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Curt Schilling’s Bloody Sock

By bullpenbrian - February 2, 2010 - 12:15 am Leave a comment.

The suffocating coverage of Dwight Freeney’s injured ankle reminds me of the Curt Schilling ‘Bloody Sock Saga.’

Believe it or not, that was just five short years ago that Schilling mowed down the Yanks in Game 6 of the ALCS on October 19, 2004.

99 pitches, seven innings, one run, four hits, four K’s, no walks.

Thing-of-beauty!

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Mike Cameron Not A Cub

By bullpenbrian - December 16, 2009 - 1:00 am Leave a comment.

–The Cubs have struck out looking this offseason.

Jim Hendry has whiffed on signing the top-two available centerfielders. First Curtis Granderson and now Mike Cameron, who signed a two year deal with Boston Tuesday.

Very frustrating, obviously, with centerfield a priority and the Cubs standing pat in favor of guys like Coco Crisp, Marlon Byrd, Scott Podsednik and Rick Ankiel: none of which I’d like to see suiting up for the Cubs.

But seeing as how that’s all that’s left to choose from I’ll take them in the order listed above.

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Angles Get Papelbon, NY In ALCS

By bullpenbrian - October 12, 2009 - 1:28 am Leave a comment.

Jonathan Papelbon lives on the edge and the Angels finally made him pay for it.

Additionally, this win in particular could power the Angles to a world championship.

Rallying from a four run deficit was impressive, namely scoring three runs against Papelbon, but not nearly as important as the mental hurdle Anaheim jumped in sweeping the Red Sox.

Having been eliminated by Boston in three of the past five postseasons, it was more a question of mental toughness for the Halos than talent.

New York is no joke, of course,  but the Angels piece of mind is enough to give the Yanks a runs for their money in the ALCS.

Speaking of which, A-Rod seems to have found his own piece of mind in the postseason going 5-for-11 with two home runs and six RBI against the Twins.

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Teixeira’s Big Mac!

By bullpenbrian - October 10, 2009 - 1:39 am Leave a comment.

Teixeira’s walk-off reminds me of McGwire’s record breaking shot on September 8, 1998.

Big Mac powering a sinking line drive over the left field fence at old Busch for No. 62.

What’s funny is how both these guys are so well known for their majestic home run blasts, yet coincidentally, their most important ones barely cleared the wall in left field!

Twins put up a valiant effort Friday, but they’re toast in this series.

The Yanks have too much talent, and all the momentum, to let a 2-0 lead slip away.

I figure Boston; on the other hand, can still rebound from an 0-2 hole against the Angels.

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Cardinals Season Over?

By bullpenbrian - October 9, 2009 - 12:23 am 2 comments.

It’ll be interesting to see how Holliday responds after his error cost the Cardinals a split in L.A.

St. Louis, remember, was suppose to be the team to beat because of Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright.

That’s now out the window with the Dodgers leading two-zip.

Series isn’t over, of course, but Holliday’s miscue most likely cost St. Louis its season.

By the way, how much does Mark DeRosa hate the Dodgers!

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Renovating Wrigley

By bullpenbrian - April 3, 2009 - 12:03 am 1 comment.

Upgrading Wrigley Field should be a top priority whenever this sale goes through.

And I’m talking about improvements far beyond the new batter’s eye box and lame ads covering the outfield ivy.

Look no further than Boston and the superb job they’ve done renovating Fenway beginning in 2001.

Not only did the Red Sox realize the need for such upgrades, but they also understood the correct answer had nothing to do with tearing the park down or simply standing pat while the yard disintegrated.

Instead, the ownership group started making significant upgrades such as revamping the playing field, adding more restrooms and fitting the Green Monster with seats.

And during the last eight years Boston’s efforts have continuously improved the park for both its players and fans, proving it’s in the Cubs best interests to follow suit.

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Chilly Willy

By bullpenbrian - April 1, 2009 - 12:15 am Leave a comment.

Willy Mo Pena is the definition of a five o’clock hitter.

Two hours before the game the guy smashes baseballs to the moon, but come that first pitch, it’s a if he’s holding a toothpick in the box.

In seven seasons he’s a career .253 hitter with 77 home runs.

Not bad considering he’s never played more than 110 games in a single season.

Problem is, Willy Mo isn’t a situational hitter and his outfield defense is atrocious.

Yet, his 6’3 frame and 215 lbs of muscle have kept scouts celebrating his potential as a legit power-threat for nearly a decade.

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Braves Acting Dumb

By bullpenbrian - January 8, 2009 - 12:45 am Leave a comment.

John Smoltz signing with Boston is the right move for him, not so much the Braves.

For years the Atlanta franchise set the standards for comforting its players, retaining dominate starting pitching and winning division titles, but this particular case officially marks the end of that era.

Obviously, Smoltz is nearing the end of his remarkable career; he’s 42-years-old and coming off a season in which he pitched in just six games.

So of course, there’s reason for Atlanta to be concerned about John’s durability, even despite the fact he’s rebounded successfully from multiply arm ailments.

Yet, Braves CEO Terry McGuirk says “I just don’t know what’s going on with him [Smoltz] right now,” “for him to walk away from that [Atlanta’s $2 million incentives-based offer] and to go to another place, I’m just shocked and surprised.

Really?

Since when should anyone be shocked or surprised that a player skips town for more money?

You pay people like Smoltz what they’re worth…and for a guy who’s won 210 games and saved 154, it’s more than the lame offer of $2 million with incentives of pitching 200+ innings.

In turn, Boston is bright enough to take a chance on Smoltz who’s won no less than 14 games since returning as a starter in 2005 (with the exception of the 2008 season).

The deal breaker: Boston offered Smoltz a higher base salary ($5.5 million) with more attainable statistical incentives for a 40+ year-old pitcher while setting no time table for his return.

If McGuirk and the Braves can’t see the value of keeping a John Smoltz, they won’t see the post season either.

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Griffey Still Better Than Bradley

By bullpenbrian - January 6, 2009 - 12:45 am Leave a comment.

During the past four seasons Ken Griffey Jr. has averaged 41 more games played than Milton Bradley.

Since 2005 Griffey averages 131 games per season…Bradley averages just 90.

In this same time frame Griffey has posted 110 HRs, 328 RBIs vs. Bradley’s 62 HRs and 204 RBIs.

And you’re telling me a left-handed batting Bradley is a better sign for the Cubs than Junior?

Put Griffey in Wrigley’s small outfield, platoon him with Gathright and Fukudome, and let the man chase his ring with Chicago.

Not to mention, Griffey would be a far better addition to the clubhouse and would come to the North Side at a far more reasonable rate than Milton’s 3-years $30 million.

My prediction that Griffey ends up with Tampa Bay or Seattle appears spot-on after reading this report.

Of course, this isn’t a brilliant uncovering on my part, but the result of common sense.

Griffey’s agent, however, says six teams are interested in signing Junior…probably lasting no more than two seasons.

And whereas Tampa Bay appears to make the most sense for Griffey, given his family commitments (which resides in Orlando), the Rays’ signing of Pat the Bat greatly lessens that possibility.

Obviously, a return to Seattle is the fan’s choice for Griffey, but I think Junior surprises us all by signing elsewhere.

The guy has always been in search of a ring…Seattle isn’t postseason bound…and the Rays chances for a championship are always tough playing in the AL East.

Noting Junior has lost more than “a step” defensively, my best guess says Ken goes for an AL team where he’ll have the opportunity to DH.

So I’ll go out on a limb with this prediction…Junior signs with Boston to fill-in for an ailing Big Papi, or with Atlanta to stay close to home and help lead the Braves past New York in the East!

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Cubs Short A Penny

By bullpenbrian - December 31, 2008 - 12:45 am Leave a comment.

The Cubs should have signed Brad Penny before Boston did this week.

Instead, the Red Sox make another brilliant move by bringing in a top of the rotation pitcher for 1-year at $5 million.

Certainly, it’s a high-risk move for any club that signs a 30-year-old power-pitcher coming off a season plagued by arm troubles.

But, why not take a chance on a guy who’s 19 games above .500 for his career (9 years) and has averaged 135 Ks from 2005-07 (Penny started just 17 games in 2008 with 51 punchouts).

Plus, the best part is it’s a 1-year deal, if Penny fails to return to his All Star form the Sox simple move on without him – and putting it that way makes the deal seem more low-risk than anything else.

Sure, there’s a $3 million dollar performance bonus in Penny’s new deal but, that means the high-risk move has paid off in high-risk rewards.

For Chicago it’s all about the post season…and post season games are won with pitching, especially power-arms the likes of Penny.

There’s no question the Cubs already have a solid rotation without Penny: Dempster, Zambrano, Lilly, Harden…but, there’s always room come October for one more power-arm.

On the flip side, dealing Jason Marquis for Luis Vizcaino is a smart move.

Since late June I’ve been heckling Jim Hendry to improve the club’s bullpen.

Thankfully, Bob Howry has departed to San Fran but, leading up to Marmol and newly acquired closer Kevin Gregg the Cubs are thin in the pen.

Jeff Samardzija has yet to tame his control issues and incumbent relievers Michael Wuertz and Neal Cotts both spent time at Triple-A Iowa last season, not exactly your type-A relief staff.

Vizcaino doesn’t absolve all the pen’s problems but, if healthy, he’ll serve as a plus upgrade.

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