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Wild Card: Seven Underperforming Teams
Thanks to everyone who participated in our little troll-baiting experiment last week. I stand by those evaluations, even if the Brewers haven’t lost a game since (they have been playing the Pirates and Nationals, you know). The idea, of course, was not to be inflammatory, but to pair last week’s list of overachievers up with a list of five underachieving teams this week. In the interim, however, two underperforming teams I had pegged for this week started winning (albeit against weak competition). Just to tick everyone off, I’ll start with those two criminally neglected ballclubs, but in the interests of fairness, I’ll make it up to you by listing two bonus underachievers at the end.
New York YankeesYes, Roger Clemens will make them a better ballclub, but the Yankees were due to improve even before they doled out the largest annual salary in major-league history to a 44-year-old hurler who hasn’t pitched since last September. The Yankees have the best offense in baseball and only recently got two of their top three starters (Chien-Ming Wang, who took a perfect game into the eighth inning last Saturday, and Mike Mussina) back from early-season DL stays. The return of the ultra-efficient Wang especially will help take pressure off the bullpen, where Mariano Rivera is sure to get over what have become his annual early-season hiccups. By early June, when the Yankees round out their rotation with Clemens and top prospect Phil Hughes, whose no-hitter-dashing hamstring tear turned out to be less severe than originally thought, the team could be right back in the thick of the wild-card hunt. That said, the Red Sox may be too strong for the Yankees’ to build on their streak of nine consecutive AL East titles.
Chicago CubsThe Cubs’ early-season struggles have led to a lot of I-told-you-so articles about how the team’s offseason spending spree was as pointless as the Blue Jays’ the year before. Don’t be so quick to judge. The early returns on Ted Lilly and Jason Marquis have exceeded everyone’s expectations, including GM Jim Hendry’s, and, although they lack gaudy homer totals, Alfonso Soriano and Aramis Ramirez are producing at or above their career norms. Actually, one curious note about the Cubs’ April is the offense’s odd distribution of homers and doubles. In the NL as a whole thus far this season, there have been 2.21 doubles hit for every home run. The Cubs, however, have 3.04 doubles for every home run despite the presence of such elite mashers such as Soriano, Ramirez and Derrek Lee. Taking a closer look, Ramirez is on pace for 40 dingers, but Soriano and Lee are only on pace for 18 and 10, respectively. At the same time, Soriano and Lee are on pace for 72 and 86 doubles each, which suggests that the ball just wasn’t carrying at Wrigley in April. Indeed, the Cubs have slugged .456 on the road, but only .396 at home thus far. That will change as the weather warms up. Of course, that change will also inflate the team ERA, but the Cubs are due for some correction in their luck, much like the next team on this list.
Philadelphia PhilliesA team’s record in one-run games is largely the result of luck and tends to trend back toward .500. The three worst one-run records in baseball right now belong to the New York Yankees (2-6), the Chicago Cubs (2-7), and the Philadelphia Phillies (1-7). Those clubs are also three of only four teams in the majors that have outscored their opponents, but don’t have winning records, another strong indication of an underachieving team. The Phillies, of course, are perennial underachievers, having failed to make the playoffs since 1993 despite winning at least 85 games in five of the last six seasons and finishing second in the NL East in four of those. Thus far this year, their problem has been pitching, particularly the last two spots in a rotation that was supposedly six-deep entering the season. The Phillies have responded to that in their usual boneheaded manner by pulling their supposed ace, Brett Myers, out of the rotation after one strong start and two bad ones and sticking him in the bullpen even before they had a need to replace since injured closer Tom Gordon. Still, Cole Hamels (the team’s true ace), the ageless Jamie Moyer, and the formerly unwanted Jon Lieber have been excellent, and Freddy Garcia showed no ill effects after running into a groundskeeper’s cart while shagging batting practice flies. The MRI on Gordon’s shoulder was negative, and, having had a cortisone shot, he’s resumed throwing. If the Phillies would just dump Adam Eaton and reinstall Myers in the rotation, the natural corrections they’re due to enjoy in their overall fortunes could get them back in their customary bridesmaid position by year's end.
Toronto Blue JaysThe fourth-worst record in one-run games belongs to the Blue Jays (3-8). Unlike the Yankees, Cubs, and Phillies, the Blue Jays may not be much more than a .500 ballclub, but that’s still a big improvement over their current .382. The Jays’ big problem thus far has been injuries, which I wrote about a few weeks ago over on the AL East portion of this blog. Troy Glaus has returned and picked up right where he left off, but catcher and on-base machine Gregg Zaun has taken his place on the DL, rookie Adam Lind has yet to lived up to his billing in place of Reed Johnson, and the bullpen is still struggling to cope with the loss of closer B. J. Ryan, who had Tommy John surgery last week and is out for the year. Then again, much like the Phillies, the Blue Jays’ real problem is the rotation; the Jays have lost nine in a row and allowed an average of eight runs per game over that stretch. No team can continue to play that poorly. Not even the ...
Kansas City RoyalsThat’s right, the Royals are underachieving. They’re currently on pace to lose 110 games, but I still think they’ll avoid hitting the century mark for the first time since 2003. The primary reason is that the offense is not nearly as bad as it’s shown itself to be in the early going. The Royals are currently dead last in the AL in runs per game, but Alex Gordon, Emil Brown, and Ryan Shealy (who’s been hurt) have contributed virtually nothing thus far and power prospect Billy Butler just arrived on the scene. I’m not saying the Royals are going to slug with the Yankees, but those four should kick into gear sooner or later, and the team could get an extra boost if Mark Grudzielanek is cleared away so that Esteban German can be given the second base job. Remember, everything’s relative. A 95-loss season would be a boon for this franchise.
Minnesota TwinsThe first of my two bonus selections, the Twins are the fourth team without a winning record to have outscored its opponents. The Twins can easily upgrade the No. 5 spot in the rotation currently occupied by Sidney Ponson with any of a number of in-house candidates, and are currently without defending batting champion Joe Mauer due to a quadriceps strain. Also, two-time Cy Young award winner Johan Santana does his best work in the second half (2.55 ERA, 45-10 career in the second half vs. 3.74, 37-23 in the first half). Improvement over their current .500 record is almost guaranteed.
Washington NationalsOne thing that some of the more irate commenters failed to appreciate about my Overachievers post last week was that extreme performance of any kind is unlikely to persist. That’s why I tabbed the Braves, Indians, and Brewers as Overacheivers, and that’s why I’m including the dreadful Nats here as my second bonus pick. The Nationals have a .265 winning percentage. That would tie them with the 2003 Detroit Tigers for the sixth-worst winning percentage since 1900 if they were to finish the season at that level. The Nationals have scored just 2.91 runs per game thus far this year. Last year the worst offense in baseball belonged to the Pittsburgh Pirates; they scored 4.27 runs per game. The last time a team scored less than three runs per game over a full season was 35 years ago. This level of futility is unsustainable, particularly when Ryan Zimmerman hasn’t started hitting yet and Nick Johnson is starting to work out with an eye toward returning around the All-Star break.
Cliff Corcoran is the co-author of Bronx Banter.
Labels: Wild Card
NL East: Mets Fans to Duquette -- All is Forgiven
July 30, 2004 is a date that will likely always live in infamy for Mets fans.
It was on that day that the MLB transaction log read as follows: "NEW YORK METS - Traded LHP Scott Kazmir and RHP Jose Diaz to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays for RHP Victor Zambrano and RHP Bartolome Fortunato."
Zambrano, of course, did worse than scuffle as a Met; he went 10-14, and ended his career in New York by sprinting off the mound after tearing up his elbow last May 6. He’s now a long reliever and spot starter for the Blue Jays, for whom he currently boasts an ERA near 11.00.
The 23-year-old lefthanded dynamo that is Scott Kazmir, meanwhile, has lived up to his considerable promise in his short big league career; he’s struck out more than a batter an inning (416 K’s in 407.2 IP), made the All-Star Game last year, and has given every indication that he’ll be an ace for the next decade, at the least.
I don’t need to remind Mets fans of any of these facts; they’re still so distraught by the trade, which effectively ended Jim Duquette’s tenure as the team’s GM and ushered in the Omar Minaya era, that some of them spend their valuable time producing work such as this.
Shea goers may never get over the Kazmir deal, but their rancor should be assuaged by the knowledge that their team currently features a young phenom who, so far in 2007, has been superior in every way to Tampa Bay’s diminutive flamethrower. His name is John Maine.
Maine, 25, is already the second-best player in the history of the major leagues to share his name with that of a U.S. state (sleep with one eye open, Claudell Washington). More importantly, he’s quickly established himself as a genuine ace, for a team that desperately needs one. The Mets have not lost in Maine’s seven starts in 2007, and equally crucially for Mets fans’ peace of mind, he’s currently topping Kazmir in most major pitching categories, including ERA (1.79 to 3.71); strikeouts (41 to 38); WHIP (1.07 to 1.31); batting average against (.188 to .244). Maine has dominated on a more consistent basis than Kazmir -– he’s yet to allow more than three earned runs in a start, whereas Kazmir allowed a combined nine in his first two outings of the year. And he’s demonstrated less of a propensity to give up the long ball -– just three, to Kazmir’s seven.
At a sturdy 6’4", 205 pounds, Maine should also in the long-term be able to better avoid the injury concerns that have bedeviled Kazmir, who’s listed at 6 feet but appears shorter in person, and relies on a high impact pitching delivery. Kazmir made only five starts after the All-Star break last year thanks to a sore shoulder; he was still recovering last fall while Maine was making his stunning breakout in the post-season, in which he allowed a total of four earned runs against the Dodgers and Cardinals.
Of course, there’s little reason why the Mets shouldn’t currently feature both Maine and Kazmir at the top of their rotation. Duquette can always be blamed for that. Still, it’s worth pointing out that the deal that made Maine a Met last January -– he was traded for the underachieving former No. 1 draft pick Kris Benson, who’s currently out for the season due to a torn rotator cuff -– was made with the Orioles. And who at the time was three months into his new job as the Orioles’ V.P. of Baseball Operations? None other than Jim Duquette.
Perhaps the Mets have something for which to thank Duquette after all.
• Nats fans, things may be getting worse: Your team now features Tony Batista, a player about whom the Distinguished Senators blog observes, "He has skinny little Tyrannosaurus Rex arms, which is even weirder looking what with his gut and ass having a perpetual protrusion contest below them."
• Jimmy Rollins, who is two off the NL home run lead, was shifted from first to third in the batting order.
• The Marlins continue to insist that the injured Jorge Julio, who was part of the Maine-for-Benson trade to the Mets last January, is their closer, despite the fact that rookie fill-in Henry Owens currently has an ERA that is more than twelve ticks lower.
• If your local team has an off day, you’ve long been able to get your baseball fix by watching the Braves on TBS. Not for long.
• For some reason, most of the Mets, including David Wright and Shawn Green, decided to shave their heads. Is it just me, or does Green look something like Ridley from Alien 3?
Labels: NL East
AL West: Bring Sexy Back
On Dictionary.com, the definition for sex appeal is: "Immediate appeal or obvious potential to interest or excite others, as by appearance, style, or charm." The Web site doesn't list an antonym, but for now, it may as well be: AL West.
As the only division in baseball without a 20-win team (Los Angeles leads the quartet with 17 victories), the AL West is the least buzz-worthy collection of squads in the majors. In the grand scheme of MLB sexiness, the AL West is Janet Reno.
Alas, division attractiveness is cyclical, and a glance reveals the West's potential for intrigue. This quartet is completely void of a lost-cause team like the Washington Nationals or Kansas City Royals -- all four teams are somewhat evenly matched, as the standings portray (four games separate first from last). Simply put, this division is currently mired with mediocrity. In turn, every team is in the race. So, there is potential for high sex appeal ... if a couple teams just improved a bit to give the division race some cachet on the national level. So just over a month into the '07 campaign, here is my advice for spicing things up on each AL West team and bringing the collective division back from the depths of irrelevancy. It's sexy time!
Angels: Two words: Miggy magic. It was widely reported last season that the Angels were working on a trade with Baltimore that would have sent some of the Angels' youth (Ervin Santana and Erick Aybar were among those mentioned) to the Orioles for Miguel Tejada. Baltimore allegedly nixed the deal, but there seemed to be definite interest. It's time for Los Angeles GM Bill Stoneman to rekindle these talks (if he hasn't already). The Angels organization is loaded with pitching talent (on top of the current five-man rotation, Joe Saunders and Dustin Moseley have shown they can be effective starters), so giving up a young arm wouldn't leave the cupboard bare. While trading a position prospect like Aybar could hurt the team down the line, the Angels must think in the present. With its deep, battle-tested pitching staff, this team is just a potent bat away from becoming a true World Series contender.
Athletics: The A's need even more offensive help than the Angels, and Oakland's hitting ineptitude starts right at the top of the lineup. When it comes to the leadoff spot, the A's possess the lowest batting average (.226) and run total (15) in the American League. Jason Kendall has proven too old for table-setting duties and I'm skeptical of this Shannon Stewart experiment. Oakland must obtain a true leadoff man, and I'm not talking about bringing back Rickey Henderson. The A's have developed a fabulous relationship with Kansas City over the years. Any chance David Dejesus -- who was involved in trade rumors in the offseason -- is available? Another simple way to improve the A's: make sure everyone takes their vitamins. Seriously, this team is absolutely crippled by injury (Rich Harden, Mike Piazza, Milton Bradley, Mark Kotsay, Bobby Kielty and Esteban Loaiza are all on the DL).
Mariners: Aside from praying for King Felix's arm and Richie Sexson's bat, Mariners brass have one glaring item on the to-do list: shake up the rotation. Even if Hernandez does return in the near future, the Mariners still have the second-worst starters' ERA in the baseball (5.92). Miguel Batista (5.70), Horacio Ramirez (7.62) and Jeff Weaver (15.35) may be the worst 3-4-5 in baseball. As evidenced by this offseason, though, starting pitching comes at a premium price. Luckily, no trade is necessary. The solution can be found in Seattle's bullpen right now and his name is Brandon Morrow. Before becoming the fifth overall pick in the 2006 draft, the fireballing Morrow was Cal's ace. I know the team's plan was to let him get his feet wet in the 'pen this season before moving him to the rotation in '08, but desperate times call for desperate measures. Last year proved that rookie pitchers don't need bullpen training wheels (see: Justin Verlander, Jered Weaver, Matt Cain).
Rangers: Admittedly, this is the team with the most work to do. The offense is vastly underachieving, and the pitching staff may be baseball's worst. But first things first -- this ballclub must start by improving its basic fundamentals. The Rangers have committed the most errors (28) in the American League and compiled the second-highest total of unearned runs (21). Infielders are responsible for 21 of these miscues, which is very strange considering infield defense is Ron Washington's forte. The defense should get better as the year goes along and Washington has more time to impart his knowledge on the team. The Rangers also need to position some players better, namely Jerry Hairston Jr. This guy is not a center fielder -- just look at his costly error on Tuesday night against the Yankees.
This entire team is underperforming, and trading guys at their lowest value wouldn't make much sense. The farm system has seen better days, especially when it comes to position players. So "spicing up" this team is a pretty difficult task. For right now, the Rangers need to weather this storm and hope that whenever they snap out of this collective funk, .500 is in sight.
Labels: AL West
NL Central: Brewers in Good Hands
It's a few hours before a recent game at Miller Park, and the giddy Brewers fans are starting to waltz into the ballpark. The grills are being fired up at Gorman's Corner, and in the home dugout, Milwaukee GM Doug Melvin is gazing up at the ballpark scoreboard as it flashes through baseball's league leaders. Melvin sees the current home run frontrunners ("Ian Kinsler -- nine home runs, how 'bout that," he says) to the game's K kings ("Aaron Harang is so underrated -- all he does is keep leading the league in strikeouts").
When the list of rookie leaders appears, Melvin takes note of a conspicuous absence. "Alex Gordon, he's really struggling, huh?" says the GM. He turns to me. "You see, that's the thing about calling up [Ryan] Braun," Melvin says, referring to the Brewers' top prospect, who, a day earlier, went 6-for-8 at third base and stroked his eighth homer in a doubleheader at Triple-A Nashville. "You make a trade, call the kid up, and he hits .130. Then what? You just never know with rookies."
The Brewers faithful are clamoring for Braun's promotion, but Melvin made it clear last week that a move isn't imminent, not with the Brew Crew off to their best start in franchise history. Brewers fans, trust Melvin: the man clearly knows what he's doing. Here's a glimpse at how one of the most underrated GMs in the game has masterfully put together this year's Milwaukee Brewers:
According to Clay Davenport over at Baseball Prospectus, the Brewers' playoff odds are at 64 percent -- second in the National League only to the Mets (68 percent). On Tuesday night, Milwaukee beat the Nats for a second straight day, and the folks at Brew Crew Ball came to this realization: the defense is as good as it's been in a long time . Part of the reason has been the vast improvement of Rickie Weeks' glove work, which the second baseman has been working hard to change.
Around the division:
Labels: NL Central
AL Central: Big Boppers Hit the Skids
Memo to Travis Hafner: Demand a trade. Now.
This is no slight to the first-place Indians -- just my genuine concern for Haf's health and hitting. You see, strange things have been happening to many of the AL Central's marquee sluggers.
Save Hafner, Torii Hunter and Magglio Ordoñez, it's been a rough spell for the big bats of the Midwest:
Chicago's Paul Konerko is hitting .196 with more strikeouts (27) than hits (21).
Teammate Jermaine Dye is sporting a .219 average with a similar strikeout (28) to hits (21) ratio.
Sure, Jim Thome tallied 17 hits and five homers in his first 50 at bats -- and then went on the disabled list with a rib cage injury.
Minnesota's Justin Morneau has been mediocre when measured by his MVP standards: .267 average, six homers, 17 RBIs. And he's suffering through bouts of inconsistency -- a 12-game homerless streak earlier, now working on a similar seven-gamer -- and has just about locked himself in the film room. But take heed, Twins fans, Monreau was batting .208 on this date last year, leading someone (ahem, my brother) to make one of the most disastrous fantasy keeper league trades in recorded history: Morneau for Tim Hudson, vintage 2006. Don't worry, my bro also threw in Preston Wilson. Ouch.
Joe Mauer batted .353 in his first 28 games -- and then went on the disabled list with a left quad strain.
Cleanup hitter Michael Cuddyer got off to a fairly respectable start (.284, 2 HR, 19) -- and then missed all weekend with a bruised back.
Cleveland's Grady Sizemore enjoyed one of the best three-game starts in recent memory (6-14 with three HRs) -- and has hit just .229 since with only two more round-trippers.
Victor Martinez is hitting .333 with 24 RBIs -- but did his own stint on the DL with a quadriceps strain.
Detroit's Gary Sheffield, as detailed in this space last week, was hitting .193 with one homer entering last week's Baltimore series. (He’s 6-18 with three HRs since.)
Pudge Rodriguez has drawn just one walk in 116 plate appearances and is sporting a .267 on-base percentage.
All-world prospect Alex Gordon is the closest the Royals have to a "marquee" bat, and he's been horrible: .175, 2 HR, 5 RBIs in 97 at bats.
The well-documented cold weather that rocked the Northeast and Midwest in April may well be to blame; offensive numbers are down across the majors, and guys are obviously tighter and more injury-prone in the chill.
Maybe Hafner's North Dakota heritage helped him battle the cold through April. But now he needs to worry: he left April with a .338 average, which has dropped 40 points in May's first week. (Maybe he should take pointers from teammate Trot Nixon, who raised his batting average 67 points in 48 hours thanks to an 8-10 weekend.)
Hafner still managed a great start and finish to this past week (that's a Tuesday to Tuesday week, mind you, based on this blog's schedule), though he did go 1-17 in-between. He hit a homer Tuesday, and in the eleventh inning last Wednesday Hafner defeated Toronto's exaggerated shift by chopping a double down the third-base line to score David Delucci from first -- it's about the softest game-winning double you can ever find, but somewhere "Wee Willie Keeler" is smiling as Hafner indeed "hit 'em where they ain't."
There was no doubt, however, about his ninth career grand slam yesterday.
But consider yourself warned, Mr. Hafner -- run away while you still can.
Labels: AL Central
NL West: Everything's Jake
Jake Peavy is back.
A year after the San Diego ace's ERA rose to an unreliable 4.09, Peavy has been nearly unhittable.
Peavy, who will turn 26 on May 31, struck out 10 while allowing four baserunners in seven shutout innings Sunday at Florida -- his third consecutive game with 10 or more strikeouts, as Corey Brock of MLB.com pointed out.
"If the Marlins felt as if they were strapped to an operating table Sunday, minus the anesthesia, it was because San Diego Padres pitcher Jake Peavy sliced them to shreds with a surgeon's precision," Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald wrote.
Peavy's ERA is now a sterling 1.75, and he has struck out 56 in 46 1/3 innings while allowing only one baserunner per inning -- and only one home run all season.
Brock writes that Padres insiders are partially crediting new addition Greg Maddux for teaching Peavy to pitch with greater efficiency. Maybe so, but Peavy's resurgence actually began in August. Entering the month with a 2006 ERA of 5.01 (including 7.12 in July), Peavy finished the rest of the season at 2.64, with 79 strikeouts in 78 1/3 innings. (Let the record show that in August, the legally blind Peavy got a new set of contact lenses after struggling to have a new prescription filled for the better part of the season.)
Peavy burst into the baseball consciousness in 2004 by leading the NL in ERA at age 23. Amazingly, he didn't get a single point in the Cy Young voting, but many have been waiting for him to take the award each year since -- until this year, when some began wondering what went wrong. Now, when it comes to Peavy, it's back to the Cy Young watch.
"He's got his arm back, he's healthy and he seems so much more relaxed," wrote Gaslamp Ball, a Padres blog. "You actually see him smiling out on the mound. Earlier in his career you could see him chewing himself out in a tight situation. This year if he misses a pitch you'll see him smile occasionally or just throw the next pitch. He still puts emotion into his game but he's learned to control it. He's just simply become a better pitcher than he ever was. We always knew he could throw, but now he can pitch."
Elsewhere around the division:
Labels: NL West
AL East: The Return of The Raj
There was plenty of drama during the seventh inning stretch of a brisk but contentious game between the Yankees and Mariners at Yankee Stadium on Sunday afternoon. It had nothing to do with the action on the field -- where Scott Proctor had just been kicked out of the game for throwing at a batter -- but everything to do with the guest in the owner's box. Yankee public address announcer Bob Sheppard interrupted the seventh inning stretch and directed all eyes to the owner's box, which had been cleared to make room for Roger Clemens, who spoke directly to the crowd, with giddy Yankees GM Brian Cashman perched close by. Clemens was terse and somewhat cryptic in his remarks, but the fans were aided by a message on the scoreboard, "Roger Clemens is Now a Yankee."
The Yankees and Clemens proved that one man can be bigger than a game. I wonder what would have happened if the Yankees been losing the game? Regardless, Clemens is a Yankee again, and he'll earn roughly $18 million for his services, pro-rated from $28 million (Darren Rovell at CNBC explains why the deal doesn't make financial sense for the Yankees). The public announcement had a reality TV feeling to it. It was clearly staged, but, judging by the raised eyebrows and smiles on the faces of the Yankee players in the dugout, not everybody was in on the "surprise."
The moment brought back memories of 1978. On July 23 of that year, volatile manager Billy Martin had finally had enough of his owner, George Steinbrenner, and his star player, Reggie Jackson. After a few drinks, he told reporters, in reference to Jackson and The Boss, "One's a born liar and the other's convicted." Martin insisted that the reporters run the quote. The following day, he was fired. Four days after that, Martin quietly snuck into Yankee Stadium on Old Timer's Day. Sheppard made two announcements, the first that new manager Bob Lemon would return as skipper in 1979. The fans booed and when they calmed down, Sheppard said, "And coming back to manage the Yankees in 1980…number, one, Billy Martin!" Martin charged onto the field and received an eight-minute ovation.
The return of Clemens didn't exactly get that kind of electric reaction yesterday, but on a weekend that offered NBA and NHL playoff elimination games, one of the biggest boxing matches in recent memory, and the Kentucky Derby, the Yankees found a way to grab their fair share of headlines too. Steinbrenner may be diminished, but they are still doing things George's way in the Bronx. After the press conference was over, there was Clemens, throwing in the bullpen with a few coaches around him. Just another episode of Rocket TV.
The Clemens signing smacks of desperation, according to Murray Chass of the New York Times. More business as usual for both Clemens and the Yanks, says Mike Lupica and Joel Sherman. Tim Marchman thinks it is a great move on-the-field for the Yankees, but that Clemens could bring some unpleasant baggage with him.
Curt Schilling, who pitched well in Boston's 4-3 win over the Twins on Sunday, says that while it would have been nice to have Clemens, the Red Sox "don't need him." Dan Shaughnessy writes that the return of Clemens to New York "is certain to galvanize the anti-Rocket legions in Red Sox Nation." Ya think? For another Red Sox take on the Clemens story, check out Yanksfan v. Soxfan, as well as Evan Brunell's analysis at Firebrand of the American League.
After winning two straight, the Orioles were pounded by the Indians yesterday.
The Rays and Jays both lost too on Sunday. For the Jays, it was especially painful as they got a good start from A.J. Burnett the night after their ace, Doc Halladay was shelled. Toronto has now lost six straight and find themselves in last place. Only the Red Sox have a record over .500 in the East, and they are cruising at 20-10, the best record in the league.
Labels: AL East
AL East blog (Monday)
NL West blog (Monday)
AL Central blog (Tuesday)
NL Central blog (Wednesday)
AL West blog (Thursday)
NL East blog (Thursday)
Wild Card (Friday)