Tagged: Matt Diaz

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

garret-anderson.jpg

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

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What’s the Lowe Down on the Braves

First- Sorry for the cheesy title.

Second- Sorry I didn’t blog yesterday. I was studying for a big test in science and had a basketball game, we won!
Third- B.J. Upton may miss opening day for the Rays.
Fourth- The Rays signed Gabe Gross.
Fifth- The Marlins are interested in Chad Cordero.
Sixth- The Brewers officially signed Trevor Hoffman.
Seventh- John Smoltz officially signed with Boston.
Eighth- Andruw Jones is close to leaving the Dodgers.
Ninth- Bartolo Colon is close to going back to the Chicago White Sox.
Tenth- My Celtics have won three in a row!
Eleventh- Cox Communications, a TV station in San Diego, got a new play by play guy for the Padres. Guess who it is??? My Godfather, Mark Neely!!! I’m not kidding, I swear.
Yesterday the Atlanta Braves signed former Boston Red Sox, Derek Lowe on a four year deal. I know some of my readers hoped that Derek Lowe would sign with the Red Sox. I thought he would sign with the New York Mets. The sinker baller was formerly with the Los Angeles Dodgers. The same day Boston officially signed former Atlanta Brave legend John Smoltz. The Braves now have a great rotation featuring of Lowe, Javier Vazquez who they traded for this offseason, Jair Jurrjens, Kenshin Kawakami, and the fifth spot is open to Tim Hudson who had tommy john surgery last year, Jorge Campillo, Jo-Jo Reyes, Charlie Morton, and James Parr. It will probably be Tim Hudson. The Braves are now interested in a power hitting right fielder to start and not Matt Diaz. They could also move Matt Diaz to centerfield. The Braves want Xavier Nady or Nick Swisher who are both on the New York Yankees. Nick Swisher hasn’t played a game with the Yankees because he was traded from the Chicago White Sox this offseason. Nady was with the Pirates then got traded to the New York Yankees in midseason. Swisher is under contact till 2011 while Nady will probably become a free agent at the end of the 2009 season. I think the Braves will trade for Swisher. I think the Yankees will want one or two minor leaguers and maybe Josh Anderson or Manny Acosta. The Braves will probably try to put a starting pitcher in there since they have nine. The deal will probably include Acosta though, because the Yankees have more “power.” If I was the G.M. of the Braves I would do the deal.
Sept. 9, 2002 Derek Lowe got the win, going six innings and giving up three earned runs. Lowe was ejected in the seventh inning by umpire Jerry Crawford for hitting Felix Escalona. Grady Little was shown the gate by Crawford for arguing Lowe's ejection.