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Sarah Braunstein

Middle Relievers: Show them Some Love!

Yesterday, like every day during baseball season, a bunch of games were won after the starting pitchers had finished for the day. In some, it was all thanks to relief pitchers who preserved slim leads. Still, except for closers, it seems like the only time relievers are ever mentioned is when they mess up.

But if you’re wondering why your team can’t seem to crack the top of its division, look no further than middle relief. Of the six teams currently leading their divisions, four have bullpens with a combined ERA under 4.00. And all of those teams have used their bullpens frequently. In fact, the Blue Jays' pen, one of the best in baseball, has also pitched the third-most innings (71.1). And the Cardinals, Marlins, and Dodgers are all in the top 20 in bullpen innings pitched.

Second-place teams are relying on their bullpens as well. Seven of the Phillies' 11 wins have come thanks to the bullpen. And the Boston Red Sox won 11 straight games despite having a rotation that has pitched the 10th-fewest innings in the majors.

What all this means is that, even with the best rotation and the hottest hitters, teams are often going to rely on their relief corps to bail them out. At some point, every reliever is going to have a bad day. But here are five that deserve a little love for their performance so far...

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Paul Ulane

The Cavs Are Really Good...and Really Goofy

If you watched the Cleveland Cavaliers dismantle the Detroit Pistons during their first round sweep, you know the Cavs mean business on the basketball court. But LeBron and Co. also know how to keep it light and fun away from the gym. Check out this local commercial the team filmed heading into the playoffs and tell me you're not rooting for the Cavs to make a run all the way to the title. (Side note: Please watch until the end so you don't miss a very touching moment between Delonte West and Anderson Varejao.)

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Gary Gramling

Fantasy Fix: They (Still) Call Me Bruce

  • Fantasy Fix
  • Posted by: Gary Gramling
  • April 29, 2009, 11:25 AM

So last year The Wiz jumped the gun a bit on Reds RF Jay Bruce ($5,100,000).

He was the best player in the minors, and he was red-hot when he first broke into the bigs. I thought he was poise to run away with the Rookie of the Year and be baseball's next superstar.

Bruce wasn't terrible after that, but he wasn't great either. Of course, he also just turned 22 on April 3, an age when most players are in Double- or Triple-A. So when I saw Bruce return from a sore hand and launch four homers in a six-game span, I started to get that Jay Bruce fever again.

I know, I know. He's still very, very young. And he still strikes out a ton. But I still look at him and see Ryan Braun in the making. I think this could be the year Bruce breaks out.

Read on for the Wizzy of the Week and Smelly Human Being of the Week Awards...

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Paul Ulane

MLB Fiery Five

I’ve got a bone to pick with our resident baseball expert, Sarah “The Brain” Braunstein. See, while I spend my time tracking stats on the hottest teams in baseball to compile the Fiery Five, I also happen to be stuck following the hapless Chicago Cubs. Yes, while I’m almost ashamed to admit it, I am a Chicago Cubs fan.
The Cubs have gotten off to an absolutely rotten start, which is almost inexcusable, seeing as they might have the most talent, top to bottom, in the National League. Even more inexcusable is the Brain not including the Cubs in her list of the five most pathetic teams in baseball right now. Come on, Brain, put those underachieving Cubs in their place; it might be the only thing that lights a fire under the Cubbies and gets them going.
Now let’s go to a happier place. Here they are, this week’s five best baseball teams…
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Duane Munn

Joba Chamberlain Q&A (VIDEO)

Joba Chamberlain took some time out of his busy schedule a couple weeks back to host Powerade’s “Upgrade Your Game” challenge. As part of the event, one lucky participant was selected at random and tasked with throwing three straight pitches through a cutout roughly 60 feet away, with a $62,000 prize ready to be handed over should he pull it off!

Bad news? The would-be hurler was unable to make his three pitches count (there’s a video after the break of him attempting to pull it off).

Good news? Joba was nice enough to talk to us after the event about becoming a better pitcher, the Yankees and more! Check it out!

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Paul Ulane

Anatomy of a Historic Playoff Loss

In case you missed it, the Denver Nuggets thoroughly embarrassed the New Orleans Hornets in Game Four of their first round playoff series last night. The Nuggets tied a playoff record for the most lopsided blowout in NBA playoff history by beating the Hornets by 58 points. 58 POINTS!!! I don't even beat the Fantasy Wizard by that many points in our weekly Bocce Ball showdowns.

Anyway, if you're wondering what the Hornets are thinking after a loss of such historical proportions, click more to find out...

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Justin Tejada

Converse Wade 1 Reissue

  • GearHead
  • Posted by: Justin Tejada
  • April 28, 2009, 11:01 AM

To celebrate his amazing 2008-09 season, Converse is rereleasing a limited number of Dwyane Wade's first signature shoe, the Wade 1. The Miami Heat guard's first kicks originally came out during his breakout 2005-06 season. The Wade 1s say ".08" on the heel to celebrate D-Wade's two game-winning shots in his first two seasons. The shoes will cost $90 and are available exclusively at Champs Sports.

More pictures after the jump.

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