Wine then beer, feel queer.
Beer then wine, feel fine.
Take note, kids.
Sunday, August 17th
Fishing with Mendoza won at Cunning Linguists by 287.67 to 171.84 points
The Naked Truth won at Dawgs from Easton by 270.50 to 199.17 points
NY Bombers lost at Lordz of Flatbush by 262.50 to 270.84 points
Junior’s Bashers lost at The 4 Horsemen by 285.67 to 312.33 points
Newburgh Naughties won at Italian Ice by 242.83 to 161.33 points
Senators won at Michigan Wolverines by 289.33 to 208.17 points
The Larrupin’ Lous lost at 9 Angry Playaz by 158.34 to 227.66 points
New York Squeaks won at Evil Empire by 246.66 to 244.66 points
Saxmania’s Swingers won at Mattingly’s Hitmen by 278.66 to 212.67 points
Team Won Lost % GB Average Max Min
Fishing with Mendoza 12 8 0.600 0 234.82 311.67 186.17
The Naked Truth 11 9 0.550 1 265.53 349.33 180.50
NY Bombers 9 11 0.450 3 249.38 357.00 165.00
Lordz of Flatbush 9 11 0.450 3 243.28 344.33 154.33
Cunning Linguists 8 12 0.400 4 252.22 377.17 171.83
Dawgz from Easton 6 14 0.300 6 222.76 359.33 144.84
Total 55 65 0.458 2.8 244.66 377.17 144.84
Team Won Lost % GB Average Max Min
Junior's Bashers 14 6 0.700 0 264.93 352.50 186.17
Michigan Wolverines 12 8 0.600 2 248.48 375.17 148.17
The 4 Horsemen 10 10 0.500 4 262.67 317.50 168.17
Newburgh Naughties 10 10 0.500 4 233.91 357.33 135.67
Senators 8 12 0.400 6 240.94 358.33 187.16
Italian Ice 8 12 0.400 6 221.29 314.67 156.33
Total 62 58 0.517 3.7 245.37 375.17 135.67
Team Won Lost % GB Average Max Min
New York Squeaks 15 5 0.750 0 262.57 371.50 180.50
9 Angry Playaz 14 6 0.700 1 252.81 321.00 139.84
Saxmania's Swingers 13 7 0.650 2 275.11 374.16 179.83
The Larrupin Lous 9 11 0.450 6 254.83 362.67 158.34
Mattingleys Hitmen 8 12 0.400 7 267.37 358.34 189.17
Evil Empire 4 16 0.200 11 235.83 298.33 142.50
Total 63 57 0.525 4.5 258.08 374.16 139.84
Team Won Lost % GB Average Division
9 Angry Playaz 14 6 0.700 0 252.81 Mantle Division
Saxmania's Swingers 13 7 0.650 1 275.11 Mantle Division
Michigan Wolverines 12 8 0.600 2 248.48 DiMaggio Division
Squeaks pip Empire at the post to maintain toehold on top spot
A nerve-wracking finish for the New York Squeaks, who managed to rally at the last to overcome the surprisingly tough Evil Empire and keep their place in the postseason on the cards. A big week for Adam Kennedy helped, as the diminutive Anaheim infielder connected well enough to send two pitches out of the park while driving in seven and stealing some bases. Todd Helton, with 11 hits, and a couple of homers for Jay Gibbons were also key, while Sidney Ponson was the best of the starters as he struck out eleven in 14.1 innings pitched. The Squeaks now head into their most important match of the season against the Playaz, with a win guaranteeing them the Mantle Division crown. A loss, however, would mean that even the Wild Card spot is not certain.
The Empire appeared to have it all sewn up after Matt Kinney spun eight scoreless innings for a Brewers win, striking out eight. As it turned out, the complete game would have been central to an Empire triumph. Unfortunately, this did not come to pass, and the rest of the rotation lagged behind, with Damian Moss and Wayne Franklin getting messy wins. Scot Shields in the bullpen let one game get away from him, too. The hitters were in better shape, with dual long bombs from Hillenbrand, Sheffield, Everett, and Nick Johnson. Had Greg Myers not been hitless all week, perhaps the Empire could have claimed their biggest scalp of the year. As it is, they head into their Week 21 matchup with the Hitmen to salvage some pride.
MVP: Adam Kennedy – An all-around week for the Angel, with steals, homers, and plenty of hits.
Playaz ride hot bats to cruise past homesick Lous
Four homers for Tampa Bay’s Julio Lugo were the centrepiece of a workmanlike Playaz display as they disposed of the Larrupin Lous to keep pace with the Mantle Division race. Still occupying prime position in the Wild Card race, the Playaz also enjoyed multiple homers from Jim Edmonds, Marcus Giles, and Brad Wilkerson, not to mention the nine walks issued to Carlos Delgado. The departure of Mark Mulder to the Disabled List may prove a serious handicap in the last stages of the season, especially as none of the rotation were able to win without him, but Jim Brower’s 5.1 scoreless innings for the Giants were enough to grab him a victory. A weakened rotation will be cause for concern as the Playaz enter into their showdown with the Squeaks, but they will remain optimistic of success, for a win would place them atop the Mantle Division.
Things just aren’t working out for the Lous, who are left with the goal of raising their winning percentage to the .500 mark in the two games remaining for them. Pedro Martinez’s scratched start was hardly a healthy indicator, leaving the Lous without their ace, while recent addition Chin-hui Tsao was touched up for 12 ERs in 10.1 innings pitched, losing both starts he made for a –10 points total. No pitcher won, and John Smoltz managed just a single save as the Braves were battered by San Francisco. Hitting was consistent, but Scott Spezio and Preston Wilson led the team with just three extra-base hits each, meaning that power was in short supply. The Lous will intend to reverse that trend against the Swingers next week.
MVP: Julio Lugo – When you’re outslugging Carlos Delgado and Jim Edmonds, you’re doing something right.
Wolverines suddenly lose way to stingy Senators
Out of nowhere, the Senators have a dominating rotation, and baffled the Michigan Wolverines despite some wobbles from the bullpen, sending Michigan into a desperate two-week period where they will search for a postseason berth. Mark Prior and Odalis Perez were both excellent in their outings, winning their games while allowing one run in 15 innings between them. But they were outshone by Steve Trachsel, whose two wins included a complete game and no earned runs in 16.1 innings of work – outstanding figures that resulted in 63 points for the Senators. Hitting was less convincing, but still the lineup was content to pick up enough hits to ensure that the starters’ good work was not wasted, while Byung-Hyun Kim’s 5 earned runs and loss was also an afterthought. Three wins in a row now for the resurgent Senators, who can claim another big scalp when they go on a fact-finding trip to the Bashers’ grounds.
A potentially disastrous turn of events for the Wolberines, who find themselves two games behind in both the DiMaggio Division and Wild Card races with two to play. Doses of brilliance and good luck are both required if they are to return to the postseason, with a tough last week against the Horsemen an obstacle to the first. With Albert Pujols only at the plate eight times all week, it was left to Jose Valentin to provide the infield power with four taters and nine runs driven in. Few of the other hitters were up to Valentin’s standards, however, and Carlos Zambrano’s complete game gem was the sole victory from the pitching staff, which Rich Harden knocked out of his start after just 2.2 innings and eight runs conceded. Ten strikeouts for Jeremy Affeldt from the Royals’ bullpen was a pleasing side-note, but hardly enough to reverse the Wolverines’ stumbles. A true must-win now, as the Italian Ice become prey.
MVP: Steve Trachsel – Feast or famine for Steve, and this time it was a banquet.
Tenacious Mendoza enjoys Big Hurt’s big week
Fishing with Mendoza refuses to go away, and is a couple of wins of a division pennant that looked unlikely a couple of months ago. Six wins on the trot – tied for the best active streak in the league – have brought them to this point, and Frank Thomas’ power-heavy week got them past the Linguists this week. The ChiSox slugger had been moved from first to the DH spot, and the result was six pitches crushed over the wall, while twelve runners touched home thanks to the Big Hurt. Good weeks for Joe Randa (14 hits) and Alfonso Soriano (6 XBH) were also important, while a pair of victories for Mike Hampton propped up a sluggish-looking rotation. Mendoza will now play the former leaders, the NY Bombers, while peering ahead to a final week showdown with the chasing Naked Truth.
The season is nearly over for the Linguists, who are now stranded below the .500 mark for the season – surely a disappointment after their barn-storming second half in 2002. Estaban Loiaza was the sole starter to emerge victorious, with a good effort from Kevin Brown going unrewarded, and John Tomson’s win for the Rangers left languishing on the bench. Casey Blake was the most impressive of the hitters, with three doubles, two homers, and seven ribbies, but Maglio Ordonez was the only other hitter to go yard even once, while Ichiro Suzuki, Bengie Molina, and Jeff Conine all produced below par for the week. Still, the Linguists can have a profound effect on the fate of the Ruth Division if they beat the Naked Truth this week.
MVP: Frank Thomas – 34 homers this year? Yeah, he’s back.
Naked Truth not going away, harness the power of A-Rod
A bizarre week for Alex Rodriguez fuelled an important win for the Naked Truth, who stay one step behind Fishing with Mendoza, poised to pounce on any mistakes by the Ruth Division leaders. The Texas shortstop jacked five out of the yard, driving in twelve runners, and also managed two triples and a double. Yet Rodriguez went all week without a single, suggesting that either he’s swinging for the fences, or is in fact a roadrunner in disguise. Richard Hidalgo was a similar story, managing four doubles but only two singles. Greg Maddux’s 14 innings with 3 earned runs allowed was the highlight of the pitchers, as he won one and lost one, while Aaron Sele was hittable but still a winner. The Linguists come to town next, as the Truth must knuckle down and keep winning.
The Dawgz found some pretty good performances from their roster this week, led by a trio of long bombs from Pat Burrell and plenty of RBIs from Jeff Kent and Shannon Stewart. On the other hand, slumps from Sean Casey, Jose Cruz, and Mark Loretta undid much of their good work, leaving the Dawgz needing their rotation to carry the day. Sadly, they could not do so, with Shawon Chacon headed for the disabled list, Jimmy Gobble getting bombed, and Cliff Lee arriving on the Easton roster too late to contribute his eight-inning win. Tom Gordon’s win and two saves kept things interested, but Kaz Sasaki’s loss made the bullpen the final indignity rather than the saving grace. The Dawgz can still lever themselves off the Ruth Division basement, but they’ll need to defeat the Lordz of Flatbush next week in order to have a chance.
MVP: Alex Rodriguez – Greedy for extra-base hits? A-Rod won’t get too many steals that way.
Bashers ridden roughshod by Horsemen; not panicking yet
Despite a tough loss to the 4 Horsemen, the Bashers remain on course for a DiMaggio Division title as long as they can pick up at least one win in the remaining fortnight. Ace pitching from Javier Vazquez, who threw 18 innings of scoreless ball, including 17 strikeouts and only ten baserunners, led the charge, as he picked up one win and one complete game. Josh Beckett also kicked in with one win in two starts, with plenty of whiffs thrown in, and Eric Gagne’s win and three saves included ten batters left helpless at the plate. With Danny Kolb also accumulating three saves, a consistent and reliable lineup did the rest of the work, with Alex Cintron the standout contributor. The Newburgh Naughties are next on the Horsemen’s schedule.
It’s hardly all hands to the pump yet for the Bashers, but they did blow the chance to seal the DiMaggio Division pennant this week by dropping a game to the Horsemen. A pair of wins for Ramon Ortiz was a good start, but his peripherals were nowhere near a match for Vasquez, and Bartolo Colon was the only other winner among the starters. A win and two saves from Tim Worrell highlighted a good week for the bullpen, too. However, the Bashers could have used a lot more hitting, with only Carlos Beltran and Miguel Tejada exceeding expectations, and Cory Koskie and Shawn Green both major disappointments. The next opportunity to clinch comes when the Senators check in next week.
MVP: Javier Vazquez – 18 innings of scoreless ball, but one win and one CG? No fair!
Swingers keep the tempo up, increase pressure on postseason slots
It isn’t looking great for the Swingers’ postseason hopes, with two teams ahead of them in the division, and a crowded Wild Card race. However, a six-game winning streak has a way of generating confidence, and – with the Playaz and Squeaks playing each other next week – all is not yet lost. This week’s win owed much to Mike Mussina, whose three-hit complete game win was the best outing of the week, while Mark Buehlre allowed two runs to score in 14 innings for a second victory. The bullpen remains stingy without racking up many saves or wins, but just one earned run between the three relievers is not to be sniffed at. Meanwhile, Aubrey Huff totalled ten hits on the week, two of them being moonshots that made him the biggest hitter of the week, and Edgar Renteria and Bobby Abreu both boosted their batting average. The Larrupin Lous are an obstacle that must be overcome next week if the Swingers are to see September action.
Mattingley’s Hitmen, it would seem, left most of their big guns at home, and were left with only their light weaponry to confront the streaking Swingers. David Ortiz crushed two big home runs, and Aramis Ramirez bettered him with three, but both were stuck watching from the dugout. To be fair, Manny Ramirez, Sammy Sosa, and Geoff Jenkins were all pretty locked in, but Adam Dunn’s absence through injury was keenly felt. Elsewhere, Ryan Franklin was efficient in getting a win, but Jason Schmidt’s eight scoreless innings resulted in a no-decision, while Matt Clement was tattooed in his start. Six saves from a shutout bullpen, including three from Keith Foulke, gave the Hitmen some hope, but the lack of starting quality sounded the death knell for their shot at .500. However, they can pick up some pride by administering the coup de grace against the Empire next week.
MVP: Mike Mussina – AL Player of the Week last week, and Swingers’ Player of the Week this week.
Lordz end Bombers’ dream of ascending the throne
To be put out of contention for the postseason by last year’s champions carries a certain kind of irony, particularly when those champions have already been mathematically eliminated themselves. The Lordz will be more concerned with the performance of their resident ace, however, as Curt Schilling whiffed an amazing 26 opposing batters in 16 innings of work, making up for the 1-1 record on the week. Brandon Webb and Johan Santana also came up with wins that were seldom in doubt, and Rod Beck managed a win and two saves while holding batters hitless on the week. The lineup was relatively dormant, with Garret Anderson leading the way thanks to four doubles and eight ribbies, bt the lack of homers will be cause for concern as the Lordz check their luggage into their Easton hotel for their Week 21 match against the Dawgz.
At the beginning of the season, having gone 5-0, the NY Bombers seemed certain to be a prime pennant contender. Few would have thought that with two games to go, the Bombers would be looking up at the .500 mark, but a 4-11 record since May, and a four-game losing streak added to this week, has put paid to their hopes of postseason play. Hideo Nomo certainly deserved a better fate, as he threw 14 innings for one run and two wins on the week, while Freddy Garcia was sporadically effective. However, Kevin Appier was battered for six earned runs in six innings, and Joel Piniero was knocked out before the fifth. Jim Thome’s four blasts suggested the possibility of a rally, as he drove in eight, and Luis Rivas was also seeing the ball well. Yet there was no arguing with the Lordz’ regal rotation, and the Bombers now have only the .500 mark to play for when they visit Mendoza next week.
MVP: Curt Schilling – Four months of Schilling is almost worth six months of other starters.
Naughties watch the Ice slide, grab hold of .500 mark
The only game this week with no real playoff implications saw the Newburgh Naughties grasp the .500 mark once more, sending the Italian Ice to their fifth straight defeat. Wins were scattered across the rotation, with Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, and Al Leiter all picking up victories, and Leiter’s 15 Ks in 12 innings probably the most impressive. A fourth win from Joe Nathan in the pen didn’t hurt, although Scott Williamson managed to blow a save for Boston. Carlos Lee led the hitters with eight drive in, complemented by a pair of moonshots from Tino Martinez and Trot Nixon, and no significant slumps among the hitters meant few chinks in the Naughties’ armor for the Ice to exploit. The 4 Horsemen will suit up to test that armor next week.
A homerless lineup is not a happy lineup, and the Italian Ice had a homerless lineup this past week, with four doubles from Bobby Kielty the nearest the Ice came to power hitting. Six ribbies and seven walks to Kielty boosted his usefulness, but he was clearly the only hitter not to be overawed at the plate. A shame, too, because there were a few useful starts in the rotation, most notably Brad Radke’s seven inning win. However, the bullpen was a crapshoot, thanks partly to Rocky “Lovemaking” Biddle giving away two games in four innings of work, and the Ice are now left to pull themselves together to face the Michigan Wolverines next week.
MVP: Al Leiter – The old man and the S(h)ea; still a useful fantasy starter.
Team of the Week: The 4 Horsemen (312.33 points)
Unlucky Team of the Week: Junior’s Bashers (lost with 285.67 points)
Lucky Team of the Week: 9 Angry Playaz (won with 227.66 points)
Matchup of the Week: New York Squeaks vs. Evil Empire (difference of 2 points)
Longest Active Winning Streak: Fishing with Mendoza/Saxmania’s Swingers (6 games)
Longest Active Losing Streak: Evil Empire (9 games)
Sunday, August 24th
Away at Home Av. Last 3 games (away at home)
Cunning Linguists (8-12) at The Naked Truth (11-9) 230.89 at 279.39
Lordz of Flatbush (9-11) at Dawgs from Easton (6-14) 252.67 at 175.28
NY Bombers (9-11) at Fishing with Mendoza (12-8) 211.95 at 249.17
The 4 Horsemen (10-10) at Newburgh Naughties (10-10) 285.83 at 265.50
Michigan Wolverines (12-8) at Italian Ice (8-12) 242.06 at 166.56
Senators (8-12) at Junior’s Bashers (14-6) 292.55 at 260.50
9 Angry Playaz (14-6) at New York Squeaks (15-5) 231.00 at 282.50
Mattingly’s Hitmen (8-12) at Evil Empire (4-16) 225.83 at 226.00
Saxmania’s Swingers (13-7) at The Larrupin’ Lous (9-11) 306.22 at 218.56
Low-scoring week, wasn’t it? Sorry for lateness, but the Yahoo server went down around 11, and I didn’t get started to 2pm. This is GMT, obviously.
Looking back, despite the controversy about trades, vetos, scoring systems, owners, keepers, and what have you – I think this has been a much better year than last year. More participation, more competitive balance, and (of course) more smack-talking.
Be seeing you,