Thursday, June 12, 2008
I have a couple of topics I want to touch on briefly today. They are ...
1. Chase Utley: MVP? Well, right now Utley is the run-away leader in the National League voting for second base, so he'll definitely be starting at the 2008 All-Star Game for the National League. The triple crown is a long stop for him (his .311 batting average is thirteenth in the N.L.), but his 21 home runs lead the N.L. and his 56 RBI tie him for second in the N.L., just one behind Adrian Gonzalez. He's fourth in the N.L. in Runs Created per 27 Outs at 9.56, and his Isolated Power at the plate (BA - SLG = ISO, basically your slugging percentage without singles) is third in the N.L. at .339. Utley is also playing terrific defense: he's second in the N.L. amongst second basemen in Range Factor (((Put-Outs + Assists) * 9) / IP). If Chase sustains this level of production he could end up with 45-50 home runs, 40-45 doubles, 130-140 RBI, and 12-15 stolen bases.
2. Sports Illustrated's Bizarro-world cover from two weeks ago really didn't touch on everything that is so topsy-turvey about this baseball season. (Click here for the article by Tom Verducci.) Focused mainly on the Tampa Bay Rays sitting at the top of the standings while the Yankees mire in mediocrity, the article really didn't get into back I find shocking about this baseball season: the screwed up nature of the A.L. Central race, which finds the Cleveland Indians and Detroit Tigers with losing records, fighting to stay ahead of the Kansas City Royals. The Royals. The Tigers are a total mess, having shipped Dontrelle Willis to Single-A Lakeland to rehab, while the rest of their lineup groans and creaks towards a fourth-place finish. I'm tempted to blame the struggles of the Tigers on their age, but youngsters Chris Granderson has an OBP of just .297, and Jason Verlander is 3-9 with a 4.65 ERA. Gary Sheffield has just three home runs and twelve RBI.
The Indians have issues too: Victor Martinez has zero home runs and Travis Hafner has barely played as well. The Indians pitching staff, which I actually felt was the best in the American League, has two of its three starters getting rocked: C.C. Sabathia picked an awful time to struggle (4-8, 4.34 ERA), when millions of dollars in free agency money are at stake, and Paul Byrd (3-6, 4.89 ERA) has been bad too. To me the Tigers and Indians struggles are much, much bigger surprises than the Yankees and Rays respective situations.
3. The Phillies recent two-game losing streak to the Marlins has clipped the Phillies lead in the N.L. East from 4 games to 2 games. The Braves and Mets sit six and a half games back. Oh yeah, the Mets. I harken back to all of the mocking attacks Mets fans launched on me back in spring about my belief that Johan Santana's acquisition changed nothing. (Click here for some abject stupidity.) I was skeptical about the Mets rotation but they've actually been o.k. John Maine has been good (okay, Mets fans were right about him), but Oliver Perez has stunk. On offense, Carlos Delgado has been terrible and the Mets supporting cast hasn't protected Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran or David Wright.
We'll have more on the Mets struggles later.
Labels: Odds 'n Ends
It just seems like you are more of a Mets hater then a Phillies fan.