BOB MATTHEWS SPORTS TALK
Weeknights 6:00PM - 8:00PM
on WHAM 1180
Email Bob here.
For over 25 years, Bob Matthews has held the title of Rochester's most popular sports writer/commentator. For over 20 years, Bob has hosted WHAM's nightly sports talk program...consistently ranked at the top of his time slot!
From 1978 to 2012, Bob Matthews was a sports columnist for the Times-Union and Democrat and Chronicle and a regular "As the Sports World Turns" contributor to the Gannett News Service. He is the only person to be selected Press-Radio Club Sportswriter of the Year (five times) and Sportscaster of the Year, and was a pioneer inductee into the Frontier Field Walk of Fame.
A Rochester native, Bob graduated from Brighton High School where he played varsity baseball, basketball and served as student council V-P. Bob is also a veteran, serving his country in Vietnam.
Always opinionated and outspoken, Bob's proudest accomplishment is advocating for Frontier Field. His all-time favorite athlete...former Red Wing Luke Easter. One of his sports regrets……not being around for the glory year of the Rochester Royals.
The Detroit Tigers are the luckiest team in baseball. They aren’t the best team in Major League Baseball but they’re much the best team in arguably baseball’s worst division.
It won’t be a shock if the American League Central’s four other teams all finish below .500.
1—Detroit Tigers (predicted record 97-65). The Tigers overcame a disappointing start last season to catch and pass the White Sox for the division title, peaked in the AL playoffs (swept the Yankees 4-0 in the ALCS) and then came up empty in the World Series and were swept by San Francisco…Added Torii Hunter and Victor Martinez (missed all of last season after knee surgery; .470 slugging percentage in 2011) to a potent lineup including AL MVP and Tri[le Crown winner Miguel Cabrera (.330, 44 HRs, 139 RBI), Prince Fielder (.313, 30 HRs, 108 RBI); Austin Jackson (.300, 16 HRs, 66 RBI) ,Andy Dirks (.322, 8 HRs in 88 games), Alex Avila, Jhonny Peralta and Omar Infante…Spare OF Avisail Garcia has star potential…Might be even more dangerous in a home stadium less spacious than Comerica Park…Excellent starting rotation: Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Doug Fister, Anibal Sanchez, Rick Porcello)…No designated closer (Jose Valverde was not retained and overpowering Bruce Rondon isn’t quite ready) but the bullpen is deep: Joaquin Benoit, Phil Coke, Octavio Dotel, Al Albuquerque, Brayan Villareal, Drew Smyly)… Defense is not a strength, particularly the left side of the infield…50-31 home and 38-43 away in 2012…43-29vs. AL Central rivals and 45-45 vs. rest of opponents…Hit into MLB-most 156 double plays.
2—Chicago White Sox (83-79). The White Sox led the division for 117 days last season but ran out of gas when it counted (14-22 in last 36 games)…Led MLB with five hitters with at least 25 HRs last season (Adam Dunn 41, Paul Konerko 26, Alex Rioc 25 and Dayan Viciedo 25; only C.J. Pierzynski is gone)…How much do Konerko and Dunn have left?...New 3B Jeff Keppinger will boost team’s on-base percentage…Catcher Tyler Flowers will be an upgrade defensively over Pierzynski but isn’t much of a hitter…Need more offense from slick-fielding DP duo of 2B Gordon Beckham and SS Alexei Ramirez…Weak bench…Deep starting rotation: Chris Sale, Jake Peavy, Gavin Floyd, Jose Quintana and John Danks (if healthy)…Closer Addison Reed, Nate Jones and Matt Thornton anchor the bullpen…31-23 in day games last season but only 54-54 at night…MLB-fewest 70 errors and 30 unearned runs allowed…163-120 (.576) interleague record is second only to the New York Yankees (.603).
3—Kansas City Royals (78-84).The Royals have nine consecutive losing seasons and has failed to live up to expectations. The trade of top hitting prospect Wil Myers to Tampa Bay for new staff ace James Shields means management is tired of waiting…Underrated lineup includes DH Billy Butler, LF Alex Gordon, 3B Mike Moustakas, 1B Eric Hosmer , C Salvy Perez and SS Alcides Escobar…Gordon led MLB with 51 doubles in 2012…The mostly new-look starting rotation (Shields, Jeremy Guthrie, Ervin Santana, Wade Davis, Bruce Chen) almost has to be an improvement…Greg Holland and Kelvin Herrera are the top relievers…Last season’s bullpen had a stingy 3.17 ERA. The starters had a 5.01 ERA…27-year playoff drought is the longest in MLB…Projected $82 million player payroll is a team record.
4—Minnesota Twins (64-98). Expectations haven’t been this low for the Twins in years but this is a team in transition with one of the best farm systems in baseball. The system is particularly strong in outfielders and hard-throwing pitchers. That’s significant because the organization favored finesse over power for too long…A reasonable goal for 2012 is to finish above Cleveland for fourth place…Lineup has some pop with Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Josh Willingham, Ryan Doumit, Trevor Plouffe and Chris Parmalee…Top prospect CF Aaron Hicks earned a roster spot with a hot spring…Light-hitting middle infield is a problem (Jamey Carroll, Brian Dozier, Pedro Floriman)…Scott Diamond, Kevin Correia and Vance Worley head a suspect starting rotation…Closer Glen Perkins and set-up man Jared Burton are the big hopes in the bullpen…AL-best home record at Target Field in 2010 (53-28) but 33-48 in 2011 and 31-50 in 2012. Outhomered 242-167 over that span…Outscored by 104 runs in the first two innings last season…Morneau is trade bait in the last year of his contract…59-123 vs. AL East teams since 2008.
5—Cleveland Indians (63-99). They lost at least 93 games in the three of the last four years and were second-last in home attendance last season…No turnaround is expected soon…Low player payroll asnd suspect farm system…Could smash records for striking out with newcomers Mark Reynolds, Nick Swisher and Drew Stubbs…Carlos Santana led the team with 18 HRs last season…Justin Masterson is a solid starter. At this point in his career, Ubaldo Jimenez is not…Closer Chris Perez and set-up man Vinnie Pastrano are the top relievers…August 2012 was the worst month in the team’s 112-year history: 5-24 record and outscored 179-96…New manager Terry Francona figures to miss the good old days in Boston…If you think “which will happen first, Bills win a Super Bowl or Sabres win a Stanley Cup?” is a good question, how about” Browns win a Super Bowl or Indians win another World Series?”