Picks of the Pen: Starting at One

“Hey, this is Nick Swisher and I’m being obligated by an off-camera producer to tell you that I am hanging out in the MLB Fan Cave.”

Justin

I’m a sucker for a good Willa Ford reference.  I’m also a sucker for the phrase “social fart-smelling.”  Mainly, I just suck.  But the account of an A’s fan living in the midst of the Giants’ Bay Area dominance on He’s Throwing Our Food! is a read and a half.

The Red Sox faced a stampede of pressure coming into 2011; namely, how many wins would their new lineup translate into?  110?  Or the much more feasible 100?  And while that topic may be riotously debated in the weeks to come, one thing is for certain: You can’t count to 100 without starting at one.  And the Sawx finally did.  As I type this, they have just followed up their first glorious victory with an inglorious 9-4 loss at home to the Yankees.  So we can all keep ogling at the wreck as we drive past.

On the other end of the division, the side not flooded in tears, the Orioles are ripping shit up.  At 5-1, they’re in first place, and as I type this, they are beating the undefeated Rangers 1-0 in the first game of a double header.  However, Scott Taylor at Birds Watcher woefully crosses off another name from the O’s roster as their unfortunate strains, bruises, and brushes with pneumonia claim yet another victim.

Tom

This season might not see the amount of excellent rookies break in like we saw last season, but there’s already been a couple rookie pitchers off to good starts in the American League. One of them is Michael Pineda of the Seattle Mariners. Dave Cameron over at FanGraphs has a must-read breakdown of Pineda’s debut and what he’ll need to do to be successful as he begins his first season in the show.

Adam Krueger over at Puckett’s Pond takes a shot at trying to figure out what might be wrong with Twins starting pitcher and de facto ace, Francisco Liriano. From his groundball to flyball ratio, control and pitch speed, Adam searches in all directions to try and sort out Liriano. It’s a hugely important issue for the Twins who will be relying heavily on Liriano, along with Carl Pavano, to head their rotation and pitch them into a pennant race this summer.

Nathaniel

You’d think that teams wouldn’t already be making significant roster changes based on 2011 stats, but that’s exactly what Kansas City seems to be doing, as Wilson Betemit appears to have already seized the team’s third base job. Royals Review has more on the implications of Kansas City’s new infield setup.

We often like to see high stolen base totals, but how much do they actually help a team? Scott Barber of Jays Journal breaks down some Toronto players and what sort of contributions they make on the basepaths.

Steve

The whole Rob Dibble-Stephen Strasburg thing was re-ignited this week… by Dibble. Dibs is sticking to his story. The kid should have sucked it up.  Now, Dibs is telling us the real reason he was fired.  It led to more crap being flung and Craig Calcaterra tells us why Dibs thinks he was unemployed. Seriously. He just needs to let it all go.

Alex

Carl Crawford will face his former team for the first time ever tonight, but as Marc Topkin points out, it’s the Rays who have their work cut out for them. It’s been quite a tough year so far for Tampa, and seeing their former all-star in another uniform won’t make things any better.

We have come to expect the unexpected when it comes to Manny Ramirez, and his recent retirement is just part of Manny being Manny. While Ramirez was absolutely spectacular during his time in Boston, Rick Meegan of BoSox Injection feels that Manny’s run with steroids has clouded his career and will prevent him from landing in Cooperstown.

Tags: Manny Ramirez New York Yankees Nick Swisher Picks Of The Pen