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04-30

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0

Western Front: Walked By an Angel
by
Geoff Young

04-23

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16

Western Front: The Rockies and Dodgers Have Swapped Scripts
by
Geoff Young

04-16

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1

Western Front: The Continuing Development of Dexter Fowler
by
Geoff Young

04-09

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3

Western Front: Xavier Cedeno's Not-So-Excellent Adventure
by
Geoff Young

04-02

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6

Western Front: Lines in a Larger Song
by
Geoff Young

03-27

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2

Western Front: The Reluctant Optimism of Spring
by
Geoff Young

03-19

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4

Western Front: Pieces of Peoria
by
Geoff Young

03-12

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1

Western Front: Rime of the '83 Mariners
by
Geoff Young

03-05

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5

Western Front: Different Ballparks, Same Problem
by
Geoff Young

02-26

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5

Western Front: Even Writers Need Spring Training
by
Geoff Young

02-19

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15

Western Front: San Diego High School Baseball at the Turn of the Millennium
by
Geoff Young

02-12

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7

Western Front: Three Former Astros
by
Geoff Young

02-04

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4

Western Front: They Took Their Turn
by
Geoff Young

01-29

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23

Western Front: Pass the Bonds, Please
by
Geoff Young

01-22

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6

Western Front: Pacific Surfliner
by
Geoff Young

01-15

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13

Western Front: Zeroes and Ones
by
Geoff Young

01-08

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4

Western Front: What Will Become of Neftali Feliz?
by
Geoff Young

12-18

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6

Western Front: An Almost Defense of Kevin Towers
by
Geoff Young

12-11

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22

Western Front: Padres Break Bank, Won't Pay to Have it Fixed
by
Geoff Young

12-04

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2

Western Front: Thou Shalt Not Run on Johnny Cueto
by
Geoff Young

11-27

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11

Western Front: Jeff Francis' Historic Season
by
Geoff Young

11-20

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2

Western Front: Surprise, You Won 90 Games
by
Geoff Young

11-13

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3

Western Front: Three Days in the Desert, Part 2
by
Geoff Young

11-06

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9

Western Front: Three Days in the Desert, Part 1
by
Geoff Young

10-30

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14

Western Front: Three Giant Draft Picks
by
Geoff Young

10-23

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3

Western Front: Better Than Setting Cash on Fire
by
Geoff Young

10-16

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10

Western Front: The Year Baseball Went Missing in San Diego
by
Geoff Young

10-03

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2

Western Front: If It Wasn't for Accountability, I Wouldn't Have Any Ability
by
Geoff Young

09-25

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Western Front: Portrait of a Hacker
by
Geoff Young

09-18

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20

Western Front: Chase Headley is Awesome
by
Geoff Young

09-11

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6

Western Front: Céspedes Won't Be Leaving to Join Devo
by
Geoff Young

09-04

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12

Western Front: They Move Like Living Things
by
Geoff Young

08-28

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6

Western Front: When Loney was Better than Gonzalez, and Kotchman was Better than Both
by
Geoff Young

08-21

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6

Western Front: Before Felix was King
by
Geoff Young

08-14

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4

Western Front: Pick the Collie, or Maybe the Weimaraner
by
Geoff Young

08-07

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4

Western Front: When the Time is Right
by
Geoff Young

07-31

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3

Western Front: Where Has Upton's Power Gone?
by
Geoff Young

07-24

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6

Western Front: Walk-off Wins are the New Market Inefficiency
by
Geoff Young

07-17

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5

Western Front: First Win the Division, Then Puppet Show
by
Geoff Young

07-10

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9

Western Front: Trying One's Patience
by
Geoff Young

07-03

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5

Western Front: Ready, Set, No!
by
Geoff Young

06-26

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10

Western Front: Fowler Power
by
Geoff Young

06-19

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6

Western Front: Angels Rush in Where Rangers Fear to Tread
by
Geoff Young

06-12

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12

Western Front: A Brief History of the Vedder Cup
by
Geoff Young

06-05

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6

Western Front: Tres Compañeros
by
Geoff Young

05-29

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0

Western Front: Attending to Center Field
by
Geoff Young

05-22

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7

Western Front: My Kingdome for a Morse
by
Geoff Young

05-15

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12

Western Front: La Casa Sucia
by
Geoff Young

05-08

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4

Western Front: Three Days, Three Dingers
by
Geoff Young

05-01

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4

Western Front: As a Manager, He Makes a Good Right Fielder
by
Geoff Young

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July 31, 2012 5:00 am

Western Front: Where Has Upton's Power Gone?

3

Geoff Young

Justin Upton has suffered a major power outage this year, but is there a root cause for his season-long blackout?

Where has Upton's power gone?
Long time passing
–Not Pete Seeger, or even Kyle Seager and his 11 home runs

In 2011, Justin Upton hit 31 home runs. Fifteen major leaguers hit more. As of July 29, 2012, Upton has hit eight home runs. Nineteen men have hit more... in a single month. Josh Hamilton and Jose Bautista have done it twice. Trevor Plouffe has done it.



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July 24, 2012 5:00 am

Western Front: Walk-off Wins are the New Market Inefficiency

6

Geoff Young

The Oakland A's have shown a knack for winning in style in 2012.

Before the season, a popular narrative in some circles held that Billy Beane had lost his touch. His A's hadn't finished with a winning record since 2006, and Moneyball had run its course. Once Brad Pitt plays you in a movie, there's nowhere to go but down.

Beane traded away young pitchers Trevor Cahill, Gio Gonzalez, and Andrew Bailey. He signed aging veterans like Bartolo Colon, Johnny Gomes, and Manny Ramirez (since released). He picked up guys off other teams' junk piles: Brandon Moss, Brandon Hicks, and Brandon Inge. If your name was Brandon and nobody else wanted you, Beane would give you a shot.

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July 17, 2012 5:00 am

Western Front: First Win the Division, Then Puppet Show

5

Geoff Young

The Dodgers have spiraled out of control since late May, and with seemingly no plan for offense, it's a three-team race in the wild West.

Do you realize how bad the National League West has been since May 27? This is an arbitrary date reflecting my desire to cast the division in its worst possible light, so probably not. But consider what the standings looked like at the start of that day:

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Geoff discovers the wonders of Seattle baseball, Aaron Cook, tubas, Jeremy Guthrie, and Family Circus.

After our failed attempt at watching Danny Hultzen and Jamie Moyer do battle in Tacoma, my wife and I drove north to Seattle via Federal Way (where we enjoyed Hawaiian barbecue with Baseball Prospectus alum Brandon Isleib. Our lunch stop isn't central to the plot, but Brandon is a good guy whose wife helped me remember the name of a “Burn Notice” villain that I'd forgotten—Simon Escher, played by the excellent Garret Dillahunt, if you must know). We stayed on Lake Union, near a local seafood chain that served delicious chowder. The Wooden Boat Festival took place across the street from us. As was the case for most of our journey throughout the typically rainy Pacific Northwest, we encountered almost no precipitation; temperatures sat in the range of a Livan Hernandez curveball, occasionally dipping into slightly less comfortable Vicente Padilla eephus territory.

We caught two Mariners games, both against the Boston Red Sox. Seattle won on Saturday night thanks to a Chone Figgins sacrifice fly, which was as unexpected as (check all that apply):

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July 3, 2012 5:00 am

Western Front: Ready, Set, No!

5

Geoff Young

Geoff compares members of the Tacoma Rainiers to Twilight characters using the 20-80 scale. Or maybe he would have, if he'd been able to see the team play.

“Who said that?”

“Nobody, I was just trying to make you feel better.”

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June 26, 2012 5:00 am

Western Front: Fowler Power

10

Geoff Young

What is Dexter Fowler doing this season to achieve sustained big-league success?

I stare at Dexter Fowler in search of inspiration. Not at the actual man, of course—that would be awkward and inappropriate—but at his statistical record. What do the numbers say about him? Again, not the actual man, but the player. More specifically, the hitter.

The lanky 26-year-old center fielder is playing his fourth more-or-less full big-league season and, despite a recent slump, enjoying unprecedented success at the plate. After being sent down to Triple-A Colorado Springs for brief “refresher courses” in each of the previous two seasons, Fowler seems to have figured out how to avoid repeat visits.

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June 19, 2012 5:00 am

Western Front: Angels Rush in Where Rangers Fear to Tread

6

Geoff Young

The keys to the Angels' recent success and the Rangers' downturn could be the fortunes of two superstars and two ex-Padres.

The Rangers started 2012 strong. The Angels did the opposite. Premature conclusions were drawn. Then the two teams' fortunes reversed. There are many reasons for this shift. One is the play of the teams' superstars. Another is the acquisition and emergence of a key arm in Anaheim. These aren't the only factors, but they are among the most intriguing and are the ones we'll focus on today.

Remember the “Rangers are running away with the American League West” narrative from April, when it appeared that they were, in fact, running away with the division? Well, that narrative broke and has been replaced by the ever-popular “it's a long season” and “that's why they play the games.”

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June 12, 2012 5:00 am

Western Front: A Brief History of the Vedder Cup

12

Geoff Young

Of all the natural interleague rivalries, none are more viciously fought than the Vedder Cup series. Wait, you've never heard of it? Then read on!

When Major League Baseball introduced interleague play in 1997, Bud Selig decreed that certain teams would be “natural rivals.” One such “rivalry” pits the San Diego Padres against the Seattle Mariners, presumably because they share a spring training facility in Peoria, Ariz.

Pearl Jam lead singer Eddie Vedder has called San Diego and Seattle home at various points in his life, ergo the series is played for a “Vedder Cup” that doesn't actually exist, which is fine because Vedder is a Cubs fan. Much like the “rivalry” itself, none of this makes any sense.

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June 5, 2012 5:00 am

Western Front: Tres Compañeros

6

Geoff Young

Gregor Blanco, Melky Cabrera, and Angel Pagan didn't go to San Francisco with flowers in their hair, but with their early play, everything is coming up roses.

It would be easy to call Gregor Blanco, Melky Cabrera, and Angel Pagan the “Three Amigos.” For as much fun as that movie was, I prefer something a little more highbrow and suggest we borrow from Wim Wenders. They are compañeros.

Who saw these guys coming? All arrived in San Francisco at roughly the same time, and all have established an expected level of play that isn't particularly high. Here are their lines entering 2012:

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May 29, 2012 3:00 am

Western Front: Attending to Center Field

0

Geoff Young

How much does the success of a team dictate attendance? The Dodgers and Diamondbacks' narratives are still being written.

Whether an injury to a key player is considered devastating or galvanizing depends on what happens to the team next. Results dictate narrative.

The Diamondbacks and Dodgers both started strong, at least in part due to the play of their respective center fielders. Chris Young was hitting .410/.500/.897 with five home runs when he separated his right shoulder while crashing into a padded wall while making a catch in the fourth inning of an April 17 game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Arizona lost that contest, 5-4, bringing their record on the young season to 7-4.

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May 22, 2012 3:00 am

Western Front: My Kingdome for a Morse

7

Geoff Young

Justin Smoak isn't producing for the Mariners, and he isn't a particularly interesting character, either, so when you research his woes, you end up in a time warp.

You look for things to write about the Mariners. You watch some games, flip through stats pages, maybe think about clever puns for Justin Smoak. Because probably that hasn't been done to death.

You ponder how Smoak has done since coming over from Texas for Cliff Lee in July 2010. Smoak was supposed to provide power, but he has five homers and isn't hitting or getting on base. Still, that is more homers than Albert Pujols, and he is hitting more and getting on base more often. Also, Smoak is seven years younger and a tad less expensive.

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May 15, 2012 3:00 am

Western Front: La Casa Sucia

12

Geoff Young

The Padres are off to a horrible start, so a housecleaning might be forthcoming. Who stays and who goes?

The San Diego Padres, perhaps predictably, have gotten off to a miserable start in 2012. Although expectations were not high coming into the season, almost nothing has gone right for the club. Between injuries and ineffectiveness, not to mention ongoing ownership/television deal issues (I live 15 minutes from Petco Park and cannot watch the team on TV in my home, which might qualify as “charmingly retro” if it weren't so annoying), the Padres are staring at their worst-case scenario only a month into the campaign.

Last week, Kevin Goldstein suggested that a “housecleaning in San Diego could be coming.” Reader pobothecat wondered what such a housecleaning might look like, and so did I.

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