Blogger at NBC Sport.com's HardballTalk. Recovering litigator. Rake. Scoundrel. Notorious Man-About-Town.
Last January, Joe Blanton signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Blanton had spent 11 seasons as a starter for various teams and in only a couple of those years did he post a league average or better ERA, with the last time being 2009. From 2010-2013 he was downright awful. He didn’t pitch in the majors at all in 2014. He bounced back in a major way in 2015, however, pitching spectacularly out of the bullpen for the Pirates in the final two months of the season and respectably as a swingman for the Royals before that.
The Dodgers made a $4 million bet on Blanton’s rebound being the real deal, but a Dodgers fan many of you may know from the wonderful land of baseball Twitter, TheAmitie, bet against him:
Blanton, in fact, pitched 80 innings of 2.48 ERA baseball, which was substantially above league average (158 ERA+). Which means . . .
I made a bet that Joe Blanton wouldn’t pitch league average ERA+ for 75+ innings this year. This was a terrible mistake on my part, as he did it, and now I have to follow through on my bet to eat one of everything at Dodger Stadium.
He got the money to buy the tickets to the games and the concession items via Kickstarter and today he paid his debt to the gambling gods. Go check out the most recent set of tweets at his friend’s Twitter feed to see some video updates, which are enough to make me queasy. If, for no other reason, than this was prominently featured:
Thoughts, prayers for our soon to be very sick comrade at Chavez Ravine.
The Dodgers do poorly against lefties. Gio Gonzalez is a lefty. The Dodgers are giving Josh Reddick and Chase Utley a seat today, but there are still three lefties in the lineup. But really, what are you gonna do? Sit the unanimous rookie of the year, your best power bat over the past five seasons and your starting center fielder?
Actually, some have argued that maybe at least one of them should sit down. Jay Jaffe of Sports Illustrated, for example, says that Adrian Gonzalez should be saved until the Dodgers get into the Nats’ bullpen and, instead, Yasmani Grandal should play first and Carlos Ruiz — who has had some success against Gonzalez — should catch. Eh, it’s a thought, but it would take a LOT of guts to do that, as Jaffe himself notes. I feel like I’d use the same lineup that Roberts is using here.
Anyway, here are the Nationals:
1. Trea Turner (R) CF
2. Jayson Werth (R) LF
3. Daniel Murphy (L) 2B
4. Bryce Harper (L) RF
5. Anthony Rendon (R) 3B
6. Ryan Zimmerman (R) 1B
7. Danny Espinosa (S) SS
8. Jose Lobaton (S) C
9. Gio Gonzalez (R) P
And here are the Dodgers:
1. Howie Kendrick (R) LF
2. Justin Turner (R) 3B
3. Corey Seager (L) SS
4. Yasiel Puig (R) RF
5. Adrian Gonzalez (L) 1B
6. Yasmani Grandal (S) C
7. Charlie Culberson (R) 2B
8. Joc Pederson (L) CF
9. Kenta Maeda (R) P
If you had the good sense to avoid last night’s debate, you didn’t get a chance to meet Ken Bone. If you watched that train wreck for some reason, however, or if you saw his celebrity blow up on social media this morning, you know that Ken Bone is the undecided voter who asked a question about energy policy in the town hall-style proceedings last night.
There were a few things going into Bone’s still-ticking 15 minutes of fame: His red sweater. The fact that he took a photo of the debate stage with a disposable camera. The fact that, in response to some comments on social media, he demonstrated a pretty sharp and self-aware sense of humor. In a political season that has been pretty ugly in a hundred different ways, Ken Bone was what passes for a breath of fresh air.
And Joe Kelly of the Boston Red Sox is a fan:
Kelly had another tweet of interest:
*MLB security forces storm the Red Sox clubhouse and take Kelly’s iPhone away*