Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Standing on Second Base

The Major League Baseball season is officially half over. As I take time on occasion to commentate on sports, I suppose I should give my three cents (price adjusted for inflation) on the baseball season.

I'll start with the obvious. Perhaps the strangest thing thus far in the season is how well the Tampa Bay Devil Rays are doing. As of this writing, they have the best record in either league of baseball. That's truly shocking, given their horrible concrete sombrero they call a baseball stadium and their penchant for fielding horrible teams. Good for them, though, its good to see someone give the usual suspects (Red Sox, Yankees, et al) a run for their money. The jury is still out on whether they are a flash in the pan or not.

The Cubs are doing as well as most people suspected. 1st place, one of the better winning percentages in the National League. I do not believe the Cubs are all they are cracked up to be. While they are nearly unbeatable at home in the friendly confines of Wrigley Field, their away record is abysmal. (17-24 as of this writing.) Take for instance the home and away series they played against the bitter crosstown rival and American League Central leading White Sox. Cubs swept the White Sox at home. The next weekend, the Cubs went to Comiskey (sorry, it will always be Comiskey park to me) and got swept. Rather badly, I might add. Cubs are too streaky away from home.

The real juggernaut of the National League I believe is the St. Louis Cardinals. While consistently around 2 games back (give or take) of the Cubs, the Cardinals are 24-18 at home and 24-19 away. I think they are not nearly as flappable as the Cubs, which will do them well in the playoffs if they make it that far.

Philly will probably end up winning the NL East, though Florida is a scrappy little team. Philly limped into the halfway point of the season going 3-7 in their last ten. The Mets are in too much turmoil and the Braves pitching staff is too beat up. But, all bets are off in the NL East, as weirder things have happened on the stretch run.

In the NL, that leaves the Western Division: the division no one wants to win. That's all I got to say 'bout that.

And last but not least (that's the NL West) is the AL West. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (will refrain from comment about the redundantly silly use of City names) look descent on paper, and have a better away record than a home record. Their hitting has been anemic, which is cause for concern. 2nd and 3rd place is Oakland and Texas, both above .500 in winning percentage. That could be a competitive division, but who would know? No one gets to see many of those games because they are on the West Coast.

One final note of interest flying largely below most people's radar: Chipper Jones is still hitting close to .400 with .393 currently.

Hey, it could happen.

1 comment:

Ryan said...

With my fiance as my witness, I said before the season began, "Everyone in the AL East needs to watch out for the Rays this year...maybe everyone in MLB."

I am enjoying their success tremendously, being in Tampa, of course. I still watch the Braves, being a fan, but its disappointing seeing them try to reconstruct the team of the 90's and realizing that, "What ho! These pitchers seem to have gotten old!"

Glad to see you're doing well and I enjoy the photo of you in a maniple!

-R