Musings on Baseball: Rain aids Yanks/Sox, Cards still get no love

Rainout May Aid Yankees and Red Sox

After two
emotionally draining games – more specifically, Saturday’s epic
comeback by the Yankees and epic meltdown by the Red Sox – Sunday’s
rainout may have been the best possible result for both teams.

For the Yankees,
it allows them to push back CC Sabathia to start the opener of a key
three-game series in Texas, for which the Rangers will be without the
services of Adrian Beltre. The rain has been nothing but bad news for
Texas lately.

A year ago, it
was a rainout of Game 6 of the World Series that allowed the
Cardinals to start Chris Carpenter in Game 7. This time around, the
Rangers needed a doubleheader Saturday, meaning little-used Scott Feldman will pitch the finale in the Yankees series.

For the Red Sox,
it represents a rare day of peace after weeks of bludgeoning by the
media of Bobby Valentine and his beleaguered club. Boston heads to
lowly Minnesota, where it figures to play better away from the
distractions of the disgruntled Fenway Park crowd.

Call it a gut
feeling – and one I hope I’m wrong about – but with a day off, I
think both teams regroup and refocus heading into key stretches.

Wait, Who Won the World Series

Sometimes I
wonder myself. ESPN would lead you to believe the rest of the world
stands still when the Yankees and Red Sox play. A big comeback by the
Yankees is somehow enough to trump the 21st perfect game
in Major League history. A rainout of the rivalry is more important
than any games actually played that day.

So it’s easy to
see how the casual fan could forget that the St. Louis Cardinals are
still defending world champs. And picking up right where they left
off in 2012.

You wouldn’t know
it unless you watched the unbiased MLB Network, but the Cards are
11-5 and leading the NL Central by four games. Still, no love from
the Eastern Sports Programming Network.

More to the
Cards’ credit, they are winning when no one thought they could fill
the holes left by Albert Pujols and Tony LaRussa. Carpenter is
on the disabled list and Adam Wainwright has struggled mightily.

Enter Carlos
Beltran and Kyle Lohse. Beltran has five home runs and three stolen
bases already. Pujols is homerless in 16 games with the Angels.
Lohse, once named the league’s most mediocre pitcher by the Wall
Street Journal, is 3-0 with a 0.99 ERA.

And very few
people outside of St. Louis seem to notice.

Lee Was Wasted During 2007 ALCS

the Cleveland Indians weren’t drinking beer in their clubhouse during
that series like the Red Sox often did. The overachieving bunch was
led by Sabathia and Fausto Carmona (er, Roberto Hernandez), while the
offense was anchored by the likes of Grady Sizemore and Travis

times, teams that make World Series runs have key rookie contributors
or players they pick up in a trade or off waivers during the year.
But it was perhaps the one player the Indians didn’t use that could
have made a difference in that series.

see, there was a pitcher by the name of Cliff Lee that was toiling in
the minors after posting a 5-8 record and a 6.29 ERA. He had
struggled mightily after suffering an early-season injury, and I
myself recall first-hand how bad he was when I saw him pitch against
the Blue Jays in Toronto that summer (ironically, against his current
teammate Roy Halladay).

Lee was nowhere near the pitcher he is now. Yet, he obviously figured
things out pretty quickly, because he won the Cy Young the next
season. So could he have helped? Fact of the matter is, he couldn’t
have been much worse than Sabathia and Carmona that series, who
really let the Tribe down.

CC was 0-2 with a 10.45 ERA in that series, while Carmona/Hernandez
was 0-1 with a 16.50 ERA. Yet the Indians pushed the series to seven
games, as Jake Westbrook stepped up big time. But five years later,
we are left to wonder if Lee could have found his groove and helped
Cleveland to the World Series.

All-Star Voting in April?

always felt that the All-Star voting process was kind of a joke. It
goes without saying that it is a popularity contest, but with the
voting now starting in April, that is more true than ever.

rule that each team must have one representative is also silly,
because who in their right mind thinks the Padres, Athletics or
Royals have any deserving players?

I’d like to see the league mix it up without robbing those teams’
fans of seeing key contributors earn All-Star nods. But instead of
sending players, why not send other important figures of the

Enberg should get the nod for the Padres. Anyone forced to sit
through 162 games of paint-drying Padres baseball should be rewarded
for his duties. Let Cubs president Theo Epstein go to Kansas City for
his deft trade of Marlon Byrd to Epstein’s old buddies in Boston. And
my personal favorite, please let the lemonade-shaking Orioles vendor
take his undying enthusiasm to Kaufman Stadium this summer.

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