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Last Week in Baseball! – The Final Four

Posted by wct6 on October 9, 2007

 If you are like us, you grew up loving “This Week in Baseball” and Mel Allen.  Here at WCT, we have “Last Week in Baseball!”  Please don’t sue us FOX!

We were 0-4 in the DS round. 0-4!  That’s tough to do even if you’re trying!  Hopefully we do better in the CS round. Hopefully we go at least…1-1.

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Rockies vs. Diamondbacks – If you have been following LWIB all year, then you know how we feel about the Arizona Diamondbacks.  We don’t believe in them.  We half expected them to advance in the NLDS even though they won fewer games in the series.  That would go along with their whole “being the NL’s #1 seed while allowing more runs than they’ve scored” strategy that has worked for them.  They have very little pop in the middle of their lineup, a weak rotation outside of Brandon Webb, a weak bullpen outside of Valverde and Lyon.  Their opponents, the Rocks, are the hottest team in baseball, going 14-1 down the stretch to eek into the playoffs.  When a team is that hot, its hard to go against them (even though we went against them in the 1st round).  We’re sorry, we may be the last ones to the party, but we just cannot see these Diamondbacks getting to the Series.  Give us the Rockies in 6 games.

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Indians vs. Red Sox – No one looked more impressive in their first round series than the Boston Red Sox.  That ALDS could have gone on into December and we’re not sure the Angels would have squeeked out a game.  They got crushed.  The Indians definitely have the best 1-2 punch in terms of starting pitching, but the Red Sox have the best 1-2-3 punch, with Beckett, Schilling, and Matsuzaka.  Not to sound like a broken record, but the reasons we think the Indians could be in trouble in this series are the same reasons we thought they were in trouble in the Division Series.  They are facing a team that is simply too experienced in big games.  Between Beckett, Schilling, and Manny Ramirez, the Sox have three former World Series MVPs on their roster.  We think that the Beckett vs. Sabathia and Matsuzaka vs. Carmona duels will be epic.  Hopefully we get to see two matchups each of those.  These teams are very evenly matched on paper,  but experience, and that seventh game at home makes the difference as the Sox win in 7.  Keep proving us wrong.

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Posted in LWIB, mlb | 4 Comments »

Last Week in Baseball! – Playoff Predictions

Posted by wct6 on October 2, 2007

 

If you are like us, you grew up loving “This Week in Baseball” and Mel Allen.  Here at WCT, we have “Last Week in Baseball!”  Please don’t sue us FOX!

The wonderful month of October is once again here, and it is time for playoff baseball.  The first round provides some intriguing matchups so lets get right to the predictions!

Red Sox vs. Angels – We predicted an all-Los Angeles World Series, with the Angels winning it.  However, we did not anticipate the Dodgers completely imploding and finishing fourth in the NL West.  The Angels are keeping up their end of the deal, and are facing, in our opinion, the weakest team in the AL playoffs.  The Red Sox got out of the gates hot, and were basically a mediocre team for most of the middle and later months of the season.  Josh Beckett is good for two wins, plus the fact that his opponent John Lackey is absolutely abysmal at Fenway Park in his career, so this series will go the distance.  But we can’t go against our prediction from March.  Angels in 5

Rockies vs. Phillies – It is unfortunate that the two hot upstart teams have to face each other in the first round.  Because we feel that either of them could pull a first round upset if they were facing the Diamondbacks or Cubs.  Alas, one of the stories of the year in baseball will end in the first round.  This should be a high-scoring series with the Phillies winning in 5 games.

Cubs vs. Diamondbacks – We know, Diamondbacks?  Just weird.  Is it as weird to read it as it was for us to type it?  The Diamondbacks can’t hit, and besides Brandon Webb, they can’t really pitch either.  Arizona was outscored during the regular season, so why should the post season be any different? Brandon Webb is good for one win but the Cubs take it in 4.

Yankees vs. Indians – Charles Barkley once wrote a book called “I May be Wrong, But I Doubt It.”  The story of this series should be “We Hope We’re Wrong, but We Doubt It.”  The Yankees have too much firepower, too much experience.  Basically too many all-star caliber players who have played deep into October.  Plus the Indians seemed to fold up like metal chairs at the mere sight of the Yankee uniform this year.  The Tribe was 0-6 against New York this year.  We watched about 150 of the 162 games the Indians played, and I would venture to say that those were the 6 worst games they played all year.  Sabathia or Carmona gets a win, but other than that, we just don’t see it happening.  This Indians team will (hopefully) be heard from again, but this year, the Yankees win it in 4.

Posted in LWIB, mlb | 3 Comments »

Last Week in Baseball! – This is Why it Sucks to Be a Cleveland Sports Fan

Posted by wct6 on September 23, 2007

 

If you are like us, you grew up loving “This Week in Baseball” and Mel Allen.  Here at WCT, we have “Last Week in Baseball!”  Please don’t sue us FOX!  

I should be enjoying this.  I should.  But I’m not.  Because I grew up with “the Drive,” and “the Fumble,”  and the Cooper years at Ohio State, and the Jordan shot over Ehlo, and Tom Glavine’s 1-hitter in game 6 of the ’95 World Series, and the blown save in game 7 of the ’97 World Series, and the Steelers comeback in the ’03 playoffs, I couldn’t enjoy it.  I immediately got nervous.  The second that Mark Ellis swung and missed for the final out of the game, questions began swirling around in my head. 

Was it good to clinch with a week left in the season?

The Indians have been so hot down the stretch, how will they respond with effectively a week off, then playoff games?

Are they complacent with the division title?

Who should we hope they face in the first round?

What if they play the Yankees who are equally as hot and 6-0 against the Tribe this year?

What if they play the Red Sox who have two World Series MVP pitchers and are 5-2 against the Tribe this year?

I should be enjoying this, but I can’t

And now, on to the LWIB notes!

 – Around this time every season, the question every analyst asks is “who is the team nobody wants to face?”  We don’t know the answer to that question, but we sure as hell know who everybody does want to face: The Boston Red Sox.  Without Manny Ramirez in the middle of their line-up they are a mediocre team offensively.  And if you were a Sox fan, would you be comfortable turning a big game over to bullpen?

 – The Diamondbacks now have the best record in the entire National League.  The Diamondbacks.  As of right now it looks like the the three division winners in the NL will be an Arizona team that has been outscored this year and have a cleanup hitter with 5o runs batted in, a Cubs team with Jason Marquis and Ted Lilly as their #2 and #3 starters, and a Mets team that is stubling down the stretch and will start Tom Glavine (41 years old), Orlando Hernandez (he claims he’s 41), and Pedro Martinez (35 going on 50).  How can an entire league be this bad?

* * * * *

Its our blog dammit, so we are going to talk about our favorite team every week –

  

We have never been happier to be wrong about anything in our lives.  We were so wrong about this team.  We killed Jake Westbrook, and said he would be one of the main reason the Indians wouldn’t make the playoffs.  As it turns out, he became a different pitcher down the stretch, and actually pitched the clinching game to put them into  the playoffs. 

Now lets see how they respond.  Should be fun.  And by “fun,” we mean utterly nerve-racking.

Posted in Cleveland Indians, LWIB, mlb | Leave a Comment »

Last Week in Baseball! – Two Weeks to Go!

Posted by wct6 on September 17, 2007

If you are like us, you grew up loving “This Week in Baseball” and Mel Allen.  Here at WCT, we have “Last Week in Baseball!”  Please don’t sue us FOX! 

Two weeks left!  We are officially coming “down the stretch” in the six month race that is the baseball season, and we still have some interesting races that shouldn’t be decided untill the final weeks

 – The Red Sox are still trying their best to give the AL East back to the Yankees.  Did you catch that game Friday night?  Holy hell.  How in the world to you choke away a six run lead in the eight inning?  If the Sox make the playoffs, there is no way they make it out of the first round.

 – Last point on the Red Sox: How overrated is John Papelbon?  The Yankees beat him around like a rag-doll

 – It seems like the Seattle Mariners haven’t won a game in ages.  Now I see why Mike Hargrove left this sinking ship.

 – Speaking of sinking, the Mets, who have been winning with smoke and mirrors all season, are struggling to hold off the Phillies, who have now beaten New York seven striaght times.  The lead in the division is down to 3.5 games.

 – Does anyone want to win the NL Central?

 – How in the world are the Diamondbacks still leading the NL West? Honestly, they have still been outscored by a sizable margin this year, and they still have no power in their lineup.

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Its our blog dammit, so we are going to talk about our favorite team every week –Needless to say, this week’s series against the Tigers is huge.  The Indians will either let them back in the division race, or bury them completely.  The Indians have been playing well, but so have the Tigers, winners of five in a row.  Its time to see what they are made of.  Game on.

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Last Week in Baseball! – How Dumb are These Guys?

Posted by wct6 on September 10, 2007

If you are like us, you grew up loving “This Week in Baseball” and Mel Allen.  Here at WCT, we have “Last Week in Baseball!”  Please don’t sue us FOX! 

How dumb do you have to be to be a steroid user in the Majors?  First Rick Ankiel gets some doctor to prescribe HGH to him, then we learn that Troy Glaus took steroids, and now news breaks that Jay Gibbons took PEDs too.  Glaus reportedly even went so far as to buy his steroids over the internet and had them shipped to him.  Are these guys even trying to hide their drug use?  Is anyone even making an attempt to cover their tracks? 

And now, on to the LWIB notes!

 – From the “thats more like it” department, the Seattle Mariners have been crapping all over themselves lately, and have almost completely fallen out of the playoff race.  We never really thought this team was any good to begin with, and to be frank, we have no idea how they stayed in the race this long. 

 – Whats wrong with Dontrelle Willis?  He has won one of his last twelve decisions!  Thats right, the man who won 22 games and was a Cy Young award candidate two seasons ago is 1-11 in his last 12 decisions and 8-14 overall.

 – Its really too bad about Erik Bedard, who is out for the season with a rib-cage muscle injury.  Bedard was having a breakout season, with a 3.16 ERA and an American League leading and Oriole record 221 strikeouts.  Not only that, but he was pretty much the only thing good about this abysmal Baltimore club.

 – Milwaukee is back on top in the NL Central, the most exciting race in baseball.  However, the Chicago Cubs have the advantage of having an easier schedule down the stretch than the Brew.

 – Ok, Arizona is doing that weird thing again where they lead their division.  So weird, right?  By the way, they have still been outscored over the course of the season, and for you sabermatricians out there, their expected win-loss record according to Bill James’ convoluted formula is 68-75!

* * * * *

Its our blog dammit, so we are going to talk about our favorite team every week – Another good week for the Tribe.  The Angels are a pretty damn good team (we picked them to win it all) so a split of a four game set in Aneheim is a win in our book.  For some reason, the White Sox always give the Indians trouble, so it will be interesting to see how they do in Chicago this week.  Thursday the Indians also have their first off-day in what seems like forever.

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How about tha…er…I’ll be goddamed! –

How do you know its going to be a long day?  When the other team opens the game with three straight bombs.  Sunday the Brewers opened the game with three consecutive home runs as Rickie Weeks, JJ Hardy, and Ryan Braun all went deep.  This was only the third time in Major League history that this has happend!

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Last Week in Baseball!

Posted by wct6 on September 3, 2007

If you are like us, you grew up loving “This Week in Baseball” and Mel Allen.  Here at WCT, we have “Last Week in Baseball!”  Please don’t sue us FOX! 

 This week, straight to the LWIB notes!

– We know that we have said this before in this space, but it bears repeating:  The Mets have got to have the shakiest pitching staff of any first-place team in baseball history.  If the playoffs were to start today (sorry, we hate that phrase too.  But we had to use it here)  Their starting pitching rotation would be 44 (?) year-old El Duque Hernandez, Oliver Perez (who went 3-13 with an ERA just below 7 last year), and unproven righty John Maine.  And if you think that is ugly, check out their bullpen!  Would you trust Aaron Heilman in the eighth inning of a game in October?  What about the likes of Scott Shoenweis, Aaron Sele, and Guillermo Mota pitching the middle innings?

 – Everything is right in the world, as the Padres overtook the Diamondbacks in the NL West.  Man, that was a weird couple of weeks when Arizona was in first wasn’t it?  You know why we can’t take this team seriously, besides the fact that their best position player is Eric Byrnes, and the fact that Tony Clark and his 12 home runs and 770 OPS batted clean-up yesterday?  We can’t take take them seriously because as of September 3rd, through 138 games, they have been outscored by42 runs.  How is it even possible that a team that has allowed 42 more runs than it has scored this late in the year is contending for a division title?  The NL West is a joke.

 – Speaking of the pathetic NL West, are the 3rd place Dodgers trying to fill their roster with as many cast-offs as possible?  First it was David Wells, now Esteban Loaiza of all people?  The scary thing is that it seems to be working, as the two are a combined 2-0 since joining the Dodgers.

 – Maybe the preseason hype-orgy over the arrival of Daisuke Matsuzaka (our favorite was when ESPN idiot/baseball analyst Tim Kurkjian said he would win 18 games and condtend for the Cy Young) was a bit overdone.  Matsuzaka has gone 4-5 since the all-star break, including four losses in his last six decisions and two losses in a row against the Devil Rays!  And one of those wins was Monday night’s 13-10 pitcher’s duel when he gave up seven earned runs and ten hits in only five and one-third innings.

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Its our blog dammit, so we are going to talk about our favorite team every week –What can we say?  The bats have (finally) woken up, and the Tribe is rolling.  Nine wins in the last ten games, including the fifth win over Johan Santana (how is that even possible?  Santana is the best pitcher on the planet and the Indians have beaten him five times this year).  Since the Indians hit rock bottom in the Yankees series in early August, they have won every series, not counting a short two game series they split with the Tigers, and gone 14-5.  They now hold a six game lead over Detroit in the AL Central, and are, by virtually any measure, baseball’s hottest team.  How long is this going to last?

* * * * *

How about tha…er…I’ll be goddamed! –Just one night after somebody named Scott Baker took a perfect game into the ninth for the Twins, somebody named Clay Buchholz threw a no-hitter for the Red Sox.  In his second major league start.

Posted in LWIB, mlb | 1 Comment »

Last Week in Baseball! – This is Gettin’ Good!

Posted by wct6 on August 26, 2007

If you are like us, you grew up loving “This Week in Baseball” and Mel Allen.  Here at WCT, we have “Last Week in Baseball!”  Please don’t sue us FOX! 

This weekend marks the first of September, and the beginning of the best 61 days in the sports calendar:  Football season kicks-off, and baseball games begin to get really really important.  We can already see a wild card race forming in the AL between the Mariners and Yankees (that is, if the Mariners don’t overtake the Angels), and we have already spoken to more than one person that thinks the Indians and Tigers are so evenly matched that they may have a one-game playoff in their future.  In the NL, the Cubs and Brewers are separated by two games in the loss column with three games remaining between them.  We don’t know about you, but we are psyched!

And now, on to the LWIB notes!

 – If this were college football, Chris Fowler would have some snappy nickname for this week’s slate of games (we’re thinking, “separation week,” or “showdown week”).  This week we will have series between the #1 and #2 teams in five of baseball’s six divisions.  The Yankees host the Red Sox, The Angels travel to Seattle to take on the Mariners, The Mets are at the Phillies, The Brewers are at Wrigley taking on the Cubs, and Arizona is at the Padres.  By the end of this week, those five races could be completely different than they are today.

 – The Dodgers showed just how desperate they were this week when they picked up David Wells.  You know things are bad when a fat, 44-year-old  cast-off is the cavalry.  Our pick to win the NL pennant are now like the guy who wears sweatpants out in public.  They have officially given up.

 – What was up with that peculiar scoring maneuver in Detroit over the weekend?  Placido Polanco commits an obvious throwing error, his first in 148 games, and then they change the scoring on the play the next day and give the error to Marcus Thames?  That was reeeally shady.

 – The Padres-Mets series from the middle of last week was probably the most entertaining three-game set we have seen in a while.  Three games, three blown saves, 10 total runs scored in the 9th and 10th innings.  That is a lot of late, clutch run-scoring!

– OK, apparently the Diamondbacks aren’t just joking around.  We guess they really plan on winning the NL West.  Who knew?

 – What is with Phillies trying to fight media members?  In April, manager Charlie Manuel threatend that dude that hosts a radio show in Philly and looks like the Burger King, and now Saturday night, surly relief pitcher Brett Myers tried to throw-down with a reporter who questioned him about blowing the game by giving up two ninth inning home runs.  To be fair, its good to see that Myers is now trying to punch people other than his own wife.

 – You know, baseball is just so much more entertaining with Milton Bradley crazy-ing it up by doing stuff like slamming his bat after home runs, turning his back to the infield to stare at fans in the bleachers, and barking at fans behind the plate.  If only the Padres could pick up Carl Evrett and add him to their 40-man roster for September.  Man that would be sweet.

* * * * *

Its our blog dammit, so we are going to talk about our favorite team every week – All of these freaking extra-inning games (the Indians played three on this roadtrip, one in each series) are going to kill the Tribe, who don’t have another off day until September 13th. 

 – The Indians went 6-3 on this past roadtrip, winning each series two-out-of-three, but for some reason it didn’t feel like they were playing their best baseball. 

 – Minnesota, Seattle, and the White Sox (who always seem to give the Indians trouble) this week, so it doesn’t get any easier.  

 – We think this team has found its new permanent #2 hitter in today’s hero, and new member of the WCT man-crush club, Asdrubal Cabrera.

* * * * *

How about tha…er…I’ll be goddamed! – The most obvious selection of the season:  Diamondbacks pitcher followed up a 4-5, 2 HR, 6 RBI night, with another HR in two ABs in his next start.  Who lit a fire under this dude??

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Last Week in Baseball! – Joba, Jabba. Jabba, Joba.

Posted by wct6 on August 19, 2007

If you are like us, you grew up loving “This Week in Baseball” and Mel Allen.  Here at WCT, we have “Last Week in Baseball!”  Please don’t sue us FOX! 

 – The NL Central is officially anybody’s guess.  The Cubs and Brewers keep flip-flopping , and now the Cardinals have surged back into the race.  Incidentally, the Cards have climbed into the race without Chris Carpenter, and with a rotation of two former closers (Adam Wainwright and Braden Looper) two cast-offs (Kip Wells and Joel Pinero) and a 12-loss youngster (Anthony Reyes).

 – We know its only been a couple weeks, but the Braves have actually lost ground in the NL East race since their trade deadline moves.  How is that even possible?  Most people were handing them the division crown when they brought in Mark Teixiera.

 – Joba Chamberlain, the new pitcher the Yankees have brought up to be a setup man, is scary good.  If you haven’t seen him pitch he has the same sort of stuff Fransisco Rodriguez had when the Angels called him up in ’02.  He averages 98 with his fastball, and has at least three other nasty pitches he can throw for strikes at any point in the count.  Granted, he has only pitched seven Major League innings, but no one has really been able to touch him yet.

 – More importantly, is it Joe-ba, or Jah-ba?  We need answers.  Either way, get ready for everyone and their mother to start calling him “Joba the Hut.”

 – The Diamondbacks are still in first place.  This is really getting weird.

 – Speaking of Arizona, Brandon Webb is making a legitimate run at his second consecutive NL Cy Young award.  If he were to win, he would be in the company of guys like Tom Glavine and Johan Santana as two-time winners. 

* * * * *

Its our blog dammit, so we are going to talk about our favorite team every week – The Indians are now second in the American League in strikeouts and those Ks are killing this team in clutch situations.  Guys like Jhonny Perralta and Grady Sizemore seem to be good for like two strikeouts per game.  The move of Sizemore from leadoff to the #3 spot in the order should have been made months ago.

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How about tha…er…I’ll be goddamed! – Johan Santana, who will be a very rich man after next season, tossed eight two-hit, shutout innings on Sunday and struck out 17 Rangers!  How do you not let a guy pitch the ninth when he is sitting on 17 strikeouts??

Posted in LWIB, mlb | 2 Comments »

Last Week in Baseball! – Back in Black

Posted by wct6 on August 12, 2007

If you are like us, you grew up loving “This Week in Baseball” and Mel Allen.  Here at WCT, we have “Last Week in Baseball!”  Please don’t sue us FOX! 

Ok, first of all, we again apologize for the hiatus.  A lot has happened since we last posted in this space, so lets get right to it.

 – This prediction, from mid June mind you, is looking better and better.  The Red Sox just keep backing up, and the Yankees keep feeding on bad teams.  Its almost as if the Sox want to make their inevitable descent out of first place to be as slow and painful as possible so as to inflict as much tourture on their fans as possible.

 – Ok, so apparently the Arizona Diamondbacks weren’t kidding around about wanting to win the NL West.  They are a full three games clear of the field, and six up on our pick, The Dodgers.  Six games!

 – There is a legitimate chance that the three division winners in the NL will be the Diamondbacks, Brewers and Phillies.

 – We were a bit dissappointed at the mixed reaction that the San Diegoans San Diegans gave to Barry Bonds after hitting #755 last week.  We were expecting a lot more boos, and maybe even some syringes thrown onto the field.  Where was the vitriol?  However, the reaction from Bud Selig (bemusement, indifference) was hilarious.

 – Break up the Nationals! the team that we thought would challenge the ’62 Mets record for futility (120 losses)  is only 10 games under .500!

* * * * *

Its our blog dammit, so we are going to talk about our favorite team every week – This weekend’s home series against the Yankees was nothing short of an embarassment.  The Indians, proving a little more every day that the early season was just a mirage and they are still light-years away from being a legitimate pennant contender, have now lost all six games they have played against the Yankees this year, and have barely competed in any of them.  The team with the supposedly top-tier pitching staff allowed 10,9,8,6,11, and 5 runs to the Yankees in those games and had pitchers chased in the third inning or earlier three times.  Think about that.  Three out of six games the Indians starter could not retire nine batters before completely shitting himself on the mound.  Say what you want about the offensive woes, but when your goddam starting pitchers are consistently having 1+ or 2+ inning starts, you aren’t going to win many games. 

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Last Week in Baseball! – Trade (yawn) Deadline!

Posted by wct6 on July 30, 2007

If you are like us, you grew up loving “This Week in Baseball” and Mel Allen.  Here at WCT, we have “Last Week in Baseball!”  Please don’t sue us FOX! 

The wild card, while good for baseball teams and fans, is bad for people who like to see a lot of blockbuster trades.  Most teams (16-18 out of 30 by our count) think they are still in contention for a playoff spot and are not willing to trade their big-name players.  And the teams that are completely out of it are bereft of talent anyway, so they barely have anyone that any team would want to trade for.  Mark Teixiera might go, to the Braves according to Peter Gammons, and some team might get duped into trading for Jermaine Dye, but other than that, we don’t see any big trades being made.  But we’re bloggers, so what the hell do we know?

Now, onto the LWIB notes!

 – The 500 home run club had 16 members in 2000.  Now it has 21, and Alex Rodriguez, Jim Thome, Manny Ramirez, Gary Sheffield are all closing in.  That would mean the club would have added nine members in less than eight seasons after having added 16 members in roughly 120 seasons.

 – We woke up this morning to find that the Arizona Diamondbacks have overtaken the Padres, and have tied the Dodgers for first in the NL west?  That’s a mistake, right?  Does your paper say that too?? 

 – A-Rod, as great as he has been, has been extremely streaky.  He had the month of his life in April, with a 1297 OPS, but fell back to earth with a 783 in May.  Then he jumped back up to 1269 in June, and dropped to 877 in July.  He does not have a hit since hitting his 499th home run on the 25th and is batting only .222 for the month.

 – We can’t beleive this is actually happening: the Cubs have cut the deficit down to one-half game in the NL central! Although to be fair, the Brewers deserve some of the credit, after losing three of four to the woeful Cardinals, and going 10-15 for the month of July.  Carlos Zambrano,  after a pedestrian-at-best 6-5 5.38 ERA start, has gone 8-2 and lowered his ERA to 3.65.  And as if that wasn’t enough, he is batting close to .300 at the plate!

 – The Padres’ offense, after being clowned in a previous LWIB post, bludgeouned the Astros pitching for 18 runs on Sunday.  The power of the WCT reverse-jinx lives on.

* * * * *

Its our blog dammit, so we are going to talk about our favorite team every week – The Lofton signing certainly made us feel nostailgic, and it was nice to see him get a standing ovation in his return, but we’re not sure what this addition will mean to the success of the Tribe in the playoff chase.  Lofton is 40, not used to playing corner outfield positions, and will be in a platoon with Jason Michaels for the most part.  Why does it seem like the Indians face Johan Santana every freaking time they play a series against the Twins?  With a four-game series coming up in the Metrodome, they will undoubtably see him again next weekend.  By the way, the end of Sunday’s game was an absolute clusterfuck. 

* * * * *

How about tha…er…I’ll be goddamed! – That move over to the National League sure isn’t helping Mike Maroth any.  He has given up 10,7, and 6 earned runs in his last three starts and is winless as a Cardinal! Yikes!

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