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Taijuan Walker wasn’t shooting straight butter like a freebasing Amish person when he was called up to the majors this year.  Doesn’t really matter either.  He only had 15 innings in the majors and those fifteen innings mean bupkis.  It was nice to see him keep his ERA at 3.60, but it could’ve been 7+ and it wouldn’t have mattered.  Too small of a sample size.  It’s like the first date where you drop $200 bucks on a some schmancy place and actually give the waiter a 20% tip.  You’re gonna score there, but how well are things gonna go when you haven’t showered in two days and you’re wearing bronzer to cover up your cold sore?  That’s what separates the men from the boys.  That and the ability to a rent a car.  What Taijuan’s taste of the majors (which is better than the Taste of Poughkeepsie) did show us is he’ll be shortlisted for the Opening Day rotation.  That’s good.  So what can we expect of Taijuan Walker for 2014 fantasy baseball?

His stuff will translate.  How much it translates with his control is the real question.  We don’t want it to completely translate there.  His walk rate in Triple-A was a tad wonky.  4+ BB/9 in 57 1/3 IP last year in the American Automobile Association.  I don’t want a rookie pitcher that’s going to be above a 3.50 BB/9.  If you twist my arm and call me Your Lordship, I’ll make an exception and get excited.  But it’s a stretch.  Think of Shelby Miller for a moment.  What came to your mind?  A daffodil?  Why?  Okay, well, what comes to my mind is a 8+ K-rate and a 2.96 BB/9.  That is terrific and it showed in his ERA and WHIP.  That’s a usable pitcher in all leagues.  A plus-4 BB/9 and you’re in with Volquez, Dempster or Jeff Locke.  Locke was usable until his luck ran out.  The other two weren’t.  You don’t want to have to rely on luck.  So, Walker can’t give a 4+ BB/9.  Cannot.  It’s useless.  A 3.50 BB/9 and you’re in Gio Gonzalez, Justin Masterson and C.J. Wilson territory.  It’s usable, ownable and worthwhile in all leagues.  Big difference between that half of a walk per nine innings.  In his small stint in the majors this year, Walker wasn’t, um, a walker, but he also faced the Astros and Royals.  To use a former pitching prospect from the Mariners system for comparison, Michael Pineda’s BB/9 in Triple-A was 2.45.  If Taijuan can get his control under, uh, control, then the sky could be the limit or whatever cliche you want to insert.  Here’s the good news, he has a repeatable delivery and his command gets better as he gets comfortable at a new advanced level.  Another point in his favor:  his command problems come because of how nasty his fastball is.  He throws  so hard the ball just sails up on him.  That’s #acefantasypitcherproblems.  For 2014, I’ll give Taijuan Walker the line of 7-9/3.88/1.37/162 in 170 innings.  There’s gonna be moments when he’s ownable everywhere, but I expect a very up and down year for him in 2014.  Wouldn’t be surprised if he’s unownable until June, then is unhittable for two months until he’s shut down.

89 Responses

  1. bossmanjunior says:
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    Damn you Wacha. He went from a wonderful secret hole in.the wall to the town glory hole! At this point he’ll be overdrafted and I will not go near him in drafts.

    • The Strolg says:
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      @bossmanjunior: How high is overdrafted? The dude is a freak!

      • bossmanjunior says:
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        @The Strolg:

        I was hearing top 20 pitchers or in the 6th/7th round. That’s generally where im drafting my ace. I really like Wacha but do not think he has the K’s to be an ace. If he was going where Harvey went last year, im definitely interested.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @bossmanjunior: Eh, there will be plenty of pitchers, if he’s overdrafted, there’s others…

      • Todd says:
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        @Grey: wacha has got 2 pitches. While they are pretty nasty, Major league hitting will eat them up after seeing them a few times. Seems like he has no more upside than cingrani

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          I don’t disagree… Yesterday was a solid game, but it wasn’t amazing… He was decent…

  2. All of the SPs you named are worthy in shallow leagues and definitely can lead teams to championships in 24 to 30 team leagues. Walker is definitely someone to watch.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @profsl: Those are deep leagues you’re talking about…

      • Swagger Jackers says:
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        @Grey: Unless each team can only roster 2 starting pitchers…

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Yeah, that would change things…

  3. Mark says:
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    Hi Grey! I took your advice and traded Price/Profar for Cano. Now my keepers in this 8-keeper league are Cano, Tulo, Puig, Craig, J-Fer, Cole, Shelby Miller, and one more of these losers: Alex Gordon, Matt Adams, Martin Prado, Nickmundo Castellanos. I’m leaning towards Fat Adams. What do you think?

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @Mark: Nice… I’d probably go Gordon, but if you want a wild card, could see Fatt…

  4. Eddy says:
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    What’s up, Grey!

    Been a while since I posted here. Told myself I wouldn’t comment again ’till I donated a few daiquiris, so enjoy them!

    Wanted your advice on keepers heading into 2014.

    12-team H2H OBP. We keep 5 each year. Three-round inflation every year from the round they were drafted.

    My league is going to keep a lot of pitchers (E.g: Kershaw, Scherzer, Bumgarner, Darvish, Latos, Buchholz are SP kept just between two managers alone), so I think i have to keep a minimum of 2 to survive.

    My options, with their 2014 round [or more depending on how long they can be kept]:

    Votto (1st in 2014)
    B.Harper (20th in ’14)(17th in ’15)
    W.Myers (17th in ’14)(14th in ’15)(11th in ’16)
    J.Bautista (14th in ’14)

    Strasburg (16th in ’14)
    S.Miller (15th in ’14)(12th in ’15)(9th in ’16)
    M.Moore (15th in ’14)
    K.Medlen (19th in ’14)(16th in ’15)
    S.Gray (23rd in ’14)(20th in ’15)(17th in ’16)

    So I’ve got tough decisions to make, especially when balancing how long I want to keep players (Do I want the best SP, Stras, for one year and forgo, say, three years of Gray or Miller even though they may not be as good as Stras in 2014?)

    I’d love your thoughts!

    • Eddy says:
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      @Eddy:

      I should also note that I pick 12th in the first round next year. I’m not sure if Votto would fall to me again, but there’s still a chance he does, or maybe some other 1B.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @Eddy: Thanks! Harper, Myers, Bautista, Strasburg, Gray

      • Eddy says:
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        @Grey:

        Good to see we’re pretty much on the same page then.

        I was indecisive about the alst SP spot, wasn’t sure if Miller in the nL won me over, but Gray is pretty tough to ignore with last-round value.

        • costaricanchata says:
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          @Eddy:

          agree with the picks except
          would swap miller for gray .
          don’t like what i saw of gray’s approach
          vs left-hand batters , and think this could
          be a problem for him going forward .

          • Eddy says:
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            @costaricanchata:

            Can’t say I’ve seen how he approaches lefties.

            37 innings is by no means a big sample size, but in that many innings vs. LHB, .225/.301/.321 slash line.

            But like I said above, it was him or Miller.

            I just hope whatever the choice I make, it ends up better than me choosing R.A Dickey over Matt Harvey pre-2013.

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Yeah, worth it to try Gray… Miller’s a number two, Gray has a chance for a number one…

  5. J-FOH says:
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    When you getting married and does the iphone get shut off on the day of days?

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Won’t be shut off, but probably will be on vibrate… I’m getting married on November 2nd…

      • J-FOH says:
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        @Grey: “Grey put the phone down and say I do!” “Hold on, I’m answering an important Dynasty League question and there is a link to a new Lil Dickey video”

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Haha…Pretty much… Rabbi, could you give me one second, Robinson Cano is about to sign… No, now he’s not, let’s do this! Did I tell you our rabbi had a heart attack? Not as surprising when you consider he was 93 years old…

          • J-FOH says:
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            @Grey: I knew he was 93, I’m assuming he survived. I hope he has some good classic jokes and I really hope we don’t get my rabbi died on my wedding day post.

            • Grey

              Grey says:
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              Would’ve been awesome if he had a heart attack during the ceremony for the story, but now we just have to replace him…

              • J-FOH says:
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                @Grey: I wonder if jackie mason is a rabbi?

                • Grey

                  Grey says:
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                  I reached out to him, member? He wanted to charge $125,000…

                  • J-FOH says:
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                    @Grey: damn mason, i forgot with my disappointment. Have you met the new one?

                    • Grey

                      Grey says:
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                      We tried one the other day, but he was crap… So, now we have a meeti8ng with one in the desert next week… If we can’t find a Jew in a desert, we shouldn’t get married…

                  • J-FOH says:
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                    @Grey: any named shekky?

                    • Grey

                      Grey says:
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                      Yup and he goes… Ptooey!

  6. ReleasetheMcCracken says:
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    Hola Grey – Couple weeks ago you advised to sell Lower (out of Low, Lower, Lowest) on Kemp in dynasty leagues. I might be able to swing Kemp for Hosmer which seems like a pretty good deal. We’ve got 1B, CI, and DH slots to fill. I may also be able to swing Kemp for Braun. Which one of those you like better?

    My1B: Votto, Davis, Matt Adams
    MyOF: Kemp, Holliday, DomBrown, AlexGordon, Fowler

    Thanks!

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      I’d take Braun

  7. costaricanchata says:
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    doubting thomas that i am ,
    one of my fantasy short-comings , when it comes to pitchers ,
    is that i actually like to see a guy throw before i draft/pick-up someone .
    consequently , i miss out on many of the in-season call-ups , as they’re
    almost always snapped up by the time i see them work .
    (am combating this problem by picking up the latest arms-du-jour and
    letting them occupying a bench spot , before plugging them into my line-up .
    i miss some good starts using this tactic , and sometimes a pitcher will just
    take up a bench spot for a couple of weeks before i drop him … not an optimal
    strategy , perhaps , but it helps me cope .)
    guess you could call me old-school , as this strategy utilizes a “scout” approach .

    however , i catch myself being drawn towards some of the geek-metrics stuff ,
    particularly those things that seem most immeasurable , incomprehensible , and undetectable .

    for instance , it’s nice to know (and i do rely on them) when they tell me that player X hits
    line drives 30 per cent of the time that he puts the ball in play , and that the league average
    is only 20 per cent .

    however this shizz just kills me ==> :
    wainwright’s curveball spins at a rate of 1879 rpm … league average is 1403 rpm .
    wacha’s fastball spins at 2416 rpm … major league average is 2081 rpm .

    i don’t even want to know how “they” measure that stuff .
    but , if i was to get a job in baseball , rather than be one of “them” ,
    give me a job selling crackerjack … or , better yet , let me be an usher .

    whenever i go to camden yards for a game , i try and get there early ,
    not so much to watch batting practice , but to chat with some of the
    old dude ushers .
    though they try to be politically correct … (all old people are afraid of losing their jobs) ,
    these guys know their shizz , and enhance my enjoyment of the game .
    not sure i can say the same about the metric-geeks .

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      I hear ya, but lots has to do with luck on pitchers too…

  8. slew says:
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    Do you think it would be possible for JayWrong and Nick to tweet your wedding ceremony? Could be HUGE.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      They turned down my invite…And Sky… They’re not going…

  9. slew says:
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    Thank your deity of choice for Rudy and his fro’. He’s tried and true…

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Indeed…

  10. J-FOH says:
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    Did you read my article today. There is a great link at the end of the first paragraph…IMO

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      I don’t know who that guy is but the photos are funny…

      • J-FOH says:
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        @Grey: he’s the owner of the Washington redskins

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Ah, gotcha…

  11. Todd says:
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    How do these pitchers stack up for next year? Walker, wheeler, gray, cueto, bucholz. If you had to choose 2 for a keeper league

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Wheeler, then a toss up… I’d probably go Gray…But they won’t be ranked in that order for next year…

  12. J-FOH says:
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    started going over bullpens for next year and I didn’t realize how many have question marks? It’s like I’ve forgotten so much in 3 weeks. I keep saying to myself, “oh damn, that’s right”

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Yeah, and don’t worry too much about set up men at this stage, people will be moving around…

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          HAHAHA… That’s awesome…

          • J-FOH says:
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            @Grey: next time I want to talk shit I’m going to Craigslist…

            • Grey

              Grey says:
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              That’s how real gangsters do it…

  13. SteveNZ says:
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    The Peav has his hands full already…

  14. SteveNZ says:
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    How does Kelly get away with it?

    I suppose throwing 97 with movement goes some of the way to explaining it. Looks great tonight.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Yeah, I don’t see how he’s throwing 97… Looks like 91… Maybe 92…

      • SteveNZ says:
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        @Grey: I believe everything I see on TV.

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Haha

      • SteveNZ says:
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        @Grey: Just had to turn the sound off. Can’t stand listening to Rick Sutcliffe any longer.

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          All the national announcers are pretty bad…

  15. SteveNZ says:
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    Manness is a double-play machine.

    Just not tonight.

    • SteveNZ says:
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      @SteveNZ: See? Told you.

  16. SteveNZ says:
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    Holliday has probably just about redeemed himself after that baserunning fiasco…

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Yup

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      We got a barn burner, SteveNZ!

      • SteveNZ says:
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        @Grey: I know this is the World Series and the pressure is right on, and all, but Tazawa needs to keep it moving. Jesus, he is slow.

        They need to start putting some of these guys on the clock.

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Ha, totally… C-Mart is so nasty…

          • SteveNZ says:
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            @Grey: Not to mention all over the shop.

            And Rosenthal, sheesh. Looked so dominant the other night…

            • Aubrey Plaza's Pillow says:
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              @SteveNZ: they have left holliday on third with no outs and bases loaded with no outs so far. deserve to lose this one. Many pieces of this offense think they are season versions of SF offense.

            • Grey

              Grey says:
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              Yeah, I hear ya

  17. goodfold2 says:
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    that was the right call, but craig should’ve tried to trip on purpose there, just in case.

    • goodfold2 says:
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      @goodfold2: he appeared to reinjure ankle (or maybe even injure right foot/ankle at home), so he may no longer be DH’ing either.

  18. goodfold2 says:
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    weird thing is espn is ruling it as craig scoring on middlebrooks error, but really craig scored on middlebrooks’ def interference caused by his error.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Cards still took the game, so booya on that…

      • goodfold2 says:
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        @Grey: i’m not faulting the call at all, and am a st.louisan; boston manager after the game pretty much said a call that makes a team lose shouldn’t be called, even though it’s the letter of the law. If he doesn’t want to look like a doucebag just say it’s the letter of the law, which should be followed, and that it just sucks to be on the losing end of it.

        • TheNewGuy says:
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          @goodfold2: Is that what he said? Sour grapes. The game finished like that, thats what happens sometimes. No way can you change rules because of the game situation. Incidents like that last night are what makes the game so exciting.

          Great first play by Pedroia and Salty but I think theres two potential mistakes by BOS. First like Joe and Tim said, why not walk him? Would’ve set up a double play to Kozma, very strange. Also why did Salty throw at full speed that to 3rd after he got the first guy at home? Far too risky to throw like that when an errant throw means the game, when it wasn’t a guaranteed out at 3rd anyway, he probably would’ve been safe. Should’ve eaten it after the first out at home, then they would just need one more out with a guy on third.

          Loving this series though and im a neutral fan. More please tonight.

          • Grey

            Grey says:
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            Go Cards!

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          I hear ya..

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Oh, and I am faulting the call… He tripped over him, he wasn’t obstructing him…

          • TheNewGuy says:
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            @Grey: But wasnt he in the way? I dunno its kinda a grey (ironic!) area, but isnt it the infielders job to get out the line of the basepaths.

            If he’s in the way and the other player trips over him, then its surely obstruction to some degree. These calls are what makes baseball funny though, no clear call either way.

            • Grey

              Grey says:
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              I didn’t think he was in his way, he was laying on the ground… Step over him and you’re on your way home…

              • 2000 Brain Cells ago says:
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                @Grey: Intent has nothing to do with it, though.

                • Grey

                  Grey says:
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                  I don’t think intent was there or an obstruction… He was on the ground…

                  • goodfold2 says:
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                    @Grey: craig’s ability to leap over some legs (one of which actually was hanging up at the knee at first) was also inhibited by his injury, but all it takes is to get tangled up if the guy is in your way, which he was.

  19. costaricanchata says:
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    one of the best renditions of “God Bless America”
    that i have heard
    in a long time .

    • costaricanchata says:
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      @costaricanchata:

      pinko commie bastards need not comment .

      • Grey

        Grey says:
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        Haha

        • costaricanchata says:
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          @Grey:

          plus ,
          i would like to see her out of uniform
          and with her hair let down .

          • Grey

            Grey says:
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            Hey now!

  20. costaricanchata says:
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    sure , it was a hitter’s count (2-0)
    but john jay had no business swinging
    in that situation .
    the veteran molina’s reaction lends credence to my assertion .
    molina , after-all , took that 2nd strike from lackey ,
    during his at bat .

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Wasn’t as bad as Kolten Wong being picked off

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