bthomps87

Archive for May, 2010|Monthly archive page

Astros avoid sweep

In Houston Astros 2010 Season on May 31, 2010 at 3:26 pm

Not many people believe that the Cincinnati Reds would be a top of the N.L. Central. They have played very solid baseball beating the weaker teams and being able to battle with the top-tier clubs. Even their losses are not blowouts as they are able to keep within one or two runs. They host the Houston Astros who came in losing the last 8 of 11. Wandy Rodriguez started for Houston and didn’t last long as he gave up 8 runs in 3.1 innings. Those eight runs were plenty for the Reds as Houston only scored 6 runs. The Reds didn’t stop as they added seven more runs off of Fulchino, Byrdak and even catcher Kevin Cash. With this loss, the Astros dropped to 16-32 and Wandy fell to 2-7. Game two wasn’t any prettier as Houston was beaten by double digits. Just like Wandy, Brain Moehler gave up 8 runs but only lasted 2.2 innings. The Reds didn’t stop and piled on 4 more runs and when the dust settled, the score was 12-2. Even though Houston is use to losing already this season, being out scored 27-8 just makes the season even longer. Game three Houston was able to pull out a victory that took it to the tenth inning. A 0-0 ball game to the top of the 10th, Lance Berkman doubled off Micah Owings to put the Astros up 2-0 and help avoid the sweep. With this win, Houston moved to 17-33 and 12.5 out of first. They also help extend their lead over worst team in baseball, Baltimore, by 2.5 games.

No matter how you look for anything positive the past three series, Houston has not be able to make any positive strides. Blow out losses, no offense, terrible back end rotation will just keep digging into the team skin. Houston could have 50 losses by the all-star break. I am not going to lose hope even though I know there isn’t a chance that they make any type of miracle run. My passion for this club stays the same. The city of Houston is just ready for major changes and they need to happen sooner rather than later. It is hard for us Astros fans to admit that our instate rivals are better and it makes it worse when they rub in into our face. The Rangers had to endure 10 years of this and I hope we do not endure this time of drought to become a prominent ball club. The pieces are there for positive moves, but who is willing to take the reins and accept responsibility for the negative repercussions if they occur.

I do not think Brad Mills needs to be in any conversation about firing unless some big name coach randomly quits due to disclosed reason. Mills is doing the best he can for what he has to work with. I honestly think he can become a successful coach at this level, just needs more than two players in the entire organization to rely on. There isn’t one consistent starter that is batting .300 + and only two starters batting over .250. Outside of Oswalt once again, pitching is horrendous. Wandy looks like a rookie. Bud Norris cannot beat anyone other than the Cardinals. Paulino has yet to notch a win and Brett Myers isn’t doing anything to move this club in a positive direction. The pen is falling apart quickly as Sampson, Fulchino, and Lyon seem to give up 5 + runs every time they are asked to perform.

At the end of the day I am still going to wear my Astros gear and not let anyone belittle my support for them. I will watch games and suffer with the team through those nine innings. Seventy wins this season would be nice but might be a stretch. I do not think NASA could come in and fix this problem for Houston.

2010 World Cup Teams

In Random Rants on May 28, 2010 at 8:49 pm

For the past few weeks my anticipation toward the 2010 World Cup has been growing. Outside of the Olympics, the World Cup is the biggest sporting event in the world. After months of qualifying, the thirty-two teams have been set as they all get ready to travel to South Africa. Throughout the years, FIFA ( International Federation of Association Football ) keeps a running tab on international matches and adjust world rankings. Going into this W.C, Brazil will be entering as the perennial favorite with Spain in second. Portugal, Netherlands, and 2006 champions Italy will finish out the top five. From FIFA top 32 rankings, seven teams will not be making a trip to South Africa; Russia, Norway, Egypt, Ukraine, Israel, Romania, Turkey. The seven clubs replacing these teams are Denmark, South Korea, North Korea, Japan, Honduras, South Africa & Slovakia.

I mentioned in one of my earlier articles that I really do not know too much about the powerhouse teams in soccer outside of Brazil. I couldn’t look at teams lineups and predict who might beat who and who could be the Cinderella team this year. Honestly the only team I will be rooting for is the United States. Going into the tournament as fourteenth best team in the nation, I expect the U.S. to get out of group play as the second club. They would go play the winner out of Group D who I believe will be Germany. The Germans are ranked sixth in the world but being ranked higher doesn’t always guarantee victory. The Americans proved they can beat top-tier teams when they proved this in 2009. They beat number two Spain and almost beat number one Brazil but fell apart in the second half. I will be extremely pleased if they can get by Germany where they will probably play France or Argentina. At this point, I do not think it matters who they face as I see an exit in the Elite 8. This team to me relies on its star players rather than its bench. If the main players do not show up, the bench isn’t deep enough to keep this team dreams alive.

World Cup play starts June 11 when host country South Africa kicks off versus Mexico at 10:00 a.m. ET. Than the second game of the day will be Uruguay vs France at 2:30 p.m. ET. The United States begins their run June 12 vs England @ 2:30 p.m. ET.

FIFA World Cup Rankings (Top 32)


Group A

France

Mexico

South Africa

Uruguay

Group B

Argentina

Greece

Nigeria

South Korea

Group C

Algeria

England

United States

Slovenia

Group D

Australia

Germany

Ghana

Serbia

Group E

Cameroon

Denmark

Japan

Netherlands

Group F

Italy

New Zealand

Paraguay

Slovakia

Group G

Portugal

Ivory Coast

North Korea

Brazil

Group H

Chile

Honduras

Spain

Switzerland

Never Ending Nightmare

In Houston Astros 2010 Season on May 25, 2010 at 8:26 pm


Drafted in 1996, Roy Oswalt spent four years playing minor league ball for Houston affiliated teams. Then he made his major league debut in 2001 and ever since he has been one of the main faces of the organization. In his rookie season, Roy Oswalt, aka The Wizard, went 14-3 with an ERA of 2.73. He finished second in Rookie of The Year voting only to Albert Pujols and came fifth in Cy Young voting. With such a dominant performance, the Astros were able to make the playoffs where they lost in the NLDS to the Atlanta Braves. The next four season, Roy racked up a 69-34 record, with two season reaching the twenty win mark. One of his 20 win seasons was in 2005 where the Astros were able to reach the World Series were they would eventually get swept by the Chicago White Sox. 2006-2008 Roy still put up dominating numbers as he was still able to reach over the ten win mark and twice reaching fifteen wins or more. During this time period though, the Astros where showing signs of struggle when they went from placing second in the division five straight seasons to finishing fourth and third. Roy’s ERA saw a slight increase where he went from a 2.90-3.10 range to a 3.18-3.60 range. Despite the increase, his overall numbers didn’t see too much of a change.

Even though Oswalt’s numbers were great, it wasn’t what was showing on his resume that started concerning Astros fans. Houston’s offense started to become worse and worse as the next three years passed, 2006-2009. Even though Roy was able to get his wins, you could see the frustration in his body language as each outing become more of a grueling grind. He didn’t see those 5 run cushions anymore and it started to dwindle down to 1 or 2. This just puts more stress on Roy despite him still going 8 innings strong. Over time you could just tell that it was mentally breaking him down. From 2000 – 2005, Houston average 805 runs. Than from 2006-2009, the Astros averaged 703 runs a season. People might argue that 2005, the World Series year, the Astros only scored 693 runs. The Astros also had Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, Roy Oswalt and a healthy Brandon Backe in the top four of the rotation. Along with a dominate closer at that time in Brad Lidge. I have always preached, dominate pitching will take you a lot further with a mediocre lineup than a dominate lineup with a mediocre pitching staff.

Also as the offensive runs started to dwindle, so did the quality of pitchers in the rotation and bullpen. Lidge fell apart after the Pujols home-run in 2005. Rodger and Andy both left after the 2006 season. Wandy still struggled to win on the road and Houston wasn’t able to find any reliable starters as they always called up pitchers to stop the bleeding. As all of this was going on, the pressure kept building on Roy to continually go out and win 15-20 games a year. 2009 we finally saw the breaking point where he wasn’t able to do it. Roy had the highest ERA of his career, clipping the 4.00 mark. First time not to win ten games in his career and even the lowest amount of strikeouts.

Now 2010, Roy is 2-6 and is still dealing with the same dilemma. His ERA is only 2.66 but still cannot get any run support to win games. With recent news of Roy wanting to be traded, we all shouldn’t be shocked. Houston is dead last in runs scored, the second worst team in the league and another less than mediocre pitching staff to support Roy. If Roy decides to leave, I will not be upset and happy that he will be playing for a team that will give him a few more years in the majors. Also this is what Houston needs to do to revamp their less than stellar farm system. A great package deal with Roy could bring in a lot of young prospects that should help the Astros in two or three years. Whatever happens to Roy down the road, he will always be one of Houston’s greats. As long as he can get on a winning team, we should see Roy in the Hall of Fame when it is all said and done.

MLB Top Performers 5/20/2010

In Around The League on May 21, 2010 at 12:56 am

Baseball is now a month and half in and there have been some surprising performances and then your everyday all-stars. I will run through your top hitters, pitchers and closers.

Batters

1.) Andre Ethier #16, RF ( Los Angeles Dodgers)- Though this Los Angeles Dodger right fielder hasn’t had as many at bats as most starters, he still batting league leading .392. He already has 38 RBI which ties him with Miguel Cabrera. For active starters, Ethier only has 16 strikeouts which is one of the lowest AB/K rates. He is in the top five in home-runs will eleven and even though he isn’t leading in home-run department. Ethier does have the highest SLG. percentage.

2.) Justin Morneau #33, 1B (Minnesota Twins) – Probably one of the least talked about players, Morneau is having one of his best seasons of his eight year career. Justin currently has a .362 average which is .78 higher than his career average. He is tied with Ethier in total home-runs at eleven. One of his knocks is that he does have the most strikeouts for a top ten hitter. Morneau leads the Twins in every major batting category and he almost leads the team in total runs.

3.) Miguel Cabrera #24, 1B ( Detroit Tigers)– Cabrera has been a beast at the plate since entering the league in 2003. He has had four season where his average has been over .300 and 2010 looks too be added to that list. His .340 average puts him in number six overall and reaching second base 14 times ties him for fifth. Just like most of these top players, Cabrera leads his Tigers offense and has help them stay in contention with the Twins.

4.) Vladimir Guerrero #27, DH ( Texas Rangers)- Most people didn’t see Guerrero to perform this well, especially after a down year with the Angels. We couldn’t be more wrong as Guerrero is easily the MVP of the Rangers. Already with 8 home-runs, he is only seven away from tying last years mark. He is also is has 54 hits which places him 5th only four behind your typical leader Ichiro Suzuki. It will be interesting to see if Vlad can keep this up as this will be his 15 season.


5.) Robinson Cano#24, 2B ( New York Yankees)- Number five was hard to choose from but to me Cano deserves this spot. Once again, he is proving that he is a very good player all around. If he can keep it up, his .340 average will be his fourth season to end up over .300 in six years. It looks like he will be on pace to have over 100 RBI which will be a first and he is showing more patience at the plate.



Starting Pitchers

1.) Ubaldo Jiminez #38, SP ( Colorado Rockies) – Easily the best pitcher in the bigs right now, Ublado is 8-1 with an ERA under 1.00. Along with his ERA being under 1.00, his WHIP is too. Even though he isn’t in the top ten in strike outs, his seven earned runs is outstanding. April 17, Ubaldo through a no-hitter versus the Braves and gave up no runs despite walking six.

2.) Roy Halladay #34, SP ( Philadelphia Phillies)- There is no question that Roy is the best pitcher in the game right now over the past four seasons. His transition from the A.L. to N.L. was smoother as it should be and his numbers show it. A 6-2 record ties him in second with the most wins. He is 58 strikeouts but one stat that stands out his the amount of hits he has allowed. Amoungst the top fourty starters, he has allowed the most hits with 65.

3.) Tim Lincecum #55, SP ( San Francisco Giants)– Despite his teammate Zito having a lower ERA and one more win, Lincecum could easily be 8-0 right now. But instead he is 5-0 but easily leads the league in strikeouts with 75. Tim is the only starting pitcher in the top forty without a loss. Tim does give up a little more walks than most aces but bounces back really well.

4.) Adam Wainwright  #50, SP ( St. Louis Cardinals)- Though he isn’t in the top ten overall, his numbers are just as good. He is has six wins and even though he plays in the N.L Central, Wainwright has beaten some quality teams. His ERA is a little higher than your top ten aces but he is still up there in total strikeouts. His 1.02 WHIP is one of the lowest and is performing slightly better than the Cardinals ace, Chris Carpenter.

5.) David Price #14, SP ( Tampa Bay Rays)- It looks like Price has finally established himself as a legit starter. His 2008 postseason performance was one to remember and many believe 2009 would be the year. That wasn’t the case as he was sent down to the minors to develope more. Now a starter in 2010, Price post a 6-1 record and a 1.81 ERA. He only has allowed 39 hits and eleven earned runs.

Closers

1.)  Matt Capps #55, RP ( Washington Nationals)- The Nationals have 21 wins and 21 losses. Matt Capps has 15 saves and zero blown. It is easy to see that the Nationals rely heavily on Capps to perform at top peak and he has. He leads all closers in saves and innings pitched. Matt’s 2.11 ERA isnt the lowest but is great considering the amount of innings he racks up.

2.) Francisco Cordero #48, RP ( Cincinnati Reds)- Ever since becoming part of the Red’s organization three years ago, Cordero has been very solid. His thirteen saves places his in second despite having three blown saves. His ERA, hit count and IP are a little higher than most but he tends to get out of the tough situations well. This is very evident as the Reds tend to win a lot of 1 or 2 run ball games.

Mid May Top 10 MLB Power Rankings

In Around The League on May 18, 2010 at 3:53 pm

May 18, 2010

Not much change in the past couple of weeks. Few movements in the bottom of the rankings. Right now most of these clubs are just making space between them and their competition. Six teams from the A.L and four from the N.L round out the top ten.

1.) Tampa Bay Rays (27-11) – Still the powerhouse of the A.L. East and the league, the Rays are 10-5 in the month of May. They are averaging over 4 runs a game in their wins. The Rays also possess the highest run differential with +87. Their schedule first half of May hasn’t be tough and the second half should determine if they can hold their two game lead over the New York Yankees. The Rays do not have one of the higher batting averages, sitting at .249. Their pitching though is what has made them so difficult to beat. David Price and Matt Garza have five wins already and James Shields is sitting at four. Their team ERA is an outstanding 2.74.

2.) New York Yankees (25-13)- Could be the best team in the league if it wasn’t for their little stumble on the road versus Detroit. The Yankees have the second best record, just ahead of the Philadelphia Phillies. They have lost six in May but have been able to beat their better competition outside of the Tigers. They have a 6-2 record versus their rival Red Sox and have scored the most runs out of any team in baseball. Andy Pettitte and Phil Hughes are both 5-0 with ERA both under 3.00. A.J Burnett is 4-1 while C.C. Sabathia is 4-2.

3.) Philadelphia Phillies (24-13) – Winners of the last five out of six, the Phillies have only lost three games in the month of May. They have scored seven or more runs in eight games and have shut out teams three times. Overall they are the second best hitting club and are first overall with a batting average of .280. Roy Halladay is still dominating as usual posting a 6-1 record with an ERA of 1.59. The six wins has him tied for second for active starters.

4.) Minnesota Twins ( 24-14)- I believe the Twins are one the best well-rounded ball clubs. They can hit, pitch and their the best fielding team. They are the only team the has given up less than ten errors. They also have two players in the top five in hitting, Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer. Both of these players have an B.A. over .360. They rank ninth overall in hitting and have the third highest batting avg. Pitching wise, they Twins are ranked 8th overall. All their starting pitchers have 4 wins or more.

5.) San Diego Paders ( 23-15)– Still the surprising team out of the N.L.West, what San Diego is able to do so well is play very consistent ball. They do not go on hot and then cold streaks off an on. They can score runs in bunches but are able to grind out the close games. Their pitching staff allows the lowest BAA of .216 which definitely has contributed to the least amount of runs given up, 111. Also they have the lowest ERA and the most shut outs. With all these combined, their hitting hasn’t been needed  to carry the load. In fact they number 24 in overall hitting and have the fifth lowest batting average. None of their active starters are batting over .300, while only three are batting over .250. Closer Heath Bell is a 11 for 13 in save opportunities which places him third in the N.L. and tied for third overall.

6.) Detroit Tigers ( 22-16)- The Tigers started off the season struggling but now are 6-3 in the last nine games. During that they were able to take the series from the Yankees, winning three of four. They are a middle of a pack team as they rank 17th in overall pitching and 15th in hitting. Their ace Justin Verlander is 4-2 and has won the last three outings. New closer Jose Valverde has done well as he has been able to rack up ten saves and maintain a microscopic ERA of .51. Hitting wise, Miguel Cabrera owns every major category has he leads the team in Avg, HR, RBI and OBP. His first year in the bigs, Austin Jackson is proving to be a very viable bat an a potential all-star.

7.) Toronto Blue Jays (23-17)- The Jays would be leading three divisions if they didn’t have to play the Yankees and Rays all the time. Just like the Padres, no one outside of their respected city expected the Jays to be doing so well. They lead the league in home-runs with 61 and this seven more than the second place club, Boston. They have only lost five games in May and went on a six game winning streak before dropping three of four. After sweeping Texas and splitting the two game series with the Twins, they go on a three series road trip versus the Mariners, Diamondbacks and Angels. Vernon Wells, Jose Bautista and Alex Gonzalez all have ten or more home-runs.

8.) San Francisco Giants ( 21-16)- Even with the sweep of the Houston Astros again, the Gaints have been struggling as of lately. Starting with the series @ New York Mets, S.F. record is 4-6. Outside of Zito and Lincecum, the rest of their starters have been mediocre, especially Matt Cain. Lincecum could easily be 8-0 but their bullpen has been terrible as they have blown late inning leads, almost twice against Houston in the bottom of the ninth. Tim also leads all pitchers in strikeouts with 69. Hitting this team isn’t bad. They produce enough runs to win most ball games and should if their bullpen was more solid.

9.) Cincinnati Reds ( 22-16)- The  Cardinals struggling helped the Reds take top spot in the N.L. Central. The Reds have been able to win 9 of 10 and took the series vs. the Cardinals which help propel them into first. Their closer Francisco Cordero has been able to rack of saves too which brings his total to 13. Three out of five starting pitchers have winning records, one of them being Mike Leake who is 4-0. Joey Votto leads the team in most major categories but is getting a lot of support from the rest of the lineup.

10.) Texas Rangers ( 21-18)- This team is one of the best inconsistent top ten teams on the list. They cannot maintain a few solid winning streaks without losing three our four straight after. They also like to put up huge numbers and then allow huge numbers as well. The Rangers have also been a top ten hitting team the past few years and just sit outside of it at number eleven. Overall their pitching has improved but they have yet to find a solid ace. If anything positive can be taken out of the pitching staff is that they might have found their closer for years to come in Neftali Feliz. Feliz has been clocked over 100 a few times and has only given up one run since April 28.

Astros Inconsistencies

In Houston Astros 2010 Season on May 17, 2010 at 12:18 am

Once again the Houston Astros were swept by the S.F. Giants. After just recently sweeping the St. Louis Cardinals, Houston took their four game winning streak to AT&T Park just to extending their loss total to 24 which still places them as the second worse team in the league. Felipe Paulino went into the series 0-5 and left 0-6. With terrible run support and giving up 7 runs, Paulino only last 4.2 innings. The Houston offense only mustered seven hits, three of them coming from the bat of Hunter Pence. Hunter was able to hit his six home run of the year but his one run combined with Lance Berkman’s RBI wasn’t enough as the Astros loss 8-2.

Game two matched up once again Tim Lincecum and Roy Oswalt. Houston was able to score one in the top of the first with a Lincecum wild pitch but that would be the end of any Astros offense production. Lincecum proceeded to go on an pitch 7 scoreless innings while striking out five. Closer Brian Wilson came in the ninth and struggled but was able to get  Kaz Matsui to fly out, who finished the day 0-5 . Roy Oswalt pitched well too except for his one mistake in the bottom of the fourth when he gave up a two run home-run to Juan Uribe. That was all the Giants needed as they won 2-1. Astros offense was stagnant once again. Only with five hits, Pence, Berkman and Lee combined to go 0-9. I was able to watch this game and it was exciting to see Roy pitch so well. He just dominated outside that one home-run. This offense though is just terrible, even though they are facing Lincecum. They prove they can hit off good pitchers, I.E. Carpenter and Wainwright. The ninth inning was really intense as Houston was able to load the bases up with two outs. Kaz Matsui, who struggled all day, gave Brain Wilson fits. After 16 pitches, 8 of them being foul balls in a row, Kaz flew out to left field.

Game three was much like game two. Good pitching from both sides and an exciting ninth inning. Brett Myers took the mound and pitch a strong eight innings while giving up four runs with seven Ks. Houston was able to score first again in the first and then scored in the fourth and seventh. Carlos Lee was able to hit his third dinger of the year but Barry Zito was still too strong for Houston to make any significant dints. Zito now, 6-1, pitched seven innings, giving up 3 and sitting down four. With Michael Bourn resting, Jeff Keppinger took over the lead off spot by going 0-4. Bourn did later enter in ninth as a pinch runner. The Astros again were able to the make the ninth inning exciting off Brian Wilson by putting men on the corners with two outs. Kaz Matsui pinched hit for B. Myers but once again failed to come through as he struck out.

The Astros now travel to play the Dodgers in a two game series before heading home to play the Rockies and Rays. Houston Batting & Pitching Stats are :

A.L. Wrap Up

In Around The League on May 12, 2010 at 3:18 pm

The American League is still claims the powerhouse clubs with eight teams have winning records above .500 while only six are under.  Four clubs have reached the twenty win mark and three have reached 180 runs scored.

The East is definitely again the league to beat with four out of five clubs having winning records and three of them have twenty wins. What is the most surprising is one of those twenty win teams isn’t the Red Sox, but the Toronto Blue Jays. The one problem that the Jays possess is inconsistency in streaks. Winners of six straight, the Jays have now lost the last three of four. Their losing streak might continue as they play the Rangers and Twins in the next two upcoming series. The Rays are on top the East as they have looked unstoppable despite having a perfect game thrown against them. Yankees are not far behind them as they sit 1.5 games out.

The Central is basically being run by the Minnesota Twins. Even with Joe Mauer out until yesterday, the Twins have one the best winning percentages in the month of May. The Detroit Tigers are in second with a current two game winning streak. They are currently facing the Yankees and then will face the Red Sox and White Sox at home. The Tigers have  the best home record in the A.L. and with both Sox’s clubs struggling, the Tigers could possible win four out of five. The rest of the Central is a mess with all the clubs sitting 8 or  more games back.

The Wild West is still wide open even with the Seattle Mariners struggling. They are only 4.5 games out but with more club house drama, they could eventually drop further down. The Rangers have played exceptionally well and now that they Rangers have finally chosen a closer in Neftali Feliz, they can finally stop going into extra innings. The Rangers would be in first but Oakland is surprising everyone this season. Starting pitcher Dallas Braden, threw the 19th perfect game in history versus the Rays. Oakland isn’t one of the greatest hitting teams but their pitching staff is performing above expectations. The two teams that majority of fans and experts predicted to be atop of the West are the Angels and Mariners. Both of these clubs are the only two in the West to be under .500. The Angels are trying to rebound from their seven game losing streak by going 3-2 in the past two series.

Point Of No Return

In Houston Astros 2010 Season on May 8, 2010 at 7:44 pm

Even though it is only May, the Houston Astros season seems to be all but over now. With a record of 9-20 and sitting 9.5 games back of the first place Cardinals, the Astros lack luster offense is keeping them from gaining any ground. Even with the return of Lance Berkman, his .185 batting avg. isn’t helping the club. The three main big bats, Lee, Pence and Berkman have a combined avg. off .199 which is slightly lower than the team avg. of .228. The Astros are one of three teams not to clip the 100 run mark. With this, they have the second highest run differential with -61. These numbers combined are never going to show positive results and going 1-10 in the past three series has proven that.

It isn’t just the hitting but the pitching too. Out of the ten losses, the pitching staff has given up 5 or more runs six times. Three games in a row, a total of 26 runs were allowed. The starters have combined to go 5-16 with an ERA over 4.50. Ace starter Oswalt has pitched well even with a 2-4 record but due to the lack of run support and late inning bullpen meltdowns, Roy hasnt won since mid April against the Pirates. Matt Lindstrom who was in the top five in total saves has been stuck at six for the past four series and has only appeared twice in the last ten days.

Obviously as fans we have to admit that there is no hope from just the way the team is performing. Even if Houston can get on small winning streaks, the Cardinals are way too good and will always be pulling away. As hope for the wild card, those dreams are all over as well. With the Mets, Padres, Phillies and Padres all playing well, they will consistently be battling out the top WC spot. I will be upset if the Astros do not trade big name players down the road this season. Personally I think it will be either one massive package deal or two mediocre package deals.

I would like to see Lance stay but with him hinting that he wouldn’t mind being traded, that just makes the deals even bigger. I think Oswalt, Feliz, Lee and Lyon all in one deal to a team with a great farm system is what needs to be done. Houston doesn’t need to get currently players unless they can steal a young rookie from a team. Otherwise Houston needs to go after top farm system players to give them a solid foundation for the future. If Lance is shipped, than a package deal along with Blum, Keppinger wouldn’t be bad. I expect this team to look completely different two years from now. Hopefully with smart moves, Houston will be back in contention by 2014.

N.L. April Wrap Up

In Around The League on May 3, 2010 at 8:59 pm

Roughly twenty-five games have been played by most ball clubs and it seems like we can tell who is going to come out of the National League already. Over half the teams in the NL are under .500 and one of them hasn’t even the reached the ten win mark yet. Obviously you can say it is too early to right off certain teams like the Dodgers, Cubs and Mets just because the NL is so weak. All it takes is a five game winning streak to put you right back into contention. It’s those teams such as the Astros, Diamondbacks and Nationals that need to already start packaging players for a major overhaul.

Houston started of 0-8 went on a winning streak to put them right back in the middle of the Central just to fall back to last as they are riding a six game losing streak. The rest of the Central isn’t looking too impressive either and it looks like the Cardinals already have this division locked up. The Red Bird’s top two pitchers, Wainwright and Carpenter, already both have four wins which puts them in second behind Roy Halladay. Anytime you have Pujols, even with the rest of the offense cold, you are going to be competitive. The Cardinals do not lead the league in runs but they are tied for second for least amount of runs allowed in the NL. The Cubs who many had predicting to win the Central sit five games back and will be the St. Louis only threat all season.

The East right now is the closest division as the last place Braves are only three games out. Despite everyone predicting the Phillies to win the East, they haven’t been playing great ball. 14-11 ball won’t help keep the Phillies in first for long with the Mets finally coming around. Philadelphia leads the league in runs scored but despite this, they seem to struggle against the better clubs. The Mets have lost the last two but have won the last 8 of 10. There isn’t a true leader on this squad but with David Wright, Jason Bay, and Jeff Francoeur hitting well, the Mets have been able to find stability in their lineup. The Nationals are surprisingly not in last place and have a winning record (13-12). This is extremely promising knowing that Stephen Strasburg could be called up later this month.

I still think the NL West is the most interesting and exciting division to watch. The Padres are in first with a very impressive 16-9 record. Almost like the Mets, the Padres are led by a solid line up instead of a couple of stars. What is really setting them apart is their pitching. Ace starting Kevin Correia is off to an 4-1 start and even though Jon Garland has a 3-2 record, his 2.03 ERA is outstanding. The Giants are 1.5 games back and Tim Lincencum is still undefeated and proving why again he should win the Cy Young Award for the third consecutive time.  What is probably the most surprising is the lack luster performance of Matt Cain and the dominance of Barry Zito. I do not think any believed that Zito would be 4-0 at this point, especially with a WHIP of 0.88. The rest of the division is shaping up how I thought it would be even with the Dodgers in fourth.

I do not see much changing throughout May with most clubs just gaining more ground on their opposition. Teams to watch would be the Padres, Nationals and Mets.