I’m back + Short Hops
After a three-week hiatus, I’ve finally gotten back on track with everything, so look for regular updates from here on out. Today’s entry will just be Short Hops because of the limited time I have to write; however, starting tomorrow entries should be back to normal.
- Interleague play began this past weekend, as the Mets hosted the Yankees, the Nationals hosted the Orioles, the Phillies hosted the Red Sox and the Reds hosted the Indians. More nonsensically, the White Sox hosted the Marlins, the Dodgers hosted the Tigers, Arizona hosted Toronto and Kansas City hosted Colorado. What did this mean? It meant that Interleague play is becoming more and more of a joke, and that the games played are becoming more and more just three-game series on the schedule. The idea that there is any sort of competition between the AL and NL above just the normal vying for daily victories is absurd; the idea that the NL made a statement with its victories this weekend is even more so.
- The weekend was important for some teams, such as the Red Sox, who took two of three from Philly, and Philly, whose two losses to Boston put them back within reach of other teams in the NL East. The Braves, who played the only intraleague series this weekend when they faced Pittsburgh, have climbed back out of the cellar to second place in the division at 3.5 back. The Red Sox used their two wins to get their feet back under them, but as their production picks up and their winning becomes a bit more consistent, they still sit in fourth place going into their series in Tampa Bay. Boston is currently 8.5 back of the best team in baseball; Toronto is 7.0 back after their 12-4 win over the D-Backs. The Blue Jays’ Jose Bautista (remember him, Pirates fans?) hit his 14th homer of the year and drove in four runs in the win; he currently is tied with Chicago’s Paul Konerko for the Major League lead in home runs.
- The Mets used Interleague play to boost morale after they took the last two games of their Subway Series in Queens. Although the journey was rocky at times, the Mets squeezed out wins against the Yankees to keep them within range of the rest of the division and remind them that they can indeed be a good team. Jason Bay hit two homers yesterday to triple his season total (do the math), giving the NL East cellar dwellers confidence that their prize left fielder can be all that he has been in past years. The Mets are currently five games back of Philly and one game back of fourth-place Washington.
- The Nationals, on the other hand, seem to be pulling a 2003-Marlins move by expressing interest in beleaguered Astros ace Roy Oswalt. Washington management seems intrigued enough by their team’s modest success and consistency to make a push for a shot at the postseason and consider Oswalt a good fit. Oswalt currently sports a sub-3.00 ERA but has a 2-6 record after receiving almost no run support at all from his NL-worst club. Strangely enough, current Nationals catcher Ivan Rodriguez was also on that 2003 Marlins World Championship club.
- Jose Lima unfortunately passed away Sunday morning after a massive heart attack. Lima, who made his name with a 21-10 season for the 1999 Astros, had a seemingly perpetual happy-go-lucky personality and was a mix of Pedro Martinez in looniness and Rickey Henderson in perseverance. Like Rickey, Jose hoped to one day pitch again in the Majors, and the way other older Major Leaguers have been making comebacks (see Livan Hernandez, and to a lesser extent, Freddy Garcia), it may have only been a matter of time. May he rest in peace.