Tuesday, October 31, 2006

And the Offseason begins...

Now that the World Series is over the free agent market begins its open season. Thus far, four Braves have filed for free agency and Brian Jordan is split between retirement or another year. You may file up to November 11th. Danys Baez, John Thomson, Todd Pratt, and Daryle Ward have already filed. I would like to see Ward return because of his bat off the bench. The others can be sent away.

The winter meetings are still a good month away. This time of year it's hard being a fan anticipating and waiting for any news that your team maybe involved in.

Points/Questions for this Fall/Winter:

-It's about 97.9% certain that Marcus Giles will be traded, but for whom?

-The Braves need some experienced pen hands and not the last leg of your career Mike Remlinger type.

-The Braves need a leadoff hitter.

-Do you begin Andruw Jones contract negotiations this winter?

**Update** Brian Jordan filed later on 10/31. Please Brian, hang it up.

No baseball = more movies

I just increased my Netflix subscription to three movies at a time; I've had the one at a time deal since the baseball season began. Now that it's over, it's time for more movies, what with most television shows sucking and all. (I swear, if it weren't for baseball on the tele, I'd cancel my dish service in a heartbeat.)

I wonder if Netflix sees any substantial increases in memberships and/or package deals after the baseball season ends? C'mon, I can't be the only person that does this, can I?

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Busy weekend for baseball

So, this has been a pretty busy weekend in the world of Major League Baseball, hasn't it?

The St. Louis Cardinals won the World Series. And I don't care. I really thought the Tigers were going to win this thing; heck, I still feel Detroit is the better team. But maturity, confidence, and experience are all huge factors in the postseason- and the World Series in particular- and the Cards had all three in abundance. The same cannot be said for those young Tigers. Too many mental lapses, too many errors, and not enough hitting ultimately opened the door for the Cards to win this thing in five.

Former Atlanta Braves pitcher Joe Niekro passed away Friday. Even though he will always be overshadowed by his Hall of Fame brother, he was a pretty good pitcher in his own right.

Players were eligible to begin filing for free agency yesterday, and they wasted no time in doing so. Some 59 players have already filed, and several "big" names are on the list: Nomar, Thomas, Zito, Soriano, and the Big Steroid Cheater.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Leading off for your Atlanta Braves...

In the midst of World Series action I want to post or basically repost what I had over at the bravesdugout blog. I even updated it a little. I wanted to add it here to see what readers thought about the situation.

I've been reading alot from Braves fans over the situation on LF and leadoff as we begin to rebuild for next season. Mostly there's a concern over who will be playing LF next year. Here's a shortlist of names that some fans have mentioned for possible replacements:
Carl Crawford, Juan Pierre, Gary Matthews, Jr., Coco Crisp, Gary Sheffield

Carl Crawford:
Positive:I would love to see Crawford in Atlanta. Carl would provide a solid bat & glove plus the speed we've been missing at the top.

Negative:The Devil Rays have been tossing his name around and are expecting a huge return. You might recall that the D'Rays were stubborn when the Braves were working a Marte/Lugo swap last year, I think they were also requesting Brian McCann to be apart of the deal? They requested McCann for some deal, it may have been another one. Regardless, the D'Rays are stubborn when it comes to dealing. I mean really, it took like two years to finnally deal Aubrey Huff after everyone wanted him. Huff didn't really sparkle in Houston. Crawford will probably be dealt to whoever wants to ante up the most chips.

Juan Pierre:
Positive: Juan Pierre is fast.

Negative: Pierre is a slap hitter with an avg. mitt and a weak arm. He's good for the smallball game, but having him in LF isn't a good idea. His time at Wrigley wasn't as pleasent as Cubs fans hoped for. Some Braves fans will sacrifice the lack of defense for OBP while others just don't want the headache. Juan will probably get around $8M-$10M next year and I'm not sure the Braves will want to walk that line.

Gary Matthews, Jr:
Positive: Lil Sarge made a name for himself last year in Texas.

Negative: It only took about 7 years for Matthews finnally to break out. He's been a Braves for a little while. In 2004, the Braves cut him during Spring Training. Everyone knows that 2006 was a career year for Gary, and I'm not sure if he could kepp up the track record. Matthews could be worth a look, but I'm not sure if the Braves would be willing to sacrifice it.

Coco Crisp:
Positive: Crisp has shown he can put up some good numbers in the past. Atlanta wanted him before. Coco is still young.

Negative: Coco's numbers dropped considerably this past season. Maybe it's the drama playing for the Boston Red Sox that causes this. The Braves already brought back to life Edgar Renteria after his stint in Beantown. Could Crisp be next?

2005: 594AB 16HR 69RBI .300/.345/.465
2006: 413AB 8HR 36RBI .264/.317/.385
2007: 525AB 19HR 80RBI .302/.370/.450

If the Braves work something I think Crisp would be the one Atlanta goes after. I don't think it would take much for Boston to satisfy a deal. Possibly, Horacio Ramirez and Langerhans??

Gary Sheffield
Positive: G. Sheff rebounded his career during his breif time in Atlanta. Sheffield provided another dangerous bat to an already offensive heavy lineup.

Negative: First and foremost, Sheffield's attitude stinks. I simply do not care for it. He bitch and moans about everything from playing time to the wrinkles in his pinstripes. To go along with his attitude is his age. Gary's not getting any younger and now is becoming a little more prone to time on the DL. I think Sheffield can still put up the numbers when healthy, but there's just too much drama that surrounds him to give him another opportuinity.

**From recent newspaper reports the Yankees may be picking up his option and then possibly trading him. The Phillies have shown interest, would a Gary Sheffield for Pat Burrell & Eude Brito trade work?**

The Cards may actually....

win it all tonight. St. Louis came back and won last night to give them the definite edge now up 3-1. Can Detroit beat the odds and take it back home or will there season end tonight? Not many people gave the Redbirds a chance in this series or much less the NLCS. They took down the so called "Mighty" Mets and have declawed the Tigers thus far. Not a bad resume considering how they made it into the playoffs and personally I've thought the Cards have been declining since being swept by the BoSox in '04. Anyway the ball will be in the hands of Jeff Weaver who once again many had given up on after his miserable record in Anaheim earlier in the year. He started out a little shaky when he was first came to St. Louis but really turned it around the last couple of months. Instead of going with the Gambler, Detroit will hand the ball to Justin Verlander. I totally agree with Jim Leyland's decision. The Tigers have to win three more games so it really doesn't matter who's out there, you just have to win right now.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Need a Carpenter?

More than likely Chris Carpenter will win the NL Cy Young for the second straight season. Carpenter continued to be lights out in the postseason as he pitched 8 innings leading the Cards to a shutout victory while taking a 2-1 lead in the series. Whatever day Carpenter pitches is a day the Cards usually win, in my book. This was the case last night, the Redbirds were able to score with ducks on the pond and that's all they needed to do behind their ace. Now the series is starting to teeter in the Cards favor a little with Game 4 tonight. Jeff Suppan is coming off an amazing Game 7 performance while Jeremy Bonderman takes the hill for the Tigers. I look for a tight close game tonight, maybe a 3-2 score. I'm waiting for the Tigers offense to breakout like they did against the A's and Yanks. Will tonight be the night? It should be fun.

Monday, October 23, 2006

2007 Schedules Released

MLB couldn't hold back until after the postseason to release tentative 2007 schedules. Next year the Braves will be starting the season in Philly before coming home against the Mets. In Interleague play Atlanta will face the AL Central minus the Royals and White Sox. Atlanta plays three at Minnesota followed by three at Cleveland and later three at home against Detroit. That series should sell out pretty fast. To top it all off, the Braves will play the Boston Red Sox in a six game home/away series. Blah! I still can't get over the number of Red Sox fans/chants from last year's series. Unless it's a mistake we play ten games against the Cubs? That could be a typo and the White Sox might be an opponet for a series instead. Anyway these are tentative and subject to change.

So much for punctuality

Last night's game was supposed to start at 7:30 EST. That would have allowed me to watch an inning or two before I had to leave for stupid work. But no, I have to listen to NFL scores and highlights until 8:00, and then I gotta wait for John the Cougar to come outta the toilet and sing his car commercial. I didn't get to see nary a pitch last night!

Someone should be held accountable for this pathetic bit of time management, and that person's name rhymes with "Bud Selig".

The Gambler lays down a Royal Flush

WOW! Kenny Rogers is a pitcher that does better with age. Rogers continued his streak of 23 scoreless innings last night as Detroit tied the series up. Rogers only allowed two hits in 8 innings of work. The shenanigans came in the 9th where Todd Jones almost blew the game for Detroit Rock City. I have to wonder why Leyland didn't use Rogers in the 9th? Now the series shifts to St. Louis where games three to five will be held. This series has been exciting thus far, but I still think the Tigers have the upper hand.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

...but the sacrificial lamb had long, pointy teeth.

Thanks to last week's seven game NLCS, St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Anthony Reyes was only supposed to be a rotation spot fill-in, someone to eat up five or so innings and keep the damage to a minimum during last night's Game 1. (That's the polite way of saying he was cannon fodder.) But someone forgot to tell him that.

Game 1 of the World Series: eight innings, four hits, two runs, four K's, and a walk. That's a line I'd expect from a Smoltz, a Clemens, a Johnson, or a Schilling. It's not what I expect to see from a 25-year-old rookie with six career wins; not against a line-up as potent as Detroit's.

Of course, Reyes did have some help. Scott Rolen's shoulder didn't look too balky after all, as he pulled a fastball into the left field seats. The Albert kindly thanked Verlander for that meatball he served up in the third inning. And then there was the sloppy, error-filled baseball the Tigers treated us to.

I still think Detroit will win the Series. Heck, they could still do it in five, although it's gonna take a much better effort from the Tigers. And a lot more walks to Pujols.

Game 2 begins at 7:30 EST tonight with Jeff Weaver and Kenny Rogers on the mound (although not at the same time).

Saturday, October 21, 2006

World Series/Game 1 thoughts

It's been quite a while since I've been this excited about a World Series that didn't involve the Braves, but I have to admit that I'm rather looking forward to things getting underway tonight. Looks like a great Midwest match-up, and best of all, it's a series that doesn't involve the Yankees (or that other New York club that won the NL East, dammit).

Unfortunately for St. Louis, I don't believe it's going to be a very long Series: I'm predicting the Tigers win it in five. They've got the pitching, the offense, and perhaps just as important, they've had a week to get rested and healthy. The Cardinals have been through the ringer, both physically and emotionally. Their starting rotation doesn't match up to Detroit's. Scott Rolen's balky left shoulder doesn't provide much protection for The Albert (which may explain why Pujols has only one RBI in the past nine postseason games). And Jim Leyland has pushed all the right buttons and made all the right decisions throughout the season/playoffs, as if they were destined to win it from the very beginning. Simply put, I think Detroit is too strong for any team the National League trots out.

Tonight's game starts at 8:03 EST and features Justin Verlander and Anthony Reyes, which happens to be the first all-rookie Game 1 match-up in World Series history. It should be a good one.

Friday, October 20, 2006

World Series: Detroit & St. Louis: Did you guess that one?

Boy, was I way off on my postseason picks. For anyone that hasn't seen my previous blog I posted predictions for the postseason. In the end, I had the A's and Dodgers in the series with the A's winning it in 6. I thought the A's had of more a legit shot to make it than L.A. but, heck the Dodgers were a hot team before the playoffs.

On the flipside, both the Tigers and Redbirds backended their way into playoffs. The Tigers were penned against the Yankees and about a handful of people gave them a chance to win that series. The Cards lucked up and played the overachieving Padres and won. Later, they beat the heavily favorited Mets. Yippee! Both of these teams eliminated the NY teams and for that I give them a standing ovation.

Obviously Detroit has had plenty of rest before tommorrow's Game 1. St. Louis has played pretty much non stop thanks to rain outs. People generally get concerned over which is better: resting an extended amount of time before play, or keep continuing playing with no rest. Obviously everyone feels better rested, but c'mon it's not like the Tigers are sitting around playing Playstation and eating Cheetos before the series. They practice during the week. Anyway I think it's all a bunch of nonsense. You play baseball to reach this pinnacle and you give 110%. On to the pitching matchups...

Game 1: Verlander vs. Reyes
Game 2: Rogers vs. Weaver
Game 3: Robertson vs. Carpenter
Game 4: Bonderman vs. Suppan
Game 5: Verlander vs. Reyes
Game 6: Rogers vs. Weaver?
Game 7: ?? vs. ??

I'm pretty sure that the first four games are correct and not sure about 5-7. I can only guess that Carpenter/Suppan will pitch 7 if neccessary. LaRussa is going with rookie pitcher Anthony Reyes who has had a up/down season and didn't look to good against the Mets in Game 4 of the NLCS. The Cards do not have SP depth. Mark Mulder was plagued with injury while Jason Marquis was left off the playoff roster. Weaver has slowly turned things around while Carpenter and Suppan have been the leaders of this staff.
The Tigers come enter with a young(minus the gambler) extremely talented pitching staff. Having a stong pitching staff is what helped the White Sox win the series last year and I expect the same to come from the Tigers. I'm going to guess the Tigers in 6. Some people are calling this a swiffer sweep in 4, but I'll give the Cards a couple of games.

Steven's big announcement

Just want to let everyone know that Adam (formerly of the Braves Dugout blog), and I are joining forces here at the Home of the Braves. Adam's done some pretty good work over at his blog and I'm happy to have him here. Not only will he add greatly to the content, he'll also help keep things moving along when my life gets in the way (which is me politely saying I work too damn much).

Anyway, I'm pretty excited about things and hope everyone enjoys the new, the improved, Home of the Braves.

The Home is back in business!

After a bit of a hiatus, I've decided to take The Home out of mothballs and begin posting again. At the moment, it's still a work in progress (lots of links to add, and so on), but I'd really like to jump in while there's still some baseball going on. (Speaking of, if anyone had told me at the beginning of the season that the Tigers would be playing in the World Series, I'd have asked for some of what they'd been smoking.) So the updates will come as time and my limited HTML abilities allow.

Speaking of changes, there'll be one big change that I'll be announcing shortly- something that should make The Home a much better, much more active blog than in days past. Stay tuned!