Five Up, Five Down (cont.)
Posted: Thursday April 5, 2007 1:55PM; Updated: Thursday April 5, 2007 4:15PM
1. Defending chumps: Payback's a motha. Less than six months after the Cardinals defeated the Mets in the NLCS and went on to win the World Series, New York stormed into St. Louis and blitzed the defending world champs. The Mets swept the three-game series by a combined 20-2 score and it was every bit as ugly as the score indicates.
Albert Pujols went just 1-for-10 with zero runs and zero RBIs, the team hit .066 with runners in scoring position and the outfield played like the Bad News Bears pre-Kelly Leak. Altogether, it was just a wholly uninspiring effort.
And to add injury to insult, staff ace Chris Carpenter will miss a turn in the rotation due to elbow inflammation on his pitching arm.
2. White Sox staff: Back in 2005, the ChiSox rode the American League's best pitching staff to a World Series title. One season later, Chicago's team ERA rose a full point from 3.61 to 4.61 and the Sox missed the playoffs altogether. Chicago responded by trading stalwart starter Freddy Garcia and hyped youngster Brandon McCarthy for unproven talent. So how is the staff look at the outset of '07? White Sox manger Ozzie Guillen's early verdict is in: "I hope I'm wrong, but I may get an ulcer before the All-Star break."
Guillen's concern is understandable. The White Sox's first two starters of the regular season (Jose Contreras and Jon Garland) allowed a combined 13 runs in 6 1/3 innings.
3. Buccos prospects: On Tuesday, Pittsburgh's top pick in the 2006 draft, pitcher Brad Lincoln, underwent Tommy John surgery and is expected to miss 10-12 months. Devastating news for the franchise ... especially since this is the sixth time it has happened this decade. Remarkably, six of the past seven pitchers the Pirates drafted in the first round required major arm surgery. In Hollywood terms, this is Groundhog Daymeets Hostel.
4. Chances that Carlos Zambrano currently is a Chicago Tribune subscriber: Late last week, it was widely believed that Zambrano and the Cubs were closing in on a contract in the ballpark of $85 million over five years. But on Opening Day, the Chicago Tribune announced that it would sell that team at season's end. With future franchise ownership in limbo, the word on the street is that Zambrano's big-money talks with the Cubs have cooled. In other news, the Chicago Sun-Times' readership grows by one.
5. The Nationals: I know we're less than a week into the season, but with that roster (sans poor Ryan Zimmerman and Chad Cordero), I have a strange feeling we'll be reminiscing about the '62 Mets in the near future.