[cross posted at http://AlexKellner.com]
I will be heading to Camden Yards tonight to see Josh Beckett face off against Jeremy Guthrie. In light of that, this week’s AL roundup will discuss the Baltimore Orioles record thus far this year. The expectation of the Orioles coming into 2008 was that they would be vying with the Giants for the worst record in baseball. Having traded away star shortstop Miguel Tejada and ace Erik Bedard (and making attempts to trade away Brian Roberts, which may still happen), Baltimore was in a full-blown rebuilding process.
Peter Angelos, the owner of the storied franchise, ran the team into the ground and last year “handed”* the reigns over to Andy McPhail. McPhail definitely got good value for Bedard in centerfielder Adam Jones, which gives the Orioles a great young outfield with Nick Markakis and too a lesser extent Luke Scott (who came over in the Tejada deal).
*Angelos certainly didn’t hand over the team to McPhail. He is still meddling in trades and the day-to-day operation of the team. He is right up there with Jeffery Loria and the Nutting family as the worst owner in baseball. The Orioles fans deserve better, but he doesn’t appear to be leaving any time soon. Continue reading
Posted in General
Tagged Adam Jones, Asdrubal Cabrera, Baltimore Orioles, Cliff Lee, FanGraphs, Goose Gossage, Jeremy Guthrie, Joba Chamberlain, Joe Posnanski, Manny Ramirez, Nick Markakis, Orel Hersheiser, Peter Angelos, Scott Kazmir, Yu Darvish
Note: The State of the AL will be a weekly column written every Tuesday by Alex Kellner, a fan of the Boston Red Sox. Alex also blogs at alexkellner.com where he discusses politics, technology and sports.
We have now reached the 1/5th mark in the 2008 baseball season and so far the surprise of the year in the American League has been the Detroit Tigers’ struggles. After losing their first seven games, the Tigers have rebounded –going 14-12– but still sit in last place in the AL Central. The Tigers were predicted by many to dominate the 2008 regular season and while there is still plenty of baseball to be played (it is the first week in May after all), the team’s weaknesses have been on display for all.
The Tigers are going to score a ton (this is a technical term) of runs this year with an offense that may be one of the best of all time. However, as the Tigers learned the hard way last year, scoring runs alone does not guarantee a playoff berth. In 2007, the Tigers ranked third in runs scored behind the Yankees and the Phillies, but still finished eight games back of Cleveland for the division and six games behind the Yankees for the wildcard. Pitching and defense were the Tigers downfall as they ranked 9th in the AL for runs allowed.
Pitching, specifically, looks to be the Tigers’ issue this year as well, as they have allowed the second most runs in the American League (only behind the horrendous Texas Rangers’ pitching staff). Team ace, Justin Verlander, has been struggling so far this year with a 6.28 ERA, which joins Nate Robertson and Kenny Rogers as starters with ERAs over six. The only positive point is rookie Armando Gallaraga who has impressed through four starts this year, with 1.88 ERA and a WHIP under one. The bullpen is equally as bad, and despite the hopes of Tiger fans, probably won’t see significant help from either Fernando Rodney or Joel Zumaya. All in all, unless the Tigers pitching steps it up and soon, they may miss the playoffs again despite possibly leading the league in runs.
Posted in General
Tagged American League, Bill James, Boston Red Sox, Chicago White Sox, Cleveland Indians, Detroit Tigers, Joe Posnanski, Kansas City Royals, Los Angeles Angels, New York Yankees, Oakland Athletics, Seattle Mariners, Tampa Bay Rays, Texas Rangers, Toronto Blue Jays