Paul takes a tour of the league's two-start pitchers to see which are worth using this week.
It’s been a shaky start to the two-start week for several of our American League options from last week. Drew Smyly and Max Scherzerwere both touched up in Chicago. Jeff Niemann had his leg broken and now sits on the 60-day disabled list. Ivan Nova and Jason Hammel were smacked around in an 8-5 slugfest against each other.
National Leaguers didn’t fare much better as Erik Bedard, Ryan Dempster, and Chad Billingsley were among the casualties in their first start. I should’ve known better with Dempster; I gave the reason not to start him within the article—he was facing St. Louis. They have become a team you must sit your non-star pitchers against.
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A double dose of no-hit history goes by the wayside in Wrigleyville.
So much for best-laid plans. On Wednesday, we'll be delivering at least a couple of columns talking a bit about what's wrong—and right—with the two teams of the Windy City, but Sunday night's game earned a carved-out column all its own. If it didn't show off what's right or wrong with Chicago's two teams, it did show off what's right about baseball in general, while also showing off Chicago's love for beating its second city rap to flinders. And all because both the White Sox and Cubs chased no-hit bids late into the game, an unusual enough occurrence, but an important reminder that both teams boast big-name rotations, and that by stacking starting pitching talent as well as both clubs have, you may not be guaranteed playoff spots, but you will get a few well-spun ballgames in the course of the campaign.
For those of you keeping score, don't try all of this at home.
So, I admit it, I do some of the things that I shouldn't do behind the wheel. Consider my lot yesterday-running late because of that compulsive need to finish yesterday's article, I'm driving down 31st Street and crossing the Dan Ryan before hanging that eventual left that puts me in the promised land of Parking Lot A (easy in, easy out) and a quick run to the elevator and the press box to follow Game Four of the ALDS, and Ed Farmer's announcing the lineups on the radio, and I realize that there's just no way I'll make it in time. I keep score as another matter of compulsiveness, and I realize that the school bus that's parked in the left turn lane isn't going to evaporate no matter how much I expend telekinetic energy in that direction.
So, waiting for the indolent traffic cop to eventually feel inspired to unsnarl the same snag that's been there for the last 10 minutes, I reach to my bag, fetch a pen, unsling my scorebook, and get the lineups down in my book. It's Ed at his most cooperative, and I'm reassured that, yes indeedy, neither Ozzie Guillen or Joe Maddon is doing anything funky in Game Four in the ALDS. It's another Hinske-free day, another moment for Dewayne Wise to try and enjoy the benefits of the BP reverse curse.
Don't stop believing in the AL Central, the Orioles' annual late-season wing-clipping, and instant replay on the job.
White Sox skipper Ozzie Guillen was chatting with a group of reporters this past week, when the talk turned to analyzing the remaining schedules of the two contenders in the American League Central. Some felt that the Sox had the easier path to winning their first division title since 2005, a season in which they also won their first World Series since 1917. Others believed that the Twins had the clearer path to a second AL Central crown in three years.
Kevin moves over to the senior circuit, highlighting NL players who have seen their stock rise or fall in spring training.
With spring training close to wrapping up and most prospects without big league jobs already reassigned to minor league camp, it's not too early to take a look at the spring statistics to see which player's stocks are rising and falling. Spring stats should always be taken with a grain of salt, so here's some additional background of some of the National League's best and worst performances by prospects. Statistics are through games of March 27.
Each author's ballot may be found later in the article. Here, we neatly summarize
the results. In each division standings table you'll find the average rank of the team, plus the standard deviation. The lower the standard
deviation, the more in agreement the authors were about that team's place in the division standings. In our AL column, the
Royals had a standard deviation of 0, meaning that all authors agreed they would finish last. We have similar consensus with
the old/new Washington Nationals, also picked to finish last across the board. Such agreement is rare around here, and
obviously means that both the Royals and Nationals will finish third in their respective divisions.
For shame, Dayn, for not even mentioning that Altoona's Jeff Keppinger is the only .400+ hitter in all of Double-A--his nearest competitor (Wright) is a full 40 points BEHIND him.
Granted, we know Keppinger's not on anyone's radar as a serious future star, but isn't the point of selecting players for 'All-Star' status supposed to be to reward those having strong performances?
I realize Keppinger doesn't have a single home run, but not even acknowledging Keppinger as an 'also-ran' ignores the fact that he is accomplishing something so far ahead of any of his peers to this point, is certainly an injustice. Give our boy Kepp a little love, would ya?