Wednesday, April 11, 2012

4/11: Braves Win, Petrino, etc.

Greetings everyone... let's get right to it...
  • The Atlanta Braves won a baseball game last night. A 6-4 tally over the hapless Astros thanks to the heroics of a returning Chipper Jones and a slammed door from Kimbrel and Venters (sort of). Tommy Hanson pitched pretty well despite pitch count issues (101 in 5 innings) to give the Braves a chance, but Chipper was the star, going 2 for 4 including a 2-run bomb in his second AB. Nice to see Uggla swing the bat well last night as well, and while Venters and Kimbrel didn't look great (either one of them), it's still more comforting to see them out there. Onward and upward.
  • Bobby Petrino has been fired (!!!!) at Arkansas. In the midst of the wild scandal that features an "inappropriate" relationship with an Arkansas staffer (who's engaged to a co-worker) and a weird motorcycle accident, it still looked like Bobby would save his job because, well, he wins. But last night, Arkansas AD Jeff Long dropped the hammer, and I couldn't be happier. If you're unfamiliar with Petrino's work, this is the same guy who left the Atlanta Falcons MID-SEASON after telling Arthur Blank he wasn't going anywhere, and did so by leaving a laminated note and was in Arkansas that evening. I disdain Bobby Petrino at a level that is difficult to accomplish for someone I've never met. Well-deserved, Bobby.
  • Ozzie Guillen suspended 5 games for his comments on Fidel Castro. It's as simple as the perfect storm here. The one place on earth (outside of Cuba) where you can't say anything about Fidel Castro is in Miami, Florida, and he should know better. Would I fire him? No, because they knew who they were hiring when they brought him in, but the suspension sounds reasonable to me.
  • NBA Check - The Celtics have it going right now. A 115-107 win over Miami that saw them do something we didn't think they could do. Out-SCORE Miami. Their defense has been lock-down for weeks, but to put up 115 is impressive, and the Garnett (24 and 9 on 11 of 14), Pierce (27/7/6) and Rondo (18 pts, 15 dimes) trio absolutely did work last night. It was like watching KG on ESPN classic. Philadelphia got a much-needed road win to snap a 4-game losing streak and try to avoid falling out of the playoffs. Lou Williams led the way with 20 in their win over Jersey. And finally, Chicago beat New York without Derrick Rose 98-86. At what point is this Rose injury a legitimate concern? Now? 5 games ago? At any rate, the Bulls got 20 from Rip Hamilton (out of the grave) to lead the way, and the Knicks offense was a mess throughout.
  • The Reds and Brandon Phillips have agreed to a 6-year, $72.5 million to keep him in Cincy for a long time. Phillips is an upper-tier 2nd baseman, but this strikes me as a bit of an overpay on the heels of the Kinsler deal the day before. Phillips is 30 years and only has one season (at age 29) of with a WAR higher than 2.6 (4.1 last year), while Kinsler is a year younger (and the deal was shorter) while never posting a WAR under 3.8 as a full-time regular in 5 seasons. Kinsler is the better player, he's younger, and signed the shorter contract. Yikes.
  • MLB Check - Clayton Kershaw returned from the stomach flu and pitched 7 innings of 4-hit ball for the Dodgers. While he earned a no-decision, LA won the game 2-1 and he was his old, dominant self. No need for alarm. Detroit is still unbeaten at 4-0 after knocking off Tampa Bay. Rick Porcello went 7 IP and allowed only 2 ER which is encouraging after the mass hysteria of the thought of him with that infield defense. I'm still concerned, but he pitched well. Boston is 1-4 after Daniel Bard allowed 5 earned runs in a loss to Toronto. I've heard varying accounts of this one, but most seem to believe that he pitched better than his boxscore. At any rate, it still defies logic for me that he's not closing for that team. And finally, Arizona remains unbeaten at 4-0 after an extra-inning win in San Diego. Trevor Cahill was pretty strong, and they got a game-winning bomb from Chris Young in the 11th to win it.

What to watch for on Wednesday...

  • MLB - Nats @ Mets - 1:00 MLB - Strasburg vs. Santana - Really, really nice matchup your midday viewing pleasure. I'm very interested to Santana in start #2 and Strasburg is always must-watch.
  • MLB - Marlins @ Phillies - 7:00 ESPN2 - Johnson vs. Halladay - Speaking of ridiculous pitching matchups, here's another!
  • MLB - Braves @ Astros - 8:00 Fox Sports - Delgado vs. Rodriguez - The 2012 debut of Randall Delgado is the headliner for me, but Wandy Rodriguez owns the Braves (sub-2.00 ERA lifetime) and he's a lefty. Look out.
  • NBA - Knicks @ Bucks - 8:00 ESPN - Milwaukee is suddenly within striking distance of the playoffs, and this could be a crucial game.
  • NBA - Hawks @ Celtics - 8:00 SportSouth - Boston is off a back-to-back here, but they are playing at a very high level and at home.
  • NBA - Warriors @ Blazers - 10:30 ESPN - I wish either of these teams cared about winning this game.

One programming note... I'm off for the rest of the weekend as I am out of town, but have no fear, I've solicited Ryan to sit in, so stay tuned for some knowledge to be dropped... Enjoy!

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