Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Torii Just Being Torii!

I spent most of Memorial Day doing chores and getting ready for my trip to Washington D.C. and Nashville next weekend... I actually had a nice blog all done and ready to go when my cable provider, Adelphia, decided to go on the blink... I was actually just about to publish my blog for today when the connection was lost. Everything that I wrote, unfortunately went with it!!! So, I'm going to give a somewhat abriged version of what I had originally written over the past hour or so...


Torii Hunter just continues to amaze... did any of you happen to catch the game on WGN yesterday between the Minnesota Twins and the Chicago White Sox??? Well, I had a personal interest in the game since my fantasy ace, Johan Santana was going for the Twins. Santana wasn't as dominant as usual, giving up four runs in eight innings to get the win... but it could have been worse. Jim Thome gave him a GREAT battle before hitting a long fly ball to center field. It looked like it was going out of the park for a home run, in fact it DID go out! But, just as a fan was about to glove it, Superman (aka: Torii Hunter) leaped six inches over the fence and "brought it back!!!" as the Twins announcers would say. I stopped what I was doing in the kitchen and walked up to the TV and gave Torii a big hand... as did the fans in attendance at the game for a good two minutes... while Torii has always produced well on offense, it's his defense that he is known for - he is a regular on ESPN's Sportscenter due to his defensive prowess. Yesterday's robbery of Thome was definitely amongst his best ever!

Curt Schilling was dominant in striking out 10 in a 5-3 Boston Red Sox win over the Cleveland Indians... Chuck James struck out eight in six innings and Andruw Jones homered for the second straight game in a 2-1 Atlanta Braves win over the Milwaukee Brewers. Finally, the New York Yankees lost again falling to the Toronto Blue Jays by a 7-2 score. With the loss, the Yankees fell into a tie for last in the AL East, 13 1/2 games behind the Red Sox.


I watched a few things I normally don't yesterday - a minor league baseball game, college lacrosse and some hockey... There was a good reason to be watching minor league baseball - Roger Clemens was making his third minor league rehab start. The Rocket had great command throughout, striking out six batters in six innings. The Yankees certainly need him now, and judging by yesterday's performance, he is ready to go! Though I'm not a Yankee fan, I've always admired Clemens for his work ethic and his will to win... You don't win seven Cy Young awards without working for it... I also love the fact that Clemens is a positive person. In the news conference following the game yesterday, one reporter tried to be negative, and Clemens quickly turned the tables on him, stating "I'm a positive person, I don't like to be around negative people." Being very much the same way myself, I was very happy to see the Rocket immediately shift the focus to something positive... If all goes as planned, he will be pitching against the Red Sox this Sunday.

This will probably be the only time all year I talk about college lacrosse... The Johns Hopkins Blue Jays took on the Duke Blue Devils for the NCAA Championship. Most of you know what happened to Duke's lacrosse team last year, so I won't go into detail about it... Not surprisingly, they were this years "Cinderella" team going into the championship... In case you've never watched lacrosse, it's a very fast paced game, not unlike hockey. The main differences being that it's played on grass and that there are many more goals scored than in hockey. The Blue Jays took a six goal lead at halftime, but gave it all away as the Blue Devils scored five straight goals in the final period to knot the game at 11... With just over three minutes to play, Kevin Huntley gave Johns Hopkins their final goal... it turned out to be the final goal as Duke would be held scoreless the rest of the way. The 12-11 win gave Johns Hopkins their 9th national title. Though Duke lost, it was a valient effort and redeeming to their program after all that happened last year.

After falling behind twice yesterday, the Anaheim Ducks scored two goals in the third period - the game winner by Adam Moen with just under three minutes to go - to give the Ducks a 3-2 win in the opening game of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Game two is Wednesday night in Anaheim starting at 8 ET/5 PT


Finally, it's time for my fourth installment of my "Don't Forget To Remember Me" series... Juan Rivera of the Angels is in the spotlight today. Rivera came up to the majors for the first time with the Yankees in 2001 and played with them through 2003. Traded to the Montreal Expos before the 2004 season, Rivera put up a very impressive .307 batting average with 12 homers in 391 at bats. Unlike my last two spotlighted players, Nick Johnson and John Patterson, Rivera did not make the 2005 trip to Washington D.C., as the Expos became the Nationals. Instead, Rivera became an Anaheim/L.A. Angel. In his first season for the Halos, Rivera put up 15 homers in only 350 at bats. Last year, he had his breakout year, posting 23 homers, 84 RBI's and a .310 batting average in 448 at bats. Project those numbers out over a season of 600 at bats and you get 31 homers and 113 RBI's - good enough in most fantasy leagues to be your second or third outfielder...

Needless to say, Rivera was someone planned on getting in my fantasy leagues this year. At 28, he is just entering the prime of his career... Fate stepped in 10 days before the new year though as Rivera broke his left leg in a winter league game. The break turned out to be a severe one, and Rivera is not expected back until perhaps the all-star break... If you have an empty roster spot - particularly a DL slot, it wouldn't be a bad idea to tuck this guy away there... simply put, he can MASH!!!


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