Humber, Sox Lose To Tribe

Choo, who reached the .300 mark in batting with a 1-for-3 game on Saturday, sat out the game on Sunday. He becomes the only Tribe hitter since 1901 to bat .300, hit 20 home runs and steal 20 bases in back-to-back seasons. The only other Indians to turn that feat but not in back-to-back seasons were Roberto Alomar in 1999 and 2001 and Joe Carter in 1986.

National League MVP – Carlos Gonzalez, Colorado Rockies. This may come as a shock to people who always look at St. Louis Cardinals Albert Pujols as the automatic preseason pick for MVP. But anyone in the know understands the greatness of this hidden gem in the mountains of Colorado. The 25-year-old Gonzalez will be a legitimate threat to win the Triple Crown over the next few seasons. Last year, he hit 34 home runs with 117 RBIs and a .336 average. Throw in 111 runs scored and 26 stolen bases, as well as being a plus defensive outfielder, and you have the most well-rounded player in all of baseball.

Adrian Beltre remains on the DL with a strained hamstring, but like Boston, this Ranger lineup continues to hit the ball all over the park. It second in the Majors in both hitting and scoring with a .277 team batting average and an average of 5.09 runs per game.

CarGo’s teammate, Troy Tulowitzki, should also be in the running for MVP along with, obviously, Pujols. Tulowitzki had probably the best two-week offensive performance in major league baseball history in the first half of last September. For the month, Tulowitzki finished with an incredible 15 home runs and 40 RBIs.

Jerry Blevins was even worse than Ziegler in that department: the lefty struck out his fair share of batters, but he gave up more hits than innings pitched. His 3.70 ERA still looks respectable, but Blevins was one of those players that every fan feared when he entered a tight spot.

Kuroda’s counterpart on the mound, sale jerseys, had turned in a very strong performance before leaving in that five-run eighth inning. The hard-throwing lefty was charged with three runs – two earned – on five hits and a walk in 7 1/3 innings. Sale struck out six Yankees on the evening.

The Giants averaged 27.1 putouts, the Tigers averaged 26.7 and the Pirates averaged 26.1. The team with the least number of putouts was the Cubs, Orioles, Nationals, Indians, Diamondbacks, Athletics, and Pirates.

The leniency of punishment in baseball has made me think. Not to make a pun, but baseball is a cerebral game. A good manager in my eyes must be a good chess player. His job is to place his men strategically and move them wherever he projects the adversarial team will be looking for an edge. He sometimes even has to think two and three moves ahead.

Chicago White Sox Favored To Win Division

However, Owens didn’t show that ability to get on base in his 2007 stint in the majors (.324 OBP) and in 2008 in the minors (.346 OPB). Castillo’s OBPs in the minors: .371, .419, .411, .425, .403, .471. While it’s tough to expect anyone to match up to those gaudy numbers, the fact that Owens’ career OBP numbers in the minors (.365, .393, .333, .361, .348) struggle to come at least close to those numbers with consistency should have been a red flag for the organization.

Today’s observations are partly rather personal and partly just watching the scene around me. As usual I was on the left field berm under the scoreboard (under the clock, to be specific). I saw many friends I haven’t seen since last year at Spring Training, so it was great to see them again. Some of these friends are from the Phoenix area, some from Iowa and some even from Connecticut, to name a few. I also saw a few friends from the bleachers at Wrigley. Condolences were conveyed to me by my Chicago friends who, knew about my father’s passing the morning after the second playoff game loss in October.

With sale jerseys looking more and more likely to pitch in relief this season (or maybe not, I guess), an expedited return from a detached lat is all the more important for Peavy and the White Sox. It’s probable the Sox will be without Peavy for some time to start the year, but the real question is how long that time will be.

National League Cy Young Award – Roy Halladay, Philadelphia Phillies. Halladay’s competition may very well come from any one of his three teammates in the Phillies starting rotation. Not that I need to defend this pick, but Halladay has had a sub-3.00 ERA the last three years, while winning at least 20 games in two of those seasons. Other than his teammates (Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt, and Cole Hamels), Giants’ Tim Lincecum will be Halladay’s only other threat for the award.

To that point, Detroit’s own trio of relievers have equaled the task, as Ryan Perry, Fernando Rodney, and Bobby Seay have also gone 7.1 innings without yielding a run.

Pitching isn’t exactly like riding a bike, but as long as Peavy’s mechanics are fine, his command should come back to him. It’ll take repetition before his command is back to where it was from May-July of 2010, but it should come back quicker than his velocity and stamina. That being said, whatever results Peavy sees in spring should be taken with a grain of salt given his command will take some time to return. But, if by some miracle, his command returns after a handful of spring outings and he’s able to locate within the strike zone well, his return schedule could be sped up.

Peavy claims to be at 60-70 percent heading into spring training, so his velocity is likely to be lower than usual as his arm & shoulder regain strength. If he’s throwing 94 mph on his fastball by the end of spring, maybe there’s a chance he returns sooner than early May. But if his fastball is barely scraping 90 mph or is losing velocity early into outings, it’ll be a longer road back.