A return to normality this week, as most of the leading teams won their matchups. The highest-scoring total matchup of the league so far, between the Lords and the Playaz, and the biggest differential between highest and lowest scores yet. As you were in the divisional standings, with:
West Haven Yankees defeated FP Balloon Knots by 313 - 274 points
Lords of Flatbush defeated Babe’s Piano Playaz by 390 – 365 points
YankeesRule2002 lost to Bambino’s Ghost by 258 – 302 points
Cunning Linguists lost to Bad News Bears by 132 – 327 points
YRMbombers2002 lost to Saxmania’s Swingers by 208 – 251 points
Junior’s Bashers defeated Italian Ice by 366 – 261 points
Michigan Wolverines defeated Buckeye Bombers by 274 – 228 points
West Haven Yankees (6-1; 2192 points)
Lords of Flatbush (5-1; 1802 points)
Cunning Linguists (4-3; 1514 points)
YankeesRule2002 (3-3; 1516 points)
YRMbombers2002 (1-5; 1444 points)
Michigan Wolverines (5-2; 2121 points)
Junior's Bashers (3-4; 2038 points)
German Gold Gloves (1-5; 1553 points)
Italian Ice (1-5; 1444 points)
Buckeye Bombers (1-6; 1533 points)
Saxmania's Swingers (5-2; 1943 points)
Bambino's Ghost (5-2; 1834 points)
Bad News Bears (4-2; 1591 points)
Babe's Piano Playaz (3-3; 1765 points)
FP Balloon Knots (2-5; 1840 points)
Team of the Week – Lords of Flatbush (390 points)
Luckiest Team of the Week – Saxmania’s Swingers (won with 251 points)
Unluckiest Team of the Week – Babe’s Piano Playaz (lost with 365 points)
Matchup of the Week – Lords of Flatbush vs. Babe’s Piano Playaz (35 points’ difference in the result)
Runs scored – Michigan Wolverines (211)
Homeruns – Babe’s Piano Playaz (70)
Stolen Bases – Bambino’s Ghost (42)
Walks – Babe’s Piano Playaz (217)
Wins – West Haven Yankees (28)
Saves – Bambino’s Ghost (34)
Strikeouts – Michigan Wolverines (300)
Earned Runs* – German Gold Gloves (85)
*lowest in league
Yankees bounce back, Knots close but no cigar
West Haven put last week’s woes behind them as they regained their customary excellence, protecting their lead at the head of the Ruth Division. Wins from all over the rotation, including 2 with 12 strikeouts from Al Leiter, were complemented by Jeff Suppan’s scoreless eight innings and Jason Isringhausen’s three saves. Three homeruns from Guerrero more than made up for Chipper Jones’ three GIDPs, and was enough to send the Yankees back over the 300 mark. They meet the Mantle Division’s current leaders, the Swingers, next week.
The Knots will be cursing their luck for having run into this week’s version of the Yankees, with a respectable total of 274 not enough to record an upset win over the divisional leader. A shutout from Greg Madduz wasn’t backed up by the rest of the rotation, with Kevin Millwood and Danny Baez disappointing, while Benitez was starved of save opportunities, despite a perfect inning pitched. It doesn’t get any easier for the Knots, as next week they meet the red-hot Flatbu................es.
Lords build momentum as they steamroller impressive Playaz
Points galore this week, as both the Lords and the Playaz topped 350 points – the only time so far this season that a matchup has produced over 700 points in total. Four homers for Jorge Posada and three from Eric Hinske provided the power, and Curt Schilling enticed 23 batsmen into whiffing during two starts. Pedro Astacio's gem also added to the haul for the Flatbu................es, who keep up the pressure on the West Haven Yankees.
With the exception of Michael Barret, hitting was plentiful for the Babe’s pianists, with twenty walks from their three outfielders. It was the rotation that failed to live up to this perdormance, as Ryan Dempster’s complete game was deflated by the 7 ER he allowed, and neither reliever found more than a single save apiece. Still, if the Playaz can produce totals like this consistently, they will have little to complain about. YankeesRule2002 will hope to hear the sound of whining in Week 8.
Ghosts keep in touch at expense of Rulers
A couple of less-heralded recruits are powering the Ghosts to the top of the Mantle Division, in a roster that is short of superstars. Jacque Jones homered three times and drove in nine, while Glendon Rusch won twice and the Bambino’s bullpen picked up six saves in total. Despite the problems of Jason Kendall and Ray Durham, the Ghosts are finding contributions from all sorts of places, and Derrek Lee’s two doubles and two triples served to drive that point home this week. The Linguists will be next up for the Ghosts.
A bravado hitting display from Jason Giambi couldn’t keep the Rulers over the .500 mark into Week 7, as no-one else could match his three homeruns and eight ribbies. More saves than wins told the story of the pitching, and the departure of Brad Radke to the DL does not look good for YankeesRule. And although Robb Nen closed out three games, he allowed as many earned runs, damaging his stat line. Attempting to keep in touch in the competitive Ruth Division, the Rulers must find some more points against the Playaz nesxt week.
Linguists silenced as Bears break out
The adventures of the Linguists continue, as a weak total was not enough to challenge the Bad News Bears. This week’s culprits were Mike Mussina, who allowed eleven runs in twelve innings, and Moises Alou, who reached base only twice all week. Billy Koch will also be shamefaced, having let seven runs score in just three innings of work, going save-less for the week. Still, the Linguists are third in the Ruth Division, with a winning record despite the lowest average score of any team this year. The Ghosts will attempt to overcome that record in the next seven days.
The Bad News Bears have quietly ambushed the leaders of the Mantle Division, hanging just half a game behind the joint leaders. This was the first week that the Bears ventured over the 300-points mark, thanks largely to four wins from Roy Halladay and Jason Marquis. Marquis was particularly impressive, allowing just one win while fanning eleven. Power support came from Pat Burrell and Troy Glaus, each smashing three out of their respective parks, while Adam Dunn picked up no less than nine free passes. If the rest of the lineup provides more firepower, the YRMbombers could next week be in severe trouble.
Swingers limp past frustrated Bombers
The Swingers, having lost two of their top sluggers, nevertheless did enough to defeat the YRMbombers and remain joint top of the Mantle Division. Manny Ramirez and Phil Nevin each only played one game during the week, but some timely hitting from Edgardo Alfonzo and Richard Hildago helped to compensate, and Barry Zito’s hot run of form provided another two wins. Rick Reed’s poor outings were masked by Eric Gagne’s continuing excellence as a rookie closer. However, the walking wounded of Saxmania’s Swingers will be hard-pressed to match the dominant West Haven Yankees in Week 7.
The YRMbombers will be wondering what they need to do to rise from the basement of the Ruth Division. The return of Juan Gonzalez might help revitalise a lineup that lacks power – just fourteen extra-base hits this week from the entire team. Dave Burba’s win was cancelled out by the eight runs he allowed in two outings, while Javier Vasquez pitched a gem but couldn’t find the win. No saves again for Alfonseca and the struggling Cubs left the bullpen short of points too. Next week, it’s time for the Bombers to play host to the Bears.
Bashers recover, Byrd leads them over Ice
Few teams may celebrate the arrival of a Kansas City starter, but Junior’s Bashers have reason to cheer, as Paul Byrd allowed two runs in fourteen innings of work, striking out 11, to score two wins for his team. Hideo Nomo may have let runners cross the plate, but he got the victory, and Colon maintained his reputation as an ace with an eight-inning one-run outing. Hitting came from Robin Ventura, with three homers and 10 RBIs. Close behind the Wolverines, the Bashers jet out to Germany next week, visiting the rival Gold Gloves.
Alfonso Soriano's longball collection and Jeff D'Amico's complete game shutout couldn't lift the Ice high enough to compete with this week's Bashers - the Italians hit into seven double plays, and John Smoltz allowed three runs while posting just one save in five innings pitched. James Baldwin will also hang his head in shame, giving up sixteen hits and five walks in less than twelve innings.
Michigan slowing, but still too much for the Buckeyes
The Wolverines may have missed out on another 300-point week, but they nevertheless found enough to defeat the Buckeye Bombers. Yet another dominant start for Matt Morris generated 48 points on his own, and although Randy Johnson didn’t shut down opposing batters as usual, he still send 16 of them down swinging. Ryan Jensen added to the carnage, allowing just five baserunners in eight shutout innings to earn a win for both the Giants and the Wolverines. The hitting was comparatively week, with Paul LoDuca, Juan Uribe, and Jeff Cirillo disappointing, but Michigan will be happy to stay ahead of the dangerous-looking Bashers for another week. The Italian Ice will have a say in whether they can remain there until this time next week.
More injury woe for the Buckeyes, with a four-man DL helping to explain why they haven’t topped 250 points for the last three weeks. Only three homeruns this week, plus three hitters without an RBI, spelled defeat for the Bombers, and a generally positive pitching staff couldn’t do enough to keep them in the contest. Bottom of the DiMaggio Division, the Buckeyes are still only one win from third, and after a short rest to regroup and recuperate, a promising meeting with the Linguists could see them climb the table.
Week 8 – May 19th
Saxmania’s Swingers v West Haven Yankees
FP Balloon Knots v Lords of Flatbush
Babe’s Piano Playaz v YankeesRule2002
Bambino’s Ghost v Cunning Linguists
Bad News Bears v YRMbombers2002
Junior’s Bashers v German Gold Gloves
Michigan Wolverines v Italian Ice
Interesting races developing in each division. In the Ruth Division, it looks like the Yankees and the Flatbu................es are pulling away from the pack. Over in DiMaggio, the Wolverines can’t quite shake off the Bashers. And Mantle is perhaps the most competitive, with the Bears creeping up on the tied Swingers and Ghosts. I may need cover next week to get drunk – I’ll let you know.
Incidentally, I was playing around with an idea for the playoffs. How would owners feel about a change in scoring structure, to represent a short series better? Instead of points totals over the week, we could do a game per day, with the first to four games winning – just like real life, in other words. I (or someone else) checks the scores each day, and post a quick update of the score. It would be a bit much for a full schedule, but for just a few teams over two weeks, I think it could add some excitement. Too fidgety, or a bit of fun? Let me know.
I haven’t had a chance to check last week’s rosters, so some of the players mentioned in dispatches may be new arrivals/departures. Sorry.
Be seeing you,