Monday, October 29, 2007
That said, I'm very happy for the Colorado Rockies who accomplished something amazing. I'm happy for the young kids on this team, and I'm happy for the wiley veterans who deserved a second one. I'm happy for the fans who stuck with this team and loved it like it should be loved.
This thing was a foregone conclusion after the Sox beat the Indians. And again, not as sweet as waiting 86 years and being the terrible underdog for many many years. The announcers just didn't have the bounce in their voices, actually quite the opposite. Most announcers were busy ball washing the Rockies and ignoring the Red Sox. Aaron Cook was having a terrific game holding the Red Sox offense to 2 hits and 1 run - huh? Before this series you were talking about how great the Rockies offense was - now Jon Lester has given up 2 hits and NO runs and you don't even mention it. That's crap.
Now that the WS is over, we have a lot of work to do. Mike Lowell, Curt Schilling, Tim Wakefield, Mike Timlin, finding a spot for Ellsbury, the minor league system, adding a younger SP, adding some RP, is there a way to trade a Lugo or Drew?, finding a young catcher in the minors or somewhere. We do have our share of question marks. It will still be a fun offseason.
Even more fun will be seeing the Yankees in demise. ARod gone, Posada/Rivera next? Clemens gone, Abreau staying. Pettitte gone? Damon sucking. Mussina aging. All the coaching in NY gone! No bullpen, no young pitching (except Hughes). No young position players. The will overpay for someone - Andruw Jones? Who else? Good times. Team is totally in disarray.
Who will step up next season? Blue Jays? Orioles? Probably not. Should be a fun offseason.
The Red Sox are World Series champs, let's now move on to building a dynasty.
Sunday, October 28, 2007
Now, I really would like to see this game go back to Fenway so Boston fans can see them win it at home - but I really don't want that to happen - I want them to end it tonight.
I wouldn't mind this thing going to game 5 either - the Rockies winning one (instead of getting embarrassed) and the state of Colorado getting another few million dollars worth of fans money would be a VERY good thing - but I'd rather end it tonight.
As for a sweep - I think it is possible - the Rockies have been pummelled and have no mental edge and have been reduced to infants. Jon Lester is an unknown - although he is more of a known than Aaron Cook. Lester pitched in the ALCS and did well - Cook hasn't pitched in months. The Sox are going to feast on Cook - that is a given. Lester could either get shelled or throw a perfect game tonight. I could see the crafty kid really putting the screws to the Rockies - and that would be just fine with me.
Pedroia and Ellsbury were spectacular tonight and I think Pedroia is 2 hits away from wrapping up MVP. Of course, if Ellsbury gets 2 doubles tonight we might be splitting the award - which is something I am definitely hoping for. 2 rookies leading off the top of the order is unheard of and certainly without precedent. To think this is the future of the organization (with Youks, Paps, Buchholz, Lester, MDC) is amazing. This could very well be the start of a dynasty.
I look forward to the offseason - just like everyone else, but it all comes down to tonights game - win it all tonight and it makes it a very very special year. Win it for all of us. Win it like everyone knows you can.
Friday, October 26, 2007
- Sox have 15 walks in 2 games.
- Sox scored 13 runs in game 1.
- Sox have scored 15 runs in 2 games.
- Sox bullpen is on fire.
- Schilling had a decent game.
- The top of the order is on fire - but Ortiz and Manny are getting pitched around.
- Mike Lowell is pushing for MVP.
- Dustin Pedroia hit the second pitch of the WS into the Monster seats.
- It was completely silent at work on Thursday and Friday after the Rockies lost both games.
- Everyone here in CO is blaming the 8 day layoff for the Rockies losses.
- It took only one loss for some sports writer in Denver to write about the Sox payroll and how the Rockies can't compete.
- Helton looks horrible. Brad Hawpe is getting exposed.
- Matt Holliday is an MVP candidate for the next 10 years.
- The Rockies can't hit Red Sox pitching.
- Clint Hurdle is an idiot.
- The NL is just ten classes below the AL.
- This series will end before the series goes back to Fenway.
Sad, but true. The Sox are just putting up baserunners, and scoring just enough to win. The bullpen is en fuego and no one in the other 49 states is surprised. The lack of a DH will take out one good hitter out of the lineup - but that means when DiceK goes 5 innings tomorrow night you have Youkilis coming off the bench. The Rockies don't have as good a PH as the last guy (Alex Cora) on the Sox bench. So where is the edge? The Sox still have a better lineup and much better pitching.
And how the hell is Josh Fogg pitching in the World Series? Let's be reminded of Josh Fogg's career stats: 60 wins 60 losses 4.90 era 1.46 whip .286 baa. ouch. did I mention that he's never won more than 12 games in a full season? he's had era's of over 5.00 in 3 of his full 6 seasons. in 2006 his era was 5.49. he has a 6.06 era lifetime in Coors Field. going down the order this is what our line up has done to him:
Pedroia: not faced
Youks: 2/3 2B
Lowell: 6/16 2B HR
Drew: 4/21 2B 2 HR
Ellsbury: never faced
Lugo: 4/19 2B
Cora: 6/11 2B HR
The Rockies on the other hadn haven't faced Matsuzaka. Edge has to go to DiceK. And all this talk about the curveball not working in Coors? So? DiceK has 5 pitches. Josh Fogg has 2? Advantage DiceK.
There is just no way in hell the Rockies get out of Coors Field alive.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Now, let's break down everything the Rockies aren't:
-They played in the NL West - which is the crappiest division in all of baseball - period.
-Beating the Padres, Phillies and Diamondbacks would be like beating the Mariners, A's and Twins in the American League. That was hardly an impressive resume to hang your hat on. The American League is by far superior.
-You can't win with one ace pitcher - and the Rockies relying on Jiminez and Morales is going to turn out badly against the Red Sox. The Sox kill rookies, and they crush good pitching.
-A month and a half ago there wasn't a single Rockies fan out there - no one cared about this team! On September 16th (a Sunday) in a 13-0 win against the Marlins, the Rockies drew 19,161 fans - and their park holds 50,000+! That is an embarrassment.
-I was at the Giants game on eptember 3rd, and the Rockies drew 30,000 on Labor Day. And there really wasn't even that many fans there as the entire upper deck was empty.
-Lots of bandwagon fans and very little heart. These are the types of fans who envy the Sox fans, who wish they could feel the passion and enjoy the sweetness of a World Series win. Not gonna happen.
-The Rockies think they have overcome pressure - the World Series is a stage that eats up young teams. Veterans of these games come prepared, and the Red Sox have hardened veterans.
-The Sox have 2 aces and you'll have to face them twice in this series (but probably not). Aces win World Series.
-Half of the Rockies pitchers wouldn't even make the Red Sox roster.
-Boston fans are the best fans in the world - if this goes 6 or 7 games, you have no prayer - ask the Indians. Better win in Colorado or never.
-You don't have the middle of the order that the Red Sox do. Helton has little power, Holliday is great, Atkins will be average. You have a potential 2 run homer everytime Papi steps to the plate because Youks and Pedroia are always on ahead of him. Walk Papi and Manny will make you bleed. Lowell is an RBI machine - go ahead, pitch to him...
-You want heart and soul from a rookie? Pedroia and Ellsbury bleed Red Sox red.
-Enjoy Holliday, because the minute he's a FA he'll RUN away from Colorado.
-You don't have enough pitching. 21st in the league in WHIP was Aaron Cook, Francis was 23rd. If your pitchers even think about giving up baserunners, the Sox will kill them. They wear out arms, led the league in walks and pitches per AB.
-Yes, you are on a roll - but don't you think the Sox might be on a bigger roll? Coming back from a 3-1 game deficit, pounding the Indians 30-5 in the last 3 games. Winning the last two games by 9 runs or more. Yeah, that might be momentum.
Let's list the Rockies excuses when they get pummeled:
The Red Sox had the second highest payroll in baseball!
An 8 day layoff was just too much.
The umpires were against the Rockies (this is the old Denver Broncos excuse!).
The Rockies weren't used to using the DH. Damn AL rules.
As much as I'd like to join all my friends in Colorado and be all optimistic about the Rockies chances against the Red Sox, let's be realistic here! Take your emotions out of it and it is obvious that this Red Sox team is superior. All the wishful thinking you can muster won't make the Rockies stand up to the Sox.
I hate to say it, but I think the Sox could win this thing in 6 games - I'll give the Rockies the benefit of the doubt and say they can win 2 games. (I honestly think it will be a 5 game series).
Let the games begin!
Saturday, October 20, 2007
The big news is the Yankees - who appear to be downsizing from their payroll. They topped out 2007 at $200M+ which is $195.2M for the players and $7M for the manager - but that appears to be a bloated number for 2008. I know you are asking - when was the last time the Yankees downsized? Well, I don't know. But I do know that they could knock off almost 1/3 off that payroll with just players leaving.
The big news lately is that Joe Torre has rejected a 1 year incentive laiden contract offer. That alone will save $7M next year (before a replacement). But, let's do the math on the rest of the players that could be leaving:
$202.2M 2007 Payroll
-$27.7M ARod (could opt out)
-$10.5M Mo Rivera
-$16M Pettitte (can opt out)
=$113.7M 2008 payroll before replacement costs
Holes that would remain = manager, C, 3B, RF, LHP, SP, bullpen, closer. So how will they fill these holes? If I was a betting man, I'd say the new owners (Georgies sons) will spend even more than they did in 2007 to make a splash, and why shouldn't they? They are the Yankees after all.
I'd have to guess they resign ARod at $30M, sign a manager at $1.5M (Girardi), go after Andruw Jones ($17M), resign Posada ($12M), Pettitte picks up his option ($16M) - that is $76M of the $89M reduction - and they would still have the bullpen (assuming Chamberlain becomes the closer) issues, and need a starting pitcher.
Bullpen help could be had for around $8M for 2 guys. The strater is a bigger issue. Rumor has it they are after John Santana - and he won't come cheap at all. I think he could get $15M a year in the long term. So - $76M + $8M + $15M = $99M or a $10M increase over 2007.
That would be quite an All Star team as well. Of course a lot of things have to happen for that to come true. If the Yankees continue to ignore the bullpen and the starting pitching, all the money in the world on Offense won't help.
I still like the Red Sox chances next season!
Edit: After the fact I remembered that Clemens in a FA also and will save the Yankees $17M of his pro-rated $25M. They will still find a way to spend it!
Friday, October 12, 2007
The Sox will dominate this series because of a couple of things - strong veteran starters, veteran hitters, and the ability to chew up opposing teams bullpens. The Indians don't do anything special. Their starters are ok, but they aren't dominating. CC Sabathia has been pedestrian in prior years - so why is he so Cy worthy this season? If Beckett doesn't win the Cy it will be a shame. The Indians had two rookies in their lineup who were barely mediocre (Cabrera and Gutierrez), aged veteran hitters who honestly aren't that good anymore (Blake, Lofton, Nixon), two kids who have no playoff experience whatsoever (Garko & Sizemore) - the only stars they have are Hafner and Martinez (and maybe Peralta). I'm sorry, but that lineup is not very deep and not very experienced. Of course all Indians fans are going to throw out there that the Sox have loads more money than the Tribe, but that's not the point.
The Sox lineup has these kinds of guys down the order:
Dirt dog/high OBP
Line drive/RBI machine
Line drive hitting captain
Singles hitting defense whiz
Low avg slap hitter
Each one of these hitters is amazing at taking pitches and not swinging at balls. They wear pitchers down and make long ABs endless for opposing pitchers. This kills bullpens. So what the Yankees where shut out by the Indians bullpen. The Yankees had to swing the bats - the Sox don't! They will kill you with OBP like no other team in the league.
The Indians looked like joke tonight - CC Sabathia, who I have never been impressed with (and I have followed him for 4 years now since he has been on my fantasy team most of the time), looked horrible. One good inning and then the Sox stopped swinging at the slider - he was done after that. Carmona tomorrow night is basically a rookie - and he will get shelled as well - why? Because the Sox will make him throw 100 pitches by the 6th inning even if he hasn't given up a run yet. That bullpen will come in and get trounced.
Sox hitters will continue to poke at him. Papi and Manny will average 3 walks a game, Youks will probably get a couple hits or walks, andwith all those bodies on all we need is a hit or two from Lowell and Drew and that is 3 or 4 runs right there. Any production from the bottom of the order and that is gravy. Schilling can and will shut down the Indians lineup. He won't over power like Beckett, but he's smart - and will throw good out pitches. Young guys like Gutierrez and Cabrera will be up there looking to hit and not patient. The Indians will be pressing after an embarrassing loss the previous night. It's just going to be ugly.
If the Indians seriously think they can contend against this team, they need to get more out of their starters, get on base more and work pitchers, and do the little things that got them here - steal bases, hit HR's - something!
The Sox seem to be peeking at the right time - we are now 7 wins away from our second championship in 3 years and I like our chances.
Has anyone seen the NL teams starting Top 3? Webb, Davis & Hernandez or Francis, Jiminez & Fogg. Are you kidding me? How the hell did these teams make the playoffs. Your starting 3 is what wins you World Series. The Sox easily have the best Top 3 in the game. And the bullpens (which are less important when your top 3 os good) easily are even or in favor of the Sox. Again, I don't think the NL can compete - even with the Indians Top 3 and bullpen.
I want to talk about Mike Lowell and what his future is. A Lowell quote came out today saying:
"I love it here and would love to re-sign here," Lowell said. "I’m making that clear. I’m happy with the year I had, and I know that’s going to set a certain thought to what’s going to happen in the offseason."
Of course this is a pretty wide open and politically correct statement - and he could change his tune after the WS and go to the highest bidder (which no one would blame him for doing).
I have been digging to try and find Lowell's value in the marketplace and on the Red Sox team. First, let's explore the marketplace.
Top FA this off season will be:
Mike Lowell (.324/21/120) - GG 3B
Alex Rodriguez (.314/54/156) (if he opts out) - GG 3B/SS - projected to go for $27-30M/yr
Aaron Rowand (.309/27/89) - GG OF - projected to be asking for $14M/yr
Torii Hunter (.287/28/107) - GG OF - projected to be asking for $15M/yr
Adam Dunn (.264/40/106) (club option) - 1B/OF - $13M/yr club option
Andruw Jones (.222/26/94) - GG CF - projected to want $20M/yr
Bobby Abreau (.283/16/101) - GG RF - making $15.6M/yr
Obviously there is only one 3B here, who is somehow in a pay class of his own, but you can see the astronomical asking prices of some other guys on this list how are comparable to Lowell. Lowell and ARod are coming off the best years. Jones/Dunn/Rowand/Hunter are the youngest. Dunn/Jones/Abreau had off years from their averages.
The Rowand projected salary is off base - the guy is great on D and has decent avg and pop, but he's not a game changer. He's more of a 5th hitter than a 3rd or 4th hitter on most teams.
Dunn is obviously a clean up hitter - but he strikes out so often, that $13M sounds about right for his 40 HRs and 200 K's.
Abreau at $15M is stupid too - especially since his OBP and SB's have decreased at his age. I could see him settling in the $12-13M range for 2 or 3 years.
Hunter has had a quiet bat for many years, although some of that is made up by his GG and game changing ability. But $15M/yr? No way. I'd give him $13M maybe.
Andruw Jones is a great player on a down year - but $20M? That is Manny type money - and Manny is overpaid as well. I could see Andruw getting $16M/yr max. He is a prototypical #4 hitter and would be a great addition in a difficult position.
ARod gets to name his own price after the year he just had. Clubs will try desparately to point at his production in the post season, but come on - its a team game. He will get more than the $25M he is making now. Will it be $30M? I hope not - that is just bad for the game. Will ARod take the highest bidder? I doubt it. I think he will choose his situation better this time. The ownership thing was intriguing in Chicago, but maybe ARod wants to BE the franchise at his next stop. In chicago he would be the headliner, but I can't see him playing in a cold weather city. I could see him settling in a city that is warm and forgiving. Would the Giants pay for him? Would Seattle try and get him back? Would the Astros be a good fit? Maybe the Brewers? Who knows. I think the Cubs will be his landing spot - not sure why.
That brings us back to Lowell. The guy is making $11M/yr now - he probably didn't earn that $11M the previous 2 seasons, but he certainly did this season. I would estimate that he was probably worth $13M or so - which would probably make up for the mediocre season the year before. Which is why he "might" sign for a slight discount (in dollars or years) with the Sox.
Lowell is getting up there in age, so when we think of years of a contract, we have to take that into consideration. Either he gets more dollars and a shorter contract, or less dollars and a slightly longer contract. His value to the Red Sox is huge - the Sox will have a corner infield hole next season without him, and looking at the FA market, filling that hole would have to be via trade. There are few good corner infielders out there - and the couple that are (Kotchman and Miggy Cabrera) would cost an arm and leg in a trade. And the Sox will not trade Buchholz or Ellsbury, so those trading pawns are off limits and one or both would have to be included for Miggy.
So that leaves dollars available - thus a FA would have to be signed. So that means the SOx would have to seem interested in Lowell a lot - which will slightly drive up his price. The Sox went out and signed Drew at $14M/yr last year - so I would think that would be a starting point. Drew is younger than Lowell and has a slightly better offensive track record, but is more injury prone. Lowell and Drew are GG caliber players at their positions.
I see Lowell asking for $14M and settling for a $12.5M/yr 3 year deal with the Sox.
I hope I am right.
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
Flows about 420, water was tinted green, but the day was a gorgeous blue sky and about 70 degrees in the canyon.
Decided to fish with Chad early in the morning and do a half day. Took Cabo along to keep me company and get her out of the house and away from the constant tormenting by Avelyn. I think she enjoyed it, but she whined the whole time.
Got to the Gill Trail lot at 5:45 - I was the second car there, Chad's was the first! The hike in was very dary as the trees are close together and leaves still out. I used a headlamp to see my way, which was good because then I could track Cabo's glowing eyes as she always stayed up ahead. Dropped down the first path to the family hole and found Chad - we moved below the waterfall and I started fishing. I used a big olive bugger and a size 18 czech nymph in green. I hooked a fish in the shallow stuff, but never got to land him - I did see him though - he was a silvery rainbow about 14 inches. He went after the czech - so we stuck with them for a while. The light started breaking and it became easier to see. I moved up - hopping above the family pool completely to big rock. Chad was in this spot, so I kept moving. I moved into the long long rifle with the big rock on the left. I hooked and landed a nice thick rainbow about 17 or 18 inches. He didn't fight overly hard, but he wouldn't come directly to the net. He took a size 20 red PT. While I was fighting him, another fish about the same size came and swam between me and the fish - about 18 inches away from my foot. He just hung out as I landed the fish. Cabo enjoyed seeing the piggy and gave it a "kiss" before it's release.
Chad and I kept leapfrogging each other - I moved up to the next flat area and as I was walking on the bank I spooked a fish, but noticed two others that hadn't spooked - one was a 17 inch rainbow that was litterally 2 feet away from my leg right up close to the bank, but with grass over hanging and a slow slow drift I had no clue how to get a fly to him. This fish acted very weird however - he was attacking clumbs of weeds that were floating by, he would bite it and shake his head and do it three or four times to the same clump. It looked like he was eating the weeds. He did it a few times too. I fished to him for about 20 mins, and finally hooked him (on a size 20 red and silver wire striped zebra) - but when I tried to back down river to not spook a few other fish, he popped off - although went right back to his spot. Every fish this morning seemed to be inches from the bank. When you walked the bank you would spook fish after fish - some were pretty large too.
The water seemed to get more and more off color as the day went by. Not much more to tell you about the day - I caught a small 13 inch brown (on a soft hackle size 20 black zebra with a gold bead) that was the most fiesty fish if the day - other than that nothing. We only fished until noon and then headed out of the canyon. I was home by about 1:30. It was a beautiful day and I was glad to get fishing again.
EDIT: I forgot to mention that as I was hiking back towards the canyon opening after the day, I stopped at the same spot that I saw the first next to shore - there wasn't a fish to be seen. I did see tons of huge - 4 inches long in some cases - grasshoppers, but they would only jump once and then lose their energy. They were either on their last legs or they were still chilled from the chilly night. I grabbed a few and tossed them in - I watched to see if they faught or if they just floated away. They seemed to be floating away with no fight. I didn't think anything of it and continued my walk down the bank. I immediately saw a fish down river about 20 feet away - about 12 inches off the bank and feeding. I walked back upstream to see if I could find another grasshopper - I tossed it in about 18 inches off the bank and it slowly drifted down river. The fish came up and slurped in the huge bug - the fish was probably only about 13 inches - so that must have been a HUGE mean! So I grabbed another and tossed it in again - this time I tossed it about two feet out to see if the fish would give chase - and he did - slurped that sucker up as fast as possible. 8 inches of grashoppers has to be enough protein to feed a fish for a day that is twice that size. But he stuck in his spot, waiting for more. I wanted to tie on a hopper, but didn't want to cut off my nymphs when I'd be leaving soon. I tried to wade out to the middle and cast back, but when I got out there, Cabo decided to come down the bank and spook the fish. Oh, well.
Sunday, October 07, 2007
I'm currently watching the Sox/Angels game - Ortiz and Manny just went back to back and you could hear the air come right out of the stadium. Weaver was pitching well - striking out 5 in the first 3 innings, but you knew the veteran hitters would get to him - and they did. Man, I hope Schilling and pen can hold this 2-0 lead up. Youks is up now, 2 on, 1 out.
I'm also watching the Broncos/Chargers game and man, do the Broncos suck. I think it is hilarious to hear Bronco fans talk about how the team is good when they have squeaked out two games by last second FGs to crappy teams, and then got their asses handed to them by two other teams. The best thing is that the Rockies are playing, so Bronco fans will have something to distract them. I guarantee that tomorrow at work there will be no talk of the Broncos and all talk about Rockies. Do you think anyone will admit Shanahan is the problem? Hell no.
Chargers are up 14-0 and just caused a fumble as the Broncos were inside the Chargers 15 yard line. Broncos fans were already starting to leave the stadium, sad because half probably just got finished parking their cars! Wait until the Steelers defense comes in in two weeks and cleans up. Travis Henry will be suspended for a year by then - he'll have plenty of time to smoke pot then.
This San Diego team is much better than their record - they have so many weapons and their D is good. Broncos fans always point at a record when making their arguments - which is fine in week 16 but not week 5. I bet Tomlinson goes for 175 yards today.
Saturday, October 06, 2007
The Rockies won tonight too - clinching a berth to the NLCS - which is amazing. I'm really really happy for the team and all their fans. Although not your most dedicated fans, the people here in Denver seem to be very sincere - and EVERYONE is watching them. They have some good young kids, but I'm not sure they can handle truly dominant veteran teams. And the AL is so strong, I have to belive that if they make it to the WS they would get crushed. The DBacks however are just as young as they are and it is anyones guess. If the Rockies make the WS, this place will go NUTS!
I fished today for the first time in a while - if interested, check out my blog on www.rockymtnfly.com.
Steelers play Seattle tomorrow - and I am nervous as hell. Hopefully without Ward/Troy/Hampton we can make something happen. We need to shut down the run game, put pressure on the QB and not turn the ball over. Capitalizing on Seattle's mistakes will be helpful too. Go Steelers!