Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Notes and Ramblings

A few notes on last night:

It may have taken a bases loaded (on free passes) in the first, but I think Jaret Wright has finally realized the importance of hurling strikes. He ended up with 99 pitches, 60 strikes, which isn’t horrible by any means. Especially considering he nearly 20 out of the strike zone in the first.

Thanks to A-Rod for getting a hit with Bernie on second, which allowed me to mock my dad, who will never fail to mention A-Rod’s currently slump with runners in scoring position. A flip of the bird to Bernie, who after getting a terrible jump heading to second (and saved only by Gregg Zaun’s lack of vision), got another slow start and failed to score on said A-Rod hit.

No thanks to A-Rod as well for doubling in a run in a meaningless run in the 8th, backing up my dad’s claim that he can’t hit in the clutch.

Womack got an extra base hit?

Way to break out of your slump, Jason Giambi. Oh-for-thirty-something, Giambi walked, slapped two singles, and drove in a run to end the day 2-3.

I still like Cano batting nine, at least until he finds his groove again. The big story with him is his lack of discipline at the plate, and I don’t think hitting two helps that at all. When the guys behind you are Sheff, A-Rod, Matsui and Giambi, you’re more than likely standing in the batter’s box thinking you’ll get something to hit. Batting him seven, say, he won’t get as much to hit, and maybe that will help teach him to lay off crappy pitches. Either that, or it will lead to him leading the league in strikeouts.

Is anyone else getting excited about the recent string of quality starting pitching?

Does anyone think Leiter might throw a strike or two tonight?

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I heard an interesting sentiment from a fellow Bombers fan last night: we might be better off winning the Wild Card than the division. The reasoning is that we’d face Chicago in the Divisional Series, and we’d be better off facing them in a five-game series than a seven-game series, and we would avoid potentially facing Los Angeles first round.

The idea with facing Chicago in a five-game set isn’t a terrible one. With their solid pitching and small ball mentality, they could be a daunting task during the seven-game ALCS. While this may be interesting, I pose this counter argument.

As I’ve said at least six thousand times in this space, September is the second season. Now, I don’t in any way expect Boston to collapse, but we do face them six times. Those six times may be enough for us to overtake them for the AL East lead. And once you’re out of the division lead, it truly is a wild card shot of getting in the playoffs. Hell, there’s a three-way tie right now, and these WC teams could be deadlocked for the bulk of the remaining season.

So knock a team out of the division lead, and they have to fend off at least two others to make the playoffs. This is just another reason we shouldn’t be content with the Wild Card: as the name implies, it is in no way guaranteed. Yes, in years past, the Red Sox or the Angels would have it wrapped up in a neat package by mid-September. But we actually have a race this year, and two of those three teams – three of four if you’re counting the Twins – are going to be scratching their balls in front of the TV in October.

And as I said yesterday, it’s the Yanks for the taking. We may not control our own destiny – yet – but for the first time this season since the now infamous May win streak, things are actually looking up.

Now don’t eff it up.