You can’t go 162-0 without starting 3-0

This just in: The D’Backs are going to be good this year. Really good. They destroyed the San Francisco Giants over the weekend, sweeping the first series of the season, 3-0. Arizona’s pitching staff is going to keep them in games and their offense is oh so powerful. I like this year’s team even more than last year’s and that is saying a ton.

I am a little worried about Josh Collmenter who got hammered on Sunday and had a rough Spring. I fear his success is due to his unique throwing motion, which once players have seen it a few times no longer becomes deceptive. There is a positive side of this and it rhymes with power. Two words: Trevor Bauer. Bauer enters the rotation, then you move Collmenter to the bullpen to throw an inning here and there and opposing teams see less of him. Winner Winner Chicken Dinner.

Tomorrow, we’ll get our first look at Trevor Cahill in an Arizona uniform as he’ll take on my hometown San Diego Padres. Tuesday’s game will be the first of a three game series of which I’ll be attending. Hopefully I make it to all three. I’ll be at one of them for sure.

The Padres are terrible and nothing better than a AAA club. It’s a series the D’Backs will win and could possibly sweep. A sweep means Arizona is 6-0 and the Padres season is all but over at 1-6. Yuck and pooh.

Surprising 3-0 or 0-3 teams include the following:

Tampa Bay 3-0

Baltimore Orioles 3-0

New York Mets 3-0

Boston RedSox 0-3

New York Yankees 0-3

San Francisco Giants 0-3

Atlanta Braves 0-3

 

Top 25 and Making a Run at Top 20

Westside Culture is moving up in the world. The world of baseball blogging that is. From 28th up to 23rd (Ryne Sandberg style) and taking a shot at the Top 20 next month. To celebrate I’ve decided to give you, the fans of Westside Culture, an exclusive interview. (For those of you who may not know, I Kevin Rehberg, aka Westside Culture, do most of the interviews for Westside Culture, thus I will be interviewing myself. Or is it my alter ego? Either way.)

WestSide Culture: So, what’s it like being the biggest bad ass on the planet ranked 23rd in MLB’s Fan Blogs??

Kevin Rehberg: You know, it’s a daily grind. Let me put it this way. Beat writers constantly talk about the daily grind for baseball players and having to get up for 162 games per year, even when you’re playing the Rockies and the Mariners. For me, I have to be ready 365 and always prepared. I’ve found shots of espresso and RedBull throughout the day do the trick.

Recently Ubaldo Jimenez threw at Troy Tulowitzki and was suspended 5 games, what are your thoughts?

Troy, if you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen. Ubaldo and Tulo had been yapping back and forth for weeks, Troy had to know in the back of his mind getting thrown at was a possibility. Get over it. It’s baseball. With that being said, a 5 game suspension for a starting pitcher means he misses one start. What Ubaldo did was bush league and warrants at least missing a couple of starts.

D’Backs take on the Giants tonight in Arizona. Predictions?

D’Backs win. Ian Kennedy owns the Giants, although any time your opposing pitcher is Tim Lincecum, you cannot guarantee a win. I’ll say 1-0 Arizona and Paul Goldschmidt’s solo HR off of Lincecum in the 4th is the only scoring.

Sorry to cut you short, but I’ve got shit to do. Do you mind if I post this as is and we can reschedule for later this evening to finish up the rest?

Do what you gotta’ do.

## update, interview continued

Well, you were wrong about the Giants v D’Backs game.

Yes, still I picked the correct winner and nailed the Paul Goldschmidt solo HR off of Tim Lincecum. So there.

Give me your 2012 World Series picks.

A please would be nice. An American League team will play a National League team.

Who is your favorite MLB Blogger, besides yourself?

Hmm… I’m really feeling Dallas Latos’ blog, I also like Diamond’s are a Girl’s Best Friend, and for obvious reasons, Down the Line with the Phillies Ball Girls. Although that blog is definitely not West Coast. Shame on them.

Closing the Cactus Leage means MLB Opening Day

Well, kids, baseball is officially here. We won’t talk too much about Opening Day for two reasons. 1) Technically it’s already occurred. In Japan. Lame. Although we here at WSCdto like that the Seattle Mariners and Oakland A’s were involved. 2) The other Opening Day, yes there were two, is tonight and there are no West Coast teams playing. Double lame. I will say this though… on paper, the Miami Marlins have quite the line-up.

So the 2012 Cactus League has officially closed it’s books, doors, stadiums, work out facilities, etc all. Sigh. I’ll have to wait until next year to enjoy one of my favorite past-times. I had a good run though with plenty of fun and highlights. My favorite moments was probably Yu Darvish’s 6 inning, 11K performance yesterday. At that pace he’s going to have about 600 strikeouts this season. That would be a record.

What I’m looking forward to over the next 2 days:

Los Angeles Dodgers v San Diego Padres – Cy Young Clayton Kershaw and Matt Kemp versus the SD’s newest pitcher Edison Volquez. One thing I know for sure, take the under. Petco Park + 2 quality pitchers + one anemic offense + another one with question marks = low score. Or not. Either way.

San Diego State’s Stephen Strasburg versus Theo, Jed and the new look Cubs. (BTW, the Nationals are my upset pick to make the playoffs this year. Yeah, I know I’m not the only one.)

San Francisco Giants v Arizona Diamondbacks. Lincecum v Kennedy. Can we just fast forward to September and play this one for the NL West title?

Rockies v Astros. I kid. But really? This is one of your Opening Day matchups? What a joke. If ever there was a case for MLB contraction this is it. Yes I know they are realigning. No that won’t fix the problem.

Seattle Mariners v Oakland A’s. Where have I seen this before?

KC Royals v Los Angeles Angels. Believe it or not, this could shape up to be the best Opening Series. Eric Hosmer, Lorenzo Cain, Billy Butler, Alex Gordon and the young up-start Royals versus Pujols, Jered Weaver, Dan Haren and C.J. Wilson.

Settle in. Your team has got 162 to go.

 

 

The $2 Billion Dollar Deal

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Wow. Well, congrats to everyone involved. So Magic Johnson is now the face of the Dodgers. Interesting. We’ll see what happens. We know one thing for sure, he’s got Matt Kemp on the payroll and that’s a pretty big asset. Oh, yeah, and that Clayton Kershaw guy.

So when Tony Gwynn, Jr. stepped into the batter’s box today against the Giants at Scottsdale Stadium, I was in attendance for the first $2 Billion dollar team. The rest of the game was ho hum. Matt Kemp did not play and I was really hoping to be able to watch him.

One guy who really did impress me was Sergio Romo for the Giants. That dude is nasty. Crazy delivery, tons of movement, sick changeup that every hitter was out in front of. I like it.

Oh yeah and this just in: Todd Coffey is a big boy.

Day 3: Angels v Lincecum

Lincecum v Pujols

I haven’t seen a line-up yet for today so not sure if Mike Trout is playing or Pujols (they better be). But, Tim Lincecum is. And I will be there. The Freak is in the building. Keep checking back. I’m going to try to get technology to work for me today and blog live from the game. No promises though. After all it is technology.

#### Trout DNP. No surprise there. Pretty much the rest of the Angels were in the lineup versus Lincecum, including Pujols, Howie Kendrick, Mark Trumbo, Erik Aybar, etc all. Both teams appear to be serious contenders in their division, with pitching and depth being the keys.

This was my first look at Albert Pujols in person and I’ve gotta say, I came away quite impressed. Dude just looks smooth out there, on defense and at the plate. Still not sure why the STL decided to give up on him.

Speaking of fun to watch, is there anyone more entertaining than Pablo Sandoval? I have no idea what he’s doing up there, but Kung Fu Panda just goes up to the batters area and starts kicking dirt around. Strange. Can’t argue with the results though.

A sad side note from today’s game came off the bat (literally) of Mark Trumbo. He broke his bat which went flying into the stands, just above the Angels dugout, about 5 rows away from where I was sitting. The lady it hit was clearly knocked out cold. I’m hoping she’s ok. Play was stopped and she was taken out on a stretcher. She did walk to the stretcher so that is a good sign. I’m certain she is in the thoughts and prayers of young #44 this evening.

 

Day 2: D’Backs and Rockies and Cubs, Oh My!

The second game in the final stretch of Kevin’s Cactus League Road Trip 2012, featured the Arizona Diamondbacks versus the Chicago Cubs. The game was at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, which is home to both the D’Backs and Rockies. I’ll give you the highlights of said game and then some photos.

1st inning: J-Up, Justin Upton, doubles. Miguel Montero hits the world’s longest single, scoring Upton. (1-0 D’Backs)

3rd inning: J-Up doubles again, scoring Aaron Hill. (2-0 D’Backs)

4th inning: Paul “Gold-Finger” Goldschmidt homers deep to center field. I estimate about a 440 solo shot. (3-0 D’Backs)

7th inning: Ian Stewart doubles, scoring Blake DeWitt. (3-1 D’Backs)

8th inning: Micah Gibbs singles, DeVoss scores. (3-2 D’Backs) <—- no idea who they are

9th inning: D’Backs closer J.J. Putz shuts the door on the Cubbies retiring two players with the best names of the day, Dave (not Chappelle) Sappelt and Blake Lalli-pop.

Witnessed: Ian Kennedy mowing down Cubs hitters left and right. 7IP, 4K, 1ER. Ian Stewart throwing his mac down on a couple of shorties pre-game.

Not witnessed: Anthony Rizzo, Jed Hoyer, Theo Epstein. Grrr. Stupid split squads.

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Spring Training Baseball and Samurai Swords

I don’t know what this post will have to do with Samurai Swords, yet I assure you I will try to work it in at some point. I mean, duh, they’re cool as shit. And Japanese and that’s where the Oakland A’s play today and tonight. Japan. It’s 9:04pm on the West Coast and they are in the 3rd inning of a 2nd game, currently losing 7-0 to the Hanshin Tigers, the same team who beat the Seattle Mariners yesterday.

Earlier today the A’s defeated the Yomiuri Giants. The Giants and the Tigers, two classic names for some Japanese baseball teams. They could have at least went with the Samurai Swords. See, told you I’d get it in there. And it’s 9:12pm. Didn’t even take me 8 minutes. 8 minutes seems like a lot of time to write a paragraph. I must not be very good at this writing thing. Why am I telling you my thoughts? Damn. And normally I’m so much more confident than this. I wonder if the Japanese fans have seen Moneyball with Brad Pitt? How would Moneyball translate in Japanese? I bet it’s Yenball. Who do you think would win this fight: Yenball or samaurai sword?

Kurt Suzuki for the A’s, can I get a home run, playa? In Japan. Way to get it done against the home county. Yes, I know he’s from Hawaii. But his name is Kurt Kiyoshi Suzuki, I’m assuming he’s got Japanese ancestors somewhere in the family line. Maybe not. Either way.

Now, I know Ichiro Suzuki is from Japan. And he went 1/4 against his native land. Really Ich, that’s the best you can do? The fans were there to see you.

Ooh, upon (not to be mistaken for Ippon) researching Samurai swords, I came across this little slice of info for you. The katana (刀) is one of the traditional Japanese swords (日本刀 nihonto) worn by the samurai class of feudal Japan, also commonly referred to as a “samurai sword”. That is taken right from Wikipedia, so if it’s incorrect, blame them.

As a side note, remember Kitana from Mortal Kombat? Man, she was a hottie. Not that I’m into judging how attractive computer generated females may or may not be. I’m just saying, if I was into that kind of thing, I might find her attractive. In that kick my ass, stilleto boot, fan with razor sharp blades, kind of way.

You know what I’m talking about.