Around the NL East - Davey Johnson feuds with Rays' Maddon, R.A. Dickey dominating, Freddy Galvis busted for PEDs, Ozzie Guillen still getting drunk

This author always takes satisfaction every time the Braves take a game against an American League opponent.

At the time of me writing this, the Braves are 7-8 against the AL East, and at their very best could finish 10-8, or 7-11 at the very worst. Regardless of the result, it's a far cry from the 13+ wins we as Braves fans were probably hoping might have happened. Throughout the last few weeks, I haven't made a secret of my disdain for Interleague, and for another year, I bid good riddance to it.

The popular phrase "June Swoon" didn't become so commonly used until the coincidental inception of Interleague in 1997 to which since the American League had beaten up on the National League to the tune of a .524 winning percentage. Only four times had the National League won out, with the last time being in 2003, when Javy Lopez, Andruw Jones and Greg Maddux were still Braves and Chipper Jones was out in left field.

With all that being said, I have to say that I'm kind of looking forward to the restructured configuration of baseball next year. With Interleague no longer being confined to June plus one weekend in May, and with the possibility of there being at least one NL vs. AL matchup somewhere in the league on any given day, I think it will help reduce the disparity between the leagues somewhat.

Less likely will teams look at the month of June and look at a schedule containing the Yankees, Rays and Red Sox in successive series, and feeling that anxiety at facing powerhouse and/or teams with huge fairweather fanbases. More likely, will AL pitchers have to take an occasional BP outside the months of May and June in preparation for a series in Atlanta, Pittsburgh, San Diego, Washington or Colorado. Less likely will an untimely June injury deny a player from getting any chance at an Interleague series, because now there might be ones to have in July, August or even September. More likely, I'm willing to wager, by that spreading things out and making it less of an event and more like blips in the schedule, we will see more competitive and creative baseball games. Not to mention, will be the potential to have some creative scenarios where a player is traded from league to league, and actually may get a shot at their former team beyond the July 31st deadline.

Don't get me wrong, Interleague is still dumb, but starting next year, it just might become less dumb. Welcome back to the basement.

2012was_medium

Davey Johnson busts Rays' Peralta for having pine tar in glove - Big League Stew
In the eighth inning of an eventual loss to the Rays, Davey Johnson asked umpires to inspect the glove of a former National, Joel Peralta. Sure enough, as if he knew it was there all along, umps found pine-tar inside of the glove, which is a huge no-no in the rules. Peralta was ejected, his glove confiscated, and the typically cool-headed Joe Maddon lost his (crap). Funny how it's not an issue when he was on the Nats, but an astute heads up for the Nats to turn on him like that. Maddon uses Twitter to voice his opinion, Johnson shows his age and then "calls him a weird wuss."

Leo Mazzone sides with Maddon, cites "the unwritten rules" - Nationals Journal
It figures that our old pal Leo jumps into the fray to get some exposure, something he's done a lot since his active duty days have ended. But for what it's worth, Leo sides with Maddon and says Johnson was not right to tattle on the fraternal order of pitchers, because it's a breach of baseball's unwritten rules.

After sucking, Nats finally replace Chien-Ming Wang with Ross Detwiler in rotation - Nats Insider
You know the old adage "you can never have too much pitching?" It really should be changed to "You can never have enough cost-controlled, options-left pitching," because the Nationals are a prime example of having too much pitching. The result was having Chien-Ming Wang starting, "because he once won 19 games," Ross Detwiler in the bullpen, because he had no options, and the $5M man, John Lannan, pitching in AAA, because he had options. At least the Nats get on track with one of these scenarios, switching the ineffective Wang with Detwiler in the rotation.

Brad Lidge DFA'd - Nationals Journal
After an array of bad outings, the Nationals finally decided to cut their losses, and designate Brad Lidge for assignment. Given the fact that I personally think he wasn't really ready to come back, and came back out of necessity due to the injury to Henry Rodriguez, it's a pretty safe bet that someone will pick him up, and stash him in AAA or low-leverage bullpen outings to see if he can contribute for someone else. Ryan Mattheus recalled to take his place.

Drew Storen still on schedule for All-Star break return - MASN
While we're on the topic of the Nats' bullpen, Drew Storen can't come back soon enough for the Nats. Still recovering from bone chip removal surgery in the elbow, he's stating his confidence that he will be back by the All-Star break.

Despite oblique strain, Ian Desmond still playing - Nats Insider
I do not agree with this move, especially with the depth the team has with Espinosa and Lombardozzi, but Ian Desmond insists that he's good to keep playing despite some painful oblique pains, and the team is continuing to let him.

Nats sign Koyie Hill to minor league deal - MASN
After refusing his DFA to AAA, the 33-year old journeyman catcher signs a minor league deal to bolster the Nats' depth at catcher, since they're already down Wilson Ramos, and Jesus Flores is playing every day.

To no surprise, the contending Nationals' attendance is up - Nationals Journal
Having lived in the area as long as I did, I saw this pattern quite a few times, in those once-in-blue moons, when the Bullets/Wizards or the Redskins had contending years. But still, it's nice to hear that attendance is improving, nonetheless.

Chris Marrero is back up to AAA - MASN
It's almost too convenient the way Marrero is progressing at a steady rate, while Adam LaRoche is playing fairly well, as the trade deadline begins to creep up.

U.S. Senator drops the That's A Clown Question line - Nats Enquirer
It really is only a matter of time before the President drops it one of these days.

But enjoy it while it lasts, because soon, Clown Question will become a Clown Trademark, bro - The Bog
If everything goes according to plan, every hip savvy shirt/apparel maker on the internet will have to go back to the drawing board, when "That's a Clown Question, Bro" becomes an official trademark of Bryce Harper Enterprises, to which will ultimately end up being printed or utilized in some fashion by Under Armour, whom Harper has an endorsement deal with. I think I'd kind of want a shirt.

Speaking of Bryce Harper, he comes out to Justin Bieber music - The Bog
This really isn't a surprise, because as phenomenal of a talent he is, he is still a rookie, and rookies have no say in their walk-up music. Even Craig Kimbrel still had to wear the Hannah Montana backpack despite shattering rookie saves records.

Urkel threw out the first pitch last weekend - Nats Enquirer
Do I have to justify why this is relevant?

2012nym_medium

"Dickey, Santana, hope for the best manana" - NY Post
Without much debate, much of the Mets' success has completely hinged on the success of the improbable 1-2 punch that the combination of Johan Santana and R.A. Dickey has become this year. Johan throws a no-hitter, Dickey throws consecutive one-hitters. Both have been twirling shutouts like they're Nikes at a sweatshop. And with this kind of success, the Post has even seen fit to compare them to Spahn and Sain.

Are Dickey's one-hitters better than Vander Meer's no-nos? - Amazin' Avenue
Johnny Vander Meer pitched consecutive no-nos back in 1938. But according to game scoring, R.A. Dickey's consecutive one-hitters were far more effecting performances. Case in point, Dickey struck out 25 batters and walked just two; Vander Meer struck out 11 and walked... 11. And this was in an era where guys were pitching against perceived weaker competition.

But not as impressive as Whitey Ford's two straight one-hitters - NY Times
The Times' justification is because that in between Ford's two straight one-hitters, is because he was actually used in relief, pitching 1.1 innings against the Washington Senators. But going back to the game score, Ford's scores of 81 and 78 still fall short of Dickey's 95 and 96. So still better!

Frank Francisco calls the Yankees chickens - NY Post
And of all the papers to quote it to, it would be the New York Post, the kind of low-brow rag that "the common people" love to read. That being said, if the Yankees win the World Series this year, I think we can thank Frank Francisco for being the spark that lit the wick:

I can’t wait to face those chickens, I want to strike out the side against them. I’ve done it before.

It's funny that he mentions that previous three-strikeout performance against the Yankees. It was on May 21st... 2004. His rookie year, for the Texas Rangers. He's otherwise been fairly nondescript against the Yankees throughout the rest of his career, but after such inspiration, I can't help but wonder how much longer that will last.

Dickey gets the best compliment ever - MetsBlog
Because, it comes from pretty much the greatest knuckler of all time, Phil Niekro:

Boy, I’ll tell you, he’s on fire.

Johan Santana's return to prominence - Amazin' Avenue
Amidst the recent Dickey love, AA doesn't forget that Johan Santana has been pretty dang good this year as well. And they point out the stats that justify it, mostly, the strikeouts that have come back, almost to a level when he was pitching lights out for the Twins.

Jason Bay still sitting with concussion - NY Post
He hasn't been formally DL'd, but at this rate, they might be able to finagle a retroactive stint. But regardless, Jason Bay is sitting out due to the concussion he incurred last week, sliding headfirst into the outfield wall, against the Reds. It's apparently such a bad concussion that doctors haven't even cleared him to be at Citi Field, let alone performing baseball activities.

Scraping the bottom of the barrel for some LOLMets - The Apple
Since the Mets are actually good this year, it's time to find other things to find laughter at their expense. Typically "free (crap)" at any park is reason for at least 20,000 people to show up on any given night. But Verizon seems to have pushed the boundaries way beyond tasteful by essentially taking a giveaway shirt and flipping the equasion around - 90% sponsor, 10% team.

2012phi_medium

Freddy Galvis busted for PED, suspended 50 games - Beerleaguer
I don't really get it either. Galvis was a lock prior to the season, almost regardless of how he performed in Spring Training, because of all the injuries to Utley and Polanco. Obviously, I don't know how he is more than a Phillies fan would, but from what it kind of feels like is that he was greedy and wanted to impress, but then got caught.

It gets worse with injuries - TGP
David Herndon seems very likely to end up having to get Tommy John Surgery, and Mike Stutes is going to be having some exploratory surgery on his right shoulder.

Charlie Manuel hopeful Chase Utley can return next week - Phillies Nation
Granted, it's against extended spring training lineups down in Clearwater, but Chase Utley is seeing the ball well and hitting the ball well, and has managed to get up to eight innings on the field. With all the injuries, it looks like there may be a chance for Utley to get back to the Phillies prior to his rehab deadline of July 2nd.

He also crushes on Bryce Harper - Phillies Zone
Many people are calling Harper's exuberance and excessive hustle as reckless, and potentially giving away outs on basepaths, but Charlie Manuel is all about it. So much, to the point where he either calls his team old, based on how "nobody hustles like (Harper) for Washington," or has some slightly reckless ideals for the kind of effort he wants from his team.

Signs of a sinking ship? The TRAID word? - High Cheese
I have to agree and can't really see the Phillies trading away Cole Hamels, no matter how desolate things might look at times. A part of me, albeit shrinking with each week of bad news, still fathoms a horrific scenario where key Phillies players all start returning from injuries and suspension, and then everything falls into place at the right time, and the team makes a comeback that makes Hulk Hogan versus King Kong Bundy look like a schoolyard skirmish.

It's that time of the year again! Shane Victorino's annual fashion show! - Philly.com
For what it's worth, Cole Hamels is already dressed like he's ready to be another Los Angeles weirdo on the streets. And there's a lot of gore-tex, oddly enough.

Jimmy Rollins teams with Joe Biden to promote not being like Chris Brown - Crossing Broad
Sometime this summer, J-Roll will team with the Vice President, and a PSA will be aired to promote anti-dating violence.

2012mia_medium

Meet the New Hanley Ramirez - Fish Stripes
After producing nearly 30 WAR in his first five seasons, it was easy to expect Hanley Ramirez to become one of the greatest players of all time. Unfortunately injuries and other miscellaneous problems have derailed such expectations, but where should Marlins fans go to expect for HanRam moving forward? Fish Stripes takes a statistical look at where Hanley stands today, and the kinds of logical expectations fans could have for the present and future.

Jeffrey Loria holds a team meeting, still expects playoffs - Sun Sentinel
If all else fails, they can always be like the Heat; start off with a disappointing season, and then succeed when the pressure lightens up later, or pray for when the Spurs are knocked out.

Giancarlo disappointing fans and peers - Fish Bytes
Former Marlin and current Red Sox player, Cody Ross stopped in his tracks and became a spectator, like every single person in the early attendance, when Giancarlo Stanton steps to the plate during batting practice. Expecting titanic moonshots to make the Green Monster look like a little league outfield wall, Giancarlo disappoints everyone by continuing to focus on the approach that has partially contributed to his resurgence; by going the other way. Fortunately, he let loose for a few cuts, but not nearly to the Pujols/McGwire/Sosa showcase people hope to see.

Ozzie Guillen's recipe for dealing with a blowout loss - Palm Beach Post

Seven Presidentes and a sleeping pill

I remember I used to lust after Presidente, because it was the beer they always drank in Dexter, but after it became somewhat more available in Georgia, and I started getting it, I realized that it's really not that good of beer as the show made it seem like.

Ozzie defends hitting coach by throwing players under the bus - Fish Bytes
It's admirable the way he's got Eduardo Perez's back under the recent criticism he's facing due to the team slumping through June, but I want to say that there was probably a way to say such without essentially throwing his team under the bus like he did, but since it's Ozzie, I'm sure he had no idea.

And of course, Ozzie believes Roger Clemens should be in the hall of fame - Palm Beach Post
Almost as if he's deliberately being contrarian to the topics of the week, Ozzie chimes out that Clemens should get into the HOF, despite all the drugs, cheating, infidelity accusations that he was somehow found not-guilty on all accounts of.

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