The Home Stretch of the Baseball Season

… and Alex Rodríguez flies out to end the inning with a runner on base as I speak (bottom of the 5th vs. Boston Red Sox, Wednesday, August 27, 2008).

This has been the tone all season. I knew he had been bad all year when it comes to runners in scoring position and particularly after the 7th inning (an APPALLING 3 RBI after the 7th inning with runners in scoring position??? OVER 130 GAMES??? Steinbrenner is paying $30M a year for this???). The deceiving thing is, you look at Rodríguez’s numbers (.312/28/79/1.020+) and those are pretty decent. But they do not reflect how disgustingly awful he has been when it comes to knocking guys in all year. Grounding into double plays, striking out, flying out weakly… I like Alex, but this got old back in June. If we don’t win these next two games versus Boston, our season is over. That’s not jumping off the bandwagon, that’s REALISM. Our pitching sucks. Andy, who is automatic in August and September, got nailed last night. Ponson only gave us 4 2/3 tonight, so the bullpen will be shot after this series. Moose is liek the 2007 Green Bay Packers (i.e. overachieving ALL year, running on fumes, and you’re waiting for the hammer to come down finally — for Green Bay, it was vs. the Giants in the NFC Championship of course; hopefully, for Moose it ain’t tomorrow!)

As for the rest of baseball, I see it this way — and I will be succinct:

AL East winner:
Tampa. They have the pitching. They have not missed a beat with their bats even though Crawford is out for most of the rest of the season and Percival is down as the closer (again). They will win the AL East. Boston’s pitching is iffy at best.

AL Central winner:
Chicago White Sox. By the skin of their teeth. They’ve been back and forth with Minnesota all year. I just believe the Pale Hose have that moxie that Minnesota doesn’t. Shouts to Gardenhire for keeping his pitching staff together. No one thought they would do it without Santana, but I don’t see them overtaking Chicago for first.

AL West winner:
The Los Angeles Angels of Los Angeles County of Anaheim City of California Angels. They had the division clinched in June. YAWN.

AL Wild Card:
Minnesota. They will catch Boston and that’s that. Deal with it.

NL East:
This is a tough pick. The Mets are not convincing, but they are coming back against Philadelphia as I publish this. We will have to watch this. I pull for the Mets like little brothers, and I can’t put that bias aside right now. I see them winning the NL East in a playoff the day after the season ends.

NL Central:
The Brewers were looking prime to catch the Cubs when C.C. Sabathia came on board. I don’t see it happening now. The Cubs are the best team in baseball. I actually see them winning it all this year unless someone like Derrek Lee or Zambrano gets hurt.

NL West:
I would LIKE to think the Dodgers would win it, but the NL West is like the NFC West in the NFL. Meaning… who cares who wins the division… they’re not going to do anything in the playoffs but be the eventual champion’s doormat.

NL Wild Card:
Strictly by virtue of the best record, the Phillies SHOULD win this, but we will have to watch. They have the better top to bottom pitching out of the trio of themselves, St. Louis and Milwaukee.

Philadelphia Phillies vs. Chicago Cubs. Cubs in 5.
Los Angeles Dodgers vs. New York Mets. Mets in 4.

New York Mets vs. Chicago Cubs. Cubs in 7.

Minnesota Twins vs. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Angels in 4.
Chicago White Sox vs. Tampa Bay Rays. Rays in 5.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim vs. Tampa Bay Rays. Rays in 6.

World Series:
Chicago Cubs vs. Tampa Bay Rays. Rays in 7.

Wouldn’t THAT be something? It’s not far-fetched, either. TUNE IN!!!


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