Tag Archives: Minnesota Twins

Call to the Pen: Cold Weather, Jay-Z the Agent and More

This is the weather forecast for the Mets’ series in Colorado this week:

denver weather

Doesn’t Thursday look beautiful? Spring hasn’t yet sprung for the Mets, who opened at home before going to Philadelphia. They played last weekend in snowy Minnesota; Sunday’s game was postponed due to inclement weather. Whether they will play their four-game series as scheduled in Colorado is uncertain, but unlikely.

I realize MLB scheduling is complex—teams want more home games in the summer and prefer home stands during holiday weekends—but let’s use some common sense here. Players shouldn’t have to dress like this.

I spoke with Peter Greenberg, a sports agent who represents many prominent Latin players, today and asked him about how his clients are handling the lower temperatures. He said it’s possible some young Latin players won’t have played in the cold until they reach the majors, as decisions about which minor leagues to send players to are sometimes based on the weather. Greenberg said that “typically Latin players don’t like playing in the cold,” but it’s something they must deal with, particularly this season. “There’s always a concern about injuries, especially with pitchers,” he said, referring to all players taking the field in colder temperatures. Performance and injury risk relative to the weather is nearly impossible to assess across the sport, but teams should be monitoring their players on a case-by-case basis.

Now that we’ve warmed up, let’s look at other noteworthy items from the first two weeks of the season:
Continue reading Call to the Pen: Cold Weather, Jay-Z the Agent and More

2010 MLB Playoffs; ALCS, NLCS Previews

Update 10/26/10: Check out my World Series preview.

Update 10/14/10: This update comes as the 2010 MLB playoffs have dwindled down to four teams. The ALCS begins Friday night in Texas while the NLCS starts Saturday in Philadelphia. I only predicted two of the teams to make it this far, but I like my chances of getting the World Series matchup correct. Sound off in the comments section to let me know your thoughts.

American League
Texas Rangers vs. New York Yankees

Despite opening on the road, the pressure is on the Yankees in the first two games of the ALCS. They will send CC Sabathia and Phil Hughes to the mound and won’t have to face Texas ace Cliff Lee. If the Rangers can take even one of these games, I like their chances to win the series. Why? Because Lee will start Game Three, and after stifling Tampa Bay twice, his career playoff numbers are 6-0 with a 1.44 ERA. In Game Four, Tommy Hunter opposes AJ Burnett and his 5.26 ERA.

While the Yankees do have the advantage in the opening games, it might not be as great as you think. Neither CJ Wilson nor Colby Lewis gave up a run in their starts against Tampa. They are more than capable of at least limiting the potent New York lineup. You know I prefer the other New York baseball team, so take this prediction with a grain of salt: Rangers in six.

National League
Philadelphia Phillies vs. San Francisco Giants

In Philadelphia’s sweep of the Reds, their pitching was absolutely dominant. Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels each threw complete games, and the staff pitched to an even 1.00 ERA. The Giants can match the Phillies arm for arm. Their staff is pitching to a 1.66 ERA in the postseason. We’ve got Halladay vs. Tim Lincecum in Game One. Does it get any better than that?

But when you look at the lineups, the Phils clearly have the edge. The Giants put a ton of pressure on their pitching staff as is; it’s only going to be tougher against Philadelphia’s top-tier starters. Guys like Buster Posey, Aubrey Huff, and Juan Uribe have exceeded expectations, but they don’t strike fear in the opposition like Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, and Jayson Werth.

I don’t expect much of a drop-off in the quality of pitching we saw in the Division Series, but the Phillies have more room for error given their multitude of sluggers. I predicted these two teams would meet before the playoffs started and I’m not changing my prediction. Phillies in six.

2010 MLB Season Predictions: September Review

In March, before the 2010 MLB season began, I made my divisional and playoff predictions, which appear below. At the All Star break, I revisited those predictions. Now that the playoffs are less than two weeks away, I want to provide another update. Look for more as the regular season officially concludes and the playoffs begin.

American League
1. New York Yankees
2. Boston Red Sox
3. Tampa Bay Rays
4. Baltimore Orioles
5. Toronto Blue Jays
Thoughts: The Yanks and Rays are still battling for the title, so it’s too early to call this. Clearly I was wrong about Boston, but who could have predicted all the injuries?

1. Minnesota Twins
2. Chicago White Sox
3. Detroit Tigers
4. Cleveland Indians
5. Kansas City Royals
Thoughts: Cleveland and KC are currently engaged in a four-game series. If the Indians can take three of four, my predictions will likely be 100% accurate. If you want to think highly of me as a prognosticator, stop here, because it’s about to get ugly.

1. Los Angeles Angels
2. Seattle Mariners*
3. Texas Rangers
4. Oakland Athletics
Thoughts: I could not have been more wrong here. I should have bought into the hype surrounding the Rangers. They have dominated this division, while my wild card pick — Seattle — has the worst record in the league. Sadly, the biggest story of the season in Seattle was Ken Griffey Jr’s retirement.

National League
1. Philadelphia Phillies
2. New York Mets
3. Atlanta Braves
4. Florida Marlins
5. Washington Nationals
Thoughts: While many liked the Braves this year, I said the Phillies would coast to a fourth straight divisional title, something they have all but locked up. I was wrong about Atlanta, New York, and Florida essentially being even throughout the year, but can you blame me for breaking the tie by going with my favorite team? Mets fans were apathetic at the start, then excited about a sweep of Atlanta and the play of the youngsters, before finally wondering how the franchise had fallen so far. As for Washington, well, at least Strasmas was fun while it lasted.

1. St. Louis Cardinals
2. Chicago Cubs
3. Cincinnati Reds
4. Milwaukee Brewers
5. Houston Astros
6. Pittsburgh Pirates
Thoughts: I knew Joey Votto was good, but I didn’t realize he’d be a Triple Crown candidate all the way into September.

1. Los Angeles Dodgers
2. Arizona Diamondbacks*
3. Colorado Rockies
4. San Diego Padres
5. San Francisco Giants
Thoughts: I wish I could tell you I accidentally put these teams in the reverse order. I suppose I can’t knock myself too much over Arizona, since Brandon Webb’s injury kept him out the entire season. I can be blamed for putting San Fran and San Diego at the bottom though. Good pitching — or in their case, great pitching — beats good hitting, and maybe next year I’ll remember that.
*wild card winner

Seattle Mariners over New York Yankees
Minnesota Twins over Los Angeles Angels
Twins over Mariners
Thoughts: I’m going to get two out of four playoff teams correct, which is bad, but not terrible. And I still believe in my pennant winner, though getting past the Rays and Yankees is of course going to be extremely difficult.

Philadelphia Phillies over Arizona Diamondbacks
St. Louis Cardinals over Los Angeles Dodgers
Cardinals over Phillies
Thoughts: In the NL, it’s worse — I’m only one out of four, and my league champ isn’t going to qualify for the postseason. If the Phillies do in fact advance to the NLCS I can’t call it a complete disaster.
World Series: Twins over Cardinals

Thoughts: All my eggs are in the Twins’ basket. Bring on November baseball in Minnesota!