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Vicfurth's State Of The Mlb Thread


vicfurth

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Okay, I'm officially starting my "State of the MLB" stuff. All the other posters have their contests, but I am providing my free opinions, analysis, and commentary on what's going on with the MLB each month. So, let's get this over with :D...

State of the MLB, April 2004

Surprise, surprise. Major League Baseball's opening month was anything but ordinary. The good fortunes of the Detroit Tigers, Texas Rangers, and Baltimore Orioles, along with the strange misfortunes of the Yankees, Phillies, D-Backs, and Mariners were, in a word, unexpected. However, I'll hold it down to what I think are the three biggest surprises of the young baseball season...

(1) the 9-6 Detroit Tigers: Yes, the same Detroit Tigers that started last year 0-9. The same Tigers that nearly set the MLB record for worst season ever. The same Tigers that had Dmitri Young as their star player. These Tigers are holding their own in the still weak AL Central, half a game back of the Minnesota Twins. With the additions of Pudge Rodriguez and Ugueth Urbina, Detroit seems to be poised to rock the baseball world :therock: (did I say that out loud?).

My question is "How do they do it?" because I honestly don't know. They rank 27th in baseball in team ERA, but they rank 5th in baseball in runs scored, averaging over six runs a game. It seems they are just outscoring everyone. I guess we'll just have to see if that holds up (and it rarely does).

(2) Texas Rangers pitching: This month's sign of the Apocolypse, the Texas Rangers' team ERA is barely over four :shocked:, and that has translated into an 8-7 record. These Texas Rangers ranked dead last in ERA last year (5.67), more than 0.3 more than the Tigers (5.30). They are ranked 9th now, five spots ahead of last year's best pitching team, the LA Dodgers. The bullpen has been, dare I say, Yankee-esque so far. Francisco "Coco" Cordero has been awesome in the role of closer. Kenny Rogers, Chan Ho Park, and R.A. Dickey have held their own against the very tough AL West, holding together what everyone thought would be a shoddy rotation. The pitching has helped Texas in some games and carried them in others. Along with the pitching, Texas has averaged 5.2 runs per game without their "stars" A-Rod, Raffy Palmeiro, and Juan Gonzalez. Instead, the likes of Hank Blalock, Mark Teixeira, Mike Young, and Alphonso Soriano have made the Rangers seem like contenders in the West. I expect big things this year, because, this year at least, everything's bigger in Texas.

(3) the New York Yankees: The New York Yankees round out the Top 3 biggest surprises this year, and some might argue that this is the biggest surprise. The Yanks' juggernaut has come to naught through the first month. Their "biggest" addition, A-Rod, has been meh, the offense has been meh (less than five runs a game), and the pitching is worse than Texas' (never thought I'd ever say that). What's wrong with the Yankees, the AL representative in last year's World Series? They traded Soriano (nearly a 40-40 guy) for A-Rod, and both of last year's aces, Clemens and Pettite, now play in the Lone Star State. ERA is higher, there are fewer runs scored, and the "best left side of the infield ever" has helped produce a fielding percentage that is tied for 22nd in baseball and twelve errors, tied for third most in baseball. As Stella did, the Yankees will probably get their groove back, but for now we can all bask in the glow of the Yankees having no bang for their buck.

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I'll add the 3-11 (and 0-8 at home) Blue Jays to the list of biggest surprises.... :cursing:

You could say the same for the Phillies...

And I'd argue the Phillies/Blue Jays letdown is a bigger story than the Yankees, which is more of a melodrama than an actual disappointment.

But your analysis is pretty solid, vic.

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Thanx for the kind words. I'll probably change this to the Creamer boards' version of Sports Illustrated, writing an article about this size for the biggest sports story of the week. Naturally, I'd be writing about the NFL Draft next week.

This is the first sports "article" of this size that I've ever written.

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