Around the NL East - Ryan Zimmerman returns, Jose Reyes and Cole Hamels playing for payoffs, Marlins continuing tailspin

I'm going to imagine that most of you have seen the trailer for Moneyball by now.  I know I'm going to end up seeing it when it's released, and secretly fantasizing that I'll meet the future ex at the theater, a nerdy, baseball loving aficionado like myself, but I also think there stands to be a very good chance that I'll also be that guy who has to make comparisons between the book and the movie - like starting now.

I'll ignore the fact that Art Howe is portrayed by a man the size of three Art Howes, that J.P. Ricciardi and Paul DePodesta are somehow smashed together to make the portly, but whom I know will be funny, Jonah Hill, and the supposed self-portrayals of guys like Scott Hatteberg and Miguel Tejada are now actors.  But Brad Pitt as Billy Beane?  Now I'll forever love Pitt for no other reason that he is Tyler Durden, but at least for the role of Billy Beane, it would've been nice to have gotten someone who looked like Billy Beane.  Like Eric Bischoff, or if younger and hip is the motive, than Adam Scott.  Okay, I lied, I don't really have a gripe with Brad Pitt, but instead wanted to make my weekly professional wrestling reference, and was grasping at straws there.

I'm sure Moneyball will be a perfectly entertaining movie, as it was a book, to a baseball nerd like myself, as long as I keep my expectations tempered.  Even if it is about the Oakland Athletics, and will be portrayed as way more dramatic than it actually was.  All bases on balls should be portrayed as under a single spotlight, with the crowd blacked out.  But the best part, will be the crops of fairweather Oakland A's fans that will be a result of this film, and they'll look back and see that they ended up finishing like 71-91 in 2011.

Welcome back to the basement.



The Marlins' June is on the verge of being historic - Fish Bytes
Thanks for getting swept by the Phillies, Marlins.  Way to stand up to division rivals like that.

At the time of writing this, there are 12 games left in June for the Marlins. They have to go 8-4 in order to avoid the worst month in Marlins history. Furthermore, they have to go 4-5 in their next nine to avoid the worst 25-game stretch in franchise history.

Josh Johnson moved onto 60-day DL - Fish Strpes
News just keeps getting better!

However, it is retroactive - Palm Beach Post
So he is technically able to return by July 16.

Hanley Ramirez activated while Scott Cousins goes down - Fish Stripes
And in hopes of getting things back to normal as possible, Hanley Ramirez is immediately moved into leading off, like the good 'ol days.

And gives E-Rod his personal endorsement in spite of sucking - Sun Sentinel
Because as everyone knows, when the Marlins slide, Jeffrey Loria always begins looking for the pink slips.

Balls - Fish Stripes
Despite the fact that the Fish lost this game, I gotta give some credit to Anibal Sanchez, for laying down the gauntlet, opposing Roy Halladay. According to game scores, Sanchez outpitched Halladay, 63-57, even if he did walk four versus Doc's zero. Not that many guys have been able to claim such since he joined the Phillies.

Nothing special, we've seen this before - Palm Beach Post
Don't go thinking Edwin Rodriguez is some genius for putting a reliever in the outfield while an opposite-handed reliever comes into to dispatch a batter, and then swap back out, because we've all seen it before when Bobby Cox moved Chris Resop into the outfield to let Royce Ring dispatch Adam LaRoche, and then moved Resop back to the mound... where he promptly gave up an RBI base hit to Xavier Nady.

Bleacher Report lol - Marlins Diehards
I'd say this is just as bad as when some BBWAA writer voted for second-year Edinson Volquez for RoY a few years ago, but this is coming from Bleacher Report, where it's pretty much expected.

Is this really an issue? - Marlin Maniac
Apparently, some people are critcizing the Marlins for trading Cameron Maybin for two relievers, because Maybin is playing well in San Diego now. But some of those people may forget that Maybin's head was getting a little bit, and he was a little bit bitter about not being a starter in Florida, and the Marlins kind of needed some bullpen help. Not to mention the issues of impending arbitration that Jong speaks about.

Marlins tell Logan Morrison to STFU - Palm Beach Post
Either the Marlins don't want their players to really ever speak their mind, or they simply feel he hasn't been around long enough to have earned the right to speak out on administrative moves. Either way, please continue to discourage Morrison, so one day he'll have no qualms above going elsewhere... like Atlanta.

It was inevitable - Marlins Diehards
Logan Morrison's twitter account was hacked. If someone thought they were going to frame him for stupid tweets, well, maybe they shouldn't have done it in the middle of a game.

What's this doing here? - TC Palm
While scouring for Marlins news, I stumbled upon this small interview with Jonny Venters and just how awesome he is. My favorite part of the article however, is this slice of literary competence:

Venters spoke with Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers about his road to the major leagues and the season he’s having before Thursday’s game in Atlanta against the New York the Mets.




Jose Reyes, the Contract Year, and loving baseball again, but mostly the Contract Year - Daily 'Stache
Because of 2009 and 2010, I honestly forgot how big of a pain in the (rear) Jose Reyes could possibly be. After the last two series with the Mets, I'm quite thoroughly refreshed on it, and the obvious fact that he's playing up to a contract year makes it worse two-fold.

MLB executive thinks Reyes will top Carl Crawford's deal - MetsBlog
If that's the case, then the Mets may as well trade him now, because it's hard to think that the new regime will have any interest in shelling out over $142M to retain Reyes.

So may as well milk the cow while they have him - NY Post
Terry Collins plans on playing Jose Reyes in every game until the All-Star Break.

But hey, more Jose Reyes makes the Mets more exciting than, say, the Yankees -
Everyone loves an underdog, and with so many injured and out, it's hard to not call the .500 charging Mets underdogs sometimes. Except when they play the Braves like it's 1998 all over again.

Derek Jeter could potentially notch hit #3,000 in Citi Field - Mets Police
This Mets fan doesn't care, but to many, this is kind of like a level-3 super middle finger to the crosstown rivals.

Wait, what? - Amazin' Avenue
The Braves are now, kind of "likeable" to Mets fans? No, we can't have that, and here's a list of heartbreaks in Atlanta to remind them of how much they're supposed to hate the Braves.

Don't forget the walk-off balk - NY Times
Such bonehead-ness of a game-losing balk to be akin to Kenny Rogers walking in the pennant of 1999.

Johan Santana may not return until August - NY Post
You know, back when people honestly though Johan would be ready for Opening Day, I laughed. When they thought he would be back by mid-June, I scoffed. And now we're right about when I figured Johan Santana would be back, which is August, if he's lucky. 

What a hideous thought - NY Daily News
Carlos Beltran to the Phillies? It honestly, could evoke some nausea.

Why not come full circle? - NY Post
With Scott Kazmir released from the Angels, and the Mets always in need of pitching help, Sandy Alderson hasn't ruled out the possibility of bringing back the long ago former Mets prospect.

Jim Bowden, Saburmajishun - Amazin' Avenue
What's worse than using stats you don't full grasp? Pretending like you grasp them, and trying to advance on them.

Lucas Duda is not amused - ESPN
Who would have thunk that he wouldn't be a fan of Camptown Races?




Ryan Zimmerman returns, Nationals promptly sweep Cardinals - Nationals Journal
Although the Franchise didn't really ignite them with the bat, his presence has very obviously given a boost to the rest of his teammates.

Adam LaRoche will not have a big second half this year - MASN
Unfortunate for our good friend Roachy, because he will have season-ending shoulder surgery. This is an explanation of how severe it is, but since he's a first baseman who doesn't have to make as many long throws, it might not be as severe.

Run prevention is a useful step in improving a club - Nationals Journal
Kind of like the formula of the 2008 Rays, the Nationals made an earnest effort to improve their D going into 2011. Granted, they're using the oft-criticized UZR, but the point remains, they've improved defensively.

Michael Morse in BEAST MODE - The Bog
It's funny when internet speak is put onto a t-shirt, and is ultimately embraced by players. But then a lot of people bitch about how they wish they put it onto a t-shirt before some designer did.

Is Tyler Clippard being used too much? - Nationals Journal
Not nearly as much as Everyday Jonny, but Clippard is being used an awful lot.

Jason Marquis begins jockeying for future contract - The Nats Blog
Since he becomes a free agent at the end of this year, and with declining skills, what better way to secure work than to kiss up to the current employers?

Livan Hernandez notches 50th complete game of career - MASN
Throw the stats out the window with 'ol Livo, he still gets results, with his 68mph curve, and 84mph fastball.

Who should be the Nationals' all-star? - Nats Insider
Y'know, since every team needs to be represented. Who will follow in the footsteps with Nationals all-stars, like Chad Cordero, Dmitri Young, Matt Capps, and Cristian Guzman? Could Tyler Clippard defy the odds with Jonny Venters, and become a tandem of middle relievers to break through?

It should probably be Danny Espinosa but probably won't happen - Nats NQ
He has a batting average of .233 which never looks that great, but he also has 12 dingers, flashing a .229 ISO, and putting up a wOBA of .348. Solid numbers from this strong RoY candidate.

Nationals use food to entice fans - jdland (h/t Huzzard)
Maybe it's just me, but I always like when ballparks incorporate local eateries as their primary specialty options for purchase. Gone is the Five Guys among several other concession stands an in their place are some imported food choices from New York, San Diego, Memphis, and wherever french fries are made hipster. At least the Hard Times Cafe stand is still up and running.




J.C. Romero DFA'd - Beerleaguer
Talk about the culmination of a rapid decline. From heavily relied upon lefty specialist, suspended due to poor supplements, injuries, losing job, to now being designated for assignment. Considering he throws with the left hand, it's hard for me to think he won't go unclaimed by someone at all. And just like that, the Cardinals are reportedly interested, since they have their own bullpen woes.

Cole Hamels about to get very expensive - Phillies Nation
Figure that, the home-grown guy who was there the whole time, and was a huge reason why the Phillies have a WS title at all in 2008, and was kind of pushed to the backseat for all these famous names, is the one pitching the best in the Phillies rotation, and is ironically one not locked up for long-term.

Is something wrong with Roy Oswalt? - Crashburn Alley
Since being diagnosed with some back issues, Oswalt hasn't quite been the same. If you haven't noticed, replace "Roy Oswalt," with "Tim Hudson," and the concerns are kind of the same.

Joe Blanton plays catch - MLB
I feel like Poor Joe is in like DL purgatory. There's something clearly wrong with the elbow, and the Phillies clearly don't want him, so he's in this middle-ground of injuries and not really having a place for him if he weren't. The dubious "no time table for his return."

I guess eating all those cheesesteaks and blowing Philadelphia has paid off - High Cheese
John Kruk's constant making messes of himself on ESPN for the Phillies is finally getting recognized, as he'll become the 33rd Phillies alum to be inducted to the team's Wall of Fame.

Yeah, yeah, we've all seen it already - Zoo With Roy
But if you've miraculously managed to miss this in the two fanshots, and three threads it's been posted into, here's Shane Victorino getting decked in the head with a throw back from the catcher. At first I was like "why's he standing there like Triple H," and then BAM.

Lenny Dykstra pleads not guilty, but still shackled up and imprisoned - NY Daily News
Something about reading his quotes is kind of poetic, about all his questioning about the definition of all these words. It almost kind of sounds like a bastardized version of the Chewbacca defense.

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