And, The World Ran Out of Kazaam Jokes.

Where Will Shaq Turn Up Next?

I guess it is a shame that when I heard Shaq was retiring my first thought was, “oh yeah, he did play this year.”  Shaq put a beating on his career averages the last couple of seasons in truly Shaq fashion.  Not many players would admit they were tarnishing their legacy by trying to cherry pick an extra title or two.  Maybe Shaq realized that when it all boils down, the first thing people will say is that he won four rings.  Five, or six would have sounded even better, no matter the role he played on those final teams.

The greatest thing about Shaquille O’Neal was that he did whatever he wanted, and never blinked at the criticism.  You think he doesn’t know his rap albums were awful?  Or what about that video game, Shaq Fu?  Shaq was all about flexing his muscle. He’s probably sitting there thinking, can I get a video game made called Shaq Fu?  So, he tries it and pulls it off, just because he was Shaq.  The guy was such a character that I think some people will forget how dominant he was.  The nicknames, the sound bites, and of course, Kazaam, are all attached to his resume along with some astonishing numbers. The guy was a physical force of nature.

Not sure what will be next for the big fella, but I know we’re going to see him somewhere.  I don’t think Shaq is capable of fading away.  He’s like Hulk Hogan.  He’ll have a reality show.  Or, he’ll be in someone’s studio, but I think Shaq will always be around.  The real question is, can he gain weight faster than Charles Barkley?

***

And, on the First Day of June, God said, “You Need a Goalie.”

I didn’t watch all of the hockey game last night.  In fact, I missed the majority of it, but when I did turn it on, it became a dizzying display of elite goaltending.  Tim Thomas at the start of the 3rd period had me scratching my head, and Roberto Luongo was making brilliant saves at well.  It made me think there might not be a truer axiom in sport than you need a goalie to win the Stanley Cup.  Sure, last year wasn’t a great example, but there will always be exceptions.  But more so than a quarterback winning a Super Bowl, or a lights-out bullpen locking down a World Series, or defense winning an NBA Title, I think you must have a goalie.  Look at the play that had to come together last night to get one goal on the board.  I hope the Flyers were watching.

***

Hilariously Bad Betting, Day 9.  

I think I missed the under by double digits last night, which is hard to do in any sport, let alone baseball.  There were plenty of unders to choose from yesterday too, and I just, well, did not pick the right game.  Kyle Drabek, I thought we were friends.  You are no Vance Worley, Sir.

Today’s Selection:  Seattle and Tampa Under 6.5

Big Game James Shields and the King.  When you are backed into a corner, you have to go New Chalk City.

***

Wanted to get that out there, because this will probably be my only post of the day.  Oh, playing golf on this fine humidity-free day?  Nope, going to the Devon Horse Show.  Where Champions Meet.  Perhaps you’ve heard of it.  More than likely, you haven’t.  It gives the aristocracy a chance to rub elbows with me.  If there was a list of people who had spent the most time at horse shows without ever actually riding a horse, I might be at the top of that list.  I am bursting at the seams with equine knowledge, which almost no one would suspect and that allows me to look smarter than I actually am.  The Devon Horse Show is really a triumph of Main Line pomp and circumstance mixed in with horse people, who are an interesting bunch.  Back in the day, my favorite part of the show was the midway, and more specifically, “The Birthday Game.”

The Birthday Game was simple.  You put 50 cents on a square that had a month or holiday on it, and then someone tossed a 20-sided die/ball into a little pit.  If the month or holiday you picked came up, you won.  Simple and yet, for a carnival game, shockingly straight-forward and fair.  They had a great guy working the mic, too.  He’d say, “Step right up, come right in, you’re just in time for this one.  It’s the Birthday Game, the Anniversary Game.  It’s half a buck to try your luck, the ball does the rest.”  He would say this 1.3 million times a day.  Anyway, the Birthday Game doesn’t exist anymore.  Total horse bleep.

ESPN’s Franchise Player Draft.

Number One with a Mullet.

A little bit under the radar today, ESPN is holding a mock draft of baseball franchise players.  If you were starting a team today, who would you take?  Age is factored into the equation.  I think it might just be an exercise in showing off how many baseball analysts work for the network.   Not sure how they decided the order of the selections, but Karl Ravech got the first pick and it meanders all the way down to Doug Glanville at #30.  Ravech took Troy Tulowitzki with the number one pick.  Tulo is 26, plays a premium defensive position as well as anyone and has production numbers that could make him a perennial MVP candidate.  He’s also been hurt a couple of times already in his career and is the definition of streaky.  The top-10 played out like this:

  1. Tulowitzki
  2. Longoria
  3. Hernandez
  4. Votto
  5. Lincecum
  6. Johnson
  7. Heyward
  8. Pujols
  9. Bryce Harper
  10. Braun

It’s an interesting list.  It’s one of those things where there are almost too many options to choose from.  And, picking one player to start an organization is totally impractical in some ways, but is an interesting debate.  I don’t like 5/6/7 on this list.  I don’t trust Lincecum or Johnson to stay healthy and I’m not convinced about Jason Heyward.  The more I think about it, the more I think I might chicken out and take a position player.  If you’re really wanting to start a team, though, you need butts in the seats, so maybe Harper is worth a risk, or Stephen Strasburg (who went 22nd).

First Phillie taken?  Halladay at 28.

Worst Pick?  Rick Sutcliffe takes Neftali Feliz at 23.

Good value?  Michael Pineda at 27.  That sly Buster Olney.

***

Offensive Outbursts, The Greek Tragedy, Day 8.  

The Red Sox and the other Sox combined for about 100 runs last night.  That did not go under the total.  I am mired in a 3-game losing streak and my initial optimism has been replaced with despair.  Scoring seems up a touch, though, so it’s not all bad.  Perhaps the scoring drought has been transferred to the NBA Finals.  That’s been an under factory for years.

Today’s Selection:  Toronto and Cleveland Under 9.5.

***

Quiz of the Day:  Name That Tool.  Category: Hardware, Not Morons.  My Score: 16/20.

Don’t know if we did this one before, they’re all running together at this point.

Folksy Charlie’s Hitting Weather.

Charlie's Mental Piture.

It’s hot out there.  I don’t know if you noticed.  To everyone who has said to me that they love this weather in the last 72 hours I want to travel back in time, put on my metal golf cleats, and stomp on their dang ankle bone.  It’s too hot for May, but there is one undeniable result of this blessed heat and humidity–the balls jump.  I was playing golf Saturday and it was that round you play every year where all your distance comes flooding back.  I hit some pretty robust 3-woods.  I bunnied a sand wedge into a hole that had required an 8-iron on a recent visit.  Back before golf balls were juiced guys would set them on the dash of their cars, or warm them in a toaster.  Did it work?  I have no idea, but there is certainly something to Charlie Manuel’s notion of hitting weather.

It’s been his favorite refrain since he arrived in Philly, and I noticed this year that other analysts really picked up on a similar sentiment.  Everyone wants to explain why scoring is down, and while obvious fingers point to less PEDs and better pitching, a couple of guys wanted to talk about the uncommonly bad weather we’ve had this year.  Bad for hitting, that is. It started from the jump.  I remember the first homestand the Phils hit several balls that would have left Citizen’s Bank Park this weekend.  It was a league-wide epidemic of rainouts and chilly temps.  Have we turned the corner?  A lot of runs hit the board over the holiday weekend.  If it keeps up it could be enough to at least level off the decline and get back to last year’s numbers.

It isn’t just the hitters, either.  It’s brutal out there on the mound.  In the middle of Roy’s start yesterday he had sweat through his entire uniform and did a full wardrobe change in the 5th inning.  That’s a) kind of gross, but also b) a good indication of how difficult it is to stay hydrated and maintain your endurance level when the temperature jumps up near triple digits.  Not only does it possibly impact the start yesterday, but you have to look at his next start as well.  Will they hold him back to get that extra day of rest instead of using the off-day to skip a spot?  I’m guessing they will.  Luckily yesterday the Phillies’ bats t00k advantage of the weather more than Roy was burdened.  Hopefully that continues to be the case.

***

One Man Vs. The Climate:  Day 7.

I lost again last night, leveling my record off at 3-3.  The Mets.  When the Mets are scoring in bunches you’ve got problems, and yesterday a good 2/3 of all games went over.  We’re going to have to start getting real careful with this.  Only premium pitchers and incompetent offenses.  Luck will play no part in this.

Today’s Selection:  Chicago and Boston Under 9.5

***

Quiz of the Day:  Name a Baseball Player Who___.  Category: Not as Fun as I thought.  My Score: 31/31

Two total guesses there, maybe three…

Tough Losses.

D*ck.

A lot of rough endings for this holiday weekend.  Some rookie Indy Car driver smoothly drifts into the wall in the last turn with a history making win all but locked up.  Dale Jr., the beloved Little E, runs out of gas on the final lap to extend a long drought.  Ohio State football fans are forced to part ways with their coach who had turned Michigan into their whipping boys.  The summer lovin’ that Phillies fans had lined up for Vance Worley evaporated right before our eyes, it was quite a series of developments.  It reminded me of how often as a sports fan you rarely get your way.  The wins are great, but sometimes it is the losses that stick with you.  I don’t want to try to rank losses, or factor in level of buckle, or historical significance, or anything like that.  Too tall a task.  Instead, my most gut-wrenching defeats as a fan.  In no particular order…

1993 NBA Finals Game Six:

We have to turn the clock back 18 years to find a basketball game I really cared about.  I had become a ravenous bandwagon Suns fan at this point.  I essentially followed Charles Barkley wherever he went (Go Rockets!), paid some attention to A.I. and then gave up on basketball.  But, back in 1993 this was the biggest event of my summer.  Chuck in a Final.  The Bulls dynasty.  Jordan went off in this series, but somehow I maintained the faith.  Game 6 back in Phoenix, things looking very promising and you leave John Paxson open with a two point lead.  Why, oh why?

1993 World Series Game Six:

1993 was a rough year for game sixes.  That Phillies season was easily the oddest thing I’ve ever witnessed (thank you steroids!).  The Phillies had been bad for a very long time so it took everyone by surprise when they stormed out of the gate and hardly looked back.  A pennant race against Montreal.  How retro.  Anyway, I got very into this team and got to see some of the playoff games in person.  I could probably also put game 4 on this list, but game 6 was brutal because it was do-or-die and they teased you.  I remember watching the improbable comeback before the home run, but not much of Carter’s homer itself.  Must have blocked it out.

2009 World Series Game 4

Here’s one I witnessed in person.  Huge because it was the Yankees, but also because the Phils totally lost grip of the series here.  Cliff Lee was rolling and you knew he’d win game 5.  If they took game 4 it was essentially like going up 3-2 headed back to NY.  Things were looking bleak trailing by a run and turning it over to the Yankees pen, but then Pedro Feliz hit the game tying homer.  It completely switched momentum, but only for a moment.  Lidge came in, wasn’t effective, and then the Johnny Damon running wild, people not covering bases fiasco kind of added insult to injury.  Yankees won and essentially clinched.

2000 Eastern Conference Finals Game 7

This was an improbable series.  At this point as a Flyers fan you expected the worst when playing the Devils.  In game two of this series, after losing the opener, the Flyers got off to a terrible start and if you wanted ground breaking pessimism you would have had to look no farther than my face.  Somehow they came back that night and won 3 straight.  The slow buckle would culminate in game seven.  Eric Lindros had returned from injury to score a goal in game six, but his concussion at the hands of Scott Stevens early in game seven pretty much told the story.  Flyers lost, it was the end of Lindros as well, who was my all-time favorite Flyer.

1998 Masters:

The year after Tiger Woods won in historic fashion, but before he became the dominant player in the world, the ’98 Masters was one of my favorites right up until the end.  Jack Nicklaus ended up tied-6th at 58 years old, but Sunday came down to a shootout. After his standard blowup on 13, Fred Couples had reemerged in a tie for the lead with David Duval with a couple of holes to play.  Mark O’Meara was one shot behind.  It was a good situation for me, pulling hard for Fred with Duval as a real nice consolation prize.  I assumed, I think like most other people that O’Meara would not be a real factor.  He’d never done anything in a big event.  I almost didn’t notice when he birdied 17 to make it a 3-way tie.  I was still locked into Fred. Freddie went bunker to bunker on 18 to end his chances of winning in regulation, but was robbed a chance of a playoff when O’Meara rolled in that 20-footer.  I still can’t believe it went in.  Hate.

So, I guess that’s my top-5.  Like I said, not ranked in order necessarily.  Honorable mention to game 6 of the NLCS last year, game 6 of the 2010 Stanley Cup Finals (F-you Leighton), the 1983 World Series (memory kernels), I see I have no football on the list, but screw ‘em, they’re locked out.

King of Unders, Day 6:

I couldn’t pull off the magical 4-1 week to start, and that was due mostly to Tim Lincecum.  At least, that’s who I am blaming.  I tried to get real flashy going under 6.5 and it didn’t work, but I liked my own conviction there.  I think the hardest thing about these unders is really all it takes to blow one is one big inning.  It’s a tightrope, but right now I’ve got the tiniest of upper hands.

Today’s Selection:  Mets and Pirates, Under 7.5.

Pirates don’t score a ton of runs, and they’ve got a good pitcher going against New York’s depleted offense.  They swung themselves out against Worley yesterday.  Back to normal.

 

Critics vs. The Audience

Poster Children for the Dangers of Roofies.

The Hangover Part II has officially opened.  Was it Wednesday at midnight?  Last night?  All I know was that as soon as I flipped on the radio today, people were talking about it.  I went to a movie a couple of weeks ago and the theater was advertising tickets for opening night.  Reserve your seats now.  I don’t remember ever seeing that for a comedy.  Especially an R-rated one, but The Hangover II is easily the most anticipated movie of the year for most adults.  I think it epitomizes the glaring differences between a critically well received film and a successful film.

I am wary of this movie.  I feel like it is going to be the exact same thing as the first one, but that doesn’t mean I won’t laugh at it again.  The floor of my comedy threshold can swing very low.  Sometimes you just find yourself laughing at anything.  The gentlemen who called the radio station to talk about the movie said the mere presence of Zach Galifianakis’s name on the screen during the opening credits sent the audience into uproarious laughter. Critics can’t get the pulse of something like that.  People want to laugh at this movie.  Currently on Rotten Tomatoes it rates at 94% audience approval (which is very high).  The critics almost universally slam it, only 33% approval.

Of course, the people who made the movie do not care if the critics like this movie.  It is a force of nature.  They will tell the critics to go get familiar with themselves.  The audience is all that matters and from early reviews it looks like the blockbuster that everyone predicted it will be.  I suppose that critics still play a role in creating buzz for less mainstream fare, but their profession could very well become obsolete.  After all, anyone can be a critic.  I’m not a big fan of telling people what to do or like and I certainly don’t respond well to people trying to put those ideas onto me, but I’m all for hearing an opinion, or a recommendation.  It doesn’t have to be from a “pro,” though.

Anyway, if people out there see the movie this weekend, I’d love to hear a general thumbs up/thumbs down about it.  I’m sure I’ll see it eventually anyway, but a good head’s up is always nice.  Just remember to get there early.  Second hardest ticket to get in town after the Phillies.

***

It’s going to be a one-post, get ready for the long weekend Friday.  I’m jamming everything into this bad boy. Deal with it.  I think I’ve waxed about the great American tradition known as the 3-day weekend enough times before on this site. Including a tribute to how people have taken the initiative and basically created a 3.5 to 4 day weekend out of it.  That’s just good hustle.   I hope everyone has a good holiday.  I’ll be out on the island.  What island?  That’s a secret, my friends. To keep you sated until Monday or Tuesday…

Phenom Watch:  Anyone remember last year when teenage Jordan Spieth had a nice finish at the Byron Nelson Classic?  I didn’t think so.  Well, the amateur is back this year and is currently t-25 after 26 holes of action.  Looks like it could be another nice showing for a kid whose main focus is making the U.S. Walker Cup Team.  Not a great field, but noted major championship buckler, Dustin Johnson, is in contention.  DJ has recently enlisted the help of Fred’s former caddy, Joe LaCava.  Fred’s back, and limited schedule no longer justify one of the best toting his clubs around, and Johnson becomes the beneficiary.  Expect fewer rules violations.

Phenom Watch Part 2:  Bryce Harper has cooled moderately at Hagerstown, just wanted to point out a little comedy for the real baseball fans out there.  At Hagerstown his manager is Brian Daubach.  His hitting coach is Marlon Anderson.  I’m not going to explain.  You’re either laughing, or you aren’t.

The Mets sold 50% of their Debt:  Einhorn is Finkel, Finkel is Einhorn.  If I had 200 million would I spend it on the Mets?  No, no I would not.  Phillies get the Mets this weekend.  Jose Reyes is trying to see if he can get moved, but the Mets starting pitching is still a disgrace.  Warm temps and some more runs?  Hopefully.

***

MLB Unders “the hot streak” Day 4.  

Two games to choose from.  One goes over.  One goes under.  Did I get the right game?  Oh, you bet your sweet ass, I did. The White Sox look like they should be scoring some runs, but they don’t.  It’s an odd year.  Albert Pujols just went 100 At-bats without a homer. Weird.  Someone put a hold on that 10-yr, 300 million dollar deal.  The win pushed me to a gaudy 3-1.  If you are wondering if your record can be gaudy after four games, I’m here to tell you that it can.

Today’s selection:  San Francisco vs. Milwaukee Under 6.5

What’s that in the barrel?  Oh right, fish.

***

Quiz of the Day (hardcore sports edition): Team RBI Leaders 2000s.  Category: Did we do this one before? My score: 26/30.  

Quiz of the Day (social edition):  Longest One-Word Countries.  Category:  There are a lot of 9 letter countries.  My Score:  11/19.

***

That’s it.  What a generous post.  If there was a picture of a naked chick or two on here, it’d really be one-stop internet shopping.  Everyone enjoy the weekend, their BBQs, etc.  I’ll see you Monday, maybe Tuesday, you know, whenever the mood strikes.

Cliff Lee’s A Lumberjack.

Hitterish.

Phils are leading the Reds 9-4 in the 8th of their series ending affair this afternoon as I type this post.  Cliff Lee has had a hand in about everything.  He blew a 4-0 lead, but since has rallied with 2 hits and 3 RBIs to push the boys back in front.  If the Phillies bullpen hadn’t thrown 1.3 million pitches last night, Lee might not even have gotten his chance to wield the lumber, but one of the reasons he said he wanted to come to Philly was to hit, so he might as well be productive up there from time to time.  The victim was Cincy’s “take one for the team” man, Daryl Thompson.  I don’t think the Phillies took into account Lee’s offense when they dropped 125 million on him, or whatever the total was.  Maybe they should have.

Is it a bad time to bring up that Lee hasn’t really been worth the money yet on the mound?  Aside from a few brilliant performances Lee has been pretty average except for his strike out rate, which doesn’t really matter when you are giving up big innings and blowing leads.  Don’t get me wrong, Lee more often than not looks like a top-10 pitcher in the NL, but is that really what we were paying him for?  Cliff already has 4 or 5 “Blantons” this year.  Six innings, 3 runs.   Five innings, 4 runs.  Today he couldn’t protect a four run lead.  As an aside, why do the Phillies let the same guys kill them over and over again?  How many RBIs does Jay Bruce have to pile up in this series?

Getting back to Lee, I guess I am just saying I’d like a bit more consistency.  I know he was signed for the post-season so we can’t really judge until we get to that point, but the Phillies do need him to win his share before he gets there.  I know the advanced stat people will praise his strikeouts and his ERA+ and fielding independent pitching, but I do think those stats can miss some things.  And, perhaps they put too much weight on the dominant outings?  Lee’s best is certainly among the absolute best of any pitcher in the league, but how often does he get there?

There is part of me too that wants to get back to the time when the pitcher took a little more responsibility.  Kind of like the quarterback in football.  Some things aren’t necessarily in his control, but how about taking the brunt?  I’ve never heard of a stat, “passing independent receiving.”  Sure, we know when a guy is the victim of some drops, but it all usually falls on the QB’s head, and I think that should be the case with pitchers some of the time.  Ok, you don’t get run support, but I think sometimes you have to make adjustments, rise to the occasion.  I suppose the advanced stats don’t believe in such things, because each game is played out mathematically, but at the end of the day people still want to know if you won the game.

So, that’s my little Cliff Lee mini-rant, on a nice easy afternoon where the Phillies manage to level off at 10-10 for their stretch against contenders (not too bad in the end).  They scored 28 runs in the four game series against the Reds and have some lesser teams coming up to maintain the momentum…hopefully.  I like Cliff Lee a lot, but I could already hear people explaining away his game today if the Phillies didn’t retake the lead and win (the game has ended, 10-4 as I continue to ramble on here).   I know he pitched well in the post-season, and nonchalantly caught a pop-up, but there are guys on the team I like a little better.  And, there are guys who probably deserve some of the slack that Lee is given in spades.

***

Feasting on Offensive Futility Day 3:

Well, this is far easier than picking actual games.  Even with a 3 game sample, I can see that.  The A’s managed to do their usual against the Angels last night and I cruised to another under, bringing my record to 2-1.  This is the first time I’ve head my head above water in any type of baseball betting scenario.  You’re welcome.  Today, I’m stuck with quite the dilemma.  Only two night games.  Should I show discipline and take the night off, or keep firing away?  Think we all know the answer to that:

Today’s selection:  Chicago and Toronto Under 8.0.

***

Quiz of the Day:  This Day in History: June__.  Category: Actual Knowledge.  My Score: 23/30*

Two spelling look ups.

A Final Duel.

I'll Take Burr, +160.

I’m headed down to see the Phillies game tonight.  As luck would have it, the Phillies have decided to give Chase Utley his first day off and the hometown crew will have 2010 darling, but soon to be pariah Wilson Valdez manning 2nd base.  I don’t go to the games to see Utley, though.  I go to watch Ben Francisco seed rain clouds with his pop ups.  I kid.  The good news is, Roy Halladay takes the ball for the Phils and he has pretty good recent history against the Reds.   He might need to have his best stuff as the Reds counter with Travis Wood.  Wood’s 5.17 ERA may look enticing, but he nearly threw a perfect game against the Phillies in his last start in Philadelphia.  Maybe that was beginner’s luck, but most pitchers that handcuff this line up continue to do it time and again.

Wood is pitching the next to last game in the murderous stretch of 20-straight against winning teams and division leaders. The quality of the opposing pitching has contributed to the Phillies offensive struggles and tonight is probably the last real tough test before a break this weekend when the Phils see the likes of Chris Capuano and Ryan Howard whipping boy, Mike Pelfrey.  The good old Mets.

A lot has been made of how the Phillies pitchers are handling the lack of run support in recent weeks.  This is something that not all pitchers handle with aplomb.  Edinson Volquez recently had a little blow up about Cincy’s offense, and they have one of the best lineups in the league.  For the most part the Phillies pitchers have handled the lack of runs very well.  I think there was maybe a game or two during the stretch that they got let off the hook, because the offense was the trendy thing to bemoan, but they certainly aren’t complaining and the body language looks pretty good.  I think Halladay is the most prepared to deal with such situations.  He seems to run into more opposing aces.  He was pitching the night Wood almost threw the perfect game, for example, and you can usually trust him to trade zeros.

The Phillies are 8-10 in the first 18 of this stretch.  Before it started, I said that anything over .500 would be acceptable and find the Phillies still in first place.  Well, they’ve lost the chance to win 11, but if they finish out the Reds series with a couple of wins, they can even their mark and will remain in first place.  Not a bad ending all things considered. The pressure to get that started on the right foot will rest on Halladay tonight.  I think we might be in line for one more pitcher’s duel.

***

Random question of the day:  How many home dates do you think a football team could sell out in a year?  Assuming players were physically capable of playing much more often, how many home games do you think the Eagles could sell out in a season?  I’m asking because while I know football is way more popular than baseball, it is still pretty amazing what the Phillies are doing in attendance, especially in the current market.  How many people go to Eagles games each year counting the pre-season?  Around 600,000?  The Phillies charge more than 3 million through the gates, and I just wonder if people would have that kind of dedication and tolerance for football.  I’m just saying that it’s pretty amazing to me that 45,000 people make it down there every night, even with the team doing so well.

***

MLB Under of the Day:

I could not help the Padres last night.  Extra innings and still they compiled 2 runs on 2 hits.  Hey, it’s a nice stadium.  Their inability to score leveled my record to 1-1.  I think the obvious choice would be to take the Phils game tonight, but I don’t want to attach any type of stink to that in any direction.  So,

Today’s Selection:  Oakland vs. Anaheim Under 7.0

I really didn’t realize that Chicago/Texas was a day game.  No one will believe that, but it’s true.  No worries.  Cahill is lights out and Reggie Jackson could probably hit clean-up for Oakland right now.  Ring it up.

***

Ten Best Pitchers In Baseball at THIS MINUTE (apologies to Josh Johnson)*.

  1. Roy Halladay
  2. Josh Beckett
  3. Tim Lincecum
  4. Justin Verlander
  5. Jered Weaver
  6. Felix Hernandez
  7. Jaime Garcia
  8. Jair Jurrgens
  9. Michael Pineda
  10. Cole Hamels

*If I was picking a guy to win a big game tonight, these are the first 10 guys off my board, and obviously Johnson is on the DL.