Late, as ever, but my excuse is moderately good this week. More shenanigans at the top of the Ruth Division, while the DiMaggio and Mantle Divisions see the leading team lengthen its zone of comfort. Still, all to play for, it’s not over until the fat lady sings, and you should never judge a cliché by its cover.
Ruth Division (29-18)
Mantle Division (24-22)
DiMaggio Division (17-30)
West Haven Yankees defeated Italian Ice by 238 – 174 points
Lords of Flatbush lost to Michigan Wolverines by 373 to 402 points
YankeesRule2002 lost to Buckeye Bombers by 235 – 311 points
Cunning Linguists defeated German Gold Gloves by 319 – 244 points
YRMbombers2002 defeated Junior’s Bashers by 304 – 202 points
Babe’s Piano Playaz defeated Saxmania’s Swingers by 276 – 218 points
Bad News Bears defeated FP Balloon Knots by 235 – 214 points
Team of the Week: Michigan Wolverines (402 points)
Luckiest team of the week: Bad News Bears (won with 235 points)
Unluckiest team of the week: Lords of Flatbush (lost with 373 points)
Match-up of the week: Bad News Bears vs. FP Balloon Knots (21 points' difference in the result)
West Haven Yankees (8-2; 308.5 point average)
Lords of Flatbush (7-2; 308.3)
Cunning Linguists (7-3; 237)
YankeesRule2002 (4-5; 256.4)
YRMbombers2002 (3-6; 251.2)
Michigan Wolverines (8-2; 307 point average)
Junior’s Bashers (5-5; 293.5)
Buckeye Bombers (2-7; 233.7)
German Gold Gloves (1-8; 255.9)
Italian Ice (1-8; 226)
Bad News Bears (7-2; 263.6 point average)
Saxmania’s Swingers (5-4; 268)
Bambino’s Ghost (5-4; 260.9)
Babe’s Piano Playaz (4-5; 280.9)
FP Balloon Knots (3-7; 258.9)
Wolverines terminate Lords’ winning streak in match-up of the year to date
Records toppled across the board in this game, as the Lords’ record-breaking six game winning streak was brought to an end by the Wolverines. In the clash of the Ruth and DiMaggio Division leaders, Michigan rode the hot bats of Andruw Jones and Albert Pujols, who between them drove in twenty runners, and strong pitching from Matt Morris, Randy Johnson, and Ruben Quevedo. All three starters collected at least eleven strikeouts, plus a complete game for A.J. Burnett and some good relief sowrk by Octavio Dotel. Additional hitting from Jeff Kent and Torii Hunter pushed the Wolverines to the crest of the league’s second-highest score this year, and extended their lead at the head of the DiMaggio Division. Hoping that this is a one-off performance, the Mantle Division-leading Bad News Bears come knocking in Week 11.
Despite a valiant effort, the Lords could not reach the same heights, thanks in large part to a weak back end of the rotation. While Curt Schilling and Ramon Ortiz were both overpowering, neither David Wells nor Pedro Astacio could shut down opposing hitters, and each allowed several runs without a win to show for it. Eric Hinske and Garret Anderson led the way for the hitters, with seven homers and seventeen ribbies shared between them, while Junior Spivey walked seven times and Nomar Garciaparra sprayed singles around. With the return of Wade Miller to the pitching staff, the Lords will be happy to accept a similar performance next week against YankeesRule2002.
Bombers break out while Bashers bemoan missed chances
Top-quality performances for the YRMbombers may not arrive every week, but when they do, they’re something special. Last time, it was the then-Mantle Division leaders Bambino’s Ghost, who ran into 383 points of Bombers baseball. This week, the red-hot Bashers cooled down in a hurry, faced with a complete game gem from Javier Vasquez (with 12 Ks), twelve base hits for Ichiro Suzuki, and the return of Juan Gonzalez to RBI leaderboards everywhere. The rest of the rotation pitched in, with Kirk Reuter and Matt Clement eating innings to effect, and only Ted Lilly letting the side down somewhat. Working their way up the tough Ruth Division, the Cunning Linguists are next in the Bombers’ giant-killing sights.
With Michigan playing the streaking Lords of Flatbush, and the YRMbombers residing at the foot of the Ruth Division, the Bashers must have been hopeful of making up ground on the Wolverines. Instead, Junior’s team find themselves back at the .500 mark, now three games adrift of the pace. Paul Byrd is this week’s scapegoat, allowing 21 baserunners and 12 runs in less than ten innings of work. No pitcher allowed fewer than ten baserunners, and the tactic of stacking a bullpen with starters may have backfired, as both Byrd and Joel Pineiro hurt the Bashers’ cause more than they helped. With only Freddy Garcia excelling, the lineup was left with too much work to do, and despite Luis Gonzalez’s thirteen times on base, they were unable to respond, with no other hitter driving in more than three. A visit to the grounds of Bambino’s Ghost next week might put this failure to rest.
Escobar slams door for Bears, Knots cast about for winning pitchers
Four players drove the Bad News Bears further clear of the chasing pack in the Mantle Division, giving them their fifth consecutive win. Brian Giles drove in nine, while Pat Burrell totalled twenty total bases, each going deep twice to anchor the lineup. Over with the pitching staff, Roy Halladay won twice in seventeen innings of work, but Kelvim Escobar was the star, shattering the weekly points record for a reliever as he blew away batters. His line of 1 W, 3 SV, and 7 K was made even better by the sole baserunner he allowed. Jeff Weaver will be buying Kelvim’s drinks, as the closer’s performance helped hide the Detroit starter’s catastrophic stats (11 IP, 20 H, 13 ER). The Bears invade Michigan next week, hoping to claim a major scalp for the first time.
The Knots pitchers couldn’t stick around long enough, with only Kevin Millwood pitching more than six innings – and that in two starts. None of Madduz, Oswalt, Millwood, or Carlos Hernandez walked off with the victory, while Josh Beckett looked in good shape until he departed the mound injured, having struck out five in three innings while allowing just one hit. Adrian Beltre was the only hitter to exceed expectation,s with Todd Helton and J.D. Drew having ordinary weeks by their high standards, and more is required of Bobby Hill (one base hit all week) and Orlando Cabrera ( three total bases). Readying their passports for a trip to Germany next week, the Balloon Knots are still in touch with the Mantle Division, but they need their starters to step up and provide wins.
Yankees put together eighth win, Ice looking for fifth man
Not one of their classic performances, but West Haven ground out yet another win to move back to the top of the Ruth Division. Tom Glavine was the best of the rotation, winning his start with two runs allowed, while Clemens struck out thirteen and Leiter added another victory, despite being less than efficient. Fred McGriff was the only major power supplier, with three long balls, and Rafael Furcal aside, the rest of the line-up tended towards anonymity. Still, back at the head of the Ruth Division, the Yankees now get a seven-day breather.
A missing man in the rotation left the Italian Ice heavily dependent on their remaining starters, and, when neither of Shane Reynold’s starts proved of any real quality, the game was up for the Italians. Mike Hampton deepened the gloom with five runs allowed in five innings, with John Smoltz the sole bright spot –his four saves, seven strikeouts, and only two runners allowed on base will give the Ice cause for cheer. Kenny Lofton ran hard for two doubles and two triples, but the rest of the hitters were less enthusiastic, with no less than four hitters failing to pick up any extra-base hits this week. The visiting Ghosts will next week hope to keep things that way.
Play it again, Sax – Playaz waltz past Swingers; Bonds and Person call the tune
Dragging themselves back into the Mantle Division pennant race, the Playaz disposed of the second-placed Swingers with ease. Bonds hit three out while driving in eight, and seven free passes added to his value to the Babe, while Carlos Delgado and Eric Chavez also hit the ball hard. John Tomson’s problems aside, the rotation kept the Playaz in the game, with Rob Person the star – two wins in just twelve innings of work included ten batters bewildered. The rest of the rotation each chipped in with a further win per starter, leaving the Playaz comfortably ahead. Junior’s Bashers will attempt to form a more formidable roadblock next week.
Holes in the Swingers’ lineup left them looking thin on the ground this week. Phil Nevin liked the DL so much that he decided to stay there, while the Cardinals discovered a Jim Edmonds-shaped hole in their batting order. Generally indifferent pitching – Zito, Burkett, and Reed won, while Sparks lost heavily – wasted some outstanding relief work, with Percival and Hernandez sharing six saves. Alex Rodriguez tried hard, but couldn’t carry the team on his own, although Edgardo Alfonzo and Richard Hidalgo showed occasional signs of life. The Buckeyes will be hoping to enjoy more missing persons in the Swingers’ side next week.
Cunning Linguists can’t stop winning, Gold Gloves would like to start
A rotation chock full of victories was easily enough for the Linguists to overpower the German Gold Gloves, edging ever closer to the leaders in the Ruth Division. Only Jarrod Washburn went without a win, while Mark Mulder compensated for him with two, and every other pitcher – including the two closers – emerged victorious at some stage during the week. Two saves each from Koch and Julio put the lid on the win, as the hitters justifiably took the week off, none recording more than seven hits or two extra-base knocks. The Linguists will be herding the position players back into the dugout, however, for the Week 11 visit to the YRMbombers.
Not so casual for the Gold Gloves, who are still searching for a second win despite some impressive displays of points scoring. This week was less than overwhelming, with Pedro Martinez contributing two indifferent starts, and only C.C. Sabathia recorded a win for the staff. The bullpen was more reliable, with Byung-Hyun Kim throwing five scoreless innings, but their efforts were to no avail as few of the hitters could keep the pace up. Vinny Castilla and Tony Batista did their bit, but Mark Grace and Eric Owens were barely on base, and the Gloves need Mets stars Piazza and Alomar to hit hard and often. They can do so next week, at the Playaz’s park.
Leapfrog with Thome, Sele, and Schmidt as Buckeyes jump to third, Rulers not impressed
A 2-7 record is good enough for third in the DiMaggio Division, as the Buckeyes jump two places, but the YankeesRule, despite a two-game advantage over their Week 10 opponents, languish in fourth in the Ruth Division. Jim Thome went deep four times this week, more than any other hitter, while Aaron Sele and Jason Schmidt both worked their way to a brace of victories, helping the Buckeyes over 300 for the first time this year. Miguel Tejada provided the finishing touch, with fifteen total bases. Next week, the Swingers find out whether this sudden surge will be sustained.
Kazuhisa Ishii aside, the Rulers’ rotation was less than inspired. Tony Armas, Jr. picked up a win, but only threw five innings, while Mark Buehlre went eight without the victory. Ishii won twice and struck out ten, but was not economical with baserunners and runs allowed, undoing much of his good work. The hitters were similarly disappointing, Bret Boone’s clutch hitting and Jason Giambi’s power the only commendable efforts. Power was lacking, with just three long balls, and just one base was swiped all week – not a necessity, but another opportunity to score lost. Unable to put together a stretch of wins, the Rulers have too much quality to panic, but they could use a result next week. The visiting Lords, however, will hope to prevent that outcome.
Week 11, June 9th:
FP Balloon Knots v German Gold Gloves
Babe’s Piano Playaz v Junior’s Bashers
Bambino’s Ghost v Italian Ice
Bad News Bears v Michigan Wolverines
Saxmania’s Swingers v Buckeye Bombers
Lords of Flatbush v YankeesRule2002
Cunning Linguists v YRMbombers2002
The Michigan Wolverine’s 402 points was the second-highest points total in the league’s history.
The total of 775 points in the match between the Michigan Wolverines and the Lords of Flatbush was the most in the league’s history.
Kelvim Escobar’s 43 points was the most ever by a reliever in the league’s history.
The Lords of Flatbush’s winning streak ended at six wins, the most in the league’s history. The Michigan Wolverines and the Bad News Bears both have active five-game winning streaks, meaning that they are tied with the West Haven Yankees for second place in this category.
Nothing to say that hasn’t been said already, actually. League details are in the Quick Update thread - I can't post them again, due to forum rules.. Ummm . . . bye.
Be seeing you,