Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Major League Stuff

I haven't done a lot of talking about other happenings in the M-L-B, so I'm going to rectify that RIGHT NOW:

  • What, did the New York Yankees just look around, see that they were in unfamiliar territory next to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, and decide to win ten straight? They are still only in 4th place, but now are only five games back of the Baltimore Orioles. Old dudes are contributing everywhere, as Bernie Williams just won't quite die off (a grand slam against the Seattle Mariners), and Tino Martinez...MUST BE ON STEROIDS (12 homers). In case you missed it, any somewhat unlikely player that either hits 2 or more home runs in a game or is well ahead of his career home run pace has to be on the juice. What else could it be, really? :)
  • It's still pretty early, but a one thing jumps out at me when looking at Carlos Beltran's statistics thus far this season: OBP. Beltran's OBP is only 50 points higher than his batting average, which isn't what I'm used to seeing these last few years with him. When coupled with his okay-but-not-what-the-Mets-paid-for SLG, Carlos isn't giving New York (NL) what they had hoped for as of yet. It's a bit early, still, but not for much longer.
  • Speaking of early, almost 25% of the season has been played. So the excuses of "it's early" should start going by the boards, and phrases like "early season slump" should begin their slow transformation into phrases like "off-year", or just plain "bad year".
  • Never count out a Billy Beane team, but after their 8-game losing streak (and only winning one of their last 10), the Oakland Athletics aren't looking good. I generally expected them to have some offensive woes, but expected their pitching to carry them. Well, thus far the offense has woes on top of its woes, and their pitching was carrying them for a bit, but then promptly dropped them. The A's staff is currently 1th in the AL in team ERA, 10th in team WHIP, and 10th in k/bb ratio. Not exactly what they're used to in Oakland, but the A's have had poor starts before -- again, don't count them out.

My surprise team to this point is the Milwaukee Brewers. Being at .500 for a team at this point in the season shouldn't be that big of a deal, but like my other fave team, the Brewers have the "Perennial Loser!" tag sewn into the sleeves of their jerseys. Sure, the Washington Nationals are a bit of a surprise, too, especially given their division, but I'm giving them the whole new-lease-on-life thing, and besides -- a part of me wants the Brewers to succeed for at least one year.

However, dark clouds are overhead. On the hitting side of things, they can't reasonably expect Lyle Overbay (1.019 OPS) and Brady Clark (.919 OPS) to continue to hit that well, although both players do have more walks than strikeouts (something I consider to usually be the sign of a good hitter). As a team, the Brewers are drawing walks at a higher rate than any other team in the NL -- something they must continue to do, as both their team batting average and team SLG are in the bottom half of the league.

On the pitching side of things, just about every reliever the Brewers care to throw out there is doing their jobs, and a few, such as Derrick Turnbow, Matt Wise, and Mike Adams, are doing very, very well indeed. To hurt my pride, even a couple of former Royals (Ricky Bottalico and Wes Obermueller) are doing well. And I know all Giants fans have an idea how much Brewers fans hope that Ben Sheets will be back sooner than later.

Can the Brewers contend in the NL Central? No, probably not, but they won't lose nearly as many as the 94 games they lost in 2004. I think they will have a shot at going .500, though, something that Royals fans know can be a pretty big deal when the team's been down so long.

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