Return of The Hack(s): April 11 – 17, 2016

Throughout the 2016 season, JT Rozzero & Cowboy Morrissette will be engaging in a Facebook chat about what is happening in the world of Major League Baseball. They will then share it here for you fine readers to enjoy. Agree or disagree with their takes? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter!

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Cowboy Morrissette: I know you aren’t a fan, but man do these Orioles look good!

JT Rozzero: They have certainly been on fire. The bats are red-hot but the pitching is really suspect. In many ways they are like last year’s Toronto team pre-David Price. Is there an ace out there they can go get to put them over the top?

JT Rozzero: Noah Syndergaard is pretty good at baseball.

Cowboy Morrissette: Stud. He should get used to holding teams to zero or one run and escaping with a no-decision.

JT Rozzero: Two close ones in the AL East tonight. Sox trying to hand the O’s their first loss and the Yanks and Jays dueling in their series opener.

Cowboy Morrissette: Clay Buchholz looking great tonight. Only runs were the cheapest Pesky pole home run you’ll ever see. If he can stay healthy … I know, I know

JT Rozzero: He is reeling you in once again. Don’t bite. It is more of an April tradition than the Masters.

Cowboy Morrissette: He had an 11-start stretch last year with an ERA of 2.04. If he can somehow stay off the DL he’s a legit #2. I agree with you though … Too much to ask for.

JT Rozzero: Yeah, I mean we have eight years of data at this point. It is just who he is, sadly. Pirates finally got slowed down by the Tigers today. And speaking of, Justin Verlander … woof.

Cowboy Morrissette: As I say that – Trumbo looses one to tie the game at four. Screw you Clay. Screw you.

JT Rozzero: Trumbo doing damage in Fenway this week.

Cowboy Morrissette: Verlander has been cooked for two years. The decent second half last year roped people in. Pitching is a lot more difficult once you can’t throw 100 mph anymore. Trumbo has been like James Harden out there. Instant offense for both teams.

JT Rozzero: Sometimes it takes those guys a year to figure out how to pitch once the velocity vanishes. Mike Mussina was the poster boy for a while. Detroit better hope Verlander can sort it out because there is a lot money left on that deal. Phantom DL alert! Panda down for 15 days.

Cowboy Morrissette: I read something about a weight loss regimen. He’s such a waste of space.

JT Rozzero: Can they cut this guy? What team is going to take that on?

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Cowboy Morrissette: They will just have to carry him and hope he gives them something. No one will trade for him. In theory, he is capable of being a decent major league player.

JT Rozzero: Walk off win in Seattle. My old friend Rob Cano is off to a hot start, hitting his fifth dinger of the year. These teams feel like they play for all of eternity.

Cowboy Morrissette: Cano is hitting home runs, which was what was missing at the beginning of last year. The average will come around. Nelson Cruz hasn’t done much yet. The Japanese import Lee, who we were making fun of for his lack of athletic prowess in person, hit a pinch-hit, walk-off, two-run homer in the 10th. Your AL West champion Seattle Mariners.

JT Rozzero: And Lee is still rounding the bases 15 minutes later … About to touch home plate.

Cowboy Morrissette: He has that Rich Garces athleticism … You can’t even tell it’s there.

JT Rozzero: What’s the big game on your radar tonight? Anything jump out?

Cowboy Morrissette: Carrasco vs Smyly is the best pitching matchup, but that game doesn’t exactly get the blood flowing. How ’bout Detroit at Pittsburgh? The immortal Shane Greene vs batting-practice pitcher Ryan Vogelsong. I think this one will be fun.

JT Rozzero: Gonna be a lot of runs in that one. Remember when some impatient Yankee fans destroyed Brian Cashman for trading Shane Greene in the Didi Gregorious trade after like three weeks? Pretty sure Greene’s ERA since is about 75.00.

Cowboy Morrissette: He’s a complete bum. Given what has happened so far in these chats, we are sure to get a 1-0 pitching duel.

JT Rozzero: Kind of like the Mets/Marlins game this afternoon.

Cowboy Morrissette: That Mets lineup is putrid. Alex Conley? Really? I don’t care that they eked it out – criminally overrated. Keep an eye on DeGrom too; this injury could be a little worse than they are letting on.

JT Rozzero: I saw on Twitter that Mike Francesa destroyed Terry Collins for not pinch hitting Conforto and then Plawecki hit the game winner… Vintage Mush Francesa.

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Cowboy Morrissette: Vogelsong through a perfect first with two K’s – I’m not comfortable calling anyone else mush.

JT Rozzero: Still plenty of time for fireworks there…

Cowboy Morrissette: So on to the worst teams – who do you think is truly the worst team in the league? For me it’s a two horse race between the Braves and Phillies. Shane Greene walks in a run in the first. There’s my guy!!

JT Rozzero: Yeah I think those are the best choices. Milwaukee and San Diego may be in that mix too. Tampa’s pitching should keep them out of that group. Shane Greene: Textbook definition of sell high!

Cowboy Morrissette: I think the Brewers and Padres are a little better than that. Have you seen the lineups the Braves and Phils are trotting out? Francouer, Galvis leading off, Adonis Garcia batting cleanup!!!! Truly awful. It’s a sad state of affairs for two passionate fan bases.

JT Rozzero: Well, here is the better question then: Which of those two teams is more likely to turn it around sooner?

Cowboy Morrissette: Probably the Braves. The Phillies were severely mismanaged for too long. That’s a hell of a reclamation project.

JT Rozzero: Phillies are behind but they have also proven they are willing to spend the cash to push things along. Atlanta has to do it all through the farm, and all at the same time since they won’t pay to keep guys.

Cowboy Morrissette: They’re both a disaster. I feel the Braves’ cupboard is a little more stocked. With that said, I do like Aaron Nola. He’s going to be a good one.

JT Rozzero: Pirates having a rough go lately after a great start to the season.

Cowboy Morrissette: I think they’ll right the ship. Too much talent. I love Cole.

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JT Rozzero: So maybe the Cubs are really damn legit?

Cowboy Morrissette: The Cubs look unbelievable so far. I think the Cardinals are still going to be tough. They have to be very encouraged by the game Jaime Garcia threw yesterday.

JT Rozzero: The Cubs run differential is insane (+43 already!) and they look like they want to run away with this thing by Memorial Day. Schwarber going down didn’t slow them up at all. The Phillies are in there hanging tough at 5-5 and Baltimore hit a speed bump finally.

Cowboy Morrissette: Schwarber is so awful in the field that I heard some analysts say his injury was a net positive. The Phillies are a mirage – no way that’s even close to a .500 team. Baltimore had a tough matchup yesterday vs Hamels. We’ll see how the weekend goes for them.

JT Rozzero: Philly will certainly fall off but they do have some interesting young arms in the rotation that could keep them competitive for a bit anyway. There is always one team that looks awful but hangs around for a while. Big matchup tonight with Kershaw vs. Bumgarner. Who you got?

Cowboy Morrissette: I like the Dodgers tonight at home. Unless Bumgarner takes Kershaw deep again! I also think tonight is a big game for the Mets. They are already four games back and Washington is in Philly against Hellickson. The Mets need Colon to be on tonight. Football Score game of the night is Toronto at Boston – Dickey vs Porcello. First team to 10 wins!

JT Rozzero: The Jays’ bats are so dangerous and Porcello has been a sieve. And yeah, Dickey is always prone to getting smacked around. Should be a wild one. Mets are in an interesting spot for sure. Big weekend for them coming up.

Cowboy Morrissette: Will be a lot of low scoring games though as the Indians are in the same boat: great pitching and shaky bats.The Mets should win Saturday with the Dark Knight facing Tomlin. You’ve got to like Cleveland on Sunday with Kluber going against Matz. Tonight’s game is very much up in the air. Cleveland really needs Michael Brantley back.

JT Rozzero: Mets have just two home runs on the season. Not a recipe for offensive success. I don’t think it is too early to toss out that they should trade from their SP depth for a bat again before the deadline this year.

Cowboy Morrissette: Two guys who pitched today and looked terrible AGAIN: Adam Wainwright and Matt Harvey. Who are you more concerned about?

JT Rozzero: Wainwright. Harvey could still be shaking off the surgery rust. Wainwright may be hitting the cliff… or maybe hiding an injury? Either way, he concerns me more because his dip feels more unexplainable. On the White Sox: Any legitimacy or just a bit of a hot streak that will drop off?

Cowboy Morrissette: Well Wainwright missed all of last year with a bad injury too. I think with him it could be the multitude of injuries catching up with him. Harvey will get right eventually, but will it before the Mets’ season is in the toilet?

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JT Rozzero: Yeah I guess I meant more arm vs. Achilles could explain the issues more.

Cowboy Morrissette: I think there is some legitimacy to the ChiSox. Sale is Kershaw-East and any lineup with Eaton, Abreu, and Frazier is going to be serviceable. If the guys behind Sale can be decent and Avisail Garcia finally takes a big step forward, they could hang around.

JT Rozzero: I think the AL Central is more open than it looks on paper. The Royals are due that step back we discussed last week. Detroit has big holes. Cleveland’s offense is dismal and the Twins be the Twins.

Cowboy Morrissette: In general, the American League is pretty wide open. While I didn’t predict it, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if the White Sox were able to sneak into the postseason.

JT Rozzero: The Yankee offense already in RISP-Fail Mode. Tomorrow is kind of a big game for them unbelievably enough.

Cowboy Morrissette: It has been a weird start for the Yanks. I think they’ll be ok. Severino and Tanaka have been a level below where they need them. Big start for Masa tomorrow. This is a lineup he’s capable of dominating if he’s right.

JT Rozzero: Pitching hasn’t been their problem for the most part. Both the Seattle games were winnable but they stranded 14 guys today. 3-38 with RISP last five games.

Cowboy Morrissette: You’ve got to win CC’s starts where the pitching only gives up three runs.

JT Rozzero: They had Felix on the ropes multiple times today and couldn’t finish him off.

Cowboy Morrissette: As someone who picked them to make the playoffs, how concerned are you about the Mets?

JT Rozzero: Knew their hitting would not be great. Their pitching, I think, will straighten itself out though, it is too good not to. The key will be whether or not they recognize their window and make a trade for an impact bat by the deadline if they are still lingering. Who that bat is, I am not sure. Atlanta wouldn’t do it but Freddie (Freeman) would be an upgrade on Duda. By the time Atlanta will be good, Freeman will be close to 30 and is already making a good amount of dough.

Cowboy Morrissette: Do you part with Matz to get a deal done? That’s most likely what it will take.

JT Rozzero: They got the depth to do it; you can have all the great SP in the world but you need some offense and Freeman would really lengthen that lineup and give protection for Cespedes. Even though he did it last year, Cespedes is unlikely to carry an offense like that again. In retrospect they should’ve sold high on Harvey before the shit hit the fan. Could have brought in a nice haul two years ago when things first started to flare.

Cowboy Morrissette: Completely agree – I find it tough to believe the Braves would trade Freeman in the division. What about Ryan Braun?

JT Rozzero: No way the Braves do it but they should because they are going to suck for the next few years and should load up. Braun works too. If Cano didn’t have a such an absurd deal I would say they should pounce on him if Seattle falters.

Cowboy Morrissette: Matt Kemp is another guy who should be available. I agree that they need to do something. The offense is just too weak. They put themselves in a spot where the pitching needs to be perfect.

JT Rozzero: Kemp’s shoulder scares the shit out of me. They should have opened the purse and signed Justin Upton. No SP bounty needed.

Cowboy Morrissette: Feeling pretty good about my Nats pick. They look like everything we thought they’d be last year so far.

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JT Rozzero: Would you trade Strasburg if you were them? Or just go all-in and then let him walk?

Cowboy Morrissette: I would do the latter – you can’t justify trading him from a team that’s capable of competing for a World Series

JT Rozzero: Unless they got bowled over. From a team like, say, the Red Sox, that could desperately use him. The Nats’ rotation gets a little thin if he goes though. They will hang on to him and do the qualifying offer after the season.

Cowboy Morrissette: How much can that fanbase take? A few years back they shut Strasburg down to save him when they were in first place. What’s the point of having the guy if you refuse to let him help you win it all?

JT Rozzero: That was an awful decision and probably the last time we ever see it again.

Cowboy Morrissette: Given that, I feel they can’t deal him. Especially if they are walking away with the division, which seems like a real possibility. If they resigned Zimmerman, maybe. But given the state of their rotation, they need him too much.

JT Rozzero: They will have to take the comp pick and enjoy the potential playoff run. So, any final thoughts before we wrap week two?

Cowboy Morrissette: The Cubs and Nationals, while both being dominant, had off days on Sunday by losing to inferior opposition. The AL West looks as mediocre as we thought it would. Kenta Maeda could be a huge piece for the Dodgers if he can continue this success. They have not missed Grienke at all thanks to him.

JT Rozzero: Bad weekend for the Angels, getting swept by Minnesota. They have holes but thanks to the weak division they could contend, can’t boot games like that, especially with a late lead Sunday.

Ok that wraps it for this week. On to week three that opens with the Monday morning Patriots’ Day game at Fenway!

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Author: JT Rozzero

JT Rozzero is a cohost of the Place to Be podcast and original member of the legendary Moliseum Video. He enjoys all sports. The only thing he hates more than traffic and customer service is people. He is a proud Svenjolly and has had a sinus infection since October 2013. Send Justin an email