What's Making Me Talk: Let's Reach 20 and the Fall of Almonte
Last week, I had to forget putting out one of these due to a move and class starting the day after that. So, I'm sort of back, loaded with older stories that I want to talk about.
Thankfully, some of these stories are still fresh in the spotlight. You have to love it when that happens.
With that though, let me chime in real quick on some older stories that need their due anyway.
It's great to see Rocco Baldelli back in uniform and playing for the Tampa Bay Rays. Not only that, he is healthy and playing well. He's hitting .351 with a couple of home runs, and since Carl Crawford is out, his addition is a real boost to that lineup.
Along those same lines, how about Carl Pavano coming back and pitching well? The Yankees are pretty much out of the division race, so I can feel comfortable saying this, but I'm glad to see him back.
I might as well continue my walk around the American League East and give the Red Sox their due as well.
What's Making Me Chant "MVP! MVP! MVP!"
The little man's man that packs a powerful punch, Dustin Pedroia is hitting cleanup for one of the most potent lineups in all of baseball!
Can you believe that?!
In his first game, he didn't knock in a run, but he went 4-4 and even garnered and intentional walk from Ozzie Guillen, who was just fed up with having to pitch to the little guy.
What is there not to love about Dustin Pedroia?
He leads the AL in average. He plays a rough and tough second base, with dirt always on the front of his jersey. Every time he hits a home run, he looks like he's swinging out of his shoes and swinging a bat that is actually bigger than his entire body.
Not only that, Pedroia plays bigger than his height. If I can get cliché-like here, Pedroia might be small in height, but he plays taller than most players in the game.
I love the quote by Guillen, who is a big fan of players who play the game the way Pedroia does.
"They were important outs, too. He had an unbelievable weekend. He puts on a lot of pressure. He's the type of player that keeps coming and coming."
If this kid keeps it up, I might give him my not-important vote for MVP. In a year where there is no real clear-cut choice, why not? He is pretty much an afterthought when you think of the Boston Red Sox and their offense. But, with Manny Ramirez gone and J.D. Drew on the disabled list, Pedroia is coming up big.
What's Making Me Happy
If you have a good half hour or so sometime this week and didn't get a chance to see the story on Outside The Lines last week, make sure you read one of the more recent E-Ticket stories on ESPN.com.
Anyone who is anyone knows the name of Danny Almonte. You may not know the full story or the entire background, but you've heard the name.
To refresh your mind a little bit, Almonte was young, but not young enough, flamethrower with a slick slider that shut everyone down at the Little League World Series years ago.
It was later exposed that Almonte was too old to take part in the competition and all his no-hitters and all his team's victories had to be wiped clean from the history books.
There was an underlying story developing though, as the last hitter he got out in his final no-hitter was a kid by the name of Matthew Cerda.
Cerda was drafted by the Cubs in this year's MLB Draft, and while he was eligible, Danny Almonte was not.
It truly is a classic case of "Revenge of the Baseball Gods" as a kid who did things the right way finally got rewarded for his efforts.
In a way, I feel bad for Danny Almonte, being a young kid and having that sort of issue thrust upon him. I'm pretty sure it wasn't his decision to pitch in the Little League World Series at an older age and for that, I feel bad for him for being put into that situation.
What's Making Me Get Over the Hump
Brandon Webb will have plenty of more chances to get his 20th win of the season, but after two failed opportunities, his chance to absolutely pile on the win total is dwindling.
Cliff Lee will try and pass him tonight against Chicago, as he has his first attempt at 20 wins. I finally thought we'd see a 20-game winner before the month of September. I'm sort of disappointed he didn't get it done Sunday night.
Webb got absolutely shelled last night against the Dodgers, giving up eight runs in just three-plus innings of work. A lot of his pitchers were up in the zone, and Los Angeles took advantage of that.
There is still plenty of time for Webb to pile on that win total, but there is no telling how many he could have had if he notched 20 in the month of August. You have to figure that the 20th win is the hardest one to get, no matter what a pitcher might tell you.
Once he gets over that hump, there is no telling how free and easy he might be out there.
Hopefully Cliff Lee keeps his focus Monday and gets the big milestone out of the way.
What I Am Randomly Thinking About
I've got a random scenario I'd like to pose to you right here. How many runs are scored if we pit the Texas Rangers and the Detroit Tigers in 10-straight games? I think if you like offensive baseball, that would be entertaining enough.
Those two pitching staffs are so bad it is sickening. To think that they both traded away young starting pitchers making waves in the National League this year.
So, was it an error was it a hit in CC Sabathia's official one-hit shutout on Sunday? I think it was an error, but at this point, the emotion is all worn off. Don't do that to CC after the fact, it isn't the same having a no-hitter and not being able to celebrate it on the field of play.
Instant replay has officially been installed into baseball but so far no reason has come up for it to be used. I really want to see it in action and see if it works. I'm a fan of it for the boundary calls right now; I think it will help the umpires get it right. From there, I don't know how much farther it can be taken, but for now, I support the addition.
Greg Maddux is back with the Dodgers? How much longer is this guy going to pitch? He's a pitching god amongst everyone in my opinion. I want him to put a nice hefty distance between himself and Roger Clemens in the win column.
I really feel for Cincinnati and fans of the Reds. The front office of the Reds' organization issued a letter out to all their fans. I know how that feels, and I certainly understand how one would feel about a letter like this.
Hopefully though, this is the last time the Reds have to put out a letter to their fanbase. You start looking pretty stupid when you keep writing to your fanbase, telling them, "The future is coming."
Don't look now, but we have a rematch of the series that just ended coming up this weekend. Dan Haren, Brandon Webb, and probably Randy Johnson could all pitch against the Dodgers in a crucial three-game set for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
With the series win by the Dodgers this past weekend, they are back in the race, and this coming weekend's series could mean a lot, depending on what happens between now and then.
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