This is what columnists do when they can’t think of anything to write. The difference is I don’t get paid.

August 4th, 2006 → 11:34 am @

How about you spend three nights in August on a nice, long vacation

The Cardinals have lost seven in a row and are 2-8 in their last ten games. I blame Tony La Russa. There are plenty of good reasons La Russa deserves some of the blame; mine, however, are fairly irrational. For one, I simply don’t trust a man who takes his fashion tips from Corey Hart. For another, I’m still shocked at how La Russa has managed to skirt responsibility in baseball’s steroid controversy. This is, after all, the manager who pretty much copped to the fact that he knew Jose Canseco was roiding up in Oakland; he then went on to oversee the Mark McGwire era in St. Louis. (And people wonder why there are those who think Albert Pujols should be under a bit more scrutiny.) Finally, any manager who finds a way to get swept in two World Series (with the A’s in 1990 and the Cardinals in 2004) has to be a bit of a dolt.

All hail the greatest hitter of all time

To put Ted Williams’s .406 batting average in 1941 into some perspective: during Chase Utley’s current 35-game hit streak (tied for the 9th longest since 1900), Utley’s hitting .405.

Irrational optimism
It hasn’t been a pretty week for the Sox. Theo Epstein stood his ground at the trading deadline; Trot Nixon and Jason Varitek both went down with injuries; Josh Beckett continues to get lit up like a rigged pinball machine; and the Sox have fallen a game behind the Yankees in the AL East. So let’s look at reasons not to despair. Tek and Nixon’s absence will hurt, but it’s not unreasonable to expect Wily Mo Pena–who is hitting like he has some kind of vendetta against the Wall–to outproduce Nixon–and it’s not like Jason Varitek was exactly tearing up the basebaths. This year, much like last season, has been a testament to the Sox’s depth: despite losing more than half of its starting rotation to injuries, Boston is on pace to win more than 95 games, and a playoff spot. The team isn’t far behind in 2004, when it had a starting five that didn’t miss a start, a healthy Keith Foulke, and an entire team that seemed to put up career numbers. The addition of Javy Lopez should help things behind the plate (or at least spare Red Sox fans the sight of Doug Mirabelli constantly looking in to the dugout because he has absolutely no idea what pitch to call for in any given situation). And the Yankees, while on a tear of late, can’t be expected to play like this for the rest of the year. Every team has hot streaks, and every team has funks. The mistake is assuming that means much of anything in the middle of a 162-game season.

Potentially rational pessimism, Mikes edition

On the other hand, Mike Lowell is hurt and Mike Timlin has sucked as of late.

The stopper

During Schilling’s two healthy years with the Red Sox, one of his most impressive stats has been his numbers after a Red Sox loss. Right now, Schilling is pitching in the rotation immediately after Josh Beckett. Looks like he’s going to get plenty more opportunities to staunch the bleeding.

Post Categories: Albert Pujols & Chase Utley & Curt Schilling & Javy Lopez & Ted Williams & Tony La Russa