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Carmona
Maybe Carmona's implosion last year as a closer turned out to be the best thing for the Indians. Had he been so-so, they might have tried to force the issue into this season. Now they have what looks to be a second ace in the rotation, and went out to get a capable, affordable closer (admittedly not a flashy one) no one else really wanted, who's now saved 29 games while only blowing three.

Posted by SHOE at 7/26/2007 10:18:00 AM
Comments (4)

Bad to the Bone
For a long time, I've considered the question of how closely a team's demographics match its home city's demographics. Obviously, this question involves generalizations, but it's interesting. It's no secret that Jews, Asians, Hispanics, African-Americans and members of other groups feel more comfortable in certain cities than others. In this blog, I want to examine the closely related issue of personality demographics.

San Diego is known as a very laid-back city. Petco Park has a beach, San Diegans are used to almost 300 days of sunshine every year and the temperature is rarely uncomfortable. San Diego's fans can be passionate, but they rarely rise to the levels of boorish behavior that are more typical in Philadelphia, Boston and New York. So what the heck has gotten into the Padres?

This season, San Diego has gotten into a fight with the Cubs and has had four different players suspended for a total of 15 games, not to mention two offseason arrests (Jake Peavy and Marcus Giles). Josh Bard bumped an umpire, David Wells fired a baseball in anger, Michael Barrett threw his helmet and bat and Chris Young punched Chicago's Derrek Lee. More than this, the Padres acquired -- in midseason -- Barrett and fellow bad boy Milton Bradley. Barrett, you'll remember, fought Cubs teammate Carlos Zambrano this spring, while Bradley has been accused of serving as a clubhouse cancer for years.

Perhaps this trend has nothing to do with the laid-back nature of San Diego, but it sure stands out. It seems like the Padres have made a definite effort to find tougher, more competitive and more aggressive players. I don't know if it'll translate into success this postseason, but I know I wouldn't want to meet them in a dark alley!

Posted by Ted Rossman at 7/25/2007 7:54:00 PM

Comments (1)

MLB Notes
Can you name the pitcher who’s given up the second most home runs in baseball this season? If you guessed Johan Santana, you’d be correct. He’s served up 22 long balls so far.

If you have a fringe base stealer on your bench, be sure to play him when he’s facing the Padres. Chris Young and Greg Maddux have given up the most thefts of any pitchers in the game this season, with Young allowing a remarkable 28 SBs with zero caught stealing. Jake Peavy also shows up in the bottom 20, so give your players the green light when pitted against San Diego. Young also “leads” the majors in balks with three. Get rid of the bum.

Justin Verlander has put together a fine season, but his 2.6 K:BB ratio isn’t quite as good as it seems. He is worst in the majors with 13 hit batsmen and easily paces the league with 14 wild pitches. Basically, it just shows he still has room to grow. It’s only going to get better.

Erik Bedard’s 11.08 K/9 IP is nearly two full strikeouts better than the second best (Jake Peavy 9.34 K/9 IP). Despite pitching in the AL East and not for the Blue Jays, Yankees or Red Sox, feel free to treat him like a top-5 fantasy pitcher from here on out.

Felix Hernandez is getting killed in BABIP and currently sports an unsightly 1.45 WHIP. However, he’s really starting to improve as a pitcher underneath the cosmetic numbers. His 3.06 ground out/fly out ratio is the second best in the league, behind only Derek Lowe and even ahead of Brandon Webb, both sinkerballers. Now is the time to target the King in keeper-leagues.

Barry Bonds has more problems to worry about other than breaking the sacred home run record.

Chris B. Young’s .281 OBP isn’t helping the Diamondbacks a whole lot, but the already achieved 15/15 certainly has been a boon to your fantasy team. In 20 games during July, he has four homers and seven steals. It would be nice if he could take a walk every now and again, as it’s not easy stealing bases from the dugout. But since he’s only been caught once all season, look for his SBs to continue to climb as his OBP does.

Posted by Dalton Del Don at 7/25/2007 6:33:00 PM
Comments (1)

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