Baseball Notes: Gallardo is Bionic?, Weekend Matchups & DFTU

Hello again everybody...

I got to watch the Cubs and the Brewers on WGN yesterday, so I'll share some thoughts there. Then I'll run down some matchups to check out over the weekend. And finally, everybody's favorite segment: the DFTU!

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In three, two, one...

It was a big rally for the Brewers yesterday, coming up with 3 runs in the top of the 9th off of Kerry Wood to beat the division rival Cubbies. The big blow was a double by Ryan Braun that plated the tying and go-ahead runs.

As worthless as I keep proclaiming Eric Gagne to be, he got the job done for his 9th save of the season which puts him in a 4-way tie for the league lead. Am I going to change my mind on Heavy-G? Not yet, but the door's open a crack. A very small, barely noticeable crack.

And as long as we're on the topic of closers, the Cubs might be slightly worried about Kerry Wood. He's saved 4 games and blown 3 other opportunities. Not exactly the ratio you're looking for. And if he can't be successful in that role, where the heck would you put him? His days of starting are long over and you're paying him an awful lot of money to make him a middle- or long-reliever. Not a fun situation for the Cubs.

But the thing that stood out most from that game was the near bionic recovery of one Yovani Gallardo. It was in the fifth inning that Gallardo was sprinting towards first to cover the bag on a ball hit to the right side of the infield when he lept to avoid the headfirst dive of the runner. When he landed on his right leg, his knee hyper extended in a painfully-awkward way and he went down writhing in pain. I thought for sure he'd torn something and ended his season before it even began. But to my shock and amazement, he got up after a couple of minutes, threw some warm-up pitches in front of the trainer, and kept on pitching!

So either this guy is the Six-Million-Dollar Man, a Terminator, or an alien from the planet Krypton. I don't know. But it was absolutely incredible to me that he got back up from that and kept on pitching. I checked the Journal-Sentinel online just to make sure there were no lingering effects, but they didn't mention any problems, so I'm going to assume he's going to be okay and make his next start. Wow.

(Ed.'s Note: I just recieved an email from one of my Brewer-Fan Friends informing me that they did an MRI on Gallardo's knee which revealed a tear in his ACL. The severity of the tear won't be known until the swelling in his knee goes down, but needless to say, this makes Gallardo very doubtful for a while. I knew that didn't look good when he landed. So much for the "wow factor"!)

Next up, let's take a look at matchups you'll either want to check out live, or make sure you see the box scores of over the course of this weekend.

Seattle Mariners at NY Yankees - Eric Bedard (2-0, 2.04) vs. Chien Ming Wang (5-0, 3.23). The Yankees are in all kinds of trouble. Posada, Rodriguez, and Hughes have all hit the DL in the last few weeks. Wang's been their one reliable starter, and the Bombers are going to have to lean on him even more now. This is Bedard's second start since coming off the DL. He was solid in his first start back, and there's no reason to think that he'll be much different in this one.

Cincinnati Reds at Atlanta Braves - Edison Volquez (4-0, 1.23) vs. Tim Hudson (3-2, 3.74). Volquez has eclipsed Johnny Cueto as the official rookie sensation of the Reds' pitching staff. His stuff is just as good as Cueto's, but his control has been far more consistent. Hudson's coming off a dreadful outing, lasting only 3 innings while giving up 4 runs to the Mets. He'll be looking to get back on track, especially with John Smoltz headed to the DL. Hudson will have to step up to keep the Braves close in the NL East.

Seattle Mariners at NY Yankees - Felix Hernandez (2-1, 2.22) vs. Mike Mussina (3-3, 4.73) Boy, this looks to be a pretty good series! There's a reason they call him "King Felix". With Bedard, Hernandez forms a powerful 1-2 punch, which is part of the reason I picked the Mariners to win out West. This is the perfect time to catch the Yankees with all their injuries. Moose is what he is. When his control is good, he's as tough to hit as ever. When it's not, he gets hammered. Which Mussina will show up Saturday? Your guess is as good as mine.

Baltimore Orioles at Los Angeles Angels - Daniel Cabrera (2-0, 4.14) vs. Jon Garland (3-3, 5.94) The numbers may not look eye-popping on these pitchers, but they've both been fairly solid for their clubs and a big part of their solid starts. When Cabrera's off, he walks a ton of batters. When he's on, he's nearly unhittable. Garland grinds down batters with a wide array of pitches. Nothing that blows you away, but solid and in control.

Chicago White Sox at Toronto Blue Jays - Jose Contreras (2-2, 3.98) vs. Roy Halladay (2-4, 3.26) Toronto is in all kinds of trouble. They can't score runs and their bullpen's so shaky that Halladay's pitched 4 complete games in a row. The White Sox are still atop the central, even after dropping 2 to the Twins. Halladay can still be spectacular, and his team will need him to be. Contreras is aging and losing some velocity. Should be a good contest.

New York Mets at Arizona Diamondbacks - Johan Santana (3-2, 3.12) vs. Dan Haren (4-1, 3.13) Snake fans, this is your first shot to see Santana live and in-person. Don't miss it! He's a special pitcher to watch even if he's playing for the opposing team. Haren's coming off a solid 7-inning start against Houston and will be looking to continue the hot start for the D'backs.

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

Minnesota Twins: The Twins are now 13-14 coming off a 2-game sweep of the White Sox and preparing to welcome the Detroit Tigers for the weekend.

It's really tough to tell where this team's at right now. They looked bloody awful in their last road trip. But then came home and swept the Division Leader. I've said since the beginning of the year that this team is a .500 ballclub, and this kind of up and down rollercoaster ride should put them right at the .500 mark at the end of the season.

Livan Hernandez goes to the bump for the Twins tonight, and needs to have a solid start after his last effort went so poorly.

As mentioned, the Twins have 3 against the Tigers before hitting the road for 3 against the White Sox.

Arizona Diamondbacks: Arizona's at 20-8 after yet another series win. This time over the Houston Astros. April's 19-8 record was the best start in team history. May, on the other hand, is going to start out with a tough stretch. If there were doubts as to whether Arizona could keep this pace up, we're about to find out with series against the Mets, Phillies and on the road versus the Cubs.

Arizona's enjoying a wealth of pitching right now. Webb, Haren, Johnson, Owings and now Scherzer form the most formidable rotation in baseball. And remember, Doug Davis could be back from his cancer surgery in a matter of weeks. I have no idea where/if they'll work him into the rotation, but it's a heckuva good problem to have.

Connor Jackson (.348-5-25) has been an offensive force lately. And Mark Reynolds has continued his strong start. They're still scoring runs in bunches and as long as they come close to continuing that kind of production, their pitching will make them awfully tough to beat.

As mentioned earlier, the D'backs host the Mets this weekend and then bring Philly in for 4 games next week.

That's all for today folks. Have a great weekend and I'll be back at you on Monday with more of the wonder of Baseball! And remember, bet Big Brown in the Derby!!!


  1. if the twins only had Santana, Silva, Lohse, and Ponson (yes I said ponson)...maybe you should do a column on former twins pitchers and how they are doing this Livan this years Ramon Ortiz??

  2. That's a good thought. Maybe I'll work on that for next week.

    We'll know sooner than later if Livan = Ramon. I'm hoping for the Twins' sake he's not.

  3. Come on Dan, you have all kinds of connections! You should look into maybe a guest columnist. Or maybe some kind of weekly r onthly interview. Blackjack for instance.

  4. There's a typo right near the beginning of the "DFTU", you said the Twins came hope, I think you mean home...but it was hopeful. ;-)

  5. Fixed! Thanks.

    Sometimes typos DO have hidden meanings I guess!