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 5, 2011 6:19 pm

Gravity, and it's opposite - comedy

Irony of the week:

April 28 - vs, Chicago White Sox

Eduardo Nunez starts at SS resting Jeter in what was called a planned day off.  He gets 2 hits, scores 3 runs. Great!  ..but maybe embarrassing.  But wait:   the divine law of intangibles works in mysterious ways:  Filling in at shortstop, Nunez made two errors: a fielding mistake to start the game and a throwing miscue that led to three unearned runs in the seventh.  The Lord giveth, the Lord taketh away.

Fast forward one week  -  May 5th - vs. Detroit Tigers

Eduardo Nunez starts at SS resting Jeter (sore hip from day before) in what was called a planned day off.  He gets 2 hits, 1 RBI.  Great!  ..but embarrassing, too.  But wait:   the divine law of intangibles works in mysterious ways:  Filling in at shortstop, Nunez made two errors: a fielding mistake early in the game and a throwing miscue that led to two unearned runs in the seventh.  The Lord giveth, the Lord taketh away, Part Deux.

Turn *on* the Cosmic face saving device?  Bring balance back to universe.  It's the law, like gravity.  And it's opposite - comedy.

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
Posted on: April 11, 2011 11:38 am

AL East week one - Different ways to win

AL East - 1st full week  -  9 games in,  as of April 11th, 2011

Clubs Find Different Ways to Win

 5-4 Blue Jays  -   Hitting & Pitching, ERA 2.63
 6-3 Orioles      -   Living on Pitching, Dying at the plate:  Hitting .216 but holding opponents to .216
 5-4 Yankees    -   Slugging .471 hides >> Hitting .236, which can't beat >> ERA 4.84
 2-7 Red Sox    -   Digging out but men LOB, Pitching better as ERA drops to 6.24 from 9+
 1-8 Rays          -   Hitting .163, opponents .271, scoring 2.7 runs less / game

NY Yankee Trends :  Slow starters at the plate can't overcome awful pitching:

- Mark Teixeira carried the club early as everyone else slumped, but now slugging percent disguises recent drought like Jorge Posada who had HRs early, now 0 for 17.   Lucky to have new bats Russell Martin, Eric ChavezRobinson Cano (thanks to Fenway) and Alex Rodriguez are the only regulars on track.

After 9 games, little traction at the plate:

 Nick Swisher           219
 Derek Jeter             206
 Mark Teixeira           182
 Curtis Granderson 172
 Brett Gardner          167
 Jorge Posada         138
- Especially hurts at the top of the order, low OBP in front of a sackful of homers.  3rd best slugging % in AL (behind White Sox and the unconscious Texas Rangers), but 8th in batting average, 12th in ERA.   18 HRs, tied with Texas.

A Few questions?

Who would have bet A.J. Burnett would be 2-0?   A lucky 2-0.
Why is Boone Logan used as a "stopper against lefties" when he doesn't stop lefties?
How about a leadoff hitter who hits for average instead of speed that's never on base?
When is Derek Jeter going to snap out of it at the plate and get back to being a #2 hitter?

With the Orioles and Texas coming up, the only bright spot is they'll play at the Stadium, while the Sox play the Rays, Jays and then head West for the A's and surging Angels.

Category: MLB
Posted on: April 4, 2011 11:49 am

Opening weekend AL East - Early bombers & bummers

Opening weekend for AL East  -  April 3rd, 2011

Early Bummers:

Boston Red Sox got swept in 1st series at Texas as pitching gets hammered hard with ERA =
   Starters:  Lester 8.4, Lackey 22.1, Buchholz  5.7
   Pen:  Paps 9.0, Wheeler 13.5, Bard 54.0
   Team 9.8
- Some hitting from the usual suspects but bottom of lineup is stone cold.  Carl Crawford demoted to 7th spot?  Francona jitters?

Tampa Bay Rays got swept at home in 1st series with O's, offense hurting.
- Tampa batting only .132 and worse:  Longoria placed on DL, out > 3 weeks.  Empty bullpen?

Early Bombers:

Baltimore Orioles look much improved, timely hitting despite weak .222, pitching ERA = 1.0.

Toronto Blue Jays show strong hitting at .313, taking 2 of 3 from Twins.

NY Yankees take 2 of 3 from Tigers, new look fast start for Mark Teixeira.
    Showing power:  HRs by Teixeira in each game, Posada (2), Granderson, Arod, Martin, Cano
    Pitching plus:  CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett (baby steps)
    Pitching weakness:  Phil Hughes, Bartolo Colon
    Slow start hitters:  Brett Gardner, Derek Jeter
- When your leading hitter is new catcher Russell Martin at .455, is that great news or a worry?  Great starts by Tex, Arod, Posada, and Swisher (one game).

Surprises?    Many predicted O's and Jay's to be improved and they are.  Many predicted Boston to cruise and they aren't.  Tidal bay Rays need to worry about division competition.  Imagine Teixeira's year with the addition of a huge month. 

Category: MLB
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