In a week where we saw 20 innings of baseball in St. Louis, a no-no for Ubaldo, and more of the same league-wide, this week in baseball will be remembered as the week the Mets died.
20 Innings of Baseball
We will not go into too much detail, but wow. I agree with Tony LaRussa throwing Joe Mather and Felipe Lopez if for no other reason than throwing any other pitchers out there really risks fatigue in the long term and it hinders your chances next game. The Cardinals somehow managed 14 hits in that game without pushing a run across until the 19th, which is amazing in itself. It seems so long ago, but it did happen this week.
Ubaldo Jimenez is the real deal. He has always had that explosive fastball, but he has actually turned into a pretty damn good pitcher overall. He followed that historic performance up with another good outing keeping the Rockies in the race despite some early struggles. Usually when something is done for the 264th time it is not historic, but baseball is just different. It has been around for so long that it is still a big deal even though it has been done with such apparent frequency.
Care to guess what was going on in the world when the first no-hitter was recorded? Rutherford B. Hayes defeated samuel Tilden in the Presidential Election, Alexander Graham Bell was granted a patent for his invention “the telephone” and Johns Hopkins University was founded. Gotta love 1876.
Movers and Shakers
The Angels put together a few Ws this week, which will alleviate tension in LA, though frankly it may be impossible to drop out of the AL West race. I am liking my predictions for that division perhaps most, though looking back I may have made my optimism about Oakland into more wins for them (I had them at 81). In the NL Central, the Cubs are the story. They suck and just moved carlos Zambrano to the bullpen. I guess that gives him more opportunities to pinch-hit? Yeah, they suck. The Nationals are .500, yup the Nats. I will eat a few words on them at this point, though i did think they would hit, their pitchers not named Jason marquis have thrown very well. I could see maybe 74 wins out of them if they can keep this up. That being said, Jason Marquis has been the disaster I picked him to be, so not eating words there.
The big story for me is the Mets. They are bad. Not just a little bad, really bad. Is a finish behind the Nationals possible? It is a stretch, but not wildly out of the question. At some point Carlos Beltran will get a hit, a 3rd starting pitcher will put something together, and all that talent will look like a baseball team, but it sure has not happened yet. I think it is time to clean house in New York. David Wright, Johan Santana, Mike Pelfrey, Ike Davis, and Jason Bay are the only guys that can stay. Blow it up and start over, and that goes for you too Omar Minaya. I realize it is early, but that team is not going to be on the same level as the Phillies for the foreseeable future and needs a new direction. My suggestion? It would always be to go with pitching, but even more so with their cavernous ballpark. Pitching, defense, and young speedy talent. Take a lesson from the Rays, Big Apple Bottom-Feeders.
The Final Take
My love of the A’s this year has been well-documented, but we have something new to talk about in the Oak-town. Dallas Braden took exception to A-Rod stepping on the pitcher’s mound jogging back to first base, and consequentially confronted him about it. I do not know if you remember this, but during Spring Training of the Rays big year, they got into a fight with the Yankees about a slide into second. The big deal has nothing to do with whether Braden is insane for saying that pitchers are “the center of the universe” when pitching (as heard on Baseball Tonight) or if he actually has a beef. The point is the A’s are not in awe of the pinstriped payroll. They aren’t going to take any… stuff… from anyone and they are ready to prove it. I was hesitant to pick the A’s because they were so young and didn’t seem to have much on offense, but they have shown me otherwise. They may dip a bit, but an AL West crown is not out of reach for any team in that division. By the way, Dallas Braden is really good too, not just some instigator as he got the W over the Yankees that day.
And if you think the A’s would fear a first round potential matchup with the Yankees? Think again.