What's Making Me Talk: Walk-Off Winners and Injured Pitchers

Nino CollaSenior Writer IJuly 14, 2008

One of the most boring days in the history of the universe happens to occur this week as a result of the MLB All-Star Break.

It is none other than No-Sport Wednesday, as I like to call it. No legitimate sporting event occurs for the only day in the calendar year; at least, not one that is worthy of watching or following.

You know I could be realistically wrong, but this is the one day you can bank on every year that will not have any sporting event.

This coming Wednesday is so unimportant to the sporting universe that ESPN uses that day to conduct their V-Foundation Auction on the Radio. No sports talk whatsoever; just a full day of them auctioning off once-in-a-lifetime experiences and sports memorabilia.

Now, I encourage this. It's great to see ESPN doing something great for the memory of Jim Valvano and the battle against cancer.

But no stories to talk about?

Bleacher Report should get into full swing on Wednesday and provide everyone (me) with something to talk about. Otherwise, there is no reason to even get out of bed on June 16.

What's Making Me Trade Away My Ace

Well this is just a lovely scene we have going on in the National League Central, is it not?

Mere hours after throwing themselves onto the top of the MLB universe by trading for CC Sabathia (hold the periods), the Milwaukee Brewers became second fiddle to the Chicago Cubs once again.

Chicago pulled off a deal to land oft-injured pitcher Rich Harden, and really I can't see any fault in the deal they made.

Sure, Harden has had injuries in the past that have made even me, an Indians fan, pull my hair out. But Chad Gaudin isn't a bad insurance policy, and Matt Murton didn't have much of an immediate future in the Cubs outfield, did he?

You also have to factor in the element of Harden having an option year on his contract that the Cubs can exercise, if they want. If they feel comfortable with it, they get Harden for another full year.

If not, Harden's stuff has to get some team enamored enough to give him a nice deal, and the Cubs could garner a decent draft selection in return.

All signs are pointing to this being a great deal for Chicago though. Harden made his debut last weekend and struck out 10 over five-and-one-third innings. His pitch count was rather high for him to continue, but I'm sure the Cubs will take five solid, shutout innings from him any day of the week.

What's Making Me Sad

From one former Oakland pitcher to another, Mark Mulder is at it again. And this time, he couldn't even complete a start.

Oh, how far Mulder has fallen since his glory days with the Oakland Athletics.

Mulder is one of my favorite pitchers in the game, and he's only 30-years old. However, since going to St. Louis, he has had nothing but injury troubles hamper him.

Mulder spent the first half of this season rehabbing his twice-operated shoulder. He made his first start since last year on Thursday and lasted just 16 pitches before exiting the game with a shoulder strain.

I really like watching Mark Mulder throw the baseball, and it's a shame to see him get dealt this hard luck. Hopefully this isn't the end of the line, but if returning will put further damage on his shoulder, maybe he should take all the time he needs.

What's Making Me Happy

Can anyone understand what the Pittsburgh Pirates' announcers were saying as Jason Michaels hit a two-run walk-off home run on Saturday night?

I've seen the play and heard the call about 10 times now, and I'm still puzzled as to just what exactly what was going on.

However, what a scene that was for Pittsburgh, especially in a season where they face below-.500 turmoil once again. It's nice to see something positive.

With the struggles of Cleveland, I've found myself occasionally switching over on FSN Pittsburgh to see what the Pirates are up to. They have a competitive team for the most part, but between injuries and inconsistencies to some of their pitchers like Matt Capps, Ian Snell, and Tom Gorzelanny, they can't get over that hump.

For one night though, I think the Pittsburgh faithful felt like they couldn't lose. And guess what? They couldn't, as Jason Michaels sent a deep fly into left field to end the game once and for all.

The postgame interview was a scene in itself as Doug Mientkiewicz jumped on camera in Michaels' alternate ketchup-colored jersey and sprayed him with shaving cream.

What I Am Randomly Thinking About

It almost seems as if Ben Sheets was selected to start the All-Star Game by default. You would think guys like Brandon Webb and Edinson Volquez deserve the nod over Sheets. No doubt Sheets has had a great season, but Volquez and Webb both pitching in the past two days probably plays a factor in that decision.

Speaking of Ben Sheets. How about him and Dave Bush showing up CC Sabathia's debut by striking out at least 10 each in back-to-back starts?

Not to be out-done, Sabathia went ahead and showed up the Brewers lineup by hitting one out of the park on Sunday. He's only the third pitcher to hit a home run as a member of both leagues.

Is the magic in Tampa Bay running out?

I think Tampa is here to stay in the race, but the pressure might be getting to the young Rays team. I saw an over-anxious lineup these past four games against Cleveland.

Ian Kinsler is absolutely lighting it up for Texas the past month. To think I picked him up off waivers in one of my fantasy leagues. His 25-game hit streak is the longest in the majors this season. Josh Hamilton's incredible RBI season might be overshadowing how good Kinsler is playing.

Jayson Stark is always making you think in his Rumblings & Grumblings column on ESPN. This week he was talking about massive changes to the entire All-Star experience.

One of my favorite ideas is letting CC Sabathia hit in the home run derby. He also suggests getting a group of first and second-year players playing a group of minor-league prospects. A revamped Futures Game if you will.

Speaking of the Derby, my official pick is no doubt a homer to go with all the homers being hit. I really like the chances of the lefties, and Grady Sizemore's uppercut swing might be beneficial to this sort of competition. Josh Hamilton has to be the odds-on favorite, however. I also like Dan Uggla's chances of doing some damage.

I always appreciate the work of Chris Mottram over at The Sporting News Blog. He is taking his stalking game to the MLB All-Star game as he creeps into the back of photos of certain media figures. Where do I sign up for a job like that?