What A Difference A Year Makes In MLB
The first calendar month of the 2009 major league baseball season is over and it was a disappointing month for the Rays until last night. The Rays were 16-12 and four percentage points ahead of the Red Sox in the AL East on May 1st of 2008. This season they are 9-14 and 5 1/2 games behind the Red Sox.
Matt Garza showed the Red Sox they are not going to be pushovers this season by pitching 7 2/3 innings of one hit baseball. The Rays offense hammered Josh Beckett in the 13-0 win as he allowed seven runs and ten hits in 4 2/3 innings.
It was just one game but sometimes that is all it takes to get a team back on track. It will be interesting to see if the Rays build on this game.
The Royals are at a different place this season from where they were this time last season. They were mired in last place with a 12-16 record at this time last season. A year later they are a half game ahead of the White Sox and Tigers in the AL Central.
The Angels and Athletics were tied for the lead in the AL West on this date in 2008 with 18-12 records. This season the same two teams are tied for last place in the AL West.
The Nationals have not surprised anyone this season except for the fact that they are even worse than last season. A year ago they were 12-17 and four games out of first place. Today they are 5-16 and 8 1/2 games behind the NL Central leading Marlins and on a pace to lose 120 games in 2009.
It is the same old stuff in the NL Central since the Cardinals were leading the NL Central a year ago. The only difference is that they were a half game ahead of the second place Cubs in 2008 but today they are 3 1/2 games ahead of the second place Brewers.
The Cubs are in fourth place and five games behind the Cardinals. A shaky bullpen has been the downfall for the Cubs so far this season. Jeff Samardzija 6.75, Carlos Marmol 6.00 and Kevin Gregg 5.59 are off to a bad start.
With those three being the seventh, eighth and ninth inning relievers Lou Piniella may decide to leave the starters in longer than he wants. Last night was a case in point when the Cubs bullpen allowed six runs to score in the tenth inning in their 8-2 loss to the Marlins.
The Dodgers were five games behind the Diamondbacks on May 1 of last season in the NL West. Today they are 3 1/2 games ahead of the Padres and with Manny Ramirez on the team all season they should extend that lead.
David Wright has not hit the way he can so far in the 2009 season. He has only one homer in 82 at bats and has driven in only eight runs. That isn’t many considering Albert Pujols is leading the majors with 28.
Matt Holliday has only one homer in 85 at bats which ties him with Chan Ho Park who also has one homer this season. Derrek Lee has one homer in 74 at bats and is hitting .189 and slugging .284 in 2008.
Miguel Tejada has no homers and four runs batted in after 89 at bats. The biggest shocker of all is that David Ortiz has no homers in 87 at bats in 2009.
Zack Greinke who was 13-10 in 2008 is already 5-0 this season after the first month. He needs to win three games a month the rest of the season to win twenty games.
Chien-Ming Wang is by far the worst starting pitcher this season with a 0-3 record and a 34.50 ERA and is listed 425th among 428 pitchers in ERA. The next biggest surprise has been Diasuke Matsuzaka 0-1 and 12.50 ERA and 408th on the list after pitching only six innings in 2009.
The NL Central has four teams in the last eight on the team batting average list with the Brewers 23rd at .251, Cubs 25th at .246, Astros 27th at .244 and the Reds 29th at .235.
The Indians are proving you can’t have Carl Pavano in the rotation and still have a team ERA that is better than 30th in the majors. They have posted a 5.81 ERA.
Most baseball fans are surprised to see the starting rotation of the Yankees 29th on the list with a 5.79 ERA. The entire starting rotation of the Yankees has won only won one more game than Zack Greinke has won by himself with six wins for the rotation.
May should be an exciting month on and off the field for Alex Rodriguez when he returns to the Yankee lineup in the next two weeks. He will also face more questioning by the media about the latest allegations contained in the book The Many Lives of Alex Rodriguez by Selena Roberts being released on May 12.
It makes baseball fans wonder if the next revelation about Rodriguez will be that he used steroids in Little League and even worse in tee ball.
Note: Will be visiting aunt and uncle in South Carolina that I have never seen before over the weekend. The next post will be on Monday morning.