Saturday, February 18, 2006

Ooooh Baseball and Soccerr.....

OK Baseball: Camps started this past week and the WBC starts up in a few weeks. I can't say I'm really that excited about the WBC. I'm a bit pissed that they eliminated baseball and softball from the Olympics but decided to keep TRAMPOLINE. Yeah, you read that right. Anyways, just happy to see some baseball again. Time to break out The Natural. Required viewing for the start of every season.

NOW for soccer: Arsenal continues it's slide while Norwich City starts it's futile playoff run. We picked up Earnshaw and the man has been an animal. We won two and lost one this week. That's right, 3 games in one week. Soccer is one of those sports that, like football, you just can't play 3 times a week without getting so fatigued that you risk injury. This morning apparently, they looked up beat and ready for another. There's no way they can get into the playoffs. They'd have to win 8 of their last 10 and they certainly aren't capable of that. If we can just place above Ipswich Town I'll be satisfied.

OK Olympic thoughts: Johnny make Darren Daulton look normal. This guy's talking about how his aura, black heart and missing his bus caused him to go from 2nd to 5th in men's figure skating. BULL. You got nervous and you bombed. End of story. Meanwhile, your teammate Lazarus gets the flu so bad he can't stand up, is hooked up to IVs most of the day and he turns in the performance of his life. Johnny Weird. Get over yourself.
Glad to see the flying Tomato and Hanna Teter win gold. Great couple of people. Or so they seem in interviews.

LAST My thoughts on the Pads pre-ST:

Starting Pitching: B- Jake Peavy and Chris Young are amazing and I expect big years from both of them. If Clay Hensley is allowed to start, I think he could complete the trio. If not he'll be a force in the bullpen. Woody Williams, Shawn Estes and Chan Ho Park are a trio of has-beens and I'm disappointed at all the money we're shelling out for them. I certainly hope those first three are starting and not the last three.

Bullpen: D+ Trevor Hoffman and Scott Linebrink are the only things saving this bullpen from total distruction. Scott Etherton? Alan Embree? Did we dump all our great bullpen arms and replace them with everyone who had an ERA over 6.00 last year?

Catcher: C How fitting. Mike Piazza still has some pop but he's lost speed on his bat with age, and he's never been accused of being a great defensive backstop. In fact he's been accused more of just being a human backstop. Doesn't throw guys out, slow moving behind the plate and doesn't block the plate on throws home (Ramon Hernandez, anyone?). At least he calls a decent game, or so I hear. Doug Mirabelli is defensively everything that Piazza is not. Offensively he's about the same. Someone who will hit .250, hit 20 HR and strike out 175 times.

Corner Infield: C+ Ryan Klesko and Vinny Castilla. That would have struck fear into pitchers ten years ago, but not now. They both still have power and can still hit for average. Castilla is still a great third baseman, but their age has slowed their bats and their reflexes. I expect .270 averages, maybe 15-20 homers and much less striking out than we'll see from Mirabelli and Cameron.

Middle Infield: B Young but very very talented. Khalil Greene and Josh Barfield should be superstars before their time is through. At the moment, Greene is expected to have a breakout year while Barfield will just be learning the majors. I hear Josh is slow at the DP. That can't be good. What is good, is that's the only bad thing I hear about him. He'll hit .300 and will add some excitement to the lineup. Greene should finally top 20 homers and hit over .280. I'm expecting this to be a strength for us.

Outfield: A- Giles, Cameron, Roberts. This isn't the best outfield in the majors but with Giles and Cameron tracking balls in the spacious right and center fields (not to mention their bats), this is the strength of the club. Giles and Cameron both have the talent and ability to hit 30 homers and hit .300. They will come short of both I think, but not by much. Cameron has legs and with Roberts should provide a great 1-2 punch in the lineup. If they can both stay healthy, I wouldn't be surprised to see us have a couple of guys with over 30 SBs.

Defense: UPGRADE
Starting Pitching: UP IN THE AIR (With Henlsey, UPGRADE; without him, DOWNGRADE)

Expected finish at this point.....85-77, 2nd place in the NL West, no playoffs.


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