Posted on: June 20, 2011 10:45 am

AL East Wk 11: Ice cream rises to the top

AL East Wk 11:  Ice cream rises to the top

Sox clean up, NY close, division spreads with only O's slipping.  

In June, Sox 13-3, Yanks 11-6

Boston Red Sox      (38-26) --> (42-28)   wk 4-2  +1 sunday
New York Yankees  (35-27) --> (40-29)   wk 5-2  +1 sunday
Tampa Bay Rays      (34-30) --> (38-33)   wk 4-3  +1 sunday
Toronto Blue Jays     (32-33) --> (36-35)   wk 4-2   -1 sunday
Baltimore Orioles      (30-32) --> (31-37)   wk 1-5  +1 sunday

Balled up Sox continue to roll.  Pitching and hitting with the beginning of some injuries to deal with.  Yanks win as well but still have issues:  Bases loaded, 1 out, gotta score.  Streaks of zero key hits.  Wasting good pitching several times.  How bad a baserunner is Gardner?  Hitting is up, stealing and bunting inept.  Let him lead off - where do you bat the Capt?

Anyone notice that Cano's fielding has been strange?  Getting to ground balls but no throw, confused or brainlock?  Missing a few under the glove, notably bad on catcher's throws.  Watching him it looks like poor concentration, mind elsewhere, lazy and distracted.  What gives?

Granderson has carried the club, though he is striking out vs, lefties more often now - another coaching lesson due?  Gotta love the HR lead with both him and Tex.  Find that mojo, please.  Jorge had a good streak but will it be sustained?  Martin throwing out runners, bat coming back.  Swisher looked ok in leadoff - please continue to hit.

Road games wil be tougher for Boston, looking to Phillies to cool off MLB's top club.  AGon is MVP so far, maybe triple crown - ouch.   Old Macdonald heads to the farm?  Eieio.  Drew too few.  Sox can tolerate a few slow bats these days, alas.   Who gets under Beckett's thin skin?  You know it will happen.

Posted on: June 12, 2011 11:15 am

Wk 10 AL East: Athletic Sox roll past rivals

Week 10 in the East:   Athletic Socks roll past rivals

Boston Red Sox       (32-26) --> (38-26)   wk 6-0
New York Yankees   (32-24) --> (35-27)   wk 3-3   2 back
Tampa Bay Rays       (30-28) --> (34-30)   wk 4-2   4 back
Toronto Blue Jays      (29-29) --> (32-33)   wk 3-4   6.5 back
Baltimore Orioles       (26-30) --> (30-32)   wk 4-2   7 back

Red Sox swept, but the division is hanging close.  A NY ouch with bruises.  The surprise is that everyone is nearby, with the uncertainty of interleague games ahead.  How well have the Sox played?  Over the last 7 days, they hit 124 points better than opponents (the next best team was only at 67 points), scored 31 more runs, 6 wins, slugged at 550, and pitched to an ERA of 3.50.  Best yet, these were on the road where they haven't usually played as well as at home, and against AL East rivals.  Add sunscreen for the Rays.

I had warned that their hitting with RISP was due to get better  -  last month it was 220, 37 points *below* their BA then of 257.  Now it's up 38 points to 258 with a BA rise of 17 points. The true value theory at work, along with the resulting surge in runs.  They still have too many runners left on base.  For now.  

How does the streak hold up against NL pitching in Milwaukee, San Diego, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia (I won't mention Houston)?   How well do the starters hold up at the plate... shades of Chin Ming Wang?  But the standings reflect what we all expected:  Good hitting leads a close division, with improvement possible on the pitching side.  The DL is getting crowded everywhere  -  buy stock in TJ surgery.  Does anyone have emerging AAA phenom's?  Bring 'em.

About 100 games to go so no one should be crowing.  Enjoy the nitrous injection and hold the wheel tight.  Theme of the week seems like Hit That Batter.  Hold the hamstrings and pray.

Category: MLB
Posted on: May 16, 2011 8:12 am

Everyone on a roll... the cheese stands alone

AL East Week 6:

Heat rises as everyone wins 4 of 6 for the week ...  plus Sunday bonus.  ..except the sleepy Yankees.  

Tampa Bay Rays     (19-14) --> (23-17)   wk 4-2   +1 Sunday  -  Beats up on Indians
New York Yankees  (18-13) --> (20-17)   wk 2-4   - 1 Sunday  -  Snoozes vs. KC, Sox
Boston Red Sox      (15-18) --> (20-20)   wk 4-2   +1 Sunday  -  Climbs by beating Twins, Yanks
Toronto Blue Jays    (15-18) --> (20-20)   wk 4-2   +1 Sunday  -  Climbs by beating Twins, Sox  -  Bautista = is a beast
Baltimore Orioles     (14-18) --> (19-20)   wk 4-2   +1 Sunday  -  Sweeps seasick Mariners

Saturday night Jorge Posada opts out of playing when discovering he's slated to bat ninth.  Really?  How surprised could he have been that slumping hitters bat last?  Help me understand:  a player is designated by the manager as the DH because.... he's a good hitter?  Or because he is a hot hitter right now?  A bonus, no fielding - just hit.  Which of those fits you, Jorge?   

Sunday night bonus:  Sox Rock, Yanks tank.  Whipped cream on the week's dessert seemed so appropriate.  One team fights uphill, one team sleeps yet again.  Sominex OD in NY?  It sure didn't feel like the intense rivalry we expect.  Missing the drama and player intensity (mostly from the dower NY side).  Calling Thurmon Munson.

Fight was missing, and has been for 2 weeks or so ( vs. Detroit, KC, Boston).  New York has made 13 errors in its past 10 games.  Tex, Arod and Cano look like zombies.  Gardner back to his old ways - pop up a bunt?  Send him to camp to learn to drop a bunt on the ground.  And, by the way, can you run?  Disgraceful.  Rope-a-dope?  Certain about the dope part.  Nick Swisher better stop smerking when he Ks, looking skyward and smiling.  The answer isn't in your stars, dude - it's in yourself.  Running out of haircut versions?   Scientology surely isn't helping.

Props to the surging Rays, slugging Jays and reawakened Red Sox.  The East is beginning to look like we all knew it would be, with teams besides the Yanks --> 20-8 over the last 8 days.  Yanks?  2-5.  But trend isn't destiny.  Watch as the very same glee my friends in beantown feel now can turn on a dime.  But enjoy it for now.  

Category: MLB
Posted on: May 9, 2011 9:07 am

Spring Rays shine - Did Yanks bring spf 50?

AL East Status - Week Five
:  Shining Rays, quiet songbirds, and the Yanks tote lumber.

With 32 games played for most clubs, 20% of the season is enough to take stock of who they are so far.  Grades at the one fifth point:

Rays: A
The Rays once again did what Boston wished for - another recovery week plus a day 5-2, now 6 over .500 and sharing 1st.  Pitching is carrying the streak, Whip = 1.18, dropping both the Blue Jays and Orioles.  And Longoria is back.  Good balance of pitching with slugging.  Tampa Bay Rays:  3.23 era / .399 slugging  (20-14)

Yankees:  B
The Yankees looked sluggish dropping 3 of 4 to the Tigers and asleep at the plate. Despite the slumping play of Arod, Cano, and Posada they held onto a share of 1st Sunday with a 12-5 win banging out 16 hits and 5 HRs to cover 4 errors by several players who are still asleep, now in the field.  Slugging still, pitching good enough, could use consistency and better basic averages. New York Yankees:  3.70 / .461  (19-13)

Red Sox:  B-
Back at Fenway but can't build the streak they want.  Although they looked good against LA (their favorite punching bag these days), they lost an 11-0 finale and then gave up 9 to the Twins.  Home cooking is helping but pitching is still inconsistent, pen a question, and bottom half of batting order is still behind in production.  Lots left on base, BA-Risp is 30 points *under* their basic average.  Boston Red Sox:  4.31 / .393  (16-18)

Jays:  C+
Tough competition vs. Rays, is anyone hitting besides Jose Bautista and Adam Lind?  BA-Risp is .234.  Toronto Blue Jays:  3.87 / .393  (15-19)

Orioles:  C
Has the Buck factor faded?  Hitting just .233, pitching hurting of late, ranked 28th in run differential.  BA-Risp is keeping them around ranked 10th, 36 points above their basic average, Baltimore Orioles:  4.78 / .372  (14-19)

What happened to the Cervelli Great Gazoo helmet?   We'll take a grand slam with lighter headgear anytime.  

Category: MLB
Posted on: May 1, 2011 2:38 pm

AL East: Month One is Done

End of Month One:  April in the East

After a good week for sunshine and birds:  Rays 4-1, Jays 4-2, O's 4-1, Yanks 3-3 hold 1st with subs and sac-flies while Red Sox find their hole familiar.     April, 2011 (before sunday's games):

New York Yankees  (12- 6) --> (15- 9)  wk 3-3
Tampa Bay Rays     (11-11) --> (15-12)  wk 4-1
Toronto Blue Jays     ( 9-12) --> (13-14)  wk 4-2
Baltimore Orioles      ( 8-12) --> (12-13)  wk 4-1
Boston Red Sox        (10-11) --> (11-15)  wk 1-4

Rays did what Boston wished for - a fast recovery, now 3 over .500 and knocking on 1st.  Pitching is carrying the streak, ERA = 3.40, Whip 1.19.  And Longoria is due back, adding an Xtra-Ray.

O's rebounded this week from recent slump, but pitching slides to 4.47 and still not much hitting.  Buck dancer's choice.

Jays hang near .500 with their offense led by Bautista 9 Hrs, .361 in April.  Pitching is holding opponents to under .238, best in the East.

Sox drop 4 of 5, to O's & Sea after good west coast boost.  Last Monday they were near even, now 4 under .500 after some bullpen let downs  - Bard isn't writing sonnets, Jenks not showing strengths.  Clutch hitting is suffering, with 202 LOB near bottom of the league - Youk mired around .218, Crawford still a woeful .155 and hearing it from fans. Salty, Cameron, McDonald, and Vtek are still struggling.  Maybe the incoming Twins can offer some lighter lifting, but who knows?  Minny is due to rebound.

The Yankees slugging has been carrying the club (.475, 43 HRs) and now the starting pitching is contributing, dropping the ERA to a better 3.79 (from an early 4.84). The problem is the weak distribution of hits, with more potential runs LOB - Posada and Gardner really hurting, Swisher having one good game but still not seeing the ball well.

 - They can't continue using a leadoff hitter who's never on base and a DH who hits less than .123 despite his homers. 

Category: MLB
Posted on: April 29, 2011 7:21 am

Mid week update - AL East is a Beast

Week 3 & 1/2  -  Friday, April 29, Royal Wedding Addition  -  East is a Beast:

Rays on fire as they roll over Minny, Jays peck (st)Rangers, Yanks starting pitching cleans White Sox, and Red Sox finally wing Orioles after dropping 2.

Rays:  Zobrist 7 for 10 with two homers and three doubles in the doubleheader, Rays have won 12 of 15.

Jays:  Patterson's squeeze beats Texas, Jays rebound and take 2, now on to NY. 

Yankees:  Swisher wakes from coma with HR, 3 hits;  Jeter sits - his replacement makes 2 errors in deference. 

Orioles:  Bat flip gets under Beckett's thin skin, Bard's pen not mightier as O's take 2. 

Red Sox:  Crawford doubles, average jumps to .160  -  fans cite intangibles, Lester avoids sweep.
New York Yankees  (12 - 6) --> (14 - 8)  wk 2-2
Tampa Bay Rays     (11-11) --> (14-11)  wk 3-0
Toronto Blue Jays    ( 9-12) --> (12-13)   wk 3-1
Boston Red Sox      (10-11) --> (11-13)  wk 1-2
Baltimore Orioles     ( 8-12) --> (10-13)  wk 2-1

Category: MLB
Posted on: April 25, 2011 9:09 am

AL East week three: Sox dig out, Yankees slug

AL East Week Three:   Red Sox, Tampa Bay Rays surge to dig out of early holes, Yankees slug.  Orioles and Jays slide.

Red Sox sweep the LA Angels in 1st west coast trip, pitching & bats wake up.  Rays get even.  Is the Division back to being normal?
Sox fans complain about schedule?  Sour grapes - it's early.  Welcome back to the pack.
Sox fans jab Mariano Rivera?   Look at the calendar, beantowners:  April is over soon.

Yankees are slugging .503, 111 points above the league.

New York Yankees  (9-5) --> (12-6)    wk = 3-1
Tampa Bay Rays     (6-9) -->  (11-11)  wk = 5-2
Boston Red Sox      (4-10) --> (10-11)  wk = 6-1
Toronto Blue Jays      (7-8) --> (9-12)    wk = 2-4
Baltimore Orioles       (6-8) --> (8-12)    wk = 2-4

Category: MLB
Posted on: April 18, 2011 7:27 am

AL East week 2: 2 surge, 3 slide

Week 2:  Since last Sunday, 2 teams up, 3 down as Tampa surges out of the basement and the Yanks gain while the Orioles and Jays fall.  The Red Sox manage to win 2 of 5 but barely climb up from the early hole.

New York Yankees  (5-4) --> (9-5)   4-1
- with rally over Texas, 3 more HRs, Chavez with game winner subs for ARod
- Swept the Orioles to move into 1st, took 2 of 3 from Texas
- Slugging well (27 HRs) but not yet hitting for average - under .200: Gardner, Posada

Baltimore Orioles (6-3) --> (6-8)   0-5
- Quick fall from 1st on a 7 game slide as they were swept by Yankees, Indians

Toronto Blue Jays (5-4) --> (7-8)   2-4
- Lost 2 to Angels and Red Sox, the big boys.

Tampa Bay Rays    (1-8) --> (6-9)   5-1
- Rays swept the Red Sox and took 3 of 4 from the Twins to surge out of their slow start.

Boston Red Sox    (2-7) --> (4-10)  2-3
- Swept by Rays, took 2 days off and then finally won 2 of 3 from the Jays

The Red Sox will have to do better on their west coast trip or they'll be stuck under .500 a while. This week they face the strong pitching of the A's (3rd in ERA of all 30 teams) and Angels (2nd in ERA).   Uphill and steep.  2 in a row?  (...weeks of just 2 wins).

Category: MLB
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