** Living in the Northeast and primarily following the AL, I know all about the Yankees’ improbable season. But what if I told you that there was a team that…
entire starting outfield has been on the DL
All-Star/Silver Slugger second baseman played just ten games
All-Star catcher is hitting .180 (while playing more than all but one other MLB backstop)
Closer pitched poorly then went on the DL
Bullpen has most blown saves in MLB
Ace went seven starts between earning wins
Number two pitcher earned just one win in a stretch of seven starts
Number three pitcher has sub-.500 record
Number four pitcher recently earned his first win (ninth start of the season)
In the offseason they traded away the player that now leads the majors in home runs
And what if I told you that this team (Arizona Diamondbacks) is in first place, in a division that includes the reigning World Series champs and another team with a $217M payroll?
Paul Goldschmidt (.333, 12 HR, 35 RBI,...
One of the most offensively intensive games, maybe in all of MLB history, involved the Cubs and Phillies in Wrigley on May 17, 1979. MLB Network ranked this game #20 on the list of 20 greatest games of the last 50 years in 2010. Though I was not born yet (game happened less than five months before I was born), so much happened in this game to not recap.
Just a reminder of where the baseball world was at that time. The two time defending World Series Champions were the New York Yankees, who had beat the Los Angeles Dodgers for the second straight season. The Yankees would suffer a big loss this season as their captain, Thurman Munson, would die in a plane crash in August of this year. The Pittsburgh Pirates would defeat the Baltimore Orioles in this season's fall...
A month is in the books so here is my early May Power Report. For each team I have a ranking and a few interesting stats/observations. Enjoy it, because it took a lot of work!
(I do these once a month and prefer little movement. When some "expert" moves a team up 6 spots and then down 5 spots a week later, that says more about the "expert" than the team. That's why some teams with worse records have better rank than "surprise" teams I expect to dip soon.)
30. Astros. Lost 10 out of 11 and outscored by 24 runs the last two. The 198 runs they’ve allowed is 34 more than the next team. On pace for 41-121 record. They’ve also racked up an impressive 323 strikeouts, which will shatter the all time record. Philip Humber not only has the highest ERA but also the lowest run support; that’s how you go 0-7. There’s no question...
Last night may be one of the nuttiest baseball days I can ever remember! Here are the highlights:
Rough day for relief pitchers...
- Mets' Jeremy Hefner pitches 8.1 shutout innings, leaves leading 1-0 with a man on third. His reliever Brandon Lyon gives up a single for a run, then the Marlins walk-off with a wild pitch.
- Trevor Cahill of the Diamondbacks also pitched a shutout into the ninth inning. After he was removed (after throwing just 88 pitches), J.J. Putz gave up a two-run homer to lose the game 2-1.
So two starting pitchers were removed in the ninth inning leading 1-0 and both teams lost.
- Poor Robin Ventura, all he needs is a reliever he can count on. He brought in a new White Sox pitcher for the sixth inning in a tie game. The pitcher walked a batter and was taken out. The new pitcher gave up a double to his only batter and was removed. The...
If you saw my previous article written earlier today, you know that the Red Sox have the best record in baseball. After one month, the Red Sox, Royals and Pirates are all alone in first place, and after Colorado lost two to Arizona this weekend, the Rockies and Diamondbacks are now tied for the division lead. Take that for what it's worth, we've seen it before.
With that in mind, here are some notes from the last week of this great baseball season.
- As mentioned in my Red Sox article, Boston is 14-0 in games that Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, and Felix Doubront pitch.
- Boston's schedule through May 30 includes 27 games against the Twins, Blue Jays, White Sox, Indians, Rays and Phillies.
- Red Sox hit 29 doubles in seven games last week (ten more than anyone else).
- After a slow start, the Pittsburgh Pirates are 11-4 against the Cardinals, Reds, Braves and D-Backs.
- The Pirates' pitching staff, statistically...
Just about every MLB team knows who they will go to when they have a 1-3 run lead in the 9th inning. In most cases, the reliever is proven and has a track record for recording outs in the 9th inning. That proof seems to mean the amount of saves the reliever has. As much as teams have it known who their closer is, there are still several changes when it comes to who will pitch the 9th inning. Even in cases where the closer is a no brainer.
So far this season, the Tigers have gone from a bullpen by committee to bringing back the proven, maybe not always relyable, Jose Valverde. The Brewers have replaced proven John Axford before he can record a save this season. Jimmy Henderson (2-0, 5 saves, 0.90, 14 Ks in 10 IP) is now finishing off...
There are precious few things I hate more than bad relief pitching. Specifically guys who come in and can't throw strikes. We sure saw a lot of that this week.
- In fifth inning on Thursday, Cubs' Scott Feldman was relieved by Hideki Takahashi with a one run lead. Takahashi walked the pitcher with the bases loaded, Cubs lost by one run, and Feldman was charged with the loss.
- With a two-run Reds lead in the eighth inning on Sunday, Jonathan Broxton walked the first batter, and the next batter hit a home run to tie the game. After the next batter grounded out, Broxton again walked a batter immediately followed by another home run to break the tie. The Pirates then pinch-hit with a pitcher (Jonathan Sanchez) and Broxton walked him! Sanchez also scored in the inning.
- Speaking of those Reds, they took advantage of some awful relief pitching earlier in the week. On Monday in a tie...
I can think of no better way to open up the baseball season than with one game on a Sunday night in March featuring the worst team in the whole league. Tough to take this "Opening Night" thing serious. But hey, the Yankees and Red Sox, Giants and Dodgers, and Phillies and Braves all kick off the true Opening Day on an April Monday for one of the most anticipated season kickoffs in memory.
On Friday I gave my season preview and projections for the AL East. Here are my predictions for the rest of the Major Leagues. Division standings are first and awards follow.
There is a lot of parity in the AL while the NL is pretty much the haves and the have-nots. With two terrible teams in both the NL East and West, the wild cards will come from both, while at least one wild card comes from from the AL West (possibly two).
The Chicago Cubs had a difficult season under new manager Dale Sveum, new GM Jed Hoyer and President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein. In my opinion, this was an example of many things going wrong, led by the injuries to RHP Matt Garza and trades of RHP Ryan Dempster, LHP Paul Maholm and others. I like some of the moves they made this off season, mainly the signings of Edwin Jackson, Scott Hairston and some under-the-radar starting pitchers. Though I do not see the team competing for a playoff spot, or finishing over .500 for that matter, I see a significant improvement from the 101 loss season of a year ago. However, their progress will be effected by the Houston Astros leaving the division and league.
The theme from my inverse breakdown is pitching, mostly starting pitching. The...
Today, we hit the NL Central. Can the Cubs start down the road to respectability? Will the Cardinals miss Chris Carpenter? Are the Pirates ready to put together a full season? And what impact does the loss of Houston have on expectations for the five teams that remain? Tune in at Eastern/2 Pacific and chime in on Facebook or @doviddobin on Twitter....