Friday, April 26, 2013

Episode 63 "Tyler Thornburg Edition"

Breakdown of The Show:

Believe in Rickie Weeks? 0:00-19:00
Rami Back Soon/Lineup changes 19:00-32:00
Axford Closing Again? 32:00-47:00
Preview/Around NL Central/Chalet Award Winner 47:00-59:00

Thursday, April 25, 2013

2013 Week 4 Power Rankings

Biggest Move Up: Milwaukee Brewers

Biggest Move Down: Chicago White Sox

1. Atlanta Braves (1)

Even after losing a few games to the Pirates and losing Jason Heyward to an emergency appendectomy, this is still one of the hottest teams in the league and show no signs of slowing down.

2. Boston Red Sox (11)

Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz could carry this team all the way through the season. This is what we expected out of these two when they arrived on the scene and both threw no hitters early in their carriers. Getting Big Papi back didn’t hurt.

3. Colorado Rockies (10)

This team is hot and surprising. The pitching probably can’t hold up much longer, but Carlos Gonzalez and Tulo’s bats can make the team much better than people thought they would be in March.

4. Texas Rangers (5)

Their pitching is performing extremely well and the hitting is as good as it was last year, even with the big losses over the offseason.

5. San Francisco Giants (7)

After being swept by the Brewers the Giants went on a role. They have lost one game since and climbed back to the top. Their starters are finally starting to pitch like we know they can and the bullpen continues to hold things down late.

6. St. Louis Cardinals (15)

Proof that they have been playing well is the fact that the Brewers are winning almost every game they have played, but are still behind the Cards. And St. Louis has been playing some tough opponents.

7. Cincinnati Reds (9)

The Reds are taking advantage of some bad competition but they still bumped way up from their .500 mark

8. Arizona Diamondbacks (6)

They had a rough week, but are losing to some very hot teams. They are still strong and better than most predicted.

9. Oakland Athletics (2)

After a very hot first couple of weeks, they are losing to talent that isn’t as good as they are, but even after losing this week, they are still in first with a good record.

10. Washington Nationals (3)

The Nationals have to be one of the biggest disappointments in the first month. They are better than they are playing which is why it is very hard for me to bring them down very far and Bryce Harper is playing at an MVP level.

11. Milwaukee Brewers (26)

It takes a lot to make me move a team this high, and the Brewers gave me a lot. Nine straight games, pitchers throwing gems and timely hitting has brought the Brewers back in April.

12. Kansas City Royals (14)

The Royals beat some of the top teams in these Power Rankings over the past week. If they want to keep it up, the bats need to pick up.

13. Detroit Tigers (4)

On a four game losing streak and lost a series to the reeling Angels. The Tigers should be fine overall but had a bad week.

14. Baltimore Orioles (17)

These are the O’s we saw last year! They are winning some very close games and climbing in the division. If they keep it going they will shock everyone for the second year in a row.

15. New York Yankees (20)

Still winning series with almost no one left on the team. If CC can’t correct his issues this team will fall off the map at some point.

16. Los Angeles Dodgers (8)

They might as well be last after being swept by Padres. This is just the latest example about how combining the best players won’t always give you the best team.

17. Pittsburgh Pirates (22)

Taking 2 of 3 from the Braves is a big step for this team. They are still too hot and cold to have any confidence in their recent success.

18. New York Mets (16)

The Mets are starting to fall into place. Swept by the red hot Rockies, lost a few to the Nats and now losing to the Dodgers. No one expected the Mets to do much, but the young talent is still fun to watch.

19. Cleveland Indians (25)

They took advantage of the Astros, but they still aren’t playing well. They are just better than the worst of the league right now.

20. Minnesota Twins (23)

I think they are taking advantage of unexpected off days and pulling together wins, but still not doing well enough.

21. Los Angeles Angels (12)

I know they swept the Tigers, but they aren’t performing that well. Weaver needs to come back. Thankfully Garrett Richards is helping the rotation.

22. Tampa Bay Rays (18)

They had a good week but their record keeps them in the cellar.

23. Toronto Blue Jays (19)

Welcome the 2012 Miami Marlines, round two.

24. Chicago White Sox

They are losing too many games to bad teams. They need to beat the bad ones and at least spilt games with the good to keep up in the Central.

25. Philadelphia Phillies (24)

I can’t believe this is almost the same roster that went to two World Series. The pitching staff just can’t hold up their end of the deal and Ryan Howard needs to find his power swing.

26. Seattle Mariners (21)

They only won two games over the last week, and lost a series to the Astros. If Michael Morse recovers from his injury and gets his home run swing back this team can start winning again.

27. Chicago Cubs (27)

The Cubs stay put, but not even Dale Sveum wants to be a fan of the Cubs right now.

28. Houston Astros (29)

They won a series! That might be a highpoint for them!

29. San Diego Padres (28)

They are bad! I can’t believe they swept the Dodgers! And that account for over half their wins!

30. Miami Marlins (30)

Their only player isn’t even performing. Did they just hire this team off the street?


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Improbable Streak

The Milwaukee Brewers are currently on a very unlikely winning streak that every fan should be soaking in. Not only is the Brew Crew the first team ever to win eight in a row after starting the season 2-8, but most of their hitters are not performing well and pitching, what was considered their weakest area, is carrying the team. Let’s take a look at this improbable, but enjoyable streak.

First off the Brewers had absolutely no momentum heading into the streak. At 2-8 they were easily one of the worst teams in the league, sitting in the cellar with the likes of the Miami Marlins and Houston Astros. On top of a poor record Milwaukee was down two key members of their lineup in Corey Hart and Aramis Ramirez. Everything else was in a funk too, pitchers were only going 5 innings into games, the bullpen was blowing leads and most of the lineup was barely piecing together hits.

What helped turn the Brewers around was their pitching. Currently Milwaukee’s pitching staff has 2.84 ERA and the bullpen is performing at the same level as the 2011 bullpen in the second half of the season with a 1.32 ERA. Before the steak Milwaukee was in a horrible place. Axford was reliving his woes from the 2012 season with a 24.30 ERA in his first four appearances. Mike Fiers was in the bullpen after pitching poorly enough to get kicked out of the rotation. Ron Roenicke helped turn the pitching around by shortening Axford’s leash and replacing Fiers with a hot minor league hand in Hiram Burgos. By putting his best players on the field, Roenicke is helping this team jump ahead of the pack.

Now the most impressive part of the streak isn’t what was happening before it, but what is happening during. Five of the Brewers eight regular starters aren’t even hitting above .260 and three hitters are hitting under .200. Right now Milwaukee is thriving off big hits, but the fact that they are winning without two of their key power pieces and Ryan Braun slumping is astounding. Braun is the definition of Milwaukee’s hitting during the winning streak. His average is below Braun’s normal mark, but the Brewers three-hole hitter has a .759 SLG with 13 RBI. His only hits are coming in key run producing moments, while almost every other moment has gone to waste.

So Milwaukee probably shouldn’t be in this situation, they are. They should probably still have bad pitchers and with a poor team batting average and missing key components, their lineup shouldn’t be able to produce a run. The thing is they are producing, they are pitching and they are winning. Enjoy it Brewers fans, the great thing about baseball is sometimes all you need is a little luck.


Monday, April 22, 2013

Series Preview Milwaukee Brewers (9-8) Vs. San Diego Padres (5-13)

Probable Starters

Monday April 22nd 9:10pm

Game 1

Kyle Lohse (0-1 2.70 ERA) Vs. Jason Marquis (1-1 2.41 ERA)

Tuesday April 23rd 9:10pm

Game 2

Yovani Gallardo (1-1 5.24 ERA) Vs. Clayton Richard (0-1 5.28 ERA)

Wednesday April 24th 9:10pm

Game 3

Marco Estrada (2-0 4.50 ERA) Vs. Edinson Volquez (0-3 8.84 ERA)

The Brewers are winners of seven straight and are heading into San Diego to take on the sinking Padres. Milwaukee just swept back-to-back series against the reigning World Champion San Francisco Giants and division rival Chicago Cubs. Over this, seven game winning streak the Brewers lead the league in home runs and are in the tops in the National League in ERA and runs scored.

The Padres are coming off being swept by the Giants just after sweeping the reeling Los Angeles Dodgers (that’s three of their five wins this season). And not only are they one of the few teams already in double digit losses, they are sending three men to the mound who have been horrible in the past against the Brewers, and only one of them has had any success in this season.

Game one puts a pair of former Cardinals on the mound. Kyle Lohse is on the hill for the Brewers. Lohse has been phenomenal so far in the blue, white and gold, but still hasn’t been able to pull off a win. As long as he can throw another quality start the Brewers should be in good shape to win this game, but Kyle might still not get a win. Lohse has only had one bad inning in his Brewers career this far, and that amounted to just three earned runs making him probably the hottest starter in this series.

Jason Marquis takes Lohse on and is having a surprisingly successful campaign in just three starts. With one loss due to a lack of offense, Marquis carries an ERA under three into the matchup. Unfortunately, for him, Jason has 11 career losses to six wins against Milwaukee. Couple that with a career ERA above 5 when taking on the Brewers and an offense just getting by in the MLB and the chances of a win look grim for the Padres in game one.

Game two sends Brewers staff ace Yovani Gallardo to take on Clayton Richard. Gallardo has had just one good start for Milwaukee so far. In good news for the Brew Crew, that was his last start. Gallardo is known as someone who strings together good and bad losses so after a game where he allowed just one run in six innings he is poised to have another good game in pitcher friendly Petco Park. Oh and in three starts in Petco, Gallardo has a career ERA of 2.84 and 24 strikeouts to 19 innings. And politics aside, Gallardo is charged up to perform extra well after his quick run in with the law earlier this month.

Richard is having a rough season so far but he is also coming off his best start of the season where he blanked the red hot Colorado Rockies through six. Richard is one the San Diego’s best pitchers, despite the stats, and can definitely give the Brewers some trouble in this game. He has a 2-2 record against the Crew in his career with an ERA over four, but that includes his early years when he was a little more wild and inconsistent. I still think he will have trouble conquering Milwaukee.

I won’t spend much time on game three because it’s simple. Estrada is pitching well but not great and can do better for the Brewers, but I find it very unlikely that he’ll be able to pitch as bad or worse than Edinson Volquez who is off to one of the worst starts in the league. Volquez’s 8+ ERA and his 3-3 record against Milwaukee with a 5.64 ERA just makes it even less likely that the Padres will have a chance in the series finale. I am hammering this game down as Milwaukee’s sure bet to win.

Overall Milwaukee could easily sweep this series and keep their hot streak running and I am a person who doesn’t like to predict sweeps. The Padres are one of the worst teams in the MLB this year and will only piece together wins one at a time unless they play teams that are also horrible. The only thing that gives San Diego a chance to get a win is that they are pitching at home in a very pitcher friendly ball park, but the Brewers are getting the same advantage in the pitching department and their pitchers are overall better than the Padres’.

Fantasy buffs the Brewers player you have to start this week is Jean Segura. Hitting the ball on the ground and speed kills in Petco and that’s what Segura does. Not only that but he’s hitting .321 and has scored six runs during the Brewers winning streak and Ryan Braun can still clobber the ball while behind him to add to that run scored total. Also, please stop making Segura stealing first jokes.

Make sure to sit Rickie Weeks (as if you weren’t already). Weeks is on a huge slump and plays horribly in Petco. As if his .182 average wasn’t enough, .175/.257/.254 line in Petco. User beware on Rickie in this series.


Saturday, April 20, 2013

Episode 62 "Josh Butler Edition"

Breakdown of The Show:

Cleanup Spot/Lineup Construction 0:00-18:00
Burgos Gets Call/K-Rod Signing 18:00-34:00
Guest Interview: Adam Rygg of Brewer Nation 34:00-1:12:00
Preview/Around NL Central/Chalet Award Winner 1:12:00-1:22:00

Friday, April 19, 2013

Series Preview Chicago Cubs (5-9) Vs. Milwaukee Brewers (6-8)

Probable Starters

Friday April 19th 7:10pm

Game 1

Jeff Samardzija (1-2 2.75 ERA) Vs. Marco Estrada (1-0 4.50 ERA)

Saturday April 20th 6:10pm

Game 2

Edwin Jackson (0-2 6.06 ERA) Vs. Hiram Burgos (--- ----)

Sunday April 21st 1:10pm

Game 3

Scott Feldman (0-2 6.00 ERA) Vs. Wily Peralta (0-1 6.19 ERA)

The Cubs and Brewers meet up for the second time this season, this time inside the weather friendly confines of Miller Park. The two teams have had very different experiences since they met just over a week ago. The Brewers are on a 4 game winning streak after dropping two to the Cardinals directly after the Cubs series. The offense is starting to perform better collectively and some pitchers, especially in the bullpen, are starting to pitch better than they were earlier in the year. Meanwhile the Cubs lost 3 of 4 to the very same San Francisco Giants the Brewers just swept, and took 1 of 2 from the Rangers.

In the first game, the Cubs will send one of their only bright spots in this short season to the mound in Jeff Samardzija. He has performed very well in his first season as the Cubs’ number one starter, but has been on the bad end of a couple of losses where he could not get run support.

On the other side, the Brewers are sending out Marco Estrada. Estrada put together two strong starts back to back. The first game could rely solely on who gets more run support. I will take Estrada as the favorite here. Samardzija is 2-3 against Milwaukee but Marco hasn’t lost to the Cubs, so I think that gives him the edge. However there is a first time for everything.

In the second game of the series, the Cubs’ big offseason purchase takes on Hiram Burgos in his first major league start. Edwin Jackson is performing well below expectations, and has an ERA just over 6. Jackson is a starter known to have his share of rocky starts and suddenly turn things around, so you can’t look at those numbers as a sign that this well be an easy win. Jackson is 3-3 against the Brewers with a 3.47 ERA in his career.

Meanwhile, Burgos is making his first major league start. After a strong performance last year in the minors, in this year’s World Baseball Classic and to start the season in AAA he won the favor of management and gets the ball. It’s hard to predict how he’ll perform considering the only major league experience he truly has is the batters he faced in the WBC and in Spring Training. I will go with Jackson here, because he is bound to break out of this slump at some point and although Burgos proved he could handle major league talent in the WBC, I still think he will have some problems in his first start.

The best game of the series for the Brewers to win in my opinion is Wily Peralta against Scott Feldman. Feldman is as bad as his 0-2 6.00 ERA shows. He hasn’t made it through 5 innings and is coming off extra rest since the Cubs decided to skip his last start, and that isn’t always a good thing for pitchers who are well known as creatures of habit. Feldman has one start against Milwaukee and shut them out in 6 innings to get a win but that was 3 years ago.

Peralta takes the hill against Feldman and isn’t as bad as his numbers. He is a very strong pitcher like we saw last year who has had a couple of bad innings. Wily is 0-0 with just a 2.70 ERA against the Cubbies. Even if he has another bad outing he is still better than Feldman. I think Peralta will finally put it together this outing and come away with a quality start after a dew bad starts to begin the 2013 season.

Overall I can see the Brewers sweeping the series, but I believe they will take 2 of 3 from Chicago winning games 1 and 3. Don’t count the Cubs out though. Like most division rivals, no matter how bad one team is, it will still give the other a fight.

Fantasy fans, the player to start in this weekend series: Norichika Aoki. In just 18 games Aoki is .407/.486/.661 against the Cubs with 2 homers and 5 RBI. In a small sample size he blows the Cubs away and plays some of his best ball against the southern rivals.

The player to sit: Rickie Weeks. Not only is Weeks slumping at the plate in general, but he his .22/.323/.353 against the Cubbies with 120 strikeouts in 96 games.


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

2013 Week 3 Power Rankings

Biggest Move Up: Oakland Athletics

Biggest Move Down: Cincinnati Reds

1. Atlanta Braves (1)

Winners of 10 of their last 10. Best record in the league. Current winner of best offseason move. Justin Upton could carry any team in the MLB right now.

2. Oakland Athletics (10)

The A’s are killing it on the road. They just need to pick up the slack at home. The most impressive part of their success? Cespedes and Reddick aren’t helping a bit.

3. Washington Nationals (4)

Sure they were swept by the Braves, but the Braves are invincible right now. The backend of the bullpen has had a few lapses, but once they get it figured out the losing should stop and the Nationals and Braves could have the best race for the division in years.

4. Detroit Tigers (7)

The bullpen continues to be a problem, but they still win. Once the Tigers figure out the backend of the pen, they should run away with the central.

5. Texas Rangers (5)

The Rangers have a strong record and very strong pitching. Brining Alexi Ogando back to the rotation is helping them have one of the best groups of starters in the AL.

6. Arizona Diamondbacks (8)

They have had a great start to the season but let’s see if they can keep it up without Aaron Hill.

7. San Francisco Giants (9)

They won 6 of 7 and then dropped the first game of the series to the Brewers. But even in that loss the Giants still almost won. Sergio Romo has been the bright spot for this Giants team.

8. Los Angeles Dodgers (3)

Losing Zack Greinke might be their biggest defeat in April. The rest of the rotation (besides Clayton Kershaw) will need to pick up the slack with Greinke out.

9. Cincinnati Reds (2)

Johnny Cueto is out for at least a few weeks. They dropped five games in a row. They should get back on the track with the Marlins and Cubs on deck.

10. Colorado Rockies (15)

Five wins in a row have helped erase being swept by the Giants early last week. If Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez can stay healthy, they might carry this team to the playoffs.

11. Boston Red Sox (13)

Where have the Red Sox come from? When they get David Ortiz back, they will be even more dangerous.

12. Los Angeles Angels (6)

I’m a little disappointed by the Angels. Josh Hamilton and Mike Trout are homerless and the only pitcher this team has is on the DL until May.

13. St. Louis Cardinals (17)

Swept the Reds, took the division lead, all while having closer issues. The Cardinals continue to be good for no good reason.

14. Kansas City Royals (12)

After sweeping the Twins they have dropped 3 of 4 to the Blue Jays and Braves. Now they sit under .500 and have fallen back in division after leading for a very short while.

15. Chicago White Sox (11)

All the home runs in the world won’t matter if no one is on base when you hit them.

16. New York Mets (16)

The Mets young players are starting to take shape. When this team gets everyone it needs up, and more consistent it will be very good, but that’s a few years away.

17. Baltimore Orioles (20)

After an early season slump they are starting to get things figured out. It especially helps that they are defeating division rivals.

18. Tampa Bay Rays (14)

Let me repeat what I’ve been saying all year. Until they bring up Wil Meyers, this lineup cannot regularly win.

19. Toronto Blue Jays (19)

They are starting to win now that the rotation is putting things together. The loss of Jose Reyes hurts a lot, but at least Brett Lawrie is back.

20. New York Yankees (21)

I guess you can win with a patchwork offense. I really thought the Yankees would be cellar dwellers all season. The offense is bad, the pitching staff is bad. The only top performer is Andy Pettitte. Robinson Cano isn’t even performing. I don’t really think they will be better when some of their injured players get back.

21. Seattle Mariners (18)

Losing two of three to the Astros is enough to move anyone down a few. Losing 5 of 7 doesn’t help either.

22. Pittsburgh Pirates (25)

They swept the Reds which is impressive, but this is still the same team that almost lost a series to the Cubs.

23. Minnesota Twins (24)

The move up is less because they are good and more because everyone else is worse.

24. Philadelphia Phillies (26)

Roy Halladay won a game! But it was against the Marlins… And Giancarlo Stanton was out.

25. Cleveland Indians (22)

Two postponed games against the Yankees might be the best thing that happened to the Indians in the past week.

26. Milwaukee Brewers (23)

A huge victory for the Brewers, they have won 2 games in a row. Maybe the fact that they have winning 2 games in a row is the highpoint for season is more than enough reason for them to be 26th. They also lost three in a row to division rivals. And Yovani Gallardo was arrested for an alleged OWI. Want me to go on?

27. Chicago Cubs (27)

They beat the Giants… And that’s basically it in the past week.

28. San Diego Padres (28)

The Padres lost 5 straight, but at least they have 2 wins against the Dodgers.

29. Houston Astros (30)

The fact that they have four wins is astounding, and really slowing down their quest for 100 losses.

30. Miami Marlins (29)

The battle for last place continues and the Marlins are beating the Astros by losing.


Friday, April 12, 2013

Episode 61 "Livan Hernandez Edition"

Breakdown of The Show:

The Axford Problem/Bullpen Woes 0-18:00
Injuries Cause Early Roster Shakeup 18:00-38:30
Preview/Around NL Central/Chalet Award Winner 38:30-45:30
Deleted Scene 45:30-58:30

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

2013 Week 2 Power Rankings

Biggest Move Up: Boston Red Sox

Biggest Move Down: Philadelphia Phillies

1. Atlanta Braves (6)

The Braves couldn’t be hotter. Justin Upton looks like a man on a mission, to prove anyone who wanted him out of Arizona wrong.

2. Cincinnati Reds (7)

Playing perhaps the toughest schedule in the first week, the Reds came away 5-2. The only weak spot on the team right now looks like Shin Soo Choo’s defense, but Choo’s offense might be one of their biggest bright spots.

3. Los Angeles Dodgers (4)

They dropped two to the Giants, but swept the Pirates. Clayton Kershaw looks like a lock for the CY Young. He is probably the only reason they are getting a boost this week.

4. Washington Nationals (2)

They swept Miami, which they should, but dropped two to Cincinnati. They still have one of the best rosters in the league and shouldn’t lose many seasons this year.

5. Texas Rangers (9)

From shutting down the Angels and now foe Josh Hamilton, to Yu’s near perfect game, it has been a great start to the year for the Rangers. They shouldn’t have lost to Houston, but if they continue to play like this, they shouldn’t have a problem getting back into the playoffs.

6. Los Angeles Angels (1)

It’s hard for me to drop the Angels far, but they haven’t showed much. The pitching has been poor. Now with Weaver out for a while, not sure they can compete if the others don’t pick up the slack.

7. Detroit Tigers (3)

Dropping two to the Twins and getting shutout by the Yankees is not a good start for the Tigers. They still have strong pitching and an even stronger offense, they just need it to come together. Especially the back end of the bullpen.

8. Arizona Diamondbacks (12)

They are leading the division and could win it if they keep performing. Not sure if part of their record was picking on an injury plagued Brewers team or they are actually this good.

9. San Francisco Giants (5)

The Giants need Buster Posey to start hitting. Good thing pitching is performing, and Hunter Pence.

10. Oakland Athletics (13)

There record is good, but the teams they have beaten aren’t. It’s a small jump, mostly because they’re tied for the division lead.

11. Chicago White Sox (19)

Could the Chicago’s team from the South Side surprise us even more than last year? One thing is for sure, they don’t miss AJ Pierzynski with how Tyler Flowers is hitting, yet.

12. Kansas City Royals (18)

The Royals had a great first week. They would be 11 if they didn’t lose a series to the White Sox.

13. Boston Red Sox (25)

Surprise team of the year so far. If Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz can continue to pitch the way they have been so far, the Red Sox will be back in the running to be division leaders.

14. Tampa Bay Rays (8)

A couple of losses to Baltimore helped put them behind to start the season. I still think they need Wil Myers to be a formidable team.

15. Colorado Rockies (24)

Some are comparing this team to the ’07 Rockies. I don’t think the pitching can hold up, but CarGo and Tulo will most likely continue hitting at their current pace, which won’t hurt.

16. New York Mets (27)

The Mets are playing way over their head. One thing they do have going for them that should stick throughout the season, Matt Harvey.

17. St. Louis Cardinals (11)

A couple losses to Arizona and a huge loss to Cincinnati have the Cards in an early hole. They need to get the back end of the bullpen figured out until Motte gets back. This will be one of Matheny’s biggest tests early in his managerial career.

18. Seattle Mariners (17)

The Mariners draw even at the end of the first week. Jack Zduriencik looks like a genius for bringing in Michael Morse and Kendry Morales.

19. Toronto Blue Jays (10)

The Blue Jays had a lot more potential. RA Dickey needs to get right. The offense shouldn’t be a problem.

20. Baltimore Orioles (14)

The power hitters are doing all of the work for this team. They only won last year because of the starting pitching and right now, the starting pitchers are not performing. No way can they repeat like this.

21. New York Yankees (21)

The offense is bad, the pitching staff is bad. The only top performer is Andy Petite. Robinson Cano isn’t even performing. I don’t really think they will be better when some of their injured players get back.

22. Cleveland Indians (22)

They defeated the two reigning CY Young award winners. Unfortunately, that might be the highlight of their season. A .500 week and they stay put.

23. Milwaukee Brewers (15)

Injuries and poor pitching, that’s the story for the Brewers. The pitchers will need to pick up the slack with key power hitters out. Also, Henderson had better be more reliable than Axford if they hope to compete.

24. Minnesota Twins (28)

The Twins have gotten off to a quick start, but they should cool off soon.

25. Pittsburgh Pirates (20)

Losing two to the Cubs is pretty bad. So is the rest of the team. I don’t even see a bright spot here.

26. Philadelphia Phillies (16)

Wow this team is bad, bad, bad. Roy Halladay is a shell of his former self, and Cole Hamels could not be getting off to a colder start. At least they have Cliff Lee?

27. Chicago Cubs (23)

The Cubs are facing pretty much every problem possible. The only thing they have going for them is Jeff Samradzija.

28. San Diego Padres (26)

Five losses already. One win against the Mets.

29. Miami Marlins (29)

They aren’t hitting, they aren’t pitching, even Giancarlo isn’t doing anything. The Marlines and Astros are fighting for the number one pick next year.

30. Houston Astros (30)

The Astros are a bad.


Monday, April 8, 2013

Series Preview Milwaukee Brewers (1-5) Vs. Chicago Cubs (2-4)

Probable Starters

Monday April 8th 1:20pm

Game 1

Marco Estrada (0-0 7.20 ERA) Vs. Edwin Jackson (0-13.60 ERA)

Tuesday April 9th 7:05pm

Game 2

Wily Peralta (0-1 6.75 ERA) Vs. Travis Wood (1-0 0.00 ERA)

Wednesday April 10th 7:05pm

Game 3

Kyle Lohse (0-0 1.50 ERA) Vs. Scott Feldman (0-1 7.71 ERA)

The Brewers head into Chicago for their first road series of the year, and they really need a win. After winning the first game of the season, the Crew is 0-5 and not only are the bullpen woes from last year back but now injuries are plaguing the lineup.

On the other side of the matchup, the Cubs had a strong opening series, but were just swept in Atlanta by a superior Braves team. As we all know, their expectations for the season aren’t very good to begin with and they were probably lucky to get 2 wins from division rival Pittsburgh.

The Cubs are coming into the picture at the perfect time for Milwaukee. Not only does Wrigley field give plus power to anyone with a little bit of pop, but the Cubs hitters aren’t intimidating. Without Corey Hart and Aramis Ramirez for the next few weeks the Brewers need to scrap together every win they can get.

The first game should be fun to watch if Marco Estrada pitches better than he did in his first game. Both Estrada and Edwin Jackson can strike out batters at a decent rate and keep runners off base. It could shape up to be an unexpected pitching duel with two sub-par offenses behind them.

Game 2 is a matchup that should go in Milwaukee’s favor but according to current stats won’t. Wily Peralta is a very good pitcher, but falling behind in the count his first start gave hitters the upper hand. If he is more aggressive he should rebound. Travis Wood pitched above his own ability. He’s done this before in his career and can either repeat or give up 10 earned runs.

The best matchup for the Brewers to win is without a doubt Kyle Lohse against Scott Feldman. Feldman is a poor pitcher to begin with and Lohse is coming off a strong first start with the Brewers. His career numbers aren’t great against Chicago at 4-4 and a 5.17 ERA in 16 starts, however in the last 2 years he is 3-0 with a 3.38 ERA again the Cubs.

Prediction? I hope the Brewers go 2-1 but with all the injuries I’m predicting 1-2. If Ryan Braun returns they will be better off, and more likely to win at least two games. They could sweep with Braun and if their pitchers perform up to expectations.


Thursday, April 4, 2013

Series Preview Arizona Diamondbacks (2-1) Vs. Milwaukee Brewers (1-2)

Probable Starters

Friday April 5th 7:10pm

Game 1

Wade Miley (0-0 – ERA) Vs. Kyle Lohse (0-0 – ERA)

Saturday April 6th 6:10pm

Game 2

Patrick Corbin (0-0 – ERA) Vs. Mike Fiers (0-0 – ERA)

Sunday April 7th 1:10pm

Game 3

Ian Kennedy (1-0 2.57 ERA) Vs. Yovani Gallardo (0-0 5.40 ERA)

The Arizona Diamondbacks come into Milwaukee for a three game series. Milwaukee faced some tough losses against the Colorado Rockies in the first series of the season. Meanwhile the Diamondbacks are heading out of the desert, where they took 2 of 3 from the St. Louis Cardinals.

Both teams are coming off a series where their bullpen pitchers saw a lot of action. None of Milwaukee’s starters made it through six innings, and they opened the year with an extra inning win against the Rockies. Meanwhile the last game Arizona played lasted 16 innings against the Cardinals. Good for them both, there is an off day separating the series. Bad news, Wade Miley and Kyle Lohse could both have short leashes.

Lohse was signed very late into spring training and only squeezed in one start. He will probably be on a very tight pitch count in his first start. Miley on the other hand suffered from dead arm in spring training and had to be shut down for a small period of time.

Milwaukee stands to gain some ground in this series. If Miley’s dead arm continues into the season, Lohse should easily out match him in game one. Corbin had a strong spring, but still had an ERA well over 4 in 2012. In his one game against Arizona, Mike Fiers went 6 innings and allowed zero runs while striking out ten. Also, Milwaukee tends to feast on left handed pitching, continuing to tilt the scales in favor of Fiers.

The best chance to win for Milwaukee? Yovani Gallardo against Ian Kennedy. Although Kennedy is Arizona’s staff ace he is just .500 against the Brewers with a 3.03 ERA. That’s very good, but Yovani is even better against the Diamondbacks. In seven games started Yo is 6-0 with a 1.02 ERA. He has been nearly untouchable against Arizona since he entered the league and gives Milwaukee the advantage in what could be a great pitching duel in the third game of this series.

Overall I predict the Brewers to come out 2-1. I think Miley Vs. Lohse is a tossup, but the matchups over the series goes in Milwaukee’s favor. Milwaukee should head into Chicago with a record at .500. The biggest win for the Brewers would be if Axford could squeeze in a couple of saves before they leave town.


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

2013 Week 1 Power Rankings

  1. Los Angeles Angels
The Angels are the best team in the best division in baseball, so of course they take the top ranking. They have four 30 HR hitters packed into one lineup, an amazing defense in the outfield, the only true question: can the pitching hold up?

  1. Washington Nationals
They are young, fast, powerful, and might have the best pitching staff in baseball. The Nats are poised to be the NL’s first dynasty since the Braves of the 90’s.

  1. Detroit Tigers
The Tigers are getting Victor Martinez back, have two MVP’s and are competing in a division that isn’t even close to them in talent. Questions surround the back of the bullpen, but they are poised for another World Series run if they can find someone to finish off games.

  1. Los Angeles Dodgers
They spent and it shows. The additions the Dodgers made in 2012 and the offseason come together in a full season. Not having Hanley for a few months hurts, but their staff is great. Not many rotations would carry Harang, Lilly and Capuano as extra starters.

  1. San Francisco Giants
I find it difficult to bury the defending World Champions out of the top five. San Francisco has almost every piece returning from last year’s fantastic run. If Brandon Belt can add power to the lineup and Cain and Bumgarner can hold up to expectations, they should move up rather quickly.

  1. Atlanta Braves
The Braves have the Upton brothers in the outfield, Andrelton Simmons back in the lineup and top prospect Julio Tehran in the rotation. They might end the year with the second best record in the NL, but it would only earn them a Wild Card berth.

  1. Cincinnati Reds
The Reds are almost locks to win the NL Central. With Johnny Cueto and Mat Latos, they have the best pitching in the Central and a potential MVP in Joey Votto. The big scare for the Reds, almost any injury causes a big problem for the team.

  1. Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays continue to excel at putting together a pitching staff, and with Boston and New York in the dumps for the year, they can grab the AL East. Unfortunately the offense might not be able to hold up. The sooner the Rays get Wil Meyers into the majors, the better.

  1. Texas Rangers
Even without Josh Hamilton, this offense can still shine in Arlington. Yu Darvish and Matt Harrison will need to continue getting better for them to compete with the Angels.

  1. Toronto Blue Jays
The Jays have the best parts of the 2012 Marlins and 2012 Blue Jays, beside Giancarlo Stanton. They need Josh Johnson to stay healthy and they could be in a fight with the Rays for AL East supremacy.

  1. St. Louis Cardinals
As a Brewer fan this one hurts me the most. Even without Chris Carpenter, the team has enough potential aces hidden away in the minors to be great for years. And the offense is just as good as it was in 2012, just a little bit older.

  1. Arizona Diamondbacks
It’s not an easy task to lose Justin Upton and actually get better. Adding Martin Prado and Jason Kubel will really help the offense and the rotation should shine behind Ian Kennedy and Brandon McCarthy.

  1. Oakland Athletics
The rotation had an ERA under 4 and the bullpen is strong. Can Cespedes and Reddick get better? If they do, this team can surprise the MLB again.

  1. Baltimore Orioles
The other surprise of 2012 is taking the next spot. If the offense and pitching repeats, the team will shine, but it’s hard to win that many one-run games two years in a row.

  1. Milwaukee Brewers
Adding Kyle Lohse helps the Brewers rotation in 2013. The offense is still strong. Estrada, Peralta and Fiers can help the team compete. Can the back end of the bullpen save games? This is a team that needs every win they can get to compete.

  1. Philadelphia Phillies
This team needs Ryan Howard and Chase Utley to stay healthy. Their big downfall will be if Roy Halladay is just as bad as we saw at the beginning of last year and in Spring Training.

  1. Seattle Mariners
Adding Kendry Morales and Michael Morse should help the team, along with moving the walls in. King Felix is still one of the best pitchers in the league, but will the rest of the rotation be worse now that hitting is a little easier in Safeco?

  1. Kansas City Royals
The Royals added a lot in the offseason. Shields should help the team greatly, but Ervin Santana and Jeremy Guthrie shouldn’t help as much as some think. Their biggest weak spot? Ned Yost.

  1. Chicago White Sox
I honestly think the White Sox will be one of the surprise teams in the league. Paul Konerko and Adam Dunn have more than enough power for any team. Chris Sale should only get better in his second full season as a starter. The team will really suffer if Jake Peavy doesn’t stay healthy.

  1. Pittsburgh Pirates
The Pirates really need a winning season. Unfortunately Andrew McCutchen isn’t enough to keep this team in contention.

  1. New York Yankees
It is hard to put a playoff team this low on the list, but with all the injuries and questions in the rotation they will sink. This team could be in the bottom five in a month.

  1. Cleveland Indians
The Indians are better than last year, but not by much. Adding Swisher and Bourn will help, but the rotation is miserable. Aside from a few things to like offensively this team is going to be bad.

  1. Chicago Cubs
I think the Cubs could be better than most people expect. The rotation should be an improvement with Edwin Jackson joining Jeff Samardzija. The bullpen is miserable. Carlos Marmol will be gone by the end of the year, but as we learned last year, they have no one to fill in for him.

  1. Colorado Rockies
Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki are MVP caliber players. Unfortunately the Rockies will be buried in the NL West and only fantasy players will notice the two are any good.

  1. Boston Red Sox
If Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz are as bad as they were last year, Boston will be in the cellar. If they perform like the pitchers who astounded in their early careers, Boston could compete again. The offense isn’t as bad as some might think.

  1. San Diego Padres
The Padres don’t have much to look forward to besides a good draft pick in 2014.

  1. New York Mets
I think the Mets will be really fun to watch this year. They are young and have a few prospects coming into the fold. Matt Harvey could repeat last year’s awesome performance. Travis D’Arnoud will help them be bearable whenever he is brought up.

  1. Minnesota Twins
With a staff that will have an ERA will over 4 for every pitcher, not much to expect as far as winning goes for the Twins.

  1. Miami Marlins
Miami is almost a lock to be the worst team in the NL. Hopefully they get a great return whenever they finally decide to let Giancarlo Stanton join a team that can support his huge power.

  1. Houston Astros
The Astros are a lock for 100 losses. That’s really all you need to know to understand why they are in dead last.