A little Friday afternoon blogging
A few thoughts from the past week or so of watching baseball (including three games in person, which was quite nice)…
* I talked about this some on Twitter last night, but after seeing the Indians and White Sox this week, and after researching them both quite a lot in advance of seeing them, I’m a much bigger believer in the Sox than the Tribe.
As I wrote in my column last night, the Sox don’t have many real gaping weaknesses. The ‘pen has been an issue, but the arms are there for it to be plenty good, and of course there’s nothing easier to fix than a bullpen. Alexei Ramirez’s falloff has been really puzzling, but that’s still only one lineup spot. Elsewhere in the lineup, there’s danger even at the spots where there are OBP issues.
Meanwhile, I just don’t see a lot to like with Cleveland. The back of the bullpen has been effective, but beyond those three guys, it’s a problem. And three-man bullpens tend to burn out. The rotation only goes about two deep with any real effectiveness, and the lineup has far too many holes. Chicago’s a better defensive team too.
Of course, that still leaves the Tigers, who I’m having a hard time getting a handle on, but my expectation is that it will be a Tigers-White Sox race. The opportunity would have been very much there for the Royals if they had had more luck keeping their starters healthy, but the injuries to Duffy and Paulino just look like too much to overcome.
* I find myself believing a little bit in the Mets, even after their rough weekend against the Yankees. The lineup is better than it gets credit for (third in NL in runs scored… yes, really), the rotation is solid and deep, and the bullpen… Well, can it really be THIS bad? The NLE is a fascinating division where there are a lot of strengths and a lot of weaknesses, and I’m beginning to think the Mets should buy.
* I’ve also been thinking a bit about paces. Nobody ever hits them, and there’s a reason for that. Remember early in the year, the paces that Josh Hamilton was on? Now it’s Joey Votto, on pace for about 70 doubles.
Here’s the thing: we only seem to extrapolate guys’ paces when they’re at their absolute peaks. Earl Webb hit 67 doubles in 1931. That means that on AVERAGE, he was at a 67-double pace. Not at his high point. At one point, in mid-July, Earl Webb was on pace to hit 77 doubles.
Over the course of a season, a player has peaks and valleys on the way to his final numbers. He doesn’t sustain his hottest stretch for a full season. Joey Votto is almost certainly not going to hit 69 doubles.
Doesn’t mean he’s not having a great season, of course. Just a reminder that hot streaks are considered hot streaks for a reason.