Email Bob here.
Call the show:
Phone Local: (585) 222-1180
Phone Toll-Free: (800) 295-1180
Verizon Wireless: *1180
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 American League West’s top three teams might be the best three teams in any division – including the AL East. But Seattle is a .500 team at best and Houston probably is the worst team in Major League Baseball..
It won’t be a shock is the AL West earns both of the AL’s wild-card playoff berths. The Los Angeles Angels, Texas Rangers and Oakland A’s are that good.
1—Los Angeles Angels (predicted record 94-68). No owner in baseball wants to win more than Arte Moreno and he never hesitates to put his bank account where his mouth is. One year after shelling out $320 million to free agents Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson, he spent $123 million to lure slugger Josh Hamilton from division rival Texas…Probably baseball’s most potent top-five in the lineup: Mike Trout, Howard Kendrick, Pujols, Hamilton, Mark Trumbo…Will miss Torii Hunter’s bat and leadership…Solid top four starting pitchers: Jared Weaver, C.J. Wilson, Tommy Hanson and Jason Vargas…Bullpen blew 47 saves the last two seasons…Counting on Ryan Madson as closer. He’s coming off elbow surgery. Ernesto Fiieri ban close or be an elite set-up man…Pitching depth not among the best…Started 13-18 last season…In early May, Pujols was hitting .194 with 0 HRs and 5 RBI. He returned to form when Trout arrived from Triple-A. Pujols wound up hitting .285 with 30 HRs and 105 RBI. He’s expected to be better in his second AL season. Trout had one of the all-time best rookie seasons (,326, 129 runs, 30 HRs, 49 stolen bases) and many people believe he should’ve been AL MVP instead of Detroit’s Miguel Cabera…In the last three seasons, Pujols and Hamilton combined for 209 HRs and each had 322 RBI…Topped 3 million in home attendance for 10th consecutive season.
2—Texas Rangers (88-74). Won back-to-back AL titles in 2010-2011 but blew a five-game lead to Oakland with nine games to play last season and lost to Baltimore in the first-ever one game wild-card playoff..Josh Hamilton, Michael Young and Zack Greinke are gone but the Rangers still have the talent and bankroll to win this division…Still have an imposing linerup: 2B Ian Kinsler, SS Elvis Andrus, LF David Murphy, 3B Adrian Beltre, DH Lance Berkman, C A.J. Pierzynski, RF Nelson Cruz, 1B Mitch Moreland, CF Craig Gentry/Leonys Martin…If the offense falters, Jurickson Profar is a call away. He might be baseball’s best prospect…Very good starting rotation: Matt Harrison, Yu Darvish, Derek Holland, Alexi Ogando, Robbie Ross…Joe Nathan still is a reliable closer. Former Kansas City star closer Joakim Soria could give the bullpen a boost coming off elbow surgery…56-23 in games Kinsler scored at least one run last season…14-4 record and hit .287 in interleague play.
3—Oakland Athletics (87-75). General manager Billy Beane’s Moneyball magic was on display last year. No one picked the A’s to win the AL West but manager Bob Melvin’s bargain-basement roster went 33-13 after Aug. 15 to edge the Rangers on the final day of the season...$55 million payroll was lowest in the AL…Excellent young starting rotation – Jarrod Parker, Brett Anderson, Tommy Milone, A.J. Griffin – plus veteran Bartolo Colon…Former Red Wing Grant Balfour anchors a deep and effective bullpen… Bullpen’s 2.94 ERA trailed only Tampa Bay in the AL last season. ..Offensive surprises included Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes (.292, 23 HRs, 82 RBI), Red Sox reject Josh Reddick (32 HRs, 85 RBI) and long-time minor leaguer Brandon Moss (.291, 21 HRs, 52 RBI in 84 games)…Possible surprises this season include Japanese import SS Hiroyuki Nakajima, former Arizona Diamondback OF Chris Young and 2B Scott Sizemore (missed last year after knee surgery)…CF Coco Crisp is underrated...Decent bench…Oakland’s .238 batting average was the lowest for a team making the postseason since Detroit hit .237 in 1972…A’s hitters struck out a MLB-record 1,387 times…Lots of question marks – again. Beane doesn’t care what the “experts” think.
4—Seattle Mariners (75-87) – If all goes well, the Mariners could flirt with .500. But they’re a much better bet to finish fourth…Run production has been increasing: 513 in 2010, 556 in 2011, 619 in 2012…Lineup has potential with Kendrys Morales, Jesus Montero, Kyle Seager, Raul Ibanez, Justin Smoak, World Baseball Classic star Michael Saunders Michael Morse and maybe even Jason Bay…Need more from SS Brendan Ryan, 2B Dustin Ackley and CF Franklin Gutierrez…Ace Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma are a nice 1-2 punch in an otherwise suspect starting rotation…There isn’t a lot behind closer Tom Wilhelmsen in the bullpen…Very good defensive team…Seattle’s 2.96 ERA at home in 2012 was best in team history but 3.17 runs per game at home was worst in MLB...Moving in the fences at Safeco Park this season will help Seattle’s hitters – and opposing hitters…Safeco Field’s 44.4 percent of seats were worst in MLB.
5—Houston Astros (5 7-105) – The Astros don’t figure to receive a warm welcome in their first season in the American League. They’re in full-scale rebuilding mold and will be based in arguably baseball’s best division…Middle infield – 2B Jose Altuve and SS Jed Lowrie – are the team’s top asset now…DH/1B Carlos Pena averaged 32 HRs per year since 2007. His BA was .206 the last three seasons…Bud Norris and Lucas Harrell are by far the top starting pitchers…Closer Jose Veras is with his sixth team in five seasons…Reasonable goal: anything less than 100 losses…Worst-case scenario: Challenge the 120 losses by the 1962 Mets…Some ugly numbers from last season: 55-107 record; minus-211 run differential; 40-80 vs. right-handed starting pitchers; 1-11 in extra innings; 4-34 record June 28 to August 9; 29-46 in games decided by two runs or fewer…Encouraging notes: The Astros finished 15-15 last season and were outscored by only 11 runs over that span…Minor league affiliates went from 337-488 i9n 2011 to 439-394 in 2012.