Tim Brown

  • MLB Power Rankings: Red Sox closing in on Cubs

    Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 2 days ago

    The rankings (records through Wednesday):

    1. Chicago Cubs (31-14; Previous: 1) – Probably should have seen the 20th century coming, drafted smarter in the aughts.

    2. Boston Red Sox (29-17; Previous: 6) – Remember that one last irresponsible, reckless – but fun! – fling before you settled down and got serious about the world? Yeah, Bobby Valentine.

    3. San Francisco Giants (30-19; Previous: 16) – Probably should’ve pitched around Kevin Elster.

    4. Washington Nationals (28-19; Previous: 4) – Forgot Youppi. Hopefully somebody fed him.

    5. Seattle Mariners (28-18; Previous: 7) – Years later, Bedard trade makes sense in a vacuum, wrapped in plastic, tied to cinder blocks and heaved from a dock.

    6. Baltimore Orioles (26-18; Previous: 5) – The 1988 Orioles think the 2016 Braves have some promise, should buck up.

    7. New York Mets (27-19; Previous: 3) – Shea Stadium. I mean, really.

    8. Pittsburgh Pirates (26-19; Previous: 9) – After careful examination of schedule, have determined the guy who most likely lines up against them in this year’s Game 163 is Koufax.

    9. Chicago White Sox (27-21; Previous: 2) – Kind of felt like we gave away that one World Series.

  • Wednesdays with Brownie: Want to speed up MLB? Here are some options

    Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 3 days ago

    If baseball is to honor the inevitable, then it must not stop at the re-gifted, hassle-free, no-risk intentional walk.

    The Braves, for one, can go home now. And take the Twins with them.

    If fate has spoken (and been waved toward first base), and 60 seconds are to be gained in a ballgame (or in less than half the ballgames, actually, on average), and pitchers are to be saved from momentary anxiety brought by the approaching yips, and we’re going to have a discussion about which parts of the game no longer need to be played, then why stop at the intentional walk? Indeed, why stop at maybe 60 seconds in maybe fewer than half the ballgames?

    Let’s get busy.

    Giancarlo Stanton is not required to run out a home run. Waste of time, pageantry and knee cartilage.

    Oh-and-2 counts will automatically become 1-and-2 counts. Three-and-oh counts will proceed to 3-and-1. C’mon, they’re going there anyway.

    That throw from the catcher to the pitcher? Put a bucket of balls behind the mound and let’s move this thing along.

    Oh.

    Anderson nodded.

    A WEEK BEHIND:

  • The heart and soul behind the Orioles pitching staff

    Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 5 days ago

    ANAHEIM, Calif. – Like the rest, the Baltimore Orioles have their areas they would not characterize as ideal, the result of being one of 30 and then the aching truth there is no such thing as ideal.

    They do chase ideal in their own way, that not being quite ideal either, all of which is to say the Orioles generally were not picked to win the American League East because the starting rotation appeared to be achingly less than ideal again.

    “And you still might be right,” their manager, Buck Showalter, said one afternoon late last week. “Who knows? We’ll find out.”

    Showalter has a pleasant way of allowing opinions that have no bearing on the outcome, which covers pretty much all opinions, which seems healthy. Too much can happen between April and October every year, between 7-10:30 p.m. every night, to fuss over who thinks what about stuff that hasn’t even happened yet. Ideal is three hours of ball followed by a handshake and, don’t you worry, tomorrow will come soon enough and then we’ll all know for sure.

    He continued, “Sandy had a saying I use to this day, and that is, ‘Pitching is the constant striving for perfection with the realization that you’re never going to achieve it.’ ”

  • Wednesdays with Brownie: Derek Jeter’s impact on Cards' Aledmys Diaz

    Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 10 days ago

    As Aledmys Diaz remembers it, he first saw Derek Jeter “live,” which is not to say in person but on television in real time, in the fall of 2009. He was 19 years old. He’d grown up liking Albert Pujols as a hitter, but loving Jeter, who was a shortstop just like him.

    He’d seen a few highlights of Jeter on a clunky DVD player. He’d read about Jeter when it was possible, which wasn’t often. Otherwise, it was just the stories about the great New York Yankee, and maybe it was the stories he loved as much as he did the ballplayer himself.

    Diaz was playing his third season for Villa Clara of the Cuban National Series. His father, Rigoberto, had been a shortstop in college and then became an agronomy teacher. His mother, Quenia, worked in a clothing factory. Aledmys would be a ballplayer, and a young ballplayer needs heroes. Aledmys chose Jeter. In Cuba, where access to the outside world was spotty, that would require some ingenuity, some imagination and some luck.

    “That,” he said, “was amazing.”

    “He is,” Matheny says, “aggressively trying to take advantage of this opportunity.”

    Aledmys smiled at that. There’s a lot a man can learn from television.

    “I just liked that name.”

    A WEEK BEHIND:

  • What to take away from the Blue Jays-Rangers suspensions

    Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 11 days ago

    The same goes for Rougned Odor, the Texas Rangers’ chippy second baseman whose interpretation of middle-of-the-diamond engagements pivots upon whether he’s doing the breaking up or is the one being broken up.

    And how Matt Bush ended up in the middle of this is a study in the accidents of time-space continuum and pure chance.

    So the Texas Rangers and Toronto Blue Jays despise one another, that we gleaned when a grudge spread over seven months narrowed to the breadth of a red smudge on the off side of Bautista’s jaw, courtesy of a straight right hand from Odor, fighting one class up in weight and several in standing.

    The cheers you heard were from those speared in the heart when Bautista’s bat landed on that evening in mid-October. The outrage from those wondering how Bautista got beaten so badly to the punch, particularly as Odor made it clear from the get-go this was not going to be the usual baseball to-do, more backseat grope than schoolyard throw-down.

    This, clearly, is what happens when the game’s unwritten rules are found spray-painted across the side of the team bus as it idles in the stadium tunnel. And take that with you, Blue Jays.

     

  • Francisco Cervelli signs $31 million extension with Pirates

    Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 11 days ago

    The Pittsburgh Pirates and catcher Francisco Cervelli agreed Tuesday to a three-year, $31-million contract extension that runs through the 2019 season.

    Cervelli, 30, was due to become a free agent following this season. The Pirates acquired him from the New York Yankees after the 2014 season for left-handed pitcher Justin Wilson. Cervelli effectively replaced Russell Martin, who, after two productive seasons in Pittsburgh signed with the Toronto Blue Jays for $82 million over five years. Cervelli has been at least as productive as Martin since, and has by far outplayed him in 2016.

    Cervelli makes $3.5 million this season. Under the terms of the extension, he will make $9 million in 2017, $10.5 million in 2018 and $11.5 million in 2019.

    After spending years as the Yankees’ second or third catcher, Cervelli has flourished as the regular starter in Pittsburgh. He batted .295 and had an on-base percentage of .370 over 130 games in 2015 and through 32 games this year is batting .277 with a .390 on-base percentage. He also consistently ranks with the better defensive catchers in the league.

  • Struggling Angels have nothing to lose by signing Tim Lincecum

    Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 12 days ago

    “What are you doing?” the first guy shouts. “You’ll never outrun that bear!”

    “I don’t have to outrun the bear,” the second guy says. “I have to outrun you.”

    The bear in this story is 4 ½ months of baseball.

    The first guy is the Los Angeles Angels’ rotation.

    The man double-knotting his sneakers, assuming the final details of the contract come together, is Tim Lincecum.

    He doesn’t have to be the decorated ace of his early years with the San Francisco Giants, when he was striking out the world and winning Cy Youngs. He has to be better than a few of the other options in a rotation running thin and, too often, hittable.

    Thirty-seven games in, Angels’ starters are averaging about 5 1/3 innings. For comparison purposes, Blue Jays starters go about four outs deeper. The result is 33 more innings for Angels’ relievers, and we’re not yet a quarter through the season, and the bullpen has been without closer Huston Street since April 24.

    This is how mediocre teams that need a few breaks to be competitive teams become horrendous teams.

  • Clayton Kershaw: Man...myth...legend

    Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 16 days ago

    LOS ANGELES – They make stuff up all the time here. There’s a whole industry that makes stuff up and then charges people money to come see it. Sometimes it seems it is all there is here, the industry that makes stuff up. That, transplanted Mets fans and tiny little plates of pretty food.

    So the real stuff tends to stand out. Put it up on a small pile of dirt on a large green field, build a stadium around it, add an organ and a familiar tenor, and in a city that loves its make-believe you get one Clayton Kershaw. That’s why all the No. 22 jerseys gathered on Thursday night at the rails in the left-field corner, where Kershaw … warmed up. In a place where the brighter the better, that runs on the aura, he is the only real sports star – in name, in standing, in results.

    Kobe’s gone. Trout’s too far away. The football team is only just unpacking. Nothing else rates.

    He builds orphanages and schools and wins awards and goes on short rest if necessary and expects something close to perfection from himself and so, in fairness to this city, if you were going to make somebody up you’d do worse than to start with him, even if it all might seem a touch taut for non-fiction.

    He holds them up.

  • MLB Power Rankings: Chicago is the center of the world

    Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 16 days ago

    Deep-dish pizza for everybody…

    The rankings (records through Wednesday):

    1. Chicago Cubs (25-8; Previous: 1) – Lester and first base not unlike America (the country, not the beer) and gluten-free fare; ignore it long enough, maybe it’ll go away.

    2. Chicago White Sox (23-12; Previous: 3) – Sox gear up for July showdown with Cubs by ordering party tables, folding chairs and Michael Bolton mix tape.

    3. New York Mets (21-12; Previous: 4) – Conforto the son of a linebacker and synchronized swimmer. Presumably does very well in the annual football pool.

    4. Washington Nationals (21-13; Previous: 2) – Thinking baseball is a lot more fun with a massive endorsement deal.

    5. Baltimore Orioles (20-12; Previous: 5) – Resemblance to old actor means Joey Rickard has earned nickname “James Dean.” Also had part in movie remake, AL East of Eden.

    6. Boston Red Sox (21-13; Previous: 11) – Locals can’t decide if Red Sox are great, awful or mediocre. Maybe another beer will help.

    7. Seattle Mariners (21-13; Previous: 12) – After difficult first month that seemed he was playing against the wind, Seager reminds himself, hey, we’ve got tonight.

  • Wednesdays with Brownie: Why Bartolo is everyone’s favorite PED offender

    Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 17 days ago

    “In honor of the day,” the pitcher in the T-shirt said, as Colon was the National League’s co-player of the week, with Chicago’s Ben Zobrist. The shirt read, “Big Sexy,” and the neon illustration had Bart in full glorious swing, batting helmet tumbling rakishly from his head.

    That Bart, so funny and loveable.

    Did you know he hit a home run Saturday?

    It’s true. First ever. Forty-two years old, almost 43, his strikeout and walk rates as a pitcher have never been better, his ERA is under 3, and now he’s hitting home runs.

    He’s everyone’s favorite, let’s say, 300-pound snuggle toy. Ol’ Bart, better than ever.

    And, well, good for him, I guess. Seems like a reasonably nice fellow, beloved by teammates, small children and puppies. Mentors the younger players. Maybe even makes his own clothes. Did his time according to the Joint Drug Agreement rules. Returned to make a living, not unlike the rest of the Biogenesis posse except, maybe, for the guy who owned the joint, Anthony Bosch. He just got out of jail.

    A WEEK BEHIND:

    A WEEK AHEAD:

    SAW IT COMING: