Baseball Toaster Bad Altitude
How Long Can This Go On?
2005-09-17 13:01
by Mark T.R. Donohue

OK, here's what I'm mad about today: this week's ESPN MLB Power Rankings. I quote: "Left-hander Jeff Francis seems to have the mentality and stuff to be successful in the thin air of Colorado, but besides him, the pitching cupboard is bare." OK, uncredited ESPN "expert," have you watched a Rockies game since the All-Star Break? Cook has been good, both Kims have been good, Zach Day has flashed a sign here or there, but Francis has been terrible. And what about Brian Fuentes? Does any ML bottom-feeder have a better closer?

What annoys me most is at this time of year, the weekly power ranking columns are practically the only national mention Colorado gets. Would it kill any of these guys to glance over the box scores or just look at their own Rockies stat page so they could manage more "insight" than something I could have told you in spring training? And the next mention I read on a national page about how the Rockies' undoing has in fact been their offense will be the first. Also check out the game recap from yesterday, which states "Ardoin's homer lifts D-Backs." Guys, Danny Ardoin only plays for Arizona in my fever dreams. (They will probably correct this mistake eventually so go look at it now so you'll know I didn't make it up.)

Can the White Sox really blow a 15-game lead in their division? As if this writing they're only 4 1/2 in front of the rampaging Indians and being shut out in the ninth by Minnesota (not that there's any shame in being shut out by Johan Santana). It seems hard to imagine any team being 15 up on August 1st and not making the playoffs, but don't look now, Chicago is only five ahead of the Yankees (who would lead the wild card were Cleveland to take over the division lead). The White Sox aren't as bad as they're playing now nor as good as they played in the first half, but it is true that the "smart ball" strategy endorsed by Ozzie Guillen and Kenny Williams in the offseason is a complete hoax. The White Sox live and die on the home run, just as they have for years. They're fourth in the majors in homers compared to 14th in average and 23rd in OBP. Were I a White Sox fan I'd almost be hoping they miss the playoffs -- at least it'd be a new story, unlike yet another forgettable first-round exit.

Today's heading brought to you by the great Alex Chilton and "Mod Lang."

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