Wednesday, June 30, 2004

A Metaphorical Win

I thought the Cub's win over the Astros last night was a metaphorical utterance against the Astro's deal for Carlos Beltran. If you look at my previous post, I discuss my thoughts on the trade - particularly how stupid it was. Don't misunderstand me, however. I don't think that having Dotel instead of Beltran last night would have given the Astros the win over the Cubs - I just think the Beltran deal did not address the real problems with the Houston Astros. Beltran did provide some pop with a bomb on to Sheffield, but he's not the answer.

Problem #1: Injury-Prone players
Last Night's Example: Jeff Kent leaves with a strained hamstring and Wade Miller is placed on the DL.

Problem #2: No effective bridge to the closer (since they traded Dotel)
Last Night's Example: Kirk Bullinger and David Weathers combine for 1 inning, 4H, and 4R.

Houston falls to 6.5 games behind St. Louis as the Cubs pick up ground on 1st place St. Louis (3.5 back) and move out of a tie with the soon-to-be-faltering injured Reds (4.5 back).

Notes

My distinguished co-blogger attended the exciting game last night and I'm sure suffered through a few incidents of heartburn, although it all turned out well in the end. Corey Patterson hit some rockets - one of which was a bullet homerun off the fence separating the bleacher bums from Sheffield Ave. This might have been the hardest hit line drive I've seen in quite a while. Corey needs to be swinging for those types of hits. He needs to swing for Ernie Banks and Ryne Sandberg type of power. That's the power that looks to drive solid line-drives and gets homeruns via happenstance. If Corey can swing that kind of bat (and swing at strikes), then we've got a verifiable superstar.

I had made a comment previously about how Biggio must be happy to be out of the Houston centerfield. He didn't show his appreciation too well with a muffed fly off the bat of Moises Alou that would have kept the game tied. This was Biggio's first outfield error this year, but it definitely wasn't his first misplay.

LaTroy looked sharp as usual, but suffered through some baserunners due to two misplayed grounders at the glove of Ramon Martinez - no damage done, however.

The Cubs have Matt Clement taking on Roger Clemens tonight - so we really need a sharp outing with no defensive mistakes from Clement and the Cubs. If the Cubs can play smart, I think they can rough Clemens up again.

Sunday, June 27, 2004

Sounding Off in the NL Central

Can the Cardinals Please Lose?

Look at the names of the Cardinals pitching staff and try to explain why this team can still win? The answer would have to be twofold --> Pujols and Rolen. In my mind, there is no reason why this Cardinal club should have the second best record in the majors. I've really got to believe that this team is going to cool off sometime, but I've been waiting for that for a month now and they keep winning. I'd hate to see what they could do if they were considered a "big market" team. It would get really ugly.

Another "B"?

The Astros adding to their alliterated lineup a few days ago. "B"iggio, "B"agwell, "B"erkman, and now "B"eltran. I'm going to start calling him Carlos "4-month Astro" Beltran because that's what he is. Send your pithy remarks, but I'm thinking this is one stupid deal. Sure, you get a superstar center-fielder, but what do you get along with him? No bridge to your only decent reliever coming from an injury-prone rotation. This is looking like computer programming. You try to fix one problem (having trouble scoring runs) by creating two problems:

1) giving up a crucial piece of your so-so bullpen
2) being stuck with nothing after Beltran signs for huge money this winter

This comes after Houston dealt Billy Wagner in a moneyball deal this winter. So last year's dreadful phrase "Lidge-Dotel-Wagner" has almost vanished into oblivion by being replaced with "starter at 50%-some guy I've never heard of-guy who is an unproven closer". Maybe this deal was pushed through by Craig Biggio who is just plain angry at the people who designed that hill in center field. "Hey Carlos, welcome to the Juice Box. Watch out for the flag pole on deep flies. Love, Craig."