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Pro Sports Wrap - Sports Personality of the Day:Steven Stamkos

2011's Best Starting Pitchers

November 23rd 2011 18:53
This is a ranking of the best starting pitchers of the 2011 season, and it's based on the performance of last season alone.

1. Roy Halladay- His 2.20 FIP was awesome, his efficiency gets overlooked because of the hype surrounding the guy directly below him.

2. Justin Verlander- Deserved the Cy Young, but his season was a little overrated (.236 BABIP). Still, accomplishing a 2.40 ERA with 8.96 fans per nine is no easy feat.

3. Clayton Kershaw- Although Halladay should have won the award, it's tough to argue with a guy who had the pitching Triple Crown. But of course, the Triple Crown doesn't trump advanced statistics; even if it's still an incredible feat.

4. CC Sabathia- Lost among a season of elite pitching was Sabathia's 2011 campaign.

5. Cliff Lee- Had a 2.60 FIP and was in the thick of the "race", well, for those who paid attention to him.

6. Dan Haren- If you dig deeper, it becomes apparent that Haren was truly the best starter on the Angels last year.

7. Jered Weaver- But hey, Weaver did have a 2.41 ERA regardless of the luck involved.

8. Ian Kennedy- How could I not reward the former Yankees prospect?

9. Madison Bumgarner- This sophomore was no bum, as he garnered a 2.67 FIP.

10. Zack Greinke- A 10.54 K/9 and 2.56 xFIP? I think so.

11. C.J. Wilson- There's a reason why he's easily the top free agent starter on the market.

12. James Shields- Would have been in the top ten in most seasons; just not this one.

13. Matt Cain- The guy who somehow defies sabermetrical logic year in and year out, but he did have a 2.88 ERA that was in line with his 2.91 FIP this season.

14. Cole Hamels- Yeah, the Phillies offense really dragged the team down.

15. Doug Fister- And we thought this trade was meaningless when it first went down.

16. David Price- Wasn't all that much worse than his teammate, but he was still worse.

17. Matt Garza- Well, at least the Cubs got what they wanted in the trade; an over-performing pitcher. He won't always be this good, but that season alone might make that trade at least a solid one for the Cubbies.

18. Felix Hernandez- Yeah, I probably put him a little too low, but it really wasn't the best of years for Felix. But just you wait for 2012 Mariners fans, you'll have the Astros to beat up on.

19. Tim Lincecum- No top 20 is complete without Timmy's presence, even in a "down" year (he still had a 2.74 ERA).

20. Daniel Hudson- He and Kennedy are two young starters to build a rotation around.

21. Brandon McCarthy- Now who saw that coming?

22. Josh Beckett- He really carried the Red Sox sagging rotation this year with a 2.89 ERA.

23. Matt Harrison- Scouts love him when he doesn't nibble, and he had a solid year that he should be able to build on.

24. Chris Carpenter- A boss year in and year out, and to think that the Cards won it all without Wainwright.

25. Jaime Garcia- What better way to end a top 25 starter list than a World Champion?
What a rebound year

8/4 MLB News: A-Rod and poker

August 4th 2011 13:53
I thought Alex Rodriguez was just about done with his shenanigans, and then this came up. We've always known that A-Rod has had some gambling problems- namely poker- but this is the farthest it's ever gone. He was in trouble with the league for gambling in 2005, and then he held a charity poker game. The current allegations against Rodriguez are far more serious with this incident.

Bud Selig has definitely had enough of A-Rod's circus in the past few years, and this is just another major headache for the commissioner. It's a known fact that Rodriguez is going to be suspended, but the question really is the length of his suspension. Because he's done this before, I suggest that Rodriguez is suspended for the same length as players who take PEDs; 50 days.

The punishment stated above is fair for both parties. Selig needs to come up with a Stern- geddit- punishment here, not only because Rodriguez needs to be punished, but also because Selig has a reputation for being weak in his rulings for the most part. This is his chance to make a big statement, and this is, of course, if A-Rod really did take part in these celebrity poker games.

I realize that playing poker isn't a serious offense, but A-Rod ignored Stern warnings from Selig about his involvement in gambling in 2005. He was told not to play poker again, but Rodriguez did not listen. Maybe 50 games is a little harsh, but it would be sweet revenge for Selig. I mean, it's not like A-Rod doesn't deserve it for all he's done in the last ten years or so.

Jacoby Ellsbury's second straight walk-off hit- for a home run no less- has people buzzing about his MVP case. I think Ellsbury's been the third best player in the AL this season, but he hasn't been the best player on his team. No, that honor belongs to Dustin Pedroia. Not only has he hit well, but he's been incredible in the field. I can't even begin to describe how well he's been in the field though. My MVP has to be Jose Bautista just over Pedroia, because he was mashing at the beginning of the season. He's still going strong, and his numbers resemble Bonds's in the early 2000s. Nobody wants to pitch to him.

As for the NL, I still think Jose Reyes has been slightly better than Matt Kemp. CC Sabathia has been outstanding this season, and he and Roy Halladay are unquestionably the two Cy Young winners. Guys like Justin Verlander have had great seasons, but no pitcher can touch the dominance of Sabathia and Halladay this season.
Without a question deserves suspension


1. Edwin Rodriguez steps down

Marlins fans were shocked when Edwin Rodriguez unexpectedly resigned yesterday (not re-signed). He was frustrated with their current ten game losing streak and 1-18 slump. Rodriguez is the first Puerto-Rican manager in history, and the Marlins had no intention of firing him. He was doing a good job this season, and won the respect of his players. I guess this slump was too much for him, and it's a shame that he quit.

"This was an extremely frustrated, proud man,"president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest said. "This kind of caught us a little off guard. I know there's been a lot of speculation, everything, but this is not something I thought was going to happen today."

2. McKeon to Marlins?

"So we can move ahead with the business of playing baseball and trying to win games," Beinfest said. "When you have a change like this, with a popular person, I think it's tough on a lot of people. You just need to go play baseball, and that's first and foremost."

Jake McKeon is most likely going to be named as the new interim manager. That quote above from Beinfest was about how the Marlins are going to try to name a interim manager as quickly as possible. McKeon was the Marlins' manager in 2003 when he was Manager of the Year and guided the Fish to a World Series title. Cubs fans and Yankees fans (like me), block that year out.
McKeon retired after the 2005 season, and he is now 80.

3. Yankees (Read: Swisher) rally past Cubs

Speaking of the Yanks and Cubbies, here's a mini-recap of the final game in the three game series involving these two storied franchises. The Bronx Bombers came back to win this one 10-4. Chicago won the first game, but the Yankees charged back and won the last two games in this three game set.

Nick Swisher was up with nobody out and two runners on and took a 2-0 pitch for a ride into right field. The 407 foot shot broke a 4-4 tie and gave the Yanks a commanding lead they would never relinquish. The Early Wynn home run by Swisher was yet another hit in a recent hot streak for Swishalicious after two bad slumps earlier this season. The Yanks had a big ninth inning to make it 10-4.

A-Rod went 3-4 with 3 runs, a walk, an RBI, and a double. He's been playing with a strained left shoulder for weeks now. What a beast. Brett Gardner hit his first career homer that led off a game, and he finished with an impressive line. Gardner went 3-5 with two runs, one steak, and a dinger.

James Russell and Sean Marshall got clobbered by the Yanks' hitting, and CC Sabathia wasn't even good on this day when offenses ruled. A-Ram went 4-5 with a run, and Soriano had his own Early Wynn shot.

4. Pujols injured

Every Cardinals' fan will cringe when they read this headline. The best player in baseball sprained his left wrist and also injured his shoulder trying to tag out Wilson Betemit in the sixth inning. Both players collided, but it really wasn't anyone's fault. It was just a baseball play gone bad. Skip Schumaker hit a walk-off homer to beat the Royals 5-4 in a bittersweet game for the Cardinals.

5. Verlander does it again

Man is Justin Verlander a monster. He led the Tigers to a 9-1 trouncing of the Colorado Rockies after pitching his second straight complete game. He wasn't quite as dominating as James Shields was, but Justin Verlander was definitely good enough. The only run he gave up was a long solo shot by Ty Wigginton in the fifth inning. It was the .267 hitter's seventh dinger of the season, and it measured at about 424 feet. That was one of only four hits Verlander gave up. He has thrown at least 100 pitches in all of his starts this season. I wouldn't be worried though because this guy has endurance.

Brennan Boesch's hot streak continues as he hit 3-4 with 3 runs, one RBI, and a monster solo shot of his own that went 422 feet out. Miguel Cabrera was 2-4 with 3 runs, a double, an RBI, and a walk. Alex Avila was 2-4 with a run and two ribbies. Rex Brothers gave up 3 runs (2 earned) on two hits and walked one without getting an out in the seventh inning.
The word "slump


The Indians have unsurprisingly cooled off from their very unexpected hot start to the season, and the Detroit Tigers have now caught up with them for the AL Central lead. This game features an interesting pitching duel between two guys who have been doing well so far this season. Justin Verlander has been terrific, as always, and Justin Masterson is having a good year as well.

Although wins are a stupid stat for pitchers, I have a tidbit involving wins that is more of a fun fact. Verlander has not lost a game since April 27th, while Justin Masterson has not won a game since April 26th.

Asdrubal Cabrera has been beasting this year, and he's going to be the main source of offense for the Indians against Verlander. Cabrera is so good that he has a 2.5 WAR on Fan Graphs. Michael Brantley has also been one of the key cogs this year for the Indians, and the ever-patient Carlos Santana will try and work out some good ABs against one of the best pitchers in baseball.

The Tigers have been lifted by three hitters who have been nothing short of amazing. Miguel Cabrera has been Miguel Cabrera so far (2.6 WAR, .441 OBP), Alex Avila has been a pleasant surprise. The former backup catcher has come out of nowhere to post a 2.3 WAR so far this season. Jhonny Peralta is a former Indian who is finding success with Detroit this season. Peralta also has a WAR over 2, and he leads a fearsome trio.

Masterson is able to get groundball outs, and he isn't a flashy pitcher by any stretch of the imagination. He gets outs, and gives up his fair share of hits, but he doesn't give up anything big. We all know what Verlander can do, so I won't waste my laptop's battery life raving about how crazy his fastball is.

Masterson has a WAR of 2, and I don't expect his production to tail off at all. Verlander has a 2.4 WAR, but I do expect his production to slightly worsen. However, I do expect him to have another great year.

I think that the Tigers will win this game, because they have Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera on their side. Both of them are two of the best players in the game, but this is definitely a game to watch. This is a good pitching matchup that has first place implications in the AL Central.
Looking to Take 1st

5/2011 Starting Pitcher Rankings

May 22nd 2011 14:01
1. Tim Lincecum
2. Roy Halladay
3. Josh Johnson

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Devalue The No-Hitter

May 8th 2011 11:23
First off, Justin Verlander is a beast. He was throwing it 100 miles an hour even after he threw 100 pitches. Verlander and his pitching coach have worked to make Verlander a better pitcher by slowing down his delivery in order to increase his control. With this added knowledge, Verlander has been pinpoint accurate at the beginning of games. Although he won't pitch as fast in the beginning, his blazing speed is showcased at the end of the game. Verlander has always been great at maintaining a fastball that is actually fast through the late innings. He's starting to mix up his pitches more, and this may just be a glimpse of what is to come for Verlander as the year goes on. I mean, he's always been a slow starter. This is probably Verlander beginning to get back on track.

I have always been calling for the devaluation of the no-hitter ever since Edwin Jackson's "gem" last year. Jackson walked eight batters and had a game score of 85. To put that into perspective, Verlander had a game score of 90. Game score is a Bill James stat that basically calculates how well a player did during one particular game. This year, six pitchers have had a game score of at least 90. The highest, 92, was a three-hitter with 12 K's by Cliff Lee. I believe that we should use game scores to evaluate who truly pitched the best games

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