The Hanging Curve – Baseball Opinion Blog with MLB Analysis that won’t Bend or Break

A Different Guillen Loses it, this Time for a Reason

Jose Guillen let the Royals have it after their 10th straight loss Wednesday night. After pitching 8 innings of 3 run ball, Grienke gave an 8-3 lead to the bullpen for the 9th. 3 straight 2-out hits capped by a Craig Monroe 3-run homer off Joel Peralta lead to an 8-8 tie, and Morneau’s homer in the 10th lifted the Twins to a 9-8 victory.

After the game, Guillen let it all hang out:

“Too many babies here,” Guillen said—eliminating a few choice words that would make George Carlin blush. “They don’t know how to play the game and win the game right, the way it’s supposed to be played. And that’s the problem here. Now I know why this organization’s been losing for a while. Now I know.”

The Royals lost again to the Twins on Thursday 5-1, but the Kansas City Star reports Guillen “ready to lead the team.” Some highlights from manager Trey Hillman’s speech:

“Guys,” he says, “you know why they’re booing you out there? You know why you’re getting booed on your home field? It’s one reason and one reason only. Because those fans out there care.”

Hey those Royals fans paid $4 for those lower bowl seats, and they deserve to see a team that only loses maybe five or six straight twelve times a year. Not like this.

All-Star Game–More Like Shit-Star Game

Pittsburgh Pirate center fielder Nate McLouth

Nate McLouth

I was reading an article at pittsburghpirates.com that was (pretty hilariously) talking about how great it is that Nate McLouth is 11th in the first tabulation of All-Star voting and the first thing that came to mind was “how the fuck are these horsebitch players ahead of McLouth?” Some of the people in the 1st through 10th positions actually seemed to be having good seasons: Soriano, Burrell and Holiday came to my mind. But I decided to delve into the statistics a bit.

In order, the outfielders with more votes so far than McLouth are Soriano, Fukudome, Griffey, Beltran, Holliday, Burrell, Lee, Ankiel, Braun and Pence. Of these people, only four have a higher total in any ONE “major” stat category (Avg, R, RBI, HR, SB): Beltran in SB, Burrell in HR, Lee in RBI, and Holliday has two with Avg and SB. Beltran has a two SB advantage, Burrell just one HR, Lee six RBI, Holliday .006 points of average and 3 SB.

So he has better basic stats in every category than all but four of the players voted ahead of him, and of those four you could very easily argue that his stats in the other category should place him ahead of them. Of the ten players voted ahead of him, only one has an OPS (on-base plus slugging, widely considered a decent measure of how “good” a hitter is) greater than 1.000, that is Pat Burrell with 1.004. McLouth beats him out with a 1.005 (OK I admit, that’s not beating him by much…but the point is he has the highest).

Now that we’ve gotten the messy statistics out of the way, let us move on to the ad hominem portion of my article. Soriano: has been torrid as of late but keep in mind he injured himself in a prancing accident earlier this season. Fukudome: has been a solid OF but not living up to the “Ichiro with pop” hype. Griffey: OK let’s just vote for an aging great who can’t play defense or (apparently) hit home runs anymore. Beltran: He’s hitting .257. Ankiel: is anyone still pissed about the whole HGH thing? Braun: the only reason he’s playing outfield is he was too shitty at third base. And he has struck out 44 times to 9 walks. Ouch. Pence: instead of giving him ROY, lets vote him an All-Star next year. As far as Burrell, Holliday and Lee, I wouldn’t have a problem with any one of these three being an All-Star, but the sad fact of the matter is they are losing the voting race too.

He’s a true center fielder with 12 home runs and a .315 batting average. Watching him play defense this season, he’s run down some balls that few outfielders can reach, and hasn’t taken a bad route that I’ve seen. The only disappointment I’ve seen from him this season is he has only stolen five bases, but it is a little harder to steal bases when half your hits are the extra base variety.

All-Star voters, please pull your heads out of your asses.

Willie Randolph’s Dark, Black Saga

Jerry, Lee, Larry and Wally

Marlins beating the Mets 6-3 at the time of this writing. You gotta wonder how much longer they’re gonna stand the booing of a black guy at Shea. The Mets problems are clearly caused by Randolph’s ethnic origin. You can see it all over the in the media, particularly the New York Post, which detailed exactly the type of racism Randolph faces. Here’s a small snippet from the article entitled “Hard to Argue if Manager Gets Canned“.

It is good to hear from the shortstop, because the second-biggest question the Wilpons must ask themselves is this: Who is available to get through to Reyes, to find a way to recapture the magic he used to carry in his spikes and his glove? As much as anything, Reyes’ day yesterday – another awful pick-off, a game-altering error that turned an inning-ending double-play into, eventually, Seth Smith’s first career homer – wholly emblemizes this Mets’ season.

Ok so it might not mention specifically all the racism. But what’s that article title supposed to mean anyway? That black people would enjoy being canned? And that the white man doesn’t care? Is it implying black Mets managers enjoyed canned food? Dog food even? There’s certainly plenty…in the doghouse…with Willie.

The article goes on :

The Mets have made it perfectly – and rightly – clear that Reyes is the concrete of their foundation. Under Randolph, he has regressed. Could Jerry Manuel connect with him (because if he can, he’s been awfully bashful about speaking up)? Could an outsider? Lee Mazzilli? Larry Bowa? Wally Backman (who, if the Mets want a jarring culture change, is the right man for that job, despite his baggage).

Oh I see how it is…guys named Jerry, Lee, Larry and Wally are gonna get through to Jose Reyes. Why not just send the ambiguously gay Mormon missionaries named Steve and Chris?
*UPDATE* – Mets lose 7-3.  Randolph apparently keeps his job (for now).  Reyes extends his hitting streak to 11 games with 2 motivated homers.

Deep, Deep Inside the Numbers – Daisuke Matsuzaka

Fuck you Varitek I’ll throw it where I want!

Dice-K has worked his way to an 8-0 record. You hear from analysts how Matsuzaka has “settled in” during his sophomore year. But as a Boston fan, every time he takes the mound is a cold-sweat, hands-trembling, stomach-churning bad trip from the very first 3-2 count.

Dice-K may be undefeated, but he’s far from dominating. Is he due for an ass-kicking? Is he even any better than last year?

PENETRATE THE STATISTICS!

As of today, Dice K 60 IP, 41 hits (4 homers) 38 walks to 53 strikeouts. That’s a WHIP of 1.317, the same as last year’s 1.324, when his ERA registered at 4.40. He’s also retiring half of hitters on the flyball (49%). BABIP is .231. Something’s gonna give pretty soon if his command doesn’t improve. Just watching the games you notice him consistently missing the location Varitek calls. This year he has fallen behind more hitters and overall strike percentage decreased.

The statistics suggest he can’t keep it up for long…but I’ll be damned if he hasn’t worked his way out of most big jams I’ve seen him in this year, and there have been a LOT.

The toil! The toil! Daisuke has pitched 7 innings in only two ballgames. Granted, he hasn’t gone less than 5 either. This isn’t Cy Young stuff though. It might not even be All-Star stuff.

You think he can keep working that gyroball? I’m not so sure…

Experts Agree: Padres Season Over, Team Should Kill Itself

ESPN, Yahoo, San Diego Union Tribune and other national and local sports writers concur when it comes to rating the Padres chances this year. Hell, the local rag hyped this week’s series with the Reds as “Cellar Dwellers Collide.” Sounds more like a gonzo porn featuring The Gimp and a wooden stairwell glory hole.

Well, other than a possible concussion, skull fracture or nose cartilage being pushed back into the brain like in those kung-fu movies, last night’s Albert Pujols line drive that struck straight into Chris Young’s grillpiece was a beautiful and moving metaphor of what it is like to be a Padres fan. Gushing spurts of blood, a scene so graphic that Channel 4 San Diego deemed it “too gruesome” to warrant a replay, Young dropped to the ground after the ball ricocheted toward third base.

Stuck somewhere between Moneyball and small market excuses, Padre ownership made a series of huge fuckups last winter. Letting Milton Bradley and MIke Cameron go, relying on Jim Edmonds’ corpse to patrol the centerfield, not moving Khalil Greene, and babying Chase Headley to Joba Chamberlain like proportions are a few, and added to the unforseen collapse of the bullpen and the standard aenimic hitting (on the road or at Petco) equals a fuckbag of Hello Kitty porn and last place in the standings. This is a season after the Pads missed the playoffs by one game–a post season tie breaker with an epic Trevor Hoffman collapse. Moments later, Pujols would come around third and slide into catcher Josh Bard’s leg at home, causing the foot to rotate about 60 degrees around his ankle enroute to a 9-3 Cardinals win.

As a Padres fan, this season is an Albert Pujols facial.

MLB All-Star Game – Let’s Give it the Respect it Deserves

That’s right, just like the Christmas season, All-Star season seems to come a little quicker every year now don’t it? Seems like just yesterday that managers were saying it’s only a month into the season, and here we are…almost 2 weeks past that! Time to start voting!

Sure, I realize that there’s still a couple games left before the All-Star game, but that’s why every fan is given twenty-five (25) votes*! Jesus if only we had 25 vote for president! Don’t worry about throwing away your ballot on some shit-eating Richie Sexon, because you can still sit down and do another ballot sober, probably tomorrow if your boss isn’t being a total douche.

*25 votes not applicable to Florida residents.

Here’s my AL “Super Squad” of position players.

First base – Ben Broussard. Goddamn it’s hard to kick out Giambi and Sexon, but Broussard is hitting .159.

Second base – Robinson Cano. No reason why Cano shouldn’t be there. With his lofty expectations coming into this season, he has performed exceptionally; .206 avg, .251 OBP, 49 total bases in 44 games..

Third base – Willy Aybar. Gotta give props to voting for a guy who isn’t even going to get his spot back when he comes off the DL. 7 games, 24 AB.

Shortstop – Julio Lugo – Just don’t hit the ball at him…or pitch it to him.

Outfield – Nick Swisher, Michael Cuddyer, Mark Teahen. I guess some people might consider these ballplayers disappointments. I don’t consider them ballplayers, unless you mean ___*

*Insert your own tasteless “ball-player” pun here.

Catcher – Kenji Johjima – You have brought much shame to my fantasy team Johjima. Much shame.

Designated Hitter – Gary Sheffield – Sheff has hands so fast through the zone it blows the ball’s mind (which in turn results in a strike).

You know what to do! Vote now!

Cancer-free Jon Lester Throws Cancer-free No-hitter

Recent cancer victim and victor Jon Lester threw a cancer-free no-hitter against the Cancer City Royals last night. Lester seems to have regained the velocity that he had lost (cancer) as he was consistently hitting 93 and above last night. I was talking to my brother before the game about the cancer-free Jon Lester, and how I felt he had lost the velocity and was worried it was permanent. My brother mentioned that during his one-hit outing last week Lester had been showcasing some cancer-free velocity.

The Royals fell victim to the cutter mostly, but Lester mixed in enough cancer-free offspeed pitches to keep K.C. pressing. He finished with 9 strikeouts (early Lester was a strikeout pitcher) and 2 walks. Nothing was hit all that hard; save one line drive to Youk. Watch the video. And enjoy life…while you are still cancer-free!

Closing Carousel

May. The time of the season when slumping hitters get “days off” they never wanted or needed. Hitting bad in April is a little slump. In May, it is the dreaded “slow start”.

Starting pictures have it no easier. We’ve already covered the trials and tribulations of Barry Zito and Matt Morris, and how the hell is Shawn Estes back in the majors?

But perhaps the most difficult job to keep in the majors is the closer position, which is ironic since it is the most fabricated job in baseball. It’s a pitcher who can only come in during the ninth inning (sometimes the eighth if they are particularly durable) when some magical contrivance of events creates a “save opportunity”.

This year, the list of chopped closer’s include Accardo (only filling in until BJ Ryan returned from Tommy John Surgery), Eric Gagne, and Jason Isringhausen, who punched a TV around the time he was yanked from the job and now sits on the DL as a result.

Now, Billy Wagner’s job hangs in the balance. The Mets’ clubhouse can be described perhaps as “cancerous” to their cause. The team lacks any real “clubhouse guy” and it appears there is quite a bit of friction between the young talent that carries the team and the ANCIENT veterans who are good enough to carry the team if they spent less than half the season on the DL.

Billy Wagner Badmouths Teammates While Making Important Phone Call

After Willie Randolph told his team to keep complaints in-house, Wagner torched his teammates (while also apparently ordering a pizza on his bluetooth headset) after a 1-0 loss to the Nationals in a game riddled with mistakes by asking the following: (obscenities extrapolated)

Someone tell me why the fuck you’re talking to the closer. I didn’t even play. They’re over there, not being interviewed [gestures to empty lockers of Beltran, Reyes, and Delgado].

I got it. They’re gone. Fucking shocker.

The Mets held a meeting yesterday to discuss situation. Willie Randolph needs to do something before it becomes obvious that he has no control over his players.

Color Commentating: Interesting Applicants Needed

What has happened to color commentating? It has become more and more acceptable for the color commentator to spend more time talking than the play by play guy. For example the Detroit Tigers tv guys, they are awful, their color commentator (Rod Allen) talks after every pitch. Look, you simply cannot be entertaining after every single pitch, it gets too repetative to say Brandon Inge is going to be looking for a fastball in this hitters count, everyone already knows this.

There are loads of people just like him now, who want to try to talk strategy that is fucking obvious, the play by play guy will ask the fucking commentator what the hitter is thinking, in ridiculous situations like hitters on base and a hitters count (HE’S LOOKING TO DRIVE THE BALL, LOOKING FOR A FASTBALL MIDDLE IN). I’m not sure how all these announcers got their jobs, they are fucking boring as hell and know as much as any random person off the street.

There are good commentators out there who actually add something to the game that most people don’t pick up; Jerry Remy points out the spin on the baseball, doesn’t talk too much so tension builds up in late game spots. Why is it so fucking hard to find people who can add anything of value to the game?

FSN’S Keys to the Game: Verlander Get Back on Track, Continue Errorless Streak, Work the Count

Buchholz, Bush, Baseball…Bullshit!

Clay Buchholz was the honorary spokesman for The Hanging Curve on Monday’s game in Minnesota. The right-hander left breaking balls up all game. Clay was touched up for 7 earned runs in 4 1/3 innings. There’s an extra noose here though for Minnesota’s Star Tribune writer Patrick Reusse. Mr. Reusse wrote an article detailing his opinion on Buchholz (he doesn’t throw the fastball enough). Hey Patrick, did you watch the game man?

The problem, Mr. Reusse, isn’t that Buchholz and Varitek desire to throw sixty curveballs a game while they get rocked all over the park. The problem is that Buchholz cannot locate his fastball. If the curveball is the only pitch going over for a strike, you gotta throw it. Let’s face it, Buchholz has a wicked hammer, and when it’s working it’s a very difficult pitch to hit. If he’s unable to locate his fastball, then he becomes quite hittable. But to just chalk it up to ignorance…as if you’re the first guy to notice he threw 2/3rds curveballs??

What’s even stranger is that if he had watched the game on television he would have noticed Bert Blyleven, the Twins foul-mouthed announcer and former curveball wizard making plenty of valid points during the game. The most noticeable of which was Buchholz’s front side flying open way too early on power pitches. You know….mechanics? Not…ignorance!

More Yahoo! Sports news fun: As part of an intense interview with President Bush, this penis-eating little bitch* asked some real hard questions, one of which involved baseball. Asking him to choose a position player and a pitcher; he chose Chase Utley and Roy Halladay. Not bad choices. Truthfully, you know he’d sign someone with ties to Saudi oil.

As a non-baseball related political observation, note the intense music and shots of Bush before the Yahoo! interview..before they ask him real hard questions like “Why did you quit golf? Was it the war?” (to which Bush replies yes, because some mother of a dead GI doesn’t want him to be playing golf). Actually Mr. Bush I think the woman would prefer you don’t continue creating more women like her. And that little penis-eating Yahoo! bitch just sits there and nods his head like a goddamn zombie the entire interview. EVEN IF HE’S NOT SAYING SOMETHING THAT SHOULD BE NODDED AT!

But it’s a Yahoo! Exclusive! with intense music, so you know they must be asking hard questions; even if they don’t sound like hard questions.

Fuck I need a cigarette. Where’s my man Scott Olsen?

*Note to all homosexuals: I am not intending to offend you by referring to this man as a penis-eating little bitch. The truth of the matter is that he actually does look like a guy who would eat tiny, shriveled up penises while wearing My Little Pony panties. Please excuse the confusion.