Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Baseball in the Daytime: 4-29-09

It's been a week since we've had any afternoon baseball and bam -- just like that, the league's schedule-makers toss a half dozen affairs our way for this last hump day of April, and we'll talk about the slate in just a moment. I'd be remiss if I didn't take a quick moment to talk about fantasy baseball and my home team as well. As far as fantasy, I started off the season with consecutive wins, which was nice. It really was. I wasn't throwing any parties by any means, but I'm typically out of the post-season running halfway through week two. Well last week, I lost a nail-biter to an ass-clown that no longer frequents the House of Georges, and that loss occurred courtesy of .09 percentage points in the Opponents Batting Average category. Either that or E.R.A. Some stupid pitching stat. I wasn't pleased with the loss, but I'd hoped to rebound as I faced league-leading Old No. 7 at the onset of the week, and let me tell you: I'm getting crushed. He has every opportunity to blank me 14-0, and I'll just go ahead and say I hope he does. He has 115 percent geeked out about this season since Christmas, and this might be the year he takes it all home. Having said that, I'll say this in regards to fantasy baseball: "Screw you guys. I'm going home."

Regarding my real baseball team, Zack Greinke takes the mound tonight against lefty Blue Jay pitcher Brian Tallet. It's a 7:10 first pitch. It's supposed to be cold and rainy, and it's the rubber match of the series. The Royals surprised some folks and clubbed Toronto 7-1 the night before last in a game that featured Jose Guillen cracking two jacks in just his second game back. I drafted Guillen by the way, and then opened the season with five guys on the DL. Something had to give. I'll bet you can guess who picked him up and enjoyed those long balls. The Blue Jays returned the favor last night, taking it to the Royals 8-1. This is a special rubber match, though, in that Greinke, who has already joined Don Drysdale and Orel Hershiser by logging six consecutive starts without surrendering an earned run, has the chance to eclipse the two, and continue to add to a fantastic start. There is of course the jinx factor, what with the national notoriety, and much local buzz as well.

I for one, am hoping that the black cloud of curses passes over the K tonight, though, and I think that fate is in my/our hands if only in the fact that you know who drafted Greinke and will use him to hopefully blank my fantasy club in all categories pitching. I can't imagine -- when you compound the pressure with a kid who left the game due to a social-anxiety disorder -- how a 25 year-old kid will go out there tonight and toss a game like he's been tossing them, but it'll be interesting, I'm sure. Go get 'em, Stank'.

And now, after the jump, we return you to your regularly scheduled listing of day baseball.

Los Angeles @ Baltimore, 11:35 Central: Our earliest match is our only American League feature today, and it finds the Orioles of Camden Yards nestled in in Los Pornaheim. That's right. Anaheim, in case you didn't know, is the pornography-manufacturing capital of the world. Not Hollywood. Not Thailand, and no, not your neighbor's cousin's guest room. The units occupying the mound today are none other than righties Shane Loux for the home team and Koji Uehara for the visitors. Loux's looking for his first win, and hopes to keep his E.R.A. under seven as his still-struggling Angels could use the help. Uehara seeks win number three, and you gotta feel for the Birds as they're near the top five in runs scored, but in a cutthroat A.L. East where Boston and New York continue to dagger one another for middle ground, a Toronto (who leads the bigs with 133 plated) club that continues to tear, and a defending American League-champion Tampa that, uh, hasn't quite realized that the season's almost a month old. Either way, DirecTV carries the action on 721, 722, while XM has it on 176.

Pittsburgh @ Milwaukee, 12:05: A few minutes later, Ian Snell will take the hill in the city of Miller, while Yovani Gallardo represents the .500 Brew Crew. Snell enters at 1-2 with a 4.50 E.R.A., but really has his work cut out for him in three ways: One, Gallardo is 2-1 with a 3.71 and coming off of his first complete game; two, the Brewers have won seven of their last 10; and three, according to, Snell is 109 at Miller Park, which means there's some sort of time-age continuum that affects only him inside the stadium. Other reports suggest that he is 28 everywhere else he goes. Apparently, DirecTV doesn't like to broadcast senior-citizen athletes, so you'll have to catch the thrills on XM 183.

Florida @ New York, 12:05 As that tilt's getting underway, so are the Marlins and the Mets in New York. This one features righty Josh Johnson for the Marlins and lefty Johan Santana for the home team. If ever there was a pitcher's duel, this is it as Johnson comes in at 2-0 with a 2.20, having just tossed seven scoreless (with two walks, three hits, and eight Ks) frames against the defending champs. Santana's looking pretty sharp himself, boasting a 3-1 record with a a 0.70 E.R.A. The southpaw hasn't lost a home start in 11 outings, and is averaging nearly 13 Ks per nine innings in those contests. Tune in for a hurler's clinic on DirecTV 724, or listen to what they're saying on XM 184.

Seattle @ Chicago, 1:05: Did I say there was only one A.L. game this afternoon? Well, that goes to show you what I know. Last time I checked, the Mariners and White Sox still played in the American League, and they'll continue that trend today as Erik Bedard and Gavin Floyd exchange pleasantries in the Windy City. Bedard enters at 2-1 with a 2.08, and his Mariners continue to surprise the West with a two and-a-half game lead over the Rangers, though they've scored more than 30 runs fewer. For the Sox, Floyd's 2-2 mark, 5.79 E.R.A. has to improve if the Ozzie Guillens want to leapfrog the win-one-lose-one Royals in the Central. DirecTV has options: 307, 725, or 726. XM keeps it simple: 177.

San Diego @ Colorado, 2:10: It's some good ol'-fashioned N.L. West fightin' out in the Mile High City this afternoon. Kevin "Chic" Correia and his right arm battles Aaron "Can't" Cook and his. Both are 0-1, neither has a great earned-run average, and each of their clubs is looking up at the Dodgers, especially the Rockies, who're looking up at everyone. The action's on DirecTV 727, XM 185.

Chicago @ Arizona, 2:40: Our final bout of the pre-evening slate features the Cubs and the Diamondbacks. Ryan Dempster and Doug Davis each have a win a piece, and they'll battle for victory number two today out in the desert. Each of these teams needs a pick-me-up of some sort as they've both gone .500 over their last 10, and each need to gain some divisional ground, especially Arizona, who has only a half-game cushion over the last-place Rockies.

Whew. I never thought I'd feel like drinking before eight A.M. (Editor's Note: Well, not since high school, anyway.), but that was entirely too much work. Get your game on, and enjoy a frosty beverage while you're at it.