Tagged: Julio Lugo

The Big Puma Goes To The Big Apple

*Sorry I forgot to post this a few days ago.

After 1,648 hits, 326 home runs,
1,090 runs batted in, 1,592 games, and parts of twelve seasons, Lance “The Big
Puma” Berkman is leaving Houston to play with Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez,
Mariano Rivera and the rest of the New York Yankees in the Big Apple.

It’s a bittersweet day in Houston.
On one side, the team is starting over and getting younger. On the other side,
you are losing a franchise player who played his college career (with the Rice
Owls) and pro career in Houston. Berkman has given the city of Houston so many
memories, good ones and bad ones.

Personally, I have two distinct
memories about Lance Berkman. The first autographed baseball I ever got was
Lance Berkman’s on my ninth birthday. However, In spring training of 2008,
while I was trying to get autographs, he went off the field, in a golf cart,
into the clubhouse, (the Astros clubhouse at their spring training park,
Osceola County Stadium, is on the other side of the left field fence) totally
ignoring the fans.

That day, Miguel Tejada, Jose
Valverde, Hunter Pence, and Wesley Wright, among others came a signed for the
me and the rest of the fans. I understand that fans do get a little crazy
sometimes. Ex-Astro Roy Oswalt use to only sign to small groups of fans while
with the Astros but spring training is different. Which, I understand.

Anyway, it has been a gradual
decline in power since 2006 when “Fat Elvis” hit 45 home runs. Since then, he
has hit 34, 29, 25 and 13 (in 85 games this year). And with the exception of
2008 when he drove in 106 runs his RBI totals have gone done every year since
2006 when he had 136 of them.

Now, I expect his power numbers to
increase with the dimensions of Yankees stadium and not having to face Josh
Johnson, Ubaldo Jimenez, Roy Hallady, or Mat Latos (who has a 0.99 WHIP) along
with the rest of the National League pitchers. However, the one thing that
could make his disappointing season even more disappointing would be if he
can’t play ball in the spotlight of New York City.

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Change Red Sox Nation Can Believe In

*- Sorry this could have been up Monday night but I have been super sick. Today I had to go to the hospital with a temp of 104.9 F. The doctor thinks I might have mono. So if I don’t blog for a few days do not worry.

I thought the Red Sox where having a hard time scoring runs! Well how does eight runs sound along with a pitcher who struck out twelve! Unless your a Blue Jays fan that is awesome. Why did we score eight runs because of this.

1. Dustin Pedroia- 2B
2. J.D. Drew- RF
3. Kevin Youkilis- 1B
4. Jason Bay- LF
5. Mike Lowell- 3B
6. David Ortiz- DH
7. Jason Varitek- C
8. Jacoby Ellsbury- CF
9. Nick Green- SS
Yep Pedroia batted first, J.D. batted second, Bay batted cleanup, Mikey batted fifth, and Jacoby batted eight. If I remember correctly Pedroia batted first for most of his 2007 year in which he won the Rookie of the Year award. Jacoby just had a twenty-two game hit streak snap the other day and now is batting eight.  And Big Papi is still batting sixth.
Overall I love the line up. It is spread out so every three batters there is at least one guy who could hit a home run (Youk, Bay, and Tek) along with fast guys who can turn singles into doubles (Pedroia, Bay, and Ellsbury). 
Yes Pedroia and Bay only have thirteen combined stolen bases but they are players who are super fast but do not steal that much. For example look at Andre Ethier and Hunter Pence. They only have eight combined stolen bases but can turn singles into doubles easily.
Anyway I am getting off topic. Now Tuesday after the off day or the next time Julio Lugo plays I would bat Ellsbury last. Yes call me crazy whatever. Jacoby batted behind Varitek so if Varitek is say at second and Ellsbury at first Ellsbury cannot steal. Lugo is another guy with speed but he never really steals much. 
But look at it this way Lugo’s on base percentage is .345 which yes is .010 points higher then Jacoby’s but Lugo has 21 hits in 23 games. Ellsbury has 64 hits in 49 games. Lugo has eight walks while Ellsbury has eleven. Lugo’s batting average is .276 while Ellsbury’s is .299. So maybe OBP is a messed up stat. Or maybe Lugo gets a little more lucky and more errors happen when he is up.
Anyway it is better then having your catcher hit in front of a speedster. Of course though I wish Jed Lowrie started and not Julio Lugo started at shortstop.
My favorite change in the lineup was Pedroia batting first and J.D. Drew batting second. Drew should not have batted third at all. Yes he has seven home runs but he is not a third batter. Pedroia could bat anywhere in the lineup as he gets on base, can steal, rarely strikes out, and one some days (like yesterday) he can hit for power.
Your first and second guys have to have a high OBP so you big guys can drive them in. Drew seems like he always gets on base as his OBP is .359 this year and his carer OBP is .391. Pedoria’s OBP is .416 for this year. 416 which is tied for fifteenth in baseball. (Youk has the highest with .478.) Then if Youk gets on base (and he probably will) Jason Bay is tied for the most RBI’s in baseball with Adrian Gonzalez with 49 in just two months!
Now there are a few ways to get Big Papi going so he can turn back into the feared slugger he is. One is you could drop him to the seventh spot or even last. Then after Big Papi has say a four hit game or gets two doubles or whatever Terry would move him up one spot as at and Ortiz would say, “Finally Something Good Happened,” and Ortiz would slowly move up till he becomes the slugger he is. However with Jason Bay having an MVP season maybe he will stay at fifth.
The other thing that has the highest risk would be if he gets voted into the Home Run Derby. If I remember correctly Ortiz was third in fan home run derby voting in the A.L. Which  I think would put him in the derby even though he only has one home run. 
That could be good or bad. That could have Ortiz swing for the fences more which as everyone knows makes guys strikeout. Now the good news about the bad news (If that makes since) is that that would be in the first half of the season. If Big Papi hits a ton of home runs in the derby (which he will) I believe he will start hitting again just in time for the playoff run.
I like Ellsbury batting eight because like I said before it spreads the “wealth” of the lineup. So when whoever is batting it is not going to be a one-two-three inning because Ellsbury’s OBP is .335 and his batting average is .299 like mentioned previously.
So how did the lineup end up doing? Well they scored eight runs and had eleven hits. Pedroia went one for four with a home run and three RBIs. J.D. Drew went one for four with one RBI and two strikeouts along with a sacrifice fly. Youk had a great game as he went two for four with three runs two RBIs. He also had two home runs.
Jason Bay went two for three with one run, RBI, strikeout and he hit his fifteenth home run of the year. He also had two doubles. Mike Lowell went two for five with an RBI and three strikeouts. He did have a double though. But maybe The Red Sox should consider moving him if he has a few more bad games. Big Papi went one for five with a run a double and a strikeout.
Jason Varitek went zero for two with three walks and a run. Jacoby went one for three with a walk. See he could not use his speed with Varitek in front of him. Nick Green (who should start at shortstop till Jed Lowrie gets back) went one for four with a run. Nick had a double but got picked off at first after his walk.
So hopefully this lineup will score more runs. I believe it will. Facing Detroit Tuesday their pitching has to be good but Detroit does not have the best starting pitchers besides Justin Verlander. I am predicting they sweep the Tigers.

Battles of the Best

Congrats again to Wezz over at Major League Baseball: Through the Eyes of a UK Red Sox Fan for getting the answer right to yesterday’s trivia. The question was, “Who is credited with being the first fielder to wear sunglasses at his position.” This is Wezz’s second time in a row to getting the trivia right. I would also like to congrats and thank everyone. Wezz posted my 500th comment ever! Thanks to every one I could not have done it without all of you guys.

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All right there are some major position battles right now going on. I am sure at least one of you want to draft someone who is in a battle for the starting spot. So I thought I would look at five major battles.

Jed Lowrie versus Julio Lugo

In 2008 Lowrie played 81 games and Lugo played 82 so it is fair to compare their stats. Lugo hit .268 with one home run, 22 RBI’s, and twelve stolen bases. Lowrie hit .258 with two home runs, 46 RBI’s, and one stolen base. Lowrie became the starting shortstop after Lugo went to the disabled list. Lowrie is the better shortstop but has two big I guess you could say disadvantages. I first one is Lowrie can play third, second, shortstop, and if needed first. Lowrie is the perfect infield utility man. Second is the fact that Julio Lugo gets paid a ton of wasted money. It is likely that the Red Sox will not waste money and start Lugo. If this was the Yankees managing then they would start Lowrie because he is the better player but thankfully this is not the Yankees. I am not saying that I want Lugo to start at all. I hope Lowrie wins the battle but I just do not think he will since Boston left their old utility man, Alex Cora, go. Letting Cora go kind of shows that they want Lowrie as the utility man. Lugo does have a little bit of an injury history so that could put Lowrie right back where he started from. Lowrie’s Odds- 7-1 Lugo’s Odds- 4-1. The facts just point towards Lugo. What else can I say.

Carlos Marmol versus Kevin Gregg 

In 2008 Marmol pitched in 82 games. Gregg pitched in 72 games. Marmol had a 2.68 ERA with a two and four record, seven saves, and 114 strikeouts. Gregg who was the closer for the Florida Marlins at the time went seven and eight with a 3.14 ERA, 29 saves, and 58 strikeouts. The two pitchers will replace Kerry Wood who signed with the Indians this offseason. Marmol has one advantage over Gregg. Marmol is a strikeout pitcher with a great fastball. Marmol pitched 87.1 innings and had 114 strikeouts! That is over one strikeout an inning. Gregg is not a strikeout pitcher and relies more on his defense behind him. The Cubs have a decent defense led by Golden Glover, Derek Lee at first base. At the hot corner they have Aramis Ramirez. Up the middle they have Aaron Miles at second and Ryan Theroit at shortstop. They do not have they best fielding outfield with Kosuke Fukudome in center, Alfonso Soriano in left, and Milton Bradley in right who is mostly a D.H. but there are no D.H.’s in the National League. At catcher they have Geovany Sotto. Marmol’s Odds- 4-1 Gregg’s Odds 8-1 Gregg would be the closer on most teams just not this one.

Huston Street versus Manuel Corpas 

Huston Street 2005 - Pitching Action Photo Enlargement

This is just one of the Rockies problems. They need to figure out who will be the fifth starter and who will be the catcher. In 2008 while with the Oakland A’s Huston Street pitched 70 innings. Manuel Corpas pitched in 79.2 innings. Street had an ERA of 3.73 with a seven and five record, eighteen saves, and 69 strikeouts. Corpas had an ERA of 4.52 with a three and four record, four saves, and 50 strikeouts. This offseason Street was brought over from Oakland in the Matt Holiday deal. This job may sound wide open but it is not. Street is clearly better the Manuel Corpas and will be the closer in Denver. I mean why would they have traded for him if they wanted to use Corpas as the closer. Corpas’ only chance to be the closer would be if Clint Hurdle did a “Joe Torre” and had two closers like Torre did late last year with Takashi Saito and Jonathan Broxton. Street lost the job as Oakland’s closer after Brad Ziegler was called up last year and this is his chance to say I should have been closer. Street has one disadvantage. Pitching in Denver. Corpas has done it before and I am not sure but Street might have to make an adjustment. Still though Street will win the job. Street’s Odds- 2-1 Corpas’ Odds- 9-1 Corpas is just not a “true” closer just yet.

Victor Martinez versus Travis Hafner

Victor Martinez celebrates after catching the final out in a 5-4-3 triple play in the seventh inning. Martinez also helped Cleveland's offensive cause by cracking his 20th homer in the third.[img]

In 2007 Victor Martinez had 25 home runs. In 2008 he had two. While Martinez is a catcher it looks like Kelly Shoppach has that one. Last season Martinez had a .278 batting average, 35 RBI’s, two home runs, and 74 hits in 73 games. That is hit a game and then some. Okay all that means is he got 1.01369863 . . . hits per game but still. Hafner had a .197 batting average with five home runs, 24 RBI’s, and 39 hits in 57 games. Just a few years ago in 2006 he hit 42 home runs. This battle is really the best of the getting worst if that make since. This is really shocking. It was not long ago that my friend, an Indians fan, had posters of these two guys in his room. A few years ago people thought these guys were the next David Ortiz and Ivan Rodriguez. Now they look like the next Trot Nixon and Andruw Jones but those posters still hang on his wall. Know I do not think this will be settled in Spring Training. This could go on the whole season. I think though that they could just switch off. Hafner though will probably win the job in the end making Martinez the backup D.H. and catcher. Martinez’s Odds 6-1 Hafner’s Odds 4-1 I hope both guys have a comeback season like I hope Andruw Jones and Trot Nixon do.

Garret Anderson versus Matt Diaz

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I really do not think this is a battle but the guys at MLB Network insisted it was so here it is. Last year with the Angels Anderson played in 145 games where he hit .293 with fifteen home runs, 84 RBI’s, and seven stolen bases. In 43 games with the Braves Diaz  hit .244 with two home runs, fourteen RBI’s, and four stolen bases.Diaz’s only chance to get the starting spot would be if Anderson got hurt and guess what he did. On March sixth Anderson strained his right calf in warmups. Anderson said it would be a few days till he finds out how many days he will be out if any. This really is not a big deal but maybe something else happened like he torn something. I do not know. I just do not get why MLB Network thinks this is a battle. I mean how can it be a battle because the Braves signed Anderson this offseason. Know this would never have been a battle if Atlanta signed Ken Griffey Jr. Anderson’s Odds- 3-1 Diaz’s Odds 12-1 I am sorry Matt Diaz but you will never outplay Garret Anderson. You will be a strong fourth outfielder.

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All right today’s trivia is going to be hard for you guys yet I have know the answer my whole life. Who pitched the first no-hitter in baseball history under lights. By baseball history I mean the whole history of baseball. Any country, league, anything.

Hint- This player does not have a wikipedia page

Photo Credits

1- hackswithhaggs.com

2- larevistadigital.net

3- search.espn.go.com

4- allposters.com

5- usatoday.com

6- usatoday.com

7- reds.enquirer.com

8- zimbo.com

9- wikipedia.com

My Baseball Trip to Barnes and Nobel

I’m having really bad writers block so I’m sorry if you don’t want to read this.

All right I went into Barnes and Nobel today because my Mom wants to learn French because we are going to France for spring break. I started looking around and saw The Yankee Years. Joe Torre’s new book. I am really excited to read it. I going to start it either on the plane ride to France or in may because my teacher is having a contest of who can read the most books of this list of her picks of good books. Some of the prizes are really cool and awesome. I took Julia’s advice and walked in wearing my Red Sox hat and Jason Varitek jersey. It surprised me to have the cashier not ask me why would you read this book if your a Red Sox fan. My dad and mom wear like why would you read a book about the Yankees! I convinced them to let me get it by telling them that it made fun of the Yankees and Torre trashed the Yankees. I don’t know if that is true though. All I have looked at so far is the pictures. So far my favorite one is where Joba Chamberlain is spraying bug spray on him after a swarm of bugs “attacked” him in the 2007 ALDS against the Indians. 
The Yankee Years by Joe Torre: Book Cover
I also looked at Josh Hamilton’s new book Beyond Belief. Josh Hamilton is the center fielder for the Texas Rangers if you didn’t know. I did not get the book though because I did not have enough money for it. The book is about Josh Hamilton recovering from drug addiction and his baseball carer. The book is pretty new so I’m pretty sure that it doesn’t come in paperback yet. To be honest I don’t know that much about the book since I did not get it. Hopefully I will be able to read it sometime soon.
Beyond Belief by Josh Hamilton: Book Cover
Another book I got was Baseball Prospects 2009. This book is pretty much the Baseball Encyclopedia for 2009. This book is 632 pages long in paperback. This book has every thing from stats to predictions to well everything. The 2008 copy correctly predicted the Rays great season, the breakthroughs of Evan Longoria, Geovany Soto, and Joey Votto, and many more players and facts. It is a great guide for fantasy baseball drafting. I will give a give a few predictions from the book. Hanley Ramirez will have 128 runs. Jose Reyes will league the majors with 68 stolen bases and Jacoby Ellsbury will lead the A.L. with 42. Mark Teixeira will hit 28 home runs which is good enough to tie for 18th in the majors. Lance Berkman will hit .299 with the Astros. Grady Sizemore will strikeout 134 times in 2009. Adrian Gonzalez will drive in 99. Lastly Jed Lowrie will win the starting role over Julio Lugo. I hope that that might help when drafting your fantasy team.
(Sorry can’t find any pictures of the book’s cover but here are the extra pictures from yesterday.)

Between his sublime defense and his assertive offense, Jose Reyes is the type of talent around which title teams are built.

Teixeira


From his playing style to his pulled-up socks to his vintage ride, Sizemore recalls a black-and-white era and a wide range of centerfielders, past and present.

Adrian Gonzalez

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This picture is the eighth on Google and is from my blog!

Photo credits
All book covers- barnesandnoble.com
Joe Torre- rksbaseballbookshelf.wordpress.com
Josh Hamilton- scottfmathews.wordpress.com
Evan Longoria- http://whentheunderdogwins.wordpress.com/
Jose Reyes- sportsillustrated.com
Mark Teixeira- minstrelboy.blogspot.com
Lance Berkman- allposters.com
Grady Sizemore- sportsillustrated.com
Adrian Gonzalez- sportsillustrated.com
Jed Lowrie- bostonsports.mlblogs.com


Pitchers, Catchers, and the Rest of the Team

Today, Friday the 13th was the first full day of pitchers and catchers camp. It came just in time although it could have been earlier. Today there are two college basketball games, seven hockey games, a golf tournament, four women’s basketball games, and the 2009 Rookie Challenge. Some could argue that today is the loneliest day in the history of sports. It would be the loneliest day in sports if the NBA Rookie Challenge wasn’t today at nine P.M. eastern. I’m getting off track though. I know that all the first few days of pitchers and catchers camp is just conditioning, stretching, and throwing the ball around. The real work doesn’t start until Monday when position players report to camp. The only problem is Kevin Youkillis and Chris Carter will not arrive at camp . . . because they are already there. I think it would be kind of boring to be the only two position players (besides catchers) to be there. Like all of the drills would be mostly related to the pitchers and catchers. I’m sure they have someone else training Youk and Carter though. Everyone seems healthy or better. It looks like Brad Penny and Jon Smoltz or doing great but Mike Lowell might need a little extra time maybe till the end of spring training but he should be able to practice Monday. Josh Beckett is also looking great. When he threw yesterday he seemed like when he had his 2007 form according to reports. Jed Lowrie who got a left wrist sprain and an unknown fracture should also be ready to compete for the starting spot at shortstop. Julio Lugo also will be after recovering from a torn right quad. David Ortiz looks healed and should have a Big Papi type season smacking 40 homers out of the yard. Mark Kotsay looks to be the only Red Sox position player not ready for spring training. He underwent back surgery and looks like he will be ready in May. Another big question for the Red Sox in spring training is will Josh Bard be able to catcher knuckleballer, Tim Wakefield? I think he will. There will be a few rough spots, most of them coming in spring training but I think he will. Sure he stunk last time he tried t catch him but he saw a guy catch a knuckleballer in San Diego with the Padres and that must count for something. Spring Training is where champions are made. Prospects get called up, players meet new teammates, and baseball starts again.

P.S.- Sorry for no pictures extra ones tomorrow.

Who Will Start at Shortstop?!?

First- I know I said I would blog about Cole Hamels, but I decided not to.

Besides resigning Jason Varitex the Red Sox have one more need, figuring out who will play shortstop. the Red Sox have two choices being, Julio Lugo and Jed Lowrie. Lugo played 82 games last season, hit .268, with one home run, drove in twenty-two, and stole twelve. Lugo also had a .945 fielding percentage before getting injured. Lowrie was called up after Lugo got hurt and played in 81 games, hit .258, with two home runs, drove in 46, and stole one base. One big difference is their age. Lugo is 33 while Lowrie is only twenty-four. Lowrie made two errors last season at third base which isn’t even his main position. Lowrie can play shortstop, third base, and second base. If you based the choice on stats Jed Lowrie would start. The Red Sox currently don’t have a utility man though. So since Lowrie can play three positions I would trade Lugo for a prospect and a utility man. I could also trade Lugo for a young catcher. The only problem with that is Lugo gets paid $9,250,000 and no team really needs Lugo. Lugo in one word is overpaid. A while a g there was a proposed trade that would have sent Lugo to the Tigers and Dontrelle Willis or Nate Robinson to Boston. Wills, who won the 2003 National League Rookie of the Year Award with the Flordia Marlins got sent to single A ball this season. This season he had a record of zero wins and two loses, had an ERA of 9.38, and had only eighteen strikeouts, in twenty-four innings. He also walked 35. One good thing about Wills, he is a high risk low reward type of guy so he will not becoming to Boston. He also will not come to the Red Sox because we have enough starting pitchers. I would put my money on both to share shortstop with Lugo getting a little more playing time. Also this is kind of random. Jed Lowrie needs a nickname. How about Jed the Jet?
Lowrie3_medium
 Late breakdown: A ninth-inning error...