Sun Sets on 2009 Solar Sox
Mike Leake (CIN) threw four innings of shutout ball and Lance Zawadzki (SD) had three hits, including a solo home run and a two-run double, leading the Peoria Saguaros to an 8-1 victory over the Mesa Solar Sox at HoHoKam Park this afternoon.
This was the final regular season game for both teams, as the Phoenix Desert Dogs (East Division Champions) and the Peoria Javelinas (West Division champs) will play in the 2009 AFL Championship Game at Scottsdale Stadium on Saturday. The Solar Sox finished in last place in the AFL East Division, with the worst record in the league.
Starlin Castro, Josh Vitters, and Michael Brenly were in the Solar Sox starting lineup today, and went a combined 1-11.
Castro hit 2nd, played six innings at SS, and got three ABs, grounding out all three times (4-3, 5-3, 4-3). He also made only his second error of the AFL season, a bad throw to 1st base. Castro finished the 2009 AFL regular season with a .376 batting average (6th in the league) and nine stolen bases (tied for 3rd).
Vitters returned to the lineup at 3B this afternoon and went 1-4, roping a double down the line into the LF corner with two outs in the bottom of the 4th. He also bounced out 6-3, popped-up to the shortstop, and was called out on strikes. Vitters finished the 2009 AFL campaign 9th in the league in hitting (.353).
Michael Brenly was the Solar Sox catcher today, and went 0-4, flying out to RF, striking out (swinging), popping out to the second-baseman, and reaching base on an E-6 in the 9th. Brenly went 1-13 over his last four AFL games and hit .240 overall.
LHP John Gaub and RHP Blake Parker (both vying for spots on the Cubs 40-man roster) made their final AFL appearances versus the Scorpions last night at Scottsdale Stadium.
Gaub struggled in his one inning of work, throwing 23 pitches, but only 11 strikes. He loaded the bases on two walks and an infield single, but was able to escape the frame with no runs scoring. Gaub struck out one batter (lefty-swinging SF 3B Brandon Crawford).
Parker threw one inning of shutout ball, allowing a two-out double before striking out Steve Susdorf (PHI) for the 3rd out.
LHP James Russell completed his AFL season on Tuesday, working a scoreless 9th. Russell pitched very well, finishing 3rd in the league in ERA (1.26) and tied for 2nd in WHIP (0.98). Russell had a 0.00 ERA over his last ten appearances, allowing eight hits and two walks while striking out 12 over that ten game span.
RHP Andrew Cashner made his final AFL start on Tuesday, and went three innings. He finished 10th in the league in strikeouts.
AZ PHIL'S 2009 AFL FIRST-TEAM ALL-STAR SQUAD:
P - Stephen Strasburg (WAS)
C - Nevin Ashley (TB)
1B - Brandon Snyder (BAL)
2B - Marcus Lemon (TEX)
3B - Brandon Laird (NYY)
SS - Starlin Castro (CUBS)
LF - Colin Curtis (NYY)
CF - Grant Desme (OAK)
RF - Casper Wells (DET)
DH - Matt McBride (CLE)
MVP: Grant Desme
I think that if a team objects to the 1-game wildcard playin game so much, they could just win the pennant and avoid themselves the trouble.
Per Jesse Sanchez at mlb.com, Cubs reportedly have signed 20-year old Cuban OF Eddy Julio Martinez for $3M bonus.
BLOCK: Of course any advantage is an advantage. An MLB, NBA, or NHL team getting the extra game at home in a seven game series is an advantage, I just don't think it is enough of an advantage for winning a division and/or having the best record in a conference or league over the course of an 82-game season (NBA and NHL) or 162 game series (MLB).
TEX takes the opening game from TOR (@TOR) 5-3.
TOR lost bautista + donaldson in-game due to injuries...TEX lost beltre...dunno if any will be lingering issues leading to missed games.
Ride the Kid Magic! Schwarber hadn't homered in a long time before last night.
Greg Maddux was 8-18 in his rookie season. Kyle has the 8 wins down pat.
Think Baby Maddux.
Prof. Harold Hill's THINK system at work.
Kyle is on the far left.
I support this. Hendricks has not only looked better lately but seems to start struggling after a few innings which is better than the 1st in the playoffs.
Just tweeted via Jesse Rogers: Hendricks starting Game 2. Wow. Just wow.
That was good!
Well said. On one hand, I thought the HBP was a bad baseball play -- down 4 runs, put a runner on for a red-hot Fowler. On the other hand, they needed to do something -- I hadn't thought about the warning/pitching inside point. Is Hurdle that smart? He does not strike me that way. By the way -- not clear which fan base you are referring to in your "first" 3rd point.
My unsolicited opinions on topics covered in this thread:
1. I hate the fact that after 162 games, a team could be out after 1 game. However, I think the system is pretty close to perfect right now. 2 of 3 isn't feasible unless they shorten the regular season, and it ices the division winners for way too long. This creates excitement, and rewards the division winners.
Personally, I think the game could have had a very different look had the Pirates held onto the ball and tagged Fowler out on the steal in the first. Cole was clearly frazzled, but if they took that runner off the base, it could have relaxed him a lot.
Football games are played once a week. There are 16 games a year. I'm not even remotely following at all how you can compare the two leagues and playoff systems. It is physically impossible to play a home and away series. The idea of not having any road games in baseball playoffs is certainly a head scratcher.
How is not having the first and last game at home a benefit for the division winners and team with the best record? How is it not an incentive to win the division when a WC team has to blow their top pitcher?
Call me lost.
Two 97+ win teams in a do-or-die, great bullpens, overpowering starters, plenty of pop--hard to believe that game wouldn't be tense. A 4-0 lead is not a blowout, especially in that situation and with the Cubs' young bullpen. Not only would a defensive play here or there make a difference, but you get the win there also on the home plate umps strike zone (generous strike calls for Arrieta, including a couple Ks), and on Schwarber sitting on the right pitch at the right time.
I just noticed the Dodger's payroll today. It is just absurd. $300,000,000+!!
Here is where just some of their money is for 2015:
Carl Crawford $20MM
Brandon McCarthy $17MM
Bronson Arroyo $3.5MM
Darwin B $2.2MM
Dan Haren $10MM
Matt Kemp $18MM
Brian Wilson $10MM
Ryan Webb $2.2MM
Dee Gordon $2.5MM
So I think tomorrow will be the most important test of how far we can go. We can win it all with two pitchers since Arietta has shown he can carry over his success to the post season. If Lester can be dominant also then I think we can go far no matter how Hendricks or Hammel do.
And in terms of pitching just went through to see how we could maximize Lester and Arietta and came up with this (Lester would be going on 4 days rest three times and Arietta twice):