Friday, August 01, 2008

National League’s "August Rush" alongside Trade Deadline Gripes

It’s no secret that it’s ridiculously brutal to predict just which player is going where, especially when your rough draft of a post is being formulated less than 8 hours from the trade deadline. Despite the incredible work done by the likes of Buster Olney, Jason Stark, Ken Rosenthal,, and the creative team at Yahoo! Sports (yes, I’m propping up the four-letter network first and foremost at what they do best: baseball coverage)…how on Earth can anyone expect to analyze the stretch run in the National League properly? (The AL was only slightly easier as it was BEFORE the trade-deadline). Well???

THIS is the man you go to for smart, yet savvy baseball analysis.

Especially when Man-Ram appeared to be Florida bound, Fuentes could’ve gone or stayed at any moment around midnight, the Astros (for some reason or another) continued to baffle me with deadline rumors abound, and Greg Maddux wanted to stay on the West Coast somehow (oh who cares!).

(Wednesday evening’s Pudge deal def axed any Jose Molina-talk from yesterday’s post. Thanks Cashman!)

Of course, that doesn’t even touch on what the D-Backs, Dodgers, Mets, Cardinals, Cubs, and Brew Crew might’ve done. Sadly, the Pirates were involved more than ever with Jason Bay’s name floating around more in rumors than Britney Spears. They also traded guys named Nady and Marte, in case you were buried in a hole this weekend and didn’t hear about it, for little to nothing it appeared.

By the way…there won’t be a mentioning, not even one, of waiver-wire deals as well.

As far as I’m concerned, they won’t happen or matter. (Sure…)

Back to NL analysis and prognosticating…via the relatively forgotten – yet incredibly vital – role player(s) down the stretch for each squad.

Random note: anybody else REALLY miss Harold Reynolds on national television these days? I DO!!!
Credit: NYDailyNews

NL East

Things in New York are going to be brutal for both those in the Bronx, Queens, and all over the legendary boroughs. Duh. While Pedro’s attempted return will get more than stale QUICK, the papers will likely target the more than well known fact that the Mets are DIDN’T make any last ditch attempts or two to add arms to both the starting rotation and the bullpen. In the meantime, I’m still baffled Mike Pelfrey has 9 wins and an ERA hovering around 3.60. While the press is all over the wildly inconsistent Oliver Perez (especially away from Shea), I’m watching Pelfrey slowly become one of the more reliable arms in the Met rotation.

I still have nightmares about this.

The Phillies can bash it with the best; however, even in as friendly a park as theirs…will it be enough? I could drone on day after day about countless overachieving short relievers or the newly acquired Joe Blanton. Instead, I’m targeting an oft-injured, highly-erratic 4-9 pitcher named Brett Myers. Why the fascination? After 7 strong innings giving up only one run on four hits (even if against the Nats), Myers YET AGAIN gets to be the hit-0r-miss pitcher for the Phils postseason run.

The Marlins without Manny Ramirez. It would’ve been so much fun seeing the $20-million man on the $22-million roster. Counting them out, even sans-analysis, would be a MISTAKE.

NL Central

The Cubs had a feel-good first half from the man they call Fukudome; yet the honeymoon might already be over (even with a solid 2-4, 2 RBI day Thursday afternoon). His hitting has gone stone cold for stretches this summer and the thrill may in fact be gone. Despite controlling a brutally important series in Milwaukee (SWEEP!!!), the Cubs need as much pop as they can get from their Japanese import in the next couple months. Especially since runs are tough, if not impossible, to come by when you see some of the 1-2 combos in the NL (Hamel/Blanton, Santana/Maine, Webb/Haren, Sheets/Sabathia, Carpenter/Loshe, etc.). Much luck Kosuke!

The Brew Crew need Ricky Weeks to do two things: stop booting balls in the infield and stop hitting as inconsistently as a drunkard on a batting tee. Simple enough?

Tony LaRussa and the Cards overcame a sweep on the hands of the aforementioned Crew to stay lurking in the shadows of both the NL Central and NL Wild Card race. I could try and peg a name or pretend I’m an expert on this year’s edition of St. Louis’s best. Instead, I’m going with my heart (Chris Carpenter returning from any injury stemming all the way back in April 2007) AND my head (Adam Wainwright returning from the DL to either his previous closing role or as a starter again).

NL West

I’m not talking about this division. I’m sorry, but it’s putrid. Sadly though, I have to admit, seeing Brandon Webb and Dan Haren in a five-game series might be brutal…for anyone. And I suppose a deal for the ManRam-guy is just a little intriguing. A little.

Hey Brit! Drop the zero and get a HERO!!!
Credit: WizBangBlog

Oh yeah, attention DBacks front office: Connor Jackson better be an All-Star…or Arizona will r
ue the day they held on so tightly to their #1-prospect.

As for the “fourth playoff spot in the NL”, when you’re talking wild-card in the National League, you probably could throw a dart in the general direction of the NL East’s runner-up…but only after the runner-up of the Central. Mark that down as not a prediction, but a fact.

Until next time…and next waiver-deal (rumor).

1 comment:

Paymon said...

The 4-game sweep of the Brew Crew was just that - the Cubs gaining four games on the Brewers. Though it was encouraging to watch the Cubs brutalize Brewer pitching at a place other than Wrigley, you don't have to look too terribly far to see the Cubs suffering from a sense of complacency when there's so little room for error given the Brewers much easier schedule from here on out and the Cards lurking in the shadows.

Good point on the Astros. They weren't in the race when they traded for Randy Wolf and they weren't in the race when they made the deal yesterday for LaTroy Hawkins. Only 13.5 games to make up and four teams to jump in the division and nearly 10 games for the wild card. What is Ed Wade thinking?