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2 And A Hook Podcast #14: The Races, The Red Sox + The Crowd Hitter Concept

The 2 And A Hook Podcast will be running 7 consecutive shows on Thursdays Sept. 19 + 26, and Oct 3,10,17,24,31) - Join us for our extensive playoff coverage from Chuck Booth, Chris Lacey, James Acevedo and many other guests!

The 2 And A Hook Podcast will be running 7 consecutive shows on Thursdays Sept. 19 + 26, and Oct 3,10,17,24,31) – Join us for our extensive playoff coverage from Chuck Booth, Chris Lacey, James Acevedo and many other guests!

’2 And A Hook’ is an expression from Baseball:  ‘Throw the guy 2 Fast balls and then a Hook’ (AKA Curve Ball, Wiggly one, Chair etc..)

By James Acevedo – Host (Podcast Veteran )

Guests On The Show:

On today’s show, brought to you by www.mlbreports.com 

& yours truly The Bench Warmers Show.

i start it off by wishing the head of MLB Reports Chuck Booth    a Happy Birthday today then i talked about the A.L. East race & who will prevail at the end…

I also get to talk to the return of the Vice Prez of MLB Reports.com Chris Lacey (30 MIN mark and a 25 MIN Segment)

We talked about all the division & wild card races in both leagues, Matt Harvey’s season ending injury which is a big blow to the mets & the mets trading Byrd & Buck to help the pirates…

CLICK THE READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY ICON or CLICK PAST THE MLB REPORTS LOGO

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Mike Carp(e) Diem

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 Wednesday June 19th, 2013

Mike Carp was originally a 9th round pick of the New York Mets out of High School in 2004. He made him Major League debut in 2009 with the Mariners at just 22 Years of Age.

Mike Carp was originally a 9th round pick of the New York Mets out of High School in 2004. He made his Major League debut in 2009 with the Mariners at just 22 Years of Age.  Over the last 4 years. he has hit for a Career 3 Slash Line of .266/.336/.796 in 650 AB.  This is basically a season worth of At-Bats for the man from Long Beach. CA.  With those numbers, the LHB has 26 HRs, 38 Doubles and 96 RBI.  This pickup by the Red Sox may turn out to be a real bargain of the year.

By Ryan Dana (MLB Reports Writer and Red Sox Correspondent): 

I knew I would be devoting an article to this player sooner or later, but what better time than now? From top prospect to not being good enough for The Seattle Mariners 40 man roster, Mike Carp has emerged as a steady contributor to the current 1st place team in the AL East, The Boston Red Sox .

The 6 FT 2, 210 LB OF has been perhaps the most underrated pick up of the past offseason for the Boston Red Sox. At the time there was speculation whether he would even make the team, but questioning his viability as a Major League hitter has been put to rest at this point.

As Spring Training rolled around, the Red Sox were looking for depth at 1st Base behind newly signed Mike Napoli. They got Lyle Overbay into camp to compete for the spot and started giving Daniel Nava reps at the position too.

Then, falling into the Sox laps, came Mike Carp via the Seattle Mariners, the solution to the Red Sox 1B depth. All that was asked in return is the famous ‘PTBNL’ or cash.

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Tito Back To Fenway: Red Sox Fans Embraced Him, The Team Lost The Opener – Then Streaked To The AL East Lead

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Sunday, June.02/2013

On top of leading the Red Sox to 2 World Series Titles, Tito also lead the club to a lot of other successful seasons. He got the team to at least 86 Wins in each of his 8 seasons in Boston and helped them win 90+ games in 6 of those years.

On top of leading the Red Sox to 2 World Series Titles, Tito also led the club to a lot of other successful seasons. He got the team to at least 86 Wins in each of his 8 seasons in Boston and helped them win 90+ games in 6 of those years.  The Red Sox also ended a curse for the World Series that lasted 86 years to finally end.  Now with Cleveland, he will help the franchise try to win a World Series for the 1st time since 1948.

By Ryan Dana (MLB Reports Writer and Red Sox Correspondent): 

First of all, sorry for the delay with this article. It’s been a little over a week since my last article, and already another series has passed since the end of the one I want to talk about. Nevertheless, Terry Francona aka Tito made his return to Fenway as an opposing manager for the Cleveland Indians.

I was actually lucky enough to be in attendance for his first game back on Thursday May 23, and the atmosphere was awesome as it usually is at Fenway. Terry Francona received a standing ovation, deservedly so, and his Indians beat down the Red Sox 12-3.

This series was more than just Francona’s return though. It was somewhat of a litmus test for the Red Sox.  The Indians have shown they are a formidable team this year sitting only a half game out of first place in the AL Central (29-24 Record) and having one of the most potent offenses in the game at the moment.

Heading into play Sunday, Cleveland’s vaunted offense still ranks  4th  for HRs (69), 4th in Runs Scored (271) and 5th in OPS (.769). The Red Sox however, showed they were the better team by winning 3 of 4 in the series. Boston’s offense reigned supreme against the Indians as do their season statistics. Boston surpassed Cleveland based on their final 3 games of their series last weekend.

Boston are in 1st place in the AL East with a record of 34- 23  and have a Run Differential of + 57, (49) better than the New York Yankees) after a 11 – 1 drubbing Saturday. The Red sox are also now 1st in the MLB in Runs Scored (286) and 2nd in OPS (.783). They also trail just Detroit for OBP in the MLB (.347 to .346).

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Buyer’s Remorse: The Failed Joel Hanrahan Experiment

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 Thursday May.16/2013

It seemed like everyone was so much more excited about Hanrahan joining the Red Sox this offseason than any of their other acquisitions. Turns out his time in Boston was not only short, but memorable for all the wrong reasons. Where is Mark Melancon when you need him...Oh wait.

It seemed like everyone was so much more excited about Hanrahan joining the Red Sox this off-season than any of their other acquisitions. Turns out his time in Boston was not only short, but memorable for all the wrong reasons. Where is Mark Melancon when you need him…Oh wait.

By Ryan Dana (MLB Reports Writer and Red Sox Correspondent): 

While some people in Red Sox Nation have had concerns about the team’s offense recently, it is clear that the major worry at the moment is the bullpen.

Their starting rotation is no longer at the top of the league statistically, but it has still been good, and the offense is still at the top of the league in most categories. The Sox are 4th in the MLB in Runs Scored, and 2nd in Doubles, AVG, OBP, SLG, and OPS. They’re also 1st in Triples.

The Bullpen was supposed to be a strength for the Red Sox entering the 2013 season, but it has been in shambles recently. At the forefront of the mess is Joel Hanrahan who I will talk about in-depth in a moment. First let me run through some of the other pitchers.

The Red Sox are 26th in the Majors with a 4.47 ERA from their relievers. Their BAA is .250 which is 23rd in the Majors, and they have 6 blown saves which is tied for 6th most in the MLB.

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Felix’s Flaw: The Boston Red Sox Starter May See Some Bullpen Time

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May.08/2013

Felix Doubront had 167 K's in 2012 in just 161 IP, but he also had 71 BB's in that same span. His K/9 and BB/9 rates have both climbed slightly in the small sample size that has been his 2013 season to this point.

Felix Doubront had 167 K’s in 2012 in just 161 IP, but he also had 71 BB’s in that same span. His K/9 and BB/9 rates have both climbed slightly in the small sample size that has been his 2013 season to this point.  Surprisingly, Doubront was the clubs best pitcher in 2012.  He hasn’t been so lucky in his second go around of the Major Leagues.

By Ryan Dana (MLB Reports Writer and Red Sox Correspondent): 

Per usual, I had a good start on an article for the week that I had to put on hold. Something always seems to come up, and this week it is the Starting Pitcher from Friday night’s game.

Felix Doubront, 25 Year Old southpaw from Carabobo Venezuela, had a rough night this past Friday. He lasted just 3.2 IP and exited after surrendering 12 Hits, 6 Earned Runs, 1 Walk, and managing only 2 Strikeouts on the night.

Doubront now has a 5.67 ERA through 5 Starts this year. During his promising rookie campaign in 2012 his season ERA was only 4.86. 

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Boston Red Sox Payroll In 2013 + Contracts Going Forward

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 Tuesday April.30/2013

The Red Sox dumped about $250 Million in player salaries during the 2012 campaign and have put it to good use. The remarkable thing is, not only did they dump all that salary on the Dodgers, but they also acquired some solid arms that are now honing their skills in Pawtucket. The Red Sox payroll looks much better than it did a year ago.

The Red Sox dumped about $250 Million in player salaries during the 2012 campaign and have put it to good use. The remarkable thing is, not only did they dump all that salary on the Dodgers, but they also acquired some solid arms that are now honing their skills in Pawtucket. The Red Sox payroll looks much better than it did a year ago.

By Ryan Dana (MLB Reports Writer and Red Sox Correspondent): 

As it stands now, the Red Sox payroll is at about $157 Million. Below I will show a list of player salaries which comprise most of the budget.

We must also remember that last summer’s blockbuster deal/salary dump on the Dodgers holds Boston responsible for $3.9 Million of the salaries in 2013 of players they traded away.

On top of that there is about $10 Million that must be figured in for benefits/incentive purposes. This list will be in descending order of salary (average annual salary to be more specific) among players on the Red Sox payroll.

David Ortiz:  This Is Our —— city – Mature dialogue so Parental Guidance is  a must.

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Boston Strong

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Monday, April.22/2013

While many people weren't giving the Red Sox a chance in the AL East this season, the Red Sox were just taking a 2 game lead in the stacked division. I have a feeling this is a team you should never count out.

While many people weren’t giving the Red Sox a chance in the AL East this season, the Red Sox were just taking a 2 game lead in the stacked division. I have a feeling this is a team you should never count out.

By Ryan Dana (MLB Reports Writer and Red Sox Correspondent):  with an assist to Kyle Holland (Boston native)  

As I’m sure you can imagine, writing this weeks Red Sox article was a little difficult. Figuring out what to say after a tragedy like what Boston has experienced over the past week is no easy task. I’ll just roll with the theme of the City and the Team over the past week. Boston Strong.

The Red Sox have stuck by their city and the rest of baseball has been great amidst this week’s events. The Red Sox are giving a hurting community something to root for.

Outside of the Red Sox organization other teams have also showed their support for the City of Boston after the tragic events at the Boston Marathon.

Just one example would be the Red Sox’ biggest rivals, the New York Yankees, playing Red Sox favorite “Sweet Caroline.” It doesn’t stop there though.

Other teams including the Chicago White Sox, the Cincinnati Reds,the Oakland A’s, and the San Francisco Giants also played “Sweet Caroline.” A little stranger, but just as meaningful, the Milwaukee Brewers played the theme song from the Boston based show “Cheers.”

And perhaps the greatest gesture of them all, after the Red Sox beat the Indians 7-2 on Tuesday evening the staff at Progressive Field played “Dirty Water,” the song played at every Red Sox win at Fenway Park. That’s not all Boston fans are cheering about: Winning keeps Red Sox Nation cheering night after night.

The team has been off to a strong start this season leading the AL East with a record of 12-4 after play on 4/20 thanks to another masterful performance by Clay Buchholz and a clutch Home run by Daniel Nava. They’re currently riding a 7 game winning streak.

Neil Diamond shows up unannounced to sing “Sweet Caroline” to Boston fans:

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Are The Red Sox Mismanaging Their Shortstop Position?

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Thursday April.11/2013

Is Jose Iglesias the best fielding Shortstop in baseball? Maybe I'm biased but I believe he is. Keith Law called him the best defensive prospect he had ever seen. His defense has carried him thus far in his professional career, but I think his bat is ready for the Majors in 2013. It might not be at its full potential, but it is developed enough.

Is Jose Iglesias the best fielding Shortstop in baseball? Maybe I’m biased but I believe he is. Keith Law called him the best defensive prospect he had ever seen. His defense has carried him thus far in his professional career, but I think his bat is ready for the Majors in 2013. It might not be at its full potential, but it is developed enough.

By Ryan Dana (MLB Reports Writer and Red Sox Correspondent): 

The Boston Red Sox have been off to one of their best starts in recent memory so far in 2013. At this early juncture in the season they are still in 1st place in the AL East and for the most part are performing like a team with playoff aspirations.

A lot of this is due to the reemergence of veterans who had down 2013 campaigns but there are also a developing core of young players contributing such as Will Middlebrooks, Jackie Bradley Jr, and Jose Iglesias.

While batting .450 (9-20), Jose Iglesias couldn’t have done anything more to secure a spot on the 25-man roster. Despite his great start he was sent down to Pawtucket (AAA) to make room for Stephen Drew who is coming off injury (concussion).

Jose Iglesias Highlights: Mature Lyrics so Parental Guidance is advised:

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Opening Series Win: Red Sox vs. Yankees – A Sign Of Things To Come For Boston?

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Sunday April.07/2013

Dustin "Laser Show" Pedroia is the most vital part of this Red Sox team if not for his play on the field, for the hustle and tenacity he plays every game with. Hopefully Don Orsillo is yelling "to the moon" a lot this season.

Dustin “Laser Show” Pedroia is the most vital part of this Red Sox team if not for his play on the field, for the hustle and tenacity he plays every game with. Hopefully Don Orsillo is yelling “to the moon” a lot this season.  The man has started the year with a 2 Slash Line of .318/.400/.764 with 7 hits in the 1st 5 games.  The 2008 AL MVP  has a Career 3 Slash of .303/.369/.830.  His average season (per 162 Games) is 194 Hits, 17 HRs, 43 Doubles and 77 RBI.  His  most important stat of this column is his 106 Runs Scored mark for a full year.

By Ryan Dana (MLB Reports Writer and Redsox Correspondent): 

I dare you to find a more exciting way to start a season than facing your bitter rivals? Taking 2 of 3 games from them on their field is even better. The start to the 2013 Boston Red Sox season has been good all things considered; much better than the starts to their past 2 seasons.

They spent the start of 2012 getting swept by the Tigers in 3 games, then losing 2 of 3 to the Blue Jays (This was before the Blue Jays had talent on their roster). The year prior, in 2011, the Red Sox came in with high expectations only to start the season 0-6 with series sweeps at the hands of the Rangers and Indians.

To take a quote from rap legend turned sports agent, (hint: he just stole Robinson Cano away from Scott Boras, uh-oh) “moral victories is for Minor League coaches.” Yes that would be Jay-Z.

In the Major Leagues it is all about where you stand in your division. After the 1st series of play for Major League teams the Red Sox were tied with Baltimore atop the AL East. I know I’m getting carried away; it is after all, only 3 games into the season, (Now a little bit further). In the end a win is a win, and a loss is a loss.

However, I want to look at how the Red Sox won (and lost). I want to do this because I think it sheds light on what they are poised to do in 2013.

Red Sox vs. Yankees Opening Day Recap:

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All-Star Studded Injury Report + Chipper Jones Retirement Effect On The Braves

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Monday, April 1/2013

Chipper had a lifetime slash line of .303/.401/.529 with 2726 Hits and 468 HRs. He played the game the way it was supposed to be played, with class and all out effort.

Chipper had a lifetime slash line of .303/.401/.529 with 2726 Hits and 468 HRs. He played the game the way it was supposed to be played, with class and all out effort.

By Ryan Dana (MLB Reports Writer): 

The start of the 2013 Major League Baseball season is upon us. While that is beyond awesome, unfortunately there is a list of really good players who will likely not start the season playing for a Major League team. Most of these players are out due to injury, but there are also a few others I would like to mention that are out due to retirement, suspension, or the fact that they have still yet to sign with a team.

It will be a bittersweet Opening Day for the Atlanta Braves who will be without Chipper Jones this season. He spent his entire 19 years of Major League service time with the Braves, and after an MVP season in 1999, a 1995 World Series Championship, and 8 All-Star appearances, Chipper has decided to call it a career. Jones was one of, if not the best, switch hitter of all time.

Chipper Jones Highlights

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Who Is Taking The Reigns In The Rockies Rotation?

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Friday, March. 22/2013

I think Jhoulys Chacin could be great for the Colorado Rockies for years to come. I feel like I am probably more high on him as a pitcher than most. I would be interested to hear what Rockies fans who have seen more of him than I have to say. Comment if you have an opinion

With pitching staffs always struggling in Denver every year, it is incredibly hard to promote consistency.  The team has had the best NL Batting Home Average in every year of their existence and 19 out of the 20 years in the entire MLB.  Even with the Humidor being implemented about a decade ago, there is a still the biggest advantage for the hitters in any park is in Colorado.I think Jhoulys Chacin could be great for the Colorado Rockies for years to come. I feel like I am probably more high on him as a pitcher than most. I would be interested to hear what Rockies fans who have seen more of him than I have to say. Comment if you have an opinion.

By Ryan Dana (MLB Reports Writer): 

So I’m back talking about the Colorado Rockies again. I already did a State of the Union piece on them a while back so make sure to check that out for a full outlook on their 2013 hopes. This article I’m going to go in-depth on their starting rotation, more specifically I’m going to look at who is ready to take control of this staff and be a legitimate top line starter.

The Rockies rotation is far from final. They have about 8 guys vying for the 5 slots in my opinion. Jhoulys Chacin, Jorge De La Rosa, and Juan Nicasio all seemingly have a spot on lock, but the last 2 spots are probably between Drew Pomeranz, Jeff Francis, Chris Volstad, Christian Friedrich, and Tyler Chatwood.

I don’t want to get too far into the unique way one must look at the Rockies pitchers. I already talked a bit about it in my State of the Union article, but basically the Rockies pitching stats are going to be inflated due to playing at Coors Field, a notorious hitter’s ballpark.

The Home/Road splits are always something to look at with Rockies pitchers. Regardless of the fact that they have a home field disadvantage, Rockies Starting Pitchers in 2012 had the worst ERA in the MLB at 5.81. This simply won’t get it done if they have any playoff aspirations.

Jhoulys Chacin Highlights:

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Philadelphia Phillies Player Roster in 2013: State of the Union Updated Mar.1/2013

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Update: Friday March 1, 2013

If the "Big 3" in the Phillies rotation could repeat their 200+ IP and Sub 3.00 ERAs from 2011, the Phillies will be a force to be reckoned with.  If all of they duplicate their Career Win Percentages - they could net the team 60-70 Wins from just their 100 starts whether they are around for the decision or not.

If the “Big 3″ in the Phillies rotation could repeat their 200+ IP and Sub 3.00 ERAs from 2011, the Phillies will be a force to be reckoned with in 2013.  Also, if Halladay, Lee and Hamels duplicate their Career Win Percentages  for their Careers (415-234, – .635) – they could net the team 60-70 Wins from just their 100 starts.  If the other 2 starters just go .500, you could see a 90-100 Win Season.

By Ryan Dana (MLB Reports Writer): 

2012 was a disappointing year for the Philadelphia Phillies, as they saw their stranglehold on the NL East diminish to the point that they missed the playoffs for the 1st time since 2006. In fact 2012 was the 1st time since ’06 that someone other than the Phillies won the NL East. The team is also not that far removed from a World Series championship which they won in ’08. In 2012 with the emergence of the Washington Nationals, and the re-emergence of a very capable Atlanta Braves organization, the Phillies found themselves finishing with an 81-81 record, only good enough for 3rd in the division.

The Phillies saw themselves selling at the trade deadline, moving OFs Shane Victorino, and Hunter Pence, followed by a waiver induced trade of Joe Blanton. Make it clear though, Philadelphia plans to compete for the NL East again in 2013, made evident by their off-season moves. They are an aging team of veterans, with a depleted farm system, so this year might be their best chance to get back to the promise land and play some October baseball. The Phillies have a lot of money committed to players, so hopefully what they have on their current 40 Man Roster is enough.

Philadelphia Phillies Highlights 2012:

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Will Jose Bautista Get Back To His Hank Aaron Award Winning Ways in 2013?

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Friday, February. 08/2013

Jose Bautista with fellow Hank Aaron Award winner Joey Votto in 2010. In 2010 Bautista became the 26th player to ever hit 50+ HRs in a single season, eclipsing the mark with 54.

Jose Bautista with fellow Hank Aaron Award winner Joey Votto in 2010. In 2010 Bautista became the 26th player to ever hit 50+ HRs in a single season, eclipsing the mark with 54.

By Ryan Dana (MLB Reports Intern):

Who is Jose Bautista? He is a 32-Year Old, Dominican, Major League Baseball player. He is the starting Right Fielder and number 3 hitter in the Toronto Blue Jays lineup. He is a 3x All-Star (’10-’12), 2x Silver Slugger Award winner (’10-’11), and 2x Hank Aaron Award winner (’10-’11). Bautista is a former 20th round draft pick of the Pittsburgh Pirate s- who struggled to make any significant impact for a Major League team into his late 20’s. He arose from baseball obscurity and launched into the spotlight seemingly overnight. Bautista’s breakout campaign in 2010 was followed with an even better 2011, which was all foreshadowed by a promising September in ’09 – where he tapped into a power surge hitting 10 HRs in the month.

This was especially surprising since his career high for HRs in a season to that point was only 16 in ‘06. Modifications Bautista made in his swing were career changing. He completely reinvented the system he was using to time pitching, and it paid big dividends. Bautista’s success forced the Rogers Center to keep their roof open for all home games due to the amount of moonshots he was hitting. I’m only joking, but he did hit an MLB high 54 HRs in 2010 and 43 HRs in 2011.

Jose Bautista 2012 Highlights Mix:

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Seattle Mariners Roster in 2013: State Of The Union:

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Thursday, January.31/2013

Felix Hernandez is still the Mariners best player without a doubt. Will he get some help shouldering the load in 2013? Either way, all of baseball should be watching when King Felix pitches, he is a true marvel on the mound.

Felix Hernandez is still the Mariners best player without a doubt. Will he get some help shouldering the load in 2013? Either way, all of baseball should be watching when King Felix pitches, he is a true marvel on the mound.

By Ryan Dana (MLB Reports Intern):

Seattle Mariners fans must be pretty amazing, Felix Hernandez sticking with their team through recent times. The Mariners were established in 1977 and have made the playoffs just 4 times in their history. They were the AL West champs 3 times (’95, ’97, ’01) and winners of the Wild Card once (’00). They have never won a World Series, or even an AL Pennant, and in 2012 they shipped off a fan favorite, Ichiro Suzuki, to the Yankees. The AL West is a tough division. The Rangers and Athletics made the playoffs last year, and the Angels just landed the prize of the off-season in slugger Josh Hamilton. I guess one bright spot is the Astros are moving to the AL West, so the Mariners won’t be rebuilding within the brutal division alone.

The Seattle Mariners hopes and dreams start where they have for years now, on the shoulders of King Felix. Felix Hernandez is no doubt an Ace. He has pitched 200+ innings every year since ’08, and had a sub 4.00 ERA every year since ’07. Hernandez won the AL Cy Young in 2010, and is a perennial contender for the award. Last year the Seattle fireballer threw his first Perfect Game. Hernandez will once again be atop the Mariners rotation, which as of now figures to include Hisashi Iwakuma, Blake Beavan, Erasmo Ramirez, and Hector Noesi.

Hisashi Iwakuma was a pleasant surprise for the Mariners in 2012. He wasn’t a greatly sought after oversees free agent last year, overshadowed greatly by fellow Japanese hurler Yu Darvish, but proved to be a great signing. Iwakuma started 2012 in the bullpen until he later earned a spot in the team’s rotation. Iwakuma managed a very respectable 3.16 ERA in the 125.1 innings he split between the rotation and the pen. This success is part of the reason the Mariners resigned the pitcher to a 2YR/14 Million Dollar deal this past November. He figures to hold down the 2nd spot in the rotation and should do just fine if 2012 was a sign of things to come.

Blake Beavan is still just 23 Years Old, but he already has 41 Major League Starts under his belt which gives the club hope he can hold down the 3rd or 4th slot in the rotation. Beavan clearly has the talent which is what made him a 1st Round draft pick out of high school for the Rangers, and the reason the Mariners made sure he was a part of the package they received in return for Cliff Lee in 2010. Beavan’s 2012 stats won’t impress a lot of people, but they were a good start for a young player like himself to build and improve upon.

Felix Hernandez Highlights:  Mature Lyrics so Parental Guidance is advised

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Colorado Rockies Roster In 2013: State Of The Union

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Friday Jan.25/2013

Todd Helton has to be the greatest Colorado Rockies player of All-Time. In what could very well be his last season of baseball, can he somehow push the team back into the playoffs?

Todd Helton has to be the greatest Colorado Rockies player of All-Time. In what could very well be his last season of baseball, can he somehow push the team back into the playoffs?

Ryan Dana (MLB Reports Intern): 

The Colorado Rockies finished 2012 with a 64-98 record – just escaping the dreaded 100 loss season. This record was bad enough to not only get them last place in the NL West, but also give them the 3rd worst record in the National League, only better than that of the Cubs and Astros. It was the Rockies worst season to date – and the 1st time in team history they failed to have a Winning Percentage of above .400. After having a season like the Rockies did in 2012, one would hope that the only place to go is up.

The franchise was established in 1993 – and have made the playoffs 3 times (’95, ’07, ’09). All of these were Wild Card births, and in ’07 they won the NL Pennant, before being swept by the Red Sox in the World Series.  2007 was a remarkable season though, as they won 21 of their last 22 regular season games just to get in the playoffs. It was one of the great runs in recent memory, maybe even more impressive than the ’02 Athletics 20 game win streak – since this streak propelled them into the playoffs seemingly out of nowhere. To get back to the playoffs in 2013 might be a little far-fetched considering they are in a division with the reigning World Series Champs (Giants), and a team with a seemingly infinite payroll (Dodgers). It isn’t far-fetched to say they will be better than last year, and could be contenders in the near future.

Carlos Gonzalez Highlights – Mature Lyrics so Parental Guidance is Advised:

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Kansas City Royals Roster in 2013: State Of The Union

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Friday, January, 11/2013

[There should be a lot more smiles and high-fives for the Royals in 2013 as they are continue to improve around their core of talented players. Will 2013 finally be the year the Royals make their long overdue return to the playoffs?]

There should be a lot more smiles and high-fives for the Royals in 2013 as they are continue to improve around their core of talented players. Will 2013 finally be the year the Royals make their long overdue return to the playoffs?

Ryan Dana (MLB Reports Intern): 

The Kansas City Royals have been notorious bottom dwellers of the American League Central for years now. Their last and only World Series title came in 1985, and since then they haven’t even made a playoff appearance. After the ’93 season – the Royals moved from the AL West to the AL Central, and have only finished with 80 or more wins once.

The 2013 Royals shouldn’t let this dismal past hold them back though. The 2013 Royals should be better than the 2012 team which finished a somewhat respectable 3rd in their division, and the team of 2013 has the potential to be the best team the Royals have had in the past 20 years. There are a lot of variables that could make or break this Royals season, so you might not want to mark them down for a World Series appearance just yet, but making the playoffs with a winnable Central Division, and two wild card spots up for grabs might be within Kansas City’s reach.

2012 Kansas City Royals Highlights and Pictures

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The Best DH of All-Time

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Saturday, January 5th, 2013

Martinez had a 3 Slash line of .312/.418/.933. He smacked 309 HRs. 514 Doubles and had 1261 RBI Will he be the 1st ever Primary DH to be inducted into the Hall? Or will 2247 Career Hits or suspicions of PED Use prevent him from being elected?

Martinez had a 3 Slash line of .312/.418/.933. He smacked 309 HRs. 514 Doubles and had 1261 RBI. Will he be the 1st ever Primary DH to be inducted into the Hall? Or will 2247 Career Hits and suspicions of PED Use prevent him from being elected?

Ryan Dana (MLB Reports Intern): 

In my previous article examining the decline of the DH position in the AL, I briefly touched on a few great DH’s. Now I will exert my focus on examining who the best DH of all time was. While the DH position may be in a decline, it has experienced good times. To be truly great at one of the hardest things to do in sports, (hit a baseball) is quite an accomplishment whether you play in the field or not. The Top 4 DH’s off all time have to be Harold Baines, Edgar Martinez, Frank Thomas, and David Ortiz. (The ordering just goes from 1st to enter the MLB to last, not who was the best. I will order them in that way later in the article.)

Harold Baines was somewhat of a pioneer of the DH position, as he was one of the early greats. His 22 Year Career started in 1980 with the Chicago White Sox, and ended for the same team in 2001, although he had stints with the Rangers, Athletics, Orioles, and Indians in between. Baines was a regular Outfielder for the White Sox until the ’86 season – where knee problems all but ended his fielding career. With Baines well-rounded, Left-hHanded stroke at the plate, he etched out a place in baseball history that will leave him remembered by many.

Frank Thomas Highlights:

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The Sad State Of The DH Position In 2012 And Probably Going Forward

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Tuesday January 1st, 2013

David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox is one of the few players to have a lengthy and successful career almost exclusively from the DH position. He was The Sporting News DH of the decade in 2009. As his career winds down, who will be the next great DH?

David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox is one of the few players to have a lengthy and successful career almost exclusively from the DH position. He was The Sporting News DH of the decade in 2009. As his career winds down, who will be the next great DH?

Ryan Dana (MLB Reports Intern): 

The Designated Hitter in the American League has morphed into many different roles for teams over the years since its adoption in 1973.  At times it has been used to put lethal bats into the lineup without having to put the player’s subpar defense on the field too. At times the DH was a great place to use aging veterans who could still hit, but could not handle the rigors of playing every day in the field and stay healthy at the same time. The former use of the DH has been more common amongst larger market teams, and the latter more common avenue for smaller market teams to take. Not all that long ago, the DH was a position of prominence and was a great advantage to teams that had one of the league’s best, but there has been a recent trend that has put the DH position into a role of diminished importance.

There are a lot of things happening in Major League Baseball that have contributed to the decline of the DH in one way or another. For one, the “steroid era” has seemed to fade and gone are the days of 16 players hitting 40+ HRs a year (like in 2000). Not to bring up a debate about steroids, but there were only 6 players in 2012 that hit 40+ HRs, and only 15 players to accomplish this in the past 4 seasons combined. So whether the reason for the decline in HRs is a decline in steroid use, or something completely different, the numbers are the numbers regardless. There has simply been a decline in availability of players to fill what was the prototypical, power hitting, DH of the past. Power numbers are down, and aging sluggers seem to be aging faster in recent times.

David Ortiz Highights:

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