Monday, June 14, 2004

Three Weeks, Three Questions (Contrasts Edition) 

Three Weeks

The Week That Was
Arizona went 4-2 on its AL East road trip, taking series 2-1 from both Baltimore and Toronto. Encouragingly, the team went 2-2 in games not started by Randy Johnson and won Friday's game after trailing 2-0 in the 8th inning, the first time they'd done that all year. For once, their average weekly offense exceeded their average weekly defense (excluding high/low scores), 3.75 to 3.5. Look, it wasn't a great week by any stretch of the imagination, but it was a team that you could for once imagine actually watching in September, especially if they could get rid of the games where everything collapses (see Wednesday and Saturday's losses). They creeped one game closer to the division leaders and now stand at 26-37, 7.5 games out.

The Weeks That Will Be
The D-Backs host some team from New York for three games, then the Devil Rays for three more. Then they go to San Diego for 3 games, travel on Thursday, and start 17 straight games (home and away) with 3 games at Detroit.

I'll have more on the Yankees tomorrow, but here are the basics: excellent hitting (2nd in AL OPS, 1st in walks) and good-to-excellent pitching (2nd in AL WHIP, 5th in runs, 4th in ERA). The D-Backs are lucky in that they'll be facing Jose Contreras and Tanyon Sturtze and not Kevin Brown. Mike Mussina is listed as being Thursday's starter; we'll see if that happens. Given that Randy Johnson isn't pitching this series, a 2-1 series win is about the upper bounds of my expectations, but it's not an impossible expectation. As I said, more on this series tomorrow.

The Devil Rays, on the other hand, have woefull hitting (last in AL OPS, next-to-last in runs). Oddly enough, they neither walk (11th) nor strikeout (only Baltimore does it less). They have poor-to-cover-your-eyes pitching (10th in AL WHIP and runs, 12th in ERA, tied for last in GB:FB). So clearly if the D-Backs have any pretensions to caring in September, they need to -- at bare minimum -- win 2 of these games. (Of course, we felt that way about the Expos series, and look what happened there.)

Three Questions

Would anyone like to be the fifth starter?: You know, I suggested this many weeks ago, and I'll just throw it out there once more -- Jennie Finch. I hope that Andrew Good does get one more chance (unlike Edgar Gonzalez was given) in the rotation -- it'd be against the Devil Rays -- but, really, what other options are left in the organization? I can hear the Shane Reynolds fans from here, all 3 of you.
Will the D-Backs sell out any more games this year?: After the Yankees series, probably not. I hope I'm wrong, of course... To those of you D-Back fans going this week, please give as good as you will get.
Will I come up with a decent third question?: Uh, no. You know, that's what a week of decently (not awesomely) played baseball will do, just take away the easy questions. I could've talked about the injuries, but what's the point -- those who are injured, save Sexson, weren't contributing anyway.

Comments: Post a Comment