Sunday, May 01, 2005

Baseball - A look at April

One month does not make a season . . .

It’s a marathon, not a sprint . . .

What blooms in the spring will wilt in the fall . . .

Well, actually the last saying I just made up, but my point is clear – one month of the baseball season is complete and there are some things that many people would not have expected, such as:
- the New York Yankees 10-14 including a dismal 7-9 at home
- the Cleveland Indians 9-14 with a 3-7 record at home
- the World Champion Red Sox with a 12-11 mark
- the Los Angeles Dodger, Baltimore Orioles and Chicago White Sox leading their divisions
- the Washington Nationals with a winning record

There are still five months left in the season, but it is time for some teams to start to make a little move so they don’t drop too far back from the pack . . . here are my thoughts on the Yankees and Indians:

New York Yankees
The Yanks look old . . . they have not been consistent at the plate . . . they scored 19 runs in one game only to come back with a two run clunker the very next day . . . just this past week, 11 and 12 runs against Texas and Anaheim only to score two runs in the next three games . . .

Tony Womack, Gary Sheffield, and Alex Rodriguez have been playing well . . . Derek Jeter has been hot and outspoken in the locker room trying to get his teammates to play better . . . however, the Yanks no longer get the key hits when they need it most as they did six-seven years ago . . .

The pitching staff sucks . . . the best thing to happen to the staff is that Jaret Wright got hurt . . . Steinbrenner and Cashman made a huge mistake by signing this lunkhead . . . Kevin Brown and Mike Mussina are inconsistent and always give up that one big inning that is costly . . . it finally looks like Randy Johnson is starting to come around a bit . . . the bullpen is atrocious . . . Tom Gordon must be let go before he costs the team any more games

The Yankees need to start bringing up their youngsters in the minors . . . the young kids could do just the same as Gordon, Sturtze, Wright, Stanton, etc and for a lesser price . . . the Yankees have issues that may be difficult to correct

Cleveland Indians
The famous line coming out of Cleveland, "it’s only April" . . . but so far, the Indians look like they have taken a few steps backward in what was supposed to be a division winning year . . . Cleveland played well last year as some of the "kids" such as Victor Martinez, Travis Hafner, and Ben Broussard played well . . . but not so fast my friends . . .

After a decent 2004 season, the fans and organization believed the Indians would automatically make the next move in its progression – win the Central Division . . . but they forget what happened to the Kansas City Royals just two years ago . .

In 2003 the Royals played a lot of young kids and finished with a record of 83-79 . . . some predicted Kansas City to possibly win the division last year – instead, the Royals finished with a 58-104 mark . . . all the young talent fizzled last year – and that may be what is happening to Cleveland . . .

Who is to say that Victor Martinez and Travis Hafner didn’t have their career year last season? . . . sure Larry Dolan is signing all these young guys to three-to-four year contracts to keep them from going elsewhere, but who is to say these players are that good?

Bob Wickman is shot as a closer . . . let’s also face facts, Cliff Lee and Jason Davis are below average pitchers . . .
As far as the offense goes, Grady Sizemore was ballyhooed as the next great Indians star . . . instead he may be the next Jody Gerut, Russ Branyan, etc . . . Jhonny Peralta is struggling in the field and prize prospect Brandon Phillips hits well in Buffalo, but falters in the Big Show . . .

Rafael Bettancourt has been impressive out of the bullpen . . . and I like the hard nosed play of Casey Blake . . . Chi Chi has also gotten off to a good start . . .

The names have changed in Cleveland but the same ole public relations machine is at it again – all these young players are supposed to be the next Jim Thome or Albert Belle – instead they look like just ordinary average ball players

The Top 10
Here are the 10 best teams in baseball after the month of April
1. Marlins - I just like this team – they may just win it all again
2. Cardinals - this team will be on cruise control until playoff time
3. White Sox - the South Siders have something going
4. Twins - Santana is the best pitcher in baseball
5. Dodgers - who would have thunk it – the Dodgers are in first place without closer Gagne
6. Orioles - Angelos spent a little money and had a winning April
7. Braves - what would a top 10 list be without Bobby Cox and his new look Braves
8. Red Sox - the Champs have some issues with their pitching staff
9. Athletics - the A’s are hanging tough despite losing Hudson and Mulder in the off-season
10. Nationals - they are the inspirational story of the year – a change of scenery does a body good

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