Feist Facts by Jim Feist | Yes, 162 games is a long season. It’s not a sprint, of course, but a marathon, where a strong balance of pitching, defense and offense carries the best teams into the postseason.
Here’s a look at some recent baseball surging and slumping teams:
Indians: Back in March, this looked like a solid team on paper. What has happened? The offense has been the biggest disappointment, ranked eighth in the AL in runs scored. Catcher Victor Martinez sums up the first half: He hit 25 homers last season, and has zero thus far! The bullpen has completely disintegrated. C.C. Sabathia is coming around, but this is his walk year and could be trade bait later this month.
Mets: The Mets stumbled badly for the second year in a row and it cost manager Willie Randolph his job. New manager Jerry Manuel inherits an underachieving bunch that is ninth in the NL in pitching and runs scored. Manuel hopes they hit rock bottom last week, after an embarrassing home loss to the miserable Mariners, 11-0. The Mets, thanks in part to Oliver Perez, have a losing record as a favorite!
Yankees: The AL version of the Mets with an even bigger payroll has also stumbled. The offense ranks sixth in the AL in runs, while the pitching is in the middle of the pack. Losing ace Chien-Ming Wang until September with an ankle injury is a huge blow. Do you think the Yankees would trade Phillip Hughes and Ian Kennedy for Johan Santana now? Note that NY is 48-30-3 under the total.
Cubs: This is the 100th anniversary of the Cubs last winning a World Series title, easily the longest drought in sports. Yet, July finds the Cubs hanging on to first place, the latest they’ve had the best mark in baseball since 1908! The Cubs have been a winning machine at home (including a 14-game home win streak), but a weak road team. All eyes in Chicago is on the right arm of ace Carlos Zambrano, currently on two weeks rest.