With September upon us (despite the 95+ degree heat), it’s a good time to take a look at the standings, then look back at your preseason predictions and laugh at how wrong you were.
AL East: Toronto is 5 games over .500 while Baltimore (picked by many to at least see marked improvement) is a league-worst 49-84.
AL Central: Detroit is under .500.
AL west: Seattle was a trendy pick to win the division before the season started. Many people are now either sheepishly owning up to picking them, or emphatically denying having ever done so. Also, the Angels are under .500. A dropoff was expected, but damn.
NL East: How about Atlanta? Granted, the Braves and Phillies have spent half the season trying to lose the division with the other one refusing to allow them to, but still.
NL Central: Cincinnati? Really? Also, Houston is in third place. Third!
NL West: The winner of them all. The biggest question surrounding San Diego before the season started was when (not if) Adrian Gonzalez would be traded, probably to Boston. They have now lost seven in a row, but are still 20 games over .500 and have a three game lead over San Francisco.
And now, our regularly scheduled programming:
Arizona (bullpen ERA 5.91) played San Diego (bullpen ERA 2.79) in a game that featured a bullpen meltdown. From the Padres. As mentioned above, that’s seven straight losses for San Diego.
-Brandon Allen got an extended cup of coffee last year. He didn’t hit very well, putting up a 69 OPS+. Tonight, in his first game in his second cup of coffee, he hits a grand slam off Luke Gregerson.
Speaking of losing streaks, St. Louis has now lost 5 straight and 13 of 18 since sweeping Cincinnati in the series that featured Kung Fu Cueto. They got swept by the Astros, who have won 11 of 13 to run down the Brewers. Houston is now in third place.
Detroit’s Max Scherzer went 9 innings, gave up 1 run, walked 1, and struck out 9.
-The Tigers lost.
Clayton Kershaw leads the NL in both strikeouts and walks. He is the first to do that since JR Richard in 1978. If his name sounds familiar, it’s because he struck out 15 in his first big league start, giving him lots of airtime around Strasburg’s debut.
-Also in this game, Roy Oswalt gave up one hit, but walked six.
Florida scored 16 runs, but had fewer hits than their opponent.
-That opponent? The Washington Nationals.
–Who have a better record than the Cubs. Who knew?
A little backstory–last night, the Nats and Marlins played a scoreless game that went into extra innings. In the tenth, Nyjer Morgan bowled over Florida catcher Brett Hayes, separating his shoulder and likely ending his season. Tonight, Morgan was stealing bases with the Nats down by a gazillion runs (Florida led 14-3 at one point). The Marlins already thought he intentionally hurt Hayes, and after antagonizing them by breaking one the Unwritten Rules that we have heard so much about this year (see Braden, Dallas), Florida pitcher Chris Volstad threw behind Morgan in the 6th inning. Then, well…this happened.
-First off, Nyjer Morgan is listed at 6’0, 175. Chris Volstad is listed at 6’8, 230. From the way Volstad threw down his glove, Morgan charging him was exactly what he wanted. Not sure what Morgan was thinking there.
–Gaby Sanchez is listed at 6’1, 225. Check him out with the clothesline.
With Manny Ramirez on board, the 2010 White Sox are one of two teams in history with players with 300 (Konerko), 400 (Andruw Jones), and 500 (Manny) home runs. The 2002 Rangers were the first with A-Rod, Juan Gonzalez, and Rafael Palmeiro.
Toronto’s John McDonald both stole a base and got caught stealing tonight. That’s two attempts in one game–the guy has 30 stolen bases (and only 42 attempts) in his 12 year career of nearly 800 games. Granted the CS was on a pickoff, so it wasn’t really an attempt, but still.
Oakland’s Daric Barton (8/14 lifetime in stolen bases–he isn’t fast) legged out an infield single, then stole second.
Jon Lester gave up four runs in the first inning to the Orioles.
-The Orioles who have strangely played the Red Sox very tough this year.
–Not this time, as Boston won 9-6
—It’s the fifth time this season a pitcher has struck out 10+ and given up 5+ earned runs (heck, Gallardo did it six days ago) but only the second time that that pitcher’s team has won the game.
Aroldis Chapman threw seven fastballs.
-one was at 99mph.
–the others were all at least 102.