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

MLB Roundup: NL West

This is a pretty sorry looking division.  Not only is Arizona in the lead with one game over .500, but there are not only one but two ultimate bottom feeders who are really giving the Mariners a run for their money for worst record ever.

Before the season started, I heard this division touted by a few pundits as one of the better divisions in baseball, the defending NL champion Rockies returning nearly unchanged, the young Diamondbacks with perhaps the best rotation in baseball rounded out with an amazing young core of players, bolstered further by a full season from phenom Justin Upton, and even the Padres who many thought would actually compete.

The D’Backs started off torrid, but why are they lolligagging around at 41-40?  Webb and Haren are coming through as promised, but Randy Johnson can only be described as “washed up” while the rest of their staff has not been good, Doug Davis’ triumphant return notwithstanding.  As far as their young hitting core, Upton start off just like the Diamondbacks but has hit only one home run and batted in one run in the month of June.  Mark Reynolds is slightly off pace but has a very real chance of becoming the first batter to strikeout 200 times in a season.  Stephen Drew has been unremarkable while Chris Young really is not a good hitter.  Still, it isn’t a bad place to be; atop a weak division with a pretty strong team when it really comes down to it.  And young to boot.

The Dodgers have been entirely unremarkeable this season.  While they have a few good young players (Loney, Kemp, Martin, LaRoche) they also suffer from their terrible management bringing in aging, useless veterans.  In their outfield they have two of the most terrible yet highly touted players of our generation in Juan Pierre and Andruw Jones.  If you can’t see from their stats why they aren’t worth dick I’ll make it the topic of another article.  Also hampering them is their rotation, composed entirely of journeymen.

Next up, we have the San Francisco Giants.  The Giants so far this season have far outmatched any expectations I could have placed on this team.  On paper they easily have the worst team that has been composed in the last five years.  Omar Vizquel has, I can only assume,  been thawed from a cryogenic state in order to re-man the shortstop position.  Jose Castillo, Ray Durham, Randy Winn, some guy named Bowker, and Bengie Molina batting cleanup?  The only two players on this team who should be starting are Aaron Rowand and Tim Lincecum.

Further down the standings we run into the Rockies.  We all expected the Rockies to make a somewhat triumphant return, at least to do OK.  What happened here?  Pitching.  Besides Cook, the Rockies pitching has been, well, very typical of a Rockies team.  Not to mention they’ve dealt with some injuries, the likes of Holliday, the Norse God of Hitting and Troy “They Gave Me a Giant Sack Full of Money to Suck” Tullowitzki as well as Kip Wells, who is working on at least his second blood clot problem (yikes).

Finally we come upon the San Diego Padres.  While Giles, Gonzalez, Peavy and Kouzmanoff have been making do, the rest of the team appears to be sapping their will to live.  Hasn’t anyone in the Padres organization come to the conclusion that Kahlil Greene is not a big leaguer?  Jody Gerut and Scott Hairston manning 2/3 of the outfield isn’t very helpful either.  Maybe it would be a little different if Peavy had some help in the rotation, but Chris Young and Mark Prior, apparently going for a record-long seven year DL stint, are in no position to help.

So, that’s my view on the pathetic NL West.  I’ll be breaking down the rest of the divisions in the coming days, seeing as it is the real mid-season.

The Barry Zito Solution

Barry Zito, as pretty much everyone already knows, is terrible. His contract is for 7/126 and he can’t even make it to May of the 2nd year in the rotation since they have already demoted him to the bullpen. Now obviously Zito wants to collect his 126 million and isn’t going to retire and give up the money.

So here is my solution, make him earn it the hard way. Make him pitch every 5th day, make him start 35 games this year. The Giants aren’t going to be contending this year or in the near future, they are too poorly run at this point. The best solution is to make Zito embarassed, don’t send him to the bullpen, don’t pull him after 2 innings and 6 ER, don’t protect him from his own failure, make him throw 100 pitches at least. Every 5th day could be Barry Zito day in San Francisco, people could do the “Barry Zito Move” where you take off your cap and run your hands through your hair after he gives up a homerun or a bases clearing double or just can’t seem to find that pesky strike zone. He might be so bad that I can imagine more people coming to his starts than Lincecum just for the amusement of watching him fail in front of thousands night after night. If everything works as planned and you have fans out there cheering when he surrenders runs and he loses 24 games in a year, and he gets repeatedly shamed by the has beens, bench players, opposing pitchers, and Reggie Sanders of the world; maybe just maybe, he’ll retire.

Until then, let every baseball fan have his fun at Barry Zito’s expense. That way he can earn his 126 million dollars.

Barry showing us how to do his patented move

Zito to Bullpen

This year’s Hanging Curve Noose Award is looking more and more like Barry Zito every day. Yeah, yeah, I can’t imagine Barry will stay in the pen for very long. San Fran’s rotation isn’t deep, although Sanchez has performed admirably as a #3 starter, compiling 36 strikeouts in 28 innings. Zito has to be headed back though.

My theory is that management wants to send a “message” to Zito. This is pretty stupid considering Zito’s general lack of passion for anything, coupled with the fact that he can at any point call on his uncle Patrick Duffy for a new career in show-biz. No way Giants leave $126 million out there as a long reliever regardless of how much of a hittable Jamie Moyer he is turning into.

Fearless prediction: Zito ends season with at least 2 victories.

Read the full article or just stare deeply into the eyes of the new Fox police-comedy-action-drama duo. “D to the Z” stars Patrick Duffy and Barry Zito as two Wisconsin Park Rangers faced with a terrible choice; to serve, or be served.

Whatever that means, you’ll be sure to get a face-full of B and Z as they punch, kick, bite and throw low 80’s fastballs at a heart-pounding pace that will keep you on the edge of your division!

D to the Z coming at you!!