He's back for Round 2... Presenting: LeeS (Un)Locks
Hello again, fellow mouse manipulators, and since I haven't yet received the ever-dreaded pink slip, I'm coming back for another edition of The Unlocks. I can't actually call it 'locks' because they're just not; it's as simple as that.
The record, so far? Uh, I believe that I don't care, but I'll recap for closure anyway. Closure is nice, it's good.
Tuesday was Cleveland at Minnesota, and the home team took it, 2-1. I picked the Twins. The Tribe put it to 'em just the day before with a doubleheader sweep, but there would be no more of that on Tuesday, thank you. It looks like Cleveland isn't going away, however. We're not sure where Minnesota is going.
Wednesday was Cincinnati at Pittsburgh and Cincy took that one, 3-1. I chose the Pirates, but they couldn't decipher Johnny Cueto, who stymied them giving up only a single run over six innings to lower his ERA to a shimmering 1.98. It was fielding miscues that did the Bucs in when d'Arnaud threw what resembled a bologna sandwich into the stands-- landing directly on one fan's nachos-- oddly on a routine grounder, and later, bobbled another, both eventually leading to runs. In all fairness, d'Arnaud typically is a Hoover out there, sucking up everything that comes near him.
I wonder if Pittsburgh will make any deals before the trade deadline to ACQUIRE players this year and not offload them? Ponder that, if you will.
Friday night was the Akron Aeros at the (beloved) Erie SeaWolves.
Akron came to play having a bit more going on since the teams met earlier in the year, and they've also had considerably better fortune on the road than Erie has. No matter, because Erie has been having some success at home, so the opportunity was there for the 'Wolves to make a statement. Uh, they didn't.
They didn't roll over, but after an early 1-ZIP lead, Akron went ahead, and although Erie put up a fight, it wasn't enough, and Erie lost the second game of the series, 6-5. We were at the game, and even though it wasn't a happy ending, it was exciting to be a part of.
In fact, so exciting that we decided to attend Saturday night's game as well. Same unhappy ending, but without the requisite drama. Erie went ahead 1-0, but let Akron exert their will on them and lost by an uninspiring 7-1 mark. During the game, I wondered if the SeaWolves led the league in stranded base runners. This wasn't a contest; it was one team dominating another. The result was never really in question.
I am a SeaWolves' fan thinking it's good for the city that they have success and it was great to see the attendance on Friday and Saturday night, but this team did just not come to play. They seemingly do not have the fortitude or determination to compete with those that are above them in the standings. Bill Parcell's famously said: "you are who your record says you are," and this is exactly why Erie is working their way further down in the standings. If you can't win on the road, then at least you should never let the visitors have their way with you at your place. That must have been evident to more than just us because they had a team meeting after the embarrassment, which was supposed to be a ballgame.
I went way out and said that the NFL and the NFLPA would sign an agreement. Well, it looked like the NFL owners were satisfied with the agreement, but the players were saying they need to think it over. Another one for the Department of the Strange, the owners were also noted as saying that the Hall of Fame Game slated for August 7 at Canton would not be played as scheduled and would be cancelled. Now that sort of stinks considering that the preseason actually starts just a few days later that same week. So, I called an end to the lockout, although it didn't happen by week's end. This was understandably appropriate as both Roger Goodell and DeMaurice Smith were attending the funeral of Myra Kraft – beloved wife of Robert, owner of the Patriots, who sadly passed away on Wednesday and her funeral was on Friday.
As expected, the NFLPA union was recertified and subsequently signed the agreement with the NFL on Monday.
Pittsburgh Pirates at Atlanta Braves, Tuesday, July 26. Jeff Karstens (8-5, 2.28 ERA) on the mound for the Bucs again and this time going up against Tommy Hansen, with a record of 11-5 and a respectful 3.06 ERA. Conventional wisdom here says you should go with the Braves, but I'm not about conventional and some say, not about wisdom, either. Picking Pittsburgh in a tight contest.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and Orange County and Southern California of the West Coast at Cleveland Indians, Wednesday, July 27. Nothing exciting here, pitching-wise, with Ervin Santana (5-8, 3.69) facing off against David Huff of the Tribe with 7.0 IP, 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA, so now what? Someone inconsistent (being kind) against someone who hasn't pitched. Going with guys with the shorter name and picking Cleveland in this one.
San Francisco Giants at Philadelphia Phillies, Thursday, July 28. Now this one doesn't have the marque pitching names, but two good clubs seeing just where they stand because it's quite possible they will meet again when one represents the East and the other, the West. It's Ryan Vogelsong (8-1, 2.10 ERA) dueling Kyle Kendrick (5-4, 3.45) at Citizens Bank Park. Taking San Fran in this one to let the Phillies know just who is the reigning kid on the block.
Condolences to the Kraft family and all of New England on their tragic loss.
Congratulations to the Roethlisberger newlyweds.
Congratulations, also to the 2011 Baseball Hall of fame inductees: Roberto Alomar (a first for Toronto, folks), Bert Blyleven, and Pat Gillick (also Toronto, GM), all making it in to Cooperstown.
And another thing:
A tip of the cap must go to Ian, a young Diamondbacks' fan who was given a dropped ball that was tossed over by the Brewer's Rickie Weeks, intended for a younger, wheelchair-bound Brewer's fan named Nicholas. Rather than keep the prestigious souvenir, Ian actually took the ball over and gave it to Nicholas. Since this was indeed in a MLB ballpark, during a game, I'd have to give it the 'Play of the Day'.
Have a great week,