Thursday, September 14, 2006

End of Season Baseball thoughts

The white Sox are frustrating to cheer for. With probably the best roster next to the Yankees in the AL, they are in 3rd place. They also are still close enough that with a single really good week they could win the division. I wish they would just turn it on early and run away with this thing. The way it looks is that they are just coasting and hoping someone else stumbles. The easiest way for someone else to stumble is when you are firing on all cylinders and kicking the crap out of everyone, including the pithcers that usually beat you. I hope we don't have to face Santana or Sabathia again this year, they both own us.

Alfonso Soriano is learning again why it is so hard to be a 40/40 guy in this league. He only needs one stolen base this time, and every team he faces knows that he wants that base. Be prepared for a lot of throw behinds and pitch outs. I think there is enough time left that as long as he continues to be patient at the plate and get on base, he will have his chance when a pitcher is too focused on a batter. I think he'll get there this time.

How close will Barry Bonds get to Aaron with Homers. He's been on a tear the last 3 weeks, now after being back in the league for a year after his knee he seems to almost be the Bonds of old. He already needs less homers next year than he has this year to pass Aaron, each one he gets this year makes next year that much easier. Does Barry stop after 1 year, or does he play 2 more trying to break 800? After all if you want to be considered the best you can't just edge out the best, you have to slaughter them.

Frank Thomas vs. Jim Thome. There's no question that Thome ignited the White Sox early this season, but he's been much slower since the All Star break.
Oakland has only one less win than the sox, Thome has 39 homers and 99 RBIs while Thomas has 36 homers and 98 RBIs. The biggest difference though is that Thome has the 3rd most RBIs on the sox, with Crede only 5 RBIs behind him, while the Big Hurt is running away with the Homers and RBIs on Oakland. Frank has worse numbers than Thome but would blow him away in a head to head MVP vote count. He's just meant so much more to Oakland than Thome has meant to the Sox. Personally there are some things that I like to watch about Thome that would drive me nuts when Frank was there. Thome can run. I've seen him get infield hits, and prevent double plays by beating the throw.; both things I can't ever remember the Big Hurt doing.

Alex Rodriquez is having a terrible year. He's only hitting .289, with 33 Homers, 110 RBIs, 14 Stolen Bases, and 104 runs scored. he does seem to be turning it on here at the end of the season, but that's when a team really needs you. In the last 2 weeks he has 6 homers and 14 RBIs. Where ARod really gets ripped by fans is his 22 errors fieldings. A gold glove short stop should play better defense at 3rd. I agree. But with the Yankees running away with the division and the best record in the AL I don't think he's hurting them. Is he worth the 25 million he's making, probably not, but that's really the fault of the Texas Rangers. The Yankees just happened to be the only team that could handle picking up that bill when Texas wanted out of it's huge accounting mistake. Rather than get rid of A Rod they should have fired the owner, manager, and GM that decided to pay that much.

MVP candidates.
In the NL I think Ryan Howard is probably the leading candidate. His Homer run and RBI totals are both very impressive. I think if Pujols didn't get hurt he would have been the best candidate. However, many voters are nostalgic, and Pujols has been good enough for long enough that he may get it because his numbers are also awesome.

In the AL David Ortiz name has been out there for a while. But with Boston falling apart and not a chance for them to make the playoffs I don't think he'll get it. I think it will fall to someone on a playoff team. Frank Thomas, Jermaine Dye, Justin Morneau are in my mind the most likely candidates. I think Derek Jeter is probably the most deserving, but with such a strong supporting cast I think it will go to one of the these three.

Cy Young Candidates
Johan Santana is running away with the Cy Young in the AL. I think even if he falls flat on his face to finish the season, which history has shown us he won't, he would still win it in the AL.

The NL leaves much more room for debate. Carlos Zambrano is 14-6 on a terrible Cubs team. They are so bad that I think they have a good shot at finishing as the worst team in baseball this year. At least they'll get a good draft pick. He's also got a good ERA and good strikeout numbers, but it's hard to give the Cy Young to a pitcher that can't raise his team up to a winning record. He even had Greg Maddux there to help earlier this season, and still the Cubs fell. No, I think that both Brad Penney and Chris Carpenter are more likely to win. Brad Penney because he is helping the Dodgers win their division, and leads the NL in wins at 16-8. Chris Carpenter at 14-6 has a better ERA than Zambrano, his team leads the division, and he's only given up 50 walks; Zambrano has given up 104. Plus, having made one less start than Zambrano, he still has pitched an additional 6.2 innings. That means he's helping the team's bulpen out that much more than Zambrano. If I had a vote it would be for Carpenter.

I think the Florida Marlins should fire Joe Girardi. He's only taken the team with a payroll less than half of the next lowest team, and put them in the middle of the wild card race. Please, fire him. The Cubs need a good manager, and he's got the makings of a good manager.

The timeless Roger Clemens is sitting at 347 wins right now. Will Houston hit well enough for his 2.27 ERA to get him to 350 this year? I hope he wants to come back again next year. If his biggest worry is getting into the hall of fame by a certain age, then the rules should be waived. Enshrine him now! He's got 347 wins, and is 2nd in strikeouts. Unless he starts gambling (like Pete Rose), then he's a guaranteed first ballot. He may be the first guy since Ty Cobb to be a unanimous entry to the Hall. Ok, I don't know if there has been another unanimous inductee, but he's just that awessome.