Saturday, June 25, 2005

« Boston in first, but will it last? »

By Suss
It wasn't too much of a surprise when Boston wasn't in first place. They were underperforming, but they had rattled off eight straight postseason wins to break some kind of curse or something.

"“If they didn't win the World Series last year, everyone would say 'Sure, they're in first place for now. ' "
They were still "hungover," as many basebalanalyststs described, from 2004.

On top of that, they lost ace Curt Schilling to injury and starting pitcher Derek Lowe and shortstop Orlando Cabrera to free agency. Granted, they picked up shortstop Edger Renteria and starting pitcher Matt Clement, but the team wasn't playing up to expectations.

But the out-of-the-gate-first Orioles have waned and the Red Sox are now in first place, and everybody seems to be playing 2004-style ball.

Of course, if they didn't win the World Series last year, everyone would say "Sure, they're in first place for now. It won't last." Will it this time?

The Yankees are making too many bonehead mistakes for a $205 million payroll. Last night Bernie Williams flat out dropped a fly ball. They're 3-7 against Tampa Bay. Tampa Bay.

So, if the Yankees are playing bad baseball and the Orioles pitching staff is running out of gas, are the Red Sox in position to default as the AL East champion in June, keeping in mind will most likely get Schilling back sometime in July?

Personally I'm surprised they've grabbed first this early. I figured they would lull in second place, quietly staying in the race until Schilling returned to the mound.

A few reasons why you can't write them in as division champs:
  1. The Orioles can still hit.
  2. The Yankees are still the Yankees.
  3. Boston still plays both the Orioles and Yankees 10 more times this season.
But Boston has taught us all never to automatically count them out. They're very much in the race, but by no means are they a postseason lock. Two other very good teams are in that division, and even if they finish second, they're not guaranteed the Wild Card as they normally are because Minnesota, Texas and even Cleveland are suddenly contenders.

And Toronto, 37-37 and in fourth place, aren't necessarily dead for the season. I wouldn't be surprised for them to be a spoiler in the division -- not necessarily make the playoffs, but beat up the second place team, dampening their Wild Card chances.

It's gonna be a Big Ten-like division, meaning all teams are evenly matched -- even Tampa shows glimmers of brilliance at times -- and the winner will be battle tested for the postseason, but second place may not have the record to slip into the playoffs as well.


Anonymous Uncle Mike said...

Ok...# 1,we OWN the spankees...if they want it,come and get it...# 2...after the All-Star break,we play way more home games then away games,and...we LIKE it there! # 3 Balt.uses a 4 man rotation(Bruce Chen left the game,today,against Atlanta,with an injury) I,m going to safeco July 16 & 17 to watch Balt. play Seattle(yes...I'm checkin em out)#4-5-6... A healthy Schill,and...that's all she wrote...PS. It appears that Manny has found his stroke...he raked another 1 today...OUCH!

June 25, 2005 4:42 PM  

Anonymous Uncle Mike said...

PSS. When you write The Sox in as Division Champs...Use ink... signed,Uncle Mike...

June 25, 2005 4:47 PM  

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