Friday, June 03, 2005

Playing Favorites

It's June and we have resolved nothing. We don't even have a trend that points toward something being resolved. Which is fun. We played the Yanks and O's dead-even this week and even made some dramatic statements along the way. We're pretty much even with both of them head-to-head, and all three are reasonably tight in the standings. At this point, the whole thing is far more plot twisty - and entertaining - than I could have imagined.

Here's what we know:

The O's - The O's are pretty scary. OK, very scary. They are also a very cool team. Two things I have to say about the O's: 1) Tejada. As he proved with the A's, he's the best on-field leader in the bigs. 2) Pitching. I thought it would be Ponson and the idiots. But Ponson happens to be their FIFTH-BEST starter this year. Get used to the O's, folks. They're going to gain more ground in June since the Sox and Yankees have such brutal schedules.

The Yankees - If you check back to my pre-season predictions, I thought the Yankees were embarking on a historic season. I thought they would have 40 wins by now and the Unit would have 10 Ws, and the Sox would already be thinking wildcard. If you had told me A-Rod would be leading the majors in every category, I would have said "game over." In April, I said the Yankees wanted it the most. But do they? Do the teams that want it most keep getting swept by the D-Rays and Royals? I don't know, I'm asking. Do they??

The Sox - We're a couple of games behind where we should be, which I'm fine with. We could have easily completely collapsed by now, especially with Schilling out and the Pen so inconsistent. But here's what matters: Like last year, the Sox are still #1 in clutchness, #1 in resiliency, #1 in loving each other, and #1 in picking each other up. I like that they're not as streaky as last year. This year the Sox are very consistent, which I'll take as a sign of maturity.

Handicapping - At the moment, none of these 3 have the pitching to make them a safe playoff bet. (You could reasonably argue that the Blue Jays staff is the best in the East.) The question is, does anyone out there really have better pitching? Luckily for the Sox... NO ONE DOES! Not in the AL, I don't think, though Tex, Chi and Minn are all better than last year. Not in the NL either, though Atl, Fla, StL and SD can look unhittable on any given day. (Hmm.. well maybe Florida.)

It's a wide-open field like the Kentucky Derby, where the 50-1 shot could win.

Sox up: Big Papi, ER, Miller, Olerud (yes, Olerud!)
Sox down: Arroyo, plus Millar, Bellhorn and Mueller (and a collective sigh as we survey our starters at 1B, 2B and 3B)

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