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

Playoffs Begin to Crystalize

With the season winding down, most MLB clubs are fielding a squad fit for AAA ball, while a few of the best teams and some of the more deluded are still hanging on to the hope of making the playoffs.  The Angels clinched their division long ago, and have proceeded to the goal of helping “K-Rod” smash the single-season saves record.

The Red Sox last night clinched a playoff birth, and being three games behind the Rays wiith five to go have only an outside chance of taking the division.  Props for the Rays for hanging on to the division for a good portion of the season and finishing strong.  At any rate, the AL Wildcard race is over.

The AL Central race is still very hot.  The White Sox are in the lead, but the Twins are right behind them.  Unfortunately for the Twins, they are two games behind in the loss column, so they almost need to win out to win the division.

The NL is much less decided at this point.  The Cubs have clinched the “weak” (according to the pundits) Central division, but everything else is still up in the air.  The Phillies are only 1.5 games ahead of the Mets, who are still dealing with the loss of Wagner (last night by chaining Santana to the mound as he K’d the Cubs to the tune of “Swing Low Sweet Chariot”).  Out in the West, Manny being Manny has helped the Dodgers pull out to a three game lead on the Diamondbacks, who are doing their best job of emulating the rest of the worst division in baseball.

The NL Wildcard race is fun.  This is where most of the delusion comes in.  The Brewers, with flailing Ryan Braun, are only one game behind the first-place Mets, while the Astros still belive they can make up 4.5 on the Mets and 3.5 on the Brewers.  The Cardinals probably still think they are in the race.  If you listen to their announcers, they’ll tell you this is the best team baseball has ever seen:  they can even overcome mathematical elimination.

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.

Gardenhire Makes Good on Threats, Demotes Liriano to Company Slow-pitch Softball Team

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Well, not that far…yet.

Pioneer Press reports

“After three unsatisfying attempts to keep him in their rotation, the Twins sent the former rookie sensation to Class AAA Rochester on Friday, in hopes he returns a more polished pitcher.”

“Now he understands what it’s going to take for him to get back out on the mound and make it back to the major leagues,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said Friday, shortly after informing the left-hander of the team’s decision. “. . . Now he understands he really has to go down there and work.”

Yeah he hasn’t looked good…or even average. The slider that used to be so nasty has no snap to it, and even if it does the batter doesn’t have to swing – since it’s a foot and a half outside.

No Santana to help him out has to hurt.

No Hunter either. Twinkies in the meantime are in a bit of trouble, the only positive of which is that the AL Central has been much weaker than expected so far.

Probably some pissed off fantasy owners out there. We all knew he was a risk, but this is insanity.

Update: Pretty sweet compilation article detailing Liriano’s pitching mechanics this year. It’s all worth reading but here’s the moneymaker shot (2007 on left, 2008 on right):

SOMEONE IS SHORT-ARMING IT!!!