Code Blue: amid a 1-5 skid that sends them tumbling into third place in the NL West, the Dodgers recall James Loney and Matt Kemp to fortify a flagging offense that's second-to-last in the league in homers; they've gotten just one from Nomar Garciaparra and none from Rafael Furcal, a duo that combined for 35 last year. The moves pay off as the Dodgers sweep the swooning Mets, with Wilson Betemit, Kemp, and Hong-Chih Kuo--the lineup's 7-8-9 hitters--homering on three straight pitches. In addition to adding a Bonds-like flourish to his longballs, Kuo's pitching in on the mound, yielding just two runs in his last 13 innings while striking out 12.Mets color analyst Ron Darling spent an endless amount of time discussing Kuo's bat toss amid an interminable multi-night lecture series on proper conduct amid a losing streak. Darling felt Kuo should have gotten some chin music for his admittedly egregious display, and had he left it at that, things would have been fine. But he'd been pressing the same kind of "Don't hit 'em so hard, Reggie" whine line for two nights in a row, and I was ready to puncture my eardrum with an icepick after listening to him. I don't usually watch the Mets, given that I have two teams to follow already. But while I like the clean graphics of their TV network better than those on YES, and while I dig a good number of the Mets players -- Jose Reyes, David Wright, the slugging (or struggling) Socialist Carlos Delgado, El Duque, Carlos Beltran, etc -- so much about that organization -- from the announcers to Shea Stadium to the life and times of Brooklyn's own Paul Lo Duca (who looked amusingly pained amid the Mets' ridiculously poor play) -- is irreducibly Met-like, and every bit as enthralling as a make-out session with Gary Carter. Yeah, eeeuw.
Regarding the Mariners, I had some serious vertical integration going on Wednesday, as I was able to use the same set of factoids for chat, radio, Hit List, and even idle ballpark chatter -- not that my friend Julie was particularly concerned about the doings in Seattle beyond Jeff Weaver's weird season. Gotta love the cross-platform synergy. Also, there was lots of Hall of Fame/JAWS talk in the chat, with Curt Schilling, John Smoltz, several Mets, and Jorge Posada all up for discussion. I'll have more on Posada in an upcoming Unfiltered entry at BP. Until then...
Malcolm Little (Lansing, MI): We're a little more than 1/3 of the way through MLB v.2007.... ....Can you think of a couple of teams who are very unlikely to get back on track this "late" in the season (beyond the obvious)? Is there a wayward team out there still likely to get it together in time for at least a perfunctory run?
JJ: The last two World Champs, the White Sox and Cardinals, look to be in horrid shape right now. I know the latter has made some advances in the past week or so, but their run differential says that even at 27-34, they're overachieving. As for the White Sox, man, that offense is just kaput, and the low BABIPs of the rotation have been regressing to the mean pretty quickly over the last few weeks.
On the other side of the coin, I really don't think the Cubs are as awful as they look or as the media is making them out to be. For all of their problems they've still got a +25 run differential and they're only 5.5 out. Maybe the Aramis Ramirez injury changes things, but I still think this team can wait out their troubles and give the Brewers a scare.
bloodwedding (BK): Let's face it: Sheffield's last month makes him a lock for the Hall.
JJ: Sheffield's a fantastic hitter, no doubt about it, and he's put up an OPS around 1100 for the past seven weeks. Suffice it to say that no matter what kind of trouble his mouth gets him into, his bat usually manages to hit his way out.
Shef's JAWS coming into the year is already ahead of the HOF rightfielder standards (120.2/68.0/94.1 for him, 119.8/65.5/92.7 for the average), so he's plenty qualifield. The question will be whether the various controversies that surrounded him throughout his career, from the infamous "intentional error" quote to the endless bitching about his contracts to his involvement in BALCO to his latest comments about race are held against him. I'm inclined to think that the writers like him because he give them good copy, and that may help. But I do think there's a lot that can be held against him, with the steroid allegations the biggest threat to him being elected
akachazz (DC): Hey Jay, The situation with the Mariners really REALLY needs to be addressed. Nothing about their roster seems impressive, their hitters are impatient, their staff is mediocre, and they are run by the dunce of the GM world. But their record is outstanding. ???
JJ: The Mariners would rank 10th on the Hit List if it ran today. They're nine games over .500 but only 16 runs above even, which tells me they're not nearly this good (as if their roster didn't tell me that). At the same time, ESPN's Strength of Schedule numbers say that they've played the seventh-toughest schedule, so there is something going on there that's positive.
What's working? They've got a good bullpen, third in the league in WXRL. They may well continue to maintain that, but I think they'll have a hard time preserving the 21-12 record they have in games decided by three runs or less without some serious help from the rotation, which is fourth-to-last in the majors in SNLVAR.
In other words, locate your parachutes.
June 2001 July 2001 August 2001 September 2001 October 2001 November 2001 December 2001 January 2002 February 2002 March 2002 April 2002 May 2002 June 2002 July 2002 August 2002 September 2002 October 2002 November 2002 December 2002 January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010
Subscribe to Posts [Atom]