Friday, June 6, 2008
*Manny Ramirez, LSWTF Player of the week and new member of the 500 Homerun Club*
This has been a somewhat bittersweet week in the lives of LSWTF. The good doctor has moved to dustier pastures, Dews and I got into a shouting match Friday night over the definition of the term “Re-Building”, and the Giants are in Washington for 4 B-E-A-UTIFUL days. With a new and lovely fiancé, new Will “The Thrill” Clark jersey, and a new ballpark, this weekends baseball festivities should be filled with awesome new memories. Now…..Onto the Rankings.
1 (1) Chicago Cubs (39-22) – Apparently Dews failed to read the homage’ I paid toward his win over the decanter of hotness debate, but that’s ok. The Cubbies continue to dominate the NL with good pitching and solid hitting. And, they just happen to lead the NL in runs scored with 346 (1 behind Texas for the major league lead).
2 (2) LA Angels (37-24) – Winners of 5 straight including a sweep over the Mariners is still not enough for the top prize. Howie Kendrick is back in the lineup so the middle infield will be a lot more stable. However, they play a red hot Athletics team this weekend. In my opinion, match up of the weekend!
3 (7) Boston Red Sox (38-25) – I knew the losing streak was just a fluke. Manny removed his ego from out of his ass and lit up! His clutch homeruns against the Orioles and the Rays had helped take 3 of 4 from the O’s and sweep over the Rays. Their success comes at a price though. David Ortiz could miss the rest of the year and Dice-K hit the DL. This is where Theo Epstein’s brilliance comes into play; that being, a very locked, stocked, and loaded minor league system.
4 (9) Philadelphia Philly’s (36-26) – Wow, did they ever prove me wrong. I was expecting a complete meltdown in their Marlins series but managed to take the series AND take the Cincinnati one as well. Well played. Ryan Howard continues to play like a second class minor leaguer. For the record; he is NOT a superstar NOR was he ever! Cecil Fielder hit 50 Homeruns in a season. Nuff’ said!
5 (3) Tampa Bay Rays (35-25) – The Rays are beginning to fall off their high pedestal named “novelty”. Yes, I bought into them but there is still hope. Sure, they were swept by the Saux in a very ugly manner, but, they managed to sweep the White Sox and that’s not an easy accomplishment. The pitching is phenomenal and will be even more dominant once David Price gets called up. SS Tim Beckham was also selected #1 in the draft, a player who will make an immediate impact once he is called up.
6 (4) Oakland A's (33-27) – The A’s have been a mystery to me this entire season. With a team that cannot hit and has struggles on the mound, how can this still be this successful? A sweep over the Tigers (As bad as they are) just proves that there is some kind of sorcery in Oakland. Carlos Gonzales (Prize acquisition from Arizona) has just 5 hits in his young career. They just happen to all be extra bases.
7 (8) St Louis Cardinals (32-23) – Yes, the pitchers are hitting homeruns. Even the relievers (I managed to see that monster Mark Worrell jack last night). Even Troy Glaus is picking up the slack while Albert Pujols rests up. This team does need a closer, and badly!!
8 (5) Arizona Diamondbacks (32-28) – Getting swept against the Brewers and Speed Racer is not helping any cause. The Dbacks saving grace is that the rest of the NL West is playing like garbage. The offense is dryer than the Arizona air and the pitching has been sub par recently. Luckily they play the Pirates. A dominating result could lead to an outpour of motivation.
9 (10) Chicago White Sox (33-26) – This team has been the rollercoaster of the bigs this season. First, they get swept by the Rays, than they come right back to sweep the Royals? We need a little consistency here, yeh? Nick Swisher has turned into a bust, Carlos Quintan’s and Joe Crede’s luster is fading, and Bobby Jenks is blowing worse than Jenna Jamison.
10 (6) Florida Marlins (32-27) – 5 losses in their last 7 games is a bummer. But, Hanley Ramirez is literally on fire right now, as is the rest of the offense. It’s that pitching that has been the thorn in the Marlin fin. Andrew Miller needs to pick it up, as does Scott Olson. These guys are supposed to be aces!
11 (12) Atlanta Braves (32-29) – The loss of John Smoltz should be a humongous blow to the Braves, but, Rafael Soriano is back and has been dagger sharp. The Braves chief concern should be the bullpen. Everyone in the pen seems to be spending some time on the DL. Luckily the offense is excellent; Chipper Jones (.418AVG), Mark Texiera (43 RBI, 9HR), Brian McCann (.307AVG), Kelly Johnson (.294AVG), and Yunel Escobar (.303, 37Runs) should all be on the starting all-star roster.
12 (13) Toronto Blue Jays (32-30) – They are the best third place team in baseball. The good news is that Vernon Wells could be back in the lineup very soon. The bad news is the middle relief is struggling to lock big leads. The Jays play the O’s this weekend and im sorry to say Dews; but this should be an easy home series for the Jays.
13 (18) Texas Rangers (31-31) – The AL West should take notice; the Rangers are starting to perfect “St. Louis Rams Offense” by simply scoring more runs than they give up. They lead the ML in runs scored (347) yet lead the ML in runs allowed (360). I call that baseball irony. Just imagine if they Rangers had a SP worth wild?? Oh, and yeh Josh Hamilton earned his 2nd consecutive player of the month award.
14 (20) Milwaukee Brewers (32-28) – The team im learning to hate has managed to put together a pattern of winning. Yes, count them, 6 wins in a row, which includes sweeps over the Astro’s and the Dbacks. Ryan Braun (.299AVG 16HR, 46RBI) is by far the best player on this club. Prince Fielder is finally putting up productive numbers, as is JJ Hardy.
15 (16) Minnesota Twins (31-29) – They continue to exceed expectations (Remember, they were supposed to be a last place team) by squeaking out pars every week. Twins just wish Delmon Young (.265AVG, 0HR) would continue to not play like a bust.
16 (17) New York Mets (30-29) – Johan Santana finally earned himself a victory. Why am I so excited? Because he should have 12 wins right now. Not 7. What can I say, when it comes to future HOFers, I expect a lot. There are some bright spots however. Jose Reyes found his missing “Wonder Boy” bat and is finally being productive. This should make future manager, HOF Gary Carter very happy. Oh, too soon?
17 (19) New York Yankees (30-30) – With a so-so week they escape from the depths of last place in the East. The Joba experiment is off to a shaky start but it’s to be expected. I do hope this kid pans out because he is a rare talent. Personally, he should be this team’s closer for the next 15 years. But hey, a 3 game series vs. the Royals is the best medicine for a slump. And yes, Joba does pitch tonight!
18 (11) Houston Astros (31-30) – When Houston falls they fall hard! Getting swept by the Brewers and losing the series vs. the Pirates should hurt. On top of that they have the Cardinals this weekend. The problem with the Astro’s is that Texas baseball doesn’t work in the NL West. Other teams can score runs also.
19 (15) LA Dodgers (28-32) – Finally, an NL West team! The Dodgers are in serious trouble. I’m not just talking about losing 9 of their last 11 games. Clayton Kershaw is struggling to find his identity (4.91ERA 14ks). I won’t lie to you folks; their failures have made me a very happy guy.
20 (14) Baltimore Orioles (29-30) – I re-welcome the Orioles back the AL East Cellar. Yes, they may be the best last place team in baseball, but last place is still last place. I’m happy to see Nick Markakis run wild improving his productivity (.272AVG, 10HR) but it simply is not enough. The O’s pitching has now seen some signs of inconstancy; giving up boat loads of runs to both the Red Saux and Twins (41 runs in 6 games).
21 (21) Cleveland Indians (27-33) – “Danger Eric Wedge, Danger”!! The Indians are going down in hail of gunfire. It’s just a shame they are out of ammo. The Rangers lit them up (39 runs in a 4 game series). Where did that great pitching run off to?? They play a struggling Tiger team this weekend and NEED to play with that 2007 passion. Right now, they remind me of Major League.
22 (22) Pittsburgh Pirates (29-31) – The Pirates continue to play their best baseball in 15 years. Everything they have shows signs of inconsistency but its ok. To ask for anything more is straight foolishness. Jason Bay (.290AVG, 13HR, 30RBI) is playing well enough to be traded for some quality prospects. Congrats go out to the Pirates for drafting SS Pedro Alvarez #2.
23 (25) Cincinnati Reds- (29-32) – They did in fact sweep the Braves; which is a start for a struggling team. Jay Bruce and Edison Volquez continue to make their separate arguments for ROY. But before they can continue riding high and mighty, the Reds need to address serious issues; Getting on base, middle relief, and getting rid of the salary leach named Ken Griffey Jr.
24 (24) San Francisco Giants (25-35) – I rode my horse proudly after humiliating the Dbacks, but we followed it up with 2 losing series vs. the Padres and Mets. We do play the Nats in a 4 game set and perhaps we can show them what our offense is made of. Small Ball!!! Oh, and yes. I failed to contain myself when I watched the Giants draft THE best player in the draft, Florida States very own, Buster Posey. On a depressing note, Noah Lowry will miss the rest of the season.
25 (27) San Diego Padres (25-37) – It seems the Padres are relying only on pitching and not at all on offense. Outside Adrian Gonzales, this team cannot do much of anything offensively. The pitching has been great, allowing just 2 earned runs in 2 games. How about that John Banks (.33ERA in 3 starts). That is something to be hopeful of.
26 (25) Washington Nationals (25-36) – Scoring 2 runs in 4 games (prior to the second game of a double header) is not going to win you any games even if you had an entire team of Johan Santana’s. It’s a messy situation in Washington, with Ryan Zimmerman, Austin Kearns, and Nick Johnson on the DL. They did finally put up 10 runs in game 2, only to blow a nice lead in the 6th inning.
27 (26) Detroit Tigers (24-35) – As bad as the Nats have been, the Tigers have been even worse. They are riding another long losing streak, Justin Verlander (2-8, 5.16ERA) has been dismal, as has the rest of the staff. The only one putting the ball in play is Magglio Ordonez. The really problem is that the Tigers farm system is all gone. With the exception of Mike Hessman (20HR is AAA), they have nobody!
28 (28) Colorado Rockies (22-38) – Despite an 8 game losing streak, they managed to take 2 from the Dodgers this week. Expectations are very low right now since their core lineup is all on the DL. The upcoming Brewers series won’t make this pain go away anytime soon.
29 (29) Seattle Mariners (21-39) – Losers of 4 in a row is bad, but at least they didn’t follow a 12 game losing streak with another 3 game one (See the Royals). They play with no desire whatsoever and management doesn’t seem to care either (Yeh, dude went postal but to little to late). Its not really worth getting into details here.
30 (30) Kansas City Royals (23-37) – They may have a better record than some other teams, but they are playing terrible baseball. Losers of 15 of 17 games in a downward spiral to the basement. This was supposed to be the year of years. But prospects Billy Butler and young guys Ross Gload, Alex Gordon, and Mark Teahan are just more examples of terrible scouting, management, and ownership.