get two wins out of cain, which is pretty valueable in a best of seven series.
Cy Young: Tim Lincecum-
“But mister, why would you have one pitcher as the most valuable player and the other as the Cy Young while they are on the same team?” Well young grasshopper, the logic behind this is that I predict Lincecum will pitch better but Cain’s preformance will be worth more because he will get more wins out of pitching to the quality that I think he will pitch to. Thus, he will be more valuable to his team than Lincecum. If Lincecum wins 2/2 or 3/3 games in this series against Cliff Lee than this all changes but I think winning 2/2 games is more valuable than 2/3.
Silver Slugger: Tim Lincecum!!! … Or maybe Buster Posey/Pat Burrell
Some of the old with some of the new. Pat Burrell will get many more at-bats with the DH spot in three out of the first five games. He had the second highest slugging percentage on the Giants despite being close to the end in batting average. Buster Posey has shown only improvement under pressure and shouldn’t stop now.
X-Factor: Brian “fear the beard” Wilson
This article is not about that. This article is an end of the year review of my ballhawking. This one will be interesting for the fact that I only blogged about one game but here it is.
Avg: 2.8 balls per game
Retriever: 0 (no retrievers allowed in NYC) but for those who are wondering I will use both a cup and a glove trick. For some things I have a really unimaginative mind.
Hit: 0 ( At the end of September I went to games in which bp was rained out and stayed in the habit of getting thrown balls into October which you can see on my mygameballs.com profile http://www.mygameballs.com/baseballdata?db=fischerm )
Avg: 4.33 ( wow how’d I do that)
Competition factor for the year: 1,985,159
I will blog about the off-season moves of the different teams but the volume of articles will pick up very much in the spring and summer when baseball starts up again.
When has this ever happened? By my count, (whatever that’s worth) we have eleven potential aces and four of the best pitchers in baseball heading the four different teams.
1. Cliff Lee
-Twenty-one strikeouts without a single walk in Rookie ball is impressive much less the playoffs.
2. Christopher John Wilson
-Now he may not be the most obvious ace but out of his thirty three 2010 starts, TWELVE were of seven innings or more and two or fewer runs allowed, EIGHTEEN were of six innings and two runs or less.
New York Yankees
1. Carsten Charles Sabathia- I watched this guy throw what should have been a no-hitter two years ago in Pittsburgh.
-For a good part of the year, this was the best pitcher on the best team in the Majors.
1. Roy Halladay
-One Postseason start, One postseason no-hitter. It is scary to think what would have happened had he been with the Phillies for the last five years. His sinker, cutter scissor effect rules supreme.
2. Roy Oswalt
-Is one of the most accurate fastballs in the game supported with an absolutely hittable curve (opponents are hitting just .125 off of it) makes him an ace wherever he is if not the number one pitcher.
3. Cole Hamels-Remember, he was the star of the playoffs just two years ago
and with the same nasty change and a rejuvenated fastball he is ready to regain that spotlight.
San Francisco Giants
1. Tim Lincecum- Scouts were impressed with the fact a 5’11” kid could hit 100 mph.
Lincecum showed a curve that was even better. The MLB hitters couldn’t hit him, he then added a change up that could dive to either side of the plate. He won a Cy Young in his first full year in the MLB.
Everyone thought he couldn’t get better, he added a slider and won his second Cy Young.
2. Matt Cain- Is something like 48-0 in games where he is given four runs or more of run support. Of course, the Giant’s offense is not know for that.
3. Jonathan Snachez- Like Wilson, he won’t pitch a shutout every game but who could forget he pitched a No-Hitter last year
and could any day with an amazing slider.
4. Madison Bumgarner
-He is the reason I pick the Giants for the World Series this year. He had some difficulty in adjusting to the Majors but in his last seven starts he has an ERA of 1.78. If he stays healthy, I predict another Matt Cain waiting in the wings.
Well, I just love this because I prefer pitchers above hitters by a sizable margin. However, this is just my opinion. If anybody has started reading, first thank you, but secondly give your opinion of who is an ace or not and why.
P. S. just to preview I will most likely be going to Yankee Stadium for Game 4 of the ALCS