Tag:Arizona Diamondbacks
Posted on: July 30, 2010 1:05 pm
Edited on: July 30, 2010 2:53 pm
 

White Sox acquire D-backs RHP Edwin Jackson

Right-hander Edwin Jackson is headed back to a pennant race and back to the American League Central -- for now.

The White Sox acquired Jackson, the author of a no-hitter earlier this year, sending right-handed pitcher Dan Hudson and a minor-league lefty, David Holmberg, to the desert as the stripping of the Arizona Diamondbacks continues.

But Jackson's stay in the Windy City could be short-lived. Sox general manager Kenny Williams was working on multiple fronts Friday as the July 31 non-waivers trade deadline moved to within 24 hours away, and there remains a very real chance that Chicago could flip Jackson to the Washington Nationals in a deal for slugger Adam Dunn.

The White Sox very much want to add a hitter to their lineup and have been talking to the Nats about Dunn for some time.

However, with Jake Peavy out for the season and having traded prospect Hudson to the Diamondbacks, the White Sox also are running short of starting pitchers. If they do deal Jackson to Washington for Dunn, it will create a hole in their rotation that would need to be filled. Bob Nightengale of USA Today is reporting that the White Sox are talking with Houston about Brett Myers in a potential deal if they do ship Jackson to the Nationals. 

Jackson was 6-10 for the Diamondbacks this season, and his clear highlight was no-hitting Tampa Bay on June 25. Jackson has fanned 104 batters and walked 60 over 134 1/3 innings in 21 starts.

Pitching for Detroit last summer, Jackson earned his first All-Star appearance.

"He's either really good, or he's bad," says one scout from a club looking for starting pitching -- but which had little interest in Jackson. "He doesn't have command of his stuff all the time. He can't pitch at lower-level velocity. When he's pitching at 92, 93 m.p.h., he doesn't always know where it's going. He's better off pitching at 96."

Hudson, 23, was rated as the third-best prospect in the White Sox organization last winter by Baseball American and won raves from the White Sox at mid-season when he was summoned to the big leagues following Jake Peavy's season-ending injury.

"Great stuff," Sox slugger Paul Konerko told CBSSports.com at the All-Star Game of Hudson. "Great arm. Great change-up. ... I really think he's the guy. He doesn't get hit hard. When he throws strikes, they're good strikes. You look at his numbers. ... I know they're minor-league numbers, but he's a winner."

Holmberg, 19, was rated by Baseball America as the White Sox's eighth-best prospect.

The Diamondbacks now, according to sources, are turning their attention to dealing catcher Chris Snyder and reliever Chad Qualls.

 

Posted on: July 18, 2010 8:52 pm
 

Arizona's Haren assesses looming trade deadline

Arizona ace Dan Haren has a limited no-trade clause in his four-year, $44.75 million deal that allows him to veto deals to 12 clubs.

Haren hasn't publicly listed those teams, and as a lost season goes further south for the Diamondbacks, he certainly is sounding like a man who is open to going to a contender.

But he also has not reached the point of frustration of, say, Roy Halladay during his final months in Toronto.

"I want to win," Haren told CBSSports.com this weekend. "I'd prefer it to be here [in Arizona]. I'm not asking to get out. My agent hasn't told me anything is close.

"This team has got some talent. It's a matter of putting it together."

As Arizona's season gets away, Haren is attempting to not allow the same to happen to his. After getting cuffed by the Padres on Friday night, the right-hander now is 0-4 with a 4.57 ERA over his past six starts. The Diamondbacks are 0-6 during those starts. Haren has surrendered 21 homers, tied for second in the majors.

"At this point, the way I'm pitching, I feel like I'm not even wanted by anybody," Haren said. "It's been hard. It's been a tough year. We're 20-some games under .500 ... I like the guys. I like this team.

"I'd like to be a part of turning it around."

Despite his rough patch lately, his overall body of work -- three-time All-Star, including starting the 2007 game in San Francisco, and leading the National League last year in WHIP (walks plus hits divided by innings pitched), among other things -- surely outweighs four or five rough starts. If ever there was a poster boy for someone in need of a fresh start, he looks like Haren in a 2010 Arizona uniform.

"I want to win," he said. "I've had a couple of good years personally here, this year being an exception. I'd like to be a part of winning in Arizona. This team made a big push to get me. ...

"I'm just trying to win ballgames. But winning has been few and far between this year."

Category: MLB
Posted on: July 4, 2010 4:49 pm
 

All-Star questions, snubs and thoughts

-- Stephen Strasburg, discuss.

-- OK, here's my part of the discussion: I think the right thing was done not only in leaving him off of the All-Star ballot, but also in not listing him among the final five men for whom fans can vote. You know he would have won that in a landslide. As I blogged the other day, the guy's career has barely achieved liftoff -- there are others in line in front of him for the All-Star Game. Besides, the Nationals are so worried about his innings-pitched count that they're probably going to shut him down by early September. So why shouldn't he wait a year or two before making his All-Star debut? That said, it's one hell of an argument, and colleague Gregg Doyel makes the contrary argument (big surprise there, huh?) here and, as usual, does it very well. He's wrong, but he's good.

-- Biggest snub? Colorado catcher Miguel Olivo not being on the NL team. Forget a simple roster spot. He should be starting.

-- How can the San Diego Padres have by far the best pitching staff in the game one-through-12 this season and not have one pitcher on the NL team? Closer Heath Bell is one of the five players up for the fan vote for the last spot on the team. But starter Mat Latos (9-4, 2.62 ERA) should be on the team, and starter Clayton Richard (6-4, 2.74) merits consideration. But the real snub is that set-up man Luke Gregerson didn't make it despite a strikeout-walk ratio that is sick: 51 K's against six walks over 40 1/3 innings. What, the NL team has a death wish by not inviting San Diego pitchers?

-- Best All-Star story: Cincinnati reliever Arthur Rhodes, who, as a 40-year-old first-time All-Star, is the third-oldest All-Star "rookie" in history. Rhodes from April 13-June 26 made 33 appearances for the Reds without allowing a run, equaling a single-season record he now shares with Mark Guthrie (2002, Mets) and Mike Myers (2000, Rockies).

-- Nicest All-Star story: Arizona outfielder Chris Young, who got himself so twisted up at the plate last season that the Diamondbacks shipped him back to Triple-A to fix his mechanics (and for his own sanity) last summer, bounces back to earn his way onto the NL team. Young has 16 homers, 57 RBI and 14 steals and is one of the few bright spots in Arizona this summer.

-- With the 5 p.m. start time to the Tuesday, July 13 game in Anaheim, you'll be hearing so much about "twilight" you'll think vampires (or Kristen Stewart) will be playing. No question, in the Year of the Pitcher, pitching should dominate for at least the first half of the game. Hitters will not be too crazy facing Ubaldo Jimenez, Roy Halladay, Josh Johnson, David Price, Jon Lester, Cliff Lee and the rest in the twilight.

-- Quick reference guide: The American League has won seven consecutive All-Star Games since the tie in Milwaukee in 2002, and 12 of the past 13 (including the tie). The NL has not won since 1996 in Philadelphia's Veterans Stadium.

-- The new rule this year by which each manager can designate a position player to re-enter that game in the late (or extra innings) if the last available position player at any position is injured) is cheesy. I know Commissioner Bud Selig's special on-field committee is a crack staff, but it won't be long until we'll have Little League everybody on the roster gets to bat rules in place. Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio used to play seven, eight, nine innings. Today's "everybody gets a chance to play" mentality is weak.

-- As the sole representative from the host Angels, one of Torii Hunter's duties, no doubt, will be to introduce all of his AL teammates to the Rally Monkey.

-- You'll also be seeing endless replays of the big Bo Jackson 448-foot homer to dead center field against Rick Reuschel in the 1989 game.

-- Vladimir Guerrero returning to Angel Stadium as an All-Star with Texas will be intriguing to everyone but Angels fans.

-- Rookie Jason Heyward's announced plan to participate in batting practice with the NL All-Stars, because he was voted in by fans, but to sit out the game, because he's on the disabled list, is classy.

-- Final man votes: I'd go Paul Konerko of the White Sox in the AL, and Cincinnati's Joey Votto in the NL.

-- The painted Mickey Mouses (most featuring All-Star designs on Mickey) they're placing around Anaheim look very cool. And this from a cranky guy who doesn't give two hoots for Mickey, and a guy who generally avoids Disneyland (and Disneyworld) at all costs (I just despise crowded places where you stand in line forever).

Likes: The long piece on Yankees closer Mariano Rivera in Sunday's New York Times magazine. ... Seeing clips of Lou Gehrig's "Today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth" each July 4 -- it was delivered 71 years ago Sunday -- never fails to produce chills. ... I'm not much for reality shows -- sports or otherwise -- but The Club, centered on the crazy Chicago White Sox, on MLB Network later this month looks too dramatic to pass up. ... George Steinbrenner's birthday being on July 4. How perfect is that? ... Man, does the Padres' Tony Gwynn Jr. have wheels.

Dislikes: We can all argue All-Star snubs, but there are too many players on each roster already. The 34-man rosters are ridiculous.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Driving in to Darlington County
"Me and Wayne on the Fourth of July
"Driving in to Darlington County
"Looking for some work on the county line
"We drove down from New York City
"Where the girls are pretty
"But they just wanna know your name
"Driving in to Darlington city
"Got a union connection with an uncle of Wayne's
"We drove 800 miles without seeing a cop
"We got rock and roll music blasting out the T-top"

-- Bruce Springsteen, Darlington County

Posted on: July 1, 2010 11:00 pm
Edited on: July 1, 2010 11:53 pm
 

Diamondbacks fire manager Hinch, GM Byrnes

The Arizona Diamondbacks fired both general manager Josh Byrnes and manager A.J. Hinch on Thursday night, major-league sources have confirmed to CBSSports.com.

Kirk Gibson, bench coach to Hinch and Bob Melvin in Arizona over the past few seasons, will be named as interim manager and will guide the club Friday when the Diamondbacks open a weekend series at home against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Jerry DiPoto, who had been Arizona's vice-president for player personnel, will assume the interim GM duties.

USAToday first reported that Byrnes and Hinch are out.

In the midst of a miserably disappointing season, the Diamondbacks are last in the NL West at 31-48, trailing San Diego by 15 1/2 games.

The Diamondbacks hired Hinch last May 7, making him the youngest manager in the game at 34. He had no managerial experience when they named him to replace Bob Melvin, yet the Diamondbacks awarded him a contract through 2012.

Byrnes, meantime, is under contract through 2015.

Diamondbacks owner Ken Kendrick and club president Derrick Hall promised major changes last month, and these are the first of what is expected to be a complete makeover of an organization in utter disarray.

"These decisions come as a first and major step in our thorough evaluation of our team," Hall said in a statement released by the Diamondbacks late Thursday night. "We have all been disappointed in the results over the last few years, and we have come to the conclusion that a change in the leadership of our baseball operations staff is necessary at this time.

"This franchise has enjoyed tremendous success over the years and we want to get back to our winning ways. The loyal staff of this organization, as well as all of our fans, hopes for and deserves better results on the field."

Posted on: April 22, 2010 11:59 pm
Edited on: April 23, 2010 6:06 pm
 

Short Hops: Bullpens reaching critical mass

Short hops, quick pops and backhand stops:

 Where legendary manager/raconteur Casey Stengel once groused, "Can't anybody here play this game?", Dave Trembley (Baltimore), A.J. Hinch (Arizona), Trey Hillman (Kansas City), Ron Washington (Texas), Lou Piniella (Cubs) and Fredi Gonzalez (Florida) are among the skippers anguishing through today's modern translation: "Can't anybody here pitch in the late innings?"

Nearly three weeks in, and bullpens in each of those places range from blown up to still-smoldering. While the issues and problems are disparate, there are a couple of things in play here.

One, as Angels pitching coach Mike Butcher suggests, some relievers are still attempting to settle into the regular season's erratic workload after pitching regularly scheduled stints throughout spring training.

Two, the spectacular number of blown saves in Baltimore (two conversions in six opportunities), Texas (two in five) and Kansas City (four in nine) add grist to the argument against rigidly locking your closer into the ninth innings. Sometimes, the eighth inning is the game-changer. Sometimes it's the seventh.

"The way the bullpen sets up today, you've got a closer for the seventh inning, a closer for the eighth inning and a closer for the ninth inning," Butcher says.

So, given the nature of specialty bullpens, in an era when there are no Goose Gossage-style closers who can get seven or eight outs, maybe what's needed is less managing-by-the-book and more imagination. Maybe if the Royals, for example, summoned Joakim Soria sooner rather than later, they wouldn't have suffered four of their first five losses in games in which they led in the seventh inning.

In Texas, Frank Francisco has been removed as closer in favor of Neftali Feliz. In Baltimore, Mike Gonzalez, who blew save opportunities on both opening day and in the Orioles' home opener, went to the disabled list with a shoulder strain (and in his place, Jim Johnson has blown two of three save opportunities).

The 2-14 Orioles have lost five games in which they've led in the eighth inning or later. Texas has lost four such games. Kansas City starters already have been cost five wins because of blown saves (including two each for Zack Greinke and Brian Bannister), while Arizona, Milwaukee, Florida and Cubs' starters have lost four victories to blown saves.

The Diamondbacks suffered back-to-back walk-off losses on April 15 (Blaine Boyer, at Los Angeles) and April 16 (Juan Rodriguez, at San Diego). Then, Arizona's pen was hammered for five ninth-inning St. Louis runs Wednesday in what at the time was a tied game.

The Cubs' plight caused Lou Piniella to move erstwhile ace Carlos Zambrano from the rotation to eighth-inning set-up man for closer Carlos Marmol in an absolutely stunning move of desperation. Through Tuesday, the Cubs had surrendered 16 eighth-inning runs, a major-league high. They also had allowed 32 runs in the seventh and eighth innings combined, also the most in the majors.

"A vast majority of these games are decided in the 7th, 8th and 9th innings," Piniella explained -- as opposed to, say, the first-through-sixth innings, when Zambrano (and Greinke and Dan Haren and Kevin Millwood) usually is on the mound.

This continues, some brave manager -- Washington with Feliz? Gonzalez with Leo Nunez? -- is going to call on his closer to protect a one-run lead in the eighth instead of the ninth, out of self-defense if nothing else. And maybe that will be the start of a new -- and welcome -- trend.
 Biggest culprits in blowing up opposing bullpens? Detroit this season has caused a whopping seven blown saves, while the Dodgers have caused six. Though, as manager Jim Leyland noted Thursday in Anaheim, it would make life far easier for the Tigers if they'd start scoring on starting pitchers.

 Regarding the scorched-earth pen in Texas, the Rangers already have lost five games they've led in the seventh inning or later this year. Last year, they lost only six of those games over their 162-game schedule.

 Baltimore hitters with runners in scoring position: A big-league worst .155 (17-for-110). And .103 (6-for-58) with RISP and two out.

 Chad Billingsley has a 7.07 ERA lodged in his throat after surrendering seven runs and seven hits to Cincinnati on Tuesday, Dodgers manager Joe Torre says it looks like the pitcher has confidence issues and Billingsley says his confidence is fine. Torre and pitching coach Rick Honeycutt said Billingsley had command issues, Billingsley said he didn't. And in other news, the Dodgers say the earth is round and Billingsley says it's flat. This all had better get worked out, pronto.

 The suddenly reeling Giants, who went from 7-2 to getting swept by the Padres, face contenders St. Louis, Philadelphia and Colorado in a homestand beginning Friday and are perfectly set up for the Cards: Tim Lincecum, Barry Zito and Matt Cain are lined up to start.

 The Twins, according to sources, had what they viewed as a workable deal to acquire Padres closer Heath Bell after Joe Nathan was hurt this spring but veered away because they were nervous over character issues. Bell's outspoken manner at times can grate on teammates.

 When is this guy going to get some work? Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton has converted his only save opportunity this season, and though he's only appeared in six of 15 games, one scout who has watched him this year and in spring training raves about him. "Mariano Rivera still sets the bar, but Jonathan Broxton right now is every bit as good," the scout says. "I saw him this spring and I've seen him this year, and je just comes in pumping strikes at 96 miles an hour."

 Glad to see baseball came to grips with Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon's hoodie. Now let's move on to the maple bat issue before somebody gets decapitated.

 Sure wish Milton Bradley would quit giving everybody so much material. Now the Chicago landlord who sued Bradley for $44,000 in unpaid rent over the winter alleges that Bradley also caused $13,900 in damage to the condo with wine, food, juice and coffee stains as well as paint stains.

 One thing I neglected to mention last week while reviewing the Twins' superb new Target Field: The excellent touches extend all the way to the crew responsible for the in-game music, especially the inspired choices of playing clips of The Hold Steady's Stay Positive during key moments for the Twins in the late innings and Bruce Springsteen's Long Walk Home after losses.

 Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker may have a crack pinch-running candidate in-house and not even know it: Congratulations to Reds media relations guru Rob Butcher, who sets the bar in his day job, for not only completing the Boston Marathon on Monday but for doing so in 3:24:59. That's 7:49 per mile!


Posted on: March 14, 2010 12:22 am
 

Ian Kennedy's new start in the desert

TUCSON, Ariz. -- Go ahead, let Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes write another chapter in their endless "Will he start or will he relieve?" saga this spring.

From his perch in the desert, right-hander Ian Kennedy is perfectly content to have left the No. 4 train to the Bronx behind.

He's making his pitch toward the Arizona Diamondbacks' rotation and, though they're not handing him the job, they are giving him what might be the most important guarantee he could get: They view him as a starter, period. The bullpen is not an option.

"We'd like him to win the job," manager A.J. Hinch says. "We feel like he's going to win the job."

As Hinch says, they're not handing out jobs. Kennedy must earn his keep. But you get the idea. ...

"It's nice, because when I was with the Yankees, I didn't know this spring if I was going to relieve or start, what my role was," Kennedy says. "If they wanted me to start in Triple-A. ...

"Coming here, they said, 'Here's what you could have. You've got to just do what you do.' That's the advantage of being here. If you look around, there's a lot of good, young players here. That's what I'm excited about."

Having missed most of '09 with an aneurysm near his right shoulder, Kennedy is doing his normal spring work and feeling good. The Diamondbacks' rotation is somewhat in flux because of ace Brandon Webb's slow return from shoulder surgery.

Kennedy figured to line up as the No. 4 starter behind Webb, Dan Haren and Edwin Jackson -- though with Webb expected to start on the disabled list, Kennedy could find himself pitching the third game of the season against San Diego.

He's spent a lot of time with Webb this spring which, among other things, has resulted in Kennedy adding a sinker to his repertoire. That first came up during the Arizona Fall League.

"I talk to Webby a lot," Kennedy says. "He's usually in the training room, and I've asked him a lot of questions so far about pitching, trying to pick his brain on how he can throw that great of a two-seamer [sinking fastball]."

Sunblock Day? Finally, some sun and some 70-degree weather. And don't look now, but they're predicting highs of 83 and 84 Tuesday and Wednesday in Phoenix.

Likes: Diamondbacks bench coach Kirk Gibson and former major leaguer Brett Butler, now managing at Triple-A Reno, giving hands-on lessons on baserunning the other day on one of the back fields. I hope the younger Diamondbacks in particular were listening, there's a lot of wisdom to be learned from those two men. ... The Rooster Cogburn Ostrich Ranch off of I-10 on the way south to Tucson. Never fails to amuse. And no, I didn't stop and pet the deer (one of the options listed in the extravagant signage). ... Picacho Peak, between Casa Grande and Tucson off of I-10. My friend Steve Gilbert of MLB.com informed me that the westernmost battle of the Civil War was waged there. It's now a state park, and there's a re-enactment of the battle each year. ... Watching the Big East title game Saturday night on television, great scene at the end after West Virginia won and they blasted John Denver's Take Me Home, Country Roads over the speaker system in Madison Square Garden with the Mountaineer fans singing loudly, especially to the lines in which Denver sings, "To the place, I belong, West Virginia. ..." Sounded great on television.

Dislikes: So I hear there's going to be a "big announcement" on a Detroit radio station Friday night from Alto Reed, saxophone player for Bob Seger. A summer tour, perhaps? How cool would that be? Uh, no. The announcement, according to the crack Web site Segerfile.com, is that the sax guy will be joining the radio station's on-air staff. Yawn.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"It's funny how it's the little things in life that mean the most
"Not where you live, what you drive or the price tag on your clothes
"There`s no dollar sign on a piece of mind, this I`ve come to know
"So if you agree have a drink with me
"Raise your glasses for a toast
"To a little bit of chicken fried
"Cold beer on a Friday night
"A pair of jeans that fit just right
"And the radio up"

-- Zac Brown Band, Chicken Fried

Posted on: January 5, 2010 5:10 pm
 

Randy Johnson expected to retire tonight

Randy Johnson has scheduled a conference call for later today, at which time the five-time Cy Young award winner is expected to announce his retirement.

The call comes on the eve of Wednesday's Hall of Fame voting results, a fitting time being that five years from now, it will be Johnson who almost certainly will be inducted into Cooperstown.

Johnson, 46, won his 300th game last summer pitching for the San Francisco Giants, becoming just the 24th pitcher in history to reach that level. That, though, turned into the highlight of his season. Not long after, he suffered a tear in his rotator cuff, missed the next several weeks and finished 8-6 with a 4.88 ERA for the Giants.

Only Roger Clemens (six) won more Cy Young awards than Johnson, who helped pitch the Arizona Diamondbacks to the 2001 World Series title in a memorable triumph over the Yankees. Johnson and Curt Schilling were co-MVPs during that series, during which one of the most memorable moments came when Johnson entered Game 7 in relief in the eighth inning and earned the win after being the winning pitcher in Game 6 the night before.

Over 22 seasons with Montreal, Seattle, Houston, Arizona, the Yankees and the Giants, Johnson went 303-166. His 4,875 strikeouts rank second all-time to Nolan Ryan (5,714). He also pitched 37 shutouts.

Posted on: August 11, 2009 6:45 pm
Edited on: August 11, 2009 9:57 pm
 

There's no forever Young in Arizona

When the Arizona Diamondbacks signed center fielder Chris Young to a five-year, $28 million deal in April, 2008, it appeared as if both Young and the Diamondbacks were on the rise.

The team, coming off of an appearance in the 2007 National League Championship Series, had what appeared to be a solid young core. And Young was one of the centerpieces.

As an encore to their '07 October run, the Diamondbacks reeled off a 20-8 April in '08 and seemed well on their way to long-term domination in a weak NL West.

For that one month in '08, they served as a model for the way budget-conscious teams must run their shops.

No more. Since then, the Diamondbacks have gone 113-134, essentially lost ace Brandon Webb for the year, fallen out of the '09 race practically by Mother's Day and fired manager Bob Melvin. Then, on Monday, exasperated with Young's descent, they finally optioned him back to Triple-A Reno in an attempt to, if nothing else, jump-start what has become a total reclamation project.

Young, currently in a 2-for-27 slump, is hitting just .194 this season and looks nothing like the player he was in '07, when he became the first rookie in big league history to collect 30 or more homers (he finished with 32) and 25 or more steals (he had 27).

The five-year, $28 million deal is looking like a wreck right now, as is the three-year, $30 million deal bestowed upon outfielder Eric Byrnes (.216, five homers, 24 RBI) that does not expire until after the 2010 season. The Diamondbacks owe Byrnes ($11 million) and Young ($3.25) a combined $14.25 million in 2010.

Young still is only 25, but the race is on to see whether he can live up to his contract.

"He hasn't gotten any better," says one scout who watched the Diamondbacks recently. "He's stubborn. He's hacking at pitches out of the strike zone, he's trying to pull everything. He's trying to be a home run hitter, which he is, but you've got to be somewhat selective sometimes.

"Arizona did the right thing with him."

Presumably, the Diamondbacks will take a big step forward next season with the return of Webb, who, teamed with Danny Haren, provides as good a one-two punch as there is in the league. But Doug Davis and Jon Garland each is a free agent this winter. And the $14 million they owe Young and Byrnes is that much more they cannot spend in other areas of need.

Likes: Phillies-Cubs for three beginning tonight in Wrigley Field. Interesting pitching matchups, too: Rich Harden against the Phillies' hot J.A. Happ tonight, Jeff Samardzija vs. Phillies' newcomer Pedro Martinez on Wednesday and a couple of aces, Ryan Dempster vs. Cliff Lee, on Thursday. ... I know all about slump busters, and I have to say, this one's in a class of her own. ... Good for the Washington Nationals, winners of eight in a row. But you know what will kill the goodwill immediately? If they blow the signing of first-overall draft pick Stephen Strasburg. Signing deadline is Aug. 17 at midnight EDT. ... Saw In the Loop the other night, the political satire in which Britain and the United States ready to go to war in the Middle East over a miscommunication thanks to a British staffer. Liked it overall, but doggone it's difficult to understand the accents. ... Really enjoying this season of Entourage. I thought last year it was close to jumping the shark, but this year's storyline is crisp and funny. ... Brad Paisley's American Saturday Night is a bit too country for me, but it's got some good, catchy stuff. The title song and Catch All the Fish in particular stand out.

Dislikes: I know they've got $60 million worth of players on the disabled list, but are the Mets even trying anymore? People around the team seem to think general manager Omar Minaya's job is safe after the club had to toss assistant GM Tony Bernazard overboard, but if the Mets continue to slide and play with no heart, don't be surprised if they wind up sacrificing Minaya for the flawed $100 million roster. Manager Jerry Manuel? I think he stays. Bottom line: It's all going to depend on ownership and how much dough the Wilpons are willing to cast aside, because Minaya is signed for three more years and Manuel is signed through 2010.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"If I had a boat
"I'd go out on the ocean
"And if I had a pony
"I'd ride him on my boat
"And we could all together
"Go out on the ocean
"Me upon my pony on my boat "

-- Lyle Lovett, If I Had a Boat

 

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com