Posts Tagged ‘orioles’

Raúl Ibañez Saves the Day

October 11th, 2012 by AmyMac | Comments Off on Raúl Ibañez Saves the Day | Filed in Baseball, General, Phillies

New York's newest golden boy!

By Amy McGinnis

I’m sure you’ve all seen or heard by now that last night, former Phillies left fielder Raúl Ibañez single-handedly saved the Yankees from falling 2-1 in the ALDS against the Orioles.  I suppose he had been saving up that postseason awesomeness for the last few years.

We all remember that Ibañez had his streaks at the plate … some hot, and some very, very cold.  Last night, he made MLB history as the first player to homer twice in a postseason game in which he did not start.  The last four words of that sentence are my favorite part (or maybe the only part I even like) about Raúl’s heroics in Game 3.  He came in as a pinch hitter for … wait for it … Álex Rodríguez.  A-Rod’s performance in the 2012 playoffs thus far are a far cry from his numbers in 2009.  For the ALDS, he has been 1-12 (not a typo).  Yankees fans essentially begged Joe Girardi to move Rodríguez from the 3-spot in the lineup, and last night, he did … he moved him to the bench.  It turned out to be a risky move that paid off in a big way – Ibañez homered to tie the game in the ninth, and he homered again in the twelfth.  Luckily, A-Rod was gracious about it … and I use the word “luckily” because I would have gladly put him on blast for unnecessary douchebaggery otherwise.

Raúl isn’t exactly a hometown boy, but he did spend three division-winning years here in Philadelphia.  I could say “I TOLD you Amaro should have kept him,” but I would be lying through my teeth.  Incidentally, do not say those words to me – that you never wanted him to leave Philadelphia – because you’ll most likely get an earful.   Do you remember the end of the 2011 season? I do.  I like Ibañez as much as the next baseball nerd – I have a foul ball of his in my living room – but I was ready for him to ship out after last season.  Why?  you ask.  Why the piss do you have to be so mean?  Well, kids, I’ll tell you why.  He was a 39 year old banged-up left fielder who had hit .245 for the season.  Yes, he gets a lot of credit for the 84 RBIs, but please do not forget that the Phils paid him more than $12M for them.  Our already-old, already-overpaid team needed to make room for new contracts (looking at you, Cole Hamels).  It was the right decision.


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Hot Stove Breakdown Part 5

December 6th, 2010 by Johnny G | 1 Comment | Filed in General

Goodbye Jayson

  • Lance Berkman signs 1 year $8 million deal with Cardinals
  • Adrian Gonzalez traded to Red Sox for Prospects
  • Rod Barajas signs 1 year $3.25 million deal with the Dodgers
  • Jayson Werth signs 7 year $126 million deal with the Nationals
  • Mark Reynolds traded to Orioles for David Hernandez and Kam Mickolio

1. On the surface, I like what the Cardinals are trying to do here: find a legitimate power threat for a corner outfield spot on a short term deal. I just don’t know if Lance Berkman was the right choice. A couple of years ago I probably would be more convinced that Berkman could handle the defensive workload for left field but at this point, and after knee surgery last season, it makes you wonder. You have to give credit to the Cardinals here for keeping the deal at one season and thinking outside the box, though. Berkman certainly has the ability with the bat to make this deal look like a bargain and the Cardinals are probably very optimistic about his ability to bounce back after a strong showing to end his season. I don’t have a problem with this deal for the Cards and coming back to the NL will probably a nice treat for the big puma.


2. This trade is a perfect example of two very good General Managers and two very good front offices coming together to make a trade that improves both clubs. This is the future of baseball deals and how trades should be made. Jed Hoyer and Theo Epstein came together to make a deal that sent Adrian Gonzalez, San Diego’s most valuable asset to the Red Sox for a crop of tremendous young talent that will be of assistance to the Padres as early as 2012. Adrian is a player with such a good feel for the strike zone and such great power to all fields, I feel like the change in parks will be much more of a factor than the talent differential between the NL and AL. Petco Park is just massive and really limited Adrian’s potential on the offensive side. To put that into perspective, over the last two years on the road Adrian’s numbers look something like this: .311/.402/.610 with 48 homeruns and 90 walks. We’re approaching triple crown talk with those numbers and with the short right field and Green Monster in Fenway, I can’t even fathom what he might do with 81 games there. The Padres received a nice haul for their slugging first basemen and the main piece to this deal was right-hander Casey Kelley. After being selected in the first round of the 2008 draft and receiving top 5 bonus money for the draft class, Kelley was a two way prospect until last season. Kelley will mostly sit anywhere from 90-94 mph and has a tremendous curveball and an improving change-up with solid depth to it. If all goes well, Kelley projects as a top of the rotation workhorse for years to come. The second piece to this trade is first basemen Anthony Rizzo. Rizzo looks to be the eventual replacement for Gonzalez at 1b in San Diego and the two are actually quite similar. Rizzo, like Gonzalez, has great feel for the strike zone, is an excellent defender, with tremendous power. Between the two, Rizzo is probably a notch below Gonzalez in all categories but that still is a very valuable player to have if he can develop properly. The final piece would be Reymond Fuentes, a centerfielder with tremendous range and phenomenal speed who looks to have the capability and potential to hit for average down the road. All in all, this is a trade that any true baseball fan really enjoys hearing about. This deal improves both clubs tremendously and gives San Diego some salary relief and prospects to build for the future. Great job on both sides.


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Johnny G’s MLB Power Rankings Part 11

June 14th, 2010 by Johnny G | 74 Comments | Filed in General

1. Tampa Bay Rays (1) (40-23)- The Rays almost get bounced from the top spot in this week’s rankings, but ultimately their consistency gives them the benefit of the doubt. After taking two of three from the Blue Jays, the Rays dropped two of three from their in-state rivals, the Marlins. The starting pitching has shown some signs of weakness but Carlos Pena is really starting to heat up. Pena homered in six consecutive games at one point and BJ Upton’s average has been on the rise, as well. The Rays are finally dealing with a little bit of adversity. Let’s see how they deal with it before removing them from the top spot.

2. New York Yankees (2) (40-23)- I wish I could list the Yankees right next to the Rays this week, but that is not an option. The Yankees have dealt with their fair share of injuries to this point and continue to win games at a consistent pace. That is a testament to Joe Girardi and the job Brian Cashman has done to give this organization some depth in the minor leagues. It seems like every week I say the same thing but Robinson Cano is really coming into his own. We are looking at a perennial MVP candidate, perennial batting title contender, and a tremendous defensive second basemen. With Chase Utley slumping, Cano is the best second basemen in the game.

3. Atlanta Braves (4) (37-27)- The Braves end week 11 fresh off a series win over the Twins and continue to lead the pack in the NL East. Martin Prado leads the league in hits with 90 and Troy Glaus has his average up to .290 with 13 long-balls after hitting under .200 in April. Tim Hudson and Tommy Hanson have been a tremendous duo atop the rotation and Billy Wagner has been lights out in the back end of the bullpen.

4. Boston Red Sox (5) (37-28)- Here we are, more than 60 games into the season, and we have three teams in the AL East in the top four spots in these power rankings. Looking back at my pre-season rankings, I was pretty close, with all three of these squads in the top five. Adrian Beltre’s season has flown under the radar for some reason. Beltre is hitting .335 with 9 homeruns and 44 RBI’s. Jon Lester and Clay Bucholz continue to lock down this Red Sox rotation as John Lackey and the rest of the bunch search for some consistency. If the back end of this rotation does find their stuff, the sky is the limit for the Bosox.

5. Los Angeles Dodgers (6) (36-27)- The Dodgers impressed me early in the week with a sweep of the Cardinals and then severely disappointed me by getting swept by the Angels. Clayton Kershaw is starting to go deeper in the games along with Chad Billingsley. That is the recipe for success for this Dodgers team. The offense is doing more than enough to keep the wins coming but there has to be some concern for Manny Ramirez. He only has five homeruns so far but he is getting on base at a very good clip. Same old same old for Jonathan Broxton in the ninth inning. He has a 0.95 ERA with 42 strikeouts and only 3 walks. Amazing.


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Johnny G’s MLB Power Rankings Part 9 & 10

June 7th, 2010 by Johnny G | 40 Comments | Filed in Baseball, General

1. Tampa Bay Rays (1) (37-20)- The Rays starting rotation came back to earth, as expected, but the team as a whole continues to plug along. No matter what the issue has been this season they have battled through it. John Jaso hitting leadoff? No problem. Carlos Pena hitting well below .200? No problem. Ben Zobrist has come on strong and has his average over .300 with some decent power after going homer-less for the first month of the season. As long as this young staff can keep going deep into games, the Rays have a playoff spot waiting for them.

2. New York Yankees (2) (35-22)- How good is Robbie Cano? .363 batting average along with 45 RBI’s and 41 runs scored and a 1.013 OPS. That is absolutely incredible. The struggles for Mark Teixeira have continued, though. That has to be concerning as it is starting to get too late in the season to use the excuse that “it’s early yet”. Make no mistake about it, if the Yankees want to win, Tex has to hit.

3. Minnesota Twins (3) (33-24)- Justin Morneau continues to absolutely carry this offense and leads the Twins in just about every category. He has a .370 average, 13 homeruns, 40 RBI’s, a .483 OBP, 71 hits, and 43 walks, all best on the team. The other part of this two-headed monster, Joe Mauer, has been in a bit of a slump, seeing his average drop to a human .313. Even with the injuries the Twins have dealt with, they still hold a comfortable 3.5 game lead in the division and look like they could improve.

4. Atlanta Braves (13) (33-24)- Wow, what a roll this team is currently on. Finally this offense has come around and what a difference it has made. Suddenly Troy Glaus is a middle of the order threat and Martin Prado has continued to rake. Chipper Jones was starting to come around before yet another nagging hand injury and Eric Hinske has taken advantage of his increase in at-bats. The Braves currently hold a two game lead in the NL East. How great of a story would it be to see Bobby Cox go out a winner? This team has the talent to make that happen.

5. Boston Red Sox (8) (33-25)- Where are all those people who said “this isn’t the Red Sox year”, “the Red Sox just aren’t good this year”, “you are biased because you are on the East Coast”. Let’s break this down simply. When you build a team with strong pitching (check), phenomenal defense (check), a phenomenal bullpen (check), and a very solid lineup (check), that team is probably going to win its fair share of games. I realize everybody hates the Red Sox but why don’t we all get a clue and sit back and learn something about the game of baseball. Like I said in week one and every week thereafter, pitching wins and this team has one of the best pitching staffs in the majors.


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Johnny G’s MLB Power Rankings Part 8

May 24th, 2010 by Johnny G | 36 Comments | Filed in General

1. Tampa Bay Rays (1) (32-12)- The Rays continue to cruise and as they stretch their lead in the AL East, they are beginning to approach some modern day records. This is the 4th best start in American league history and they have outscored their opponents by over 100 runs through only 44 games. Ben Zobrist is now hitting over .300 with his first two homeruns of the season this week. This squad is going to get very scary to play against if you can add Ben Zobrist to the mix playing like he did in 2009.

2. New York Yankees (2) (26-18)- The Yankees are really struggling with some injuries right now but they better be careful. After being swept in a mini two game set by the Rays, they now sit six games back of the division. Jorge Posada is on the DL, along with Curtis Granderson and Nick Johnson. Whenever a team of the Yankees caliber drops a series to a team like the Mets, there is always room for concern.

3.Philadelphia Phillies (3) (26-17)- The Phillies start inter-league play off with some less than stellar play, as they do every year. Jimmy Rollins and Brad Lidge are both back on the DL and Rollins absence in the lineup is really starting to show at this point. Carlos Ruiz’ hot start is a distant memory, as his plate approach and pitch selection has reverted back to the old Carlos Ruiz. Roy Halladay was roughed up by the Red Sox on Sunday, which will bring all of the questions out of the wood work about whether or not Manuel has overworked Doc. Everybody Relax. He will be fine.

4. Minnesota Twins (4) (26-18)- It is absolutely insane the numbers Justin Morneau is throwing up right now. .383 batting average with 11 homeruns 24 RBI’s and 35 walks. His OBP is .497 and his OPS is a ridiculous 1.199. Joe Mauer is still plugging along with a .343 average and the rest of the offense has continued to produce. All the starter’s ERAs have come back down to earth but this is an overall solid team throughout.

5. San Diego Padres (5) (26-18)- The fairytale continues for the San Diego Padres. In a recent Sports Illustrated Heath Bell was questioned about the possibility of a fire sale, where he and Adrian Gonzalez would be traded. He said both he and Adrian discussed it during Spring Training and came to the following conclusion. “Lets just win so much that they can’t break this team up.” It really looks like the rest of this crew has taken the same attitude, because if they continue to play like this, the Padres roster might be making additions come the trade deadline.


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Johnny G’s MLB Power Rankings Part 7

May 17th, 2010 by Johnny G | 30 Comments | Filed in General

1. Tampa Bay Rays (2) (26-11)- The Rays take over the top spot once again, as they also retain possession of the best record in baseball. You become a very difficult team to beat when you have a 2.78 ERA as a team, leading the league. Combine that with the fact they have scored the 2nd most runs in the AL and there is no mystery as to why the Rays have been dominant. On Saturday, the Rays designated former Phillie Pat Burrell for assignment, replacing him with Hank Blalock. Best wishes to Pat the Bat.

2. New York Yankees (1) (24-13)- Mariano Rivera gave up his first runs of the season on Sunday as he blew a rare save opportunity. Jason Kubel hit a Grand Slam in the 8th inning off of Mariano to give the Twins a lead they would not relinquish. After another week of play, the Yankees now sit two games back of the Rays for first place in the AL East. Robinson Cano has come back to earth slightly with a .326 average and a .975 OPS. Javier Vazquez is now being moved into the bullpen for what is said to be a “temporary” time period but it could be permanent if Sergio Mitre takes advantage of his opportunity.

3. Philadelphia Phillies (4) (23-13)- Nice 4-1 week for the Phils as they continue to play through injuries to critical pieces of the team. Brad Lidge is back on the DL and Jimmy Rollins has been out for quite some time. Rollins should be returning early this week and Jose Contreras has pitched absolutely phenomenal out of the bullpen and appears to be the closer at this point. The Phillies are first in the league in batting average, slugging, and OPS. They are also 4th in the league in ERA, which makes for a pretty solid recipe for success. They have outscored opponents by 48 runs so far and once everyone returns from injury, there is no telling how far this team can go.

4. Minnesota Twins (3) (23-14)- The Twins picked up their first win in New York since 2007 on Sunday, incredible. Overall a pretty mediocre week for the Twins, though as they struggled with the White Sox and were largely outplayed by the Yankees until Mariano had a rare hiccup. Joe Mauer finally hit his 2nd homerun of the season and Justin Morneau is having the best season of his career so far. Jon Rauch continues to pitch well in the absence of Joe Nathan as well.

5. San Diego Padres (9) (22-15)- Could this team really pull it off? I doubt it, but I will be rooting for them all the way to the end. Mat Latos came oh so close to a perfect game in his last start this week, with the lone hit being a comebacker off of his throwing hand that trickled too far away from him to retire Eli Whiteside. Latos is an immensely talented right hander that not many have discovered yet and if he continues to produce with the way Garland, Leblanc, and Correia are throwing, this team could legitimately win the West.


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Johnny G’s MLB Power Rankings Part 6

May 10th, 2010 by Johnny G | 28 Comments | Filed in General

1. New York Yankees (2) (21-9)- The Bronx Bombers regain the top spot in the rankings and continue to play phenomenal baseball this year. If Javier Vazquez was not struggling so badly, this team may be 26-4 at this point. This team as a whole is throwing some impressive numbers out there. They are first in the AL in average, runs, OBP, OPS, and slugging. In addition to the offensive numbers, the Yanks are 2nd in the league in ERA, batting average against, OPS, and WHIP. This team might win 115 games. Very impressive squad.

2. Tampa Bay Rays (1) (22-9)- The Rays still own the best record in baseball and I could have kept them in the same spot atop the rankings but their offensive production throughout the past week has been alarming. Anytime a pitcher like Dallas Braden throws a perfect game against you, there is reason to be concerned. With that all being said, every pitcher in the rotation has en ERA under 3.50 and only two pitchers on the entire roster have ERAs over 4.00. I have a feeling the Rays and Yanks will be jockeying for the top stop all season long.

3. Minnesota Twins (3) (21-11)- The Twins swept the Tigers at home and then split their series with the Orioles, all with superstar Joe Mauer on the shelf for the week. Mauer did come back on Sunday to DH and appears to be ok going forward. Francisco Liriano continues to dominate with a 2.36 ERA and Mauer and Morneau are hitting .341 and .339, respectively. This team is the real deal, folks.

4. Philadelphia Phillies (5) (19-12)- If Jayson Werth is not the front-runner for the MVP award right now, I’m not sure who is. This guy is just spraying balls all over the yard and it is truly impressive to watch. The Phillies had a very impressive week, taking 3 of 4 from the Cardinals and 2 of 3 from the Braves. Carlos Ruiz leads the league in OBP and this lineup continues to pummel opposing pitchers. In years past Ruiz was the only “break” in the lineup for opposing pitchers but now with his new plate approach this lineup is just murder.

5. St. Louis Cardinals (4) (20-12)- The Cards pretty much treaded water this week, but due to the impressive performance by the Phillies, they move down this week. Colby Rasmus is sporting a flashy 1.028 OPS and rookie Jaime Garcia has a 1.18 ERA in addition to the usual weapons this team has on a nightly basis. The team leads the league in ERA and the starting staff has given up so few homerun balls, you can count them on one hand. Here is some bad news for the NL Central, Albert hasn’t even gotten hot yet.


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