Friday, September 24, 2004
Astros 5, Giants 3Thank God for Lance Berkman and the Giants' bullpen. At least we're taking a lead going into the enemy's territory, tenuous as that lead might be.
New BlogSpeaking of leads, new blogger The Fourth Outfielder was nice enough to link to me in an article reminding everyone that the season isn't actually over -- well, it's darn close, but it's not over, not just yet, anyway. He throws a little cold water on my observation that the Giants' starting rotation is hotter than a New Orleans summer:
Has anybody been paying attention to who these teams have been playing? In the Giants last 17 games, they've played nine against the Brewers and D'Backs, who place 29th and 30th in baseball in runs scored despite playing in parks that favor hitters. Their last five games have been against the Padres and Astros, who are 8th and 6th in the NL in runs scored, respectively. In those five games, they've allowed only 11 runs. Seems like a hot staff, right? Well, it could be that, but it's much more likely that they've simply had their luck come all at once. Have we forgotten who we're dealing with here? After Jason Schmidt, who hasn't been effective since returning from his groin injury, the Giants staff consists of:Ah, Tom, you haven't been a Dodger fan in recent years. (Heck, you've probably never been a Dodger fan. Assuming you live up north, it's just as well for your safety, I'm sure.) We're waiting for the other shoe to drop, and with ten games left to play, the likelihood of a Dodger choke is only increased by Penny's loss. The Dodgers have been playing teams with excellent (Cardinals) or adequate (Rockies at Colorado, Padres) offenses -- and losing to them all month.
Is that the worst staff in baseball? No. Is it good? Heck no. Is it the kind of staff that can be said to be hot? I wouldn't say so. It's full of guys who've feasted on weak competition recently and there's only one guy in the group (outside of Schmidt) who can be expected to be average or better, and that one (Lowry) might reasonably be expected to hit a rough patch. When you factor in that the Giants have a pretty terrible bullpen, this is not a staff to be afraid of.
- a 30-year-old posting a career high in Defense-Independent ERA this year... at 4.37.
- a 33-year-old with a K:BB ratio under 1.0.
- a 23-year-old with a 2.56 minor league K:BB ratio and a 2.72 K:BB ratio in 13 starts this year- good, but no ace.
- a 24-year-old who, between AA, AAA, and the NL has a 1.32 K:BB ratio.
Update: I'm wrong. Tom, watch your back up there.
Yanks ClinchThe Yanks clinched by beating the Devil Rays 7-3. A-Rod was his characteristically egotistical, arrogant self, declaring of the division clinch, "It's nice, but we expect that coming in." Salary cap? How about a cap to the back of A-Rod's inflated ego?
Update: The Yanks didn't clinch the division, only a playoff spot. The magic number for the division is still 6.
Braves One Away, Rangers Tie AngelsThe Reds, who went from a two-game lead in the NL Central as recently as June 6 to 70-82 division punching bag somehow managed to stave off the Braves' clinching their thirteenth consecutive NL East division title by beating them in Atlanta, 3-2.
Meantime, the Rangers somehow found some of their early-season magic in Buck Showalter's duffel bag somewhere and beat Octavio Dotel and the A's 5-4 in Arlington, accomplishing a home sweep of the A's. Despite the Angels' best efforts, the A's are trying as hard as they can to give us the division. I just don't expect it will happen.