Wednesday, June 15, 2005

CEMENT CLEMENT AS #1

Matt Clement turned in another solid performance as he staked claim on the number one spot in the starting rotation with Curt Schilling out of action for most of the first half of the season. Clement, save for a few clunkers, has been remarkably consistent for a pitcher whose consistency has long been the consistent complaint of his make-up on the mound (does that even make sense? Could I maybe throw the word consistent in there again?).

Clement has been everything advertised as he has taken advantage of the run support and veteran presence behind the plate that was always lacking in Florida and in Chicago. With more success has come more confidence; more confidence has led to a more polished and controlled pitcher on the mound.

I wish I could say I told you so, but I am more than willing to admit that I did not. I hoped Clement could transition to the American League as well as he has, but really thought he would turn in a Derek Lowe-esque 13-12 year. Either he has improved a lot since he flashed his unfulfilled potential in Florida and Chicago, or else he is finally on a team with run support which is likely the most glaring difference between this season and his past.

* * *

OPPONENT QUALITY:

Are the Sox back on the winning track, or are meager teams like Cincinnati the reason the wins keep coming? Of course, it could just be due to the fact that they are the best team in the league at home and are now settling into an extended home stand.

Either way, the team needs to get Kevin Youkilis in the lineup every day. I cannot emphasize this point enough. EVERY DAY. I do not care if he takes at bats away from Bill Mueller, Mark Bellhorn (Tito, please for the love of Johnny Pesky and Frank Malzone, put Youkilis at third and Mueller at second), or Kevin Millar at first base.

* * *

YANKEE BASHING:

No, for once it is not me. Tom Verducci at SI.com takes the Yankers to task for their insipid decision to move Tony Womack to left field. Sure, I have railed against it as a move that defies common sense and logic, as Womack is not even an adequate second baseman with his hitting. His only asset, speed, is negated by hitting before A-Rod in the lineup, where you do not want a guy running the team out of an inning with their best hitter up at bat. He also ripped into Giambi, who the Yankees have no choice but to play now that Tino Martinez is no longer on pace for 90 home runs, and, to a lesser degree, Ruben Sierra.

Jacob Luft, another SI.com baseball writer, jumped on the anti-Yankee bandwagon last week. He brought up some great points about the questionable trades and signings. He includes: Not picking up Jon Lieber's extension and subsequently investing $21 million into Jaret Wright's scary medical history, trading Jose Contreras for Esteban Loaiza, allowing Orlando Hernandez to get away, including Yhency Brazoban in the Jeff Weaver-Kevin Brown deal ... yeah, those are all doozies. But none of those players deserve the title of "The One Who Got Away" as much as Nick Johnson, the Nationals first baseman who ranks in the top five in the NL in batting average (.333), OBP (.448) and OPS (.978).

All I can say is that it is about time the Yankee Dynasty started crumbling. Throwing money at problems is never the preferred way to build a team. The albatross contracts hanging around the necks of the Steinbrenner-ites are what they deserve for their arrogance and free-spending ways.

* * *

CEMENT CLEMENT AS #1

Matt Clement turned in another solid performance as he staked claim on the number one spot in the starting rotation with Curt Schilling out of action for most of the first half of the season. Clement, save for a few clunkers, has been remarkably consistent for a pitcher whose consistency has long been the consistent complaint of his make-up on the mound (does that even make sense? Could I maybe throw the word consistent in there again?).

Clement has been everything advertised as he has taken advantage of the run support and veteran presence behind the plate that was always lacking in Florida and in Chicago. With more success has come more confidence; more confidence has led to a more polished and controlled pitcher on the mound.

I wish I could say I told you so, but I am more than willing to admit that I did not. I hoped Clement could transition to the American League as well as he has, but really thought he would turn in a Derek Lowe-esque 13-12 year. Either he has improved a lot since he flashed his unfulfilled potential in Florida and Chicago, or else he is finally on a team with run support which is likely the most glaring difference between this season and his past.

* * *

OPPONENT QUALITY:

Are the Sox back on the winning track, or are meager teams like Cincinnati the reason the wins keep coming? Of course, it could just be due to the fact that they are the best team in the league at home and are now settling into an extended home stand.

Either way, the team needs to get Kevin Youkilis in the lineup every day. I cannot emphasize this point enough. EVERY DAY. I do not care if he takes at bats away from Bill Mueller, Mark Bellhorn (Tito, please for the love of Johnny Pesky and Frank Malzone, put Youkilis at third and Mueller at second), or Kevin Millar at first base.

* * *

YANKEE BASHING:

No, for once it is not me. Tom Verducci at SI.com takes the Yankers to task for their insipid decision to move Tony Womack to left field. Sure, I have railed against it as a move that defies common sense and logic, as Womack is not even an adequate second baseman with his hitting. His only asset, speed, is negated by hitting before A-Rod in the lineup, where you do not want a guy running the team out of an inning with their best hitter up at bat. He also ripped into Giambi, who the Yankees have no choice but to play now that Tino Martinez is no longer on pace for 90 home runs, and, to a lesser degree, Ruben Sierra.

Jacob Luft, another SI.com baseball writer, jumped on the anti-Yankee bandwagon last week. He brought up some great points about the questionable trades and signings. He includes: Not picking up Jon Lieber's extension and subsequently investing $21 million into Jaret Wright's scary medical history, trading Jose Contreras for Esteban Loaiza, allowing Orlando Hernandez to get away, including Yhency Brazoban in the Jeff Weaver-Kevin Brown deal ... yeah, those are all doozies. But none of those players deserve the title of "The One Who Got Away" as much as Nick Johnson, the Nationals first baseman who ranks in the top five in the NL in batting average (.333), OBP (.448) and OPS (.978).

All I can say is that it is about time the Yankee Dynasty started crumbling. Throwing money at problems is never the preferred way to build a team. The albatross contracts hanging around the necks of the Steinbrenner-ites are what they deserve for their arrogance and free-spending ways.

* * *

New England Patriots: On Vacation as Free Agency Begins - Full Press Coverage

The 2019 NFL year has begun with the advent of free agency and as usual the New England Patriots are one of the quietest teams. While teams ...