It's another one of those blah Monday's when virtually all of MLB has the night off. The only game scheduled is a late game between the Phillies and the Angels. The Phillies beat Oakland in two games of their double-header yesterday while the Seattle Mariners won both games of their double-header against the Mets. That's a four game swing in the standings and seems to state rather convincingly that Seattle is going wire to wire in the AL West.
Interleague play is where the Athletics have started their runs in recent years. Their great pitching led them to the best interleague record in the majors. But they are only 5-5 in their last ten interleague games while Seattle has had a 9-1 run. In fact, Seattle is one of only two teams in the entire American League that has a winning record in the last ten games of interleague play. The Angels are the other at 7-3. Oakland is now a half a game behind the Yankees for the wildcard as well.
I don't know if it is a sign of parity or just plain mediocrity, but nobody in the American League East or Central had a better than .500 record. It's like all the teams are just spinning around in some kind of crazy orbit waiting for something to break out.
The top division during interleague play has been the National League Central. Four teams (including Milwaukee!) are above .500 in the last ten games and the Astros are as hot as the Mariners with a 9-1 run. It's funny how the Astros look great and then terrible...then great...then terrible. I guess it's the old cliche' where they will be as good as their pitching takes them. Since they have a potentially great starting staff and arguably the best bullpen, pitching could take them a long way. The NL Central race is going to be a good one to watch all year, especially if Sammy Sosa ever gets going.
Speaking of the NL Central, I don't know if the Yankees are just that bad now, but the Cubs look really tough. Their pitchers aren't afraid of anything and they can bring it game after game after game.
Okay, I've been avoiding this topic, but a true fan has to admit that the Atlanta Braves are one amazing franchise. How in the world do you dismantle the best bullpen in the league from last year, ignore signing Glavine and Millwood and still end up tied for the best record in MLB? Every year us Braves haters wait like buzzards for them to fall as all empires must but they don't and won't. They even won the battle of the cable teams. In the early days of cable, you could watch every Braves game on TBS, every Cubs game on WGN and every Mets game on WOR. The Braves are the only one left. They are an amazing organization and as a fan, you have to give it to them.
It's time for me to look at my favorite players to check on a daily basis:
- Sean Burroughs of the Padres is hitting .409 in his last seven days and is now up to .293 for the season. Not much for power, but that will come in time.
- (sigh) Pat Burrell is still stuck in a terrible slump and only hit .176 for the week which leaves his season average below the Mendoza line at .199. Ugh!
- (more sighs) Shane Spencer has wore out his attempt to start in Cleveland and only played in two games the last seven days and went 1 for 8. His season average is down to .226.
- Ken Griffey hit .308 the last week and has his average up to .277. His Slugging percentage is up over .600 and his OPS is over 1.000! Yeah!
- Adam Dunn is beginning to look a lot like Dave Kingman with 20 homers for the season and a .211 batting average.
- Rocco Baldelli only hit .263 for the week which brought him down to .329 for the year. But he still has 80 hits already!
- The Devil Rays' other phenem, Jason Tyner, hit .500 for the week and is hitting .394 in limited action.
- My man, Hank Blalock chugs along, hitting .360 for the week with 7 more RBI (40 total) and is hitting .353 for the year.
- His young teammate, Mark Teixeira, hit .294 for the week and is up to .244.
Don't ask me why I am so interested in those players above. I don't know other than that some were old favorites and some just captured my imagination along the way.