— Where BTF's Members Investigate the Grand Old Game
Wednesday, May 28, 2003
Bi-Weekly Review: N.L. East
The N.L. East through May 27th.
Okay, everybody that had the Expos with the second best record in baseball through May, take a step forward. Not all at once, people?
Since last we spoke, Atlanta has taken two of three in LA and swept San Diego in a four game series in the stadium formerly known as Jack Murphy. Only in Cincinnati, the final stop on the road trip, did they hiccup, losing 2 of three to the Reds, the team?s first series loss since April 11-13. They followed that up by winning, you guessed it, 2 of three from the Mets. That would have been a sweep if not for a stupid-slick, game ending OF assist from Tsuyoshi Shinjo. As of right now, the Reds have just taken the first of three in Atlanta with Adam Dunn begging the question of Sean Casey?s existence. Again. But that?s best saved for the NL Central recap.
The Braves are continuing to live off of Rafael Furcal offensively. 310/394/621 is a nice little week?s worth of leadoff damage. Andruw Jones is slugging .704 over the last week. Marcus Giles hit a rough spot, with the league adjusting to him and putting the onus of re-adjustment squarely back on his shoulders. But Vinny Castilla, showing that bat we all just knew was waiting to breakout. I?ll wait for you all to stop laughing.
If anything, Castilla has taken the bi-weekly Voros? Award away from Wil Cordero. Now Javy Lopez? That?s a much more interesting question. Clearly the week?s been good to Javy. You don?t see 421/500/1211?s over the course of significant at bats. But if Lopez hits 286/324/621 for the season the Braves will win the division.
Montreal matched Atlanta blow for blow, sweeping the Giants, splitting four in Colorado, sweeping Florida and taking 2 of three from Philly. The big lumber comes courtesy of Vladdy and Vidro. Big shock, that. It was apparently Brian Schneider?s week to play D?Artagnan (652 SLG for the last week.) Jose Macias plied some fancy swordplay too (333/333/556,) but Schneider beat him out on playing time.
In the rotation Javier Vasquez, Tomo Ohka and Livian Hernandez all pitched well. The rookies, Claudio Vargas and Zach Day both got beat on a bit though. The pen continued their solid work.
In Philadelphia, water continues to be treaded. That?s fine if the competition is doing the same, but if the competition is steady stroking their way out into deep water you might want to start to move yourself. The Phils need for Jimmy Rollins to start getting on base. 283/339/392 just isn?t good enough out of the leadoff spot. And while we?re on the subject, 210/324/448 is just terrible for a cleanup hitter playing LF. And one is at a loss to explain Marlon Byrd?s continued presence on a Major League roster. He brings nothing to the table that Rickey Ledee can?t match one way or another. Regardless, Byrd will platoon at the position now that he?s back from a knee injury.
The Phillies? saving grace has been stinky economics and Brett Myers. Myers has matched Kevin Millwood inning for inning this year. They have respective ERAs of 2.84 and 2.88 for the season. Myers is within 5 innings of matching Millwood?s playing time. Combined with Randy Wolf they give the Phillies a top half rotation to match up with anyone. Unfortunately for Phillie fans, Vicente Padilla and Brandon Duckworth have to take regular starts too. That?s before we even begin to discuss Joe Roa. Ick.
Florida and New York field rather bad baseball teams. The Marlins rotation is in shambles. The Mets lost Mike Piazza for quite possibly the year. There is no amount of defensive games-calling skill or gritty determination that will make Vance Wilson and/or Jason Phillips even half as valuable as Piazza. A bad team just got worse. The Mets did get Jeromy Burnitz off the DL, and just to amuse me to no end, they decided to play him in CF.
Dear Mr. Cedeno,
When they?d rather play Jeromy Burnitz in center than deal with your atrocious defense, you?d probably best consider post-baseball lines of work. Yes, you may find fourth OF/ pinch runner work in the couple of years immediately following the end of your current contract, but all in all, I suggest you hit up teammate Tom Glavine for investment advice.
I?m supposed to say something insightful about the Marlins here. Carl Pavano pitched a 1 run complete game on 92 pitches last time out. That?s good. Brad Penny isn?t on the DL with the rest of the starting rotation. That?s good too. Mike Lowell is playing well enough to escape Florida by the trading deadline. Alex Gonzalez is probably the team?s single All-Star rep. Otherwise, I welcome additional suggestions. Just add them to the comments section below.