emmaloui.se

The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid. - Jane Austen

That time of year already…

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Well this post is risky for two reasons. Firstly, I’ve not done a baseball post for a while and I know that a lot of my new followers are probably expecting books, books and more books, so if you don’t have an interest in baseball, this post probably isn’t for you.

Secondly, I think I must post a bit too much about a certain Detroit Tiger whose name may rhyme with Dustin Berlander. A quick look at Google searches that have brought users to my website kind of confirms that:

Top search terms for the last year...

Top search terms for the last year…

But I digress. First of all, a quick mention of my beloved White Sox, who were having an unexpectedly awesome season, before fading away down the stretch to let the Tigers clinch the division in the last week. It sucks, but it sure made things exciting. Especially for what was supposed to be a ‘rebuilding’ year after losing Buehrle, Guillen, and many others last offseason.

So it came to the postseason and I had to pick a team to root for, and who better to root for than the underdog. So Nationals and Orioles it was – what a story for both teams this year. But alas it wasn’t meant to be (either that or I’m a huge jinx), and both teams were knocked out in thrilling Game 5 action. Whether the Nationals could have made it with Strasburg is a whole ‘nother blog post. So now I’m of course cheering for the AL which leaves me with either the Yankees or the Tigers – I think we all know this leaves me with really only one choice – GO TIGERS!!

Which is not too bad for me, because my favourite non-Sox player happens to be their star pitcher.

My name is Louise Radcliffe, and I do NOT post too much about Justin Verlander...

My name is Louise Radcliffe, and I do NOT post too much about Justin Verlander…

He’s pitched lights-out this season, and I think there’s a very good chance that he’ll be up for Cy Young again, as much I would like Chris Sale to win after his stellar season. Verlander pitched a complete game shutout in his last game against the Oakland A’s – the decisive Game 5 of the ALDS. He also had a 9 – 2 record with a 1.65 ERA for the season at Comerica Park, which put the odds firmly in his favour – especially opposing a Yankees team stripped of their Captain after Jeter suffered a fractured ankle putting him out for the rest of the post season.

Yes, another gratuitous Justin Verlander picture, just because I can...

Yes, another gratuitous Justin Verlander picture, just because I can…

So although I can’t stay up to watch this game tomorrow (why do all postseason games start at 8pm ET – 1pm BST?!), I’ll definitely be supporting the Tigers in spirit – at least if I’m not watching I’m not jinxing, right?

Ups and Downs of an Off-Season Monday

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First, the up.

Justin VerlanderCongratulations to Justin Verlander on being crowned AL MVP 2011. If you’ve read my blog in the past, you’ll know that I have written a couple of posts about how I wanted him to win, so it’s an understatement to say I’m glad. He deserved it after the phenomenal season he had, and I’m glad that the voters put aside the fact that he is a pitcher, although it was nowhere near as much of a clean sweep as the Cy Young last week. He becomes the first pitcher since Dennis Eckersley in 1992 and the first starting pitcher since Roger Clemens in 1986 to win the MVP.

And for now, I promise to stop writing blog posts about Justin Verlander (until next season at least).

Then the down.
greg-halmanMLB is reporting the terrible news that Seattle Mariners outfielder Greg Halman was stabbed to death at home in the Netherlands earlier this morning, and his brother has allegedly been arrested as a suspect. He was only 24, and had just finished playing 35 games for the Mariners as a rookie this season. It’s always sad to hear the death of someone so young, but even worse that it may have been caused by his brother. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends as they try to deal with this tragic news.

Cy Young this week, MVP next?

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Justin Verlander – 2011 AL Cy Young Award Winner

Congratulations to Justin Verlander, who was unanimously awarded the AL Cy Young Award after winning the three triple crown categories this season with 24 wins, a 2.40 ERA and 250 strikeouts. The MVP award is announced next Tuesday. There is a lot of discussion over whether a pitcher should be awarded the MVP, and if so, if Verlander is deserving of the honour. I for one believe that he should get it, but we’ll have to wait and see.

Justin Verlander. Cy Young. MVP?

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There’s been a lot of debate over the last month or so about whether Justin Verlander should be AL MVP this season. I think most of the debate is really whether any pitcher should be MVP when there is already the Cy Young award which is awarded exclusively to pitchers.

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In my opinion, it doesn’t matter that there is another award that he can (and most probably will) win. The award is simply Most Valuable Player of the American league. With 24 wins already and another start left of the regular season, there’s a good chance he will be the first pitcher since Bob Welch in 1990 to win 25 games in a season. He has a 2.29 ERA and has gone at least 7 innings and given up three earned runs or less in 24 of his 33 games. He’s had 244 strikeouts in the same amount of innings, and has also given up less than one walk or hit per inning pitched.

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These are all pretty good stats, but I think the one statistic that shows he truly is the most valuable player on his team is that when he pitches, the team is a fantastic 25-8 , but they are only a fairly average 65-57 when he’s not. Clearly, he is a major factor why the Tigers have claimed the central division title, but does that make him the MVP of the league?

In my opinion, there’s no doubt that he should be MVP this year, we’ll just have to wait and see what the BBWAA will decide. Let me know what you think below!

Decade of the Pitcher?

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Congratulations to Justin Verlander on his no-hitter tonight, a fantastic game! I tuned in during the eighth inning, when he was still on track for a perfect game. That was broken up by a walk, but a no-hitter is a fantastic achievement! The excitement in the ballpark was amazing, but I can’t even begin to imagine what it is like for the players. I’m sure Verlander was about 50/50 excitement and nervousness. I’m equally sure he’s enjoying the celebrations now!

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I was watching the Brewers/Cardinals game tonight. Yovani Gallardo was coming close to a no-hitter too, but not quite close enough. He gave up a hit in the 8th, and by that time, his pitch count was getting quite high, so there was not much chance of him coming out for the complete game either.

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It’s been a week of strong pitching performances, and the trend in general seems to be leaning away from power hitting and back towards the pitcher. First of all there was Liriano’s no-hitter. I don’t really want to dwell on that because it was against my White Sox, so we’ll move on quickly. There was also Cliff Lee’s game with 16 strike outs. Unfortunately, he still took the loss in that game, which just goes to show that no matter how good you are as a pitcher, you need the offense behind you to back you up (just ask Danks, Buerhle, Floyd, Jackson or Humber).

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I much prefer to watch a good pitchers duel rather than seeing home run after home run. Don’t get me wrong, I love the fireworks, but I prefer the continuing anticipation of a good pitching battle than the momentary excitement of a big hit.

Saying that, the story of Andre Ethier’s hitting streak is keeping my interest. Currently at 30 games, he is only one game away from tying the Dodgers record, and more than half way to Joe DiMaggio. Still a long way to go though!

The White Sox are on a west coast trip at the moment, meaning they don’t play until 2am UK time, so I won’t get to watch the game. I’ll just leave this out there: wouldn’t it be nice for Floyd to get the second no-hitter of the night?

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Scratch that – I’d just like the Sox to win, please. Pretty please?