Crushed Optimists

We are twin brothers who grew up in Central Washington. This blog is devoted to the life of Seattle sports fans, as well as various other topics that we will espouse for your enjoyment. We could be called another OFFICIAL SEATTLE SEAHAWKS site, but we'll take our uneducated crack at the Mariners, Sonics, and Huskies as well. A Seattle Sports Blog? Must be the land... of crushed optimism!

Sunday, May 22, 2005

AL West Quarter in Review

We are now a little over a quarter of the way through the MLB season, with more posts to follow. This one will concentrate on that wacky AL West division, where several predictions have been deemed true, while several have, well, not.

LA Angels (25-18)

What went right:
- Bartolo Colon (5-3, 2.67 ERA) has been durable and the solid ace of the staff.
- The rest of the rotation has been pretty solid, including Kelvim Escobar (1-2, 3.91 ERA), Jarrod Washburn (3-2, 3.54 ERA), and even John Lackey (4-2, 4.05 ERA).
- The bullpen, as expected, has been special. K-Rod (10 of 11 save opportunities, 2.25 ERA) and Scot Shields (5 of 6 save opportunities, 1.09 ERA) have been standouts
- Vladimer Guerrero is, and always will be, the man, even though his recent injury is an onion in the ointment. (.303 BA, 7 HR, 24 RBI) Garret Anderson has been consistent as well. (.303 BA, 4 HR, 32 RBI)

What went wrong:
- The hitters have not taken over like I expected, especially the newcomers. Steve Finley (.210 BA) and Orlando Cabrera (.229 BA) are no David Eckstein or Jose Guillen.
- The kids aren't hitting. Dallas McPherson is off to a terrible start (.215 BA, 1 HR, 3 RBI) and Robb Quinlan is even worse. (.167 BA, 1 HR, 2 RBI)
- That name is still horrible. Please, just be the Anaheim Angels, ok?
- The injury to Vlad hurts, and several players (Jeff DaVanon especially) will have to step up in the meantime.

Texas Rangers (24-20) 1.5

What went right:
- Kenny Rogers (5-2, 1.73 ERA) has been the best pitcher in the division so far. What?
- Chan Ho Park (3-1, 5.32 ERA) has been better than expected.
- Their hitting has been dominant, especially the torrid numbers put up by David Delucci (.482 OBP!!) and how about Kevin Mench (.298 BA, 7 HR, 19 RBI)? Heck, even Sandy Alomar Jr. is hitting above .300 right now!
- Their bullpen has had bright moments. Cordero has converted 13 of 15 save opportunities.

What went wrong:
- Absolutely nothing from the hitting perspective. The only person experiencing a bit of a down year is Michael Young (.266 BA, 5 HR, 24 RBI). Looks like Gavin was right (darn it) when he predicted the Rangers to have the best offense and I countered with the Angels.
- Opening Day starter Ryan Drese has fallen down to earth (3-4, 6.37 ERA)
- The bullpen has had poor moments, especially Carlos Almanzar (ERA over 14) and everyday man Doug Brocail (ERA over 4, which is not good for your best set-up man).
- Pedro Astacio, after starting out strong against the M's, now has an ERA over 6, with a 1-5 record.

Seattle Mariners (18-25) 7

What went right:
- Eddie Guardado has pitched strong (11 of 12 save opportunites, 2.12 ERA)
- The bullpen, until recently, has been remarkably consistent, especially Hasegawa and Mateo.
- Richie Sexson has provided some needed pop (12 HR, 34 RBI) in the lineup
- Ichiro is Ichiro (.331 BA, 57 hits)
- The defense is much, much better after an early slump
- We remain only 7 games back of first

What went wrong:
- The injury to Madritsch was devastating, even though Franklin (4.53 ERA) has been decent.
- Our starting pitching, discounting Sele's start today, has generally been atrocious
- Our "top two" pitchers? Joel Piniero (2-3, 6.52 ERA) and Jamie Moyer (4-1, 6.11 ERA)
- Tough start for Adrian Beltre (.238 BA), and Miguel Olivo (.150 BA)
- Our bench is pathetic
- There's more, but you know the rest

Oakland Athletics (17-26) 8

What went right:
- They have a few hitters. Take Mark Kotsay (.284 BA) and Bobby Kielty (..314 BA)
- Huston Street (20 games, 1.93 ERA) is going to be a keeper for a long time
- Rich Harden (2-3, 2.80 ERA) has been special
- The bullpen has been decent, though Dotel has 4 blown saves already. Duscherer (1.33 ERA) has been solid.

What went wrong:
- Young pitching + no hitting = disaster. Early good starts by Joe Blanton and Dan Haren have turned into these numbers. Blanton (0-4, 5.15 ERA) and Haren (1-6, 5.19 ERA). That's no Hudson and Mulder.
- Barry Zito has yet to regain his Cy Young form. (1-4, 5.53 ERA)
- The hitting has just been terrible, as Gavin and I predicted. Here's the rundown of the big boys. Jason Kendall (.220, 0, 15). Eric Chavez (.212, 4, 15). Erubiel Durazo (.250, 4, 16). Scott Hatteberg (.288, 2, 16). Nick Swisher (.218, 3, 8). Wow. Almost makes me appreciate the M's offense.

What should we expect in the next quarter?

- Anaheim might slide a little, but I expect them to remain on top due to their strong starting rotation and excellent bullpen.
- Texas, if they remain hot offensively, should remain at this general pace for the rest of the season.
- Seattle needs better starting pitching to make any kind of a run.
- Oakland needs better everything. It's falling apart down there.

Personally, I would be surprised if, at the halfway point, there is any significant changes in the AL West standings. Texas might take the lead for a few days, but Anaheim's pitching is too good.

That's my two cents! Take it for what it's worth!

posted by colin_hesse @ 11:52 PM  0 comments


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