Archive for March, 2014

God Is Not a Blue Jays Fan: MLB Preview 2014

Posted in 2014 Phillies with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 30, 2014 by wechslerh66


AL East
Tampa (wild card)

Boston and Tampa are the clear top two and even without Ellsbury and with some decline from the veterans, Boston’s offense, with something more than zero out of Bogaerts and Bradley, should be enough better than Tampa’s to make up for any difference in pitching. Whoever (not a Red Sox fan) wrote that the Pierzynski signing was the perfect match of douchebag player with douchebag team: yeah, that, but it’s a one-year deal (hey, Chooch got three). Tampa may have the best rotation, but I don’t think they have enough flamethrowers in the bullpen (unless Heath Bell counts), and I’m not sold on any offense with James Loney as a regular first baseman. Baltimore ended up having a decent offseason (Ryan Webb, a Korean pitcher who might be this year’s Wei-Yin Chen*, a one-year flyer on Nelson Cruz, and more in term and amount than I would have paid for Ubaldo Jiminez, but he should help them) but just happens to be in the wrong division (I might pick them to win the Central); they’re not terrible anywhere, really, but they don’t have Tampa’s pitching or Boston’s offense or either of those teams’ stars (other than Machado and 2013 first-half Chris Davis). The Yankees are about the same team as they were in 2013, only more expensive and that’s without Cano. Toronto, whom I picked to win the World Series last year, falls under my “could surprise” teams for 2014, only to the degree that I expect them to be really bad. Also: I wrote the original “God Is Not a Blue Jays Fan” poem (it began “somebody poisoned Cito and somebody injured Joe”) in 1991, and then they won the next two Series, so, cheers, eh.
* Yes, I’m aware that Wei-Yin Chen is not Korean.

AL Central
Kansas City
White Sox
Both Central divisions this year could see only one team with a winning record, though odds are neither does. Here the one team would be Detroit, by default. Some of the “default” part is the loss of Iglesias (actually, both the loss of Iglesias and what they’re replacing him with); most of the rest is age and health and not so much losing Fielder, who will help the Rangers more than the tradeoff from Fielder to Kinsler will hurt the Tigers (it shouldn’t, especially moving Cabrera off third). The Royals may fall off a bit (I like the Aoki and to a lesser degree Valencia moves, Vargas not so much but he won’t kill them, the bullpen can’t possibly be that good again but 150 or so innings of Yordano Ventura replacing Wade Davis in the rotation could go a long way), the Indians will probably fall off a bit more (though Ubaldo Jiminez’s regression is now the Orioles’ problem, and Salazar should be pretty good eventually if not this season), the White Sox may have had the best offseason in the division (Abreu, Paulino, Eaton/selling high on Addison Reed’s saves, Davidson are all moves a team like the White Sox should be making) and I’m still ranking them last, and the Twins (who spent $90M on free agents and whose biggest offseason move is still “Mauer is playing first”) could just as well be last or third and it wouldn’t matter much.

AL West
Texas (wild card)
I would have picked the Rangers until the injuries began to mount and the season-opening Scheppers-Perez-Ross-Saunders-Martinez rotation was announced. They’ll still be good, but Oakland is better enough at the margins (bullpen, GM, manager) that the slight edge Texas had before has now reversed. Make that Oakland 91 wins, Texas 90 or so. The Angels should be better, I think, if only because Joe Blanton is now in Siberia, though that Weaver-Haren-Santana rotation is a distant memory. Cano will help the Mariners, but adding an 8 WAR player to a 67-win (Pythagorean) team gets you 75 wins, and wouldn’t “Jews for Jesus Montero” be a better name for an AAA fantasy team at this point? The Astros shouldn’t lose (more than) 100 games and as Joe Sheehan notes (firewalled newsletter I can’t link to) “by the end of the season, in fact, they’ll even start to be an approximation of ‘good’.” Also: when you think about it, “Joe Savery” is an excellent name for a reliever, even more so if you’re a cannibal.

NL East
Atlanta (wild card)
The Nationals were supposed to win 100 games last season and didn’t win 90. I don’t think they win 100 this year, but they will come close and should win this division easily even without Doug Fister at 100%. This could be Bryce Harper’s MVP year. The only potential weakness is rookie manager Matt Williams, but Mattingly, Matheny, Gibson. The Braves were actually that good last season (Pythagoras says they were a 98-win team who should have won the East by 14 games) but I expect the bullpen like Kansas City’s can’t possibly be this good again, the rotation even with Medlen and Beachy wasn’t quite up to Strasburg-Zimmermann-Gonzalez-Fister and yes, Upton and Uggla can be terrible again. I doubt any of the other three teams will break .500; with the caveat that “it’s the Marlins,” I think Miami actually has the most hope and at least the best core in Stanton (however long he’s a Marlin)-Fernandez-Ozuna-Yelich. The Mets have hope in the Generation K sense and they have Travis d’Arnaud. The Phillies have Jayson Nix and Tony Gwynn Jr.

NL Central
St. Louis
St. Louis may be the best team in baseball, with Bourjos, Peralta, Taveras, and a full season of Kolten Wong replacing essentially only Beltran (soon to be 37, i.e. he’s now a Yankee) and Freese (soon to be 31) and moving Pete Kozma (54 OPS+, -0.4 WAR in 2013) to the bench. Even a sophomore slump from any of Wacha, Miller, or that postseason bullpen (Rosenthal-Siegrist-Martinez-Maness) won’t hurt them much given the rest of the division. The Pirates outperformed their Pythagorean W/L by six wins last season, lost A.J. Burnett and Marlon Byrd to the Phillies (yes, this may actually hurt the Pirates), and added only Edinson Volquez, Clint Barmes, and Vance Worley. McCutchen is probably still underrated but he, Cole, Alvarez, Liriano v. 2014, and Starling Marte v. 2014 (5.5-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 2013) isn’t enough of a core to win (see also: Tulowitzki/Gonzalez/Arenado), though at least pitching reinforcements are on the way. The Reds replaced Shin-Soo Choo, Bronson Arroyo, and Dusty Baker with Skip Schumaker, Manny Parra, and Bryan Price (on the roster, anyway–Billy Hamilton, who is to speed what Choo was to OBP, will replace Choo in center, and Tony Cingrani will replace Arroyo in the rotation) and will continue to blame Joey Votto and his career .419 OBP for not driving in more of the guy with the .320 OBP who bats ahead of him. The Brewers are actually the most improved team, with a projected rotation of Gallardo-Garza-Lohse-Peralta-Estrada that’s surprisingly decent, a first baseman who will be more than zero (Yuniesky Betancourt’s 2013 WAR: -2.0), and presumably more than 250 at-bats from Ryan Braun. The Cubs will be bad if not quite Astros-bad. At least Starlin Castro will be watchable, even if he himself is watchably bad.

NL West
San Francisco
Dodgers (wild card)
San Diego
The Dodgers can obviously go on a run (see 2013) but since it’s not 2013 and since Yasiel Puig seems on the verge of illustrating Bill James’s maxim that bad teams take problems out on their best player (with the only caveats being, Clayton Kershaw and the 2014 Dodgers aren’t bad…yet), I don’t think the Dodgers have enough to win the West again. The Dodgers have more top end talent (Kershaw, Puig, Greinke, Ramirez-when-healthy, Jansen) but San Francisco (whom I picked last year as well) has a better manager and a better overall team (e.g. Dee Gordon is not a starter and Blanco-Pagan are actual centerfielders). The Diamondbacks have gone 81-81 each of the past two seasons and Bronson Arroyo (ERA+ of 101 in 2013, career ERA+ of 104) in the rotation suggests they will go 81-81 in 2014. I like Joaquin Benoit, Alex Torres, and when-he’s-healthy-(never)-Josh Johnson enough, but the Padres haven’t done enough otherwise to improve or even likely to reach .500. What team trades Dexter Fowler, signs Boone Logan for three years and Justin Morneau for two, and counts on Brett Anderson (not him) as their number two starter? Too bad the Rockies only face the Phillies in April, because a September matchup would be awesome. (If it were in Philadelphia, I might have an entire section to myself, unless they were giving away a car.)

AL wild card playoff: Tampa over Texas
AL division series: Tampa over Oakland, Boston over Detroit
ALCS: Boston over Tampa

NL wild card playoff: Dodgers over Atlanta
NL division series: Washington over San Francisco, St. Louis over Dodgers
NLCS: St. Louis over Washington

World Series: St. Louis over Boston
I will be watching hockey at this point.


Sixers 123, Pistons 98

Posted in non-de Jesus related with tags , , , , on March 30, 2014 by wechslerh66

Sixers 003
Sixers 004
Sixers 008
Sixers 013
Sixers 017
Sixers 020
Sixers 024
Sixers 035
Sixers 039
Sixers 046
Sixers 047
Sixers 051
Sixers 054
Sixers 055
Sixers 056
Sixers 057
Sixers 060
Sixers 063
Sixers 064

Box score

Best signs that actually made it on the Sixers FanCam:
“26ers” (with logo)

Law & baseball

Posted in non-de Jesus related on March 21, 2014 by wechslerh66

[Justice Potter] Stewart kept a dog-eared piece of newspaper in his wallet, with the mathematical probabilities of scoring runs in each inning of a baseball game. The previous fall, he had requested that his clerks send him inning-by-inning scores of the Reds-Mets playoff games while he heard oral arguments on the bench. Before the final game began, he asked for scores “every half-inning.” And as it was played, he wanted a report on each batter. At 2:35 P.M., the game was interrupted by the surprising news of Vice-President Agnew’s resignation. The clerks dutifully sent Stewart a note: Kranepool flies to right. Agnew resigns.
–quoted in THE BRETHREN, Woodward & Armstrong

NHL Trade Deadline Deadblog

Posted in Canucks-related, Flyers-related on March 14, 2014 by wechslerh66

I was at work last Wednesday and then working on a memorandum due on Monday, so I was lacking at least one of the requirements of a live blog (in the same way that the Canucks Lack goaltending). I was however e-mailing two Flyer fan coworkers on and off during the day. Read from the bottom up.

From: Hop
Sent: Wednesday, March 05, 2014 3:53 PM
To: Lou, Jeff
Subject: RE: Flyers!

Halak to the Caps for Neuvirth & change

A fake TSN account tweeted Halak to Vancouver for Kassian/Garrison last night (and was re-tweeted—though not by me) but I guess that’s not happening now

From: Lou
Sent: Wednesday, March 05, 2014 3:47 PM
To: Hop, Jeff
Subject: Re: Flyers!

Sh*t! That’s crazy yo

From: Hop
Date: Wednesday, March 5, 2014 3:43 PM
To: Jeff, Lou
Subject: RE: Flyers!

We dumped the lackadaisical Slovakian who sucks for the hustling Canadian who might suck a little bit more.

(and I didn’t check but I think both are free agents, so that’s a wash)

The Rangers just acquired Raphael Diaz from the Canucks and I think he’s better than either Meszaros or MacDonald.

From: Jeff
Sent: Wednesday, March 05, 2014 3:41 PM
To: Hop, Lou
Subject: RE: Flyers!

So we gave up a player and 2 picks for an average player and got a 3rd pick for an average player

From: Hop
Sent: Wednesday, March 05, 2014 3:40 PM
To: Jeff, Lou
Subject: Flyers!

Meszaros to Boston for a 3d

In other words, he’s worth half as much as Andrew MacDonald

Also, Vanek to Montreal

Can’t wait to watch the Garth Snow “we will work hard to bring him back to the Island [Brooklyn?] over the summer” press conference

From: Hop
Sent: Wednesday, March 05, 2014 3:13 PM
To: Lou, Jeff
Subject: RE: FYI, II

Tim Thomas to Dallas for a pick, because I guess if he had a no-trade clause it was limited to other “Stand Your Ground” states

From: Hop
Sent: Wednesday, March 05, 2014 2:35 PM
To: Lou, Jeff
Subject: RE: FYI, II

Also, the Penguins obviously don’t need Ryan Kesler, since they have just obtained Marcel Goc from the Predators for two picks.

From: Hop
Sent: Wednesday, March 05, 2014 1:53 PM
To: Lou, Jeff
Subject: FYI, II

Hemsky to the Senators for two picks

Gaborik to the Kings for Matt Frattin and two picks

Overall Flyer effect: neutral (Ottawa better, Columbus worse, although bonus points for making it less likely for Bobrovsky to make the playoffs and cause Holmgren to look even worse)

From: Hop
Sent: Wednesday, March 05, 2014 12:27 PM
To: Lou, Jeff
Subject: RE: FYI

No he doesn’t.

He may someday…

Or he may not.

From: Lou
Sent: Wednesday, March 05, 2014 12:25 PM
To: Hop, Jeff
Subject: Re: FYI

Bo knows hockey

From: Hop
Date: Wednesday, March 5, 2014 12:24 PM
To: Jeff, Lou
Subject: RE: FYI

…so the Devils can continue to remind me that the Canucks traded Cory Schneider for Bo Horvat.

From: Lou
Sent: Wednesday, March 05, 2014 12:24 PM
To: Jeff, Hop
Subject: Re: FYI

Wouldn’t that be something?!

From: Jeff
Date: Wednesday, March 5, 2014 12:23 PM
To: Lou, Hop
Subject: RE: FYI

OK I haven’t been able to respond yet since I have been in meetings but I am shocked that Callahan left the Rangers…not happy St. Louis is going to the Rangers though! I can tell you clearly that if Marty comes to us we will fall out of the playoffs and the devils will skyrocket!! I almost want him to come here so I can see the look on all the old devils fans I knew (not a myth they are real!) in northern jersey!

From: Lou
Sent: Wednesday, March 05, 2014 12:24 PM
To: Hop, Jeff
Subject: Re: FYI

Bryzgalov they got. Would you believe that?

From: Hop
Date: Wednesday, March 5, 2014 12:22 PM
To: Lou, Jeff
Subject: RE: FYI

Come on, the Wild just traded for their clear #1 guy over the weekend. No way they’re benching the Cosmonaut for Marty Whatsisname and his 600+ stinking career wins with a playoff berth on the line.

From: Lou
Sent: Wednesday, March 05, 2014 12:20 PM
To: Hop, Jeff
Subject: Re: FYI

By the way, I bet the Flyers trade for Marty Brodeur and then the Devils win the Stanley Cup with our former goalies.

It just might happen. He’s agreed to be traded, but they are saying that he might end up in Minnesota because his kids go to school there!

From: Lou
Sent: Wednesday, March 05, 2014 12:12 PM
To: Hop, Jeff
Subject: Re: FYI

Best mask ever

From: Hop
Date: Wednesday, March 5, 2014 12:08 PM
To: Lou, Jeff
Subject: RE: FYI

Also giving me a Canuck flashback:

From: Lou
Sent: Wednesday, March 05, 2014 12:06 PM
To: Hop, Jeff
Subject: Re: FYI

Well played, sir. And then after the dinner, maybe a movie….directed by Hitchcock, Ken Hitchcock.

From: Hop
Date: Wednesday, March 5, 2014 12:04 PM
To: Lou, Jeff
Subject: RE: FYI

If you want a little seafood with that, you should try trading with Calgary for some Cammalleri.

From: Lou
Sent: Wednesday, March 05, 2014 12:03 PM
To: Hop, Jeff
Subject: Re: FYI

I swear this Vigneault/Tortorella talk is making me hungry. Sounds like Wine and Tortellini.

From: Hop
Date: Wednesday, March 5, 2014 12:00 PM
To: Lou, Jeff
Subject: RE: FYI

Maybe, but Callahan could play for Tortorella for X number of years but couldn’t last a season under Vigneault? I don’t get it.

I understand that the Canucks fired Vigneault and brought in Tortorella to go Tortorella on everyone, but I never thought the Rangers fired Tortorella and brought in Vigneault to also go Tortorella on everyone.

From: Lou
Sent: Wednesday, March 05, 2014 11:59 AM
To: Hop, Jeff
Subject: Re: FYI

No one comes close to the repeated damage that Nash unleashes upon my beloved Flyers (although St. Louis and Callahan probably have played us more than Nash in the past). Callahan has been crying like a baby for a while about stuff, right? Kind of like that Kesler guy…..Hmmm……

From: Hop
Date: Wednesday, March 5, 2014 11:53 AM
To: Lou, Jeff
Subject: RE: FYI

I don’t follow enough Ranger blogs to know why they wanted to dump Callahan so badly but I don’t think it hurts them this playoff run, which I guess is the focus given where Lundqvist, Richards, even Nash are on the aging curve. I don’t know how this helps/hurts a Flyers matchup either—both Callahan and St. Louis have scored at will at various times in the past, right?

From: Lou
Sent: Wednesday, March 05, 2014 11:50 AM
To: Hop, Jeff
Subject: Re: FYI

Wow. The Rangers just got a little littler.

From: Hop
Date: Wednesday, March 5, 2014 11:48 AM
To: Lou, Jeff
Subject: FYI

Ryan Callahan for (not to) St. Louis

in case you didn’t hear/read–

From: Lou
Sent: Wednesday, March 05, 2014 8:34 AM
To: Hop, Jeff
Subject: Re: Flyer-related

I thought that was the new Russian flag…

From: Hop
Date: Wednesday, March 5, 2014 8:24 AM
To: Lou, Jeff
Subject: RE: Flyer-related

As long as he doesn’t resemble St. Nick, generously giving the puck to opposing forwards.

Also, the new Canuck logo is almost as good as the new Sixers logo:

From: Lou
Sent: Wednesday, March 05, 2014 8:23 AM
To: Hop, Jeff
Subject: Re: Flyer-related

Now I’m really confused about him.

He actually looks like my cousin Nick, so that’s a good sign.

From: Hop
Date: Wednesday, March 5, 2014 7:42 AM
To: Jeff, Lou
Subject: Flyer-related

The new Steve Mason?

Posted in Canucks-related, Flyers-related on March 12, 2014 by wechslerh66

Canuck fans everywhere, be terrified.

Eddie Lack, 1st 24 career games
Age: 26
Record: 9-8-4
GA: 45
SA: 605
SV: 559
SV%: 0.925497
SO: 3
TOI: 1315:55:00
GAA: 2.051674

Steve Mason, 1st 24 career games
Age: 21
Record: 14-9-1
GA: 42
SA: 683
SV: 641
SV%: 0.938507
SO: 6
TOI: 1448:03:00
GAA: 1.740331

Paul Holmgren will be waiting in 2020.