A commentary about sports, media, and interpersonal relationships encountered throughout everyday life.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sunday in Chicago: Weather Update

The White Sox and Tigers just started the first game of their double-header on Sunday.  However, unless this is the fastest game in American League History (which is unlikely due to the offenses involved), I can't see Johnny Danks starting a second game tonight.

From a fantasy perspective, look for Danks to have two-starts next week... which would be AWESOME for any championship/play-off games in the upcoming scoring period.

I'll update this as I get info.  Stay tuned.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Weather Warnings: How the Weather Could Influence Your Pitching Rotation

I found this useful article on CBS Sports...  I thought it might be useful for anyone who's unsure of pitching match-ups for the rest of this week and for next week's scoring period:

Twins @ Orioles
BALTIMORE -- Relentless rain forced Minnesota and Baltimore to play a doubleheader Saturday.

The game never started and was finally called after a delay of nearly two hours.
Saturday's doubleheader will start at 5:05 p.m.

The Twins began the day in second place in the AL Central, one game behind the Chicago White Sox. Minnesota trailed Boston by 5½ games in the wild-card race.

My Take:  Glenn Perkins and Scott Baker are set to pitch today (Saturday the 13th) for the Twins.  They'll be facing Garrett Olsen and Daniel Cabrera... though I'm sure more fantasy players have the Twins young-hurlers than the Orioles' duo for Saturday's double-headers.  Tomorrow, Nick Blackburn and Radhames Liz wrap this puppy up.  

However, according to the weather report for this series, the O's and Twins will probably only get the afternoon game in (there's supposed to be a lot of rain and thunder-storm activity in the area
 tonight).  Tomorrow, there's supposed to much more baseball-friendly weather.  I would look for two games for Sunday, rather than Saturday.  If you're in a daily league, don't bank on Scott Baker and Daniel Cabrera for today's schedule...

Tigers @ White Sox
CHICAGO -- Rain forced the postponement of the game between Detroit and 
Chicago. A makeup date was not immediately set.

Even though batting practice was canceled, the grounds crew worked on the field to dry it out and it appeared the game would start on time. But three minutes before the scheduled 7:11 first pitch, the tarp was rolled out and the field was covered again.

The Tigers were scheduled to start Justin Verlander against Chicago's John Danks on Friday. The series marks Detroit's final appearance in Chicago this season.
It is the AL Central leading White Sox's second rainout of the week. They were also postponed Monday night and then swept in a doubleheader by Toronto on Tuesday.

My Take
:  According to the weather report in Chicago... I don't think either of these games are going to be played.  The first match up pits Kenny Rogers against Javier Vazquez... first pitch is scheduled for 2:55 PM (EST), but 3:00 PM has a 80% chance of precipitation.  The second game, scheduled to take place and hour after the conclusion of the first game, offers a Zack Minor - Lance Broadway duel.  If, and that's a big IF, the first game does get played... I don't think the second one will...

I would say that a double header would be more likely for Sunday... but that weather report isn't much better.  There's a chance that this entire series could be rained out as Sunday has a 70% chance of rain for the entire day (and that's not an exaggeration).  Owners of Javier Vazquez (Saturday), John Danks (Sunday), and Justin Verlander (Sunday) should definitely be prepared for each of these starts to be bumped into the beginning of next week.  If you're in a weekly league... that means two-starts for each at a pivotal point in the fantasy season... so keep you eye on this developing story.

Braves @ Mets
NEW YORK -- Eager to lock up the NL East title after letting it slip away last
 season, the New York will have to wait a day before beginning their taxing stretch drive.

New York's game against the Atlanta Braves was postponed by rain Friday night and will be made up Saturday as part of a single-admission doubleheader beginning at 3:55 p.m.

The tarp stayed on the field all evening Friday and the game was called after a 90-minute delay. Johan Santana (13-7) had been scheduled to pitch for the NL East leaders against ex-Met Mike Hampton (2-2). Pedro Martinez (5-4) was lined up for Saturday against Atlanta lefty Jo-Jo Reyes (3-10).

Now, the Mets are scheduled to play 17 games over the final 16 days of the regular season, without a day off. New York is three games ahead of second-place Philadelphia -- four up in the loss column -- and desperately wants to erase the bitter memories of last September's embarrassing collapse.

My Take
: The Mets are going to have really bad weather all day... but no rain, it seems.  So if 
you have Johan Santana, Mike Hampton (both a 3:55 PM, Easter start), Jo-Jo Reyes, or Jonathan Niese (Game 2 on Saturday)... it seems like all four starters will get their games in.  On Sunday, Ollie Perez and Jorge Campillo may experience a delay due to thunder storming, but they'll get the game in at some point.  Feel free to treat all three games as if they're guaranteed to occur this weekend.

Brewers @ Phillies
PHILADELPHIA -- Cole Hamels gets to rest an extra day. Brett Myers is ready to pitch whenever the Philadelphia Phillies need him.

Steady rain forced the postponement of a key matchup between the NL wild card-leading Milwaukee Brewers and Phillies on Friday night.

The game will be made up as part of a day-night doubleheader on Sunday. The first game starts at 1:35 p.m. and the nightcap at 7:35 p.m.

The Phillies won the opener of the four-game series Thursday night to move within three games of Milwaukee.

Scheduled starters Hamels (12-9) and Manny Parra (10-7) will start Saturday. 
Milwaukee will send Dave Bush (9-10) and Jeff 
Suppan (10-8) to the mound Sunday.  Joe Blanton (2-0) and Myers (9-11) will pitch for the Phillies.
My Take: Saturday's game between Manny Parra and Cole Hamels is going to feature an annoying drizzle that could come and go creating several minor delays.  It wont be enough to cancel the game, but it will be annoying and could influence the starts for each of these pitchers.

Sunday both games will definitely be played.  It's supposed to be beautiful... so expect Hammels/Parra (Saturday), David Bush/Joe Blanton (Sunday, Game 1), and Jeff Suppan/Brett Myers (Sunday, Game 2) to all get their games in and stay on regular rest going into next week.

Friday, September 12, 2008

The "Roy Oswalt Situation"

I, like many of you, drafted Roy Oswalt semi-early in my fantasy draft this year (we're in a five player keeper league, so technically I drafted him at the end of the 6th Round)... and he was absolutely putrid for me.

I want to take a look at Oswalt's Pre-All Star Break numbers compared to his Post-All Star Break numbers just to indicate how unbelievably he's been pitching lately:

Pre: 7-8 (sub .500), 4.56 ERA, 1.39 WHIP

Post: 8-1, 1.94 ERA, 0.88 WHIP

It took 4 looooooong months, but Oswalt is finally acting like the ace of the Astros pitching staff and I am loving it!

However, though I am jumping for joy over this turn-around, I'm also wondering 'why?'  What exactly made Roy Oswalt, who many experts deemed 'done' at the beginning of the season, turn his entire game around?

A part of you has to think that it's mental.  Think about the Houston organization:  this is a team that is notorious for extraordinary second half play.  It seems like every year Houston makes a random deal at the trade deadline at clicks for the rest of the season as it chases the Cubs, Cardinals, and Brewers.  This season, the Astros currently chase the Phillies and Brewers for the Wild Card (Houston is 3.0 games back of the Brew Crew as of post-time).

With this known, let's look back to last year; a season when Oswalt showed the experts signs that we has slowing down:

6-2, 2.57 ERA, 1.20 WHIP

Is that absolutely putrid?  I didn't think so... I mean... Oswalt didn't win very many games, but that's also a byproduct of the Asros themselves not winning very many games.  You give Oswalt the command that delivered a 2.57 ERA for the second half of 2007, and he'll win more than 10 games in the second half of 2008... that's all but guaranteed.

But this isn't really enough for me... his double-play balls are about the same, his walks are going to be about the same, but the hits are what's causing his WHIP rate to be so low.  

What does this mean?  

Well, to me (and I know a lot of people are going to hate this), Oswalt may just be hiding the ball better right now.  Maybe Brad Ausmus is calling a better game.  Perhaps he's throwing more change-ups than rotator cuff tearing/groin straining fast balls.

Essentially what I'm saying here is:  the change might be something that sabermetrics can't measure.  This "Roy Oswalt Situation" could be that he made a mechanical change in his pitching during the All Star Break and has been cruising ever since.

Either way... I'm just happy he's figured this out, because he's picked the perfect time to start acting like the ace of a fantasy rotation.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Entourage 5.1

We come into the opening of Entourage's 5th season in the wake of Medellin, the huge flop project co-produced by E, directed by Billy Walsh, and starring Vince.  Richard Roeper has a few funny lines as he talks about this "straight to DVD" flop, noting that Vince's  "fat suit that makes him look like the love child of Jimmy Glick and a case of Twinkies."

While Roeper, and virtually anyone else who saw Medellin, tear into the film and Vince's career (or lack thereof), the fallen star seems to be doing everything he can to be getting over the Medellin disaster in his own way... as Vinnie Chase reenters out televisions in an orgy with two Mexican hostesses on a remote beach.

We later discover that Vince has not received a job offer in six months!  It really shows too, Vince dons an untamed beard and tattered clothing from living a simplistic existence on the beach with Turtle (who's also enjoying himself...) and (what seems like) dozens of beautiful Mexican women.

Back in the "real" world, Ari and E deal with the Medellin disaster differently.  Ari's even too uptight for Ari.  He seems stiff, irritable, and sour within minutes of being on camera (Jeremy Piffen, again, does a great job characterizing these characteristics).  On the other hand, E has buried himself in building up "The Murphy Group."  We later discover E's motivation for putting his energy into his infant firm is because he blames himself for ruining his best friend's career.

Things start to turn around for Vince's team when fictional director Carl Ertz confesses his interest in Vince to Ari.  From there, all hell breaks loose...

Ari, after pressuring E (who pressures Johnny Drama for Vince's location), displays his loyalty and friendship to Vince by chartering a flight to his hide-away on a beach in Mexico.

During this whole ordeal, we're treated to classic Johnny Drama, who's in the midst of a Five Towns photo shoot (he's made it clear that he wont shoot from the right because it's his "bad side").  Locking himself in his trailer to protest the shoot,  the photographer calls on Ben Silverman, the co-chairman of NBC, to force Drama into the cast photo shoot.  Silverman's efforts are thwarted by Drama, however, as he becomes preoccupied with his 'next' dramatic role: rescuing his marooned brother's movie career.

Within the last five minutes of the episode (yes, it was pretty bang-bang after E and Ari flew to Mexico), Vince is convinced by E to come back to L.A., take lunch with Ertz, and begin the Resurrection of Vinnie Case...

Unfortunately, Ertz is essentially using Vince to knock down the asking price of Emile Hirsch... the actor he originally wanted for the role.  In the end, Vince's crew has somewhat of a "last laugh" as Johnny Drama and Turtle drive-by Ertz's home, smash his windshield, and lay a dead fish on the hood of his car... signifying Aqua Man's return.

Overall, I thought it was a great episode to bring us back into the season.  It didn't drag out the depressed Vin angle and got the group together as a single-unit once again.  I also liked how the separate stories of E and Drama are getting a bit more involved.  Drama's moving himself beyond the roll of comic relief already and I look forward to seeing what the writers have in store for him this season.