Sunday, June 24, 2007

Take the Under

I now have a new fantasy baseball strategy going into next year - draft every San Diego Padres pitcher. Holy crap, is Petco Park spacious or what?

The Sox wrap up their three-game set in San Diego this afternoon, and going in you knew it was going to be all about the pitching. So far, so true. On Friday night, two of the best surgeons went at it with Dice-K outdueling Greg Maddux and the Sox winning 2-1. Maddux, after all these years, is still getting it done. A first-ballot HOFer. (As an aside, both teams wore their retro-80's uniforms - the Padres with that hideous brown, yellow and orange combo and the Sox with those penitentiary-like grays with "BOSTON" in blue across the chest. All I kept thinking of was the 1986 World Series - thanks for the memories, MLB.) Last night, I didn't feel good about the Wake vs. Chris Young matchup and for good reason. Young is one of the more underrated pitchers in baseball, and he dominated last night as the Padres won 6-0. Today, though, is about as good as it gets. If Cy Young voting was held today, these two would probably both win. Josh Beckett vs. Jake Peavy. Appointment TV. If you're stupid enough to wager on baseball, go with the under in these games.

It would be a nice win today to keep this road trip on the positive side. They took 2 of 3 from the Braves, could take 2 of 3 from a very good Padres team, and then they go into Seattle tomorrow. A 6-3 record on this trip would be all we could ask for. The Yanks, meanwhile, got swept away out in Colorado (another team that could be for real), and have split their first two games with the Giants this weekend. The lead currently stands at 10 1/2.

While the Nation is no doubt happy as we head into summer, the one major cause for concern at this moment is our shortstop. After last night's 0-fer, Julio Lugo is 0 for his last 23, he's batting a buck-ninety-six and his OBP is a sucky .258. I know you'll hate me for doing this, but here's a quick capsule look at what could have been:

Hanley Ramirez: .322 BA/.381 OBP/10 HR/25 RBI/22 SB/62 R/14 E
Edgar Renteria: .329 BA/.390 OBP/10 HR/36 RBI/5 SB/47 R/6 E
Orlando Cabrera: .334 BA/.372 OBP/4 HR/44 RBI/8 SB/50 R/4 E
Alex Gonzalez: .263 BA/.302 OBP/12 HR/35 RBI/0 SB/36 R/13 E
Julio Lugo: .196 BA/.258 OBP/4 HR/34 RBI/19 SB/32 R/9 E

I mean, how disheartening is that? Theo's mismanagement of the most important position on the field just absolutely boggles my mind. I know there are tons of variables involved here - we got Lowell and Beckett in the Ramirez trade, and Renteria and Gonzalez are playing in the weak-sister National League. I've heard rumors that Cabrera was diddling around with a teammate's lady, and was sent out for character reasons. But still. That's a friggin' SS all-star team, and some of them are still on our payroll.

Okay, how can I bring the mood back up? It's a gorgeous Sunday afternooon here in Boston (San Diego weather, in fact), and we're 10 1/2 games up on the sputtering Yankees. That feels a little better.

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