There’s not much to do nowadays, so I thought I’d do a “season in review” for as many players as I can. Since I have until Spring Training, I think I can cover the roster that put in some time, maybe a free agent or two as well as some new acquisitions (CC, Jose Reyes and Prince Fielder, right guyzz?!??!!). So we begin here and by the power vested in me, I chose to start with Dan Runzler.
2011 Pitching Stats: 31 G, 27.1 IP, .367 BABIP, 8.23 K/9, 5.27 BB/9, 6.26 ERA, 2.95 FIP
For most of the season, the 26 year old Danny Boy would have me screaming at whatever was displaying the Giants game. I would bring out the kleenex, get the pillow to yell obscenities in and throw across the room after he had thrown his first pitch, and roll my eyes after every 95 MPH fastball that ended up outside the strike zone by a foot. But then all of a sudden he starts having a nice September. Seriously! In 11 G, even though he was only used in 5.1 IP, he only allowed 2 H and 2 BB in facing 20 batters and didn’t allow an ER. Sure, the competition may have been weaker, but this was the same guy that couldn’t get through 2 innings of Houston Astros baseball.
I don’t remember this above highlight, so I thought I’d include it. It was something good that happened for him, and as much grief as I gave him all year, I feel like he is still owed a positive highlight to counter….
…This. Poor Danny Boy. Overall, April wasn’t so good (8 ER in 12 IP, but 10 Ks and a 1.167 WHIP in 49 Batters Faced though), May sucked (6 BB, 6 ER, 12 H in 7.2 IP) and August I can’t find the word for (19.29 ERA, 3.857 WHIP, 0.5 K/BB ratio in 2.1 IP). Was September a glimpse into what he can be, or was it merely a facade created by inferior opposition? We all want to hope it’s the former, and as long as his injury doesn’t hinder him being at 100% when pitchers and catchers report, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him sporting a 4 ERA in the bullpen of the 2010 Champs.
Status in 2012: Long Relief Man/Zito extinguisher/Brandon Belt AAA roommate
Projected Salary for 2012: $425,000
I will predict things, and I will be wrong. It’s just fun to guess.
(2) Rangers vs. (4) Rays, 2:07 PM PST, Ballpark at Arlington
The world was expecting Red Sox Nation to show up, but the great Baseball Deities decided to give us one of the best nights of baseball ever that resulted in a little something Long Beach State likes to call “Evan Longoria.” True, there was Dan Johnson who kept them from Game 163, and Joe Maddon is a genius.
Game 1: Christopher John (CJ) Wilson (16-7, 2.94 ERA, 1.187 WHIP, 223.1 IP) vs. Matt Moore (1-0, 2.89 ERA, 14.49 K/9, 9.1 IP, 1 GS)
While the world is pondering why Kyle Lohse is a Game One starter, Joe Maddon tried to one-up Tony La Russa and say, “How about I throw out our Minor League Stud-Muffin out there?” It’s true, GM’s and scouts alike have dreams of Matt Moore and the future looks bright for the kid born in 1989 (really). As with any other postseason series, it’s going to come down to pitching, and both staffs are well equipped to go toe-to-toe (and that Texas bullpen? What the heck is that all about?)
What we have come to love about both of these teams though, are their bats. Who doesn’t love themselves some Longo, Zoborist, Upton (the tradeable one), Hamilton, Cruz, Beltre and hitting catching in Napoli? Oh and Kinsler had a 32 HR season, big whoop. I do that in video games all the time.
I respect Ron Washington and Joe Maddon a lot, but Joe Maddon has some crazy smart tactics he gets from those One-A-Day 50+ multivitamins which may hold the key to jumping over the 2010 AL Champions who do not have Cliff Lee to beat them twice again this year. But then again, Texas does have Tommy Hunter anymore to underhand pitches to batters so the Rays will have to counter that with something.
The Rangers have a scary good offense. Can the Rays young pitching hold them down? I say no. Texas takes care of business in game one, 5-1.
(1) Yankees vs. (3) Tigers, 5:37 PM PST, Yankee Stadium
Game 1: CC Sabathia (19-8, 3.00 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 237.1 IP) vs. Justin Verlander (24-5, 2.40 ERA, 0.920 WHIP, 251.0 IP)
Sure there are hitters involved, but as a Giants fan I know they don’t do anything. The game is in the starting pitching, and boy you bet America is excited for this.
The uneducated baseball fan will look at this matchup and say to themselves “holy crap, 43 combined wins between two aces! i love baseball for now until sunday!” They will feel like it gives them a clue as to the magic that could be awaiting them, what with Verlander’s two no-hitters he has under his belt, one coming this year in Toronto. There will be magic, but not because they have 43 wins between each other.
The scouting reports these guys get are processed and and executed to an “ace” level — these two having 480 K’s between them, the two of them averaging 4 K’s/BB. Sure, the ratio isn’t Sergio Romo-esque, but there’s only one person who pitches like Sergio Romo and that’s Sergio MF Romo. There might not be a repeat of Roy Halladay stature, but anytime these guys get on the mound you know you could be bearing witness to something special.
Weather reports are telling us we don’t even know what time this game will officially get started, but hopefully it’s just a bunch of clouds passing through. Wouldn’t want to watch the “Double-R” series and then have to wait hours to see Game One of this ALDS. That would be cruel.
When you watch these two, hopefully you think about two things: teaching your kid to either throw left-handed, or teaching your kid how to throw triple-digits with great control.
So who will it be for Game One? Both of these teams haven’t been in “playoff mode” for a while, but it doesn’t mean they haven’t worked. I like Verlander and Co. to take Game 1 and Valverde to do a little dance at the end. Tigers get first blood, 6-4.