Rounding the Bases

The Catcher is back, and you’re gonna be in trouble. Hey ya, hey ya, The Catcher is back.

Sorry for the lack of posts over the past week. With two weeks remaining, school has me by the balls. I have had several tests and papers due over the past couple of weeks. This week looks a little better. Political Science and Spanish will throw some work my way, but I should at least get some “This Day …” posts up. Actually, I’m mad at myself for not getting them up over the past week, but after doing all the other stuff, you just don’t feel like it sometimes. Regardless, this week should be better and finals week will actually be great considering I have my A’s pretty much sewn up. On to some baseball.

– Minnesota gets Joe Mauer back on Tuesday. Considering the Twins are only a half-game back, the other teams didn’t do enough to pull ahead and the Twins didn’t do enough to kill themselves at 9-9. Look for the Twins to stay mediocre for a week while Mauer gets back into it, but they’ll take off after this.

– Another reason to like the Twins going forward — Francisco Liriano can’t be this bad all season. At 7.06, his ERA is horrible, but his 4.95 FIP shows he hasn’t been that bad. His 50% LOB% is really low, and I imagine that will go up significantly. His .313 BABIP is also a little high. What might worry some is that his walks have gone up to 3.79, but I imagine his control and command have been his main issue. Once he gets that back, he will be just fine, making the Twins harder to beat.

– Kevin Youkilis is having a quietly spectacular season at .444/.551/.794 with 5 HR and 13 RBI with 20 runs. However, Victor Martinez just isn’t getting his due. A .405/.468/.676 line isn’t as good as Youk’s, but the Indians have to love the comebacks being made by Martinez and Travis Hafner, whose .298/.388/.586 line is promising. Now, can they keep it up, and can the Indians pitch (29th in ERA)?

– We love Aaron Hill’s defense, but it’s been a topsy-turvy season so far for Hill. He’s hitting .376/.407/.624 (career .289/.342/.419), but his defense has slipped (-.8 UZR). Just goes to show you how early in the season it is. For every one and every team, don’t freak out or get too excited.

– The Mets starting rotation sucks after Johan Santana. Santana has a slick 0.70 ERA in almost 26 innings. After that, you have to muliply his ERA by 10 to get to the next-best starter. Pelfrey sits at 6.32, Hernandez is at 7.31, Maine has a 7.47, and Ollie rounds out the rotation with a 7.80 ERA. They’ve taken advantage of being at home with a combined 3.25 ERA, but they’ve been devastated on the road with a 5.47 ERA. Overall, they’re 15th with a 4.39 ERA. How? A nice 2.87 ERA from their relievers. Brian Stokes (0.00 ERA in 8.1 IP), Bobby Parnell (1.86 ERA in 9.2 IP), Francisco Rodriguez (2.70 in 6.2), and JJ Putz (3.00 in 9) have been the stalwarts saving the day and keeping the Mets at a respectable 8-9.

– Telling? The Red Sox are 9-2 at home but 2-4 on the road. Even more telling? The Giants are 6-2 at home but 2-6 on the road.

– The Dodgers are cooking at 13-5, and they’re +42 run differential is impressive. As for the guys ridiculing me for taking Chad Billingsley in the fantasy draft — eat it (4-0, 2.05 ERA, and 26 K in 26 IP). Of course, that means Billingsley will get hurt next week and the Dodgers will lose 90. But geez, they’re doing the damage aren’t they? Then again, they’ve played the NL West and Houston.

– We can now say Kosuke Fukudome is a quick starter. So far, he’s .345/.458/.603 with 3 HR and 6 2B. Last season, he was .305/.416/.421 by the end of April. Of course, he faltered after the break. Let’s see how this season goes.

– Most dominating closer? Jonathan Broxton gets my vote. 8 games, 9.1 IP, 6/6 in saves, and 15 K’s all while allowing a whole three baserunners (2 hits and a walk). Yeesh. If not for a Mark Reynolds triple and Augie Ojeda sacrifice fly, he’d look even better (note: that appearance was in a 11-2 blowout of Arizona; maybe he just wasn’t focusing).

– Honorable Mentions for above are Heath Bell and Ryan Franklin. Both have perfect 0.00 ERA’s. They’ve both only given up 3 hits and 2 walks in about 8 IP. Both have 8 K’s. Bell has 7 saves with Franklin having 5 saves and a hold. Kind of eery really.

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