Come ON D-Backs…

Sunday’s match-up seemed, by all accounts, to be looking good for the Diamondbacks. It was a gorgeous day with fresh, clean air. We had our No. 1 starter out on the hill. The contradicting beginning pitcher, Sean O Sullivan, had not had a noteworthy group win as a starter since 2011. Captain Chip Hale put the “A” Team in the lineup, with the highest point of the request including Trumbo, Goldy, Pollock, and Tomas consecutive. Also, Tomas homered on Saturday, maybe showing his bat is at long last warmed up this season.

In any case, Sunday simply wasn’t our day. Collmenter looked not terrible, not awesome, for around 5 innings, before he disentangled a bit in the 6th. In the 2nd inning, he did surrender a fair hit to Hernandez, and an ensuing sac RBI to Rupp. At that point, Ruf had a performance shot in the fourth. Yet, in the 6th, Maikel Franco had a RBI triple, and after that Hernandez had a RBI twofold. That put the Phillies ahead 4-0. However, with a sluggish Diamondbacks offense, trailing 4 keeps running behind in the 6th was sufficient to close down any confidence of a rebound.
Continue reading Come ON D-Backs…

2015 Prediction Time – National League


1. Nationals
The running favorite to finally get to October. But the Nats need a good bullpen, because their starters don’t complete games. They’ll lean heavily on Cy Young contender Drew Storen again, but they’ll need other relievers to close out games if they want to go all the way.
2. Mets
While their offense and mid-field defense is not their strength, nor their bullpen, The Mets have one of the strongest starting pitchers in baseball. There’s more expected of this team this year versus prior years, so we shall see how the younger up-and-comers respond to the pressure. 
3. Marlins
Strong starting pitching made this tough to predict at number three. When Jose Fernandez returns from TJ surgery, it’ll be even stronger. Don’t count this Florida squad out – some of the new players like Mike Morse, Marting Prado, and Dee Gordon could bring the Marlins up from also-ran status.

Continue reading 2015 Prediction Time – National League

2015 MLB Prediction Time – American League

So here is the obligitory 2015 prediction list. Obviously one cannot predict injuries, trades, suspensions, etc., but I consider team depth in these picks as well.

1. Toronto Blue Jays
The Jays went with youth and added six rookies, but these young guys have exceptional talent. Then add Russell Martin and Josh Donaldson and you’ve got a winning formula. 
2. Red Sox 
While weak in their starting pitching stable, they have the means to develop someone into that role. Yes, I’m looking at you Cole Hamels. Blake Swihart has had his chance and it might be time to move on. Trade bait?
3. Orioles
The birds lost Nelson Cruz AND Nick Markakis, so they need Machado to be out-of-this-world amazing. Was Chris Davis a fluke? Matt Wieters, will you be back soon? So many unanswered questions.
4. Yankees
Age and injuries bring this veteran squad down to the also-rans. A-Rod comes back and it’ll be a scar on this team’s psyche all season long. Too bad he has a 3-year contract with huge money invested.
5. DevilRays
More pitching injuries plague this team, with both Drew Smyly and Alex Cobb out til the end of April. The Rays need them back, and soon. Rays bats have been quiet and there’s not much to be excited about this year.
1. White Sox
The Sox will need breakout seasons from the younger end of their lineup, like Micah Johnson, Avisail Garcia, and especially Carlos Rodon. But the sheer talent on this squad is impressive and if the stars align, could go all the way.
2. Indians
Kind of like the White Sox, pitching is crucial. Danny Salazar needed to step it up, but a por showing in Spring Training forced the Tribe to send him down to regroup. But the Indian’s front office hasn’t given up and perhaps the time away can give them a mid-season boost, especially if Trevor Bauer continues his impressive ascent. But will that be too late?
3. Tigers
Sadly, this mighty squad had it all in place before superstarts Bruce Rondon and Justin Verlander got hurt. That said, there’s still hope for the playoffs if Verlander doesn’t miss too much time.  
4. Royals
Yeah, I know, the AL representative in the World Series surely deserves better respect from me, but how do you explain off-season moves in pickups like Alex Rios, Edinson Volquez, and Kendrys Morales? Maybe KC knows something I don’t and they prove me wrong, and if so, expect another playoff run.
5. Twins
Another year in the cellar for the Minnesota squad. Despite hiring one of baseball’s all-time good guys, Paul Molitor, as manager, I don’t see how the Twins survive Ervin Santana’s suspension. At least the Twins are making progress, but Santana was signed to help keep the pitching rotation stable, and now that’s out the window. Twins’ pitching was the worst in the AL last year, and they have a serious uphill climb this year again.
AL West
1. Mariners
Serious contenders if the pitching squad is healthy. Taijuan Walker and James Paxton both had serious time on DL last year, and Felix Hernandez threw the most innings in the entire MLB since 2006. Health is key for Seattle.
2. Angels
Sorry to sound like a broken record, but injuries are key for the Angels pitching as well. Garrett Richards just had knee surgery, but should be back in the lineup come late April/early May. He could hold the key to an average team or a breakout.
3. Athletics
Need bats. Period. When no player on the team hits more than twelve homers in a year, the A’s need to light some fires to support their strong and solid pitching.
4. Astros
A questionable pitching rotation combined with strikeout team of the year. This is a team that could excel with a small-ball strategy. Some quality base-running in 2015 could put up desperately needed runs.
5. Rangers
Many people’s pick for the bottom, I agree. Again – injuries and recoveries from Shin-Soo Choo, Prince Fielder, Derek Holland are all necessary. Add the question marks of Yu Darvish and Elvis Andrus, and the Rangers also have a tough row to hoe.
As with any sport, the parity in the league requires that each team operate on all cylinders. Pretty tough when injuries throw off the balance. But that’s why good scouting, drafts, and off-season conditioning are so important.
Watch for my National League predictions coming soon, and thanks for checking this out!!

Play Ball!!! Baseball is back!

At long last… Major League Baseball is back! I’m so excited for the 2015 season… I’ve waited since October through a long and cold Minnesota winter to have my beloved baseball back. 

I adore baseball on so many levels – the fast to slow and back again drama of each game, the chess-like strategies MLB’s top managers employ, the watching of the standings, to the individual player stories.

Most of all though, I love going to the ballpark. There are 30 fantastic baseball stadiums around the country, each with their own unique flavor that complements the game known as America’s Pastime. There’s no feeling like getting your ticket at the booth, knowing that you get to watch some of the world’s best athletes perform right in front of you, while you get to be a supportive observer – complete with ballpark hot dog, cheese curds, and beer(s) in hand. 

Yes, time to soak up the sun, breathe in the fresh, clean air, kick back in your favorite box seat or bleacher bench, and cheer on your favorite team. If you can swing the cash, try to get as close to the field as you can – it just makes the experience more involving if you can see the expressions on the player’s faces as they run in from the field to the dugout after a defensive stop. Or what they shout to each other in encouragement when the team needs a big play.

Professional baseball grand arena in sunlight

There are lots of things to be excited about with a new season. It’s kind of like watching 30 separate reality tv shows that stretch out over the summer. This year will be particularly interesting, since lots of teams have made significant changes over the offseason. Some teams overhauled half their lineup in the span of a week like the Padres. They made their point that they are in it to win it.

Last year had some surprises, and I was not alone in not expecting the Royals to get to the World Series, let alone take the mighty San Francisco Giants to a Game 7. But their relievers were solid and held the Giant bats at bay. Pitching can make or break a team, as we know. Will this year’s Royals team get better or worse? Who will be this year’s surprise team?

Watch for my upcoming 2015 prediction list in the coming days. For now, let’s PLAY BALL!!! :)

Diamondbacks Locker

Hello and thanks for checking out Diamondbacks Locker! This personal blog gives my personal opinion about MLB Baseball. I am a big fan of the Arizona Diamondbacks, as well as a big time fan of all of Major League Baseball.

It’s an exciting time of year for all baseball fans – OPENING DAY is here at last! I love other sports but there’s nothing like baseball season. Sure, other sports are nice but there’s no game like America’s Pastime. No other game has the same feel and energy of a ballgame at the park: the roller coaster of intensity of a bottom-of-the-ninth rally with runners on base, to the relaxed lull of a 4th inning pitcher’s duel in the hot sun on a Sunday afternoon.

Like any sport, this is the time of year with the most hope – Spring training is over and we can see what we’ve got this season. Now it’s hope that the younger guys develop, the pitching staff stays healthy and strong, and the bats connect for base hits.

Last Summer I went to several games up here in Minnesota. The Twins kind of stunk last year but we’ll see how things work out this year. Now with one of favorite all time players as manager, Paul Molitor, they’ve got a fighting chance. Still they are lacking in talent but hopefully what they are missing in that department is made up with heart and inspiration. Molly is one of baseball’s good guys, in my opinion, and it’ll be great to see him in the dugout at the helm.

This change motivates me to attend several games this month alone. I don’t recall opening day being this late in the year, though, but maybe it’s because it’s supposed to be first Monday in April. Anyway, I’ll be watching to see the Twins crawl out of the gutter.

Speaking of gutter, my Diamondbacks have some work to do. Yeah, they still have Paul Goldschmidt, runner-up MVP, but the D-back’s record last year was just 81-81. Yawn. They’ve got some young talent but it looks like they’re not going to rush anyone into the lineup as several new recruits have been shipped to AAA.

Just a few more hours til Opening Day!