Players Who Sucked This Week

It’s been awhile since I took time out of my day to call out athletes who might make a lot of money, but fail to make plays throughout the week. And while only baseball is in season, it’s time to bring back Players Who Sucked This Week. Even the president came to pay his respects!


Clayton Richard had one of the worst starts of his career, giving up 11 runs in just under four innings. His teammate Kevin Quackenbush also had a terrible week allowing eight runs in three innings of relief – six of those runs came in the same game Richard gave up 11, and the Rockies crushed the Padres 18-4.

Matt Bush helped Baltimore to a 10-2 win, but four of his five runs allowed were unearned. Hard to win when your defense doesn’t help.

James Pazos was consistently bad, totaling 0.2 innings of work with five hits, five runs, two walks, and not a single strikeout. Back to the Minors?

Brad Boxberger might have been the worst reliever of the week, losing in both appearances with a blown save. Especially that blown save. At home against the Rangers. That was rough.

Tyson Ross might have had the worst week for a starting pitcher, giving up 14 runs (12 earned) and walking seven in seven total innings. Travis Wood was almost as bad, allowing 10 runs in nine innings. Both pitchers lost their first start of the week. Oh, and Lance McCullers Jr. was almost as bad as Wood, giving up 10 earned runs in just over nine innings. But he didn’t lose either of his starts.

“OH! It was that bad?!”

Jason Vargas was much improved in his second start of the week, but I won’t let his awful start in Detroit slip by. Six runs, two home runs, and four walks in 2 ⅔ innings ain’t pretty.

Scott Feldman’s bum knee might have affected his play. And by might, I mean he only lasted one inning after five runs and two homers.

Cheers to all the guys who pitched in one game and are enjoying the needed time off: Jeff Hoffman, Mike Leake, Ubaldo Jimenez, and Michael Fulmer. I almost gave Alex Wood a break since it was his first loss of the season.

Jeff Beliveau couldn’t record an out in two appearances and gave up seven runs in the process. No wonder he was sent back to the Minors.

Just as we cheered the pitchers who had one bad start, let’s hear it for the hitters who got just one hit in 10+ at-bats: Alex Avila, Kole Calhoun, Jarrod Dyson, Jonathan Lucroy, Sean Rodriguez, Scott Schebler, and Joc Pederson.

Tim Beckham and Dansby Swanson didn’t get a single hit in 13 and 14 at-bats, respectively. Curtis Granderson and Jacoby Ellsbury both went 0 for 10 at the plate last week. As the POTUS says…SAD!


Dishonorable Mentions

Miguel Cabrera might be the greatest hitter of this generation, but he hasn’t played like it this season. He batted .125 last week with seven strikeouts. He’s currently hitting .256 on the season, which would be an all-time low if the season ended today. I’m really just mad because I picked him first in fantasy.

Nick Wittgren gave up three runs in a blowout loss to the Phillies last Wednesday, but picked up a win in his next appearance.

Ivan Nova had a classic good game-bad game week. First start is a quality one which nets him a win, and the next one has him letting seven runners cross the plate en route to a 3-13 loss.


Got anyone to add? Write ’em in the comments.


*Stats week of 7/17-23


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Top Storylines for the Rest of the MLB Season

With the MLB season set to resume on Friday, the playoff races will start to heat up in what should be another exciting finish to the regular season. Three of the six division leaders are holding on to a lead of fewer than six games. In the American League, there are eight teams in the Wild Card race separated by four games or less. Aside from the annual playoff races, there are a handful of storylines that will fun to watch throughout the rest of the season.

Can the Cubs shake off their World Series hangover?

As expected, the Cubs have experienced quite the hangover after ending a historic championship drought last October when they defeated the Cleveland Indians in the 2016 World Series. Despite returning basically the entire championship team, the squad has been far from dominant. In fact, they’ve been average. Chicago sits 5.5 games being the Milwaukee Brewers with a record of 43-45. For reference, the Cubs were 53-35 at the break a year ago before going on to win 103 games.

Following the 2012 World Series, the champs have averaged 78 wins the following season. The last team to make it back to the World Series after winning it was the 2009 Philadelphia Phillies. The last team to repeat was the 2000 New York Yankees. While recent history may not be on the Cubs’ side, they still have one of the most dangerous lineups in all of baseball. Can they get it together? With a terrific manager like Joe Maddon and a roster as talented as the Cubs, I’d bet on a big second half run and a return to the postseason. 

Will any stars be traded?

Much has been made about the speculated, historic free agent class of 2018. The list includes Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Clayton Kershaw, Josh Donaldson, Dallas Keuchel, Daniel Murphy, David Price and Andrew McCutchen. If any of these players hit the open market, it’s reasonable to expect a significant bidding war for each player. While the 2018 offseason is still 16 months away, we have to wonder if any teams fearful of their players leaving in free agency will attempt to cash in on their value.

Teams across all sports hate to lose star players. The only thing they hate more than losing star players is losing them without getting anything in return. Each of the aforementioned players should yield a return of multiple high-rated prospects that could accelerate a rebuild or retool, depending on the team’s situation. Like all sports, the closer a player gets to becoming a free agent, the more their trade value plummets. I’m not guaranteeing or even predicting one of these high profile players gets moved within the next few weeks, but I won’t rule it out and it’s something to watch all the way up to the July 31st deadline.

Phillies chasing the 1962 Mets 

The Phillies are bad. That might be an understatement. Vegas pinned a 73.5 over/under win total before the season, which didn’t seem crazy at the time since Philadelphia won 71 games the previous year and added a handful of productive veterans in the offseason. At the All-Star Break, the Phillies sit at 29-58, the worst record in the MLB by nine games. To compound on their ineptitude, they’re also an MLB-worst 11-23 in one-run games.

They would need a miraculous 45-30 second half to hit the over and finish 74-88. That looks all but impossible. The Phillies are currently on pace to finish 54-108. As bad as they have been, there is plenty of reason to believe they’ll be even worse in the second half. Some of their best players such as Jeremy Hellickson, Maikel Franco, and Pat Neshek have reportedly already drawn trade interest. Assuming any are moved for young prospects, the Phillies will likely struggle even more down the stretch. Don’t rule out Philadelphia catching the 1962 Mets and their MLB-record 120 losses.

Aaron Judge’s pursuit of Mark McGwire

Aaron Judge has been the story of the 2017 MLB Season. He cruised into the break with a league-leading 30 home runs. He put his power on national display with an incredible Home Run Derby performance on Monday Night. Mark McGwire holds the rookie record for home runs with 49, which he accomplished back in 1987. During that season, McGwire entered the All-Star Break with 33 home runs, three ahead of Judge.

Judge is on pace for 56 home runs. If Judge can pick up where he left off, he should be able to break the 30-year old record by early September. McGwire tailed off in the second half back in 1987, only hitting 16 home runs. Aaron Judge hasn’t afforded himself the same flexibility to coast down the stretch. With as exciting a player as he is, most fans, myself included will be rooting hard for Judge to reach the big 5-0.


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Move Over NFL, the NBA Offseason is King

The NBA didn’t waste any time from the conclusion of the Finals to the start of what has already been an incredibly active offseason. It began with a rare trade between the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers, where the teams swapped their first and third overall draft picks, respectively. A flurry of trades followed up until and during last Thursday’s NBA Draft as Jimmy Butler and Dwight Howard changed teams. Just days before the beginning of Free Agency, Chris Paul was traded from the Los Angeles Clippers to join forces with James Harden and the Houston Rockets. To cap off the pre-free agency period, the Indiana Pacers dealt Paul George to the Oklahoma City Thunder to team up with Russell Westbrook for what could only be for one season.

Again, free agency has not even begun. There is potential for this to be a very active free agent period with guys like Gordon Heyward, Blake Griffin, Serge Ibaka and a plethora of role players that could be on the move. I still wouldn’t rule out Carmelo Anthony being moved at some point this summer. The NBA offseason has been incredible up to this point and should remain in the forefront of sports news at least through the summer.  

This offseason is not an outlier. Back in 2010, we witnessed Lebron James and Chris Bosh team up with Dwayne Wade in Miami. Two years later in 2012, a blockbuster four-team trade sent Dwight Howard to Los Angeles to join Steve Nash who joined the Lakers earlier that summer. A couple years later, Lebron James returned to Cleveland and just last offseason, Kevin Durant left Oklahoma City to team up with the Warriors. 2018 projects to be another active offseason with several notable players due for free agency.

The changing dynamic of the NBA and player movement only means this activity will continue. The new trend of players teaming up to form super teams, as much as I detest it, is not showing any signs of dissipation with the current contract structure in today’s player-controlled league. Each summer projects to be a new soap opera, with a flurry of activity that will keep the fans and media engaged up until the regular season.  

The NFL and NBA are undoubtedly the two most popular professional sports in America. The NBA is slowly following the path of the NFL of becoming a year-round sport to follow. But while the NBA may have accomplished this goal, it’s not crazy to suggest the NFL is going in the opposite direction.

The NFL is the king of the professional sports world, for now. Some would argue this is the case twelve months a year. The offseason drama can occasionally draw just as much interest as the regular season action and storylines. There have been specific stories when the attention was justified, whether it was Deflategate, the Aaron Hernandez saga or the work stoppage which preceded a rapid free agency frenzy in the fall of 2011.

While each of those stories and some of the ancillary headlines have kept the sports world mildly interesting during the dog days of summer (and spring), we all can agree that the offseason does not measure up to the regular season. I’m not jumping out of a limb with that statement. However, over the past few years the media outlets, both local and national have hyped up offseason activity in an attempt to convince the public both are on the same level.

But here’s the reality. The NFL offseason is not remotely as interesting as the media wants us to think. Sure, we anxiously await the four o’clock hour in March to start the new league year which kicks off free agency. And we love following the player movement as we try to project what teams upgraded their roster the most and are poised for a better season ahead. The release of the NFL schedule seems to have become a new national holiday that allows fans to start planning out the upcoming fall.

Aside from those events, the build up to the NFL Draft has become one of the most insufferable storylines in all of the professional sports. Is the Draft itself exciting to a certain extent? Sure. While I seriously question the priorities of anyone entertained by watching all three days and seven rounds on television, the opening round can be filled with drama and intrigue that involves players who most football fans have some familiarity with from watching in the prior college football season.

But the build up to the event is terrible. I’ll concede that learning more about prospects, especially the highly touted ones from relatively unknown college programs, can be fascinating. But that, unfortunately, makes up very little of the coverage and conversation. Most of the attention goes to the dreaded draft rumors reported by NFL insiders who are tipped off by agents, scouts and general managers regarding “who’s rising, who’s falling” and what each of the 32 teams intends on doing in the draft.

In reality, any competent member of an NFL front office will not leak any honest indication of their draft plans. Yet so many people fall for it every single year as if they didn’t learn from any prior years. Its complete and utter garbage. The pathetic thing is that these rumors get leaked as if it is real news, so the public anticipates the draft to fall a certain way. And guess what, it doesn’t and the television networks react to the draft results we’re watching a critically acclaimed drama because it doesn’t fall the way all the experts and insiders tell us it would.

I’m not begrudging anyone for making predictions or posting a mock draft, especially since I’m guilty of doing one myself. But the entertainment and allure of the draft and ultimately the NFL offseason is so fabricated, but we somehow fall for it each year like its a bonus season of Breaking Bad. It’s not. If anything, the teams with the most active offseason, specifically free agency usually accomplish very little the following season. Usually, the teams with the boring offseasons have more success. But that’s a separate issue for another day.

The NFL is a great product. But it would be even greater if accepted the OFFseason and took a break. Also, just accept that the NBA is now the king of the offseason. The NFL offseason is about hype and misdirection that has little impact on the following season, while the NBA is about action that shifts the balance of power from one year to the next.


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