Thursday, July 31, 2008

Trades, division races, and Manny. This is getting good.

The trade deadline moves have stolen the headlines and rightfully so, but whomever made the schedule should get bought a cold one for the matchups that have fallen on a weekend where MLB needs to stake a claim or get lost in the Olympic shuffle. Dodgers/D-Backs separated by one game and getting together for a four-game set at Chavez Ravine. The first place Angels going through Boston, then stopping in NYC for four nights with both of those teams chasing the Rays and needing to win the series. Cubs & Brewers going 1 & 2, and battling in Milwaukee. Lastly, in the AL Central, in case you’ve forgotten, the Sox and Twins are within a couple of games and will square off. Now Jr. coming to town and bringing HR’s with him with the hope that is veteran leadership will bring the South Siders together in time to hold on down the stretch. What do you think is the best match up, division race, and trade beneficiary?

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Torre and the Dodgers enjoying the view from up top

As he sun tans in 80 degree weather, shops with his lap dog on Rodeo Drive, and takes meetings to sell a screen play, Joe Torre now has his Los Angeles Dodgers in first place in the NL West, and the struggling 3rd place Yankees are a million miles away. Yes, it’s true the NL West is somewhere between triple A and Division 1, but has the under .500 Dodgers sit in first place that is just fine for the NY transplant. But with one half of the season to go can the winner of the west still end the season with a respectable record and/or make some noise in the playoffs? Well, this isn’t like the NFL or NBA where if you play in a tough division you might be worn down come playoff time so the answer is probably no. Just the same it won’t go over will in the Big Apple if Joe is in Blue and their still playing even in September and the pinstripes are watching.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Angels and Rays (yes, the Rays) look like teams to beat in 2nd half

They have been the press darlings the entire year and deservingly so. The Tampa Bay Rays, after a thorough drubbing of the Red Sox at home, have a four game lead in the AL East and will take something close to it into the All-Star break. Winners of nine of their last 10, playing .700 ball at home and .500 on the road, they are now not only a bonifide contender but the team to beat in the East. The question is, can the kids hold up under the pressure if they drop a couple of games they should win, or go on the a tough roadie and find teams like the Yanks and Sox in their rear view mirror a couple of games back? Will they fold? I say their time has come and it’s the Yankees who will not have enough to finish as their pitching will not hold up.

On the other side of the coin, you have the most consistent team in baseball the LA Angels who seem to play about as well on the road as they do at home, even better. But the Angel bats will need to come out of hibernation in the second half of the season as the league will not be as forgiving and neither will the schedule. Last I checked they will not have any more games scheduled with the NL west.

Hey our bad for doubting the Twins and we’re eating a lot of crow right now, but we still don’t think they can hold their mud and be around with the wheel goes round’. We’ll be the first to apologize if they’re still standing in October but based on the last 20 years, I think we’re ok. Honestly, we hope they prove us wrong because it would be great to see a new face in mix this year. Meanwhile “Crazy Ozzie” and his band of Mercenaries are leading the way with an impressive .575 winning percentage. The ‘tough love’ seems to be working.

In the NL on the other hand there are six teams that have a great shot to represent, all within 4.5 of the lead as in the Central the Cubs an Cards just completed a pre-break blood bath with the Cubs left standing and leading by 2 games. We can’t even comment on the ‘goat thing’, the ‘century drought’, or any of the other trite headlines that follow the loveable losers but if Kerry Woods doesn’t improve on his blown save pct. (25%) there will be mass suicide watches in the windy city come Fall. Meanwhile the mastermind that is Tony LaRussa has the Cards back in the thick of things just waiting for the Cubs to take their typical late season stumble. We have the Brewers in this mix as well just because they have enough stick to win games on offense alone.

In the NL East we like the Phills to pull away in the end and end the Sunshine State’s dream of an “Orange Juice Series” but it’s good to NOT be able to see the color of the seats this late in the season as in prior years they drew more for the high school baseball finals then the Marlin’s games but that’s what happens when you hock your future to win in one year, it could take a decade to get back. The case doesn’t hold true for Philly as they were never given the proposition to trade one shot for 10 years of futility they haven’t been in the mix this late since Bake McBride played center field, but will represent the division this year and then Arlen Spector will have something else to do with his time. This just in, the Lancaster Jethawks now lead the NL west by 5 games and will probably win the division going away. If the Giants are 10 game under .500 and only 4.5 games out, we can’t even take this division seriously. There are no contenders here, enjoy your vacation in LA Joe.

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