Baseball Toaster Bad Altitude
Another Week Begins
2005-06-27 06:46
by Mark T.R. Donohue

As interleague play wraps up and the All-Star Break draws into view, the baseball season is really starting to get interesting. The Red Sox are feeling real confident after a perfect road trip swung them into first place. The Cubs are jazzed with the return of Mark Prior and a victory in an intracity series commemorated with a celebrity-studded crosstown commuter flight. The A's finished off a sweep of the Giants by handing San Francisco their worst shutout loss ever. The Nationals are an amazing success on the field and at the ticket window; should they be looking to make additions? The Angels, despite their miserable offense, are seeing daylight between themselves and the sinking Rangers. The Yankees keep following every step forward with three steps back. Oh, and then there's the disrespected White Sox, owners of the best record and biggest division lead in baseball. Can they go all the way? They're from Chicago, for pete's sake! What's next, a Boston championship? Oh...yeah. (Many of these links require registration. Forgive me.)

In the baseball backwater of Denver, things move more slowly. The Rockies' sweep of the Royals, combined with the Devil Rays' poor showing against their neighbors to the southeast, gives Colorado only the third-worst record in baseball for the moment. Brian Fuentes may well be the Rockies' lone All-Star representative, as Troy Renck notes. Eddy Garabito will get an opportunity to play shortstop as Desi Relaford is apparently unable to play every day. I myself would give Luis Gonzalez a shot at short, what have the Rockies to lose, but what do I know.

The Rockies' bullpen is good all of a sudden, and this should illustrate a commonly overlooked principle: you can assemble a good relief staff on a shoestring budget. Ask Cleveland, Toronto, or Milwaukee. The trick is to try a little bit of everything, and to not be afraid to make plenty of changes as you go. If you can get a Miceli or Carvajal or Fuentes or Witasick for basically nothing, you can afford to jettison a complete disaster or two. Yes, I mean Matt Anderson. Someone please put this guy out of his misery.

We've got Houston coming in, and hopefully we'll treat them as badly in our house as they did us at theirs. The Astros' road record certainly supports it. I'll have to find some sort of new angle for the series preview, since I wrote about Houston so recently. We'll see how that goes. Might go to the game tonight. I don't often get the chance to show off my handsome Brad Lidge jersey now that I'm living out of NL Central country. Then again, I also would like to buy groceries this week. So I can, you know, eat.

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