Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Coldplay, the King and Steroids Predictions

Note: Please check out the links embedded within my posts. Just click and it'll take you to a related article. Neato, torpedo!

*It's official: Starting on August 24, I will be a sixth grade teacher at Washington Irving Middle School. God help me.

*I caught Coldplay live for the second time in two years this past Thursday, and this concert may have been even better than the first. They played mostly from their new album, X&Y, but the entire performance was fantastic. They just flat out entertain. Period. They don't come through our neck of the woods often, thus it should be a priority of yours to see them the next time they swing through.

*In baseball news, Felix Hernandez continued his dominance Monday night. He threw 8 innings of 1 run ball while striking out 11 against the sad sacks that are the Kansas City Royals. He has allowed just two earned runs in 21 innings, has 21 k's over that span, and has only allowed a handful of fly-ball outs. Even in the single run he allowed the Royals, he allowed a pair of singles, then two consecutive fielder's choice outs that finally allowed the first runner to score. Both of the fielder's choices could have resulted in double plays with better defense.

In all, his statistics are staggering, even against the Tigers, Twins and Royals.

- In 21 innings, only 14 hitters have reached base. Eleven by single, three by walks. Hernandez has yet to allow an extra-base hit.

- The ERA stands at 0.86, the WHIP is 0.67, and the batting average against is .151. Oh, don't forget he's only thrown his slider twice in three games - and its regarded as his best pitch.

Hope on for the ride. This kid is going to be fun to watch for the next 15-20 years. And just think, I will be 35 with a house and a bunch of little McGill's by the time he even hits his prime.

*In this article, Eddie Guardado compares King Felix to former teammate Johan Santana.

*Another can't-miss prospect is BJ Upton, but unlike King Felix, Bossman Junior has to worry about two aspects to his game: hitting and fielding. So while the King trots out every fifth day and focuses his energy on throwing strikes, Upton's hitting is Major League ready, but his fielding is keeping him at AAA.

Currently, Upton has 45 errors after making 5 in the past 3 games. But if there's any doubt as to why Bossman should be kept at short, check out this video. It's about 20 seconds, and it reminds me of those Michael Vick commercials where he throws the ball 100 yards.


*As I mentioned in a previous post, its my hunch that Upton and 19-year old Delmon Young will be kept at AAA for the remainder of the year. Methinks Sweet Lou Pinella could be part of the reason, but not because he doesn't want them there. I'm beginning to wonder if Pinella is going to be canned at the end of the year, and management wants to protect the youngsters from Pinella's cranky and often demeaning managerial style.

*I still feel like there will be a couple more major steroid revelations in the coming days and weeks. Here's my potential big-name candidates. Check back in a few weeks and see if I'm right on any of these.

- Roger Clemens: The stamina is remarkable at 43 years of age. It wouldn't surprise me if he was caught of doing SOMETHING, but it also wouldn't surprise me if he was caught, that MLB would cover it up. He's a media darling, and playing in perhaps his final season.

- Todd Helton: I think its pretty evident that old Todd was on some type of performance-enhancer. He was openly accused of 'Roids, so we can take the "where there's smoke, there's fire" approach. He's been hitting well as of late, and he missed time on the DL. I've often theorized that MLB could have an under-the-table agreement to allow players to secretly serve their suspension on the DL, but thats just a loony Chuck McGill theory.

- Miguel Tejeda: I really think another Oriole is going to get busted, because the initial leak said that Raffy received the steroid from a teammate. Slammin' Sammy is too obvious, so I'm going with Miggy - who has been in a horrendous power slump - or the man below.

- Brian Roberts: At the beginning of the season, he might as well have been wearing a "I heart steroids" t-shirt. His power has been completely sucked out of him, and it correlates perfectly with when Raffy initially tested positive. I like the kid, though, so I hope he was just overswinging early in the season and returned to just being a good hitter as of late.

- Jim Thome: He's probably had sex with steroids. He's a naturally big guy - which is why I chose to leave Adam Dunn off this list - but his body is breaking down awful fast. If he's not on them now, he probably was for a couple years when he was blasting 50 homers per season.

- Austin Kearns: The demotion, the fluctuating weight and the paltry statistics point to something fishy. He has 8 homers and a .240 average, and has had a weight differential of 20 lbs. The testing is actually more stringent in the minors, so thats a good sign. Unless, of course, he tested positive before going down, and has been going through the appeals process since.

- Jason Giambi: One of only a couple active players to have admitted to steroid use in the past. Sure, he didn't use the "S-word," but we all know what he was apologizing for. I think Buster Olney believes he's on something - even if its the legal HGH - and if Buster believes it, I'm inclined to believe my hero.

- Brad Lidge: Relievers might be the most hefty users. Lidge came out of nowhere a couple years back with added velocity on his fastball. He's been lights-out of late...but is it legit?

- Eric Gagne: I'm suspicious of anyone on the left coast, especially Gagne and for the reasons I mentioned with Lidge.

- Jeff Kent: See Gagne - and bad boy Kent might be the heavy favorite of all the names mentioned here.

- Adrian Beltre: I'm going with the left coast/Dodger connection. I feel more inclined to chalk up his production last year to the infamous "contract year." He's a naturally powerful person, but the bat quickness seems to have dropped off and he's settled back into mediocre stats. I'd say little to no chance here, and perhaps the least of any of the guys mentioned.

Only time will tell.

Do you have a player prediction for steroids? Put your player(s) on my comments page, or IM me at woodshedz7.


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