Things Read in Other Moms' Basements - Around the NL East 04.02.11

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The season has begun, and there is much to digest already after the two official Opening Days of baseball. I am much pleased with the Opening Day win against the Nationals, in hard-fought, well pitched, solid, not really dramatic win over the Nationals. Jonny Venters' 7-pitch eighth inning is still something I'd be smoking a cigarette after, if I were into that kinda thing. But as great of a win as it was for us, apparently, our division rivals have to go out and make more news and headlines than we do. As I'm writing this, I've been disgusted by the Astros for simply failing to embarass the Phillies on their Opening Day, and now we're going to be set up with a dredge of Phillies lovefests with how they heroically come back from deficits and nonsense. Josh Johnson legitimately worries me as a pitcher I'd take over any of the Phillies' aces on any given day as long as he's healthy; not because of his almost no-hitting performance, but mostly becuase his simple innate ability to strike guys out and simply blow batters away is an assertive dominance that so few pitchers in baseball really have.

But either way, two days in, and there have been like 4-5 blown saves, and already about 3-4 walk-off victories. BBTN has already pointed out Jeff Francoeur and Melky Cabrera's inability to bring home runners, despite the former already having notched his first homer of the year. I had a good feeling about this season going into it, and I have to say that if the rest of the year is as half as exciting as just the first two days have been, it's going to be an awesome year.

In other news, I ran into WWE 'rasslin superstar Kane on the streets of downtown Atlanta today, and was mildly amused. Welcome to another week of Things Read in Other Moms' Basements.

PHILLIES

Brad Lidge out for 3-6 weeks, Ben Francisco confirmed everyday RF - Phillies Nation
The part about Francisco can hardly be a surprise to anyone, since he's played quite well all spring, and his direct competition is out with the broken Hamate bone. But Lidge's injury (torn rotator cuff) is pretty major news, considering the questionable state of the bullpen in his absence. Jose Contreras is the interim closer, which I'm a little surprised at, considering Ryan Madson's quest to hit the free agent market after 2011 with as much stats as possible, but the conspiracy theorist in me is chiming that MLBPA be damned, the Phillies may try to suppress his numbers so that they may have a better shot of signing him instead of Lidge after the year.

Because as a whole, Lidge really hasn't been worth the money - Beerleaguer
In terms of the cliched vacuum visual, Brad Lidge hasn't really come close to contributing $37.5M worth of production in the three years that he's been a Phillie. Even with the dominant 2008 season in consideration, he still started that season on the DL, and has been on the DL several other times throughout the course of the contract, and with the exception of 2008, has been plagued with inconsistencies and constant questions in regards to his status. Granted, ask anyone in Philly what they think about Lidge, and I'm sure they'll all happily reminsce 2008, rightfully so, but to us who concern about money hardly ours, Lidge hasn't been worth it, and I'd bet he's allowed to walk in 2012.

Chase Utley's rehab is slow and secretive - Phillies Zone
We know Lidge isn't going to be in the lineup during the home opener, and we know that Utley won't be there either. In regards to the latter, when will he back? Nobody has any idea.

Well that didn't last long - The Good Phight
Luis Castillo has been cut from yet another NL East team, with the Phillies ending the experiment after a very short trial period. Well, there's always the Marlins, they're in need of some cheap depth.

A glimpse at what to expect at our home opener - High Cheese
Lee, Oswalt, Hamels, no breathing room. This'll be the norm for pretty much every team with an upcoming series against the Phillies this year.

Surprise addition, Michael Martinez makes team instead - Beerleaguer
Two years ago, I was in Woodbridge, Virginia for a game between then our-Myrtle Beach Pelicans taking on the Potomac Nationals. An hour before the game started, I went into the men's room to make some more room for more beer with my dad, and I'm standing there taking care of my business, and the customary two urinals down, my peripheral vision catches a glance of a guy with dreadlocks, wearing a P-Nats hat. He glances over at me and gives me the "sup" chin raise, and later that night I realized that it was Michael Martinez.

Harry Kalas statue to be integrated into Citizens Bank Park - Phillies Nation
A fitting honor for the voice of the Phillies. I wonder when Atlanta's going to get on the Skip Caray statue?

Moar utility - Beerleaguer
Ronnie Belliard is starting to encroach on Lofton territory with bouncing around teams, and now he's back in the NL East, this time with the Phillies. Also, Pete Orr made the cut.

Jamie Moyer to join the Baseball Tonight team - Zoo With Roy
Prepare to grow frustrated, scream at the screen, and be baffled at why you're still watching. More so than ever. Now that Jamie Moyer is joining the BBTN team on ESPN, while he's rehabbing from Tommy John surgery.

 

NATIONALS

Why Laynce Nix was used instead of Matt Stairs - Nationals Journal
The biggest question I've heard from my Nationals friends since the aftermath of the opener, it's the questioning of using Laynce Nix to pinch-hit instead of the ass-pounding-liking, hard-hitting Matt Stairs. Jim Riggleman does his best job to explain the rationale behind his decision.

Nyjer Morgan traded to Brewers for Cutter Dykstra - The Nats Blog
To answer your question, yes, Cutter is his name. And yes, he is indeed son of Lenny Dykstra. He's an infield prospect, and will likely start the season in A+ Potomac, and in return, the Nationals are able to alleviate themselves of headcase Tony Plush. Ironically, now "disrespected" again, I'd be willing to bet that Morgan has a bounce-back year for the Brewers.

Alberto Gonzalez traded to Padres for Minor League pitcher, cash - MLB
It's been a pretty successful spring for the Nats, in regards to successfully unloading incumbents for actual return investments. Next on the list is the complaining of playing time Alberto Gonzalez, traded to the Padres for Erik Davis, an AAA-level pitcher who actually has some interestingly intriguing MiLB numbers.

The difference when you're not a pitcher - Nats Insider
Like Brad Lidge, Adam LaRoche has a slight tear in his rotator cuff. But since he doesn't pitch, all he needs is a cortisone shot, and he's back to hitting homers again.

Out with greatness, in with imports - Blown Save, Walk
Five Guys burgers. I'm not really a snob with many ... okay, I am a snob about many things, and hamburgers are one of them. As a native Virginian, I grew up with Five Guys hamburgers, back when there were still just five Five Guys locations, and now there are like five hundred. But anyway, like former Federal Baseball writer, David Huzzard, I too never went to the Five Guys that was actually in Nationals Park, opting to dine at the cheaper one three blocks outside of it. But anyway, the opportunity to do so, if I ever had the compulsion is now gone, as the Five Guys has been removed from the ballpark, instead being replaced by a ton of park fares, mostly from New York.

BUSTED - Nats NQ
As a graphic designer, I love these kinds of stories. Upon closer examination, and a cross-reference, it's revealed that the Nationals simply re-purposed and poorly, I might add, photoshopped a Phillies Jayson Werth card into a Nationals one.

Seriously, someone should get fired - The Bog
During the Opening Day festivities, John Lannon was introduced. Not wanting to hurt anyone's feelings, John Lannan made his way out, since their names are pronounced the same despite the spelling.

HE STILL LIVES - Nats NQ
Just because he's no longer a Met doesn't mean he still can't show up on TRIOMB. In minors camp, no less.

 

MARLINS

That didn't last long - MLB
As we very well know based on Jair Jurrjens' 2010 season, hamstring injuries are most certainly serious. After just five innings in the home opener, Mike Stanton was lifted from the game. So far, nobody knows what the deal is, but if this is the kind of nagging injuries to expect from the season, things aren't looking promising for Stanton.

Jeffrey Loria is apparently very hands on with the team - Fish Stripes
Just because he's a tightwad doesn't mean he's negligent. Supposedly, Loria pulls a lot more strings than lets on, because it's come out that he's been the one responsible for some roster moves and acquisitions, leading to a mixed reaction of just how much credit he should get for some of the good moves, and how much to receive for some of the more questionable ones.

In other Loria news, my favorite text message received from someone at Spring Training is from none other than our own cbtits:

Just got jeff loria's autograph. Then he went tearing off in his aston martin

It's just so visually fitting.

Donnie Murphy to be starting third baseman - Palm Beach Post
No matter what way they spin it, it's pretty obvious the lesser talent is getting this nod, because of Super-Two reasons.

Maybe if he were up with the big club this wouldn't have happened - Fish Bytes
While the big league Mets and Marlins squared off on Opening Day, the same two teams squared off in AAA. And in this minor league iteration, top prospect Matt Dominguez was hit by a pitch in his left elbow, fracturing it, now causing him to miss 6-8 weeks of the season. So much for developmental reasons.

Dewayne Wise refuses minor league assignment, opts out of deal - MLB
Personally, I think this was a dumb move by Wise. One, the timing is awful, considering most squads have already solidfied their rosters at this point, and pretty much anywhere he goes, he stands a chance to be sent to their AAA affiliate regardless. And two, the Marlins were probably his best shot at being on a major league squad. With Logan Morrison not really a left fielder, and Chris Coghlin not being a center fielder, as well as hampered with various aches and pains, there was a good chance he would've been called right back up, to be if anything, a late-inning defensive replacement.

Javier Vazquez's velocity is fine - Palm Beach Post
Not that's he's really been paying attention, but considering the hell he received while sucking on the Yankees, his FB has been back to where it was hovering while he was a Brave, at topping out around 91-92 mph.

Reliever Edward Mujica PO'd over tweet - Sun Sentinel
Former Padre Edward Mujica grew angry over a tweet by a Padres beat writer, theorizing that he was going to end up starting the season on the DL because a frightening accident, where he fell on his elbow and head, and claiming his fastball has lost velocity, and his splitter isn't splitting. Oh Twitter.

 

METS

Mets Opening Day Prayer - The Mets Police
I have to admit, it's almost painfully sad to read.

A surprise contender for "will miss Opening Day" - NY Post
More or less, out of nowhere, Jason Bay has developed some sore ribs, and will start the season on the DL.

Ironic, because Carlos Beltran isn't going to - NY Daily News
Ready or not, Carlos Beltran's been given the green light to start on Opening Day, out in RF.

POOP JOKES Ronny Paulino - NY Post
Seriously, I really wonder if Paulino signed anywhere else but the Mets, if all this (crap) (no pun intended) would really have happened. Prevention and Recovery, eh?

Johan Santana says its too early to project when to theorize return - NY Daily News
Considering how much time he has left on his contract, now seems as good as any to pull a Carlos Beltran, and loaf his way through one of these middle years with a nagging injury, and play as little as possible.

Blaine Boyer beats Jason Isringhausen for last bullpen spot. Yes, that Blaine Boyer - NY Daily News
Amazing what happens to guys if they stick around too long. Izzy has 293 saves, and surpassed the 30 save mark seven times in his career. And now he's getting passed up for Blaine Boyer. Ouch...

But he's a great sport about it, and willingly accepts his extended Spring Training assignment - Amazin' Avenue
I'm pretty sure the negotiation about this decision was "yeaah... you see, it's just Blaine Boyer/Manny Acosta/other scrub relievers... at the first sign of any of them coming to earth, you're coming right up..."

Re-tooled Mets at a fraction of the cost - NY Times
Considering almost $120M of the Mets' payroll is consumed in eight players, and two of which are no longer present, it's fairly evident that the Mets were somewhat successful at filling out the remainder of the roster with warm bodies, some more servicable than others, for a paltry impressive ~$11M.

Willie Harris is an Opening Day starter - MetsBlog
Talk about being at the right place at the right time. Thanks to Bay's injury, the incorrigible Willie Harris gets to be starting LF for the Mets on Opening Day.

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