Nolan Ryan and the Six-Man Rotation

Nolan Ryan and the Six-Man Rotation

March 9, 2010

Ive loved Nolan Ryan for a variety of reasons over the past 25 years, first awed by his dominance, then wowed by his work ethic, and now thankful for his role in trying to reverse a not-so-recent trend in baseball that must make the big, tough Texan puke in his mouth a little every time he thinks about it.Nobodys sure exactly when it started or why it became so widespread, but for years and years now, strong and gifted young pitchers have been treated like Faberge eggs.Sitting across from me late last season, at a table in the press dining area at the Launching Pad in Arlington, the Ryan Express considered my question -- and yes, I fumbled it like a trembling 10-year-old boy hanging out with his idol -- about the concept of a six-man starting rotation and spat out his answer like an over-ripe wad of Redman Chew.Used to be people thought maybe four starters was too much, he said in his cooler-than-cool drawl after taking a pull on his iced tea. Now five aint enough? Its gettin kinda disgustin the way the game babies these kids.Couldnt agree more.
Most big-league throwing programs are now capped in terms of time (10-15 minutes) and distance (120-150 feet), when the best thing for an arms development is actually to throw more and longer. Like, out to 300 feet and until the arm gets tired.Pitch counts are so meticulously kept and adhered to these days that youd think any pitcher allowed to throw up to -- gasp! -- 110 pitches in a game is all but certain to explode right there on the mound upon delivery of No. 111.Its all based on money and fear, and its ridiculous -- as is the idea of a six-man rotation, which is nothing more than a cop-out.

For example, the As opened spring training last month with four starting pitchers assured of jobs -- Ben Sheets, Justin Duchscherer, Brett Anderson and Dallas Braden -- and three vying for the No. 5. spot.Among the candidates to fill the back end in Oakland -- Trevor Cahill, Gio Gonzalez and Vin Mazzaro -- only Cahill, who made his debut at age 21 last year, has a full season of big-league experience. Mazzaro is 23, Gonzalez 24.These being the As, though, theyre already down one starter. Its what the As have done best over the past three years -- lose players to injury. Its Duchscherers turn again, having been felled by back issues 34 seconds into camp, and while he insists hell be ready for Opening Day, his manager begs to differ.And the GM is one of the managers best friends. Guess whos going to win that one?So now there are six As starters expected to be ready to roll in early April. One of them, Sheets, has a long recent injury history. Another, Braden, is coming off a season cut short by a foot injury. Two of them, Gonzalez and Mazzaro, have yet to pitch more than 98 innings in a big-league season. The other two, Anderson and Cahill, are 22 years old. Perfect team to go with a six-man rotation, right? Lighten the load. Ease the pressure.No, no and no.If you need your load lightened, you dont belong in the big leagues. Ditto the pressure thing. And remember, these are the As. Good chance another one of these guys is going to get hurt.Then what? Go back to a five-man and immediately change the routine of every starter, or dip into Triple-A for the River Cats top starter and change his routine?The answer is neither. But dont take my word for it. Take Nolan Ryans word for it, and one word is all he needed to encapsulate his thoughts on a six-man rotation.His eyes narrowed. A dismissive smirk spread across his ranch-weathered mug. He spoke.Candy-ass.-- Mychael UrbanWhat's on your mind? Email Mychaeland let him know. He may use it in his weekly Mailbag.

Peterson blasts report over salary demands, outlines main objectives

Peterson blasts report over salary demands, outlines main objectives

Adrian Peterson played defense on Friday night.

Hours after a report suggesting that the four-time All-Pro running back was still a free agent due to salary demands, the former Viking posted a lengthy statement on Instagram along with a video of his running an agility drill.

"YOU CANT BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU READ OR HEAR PEOPLE. The last thing I'm worried about is playing ball this coming season ... that WILL HAPPEN! It's not all about the money as EVERYONE is speculating here lately. You'd THINK these analysts spoke to me directly. When you don't know what's going on people will say anything to create or make a story! How prideful is it for me to put out ... I won't play for anything less than 8 million! But see, when you don't know a person or what they stand for it's easy to paint YOUR OWN PICTURE. Unfortunately, this is the world we live in! Here is something Straight from the horse's mouth ... finding the best fit & helping a team in a major way win a championship is my main objective! I'm in no rush. Let me eliminate questions or speculation as to why... I believe whole heartedly my God will land me right where I need to be to accomplish what I've asked from him PERIOD"

Early in the free agency period, the Raiders were linked to Peterson, but nothing came of those rumors.

The Raiders, in need of a feature back after Latavius Murray signed with the Vikings, are reportedly pursuing the possibility of luring Oakland-native Marshawn Lynch out of retirement.

Peterson was scheduled to make $18 million in 2017, but the Vikings declined to exercise his contract, making him a free agent. The 2012 NFL MVP turned 32 on March 21 and played in just three games in 2016 due to a major knee injury.

According to the ESPN report, Peterson was looking for a contract that paid him over $8 million in the first year of the deal.

YOU CANT BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU READ OR HEAR PEOPLE. The last thing I'm worried about is playing ball this coming season ... that WILL HAPPEN! It's not all about the money as EVERYONE is speculating here lately. You'd THINK these analysts spoke to me directly. When you don't know what's going on people will say anything to create or make a story! How prideful is it for me to put out ... I won't play for anything less than 8 million! But see, when you don't know a person or what they stand for it's easy to paint YOUR OWN PICTURE. Unfortunately, this is the world we live in! Here is something Straight from the horse's mouth ... finding the best fit & helping a team in a major way win a championship is my main objective! I'm in no rush. Let me eliminate questions or speculation as to why... I believe whole heartedly my God will land me right where I need to be to accomplish what I've asked from him PERIOD

A post shared by Adrian L Peterson (@adrianpeterson) on

 

NHL Gameday: Sharks face Preds, look to rebound from 'crap' performance

NHL Gameday: Sharks face Preds, look to rebound from 'crap' performance

Programming note – Sharks-Predators coverage starts today at 4:30 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live on CSN California

WHERE THEY STAND

Sharks: 42-25-7, 91 points, 1st Pacific Division
Predators: 37-25-11, 85 points, 4th Central Division

PREGAME NEWS AND NOTES

***The freefalling Sharks will again try to put an end to their losing streak in their only visit to Nashville tonight. Friday night’s unsightly 6-1 loss in Dallas, their fifth straight in regulation, was surely their worst game of the season. Their typically strong defensive game handed the Stars all kinds of opportunities that they cashed in on.

“Uncharacteristic missed coverage," Pete DeBoer said of the Stars' third goal in which Jamie Benn was left uncovered, "but [I] think that you could say that about six of the goals – breakaways, two-on-ones. Just, crap. Not very good.”

Despite having a nine-point lead on the division on the morning of March 15, the Sharks are now tied in points with Anaheim (San Jose owns the tiebreaker, so is still officially in first place). The Ducks are idle Saturday, but Edmonton, two points back, is hosting putrid Colorado.

Nashville is 5-1-0 in its last six games, and 6-1-0 in its last seven at home.

***The Sharks have managed just five goals over their five regulation losses. Two of those scores have come on the power play, including one on a five-on-three; Marc-Edouard Vlasic’s goal against St. Louis deflected in off of a Blues player, and one of Patrick Marleau’s two markers in Minnesota on Tuesday came in large part to a miscommunication between Devan Dubnyk and Ryan Suter.

They are simply not generating anything lately.

“Some teams are doing a good job of taking some of our plays away, but it’s on us as players,” Joe Pavelski said. “You’ve got to win some battles, you've got to create some energy, some speed throughout the team. It’s hasn’t been one guy. It’s been all of us. We’re in this together. We’ll change it as a group."

***There was no morning skate on Saturday, so no word on whether Vlasic would be in the lineup after he took just one shift in the third period on Friday before departing.

The Sharks are 2-3-1 in the six games Vlasic has missed this season, including Tuesday in Minnesota when he was out with the flu. Just one of the two wins came in regulation (Jan. 7 against Detroit).

If he’s out, Dylan DeMelo will presumably draw back in on the third pair.

KEEP AN EYE ON...

Sharks: Tomas Hertl. It didn’t take long for Hertl to be bumped up to the Joe Thornton line after Friday’s game started to go sour. In the first period, Hertl looked like one of the few Sharks players actually performing decently, and he finished with a team-high four shots on goal. He remains without a point in his last 11 games, though.

Predators: James Neal. The Predators forward has goals in each of his two games against the Sharks this season, and is third on the Predators with 21 overall. After scoring in three straight games from March 11-16, Neal hasn’t found the scoresheet in his last three.

PROBABLE LINES

Sharks
Jannik Hansen – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Patrick Marleau – Logan Couture – Mikkel Boedker
Marcus Sorensen – Tomas Hertl – Joel Ward
Micheal Haley – Chris Tierney – Joonas Donskoi

Paul Martin – Brent Burns
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun
Brenden Dillon – David Schlemko

Martin Jones (likely starter)
Aaron Dell

Predators
Filip Forsberg – Ryan Johansen – Viktor Arvidsson
Kevin Fiala – Calle Jarnkrok – James Neal
Colin Wilson – Colton Sissons – Craig Smith
Cody McLeod – Vern Fiddler – Austin Watson

Romas Josi – Ryan Ellis
Mattias Ekholm – P.K. Subban
Matt Irwin – Yannick Weber

Pekka Rinne
Jusse Saros

INJURIES

Sharks: Marc-Edouard Vlasic (possible lower body) and Melker Karlsson (lower body) are questionable.

Predators: Mike Fisher (lower body) is questionable.

QUOTEABLE

"The nice thing about this is we get to go back at it again tomorrow. There’s going to be no excuse for not playing hard tomorrow.” – Brenden Dillon, after Friday night’s loss in Dallas