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Friday, February 27, 2004

PASS TO SHAQ

PASS TO SHAQ. PASS TO SHAQ. NOT KOBE. PASS TO SHAQ. NOT KOBE. PASS TO SHAQ.

Who gives a shit if he gets fouled? Then we take a chance. There's a possibility no foul will be called and we score two. Phil blew that game last night. All gameplans should revolve around Shaq, every play should have his huge paw on the ball at least once. It's that simple. I know this game doesn't count for anything, and we'll probably destroy these guys in the playoffs. And Rick Fox should cover Stojakobitch. And pass less to Kobe. Selfish asshole had to take the three pointer.

It was a hard comedown from the awesome win over the Nuggets a few nights ago. Earl Boykins, my favorite player in the NBA, is sort of like a hidden character in NBA Jam, "Mini Black Dude" who is faster than all the other players and is easily knocked down, and you get him after hitting up down up down, left right, left right, a, b, b, a, select start on your nintendo controller. (that's Contra 100 lives for you guys whose parents couldn't afford a console). Either Boykins or Iverson are the fastest players in the NBA.

Of course the Dodgers wish they had the problems the Lakers have. With the Lakers every year there is a decent chance they'll win it all. With the Dodgers every year there is a decent chance they'll be contracted.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Let's look at, the Padres

I'm planning on going to a Padres game this year, probably when the Dodgers come down to visit. I want to see the new stadium, and I think I'm either going to dress up as a choirboy to cause a ruckus by rubbing up against the Padres mascot, or I'm just going to dress up as a priest, and get drunk and cause a ruckus. Both could be exciting.

Pitching:The Padres' pitching just looks like a joke, especially since that fatso David Wells is going to be their #1 starter. On top of all that, they didn't put a weight clause into his contract, so he's undoubtedly going to balloon. He has back trouble, and his strikeout rate is terrible. None of the position players behind are strong on defense, so expect him to falter. Lawrence should rebound a bit from a terrible '03, but he's really only a slightly above average pitcher. He'll be 28, and might have a break out year, but more likely will pitch near his career average of 102 ERA+.

Jake Peavy is so young, and seems to be improving, that I'd be an asshole to predict his downfall. So I'm going to predict his downfall. Actually he looks like a legitimate threat, but with any young player it's hard to tell. He has the mechanics, but overall he is a below average pitcher. Eaton is a little older than Peavy, and about as mediocre. He's less likely to show improvement, and has a couple terrible seasons under his belt. Peavy is the one to watch. If Peavy and Lawrence can have break out years, and Wells doesn't implode this team could do well. Right now the starting staff is the worst in the NL West.

Bullpen: The bullpen has an old broken man as a closer, Hoffman, an old drunkard, Rod Beck, and a solid player in Linebrink. Beck is still talented, Linebrink is good, and the two unknowns are a Japanese player by the name of Otsuka, and Hoffman's health. Hoffman is damn close to a Hall of Famer, but he also might be damn close to retirement. Otsuka will probably be quite, dutiful, and kill himself if he fails, so expect him to be solid. Basically, this bullpen better be solid, because the front line starters are terrible. Kevin Towers, GM of the Padres, made little or no improvement to his pitching staff, instead hoped that their young ages were the reason for failure. There's too many question marks in this pitching staff for me to think the Padres are any type of threat.

Position Players: Ramon Hernandez was the big trade from the A's that the Padres got. I don't know why anyone trades with Billy Beane, because he always fucks you over. Hernandez was amazing last year, but that was his career year, and it's very probable he sucks. If the A's thinks this guy sucks, then he probably does.

Phil Nevin used to be amazing, and then the last two years has both sucked, and been injured. He might be a Matt Williams, or he might make a comeback like some player I don't know, but some of you baseball nerds out there might know some dude who made a comeback in his mid-30s, thanks. He's really unpredictable though. Loretta had a good year last year, but in general he's below average as a hitter. Expect him to fall. Greene is the new kid on the block, he's a highly rated prospect, and might do well. Already he hits better than Izturis, but that of course means nothing. Burroughs is another youngster, and he showed he could hit last year.

Klesko is a solid player, and if he's healthy could be a badass. Giles is a steroid God, but if he can beat the tests and maintain his drug taking regimen, he'll be a threat, if he arrives at spring training a midget, you'll know the Padres are in trouble. Then they have Jay Payton, who is amazing. The downside with him is that he's an injury threat, and last year's health was a fluke.

All in all this is an offense, like the pitching, that is young, and unproven. Greene, Nady, and Burroughs are talented, but have yet to show it. It has less question marks than the pitching though. It seems to me that teams with great offenses, and shit pitching tend to do worse than teams with shit offenses and great pitching. I mean, you can't really score with a pitcher, but all you need is to win by one run to win a game, or at least bribe an umpire. Kevin Towers was faced with terrible pitching last season, and went out and did what any sensible non-sabermetric GM would do, and fixed his offense. Expect these clowns to hit the cellar.

Monday, February 23, 2004

Hmmmm

I was wondering what the hell to write on this damn thing, and then I remember I had made some vague promise to review the NL West. Before I do that, if I ever do that, I want to talk about the Yankees and steroids.

I've ranted before about steroids. Bonds and Giambi each showed up to spring training about 100 lbs lighter than before, and Giambi just looks like he spent the winter in Guantanamo. Both of them are saying they'd be tested any day of the week, quite frankly since both have been juicing for the better part of a decade, I wouldn't touch their purple piss with anything other than someone else's hand. Only the most delusional, psychotic cretin would believe that either man is drug free. The fact that they can keep a straight face with their "new" weight loss is hilarious; I probably would have burst out laughing at the press conference. Actually if I was a big name player, I'd probably take even more roids, and double dare Selig into revealing that I take the shit, considering the damage it would do to baseball. Expect homerun totals to drastically fall this season.

And then there's the Lakers. Though they just finished playing a mediocre team, the Suns, they showed the spark capable of a playoff berth and possibly a championship. Shaq a few nights earlier absolutely dominated the 76ers, and an exhausted Iverson was no match. The little tike, looked like a boy among men, and ended the night with a mere 12 points. No Eastern Conference team has more than one superstar, and thus no Eastern Conference team has a chance to win. For the seventh season in a row, the Western teams are the ones to watch, and actually, only the Lakers and Spurs are the ones to watch. It'll be interesting to see Karl McGriff, make a comeback
from hip replacement surgery and see how his presence will ruin the Laker's chemistry, or be enough to win it all. I hope the latter.

I guess I'm going to analyze one team at a time, because I'm tired tonight, and I'll probably get frustrated and publish the blog entry in mid-sentence. Let's take a look at the San Francisco Giants:

Position Players: A noticeably thinner Bonds, means a less stronger Bonds, means less homers Bonds. And of course, this offense is built around Bonds. Grissom should regress to normal shitty status, J.T. Snow should retire, Edgardo Alfonso should do a little better, Neifi Perez should horrify everyone, Durham and Michael Tucker should do poorly as well. The offense as a whole is old, and past their prime. The only noticeable upgrade is Pierzynski, but he's really only a slightly above average hitter, which is great for a catcher, but he can't be expected to shore up the offense behind Barry. This is a team that is now even more reliant on Bonds' success. Bonds of course is now steroid free, and one year older. I'm going to be that jackass that predicts his downfall, and I'll probably be laughed at. But the same people who thought another old man future Hall of Famer would win it all last year were proved wrong with Randy Johnson's complete collapse. It's the kind of collapse that will send your team to third place. Remember, the Dodgers finished in second over the D-backs in '03. I predict the same thing here.

Pitchers: Jason Schmidt is both injured and overrated. He's also the best starter they have. If you look at his career ERA+, park adjusted of course, he's only 106, that is six percent above the league average. To give you an idea of how much last year was a fluke, his ERA+ for 2003 was 183. Basically he pitched last year as well as two men at once. He should have won the Cy Young, but ugly looking players always lose to weird looking ones, so Gagne won it. Schmidt is coming off of surgery, and has a crazy Dominican manager who thinks it's still the Dead Ball era, and will ride his ass to a Tommy John surgery.

Kirk Reuter, yet another absurdly ugly man, is probably the second best pitcher on the staff. He too is highly overrated. He has a deplorable strikeout rate, so a lot of his ERA numbers come from the defense behind him. That's probably why Sabean gave Neifi Perez the starting position at shortstop, though Perez rivals Izturis for the worst hitting starter in the game. Grissom is older, and is probably a defensive liability, but I do remember him stealing a Bonds' homer in '02, a game which I attended, and was possibly the greatest game I ever watched live in my life. But that was two years ago. No one on the Giants is a defensive master. Reuter is a lucky pitcher, so expect his chances for success to be minimized.

Tomko and Hermanson are thoroughly average, Jerome Williams is their young phenom, and he's really the only pitcher who stands out. If he has a blowout year, we'll feel it. If not, the Giants are facing a collapse. He is the only young pitcher on the staff, and he's the only one with potential. He pitched quite well last year, but saw limited playing time, and started the year in AAA. He's the big question mark. If the other pitchers play to their skills, and Williams stands out, this will be the most balanced team in the NL West. If Williams pitches averagely, this team will do averagely.

One thing I want to slam into your minds is that the NL West is probably the shittiest division in the MLB this year. Not one team stands out. There is no way in hell the Giants will runaway with the division next year. It's not possible. It's going to be much closer of a race, and it's one reason to be optimistic. I think our pitching staff and bullpen is much stronger than any in the west, and if we can get one or two bats we can win a playoff berth. Not because we're talented, mind you, but because everyone else is crap. We play the Giants only 16 times this year, far less than last year. I honestly wished we played them more; I think we could cream them. Pray Shawn Green has a comeback, and Ross has a huge year. All right, you know if I'm hoping for Ross' success we're screwed.
Found another blog

And I shall add it to my links section. It covers all of Los Angeles sports, unlike this blog which sort of covers the Dodgers, and totally covers me losing my mind. See it here.

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