Monday, August 31, 2009

More Free Agent Signings

Vic Pascual CF - Tacoma, 5 years/$37.5MM. The TIE Fighters grab a big upgrade in CF as they try to get into the NL West mix. Pascual's the best defensive CF in the league (3 Gold Gloves) and a perfect fit in Tacoma's monstrous outfield acreage. While he's not a superb contact hitter, he does have some pop (four 30+ HR seasons) - a big bonus for any CF and especially for such a defensive game-changer. Best bargain in free agency so far. Grade: A+

Fausto Cedeno LR - Burlington, 4 years/$30MM. Cincy used him as a closer, where he seemd to seing between great seasons (like last year) and dreadful seasons (like the year before). Scouts note nothing terrible or exceptional about him - exactly the kind of ratings that produce the Jekyll & Hyde effect. Given that he's likely to have 2 good and 2 bad years during this contract, have to go with Grade: C

Patsy White RP - Oakland, 2 years/$7.2MM. White bounced around until landing in big-park San Diego, where he thrived as a part-time closer. Oakland's park isn't as big as SD's, but it'll do. Patsy has great control and features a forkball that's especially tough on lefties, but he occasionally gets it up in the zone. Most of the contract is bonus; White will be virtually free to Oakland next year. Grade: B+

Luis Piedra 3B - San Diego, 2 years/$10MM. San Diego jumps in big with a 2-year deal for the multiple All-Star, Gold Glover and Silver Slugger former Katana. His power number are likely to be down in Petco, but he's still one of the top 3B's in the league. Only because of hte price tag, I give this one a Grade: B

Abdul Gload C - San Diego, 4 years/$20MM. The Surf Babies strike again, nabbing the switch-hitting former Apologist. Good deal on the surface, as Gload is still a very good hitter. But if there's ever such a thing as a "veteran presence/clubhouse chemistry" guy in HBD, Gload and his multiple WS titles is it. Grade A

Catching Up On Trade Notes...

San Diego gets: 3B Omar Deleon, LF Brian Overbay, and OF Alex Calvo
Rochester gets: C Melvin Vina and RF Brad Wise
Rochester upgrades defensively at C, although Vina may not be the hitter the departed Buzz Arnold (FA deal with Nashville) was. Wise was a highly-regarded #5 pick (Season 5) who has yet to put it together. The change of scene to a better hitter's park can't hurt. San Diego gets 3 players who will get good playing time in return for 2 who were expendable due to younger replacements. Crystal Ball says: great trade for both teams.

Toledo gets: 3B Everett Joseph
Nashville gets: LR Rafael Benavente
The Ramblers continue to shed payroll and get a crafty veteran who can still give you some good innings. The Mud Hens add another nice player in their quest to catch Burlington. They do seem to have 5 3B's on the roster, though, so the dealin' ain't done in Toledo. Crystal Ball says: both teams did well with this trade - Joseph will be an upgrade at 3B for the Hens.

Nashville gets: C Pedro Prieto
Austin gets: RP Danny Hernandez
Prieto was stuck behind Alexander and Linden in Austin; he calls a good game but can't throw it back to the pitcher, much less to second base. Still, he'll be a good backup to Elder. Hernandez starts in AAA for Austin, but will get the call should former Fireman of the Year Benito Rivera (4.80 ERA last year) falter again. Crystal Ball says: minor, but beneficial for both. Prieto has more impact this year.

Mexico City gets: 2B Bartolo Trevino
Nashville gets: SS Clyde Simon
This one doesn't make sense on the surface, but there's something more there. The Desperados trade one of the top offensive SS's in the game for a 2B who's not as good (off or def) as existing 2B Pedro Guerrero. But he's a lot cheaper, suggesting Guerrero may be on his way out the door. Plus, CF Ryan Shelley is being shopped. Starts to look like after years of chasing Charleston (and only catching them once, in Season 10), Mexico City is entering a rebuilding phase. Simon doesn't necessarily fit with Nashville's rebuilding plan, but they may be able to move him for more at the deadline than they just gave. Crystal Ball says: plenty more to come for both teams, but it still works for both.

Oakland gets: RP Clyde Jackson
Syracuse gets: AAA OF Yeico James and RP Carl Hume
The Surenos get a quality (albeit slightly expensive) bullpen guy. The Warriors have good bullpen depth, so I could see dealing one. But I'm not sure they got value. Presumably James is the prime piece, but his glove isn't good enough for CF and his bat is marginal for either COF. It's possible his real projections are way better than I see, but with his best development years behind him, I can't see him growing into much of a factor from where he is. Crystal Ball says: OAK gets the nod.

D.C. Maxes Morales

The Washington D.C. Revenge made Victor Morales the richest man in Joey Belle today, signing the 27 year-old to a 5 year contract worth $100MM in salary with a $10MM bonus - the max possible compensation to a free agent.

Morales signed an IFA contract ($11.8MM bonus) with the Augusta Alliteration (Now Trenton) in Season 4 and made his ML debut in Season 5, hitting .273 in 112 games. Over 8 ML seasons he has a .917 OPS and numerous awards (including last year's MVP), and a World Series win with Trenton in Season 6.

As for the Revenge, they've been building patiently since Season 7 and won 98 games last year but were upset by Boise in the first playoff round. 4th in runs scored last year, they now take dead aim at both Cleveland's perennial spot at the top of the offensive rankings and its AL East Crown.

It's not entirely clear where Morales will play for D.C. (RF?), but wherever it is he immediately becomes their best player, face of the franchise and team leader.

First Free Agents Sign

Two starters and a 1B are the first big-name free agents to sign this year.

Cookie Prieto SP - Coumbus, 5 years/$56MM. Needing to improve their 10th-ranked pitching and sensing an opening in the AL North, the Criminals went after the guy they thought was the best SP available. Prieto has 95 wins/4.11 ERA over 9 seasons; his best year was Season 9, with 17 wins and a 2.95 ERA for (now) Madison. Fairly steep price, but this FA class isn't filled with top pitching talent. Grade: A

Larry Keisler 1B - Augusta, 2 years/$10.4MM. Meanwhile, the defending AL Champ Polar Bears countered by bolstering their 10th-ranked offense. Keisler has been a steady producer with 395 career HR's, but it's a tossup whether he can top Bogar's (the departed 1B) numbers in Augusta's pitcher-friendly park. Due to the favorable contract, we give it Grade: B.

Javier Mendoza LR - Toledo, 1 year/$5MM. The Mud Hens are loving this deal. They look around their division and see Jacksonville and Indy in all-out rebuild mode. They see that 79 wins took the NL East last season. They had a 4.88 ERA last year (13th). And one of the very few quality arms in FA comes to them on a 1-year deal. The Hens have the best training and med staff money can buy, so I'm betting they can keep Mendoza glued together for another year. Grade A+

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Trades, Trades and More Trades

The first day of free agency and agents are staying busy informing players of their new addresses. I don't know if this is a record trade pace but it sure feels like it...

Ottawa gets: 3B Quilvio Suarez, IF/OF Jack Kinney and SP Raul Arias
Syracuse gets: SS Brad Hart and RP Felipe Seneca
The Saltines may have soured on Arias and his gopher balls; the Ice see good command, 3 good pitches and more room to grow. Syracuse adds another good-hitting IF to the SS/3B logjam. Suarez could find a place in the Ice lineup, while Seneca seems destined for another AAA year with the Warriors.
Crystal Ball says: look for a lot more trades from Syracuse to sort out that overpopulated infield.

Richmond gets: RP Dutch Pavano
Little Rock gets: DH Darrell Damon
The Poor Men continue to peel off prospects for bullpen help. Pavano has 33 saves and a 3.91 ERA over 7 ML seasons; he'll (apparently) be one of many setup men for Jacob Franklin. Damon's a bit short on power for a DH, but makes good contact. He'll at least compete for some DH AB's for tte Pebbles.
Crystal Ball says: Richmond must know something about short relievers the rest of us don't.

Syracuse gets: MiL C Patrick Herman and MiL RP
Mexico City gets: 3B Aramis Espinoza
Saltines dump a big salary while making room gor Clarence Marte. Espinoza's a nice bat who slides right into 3B for the Desperados.
Crystal Ball says: freeing up $9MM works for Syracuse; what they buy for that, plus Marte, will help them forget Espinoza in about 5 games.

San Jose gets: SP Bernie Tejada
Nashville gets: MiL SP Carlos Vincente
The Ramblers get rid of $6.5MM, which San Jose inexplicably takes.
Crystal Ball says: Maybe the Bad News Bees are looking for a replacement for Javier Mendoza; Tejada ain't it (with Craig Hague on the way this year to boot).

Pittsburgh gets: MiL SS Esmailyn Osuna and MiL IF Neifi Javier
Tucson gets: 1B Alex Paniagua
Alleghenys dump a big salary. The Sidewinders take on a big obligation, but Paniagua can still rake.
Crystal Ball says: Tucson looks at the AL West and says it's there for the taking; more big moves coming.

Phantoms Get Reid; Harris to Little Rock

A pair of big-name CF's changed teams in a very active trading day at the Winter Meetings.

Rochester gets: CF Wally Reid
Syracuse gets: SP Clark Jensen
Syracuse, feeling it has plenty of offense and needing pitching, moves one of the league's best CF's for Season 9's 14th pick. Reid has a trunkfull of awards and 3 years left on his contract...bold move for Rochester in a bid to join the upper echelon on the AL. Jensen has velocity and nice sinking action, plus a good assortment of pitches; the big question is whether he can be effective enough against righties.
Crystal Ball Says: Rochester grins, Syracuse regrets this one.

Little Rock gets: CF Troy Harris
Trenton gets: AA 2B Patrick Brow and AAA SS Alex Trinidad
I don't get this one at all. Harris is a power-hitting CF (or 2B) with 3 years left on a favorable contract; Brow and Trinidad both look like utility guys at best, if they even reach the majors. Trenton may be dumping salary to rebuild, but they could get a lot more than this for Harris. Little Rock fills a big hole in its drive to push Jackson.
Crystal Ball Says: big win for Pebbles, a step back for Trogs.

In other trading action:

Nashville gets: 1B Derek Foster
El Paso gets: 1B/OF Dan Lowery
The Ramblers get a big basher who can be erratic; Lowery may have some success against righties but I'm betting he never gets an arb hearing.
Crystal Ball Says: nice pickup for Ramblers; rebuilding Evil 9 coulda done better.

Madison gets: LR Benny Harnisch
El Paso gets: 2B/CF Benito Leon
The Badgers get much-needed bullpen help and the 9 get a fast, sure-handed defender who will get on base enough to have a career.
Crystal Ball Says: a double-win

How To Post Player Links To The HBD Forum

To help with the "Belle Turnaround Challenge" post on the HBD Forum, I've been teaching (rather ham-handedly, I must admit) skid and tk how to post player links to the forum. When I was figuring out how to post a few seasons ago, I remember having to ask about 12 times and always getting cryptic I'm falling victim to the "it's difficult to provide explicit instructions for what you know how to do" phenomenon.

So here's my attempt to very explicitly explain how to post player links to HBD Forum:

Step 1: navigate to the player card of the player you want to post

Step 2: locate the URL (the "address" of the player card) - in the window right above the player's name

Step 3: put your cursor just to the left of the "http"

Step 4: left-click your mouse and drag the cursor across the URL until it's all highlighted

Step 5: now right-click your mouse; a window will come up - left click "copy". The URL is now saved. (alternately, you can left-click "Edit" in the top row and then left-click "copy")

Step 6: go to your post...when you get to where you want to put in the link, put your cursor there, then click the "sideways U" button (link button).

Step 7: a window will come up asking for the "hyperlink text" - type in the player's name

Step 8: left-click "OK" - another window will come up asking for "hyperlink URL". There will be a "http://" highlighted in the box - just leave it highlighted

Step 9: right-click your mouse and click "paste" - this will put the correct URL in the box with the right path (http:// etc).

Step 10: left-click "OK" and left-click "update post"

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Arb Day at the Winter Meetings

Arb day is generally not one of the more eventful days of preseason, 'cause nothing else happens and arbitration is itself a rather boring event.

I do like to take a look at the arb-eligible players who are released the day before. It's mostly the usual suspects - utility guys, SuB's and Rule 5's who have had their 3-year run at the minimum. But every year a few guys get released who have had a good year or 2...and maybe, just maybe could be worth a shot if they slip into the mid-Spring Training FA bargain bin. A few candidates:

Devon Newman, OF/1B - let go by Trenton: drove in 90+ runs in all 3 of his full seasons. Switch-hitter. 25th man if the price is right? You bet.

Jimmie Navarro, SP - let go by Trenton: has always held some intrigue due to his command of that fastball/curveball 1-2, but never really did anything until winning 10 with a 4.13 ERA last season.

Yoo-Nah Wanatabe, 3B - released by Ottawa: I like to have guys like this as 1 of my utility guys 'cause they can back up at 4 positions and it's easy to find one who's a better hitter than just about any backup SS you can get. Yoo-Nah has a .300/25-HR season to his credit.

OK, OK, so it's a reeeeaalllll slow day at at the JBT. Things'll pick up as we get into free agency.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Winter Meetings Report

The Winter Meetings got into full swing this morning and your intrepid JBT reporter has all the news.

The Ramblers and Jokers pulled the year's first trade, with Jacksonville sending 2B Gene Vaughn and minor-league P Jose Flores to Nashville for AAA starter Cyrus Keller. Vaughn appears to be the centerpiece of the trade, having put up a more-than- respectable .740 OPS season 2 years ago. He'll probably get a good number of AB's as a utility man for the Ramblers. Jacksonville gets a live arm in Keller, but he has trouble with control and misses high in the zone. He may get a shot at making the Jokers' rotation.

Later in the first day of trade activity, Hartford shipped veteran SS Terry Owen to Madison for 2nd-year SS prospect Evan Hamilton. Looks like a good trade for both teams - the Badgers get a good-fielding, good-OBP SS; the Katanas move one of their many arbitration cases and get what looks like a younger version of the departed Owen (although it remains to be seen if his glove can develop to anything like that level).

Also, Music City has just swapped RP Patrick Shaw to Richmond for a potpourri basket of RP prospects. Shaw has had his moments - most notably a 45-save season for (now) Austin in Season 8 - but for the most part hasn't lived up to his 1st-round draft pick (season 1) status. We'll see if the venue change ignites another big season. Of the 3 relief prospects the Ramblers get back, Pedro Rivera is probably the most intriguing. Although he's only good for 1 batter at a time and suffers from control lapses, he's tough to hit and could get some ML innings as a vL specialist.

Nothing that changes the balance of power, but I have a feeling these are just the first of very many to come at these meetings.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Winter Meetings Commence

Joey Belle kicked off the Joey Belle Winter Meetings with a rousing welcoming speech in the Grand Ballroom of Harrah's Hotel in downtown Shreveport, LA (hometown of both the league namesake and its beloved commissioner). Session 1 was devoted to introducing the league's new owners:

rugby1 comes to us with 5 years in LOCO and 4 in Wrigleyville. He's a Syracuse native and describes himself as an SU and Yankees fan. I overlooked that last part of his application. He'll be piloting the powerful Syracuse saltine Warriors of the NL North.

tk21775 is a relative newcomer to HBD but has already made his mark in 5 worlds, including New Guys where he was accused of making too many trades. He takes over the rebuilding Jacksonville Jokers of the NL East.

dakar moves into the driver's seat in El Paso with the Karn Evil 9. He has 4 years' experience each in Roy Hobbs and LOCO.

skid22 has 19 seasons and a WS title under his belt. He becomes the 2nd half of our Rebuilding Challenge (along with tk21775) as boss of the AL East Pittsburgh Alleghenys.

wsdude takes control of the Nashville Music City Ramblers of the AL South (note to AL: tack another mopup man onto your staffs this year...there will be some major offense this year). He has 4 seasons in Cal Ripken and another 4 a ways back in Greenberg.

Last but not least, fequreshi has moved the Supersonics southeast to become the Tucson Sidewinders (more offense). He brings a total of 20 HBD seasons to the party, most recently 6 in American Baseball Union.

A hearty welcome to all our new owners!

The Winter Meetings will resume in a couple of days after all the agents arrive. Meanwhile we get to sample the Shreveport nightlife and have passes to visit the set of "Straw Dogs" starring James Marsden and Kate Farnsworth, currently filming at various locations in the Shreveport-Bossier area.

Stadium and Name Changes

Along with 6 new owners this season, we had a rash of teams vacating old cities and relocating. Must be the economy.

The Nashville Kool Kats (6 seasons) have become the Mexico City Desperados, giving the NL South a decidedly Tex-Mex flavor.

The Cleveland Katanas have headed east to Hartford, hoping to nullify opposing pitchers in the cozy confines of Welch Park.

The Scranton Beet Farmers have morphed into the Madison Badgers. Another offense-booster, as Bessire Park is a noted launching pad.

The Austin City Limits (so Austin) stayed home and held a new-name contest with the faithful. The winning entry: the Unhinged Chaloupas (so very Austin).

Monday, August 24, 2009

Take 5 - Who Are the Top 5 Position Players in Belle?

(thanks to user gumbercules for the "Take 5" format)

Of course, there are a lot of subjective judgments that go into any "best player" ranking. How valuable is slugging versus defense? Is a good-hitting SS "better" than a great-hitting LF? Does base-stealing matter? The fun of baseball, and especially HBD. Herewith, my choices for the top 5 position players in Joey Belle.

1. Wilson Costello, 1B Jackson - simply the preeminent slugger in the history of Belle. Career OPS leader by nearly 100 points among active players (at an amazing 1.140). Season 5 ROY and 3-time MVP, his hitting is so dominant that he edges out the more well-rounded players for #1.

2. (Tie) Rafael Brogna, 2B Hartford, and Victor Morales, 2B Free Agent - 8 seasons into their careers, their numbers are virtually identical. Brogna has 7 All-Star appearances, 3 Silver Sluggers and 1 MVP; Morales has been to 5 All-Star Games and has 6 Silver Sluggers (at 4 positions), and 1 MVP. Brogna gets the nod as a hitter (career OPS of .950 vs. .917); Morales has a slight edge defensively and stealing bases.

4. William Kwon, SS Oakland Surenos - when you factor in the defensive demands at SS, it's hard to keep the league's best SS out of the top 5, and Kwon is the best SS. Once he established himself as the regular in Season 4, he's hit 20+ HR's in all 9 seasons. His .875 career OPS is humongous for a SS. And while he's not the flashiest fielder in the league, he has a solid .978 career fielding percentage and a Gold Glove to his credit (along with 7 All-Star appearances and 3 Silver Sluggers).

5. Charles Perez, CF,Mexico City Desperados - this was probably the toughest pick. Perez gets the nod as a good hitter at a demanding postion, combined with his Mays-like defensive play. Career .870 OPS and 20HR's a year, plus a career .990 fielding percentage and 145/14 +/- plays (6 All-Star Games, 6 Gold Gloves, 1 Silver Slugger).

(Honorable mention: Lon Andrews, Little Rock; Jacque Fitzgerald, Hartford; Wally Reid, Syracuse; Bill Priest, Hartford; Gary Goodwin, Toledo)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Where Did The Holes Come From?

Whenever a team wins 113 games in a competitive league AND sweeps two 109+ win teams in the playoffs, you have to scratch your head and say, "Who are those guys?"

Or more specifically, "Where'd they come from?"

Well, here's where they came from (draft position or IFA bonus):

5 were on Season 1 Rosters (Wes Phillips with Burlington, Carlton Carroll with what is now Scanton and Dwight Long, Marianno Guerrero and Bo Thomas with Jackson)

8 first-round draft picks:
Ozzie Calderon #3, Sea 5
Johnny Collier #4, Sea 3
Amos Christians #5, Sea 8
Billy Ray Hernandez #8, Sea 2
Darryl McCorley #9, Sea 4
Geronimo Perez #28, Sea 4
Don Burns #28, Sea 7
Carlos Manzanillo #32, Sea 6

1 supplemental round pick: Wilson Costello #43, Sea 2

5 more draft picks, ranging from rounds 2 - 9:
Miguel Padilla Rnd 2 (#75), Sea 10
John Daniels Rnd 2 (#64) Sea 6
Rodney Tyson Rnd 3 (#85) Sea 5
Vinny Tankersly Rnd 4 (#126) Sea 4
Daryl McDonald Rnd 9 (#303) Sea 3

7 IFA's
Hector Rodriguez (Sea 8, $17MM)
Pedro Ayala (Sea 6, $10.6MM)
Del Mendoza (Sea 7, $10.3MM)
Ivan Maranon (Sea 1, $4.5MM)
Victor Sosa (Sea 5, $4.6MM)
Orlando Diaz (Sea 4, $3.7MM)
Quilvio Rodriguez (Sea 1, $2.1MM)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Holes Hold Serve

The Jackson Holes have taken a 2-0 lead in the World Series, winning at home 6-5 and 6-2.

Game 1 was the highly-anticipated matchup of Cy Young winners Johnny Collier and Matty Vaughn, but the expected pitcher's duel was not to be. Both Collier and Vaughn struggled, but Collier's playoff tandem partner, Dwight Long, fired 5 scoreless in relief to pick up the win. Long now has 2 wins and a 0.64 ERA in the playoffs. Carlos Manzanillo luanched a dramatic, 2-out, walkoff homer in the 9th to win it for Jackson.

In Game 2, Del Mendoz held Charleston to 2 runs over 8, and AL MVP Wilson Costello cracked 2 homers for a 6-2 win.

So far Jackson is winning the pitching and longball battles, but don't count Charleston out - winning 3 of the last 4 World Series was no fluke. The Series resumes with Game 3 today in Charleston.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Charleston Takes Thrilling NLCS

Since all the games in the NLCS had been won rather convincingly, I guess it makes sense that Game 7 would be a 1-run nail-biter.

When Oakland's Burns and Maduro lead off the 2nd with back-to-back solos, it looked like the Surenos might pull of the miracle. But Charleston manager zackaryl had the quick hook ready, lifting starter Wilson and trotting in Carlos Gonzalez. Gonzalez and Kaz Lim may have saved the series for Charleston - while they gave up 4 hits and 5 walks, they held Oakland scoreless for 6 innings and gave the offense a chance to scratch their way back into the game. They got back a run in the 4th on a walk, a single and a fielder's choice, and tied in the 6th on a walk and 3 straight singles. This set up a classic late-inning battle of Charleston's closer Simpson vs. Oakland's committee...the results may well have the Surenos offering megabucks for free agent closer next year.

Oakland threatened in the 8th when Maximo Cota botched a Burns flyball, and veteran Tim Shields pinch-ran for Burns. Maduro then launched a fly to CF that looked like it would advance Shields, but converted SS Cookie Martin threw a rocket to third to nip Shields and end the threat.

Chalreston finally pulled it out...well, Charleston-style. Martin led of the 9th with a walk and promptly stole second. After pinch-hitter Walker (what else) walked, Cota grounded into a fielder's choice to move Martin to third. Reserve infielder Quilvio Diaz then rolled a single up the middle to score Martin and send the Apologists to the World Series for the 5th time in 6 years.

Congrats to both rlahann and zackaryl on great seasons and playoff runs.

Monday, August 10, 2009

NLCS - Surenos Force Game 7

Facing elimination, Oakland put a 14-1 pasting on defending champ Charleston in Game 6 of the NLCS, setting up a 1-game showdown for the National League Crown.

The Surenos have now won 2 straight elimination games.

Wilfredo Feliz walked to open Game 6 but was then caught stealing - basically the highlight of both the inning and the game for Charleston. 2 walks, 3 singles and a Lefty Owens grand slam later, Oakland was up 6-0 and this one was already over. Joe Rivera added 2 homers, and Joe Hodges and Daniel Grace held Charleston to 6 hits.

The Joey Belle Times caught up with Oakland GM rlahan after Game 5 and got some juicy quotes about both league title series. On being in the NLCS: "Humbled to even be on the same field as Zach. Really appreciate him letting me to go the WS eight seasons ago, and I'm hoping he's feeling equally charitable this time around."

On the ALCS: "On the ALCS? Sure. Congrats to Jackson on a dominating performance. Crump, that one was for the Stamp Act."

NLCS Game 7 runs in the next AM cycle. Likely starters are Kyle Bradshaw for Oakland and David Wilson for Charleston.

Jackson Sweeps Katanas in AL; GM's Speak Out

The Jackson Holes jumped on Cleveland starter Aaron Torres early, plating 5 runs in the first and cruising to a 9-3 win and sweep of the ALCS.

Jackson GM mdukes13 was ebullient in the locker room after the win. Between gulps of champagne, he spoke to The Times: "It took me eight years to get past Crump's super-team and I was beginning to think it would never happen. Congrats to him on a good season and on building a dynasty that I hope he immediately dismantles. I'm just happy to be in the World Series now."

Although Cleveland's boss Crump123 was unavailable for comment, one source who requested not to be named stated, "He's not a happy bunny, everyone is staying out of his way." There are also rumors circulating in Cleveland that the team may look for a temporary season 13 home, whilst they remodel Jacobs Field. A team insider said "We can't change the team, so we may try the stadium."

Meanwhile in the AL, Charleston pushed Oakland to the brink behind a Wilson/Tabaka/Simpson 1-hitter in Game 4 (4-1 for the Apologists), but the scrappy Surenos fought back to win Game 5 in unlikely fashion. Both starter Russ Guthrie and his replacement Tike Porter had to leave the game with arm injuries. But relievers Bailey Rolls and Daniel Grace shut down Charleston for 4 and 2/3, and that man Burns slammed 2-run and 3-run HR's (his 6th and 7th of the playoffs). Wilfredo Feliz added a solo shot, his 6th of the playoffs, for a 7-1 win.

After a welcome off day (for Oakland's staff at least), the series resumes with Game 6 in Charleston.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

LCS After 3 Games

American League

Passing of an era? Cleveland has topped Jackson in each of the last 2 ALCS's, but the Holes seem poised to end that run.

Jackson used the classic longball + stifling pitching formula to take Game 1 - Collier and Long scattered 5 hits and Costello, (former Katana) Manzanillo and Perez jacked solos.

Game 2 saw Cleveland tie in the 8th on a 2-run Piedra shot, but Billy Ray Hernandez doubled home Maranon in the 9th for a 6-5 win and 2-0 lead.

In Game 3, the teams posted similar offensive stats - the Katanas even outhomerd the Holes 2-1. But Jackson clustered their 12 hits better than Cleveland did with their 10, and the Holes won 8-4 for a commanding 3-0 lead.

National League

Meanwhile, Oakland is mounting its own challenge to Charleston's NL dominance.

The Surenos blasted 6 round-trippers in Game 1 for a 10-6 win. 2 of the shots were by rookie C J.T. Burns, who with 41 HR's, 98 RBI's and a .957 OPS had very comparable numbers to likely ROY winner Derrek Walker of San Jose (but didn't make the ROY ballott).

Charleston's not going quietly, though. They charged back in Game 2 with 7 homers of their own, winning an 11-8 donnybrook to tie the series at 1. Burns mashed his 5th HR of the playoffs for Oakland.

Kaz Lim broke out the "Charleston playbook" (pitching, pitching, pitching) in Game 3. Lim was dominant despite giving up 2 unearned runs, thanks to a dropped fly and a hit batter, and the offense banged 3 more homers for a 6-3 win.