Monday

Baseball Notes: Ozzie Finally Pops, Chipper is Red-Hot & DFTU


Hello again everybody...

I told you in my MLB Preview that it was only a matter of time until White Sox Manager Ozzie Guillen went on one of his infamous rants. I'll have some of the highlights for you. Then I'll look at Atlanta LF Chipper Jones' incredible early season statistics. Finally it's another installment of the DFTU!

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Here's the wind-up, and the pitch...

Ozzie, Ozzie, Ozzie... Well at least he wasn't throwing anything racial or homophobic in there this time. But he did take some shots at the Chicago fans and media in a pre-game interview yesterday. Here are some of the highlights:

"Right now everyone in Chicago is making lineups -- 'Call up this guy, call up that guy.' ... If we had 50 people allowed on the roster, we could do that. That's what ticks me off about Chicago fans and Chicago media: They forget pretty quickly. A couple of days ago we were the [bleeping] best [stuff] in town. Now we're [bleep]"

"We won it a couple years ago, and we're horse[bleep]," Guillen said, according to the Chicago Tribune. "The Cubs haven't won in [100] years, and they're the [bleeping] best. [Bleep] it, we're good. [Bleep] everybody. We're horse[bleep], and we're going to be horse[bleep] the rest of our lives, no matter how many World Series we win.

"We are the [bleep] of Chicago. We're the Chicago [bleep]. We have the worst owner [Jerry Reinsdorf]. The guy's got seven [bleeping] rings, and he's the [bleeping] horse[bleep] owner."

I think you can fill in most of the "bleeps" for yourself. The White Sox are now a game and a half back of your AL Central-leading Minnesota Twins (more on that later), and are headed in the wrong direction having been swept twice in a row now. Not good.

Chicago management knows what they have in Guillen and are apparently willing to put up with some of his nonsense. But attacking the fan base is probably not the greatest motivator to get them to buy tickets. So we'll see how long Jerry Reinsdorf is willing to forgive Ozzie his "Poster Boy for Prozac" moments.

Next up I have to talk a little about Chipper Jones. A .425 batting average, 9 home runs and 27 RBIs. Those are Chippers numbers through yesterday's game. They're also the beginnings of an MVP-like season. Now clearly it matters more how you finish the year than how you start it - at least in the minds of many awards voters (see: Morneau, Justin - 2006 AL MVP). But Chipper has been nearly single-handedly carrying the Braves to a 15-15 record.

That record is only good for 4th place in the NL East and obviously the epitome of average, but considering all the problems the Braves pitching staff has had, if Chipper wasn't putting up those numbers, the Braves would certainly be joining the Nationals in the basement. Rafael Soriano, Mike Gonzalez, Mike Hampton, Peter Moylan, John Smoltz and Anthony Lerew are all stuck on the DL right now. That's a rather large chunk of your pitching staff to not have available. Which means you have to be scoring a higher number of runs to be a competitive team.

The Bravos scored 25 runs in their 3-game sweep of the Reds over the weekend, and Chipper was directly responsible for 8 of them. Scoring/Driving in a third of your team's runs? Yeah, that's an MVP-worthy performance.

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

Minnesota Twins: "The Twins are in first place! Blog that baby!" - Mark Cook

Yes, that was the text message I received from my brother yesterday after the Twins completed their second straight series sweep. This time over the Detroit Tigers. That sweep included a big-time comeback yesterday after starter Boof Bonser gave up 6 runs in the first inning. But Boof settled down, and got some help from the bullpen to hold the Tigers down the rest of the way. That allowed the offense to step up and pick up the win. The Twins are currently 16-14, 1.5 games ahead of the White Sox and 3 games head of last-place Detroit.

To his point, if you'd told me that the Twins would be a game and a half out front in the AL Central as of May 5th, I'd have asked what you'd been drinking. Admittedly, the Twins have out-performed my expectations for them so far. Will they be able to continue this pace? Will that pace be good enough to win the Central? Or will someone like a Detroit or Cleveland catch fire and run away and hide? These are the questions that keep fans watching baseball all summer long. I have my doubts, but so far? Pleasantly surprised would be a fair assessment of my feelings.

The Twins are off today before heading to Chicago for 3 and then returning home to host Boston for 4 games (God I hate the Red Sox).

Arizona Diamondbacks: How many times have I had good news for Twins fans and bad news for Diamondbacks fans? Not many.

But unfortunately that's the case as the D'backs lost only their 2nd series over the weekend to the New York Mets. I saw the last third of Friday nights game in which Arizona wasn't all that competitive, and all of Sunday's game where they ran into the Johan Santana that Twins fans remember so fondly. Johan went 6 solid innings, scattering 6 hits and giving up only 1 run while striking out 8. Yup, that's Johan.

It's hard to find a lot of fault with the best team in baseball, but there were some defensive lapses yesterday that were a little scary. That Connor Jackson throw into Left Field? Oof. Not good. It's the kid's first error of the year, so I probably shouldn't be pointing him out specifically. But the over-arching point is that when you have pitchers who throw a lot of ground balls, you'd better be good with the glove, especially in the infield.

So the Diamondbacks are 21-10 and 4 games up on the Dodgers in the NL West. They begin a 4-game series with the Phillies tonight highlighted by the first Big League start for rookie right-hander Max Scherzer. I'll be tuned into that for sure! Then it's on the road for 3 against the Cubbies.

So that's all for today. Another special column forthcoming tomorrow and then it's more baseball goodness on Wednesday!

4 comments:

  1. I've always liked your brother...

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  2. I guess I could say the same thing... Well, at least 95% of the time!

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  3. You damned well should! I'm probably artificially inflating the percentage! ;)

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