Watch if you dare:
If you bring about any of these eventualities I have $50 for ya.
Is that really what it will take to bench Derek Anderson? This guy is a nitwit. I was irrate when several teams had offer sheets for Anderson and the Browns elected to keep him. That would have meant a first and third round pick ladies and gents. Plus we could have seen Brady Quinn's incredible smile on a regular basis. DA is horrible. Last year was a complete fluke. Ok, Phil Savage and Romeo Crennel, I understand that his play saved your jobs last year. I understand this sense of loyalty you have to him.
Newsflash goons: If he keeps playing this way y'all are out at the end of this year!!!
The Browns have a bye this week, and a bye week cuts both ways. In my opinion it is the perfect time to get Brady ready and start him against the Giants on Monday Night Football. That won't happen. Instead DA will get the reps, get a week off, work on the timing for a week and still come out and stink against the Giants. Hopefully then he'll be benched anyway.
How does this not make sense to anybody else? DA's last 7 games 6 TD's, 11 INT's average passer rating of 57.4. Can't throw an out route. Has lost all of his confidence to throw the deep ball.
You look at the first two games of the season and say, well Dallas and Pittsburgh are tough defenses. Well that's proving to be incorrect as the Cowboys' defense has swooned and the Pittsburgh defense just allowed Joe Flacco to look good. Screw this!!!
One of the real crappy parts about all of this is that heat is falling on the defense. Defense hasn't allowed more than 300 total yards since the Dallas game. They hold the Steel to 10 points. Against the Ravens its tough to keep a team off the board when your QB gives up a pick 6 and throws two other interceptions that set the Ravens up inside the Browns 20.
"TOWER GROVE — It doesn’t take much more than a box score or a glance at the season-ending statistics to know that if the Cardinals reduced their late-inning drama — some would say trauma — they are in contention until the final week, if not having a workout day today.
When it came to finishing games, the Cardinals reed relief this offseason.
In this, the 601st post at Bird Land since the re-design, we begin a season wrapup week with a twist. Call it What If Week. I want to take a look at some things that happened this season, and how they could have happened differently. The questions will range from offense to injuries, absences to, in today’s case, abbreviations. The goal isn’t to determine What If Matt Clement Won 17 Games?, rather to take a look at some issues that can be measured or considered through a speculative prism.
Today: What If … Games Were Only 8 Innings Long?*
(* For entertainment purposes only.)
The Cardinals’ bullpen fell short of the record for blown saves in a season, finishing with 31 this season, and they were second in the league to San Diego with 31 losses. Eight-one times this season the Cardinals led going into the ninth inning. They were 81-62-19. Recently, over at ESPN.com, Jayson Stark put the Mets’ bullpen troubles in perspective by printing what the standings would be like if games ended after the sixth inning. I went through at the end of the season and did the same for every division, ranking teams by their record after the eighth inning and the seventh inning.
Colleagues said to just lop off the ties, so that’s what I did.
Here is the standings if games …
ENDED AFTER THE EIGHTH INNING
(winning teams; no ties)
NY Mets 85-62
LA Dodgers 74-68
Obviously the ties will sway the standings, but if games ended after the eighth inning and they win the ties at the same rate as the other games … well, the Cardinals are in the playoffs. Not only are they in the playoffs, but they have the third-best record in the National League. And, lookee here, Shea Stadium is still hosting ballgames.
I wonder if this exercise actually helps quantify the importance of a closer, or a series of shutdown relievers. It certainly does anecdotally: Philadelphia, which is out of the playoffs in the above standings, was one of two teams in the NL to not lose a game it led after eight innings. The Phillies went 79-0.
Two words: Brad Lidge.
Three more: Cy Young candidate.
For the Cardinals this appears to hoist the season on the bullpen — and to a large extent that’s not unreasonable — but lopping off the ninth inning from the standings doesn’t only reveal the relievers. Manager Tony La Russa recently said that the Cardinals did in the final week what they struggled to do most of the season: Add on. His point is that the team could have made life easier on the bullpen had they not left the relievers with such tight games to handle in the late innings.
There’s a lot of truth there. The sheer number of decisions that the relievers had this season show that the Cardinals were involved in many close games. The standings above don’t say how many runs those games were won by — a one-run lead in the eighth is the same as a seve-run lead in the eighth when you don’t play the ninth.
When you play the ninth, it’s far different.
The thing is, the Cardinals have offense, over the season, produced pretty well late in games (National League rank in parentheses), though not necessarily the needed runs late in games:
Offense Innings 1-6: .287 (1)/.354 (1)/.441 (5) … 551 runs (4).
Offense Innings 7+: .270 (1)/.342 (2)/.417 (3) … 228 runs (8).
The What If question takes on more gravity when we cut off two innings. No team in the National League had more leads going into the eighth inning than the Cardinals. If games ended after the seventh inning, the Cardinals would be 87-56-19 (.596). The what-if standings say it all:
Cardinals … 87-56
Chicago … 86-57
Milwaukee … 77-60
Houston … 71-70
Cincinnati … 59-83
Pittsburgh … 52-87
NY Mets … 83-60
Philadelphia … 75-64
Florida … 70-75
Atlanta … 69-75
Washington … 51-86
Arizona … 79-65
LA Dodgers … 75-71
Colorado … 67-82
San Francisco … 58-79
San Diego … 53-88
So, What If Games Ended After the 7th Inning? … Arizona would be in town for the opener of the division series, the Cubs would be the Wild Card and the Mets wouldn’t have had a second meltdown in two Septembers. The Cardinals would be having a workout this afternoon, and La Russa would yet to have announced who would be starting Game 1 against Brandon Webb. It’s either Chris Carpenter or Mark Mulder. Check back here for the news when it’s announced …"
As we get ready for the Cubs/Dodgers playoff series, it's pretty obvious that the media is going to suck all the enjoyment out of this postseason. And by media, I mean ESPN.
I turn to Sportscenter to hear Tim Kurkjian discussing all the reasons that the Cubs won't win this year. Included in his expert analysis is the fact that the Cubs have four players on their team with last names that end in "no" (seriously...you can't make this stuff up...he even counted Fontenot).
Then the anchor discussed the bevvy of "curses" that have afflicted the Cubs: black cat, billy goat, ball through Durham's legs, and, of course, Clapp's boyfriend Steve-y B.
The most maddening part about all this nonsense, focusing on the Bartman stuff, is how the media always prefaces any talk about Bartman with "poor Steve Bartman" or a discussion about how Alou over-reacted and how it's not Steve's fault...blah blah blah. Let's assume that's true. It's not the Cubs fans who keep bringing Bartman up. Ask any Cubs fan and they just want to forget it happened and moved on. It's that very same media who keeps shoving the headphone clad Cubs fan back into our face. Seriously. Watch Game 1 on TBS on Wednesday and see how many times Bartman is shown mentioned. Then watch ESPN for highlights and recaps...if the media wants this guy to be cut a break, then maybe they should pull him off the screen?
The “Super Platinum Sombrero” Award: Mark Reynolds. MLB Record 204 strikeouts for the 25-year-old Arizona 3rd baseman. I haven’t seen this many swing and misses since Screech Powers with Lisa Turtle.
The “Please Make A Team Next Year So We Can See Your Wife At The Games, Preferably In A Warm State So She Isn‘t Wearing Many Clothes” Award: Kris Benson. Kris is of course married to former Thigh Of The Week, and 2008 Hot Ladies Tournament #12 seed Anna Benson. We love her. Anyway, Kris was released by the Phillies in August and is currently a free agent.
The “It’s Time To Hang ‘Em Up, And Only A Few People Knew Who You Were Anyway” Award: Mark Sweeney. Tip of the cap to Gaddeus of "The Sports Fellas" for pointing these numbers out a few days ago: .130 BA, 0 HR, 5 RBI, 28 K, .413 OPS. Sure it's only in 98 at bats, but I'd guess half the pitchers in the league would do better in 98 at bats than the 38-year-old Sweeney. Now, with all that being said, I'm sure he'll play in the NLDS against my beloved Cubs and hit 3 game-winning grand slams.
The “Latrell Sprewell” Award: New York Mets. Choked... again. 7.5 game lead blown in the last 17 games last year, and another gigantic collapse this year, including the Marlins beating them to finish the season at home yet again. And they gave their GM Omar Minaya a 4-year extension? Yikes.
The “2 Years Ago We Would’ve Said ‘He’s On The Juice’” Award: Ryan Ludwick. Unlike wine, it's rare that you see an MLB player get much better with age. Ludwick, a 30-year-old outfielder for the Cardinals, never hit higher than .267, and never hit more than 14 homers in 7 seasons with the Indians, Rangers, and Cardinals before 2008. His numbers this year: .299 BA, 37 HR, 113 RBI, .966 OPS.
The “Spent Too Much Time Eating In-N-Out Burgers" Award: Andruw Jones, or "The Bust Of The Century". Just when you thought Barry Zito and his contract looked like a joke, along came Andruw Jones and his 2 year, $36.2 million deal. Andruw who looked incredibly out of shape for the Dodgers this year, hit .158, with 3 HR, 14 RBI, and a .505 OPS in 209 AB.
The “How Is His Arm Still Intact?” Award: CC Sabathia. So the Brewers got CC to get them into the playoffs, knowing that they are unlikely to keep the lefty who will be a free agent. And to say they've gotten as much as they can out of him would probably be understating it. Since July 8th, CC has made 17 starts for the Brewers, with each of his last 2 starts being on 3 days' rest. How he's avoided an arm injury, and better yet, how he's managed to go 11-2 with a 1.67 ERA in that span is absolutely incredible.
The “We Might Not Win A Game If Not For Our Lineup” Award: Texas Rangers. The Rangers led MLB in runs scored(901), hits(1617), total bases(2647), and OPS(.816) to just name a few. However, they had an unbelievably putrid MLB-worst 5.37 ERA, with the next worst being the Orioles at 5.14. They hit an mlb-best .283, but allowed their opponents to hit .288. They still managed to finish 2nd place in the AL West with a 79-83 record. Imagine if they could even pitch almost decently.
Honorable Mention: Detroit Tigers.
The "We Might Not Win A Game If Not For Our Starting Rotation" Award: Toronto Blue Jays. Near the bottom of the league in just about every offensive category, the Blue Jays put together an MLB-best 3.49 ERA. That's even more remarkable when you consider they play in the AL East. Their rotation was just filthy(as Poorly Acquitted let us know in May), led by Roy Halladay's 20 wins(I did a blog about him in July, yes, we're going to keep plugging our other blogs in this blog), followed by AJ Burnett's 18 wins, Jesse Listch's 13 wins and 3.58 ERA, Shaun Marcum's league-leading ERA for a bit before needing Tommy John surgery which will be keep him out for 2009, and Dustin McGowan who has no-hit stuff.
Honorable Mention: Arizona Diamondbacks.
The “If Only We Did This In The 1st Half” Award: Cleveland Indians. The Tribe finished the season 81-81, and will finish 7.5 games out. On July 9th, they were 37-53,and that had been with CC Sabathia as a part of the team through July 6th.
The “Douchiest Home Run Celebration” Award: Ryan Braun. Seriously what the hell was that? And don’t even get me started on the cheesy and quite uncomfortable(especially with Prince Fielder) "untuck 'em" crap.
The "Last Year Is Looking More And More Like A Fluke" Award: Colorado Rockies. Everybody questioned if it was a fluke while their magical run was happening, and it seems that the answer is yes. They dealt with plenty of injuries this year and are probably better than their 74-88 record, but you just don't go on runs like they did last year in baseball without a lot of help. Give them credit for it, no doubt, but they need to make some serious improvements to their pitching staff if they want to make the playoffs again anytime soon.
The “My Back Hurts From Carrying My Team To The Playoffs” Award: Tie between Manny Ramirez and CC Sabathia. 2 of the best mid-season acquisitions in the history of the game. Well, for the current season at least. The Brewers might regret it next year if they go home after the first round against the Phillies, can’t re-sign CC, and watch Matt LaPorta blossom into a star in Cleveland. At least 2 of those things will happen. As for Manny, just wow: .396 BA, 17 HR, 53 RBI, and a 1.232 OPS in 187 at bats for the Dodgers! The Dodgers were 54-54 when Manny joined the team on July 31st, and finished 6 games over .500 as NL West champs.
The "Possibly The Most Hilarious Season Of All-Time" Award: Seattle Mariners. It all started in the off-season with their trade of 5 players to the Orioles for Erik Bedard. Bedard ended up being trash for the Mariners, and the Orioles appear to have some very nice young players now headlined by Adam Jones. The general manger that did that, Bill Bavasi, was then fired in June.
A couple days later, he was asked about Erik Bedard not being able to go past 100 pitches in his starts: "You have to ask him and I know that's no fun. And he's going to have a stupid answer for you can count on it. He's going to have some dumb-ass answer..."He's either gassed because he's laboring. He's protecting himself because he knows even he sticks around and is mediocre he gets another 2 million bucks lopped onto his salary...Why doesn't he go longer? It's a real pointed question. But you need to ask him. And good luck with that." Aboslute gold.
Richie Sexson was released a few days later after he'd been a bust with a gigantic contract, and then manager John McLaren was fired on June 19th. It just kept getting better!
Anyway, the crappiness and drama continues all year long, and the Mariners finished with the worst record in the American League of 61-101. They were eliminated from the division race in August! But the best part of all as Bz posted about last Friday, was the Mariners team apparently wanting to "knock out" Ichiro.
The "Receiving Death Threats From Clapp If The Cubs Lose The World Series In Game 7 Unless It's Against The Angels" Award: Bud Selig and Dan Uggla. I'm sure they'll get swept by the Dodgers so this won't come into play, but if it does, well I blame it on the freaking All-Star Game decides home-field advantage crap. Bud Selig gets the obvious blame for being the dumbass enforcing this nonsense, and Dan Uggla for making like 35 errors in the game for the National League.
You may have noticed it's been a little slower around here than usual over the last couple weeks. Not to worry, this isn't a trend that will continue anytime soon as I'm back and ready to blog like crazy. Why hasn't been there as much content you ask? My previous computer burned out and my computer time had been limited over the last few weeks.
Now? I just got a new laptop/toy today that much like Kirstie Alley and KFC, I can't get enough of.
And now that I have a new computer, I'm looking for new things to do with it with add-ons and such. With that in mind, I decided to head over to a blog our buddy Brian just recently created on Blogger: Eazy Cheezy. At Eazy Cheezy, Brian provides terrific tips, tutorials, tricks, deals, tools, etc., for a variety of things. Plenty of stuff on there that is very useful for you fellow bloggers out there, with ways to enhance your blogs.
Eazy Cheezy's already come in quite handy for me with the new computer. You see, much to my dismay, my Clay Aiken and Celine Dion albums on my Ipod would not go on to my new computer. Would I have to download these songs again? Apparently not, thanks to Brian's blog that shows you how to transfer your Ipod music and videos on to your computer, and plenty more good stuff on ways to best utilize your Ipod on there. Check it out, and make sure to leave Brian a comment saying how the Thigh sent ya.
Born by the name Holly Rachel Vukadinovic, this 25-year-old Australian changed her name to Holly Valance for acting and singing purposes. What a damn insult to Vukadinovic's everywhere!
Holly won awards for her music in Australia, with her three top singles being "Kiss Kiss", "Down Boy", and "Naughty Girl". Oh my. Holly if you're trying to seduce me, it's working.
Holly came over to the states in 2004 for acting and currently lives in Los Angeles. She's been in shows such as Entourage, CSI: Miami, CSI: NY, and Prison Break. Additionally, she's appeared in three movies: Pledge This, DOA: Dead or Alive, and Taken.
Maybe it's just me, but it seems like with the music she's writing, we need to get this thigh into some more sexual, naughty roles in the film and television industry. A permanent role on Entourage would hit the spot. The more exposure she gets, and the less she's wearing, the more likely she is to make a run for the Thighnal Four come March.
So I've decided to do this for at least another week, maybe more. Although people will rarely post comments so you'll never believe me, I surprisingly got some positive feedback, and I'm proud to say(and absolutely shocked) that some of my picks looked pretty good last week. Okay, I'll stop tooting my own damn horn and get to the Week 4 fantasy links and picks...
- The Week 4 Rankings: Rotoworld, ESPN, Yahoo, CBS Sports, Fox Sports.
- The Eagles have some injury situations that many fantasy owners need to monitor this week. Les Bowen of the Philadelphia Daily News is reporting that Donovan McNabb will be good to go Sunday night against the Bears, although the QB is listed as Questionable with a chest contusion. However, RB Brian Westbrook who is also listed as Questionable appears to be unlikely to play, especially if it's a high ankle sprain as Westbrook described it earlier in the week. Furthermore, TE L.J. Smith is listed as Doubtful, as is starting RG Shawn Andrews. So, pick up Correll Buckhalter if you're desperate for a running back this week, but McNabb seems like the only good play from their offense this week.
- Michael Bush could be a solid sleeper again, as Darren McFadden is a game-time decision against the Chargers. Justin Fargas is officially out.
- Tasty Booze which is a kickass website with incredibly similar content to ours has their start and sit picks for Week 4.
- The Bruno Boys give you their Week 4 Start 'em/Sit 'em. They suggest starting Carson Palmer, and benching Derek Anderson. I'm not sure I agree with benching either of them in that matchup, but good stuff from these fantasy gurus as usual regardless.
- US Tailgate ranks Jay Cutler #1 this week at QB and projects 290 yards passing and 2 touchdowns against the awful Chiefs.
- The Fantasy Sports Forum shows us some good Week 4 matchups to exploit. They like pretty much any 49ers offensive player against the Saints woeful pass defense that we saw Jay Cutler and the Broncos destroy last week.
- The Pass Rush likes Tampa Bay WR's Antonio Bryant and Ike Hilliard, as well as Brandon Lloyd, Robert Meachem, and TE Anthony Fasano as guys to pick up off waivers if they're available in your league .
- Lester's Legends gives some quality advice on some fill-in players for Week 4. The bye weeks have started and you're going to need fill-in guys soon if not this week. Fantasy Football Goat also prepares you for the bye weeks with the waiver wire suggestions, sleepers, etc.
Week 4's Best...
QB: Jay Cutler. 8 touchdowns and 914 yards passing in 3 games for the Broncos quarterback. Now he gets to play the Chiefs. Don't be surprised if he doubles his season totals in the first half of this game.
RB: Ladainian Tomlinson. If you're in a receptions league, Reggie Bush might be the better pick. If not, you sure as hell can't go wrong with LT against the Raiders.
WR: Brandon Marshall. 24 catches and 321 yards receiving in 2 games. That's good or something.
TE: Jason Witten. I think he grabs his first touchdown of the season this week at home against the Redskins in what could be a blowout.
K: Rian Lindell. I'm keeping the Lindell love. This week he goes into a dome to play arguably the worst team in the league. That should equal plenty of fantasy success. P.S., somebody should tell him he's spelling his name incorrectly.
D/ST: Carolina Panthers. Yeah, I know the ESPN fantasy nerds are only projecting 3 fantasy points from them this week. I'm starting this defense over the Bucs vs. the Packers, who the nerds project 11 points from. I think Julius Peppers rips off Matt Ryan's helmet, and then Jon Beason eats his face off on Sunday. Then Chris Gamble shits on Michael Turner's chest. And I better get extra points if those things happen.
QB: J.T. O'Sullivan. I picked him up in a league to start over Jason Campbell(my QB situation isn't really this bad, bye week for Peyton). 705 yards passing, with 3 touchdowns, and only 1 interception for the 49ers QB. The Saints are 29th in the league in pass defense, so O'Sullivan should be able to continue his unexpected success through this week at least.
RB: Chris Perry. Only averaging 3 yards/carry, he's yet to run for 75 yards in a game, and he's on the Bengals, so there's a good chance he could be arrested before the game. However, the Browns are allowing 145 yards per game on the ground, and the Bengals might want to simplify the gameplan for a struggling Carson Palmer. Nothing will open up the passing game like a good running game.
WR: Jerricho Cotchery. The 10 catches were nice last week if you're in a receptions league, but if not, he only got you 7 points. Favre's only found him in the end zone once, on that desperation 4th down heave against the Dolphins. Well in what should be a shootout, Cockery should be good for a touchdown, and finally earns his regular last name back against the Cardinals.
TE: Vernon Davis. Dude has to breakout sometime. The 2006 first-round pick caught 52 passes last season, 4 of which for touchdowns. He only has 4 catches in 3 games so far this year. If O'Sullivan is going to have a big game, I think Vernon will be a part of it. If not, blame Mike Martz, not me.
K: Matt Prater. The ESPN nerds are at it again! Their combined rankings place Prater 16th among kickers this week. Please. We'll likely see 30+ points out of Denver this week, so if nothing else plenty of extra points for the Broncos kicker. I like knowing that when I choose my kickers. He's a lock for at least a 5 or 6 spot. Kick a couple field goals and Prater's racking up double digits for ya.
D/ST: Broncos. This would normally be an awful pick, but not against an awful offense. The Broncos played shootout againts 2 great offenses in the last 2 games. The opener though, they didn't let the Raiders offense do anything until the final minutes of the game. I think this could be a similar game.
QB: Matt Ryan. If you actually considered starting him, you're likely one of the people that plays fantasy football but knows nothing about the players, other than what the stats say. Ryan played very well against the Lions and Chiefs at home. Helen Keller could light up those defenses. The other game he played a good defense in Tampa Bay: 13/33, 158 YDS, 0 TD, 2 INT
RB: Chris Johnson. The 4.2 40 YD dash man looks like a good one, but not this week against the Vikings run defense that ranked #1 in the NFL last year, and is currently ranked 4th.
WR: Roddy White. Remember last week how he was my sleeper pick although everybody else was predicting a bad week? 5 catches for 119 yards, and a touchdown. Well we're gonna reverse this bitch for Week 4. ESPN ranks him 15th, I say stay away.
TE: Todd Heap. I just can't see him having a big game at Pittsburgh with a rookie QB in Joe Flacco. Plus, he only has 3 catches in his 2 games.
K: Ryan Longwell. I don't expect the Vikings to be able to put many points up in this one. The Titans are incredibly similar to them, and win games by stopping the run. Well, that's all the Vikings can do on offense is run the ball.
D/ST: Redskins. I don't know why anybody would consider playing them, but I see them middle of the road in a lot of the rankings, and have seen people in my leagues starting them. Well, fix your lineups assholes. They will likely allow at least 4 touchdowns to the Cowboys in Dallas.
Also, if you have a website or come across one that has some good fantasy football material and would like me to link it on here, shoot me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
One Mariners source reported to the media that Ichiro is wholly unliked within the clubhouse and even commented on wanting to "knock him out."
Knock out Ichiro? Umm...why? This sounds like a classic case of jock envy and shows you how far the Mariners have fallen. This was once a team that produced Griffey Jr., Randy Johnson and A-Rod. A team that won 116 games after letting those players go. Then, the face of the organization changed as the East met the West. Ichiro. ROY/MVP. Now he's the scapegoat of a clubhouse whose team has lost over 100 games this season and underachieved top-to-bottom throughout the organization...please. Perhaps the organization should do us all a favor and harakiri themselves. Or better yet, stick to Wii Baseball. I'm sure Nintendo has installed them in the clubhouse for batting practice anyway.
Thursday night means the beginning of season 5 of The Office on NBC and I absolutely cannot wait. Due to the writer's strike, season 4 had 11 less episodes than it was supposed to, so hopefully they really make up for it with a terrific season 5.
I'm just hoping they stick with the funny material and don't go too girly on us with the Jim and Pam crap. More Dwight, more awkward Michael Scott, more Andy, and for the love of God give me some more Todd Packer!
For those of you that don't know, and if I'm spoiling sorry but that's your own fault because you've had awhile to catch up on the show, Jim and Pam are going out, but Jim hasn't sacked up and proposed yet. Meanwhile, Andy proposed to Angela, but the end of season 4 has Phyllis(I think it was her) walking in on Dwight slamming Angela in the office. So, interesting storylines are set up for season 5 for sure.
Here's the description of the season premiere called "Weight Loss" from the official site:
"For the first time, we see what happens over eight weeks of the summer, as a Dunder Mifflin weight loss initiative causes the branch to diet and become obsessed with their weight. Michael (Steve Carell) pursues a friendship with his new HR rep, Holly (Oscar nominee Amy Ryan). Jim (John Krasinski) misses Pam (Jenna Fischer) who attends art school in New York. Dwight (Rainn Wilson), Andy (Ed Helms) and Angela (Angela Kinsey) attend to unfinished business. B.J. Novak, Kate Flannery, Mindy Kaling, Oscar Nuñez, Brian Baumgartner, Leslie David Baker, Phyllis Smith, Creed Bratton and Craig Robinson also star"