Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Miranda Warnings: "Manny, Just Being Manny." Enough Already!

Welcome to Week #14 of "Miranda Warnings", your weekly guide to what's happening in the world of Major League Baseball, from a fantasy baseball perspective. Every Wednesday, throughout baseball's regular season, "Miranda Warnings" will appear on I'm your host Michael Miranda.

American League East: I am sick and tired of certain players receiving preferential treatment! Case and point: Boston OF Manny Ramirez (pictured, above). For years, it has been well-documented that Ramirez could do no wrong. No matter what Ramirez did (lackadaisical play, temper-tantrums, etc.), it was always swept under the rug and/or ignored. In every instance, no matter what Ramirez did, management summed up his actions by saying it's "Manny, Just Being Manny." After the latest Manny incident, I say: "enough already!". Somebody, anybody, please discipline this prima donna! During Boston's visit to Houston this past weekend, Ramirez pushed 64 year-old Red Sox traveling secretary Jack McCormick to the ground, following a dispute over tickets. Manny, just being Manny, wanted sixteen tickets on very short notice. When McCormick expressed concern that he could not meet the request, Manny, just being Manny, shoved him to the ground! Ramirez apologized. However, the apology doesn't excuse him for pushing McCormick. The Red Sox have said that they handled the matter internally. Read between the lines and this means one thing, and only one thing: Ramirez received a slap on the wrist! Two recent incidents involving player conduct reveal just how poorly Boston has dealt with Ramirez' latest antics. In May, Texas released SP Sidney Ponson for "behavior that was detrimental to the team". In June, Houston released SP Shawn Chacon after a physical altercation with GM Ed Wade. I give Texas and Houston lots of credit for not tolerating unacceptable behavior. However, Boston should be ashamed of itself for allowing the latest Ramirez incident to go unpunished. Boston allows Manny to get away with "murder" because he's, well, Manny, a sure-fire Hall of Famer, who is one of Boston's offensive focal-points and a fan favorite. Sure, Ramirez will someday land in baseball's Hall of Fame. However, Ramirez' latest embarrassment lands him and Boston management in "Miranda Warnings" Hall of Shame!... Toronto youngster, OF Adam Lind, is getting more playing time under new manager Cito Gaston, and he's taking advantage of it. Lind hit a two-run homer in Wednesday's loss to Seattle. Lind has gotten off to a great start in July with two HR's and seven RBIs. If your fantasy team needs outfield help, grab Lind... Ridiculously inconsistent Orioles SP Daniel Cabrera was it again Wednesday night, this time on the positive side. Cabrera threw a complete-game victory (9 IP, 7 hits, 2 ER, 0 BB, 2 K) versus Kansas City to improve to 6-9 in 2008... After sweeping Boston Wednesday night, Tampa is in first-place by 3 1/2 games and I'm not the least bit surprised (see 5/14 edition of "Miranda Warnings"). Standing-out for Tampa is 3B Evan Longoria. Longoria went 3-for-4, with three RBIs and one run scored on Wednesday. Longoria has hit safely in nine of his last ten games, raising his BA from .248 to .275... Why in the world is Yankees SP Sidney Ponson on a major league pitching staff? Ponson was lit-up by his former employer, Texas, Wednesday (5 IP, 9 hits, 7 ER, 3 BB, 1 K).

American League Central: Who leads the AL in HR's? Cleveland OF Grady Sizemore, of course! Sizemore hit two bombs against the White Sox Wednesday, going 3-for-4, with two RBI's and four runs scored. Sizemore is doing his best to keep the Indians afloat in the AL Central (21 HR, 47 RBIs, 20 SB). Sizemore is at 20-20 and we're not even at the All-Star Break! Wow!... In Kansas City, the Butler did it! 1B/DH Billy Butler has returned from his Triple-A demotion earlier this season and is taking full advantage. Butler went 3-for-5 versus Baltimore Monday. Butler was promoted after tearing it up in the minors, hitting .337, with five HR's and 13 RBI's... Speaking of returns, Detroit P Joel Zumaya (shoulder) has returned. Zumaya (1 2/3 IP innings, 3 hits) recorded his first save of the season versus Minnesota Monday. It's only a matter of time before Zumaya replaces current inconsistent closer Todd Jones... Minnesota C Joe Mauer went 2-for-4 in Wednesday's win over the Tigers. Mauer is having a bounce-back season (.326 BA, 36 RBI's)... Chicago 1B Nick Swisher continues to rake, going 2-for-4 with an RBI against Cleveland Wednesday. Swisher has hit safely in four of his last six games, with three HR's, four runs scored and 10 RBI's. Hopefully, you didn't give up on him when he was struggling in April and May.

American League West: LA Angels SP Joe Saunders continues to astound! After defeating Oakland Wednesday, Saunders (6 1/3 IP, 6 hits, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K versus Oakland) has an AL-leading 12 wins. He was/is considered, at best, a middle of the rotation starting pitcher, but is pitching like an ace in 2008 and exceeding all expectations... Another AL West pitcher that continues to astound is Oakland SP Justin Duchscherer. Duchscherer was nearly unhittable Saturday (8 IP, 2 hits, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K). Unfortunately, he was outpitched by Tim Lincecum and took the loss to fall to 8-5. Listen to this unbelievable stat: Duchscherer has allowed more than two earned runs in one (yes, 1) outing this season! Damn impressive! Duchscherer's record is 8-5 and his ERA stands at a ridiculous 1.91!... Seattle OF Ichiro Suzuki was a perfect 3-for-3, with two runs scored in Wednesday's win over Toronto. Don't be surprised if Seattle, in its efforts to rebuild, unloads the stud, if it can receive 2-3 top-notch prospects in return. Ichiro is currently in pursuit of 200 hits for an unreal eighth straight year!... Texas 2B Ian Kinsler continues to narrow the distance between himself and Chase Utley for best 2B in baseball. Kinsler extended his hitting streak to 15 games Wednesday against the Yankees. Kinsler is putting up huge 2008 numbers (.323 BA, 13 HR's, 23 SB's).

National League East: Atlanta 1B Mark Teixeira continues to smash the baseball. On Saturday, Teixeira blasted his 16th homer, with two RBIs and two runs scored. It'll be interesting to see what Atlanta does with its free-agent-to-be. Does Atlanta trade Teixeira for prospects or let him walk away as a free agent during the off-season. Stay tuned!... Florida 2B Dan Uggla (ankle) was out of the lineup for a fourth straight game Wednesday. If Uggla doesn't return by the weekend, a DL-stint might be possible... NY Mets SP Pedro Martinez continues to disappoint. He was roughed-up by St.Louis (5 IP, 7 hits, 5 ER, 1 BB, 4 K) on Wednesday. Pedro has surrendered at least 5 ER in three straight outings. Could Pedro be nearing "the end"?... Washington OF Elijah Dukes continues to show flashes of his immense talent. Dukes went 3-for-5, with a solo home run, three runs scored and a SB versus Florida on Tuesday. He's fantasy-worthy in deep mixed leagues... Surprisingly, Philadelphia SP Brett Myers accepted a demotion to Triple-A, in an attempt to iron-out his problems (3-9, 5.84 ERA, a major league-leading 24 HR's allowed). If being sent to the minors wasn't bad enough, now comes word that Myers will be checked out by a team doctor in the next few days to see if his problems are physical. Stay tuned!.

National League Central: If you're looking for a 2B option, check out Houston's Ty Wigginton. Wiggy launched his sixth homer of the season, with three RBI's, versus the Dodgers Tuesday. Wiggy will never be confused with studs Chase Utley or Ian Kinsler, but he has some pop (15-20 HR's is possible) and he's also 3B-eligible. He's an above-average, backup fantasy 2B... Milwaukee SP Manny Parra (6 IP, 4 hits, 0 ER, 3 BB, 4 K) had another strong performance in a tough-luck no-decision versus Arizona Thursday. Parra, and fellow SP Seth McClung, have allowed Milwaukee to compensate for the loss of SP Yovanni Gallardo (knee), while remaining competitive in the NL Central... If you believe in miracles, then you probably believe in St.Louis SP Kyle Lohse. After pitching seven strong innings (7 IP, 5 hits, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 K) versus the Mets Monday, Lohse is now 10-2 in 2008. Yes, Kyle Lohse is 10-2! Absolutely stunning!... Cubs SP Carlos Zambrano (strained right shoulder) returns Friday against division rival St.Louis. Big Z threw a bullpen session this past weekend and says he's ready to go... Shocking news from Pittsburgh, as the Pirates announced they'll be without closer Matt Capps (shoulder) for at least eight weeks. Relievers Damaso Marte or Tyler Yates will help fill the ninth-inning void... Cincinnati phenom OF Jay Bruce snapped out of his recent slump in a big way versus Pittsburgh Wednesday. Bruce went 2-for-3, with two HR's and four RBI's. Bruce is a mega-talented rookie who, in the not-to-distant future, will put up Larry Walker-type numbers!

National League West: The saga surrounding the return of LA Dodgers SS Rafael Furcal (back) has been chronicled in several "Miranda Warnings" (as recently as 6/18). Wednesday, the Dodgers announced that Furcal will undergo surgery to repair a bulging disc in his lower back. Dodgers manager Joe Torre said that Furcal will "probably miss a minimum of eight weeks"... San Francisco closer Brian Wilson notched his 23rd save against the Cubs Tuesday. Wilson is not dominant, but 23 saves speaks to his potential... San Diego SP Randy Wolf (4 IP, 6 hits, 7 ER, 4 BB, 4 K) was lit-up, again. This time, by the Rockies. Wolf has failed to pitch more than four innings in three of his last four starts and is a very risky proposition right now... Colorado OF Willy Taveras (left quadriceps) missed his second straight game versus Florida Thursday. This is the same quad that landed Taveras on the disabled list twice in 2007... It pains me to write this, but here goes. Arizona placed C Chris Snyder on the DL with a left testicular fracture. Ouch, to the highest power! Snyder was hit by a foul ball off the bat of Milwaukee OF Corey Hart on Monday and the rest, as "they" say, is history. Snyder is out indefinitely.

See you next week!

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