Tuesday, August 21, 2007

So Where Were We?

With temperatures in the 50's and rain on August 21st it's more like October outside than the so-called dog days of summer, but the American League appears to have allowed the Yankees to creep right back into the pennant race - not just for the Wild Card but the Eastern Division pennant, too!

Two months ago the Yankees were in second place in the East with a 35-35 record, sitting 10 games behind the Red Sox. They were also 6 games out in the Wild Card race. Since then, they've gone 35-20 (.636 winning %) and cut the Eastern Division lead in half and shaved three games off the Wild Card lead (remember, it's the loss column that counts).

How'd they do it? Some of it is the law of averages. With ARod, Jeter and Posada all having career years, and a payroll over $200 million the Yankees simply weren't as bad as they may have looked at times before the All Star Break. The Red Sox - as good as they are - also weren't going to play .700 ball for an entire season. Injuries, slumps, the Gagne Mess - all of that contributed to an evening-up of things in the Eastern Division.

Some random thoughts -
  • Phil Hughes is very good, but let's not make room for him in Monument Park just yet.
  • Joba Chamberlain has a filthy slider, but I still think that at least part of his success here in the very early days of his Major League career is due to the fact that he's only pitching one inning at a time, and so far not on back-to-back days. Major League hitters make adjustments on pitchers all the time. Why do you think the Red Sox have been able to handle Mariano the past few years? Because these two teams play each other 19 times every season. Let's see what happens with Joba after he's been through the league a few times.
  • Tim Wakefield should get 7 more starts this season and has a chance to win 20 games for the first time in his career.
  • Yankees GM Brian Cashman did an amazing job of rebuilding the bullpen.
  • The Mets have a combined 13 games remaining against the Phillies and Braves. And Pedro is having some difficulty getting hitters out in A ball.
  • To read some of the comments from readers of The Boston Globe, you'd never know that the Red Sox still have the best record in baseball. Terry Francona must be doing something right.

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