Monday, July 11, 2011

MLB All Star Break--12 Thoughts

Well, here we are at the half way point of the baseball season and the analysis has been going full bore. Here are just a few cents worth from this vantage point.

1. American League Wild Card will come out of the East. This division is the best in the league hands down. Boston and New York are playing .600 ball and Tampa Bay is not far behind.

2. AL Central is not very good. Detroit, especially if the pitching holds out, is probably the class of the division. Minnesota, ordinarily very good is struggling, and Cleveland is fading.

3. Expect Texas and Angels of Anaheim to fight it out to the last in the West.

4. Jose Bautista seems to be real.

5. Pittsburgh Pirates over .500. Wow!

6. Offense is generally down. Hard to say if that's because pitching is better, or hitting is worse. No steroids = no power? But I think the game is pretty exciting--I don't have to have a bunch of home runs to enjoy a game. Yesterday's Tigers-Royals tilt with Jeff Francis and Justin Verlander matching each other just about pitch for pitch is a perfect example of a great watchable game that doesn't have a high score.

7. SF Giants in a position to repeat at this point.

8. Boy did that guy eff up the LA Dodgers.

9. Phillies also in a position to return to the playoffs, just quietly going about their business.

10. Can't help but note that the Mets are one game over .500 but still in third place. Can't help but wonder if everyone but Reyes and pitching is trade bait to restock their depleted farm system.

11. NL Central is also a bastion of the only-good. Brewers and Cards tied for first with 49-43 records. Jury still out for Milwaukee fans on Greinke trade. We certainly like that little shortstop you all sent us :)!

12. The Royals. People are getting discouraged with the continued losing and the continued promises of "wait until the youngsters get here." However, the team really does allow for a pinch of optimism: keeping games close, playing smarter baseball, good team chemistry, excellent defense and relief pitching in general. There's a lot wrong--we wouldn't be on a pace to lose 90+ games if all was peaches and cream--the starting pitching, lack of power and consistency in hitting, the mental errors from inexperience are just a few items that reflect the fact that this team needs more talent and experience to contend. Position players are developing well, but pitching is lagging behind, both at the major and minor league levels. As development continues, we may need to consider looking outside for pitching help, via trade and/or free agency to complete our transition from a losing team to a winner.

Meantime, this fan really hates the All-Star break. Whatyamean there's no baseball game tonight or Wednesday night?

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