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Best race in MLB is NL West

Discussion in 'All Other Sports' started by rexy2006, Jun 4, 2007.

  1. rexy2006

    rexy2006 Well-Known Member

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    http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=keri/070604

    Best race in baseball in the NL West

    By Jonah Keri
    June 4, 2007
    Special to Page 2

    <!-- hasAccess this is not a premium story --><!-- template inline -->While the Red Sox and Yankees play in the background, here are 10 stories I found more compelling this week, starting with a division race that's far more exciting:

    1. There's no better source of drama in baseball right now than the race in the NL West.

    The Padres, Dodgers and Diamondbacks are in a virtual tie for first, with San Diego and L.A. owning identical 33-23 records and Arizona just a few percentage points back at 34-24.

    Start with the Padres. Jake Peavy and Chris Young anchor a loaded starting rotation, ranking first and third in the league in ERA. Justin Germano is attempting to prove that an extreme control pitcher can succeed with a Jamie Moyeresque fastball: He's 4-0 with a 1.74 ERA in five starts since being called up from the minors, with just 10 strikeouts in 31 innings. Germano looks like Nolan Ryan compared to Trevor Hoffman. The Padres' 39-year-old closer is just two saves away from 500 for his career. And as Jerry Crasnick recently explained, he's doing it with just the ghost of his old fastball -- and a changeup that can be as unhittable and unpredictable as a perfect knuckleball.

    Collectively, the Padres own a team ERA of 2.94. Go ahead and adjust for the spacious confines of Petco Park; that's still obscenely good.

    Save a lot of the credit for Padres GM Kevin Towers and the entire Padres front office and scouting department. Every time I talk to Towers, on or off the record, he's excitedly going on about the 25th man they just picked up or a no-name righty they intend to audition for the sixth spot in the bullpen. But the team's strategy of avoiding high-priced free agents and shopping for bargains has paid off. The Padres are the two-time defending NL West champions. The bullpen has been a big part of that success, with formerly anonymous pitchers like Scott Linebrink being acquired for next to nothing and then turned into star set-up men. The Padres target hard-throwing right-handers with strong strikeout-to-walk rates (often in the minor leagues), who are equally capable of getting righty and lefty hitters out. This year's crop of super bargains is led by Heath Bell, a 29-year-old righty acquired in what looked like an afterthought deal with the Mets who's struck out more than a batter per inning and owns a 1.08 ERA.

    The one major deal they've made in the past couple years has been the clincher: Akinori Otsuka, Adam Eaton and catching prospect Ben Killian to the Rangers for Adrian Gonzalez (the team's best hitter, just 25 years old), Chris Young (Cy Young candidate, 28) and Terrmel Sledge (a useful platoon outfielder). No wonder they're in the mix again this year...
     
  2. BFISA

    BFISA Well-Known Member

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    Great find, Darlin!! :yes: :tup:
     
  3. BFISA

    BFISA Well-Known Member

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    The Yankees/Red Sox Network (nee ESPN) got stuck with a stinker when Clemens hadta be scratched from his start tonite.

    The Yankees are inna death spiral, and IMHO, Clemens ain't the answer.
     
  4. rexy2006

    rexy2006 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, I was especially amazed, because this was written by one a the folks at bias-riddled ESPN!:icon_eek:

    Bout time they notice there are teams out west!!!:tup:
     
  5. rexy2006

    rexy2006 Well-Known Member

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    Poor, poor Clemens, thought he'd just show up late, and hook-up with a playoff contender. :tdown:

    Nah, he aint poor.
     
  6. Boltdiehard

    Boltdiehard Well-Known Member

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    As usual it will come down to pitching. Good luck you guys and good find Rexy.
     
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  7. rexy2006

    rexy2006 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, ADH. Is Kotsay all the way back??? He was my favorite Padre and is still a fave of mine.
     
  8. BFISA

    BFISA Well-Known Member

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    Sure didn't do much for the 'Stros last year :no: :icon_rofl:
     

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