A couple of random baseball thoughts today, and I’ll start with the San Diego Padres. I think it’s fair to say that the first quarter of the season has been a flop for the Friars. Matt Kemp is having a very disappointing start to the season and it probably wouldn’t be a bad idea to get him out of the #3 hole for at least a little bit. What’s really getting interesting here are the increasing rumbles regarding Bud Black. This wouldn’t be a big deal as managerial rumors are a constant, but it’s a little different here.
There was even some buzz about Black’s status on the Padres post-game show last night. That’s a little unusual, as the pre and post game shows for virtually every team are almost always delivered with a positive spin. The fact it was even brought up in any way last night following the latest loss, this time at Anaheim, was a little surprising to me. But it should also be noted that Black probably mishandled the bottom of the ninth in this walk-off defeat, or at least left himself wide open to be second guessed.
But let’s face facts. The Padres underwent a major off-season overhaul and basically stripped the farm system to try and win right now. Expectations are the highest they’ve been in years for this team, and right now they’re struggling. The GM isn’t going to fire himself if things don’t start improving, and they don’t really have much left to offer in a deal for a possibly available star. That puts Black on the hot seat. The widespread consensus that he’d immediately become an ultra-hot commodity is no doubt accurate. But I am starting to wonder about Black’s long tern prospects in San Diego.
Next up, the Cincinnati Reds. They lost again yesterday, this time falling 5-4 to the Rockies. This was only a close game on the scoreboard, as the Rockies were the much sharper team on the field. If you watched this game, you know exactly what I mean. The Rockies were hustling their butts off, and on two occasions we saw players literally dive into the stands to catch foul balls. As for the Reds, they were really flat and appeared to me to be a team going through the motions.
Bryan Price is in just his second year at the Cincinnati helm, but I also wonder about his job security at this point. Whereas Black is deserving of a longer leash based on his body of work and reputation, Price has none of that going for him. His first-year performance drew mixed reviews, to put it kindly. The 2015 Reds weren’t realistically expected be contenders, but right now they’re a very bad baseball team. I’m not putting all the blame on Price, as this just isn’t a really good roster. But when it’s really obvious that one team is playing harder than the other, as I absolutely believe was the case on Monday before a holiday home crowd, some of that fault has to rest with the skipper.
Monday was not much fun here, as I dropped three of four and was again on the wrong side of two one-run decisions. This has been a really frustrating month on that count, but that’s also part of the game that has to be tolerated if one is to survive long term.
Get the goods on the guaranteed offer I’ve got in place right now by emailing me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m a believer in laws of probability, and based on that credo a big run is coming, so it might not be the worst time to join forces.
Monday’s free play was the ultimate no-sweat loser as the game was over in a blink. Note that the Royals didn’t make my card when I was able to assess the actual starting lineups. I always try to post on Twitter (@davecokin) whether a play is on my final personal card or not, so advise following me there to get that info each day. Tonight, it’s a peek at Game Six between the Rangers and Lightning as the phenomenal NHL playoffs continue.
NY RANGERS @ TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING
Take: NY RANGERS +120 (Don Best consensus line at time of publication)
It’s do or die tonight for the Rangers as they seek to make it to the Stanley Cup finals for the second straight season. A 2-0 Tampa Bay win at Madison Square Garden on Sunday now has the Lightning presented with the opportunity to close the show.
The Lightning have obviously managed to close out their prior two series against the Canadiens and Red Wings. Tampa Bay had to come back from a 3-2 deficit to get past Detroit. Against Montreal, the Lightning went up 3-0 but needed six games to finally send the Habs home.
The Rangers have relied on future Hall of Fame member Henrik Lundqvist to be at his absolute best in games like this. Lundqvist has a phenomenal record in elimination games. That ledger includes three straight wins this season as the Rangers were down 3-1 against the Capitals, and Lundqvist delivered each time.
Tampa Bay has been the better team in this series, so the Lightning being up 3-2 is not a fluke. The Rangers have had some blue line issues and their power play has been largely ineffective throughout the series. Based on the eye test, it’s not that tough to make a case for the home team tonight and goalie Ben Bishop should be brimming with confidence off the Game Five shutout.
I’m pretty much going all-in with Lundqvist with this opinion. It seems as though he usually finds a way to come up huge when the chips are down and it certainly wasn’t Hank’s fault the Rangers got blanked at home in Game Five. I’ll tab the Rangers as the side tonight as road dogs to send it back to MSG for a classic Game Seven finale.
FanDuel Value Play Tuesday 5/25
Chris Colabello, OF $2800
Chris Colabello was an early season surprise with the Twins in 2014. He eventually regressed to the point the Twins sent Colabello back to AAA. It seems as though he doesn’t want a repeat of that unhappy ending this time around. Colabello has come up big for the Blue Jays since his recall and he has been on fire at home, while also mashing pretty well against southpaws. Toronto has a team has big offensive numbers against lefties, and they’re facing a very hittable one tonight with John Danks on the hill for the White Sox. Colabello has very nice short sample stats against Danks and he should make for a good value play at the price tonight.