Mike Minor Will Turn It Around Tonight

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Mike Minor Will Turn It Around Tonight

Posted on 26 May 2013 by Trish Vignola

The Atlanta Braves and the New York Mets were left in suspended animation last night, but does anyone care? The Atlanta Braves, currently in first, have won six consecutive games. On the flip side, the New York Mets, currently in fourth (thanks to the Marlins being slightly worse), have lost six straight at home.

MikeMinor

Nonetheless, the teams had to wait until today before seeing if both streaks would continue. They are set to complete a suspended game before meeting in the regularly scheduled one about an hour later this Saturday night. Friday’s game is tied 5-5 heading to the top of the ninth, with the Mets actually rallying to tie in the eighth in the midst of a downpour. They drew within one on a Daniel Murphy single and scoring again on a wild pitch.

“It was tough to see. As tough as it was to see, I’m sure it was tough to get a grip on the ball and footing on the mound,” Murphy said to the Associated Press. “So, equal playing field and we were really glad to tie the score up there, and we’ll come out tomorrow and see if we can win an inning.”

The ninth inning presents an interesting decision for both managers. Atlanta’s Fredi Gonzalez is considering putting Anthony Varvaro, who blew the save Friday, back on the mound. “I could even run Varvaro back out there,” Gonzalez told. “It’s like going back-to-back days.” Mets manager Terry Collins will also turn to his bullpen, as opposed to giving the ball to scheduled Saturday starter Dillon Gee to pitch in the suspended game.

Might as well give the game to Atlanta now.

“I’m going to start the game with a relief pitcher,” Collins said to the Associated Press.

Uggh.

“Otherwise, if the thing’s over in 10 minutes, the guy’s already warmed up, now he has to sit for an hour. That’s not what I want to happen.”

Once the first game is over, Mike Minor (5-2, 2.78 ERA) will try to put an end to his road struggles against the Mets. I hope, being that I’m starting him for my fantasy baseball team tonight. His outings have been good as of late, so I was more confident in starting him than Barry Zito. Atlanta has won his last three starts, during which the left-hander has gone 2-0 with a 1.83 ERA with 20 strikeouts over 19 2-3 innings.

Minor set a season high with nine strikeouts and surrendered two runs and three hits in six innings of a 5-2 victory over Los Angeles on Sunday. Minor didn’t get the decision in that game. Ironically, Minor has a 5.63 ERA in seven career starts versus New York.

That’s his worst against any team he’s pitched at least 15 innings against. He’s turned in a pair of solid effort in his last two matchups, allowing three runs in 13 1-3 innings, but those games came at Atlanta. Minor, who went seven innings and gave up three runs in a 7-5 win over the Mets on May 3, has gone 1-1 with an 8.04 ERA in three career starts at Citi Field.

If the Mets though insist on running Ike Davis out there, fantasy owners like myself should be in pretty good shape for a Mike Minor turnaround.

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Taking a rest from my abysmal Fantasy Baseball team…

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Taking a rest from my abysmal Fantasy Baseball team…

Posted on 20 May 2013 by Trish Vignola

Taking a rest from my abysmal Fantasy Baseball team, I noticed that are a lot of great sports documentaries on ESPN Classic. Technically, there are exactly enough to kill a rainy Saturday and avoid the Mets’ box score. This Saturday I happened to catch 2009’s “The Lost Son of Havana.”

ESPNClassic

ESPN picked up the broadcast rights for this film after “The Lost Son…” premiered at Tribeca Film Festival. “The Lost Son of Havana”, currently in rotation on ESPN Classic, follows three-time All Star pitcher Luis Tiant as he fulfills a lifelong dream of visiting his homeland – Cuba. The movie was produced by the Farrelly brothers and narrated by Academy Award winner, Chris Cooper. The film was directed by Jonathan Hock.

Tiant left Cuba in 1961. Over the next 19 years, he became a legend. He pitched for both the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees. He won over 220 games and is the winningest Cuban in Major League history.

The emotional return of “El Tiante” to his native Cuba included visits to long-lost relatives. Through out the film, Tiant seemed particularly struck by the country’s poverty and guilty about the anger of friends and family who were left behind.

This is not a Kevin Costner ending.

“[Luis] kept saying, ‘It used to be so beautiful, it used to be so beautiful,’” says Hock of Tiant’s reaction in a New York Daily News interview from 2009. Hock continued, “and the other thing he kept saying was, ‘I don’t know how to feel, whether I should laugh or cry.’”

This is not your typical sports documentary.

“I grew up playing Wiffle ball, trying to pitch like Luis Tiant,” Hock said of the 67-year-old former ballplayer. “Traveling with him to Cuba, I discovered he was also playing for the love of his father, a Cuban and Negro League legend he had to leave behind.” Tiant was lucky. Fidel Castro, a known baseball fan, allowed Tiant’s parents to visit the States for the Red Sox iconic run in 1975. Both stayed in the States for 15 months before they died.

After his parents passed away and due to the fact that he was their only child, Tiant was not, under the rules of the 47-year-old economic embargo, allowed to visit Cuba again. His trip home for this film came about through an amateur baseball team that travels to Cuba every year as a goodwill gesture. Tiant went home legitimately as a coach for the team.

“The Lost Son of Havana” is exceptionally good. It goes beyond a mere talking head documentary. The mix of archival footage, interviews and actual footage from the trip to Cuba, you get a really nice three-dimensional view of the story. Hock also does a wonderful job of placing Tiant’s story within the socio-political climate of the time.

The film does drag a bit at times, but that probably has to do with the incessant commercial breaks and ESPN’s insistence on showing the same “This is Sports Center” commercial over and over again. I’m sure it views better on a big screen.

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I am now in second to last place.  Cue the choir of angels!

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I am now in second to last place. Cue the choir of angels!

Posted on 14 May 2013 by Trish Vignola

I am now in second to last place. Cue the choir of angels! “Beat with a Dan Uggla Stick” has a reason to play the fantasy music in their fantasy locker room a little bit louder this week.

sstrasburg

Maybe I’m not the Houston Astros of the Fantasy Baseball world. I’m probably more of the New York Mets.

Pitching has been my weakness. Strasburg has lost the plate. Vogelsong has been a flop and did I mention that Fernando Rodney is in my bullpen? Nonetheless, Mike Minor has been one of my few saving graces.

Thank goodness for Free Agent pickups.

Today, Minor was no different as he got himself back into the win column. He allowed one run on four hits and three walks in seven innings this afternoon, leading the Atlanta Braves to a 7 to 2 win over the Cincinnati Reds. The only run scored off the southpaw came in the third inning. It was a Zack Cozart‘s home run. Minor yet again helped to improv the Atlanta Braves’ record, currently the best in the National League East.

Minor is 4 and 2 as of today. He also tied a season-high strikeout count with seven. This was also his first win in three starts. It was the first time in four starts that Minor allowed less than three runs, as he lowered his ERA from 3.26 to 2.96.

I will take what I can get!

Even when Mike Minor needs to “right the ship”, he is still ten times better than anything I currently have.

He’s the Matt Harvey of “Beat with a Dan Uggla Stick”.

In his start on May 3rd, Minor surrendered two home runs in the first two innings. The second came with none out in the second inning, a rocky start for sure. Nevertheless, after the home run in the second inning, Minor retired the next 18 batters he faced.

Calling Roger Clemens!

Minor was ultimately saddled with a no-decision for this performance against the New York Mets. Still, Minor allowed just three hits. He walked none and struck out four against the Mets before being pulled after seven innings.

If Minor is available in your league, grab him at all costs. He’s got a Harvey vibe without the buzz. You can probably get him for nothing. If he can stay away from the long ball, you are going to be in great shape.

CBSSports.com rates him as the 42nd best pitcher in the league. That’s up from number 60 just last week!

According to the metrics of CBSSports.com, Mike Minor has only failed to come through once with less than 20 points once in the first five weeks of the season. Based on how this week has started, that pattern should continue. Minor is expected to make his next start Monday at Arizona. Minor won his only start against Arizona last season. He allowed one earned run in eight innings and struck out nine.

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I’m in dead last place – Help me Wilin Rosario….

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I’m in dead last place – Help me Wilin Rosario….

Posted on 06 May 2013 by Trish Vignola

… you’re my only hope.

Colorado Rockies' Wilin Rosario (20) celebrates with teammates after hitting a two run homer against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the inning of a baseball game Friday, June 1, 2012 in Denver, Colo.. The Rockies won 13-3. (AP Photo/Barry Gutierrez)

I’m buried so far in the cellar of my fantasy baseball league there is no hope for resurrecting any semblance of a normal season.

Call me the Houston Astros of the fantasy world.

I do though refuse to back up the truck. I have a few diamonds in the rough that I’m sure members of my league would be dying to get their hands on. One of which is Wilin Rosario.

Using CBSSports.com as a metric, Rosario has averaged me about 16 points a week. In 80 at bats, he’s given me 7 home runs, has a .350 batting average and 19 RBIs. In comparison, Josh Hamilton has given me 2 home runs, has a .202 batting average and 9 RBIs in 104 at bats. Matt Wieters, who I was totally expecting to be my “starting catcher”, has give me 4 home runs, has a .214 batting average and 13 RBIs.

Rosario has shown some speed, for a catcher. On the 10th, he went 1 for 3 with a walk and a run scored. He also stole his first two bases against the Giants. “I can run a little bit, and I take advantage,” Rosario told MLB.com. “Sometimes they get a little comfortable on the mound, and I get the advantage.” Rosario stole just four bases in 117 games last season. CBSSports.com reports that Rosario sees himself surpassing that number this year. “I don’t know, because the year, it’s just starting right now,” Rosario said. “Maybe 10. Maybe nine.” He might be joking; nonetheless, it cannot be denied that Rosario has gotten a pretty good start to the season this year.

His defense has improved as well. It was on display against the Padres on the 14th. He hit his 4th home run of the season that saturday, culminating in a 4-for-5 day. He drove in three runs and scored one himself. He threw out the only base runner trying to steal against him in a 9-5 win. The day before, Rosario threw out two runners. By the 14th, Rosario caught five of the first seven base runners attempting to steal a base against him this season. “That’s one of the best experiences I can have,” Rosario told MLB.com prior to that game. “I want to be a winner. Not every time are you going to hit. The only thing you can control is your glove — catching everything, blocking balls, stopping runners.”

A draw back to Rosario’s offense is his horrific strikeout ratio. On the 18th, Rosario went 1 for 5 in his team’s 11-3 win over the Mets. He drove in two runs and scored one. He also struck out twice, giving him 15 strikeouts in 46 at-bats at that point. Wilin Rosario leads all NL catchers in strikeouts. If Rosario can keep his strikeouts to a minimum and if his defense can keep him in the starting lineup, he will be a diamond in a rough for your fantasy league. If he tires out early, I’m just going to go bury my laptop in the backyard.

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I’m in Dead Last Place – An Ode to Stephen Strasburg

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I’m in Dead Last Place – An Ode to Stephen Strasburg

Posted on 26 April 2013 by Trish Vignola

Stephen Strasburg is killing me. Seriously. He is 1 and 4. I traded Ryan Braun for him and Josh Hamilton (another sore subject for me). Man, can I pick ‘em? I guarantee if anyone else had him in my league, he would be 4 and 1 right now.

StephenStrasburg

For everyone who currently has Strasburg on his or her team, I’m sorry. This start is atrocious. It’s my fault. Need I bring up Joey Votto-Gate of 2012?

There are positives if you squint hard enough. Strasburg did have a decent outing. He struck out seven, had one walk and threw six scoreless after allowing three in the first. However, this means nothing when you are sucking wind in wins! The Nationals only gave him one run of support for the third straight game. The club has yet to score over three runs in any of his starts. Really, Bryce Harper?

Strasburg’s overall numbers are fine. He has a 3.16 ERA and a 3.33 FIP through Wednesday’s action. However, he needs wins! I’m in dead last place. CBSSports.com claims that it’s “only a matter of time” before the Nationals’ team puts some runs on the board for him. What is your definition of time? Can we bend it at this point? Did I mention I’m in dead last place?

The Washington Post doesn’t put all of the blame on the Nationals for Strasburg’s faltering. They point out that on a whole, Strasburg’s first pitch strike percentage has fallen. In 2011, Strasburg threw first-pitch strikes 71.6 percent of the time. That was the highest in baseball. The Washington Post talks about Strasburg carrying over his “challenge” mentality from college. There is no doubt that Strasburg put (and probably still puts) fear of shame into hitters. Last year, he threw 62.3 percent. That was still 34th among starters, but he was coming back from injury. Nevertheless, as of yesterday, he was down to 56.2 percent first strikes for the season. That makes him 84th among 107 starters. I’m in last place!

Strasburg fell behind four of the first five Cards hitters. He had to throw strikes on the hitter’s terms at that point. The game was lost before it began. Now, the Washington Post doesn’t deny that the Nationals are in a slump. Nonetheless, they note “the worst thing a team in a hitting slump can endure is an early deficit before it even gets to bat.”

CBSSports.com reports that Strasburg’s overall power ranking is 59. Yes, that’s up from last week. However, CBSSports.com predicted that he should really be somewhere in the higher 50s. Please note that as of this moment, Zack Greinke currently has a higher power ranking then Strasburg. He’s on the Disabled List and still has a higher power ranking than Stephen Strasburg. Last place = me.

To be fair, Strasburg hasn’t given me less than 10 points each week. However, he hasn’t come anywhere near the 24 points he allotted me in the first week. I understand that Strasburg is used to a shorted season but it’s definitely longer than one week. I’m in last place! I’m sure that the Nationals’ bats will awaken and Strasburg’s numbers will improve. However, for long-term success, Strasburg needs to start throwing first pitch strikes. If he doesn’t, I don’t think there is much further I can go then dead last place.

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