When last we left our beloved national baseball writing dumbass he was trying to figure out why Joe Maddon can’t just pick a lineup and use it, his boner was only partly flaccid over the Conor Gillaspie era in San Francisco (alas, Conor lasted only six days and hit a robust .150), and he just couldn’t figure out what was wrong with Luke Hochever (well, Luke sucks, that’s what’s wrong with him.) What will Phil unearth for us this week that will make our brains hurt? Let’s dare to find out.
1. Rangers (1): Not quite as secure at the top as they were a week ago, but they still are baseball’s best team. Neftali Feliz’s DL stint marks the first change to their opening-day roster.
They went seven weeks without a roster move? The Cubs have used 17 catchers in that span. The Rangers are awesome, and since Phildo is strangely Lone Star state obsessive he’ll find a way to make us hate them by August.
2. Dodgers (2): With Matt Kemp sidelined, Scott Van Slyke has come through. Do you think Andy’s son would be big in Pittsburgh if the Pirates had drafted him?
This is so Phil. Chubby Scottie Van Slyke is getting some ABs while Matt Kemp’s out with a bad hammy. Phil immediately wonders why the Pirates didn’t draft him. The kid is a star! Stupid, Pissburgh, stupid! This is why you are losers! Oh, and Van Slyke is hitting .167 and has struck out six times in 18 at bats. Other than that, the kid is a star! As Phil says he has “come through.” Come through what, a Kleenex? Like we haven’t all done that.
3. Braves (3): Impressive in taking two of three from the Rays at Tropicana Field. New hitting coach Greg Walker has overseen an increase in team batting average from .243 in 2011 to .269 through 42 games.
I’m amazed Walker has the time to work on his team’s hitting, since he’s so busy opining with Phil about whether or not Jeff Samardzija is a “head hunter.” Even for Phil this was fucking looney. Samardzija has hit two guys all year. He hit Paul Konerko in the face with a two strike slider and he hit Jason Heyward in the rump with a fastball. And, as someone covering the Cubs wondered, why didn’t Phil interview Samardzija about it? He was in Houston, with the Cubs, and he called Walker in Cincinnati where the Braves were taking on the fighting Dustbunnies. If you were going to do this by phone, why not talk to Heyward, or Konerko? I ask this all the time. But what the fuck is wrong with Phil Rogers? Why is he so terrible at his job? He’s been doing it a long time. If he was this bad at driving a school bus, or as a hibachi chef at Benihana, he’d have killed people and been in jail by now.
4. Rays (4): Only 10-9 since losing Evan Longoria to a partially torn left hamstring, which could sideline him through June. They’ve used four starters post-Longoria, with Sean Rodriguez getting the most starts.
Their best hitter is hurt, they have the third best record in baseball, and they have managed to stay over .500 without him. Yet, Phil writes it as though they’re just hanging on. Just call Steve Buchele and see if he’s got a broken in glove. I’m sure he could hold down that spot until Evan is back.
5. Orioles (7): Adam Jones is timing his step onto the national stage perfectly with free agency looming after the season.
Hey, you, Adam Jones! I’m America. Welcome to our stage. We had no idea you were good at baseball before. We all slept through the 2009 All-Star Game. Here, have some cash!
6. Nationals (6): For all the excitement he has created, Bryce Harper’s slash line was a surprisingly ordinary .244/.333/.449 after his first 21 big-league games. Adam LaRoche has had more to do with helping a lineup that is scoring only 3.8 runs per game, less than it did a year ago.
I’m really amazed that Bryce Harper is only putting up a .782 OPS. I mean, the guy is already 19 years old. When is he going to finally get good, anyway?
Do you know what the great Adam LaRoche’s OPS was when he was 19? Nobody does, because he wasn’t even in professional baseball yet. But we do know what it was last year, when he was 31. It was .546. Clearly, Bryce Harper is terrible.
7. Blue Jays (9): Adam Lind’s departure creates more of a role for the speedy Rajai Davis.
When God closes one door, he opens a window, and a journeyman outfielder with no power and a terrible on base average crashes through it.
8. Marlins (10): Would Miami approach the White Sox about Paul Konerko or Adam Dunn? The win-at-all-costs Fish were stunned to have to send first baseman Gaby Sanchez (.197, 1 HR in 122 at-bats) to Triple A.
I would guess the Marlins would approach the Sox about both guys. They’d say, “What would you like for Konerko?” And they’d say, “We just looked at Dunn’s contract. It’s fucking hilarious.”
9. Yankees (8): Alex Rodriguez used the same doctor as Kobe Bryant, but unfortunately for Joe Girardi isn’t getting the same results.
Sure he is. A-Rod’s jump shot has never been better.
10. Phillies (16): Jonathan Papelbon stared down his old Red Sox teammates Friday.
He didn’t actually pitch. He just stood in front of the Red Sox dugout and stared at them. Then he ran around the field until security guys had to tase him. Now that’s the kind of intensity we need from him.
11. Reds (13): Sean Marshall’s run as closer didn’t last long. Aroldis Chapman replaces him. The challenge for Cincinnati is to improve a starting rotation that ranks ninth in the NL with a 3.92 ERA.
Only Dustbag would have wasted Marshall as a closer. The beauty of having Marshall on your team is that you can use him during an inning, or use him for multiple innings, and he gets lefties and righties out. But why not have him sit around in the bullpen while guys who can’t do any of that blow leads? Dusty’s always bitching that he has to ride his starters because he never has a good bullpen, when it’s also apparent Dusty has no idea how to use one in the first place.
12. Tigers (11): When was the last time a team got a one-hitter from its ace and a 15-strikeout game from another starter on the same weekend? Jim Leyland has weapons that no one else does in the AL Central.
If those weapons are powered by cigarette smoke, everybody’s fucked.
13. Cardinals (5): How bad is Lance Berkman’s knee? A season-ending injury could be a death blow. The Cardinals also have lost John Jay, Allen Craig and Kyle McClellan recently. They’re scared to death about Carlos Beltran’s knee too.
Phil used the word death twice there. Sounds like somebody’s ready to write about the Cardinals bullpen again!
14. Giants (14): Hard to believe, but they’re 2-7 in Tim Lincecum’s starts and 19-13 otherwise.
That his hard to believe. It’s almost like Lincecum’s ERA is four runs higher than it was last year, and that he’s the only Giants starter with an ERA over 3.53. (The Giants have three starters — Matt Cain, Ryan Vogelsong and Madison Bumgarner with ERA’s under three. Holy crap.)
15. Red Sox (17): Two strong starts by Josh Beckett have gone a long way toward helping Bobby Valentine quiet the panic.
16. Indians (18): Chris Perez talks about the elephant in the room: attendance issues that seem to just get worse at Progressive Field.
No wonder the Indians are having trouble selling tickets. They have an elephant? Think about how many seats the elephant uses.? And then you can’t sit behind him, because no way can you see shit around or over an elephant. Get rid of that elephant and sell those seats!
17. Mets (15): Can’t wait for the 2013 All-Star Game at Citi Field.
Actually, Phil. You should probably go get in line now, and wait to buy a ticket for that. We’ll try to get by without you for 13 months. Go ahead, we’ll wait.
18. White Sox (22): Dayan Viciedo in May: .295/.328/.492. His development shows how patience can pay off.
Viciedo’s current OPS .662. Bryce Harper’s: .782. So the 19 year old is not impressive to Phil. But the fat “23″ year old Cuban is?
19. Angels (12): Forget chasing the Rangers. Can these jokers catch the A’s? Howie Kendrick has turned into a defensive nightmare in the first year of his four-year, $33.5 million contract extension.
Turned into? Howie has always been a defensive liability. And, that contract made no sense. Howie has a decent batting average every year, but he’s got no power and doesn’t get on base. And he’s slow. Other than that, he’s awesome.
20. Diamondbacks (21): There are rumors they could be interested in Kevin Youkilis given Ryan “Tatman” Roberts’ lack of production.
Why do bad players being bad always surprise Phil? Roberts hit .249 last year and .197 the year before. Phil must just be easily surprised. I’ll bet if you put one of those cans of nuts with the foam snake that pop out of it and left it in the pressbox he’d piss himself every day for a week.
21. Athletics (19): Billy Beane’s fingers are crossed for Brandon McCarthy’s healthy return from shoulder soreness. McCarthy could be in major demand at the trade deadline given his 2.95 ERA through nine starts.
Insight. Staggering. A GM hopes a guy he’d like to trade isn’t hurt. It’s times like these I’m reminded just what a privilege it is to be exposed to Phil’s baseball wisdom.
22. Pirates (20): The hitters had to be happy to get out of Detroit after 27 strikeouts against Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer.
Probably, but they probably didn’t mind getting nine hits and winning the other game.
23. Royals (24): Middle reliever Aaron Crow was KC’s lone representative in the 2011 All-Star Game. Billy Butler could be that guy this July at Kauffman Stadium.
Well sure, because Butler’s good and having a good year. Mike Moustakas has been pretty good, too. So what was Phil’s point?
24. Mariners (27): Ichiro Suzuki is on a 185-hit pace after dropping off from 214 in 2010 to 184 last year, his first under 200 with the M’s.
Ichiro is 38. That’s a shitload of hits for a 38 year old. Pete Rose had 208 hits when he was 38. Paul Molitor had 225 hits when he was 39. Derek Jeter leads the AL in hits and he’s 38. So again, what’s Phil’s point? That Ichiro is getting one hit less per week than he did three years ago?
25. Brewers (23): As in recent years with the Cubs, Aramis Ramirez isn’t hitting when his team really needs him to. Look for a fast finish once the Brew Crew is buried.
Oh, fuck off. This is such bullshit. This is the Bob Brenly E-ramis was a lazy piece of crap shit. Yes, last year, E-ramis was awful early and the Cubs sucked and then he was really good and the Cubs still sucked. Over his career, his two worst months were April and May, but even in those he posted OPS’s of close to .800. And his best months are July and August and still over .800 in September. He was known as a clutch hitter his first seven years with the Cubs for a reason. Phil’s beloved Ryne Sandberg had an April OPS of .660 for his career. Why didn’t he have a rap as a guy who didn’t “hit when his team really needed him to?” E-ramis’ April OPS for his career is .779. There’s no “there” there.
26. Astros (26): Lucas Harrell barely got a sniff from the White Sox but is getting a chance to claim a long-term rotation spot in Houston.
NEWS FLASH! Terrible team finds room for mediocre starting pitcher.
27. Rockies (25): Something’s not right with Troy Tulowitzki. He looks like he’s trying to play through a significant injury, and historically Colorado is a different team when he’s right.
Since Phil wrote this, Tulowitzki is 4-12 (.333) with two homers and seven RBI.
28. Padres (29): The wait for Carlos Quentin continues. He played seven games on a rehab assignment but is back at the Arizona complex after more pain in his right knee.
NEWS FLASH! Injury prone hitter, injured.
29. Twins (30): What’s worse? Joe Mauer being hurt or Mauer hitting like just another guy?
This “just another guy” has an on base average of .409 and almost twice as many walks (28) as strikeouts (16). Yes, the Twins need him to start hitting for power, but even when he’s “bad” he’s still pretty damned good.
30. Cubs (28): One day Koyie Hill is a Pensacola Blue Wahoo, the next he’s catching Ryan Dempster at Wrigley Field — and watching White Sox hitters send balls out of Wrigley Field. You know it’s a bad weekend when the highlight is Carlos Marmol agreeing to go to Iowa for a rehab assignment.
What’s worse? Koyie Hill actually sucking the life out of your batting order or Koyie calling shitloads of curveballs when Matt Garza’s on the mound, and Garza throwing the worst game of his Cubs career?
I still can’t believe Koyie Fucking Dolan Fucking Hill is on the roster. Thank God it doesn’t matter if they win. Because they won’t.