Wednesday, May 1, 2013

MLB Update

We're one month into the season, and the races seem pretty wide open.  Only the Braves have a firm grip on their division at this point, as the Nats have come back to earth after last year's miracle season.  Every other division is very much up for grabs.  Four teams in the NL Central are over .500, and as are three teams in the NL West and the AL East.  So we could have some great races this year.

The most disappointed fan bases so far have to be those in Washington, Toronto, and Los Angeles.  The Nats, Blue Jays, Angels, and Dodgers were all supposed to be good, and they've all been woeful.

On the other hand, the folks in Texas, Atlanta, Boston, and Colorado have to be thrilled.

As usual, we list standings by league, along with odds of making the playoffs according coolstandings.com.  Teams with less than a 10 percent chance of making the playoffs are in italics.

National League
1.  Atlanta (79.5 %):  17-9  --
2.  Colorado (49.0 %):  16-11  1 1/2
3.  St. Louis (55.8 %):  15-11  2
4.  Milwaukee (32.3 %):  14-11  2 1/2
T5.  Arizona (47.5 %):  15-12  2 1/2
T5.  San Francisco (40.5 %):  15-12  2 1/2
T5.  Pittsburgh (33.7 %):  15-12  2 1/2
8.  Cincinnati (50.5 %):  15-13  3
9.  Los Angeles (20.7 %):  13-13  4
10.  Washington (25.8 %):  13-14  4 1/2
11.  Philadelphia (18.7 %):  12-15  5 1/2
12.  New York (21.9 %):  10-15  6 1/2
T13.  Chicago (12.0 %):  10-16  7
T13.  San Diego (10.9 %):  10-16  5 1/2
15.  Miami (1.0 %):  8-19  9 1/2

American League
1.  Boston (64.5 %):  18-8  --
2.  Texas (70.5 %):  17-9  1
3.  New York (44.4 %):  16-10  2
4.  Detroit (59.8 %):  15-10  2 1/2
5.  Baltimore (44.9 %):  16-11  2 1/2
6.  Kansas City (41.6 %):  14-10  3
7.  Oakland (52.0 %):  16-12  3
8.  Minnesota (12.2 %):  11-12  5 1/2
9.  Tampa Bay (35.6 %):  12-14 6
10.  Cleveland (30.6 %):  11-13  6
11.  Seattle (7.1 %):  12-17  7 1/2
12.  Chicago (13.0 %):  10-15  7 1/2
13.  Toronto (7.0 %):  10-17  8 1/2
14.  Los Angeles (14.5 %):  9-17  9
15.  Houston (2.1 %):  8-19  10 1/2

63 comments:

  1. Top 10 from CBS's latest Power Rankings:

    1. Texas Rangers: 17-9
    2. Boston Red Sox: 18-8
    3. Detroit Tigers: 15-10
    4. Atlanta Braves: 17-9
    5. Baltimore Orioles: 16-11
    6. St. Louis Cardinals: 15-11
    7. San Francisco Giants: 15-12
    8. New York Yankees: 16-10
    9. Arizona Diamondbacks: 15-12
    10. Kansas City Royals: 14-10

    Natstown is in 14th place.

    The Swinging' A's are ranked 16th, on the grounds that they are 11-0 against the Astros and Angels, and 5-12 against everyone else.

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  2. I prefer to note that we are 3-0 and averaging 9.67 runs per game since the return of Yoenis Céspedes, my main man from Campechuela, from the disabled list.

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  3. ESPN Classic right now is showing Game 6 of the 1977 World Series between Los Angeles and New York. Tom Seaver was a terrific, terrific analyst. He, Keith Jackson and Howard Cosell do really well together. Somebody should try to bring Seaver back to a booth, but it sounds like it might not be too easy to lure him from home. Even on this broadcast, Seaver was talking about how much he had enjoyed a recent autumn walk in the woods with his dog.

    "Did the wife lock you out?" Keith Jackson asked.

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    1. As a Dodgers' fan, I can honestly say that these three guys made the 1977 World Series even more painful than it would have been under any conditions. Jackson was not a good baseball announcer, Cosell was openly rooting for the Yankees from beginning to end, and I hated Tom Seaver (who was picked up by the Reds midway through the 1977 season as part of a desperate effort to catch the Dodgers.)

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  4. Well, Seaver, working his first World Series, just described Mike Torrez's pitch that was homered by Reggie Smith as being "right down the ol' poop chute," so "Tom Terrific" might yet need a little work.

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  5. Dodgers lead, 3-2, after Smith's home run in the third inning of Game 6. That's Smith's third home run of the series, in which the Dodgers are attempting to rally from being behind by three games to one. This is Reggie Smith's 12th season in major-league baseball, and, in every season, his team has had a winning record. He had 32 homers this season and a league-leading on-base percentage of .427.

    Obviously, Reggie is going to go down as one of the greatest hitters of his generation--and probably the biggest winner and best clutch hitter if he ends up leading the Dodgers to coming back to win this World Series.

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  6. Wait! Tom Seaver just said that Reggie hit another ...

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    1. That was the point at which I left the den, not to watch any more of the 1977 World Series.

      In 1977, UK lost in the elite 8 to UNC, and the Dodgers lost the World Series to the Yankees. It was an extremely stressful year for me.

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  7. Tommy Lasorda is walking to the mound to take out Burt Hooton, and I mean he looks like he's walking to the mound to take out Burt Hooton.

    Burt "Happy" Hooton is from Greenville, Texas, and he absolutely looks like he could be a Bush.

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    1. He was the sort of guy that you could just never count on.

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  8. Tom Seaver gets confused when, in the fourth, the fans seemingly boo as Bucky Dent grounds out and Chris Chambliss advances to third with one out.

    "He did his job," Seaver says incredulously. "He moved the man over."

    No, they're not booing; they're yelling "Loooooooooooooooooooou" for Lou Piniella, who comes up and flies out long to drive in Chambliss. Yankees 5, Dodgers 3.

    "A two-run lead in this game for the team with the advantage in this series is a very, very big lead," surmises Keith Jackson.

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  9. Man, Chris Chambliss is having a heck of a career, too.

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  10. Thurman Munson was killed on my 11th birthday. Still seems unreal.

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    1. He was a great, great player. The Yankees were never the same after he died.

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  11. Now the fans are chanting, "Reg-gie! Reg-gie! Reg-gie!" And even Seaver understands it's for Jackson, not Smith. Smitch watches, arms akimbo in right field, as Jackson's fourth home run of the series zooms over his head. It's now 7-3, Yankees, and Cosell has taken over the broadcast with a staccato spray-painting of the scene against the context of the Yankees' season and prospects beyond.

    "Winning brings harmony," Cosell concludes.

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    1. Jackson hit four home runs on four consecutive pitches. One of the worst things ever to happen to me in all my years of being a sports fan.

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    2. This was a year that really taught me the difference between sports and entertainment. Reggie Jackson's performance in the 1977 World Series was like something out of a movie -- it was one of the most incredible and dramatic sports performances I have ever seen. And I wish, with all my heart, that it had never happened.

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    3. When I think back on big time sporting events that involved my teams here is what I remember.

      http://youtu.be/BKrwK1CRzL0

      http://youtu.be/AY-iq58_oz4

      http://youtu.be/g620jTmoUCE

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  12. Now ESPN Classic has zipped ahead to the eighth inning, and here comes Jackson for what is going to be his fourth home run on the last four swings of his 1977 World Series--each off a different Dodger pitcher. This time, Cosell takes it slow: "Ohhhhhhh, what a blow!" And then, as Jackson leaves the dugout for a hat tip: "Out! Comes! Reggie!"

    Which sounds kind of familiar.

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    1. I was long gone by this time. I think I was in Matthew's room, trying to read a book.

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    2. The next year, when Reggie cheated in the fourth game of the 1978 World Series to beat the Dodgers, I was so furious I took everything sports-related out of my room, and stored it in the utility room while I thought about whether to destroy it all and never watch sports again.

      I did go back to watching sports. But from that time on, I was significantly more pessimistic about all the teams I supported.

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    3. That is one of the dirtiest plays in the history of baseball. But I never realized, until I saw this clip, that the umpire blamed Russell for not catching the line drive, and that apparently played a major role in his decision to let Reggie interfere with the ball.

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    4. I could definitely be misremembering this, but I"m pretty sure the Sun-Democrat ran an wire photo of this play where you saw Russell, Jackson and the ball in mid-flight with a dotted line to indicate the path and ricochet of the ball.

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    5. I definitely didn't read any articles about this at the time. In fact, I don't think I watched another game in that series.

      The Dodgers, of course, were crushed in the next two games to lose the whole thing.

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  13. A's--who have scored nine, nine and 10 runs in the three wins since Reggie Jackson commented that this Oakland team is "all about pitching"--load the bases in the bottom of the first inning against the Los Angeles Angels but fail to score. It's 0-0 ...

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  14. Oakland, 2-1, in bottom of the second ... first and second with two out ...

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  15. A's get a leadoff double in the bottom of the fourth and advance the man to third--but fail to score. Remains 2-1. Lots of LOBs here.

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  16. Now through seven, and the A's are down, 4-2. Curses.

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  17. The A's catcher, Derek Norris, just threw out an Angel who was trying to steal with Mike Trout at the plate with no out. Trout subsequently tripled. So now Los Angeles has a man on third with one out and Albert Pujols batting.

    And now Pujols has sacrificed home Trout to give the Angels a 5-2 lead. Trout also homered earlier today. I took a shot at Trout on an ESPN Facebook page a couple of weeks ago, so now I'm afraid I jinxed the A's and caused Trout to have a big game today.

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  18. Still 5-2, headed to bottom of the eighth ...

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  19. Luke Montz, making what I think might be his first major-league appearance since 10 games with the Nationals in 2008, doubles home Josh Reddick to pull the A's within 5-2. Montz had a .000 batting average on the season before that at-bat and had gone hitless in three trips to the plate today as Oakland's designated hitter. I'm pretty sure I had never read his name before a few seconds ago. But now Luke Montz is on second with one out ... NO! HE IS NOT ON SECOND! LUKE MONTZ JUST SCORED! ADAM ROSALES SOMEHOW GOT TO FIRST, AND LUKE MONTZ'S LITTLE ICON IS NO LONGER ON SECOND BASE, AND THE SCORE IS NOW 5-4 IN FAVOR OF THE ANGELS! ...

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  20. Two out ... Adam Rosales remains on second ... still 5-4, Angels, in the bottom of the eighth ... John Jaso is the batter ...

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  21. Now Seth Smith ... .306 hitter but 0-for-4 today, with three strikeouts ...

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  22. It's amazing to me that MLB.com can purport to even identify the type of pitches that are being thrown as part of its pitch-by-pitch animation. So, not to go all Tom Seaver on you here, but Los Angeles closer Ernesto Frieri is bringing the 4-seam fastball heat. Smith fouls off a 2-2 pitch ...

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  23. And Smith strikes out again. Two more LOB. 5-4 through eight innings ...

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  24. Ryan Cook retires the Los Angeles side in the top half, and now the A's, trailing 5-4, will lead off the ninth with, of course, Yoenis Céspedes.

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  25. And Frieri hits Yoenis Céspedes with a pitch. So, now Josh (not Jake) Donaldson ...

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  26. ARGH! Yoenis Céspedes is caught attempting to steal second base! One out, full count to Donaldson ...

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  27. Donaldson walks, so we have a runner back on first. And now Brandon Moss has come on as a pinch hitter with one out ...

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  28. Flies out on the first pitch. Two gone. Man on first. Angels up, 5-4, in the bottom of the ninth ... Josh Reddick.

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  29. Reddick led the A's in nearly every offensive category in 2012, but he's hitting only .148 this season. It's May 1, a good day for a fresh start ...

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  30. 2-2 count, and Reddick has fouled off three straight 94-mph fastballs ...

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  31. Two on, two out ... Eric Sogard is on to pinch hit for Luke Montz ...

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  32. Out and over. 5-4, Angels. Stupid LOBs.

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  33. And now Bryce Harper has left the game with an injury. So now the Nats have having to play without Harper, Jayson Werth, or Ryan Zimmerman.

    THIS IS WHY YOU USE ALL OF YOUR PLAYERS WHEN YOU ARE LUCKY ENOUGH TO MAKE THE PLAYOFFS!!! YOU NEVER KNOW WHEN YOU'LL GET BACK!!!

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  34. Harper's back tonight, by the way. It appears to have been a bruised rib. We hope he's OK.

    The Nats still should have pitched Strasburg last year.

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  35. The baseball main line seems to me to love Bryce Harper more than anyone that it has loved since, maybe, Ken Griffey Jr.

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  36. A's open in New York tonight ... 16-13, 1.5 behind Texas in the A.L. West ... Yankees are 17-10.

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  37. A's--who are "all about pitching" per Reggie Jackson--open Yankees series in New York with a 2-0 win Friday night. Adam Rosales homered the game's opening pitch, and then A.J. Griffin for seven innings and the bullpen for two kept the Yanks quiet. "Oakland starters managed to go just 6-11 with a 5.87 ERA over their prior 22 games," writes Quinn Roberts for MLB.com.

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  38. A's--who are "all about pitching" per Reggie Jackson--again come up with two runs against the Yankees, but, this time, New York scores four.

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  39. #GREENCOLLAR! A'S 5, YANKEES 4! SEE YOU, NYC! IT'S BEEN REAL!

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  40. Oakland was whipped, 7-3, in Cleveland Monday night; fortunately, Texas was whipped, 9-2, in Chicago. So, the A's (18-15) remain 2.5 games behind the Rangers (20-12) in the American League West. In fact, every team in the division has lost at least its most recent game. Third place is Seattle (15-18, 4.5 behind); fourth, Los Angeles (11-20, 8.5), and fifth, Houston (8-24, 11.0). The Astros have lost six in a row.

    Now a fifth of the way through the regular season, the A's have two .300-plus hitters (shortstop Jed Lowrie at .311 and third-baseman Josh Donaldson at .303). Left-fielder Yoénis Cespedes leads in home runs (six); Donaldson, in runs batted in (23), and center-fielder Coco Crisp, in stolen bases (eight). The rest of the preferred healthy lineup appears to me to be Derek Norris at catcher (.246, 0 home runs, 5 RBI and 2 stolen bases), Brandon Moss at first base (.299, 4, 19, 1), Eric Sogard (.227, 0, 2, 2) and Josh Reddick in right field (.152, 1, 14, 5). Outfielders Seth Smith (.279, 3, 17, 0) and Chris Young (.172, 4, 15, 5); infielders Adam Rosales (.289, 1, 3, 0) and Nate Freiman (.243, 1, 6, 0), and catcher John Jaso (.271, 1, 11, 0) are the primary reserves. Crisp is on the disabled list and is expected back in the middle of this month.

    Oakland's bullpen has been very good. Closer Grant Balfour has five saves in five save opportunities; his earned-run average is 2.03. The other primary relievers are left-hander Sean Doolittle (team-best 1.29 ERA in 14 innings over 14 appearances), right-hander Ryan Cook (1.80 in 15 over 14), lefty Jerry Blevins (2.00 in 18 over 16), righty Pat Neshek (3.65 in 12.1 over 14), righty Evan Scribner (4.60 in 15.2 over 11) and righty Chris Resop (6.00 in 15 over 16). The best A's starter has been righty Bartolo Colon (3-1, 3.62 ERA, 23 strikeouts and 1.04 walks and hits per innings pitched). Then there's "southpaw" Tommy Milone (3-3, 3.69, team-best 36 strikeouts, 1.18 WHIP), righty A.J. Griffin (3-2, 3.79, 27, 1.21), Brett Anderson (1-4, 6.21, 29, 1.62) and righty Jarrod Parker (1-5, 7.34, 25, 1.98). Lately, righty Dan Straily has been part of the rotation (3-3, 5.94, 21, 1.20) with Anderson hurt, but Anderson's expected back any day now.

    So, based on my analysis, my suggestion to General Manager Billy Beane is to trade Anderson, Parker and Resop to Detroit for Justin Verlander (he's fantastic) and some promising left-handed middle reliever and to Manager Bob Melvin is to get Reddick to start playing better. #GREENCOLLAR!

    This is the most closely I've watched baseball in 20 years, anyway, and I'm having a blast.

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  41. Just as they did six days ago, the A's yesterday got Yoenis Céspedes to first in the ninth inning of a game they trailed by one run. And just like the Angels did May 1 in a 5-4 Oakland loss, the Indians threw out Céspedes as he was trying to steal second base.

    With the 1-0 loss, Oakland falls to 18-16 on the season--but remains the same 2.5 games back in the A.L. West. Texas, Seattle and Los Angeles also all lost again last night. Houston, however, broke its six-game losing streak; the Astros are 9-24.

    The AP says .152-hitting Josh Reddick, who did not play last night, might be headed to the disabled list. The third of the four-game series at Cleveland is this evening.

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