We are now 40 games into the season so let’s see how things are going since the last time.
AL Div A
1993 Toronto Blue Jays
When we last left the Blue Jays they were in the only losing team in a very tight division. Five weeks later Toronto is in 1st place 8-2 in their last ten and with the best run differential in the league (+40). Can they keep this pace up?
Heroes: Roberto Alomar may be down to .338 (from .404) but his OPS is still over 1.000 (1.008) leading the team in both runs and runs scored. Duane Ward has managed to convert 7 of 8 save chances but his WHIP & his ERA are both 0.59
Zeroes: When you say that Jack Morris has increased his winning percentage by .200 point, dropped his avg against by .053 points and his ERA by over a run and a half it sounds impressive until you discover his record is now 1-4 with a 7.02 ERA and an avg against of .336. Pat Borders .221 avg .267 obp and .257 slugging percentage with 0 HR and 15 RBI isn’t scaring anybody.
Wild Card: Toronto’s OPS of .788 is the highest in the American League and their team ERA of 3.76 is 2nd
Coming Attractions: The 1968 Tigers pay Toronto a visit before they Jaunt to Washington DC to face the red hot Washington Senators before returning home to host the 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers for some interleague play.
1970 Baltimore Orioles
Toronto rose and Chicago fell but the Baltimore Orioles remained in 2nd place and a game out of the 2nd wild card despite going 7-3 over their last 10 Will slow and steady win the race or at least stay in it?
Heroes: Jim Palmer leads the league in ERA (1.94), Wins (7) Innings pitched (83 1/3) and strikeouts (76) while remaining top 7 in every other non relief category so no change there and while Boog Powell has still been a monster (.294 7 HR 32 RBI) Merv Rettenmund (.353 6 HR 33 RBI) is a monster who hits .59 points higher.
Zeros: Dave McNally has halved his previous ERA from 8.25 to 4.41 but he’s still 3-6 with the worst ERA on the team and 8 round trips allowed. To no bodies surprise Brooks Robinson leads the O’s in HR with 8 and his .967 fielding percentage and 2.72 range factor while both lower than expected aren’t completely horrible but his .169 Avg and .259 OBP, that’s pathetic.
Wild Card: Baltimore is dead last in the majors in doubles with 56 but 1st in walks by a lot with 230 (Stl & Fla tied with 191) & 1st in the AL in ERA (3.44)
Coming attractions: The O’s finish a 12 game road trip with 3 at Yankee Stadium vs the 2009 Yanks before coming home to host the Big Red Machine (1975 Reds) then heading off to Chicago for three against the 2005 White Sox.
2005 Chicago White Sox
A five game losing streak has the pale hose below .500 and down to 3rd place. Can they reverse the slide before they sink to the bottom of the division?
Heroes: On a team that’s not hitting pitching matters so Mark Buehrle 2.00 ERA 5-3 .240 avg against and a WHIP of 1.11 in 10 starts along with Jon Garland 3.19 ERA 5-2 .207 avg against and WHOP 1.08 are what will keep the White Sox in the race.
Zeros: Just as good pitching is vital on a team Orlando Hernandez 7.30 ERA 1.70 WHIP is why his record is 0-6. Scott Podsednik is still stealing bases when he gets on (12 without being caught) but when you’re hitting .222 with a .288 OBP and only 4 RBI’s there’s not a lot of chances to do it.
Wild Card: The White Sox don’t like extra work they have only played one game that has gone to extra innings and they are at the bottom of almost every offensive category but one steal percentage with 20 successful steals against only 3 times caught an .870 avg.
Turnaround: Jermaine Dye was on the zero list hitting .182 last time around he’s now at .250 with seven HR and 21 RBI.
Coming Attractions: The White Sox get nine chances at home to change their luck. Three vs the 2015 Kansas City Royals, 3 interleague games vs the 2013 Arizona Diamondbacks and then 3 more against the 1970 Orioles.
1988 Oakland A’s
Between Injuries (Terry Steinbach will miss the next 12 games) a sick manager and a power outrage worse than the NYC blackout of the 70’s the Oakland A’s are
Heroes: Jose Canseco has gone from Zero to Hero. After a .143 start He’s raised his avg to .280 2nd on the team has hit 8 Homers and has 31 RBI’s. Dennis Eckersley continues to impress with a 1.40 ERA and a .157 avg against.
Zeroes: Dave Stewart continues to fail to impress with a 1-6 record 7.71 ERA and a .306 avg against and a WHIP of 1.85. Curt Young’s ERA of 6.29 and 2-5 record is slightly better but his .311 avg against and 11 HR given up in 21 less innings is a worse.
Wild Cards: If anybody told me that the team that hosts the Bash Brothers would be dead last in RBI’s in the majors and only ahead of the powerless Washington Senators in HR’s in the American League I wouldn’t have believed you.
Coming Attractions: The A’s welcome the 2002 Anaheim Angels and then the 1986 New York Mets for Interleague play before heading across to the country to face another NY team the 2009 Yankees.
NL Div A
1975 Cincinnati Reds
A Change in the Managers seat had meant a change in their fortunes as they have leap frogged to the top of their division but can their luck last when their long homestands end?
Heroes: Johnny Bench continues to rule the roost with a .316 Avg 14 Homers and 45 RBI’s. While Will McEnaney’s 5-0 record in relief is superior to Rawley Eastwick’s 3-2 Eastwick edges him in ERA (2.05 vs 2.08) WHIP (0.91 vs 1.05) avg against (.170 vs .209) & HR allowed (1 vs 3)
Zeros: A 3-2 record might not sound too bad for Jack Billingmam but a 5.45 ERA .309 avg against and only 38 innings in 7 starts and 3 relief appearances aren’t a lot of help. Caesar Geronimo might be back in the lineup but with a .191 avg and only 2 HR and a .263 OBP opposing pitchers likely don’t notice.
Wild Card: Cincinnati might be 2nd in stolen bases in the majors but they’re 1st in caught stealing. the Reds 1.29 WHIP is 3rd in the majors.
Coming Attractions: The big red machines plays 3 vs the 2005 Houston Astros before going on the road 1st vs old foes the 1970 Baltimore Orioles for interleague play and then across the country for 3 against the 1962 San Francisco Giants.
1955 Brooklyn Dodgers
After a long stint in 1st place the defending Champion Dodgers find themselves in 2nd with a .500 record and tied for the last wild card spot. Can they get themselves back in the right direction?
Heroes: Duke Snyder is on a tear his triple crown numbers of .342 16 HR and 34 RBIs are a terror to pitchers everywhere. Don Newcombe 5-2 record and one save in a single chance is good and it certainly doesn’t hurt when instead of an automatic out you’re hitting .345 with 5 RBI on the days you pitch.
Zeros: Don Zimmer’s 9 HR & 23 RBI’s are good numbers but when the come with a batting avg of .194 (.176 with men in scoring position) they don’t mean that much. Clem Lebine may lead the Dodgers in saves with 3 but a 8.27 ERA & and 4 HR given up in only 16 1/3 innings are why he has two blown saves and two losses to go with it.
Wild Card. with 24 appearances Jim Hughes continues to be a workhorse extraordinaire out of the bullpen but not as big as the team leading the majors in HR with 60 to date. Brooklyn refuses to beat themselves as their .989 fielding percentage is tied for 2nd in the NL.
Coming Attractions: It’s three weeks of leap frogging as they welcome the 2008 Philles for three before Traveling out of the country for their inter-league series against the 1993 Toronto Blue Jays then back home for three vs the 2013 Arizona Diamondbacks.
1986 New York Mets
What a difference a few weeks makes the Mets find themselves with an empty DL, tied for 2nd in the division and back at .500. Will this turn of events continue?
Heroes: Wally Backman has been an on base machine with a .340 avg , a .398 OBP which is likely why he leads the team with 28 runs scored while till driving in 17 of his own. (now if they could only stop him from trying to steal he’s 0-4). There’s not a lot to cheer about on the pitching staff but Jesse Orosco’s six saves in 8 chances combined with a .230 avg against and a 3.42 ERA are all tops on the team.
Zeros: Rick Aguilera and Bruce Berenyi have been used both as starters and relievers but have not impressed in either spot allowing a .342 & .359 averages respectively along with a 7.01 & an 8.48 ERA. How Berenyi can be 1-0 with a save & Aguilera 1-2 is beyond me
Redemption: Ron Darling’s 1-3 record and 4.88 ERA might not sound impressive until you consider five weeks ago his record was 0-2 & his ERA 19.89
Wild Cards: You would think that being dead last in fielding in the Majors at .973 the Mets team ERA might not be bad but their 4.85 trails only Florida and the 2019 Nationals in the NL
Coming Attractions It’s off on the road for the mets with 3 in the windy city vs the red hot 2016 Chicago Cubs then to Oakland for their interleague series vs the 1988 A’s and then back to Philadelphia for a visit to the 2008 Phillies.
2013 Arizona Diamondbacks
3 straight losses and an 2-8 record over their last ten have dropped them to last will injuries and bad luck turn this cinderella team into the ugly duckling of the league?
Heroes: Paul Goldschmidt continues his tear a .311 14 HR and 34 RBI to a source of starting fear to pitchers while Willie Bloomquist has been a hell of a pinch hitter he’s appeared in 32 games with a .378 avg causing pitchers to worry off the bench. On the mound Trevor Cahill 4-1 record .218 avg against and 2.05 ERA in nice stars make a lot of other teams jealous.
Zeros: How bad has Joe Thatcher been? So bad that his .327 avg against and 7.62 ERA are both significant improvement (.441 10.57) over the last time we talked. Cliff Pennington was critiqued last time around for a high avg with no production behind it, he still doesn’t have the production, only 4 RBI’s and 4 runs scored but now doesn’t have the avg has he’s down a full .105 points to .228.
Wild Card The Loss of Brandon McCarthy for the season wasn’t good but the loss of starting 2nd baseman Aaron Hill for the next 20 series that’s disaster particularly when it’s likely that the slumping Cliff Pennington will be his replacement. Particularly for a team that’s tied for 2nd in the league in fielding.
Coming Attractions: It’s off on the road for Arizona as they travel 1st to San Francisco to face the 1962 Giants, then to Chicago to meet the 2005 White Sox in Interleague Play, then off for a set vs the 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers before their final stop taking on the 1st place 1975 Cincinnati Reds, the big Red Machine.