Things Read in Other Moms' Basements - Around the NL East 05.01.10

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I'm quite pleased that the Braves finally snapped their nine-game skid. You'll have to excuse my lack of words in an introductory paragraph, but I'm either still in shock at seeing a Braves win, or I'm feeling a bit on the lazy side of things.

Welcome to another week's edition of Things Read in Other Moms' Basements.

Ryan Howard inks five-year extension with the Phillies - MLB.com
Unless you've been living under a rock, the Phillies have guaranteed that Ryan Howard will terrorize the NL East for five more years, with a massive $125M extension. Naturally this contract has not been well received by the stat-minded, who seem to be unable to look past the dollars and cents, forcing the Phillies organization to have to defend their decision publicly while likely making Howard himself grow a little more jaded with the world. Phillies Nation does a good job of arguing both sides of the coin in regards to it, but personally, I think it's good for both parties, leaning more 60/40 in Howard's favor. After delivering 222 HR, 640 RBI with .961 OPS and assisting in a World Series title in the last five years, I think he deserved it.

Subsequently Jayson Werth and Jimmy Rollins NOT thinking about contracts - MLB.com
And since they're not thinking about contracts on the heels of Ryan Howard's megadeal, there's articles explicitly ensuring to inform us that they're not thinking of contracts.

Chase Utley reaches 1,000 career hits - MLB.com
Link title says it all.

Ryan Madson kicks chair, breaks toe - Philly.com
Apparently, the pressures of closing baseball games was too much for Ryan Madson, as he took his frustrations out on a poor chair, breaking his toe. Jeff Bennett sighs in relief while looking in the classifieds for a job. Ironically, had Madson held in there for two more days, then he would have been relieved of his duties for . . .

Brad Lidge rejoins Phillies for the Mets series - Philly.com
Despite overall mediocre numbers in his rehab starts, the Phillies don't really care, and bring him back up to the ML roster anyway.

Keith Law gets owned on Philadelphia radio sports talk - The Good Phight
What I'm very much most curious about is, when KLaw himself will sign up with TGP and show up to defend himself from their comments section. He's done it here, and I've seen him do it on other SBN sites, like the Padres and Rockies.

Ryan Howard sees himself in Jason Heyward - Courier Post
Except the part where Heyward consistently hits to the opposite field. ZING! But seriously, I don't think any ill of Ryan Howard, he seems like a genuinely good guy, but I really enjoy listening to the things Heyward says. Billy Wagner suggests Heyward seek out the successful Howard, which isn't necessarily a bad idea, but Heyward is reluctant, because he's not trying to be like anyone else. He's not trying to be the next Hank Aaron, or Ryan Howard. He's just trying to be the first and only Jason Heyward. And then he goes to essentially say he doesn't need to seek out Howard, because he's already got great advice to get from teammates Chipper Jones and Brian McCann. What a guy - typically it's the veterans who try to inspire confidence in the kid, not the other way around.

 

How NOT to handle superstar contracts - Howard vs. Hanley - Marlins Maniac
The stat-geek poser in me nods in sufficient agreement with a lot of this article, because after letting it soak in, I kind of do see that the Ryan Howard extension is just a bit overvalued. But the every-man in me also doesn't think there's anything wrong with it, because every man out there aspires to get overpaid in the working world, not make exactly what we're worth, or worse, underpaid. If Pujols forbid, the sport of baseball ended when contracts did, then Ryan Howard will end his career with more money than Hanley Ramirez. Who's the winner now?

Reigning ROY hits the bench, risks losing his job - Miami Herald
In the midst of a terrible slump, Fredi Gonzalez has had no choice but to sit NL ROY Chris Coghlan, who was batting a dismal .123. In his place Brett Carroll started against the Rox and responded with a solid 2/3 performance with a double, homer and 2 RBI. Coghlan's future it uncertain whether he loses his job outright, or becomes part of a platoon.

Gaby Sanchez, living the dream - Miami Herald
Born and bred in Miami, played HS and College ball in Miami, and now playing for the Miami Florida Marlins, Gaby Sanchez, the rookie 1B for the Marlins is indeed living the dream. More of an average-doubles kind of guy, he's not going to be the wow factor that Jason Heyward is, but he's still slated to be a solid player, and an important tool to perhaps draw some local fans to the squad.

Mike Stanton, sending a message - Palm Beach Post
Top Marlins prospect Mike Stanton is more or less taking his frustration out on starting the season in the minors out on baseballs. In a two-game stretch starting last Sunday, Mike Stanton blasted five homers and drove in 11 RBI. Naturally, this has all four Marlins fans up in arms, as they want their own Jason Heyward; but is not going to happen, because one, they have a fairly efficient outfield in Cody Ross, Cameron Maybin and Brett Carroll, and two, they're the Marlins. Call him up early and face future financial complications? Pshaw!

I love how adding "Los" to your jerseys suddenly makes it Latin awareness - Fish Bytes
Fiesta Fridays is what it is, and the Marlins will apparently wear these "Los Marlins" jerseys on Friday home games now.

MLB attempting to quell Twitter usage - Fish Stripes
Personally, I don't really care about Twitter. But it's such the rage these days, it's worth mentioning here, especially since Marlins such as Chris Coghlan are avid tweeters.

 

Nationals playing better than expected - Nationals Daily News
At the time of me writing this, the Nationals finish up the month of April with a 12-10 record, on pace for 88 wins. Six of 18 games with the Phillies are out of the way. Now I don't necessarily think that they're going to win the division, but I'm pretty sure I was still one of the few people out there that called that the Nationals might be a much, much improved team in 2010 than other media outlets were giving them credit for.

Track-Nats leading the NL in stolen bases - MLB.com
Take Manny Acta out of the equasion, and the Nationals are off to the races. Say what you want about base stealing, but I'm a big fan of aggressive base stealing, even if the Braves aren't a team likely to do such themselves. But Nyjer Morgan is still getting caught too often, essentially putting him in the same boat as Nate McLouth, since both were Pirates. Maybe the key to their stealing success was John Shelby, the first-base coach during their tenures in Pittsburgh?

Drew Storen promoted to AAA-Syracuse - MLB.com
Despite the fact that the Nationals are all gung-ho over Stephen Strasburg, this is a name to keep your eyes peeled out for. Like Craig Kimbrel is for the Braves, Drew Storen is essentially being ushered as the future closer of the Nationals, having pretty much done nothing but closing since college and rookie ball. In less than ten innings in AA-Harrisburg, he has struck out eleven and earned four saves. Oh, and like former All-Star Nationals closer, Chad Cordero, and our very own Kris Medlen, Storen likes to wear his hat with a flat-brim too.

Willy and Willie out; Roger and Justin in - MLB.com
Well, that didn't last long. After Mike Morse got hurt, the Willie and Willy show just didn't cut it, and a new RF platoon is in place, between Roger Bernadina and Justin Maxwell, where Jim Riggleman hopes to find a starter amongst the two.

Never would've guessed, Tyler Clippard? - MASNsports
Jason Marquis is hurt, John Lannan has been a tad on the tough-luck side, and Scott Olsen is hiding under some good run-support. If you were to see the Nationals 12-10 record, you probably wouldn't have guessed that the two most reliable pitchers in their rotation were Li"owned" Hernandez, and Tyler Clippard, with the latter cutting down on his flyballs and line drives while generating more groundballs.

Why the Nationals should extend OPS guy - Nationals Daily News
In short, because he gives the team comparable offensive capabilities that far more expensive 1Bs of the upcoming free agent class of 2011 (Adrian Gonzalez, Prince Fielder, Albert Pujols, Carlos Pena) at a likely cheaper cost due to his poor defense, and propensity to strike out a lot. And most importantly, because he's willing to play in Washington D.C.

Nationals apparently not concerned about Bryce Harper's attitude - Nats Insider

"Is he confident? Yeah," the team official said. "Is he cocky? Yeah. Does he think he's the best player on the field at all times? Yeah. But find me a great player who doesn't think that about himself."

Make your own judgment.

Apparently, umpires do effect the scores - Nats Stats
An interesting study prompted by this season's propensity for some lopsided blowouts, resulting in an examination of umpires and run-differentials. The most surprising one was seeing Tim McClelland's name as one of the umps who results in higher scores, but then logically I suppose if nothing's a strike, people will end up on base or pitches will be forced to come straight down the middle, resulting in higher scores. With that logic in mind, when guys like Bill Hohn are calling everything strikes and fist-bumping all catchers not Brian McCann, I guess scores tend to stay low.

Can the Nationals ever be as popular as the Capitals? - CSNWashington.com
In short: until they start winning, no. Well, at least they didn't BS around that one, but it doesn't really matter, because neither the Nationals or Capitals will ever amount to the popularity of the Redskins.

 

David Wright reaches 1,000 career hits - MetsBlog
Link title says it all here, too.

The Metamorphosis of David Wright's Batting Stance - MetsBlog
I really like the stick figure diagrams.

Mets' switch-hitters don't switch against a knuckleballer - MLB.com
I didn't even know the Dodgers had a knuckleballer. Hell, other than R.A. Dickey and Tim Wakefield, I didn't know there were any other knuckleballers. Shows what I know. Anyway, Angel Pagan, Jose Reyes, and Luis Castillo, who all switch-hit, opted to hit from the right-side against RHP knuckler, Charlie Haeger. Did it work? Yep. This kind of good fortune is why the Mets are in first place right now.

Speaking of R.A. Dickey - MLB.com
A leadoff single against the Durham Bulls cost this knuckleballer a perfect game, because after giving up the hit, he proceeded to retire the next 27 batters in a row. Figure that. One leadoff batter away from giving the International League two no-nos in the same week.

Gaffes, Dumb Plays & Boneheaded baseball - MetsBlog
One major reason why the Mets are doing so well this year is that they're not the ones making the stupid errors, forgetting rules, and losing focus - everyone else is, and I think when this was written "everyone else" really meant "the Braves."

Because they're good again, Mets/Phillies series has meaning - MLB.com
A real rivalry doesn't matter what the Ws and Ls are, because they're going to be intense and hard-fought, no matter what the circumstances are.

Mike Lupica: Carlos Beltran was a bad contract - MetsBlog
Yes, this is the same Mike Lupica who writes all those sports stories directed to children with epic titles such as "HEAT" "BATBOY" and other books with titles appearing smaller than his own name on the covers. Well, he thinks that Carlos Beltran is a bad contract. Granted, in terms of WAR and dollar amount of statistical production says completely otherwise, but I guess I can kind of see where he's coming from, since Beltran has missed 149 games at the time I'm writing this, but injuries are things that nobody can predict (except maybe Ubaldo Jiminez if he keeps pitching 125 pitches a game). To ostracize a player's worth due to circumstances that he can't necessarily always control is a little unfair and kind of uneducated. Stick with the children's books, Mike.

Mike Lupica: Jeff Francoeur at the center of Mets revival - New York Daily News
If this keeps up, a lot of us, including myself, will have to develop a taste for crow. There's still a good chance that he'll regress yet again, but I'm not going to lie that I'm a bit concerned at the fact that he bounced back a lot quicker from his last slump than he ever did when on the Braves. But according to Lupica, the Mets clubhouse and chemistry is at an all-time high, and Frenchy's name keeps popping up amongst the comments; looks like his loud country mouth has broken through racial divides, job security, and countless injuries to bring these Mets together.

But is he more patient? - Amazin' Avenue
It's posts like these with such entertaining visuals, and witty writing that makes me a fan of what they do over at AA.

Mike Bacsik's Twitter? - Walkoff Walk
And THIS is why Twitter should be seen as skeptical - there's a very high chance that this is a fake, but you know there are going to be people who are believing that this is the same Mike Bacsik who gave up 756 to Barry Bonds, and that he's a huge bigot.

 

Two bonus links of non-NL east news that piqued my interest this week:

Bobby Cox feels Albert Pujols is worth $50M a year - ESPN
There's a reason why baseball players who don't even play for Bobby Cox still admire Bobby Cox. He's the quintessential manager of men, and knows how to get his boys feeling good and confident about their abilities, which sometimes reflects in improved play. And the holy one, Albert Pujols gets a generous rub from our skipper, when Bobby claims that Pujols is worth at least $50M a year, double of what Ryan Howard recently extended with the Phillies for, because in his humble opinion, he's simply twice as good as any other player out there right now. Now I'm sure all the literal-minded stat geeks are ready to tear into such a statement with WARG and win values, but that's not what the statement was meant to do.

Yankees not the most hated team in baseball - the Indians are - WSJ.com
Given the fact that the criteria for finding such results was basically web-searching negative terms relative to the team's name, it appears that there are ten or more teams whose internet fanbases are a lot harsher, lot more negative, and a lot more brutal to their own teams than the Atlanta Braves are. Should you guys be proud? Or should you guys be ashamed of yourselves? Go buy yourself an ice cream or go sit in the corner or something, I don't know.

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