Sunday, July 28, 2013

Signor Baseball's Mid Season Update

Hey, how 'bout those Astros?!

Just kidding...forget about baseball, the good folks of Houston are now focused on one thing and one thing only: being crushed emotionally when Dwight Howard doesn't lead them to the NBA championship.

But in those cities where Major League baseball is still being played, we're more than halfway through the season, so it must be time for Signor Baseball's Mid Season update.

Let's start with the NL West. The Diamondbacks have been a little better than I expected and the Dodgers and the Giants worse. That makes for a tight race, probably till the end. But I still expect the Arizona Grinders to fade (their starting pitching is thin and unless someone other than Goldschmidt starts driving in runs there isn't enough offense) and LA to prevail...I'm not sure what happened to San Francisco this year, but they are running out of time to fix it. And Yasiel Puig is either the second coming of Willie Mays or Willie Mays Aikens. Like most things in life, only time will tell...

In the NL Central Pittsburgh and Cincinnati are chasing St. Louis and will grab at least one, and maybe both, of the Wild Cards. Since my son is a long suffering Pirates' fan, I hope they can finally win something...Elsewhere, the seemingly eternal anguish of being a Cubs' fan continues. And Milwaukee's best player has been caught in the PED drag net. Time to bust out the cheesehead and Packers' jersey.

Atlanta has built a comfortable lead in the NL East, despite both Upton brothers' failures at the plate. After a torrid start, Justin has been stuck at .250 for months while BJ dreams of getting to .200. Fortunately they have enough other guys hitting and their usual solid pitching. The Nationals haven't lived up to the pre-season hype, but still have time to make a run at the Braves.  The Mets suck, but not nearly as much as the Marlins.

Biggest surprise: well, the Pirates were in first place for awhile. That hasn't happened since Bonds left town.

Biggest disappointments: the Dodgers had a lousy start, mostly due to injuries. But now they're starting to play the way a $200 million plus payroll should. I never bought into the hype about Washington, but everyone who did must be kinda pissed right now.

In the AL East, the Yankees have two engines on fire, the tail just fell off, and the landing gear won't come down. Other than that it's been a smooth flight. Joe Girardi ought to get some sort of award for staying close with the likes of Lyle Overbay, Travis Hafner, Jason Nix, and some guy named Cruz filling in for Jeter, Granderson, and Texieira. Oh, and let's not forget a certain Mr. Alex "Ha Ha Ha You Still Owe Me 100 Million Bucks" Rodriguez, who may be suspended for 100 games--if he ever gets cleared to play in the majors. Still, Jeter and Granderson should be back soon, and it looks like a 4 team race. Boston, Baltimore and Tampa Bay aren't that much better than New York. With the way the rest of the AL looks, at least one of those teams will be a Wild Card, too. Up in Toronto, they spent a ton of money on new talent and expected to contend. As I write this, they are 14 games back. O, Canada!

Detroit is the class of the AL Central, but Cleveland and Kansas City are much closer than I expected. Though I don't think they'll catch the Tigers, the Indians still have a shot at a Wild Card slot. Minnesota hasn't played well since they moved to their new stadium and through hard work and diligence the White Sox have managed to have a worse record than the Cubs. Somewhere Ozzie Guillen is smiling.

And in the AL West, it looks like a two team race between the A's and the Rangers, with the loser having a shot at a Wild Card. Despite spending a boatload of Arte Moreno's money, the Angels can't seem to get out of first gear. This may lead to something drastic--like firing Mike Sciosia. Which would be too bad. He's a good manager in a very puzzling situation. In Seattle, Seahawks' training camp is just around the corner. And in Houston the Astros are neck and neck with the Marlins for the worst record in baseball. The more things change...

Biggest surprises: hard to believe anyone could win back to back Triple Crowns, but Miguel Cabrera just might. And, in his swan song, Mariano Rivera is having one of his best seasons ever.

Biggest disappointments: the Angels and the Blue Jays both spent a lot of money in the off season and they are both way, way, way, back. People lose their jobs over that sort of thing.

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