90 on 95

Sports, rumors, and humor from the Ben Franklin to the George Washington

Monthly Archives: March 2011

Yankees Pitching Preview 2011


Let me start by getting this out of the way: Andy Pettite retired. Cliff Lee is Phillie. Everyone get over it. All the Yankees and their fans can focus on is the players they have, not the players that could have been should have been blah blah blah. The players we have are the players we have (until we get King Felix) – so buckle down, get batters outs, and win baseball games.

Let’s dig in.

Starting Rotation

A grizzly mix of veterans, young arms, and hot-tub-time-machine greats of the past.

#1. C.C. Sabathia, Lefty

Amidst a rotation full of chaos and question marks, C.C. Sabathia is the calm before the storm. He’s Mr. Reliable – has won 17+ games every year since 2006. He’s an absolute mule – he logs 200+ innings year in and year out without even blinking. He strikes out a ton of batters and keeps men off base. Most impressively, he is able to do all of this with ease and aplomb, handling the pressure of the New York media with as care-free an attitude as the lovable character he played in a 1967 Disney movie, the Jungle Book.

 

C.C. Sabathia with his uniform on.

 

C.C. Sabathia without his uniform on.

Many experts have C.C. regressing just a bit from his 2010 numbers. I’m going to go out on a short limb and disagree. Sabathia will eclipse his 21 win mark of last season, lower his ERA to just a tick undera 3.00, and finish second in the AL Cy Young voting, behind Justin Verlander and ahead of Jon Lester and King Felix. We all know what C.C. will bring to the table. The bottom line is he needs his supporting cast to step up.

ESPN Projected Stats: 18-11, 3.33 ERA

Laughlin Projected Stats: 23-6, 2.64 ERA

2. AJ Burnett, Righty

Burnett is, without a doubt, one of the most crucial compenents to this team and must prove that he can be a reliable #2 again. Unfortunately, he is also the biggest wild card heading into the 2011 season. New pitching coach Larry Rothschild has worked with Burnett to help simplify his often eratic windup and improve his command. All of the feedback so far has been positive on these adjustments. Burnett had a strong spring, is throwing as hard as he ever has, and has a self proclaimed new, refreshed focus on the game – at least, that’s according AJ. Burnett’s biggest issue in 2010 was his mental toughness, or lack there of, plummeting a once consistent big league pitcher into an unrecognizable image of someone that belonged in the minors (10-15 record, 5.26 ERA).  No coach can help a pitcher from getting in his own way.s That is all up to AJ.  The way I see it, Burnett tasted the bottom (set the franchise record for highest ERA in a season with 180+ IP), and hated hit. For Burnett, the only way is up…or out.

ESPN Projected Stats: 12-10, 4.23 ERA

Laughlin Projected Stats: 14-8, 4.04 ERA

3. Phil Hughes, Righty

Hughes looks to build upon a strong 2010 where he won 18 games and, for the first half of the season, showed everyone what all the fuss was about him. I doubt that he will be able to reach that win total again this season (his run support was ridiculous last year), but I do expect a slightly more mature Hughes to drop his ERA and more importantly, straighten out an otherwise forgettable second half of last season and be a bit more consistent.

ESPN Projected Stats: 13-9, 3.90 ERA

Laughlin Projected Stats: 15-9, 3.65 ERA

4. Ivan Nova, Righty

Nova is still unrefined but has great potential. According to many scouts (and I agree), he could be considered a legit #3 starter by the end of the season. Nova throws hard (93-95mph fastball, can hit 97mph), but lacks a strong enough off-speed pitch to log the amount of strikeouts that a pitcher with his arm should be notching. He’s still very young though and has a steep upside given some time to mature and develop his pitch mix. The thing with Nova is, and our #5 starter for that matter, he just needs to keep us in a game for five to six innings – no one is expecting him to go out and throw seven innings of one run ball every game. Our bullpen is solid and deep enough and our offense is down right scary. Just keep us in the game youngster, the big boys will do the rest.

ESPN Projected Stats: 9-8, 4.46 ERA

Laughlin Projected Stats: 8-8, 4.39 ERA

5. Freddy Garcia, Righty

I’m not going to spend a lot of time on Freddy Garcia because I don’t think he’ll make it past May as a starter. He was outpitched by Bartolo Colon in Spring Training, but given the #5 spot because he actually started major league games last season. All I can say is a mid 80’s fastball in the AL East is like Rosanne in an Old Country Buffet.

 

Hoagies and grinders!

ESPN Projected Stats: 4-6, 5.12 ERA

Laughlin Projected Stats: 3-6, 5.88 ERA

5b. Bartolo Colon, Righty

To be honest, I was a bit surprised that Colon got snubbed for the last spot in the rotation in favor of Freddy Garcia. Colon pitched well in the spring and showed command of good pitches. This will inherently shorten Garcia’s leash to start the season, and will be quickly replaced if he shits the bed early on. I have a hunch that 2011 will be a Renaissance for Colon – no where close to resembling his Cy Young year in 2005 – but solid enough to keep games close while throwing strikes and managing a game like a veteran pitcher should. If this doesn’t happen, my fear is that a Garcia/Colon #5 carousel will swing ’round-and-’round long enough for the Yankees to become so fed up, that they rush Manny Banuelos up to the majors (that is, of course, before they trade for King Felix).

ESPN Projected Stats: NA

Laughlin Projected Stats: 11-7, 4.19 ERA

Bullpen

“I’ve come to the conclusion that the two most important things in life are good friends and a good bullpen.” – Bob Lemon (NYY Manager 1978-1979)

They also forget the luxury that is on your middle relievers and starters to have your 8th and 9th inning completely taken care of. Despite the uncertainty in the starters, it’s nice to know that if you only get 5 innings out of a starter, you only need 2 innings out of your middle relievers and the rest is, well, taken care of.

Middle Relievers – Overall, I am confident in this group to be able to scrap together 2 innings of solid work. I am not going to comment on all of them, only one.

– Joba Chamberlain, Righty – Joba claims his added weight in the off season is all muscle. He claims he built a gym in his basement. I’m convinced that the equipment he had installed was a kegerator.

Bartolo Colon/Freddy Garcia, Righties

– David Robertson, Righty

– Boone Logan, Lefty

– Luis Ayala, Righty

– Pedro Feliciano, Lefty (DL)

– Damaso Marte, Lefty (DL)

(Set-Up) Rafael Soriano, Righty

Fans of baseball and the media have been focusing so much on the question marks surrounding the starting five that they forget that the Yanks signed one of the most electric, young relievers in the game, Rafael Soriano. Basically, we have one of the top 5 closers in the league as our set-up man. Yup.

(Closer) Mariano Rivera, Righty

Will Mariano Rivera continue to be the best closer in the history of baseball at age 41? You bet your ass!

Cutter #1, Cutter #2, Cutter #3. You’re out. Game over.

Here’s one not-so-bold prediction to close out the pitching preview.

– Andy Pettite will toy with the idea of coming out of retirement. When he doesn’t, the Yankees…

– ….will acquire King Felix at the trade deadline for Dellin Betances, Ivan Nova, an unnamed prospect, and a shit load of cash.

Yanks over Braves in 6 for their 28th!

The Daily Drive – March 31st, 2011


The Daily Drive will be a daily (duh) post of all the prominent things going on in the sports world we didn’t cover, and anything else we might want to share with you. Except our actual predictions for the upcoming MLB season.  We took them to Vegas so we can win millions and go looking for hookers and cocaine.

C.C. Sabathia throwing the 1st pitch of the 2011 MLB season

– We are officially off and running on the 2011 MLB season.  Highlights from the early games include Jayson Werth going 1-4 and his team scoring zero runs.  Are you having fun yet JDub?  New York is getting the ticker tape ready after a text book 6-3 victory over the Tigers.  Solid outting from C.C., a couple long balls, and the 7th-8th-9th combo of Joba, Soriano, Mo looked to be ready for postseason play.  All in all a text book win for the evil empire.  To commemorate the start of a new season I give you the best stand-up about baseball ever.

– The Sixers had another solid victory against one of the hotter teams in the Western Conference last night.  But who cares about that the bigger story is that rapper extraordinaire Lou Williams dropped a bangin new track!

– Who doesn’t love bacon? Bacon and eggs, bacon on a sandwich, bacon flavored oxygen, wait what?  Yes this is real.  Introudcing, BaconAir!  Now you can have the taste of bacon, anywhere you go.  America, you are amazing. And fat. But I’ll go with amazing.

– Speaking of fat.  An Ohio man died yesterday.  He was fat.  How fat you ask?  He was stuck to a reclining chair for the past two years.  His skin was literally fused to the chair.  Firefighters had to remove a section of the wall to get him out of the house.  Yup, that is disturbing.  However the worst part? He lived with…his girlfriend.  Nothing says sexy like a 500 pound man who’s glued to a recliner!  I think he skipped BaconAir and just ate full sized pigs.

-The New York Rangers offensive juggernaut continued their onslaught last night scoring….zero goals.  But hey it was against the Buffalo Sabres who have U.S. goalie phenom Ryan Miller. Oh wait he was hurt and the great Jhonas Enroth was in net for the Sabres.  Henrik Lundqvist was stellar once again, but the Rags offensive struggles make me wonder why everyone is so in love with this team.

– Meet Montana lawmaker Alan Hale.  Besides rockin a baller Colonel Sanders bow tie, he also is very against DUI laws.  Hitch hiking and driving are their only options?  I figured they just ride cattle to the bars out in Montana.

– One last baseballish related post.  Here is Anna Benson.  Sadly her husband Kris is done with baseball which in turn means not seeing Anna as much.  However she is not done being hot.

2011 MLB Preview: Expert Predictions


2011 Preview

It’s finally here.  It’s been 149 days since Brian Wilson struck out Nelson Cruz to clinch the title of World Series Champions for the San Francisco Giants.  But today, last year is officially in the history books and we begin the long journey towards crowning a new world champion.  Will we see the Giants pitching staff carry them to another World Series?  Will a healthy team mean a return to the fall classic for the Yankees?  Do the Phillies have too many injuries to overcome?  Will the Mets lose 100 games?  Will the Red Sox two big free agency signings reignite the rivalry for AL supremacy?  All these questions will be answered as the season unfolds, besides the Mets losing a 100 games- that’s a given already.  All of us here at 90on95 decided to write up why baseball is so insanely awesome, as well as our own predictions for upcoming 2011 season, here they are.  Enjoy the season and most importantly, GO PHILLIES…..and from the other losers who write for this site…Go Yankees.



Yankees or Philies fan, this is sport that the authors of 90on95 hold near and dear to their hearts.  We ask ourselves a question that is the root of our insanity and the genesis of our fiery opinions towards the baseball teams separated by 90 miles and one highway: Why are you excited for baseball?

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Phillies Pitching Preview


Hey Baseball…..Suck it

Pitchers

Rich Dubee is a lucky S.O.B.  He has the job of managing 4 of the best pitchers in the game and one of the best #5 starters in history.  He basically is being paid this year to watch artwork on the bump at CBP.  Don’t get me wrong, hes one of the best pitching coaches in the game, having helped Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt develop a changeup that makes them even more lethal (most thought this to be impossible).  His one tough job this year will be doing his best with a makeshift bullpen while Closer Brad Lidge recovers from his annual arm injury.  Life is good in the bullpen down at the Bank, Life is good.

#1 Roy Halladay

BEST.  PITCHER.  IN.  BASEBALL.  This guy threw a perfect game on May 29th,2010 Vs. the Fish in South Florida on a night where there might have been about 11,000 fans maximum there.  He threw a No-Hitter against the Reds in his first playoff appearance (while I was in attendance no less).  He had 9 complete games, 4 of which were shutouts, threw 250 innings, had 219 Strikeouts, and most amazingly of all…..30 FUCKING WALKS.  Oh yeah and he finished 21-10 and won the NL Cy Young award his first year in the league.  Not only is he the most dominant guy in the league, he’s probably the best teammate the Phillies have had in a long time.  After he threw his perfect game he had 40 watches each personally engraved at a value of $6,000 each given to all his teammates and members of the staff.  You know what they said? “We did this together. Congratulations.”  Just recently he gave Chooch an exact replica of the Cy Young award he won because he said he could have never done it without him.  My personal favorite moment of the year though was when he pulled his groin in the NLCS against the Giants and still dominated them with about 60% of his physical ability.  Last year was just the beginning, the NL better look the fuck out

Captain Dans Predictions*

(I don’t need those fuckhead ESPN analysts messing with my head)

23-9 2.45 ERA 10 CG’s 3 SO 211 K’s 34 BB’s

1 No-Hitter

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The Daily Drive – March 30,2011


The Daily Drive will be a daily (duh) post of all the prominent things going on in the sports world we didn’t cover, and anything else we might want to share with you. Except last nights math homework. For realsies. Mr. G said if he caught me cheating again, I’d get detention for a week, and he was super cereal.

-True story: I got a splinter once when I was, I don’t know, 8 years old. Cried and cried and cried, cause I thought it was never going to come out of my finger. What? No, I’ve never played ice hockey competitively, why do you ask?

And Phillies nation breathes a sigh of relief, as Luis Castillo has been cut.

-Interested in keeping your ashes at the Daytona Speedway? Pray no more! P.S., don’t ever change Florida.

-Jason Reid of the Washington Post tells us Carmelo Anthony is not a franchise player. No shit, Jason, now tell me what color the sky is.

-The Flyers got a huge win last night, besting the Penguins (who recieved some good news today) 5-2. The Capitals lost in a shootout, so the Flyers moved to 3 points ahead of Washington for top spot in the East.

-Hug not drugs must be the motto in the 76ers locker room.

-The Rangers take on Buffalo tonight, in what could help solidify at least the 7th spot in the standings for the Rags. Meanwhile, Greg Wyshynski of Puck Daddy asks if the New York Rangers are the sleeper in the east.

-Jeter will be batting, GASP!, second on opening day. Suddenly all those problems in the Middle East and Japan seem so insignificant now.

Guess how many hoagies I can fit in my mouth at once?

– Oh, Sofia Vergara, even in a one piece bikini you are sexier than 99% of the population. (via)

 

Happy birthday, Dad!!


2011 MLB Preview: Yankees Hitting


2011 Preview

So enough of this mumbo-jumbo talk about the Phillies.  Just because you win one World Series against a weak American League opponent (yes thats right folks, the Phillies’ recent “culture of winning” is really just a lone championship against the lowly expansion team from Florida) doesn’t mean you are perennial champions.  Let’s get serious folks, you are the losingest franchise in sports history.  Now suddenly you have World Series or bust expectations?  It’s really starting to look like the Phillies’ team MVP this year may be their medical staff.

Now, on to the greatest franchise in sports’ history.  The Yankees were a just a few frustrating pitching outings away from a world-record 41st return to the World Series in 2010, and again the question mark is pitching (until they use their stacked minor league arsenal to go out and get King Felix).  The only question surrounding the Yankees’ lineup this year is how can they not lead the league in runs for a third straight season?  Defensively the Yankees boast gold glove winning defenders at all 5 infield positions, and have 10 time gold glover Andruw Jones as their first outfielder off of the bench.  The Yankees start the season relatively healthy (especially A-rod) with only a few minor nagging injuries to Swisher and Granderson.  There shouldn’t be too many surprises here.  Let’s begin:

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Time to Nut Up Fly Guys


” GO TO THE FUCKING NET HARTNELL!”

 

Huge game tonight vs. the hated Penguins.  This Guy says its the biggest of the year.  Hopefully the Fly Guys can generate some offense on the PP to help out young goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky tonight.  Bob has been playing well as of late but the flyers are still without a shutout this season.  Could tonight be the night?  Lets hope so.

 

 

 

The Daily Drive – March 29th, 2011


The Daily Drive will be a daily (duh) post of all the prominent things going on in the sports world we didn’t cover, and anything else we might want to share with you. Like maybe girlfriends? Come on, just like those guys who played for the Yankees.

– The Flyers play an important game against the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight, and need to win if they want to continue to hold their 2-point conference  lead over the Caps, who are in play against Carolina.

The 76ers beat the Bulls last night, and with the potential to upset the Miami Heat in the playoffs (someone is going to, right?), it begs the question that with the Flyers making a Cup run and the Phillies playing with what could be the best pitching staff in baseball, will anyone care? Meanwhile, the Knicks took out the Magic in OT, and everyone in NY loves Carmelo again, at least until they lose a game.

– Erik Ainge, QB for the New York Jets, comes clean about his past drug habits, saying, ““My addiction is with the hardest of hard drugs — heroin, cocaine and alcohol. During my days of using, I was a really bad drug addict. I would’ve made Charlie Sheen look like Miss Daisy,”.” He apparently used to bang a girl I used to play beer pong with, so he’s OK in my book.

You know, at the least Bernard Hopkins could have answered Jean Pascal. Dude just wanted to know if you were willing to take the test. No need to be rude. I like the french reporters crying out during the scuffle. “Non, Non, vee shall threw out zee banana and zey vill stop, now, hand me ze wine and my cigarette.” Because the French are incredibly racist.(video found via)

-The NFL draft, as well my heart, will go on.

-Meanwhile, Chad “Johnson” Ochocino has been named a reserve for the MLS club, Sporting KC (cool name.) Because, who gives a fuck, it’s American soccer, right?

Yup, those are friend chicken wings. Have a great night! (via)

NL East Preview


With the extensive previews pertaining to both the Phillies and Yankees coming in the next few days (Phillies hitting dropped earlier today) we here at 90on95 want to give those fans a sense of how the other teams are going to be doing in their respective divisions. With that, we bring you, the NL East.

This wouldn’t be a Philly/NY blog if we didn’t think that the Phillies or Yankees would be first in each other their divisions. Here’s how we think the rest of the NL East will round out.

2. Florida Marlins

I’m sure a lot of Braves fans just threw up their arms, but this is my post, and I’m picking the teams. That being said, the Marlins are a curious bunch. When things go right, they go right. When they go bad, well this team looks like an AA team. Like most NL Clubs, the Marlins chances for the postseason rely on their pitching. Lead by my pick for Cy Young, Josh Johnson (more on that later in the week), there are not many questions about the Fish starting 5. With JJ leading the way, he is followed closely by Ricky “No-No” Nolasco and Anibal “the cannibal” Sanchez, and who could forget Chris “Strikeout-or-Homerun” Volstad, in the 2-3-4 spot.  Apparently Javier Vazquez plays for the Fish now, so I’d pencil him in as the 5th starter. (I’ll be honest I’m a hockey, soccer, and then baseball fan. If it wasn’t for this post I wouldn’t have known about Vazquez.) It’s when you take a look at the bullpen that things become, well, a bit fishy. Burke Badenhop is without a doubt the best reliever of the bunch, but look for him in the long relief role, or to clean up any mess the Fish starters happen to make. Brian Sanches and Clay Hensley provided fine numbers last year (3.99 and 2.16 ERA’s, respectively) and should continue to put up the same in what should be the set up role for either of them. Good old Leo Nunez is back to close, so unless it’s a 5 run Fish lead, things are going to get interesting in the 9th. He finished last year 4-3, with 30/38 for saves.

Arguably the most appropriate photo of him

As for the defense/hitting of this team, it’s loaded with potential but with the chance of good comes the almost guarantee of failure. Hanley is going to put up his numbers like he does every year (30+ steals, 20+ HR’s, 70+ RBI’s) but that’s a given. It going to be interesting to see how guys getting their first full year in the majors are going to react. Guys like RF Mike Stanton (22 Hr’s, 59 RBI’s in 100 games last year), LF Logan Morrison (2 HR’s, 18 RBI’s in 62 games) and 3b Donnie Murphy (3 Hr’s, 16 RBI’s). Those guys have yet to prove themselves as full time big league players, and this will be the perfect opportunity for them to do so. Newcomers like C John Buck and 2b Omar Infante should bring some much needed veteran leadership, as long as HanRam doesn’t get in their way.

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2011 MLB Preview: Phillies Hitting


2011 Preview

This is the first of a bunch of MLB previews, predictions and all that cool stuff.  We’ll be breaking down the Yankees and Phillies lineups and pitching staffs in depth.  We’d do the Mets, but what’s the point of discussing a 5th place team?  Yes, sorry to their fans who read us they will finish last in the NL East this year, but that’s not important let’s get into the two teams that have a realistic shot at winning the World Series, we’ll start with the Philadelphia Phillies.

Most fans would be thrilled with what the Phillies did last year.  They had the most wins in Major League Baseball, won their 4th straight NL East Championship, and made their 3rd straight trip to the National League Championship Series.  Fans got to watch Roy Halladay throw a perfect game against the Marlins, a playoff no-hitter versus the Reds and become just the fourth Phillies pitcher to win the Cy Young Award.  Despite a season Pirates fans would cut their legs off for, everyone looked at last year as a failure.  If you would tell me ten years ago that people would consider losing in the NLCS a failure, I’d smack you.  I remember sitting through the Desi Relaford, Rico Brogna, Abraham Nunez, Benito Santiago, and Rickey Otero days thinking I may not see the Phillies have a .500 season in my lifetime.

Instead fans have been treated to success.  And now all they except is success.  The Phillies have had 3 straight 90 win seasons and have been above .500 in nine of their last ten seasons.  So I guess that’s what makes last year so hard to swallow.  Seeing Ryan Howard standing there with his bat resting on his shoulder, baffled by the low and away cutter is a sickening picture.  And that is what makes success great.  Ten years ago that strikeout would be on fan appreciation day in front of 20,000 people, 17,000 of whom just wanted to win a years supply of Tastykakes.  But this strikeout was in front of 46,062 fans living and dying pitch by pitch anticipating something great.  It happened in 08′ and nearly happened in 09′, but last year wasn’t meant to be.  A failure? To some yes, but a playoff loss beats watching a team fighting to win 70 games with AAA players on the field.

I’m going to do my best to break down the Phillies hitting today and Captain Dan will be taking the pitching side.  I’m sure his preview could just be two words, FOUR ACES, and that would suffice, but we’ll give a solid preview and perspective from two of the biggest Phillies fans you’ll ever meet.

Project Opening Day Lineup
1. Jimmy Rollins, SS
2. Placido Polanco, 3B
3. Raul Ibanez, LF
4. Ryan Howard, 1B
5. Shane Victorino, CF
6. Ben Francisco, RF
7. Carlos Ruiz, C
8. Luis Castillo, 2B

Injuries (both starting season on DL): Chase Utley, Dominic Brown

Opening Day Bench
– Ross Gload
– Brian Schneider
– Michael Martinez
– Wilson Valdez
– John Mayberry

Player by Player Analysis/Projections after the jump

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