Heidi-ho, fellow owners. One change of hands at the top of a division, and some more jockeying for position. The DiMaggio Division appears pretty well split, while only three wins separate first from last in the Mantle Division. As for the Ruth Division, the pennant race can't get much closer right now. The scores:
Ruth Division (26-16)
Mantle Division (22-20)
DiMaggio Division (15-27)
Results - Week 9 May 26th
Junior’s Bashers 378 v 335 West Haven Yankees
Italian Ice 222 v 306 Lords of Flatbush
Michigan Wolverines 281 v 252 YankeesRule2002
Buckeye Bombers 259 v 265 Cunning Linguists
German Gold Gloves 288 v 295 YRMbombers2002
FP Balloon Knots 319 v 273 Babe’s Piano Playaz
Bambino’s Ghost 247 v 286 Bad News Bears
Team of the Week – Junior’s Bashers (378 points)
Luckiest Team of the Week –Cunning Linguists (won with 265 points)
Unluckiest Team of the Week – West Haven Yankees (lost with 335 points)
Matchup of the Week – Buckeye Bombers vs. Cunning Linguists (6 points’ difference in the result)
Lords of Flatbush (7-1; 2402)
West Haven Yankees (7-2; 2847)
Cunning Linguists (6-3; 2051)
YankeesRule2002 (4-4; 2073)
YRMbombers2002 (2-6; 1957)
Michigan Wolverines (7-2; 2668)
Junior’s Bashers (5-4; 2733)
German Gold Gloves (1-7; 2348)
Italian Ice (1-7; 1860)
Buckeye Bombers (1-7; 1792)
Bad News Bears (6-2; 2137)
Saxmania’s Swingers (5-3; 2194)
Bambino’s Ghost (5-4; 2348)
Babe’s Piano Playaz (3-5; 2248)
FP Balloon Knots (3-6; 2375)
Colon dominates; Bashers overwhelm West Haven despite Glavine’s efforts
Bartolo Colon single-handedly carried Junior’s Bashers to victory over the former leaders of the Ruth Division, giving them three successive 300-plus points scores. Two complete game shutouts amounted to a total of 67 points from the Cleveland ace, who has become the leader of the Basher’s rotation after several outstanding performances. Support came from Ryan Klesko, with a powerful hitting display including four homers, while Tim Salmon swiped a few bases to push his numbers upwards. Three more wins also came from the rotation, with good outings from Freddy Garcia, Hideo Nomo, and Paul Byrd, each of whom picked up a win. The Bashers are beginning to put pressure on the Wolverines, and have established themselves as the serious challenger to Michigan for the pennant. Next week, the YRMbombers attempt to slow them down.
West Haven generated an impressive points total once more, but this week their 300-plus total was not sufficient to overcome the Bashers’ onslaught. Just one homerun from the infield, with no-one hitting more than a single long ball, partly undermined some solid pitching, with only Al Leiter and Jeff Suppan delivering disappointing results in the staff. Four saves for the bullpen, plus a couple of superlative starts from Tom Glavine, were the foundation of a high score for the Yankees once again, but the big bats – most notably Vladimir Guerrero and Fred McGriff – were unusually quiet this week. Having lost their Ruth Division lead to the Lords of Flatbush by half a game, West Haven most hope that Italian Ice will not produce a similar display of scoring in Week 10.
Hampton and Smoltz slip for Ice, Conine batters Lords through
Twenty hits and ten runs allowed devastated Italian Ice’s hope of recording an upset in Week 9 against the new Ruth Division leaders, those being the statistics of Rockies starter Mike Hampton. Although the Colorado ace picked up a win, the grand total of 1 point for the week will not impress his owner. John Smoltz’s career as a closer continued to be rocky, as the former starter allowed five runs in three innings of work, although he also picked up a save. The departure of Kevin K. Brown may or may not prove the fillip that the Ice need, but as of this date their rotation contains a hole. Hitting from Brian Jordan (9 RBIs) was a bright spot, but Javy Lopez , Bill Mueller, and Tino Martinez are not pulling their weight. West Haven are next week’s visitors.
The Lords reached the dizzy heights of first place in the Ruth Divison, with their sixth consecutive 290 points plus score. The Flatbu................es now own the record for longest winning streak in this year’s league at six games. This week’s hero was Baltimore hitter Jeff Conine, who went yard four times and drove in nine, while Mike Sweeney also contributed all-around hitting. Decent outings for Curt Schilling and Ramon Ortiz were closed out by the bullpen with five saves, nailing down a comfortable victory. Next week sees the clash of two division leaders, however, as the Lords meet Michigan in what could be a postseason preview, even at this early stage.
Pitching carries Wolverines past hard-hitting Rulers
Pitching beat hitting this week, as solid starts from Ruben Quevedo, Andy Ashby, and Matt Morris generated enough wins to defeat slugging from Jason Giambi and Aaron Boone. Despite Randy Johnson’s less than stellar outings, allowing seven runs in thirteen innings, the rotation picked up four wins. Home runs were mostly off the agenda, but four players topped six RBIs, and Richie Sexson gathered eight bases on balls. Keeping Ryan Jensen and his 14 ER on the bench may have won this match-up for the Wolverines, who now have to deal with the streaking Flatbu................es in Week 10.
Giambi hit four home runs, Boone three, and Gary Sheffield two, but that was it for a lineup looking a little top-heavy this week. Particularly anonymous were Ben Molina and Tony Womack, neither of whom drove in a run, while Carlos Lee and Bret Boone got on base just four times each all week. Tony Armas, Jr., sunk an otherwise stable rotation, lead by Rick Helling’s eight shutout innings, and Mark Buehlre’s impressive but futile start. If the Rulers can find a little more consistency in their hitting, they may yet challenge in the Ruth Division.
Linguists once again just too good, Thome’s power in vain for Buckeyes
New York Yankees powered the Linguists this week, with Bernie Williams reaching base sixteen times and driving in eight, while Mike Mussina picked up two wins despite not being at his best. Rondell White also contributed, with ten base hits, while all of the top four in the rotation found at least one win. With a pitching staff in which no pitcher gave up more than three runs during the week, the Linguists appear to have some consistency in their hurlers, and, despite a relatively low points total, are challenging the top two in the Ruth Division. The German Gold Gloves have the opposite syndrome – plenty of points, but few wins – and the two clash next week.
Five home runs, ten ribbies, and nine walks would be most welcome to any team in the league, but Jim Thome’s power surge this week was one of only three hitters this week to go deep for the Buckeyes. His 53 points kept the Buckeyes in contention in this match-up, but the pitching ran out of luck, with just one win and two saves from the entire staff. Tim Hudson allowed just one run but went winless, while Jason Schmidt was even less fortunate, allowing just four baserunners in nine shutout innings, but again failing to leave with the victory. If the Buckeyes’ luck changes, YankeesRule2002 could be in for a fight next week.
Gloves’ misery still won’t end, YRMbombers the beneficiaries
The second win for YRMbombers came at the expense of the German Gold Gloves, who have once again barely missed out on a victory. Matt Clement’s complete game, not to mention good outings for Ted Lilly and Kirk Reuter, helped to lift the Bombers to just their third 250-plus total of the year, while a low-firepower lineup got enough contact from Craig Counsell (ten singles), Ichiro Suzuki (thirteen time on base) and Juan Gonzalez (twelve base hits) to see them through. Javier Vasquez, however, cannot expect to remain a top young pitcher while giving away eleven earned runs in a week, and a win for Steve Karsay in the bullpen ended up as the difference between a 2-6 and a 1-7 record. A trip to Junior’s Bashers will demand the best out of the YRMbombers in Week 10.
Another close shave for the Gloves as they chase their second win of a frustrating season – the Germans’ points average is identical to that of Bambino’s Ghost in the Mantle Division, who have amassed a winning record with the same scoring level. Meanwhile, the Gold Gloves languish at joint last in the DiMaggio Division, despite solid hitting from Carlos Beltran and a complete game win for Kip Wells, who has been outstanding in recent weeks. Poor throwing from C.C. Sabathia and Omar Daal left the rotation lopsided, and although the lineup demonstrated speed on the basepaths, extra-base hits were few and far between. The Cunning Linguists touch down next week, hoping that the Gloves do not rebound in Week 10.
Balloon Knots soar to highest of season, defeating plunging Playaz
319 points, a seasonal high for the Balloon Knots, condemned the Babe’s Piano Playaz to a third consecutive defeat, leaving them struggling to remain in a close Mantle Division pennant race. Greg Maddux was the key, despite going just 10 2/3 innings in two starts, for he departed with the victory both times, while Roy Oswalt and Carlos Hernandez both bravely ate innings for Houston and the Knots, going 28 IP with 23 strikeouts between them. Hitting was sparse but sufficient, with eight RBIs and 26 total bases for Todd Helton the highlight. The Knots are beginning to put pressure on the teams above them in the Mantle Division, the Playaz being the team currently closest.
The Playaz are beginning to show signs of being left behind in the Mantle Division pennant race, although the division is currently so close that no team can be ruled out by any stretch of the imagination. Disappointing starts for Chan Ho Park (6 ER in 3.1 IP) and, to a lesser extent, Russ Ortiz (18 HA and 8 ER in 15 IP) masked a complete game for Kenny Rogers in the points total. Hitting is improving for the Playaz, but Barry Bonds and Larry Walker appear to have suffered poor weeks, leaving the Babe short of the points necessary to rise above the 300 mark once more. Saxmania’s Swingers offer the next opportunity for the Playaz to surge back up the table.
Bears stroll further ahead, Ghosts left to plot revenge match
The new leader against the former leader – the two heavyweights of the Mantle Division matched up in Week 9, and the Bad News Bears were left triumphant, thanks partly to a good week from Brian Giles and some stingy pitching. Expensive outings for Eric Milton and Kevin Appier were compensated for by their stamina, while additional hitting from Jose Vidro and Adam Dunn helped balance out the points total. Despite only once reaching the 300-points mark, the Bears are now well-placed to contend for the Mantle Division pennant, and the FP Balloon Knots will need another good week to dislodge them in Week 10.
Until the return match after the All-Star Break, the Ghosts will have to be content with some good pitching from Derek Lowe as the high point of this week. Lowe allowed no runs in six innings, yet was denied a win – the Ghosts’ bullpen registered more wins than their rotation this week. Unexceptional hitting also dragged the Bambino down, with Johnny Damon and Ramon E. Martinez noticeable holes. Still, the Ghosts remain close to the top of the Mantle Division, and will watch next week’s matchups with interest to see whether an opportunity to climb higher presents itself.
Fixtures – Week 10, June 2nd:
West Haven Yankees v Italian Ice
Lords of Flatbush v Michigan Wolverines
YankeesRule2002 v Buckeye Bombers
Cunning Linguists v German Gold Gloves
YRMbombers2002 v Junior’s Bashers
Babe’s Piano Playaz v Saxmania’s Swingers
Bad News Bears v FP Balloon Knots
The big matchup is between the Lords of Flatbush and the Michigan Wolverines, leaders of the Ruth and the DiMaggio Divisions respectively. West Haven and Junior’s Bashers both play sub-.500 teams, so they will hope to close the gaps on the top of their divisions. Meanwhile, lucky meets unlucky as the Gold Gloves welcome the Linguists.
Being tremendously ill (hay fever), there may be a slight pause before I post mid-season analysis that I promised you last week. I know, you’re all on the edge of your seats. You should scoot back a bit, you’ve got plenty of room there. Anyway, whether you care or not, there’ll be the current records set and a bit of commentary up Tuesday – Wednesday for your delectation. Fab.
NOTE – I realise it’s not exactly mid-season, but our first teams have hit the nine games halfway mark, so sod you all. With all the bye weeks and stuff, I can’t be bothered to work out the mathematical halfway points. Humph.
EDIT - Damn, didn't post the zip file. I'll add it in the analysis thread in a few days. Chiz.
Be seeing you,