Thursday, April 03, 2008

Thoughts and observations

Evidently in football terms it's five strikes and you're out.

The Bengals finally cut troubled wide receiver Chris Henry after what is really his sixth run-in with the law, fifth arrestable offense, since being drafted in 2005. That included four arrests in a twelve month period.

Henry, a player with an enormous amount of potential, has not been able to stay on the field in any of his three seasons due to legal and behavioral issues. In three seasons he has averaged 11.67 games per season, each year - playing in fewer and fewer games each progressive season, going from 14, to 13, and finally to eight games.

The latest charges, essentially assault, are added to a list that includes corruption of minors, DUI, concealed weapons, and possession of marijuana charges.

Bottom line, Henry is, for all intents, the offensive version of Pacman Jones without having shown quite the same talent level. Will he get another chance? Possibly, but it is likely that chance will be, like Pacman's, his last.

T.O. Redux

Over the years there has been a lot of defense of Chad Johnson's antics because he hasn't been the divisive force in the locker room that Terrell Owens has been. I've always felt they were closer in personality than most of the apologists did.

It could be seen at times on the sideline last year as the Bengals struggled, and Johnson, at times took shots at Carson Palmer during the post-game.

Now Johnson appears to be trying to engineer his exit from Cincinnati a-la TO from Philly.

For my money, I hope the loudmouth gets suspended. I'm sick of these spoiled players - wide-outs in particular - whining about the contract they signed and the situation they put themselves into.

This is a problem the NFL needs to address at some point.

The Pawtuckett Express...

Pitching insurance policy Bartolo Colon had a more than solid outing in Pawtucket facing one batter more than the minimum in a five inning start. He gave up only one hit.

With the Red Sox poised to activate Josh Beckett for a Sunday start, two things happen. The Sox once again have depth in the rotation with seven potential starters -


I expect that Clay Buchholz will be the odd man out with Beckett about to be activated. That puts Buchholz on the Pawtucket express unless someone like David Aardsma has options left. Otherwise expect Buchholz to head to Rhode Island for more seasoning while Julian Tavarez takes the fifth spot in the rotation.

It would surprise me if the P.E. wasn't active early and often this season as Theo Epstein and Terry Francona work to get the right mix between the pen and the rotation.

Just a wild guess, but if Kyle Snyder doesn't work out his issues, I believe that we're looking at Snyder designated or released, Tavarez going back to the pen and a rotation from one to five of Beckett, Matsuzaka, Colon, Wakefield, and Lester by the end of May.

Puzzling Predictions...

Sports Illustrated and a number of other outlets have picked the Yankees to win the American League East this season.

After what the team did last season with a suspect pitching staff, I will not rule them out for post-season contention. However, I have to question the wisdom of picking a team to win whose best, most consistent pitcher, Andy Pettitte, against whom opponents batted over .280 for two consecutive years.

Their potential ace, Chien-Ming Wong, has put up back to back 19-win seasons, but has been plagued by inconsistency, getting smacked around at times by the better teams, or failing to come up big when needed. Number three starter Mike Mussina, once an innings eater and solid number two, has approached 200 innings only once in the last four seasons, had an ERA below 4.40 only once during that same span, and seen opponents bat below .276 only once in that span, with a high of .311 last year.

The other two pitchers are Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy who may or may not be ready for the glare of the bright lights of New York.

Even with the line-up the Yankees have, that's a lot to overcome.


Suldog said...

Re:Yankees - Hawkins out of the pen is a nice addition, I think. However, your overall point, concerning their pitching, is spot on. They just don't have the starters beyond #1, unless medical miracles occur.

Kevin Smith said...

I wouldn't rule out the idea that they might get lucky like they did last year, but I just don't see how they finish at the top unless they get a big gun. At this point they have a potential ace in Wang, but I don't think he'll ever fulfill the potential - just too erratic when the season is on the line. After him no one is any better than a number two or three.

The only way they compete is if Hughes or Kennedy has a career year. I just don't see that happening.