Baseball Notes: New Poll, Big Hurt Watch & DTFU

Hello again everybody...

Thank God it's Friday. The end of another work week (well for most of us - sorry Josh). And the beginning of another perfect weather weekend here in Minnesota. (what? 40's and a rain/snow mix? I'm going back to Phoenix!)

Today I've got info on my new poll, my opinion on the "Big Hurt Watch" being over, a quick check on my preseason picks and the ever-popular DFTU.

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So I've got a new poll up. First off, I wanted to break down the results of the last poll. 13 of 15 people who voted agreed with me that Barry Bonds is more trouble than he's worth and would not want him on their team. 2 people voted in favor of signing Bonds, but I happen to know that one of them was doing so just to be a contrarian. Which is okay with me, since I do the same things more days than not with the poll. For those of you wondering, that individual's name is Jack and his last name rhymes with Rice. Thanks for reading Jack-o! I have no idea who the other person was, but I have my suspicions.

So as to the new poll. Before I get a bunch of flack for whom I picked as options, let me explain. I put the poll up on Thursday the 24th. And as of that day, the Dbacks, Cubs and Red Sox had the best records in the league. Then I added the Tigers since they were my preseason pick for the World Series and I'm not giving up on them just because they had a poor April. For the sake of those of you die-hard Brewer/Twins/Mariners/Cardinals/etc. fans who can't vote objectively, I included the "Other" option. All I ask is that if you're going to vote "other" have the guts to tack a comment onto this post and tell us all who you're voting for and why! Come on people, take a stand!

Next up, I wanted to talk about the end of the "Frank Thomas Watch". I can't provide any direct evidence, but based on the circumstantial evidence, apparently Twins G.M. Billy Smith is an avid reader of "The Sports Take".

Fortunately for all of us who call ourselves Twins fans, the Big Hurt signed with the Okland A's. And to drive the point home, he started for the A's on Thursday against the Twins and promptly went 0-3 with 2 walks and a run-scored. Unfortunately for the Twins, they have 2 more series with Oakland later in the year, so there'll be plenty more chances for the Hurt to kill them.

That being said, this signing officially kills any chance the A's had to be successful. And given my pre-season rankings, I didn't think they had much of one. Sure you might argue that the A's made the playoffs two years ago with Frank as a part of their team. In fact he hit 2 Home Runs off of Johan Santana in Game 1 and was fairly directly responsible for the A's sweep in that series. Ah, but that was Frank in "resurrecting his career" mode. This year, it's Frank in "the man is trying to keep me down" mode. Good luck with that Oakland fans!

Next up, it's a quick check of my pre-season picks. Leaders are current as of all games played Thursday 4/24.

AL East: Boston Red Sox (Dan's Pick: Boston)

AL Central: Chicaco White Sox (DP: Detroit Tigers - 3 Games Back)

AL West: L.A. Angels/Oakland A's (DP: Seattle Mariners - 3GB)

NL East: Florida Marlins (DP: New York Mets - 1.5GB)

NL Central: Chicago Cubs (DP: Chicago)

NL West: Arizona Diamondbacks (DP: Arizona)

So far 3 of 6 feels pretty good. I'm still scratching my head over Florida leading the NL East, but I really think that it's only a matter of time before the Mets and the Phils get things together and send the Marlins packing towards the bottom of the division. But you have to admire Florida for hanging in there this long!

As for my World Champion pick, the Tigers are finally starting to get things going. Amazing what a trip to Texas will do for a club. I only hope the same holds true for the Twins as they head to Arlington this weekend. Perhaps more important to the Tigers than the Rangers horrific pitching (though you can't discount that), was the return of Curtis Granderson. Granderson got hurt right at the end of Spring Training causing Jim Leyland to have to shuffle his line-up right from the get-go. But now with Curtis back roaming Center Field, the rest of the Tiger line-up gets slotted back where they belong, and you can't argue with the results so far. In the two games with Granderson in the line-up, the Tigers have scored 27 runs. Granted, they scored 10 in the game before Curtis returned, but I say my point still holds!

Finally it's time for everybody's favorite segment: Dan's Favorite Teams Update!

Minnesota Twins: The Twins have dropped to 10-12. You'll recall all my sudden enthusiasm over the potential of the Twins starting rotation? Perhaps I need to re-evaluate. Francisco Lirano got lit up like a Chinese Olympic Torch yesterday. It pains me to print this line, but it's so bad, I have to do it: 0.2IP, 5H, 6ER, 3BB with no K's. That, my dear readers, isn't just "Bowling Shoe" ugly, that's the "10-year-old Bowling Shoe with the seams coming undone that they don't even bother spraying that disinfectant in anymore" ugly.

In all seriousness, it's time for the Twins brass to admit that the kid wasn't ready to be brought back up to the bigs. Go ahead and send him back to Rochester and let him re-gain his control and confidence against competition he can dominate. It simply isn't working up here and you can't afford to let him "work it out" at this level. Hand him a plane ticket, assure him that he'll be back just as soon as he gets his stuff together, and let's move on.

Ed.'s Note: Just saw on the AP Wire that the Twins have sent Liriano to Rochester. To fill his spot, they brought up Bobby Korecky (2-1, 0.68, 5 saves)who'd been closing games for Rochester. Assuming Korecky goes into the bullpen that would most likely indicate that right-hander Brian Bass will be filling Liriano's spot in the rotation

Ed.'s Note 2: While we're handing out trips to and from Rochester, somebody get Denard Span a ticket to Texas. Carlos Gomez just left Friday night's game with what appeared to be a lower-leg injury. A strained calf perhaps? Not good...

As mentioned earlier, the Twins head to Texas for a 3-game "Will Texas Manager Ron Washington get fired while we're in town" set. Hopefully that'll get them back to .500 or so. Next week they return home for series with the White Sox and Tigers... oof.

Arizona Diamondbacks: The Diamondbacks still lead the NL West at 16-6. They're coming off a 2-game split with the Dodgers. Dan Haren struggled on Wednesday night. Haren's at his best when his stuff is sinking and he's keeping the ball down in the zone. Wednesday night not only was he not down in the zone, I'm not sure he could've found the zone with a compass and an explorer's map. Short version: he had control issues. But your starter isn't going to have his best stuff every night, so here's to hoping that was an anomaly and Haren will be back to his solid-self in his next start.

I can't believe I didn't mention it earlier in the week, but kudos go to 1B Connor Jackson (.368-3-19), last week's NL Player of the Week. There were some eyebrows raised when the Dbacks allowed Tony Clark to sign with the Padres and handed the full-time job directly to Connor, but so far, the kid's proving management made the right call.

In other D'backs news, C Miguel Montero came off the DL and formed the third-leg of the Arizona Catching triad with Chris Snyder and Robbie Hammock. Carrying 3 catchers is a rarity these days, but Manager Bob Melvin says he wants to use Montero as a pinch-hitter more often (Miggy hit over .300 as a PH last year, with 3 PH-HR's). Carrying a 3rd catcher protects the Diamondbacks in case one of them gets hurt in the middle of a game.

The Snakes open a 3-game series on the road against the Padres tonight before returning home to face the Astros.

Before I go, I wanted to highlight a few pitching match ups to keep an eye on this weekend:

Tonight - LAA vs. Det: Ervin Santana (3-0, 2.67) vs. Nate Robertson (0-2, 7.48). Robertsons numbers don't look great, but he's going to have to get it turned around if the Tigers want to compete. It won't be easy against the other Santana.

Fla vs. Mil: Scott Olson (3-0, 2.60) vs. Yovani Gallardo (0-0, 1.29). Another chance for Gallardo to show why he's so highly touted by Brewer Nation.

Saturday - Atl vs. NYM: Tim Hudson (3-1, 2.93) vs. John Maine (1-2, 3.57). A classic NL East battle. Both starters coming off of solid outings.

Oak vs. Sea: Justin Duchscherer (1-0, 1.80) vs. Eric Bedard (1-0, 9.27) Bedard's coming back from the DL and the Mariners need him to be good. They also need to take advantage of an opportunity to beat a team who's ahead of them in the standings.

Sunday - NYY vs. Cle: Chien-Ming Wang (4-0, 3.94) vs. C.C. Sabathia (1-3, 10.13). Sabathia's numbers suck, but he finally got off the schneid in his last start. He needs another good one against a tough team if the Indians are going to get things turned around.

Arz vs. SDP: Brandon Webb (5-0, 2.31) vs. Jake Peavy (3-0, 2.00). This match-up of former Cy Yong winners is also a preview of this year's Cy Young race. If you like pitching duels at all, you'll want to catch this game.

That's all for today, have a great weekend!


  1. You know, of course, I voted for the Red Sox just to piss you off. :)

  2. I wouldn't have expected any less...

  3. I did NOT vote for the Red Sox. Nor did I vote to get some slugger here. I did take offense that Jack thinks I am not of dubious reputation.

  4. Other pick: Brew-ha's. In Gagne we trust!