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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.


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.


“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.”


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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An Open Letter To My Fantasy Baseball Team

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An Open Letter To My Fantasy Baseball Team

Posted on 23 April 2013 by Trish Vignola

Dear Team “Beat with an Uggla Stick,”

Yovani Gallardo, Milwaukee Brewers, must frustrating pitcher ever?

Hi,there! Remember me? I’m Trish, your general manager. I’ve given you the finest in fantasy facilities. I even forwent telling your fantasy girlfriends about your fantasy wives. I’ve treated you well.

So, riddle me this…why are you falling apart on me so early in the season?!

First, Yovani Gallardo – what are you doing? CBSSports.com projected that you were good to give me 205 innings and 18 wins. Do you know what you’ve given me so far? 7 points in three weeks and a DUI charge. A DUI charge?! If I wanted prospective prolonged absences due to legal issues, I would have kept Ryan Braun! You of course are one of my keepers. Nonetheless, you are useless to me when you have to miss a game due to a court date. It looks like you’ll be ridding my fantasy pine for a while.

Next, Josh Hamilton – which personality are you working with today? You gave me 9 points the first week, 23 the next week and -1 the next. Negative one! I didn’t even know you could do that. CBS Sports says that you cites an adjustment period behind your slow start. An adjustment period? I’m starting a new job. I get an adjustment period. You have a 5-year, $125 million contract. You doesn’t get an adjustment period.

Your adjustment period has resulted in 10 strikeouts and just one hit in your first stretch of games. Your 3-for-4 performance on Sunday lifted your batting average above .200 for the first time this season.

“Of course, there’s always an adjustment,” you told MLB.com on Sunday. I’m starting to hate that word.

“You go to spring training and you think you’re adjusted and then you make another move. You had to bring the family to L.A., had to get settled in and get in a routine as far as finding where things are around the stadium. It’s just a process. It’s been good to get into routine.” Really? Get a map.

I’m not going to start on Barry Zito and your atrocious outing this week. You were going to have to lose at some point. However, let’s discuss you, Ryan Vogelsong. You are another one who found new and exciting ways to give me negative points. Really?! However, I’m not giving up on you yet. You struggled last April before turning things around in May. Apparently, it’s normal for you to deal with reduced velocity early in the year. Last season, you were only throwing in the high-80s early in the season. By September, you were hitting between 92 and 94 mph with your fastball. I won’t cut you loose after just two starts. However, you don’t have until September to get warmed up. If I don’t see drastic change happening soon, you might see yourself on the bench next to that dummy Gallardo.

In my fantasy Steinbrenner days, I would have backed the fantasy truck up on my fantasy baseball team a week ago. I’m hanging tough for now. Nonetheless, Willin Rosario cannot hit for the entire team. If things don’t start improving soon, I will ignite a fire sale that would make the Marlins organization blush.

Love Always,

Your General Manager

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Stephen Strasburg – Is he a keeper?

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Stephen Strasburg – Is he a keeper?

Posted on 30 March 2013 by Trish Vignola

Stephen Strasburg – Is he a keeper?


Well, I guess that’s too late to figure out now. I kept him. He’s now the “ace” of my fantasy baseball team. I know what you might be thinking. Keeping Strasburg? Isn’t that a no-brainer? He’s already been named the Nationals’ Opening Day starter. However, you are talking to the same woman who had Joey Votto on her team last year. The same Joey Votto who missed like a third of the season due to injury.

In fantasy baseball, I’m kind of the kiss of death.

Last Friday, Strasburg yielded 3 runs in 6 innings of pitching to the Tigers. All right that’s pretty average. Actually, that’s pretty good by mid-season standards. He only walked one person and he struck out five, which is even better. Then Strasburg took a comebacker off his thumb. Yes, it was his non-throwing thumb but shades of Joey Votto flooded my nightmares for the next half of week.

Yes, my nightmares are of the fantasy baseball variety.

There are positives though. He’s not Johan Santana and he’s not signed by the Mets. Seriously though, Rotoworld ranks him 5th. Only Clayton Kershaw, Justin Verlander, David Price and Cole Hamels are ranked higher. ESPN ranked him lower but still in the top 20. The key to Strasburg’s success though is pretty obvious. It comes down to two words…

Innings… Count…

Is there one or not? The Nationals ended Strasburg’s season in early September last year at 159 1/3 innings pitched. Their concerns about Strasburg’s health in his first season following Tommy John surgery seemed to trump the importance of their first trip to the playoffs. It seems ludicrous. However, think about the situation with Johan Santana. After throwing the Mets first no-hitter, coming off of a season ending surgery, he’s now headed again towards… you guessed it… season ending surgery.

Based on how the Nationals treated Jordan Zimmerman’s rehabilitation, there will be a watchful eye but no official innings count. I am essentially banking on Strasburg giving me 190 innings, give or take, in order to get me out of the fantasy cellar. (No, that’s not something from “Fifty Shades of Grey.” I’m that bad in fantasy baseball.)

ESPN is projecting that if Strasburg can give me (yes, me personally) about 196 innings, his line would look something like 16 wins, 244 strikeouts, a 2.94 ERA and 1.09 WHIP. That would pretty much keep him in the elite of fantasy statistics amongst starting pitchers. That also gets me out of the proverbial cellar. If he “Joey Votto”’s me, I’m going to start testing for mold because I will be living in the cellar for the rest of the season.

If Strasburg stays healthy, he could be the best keeper you or I could have ever traded for. A healthy Strasburg has tremendous upside. He’s only 24 and has an entire career ahead of him. Regardless of the little knock to his finger, Strasburg is projected to have no issue in completing the season. If that is the case, he might help me out of the cellar to at least the middle of the pack of my head-to-head league.

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My predictions for the World Baseball Classic (WBC) have been so wrong, for so long.

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My predictions for the World Baseball Classic (WBC) have been so wrong, for so long.

Posted on 17 March 2013 by Trish Vignola

My predictions for the World Baseball Classic (WBC) have been so wrong, for so long. I think I’m just going to stay quiet now.


The WBC is finally wrapping up and I can go back to other things I’m terrible at…

…like my Fantasy Baseball team.

As Japan bids to maintain its solitary grip on the WBC championships, the Semifinals begin tonight at 9 p.m. ET showdown. Puerto Rico will be bidding to replicate its dramatic triumph against Team USA on Friday night in Miami. Japan looks to three-peat.

The second semifinal will be Monday night. That matches the Kingdom of Netherlands, the Cinderella of this Final Four, against the Dominican Republic at 9 ET. The WBC culminates in its finale on Tuesday night, after which I can go back to watching “Intentional Talk” at its regularly scheduled time.

MLB.com reports on Team Japan this morning. “With baseball,” Koji Yamamoto (manager of Team Japan) said through an interpreter, “anything could happen until the game is over. In that sense, the WBC has incidents of seeing such strong teams falling off, so I don’t want to give or speak in favor of other teams. I’ve been just focusing on how to win. So, I don’t know what’s going to happen. But it’s really exciting.” Japan has won the first two Classics with dominant pitching — Daisuke Matsuzaka and Koji Uehara in 2006, Matsuzaka and Yu Darvish in 2009. Matsuzaka, in Indians camp right now, was the WBC MVP both times.

MLB.com reports that Sunday’s match will favor Japan. Japan puts its ace, 24-year-old Kenta Maeda, against Mario Santiago. Maeda has worked 10 scoreless innings in the WBC. He struck out 15 while allowing just two hits and a walk. Santiago took one of Puerto Rico’s three losses in the WBC. He yielded three runs in 4 1/3 innings in a 7-1 decision by the U.S. As reported by MLB.com, “This is my first international match, such a great experience,” Maeda said. “The next match will be the biggest for me.”

In the second semifinal, southpaw Diegomar Markwell, nephew of Andruw Jones, will take the ball for Team Netherlands on Monday night. Markwell is a 231-pound native of Rotterdam. He is 2-0 with a 0.90 ERA in the WBC. The unbeaten Dominican Republic will counter with Edinson Volquez, veteran right-hander for the Padres. Volquez has a 6.75 ERA in 5 1/3 innings, starting twice in the WBC. MLB.com reports, if the Dominicans reach the title game, Twins right-hander Samuel Deduno (1.13 ERA, eight innings) will be manager Tony Pena’s starter.

With Carlos Beltran and Alex Rios faltering, Mike Aviles has been the Puerto Ricans’ primary run producer. The third baseman has eight RBIs in seven games, batting .292 while delivering the team’s lone home run in the WBC. Japan, by contrast, has had 8 home runs in six games. Seven players are hitting .316 or higher, led by Hirokaza Ibata. The second baseman is hitting .571 with an OPS of 1.327. However, how will Japan deal with the time off?

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