May 20, 2024

Baseball is Freezing Over

I firmly believe that the end of the world is here. There have been numerous prognostications and it has now finally happened.

I can understand the Tampa Bay Rays in first place because they have been a solid team for 3 years and only 2 years ago they had a World Series attempt. But, perennial doormats like the San Diego Padres and Cincinnati Reds are in first place as of May 18th and the Washington Nationals are actually above .500 with a 20-19 record.

It’s really not hard to figure out why these teams are doing well though if you look at the numbers. All three have winning records within their division and are winning on the road. If you can break even on the road and win 60% of your games at home then you are generally pretty close to a playoff spot.

Cincinnati finally doesn’t have the Griffey albatross around their neck and their farm system has been producing some solid major league talent. I haven’t seen Dusty Baker chomp this many toothpicks since he took out a then un-hittable Russ Ortiz in the 7th inning of Game 6 in the 2002 World Series up 4 runs only to lose that game and Game 7 to the Angels. I am by no means saying the Reds have talent like they did in the days of Rose, Perez, Morgan, Bench, but things are looking up. Young talents like Votto, Bruce, Phillips and Cueto surrounded by a healthy veteran laden left side of the infield including Scott Rolen and Orlando Cabrera makes them a threat.  Look out also for Mike Leake 4-0 who is a rookie and last year was playing for Arizona St. I picked them to win the NL Central before the year and although they started slow they have gone 14-6 since April 25th. Oh, they also still have a 100 MPH thrower hanging around in AAA that is only 20 years old.

San Diego and Washington on the other hand will not be there in the end. San Diego can’t hit and although Bud Black is using the Mike Scioscia method of playing baseball he will need a few more hitters to keep up their hot start.  Washington is a nice story, but they will be done by July at the latest.