Monday, August 3, 2015
It's a sucky feeling when you know that you'd be the top team in the NL Central, and one of the most powerful teams in the NL period...you know, if the Cardinals didn't just go and exist.
And it's getting really hairy, too. Because both the Pirates and Cubs are realizing very quickly that only one of them can go to the playoffs, as the Giants ain't happening, and the Nats-Mets race is so close that it's likely gonna be one of them taking the last spot. So now the rivalry between the Cubs and Pirates is getting ugly, because both of them want that spot badly.
The Pirates do have more of a shot, as they purposefully refined their offense, and their bullpen, for a potential playoff run. Plus, they have people like Andrew McCutchen, Starling Marte and Pedro Alvarez all playing pretty well. But the fact that their #1 starter just went down for the count isn't helping much.
The Cubs, meanwhile, with their five-star infield and their slowly expanding pitching staff, is prime for an upset. Their main issue involves the inconsistency of their outfield- people like Chris Coghlan and Jorge Soler can't hit all the time.
For my money, the Cubs have the better team, but the Pirates have the higher ground, and are willing to fight for it. Either way, this Wild Card battle could be one for the ages.
Coming Tonight: Speaking of the NL Wild Card, one of the rookie stars of those unsinkable Mets.
This is the year of the mega pitching staff, I think. The Mets' combo of Harvey-deGrom-Colon-Syndergaard-Matz is setting the entire NL on fire, and the Nationals rotation of Scherzer-Zimmermann-Gonzalez-Strasburg has been strong for a while. Plus, the Dodgers, Cardinals, Blue Jays and Astros are all getting together some major rotations.
Meanwhile, the Indians are sitting around in the corner, going "uh, hey? What about us?"
When you look at them up close, the Indians rotation is actually pretty impressive. They have an ace, in Corey Kluber. They have a guy like Carlos Carrasco who can throw nasty stuff. They have a fireballer like Trevor Bauer who can be the third guy, and they have Danny Salazar coming up in there. Heck, they even have a powerful rookie in Cody Anderson, who has definitely impressed this season.
However, the problem lies with the fact that the Indians have no offense.
I mean, it helped when guys like Michael Brantley, Carlos Santana and Michael Bourn were hot-hitting, like they were last season. Now...not so much. Jason Kipnis was absolutely killing it, but he can only do so much. The only guy who was hitting for power for a while back there, Brandon Moss, just got traded to a team PACKED with run support, the Cardinals.
So...the Indians rotation can be really nice, and pretty (and there are even guys like TJ House waiting in the wings), but unless they start bringing up hitters, they won't be much more than something nice to look at.
Coming Tonight: The outfielder for a team that would be way out in first if they'd be in any other division but the NL Central.
Sunday, August 2, 2015
You have no idea how much practice it took for me to spell this guy's name without looking.
I mean, even if the Marlins aren't doing great, like this season, I still need to memorize player names and spelling just in case they get good enough for a custom. Hechavarria had some nice games, and is leading his team in a bunch of categories, plus he hasn't had one yet, so I figured I'd crank one out, even if it's from a team that isn't especially relevant right now.
And yes, the Marlins do have a lot of good pieces, but those pieces have to be A.) Hitting well and B.) Not injured for this team to work. Marcell Ozuna was not hitting well. Henderson Alvarez and Giancarlo Stanton are injured. Hence, the team is not doing very well. Matter of fact, it it weren't for the Phillies being...the Phillies, they'd be back in last.
The team does have some promise, but requires a lot more effort than they're currently giving. If Stanton can stay healthy, and if they bring up more young players who can stay consistent, they could have a decent enough team, but the division is still pretty tough. The Nats and Mets are hot, and the Braves may be a few years away from relevance.
So, Hechavarria is a good piece, but he can't help his team alone. Which is a little sad.
Coming Tomorrow- A pitcher for Cleveland who's been flat out dominating this season.
I got, in total, 100, ten bucks worth, so I'll show off the highlights of what I got.
The way these dime boxes were laid out were pretty nice. He had them organized by set name, then by year, then by offshoot. All the Bowman sets were together, all the Donruss', and so on. He must have broken a ton of old hobby boxes of these products recently, just to lay out the commons. So, he had a lot of 2000's era Upper Deck, Fleer, Donruss, etc.
In addition to just spit-balling for players in a number of those sets, the guy had a lot of sets I actually like, like the old '07 A&G Dick Perez Sketch Cards. In addition to this card of recently-traded Tulo...
The one upside of all of these busted hobby boxes is this guy happened to bust a ton of 00's Topps Traded, especially the ones before I started collecting. This helps matters especially, as I needed a lot of these for sentimental value. This Lee Smith is from 2001 Topps' 50 Years Reprints, especially the ones they did for the traded set.
To finish up this post, the guy did have a lot of cards of people I collect from that era of '00-05. So, I scooped up a bunch of those cards. This card of Wade Boggs is from the 2000 Donruss subset of 2001 Donruss. Which...is pretty stupid.
I'm glad I at least found this dime box guy, even if he was the only real guy at the card show that had good, cheap stuff. Still, at least they had something good.
Saturday, August 1, 2015
Jonathan Papelbon gets the head of the post, not because he comes up later, or because he's #1, but because he's...
#10- Jonathan Papelbon to the Nationals, a prospect to the Phillies
Who Wins? Phillies. You'd think the Nats would win here, as they landed one of the best modern closers, and can move into the playoffs with a guy used to October tension. But while the Nats will succeed with Papelbon, it's really the Phillies getting the W here, as they got rid of a guy who was not a great guy for the team dynamic. Papelbon hated it in Philly, and talked about it nonstop. So don't you think your team's a little better now that the shit-talker's gone? Plus, they got a pitching prospect in return, so they can eventually be sort of good again, sometime in the future.
Who Wins? Blue Jays. Yep, second deal in a row that hurts my dear Phils. And this one...stings. I was just getting used to Ben Revere in Philly. I was gonna put a custom of him on my wall. I certainly wasn't expecting him to get traded. So, this one really hurts. But, sad to say, this does indeed help the Blue Jays, as they needed young outfield help, and they also could definitely use an average- heavy guy like Revere. So, somehow, it works.
Who Wins? Dodgers. They needed pitching help with Ryu and McCarthy gone, and they got two guys who can definitely supplement the rotation. A Kershaw-Greinke-Anderson-Latos-Wood rotation will definitely work, especially given the powerful run support. It can be said that the Braves also benefitted, because they got one of the big cuban prospects the Dodgers took time in lassoing.
Who Wins: Giants. Thanks to injuries and inconsistency, the Giants' rotation hasn't been as much of a sure thing as usual, but Mike Leake can be a solid third man. There is a lot of potential in that rotation, even if the postseason isn't exactly a sure thing in SanFran. Bottom line is that the Giants fixed the one problem they've ben having, and that is rotation security. I don't know if this move, which is basically the only big move they made this year besides breaking Travis Ishikawa's heart again, will make the postseason favorites again, but it'll at least help their cause.
Who Wins: Astros. Remember, the Mets were INCHES away from landing Gomez, but because Sandy Alderson couldn't seal the deal, he ended up back on the board, and the Astros needed another outfield bat, to relegate Preston "Who Am I And What Am I Doing on the 2015 Astros" Tucker to the bench (where he belongs). So, Gomez and Mike Fiers were traded to the Astros. Fiers will be a decent fourth-or-fifth starter for Houston, but the real star is Gomez, as he's showed no sign of slowing down the past few years, even in a shitty year for Milwaukee. He's gonna be a big piece of the Astros' postseason bid.
Who Wins: Mets. This, I think, more than makes up for losing out on Gomez. Because, as a bonus, the Mets get to keep Zack Wheeler, and they get an awesome outfielder who can hit home runs. Cespedes had a really nice start with Detroit, and I didn't think he'd be traded this soon, but the Mets needed power, and they could potentially be a postseason threat. Cespedes could be their ace in the hole, because Lucas Duda can only strike out so many times.
Who Wins: Jays. The fact that this trade, as huge as it is, is this low, proves how huge this deadline was. Price is still one of the best pitchers in the game, and has played some awesome baseball for the Tigers. However, the Jays need some serious pitching help, and Price is the ace that they desperately needed. A combo of Price-Dickey-Buehrle-Hutchison could be pretty nasty down the stretch. Now, their only issue is that they're in a tough division, and they might not be able to hang on for that wild card spot. So they may have just given up Daniel Norris, a great pitcher, for no reason. We'll find out what this eventually does for them.
#3- Troy Tulowitzki and LaTroy Hawkins to the Blue Jays, Jose Reyes and prospects to the Rockies.
Who Wins: Jays again. It'd become obvious that Jose Reyes wasn't the greatest fit in Toronto, so shipping him to a park where it might be a bit easier for him to return to streaking could be a good idea. However, the Jays landing a solid hitting shortstop, and a guy who can close games (especially considering the Jays have no closer) was the best part of this. They still have a flawed team, but they now have two people, in Tulo and Donaldson, who are young, can hit, and can shape the future of that roster, instead of those two aging bats Bautista and Encarnacion. This is a promising trade, if not for 2015, then for the future.
#2- Cole Hamels to the Rangers, Matt Harrison and a ton of prospects to the Phillies
Who Wins: Rangers. I bet you all thought this would be #1. Well, while this is a huge move for Texas, and it moves a powerful pitcher to a very run-support-heavy team, it still doesn't guarantee the Rangers to get to the postseason. The Rangers are still a flawed, semi-injured team, and getting Cole Hamels does not remedy that. Plus, they're third in a division of two teams who are both sure fires for the wild card. They have to contend with Minnesota and Toronto for that last spot. They are FAR from a sure thing. So that's why they're not #1. However..this is still a good move for both teams, as it gives the Phillies a lot more to work with for their future, and the Rangers a new ace, and a great one-two combo once Darvish comes back.
#1- Johnny Cueto to the Royals, Brandon Finnegan and prospects to the Reds.
Who Wins: Royals. The whole season, their main problem has been their rotation. They have good pitching, but they don't have an ace. They have people like Edinson Volquez and Jeremy Guthrie, who pitch games but are way past their prime. And they have Yordano Ventura, who's been dealing with serious control issues this season. Cueto is their best move, and can definitely hold a rotation, and lead a team into the postseason. Plus, judging by his first start, he loves it in Kansas City. This move is #1 because it could determine how far the Royals go into the postseason.
Friday, July 31, 2015
I haven't done a straight custom post in a while, and I need to, because there's too many customs piling up in my folder.
Yunel Escobar came to the Nationals in a trade for recent Mint Condition goat Tyler Clippard. Since landing in Washington, he's hit like a pro, covering for oft-injured Anthony Rendon, and bringing even more power to a team loaded with it.
The Nats' only problem lies with the Mets, as they're only a couple games away from eclipsing their lead. Plus, with the additions of Juan Uribe and Carlos Gomez (HA! JUST KIDDING!!), they've packed their team with enough batters to become a threat in the NL, let alone the East.
Escobar is going to need to keep his momentum going if he wants the Nationals to stay strong, and hopefully the rest of the team will follow.
Coming Tonight (?)- The perennial star of a team that simply will not stop.