Yankees need moreBubbas,
less payroll

Apr 13, 2004 9:06 PM

In the first week of baseball, we’ve learned that Detroit can lose 23 straight games and still be better than last year.

And, former Las Vegas 51s star named Bubba Crosby can be dealt from the LA Dodgers to the Yankees and become the Big Apple’s darling for a buck and a quarter, compared to King George’s $200 million payroll.

We can also rest easier now that Barry Bonds has tied Willie Mays for No. 3 on the all-time homer list with 660. And, the clock is ticking on Larry Bowa remaining Philadelphia’s manager. Our "over/under is two weeks, or April 30.

There was some early success in betting underdogs and, overall the dogs proved a worthy gamble at virtually 50 percent. A number of $2.00-plus pitchers took hits, notably Randy Johnson and Mike Mussina twice.

The first few weeks we’re still assessing starting pitchers, so it’s difficult to completely rely on taking a good underdog based on that factor. The Padres blew a game to the Giants on national TV Sunday night when deciding to pull Jake Peavy after seven shutout innings.

Seattle’s ace Freddy Garcia tossed seven innings of four-hit ball in a 1-0 game with Anaheim leaving on the winning side after delivering just 95 pitches. Reliever Ruben Mateo tossed a perfect eighth inning, needing just nine pitches. So instead of leaving Mateo in for the ninth, he’s pulled and the Angels score five to win, 5-1.

This kind of over-managing, of course, makes bettors like us sick if we happen to be on the wrong side. The Anaheim result, actually helped us, but you see the point. Definitely check those bullpen ERAs. They are so critical to winning games in April.

Last week’s run count was intriguing. St. Louis was high with 54, not surprising with Pujols, Rolen and company. But, the NY Yankees managed just 13 with a team batting average of .203 against Tampa Bay and an average Chicago White Sox staff. Montreal was low with 10.

Milwaukee scored 47 runs without Richie Sexson. Arizona had 30 with Sexson and his two homers. Anaheim was right up there with 42, but Detroit had 41.

We can’t wait to assess this week.