Four games to go…

     Today I went with the "Grande" coffee from Starbucks, rather than "Tall," which is actually the small version.  It was a difficult choice, but I made it, thinking in terms of how much coffee I had been drinking lately.  And I think that I am satisfied with my final decision.  After all, I have more coffee to enjoy, and now the paranoia can be even greater when I am all hopped up on caffeine.  But at least I will [feel] as though I am blogging better.   

     So yesterday’s blog was a little confusing I must say, and there were 25 comments from a combined four readers.  Well, three readers and a proof-reader.  I want to make this clear however.  I think that after a 162 game season we should know which team in the division was the better team over the course of the [entire] season.  And if they win by one game on a walk off homer on the final day it may seem close, seeing how they were separated by a single game.  But that should ultimately be how it ends for that second place team.  And as my Dad pointed out, they should not have to play them again.  However, the fact that there is no salary cap, means to me, that it should stay until they fix that first.  Because many fans will turn their heads from the game, with their respective teams having even less of a shot, and more importantly, an unfair shot at postseason play.  So I don’t mind the inferior teams getting a shot with the way the financial situation is.  But I feel both situations can be fixed, which is why I discuss [both] on the topic of the "Wild Card."  But anyway, I am finished with that topic for now.   And there are positives and negatives to it, which is why I explored both. 

     Johan Santana, the best pitcher in baseball, has given up 33 home runs this season.  Which is really unbelievable.  He is the best pitcher in baseball, definitely not this year, but before next season starts everyone will be referring to him with this label once again.  I mean really, this is last year’s Josh Beckett territory.  He gave up 36 homers but finished with a 5.01 ERA.  Santana gave up just about as many, yet managed a 3.33 ERA.  I would like to see the stats on players who had ERA+’s of 130 or more, but gave up 30 or more homers.  But my prediction was wrong, as at the break I predicted he would win the Cy Young, and he will not. 

     Congratulations to the Yankee fans that read this blog.  I never counted that team out, and you can read my past posts for proof if you must.  They had too much talent.  Although, chasing the Tigers and Red Sox made it seem unlikely at times, but they overcame this.  Of course, they had plenty of resources to work with, but still they had a nice comeback.

     Which leads me to…the fact that this is where these teams should be.  At the top of the American League.  Or within striking distance at least.  Everyone spoke of a Red Sox collapse, while it was mostly a Yankee resurgance.  The Red Sox were not playing great by any means, but the teams are where they should be, in the playoffs.

     The National League Wild Card has a lot of intrigue down the stretch.  Now we can argue whether some of these teams are even playoff quality teams, based on the old two divsion format.   But I imagine many fans are having an exciting time with this right now.  And I believe the Padres will prevail, but I believed this much more so a week or so ago, before there players were stepping on each others toes, and tearing their ACL’s due to unacceptable behavior.  Maybe Milton Bradley will turn around and sue Bud Black or whoever it was, for restraining him, and ultimately being part of why he was injured.  And Bradley was out of control, I know he probably isn’t being paid much, but should the Padres have to pay him while he is injured? 

     In my video game, "MLB 2K7," I am nearing the All Star break.  I was sitting behind the Orioles by twelve games in the standings.  When in doubt, just lower the difficulty.  I just cannot find a difficulty to have consistent competition.  So I am going to destroy everyone on this setting until I get near the top of the division, then I will mess with it again.  This seems to be what the Yankees did this season. 

     Cleveland has the most improved bullpen according to This is Where You Go To See For Yourself.  But, the big question mark they have, as Rob Neyer discussed in his blog today, is Joe Borowski.  He has been awful this season, yet has 43 saves.  So don’t tell me that the "Saves" stat is not overrated.  Of course, Rafael Betancourt has been as good as Borowski has been bad.  While Borowski has an ERA over 5, Betancourts is below 2.  Actually at 1.49.  He has been one of the best relievers in baseball this season.  And has been relatively unnoticed while doing it.

      

    

    

10 Comments

“I want to make this clear however. I think that after a 162 game season we should know which team in the division was the better team over the course of the [entire] season. ”

yes, i know already that you think your team is the best team in the division. lets look at things objectively though. your team got off to a great start and has been mediocre for the entire second half. your team was able to beat up on the yankees when several of our starting pitchers were on the disabled list, but i don’t think i have to repeat to you the record the yanks have over the sox, the total record and the overwhelming record in the last 3 series.

i think my team is the best team in the division. just look at the stats.

thank you for your compliment about our “nice comeback”

santana may have been the best pitcher in baseball, but isn’t even close this year. why don’t you call beckett the best pitcher in baseball? i’d say he probably is.

i’m sure neither you nor your dad is looking forward to “having to play a second place team”

i think we were talking last week about the NL wild card. i said the phils still had a good chance, that opinion didn’t go over too well, but i’m sticking by it. i think they have a really good chance, but i’m going to predict that the rockies get the WC.

so how is that MLB 2K& ? i’ve often considered getting it.

That wasn’t entirely accurate. Santana is close I guess. But it would be CC or Beckett in the AL for me. I think I will end up voting for CC when I do my awards, not certain though.

And this is where personnel comes into the fact that the Wild Card is there. Maybe the Yankees and Clemens come into agreement sooner realizing that there is less time and less opportunity to make the playoffs without the Wild Card to fall back on. Or maybe the Yankees fold and sell some parts when they are in such a big hole, although I doubt that would have done that. I have stated that the winner of the AL this season is the best in the AL, even if it is the Wild Card Yankees.

To be fair to my Dad, he was saying that the Red Sox shouldnt even have been there in 04′ while the playoffs were going on. He formed his opinion about the Wild Card as soon as it developed.

The fact that there is a Wild Card means the Yankees may have played things a little differently. So I am not saying the Red Sox are better. I am confident in the Red Sox, but my intention was not to say they were better. The Yankees are scary this season. I mean they have holes, but the point is all the teams in the AL are really good. So until they rid of the Wild Card completely, then all that stuff I say about the division winner being the better team, isnt going to be accurate. I don’t know if that makes sense. Back end of a teams rotation will have to be looked at even more closely, etc.

ok i see what you were saying. cool. agreed.

i guess the concept of which is the best team is a hard one to quantify. lets talk about that for a moment. i’m pretty sure you and i agree that the best team in baseball last year was not the cardinals. one probably should say that the mets and the yankees were the best teams having both had 97 wins. then there are the winners in statistical categories. i honestly don’t know who had the best run differential, OBP, OPS, ERA etc. i’m sure you do, and i’d love to know. should one deem one team the best because it “wins” in certain categories? which ones then?

or, OK, the cards won the world series. they are the best. the tigers were the best in the american league. well, maybe. probably.

in the end when we say which team is best, we really have to decide on what makes a team best. any thoughts?

I think everything has to be taken into account. Run differential matters, and where a team ranks in certain categories matters. But also the feel one has for a team. I mean, this is where we must step back and look at things objectively as much as possible. It is hard to do. I felt the Tigers were the best team in the AL last season when it was all said and done, and the best team in baseball too. But the Cardinals won, and deserve credit for winning. But I feel that had there been a two division format and no Wild Card, that this particular Cardinals team, had they had the same personnel, wouldnt even have made the playoffs. So the 162 game season would have taken care of them. Because if you go back to the format the Cardinals would have been chasing the Mets and finished 14 games behind, which isnt even debatable. Now I understand that they played different schedules and one cannot simply say that the Caridnals would have won 83 games in the NL East also, but it would still be the Mets by a significant margin. And this is where the biggest problem with the Wild Card lies, where teams like the Cardinals get in. Not good teams like this Yankees team, or the 04′ Red Sox, 06′ Tigers. But these teams that are very close to mediocre, if not mediocre.

And when I say “Feel,” I am saying it because stats can only give so much. We must take this into account also.

It seems to always be a debate as to who the best team is.

And they also need to extend the divisional playoffs to seven games, because that fourth starter would most likely need to be utilized. It would make it closer to the regular season. All of a sudden the Indians may need Byrd to pitch, rather than have CC take his turn in game 4 again.

i’m puzzled by your continual references to the wild card, especially as how it related to what we were talking about. the cardinals won their division. granted a weak division. if we want to talk about “classic” baseball, then we would be talking about the teams with the best record from each league going to the world series.
i think then it really was easier to say which team was best.

divisional play, playoffs and the wild card can be debated another time…i think we’re both a little tired of that subject. i was just pointing out that quantifying in baseball is difficult, and maybe that simply ads to it’s beauty.

i completely agree about having a 7 game DS; then you really would separate the grain from the chaff

I think I meant to say that I want to rid of the Wild Card and go back to the two division format. I just relate to it being as it was. I know the Cardinals won the division, but we agree that it was a weak divsion, and had there been the same format, they probably would have finished way behind the Mets.

And I agree that back when there was that two division format it was easier to see who was best, which is why I lean toward getting rid of it.

I think that quantifying [individuals] through stats is a little however in baseball, definitely over football. There is some great system designed to make everyone seem better (Rams offense) (Patriots defense). Jon Kitna may have a good year this season, but he is really a backup. But you don’t like football, I know.

still, you have to admit it’s fun seeing the yanks and sox clash in the ALCS. there’s nothing better in baseball…or all of sports. and we’d lose that if it went back to the other way.

I completely agree. Nothing tops Sox/Yanks in all of sports.

you know i live in alabama now, having moved here fromk nyc in 2004. and man, this is BIG TIME football country, albeit college football…the crimson tide etc. i was brought up on it…got into it a little bit, but to be honest, even when i was old enough to understand what was going on and even now…when i see two lines of football players crashing into each other, it just looks like a mess to me. i can’t differentiate plays or make much sense of it. ad to that the endless penalties and reviews…and the commercials. at least ours come between innings.

and they say baseball is boring.

oh, and since i’m sitting here watching tv and typing idly at you…what did you think of my prediction for the rockies and the WC. i also think that if they get in, they might very well go
to the WS. it’s just a hunch i’ve been having for about a week.

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