Dec 30, 2006

Tiki the Hero

What an awful performance by the defense. At times, it seemed like they wanted to lose. I fully expected the Skins to score a last second TD to edge the Giants by a point. It would have been a fitting ending to the season.

But Tiki didn't let that happen. He had the best game of his career to virtually guarantee he plays at least one more time. 258 total yards and 3 TDs on 26 touches. A monster game.

Who knew Gibril Wilson would come up with a HUGE defensive play to vault the Jints into the playoffs? I remember criticizing his cover skills early in the season (not that he's now a great cover safety, but I never expected him to make the big coverage play).

The Giants were lucky that Ladell Betts fumbled when the Skins were driving early on. It was at least a 6 point swing (3 points from Washington for no FG attempt, and 3 points for the Jints for their successful FG), which happened to be the difference in the game.

What happened the on fake reverse WR pass? Santana Moss was covered by TWO guys, and neither could make a play on the 48-yard TD pass?!

The officiating call of the game goes to Tim Carter acting his way to a big pass interference call, which set up the Giants 1st and goal, where they scored a TD 2 plays later (Washington was penalized 100 yards for the night). I hate when opposing players do that, but I'll give Carter a break because of what happened way back in week 1: down by 4, the Giants were driving against Indy, and Carter was flagged for a (non-existent) offensive pass interference call, essentially ending the game.

The Gmen now have a 94.4% shot at making the playoffs. For Green Bay to take their spot, they must win and the following must occur: 'Arizona, Detroit, Miami, Minnesota and San Francisco all win and Carolina, Houston and Tampa Bay all lose.'

Giants 34, Skins 28 (8-8, almost guaranteed the last NFC playoff spot)

4*: Tiki, 26 touches, 258 yds, 3 TDs (game of the year!)
2: Short, 9 tackles, 1 forced fumble
1: Plax, 2 catches (both for first downs), 26 yds
1: O-line, 1 sack, 23 first downs, 355 total yds
1: Carter, 2 catches, 14 yds, 1 TD
1: Wilson, 7 tackles, 1 QB hit, 1 (huge) pass deflection
1: Bell, 1 tackle, 1 interception

PS: Coughlin's job is still in jeopardy right? Please? The only way I'd offer him an extension is if the Jints make the NFC championship game. In reality, this team collapsed and is lucky to be in the playoffs. But for now, Go Gmen!

Win and In: Giants-Skins Preview

Which team will show up Saturday night? The freakish, abhorrent team from last Sunday? Or will it be the team that dominated Washington in their first meeting?

Skins O
15 overall (yds/game), 13 passing (passer rating), 7 rushing (yds/carry)
Giants D
23 overall (yds/game), 11 passing, 11 rushing

Giants O
14 overall, 19 passing, 8 rushing
Skins D
30 overall, 32 passing (dead last), 22 rushing

OC John Huffnagel was demoted from play-calling duties, and QB coach Kevin Gilbride will take over. Does Tom Coughlin actually think Gilbride can help the recently inept offense, or is he doing it to deflect blame from himself?

Jeremy Shockey is out of tomorrow's game. One of the receivers will HAVE to step up for the Jints to win. Will it be Shiancoe, Moss, Tyree? (Edit: I suppose Carter could have a big game, but I've basically given up on him. I didn't even think of him when I first wrote of breakout candidates.) Or perhaps Gilbride will go with a heavy dose of Tiki and Big J to wear down the Skins. But knowing he's the QB coach, I expect we'll see Eli airing it out. Washington's D is terrible (3rd to last), so scoring shouldn't be a problem (emphasis on shouldn't).

Shall we look at the injured list going into the season's final game?
WR Amani Toomer
LT Luke Petitgout
TE Jeremy Shockey
OG Rich Seubert
KR Chad Morton

LB Lavar Arrington
DE Michael Strahan
DE Justin Tuck

If this game decides whether Coughlin gets an extension, I'm sorry to say it, but I won't be too disappointed if the Jints lose. They have no chance at making a run in the playoffs, and the long-term success of the team is much brighter without Tom Coughlin. Despite that, I think the Gmen will pull it out somehow tomorrow.

Prediction: Giants 24, Skins 17

Dec 29, 2006

3 Pitchers Sought from D-Backs

Owings went 10-0 at AAA Tucson this year! He went a combined 16-2 in 162 minor league innings (AA & AAA) with 130 k vs. 51 bb. He's 24 years old, and stands 6'5, 220.

Nippert was disappointing in limited ML time this year. 10 ip, 5 HR, 13 er! However, in AAA he had a 4.87 era in 140.1 ip, with 130 k vs. 52 bb. His size is his biggest asset: 6'8", 225. He's getting slightly old for a prospect - he'll turn 26 in May.

Ohlendorf had a 3.25 era in AA & AAA this season, with 125 k vs. 29 bb in 182.2 ip. He's 24 and stands 6'4", 235.

FYI, since Zito is going to make $18 million a year, what will Carlos Zambrano make if he hits the market next winter? With a career era+ of 133 (vs. Zito's 127), he's looking at $20 million probably. If the Cubs don't re-sign him, I expect the Yanks to be the front-runners to land him. Check out some video - he is nasty!

Dec 28, 2006

Ca$h Money wants pitchers from Arizona

From the East Valley Tribune -

The New York Yankees are seeking a package of three young pitchers from the Diamondbacks for Randy Johnson, including at least one reliever, according to a source with knowledge of the negotiations.

The Yankees have expressed interest in right-handed setup man Brandon Medders, the source said, in addition to several of the five starting pitchers that the D-Backs consider candidates for the two available spots in their 2007 rotation – Edgar Gonzalez, Enrique Gonzalez, Dustin Nippert, Ross Ohlendorf and Micah Owings. [Nippert and Owings being the best.]

The D-Backs, looking to retain as much young pitching as possible as they build for the future, have balked at the Yankees’ asking price, although it appears they would consider substituting veteran reliever Luis Vizcaino for Medders.

San Diego and San Francisco are also interested in Johnson, the source said.

If the Yankees trade Johnson, who would have to OK any deal since he has a no-trade clause, the D-Backs expect it to happen soon, to give New York an opportunity to make a run at free agent left-hander Barry Zito.

I would love the Yanks to get 3 young pitchers from Arizona. Cashman is doing some smart things this off-season. He realizes pitching wins more than hitting, and it's much easier to acquire hitters via trades or free agency than it is to acquire pitchers.

Dec 27, 2006


Remember waaaaaay back when the Jints were 6-2? Well, they've gone 1-6 since then, and still have a good shot at the playoffs. Despite the horrendous loss, if they win in Washington on Sunday, they're virtually guaranteed a playoff spot.

As for the Saints game: a debacle, pure and simple. Despite the 30 points put up by Nawluhns, the Jints D actually played great at times. It was the inept offense that couldn't get a first down that forced the D to be on the field twice as long. 2:1 in fact (40:34 for the Saints, 19:26 for the Gmen!). Big Blue had just 6 first downs, and went 0-11 on 3rd and 4th downs! They didn't take a single offensive snap inside Saints territory.

What's so ironic is that the Giants scored on their 3rd play from scrimmage: a 55-yard TD pass to Plaxico. Then they made Nawluhns go 3-&-out on their first drive. I remember thinking maybe the Saints weren't that tough. Who wasn't thinking that? Wow were we wrong. Chad Morton fumbled the ensuing punt, which set the tone for the rest of the game - in other words, (giant) Giants mistakes.

Yet the Saints didn't look like they particularly wanted to win either. They dropped passes all day, and scored just 3 points on their first 4 drives.

Unfortunately, the Giants wanted to win even less. Eli made several inaccurate throws to open receivers, and even when he made good throws, they were dropped. With the talent the offense has, it should look A LOT better than it did Sunday. They've basically lost just 2 guys: Toomer and Petitgout. (Of course, there are other capable receivers like Shockey, Barber, Tyree and Moss to fill in at WR. But there is NO ONE capable of filling in at LT. Whitfield is undisciplined, slow and weak. Who knew Petitgout was so good?) I hope Coughlin, Lewis, Huffnagel and Gilbride are canned after this season. It's hard to watch the constant predictability and ineptness on both sides of the ball.

Chad Morton went down for the year with a torn ACL. Strahan re-injured his foot and is also done for the year. The only bright side is the injuries will allow Sinorice Moss and Mathias Kiwanuka, both rookies, to get more experience. Moss looked good returning kick-offs, and Kiwanuka has been solid all year.

Goats: Eli, the receiving core, and the O-line. Basically the whole offense. Eli completed just 9 of 25 passes for 74 yards! Shockey had 2 catches for -3 yards! Carter, Moss, Tyree and Shockey all dropped easy passes. Eli was sacked twice, and 3 passes were deflected. Even when Eli did happen to make a nice throw, it was dropped. One of the most frustrating games of the year.

30-7 New Orleans (7-8, basically win at Washington and they're in the playoffs, as sad as that is.)

2*: Plax, 1 catch, 55 yds, 1 TD
2: Osi, 6 tackles, 1 sack, 2 QB hits, 1 pass deflection
1: Demps, 11 tackles, 1 pass deflection (2nd straight good game)
1: Tiki, 19 touches, 83 yds (a sad last home game for Tiki)

PS: Rumor has it that Tom Coughlin will be fired at year's end. There's even word that Bill Belichick could replace him. If he did, would he change the D to a 3-4? If so, what would happen to Kiwanuka and Osi? But I'm getting way ahead of myself.

Dec 26, 2006

Strahan and Petitgout done for year

Seven-time Pro Bowl defensive end Michael Strahan will miss the rest of the season for the New York Giants after aggravating a sprained right foot last weekend against the New Orleans Saints.

He was placed on injured reserve Tuesday and could need surgery, the team said.

The Giants (7-8) can almost surely clinch a playoff berth by beating the Redskins (5-10) in the regular-season finale at Washington on Saturday.

New York also placed offensive tackle Luke Petitgout and returner Chad Morton on injured reserve. Morton injured his knee Sunday; Petitgout broke a leg against Chicago on Nov. 12.

Dec 25, 2006

Unit out? (linked)

Oh god yes. Let this be a reality. The word is the Yanks have been offered Chad Tracy and 2 prospects. I'd jump on that in a heartbeat, even paying a large portion of the $16 million that is owed to Randy in 2007. Tracy is a 26-year-old 3b who bats lefty. He could easily move to 1b to fill that hole. His 06 stats: .281/.343/.451, 154 gms, 91 runs, 41 2b, 20 HR, 80 rbi, 54 bb, 129 k, 5 sb, 1 cs. Very good numbers except for the Ks.

I'm sure the Yanks have asked for 24-year-old 1b Conor Jackson, but that's asking way too much for a 43-year-old injured pitcher. Maybe paying all of RJ's contract, or adding Melky to the deal could pry Jackson away from Arizona, but I still doubt it. is reporting that talks have slowed.

I'd also love to get Miguel Montero, a 23-year-old catching prospect, who was ranked the 3rd best catching prospect in baseball by The D-backs top 10 prospects.

The Yanks are also talking with the Padres and Giants. Hopefully it becomes a bidding war in the NL West.

More prospect lists - D-backs, Giants, Dodgers, Angels.

Dec 23, 2006

First-base. The only question left.

Who will play the most games at 1b for the 2007 Yankees?

Why not Hideki Matsui? (I know the reason why, but it makes no sense.*) Instead of signing a sub-par hitter like Mientkiewicz or Loretta, put an excellent hitter there in the form of Matsui. Not only does it fill that need with a great hitter (as long as he can learn the position this winter), but it allows the OF defense to improve, as Melky takes over in LF for Matsui (the worst OF in the lineup). More on it here.

* The reason is Joe Torre. He thinks Matsui's ego would be hurt with the move. Respect is huge in Japan. Torre knows how to manage personalities, and he doesn't want Matsui to 'lose face' in his homeland. Not only could it make him unhappy, but it could also effect his hitting. And don't forget, Matsui was so highly regared in Japan that he played CF! Anyway, moving him would improve the team, but unfortunately Torre succumbs to 'babying' players at times.

And another good Prospectus article (detailing the greatest seasons ever). Guess who's #1?

Dec 22, 2006

How accurate are the projections?

First off, Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!

I was going to look at this myself, but I was beaten to the punch. PECOTA is the best for hitters, and ZiPS is the best for pitchers (although none of the pitching projections are really that good). PECOTAs are only available in the Baseball Prospectus 2007 book or on the BP website. Both cost money so I can't post them here. The 2007 ZiPS projections can be found here.

PECOTA .736 (or 73.6% accurate, for the 2006 projections)
Shandler .702
BIS/Bill James .685
ZiPS .684
Chone .677
Marcel .664

ZiPS .459
BIS/James .445
Marcel .432
Chone .424
Shandler .423
Prior YearFIP .370
Prior Year .290

Thanks to 'DSzymborski.'

Giants vs. Saints Preview

Sinorice Moss will be returning kickoffs against Nawluhns (thank god!).

Nawluhns Offense
1st overall, 28th rushing, 3rd passing
Giants D
20th overall, 11th rushing, 12th passing

Giants Offense
11th overall, 8th rushing, 16th passing
Nawluhns D
12th overall, 31st rushing, 23rd passing

Turnover Differential
Giants +1
Nawluhns -5

The Giants actually have a shot at winning Sunday afternoon. Although they're going against the best offense in football, it will be cold and (probably) windy. New Orleans is a dome team and may have trouble adjusting, especially the passing game.

Antonio Pierce is a defensive genius, and should be able to sniff out some of the Saints' trick plays. With Strahan returning, the Jints should get better consistent pressure on Brees, and that should result in poor throws that - with the late December wind - could wind up in Giants arms.

New Orleans' defense is not good. They're overall rank is rather high only because they're offense is so good that it prevents their opponents from having the ball much of the game. Hence, their yards-allowed per game is rather low.

Anyway, I'm excited to watch Reggie Bush. He could actually be (in time) better than Barry Sanders (with his pass-catching ability). He actually leads the NFC in receptions with 84! Yet he's called a Running Back. Go figure. I was secretly hoping the Jets would get Bush just so I could watch him on a weekly basis. Since I'm going on a tangent, how the hell could Houston take Mario Williams?! He may turn into a great DE, but Bush is a generational type of talent. Not to mention the prestige he would garner for his team, especially compared to defenders who get lost in the shuffle, on offense, a team can decide when and where to get the ball to Bush. He's just a more exciting and marketable player. Tangent over.

This could be a surprisingly low scoring game.
Prediction: Giants 20, Saints 14

Dec 21, 2006

2007 Yankee Projections

by Zips

Bobby Abreu rf 33 .287 .414 .466 150 534 89 153 34 1 20 98 114 122 28 7
Jason Giambi dh 36 .241 .400 .490 125 394 70 95 17 0 27 97 91 97 1 0
Alex Rodriguez 3b 31 .287 .387 .497 156 589 108 169 26 1 32 126 88 138 16 3
Hideki Matsui lf 33 .293 .367 .474 133 498 85 146 31 1 19 100 58 77 1 1
Derek Jeter ss 33 .302 .378 .440 152 625 111 189 34 2 16 92 66 110 21 4
Robinson Cano 2b 24 .315 .343 .493 143 568 81 179 41 3 18 97 24 68 3 2
Jorge Posada c 35 .264 .368 .451 127 417 59 110 22 1 18 84 63 93 1 1
Josh Phelps 1b 29 .279 .338 .486 119 426 39 119 21 2 21 72 31 107 2 1
Craig Wilson rf 30 .255 .344 .478 114 368 59 94 18 2 20 61 32 124 1 1
Melky Cabrera lf 22 .295 .355 .445 157 584 93 172 28 3 18 92 55 67 12 5
Johnny Damon cf 33 .290 .353 .437 149 611 112 177 31 4 17 88 60 82 16 6
My thoughts.
How is no one projected to slug over .500? That’s an impossibility with this lineup. 4 Yanks slugged over .500 this year.
Abreu - only a .287 batting average with 98 rbi? Those both sound a bit low to me.
Giambi - I know he’s a dead-pull hitter now with bad kness, but a .241 batting average? He should hit at least .250.
Arod, Matsui, Jeter and Cano seem about right.
Melky - I would love those numbers from him. Of course, they’re crediting him with 584 at-bats. That’s highly unklikely as the 4th outfielder. Of course, 2 outfielders went down last year, so you really never know.
Damon - Again, I would definitely take those. Especially the RBI.

Name                     Age    ERA   W   L   G  GS     INN    H   ER  HR   BB    K
Mariano Rivera 37 2.01 8 1 68 0 76.0 61 17 3 15 66
Chris Britton 24 3.63 3 1 57 0 72.0 64 29 6 25 65
Randy Johnson 43 3.71 19 9 34 34 223.0 202 92 27 54 196
Mike Mussina 38 3.91 13 8 30 30 184.0 189 80 21 43 148
Philip Hughes 21 4.06 12 7 31 31 164.0 164 74 15 58 127
Andy Pettitte 35 4.10 15 9 32 31 193.0 204 88 24 50 140
Kyle Farnsworth 31 4.16 4 2 72 0 67.0 60 31 9 29 67
Mike Myers 38 4.25 2 2 67 0 36.0 36 17 4 15 23
Chien-Ming Wang 27 4.28 12 9 29 28 183.0 202 87 16 48 79
Colter Bean 30 4.45 6 5 55 3 83.0 78 41 8 46 74
Scott Proctor 30 4.60 5 4 73 1 90.0 90 46 13 33 76
Carl Pavano 31 4.64 8 7 20 20 128.0 150 66 16 30 66
J.B. Cox 23 4.71 4 3 37 0 65.0 70 34 6 26 34
Jose Veras 26 4.74 5 4 52 4 76.0 78 40 11 32 51
Humberto Sanchez 24 4.75 7 7 19 18 108.0 106 57 12 51 88
Brian Bruney 25 4.75 3 3 48 0 53.0 47 28 5 35 51
Kei Igawa 27 4.77 13 11 30 30 200.0 225 106 33 49 135
T.J. Beam 26 4.93 4 4 53 1 84.0 88 46 12 34 59

Randy - I’d be ecstatic with that year from him. In other words, it’s rather unrealistic.
Mussina, Wang - The ERA projections seem a bit high. I expect they’ll both have eras under 3.80.
Proctor - So Colter Bean is supposed to have a lower ERA than ‘Everyday’ Scotty? I don’t think so.
Pettitte, Hughes - Pretty accurate ERA projections in my book. But Hughes won’t get that many innings.
Igawa, Bruney - They should both have better years than this projection. Bruney was dominant this year (.87 ERA in 20.2 innings). It’s tough to say with Igawa, but I predict his ERA will be right around 4.00.

PS: I'll be examining the 2006 projections, and comparing them to the actual stats. Hopefully I can get it done before the new year.

Dec 20, 2006

Yankee Prospect Update Dec. 20

BDD has finished their Top 100 prospect list.

#91, Eric Duncan
#60, Humberto Sanchez
#24, Jose Tabata
#2, Phil Hughes

Final stats for Hawaii and Arizona (from

Joba Chamberlain (age 21), 37.2 ip, 2.63 era, 46 k, 3 bb, 3 HR, .82 whip
Ian Kennedy (22), 30.1 ip, 4.45 era, 45 k, 11 bb, 0 HR, 1.45 whip
Jeff Marquez (22), 34.1 ip, 7.08 era, 27 k, 18 bb, 4 HR, 2.86 whip
Michael Dunn (21), 8.2 ip, 3.12 era, 10 k, 5 bb, 0 HR, 1.41 whip

TJ Beam (26), 15 ip, .60 era, 17 k, 6 bb, 1.13 whip
Sean Henn (25), 13.1 ip, 7.43 era, 12 k, 11 bb, 2.03 whip
Jeff Kennard (25), 15.2 ip, 6.89 era, 16 k, 9 bb, 1.91 whip
Darrell Rasner (25), 23.2 ip, 4.18 era, 17 k, 12 bb, 1.35 whip

PJ Pilittere (25), 12 gms, .394/.444/.545, 5 k, 3 bb, 3 xbh, 1 HR, 1 E
Eric Duncan (22), 26 gms, .257/.310/.354, 16 k, 9 bb, 6 xbh, 2 HR, 1 cs, 5 E
Brett Gardner (23), 27 gms, .250/.406/.352, 22 k, 27 bb, 7 xbh, 1 HR, 6 sb, 0 cs, 0 E

Jose Tabata (18), 18 gms, .288/.431/.404, 11 k, 11 bb, 3 xbh, 1 HR, 1 sb, 3 cs (hasn't played in weeks due to a minor hand injury. The Yanks are just being overly cautious with their best hitting prospect.)
Carlos Mendoza (27), 33 gms, .295/.349/.379, 14 k, 7 bb, 7 xbh, 0 HR, 1 sb, 1 cs
Marcos Vechionacci (21), 7 gms, .200/.294/.467, 4 k, 2 bb, 2 xbh, 1 HR, 1 cs

Francisco Butto (26), 21 ip, 4.29 era, 18 k, 8 bb, 2 HR
Gerardo Casadiego (26), 34 ip, 2.12 era, 33 k, 17 bb, 2 HR
Edgar Omana (23), 13 ip, 9.00 era, 11 k, 11 bb, 2 HR (not with the Yanks anymore)
Scott Patterson (27), 14.2 ip, 4.30 era, 10 k, 8 bb, 0 HR

Justin Christian (26), 21 gms, .250/.305/.420, 18 k, 4 bb, 7 xbh, 8 sb, 2 cs
Ramiro Pena (21), 31 gms, .209/.274/.209, 16 k, 5 bb, 0 xbh

Erick Abreu (23), 9 ip, 1.00 era, 9 k, 1 bb, 0 HR
Juan De Leon (26), 2.2 ip, 3.38 era, 2 k, 1 bb, 0 HR
Jorge De Paula (28), 14 ip, 7.71 era, 4 k, 2 bb, 2 HR
Edwar Ramirez (25), 17 ip, 5.29 era, 25 k, 5 bb, 0 HR
Bryan Villalona (24), 3 ip, 3.00 era, 3 k, 1 bb, 1 HR

Dec 19, 2006

Potential Coaches

I almost hope the Jints lose their last 2 games to ensure the coaching staff does not return. Every unit is underperforming. Let's look at some of the top offensive and defensive units, and who their respective coordinators are, specifically the guys under 45. My favorites in italics.

Offensive Coordinators
1. New Orleans
Doug Marrone, 41 years old. From the Bronx (Represent!), leads the best offense in football with a rookie RB, a new QB, their best WR injured, and an average O-line.

2. Indy
Tom Moore (68, way too old to become a HC now).

3. Philly
Marty Mornhinweg, 44. He's done a very impressive job this year. McNabb went down a few weeks ago, Westbrook is a good but not great RB, and they have no great WRs. An above average O-line.

4. Dallas
'Offensive Quality Control'? David Lee (53, too old for me).

5. San Diego
Cam Cameron, 45, but admittedly has a lot of weapons: 'best RB in football' LT, Rivers, Gates, Turner.

6. Pittsburgh
Ken Whisenhunt, 44. An impressive job. They've lost 2 good WRs the last 2 years, and still have a great offense.

Honorable Mentions.

8. St. Louis
Greg Olson, 43.

9. Green Bay
Jeff Jagodzinski, 43.

13. New England
Josh McDaniels, 30. Similar to Mangini. Better to get a guy too early than too late. He's done a good job considering they have no great WRs. How can you go wrong with the Patriots pedigree?

14. Minnesota
Darrell Bevell, 36. Brad Johnson and Tarvaris Jackson are the QBs - not exactly Hall of Famers.

23. Jets
Brian Schottenheimer, 33. Two rookies on the O-line, two below average RBs, a weak armed (but accurate) QB, 2 good WRs, and no TEs. He's doing a lot with a little.

1. Baltimore
Rex Ryan, 44. Just a dominating D.

2. Jacksonville
Mike Smith, 47, a bit too old.

3. Miami
'Defensive Quality Control'? Glenn Pires, 48, too old.

4. Oakland
Rob Ryan, 44.

5. Chicago
Ron Rivera, 44.

6. New England
Dean Pees, 57, too old.

7. San Diego
Wade Phillips, 58, too old.

8. Minnesota
Mike Tomlin, 34. Who thought the Vikings would have such a good D?

I hope to see one of the italicized names manning the sidelines next year for the Gmen.

Dec 18, 2006


So the deal will be $20 million over four years. With the $26 million posting fee, it brings the total yearly salary to $9.2 million. Igawa could be a solid #3 guy, and at worst, a decent reliever. This, along with his salary being lower than 'freaking Gil Meche,' could mean it's a bargain.

In comparison, Matsuzaka will be earning at least $17.2 million per year from Boston (and possibly as much as $18.5 million per year! (with incentives)).

How sweet would it be if Iggy out-pitches Matsuzaka next year? Or for the whole length of their contracts? Remember the last time the Yanks and Sawx went hard after the same pitcher? He ended up with the Yanks. His name: Jose Contreras...

Will the signing of Iggy motivate trading Randy or Pavano? I wouldn't mind getting rid of one or both of them.

Technically, it's not over...

turnovers, bad red zone play, bad D, and half an offensive line.

Ron Rivera (DC for the Bears) would be a very nice replacement as DC or HC.

The season isn’t technically over, but can the Giants win 2 straight?! How about 1? It’s unlikely against the Saints and the suddenly good Redskins.

The story of yesterday’s game was: turnovers, horrible D, red zone ineptitude, Offensive line injuries, and some great throws by Jeff Garcia.

The fumbles were killers, as were the picks. But I won't criticize Eli because the picks were mostly due to pressure.

The Jints had their worst run D of the season, and again displayed horrible pass D. I can recall AT LEAST two long passes where the Philly WR was wide open. I won't kill the run D because they’ve played well virtually all season. The only impact player surprisingly was Demps. Osi did nothing, but Kiwanuka was all-over, and came close to sacks several times. I expect those to become actual sacks in time, when he gains strength and experience.

The Jints had the ball 1st & goal twice and had to settle for FGs! That CANNOT happen to a good team. You need a TD at least one of those times.

Huffnagel DID call a play I haven’t seen before: he sent Big J out wide for a screen pass. It worked and he gained 9 yards. But where was a screen to Moss?!

Petitgout was out of course, as was O’Hara. That enabled Philly to pressure Eli all day. Even Seubert, O’Hara’s replacement, went down for a few plays. If the Jints have a healthy OL, I see them winning this game.

And I give some credit to Garcia. He made a couple perfect throws (doesn’t it seem like Dockery often has great coverage on a WR, but the QB often makes a perfect throw anyway?).

Even is Strahan returns vs. Nawluhns, it won't make a big difference. It’s not like Kiwi hasn’t been playing well, he has. Osi was great last week, but Kiwi outplayed him yesterday. They need everyone back to make the playoffs: Arrington, Toomer, Petitgout, Strahan, Tuck, O'Hara, even Webster.

36-22, Philly (Nawluhns next week. The only exciting thing is getting to see Reggie Bush.)

2: Tiki, 24 touches, 104 yds, 1 TD
2: Plax, 6 catches, 120 yds
2: Demps, 6 tackles, 1 int, 1 sack, 1 pass deflection, 1 forced fumble
1: Emmons, 8 tackles, 1 sack
1: Shockey, 8 catches, 70 yds

Dec 13, 2006

Game of the Year Preview

The Giants NEED to win on Sunday.

Giants Offense
12 overall, 8 rushing, 16 passing
Philly D
17 overall, 26 rushing, 7 passing

Philly Offense
3 overall, 4 rushing, 5 passing
Giants D
20 overall, 8 rushing, 9 passing

What scares me the most is Jeff Garcia's elusiveness. Philly's offense is surprisingly good. Conversely, their defense is surprisingly bad.

Prediction: Giants 24, Philly 17

Watching the Carolina game again: What a game (and season) by Fred Robbins! He essentially ended one particular Carolina drive by deflecting a pass, then tackling the RB on a screen that would have gained a first down. They settled for a FG because of Freddie-boy.

Prospect Update Dec. 13

Part 1 of BDD's Top 100 prospects.
#91, Eric Duncan
#60, Humberto Sanchez

Jose Tabata, 18 gms, .288/.431/.404, 11 k, 11 bb, 3 xbh, 1 HR, 1 sb, 3 cs (hasn't played in weeks due to minor hand injury. The Yanks are just being overly cautious with their best hitting prospect.)
Carlos Mendoza, 31 gms, .287/.340/.379, 14 k, 6 bb, 7 xbh, 0 HR, 1 sb, 1 cs

Francisco Butto, 19.2 ip, 4.58 era, 18 k, 7 bb, 2 HR
Gerardo Casadiego, 29.2 ip, 2.12 era, 30 k, 17 bb, 1 HR
Edgar Omana, 13 ip, 9.00 era, 11 k, 11 bb, 2 HR
Scott Patterson, 14.2 ip, 4.30 era, 10 k, 8 bb, 0 HR

Justin Christian, 21 gms, .250/.305/.420, 18 k, 4 bb, 7 xbh, 4

It's not official yet, but...

A deal seems to be imminent. Boras and Matsuzaka are on a plane with the Sawx' top dogs on their way to Boston. Word is he's getting $10 million a year over 5 or 6 years. That's inexpensive. That's less per annum than Gil Meche!

Hmmmm... So how much is Seibu kicking in?

Dec 12, 2006

The Matsuzaka Soap

John Thorn's take.

Ken Rosenthal.

Globe article.

My take:
There's about 48 hours to go, but the deal will unfortunately get done. Both Boras and the Sawx are playing the PR game to drive the deal in their favor.

The reasons why the deal will happen are - if Mats doesn't sign, (and unless Selig thinks the $51 mil bid was in bad faith, which is unlikely) he will pitch for Seibu again in 2007. That means: 1. He makes less money - only about $6 million in Japan; 2. He doesn't pitch in MLB, which he seems to want badly; 3. He has to be posted again next year, and Seibu doesn't get a dime of the Sawx' outrageous bid; 4. The Sawx and Boras (and Matsuzaka) will take a ton of heat from fans and the media. If Selig does think the bid was in 'bad faith,' he can award negotiating rights to the 2nd highest bidder, the Mets in this case.

The reasons why the deal may not happen are: 1. Boston's bid was solely to block the Yanks, and they are simply putting on a show to make it seem like they're giving it their all to sign him (and they don't want to pay ~$100 million for 3-4 years for a non-ML player); 2. Boston made the outrageous bid because they believed Seibu would refund a portion of the bid back to them, or give it directly to Matsuzaka to coerce a less expensive contract from the Sawx (as many feel happened with Ichiro and Seattle in 2000); 3. Matsuzaka picked Boras because he gets his clients the most money - if Boras thinks he can get more money somewhere else (like the Mets or free agency - which will happen sometime between May 2008 and November 2008), he'll do it; 4. There are rumors Boras wants to 'break' the posting system (probably to bring about true international free agency); 5. Matsuzaka is a proud (cocky?) guy, and he does not want to sign for less than he's worth, not just for his own sake, but for his homeland legacy.

However, I feel the reasons 'for' are too important, and each side is just trying to drive the price in their favor. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that he signs for about $50 million for 4 years (with a club option)...

Dec 11, 2006

The Boy Who Loved...

I work part-time as a nursery school teacher. The 3-year-olds were playing with puppets, and this one very smart kid had a witch on his hand. He had names for the other puppets, so I asked what the witch's name was. I had to ask him two or three times, but finally he said, 'Tom Gordon.' The other teacher looked at me: "Like the pitcher?" I said. She laughed. She's a Yankee fan too. I found out later that the kid is also a Yankee fan. "A Mets fan?" I asked. He shook his head. "A Yankee fan?" He nodded. There you go. Maybe his parents are Flash Gordon fans.

Jints Still Alive

Excuse me not having a preview. I was super busy this weekend (and had no internet access).

A tough, hard-fought game, where many breaks went the Giants way. They fumbled three times and recovered each one.

They were also helped by Carolina's pass-catching inability, and Chris Weinke's inaccurate tosses. Gibril Wilson picked off two of them, sealing the Giants win, and extending their season at least one more week.

Eli had a roller-coaster day, looking brilliant at times, and looking like a lost rookie at others. He made a few perfect throws to Plax and Shockey, but also threw some duds to Tiki, Carter and Shockey. But the key: 0 interceptions.

Tiki had an excellent game, breaking out of a mid-season slump. Perhaps the O-line is finally starting to gel after the loss of Petitgout. But Big J had a disappointing day, having only 2 of his 10 carries go for positive yards. It's just so obvious to the D where and when he's running that even Jacobs can't bowl over the D. On almost every 3rd and short, Jacobs lined up behind Eli, and the D stacked the line with at least 6 guys. Then Jim Finn shimmied to the right or left, and that's where they ran. If a good D like Carolina knows where the run is going, they can penetrate and bring the carrier down, even the 6'4", 264 lb. Big J.

It was encouraging to see Sinorice Moss have two catches, although he dropped what should have been an easy 1st down late in the game. I kept waiting for Huffnagel to call a screen for him, and when it finally came (when the game was already decided), he just plain dropped it. But I look forward to watching his explosiveness the rest of the year.

As usual, the run D played well while the pass D struggled mightily at times. Rookie CB Kevin Dockey gave up a few long passes, but it was hardly his fault: he was in excellent position, and was only beaten by perfect throws. He also picked off a pass to seal the win. His game is improving each week - he looks like a keeper.

Aside from Gibril Wilson, Fred Robbins and Osi were the D players of the week. I didn't realize how much we missed Osi until today. He got incredible jumps at the snap, in fact, better than some of the O-linemen!

27-13 Giants (1 game behind Dallas with their loss vs. Nawluhns)

Big game against Philly next Sunday.

3*: Wilson, 3 tackles, 2 ints
2: Tiki, 21 touches, 118 yards
2: Eli, 17-33, 172 yards, 3 TD, 0 int
2: Dockery, 1 int, 4 pass deflections
2: Osi, 2 tackles, 1 QB hit, several QB hurries
1: Shockey, 6 catches, 49 yards, 1 TD, 1 fumble recovery
1: Plax, 4 catches, 77 yards, 1 TD
1: Feagles (yes, the punter), 9 punts, 6 inside 20, 0 touchbacks
1: Robbins, 3 tackles, 1 pass deflection

Dec 8, 2006

How important ARE round-trippers?

Point A:
The Yanks 2006 record when not hitting a HR: 18-27
win % .400
Which makes their HR-game record: 79-38
win % .675
That's a 27.5% difference. That is big.

Point B:
1-run record: 24-22
win % .520
Games won by one run with a Yankee HR: 16
which means a HR was the difference in 67% of those 24 1-run wins = pretty important.

Point C:
Tampa Bay was 11th in MLB in HRs, which puts them in the top half. However, they were the worst team in baseball.

Point D:
If we split all MLB teams into thirds by HRs (for 2006)...
Top 3rd. - Avg HR 209 - Win % .540 - Playoff teams 3
Mid 3rd. - Avg HR 177 - Win % .473 - PO teams 2
Bot 3rd. - Avg HR 154 - Win % .487 - PO teams 3

Interesting... The top 3rd does have the best teams, but the bottom 3rd is better than the middle 3rd.

In conclusion: HR are quite important, and most wins include a HR from the winning team, but I think they're more telling of good overall hitting/poor pitching, rather than being important solely for their run production. Conversely, when a team does not hit a HR (which is rare nowadays) they usually lose, but it's more because they couldn't get any offense going, rather than they're missing out on the run production of a HR(s). Does that make sense?

Yanks Best 2-Strike Hitters

Thanks to

ranked by career stats.

Giambi, '06: .771 ops, career: .729 ops

Abreu, '06: .727, career: .704

Arod, '06: .578, career: .694

Jeter, '06: .730 ops, career: .663

Matsui, '06: .657, career: .653

Cano, '06: .644, career: .610

Damon, '06: .536, career: .603

Posada, '06: .530 ops, career: .586 ops

Melky, '06: .556, career: .537

It's surprising to see Damon so low. Arod had a gigantic drop from his career ops to his '06 ops. Conversely, Jeter had the biggest increase in '06.

Andy is Back!

Andy never should have left, but Stein had soured on him. Ca$h Money is truly in charge now, and is bringing back a Yankee legend.

To bring you up-to-date on Pettitte, here are his Houston stats:
04 - 15 gms, 83 ip, 111 era+, 79 k, 31 bb (had elbow problems)
05 - 33 gs, 222.3 ip, 174 era+, 171 k, 41 bb (awesome year)
06 - 35 gs, 214.1, 108 era+, 178 k, 70 bb

3.38 era with Houston. The great thing is his era is significantly better in the 2nd half, 4.22 vs. 2.35. 227 k, 85 bb, 2.7 k/bb with Houston.

For his career: 4.12 1st half era, 3.50 2nd half era. In wins, he dominates, a 2.33 era. In losses he gets pummeled, a 7.18 era. And very good stats vs. Boston: a 3.01 era in 21 gs over 140.2 ip.

Nice move. Some Andy highlights.

PS: Baseball-Reference is incredible.

Dec 6, 2006

Hot Stove II

- Lugo signs with the Sawx. .740 OPS this year. AND it costs Boston their 1st round draft pick in what is supposed to be a very deep draft class. Lugo is a type A, and was offered arbitration by LA. Ouch on the money and losing the pick.

- Lilly signs with the Cubs. 40 years for $40 million. Another ouch. At least Chicago doesn't have to give up a draft pick, as Lilly is a type B. I'm glad Cashman didn't sign him. I want his mediocrity and declining ability far from New York (unless he's pitching against us).

- Andy Pettite is apparently going to pitch next year. He still has yet to decide between Houston and the Yanks. It would be very nice to see back in the Stadium.

- Would Arod consider opting out of his contract after 2007? It's possible, considering the crazy money GM's are throwing around at hitters now. It would be a devastating move, because the Yanks would lose Arod and get nothing in return, not even a draft pick - Boras smartly adds in opt-out clauses which prohibit the player's team from offering arbitration, meaning no draft pick compensation, ala J.D. Drew. Cashman needs to sit down with Arod and find out if he would even consider opting-out and, if so, trade him this off-season to at least get something in return.

Dec 5, 2006

Prospect Update Dec. 6

Jose Tabata, 18 gms, .288/.431/.404, 11 k, 11 bb, 3 xbh, 1 HR, 1 sb, 3 cs (hasn't played in weeks due to minor hand injury. The Yanks are just being overly cautious with their best hitting prospect.)
Carlos Mendoza, 31 gms, .287/.340/.379, 14 k, 6 bb, 7 xbh, 0 HR, 1 sb, 1 cs

Francisco Butto, 19 ip, 4.74 era, 17 k, 7 bb, 2 HR
Gerardo Casadiego, 27.1 ip, 2.30 era, 27 k, 15 bb, 1 HR
Edgar Omana, 13 ip, 9.00 era, 11 k, 11 bb, 2 HR
Scott Patterson, 14.2 ip, 4.30 era, 10 k, 8 bb, 0 HR

Erick Abreu, 8 ip, 1.13 era, 9 k, 1 bb, 0 HR
Juan De Leon, 2.2 ip, 3.38 era, 2 k, 1 bb, 0 HR
Jorge De Paula, 12 ip, 5.25 era, 4 k, 2 bb, 1 HR
Edwar Ramirez, 7 ip, 5.14 era, 12 k, 1 bb, 0 HR

Justin Christian, 21 gms, .250/.305/.420, 18 k, 4 bb, 7 xbh, 4

Pettitte, Drew and the Gmen

- CNNSI is reporting that Andy Pettitte is close to coming back to the Yanks. I wasn't broken up when he left, but I wouldn't mind seeing him return (for a short-term, incentive laden deal). Houston did not offer him arbitration, so signing him would not require the Yanks to give up their 1st round draft pick. Nice. Career 119 ERA+. 2006 108 ERA+.

- And that Boston and J.D. Drew agreed to a guaranteed 5-year, $70 million deal. Career 133 OPS+. 2006 125 OPS+. Just 2 seasons of 140+ games, and just one season of 500+ AB. Will he become Boston's Carl Pavano? Hopefully.

- Jason Giambi was rated as having the worst range of all ML first-baseman. Andy Phillips ranked 17th out of 45. Other Yanks here.

- Now, regarding the Giants, Tom Coughlin deserves all the criticism he's been getting. The team has little to no discipline. The play calling rarely surprises the opponent, yet the Giants look lost at times. They have trouble tackling, and Eli shows so little consistency that he may never become more than a 'good' QB under Coughlin. Everyone in football knows that Eli excels in the no-huddle offense, but Coughlin refuses to use it until the Giants are getting killed. It's almost like Coughlin and Huffnagel (the OC) are too egotistic to allow Eli that much reign. If front office extends his contract, it will be a big mistake.

Dec 4, 2006

Best Yankee Hitter

There's very little going on in Yankeeland now. Mike Mussina is officially back for 2 years, and they're still looking for 2 things: a backup catcher and a righty first-baseman.

Anyway, I'm going to start delving into some topics that pique my (and hopefully your) interest.

The 1st will be a study of the best Yankee offensive season since 1974 - roughly the beginning of the free-agent/DH/Steinbrenner era. (Defense is not counted.)

The two main ingredients for determining offensive succes: VORP (value over replacement player) and EQR (equivalent runs).
Going by ranking:
Mattingly - 1986 (1st)
Jeter - 1999 (1st)
Rickey - 1985 (2nd)
Arod - 2005 (2nd)
Jeter - 2006 (3rd)
Giambi - 2003 (4th)
Mattingly - 1984 (4th)

Arod - 2005 (141)
Mattingly - 1986 (138)
Giambi - 2002 (133)
Mattingly - 1985 (132)
Jeter - 1999 (127)
Rickey - 1985 (127)

Going by these 2 stats, which I feel are fair to all offensive aspects, I now present a list of the Yankee's best offensive seasons of the last 33 years:

1. Donnie Baseball - 1986: 162 gms, .352/.394/.573, 117 runs, 113 rbi, 53 2b, 31 HR, 161 OPS+

2. Arod - 2005: 162 gms, .321/.421/.610, 21 sb, 124 runs, 130 rbi, 29 2b, 48 HR, 167 OPS+

3. The Captain - 1999: 158 gms, .349/.438/.552, 19 sb, 134 runs, 102 rbi, 37 2b, 24 HR, 161 OPS+

4. Rickey - 1985: 143 gms, .314/.419/.516, 80 sb, 146 runs, 72 rbi, 28 2b, 24 HR, 157 OPS+

5. Giambi - 2002: 155 gms, .314/.435/.598, 120 runs, 122 rbi, 34 2b, 41 HR, 174 OPS+

Agree? Disagree?

Dec 3, 2006

Giants recap - chronological thoughts, aka Oh god

Kiwanuka fumbles an interception, wtf? He made up for it (kind of) with the 3rd and 2 forced fumble/sack.

That direct snap to Tiki is the kind of stuff the offense should be doing a bit more of. Throw something out of the ordinary in there.

Giving to Jacobs on 4th and 1 was the safe play. No one could criticize you, but I was thinking maybe they should run a QB sneak.

Who in the whole stadium didn't think Dallas was running a draw on 3rd and 1 with 22 seconds left in the 1st half? Apparently Tom Coughlin, because he ran for about 25 yards and set up the go-ahead FG.

How many times can Eli miss the FB on a simple 5-yard pass? Because of it, the Giants have to punt.

That screen to Sinorice Moss is what we've been waiting for from him (and the offense) all year. Aight!

This team with the goddam penalties. re: Whitfield's personal foul.

Jim Finn's play of the year with the fumble recovery?

Who says Jacobs can't catch?

Beautiful play by Madison, holding Dallas to a FG.

2nd play of the 4th, big, big run by Tiki.

Incredible play by Jacobs, not just the catch on the rocket throw, but avoiding the slip, and going for another 40+ yards!

Another FG from inside the 10! This red zone inability is going to kill us.

re: Demps missed tackle on TO. How many big tackles has Demps missed this year? This wasn't big because TO already had the 1st down, but it reminds me of the games against Chicago and Tennessee.

The D collapsed at the worst time, 20-13.

1:42 left. All Tiki on the short pass for 28 yards.

The bane of this team: pass coverage. Long pass to Witten.

And there's the game, and probably the season. That game about sums up the season: poor pass defense, poor coaching, poor tackling (how many times did they miss Romo), and stupid, untimely penalties.

Turning points: Kiwanuka's fumble, and Jacob's non-first down.

The direct snap to Tiki worked. Moss' smoke screen worked. Jacobs' screen also worked beautifully. Yet they tried no other 'trick' plays. Honestly, let's get Brian Schottenheimer from the Jets in here (either as Head Coach or OC). He's only 33, and leads an exciting, balanced offense that (outside of 2 understandable shutouts to Chicago and Jacksonville) is averaging more points than the Giants - and doing it with less offensive weapons.

Dallas 23, Giants 20 (6-6, 2 games behind Dallas)

3*: Tiki, 28 touches, 143 yards
2: Eli, 24-36, 2 TD, 0 int, 270 yards
2: Shockey, 6 catches, 65 yards, 1 TD
1: Plax, 6 catches, 43 yards, 1 TD
1: Big J, 7 touches, 81 yards

Week 13 - Giants vs. Cowboys preview

Giants Offense
12 overall, 5 rushing, 22 passing
Dallas D
4 overall, 6 rushing, 4 passing

Dallas Offense
4 overall, 17 rushing, 2 passing
Giants D
14 overall, 8 rushing, 16 passing

The Cowboys are playing their best football of the year, and the Giants their worst. This is the week they turn it around.

Prediction: Giants 17, Cowboys 14

Prospect Links

A preview of the 2008 MLB draft.

And a great synopsis of the Yanks top 30 prospects.

(Thanks to Pending Pinstripes)

Dec 1, 2006

Julio Zuleta...

To fill the Yanks righty 1b need?

Zuleta, who will be 31 next year, is a free agent who played for the Softbank Hawks of the Nippon Professional Baseball league this year. He plays 1b and has a potent bat. In his last 3 full seasons there, he averaged 41 HR a year (despite never playing more than 131 games). His career line: .291/.378/.568. He strikes out a ton though, averaging 138 a year. He has some ML experience, having played 79 games for the Cubs back in 2000 and '01. His line: .247/.309/.466.

(with a nod to BBTF)

Nov 29, 2006

Ugliest Yankee?

Assuming Kei Igawa is signed, he'll be in a dead heat with Jeff Karstens for 'Ugliest Yankee.'

Decide for yourself.

My wife's vote would be for Randy Johnson... I can see that.

Nov 28, 2006

Japanese tidbits

- So the Sawx have made a formal offer ( to Daisuke Matsuzaka and (his agent) Scott Boras. However, they seem to be pretty far apart right now. But apparently, SeibuMatsuzaka's NPB team) can reduce the bid amount to help 'facilitate' a contract... What kind of bullshit is this?! If I'd known this, I would have wanted the Yanks to bid $100 million...

- Update: MLB says the Sawx can't do this. But it's only illegal if you get caught...

- In other Japanese related news, the Yanks have won the bidding to Kei Igawa, the 2nd best Japanese pitcher on the market for a very high bid of $25 million. His numbers aren't much worse than Matsuzaka's, but he pitches in the NL of the NPB (meaning the pitcher hits in his league). I like that he's a lefty, who will balance out the rotation once Randy leaves - Wang, Moose, Hughes, Sanchez, Pavano, Karstens, Clippard, Rasner, Joba, and Kennedy are all righties. It's strange that the Yanks would bid only $5 million less for Igawa than Matsuzaka, but it was after the 'market was set' with the Sawx bid (if you believe in over-paying, even for market value). He does have an MVP and Cy Young award to his credit (both in 2003), and 3 strikeout titles ('02, '04, '06). My (brief) scouting report: a deceptive 87-92 mph fb, a very good change, a very good (Zito-esque) curve, and a decent slider.

Career: 3.15 era, 9.5 k/9 ip, 3 k/bb, .8 HR/9 ip, 1.26 whip
2006: 2.97 era, 8.4 k/9 ip, 3 k/bb, .7 HR/9 ip, 1.12 whip

Compared to Matsuzaka.
Career: 2.95 era, 8.7 k/9 ip, 2.7 k/bb, .7 HR/9 ip, 1.18 whip
2006: 2.13 era, 9.7 k/9 ip, 5.9 k/bb, .6 HR/9 ip, .94 whip

David Wright, Jose Reyes and Jermaine Dye faced Igawa in Japan and gave their reviews.

Stats - video one, two, three, four, five

Mike Plugh (Japanese baseball expert) will be doing his own analysis soon. Stay tuned to his blog. He links to an excellent scouting report. It says he should be a solid 4th starter, with occasional dominant games.

Nov 26, 2006

Maybe I'll be a Jets fan

Who thought the Jets and Giants would have the same record after 11 games? No one. I don't think even (Jets coach) Eric Mangini thought so. They have a young, exciting team, with a young, future (if not present) genius head coach. Unfortunately, the Giants are seriously lacking in the coaching department, and it's too late in my life to switch allegiances...

As for today's game, somehow I felt it would happen. Call me a cynic, but I wasn't that surprised or saddened by the crushing loss. The Gmen were up 21-0 going into the 4th quarter, and proceeded to allow 24 points while scoring 0. It was one of those days. What was the turning point? When Plax quit on the ball allowing Adam Jones to pick it off? Was it Frank Walker's late hit on Vince Young turning a takeaway into a Tennessee first down? Or was it Kiwanuka's 'non-sack' on Young? Take your pick, if one of them doesn't happen, the Giants win. I'll go with Walker's late hit: it was 4th and 9, and Young scrambled for 8 and was falling out of bounds when Walker laid him out. It was a borderline call, but Walker should not have hit him, he was clearly short of the first down by at least a yard.

4th down: Kiwanuka had Young wrapped up, and then inexplicably let him go, as if he thought the play was over. He just stopped playing - he looked back at Fred Robbins like he was expecting him to do something. What?! Did he hear a whistle and think the play was over? Did he think Young had already thrown the ball? I don't know. But Young ran 19 yards for a first down, and their comeback continued.

Update: Apparently Kiwanuka did indeed think Young had thrown the ball (and did not want to incur a penalty).

Eli made a horrible decision on 2nd and 1 to throw the ball with 32 seconds left when no one was open. Jones picked it off again, and it led to Tennessee's game-winning field goal. I'm really starting to think Eli is not a franchise QB. Tim Carter again did nothing. Shockey was hardly used in the 2nd half. They couldn't run in the 2nd half. And the Jints also didn't get any kind of consistent pass rush in the 2nd half - which can be largely blamed on the injuries (both starting CBs and DEs were out).

Now the whole season will be decided next Sunday against Dallas. With a win, the Giants will take over first place (with the head-to-head tiebreaker). With a loss, they're 2 games back and .500 on the year. The game will probably decide whether Tom Coughlin comes back as head coach.

24-21 Tennessee
(6-5 on the year, 1 game behind Dallas)
... and more coaching criticism from players in 3...2...1

3*: Jacobs, 11 touches, 68 yards, 2 TD
2: Tiki, 30 touches, 112 yards
1: Robbins, 3 tackles, 1 sack, 1 QB hit, 1 fumble recovery
1: Wilson, 9 tackles, 1 pass deflection, 1 fumble recovery
1: Pierce, 8 tackles, 1 sack, 1 QB hit

One of the reasons I started this blog was for games like this, where it's so cathartic to get all my thoughts out...

Nov 25, 2006

Week 12 - Giants at Tennessee Preview

Tennessee Offense
27/32 overall, 8 rushing, 31 passing
Giants D
14 overall, 9 rushing, 7 passing

Giants Offense
11 overall, 5 rushing, 20 passing
Ten D
31 overall, 28 rushing, 11 passing

Giants -1
Ten +1

Even though the Jints have been playing some of their worst ball of the year, it's still Tennessee.

Prediction: Giants 24, Ten 14

Nov 23, 2006

Prospect Update Nov. 22

Final stats for Hawaii and Arizona.

Joba Chamberlain, 37.2 ip, 2.63 era, 46 k, 3 bb, 3 HR, .82 whip
Ian Kennedy, 30.1 ip, 4.45 era, 45 k, 11 bb, 0 HR, 1.45 whip
Jeff Marquez, 34.1 ip, 7.08 era, 27 k, 18 bb, 4 HR, 2.86 whip
Michael Dunn, 8.2 ip, 3.12 era, 10 k, 5 bb, 0 HR, 1.41 whip

TJ Beam, 15 ip, .60 era, 17 k, 6 bb, 1.13 whip
Sean Henn, 13.1 ip, 7.43 era, 12 k, 11 bb, 2.03 whip
Jeff Kennard, 15.2 ip, 6.89 era, 16 k, 9 bb, 1.91 whip
Darrell Rasner, 23.2 ip, 4.18 era, 17 k, 12 bb, 1.35 whip

PJ Pilittere, 12 gms, .394/.444/.545, 5 k, 3 bb, 3 xbh, 1 HR, 1 E
Eric Duncan, 26 gms, .257/.310/.354, 16 k, 9 bb, 6 xbh, 2 HR, 1 cs, 5 E
Brett Gardner, 27 gms, .250/.406/.352, 22 k, 27 bb, 7 xbh, 1 HR, 6 sb, 0 cs, 0 E


Jose Tabata, 18 gms, .288/.431/.404, 11 k, 11 bb, 3 xbh, 1 HR, 1 sb, 3 cs
Carlos Mendoza, 23 gms, .304/.355/.411, 11 k, 3 bb, 5 xbh, 0 HR, 1 sb

Francisco Butto, 16 ip, 4.50 era, 16 k, 4 bb, 1 HR
Gerardo Casadiego, 22 ip, 2.86 era, 23 k, 13 bb, 1 HR
Edgar Omana, 13 ip, 9.00 era, 11 k, 11 bb, 2 HR
Scott Patterson, 14.2 ip, 4.30 era, 10 k, 8 bb, 0 HR

Erick Abreu, 8 ip, 1.13 era, 9 k, 1 bb, 0 HR
Juan De Leon, 2.2 ip, 3.38 era, 2 k, 1 bb, 0 HR
Jorge De Paula, 12 ip, 5.25 era, 4 k, 2 bb, 1 HR
Edwar Ramirez, 7 ip, 5.14 era, 12 k, 1 bb, 0 HR

Justin Christian, 21 gms, .250/.305/.420, 18 k, 4 bb, 7 xbh, 4 HR, 8 sb, 2 cs

Nov 21, 2006

Jeter was Robbed

Jerry: The whole situation is just so...

George: tragic?

Jerry: Well, it's not tragic. It's...

George: unsettling?

Jerry: all right.

I think it's about time we stop letting writers vote for the awards. They have biases, grudges, and there are some who are probably not even baseball experts. How about this voting plan? A third of the voting is determined by the players, and they can't vote for a teammate. Another third is determined by all the managers, again without voting for a member of their team. The last third should be comprised of some kind of good retired players association, e.g. (retired MVPs) Cal Ripken, Ryne Sandberg, Mike Schmidt, Yaz, Reggie, etc.

As for this year...
The only major stats that Morneau edged Jeter in were: HR, RBI, SLG, the power stats. Jeter led in everything else: R, hits, SB, BA, OBP, BB.

Morneau .976 ops
Jeter 1.063 ops

Close and Late
Morneau .883 ops
Jeter .868 ops

Morneau 140
Jeter 138

Runs Created
Morneau 120 (8.25/game)
Jeter 128 (8.38/game)

Win Probability
Morneau 4.46 (4th in AL)
Jeter 5.98 (2nd in AL)

Morneau 1.07 (10th in AL)
Jeter 2.58 (1st in AL)

Win Shares
Morneau 27 (5th in AL)
Jeter 33 (1st in AL)

Morneau 52 (13th in AL)
Jeter 80.5 (1st in AL)

As you can see, Jeets was robbed. Not that he cares that much (I think), his newest girlfriend is this woman.

Check out the others.

Update 8:45 pm - Classy guy.

Voting breakdown: by player, by voter.

Nov 20, 2006

Giants Recap - Where to start?

A pathetic game. How reminiscent of the Seattle game. They couldn't run, they couldn't throw, and they couldn't pressure the QB. That equals a loss most times. 'Most football games are lost, not won.'

Which play was the turning point? Plax's 50-yard drop? Or David Garrard avoiding a sack and rushing for the first down on 3rd and 8?

I'm honestly beginning to think the Jints need a new coaching staff. They didn't even realize Shockey was on the field until the end of the 1st half. They went away from the run too often, especially considering how Eli was playing. They didn't stay with what worked. Remember that 20-yard catch-n-run TD by Plax? Yeah, it looked beautiful. Why didn't Coughlin call for that play again? How about more play-action? Or a reverse? Anything tricky, just to get some momentum.

Manning is continuing his decline. What if he doesn't get back to his 1st half production? This will be the 2nd straight year where he's looked completely lost in the 2nd half of the season. What is it about him that he looks like a 3rd stringer until the 4th quarter, then looks like the #1 overall pick? It's mind-boggling.

dropped 2 because of his bad thumb), they couldn't protect Eli (Whitfield), they couldn't run (largely because of Whitfield and Eli's ineptness), and the D couldn't stop Jacksonville when they really needed to (hardly any pressure on Garrard) - This game showed how bad the Giants are with the injuries. They generated almost no pass rush, and didn't record a sack (Kiwanuka came close twice early) or a pick, and forced just one turnover (a fumble by Fred Taylor). They dropped passes (TikiJax was 9 for 18 on third downs. The Giants had the ball just 20 minutes, compared to 40 for the Jags. And worst of all, the Gmen had 5 drives before they ever got a first down.

Why is it that our WRs are never wide open. I watch the highlight shows, and it seems like every other game has a big play where a WR is wide open. I don't think I've seen one of these plays for the Giants all year. They're never more than 5 yards from a defender. They never get the chance for yards-after-catch, to make a big play. The offensive coordinator, John Huffnagel, has to take the most blame for this.

As for the D, our DBs can barely cover anyway (they can hit pretty well), and we're not getting pressure on the QB, so why not blitz more often? Does it matter if we drop 7 guys and the opponent still completes the pass, or we blitz 3 and only drop 4 and they still complete it? C'mon Tim Lewis, without Strahan and Osi, we've got to blitz more. The opponent might have a big play now and then, but it will also create some turnovers.

26-10 Jacksonville (virtual tie with Dallas for 1st place)

3*: Shockey, 7 catches, 82 yards
2: Pierce, 10 tackles, 1 fumble recovery
1: Webster, 5 tackles, 2 pass deflections
1: Wilson, 4 tackles, 1 fumble forced

No Plax because of his 2 or 3 dropped passes.

Next week at Tennessee. Won't be easy, but should be a win.

Millar for 1b

I was considering this for a while. He's very used to the AL East, is a natural first-baseman, and has a good bat. But I always came back to him being a member of the 2004 Red Sawx. My prejudice is rather ill-placed. Since '04, the Yanks have added several members of that team, inlcuding Mark Bellhorn, Alan Embree, and of course Johnny Damon. Not to mention how previous Sawx players have helped us, like Wade Boggs and Roger Clemens.

1. Cashman is looking for a right-handed 1b to offset all the lefty hitters, and allow Giambi to be the fulltime DH. Millar is a good righty hitter, and plays a very solid 1b. He's above average at 1b in both Fielding % and Range Factor (for his career).
2. He was paid just $2.1 million this year. I expect him to get about the same for 2007. A good cheap option.
3. He's a .287/.366/.472, and 117 ops+ career hitter. Over 162 games, he averages 74 runs, 35 doubles, 19 HR, 81 rbi, 59 bb, 92 k. He's good enough to hit 5th or 6th on some teams, but with the Yanks, he'd hit 9th. Those are tremendous numbers for a 9 hitter.
4. He hits Boston well, to a .920 ops. And he's very familiar with AL, and (specifically) AL East pitching.

I think he'd be a great choice.

Nov 19, 2006

Week 11 - Giants at Jags Preview

Jax Offense
20th overall, 9th rushing, 25th passing
Giants D
10th overall, 9th rushing, 6th passing

Giants Offense
10th overall, 3rd rushing, 16th passing
Jax D
4th overall, 7th rushing, 4th passing

The Gmen are ranked 10th in both offense and defense. That's about right, they've been the 10th best team in the league. With the injuries though, they might be closer to 15th or 20th in football (right now).

What a difference coaching makes in the NFL. I've been watching the Jets the last 2 weeks, and they beat the superior Patriots, and nearly beat the superior Bears today (if not for a Pennington pick perhaps). If Mangini were coaching the Giants, I think we'd be 7-2, or even 8-1 right now. He's from the Belichick coaching circle, and he knows to use what works. If the running game is working, don't stop until the opponent shows they can stop it. The Gmen have gone away from Tiki and Big J sometimes, and usually to their detriment. We're the third best rushing team in football, it's what we do best (we even gashed Chicago for 150 yards), and we'll have to rely on it to make the playoffs. Especially now that Bob Whitfield is playing LT, who can't pass protect for his life (at this point), it's essential the Giants run the ball 30+ times in Jacksonville (Big Blue is also 10th in rushing attempts - but I want them to be in the top 5, where Mangini's Jets are).

Eli and the WR corps have got to step up tomorrow. Plax and Shockey are not the only targets. Sinorice Moss might play, but we really can't expect much from him after missing all but one game.

I think Coughlin realizes he'll have to run, and that will cut down Eli's picks. Prediction: Giants 20, Jax 17

Free Agent Pitchers

There are some other available pitchers this offseason beside Daisuke Matsuzaka.

2006 ERA+
Schmidt, 125
Zito, 116
Lilly, 109
Pettitte, 108
Suppan, 107
Padilla, 104
Meche, 97
Wolf, 83

Career ERA+
Zito, 127
Pettitte, 119
Schmidt, 110
Padilla, 106
Wolf, 103
Suppan, 101
Lilly, 99
Meche, 96

2007 Age
Matsuzaka, 26
Meche, 28
Padilla, 29
Zito, 29
Wolf, 30
Lilly, 31
Suppan, 32
Schmidt, 34
Pettitte, 34

Padilla and Wolf pitched - this year - in very hitter-friendly parks. Gil Meche pitched in the most pitcher-friendly park.

Is it crazy to think Padilla or Wolf would be a good (and cheap-ish) pickup?

Check out video of Zito, Schmidt, Pettitte, Meche, Padilla, and Lilly, Wolf and Suppan.

Nov 18, 2006

Truth of Matsuzaka & Asian Market

So what is all that talk about bringing in Asian revenue to Boston?

There is this idea out there that Boston can make all this money on the side with Matsuzaka. It's largely a myth. MLB controls international television rights, not individual teams. The revenue from any extra games that are televised would go to all 30 teams. The same is true of internationally sold merchandise. The Red Sox could get a sponsorship deal or two from a Japanese company but that's it. Ticket sales won't change a bit; Fenway Park is sold out every game.

Nov 16, 2006

Other Japanese Pitchers

There are others besides Matsuzaka. Koji Uehara will be a free agent after next season (which will unfortunately make him 33 for the 2008 season), and is an ex-teammate of Hideki Matsui from his Yomiuri Giants days.
Uehara stats
Video one
Max. MPH

Hiroki Kuroda (possibly next year)
Video one, two, three
Max. MPH 93

Kazumi Saitoh (possibly next year)
Video one, two, three, four
Max. MPH 94

Kei Igawa was posted (or is about to be), and the Yanks supposedly put in a bid, but they only expect a back of the rotation starter.
Stats - video one, two, three
Max. MPH 92

Nov 15, 2006

Hot Stove I

- I am the only one that doesn't get excited about trading for Dontrelle Willis. Nevermind that we'd probably have to part with some highly touted prospects, but D-Train pitches in a very pitcher friendly ballpark in the offensively inferior National League, and relies primarily on deception to get outs. From what I've seen, he throws 2 plus pitches, a 89-92 mph fastball, and a good slider. So he's basically Randy Johnson with slower stuff, a deceptive delivery, and (also like RJ) shaky control at times. I'm not interested... He has done well though against the AL: 6-3, 76 ip, 2.25 era, 55 k, 16 bb. Very good numbers, but that's only in interleague play. If he had to pitch the whole season in the AL, I expect his numbers would decrease significantly. Deception only lasts so long.

Look at the past Marlins pitchers who have transitioned to the AL.
Pavano 2004 - 137 era+
Pavano 05-06 - 93 era+ (in just 17 gms) Huge decrease.
4.40 AL era

2005 - 119 era+
2006 - 92 era+ Huge decrease.
ER= 112
5.41 AL era

2005 - 117 era+
2006 - 118 era+ (only started 21 gms)
3.61 AL era

Burnett is the only one who actually pitched better after the transition. I'm not sure why. The intriguing thing is that each of these 3 guys went to the AL East (Yanks, Boston, Toronto). Why is that? Because the division is wealthy, or because no other GMs see their ability.

- The Yanks have (or are about to) resign Mike Mussina for a 2-year deal worth $22.5 million. This is a fair contract, and I look forward to 2 more sub 4.00 era years from Moose.

- There's 'talk' Humberto Sanchez could be traded. At least according to the NY Post. I hope this isn't the case. Cashman has been saying how important good, young pitching is, and Sanchez is ML ready right now (if injuries don't persist).

- Jints DE Justin Tuck is out for the season. It's like a damn horror show in the Meadowlands. Every week another player is dropping.

- Tiki Barber injured his thumb against Chicago on Sunday night. He's not listed on the inury report yet (because they NEED him - more so than any other player), and hopefully he plays Monday night.

Prospect Update Nov. 15

Age, Position, Name, Stats...

(24) C PJ Pilittere, 11 gms, .400/.455/.467, 4 k, 3 bb, 2 xbh, 0 HR, 1 E
(23) CF Brett Gardner, 27 gms, .250/
.406/.352, 22 k, 27 bb, 7 xbh, 1 HR, 6 sb, 0 cs, 0 E
(21) 1B Eric Duncan, 25 gms, .264/.306/.364, 15 k, 8 bb, 6 xbh, 2 HR, 1 cs, 4 E

(25) SP Darrell Rasner, 0-0, 23.2 ip, 17 k, 12 bb, 4.18 era, 1.35 whip
(25) RP Jeff Kennard, 1-2, 14.2 ip, 14 k, 9 bb, 6.75 era, 1.91 whip
(26) RP TJ Beam, 2-1, 14 ip, 15 k, 6 bb, .64 era, 1.14 whip
(25) RP Sean Henn, 3-1, 13.1 ip, 12 k, 11 bb, 7.43 era, 2.03 whip

(21) SP Joba Chamberlain, 2-2, 33.2 ip, 42 k, 3 bb, 2.14 era, .77 whip
(22) SP Ian Kennedy, 0-2, 21.2 ip,
31 k, 9 bb, 4.57 era, 1.43 whip
(21) SP Chris Garcia, 2-0, 20.2 ip, 23 k, 14 bb, 3.05 era, 1.26 whip
(21) RP Michael Dunn, 0-0, 4 ip, 5 k, 2 bb, 2.25 era, 1.50 whip

(18) OF Jose Tabata, 18 gms, .288/
.431/.404, 11 k, 11 bb, 3 xbh, 1 HR, 1 sb, 3 cs, 1 E

Chamberlain and Beam are clearly having the best winters so far. Tabata, Pilittere, Gardner, Rasner, Kennedy and Garcia are not too far behind. Meanwhile, Duncan, Henn and Kennard are severely disappointing (4 errors for Duncan?!).

FYI, Robbie Cano will be playing in the Dominican Winter League starting in a few days. I don't like the idea of him risking injury, but if he wants to, and the Yanks OK it, who am I to disagree? I'll also keep track of him in my weekly prospect updates.

Nov 14, 2006

$51.1 million!

So it's official. Boston bid the most for Daisuke Matsuzaka, and will now have 30 days to negotiate a contract with him (and his agent, Scott 'Satan' Boras). Word has it the Sawx are intent on signing him, but Boras will try to keep the contract short, to about 3 years, so that Daisuke can hit the market again as a true free agent (at a still young 29) where he could earn even more than he'll get now. The winning bid: $51.1 million!!! Now we get to the rant part. This is the same 3rd place team that last year cried when the Yanks traded for Bobby Abreu, saying that they couldn't afford to add a $15 million OF.

"We are not the Yankees. We feel our best way to compete with them year in and year out is to keep one eye on now and one eye on the future and to build something that can sustain success. We've gone toe-to-toe with those guys taking that approach. I think we're one or two games under .500 against them since '03 and have won one more World Series than they have. So we're not going to change our approach and try to all of a sudden build an uber-team."
- Boston General Manager Theo Epstein
Now they're adding an $80+ million pitcher! Oh wait, nevermind that he's never faced ML hitters, and has about 1400 innings on his body already, even for Johan Santana this would be crazy money. Do y'all remember before the bidding, when rumors had it that everyone would bid low, like $10-20 million? The winning bid was expected to be only $25-30 million. With the Sawx outrageous bid, they've effectively changed the landscape of international players from now on. $51.1 million is 390% more than the $13.1 million the Mariners bid to win signing rights to Ichiro (which brings me to my next point) - How do we know Boston didn't make a backroom deal with Seibu (Mats' Japanese team) to overbid, then receive a large amount of the bid in return (it's been rumored that Seattle still hasn't paid the $13.1 million in full to Ichiro's Japanese team)?

What will the next Japanese star receive, $100 million? I know the Sawx don't like to think of themselves as 'ruining' baseball (which they reserve solely for the Yanks), but if the Yanks are ruining baseball with their spending habits, then the Sawx have just leaped ahead of their nemesis. All you KC, Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh fans rejoice, you have a new enemy and it lies in Boston. The Yankees always spend a lot of money (and always will), but they've never gone completely insane like Boston did (and Texas did with Arod) for one player. The poor, poor Sawx can't use the money excuse ever again.

Hopefully Daisuke refuses to play for Boston. If not, he's in for a rude awakening his first bad outing in Fenway.

Peter Warrick to Join Jints?

The Giants worked out Peter Warrick and may add him to their depleted WR unit. Charles Rogers' name has also been passed around.

I'm still a fan of Warrick from his Florida State days (I'm an FSU fan), and remember how dominant he was in college. I was sure he'd be a great NFL WR, but that never happened. He had great hands, great agility, good speed and strength, but I don't know if he ever really got a good shot at showing off his skills in Cincinnati. He can return kicks and is still just 29. I wouldn't mind seeing Rogers (or preferably Warrick) in blue and red this season.

More Video to Enjoy

2006 Futures Game - Hughes vs. Tabata. Too bad there's no video of Humberto Sanchez, because he dominated that game (unlike Hughes).

Joe is coming back... This could probably lead to a second stint as a Yankee coach.

Nov 13, 2006

Winter Meetings

MLB General Managers are meeting in Florida this week. One item they'll discuss is using instant replay to determine if HRs are fair or foul, over the wall or in play (they voted against it last year). As you might know, I'm all for it. And I would want replay extended to all other aspects of the game. Here's a post I made 3 months ago on this very subject. The right call is of paramount importance.

Baseball has often been the slowest sport to adapt with the times. The other 3 major sport leagues include some form of video replay to assist officials. Baseball thinks of itself as being traditional ('the national past-time'), which often gets in the way of sensible (and necessary) changes.

Nov 12, 2006

Injuries & Bad Calls

I couldn't believe my eyes when starting LT Luke Petitgout went down. It went to commercial with him still lying face down, and I knew it was another bad injury. His tibia (or fibia) is broken, and although they didn't say, he's probably out for the season. And to add insult (or injury) to injury, Sam Madison didn't return after the 1st quarter. Bob Whitfield's poor play in place of Petitgout may have cost the Giants the game. There were at least 2 plays where he couldn't block Bears DE Alex Brown, who stripped Eli of the ball twice - both were drive killers. No other OL allowed a sack, but backup Whitfield allowed two. It made a huge difference.

But the POG was Devin Hester's TD return on Feely's missed FG. I was saying 'Just punt it,' but Coughlin tried the 52-yarder and it burned them. So many reasons to punt it away: 1. Feagles is great at pinning teams inside the 10; 2. the Bears strength is their defense, not their offense; 3. Feely had already missed a 33-yard FG, how would he ever make a 52-yarder in the rain in Giants Stadium?; 4. a miss gives Chicago great field position, which had already led to most of their points.

Al Michaels kept saying how Thomas Jones' 22-yard run at the end of the 1st half was the POG, but I disagree. Even though it led to Chicago's 1st TD, the Gints still had the lead at halftime (Period).

I can't believe the Bears were getting so much credit from the commentators. If the Giants are just a bit healthier, they're probably looking at a win. So who have we lost you may ask. Let's look at the whole list (which includes a ridiculous 7 starters, almost half of their combined starting 22):
LB Lavar Arrington, LB Brandon Short, LB Carlos Emmons, DE Michael Strahan, DE Osi Umenyiora, DE Justin Tuck, CB Sam Madison, WR Amani Toomer, WR Sinorice Moss, OT Luke Petitgout, RB Tiki Barber (messed up his thumb tonight)

That's all, just a few guys...

38-20 Chicago

Next week they visit Jacksonville for a Monday night showdown. Another tough game.

3*: Tiki, 22 touches, 157 yds
2: Kiwanuka, 2 tackles, 1 int
2: Jacobs, 2 carries, 9 yds, 2 TD
1: Pierce, 15 tackles, 1 QB hit, 1 pass deflection
1: Wilson, 9 tackles, 2 pass deflections, 1 fumble forced, 1 fumble recovered
1: Plaxico, 4 catches, 48 yds

Wright Gone, Britton In

I like this deal. Wright was mostly ineffective, never good for more than 6 innings, and was very injury prone. Britton comes in. A giant (6'3", 280 lbs.) righty, who throws hard, and is going to be just 24 next year. He may start the year in AAA, but he has ML experience, pitching 53.2 innings this year for Baltimore (3.35 era, 41 k, 17 bb, 1.17 whip). It adds more depth to the bullpen, which could be quite necessary with an aging Rivera, an inconsistent Farnsworth, and it also accounts for this year's potential 'flash-in-the-pans' Proctor and Bruney (although I do not think they are).

In other news, I mentioned how Humberto Sanchez (the Yanks new #2 pitching prospect) dominated his only inning of work in the Futures Game. I learned from reading this that he happened to dominate against 3 of the top 10 prospects (not just hitting prospects) in all of baseball - Stephen Drew, Howie Kendrick and Alex Gordon (2 k and a 6-3 groundout!).

NFC Title Game Preview in Week 10

This should be a very close one. If the Gmen were fielding a healthy team, I'd take them in a heartbeat. But with the current MASH unit, everyone will feel more pressure. It looks like Tuck and Osi are out, but Madison and Moss should play - Plax is still up in the air. The loss of Strahan and Osi could be big, but during the first 3 games, when the DEs weren't getting any pressure, it was the DTs who pressured the QB. We'll need that kind of play again to beat Chicago.

The Bears have a very easy schedule this year, while the Giants have one of the toughest in football. The Gmen have already played against some very good teams, and that should give them an edge. They've really had to scratch for some wins, while Chicago has blown out all but 3 of their opponents (Minnesota , Arizona and of course, Miami).

Giants O
8th, run 4th, pass 12th
vs. Bears D
1st, run 7th, pass 1st

Bears O
13th, run 19th, pass 9th
vs. Giants D
11th, run 8th, pass 16th

With Toomer gone, and Plax hurting, the Gints should run all day with their deadly combo of Tiki and Big J. From there, they could pass off the play-action. And with the Bears best WR out (Bernard Berrian), look for Tim Lewis to try to put pressure on Rex Grossman using LB and Safety blitzes - unless the D line can do it themselves. If the Bears get their running game going, that could be all they need to top the injury-depleted Gmen.

Prediction: Giants 13, Bears 10