Thursday, January 21, 2010

How the West Was Won: 2005

Matthew T. Cain made his debut on the 29th of August in 2005. He was only 20 years old and was the youngest player in the league. Barry Bonds only appeared in 14 games that season. Randy Winn, a late-season acquisition, went .359/.391/.680 in 58 games.

The San Diego Padres won the West with an 82-80 record. NL teams averaged 721 RS and 732 RA. The Padres were 13th with 684 RS and 9th in RA with 726. Under the guidance of Bruce Bochy the Pads exceeded their Pythagorean projection (77-85) by five games. Jake Peavy was the pitching stud, and they had a tremendous bullpen (Hoffman, Linebrink, Otsuka, Saenz, Hammond). The only hitting star was 34-year old Brian Giles (.301/.423/.483). They got appropriately smoked in three games by the combined score of 21-11 by the 100-61 Cardinals in the NLDS. The Wild Card Astros (609 RA, 120 ERA+) and the Central champs St. Louis (634 RA, 121 ERA+) had the best pitching.

The second-place D-Backs, 77-85 under Bob Melvin, overperformed by 11 games (66-96). With a lopsided 696 RS (10th) and 856 RA (14th), it is almost impossible to imagine them finishing ahead of the Giants. The third-place 75-87 Giants acccomplished this by being 15th in RS (549) and 11th in RA (745). Felipe Alou deserves some credit (don't you think?) for the Giants overperforming their projection (71-91) for the 3rd year running. And this was without Barry! We all knew that Alou was a placeholder until a younger, hipper manager would get the nod. Most of us were hoping long-time assistant and organization man Ron Wotus would be selected. Alas, Ol' Boch got the call in '07 instead of "Wot."

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