Monday, July 19, 2010

The Tuesday F5ive

A few things to pay attention to for Tuesday:

1-Rangers vs. Tigers MLB Network
Hunter vs. Galarraga
Interest Level: 6

Pretty decent Tuesday Night match-up with some playoff implications. The Rangers take the AL-high 4.5 game lead and 81% playoff chances and take on the Tigers, who despite being tied for the Twins at a game and a half back have minimal playoff chance (18%) in comparison to the Twins (36%).

The Rangers are taking Tommy Hunter to the hill who has very quietly who has come out of nowhere to pitch very well (6-0 2.33 era) after coming up from Oklahoma City. If he keeps this up......a Rangers duo of Cliff Lee and Tommy Hunter would make opposing teams dread facing Rangers pitching for the first time since......ever. The Tigers counter with Armando Galarraga who has had a bizarre season to say the least. It's not every year where someone gets sent to the minors twice and pitch a 28-out "perfect" game.

2- Minor League Matinee
Buffalo vs. Rochester MLB Network

According to the MLB Network website, they are extending out to a Triple A matinee and showing a game between the Buffalo Bisons-Mets Affiliate (50-45) and the Rochester Red Wings (35-62). Don't know too much about these Triple-A teams but for some reason a random nationally televised minor league baseball game piqued my interest.

Some ex-MLB players on to this team who may or may not see action include Ramon Ortiz, Oliver Perez (on a rehab assignment stemming from being placed on the DL with an inflated ERA), Brian Bruney & Mike Jacobs.

The Rochester team (Twins) affiliate sits 21 games out in the International League's Northern Division. Ex-major leaguers clinging on for a last chance at the show include Mike Maroth, D'Angelo Jimenez and Jacque Jones. According to their official website, Curt Schilling was their opening day starter in 1989.

3- Conflict Of Interest Game Of The Day:
Cardinals vs. Phillies

Chris Carpenter, how I love/hate the strong season he's having. The good part is he's been an anchor in my fantasy team rotation as he is coming off a very strong performance against the Dodgers. I hate it because he's a major reason why the Cardinals are in first and have a 69 percent chance to make the playoffs and a minor reason why the Brewers playoff odds sit at .5 percent.

4- Pitchers Duel Of The Day:
Dodgers vs. Giants
Lincecum vs. Kershaw

The last time I mentioned Kershaw and pitchers duel in the same sentence (Thursday against Chris Carpenter and the Cardinals) Kershaw didn't hold up his end of the bargain. Maybe the situation of going against the rival Giants and the fact that the Dodgers need a major boost will motivate Kershaw to step up in this start.

5- Random Ex-Big Leaguer Who Signed A Minor League Contract:
Wily Mo Pena

The Padres signed Wily Mo Pena to a minor league deal today. One of the moves that seems out of left-field and a bit desperate but so crazy, that it could work. At the very least, he appears to have the raw talent (which didn't completely materialize) as he was a top-100 prospect 3 times (2000, 2002 & 2003). He's even displayed some power in his bat at a big league level as he did hit 26 homers at the age of 22.

However, things seemed to go downhill from there as Pena's career had slipped from there getting to the point where he got DFA'd by the Zombie Expos in March 2009.

Considering his numbers appeared to have peaked and much hasn't been heard about him in the last few years, it was surprising to see that he's still only 28. While his free-swinging tendencies likely makes his career ceiling somewhere around Jeff Francoeur, he does have the capability to impact the offense as he does have plenty of power in his bat (something that is lacking from most Padres hitters not named Adrian Gonzales). This signing of an apparently washed out player may not look big today but he could have a surprise impact on the NL West, having a similar effect that Pat Burrell has had on the Giants. It might sound crazy but not as crazy as a first-place team starting Scott Hairston, Tony Gwynn Jr. and Will Venable in their outfield as unique for its lack of production as it is for the fact that all 3 are the sons of ex-MLB players....and that is why Wily Mo Pena is a deep-sleeper candidate for comeback player of the year.

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