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Old 05-21-2019, 12:07 AM   #181
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pauwoo View Post
Los Angeles Lakers (28-19, .595, 1st NL West) @ Orlando City (21-25, .456, 4th NL East)
I’m disappointed in my team’s creativity, their collective inability to see beyond the Magic Kingdom’s formidable haze. I extended no less than 15 invites but was unceremoniously shot down each and every time with a version of, “you should come to check out Disney with us instead”. No, I will not young squires, oh ye of little faith - working through the math on this one is elementary... a manufactured horizon of man-made make-believe or a seat on the beach with a real view? Overpriced eats with trumped up prices and toddlers buzzing around like drunken bumblebees or a moderately priced seadog on the pier? Poorly constructed garb with Mickey or one of his ilk printed on the front or an expertly tailored Ron Jon original? Cocoa Beach wins them all - a clean sweep... I got my whodunnit, a fistful of petty cash (shh, don’t tell), and some zinc-based sunscreen, so who needs company? Throw in my mirror shades and you have yourself a party - the only thing I’m missing is a metal detector and a fanny pack. An entire day off from baseball to take in the view, of expertly drawn tattoos placed in suggestive locations, of many a loquacious beach bunny itching to tell you all about the meaning behind said tattoo, and of the most beautiful sunset one could imagine... This is how you prepare yourself to take on Orlando City in a 3-game set. At 21-25 with the 5th rated offense and 10th rated staff, City doesn’t give you much to prepare for. They’re top heavy with a staff led by Nacho Valadez, his impossibly high leg kick - easily the funkiest wind up in the bigs that could only be made funkier if he wore a monocle on the mound and finished it off with a Wonka roll - and his charitable predisposition to grant free passes (he led the MLB in walks last year). On offense it’s PJ Trudell or bust, feast or famine, with a foundation held together on a wish and a prayer - so, as you can see, Orlando doesn’t inspire much in the way of game planning. Instead of doing actual work - I idle my time by powering through my book - Colonel Mustard did it with a spork and evil in his heart - taking in the scenery, imbibing too many sugary cocktails, and feeding dill chips to the shorebirds. That I’m too faded to drive the rental back to the hotel and instead bum a ride off a yoked out beach bum who pilots a Vespa and is wearing only a speedo and full back tattoo of an eagle, wings spread, with a fish taco in its talons at the small of his back is a story for another time - I came here to gnash sunflower seeds and play baseball and I’m all out of sunblock...
Okay, now this is pure poetry. (And when I say that, it is most assuredly a compliment.)
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Old 05-21-2019, 08:33 AM   #182
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Old 05-21-2019, 09:27 PM   #183
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2075 Season (5/28 – 5/30)

Philadelphia 76ers (26-24, .520, 2nd NL East) @ Los Angeles Lakers (30-20, .600, 1st NL West)
Let’s take a few moments to appreciate the brilliance of one Josiah Weber, shall we? Born in 2038 to Nathanial & Jocelyn Weber in East Brunswick, NJ, baseball wasn’t on the short list of things you would’ve expected the son of a biochemist and a trapeze artist to do for a living. If you said that, in addition to playing ball for a living, Josiah would also become one of the best to ever do it - a 13-time all-star and 7-time pitcher of the year who would lead the league in K’s in 9 of his 14 seasons - you wouldn’t have been laughed out of the room, his is a polite family after all, but you would’ve been dismissed as a crazy person after you left. Amassing 4500+ K’s and 250+ wins, then, would have been unfathomable. Josiah’s father had designs on turning his son on to science and his mother on to acrobatics - they’d agree to meet in the middle and push him towards Kinesiology. They were half right. His pinpoint control and economical body movements - no major injuries in 14 years - would be studied by Kinesiologists everywhere and his time spent cross-training with the Cirque du Soleil would often be imitated but never duplicated, but Kinesiology as a profession just wasn’t in the cards. The Josiah Method, as it has come to be known, is a scientific approach to pitch selection with the body control of a gymnast coupled with the ability to rely on muscle memory to achieve the required consistency of delivery, that can’t be replicated. It’s singular. It belongs only to Josiah - it’s why he finds himself alone at the top of the pitching pyramid, in a plane of existence above the levels of the game that are available to mere mortals. Josiah is generational - the best of his time. His trajectory has been steep, even by the standards of the greats who came before him - 3 years at OK State, drafted by Phoenix where he spent only a single season in Tucson before taking his place in the Majors, an All-Star in his second season, a Pacheco winner in his third... there’s been no singular achievement out of his reach. The only thing left is the one thing he can’t get by himself - a World Series ring. And now, after 14 years in the MLB, Josiah is Ronin - a drifter, a man with no country - he’s the Caine of our story, a Shaolin master schooled in the way of the curve and on a mission to the promised land. It’s unlikely that he’ll get there as a member of the Philadelphia 76ers - it’s also interesting that a dignified artist such as him can stomach the fickle nature of the average Philly Fan - and while we may not understand his decision to sign with the 76ers in the offseason, in the end, once his story is written, it will hopefully become clear.

But first, a trade:
The Philly brass, in an attempt to seize the moment - a nod to the fact that while the window is ajar, they’ll need a stop gap to keep it open - have leveraged their future for a present tense difference maker as they land LF Palmer Parker for a smattering of prospects. Their future is now and if this move installs its desired effect, our path to the promised land goes through Philadelphia.

Oh, and I almost forgot… the NCAA Final: UCLA Bruins (28-22, .560) @ Binghamton Bearcats (33-17, .660)
UCLA has won 3 NCAA Championships in the last 83 years, Binghamton has won zero. The Bearcats are led by 20-year old LF Bakari Konate who has a shot at becoming the Ivory Coast’s first MLB player – and the kid has some upside too with good contact and power potential, while the Bruins don’t really have anyone that stands out. Smart money is on the Bearcats… who give up two in the top of the first and then get four of their own in the bottom of the frame (RBI Dbl for the Ivory Coast’s favorite son). Not much else to report in this game after that, each team would get another run, and, in the end, it would be the Binghamton Bearcats who come out on top by a score of 5-3 to claim the first-ever NCAA Championship in the schools 83-year history. Bakari finished the game 2 for 4 with a double and 2 RBI.

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51 of 162: Sawyer Dahlgren (5-2, 3.17) @ Michael Brisk (5-4, 3.72)
Dahlgren is groovin’ – allows only one earned in 8 innings of work while Brisk, looking sharp, allows 3 in 7, 6ers win 3-1. We get only four hits in the contest, one each for Mullens, Cooke (a HR & our only run of the game), Jenkins, and Fregoso. Otto & Pepper both finish 0-3, we strike out 7 times total as a team, and, in a bit of good news, turn 3 dastardly double plays. New guy, Palmer Parker, did not play.

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Elsewhere: Homer Wingard hit 2 home runs in Phoenix’s 5-2 win over the Rams & Benton Boger (I resisted the very real urge to change his last name to Booger) went 3 for 5 with a double and a HR in Pittsburgh’s 12-5 win over the Chargers. Good day for Pennsylvania it seems.

52 of 162: Josiah Weber (4-4, 3.39) @ Merl Crawford (4-3, 4.15)
Palmer Parker’s first at-bat in a 76ers uniform is a long fly ball to Mullens, who snagged it with the style and grace our LA faithful have come to know and love. Josiah walked two batters in the bottom of the 1st – he’ll need to work into it today it seems. Ruben Zarate opens the scoring in the bottom of the 5th with a 2-out solo HR – there will be no shutout for JW today… in fact, Philly pulls him in the 7th after he registers his 5th walk on the day – even without his command, Weber pitches 7 innings of 1-run ball. Merl pitched a 7 inning 3-hitter and we get another team shutout with Balmer, Watkins, and Guzman (15th SV) contributing. Otto gets a hit and strikes out twice against Weber. The GOAT makes one mistake here and it costs him the W, Lakers win 1-0. Palmer Parker is, obviously, a non-factor.

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Elsewhere: Phoenix lost SP Al Van Wilder for the season – ruptured UCL – another tough blow for the Suns – They now are without AVW, Evan Frasier, and CL Ricky Surber. It’s a house of cards, man.

53 of 162: Vin Uhlman (1-4, 5.89) @ Case Tunnell (3-2, 4.28)
Case has had five quality starts in his last ten tries and this wasn’t one of them – the poor lil guy got tired in the 5th… Lakers win anyways, 4-3, thanks to Sammie Fregoso who hit a run-scoring single in the bottom of the eighth with two down. Fregoso, Mullens, and Zarate all get two hits and Newman hit a solo shot in the bottom of the 1st. Otto is a non-factor – 0 for 4 & Palmer is a non-factor – 0 for 4. Pepper sucked too. But we got the win and take the series, so that’s cool.

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Elsewhere (the City of Compton): Newton Weiser gives us 7 innings and only 3 earned in his 6th win of the season, a 13-5 romp over the Cincinnati Bengals. Your boy Rad gets a crack at it tomorrow, we appreciate your thoughts and prayers.

Taking 2 of 3 off of Philly is always a good thing, that one of those came against the GOAT – well, that’s special. Off to the airport for the big club now as we head to Oakland to take on the Golden State Warriors in an interleague series before heading right back home for seven straight against Dallas (3 – also interleague) and Phoenix (4). We will win them all… book it.

Last edited by pauwoo; 05-21-2019 at 10:43 PM.
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Old 05-22-2019, 09:11 PM   #184
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2075 Season (5/31 – 6/2)

Los Angeles Lakers (32-21, .604, 1st NL West) @ Golden State Warriors (23-30, .434, 5th AL West)
The Golden State Warriors don’t care if you know that they actually reside in Oakland instead of some mythical plane - a sun-soaked Valhalla where blonde bombshells don shiny halter tops and tight skirts fashioned from golden chamois. It’s not kept like a secret, they are involved and largely community focused, it just doesn’t figure into their marketing plans. In good years, the Golden State faithful are loud and boisterous about the clubs Oakland roots and in the lean years they are content to let outsiders work it out for themselves - so far this has been a lean year, and so we have been left to our own devices. This distinction is never clearer than when you step out onto the tarmac at Oakland international - this ain’t no Valhalla. Nearly two months into the 2075 season and at 23-30, all hope is not lost for the Warriors but if there is a light at the end of this year’s tunnel it’s dim and lacks the ability to penetrate the darkness to reveal any real routes to success. The Warriors have a good Bullpen – they get better when the starters are shown the door – at 5th in the AL, but elsewhere they are a middling club at best. Sometimes they’re worse than middling – 11th in OBP, 10th in HRs, and 10th in RA, theirs is a club deep in the throes of a rebuild. Gone are the glory days that saw them win 3 titles and make 12 playoff appearances in 13 years – they’ve finished no higher than 5th in the last 4 years. Whatever shape this rebuild was supposed to take has long since become a malformed version of that blueprint – bloated and over-budget. Outside of their closer Jimmy Gruszynski and 3B Mustafa Boltz (he’s fast, it fits) they don’t have much on their roster – that they committed 13M to Boltz is questionable – but they do have the 4th ranked AAA system in baseball that will hopefully, for the beleaguered citizens of Oakland, begin to bear some winning fruit soon.

54 of 162: Josiah Kawka (6-3, 3.27) @ Jeronimo Tucker (5-6, 3.87)
Scoreless with only three hits between us until a solo home run for David Cooke opens the scoring in the top of the 4th – not a lot of action in this one early. We break it open in the top of the 8th, scoring 3, and finish the game with a 5-3 win over Golden State. Kawka gets a complete game, 5-hit, shutout – and Pepper hit a 3-run double in the 8th. Otto finishes 1 for 4 with a run, and the defense fields three slick DP’s to assist Kawka’s in his Herculean effort.

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Elsewhere: Otto wins the NL Batter of the Month Award… dude went gonzo and is now batting .330 with 18 HR and 47 RBI – not far off the triple-crown pace. Top clubs heading into June are Green Bay (best record in baseball), NYJ, St. Louis, Seattle, and us.

55 of 162: Julen Morales (6-2, 3.08) @ Bentley Hunt (3-2, 4.96)
Lakers get a tight 3-2 win in this one thanks to a 2-run homer from Kumar Bovie. Morales is strong – 7 innings, 2 earned, and Guzman picks up save #17. Otto got HR #19 in the 6th but Pepper went hitless – o for 3 for Mr. Grant. Golden State is now in the midst of a 4-game losing streak… things are getting dire in Oakland.

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56 of 162: Michael Brisk (5-5, 3.72) @ Jaiden Thomas (1-1, 5.40)
An extra-inning sweep for LA! 7-5 win with 27 hits between us – we got a hot one in Oakland tonight! Top of the 12th – NEHEMIAH draws a WALK to drive in the go-ahead run. That kind of sums things up here in Oakland – they get to Brisk (he gave away 5 earned in 7 innings) in the 6th and 7th and lose it when their vaunted bullpen, the lone semi-bright spot on their team, gives up 4 to go with the 2 that Thomas allowed… Guzman picked up the win for LA, good ol’ Saul, man – he’s good in the pocket.

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I’m a big fan of a sweep. Huge. This is only our second sweep of the year – the first came at the expense of Hamza and the 9ers – and how sweet it is. Back home, with this wannabe Valhalla in our review, for 7 straight. With Phoenix on the back end of that – a 4-game series – you can bet I’m looking forward to the opportunity to dominate their injury-depleted club.
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Old 05-23-2019, 01:26 AM   #185
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2075 Season (6/3 – 6/5; Part I)

Dallas Cowboys (24-32, .429, 5th AL West) @ Los Angeles Lakers (35-21, .625, 1st NL West)
Everything is bigger in Texas. Hail the size of Geo Metro’s, hats that hold 10-gallons of suds, the hair held strong and tall with equal parts mousse and regret. Everything. Well, everything except the number in the Win column for the Dallas Cowboys - which, as it turns out, is smaller than that of 18 of the 24 major league clubs. They are, not unlike Golden State, a team built on bullpen proficiency and a lack thereof everywhere else - 9th in Runs, 7th in OBP, 8th in SP ERA, and 10th in D-Eff. Not a single starter on their staff has a sub-4.50 ERA - not one. Their “Ace” is 1-8. Their top-rated offensive player is named Timmy - who at 28 is a full-grown man who allows people to refer to him as Timmy. This is a problem. A big, big problem for a club with a good but rapidly declining fan loyalty, an owner known to meddle despite his low baseball IQ, and a pitching coach whose focus is neutral. They are a badly listing ship, lost at sea, with too few life jackets to save even the women and children, who, after three straight years of sneaking into the playoffs look unlikely to ever do that again. Not this year. Not the next. Never again. That is, of course, unless they do something so grandiose, so uniquely Texan, something that makes the baseball world stand at attention and acknowledge that everything is truly bigger in Texas. Like buying some high-priced free agents and riding those studs from 8 seconds to eternity. That’d do it - anything less would be uncivilized.

57 of 162: Steve Allen (5-5, 4.94) @ Merl Crawford (5-3, 3.64)
We won’t be sweeping the Cowboys – they finished with the bigger of the two run totals today in their 10-3 win on our turf. Guess who led the way? Timmy Simpson… doh! 2 for 3 with 2 RBI, a HR, and a triple. Dallas tagged us for 14 hits, 2 doubles, a triple (TIMMY), and a HR (TIMMY). Allen earned his 6th win and Merl got destroyed, laid to waste, merc’d. And our pen was no better – Matty (if Timmy can do it, he can too) Olston gave up 4 runs in 3 innings and both of the Dallas HR’s come off of the meatballs he was throwing. Do you know what we have here? A buncha lollygaggers, that’s what.

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Elsewhere: Chicago Fire 2B Matthew White had himself a day against the Montreal Impact… 3 for 4, 2 triples, a homer, 4 RBI and 3 runs. Easily the best game of his life.

58 of 162: Sal Matthews (1-5, 6.31) @ Case Tunnell (3-2, 4.23)
Timmy does it again – 3 for 5, two doubles and two RBI – but it’s not enough. Dom Cooke, in a PH situation, puts out a moon-shot solo home run to walk off the Cowboys in the bottom of the 9th – Lakers win 6-5 and balance is restored in the universe. Case is OK – 7 innings, 10 hits, 3 earned, and we get 5 doubles, a triple, and two home runs and still only manage to put 6 runs on the board. The result is what you would expect – a win – just not nearly as big a W as it should’ve been. Baseball is weird.

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Break time… The draft is tomorrow (unfortunately the Ivory Coast's favorite son is not eligible for the draft until next year)… we have the 8th & 9th picks of the 1st round - I have an outside chance of getting LF Shawn Sullivan out of Pepperdine there, but I wouldn't bet the house on it…. So, I’ll write that up tomorrow and get back to breaking the hearts of Texans everywhere after that…

Last edited by pauwoo; 05-23-2019 at 01:36 AM.
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Old 05-23-2019, 11:29 PM   #186
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2075 Season (MLB Draft & Dallas Part II)

After the successful offseason we’ve had in La La Land, being in possession of the 8th and 9th pick almost seems unfair. Almost. The Lake Show officially jumped the shark last season - it’s hard to play misery for laughs when there is no light on the horizon. This, then, is the Reboot. New and younger actors, a Kraft services booth complete with vegan options for the more pretentious among us, and a set design to kill for... so after an offseason of flashing cash and fleecing my peers we find ourselves here - in a unique position to bolster an already sturdy developmental program.

LF Shawn Sullivan went 6th to the St. Louis Rams. He was the second position player taken behind LF Lucas Keiler out of Tennessee by the Golden State Warriors – I’m not seeing it, I had Sully higher on my board.

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Round 1, Pick 8: CF Joseph Zody, 21, Nebraska – Speedy, great baserunner… serviceable in the field with solid contact and avoid K potential – nearly maxed out Gap Power (hit two grand slams last year). High INT guy too… Welcome to Compton young man.

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Round 1. Pick 9: RF Rajkumar Kosciusko, 21, Oregon State – Big HR power, great arm – slow and clueless on the base paths. High W/E guy with local roots – born & raised in Manhattan Beach, CA. Pull hitter, also hit two grand slams last year… Welcome to Compton, young man, let me show you to your locker.

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Supplemental 1, Pick 19: SP Trevor Dotson, 21, UAF – Great stuff potential; fastball is already good to go. High INT/WE guy; has 6 pitches, we want the knuckle curve and the changeup to improve. Projects as a future mid-rotation starter with high K potential. He’ll like it in Compton.

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Round 2, Pick 41: CL Kicks Ford, 21, University of Miami – I’ll be honest, I picked him for his name. Good stuff potential, his curve could develop into a devastating weapon – he has the tools, lacks WE/INT and is anything but a leader. So, he’ll probably get kicked off of the team or eventually traded. Can’t win them all.

59 of 162: DJ Carpenter (3-3, 4.65) @ Josiah Kawka (7-3, 2.97)
This one is going smoothly – almost feels easy through the 4th until Kawka starts to unravel a bit, giving up 5 over the next two frames. It takes 16 innings to figure this one out – Dallas puts 4 on the board in the top of the 16th, and we are unable to answer back – Cowboys win, 9-5 and take the series off of us in our building. Gianni Burghuis finishes 4 for 8 with a HR, 2 doubles, and 5 RBI… Pepper goes 0 for 7, Otto 1 for 7 – only Mullens and Kumar play well offensively. Good win for Dallas, a lame loss for us – such is life in baseball. We lose Fregoso for 6 games after this one – strained latissimus dorsi.

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A solid draft and a poor series against Dallas. 4 games against Phoenix is next... I wish we were in better form - I want a sweep against the Suns.

Last edited by pauwoo; 05-24-2019 at 09:36 AM.
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Old 05-24-2019, 08:13 PM   #187
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2075 Season (6/6 – 6/9)

Phoenix Suns (26-32, .448, 5th NL West) @ Los Angeles Lakers (36-23, .610, 1st NL West)
The thought of Phoenix makes me salty - not Lowry’s, an all-purpose blend like Raven’s (Armona’s finest) sprinkled judiciously on anything Arizona related. Terminated for not drinking the kool-aid, walked out of the building by the scruff of my neck, being forced to wait for them to send my Neil Diamond statuette to me in the mail - parcel post - its all there, up front - begging to be agonized over. I’m not the type to root against a club, I want them at their best when we beat them, and I take no joy in the state of their pitching staff - injury-depleted, depressed, devoid of confidence, and dead last in the NL. They can still hit though - 3rd in runs and OBP, thanks in large part to Cash and the rest of the crew I installed - and for that, they happily get a tip of the ol’ cap. But, Phoenix has disintegrated into ash so far in 2075 and this will not be the season of their rising. They do still have the #1 minor league system in the game (you’re welcome) and Cam gets closer to breaking through every day... this season is likely a lost one, but there are better days ahead. Ahead is the key word here. Those days are far from here, they do not reside in the present, and at 26-32, that much is clear. This is an opportunity to introduce the La La Land elite to my former place of employ in our park - and they will know us by the trail of vanquished foes adorned in the burnt orange and eggplant purple splayed out before Otto’s feet.

And yet, even though the mere thought of Phoenix sends my sodium intake up to 400% of the recommended daily allowance, I still find myself checking in on them like a scorned ex-boyfriend - creeping their Facebook account from a burner profile. How are they doing? Who are they with? Are they having fun? It’s a sad state of affairs, man. But nothing a 4-game sweep wouldn’t fix. Right? Right.

60 of 162: Graham Doyle (3-4, 5.31) @ Julen Morales (7-2, 3.04)
The Phoenix offense got to Morales early, scoring 3 in the top of the 2nd. By the top of the 4th, they’d have 6 on us – nothing doing for our offense early. We make a weak attempt to chip away at it, but they answer each time and finalize things with a 5-run top of the 9th. Suns win 13-2, an absolute drubbing – crushing my dreams of a sweep at their first opportunity. 1B Jake Wells hit 2 HR’s, Derek got 4 RBI’s, and Jess Alford went 3 for 4 with 2 RBI’s of his own. Morales, Jared Dewan, and Johnny Miyakawa all get hammered – Phoenix puts two doubles and 3 HR’s on the board in this massacre. Nehemiah Jenkins left with a hamstring injury – we won’t see him again for 6 weeks. 2B Rocco Navarro comes up from Compton.

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61 of 162: Del Miller (2-4, 6.26) @ Michael Brisk (5-5, 3.93)
Newman leads us off with a Solo HR, but the Phoenix bats wake up in the 5th, 6th, and 7th as they manage to take a 5-3 run lead into the stretch. We manage to tie things up in the bottom of the 8th, but require extras to get a decision here… and it doesn’t go our way – Phoenix wins 6-5 in 10 innings. Preston Wallace wins the man of the match designation – he went 3 for 4 with a HR, and Ray Gerhold scored the winning run in the 10th. Otto went 0 for 2, Pepper 1 for 3, and newcomer Rocco goes 2 for 5 with a run in his major league debut. Both Brisk and Miller were bad – each gave up 5 runs – and the Phoenix bullpen was just one run better than ours. Guzman takes the L after 2-innings of work.

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62 of 162: Ash Newman (2-7, 5.58) @ Merl Crawford (5-4, 4.20)
Back to back home runs for Cooke and Zarate seal it for us in this one – our first win of the series, by a score of 7-2. Otto finishes with a HR (his 20th) and Zarate finishes with a couple of RBI to go with his homer. Merl does us proud – 6 innings of 4 hit, 1 run ball – and Durkin gets the save over two shaky innings of relief. We got our first win of the series – at least we will not be swept – and it only took a 3 HR day to do it.

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63 of 162: Patrick Keith (1-1, 5.68) @ Case Tunnell (3-2, 4.19)
Tunnell is boss over 6 innings with 6 K’s and only 1 earned run, and Saul Guzman picks up save #18 on the year in a tight 3-1 victory over the Suns. Series ends in a 2-2 tie – incredibly unsatisfying, like a drunk text sent to your ex that doesn’t even get a snarky reply… Otto is tired, finishes 1 for 4, and Zarate makes the home crowd proud in a 2 for 4 performance with 3 RBI (he got all of them for us today). Two doubles, a home run, and some real lackluster baseball played in La La Land over this 4-game set. We’re lucky to come away with two.

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Well… that certainly was not how I drew it up… We got a day off before heading out on the road for 13 straight – so, with this mess in the rearview – we move on with sets in San Francisco, Montreal, St. Louis and Seattle. Note: Jacob Wells won player of the Week in the NL. Jerk.

City of Compton: Weiser continues to show his mettle – 7-2 with a 2.00 ERA so far in Compton, while your boy Rad continues to struggle and has been moved down a spot in the rotation. His 5-4 record and 4.26 ERA isn’t going to work for us. The kid needs to tighten up.

Last edited by pauwoo; 05-24-2019 at 08:19 PM.
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Old 05-25-2019, 01:02 PM   #188
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2075 Season (6/11 – 6/12)

Los Angeles Lakers (38-25, .603, 1st NL West) @ San Francisco 49ers (27-35, .435, 6th NL West)
Our day off is spent in San Francisco - we settled in the night before after a short hop from LA, had meetings with the training staff and went through the developmental updates in the morning, and then were left to our own devices. I start with a bland and overpriced bowl of migas at the Wharf, where I’d idle my time by watching buskers of varying skill perform Tom Petty covers before heading over to Lombard Street. After an hour of lurking around in the hope that some brave soul would attempt to navigate it on a skateboard, I head to Coit Tower where I take in the spectacular view of San Francisco - the City we intend to raze over a two-game set. The 49ers are not in a good way right now – they have the lowest-rated offense in the NL, Hamza is giving them -0.2 WAR, and they have some key guys on the IL. But, be that as it may, they are still 4-4 this month with a sweep over Portland. They’re dangerous, capable of making good things happen on occasion – primarily due to their rock-solid defense and better than average starting pitching. They have the look of a team that played well above their head last season, and with the 18th ranked minor league system it looks like their return to earth will be semi-permanent. They’ll need a few seasons to right the ship. And it would be in their ownerships best interest to expedite their improvement – with an astronomically sized marked and good fan interest and loyalty overall, attendance is down by 15% this year and their revenue/game is down by that much as well. If they finish below .500 for the season, it will be their first time doing that in 8 years when they missed that mark by a mere 3 bips.

64 of 162: Josiah Kawka (7-3, 3.02) @ Matthew Townsend (7-2, 2.38)
Lineup shuffle in this one as injuries force us to bat Pepper in the cleanup spot – he doesn’t respond well and finishes 0 for 4 with 2 K’s. Kawka gives us a complete game with only 2 earned, but Saul strikes again in extras and allows the game-winner to score – picking up his 3rd loss of the season in a 3-2 49ers win. Townsend pitches well for San Francisco and Frosty Dillard did an admirable job closing the door in the 9th and 10th – he struck out 4, allowed no hits and gets credited with a win. Hamza went 2 for 5 with an RBI, Otto finished 1 for 5, and not a single Laker had more than one hit for the game.

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Elsewhere (City of Compton): Your boy Rad Taylor struggled again, this time against the Austin Grackles. He gave up 4 runs in 6 innings of work, walked 3, and gave up 2 HRs. Compton wins in extras, but he didn’t have much to do with it.

65 of 162: Julen Morales (7-3, 3.43) @ Foster Bantel (1-2, 2.54)
We end up on the wrong end of a mini-sweep to start off our 13-game road trip – that’s inauspicious. Foster Bantel had the ball on a string for 7+ innings as he struck out 10 and allowed only 6 hits in the 9ers 4-0 win. Pepper went 1 for 4 in the cleanup spot – that’s not really working out so far – Otto went hitless, and for the second game in a row, not a single Laker registers more than 1 hit. Morales, who was on the verge of becoming our De Facto Ace, struggled through 5 innings in this one – he gave up all 4 runs and had two walks.

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We’re 4 and 6 over our last ten games – as rough a stretch as we’ve experienced so far this season – and with a 5 ½ hour long flight to Montreal to dwell on that it will be difficult to find any positives from this stretch. We’re tired, our play has been poor, and our guys are sleepwalking through games like they think we don’t have to try like the result is a given. Obviously, it’s not and as we move beyond the LA bubble our rivals are more than happy to drive that message home. In Montreal we face another club that looks bad on paper – another poorly rated offense in the NL – but, lately, we’ve been the penultimate paper tigers content to lay down and play dead.

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Old 05-25-2019, 05:12 PM   #189
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2075 Season (6/13 – 6/16)

Los Angeles Lakers (38-27, .585, 1st NL West) @ Montreal Impact (25-40, .385, 6th NL East)
Montreal is curt by nature, unapologetically severe to those lacking in the ability to form the phonetically distinctive & nasally vowels the French language requires. This is less a complaint than an observation. An expectation of sorts - abject politeness extended to an English speaking, recent Angeleno with a suspect vocabulary, and a Midwest jawline would be so uncharacteristic that I’d meet it with my chin tucked and hands up. The closest I get to an extension of courtesy comes from the bartender at our hotel whose low-cut blouse and complete disregard for its top two buttons more than makes up for her insistence on correcting me each time I ask for an orange garnish with my Old Fashioned. No, ma’am, I didn’t mean to say, “cherry”. When you arrive in Montreal as losers in six of your last ten contests, there’s an element of feeling kicked while you’re down - there will be no coddling here. But, if ever there was an opportunity to locate the North Star and to attempt a course correction, you could do a lot worse than Montreal as a starting point - they are a 25-40 albatross with an anemic offense and subpar defense whose fan support is amongst the lowest in the league. They have a demanding 68-year old owner - a Texan no less - who is mad. His priority of extreme winning will be tough to achieve with a 23% reduction in revenue and a ~5000 dip in attendance per game. He’ll get a bump with us in town, but our goal here is to make sure that his fans leave discontent - in no rush to return to the park for a plate of poutine and some baseball.

66 of 162: Michael Brisk (5-5, 4.13) @ Kikuzo Ueno (4-3, 3.62)
Brisk was a cool customer tonight, giving the home team the cold shoulder over 6 innings of work, but our offense was colder – Newman saves us from 3-games straight of no batter registering more than a single hit with two of his own on the day – not enough, though, as Montreal wins a close one by a score of 2-1. Mullens and Pepper are ice cold, Otto is on the wrong side of warm, and our 11 strikeouts on the day made the hometown crowd happy. Ours is a funk that even the Impact can’t cure it seems… SMH… baseball, man, she’s a harsh mistress.

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67 of 162: Merl Crawford (6-4, 3.95) @ Norm Rodriguez (3-6, 2.90)
If your Owner calls you during the 7th inning stretch of what turns out to be an 8-2 road loss, skips all formality, and opens with, “is this what I pay you for?”, don’t be like me and reply, “currently, or in general?”. Don’t do it, man – trust me, I know. This was a dismantling of my hopes and dreams, complete annihilation at the hands of 2B Thiago Leyva, whose two homers and 3 RBI would have been enough by themselves… Merl gives up 4 in 4 innings and reliever Jared Dewan gives up 3 in 1 inning… we strike out as a team 11 times. Otto hit one out, so, that’ll have to suffice I suppose. Do you know what’s worse than watching Sportscenter in French? When the lead highlight of the broadcast features a performance that came at the expense of your club.

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Elsewhere: Hamza McDonnell did more than his part as the San Francisco 49ers topped the St. Louis Rams today. The 49ers shortstop pounded out 5 hits to pace his team to a 10-6 thumping of the Rams. Hamza singled in the 1st, walked in the 3rd, grounded out in the 5th, singled in the 8th, singled in the 9th, singled in the 11th, singled in the 14th, walked in the 16th and walked in the 17th. Gotta love the Hamza experience.

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68 of 162: Case Tunnell (4-2, 3.99) @ Dejuan Burns (4-3, 4.06)
Tunnell picks up the win for Los Angeles, going 7.1 innings, giving up only a single run on three hits as we pick up a much-needed win by a score of 6-3 in Labatt Park. Fregoso returns to the lineup and goes 3 for 4, and Pepper, despite living on poutine and stinking up the dugout over these three games, wakes up in a 2 for 5 and 2 RBI performance. Jared Dewan is poor for the second game in a row in relief giving up 2 runs on a triple to the only batter he faced. We struck out 11 times again today – yet still, get the win. We’ll take it. We’ll take anything at this point.

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Elsewhere: Weiser continues to deliver strong starts in Compton… 1 earned over 7 innings today against the Newport Beach Gypsies… Compton would go on to lose the game after Floyd Lott hits a 3-run jack off of Closer Jon Compton in the bottom of the 9th.

69 of 162: Josiah Kawka (7-3, 2.94) @ Ferdinand Loving (5-6, 4.48)
A 68-minute rain delay in the 5th is nearly enough to extinguish whatever spark we ignited in the last contest, but a pinpoint throw from CF Nash Aguilar in the bottom the 8th to home plate on a would-be sac fly saves us a run and the game. Lakers win 4-3 and secure a series split in Montreal. Aguilar also had himself a day at the plate finishing 2 for 3 with a HR and 2 RBI, Otto took the day off, and Josiah was effective for 5 innings – we pulled him early and let RP Logan Elsinger take over once the rain subsided. Three double plays for our defense and the first time we kept our K’s under ten for a stretch.

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A series split against the lowly Impact – that’s less than desirable. On to St. Louis for 4 games against, arguably, the best club in the NL. We’ll need to wake up before then – can’t sleepwalk against the Rams.

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Old 05-25-2019, 09:37 PM   #190
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2075 Season (6/17 – 6/20)

Los Angeles Lakers (40-29, .580, 1st NL West) @ St. Louis Rams (41-29, .586, 1st NL East)
St. Louis is a storied franchise and model of Major League consistency with 7 championships, 43 playoff appearances, and a lifetime .504 winning percentage. A fiscally prudent franchise, the Rams have made their name on internal player development and scouting acumen. This season has been no different, led by homegrown stars like 1B Austin Matthews (drafted 73rd out of Binghamton in 2070) and CF Winslow McMillan (drafted 38th out of Rice in 2070), St. Louis has the 3rd rated offense in the NL, and with SP Max Harrington anchoring their staff have the 3rd rated collection of pitchers. After 4-straight losing seasons, the Rams are back where they belong - and as a result the park is full (a 27% jump in attendance YoY), fan loyalty has improved, and they are raking in just over 1M per game. Times are good again in the STL, the gooey butter cakes are selling like gangbusters, and the club looks like a real contender for a record 8th Championship. This, of course, is where we come in - would be conquerors from Los Angeles, California running on fumes and limping into town off a hardscrabble series in Montreal...

70 of 162: Julen Morales (7-4, 3.64) @ Octavio Cervera (1-0, 2.93)
Cervera, a recent call up from Sugar Land to replace the ailing Kent Miller, has looked good in each of his two major league starts… and starts off here in good form, striking out two before Otto gets a hit. Conversely, Morales walks 3 in the bottom of the 1st and somehow survives without giving up any runs – not the way you want to start a nationally televised game. In the end, we survive an up and down performance from Morales, he struck out 10 and walked 5 – giving up only a single run in our 3-1 victory over the Rams. Grant and Otto hit doubles, Kumar Bovie wins it for us with a solo shot in the 8th, and Rocco gets his first multi-hit game since his debut. Otto left early – he was injured throwing the ball, diagnosis pending…

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71 of 162: Michael Brisk (5-6, 4.05) @ Dimitri Pimentel (3-10, 4.66)
But first… have you ever seen a happier 3-10 pitcher?

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Otto sits this one out – still waiting on the Doc to sort out his issue… The Rams get to Brisk early on a 3-run homer from CF Wasp Hauck, but we respond with 4 of our own in the top of the next frame – we spread it around a bit with Mullens, Zarate, Cooke, and Rocco all driving in a run – where’s Oprah? We’d run it up to 8 before all is said and done – another RBI for Cooke and two for Newman, plus Pepper hit one out in the 9th – Brisk moves to 6-6 on the season, and we take the second game off the home team by a score of 8-4. 16 hits today… Dig it.

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And now for some terrible news… We lost Otto for 4-5 weeks. Princess has strained triceps and needs time to chill. He’s our guy – we’ll have a tough stretch ahead without our primary difference maker. We called up CF Dieudonde Merlet from Compton – the kid can field and that’s about it. He’ll be an occasional back up whose main purpose will be to look crisp in the Purple and Gold.

72 of 162: Merl Crawford (6-5, 4.20) @ Finlay MacDonald (1-1, 3.86)
Zarate puts on his best Otto impression today, blasting out 2 jacks and 4 RBI to lift us to a 6-2 win over St. Louis – who would’ve thought that we’d take 3 straight of this club at their park? Nash Aguilar went 3 for 4, and Fregoso got a couple of hits – Pepper, lost without his pal Otto, goes 0 for 4 with 3 K’s – little guy needs to buck up. Merl comes up big – 8 innings, 6 K’s, and 2 runs – we’ll ignore the fact that each of those runs came by hard-hit home runs. 3 in a row…

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73 of 162: Case Tunnell (5-2, 3.75) @ Nick Colbaugh (4-3, 3.15)
Case! My man goes 7 strong innings of 3-hit ball with none earned and Matt Olston completes the team shutout over the last 2 innings on only 32 pitches. Pepper is over it – he finished the game at 3 for 4 with a run, and Zarate is clutch again driving in two. 3 doubles for the team in this one – good all-around effort from our club in the 4-game sweep-clinching 3-0 victory.

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Wow – this was unexpected… feels good though and will certainly make for a jovial flight to Seattle. The flight would be much better if Otto was aboard, but this is baseball and those are the breaks – he’ll be back in a month and ready to smash – no doubt.

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Old 05-26-2019, 03:11 PM   #191
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2075 Season (6/21 – 6/23)

Los Angeles Lakers (44-29, .603, 1st NL West) @ Seattle Sounders (48-25, .658, 1st Everywhere)
With only three games between us and home, going through Seattle is, in a word, undesirable. This has nothing to do with the city itself – it’s a great town with stellar breakfast options (search up Biscuit B____ - you won’t be disappointed (I recommend the Spicy B____), a rich and storied Roller Derby history (Rat City!), and a rock-solid live music scene… If it’s fun you’re looking for, you could do a lot worse than Seattle. But, meeting the Sounders, for a 3-game set, who are the owners of the best record in the league, and are currently on an 8-2 tear with a sweep over Green Bay during their last series is a daunting task. Even for a tip-top club such as ourselves – sure, we just completed a sweep over St. Louis which is a tall order for any club – a date with Seattle is daunting. They have, without a doubt, the best pitching staff in the league, their Ace, Bradley Hughes – who we will see in game one – has an 11-1 record with a 2.43 ERA and their #2, David Arney, would be the Ace on pretty much any other club. They’re stacked. On offense, they are ranked 4th in the AL – which just means they are 4th in the league as the AL is stacked with offensive talent – and their guys may be even better defensively than they are at the plate. 8-2 over their last 10 and working on their 6th straight winning season, the Sounders are looking for hardware – something shiny and gold to sit next to the other six World Series trophy’s they own… and, really, if I was a betting man my money would be on them to do just that.

74 of 162: Josiah Kawka (7-3, 2.89) @ Bradley Hughes (11-1, 2.43)
Coming into this one, given the skill of the team opposite us and our Otto-less lineup, my expectations were low. When Seattle goes up 2-0 in the bottom of the 3rd, I meet it with a shrug – it’s as it should be. When Pepper blasts a solo shot out in the top of the 6th, though, I slowly lean forward in my seat – we might have something here… but, a 2-run double by LF Cubas allows my resignation to creep back in. We get two in the top of the 8th on a Sac Fly and a run-scoring single from Fregoso, I’m interested – curiosity piqued. A run-scoring double for Zarate brings it to 4 for us – we only need one to tie it – my hope, however, would only be temporarily restored as Pepper hits a weak pop up for the final out on the first pitch he sees – ball game over before I even had time to flip my cap inside out – Sounders win, 5-4. Hughes is as advertised – 7-innings, 4 hits, 1 run, while Kawka gives up 5 in 6…

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Elsewhere: Green Bay, fresh off of being swept by Seattle, defeats St. Louis, fresh off of being swept by us, by a score of 16-4. Green Bay hits 3 doubles and 3 homers in this one.

75 of 162: Julen Morales (8-4, 3.46) @ Javier Cuello (6-0, 2.88)
Seattle shuffles their rotation in this one, giving Arney an extra day of rest after he threw a season-high 134 pitches his last time out… Jules earns redemption in this nationally televised game – billed as a potential World Series preview – he was masterful in a nearly complete game 3 hit shutout (he’d hand it off to Guzman for the final out (save # 19)). The offense played well – 10 hits, a double and a home run for Ethan – Pepper, and Zarate contributed our other two RBI. No Otto – no problem.

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Elsewhere (City of Compton): 1B Yoshimasa Sugawara went 3 for 4 with 2 HR and 5 RBI to earn the #1 Performance of the Day in AAA – Compton breaks their losing streak in an 11-6 win over the Sugar Land Skeeters. Your boy Rad Taylor got the start and the win despite allowing 5 runs to score in only 5 innings of work.

76 of 162: Michael Brisk (6-6, 4.05) @ Kayden Thompson (6-3. 2.56)
The rubber match will not be televised… Brisk doesn’t do enough in this one through 6, allowing 4 runs on 8 hits, including a home run to RF Patrick Adams, his 20th. Fregoso attempts to make a game of it in the top of the 9th – his 2-run homer pulls us to within one run, but Newman, in a PH situation, strikes out on three pitches as Seattle gets the series win by a score of 4-3. Pepper finished 2 for 4 with a run and we turn 4 double plays as a team – Seattle just had a little bit more than us here.

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I’ll take three closely contested games in Seattle with a win sprinkled in the mix without Otto anytime. At full strength, we have the ability to really give these guys a run. We’re that good when firing on all (or most) cylinders. We head home for a day off before welcoming the Warriors to town – I hope my assistant Chadwick remembered to feed my fish – if I walk into my apartment with a dead lionfish, I’m gonna riot.

Elsewhere: 1B Jacob Wells won player of the week again – he hit .517 with 10 RBIs… who does this guy think he is?

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Old 05-26-2019, 08:20 PM   #192
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2075 Season (6/25 – 6/27)

Golden State Warriors (34-42, .447, 5th AL West) @ Los Angeles Lakers (45-31, .592, 1st NL West)
The last time we met OAKLAND it was on their turf – where we swept them in front of their wives, mistresses, and children. Since then they’ve gone 11-8, including a series win over Phoenix. They haven’t changed much since then – their bullpen is still good, and their starters are still meh… Their OBP has improved from 11th to 7th – they’re starting to work the count a little bit – and their defense is a tick stingier – but, materially, they are the same middling club we saw on our trip to the Bay Area. Donny Jeter fractured his finger nearly a month ago, making room for SS Jimmy Potter to join the club from San Jose… he’s been pretty good, batting .288 with 5 HR and 19 RBI so far. His performance makes me wonder if the small bump in ticket sales you get from having Donny suiting up is worth it – Potter, while far from a finished product – looks ready for his MLB reps. It’ll be interesting to see if Donny hangs on for another season after this one – he’s got a lot of mileage and is starting to earn a reputation of being injury prone – I could see him on a Bush League club next year for one last soiree under the lights.

77 of 162: Brody John (4-7, 4.65) @ Case Tunnell (6-2, 3.47)
Case gets mugged for a triple and four doubles in 5 innings of work with each of Golden State’s 6 early runs being charged to his name - each of the Warriors 7 runs in this one would be scored by a different player in a real “team” win. Sammie Fregoso came up with several clutch defensive plays - this one could have been much worse - and finished 3 for 5 with an RBI. Mullins went 4 for 7 and Benavides gets 2 RBI... Guzman gave us two solid innings to give us a shot at it, but Durkin, after three consecutive batters put balls on the warning track, gets burned by a solo home run courtesy of Josh Wigsten in the top of the 13th that does us in - Warriors win, 7-6.

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Elsewhere (City of Compton): Newton Weiser pitches yet another gem against the Nashville Picks – He comes away with the win after giving Compton a complete game with 9 hits and only 1 earned run. With the win, he improves to 8-3 on the season with a 1.98 ERA.

78 of 162: Jeronimo Tucker (6-9, 4.44) @ Merl Crawford (7-5, 4.01)
Both Merl and Jeronimo were stellar in this one – both went 8, both let a single earned run score – but, Golden State committed a costly error that let the winning run score. Zarate went 3 for 4 with an RBI – providing our only real offensive highlight of the contest. Each team hit a double, there were no homers and the game featured a scant 5 K’s between us – we lost the strikeout battle, 3-2, but win the game by a score of 2-1 with the rubber match set for tomorrow. Kind of a cheap win here, but I’m good with it.

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79 of 162: Jaiden Thomas (3-1, 4.07) @ Josiah Kawka (7-4, 3.11)
Josiah was in good form – he gave us 8 innings and only allowed 1 run. Guzman, however, took a superman punch to the face – he picks up his 4th L of the season after allowing 3 runs to score in the top of the 10th – that 21st save will have to wait. Jaiden goes 8.1 with zero earned, we get a couple of cheap ones again off of a couple of GSW fielding miscues. This is our second extra-innings game of the set and is our second loss of the set, Warriors win 5-2 and take the series in our park, exacting a small measure of revenge for how we treated them in Oakland earlier this month.

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Our issue seems to be that we often play to the level of our competition – world beaters against the class of our league and doormats for its struggling clubs… We should have earned a sweep here – with or without Otto. We’re headed North to Vancouver BC next for a 3-game set, we’re tired, most of our guys are grumpy – and our flight was pushed back because we went into extras. I plan on getting a run in before we have to be at the park tomorrow, but, depending on how late it is when we arrive, my jog across the Lions Gate Bridge may have to get pushed back a day…

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Old 05-27-2019, 12:48 AM   #193
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2075 Season (6/28 – 6/30)

Los Angeles Lakers (46-33, .582, 1st NL West) @ Vancouver Whitecaps (42.-7, .532, 3rd NL West)
The last time we saw Vancouver, at home, they were 4-5 and off to a bit of a rocky start – we beat them two games to one in that series – but both wins were hard fought. At the time, I pegged them for a better club than what they were showing early in the season and since that series, while they have had some rough stretches, they’ve mostly proved me right. The Whitecaps have an okay offense – it could be better, but it’ll do. They don’t really hit for average (.273) and they aren’t great at getting on base (.328), but they hit home runs and get enough people across the plate. They were led in that regard by Arthur Grant – the 25-year-old had a .358/.399/.642 slash with 19 HR’s and 49 RBI when he went down with an oblique strain, he’ll be back in a couple of weeks – not soon enough. Without him, they are left to play to their strengths, and what a strength it is… At #1 in both Starter and Bullpen ERA, and #2 in Defensive Efficiency the Whitecaps know something about keeping runs off the board. Their staff has been nothing short of miraculous – and their bullpen, led by top Closer Enzo Mercado has been handcuffing offenses at every opportunity. They have us on a three-game set here, in their park, and sitting a scant 4 games back – they’ll be looking to make up some ground, and with the way we’ve been hitting (not to mention the void left in our lineup by Otto’s absence) we’ll need to be a lot better than we have been to keep that from happening.

80 of 162: Julen Morales (9-4, 3.17) @ Nick Boyer (4-5, 3.52)
If you could have your pick of which pitcher to face when playing Vancouver, you’d go with Nick Boyer every time – not because he’s easy to hit, he’s just the lesser of five evils… we get one on him in the top of the 1st, plus three hits to lead it off – it’s no bother for Vancouver though as they return the favor with five hits and four runs of their own in the bottom of the frame – including a 2-run double for 3B Kevin Palmer who had zero trouble with Julen’s curve. We manage to get two of them back in the 3rd – one comes on Newman’s 5th jack of the year and then take the lead in the top of the 7th when a Pepper flyball catches a gust of wind and carries just outside of the centerfielders reach and brings two runs home. That’s all that would be required in our game one victory over the Whitecaps, 6-4. 27 hits between us in this one – Zarate, Cooke, Mullens, Kumar, and Aguilar all get 2 hits and Newman gets 3 (including our only double and our only HR). Morales calmed down after a miserable opening and Bovie got the hold leaving Saul to earn his 21st save.

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Elsewhere (City of Compton): Your boy Rad pitched today, and it went about as good as you’d have thought – 5 innings, 6 hits, 5 earned runs, 4 walks, and a single K… Compton got the win despite Rad’s best efforts. Yikes. This kid just isn’t getting it… In Bush League news – Jules Winfield went 3 for 5 with a HR and 3 RBI for the Sunrise Supremo’s in their 10-4 win over the Quincy Quackers – I got to hand it to Jules, man… he’s still out here having fun and doing his thing.

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81 of 162: Michael Brisk (6-7, 4.11) @ Adam Gunter (5-6, 3.04)
Halfway home, folks – dance & rejoice! We figure Gunter out during his second (and part of his third) time through the order with a couple of runs scored in the top of the 4th and 5th innings to secure a 4-2 victory over the Whitecaps. Ethan was stunning in this one, he finished 4 for 4 with a double, 3 singles, a walk and 3 RBI for the game – an unstoppable force. Brisk gives us 6 good ones and only allows two runs to score, and Durkin gets a 2.2 inning save – his 5th of the year. Not sure how Saul feels about this guy being such a save vulture – but it’s working for the club, and if it works for the club… well, you know how the rest of that goes.

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82 of 162: Case Tunnell (6-2, 3.84) @ Bill Marvin (8-4, 3.29)
Case Tunnell comes up one man short of a complete game win – he gets hooked with one out to go and his replacement, Matt Olston, blows the save by allowing the run that sends this one into extras – he’s sitting all the way in the back on our flight back to Los Angeles, right next to the toilets where he belongs… Vancouver doesn’t make us wait for very long though as they walk us off in the bottom of the 10th when Filonas Polyclitus hit a run-scoring double off of, you guessed it – Matt Olston, to send us on our way, heads down, mumbling under our breath, and kicking the dirt as we wonder what we’ve done with our lives… Whitecaps win and avoid the sweep, 3-2.

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While a sweep would’ve been nice, I’ll take 2 of 3 against the surging Whitecaps any time. At 5 games back now, we have some breathing room – though San Diego is still right there at 3 games back and in 2nd place… 6 straight home games before the All-Star break (3 v MIN; 3 v SDC) – some important divisional games coming up...
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Old 05-27-2019, 12:04 PM   #194
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2075 Season (AL Review, July 1, 2075)

Top of the Pops:

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Green Bay Packers (51-30, .630 1st AL East): Equal parts guile and cunning, the Packers have somehow amassed the best record in the AL (and league) despite fielding the #6 ranked offense. They find themselves with a 15-8 record in 1-run games despite having a bullpen with the 9th ranked ERA in the AL – something’s got to give. Their top-rated offensive player is 27-year old SS Jackson Walsh with his .363/.423/.564 slash and 169 OPS+ - Walsh leads the AL in Average, WAR, Hits, Doubles, and OBP – Green Bay has him locked down through 2078.

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Seattle Sounders (51-31, .622, 1st AL West): With the top-rated pitching staff in the AL and it’s 4th rated offense, the Sounders are a near lock to make some serious noise in the playoffs. They’ve repped the AL in each of the last two seasons and won it all in 2073. 27-year old Ace, Bradley Hughes, is having one of his best seasons so far – 12-2 with a 2.90 FIP and 3.7 WAR so far and with an 11.5 K/9, he has a penchant for flummoxing opposing batters. On offense, RF Patrick Adams is leading the club in all of the categories that matter – the 26-year old Florida native and former Ridgemont Community College Tasty Wave has hit 20 home runs and has amassed a 3.8 WAR. His contract expires after this season, and he’s set himself up nicely to get paid some adult money real soon.

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New York Jets (49-32, .605, 2 GB, 2nd AL East): An offensive juggernaut whose pitching sometimes hold them back, the Jets get on base, score runs in bunches and hit balls out of the park. 34-year old elder statesman, 2B Rich Hamilton, still has his speed – the superstar is more than pulling his weight and has amassed a 2.8 WAR so far. The 5-time Boyce Rigg award winner from Zanesville OH may not bring home a 6th this year – but with an outside chance at winning a title – that is probably the furthest thing from his mind. At 36.5M per year, Hamilton is the 5th highest paid player in the league and is locked up until 2076.


Bottom of the Barrell:

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Toronto Reds BC (30-53, .361, 22 GB, 6th AL East): The Reds pair a ho-hum offense with a pitching staff that would have a hard time getting college players out. None of their starters has a winning record so far, and three of their guys are flexing an ERA of 5.50 or higher – that’s not how you baseball, guys. Somehow, despite their complete ineptitude on the field, Toronto enjoys good loyalty from their fans and interest is high. Even with their low payroll (9th in the AL), they aren’t getting much in the way of ROI and it’s difficult to find anything in the AAA program that is giving fans a reason to stay interested – let’s just say that at 13th, the cupboards in Buffalo are bare.

Players of the Month:
RF Josh Wigsten (GSW, 30, 31st Overall pick in 2066 out of Illinois): .424, 2 HR, 19 RBI, and 13 Runs in June… .306, 8 HR, 40 RBI and 38 runs on the year. He won a Silver Slugger in 2070.

CL Cristian Cassiano (DAL, 28, 101st Overall pick in 2068 out of Troy): 14 appearances with 7 saves, 3 wins and 15 K’s in June. 14 saves and a 1.34 ERA so far this year.

Note: Former Phoenix Sun, SP Isaiah Zuno (who I traded for the Michael Brisk in 2074) was traded to the Brooklyn Citizens by the Portland Timbers. The Timbers get a good RP prospect in the deal and Brooklyn gets some typical Zuno… 8-8, 3.88 ERA, 109 K’s… and one of the best mustaches in the game.
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Old 05-27-2019, 01:33 PM   #195
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2075 Season (NL Review, July 1st, 2075)

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Los Angeles Lakers (48-34, .585, 1st NL West): It’s hard to believe that we have the #1 rated pitching staff in the NL, but we do. Kawka is 7-4 with a 2.99 ERA and Julen Morales, slotted in at #4, has gone 10-4 with a 3.32 ERA. Julen has been a bit of a surprise – the Venezuelan is enjoying his best campaign as a Major Leaguer for us this year and has built up a 1.2 War so far. He’s a near-lock to earn his second All-Star bid. Offensively, Otto has been our guy - .317/21/54 and the club leader in each category. We’ll be without him for another 2-3 weeks. In his absence, Ruben Zarate (1.8 WAR) and Ethan Mullens (2.6 WAR) have more than picked up the slack. Mullens, manning CF in Otto’s absence, is a max effort guy that any club would be lucky to have – we got him on a bargain at 1-year for $545K. We’ll need to remedy that if we are to keep him in the Purple and Gold.

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San Diego Chargers (45-37, .549, 3 GB, 2nd AL West): Still getting it done despite 3 of their 5 opening day starters currently residing on the IL – two of which will be gone for the season. As a result, they find themselves ranked 8th in the NL for pitching – expect them to fade from the playoff picture as we move through July & August. Offensively the Chargers are ranked 2nd in the NL behind the Pittsburgh Steelers – this is where they get things done. They are powerless (11th in HR), but know how to wreck the base path’s (1st in SB), score runs (2nd), and get on base at a .341 clip (2nd). It’s a team effort at the plate – Scharmer, Kelford, Ben Compton, Smith Wells (the man with two last names), and Jude Varela are all batting .280 or better and account for 68% of the clubs runs. Compton was particularly sharp in June.

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St. Louis Rams (45-38, .542, 1st NL East): Perched at the top of the NL East with Josiah and the 76ers a scant 1 ½ games behind, the Rams are a well-balanced club that has had some trouble at home (21-22 home record so far). At 4th in Offense and Pitching – the Rams can beat you in a number of ways. One day they’ll get you with pitching – Max Harrington will throw your club 8 innings of Beebee's (12-3, 3.04 ERA, 8.8 K/9, 3.5 WAR) and make you wonder where it all went wrong or they’ll burn you at the plate with RF Jonah Dove doing something big to bring home a victory for his club (.296/9/44 and 2.3 WAR). They are a difficult club to game plan for – who knows what version you will get. And, they haven’t yet really hit their stride – they’ll be there at the end and if they can put it all together at the right time, they will win the whole thing.

Stuck in the Middle with You:

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Minnesota Timberwolves (39-43, .476, 9 GB, 4th NL West): Since Shawna Betts and her investment trust swooped in and stole OKC’s team on the promise of a new & improved approach to player development, they haven’t really shown the baseball establishment much. Their pitching, without FA defector Josh Allen, has been suspect (currently rated 11th in the NL) and their offense (rated 9th) hasn’t been much better. They do, however, possess the 6th rated minor league system and are enjoying solid fan loyalty and nearly rake in $1M per game despite their below average market size. With a payroll sitting at 19th in the league, look for Shawna and her brain trust to be active in the offseason as they work to bring in the type of blue chippers that will make them a powerhouse in the years to come.

Players of the Month:
1B Benjamin Compton (SDC, 27, 25th overall pick in 2069 out of San Francisco) – He hit .336 with 8 ding dongs, 33 RBI, and 17 runs. For the year Compton is batting .289 with 77 hits and 11 home runs. He has scored 36 times and driven in 55.

CL Edwin Robinson (PHI, 36, 19th overall pick in 2060 out of Nebraska) - The 76ers bullpen ace collected 10 saves and 21 strikeouts in 19.1 innings, holding the opposition to a .182 average and posting a 0.93 ERA and a 3-0 record. So far this year Edwin has 23 saves in 39 relief appearances with a 5-1 mark and 0.78 ERA.
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Old 05-27-2019, 05:12 PM   #196
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2075 Season (7/2 – 7/4)

Minnesota Timberwolves (39-43, .476, 4th NL West) @ Los Angeles Lakers (48-34, .585, 1st NL West)
Rumor has it that the esteemed Shawna Betts will be making the trip to LA with her Minnesota-based baseball club – she’s set to record a Ted Talk on Causal Determinism. Should be a real barn burner, guaranteed not to put you to sleep. I’ve had my assistant, Chadwick, call her assistant, Hamish, to see if she’d like to make some time to talk shop – maybe we can work out a deal. Probably not, I’m kind of afraid of her – hers is an intellect best left alone, I think. Her club went 14-15 in June and managed to win sets against the Chargers, Pittsburgh, and PDX – they’re neither good nor bad, really. Definitely not the kind of team you want to overlook – these middling clubs are a difficult sort to figure. And, really, if not for some early season carnage – 5 players on the IL – they’d probably be a lot better than they have been. Player to watch: 2B Brentley Ioannidis has hit 18 HR’s so far this year – with below average power ratings… the self-professed Chili Dog connoisseur is as surprised by this turn of events as anyone. He’s set to tie his previous full season best with 20 soon and will surpass that this year before July is complete. He’s in the last year of his $545K deal – it’ll be interesting to see if Shawna strikes while the iron is hot and deals this overachiever for some younger talent.

Elsewhere: While we had the day off, Luca Milbrandt (PHX) was busy going off – 2 for 4, 2B, HR, and 5 RBI in the Suns’ 8-3 win over Hamza (0 for 4, 2 K’s) and the 9ers. Derek also went 3 for 5 with an RBI and 2 runs – at 37 he’s quietly putting together a nice year. The old man is not quite running on fumes just yet.

83 of 162: Adam Lymon (2-2, 4.22) @ Merl Crawford (8-5, 3.76)
Lee Sobania caps off a 4-run bottom of the 2nd with his 1st homer of the year – his 3-run shot puts us up 4-1 early. Sobania, having himself a day, gets another RBI on a double in the bottom of the 4th – up 5-2 and smooth sailing from here… not so fast, there’s no quit in Minnesota. Crawford left out one inning too long, falls apart on his third run through the order and gives up 3-runs on a well hit Noah Boonpa HR. All knotted up, folks. It takes 12 to sort this one out, and wouldn’t you know it – Sobania walks it off with an RBI single – what a game for the 25-year old in only his 5th start of the season! Lakers win, 6-5.

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84 of 162: Tim Kelly (7-3, 3.25) @ Josiah Kawka (7-4, 2.99)
Kawka takes the L in this one – a good 9 inning effort that wasn’t quite good enough. We combine for a total of 11 hits and 5 runs in this one and require an extra frame to get it sorted. Shawn Scaramella got the go-ahead run-scoring sacrifice fly that does us in – Minnesota wins 3-2. Kawka is no winless in his last 6 starts with 2 loses and 4 no decisions. 2 of our 5 hits are doubles courtesy of Cooke and Pepper – both would also ground into double-plays.

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85 of 162: Carson Vu (5-3, 3.88) @ Julen Morales (10-4, 3.32)
Julen gives us another strong effort over 7 innings – he’d allow 7 hits and 1 run – and the bullpen does its job. The Timberwolves have played us pretty tight over this 3-game set, and this one was no different – we had 19 hits between us spaced out over 14 innings of baseball before recent call-up, Dieudonne Merlet, walked Minnesota off with a run-scoring single off of RP Guy Becker – a hard-fought 2-1 win for the good guys. 10 pitchers are used in this one – a 4 hour and 37-minute marathon.

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We are now 4-4 against Shawna’s T’Wolves so far this season – they always seem to play us tough, what they lack in skills they make up for in gumption. Betts makes one trade while she’s in town – and it wasn’t with us… she got herself a couple of OK prospects for a guy who will be on the wrong side of good in relatively short order. I manage to get her for dinner at the stadium restaurant behind the Diamond Club – but, every time I try to talk shop, she deftly changes the subject. We talk about her belief that hypnosis will one day cure the common cold and her theory that Jacque Cousteau was a merman sent from the future… anything but baseball. Makes sense, I wouldn’t want to get fleeced by a division rival either. 3 games, 36 innings of baseball, and tired pitching staff later all I have to show for Shawna’s visit to La-La Land is a couple of wins and a deep seeded fear that she may have hypnotized me.
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Old 05-28-2019, 07:58 PM   #197
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2075 Season (7/5 – 7/7)

San Diego Chargers (47-38, .553, 3 GB, 2nd NL West) @ Los Angeles Lakers (50-35, .588, 1st NL West)
We welcome San Diego to town for a 3-game set with a pitching staff full of rubber arms thanks to Shawna and her no-quit Minnesota Timberwolves. With their #1 ranked and well-oiled run-scoring machine primed to do damage against us – we’ll need to muster everything in our arsenal to remain the #1 team in Runs Against when this 3-game set is all said and done. They are led by 15-million-dollar man, Ben Compton, who's considered a top 5 1B in the Majors – he has 11 homers and 54 RBI so far this year and given the state of our staff will be looking to add to that total judiciously. But, if we manage to hold him back, they always have CF Smith Wells and RF Kelford Jackson waiting in the wings, poised to strike like a cobra with the jump on a mongoose… On the bump, they’ll send Burt McElheny at us first – the last time he pitched against us, we touched him up for 11 hits and 6 runs and left him with his 2nd loss on the year – since then, he’s gone 7-4, and other than a misstep in Dallas where he let 7 runs score, he’s been in prime form. Fan expectation is high in San Diego – they’ve seen a 17% jump in Season Ticket sales this year and after 3-straight years of winning baseball, where they’ve improved on their record successively, fans believe that their window is open and that their time is now.

86 of 162: Burt McElheny (8-6, 3.48) @ Michael “Bootleg Oswaldo” Brisk (7-7, 4.05)
The Chargers ride a gonzo top of the 4th for just over an inning, until our club, ever the persistent bunch, chip away at it until sealing the deal in the 8th. We earn a 7-5 win in game one – and, low and behold, manage to get it done inside the required 9 innings. Nash Aguilar went 2 for 4 with a HR, a triple, and 3 RBI and Gerardo Benavides was Mr. Clutch in the bottom of the 5th with his 2-run jack to knot it up. Pepper goes 1 for 4, but strikes out twice, and, as a unit, we turn 3 double plays, with Fregoso playing an integral part of each. Brisk gives up 5, Miller gets his 2nd W, and Durkin snipes save number 6.

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87 of 162: Manuel Morales (4-6, 6.20) @ Case Tunnell (6-2, 3.70)
Slick-fielding from Fregoso again today – he jumped up to catch a liner that looked to be out of reach – snagged that bad boy and rifled one over to 1st for a double play… somebody get this man his Gold Glove, please. Matty Olson, ever the gentleman, allows SDC to break up our shutout bid in the top of the 9th, when he underhanded a calzone to Lenny Iovino from Athens, NY – who sends it on its way out of the park for a 2-run homer. Skip yanked him, and Durkin came in to get things sorted. Lakers win, 5-2.

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Elsewhere: All-Star Rosters were announced – Otto (injured) and Dom are the only Lakers that make the cut – it’s a KANGAROO COURT! Unbelievable – my whole squad should be there. Derek makes the team – the fans voted him in – ahh, the sympathy vote.

88 of 162: Heath Zody (10-4, 3.34) @ Merl Crawford (8-5, 3.95)
Guzman gets the save tonight on 14 pitches, Crawford only allows two (walked 4 tho…), and Ethan hits his 13th home run in the 8th to put us ahead for good – Lakers get the sweep by a score of 3-2. Newman finished 2 for 4, Pepper hit a double, Fregoso gets the ever-elusive Sac Bunt! Heath Zody left the game with an undisclosed injury in the 4th… we wish him a speedy recovery.

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Editor’s note - Brian Candelario has been added to my mustache shortlist.

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A home sweep? Against a divisional rival? Right before the All-Star break? Check, check, and check! Three days off and then we welcome the Steelers to town, who, at 44-44, find themselves only two games off the pace in the NL East… there’s a ho-hum division for you. In other news… Phoenix now has four regular starters out on the IL with the recent addition of Del Miller to the list… what a terrible turn of events in my old stomping grounds.
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Old 06-04-2019, 09:14 PM   #198
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2075 Season (7/11 – 7/14)

But first… the All-Star Game…
AL beats the NL, 2-1. Rookie All-Star, Victor Boydston (NYJ – 108th pick by NYJ out of ASU) hits a 2-run homer in the bottom of the 8th to secure the win. The kid got the MVP nod for that swing. I think he had his eyes closed but have been unable to confirm based on the available video. Mullens went 0 for 2 like pretty much everyone else…

Pittsburgh Steelers (44-44, .500, 3rd NL East) @ Los Angeles Lakers (53-35. .602, 1st NL West)
The Pittsburgh Steelers are mired in mediocrity. They’ve not occupied this space much of late – they’ve finished 1st in the NL East in 4 of the last 5 years (no championships in that span tho – how very Buffalo Bills of them, eh?) – but this year they’ve become that coworker - you know the one - 5 minutes late to every meeting (so, so busy), who tosses off late night emails to large distros after nary a peep during business hours (always working, right?), and whose deft avoidance of any action item, no matter how small, is the stuff of legend. They last won the whole thing in 2020 and seem content to ride that bullet point on their resume until they are forced to retool and to do some work. Here’s the thing though, they’re 1st in runs scored and average, 4th in OBP, and 2nd in Home Runs – so what gives? Must be their poor pitching, right? Wrong – they rank a solid 6th in that category. Injury issues? Not really – a few nicks and bruises. Their mediocrity is a mystery… but, at 2-5 so far in July – their form is poor, and ours is not, so good opportunity for La La Land here – but that’s why we play the games…

89 of 162: Robby Garrett (9-5, 3.69) @ Josiah Kawka (7-5, 2.99)
Kawka gets shelled early, takes the L, falls to 7-6 on the season… no wins, and 3 losses in his last 7 starts. Pittsburgh wins 8-6 – Jimmy Varney goes 4 for 5 with a double and 2 runs. Newman finished at 4 for 5 with a double, an RBI, and 3 runs… Kawka gave up 8 earned – the most he’s allowed this season. Mullens went 2 for 5 – better than he did in the All-Star game.

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90 of 162: Tim Kelly (7-3, 3.22) @ Michael Brisk (7-7, 4.21)
Pittsburgh makes it two in a row, score 3 in the top of the 10th… 10-7 win for the Steelers. Guzman gave up all 3 of the runs in the 10th… including the game-winning double to AJ Love. 3 RBI for Mullens, 2 RBI for Newman, Fregoso walks twice and scores twice. Brisk struggled – gave up 6 earned and a 7th plated after he committed a bases-loaded balk – he also gave up 3 home runs. Our pitching is in shambles.

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91 of 162: Ethan Hardoon (5-11, 5.72) @ Case Tunnell (7-2, 3.46)
Make it 3 straight… Pittsburgh takes their 3rd in a row by a score of 5-3… Tony Voorhis hit two jacks and brought in 3 runs. Pepper hit a 2-run homer, everyone else did a lot less than him. Tunnell gave up 5 earned and allowed 3 home runs. 2nd straight day that our starter gives up 3 ding dongs. We might trade the whole staff for prospects and a lifetime supply of beef jerky.

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92 of 162: Robbie Armenta (3-5, 5.01) @ Julen Morales (10-4, 3.19)
Ethan finished 2 for 3 with a HR and 2 RBI & Ruben Zarate hit a 2-run homer – Lakers win, finally, by a score of 9-6. 3 hits for Newman, 6 players with 2 or more hits, Morales gives up 3 earned and only 1 homer – Guzman gets Save #23.

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I don’t even know what to say – I guess that Pittsburgh is no longer mired in mediocrity. Heading to Brooklyn for a 3-game set – they are 46-46, and, you guessed it, are mired in mediocrity… so they should get a sweep. Bright side (City of Compton edition) – your boy Rad Taylor went 6 innings (his longest start in 6 tries) and only gave up 2 runs.
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Old 06-10-2019, 08:02 PM   #199
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2075 Season (7/15 – 7/17)

Los Angeles Lakers (54-38, .587, 1st NL West) @ Brooklyn Citizens (46-46, .500, 4th NL East)
Ahh… Brooklyn. That hipster paradise populated by bearded miscreants, vegan cafes, and bicycle repair shops. The Citizens have been a poorly inflated buoy for the last 4-5 years… one year they finish 89-73 and make the playoffs, the next they’re a .500 club who misses out – this year's version is struggling against the tide… With a 92-year-old owner who is understating, generous, and satisfied – why bother putting forth a maximum effort, right? Calvin Mann Jr is about one thing – profit. And he’ll meddle in your affairs to ensure the goal of raking in that almighty dollar is satisfied – often at the expense of winning. He runs things from the, “give them enough hope to sell some tickets”, perspective. Offensively, Brooklyn hits bombs (2nd NL) and that’s about it – they are middling everywhere else and they are terrible on the base paths. Pitching? Not much better. 7th in runs against, 9th in starters ERA, and 11th in bullpen ERA (that’s 2nd to last, folks…). They took Josh Allen off of Shawna and the T’Wolves hands in the offseason – he’s 4-10 with a 4.02 ERA… not what they had in mind. And, they have former Phoenix disappointment, Isaiah Zuno, who, unlike Allen, has been good enough – 10-8, 3.80 ERA – for a lot less money. They only Brightside with this club is that they probably have the best infield in the majors (except of their SS who is trash) in 1B Archie Imanov (2075 All-Star), 2B Randall Berger (2075 All-Star) , and 3B Jarel White – but, as their 46-46 record indicates, it’s not enough. And, with a minor league system that ranks 13th in the league, it’ll be more than a NY minute before it is…

93 of 162: Merl Crawford (8-5, 3.87) @ Nick Lyle (6-4, 3.65)
We start it off with a bang – 3-run homer (#10) for Dom Cooke. Merl would give one back in the bottom of the frame, and then 2 more in the next frame, and 3 more in the frame after that – in the end Brooklyn dismantled us 11-6. Merl gave up 6 in 3 innings, Dom went 2 for 5 with 4 RBI, and Brooklyn SS, the supposed weak link of their infield, overcame his fielding deficiencies with a 3-run homer off of Merl in the 3rd.

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Note: Angry Eloy went 3 for 4 with a HR and 3 RBI in a 6-5 Portland win over the NY Jets.

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94 of 162: Josiah Kawka (7-6, 3.35) @ Ryan Burg (4-5, 4.44)
Another Kawka start, another loss… goes 8, but gives up the only 4 that Brooklyn needed… offensively, Nick Aguilar gives us our only highlight – a 3-run homer in the 6th. We are 5-5 for our last 10 and fading fast and with 3 more days until Otto can start a couple of rehab games in AAA, the light at the end of the tunnel is looking mighty dim… Oh, and Imanov hit his 17th homer of the year off of Kawka – a 3-run homer in the 5th – Kawka let two leave the yard today and now has no wins and 4 losses in his last 8 starts.

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City of Compton: Your boy Rad Taylor has been moved to the #5 slot in the rotation – at this rate, he’ll be in the pen soon enough.

95 of 162: Michael Brisk (7-7, 4.37) @ Josh Allen (4-10, 4.02)
Brooklyn, in typical fashion for this series, gets to Brisk early, putting 3 on the board before the 3rd inning… and that was all they would need. Brooklyn wins, sweeps us under the rug like a broken dream – 4-2. Highlights for the Lake-Show? Nope. There were none. Nada. Zero. ZILCH.

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Wow… how you gonna do us like that, Brooklyn? What a difficult stretch this has been – 4-6 in our last 10, the offense has slipped to the bottom half of the NL rankings, and our starters are in a free fall. But, it’s nothing that a day off and a 3-game set against the 46-49 Whitecaps at home shouldn’t fix.
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Old 06-11-2019, 10:53 PM   #200
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2075 Season (7/19 – 7/21)

Vancouver @ Los Angeles
We welcome the Whitecaps to town for a 3-game set. 11th in OBP, 8th in Runs Scored, 9th in Average, and 8th in Stolen Bases – clearly not a wonderful offensive outfit. They can hurl though – 2nd in Starters ERA & Bullpen ERA, and 3rd in Runs Against – unfortunately they can’t defend at 12th in Errors. These guys are giving it away. In fact, after winning the title in 2072, that’s exactly what they did – sold off all their talent and not-so-mysteriously disappeared from the playoffs for the last two seasons (and this one if they keep it up). At 4-6 in our last ten contests, I’m hopeful that Vancouver & their streak of 8 straight losses has the key to what ails us. Also, OTTO IS BACK! Dance & rejoice.

96 of 162: Jake Renfer (5-7, 3.46) @ Case Tunnell (7-3, 3.63)
And we lose another one… Renfer goes 6 with only 3 earned, Case goes 7 with 3 earned, and Saul is the culprit here – blowing the save in the top of the 9th. Otto finished 1 for 4 in his return, Pepper & Ethan get 2-hits each, and Ethan is responsible for two of our 3 runs. Vancouver sneaks one by us, 4-3.

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Elsewhere: City of Compton gets shut out by the Austin Grackles. The Raiders only managed to get 3 hits and strike out 10 times… The malaise is all-encompassing.

97 of 162: Adam Gunther (5-8, 3.23) @ Julen Morales (11-4, 3.24)
And the club you know and love is back… 7 runs through 3 innings, including a 4 run bottom of the 2nd. We’d put a couple more on the board in the bottom of the 4th and allow them to plate 4 before all was said and done in the much needed 9-4 win in our park. Otto finished 2 for 5, Pepper hit a 2-run HR (3 RBI on the day), and Ethan gets 3 hits. 5 batters record 2 or more hits on the day despite our 8 K’s.

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Elsewhere: Former Phoenix flunky, Colton Koen, went 3 for 4 with a HR and 3 RBI for the Decatur Donnybrooks in their 8-4 win over the Quincy Quackers. I kind of want to buy out his Bush League contract, but a cool million dollars is too steep for a 35-year-old with below average discipline at the plate.

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A trade: 32-year-old 2B Sammie Fregoso and 22-year-old minor league RHP Rad Taylor to the Montreal Impact for 31-year-old RHP Adrian Bae (an All-Star), 23-year-old minor league C Darby Helton and 28-year-old LHP Dejuan Burns. This year Fregoso has 6 home runs and a .258 batting average & Burns has worked 124.2 innings with 105 strikeouts en route to a 9-5 record and a 3.83 ERA.

Plus… Darby is a nice get for my ‘stache collection…

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98 of 162: Martin Rigby (5-4, 4.15) @ Merl Crawford (8-6, 4.26)
Kawka – moved to the bullpen after the trade above – takes the L today after giving up 3-runs in the 9th (two came on a HR for Greg Micias). Vancouver wins a heart-breaker, 5-4. Otto gets a HR and 2 RBI, Pepper goes 0 for 4, and Lee Sobania (now starting at SS after trading Fregoso) goes 1 for 2 with 2 RBI. We wasted a good effort from Merl today – 7.2 IP with a single earned run.

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Next up: San Francisco comes to town. They’re 11 ½ games back and terrible. We desperately need to right this ship…
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