Return of The Hack(s): May 2 – May 15, 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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JT Rozzero: Big sweep for the Red Sox … But Price? Cardinals scuffling is always nice to see. The Cubs could put some real daylight in that division sooner rather than later.

Cowboy Morrissette: Big series with the Pirates here for the Cubbies.

JT: Rozzero: And it didn’t end well for the Buccos. Cubs are the cream of the crop. CC Sabathia partying like it’s 2009!

Cowboy Morrissette: The Cubbies certainly look the part so far. Big game tonight with the Red Sox and White Sox.

JT Rozzero: Buccholz off to a shaky start but has settled in.

Cowboy Morrissette: CC pitching a great game. Also the Nationals with a statement win against KC today.

JT Rozzero: They needed to bounce back after Papelbon blew the game last night. The Mets have gained on them but the Nats have played well enough to at least maintain first for now.

JT Rozzero: Apparently Texas has decided they will never win in Toronto again. Pissing down their leg left and right.

Roger Morrissette: Unbelievable. This Blue Jays team is poised for a big step back in my opinion. I’ve come to JT’s side on this one!

JT Rozzero: Last year was a blip on the radar of their futility. They are going to regret that Tulo deal in the long run and the Bautista/Encarnacion tandem is likely done this year too. Hope you enjoyed the cool breeze for the three months your window was open, Toronto!

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Cowboy Morrissette: Big Papi with the big fly! I know they are your sworn enemy, but the Sox are looking pretty good so far.

JT Rozzero: They definitely are. The offense has been rolling since day one. They really need to make a move for a starter sooner rather than later though.

Roger Morrissette: There is a school of thought that says Porcello has finally turned a corner. Not sure I totally buy in yet, but the case can be made. This was an über prospect who has shown flashes in the past.

JT Rozzero: Even if true, they still need another arm to be a legit contender.

Roger Morrissette: And they do have the assets to make that happen … Will be very interesting to see if they make the move.

JT Rozzero: The AL is wide open, they certainly should. Houston has taken the step back you predicted and nobody else has really stepped up and wrested control away.

Cowboy Morrissette: Powerhouse series starting here with the Cubbies and Nats … Who ya got?

JT Rozzero: I have no reason to doubt the Cubbies at all. They have destroyed everyone in impressive fashion. I don’t think anyone is even close to them right now/

Cowboy Morrissette: I am going to roll with my World Series pick to make a statement here. It stars tonight against Hendricks!

JT Rozzero: It would certainly make things get a little more interesting. The Cubs smacking the Pirates was a real statement. The Nats could at least drip a little doubt into the North Side.

Cowboy Morrissette: The Jays bats FINALLY coming alive tonight. Edwin with six RBIs through three innings. That’s a good way to break out of a funk.

JT Rozzero: Primed up for a trade at the All-Star Break when the Jays are 10 games out! Vintage Tanaka Time tonight!

Cowboy Morrissette: Heck of a dual – Tanaka’s performance has been a bit more impressive than Gausman’s considering the opposing lineups

JT Rozzero: He has swapped out his four-seamer for a two-seamer to drive down his homer rate and generate ground balls. Been very successful with it so far this year.

Cowboy Morrissette: Not too many guys can dominate this Orioles’ lineup the way he has tonight.

JT Rozzero: Any thoughts on this rumored PED failure list that is supposedly on the way?

Cowboy Morrissette: I know the Astros have disappointed as a team, but how impressive has this Jose Altuve home run binge been?

JT Rozzero: Are those comments tied together?

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Cowboy Morrissette: Not really until we find out who is on it … Could be interesting. Haha not at all. Have you heard any rumors about who could be getting popped?

JT Rozzero: Nothing yet … Even though I think Ortiz used in the past, I don’t think he will be on this list … but … if he popped up on this one, how does it affect his legacy? Definitely submarines his red-hot final year.

Cowboy Morrissette: Clearly a PED suspension would tarnish anyone’s legacy. It would be a shame to have that happen in Papi’s last go-around. Not to mention it would submarine the Sox’s season at the same time. You can dream, my friend.

JT Rozzero: Especially since he already has one that got swept under the rug before (in 2003), but I digress. For the good of baseball, I hope no major names leak out, but I guess we will see.

Cowboy Morrissette: Agreed. Dee Gordon was bad enough.

JT Rozzero: It would be a very Cubs thing to have a couple of their guys pop up (on the PED list) during this mega-start.

Cowboy Morrissette: Can you imagine? Not a lot of candidates for them in my opinion.

JT Rozzero: I know I pick on Price a lot but he is brutal to watch. Gets 0-2 and then nibbles and picks away and it’s 3-2 … So slow. Also another shit performance from him against a non-Atlanta team.

Cowboy Morrissette: He must be thinking that last night’s strike zone will carry over to today.

JT Rozzero: Welp it didn’t! Cubs grab those first two.

Cowboy Morrissette: Coming into today his Fielding Independent Pitching was 2.89 and ERA was over 6.00. His K/9 was 12. This suggests that he has been very unlucky and I’d expect things to even out to his career averages very quickly. The Cubbies are on fire. No other way to say it.

JT Rozzero: Yeah FIP and all that … We will see how it evens out. Every time I watch, it feels like it unravels fast and he gets whacked around. The Cubs may clinch home field by June. The Rich Hill Revival continues.

Cowboy Morrissette: “FIP and all that” is the best predictor of future performance. Tried and true. Sounds like we have a classic “statistical evidence versus the eye test” argument. Rich Hill has always been able to strike people out with that curveball. In years past, it has fallen apart quickly for him at times. We’ll see. He has been superb so far.

JT Rozzero: I believe in FIP … I also think Price is a head case.

Cowboy Morrissette: The positive for the Sox is that they have been pretty successful even with him not performing up to snuff. I agree he’s a bit of a head case, but he’s too good not to turn this around.

JT Rozzero: He will get on track over the summer, I am sure. Just in time for usual October collapse.
NL West still a pool of mediocrity.

Cowboy Morrissette: Weird division: lots of star power and salary that hasn’t translated to wins.
I think the Giants are the most complete team out there and will eventually pull away, but who knows. The Mets are kind of blowing a golden opportunity to make up ground by losing to the awful Padres with deGrom and Syndergaard.

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JT Rozzero: Yeah, that is a bad couple of days there. Golden opportunity squandered.

Cowboy Morrissette: They will need to rely on the Fat Man (Bartolo Colon) tonight to break the skid.

JT Rozzero: Big series for Houston too. They got the first one, but if they could sweep Seattle, they could start climbing back into things.

Cowboy Morrissette: Agreed. That would be big. They have a great shot tonight with Keuchel against Karns. You’ve got to like the M’s tomorrow as the Flying Salmon (Hisashi Iwakuma) takes on McHugh, who has been brutal. I’ll tell you – these Cubs just keep finding a way to get it done.

JT Rozzero: They are a dangerous mix of desperation, exceptional talent, veteran calmness, and stupid youth. It’s the team Joe Maddon always dreamed of in Tampa if they would have spent the money.

Cowboy Morrissette: The big key for them is Arrieta – if he continues to be one of the two best pitchers in baseball (along with Kershaw), they will be extremely tough to beat in a 7 game series with him pitching three times.

JT Rozzero: That plus a dude named Jon Lester that is pretty good come playoff time.

Cowboy Morrissette: Of course – it’s a great one/two. If Arrieta drops to that next-tier level (Price, Scherzer, Greinke), other teams will have a fighting shot. Rondon is underrated as a closer as well. They have been winning by so much that they don’t need him much, but he is lights out.

JT Rozzero: They are certainly a very heavy favorite, a position they aren’t used to being in. That pressure (and the Billy Goat) could be the only thing to take them down in the end.

Cowboy Morrissette: Arrieta wasn’t very good in the playoffs last year and there is going to be a ton of pressure because they would go in as heavy favorites.

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JT Rozzero: Big Bart’s home run trot was something else.

Cowboy Morrissette: That was unreal – especially to do it in Petco!

JT Rozzero: Yeah that was a shot. No cheapie.

Cowboy Morrissette: He got all his weight behind it.

JT Rozzero: So things didn’t go so well for those Nats. Garrett Richards done for the year. Tough blow for the already thin Angels. Bryce Harper, sets a record with 13 walks in a series, including SIX today.

Cowboy Morrissette: That really hurts the Angels. Richards is a very good young pitcher. As far as Harper, that is really getting the Barry Bonds treatment. It’s on the guys hitting behind him to make teams pay for the walks, otherwise this will happen all season.

JT Rozzero: Bigger addition for the Yankees bullpen? Chapman or Coke? Nats extended Strasburg, soft free agent class takes a hit.

Cowboy Morrissette: Good move by them … Especially if your thought is true that they won’t resign Harper.

JT Rozzero: Simmons down for LAA now. Tough sledding. Have you seen anything about them maybe trading Trout? I keep seeing stuff here and there and didn’t know if it was hypotheticals or something that is actually being considered.

Cowboy Morrissette: Man, that would be a tough one to swallow for those fans. You set all that money on fire with Hamilton and, to a lesser degree Pujols, and then trade Trout.

JT Rozzero: I would think they would tie a contract into it, dump Pujols on a team and then get a boatload of top prospects and players.

Cowboy Morrissette: I can see it from that perspective, but it is such a hard sell to dump one of the top three players in baseball when he’s only 24. I don’t think they have the balls to do it, personally.

JT Rozzero: And they shouldn’t, they can build around him even if it takes three years.

Cowboy Morrissette: Completely agree.

JT Rozzero: Could be in for a good one at Chavez Ravine tonight … early struggles on the mound.

Cowboy Morrissette: This a matchup the Mets need to win. deGrom vs Wood is as good as it gets for them. The Sox bats have really come alive here recently and the Yanks followed suit tonight. A couple of nice wins.

JT Rozzero: Yeah, the Yankees’ bats are finally picking up the pitching a bit. Tanaka threw a few bad pitches to Cain and it cost him but he still gave them length. Sox are red hot and have an easy week ahead with another game with Oakland and four with the scuffling Astros.

Cowboy Morrissette: Chapman seems to have really given the Yanks a shot in the arm. He seems like a New York guy to my untrained eye. You still looking to deal him?

JT Rozzero: If they can get their way into contention, no. But I don’t think it is a bad idea to at least shop him around. I don’t think they will resign him. If you can land a top prospect from a team in contention, you have to consider it. Especially since they have ample arms in the minors.

Cowboy Morrissette: Is there any thought to dealing one of the other guys (Betances/Miller) and keeping Aroldis, assuming they can resign him? They are the Yanks, so money isn’t REALLY an issue right?

JT Rozzero: It is for the next year or so until they reset the luxury tax. Miller is affordable and Betances is dirt cheap. I think it makes more sense to trade Chapman as a rental, but if they could get a bounty from one of the others, you have to at least look at it. I just don’t think they would pay Chapman and wouldn’t want to lose two guys.

Cowboy Morrissette: I agree if they have no intention of resigning him, then dealing him makes the most sense. Barring a turnaround in the standings of course.

JT Rozzero: At the least they will tag him with a qualifying offer after the season and net a comp pick.

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Cowboy Morrissette: Scherzer with 18 K’s through 8! Can he do it?!?!

JT Rozzero: Hell of an outing. He is absolutely on fire.

Cowboy Morrissette: Cubs finally lost one today too … feeling better about my Nats by the minute. Recency bias!

JT Rozzero: It feels like such a massive upset when the Cubs lose a game, especially to a team like the Padres. That is so rare in baseball.

Cowboy Morrissette: Down 1-0 in the 5th of game two (of a double header) as well … The wheels are coming off! The Bosox with another 10-spot tonight… They are en fuego. Do you believe or is this just a hot streak?

JT Rozzero: Combination of both? I think their offense is very good. Oakland kind of sucks and they are locked in at home.

Cowboy Morrissette: Clearly they can’t keep this up, but as you said it is a very good offense. Especially if Bradley is a real hitter. He doesn’t have to hit .320 with power but if he’s .280 with 10 homers and 15 steals with the defense he gives them, it is such a huge positive. Oakland really sucks – especially with Sonny Gray scuffling the way he has. Biggest surprise so far has to be the Phillies right? Even more than the ChiSox.

JT Rozzero: Yeah, they are still hanging around the top of the division and haven’t looked overmatched at all. They just may hang around and be frisky. The White Sox need to be assessing their legitimacy over the next six weeks. We talked about trading Chapman earlier this week. How about the Cubs? If there was ever a team and a year to go ALL IN, isn’t this it?

Cowboy Morrissette: Latos has come crashing down to Earth as expected. The Phillies have some good young arms. That is the most likely destination to me unless the Yanks don’t want to help Theo.

JT Rozzero: Would the Cubs give up Baez for him? If I am Cashman my conversation ends there.

Cowboy Morrissette: That’s tough if I’m the Cubs. Baez is helping them now and is just oozing with potential. Dumping Castro signified to me that it would be Russell/Baez/Rizzo/Bryant for years to come.
If I’m the Yanks I do that deal in a heartbeat.

JT Rozzero: No brainer all day.

Cowboy Morrissette: The top prospect in the Cubs system is Gleyber Torres – currently a shortstop in High A. Hmmmmm… Rondon has been good but word is they are in the market (for relief help).

JT Rozzero: High A is a tough sell … even though Chapman is a rental, you would like to get someone closer (to the bigs). I would be on the phone with them today … more value if you trade him now vs. July.

Roger Morrissette: I meant that he may make Baez expendable.

JT Rozzero: Ah, makes more sense. Keep an eye on that deal right there … could be the one that happens. Yankees could send Didi over too and bring back another prospect.

Cowboy Morrissette: Scherzer just gave up a massive homer on his first pitch of the 9th. I may have spoken too soon.

JT Rozzero: Was wondering if he would get pulled but Dusty is rolling with his ace. #19!

Cowboy Morrissette: Take a seat Miggy! I’d like to see him do it – #anyonebutclemens. He’s doing it right – if they put it in play, make it a hit!

JT Rozzero: Yep, get those Ks only.

Cowboy Morrissette: It would be a Dusty Baker-thing for them to lose this game because he rode Scherzer too long.

JT Rozzero: Peak Dusty. Let that foul ball drop!

Cowboy Morrissette: Half-hearted effort from Zimmerman.

JT Rozzero: There is 20!

Cowboy Morrissette: Upton was a guaranteed K right there.

JT Rozzero: Awesome drama … one shot at breaking the record.

Cowboy Morrissette: Fantastic stuff!

JT Rozzero: Boo!

Cowboy Morrissette: Hell of a performance!

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JT Rozzero: Kennedy and Wang in Yankee Stadium tonight. Memories!

Cowboy Morrissette: Indeed. The Royals’ pitching is a huge problem for them. They put Medlen and Young on the DL this week with phantom injuries. They are in big trouble.

JT Rozzero: Chase Headley is back from the dead over the past three weeks. Also we haven’t talked about the power of THOR yet.

Cowboy Morrissette: That was certainly impressive by the fair-haired one. Crazy day yesterday as far as historically significant performances. Headley has a ways to go before I’m sold but it is definitely a step in the right direction. Can the Sox offense get to double digits again tonight? High drama.

JT Rozzero: They only need average offense from Headley and not much more. He just can’t be a black hole. Big series win in the Bronx. Your Astros prediction is going to be your best one.

Cowboy Morrissette: Thank you, JT! The Mariners and Sox as division winners are looking pretty good so far too. And once one of those NYM pitchers goes down. Hahaha. I didn’t expect Kuechel to fall off a cliff like he has. This an absolute worst-case scenario for them.

JT Rozzero: Yankees officially promote Gary Sanchez to the bigs. And it was short lived. So, we are six weeks in. Quick overall thoughts on the league? Things to watch for over the next six weeks?

Cowboy Morrissette: Can the Cubs keep up this crazy pace? Will anyone pull away in the NL East? Can the Red Sox keep mashing? Will the White Sox continue to defy expectations? Can the Astros turn things around? Lots of very intriguing storylines.

JT Rozzero: Maybe. Yes. Maybe. No. Maybe. You can’t predict baseball, Suzyn!

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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