- Francisco "K-Rod" Rodriguez netted his 31st save of the season on Monday evening against the Nationals, putting him on pace for 65 saves, which would obliterate the current single-season record held by Bobby Thigpen (57). K-Rod's career-high is 47, accrued in 2006.
- The firing of John Gibbons and the hiring of Cito Gaston bodes well for Blue Jays...and their top prospect, Adam Lind, who fell out of favor with Gibbons after only a brief stint at the big-league level in late April. Gibbons decision to bench Lind (eventually leading to his demotion) in favor of the highly unproductive tri-toon of Shannon Stewart, Brad Wilkerson, and Kevin Mench, probably had something to do with his dismissal. In 131 games at AAA, the 25-year-old Lind hit .333 with 19 HR and 96 RBI.
- Somehow the Cardinals survived interleague play and the Albert Pujols injury without falling out of contention. Pujols will return on Thursday. In the interim the Redbirds went 5-6 total and 4-2 against division-leading opponents Philadelphia and Boston. Pujols return follows that of Jason Isringhausen, who hasn't allowed a run in four appearances, and precedes that of Adam Wainwright, Mark Mulder, Chris Carpenter, Anthony Reyes, and possibly Matt Clement in the coming weeks. With those kind of reinforcements joining a team which already possesses the fifth best record in baseball, if seems safe to say that St. Louis is "for real."
- The Pittsburgh Pirates, buried in what may be the toughest division in baseball this year, are quietly moving closer and closer to .500 and the end of what could have been a record-breaking stretch of losing seasons. Pittsburgh is third in the NL in runs scored thanks in large part to the outfield of Nate McLouth, Xavier Nady, and Jason Bay. If the high-potential pitching trio of Ian Snell, Zach Duke, and Tom Gorzelanny can find their stride in the second half (currently they are a dismal 12-17), Pittsburgh could be a very troublesome matchup their contending divisional rivals.
- Some noteworthy releases seemed destined to happen in the coming weeks. Richie Sexson continues to frustrate the Mariners, but he could be a tempting addition for either of the New York teams, Cleveland, or Texas. Cincinnati will likely part ways with Corey Patterson, now that Jay Bruce in entrenched in center field. His speed and defense might be a good fit in a part-time role with the White Sox, Marlins, or even his former franchise, the Cubs, depending upon whether Jim Edmonds and Reed Johnson can stay healthy.
- One can't help questioning how the Minnesota Twins will deal with the trade deadline. A few weeks ago I predicted they might deal some of their pitching at a high price for offensive prospects, but after a six game winning streak they are only a game back of the White Sox. Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau are starting to look like the MVP-caliber combo they were in 2006 and one must assume that Delmon Young and Michael Cuddyer will only be better in the second half. The Brendan Harris - Mike Lamb experiment on the left side of the infield needs to come to an end, so the Twins could be in the market for major-league quality talent. Jack Wilson, Bill Hall, and Adrian Beltre could be good fits.
Monday, June 23, 2008
Posted by MEAS at 6/23/2008