Saturday, April 30, 2016
Having a baseball team in Denver is really vexing, if you think about it. The ballpark is engineered for long balls, because the air is thinner. There are players who did amazing stuff in Colorado, and then went back into the league depleted and suckier, because playing in Colorado made them amazing hitters to begin with. Still, people like Todd Helton and Larry Walker can make careers out of playing in Coors Field and smacking home runs.
The other downside is that no pitcher can survive especially long in Colorado. As the air's thinner, even the best pitchers can't really survive for very long, and get repeatedly beaten by opposing batters. So batters are only good when they're there, and pitchers are almost never good.
So, all of this being said, it shouldn't especially shock you that the Rockies aren't doing too great this season, so far.
Yes, Trevor Story and Carlos Gonzalez are hitting really well, and the youth movement that started a few years ago is still a success, but the pitching is especially atrocious this year, with no one of note making any important starts. So the inverse is attacking the Rockies at this point, although they're close enough to the top three, and it's early enough in the season, that I'm not counting them out yet.
CarGo, meanwhile, is back to his usual, home-run bashing self, after a season or two of inactivity back there. 2015 he came back in a big way, and so far he's up to his old tricks, which is great for the Rockies, as he's basically become the anchor in the absence of people like Todd Helton or Tulo.
Not sure if the Rockies are going to make much more news this season, aside from CarGo and Story, but I'll be keeping watch.
Coming Tomorrow- Probably another piece of the CC rip, but also a guy who most of the MLB counted out last year, who's back to smacking home runs for a surging AL East team.
No, seriously. This is pretty baffling to me, actually.
The Astros were so phenomenal last year, in just about every way. The lineup worked, the pitching staff was dominating, the momentum was there. There weren't too many drastic roster changes for 2016, and most of the guys who were killing it last year are still there. In fact, a few crucial pieces were added rather than subtracted.
So...I really don't understand why they aren't winning games.
They have the same guys hitting, too. Colby Rasmus is off to a pretty nice start, and Tyler White had some pretty electrifying stuff earlier, and Dallas Keuchel is still shutting people down. And yet people like the Mariners and Rangers are taking care of the top of the division.
This isn't like the Twins thing, because the Twins were juuuust running out of momentum at the end of 2015, and their decline sort of makes sense in hindsight. The Astros ended last season still with a ton of momentum, still really powerful, which is why the deflation right now doesn't make sense to me.
Hopefully this is just a momentary thing, and hopefully they'll get hot again in the next few weeks and put to rest all the really worried sportswriters. They're a fun team, and they don't deserve to be back in last after everything that's happened to them.
Coming Tonight- He hasn't hit as many home runs as Trevor Story, but he's still one of the most impressive home run hitters in Denver.
Friday, April 29, 2016
They worried me for a second, but the Pirates have a pretty solid record and are hitting pretty damn well in some pretty odd places. The Pirates coaching staff have this miraculous ability to turn players who nobody thought could succeed, like Jason Grilli, Juan Nicasio, John Jaso and Frankie Cervelli, into serious threats and prime tools. I do adore that, and I adore that the Pirates have spent the last five seasons being a legitimate threat in the NL Central. This does not happen often, especially after the slog that was the 2000's.
Starling Marte is one of the more important parts of this lineup, because he's one of the main home run hitters on the team, thanks to the absence of Pedro Alvarez and Neil Walker (who's blowing shit up in Queens right now). He's also come a long way from his debut in 2012, and, combined with Andrew McCutchen and Gregory Polanco, make one of the most impressive outfields in baseball right now.
The toughest part of this season is not only going to be diffusing the Cardinals, as usual, but keeping up with the Cubs. Last year's season ended because, even though they had the WC spot locked up, the Cubs still won that one-game playoff because they were hotter at that point. The Pirates need some serious momentum this year, and it involves keeping what they have right now going for another few months.
It'll be tough, but they're the 2010's Pirates. They've done tougher.
Coming Tomorrow- The little guy whose breakout team from last year has hit a slight snag.
Right now the Minnesota Twins and the Atlanta Braves have the worst records in their respective leagues. I know this is early, but if this is how this season is gonna turn out, it won't be the first time.
The diehard baseball fans should know this, but I'll go over it anyway. In 1990, both the Twins and the Braves were at the bottom of their respective divisions. In 1991, they were both in the World Series.
This is a classic example of how quickly baseball can turn, and that the guys on the bottom have as much of a chance as the guys on top. Fun little tidbit.
However, it's 25 years later...and we have the same scenario. One of them, the Braves, isn't surprising, as they've made it a point to clear the team of most of the talent, in order to lose games now so they can win them in the future. The Twins...that one confuses me. Last season they were pretty damn good, and in the offseason, realigned their team around people like Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton...guys who aren't doing so well right now.
So, right now, both teams are on the bottom. Now, are they gonna be on top next year??? Ehhhh....probably not. I mean, I'm a fan of miracles and underdog stories, but there's no way that can happen in 2017. A lot of stars would have to be aligned perfectly, and that's a lot of luck that might not be on Atlanta or Minneapolis' side.
But hey...fun to dream about, isn't it?
Coming Tonight: A third of the most powerful outfield in the NL.
Way to wait your turn for me to post your custom, man.
I make the custom, I slide it in to go up in a week or so, and then you go and get busted for PEDs like an idiot, so I can't save this until the entire 80 games are off. I have to get it out of the way now, and give you a whole walk of shame thing like on Game of Thrones. This is what you're making me do, Dee.
Damn...I had so much respect for you, and then you pull something like this. Phenomenal, man...
Tuesday, April 26, 2016
Today, since it's been forever since I've done one of these, we're gonna look at Collector's Choice's last hurrah.
Yes, the penultimate Upper Deck Collector's Choice set, and the last time they could retain some of the gonzo, awesome concepts that made the set fun originally. You can see that CC's beginning to lose its way, as this is probably the most composed base set since the trial run in 1994. Plus, more kid-oriented concepts are beginning to come in, and even more inserts.
This is a changing brand, but it's still an awesome set. So, we have 36 packs, 12-per-pack. 12 packs today. Let's see how things were in 1998.
Think about that every time you see 'em win this year. Times have been worse.
I'll get around to Part 2 sometime this week, but this is a pretty cool set.