Sunday, September 25, 2011

Arizona? Really?

Seriously, Arizona won the title? Of the NL West? Really? Arizona does not inspire me as a playoff team. Not just because I don't think they are in a league with Milwaukee, loaded with sluggers, the Phillies, who have most everything, and either Atlanta or St. Louis (although I don't) but I just can't see them as an inspiration. Arizona Champion of the NL West? That seems less a recognition of an achievement than an indictment of the division.

The Padres, who nearly won the west last year on some mystical, magical pitching, and one hitter, decided that they didn't really need that hitter, so traded him for prospects. They might be good again some day, but maybe their magic pitching was not just what it was last year (actually, it was almost as good, but the results were quite different). They knew they were a last place team going into the season, and they did not surprise themselves.

The Rox figured to be the competition - I thought so a couple months into the season. But once they had a couple key players, like Tulowitsky, get hurt, they decided to trade their ace for some magic beans. Imagine if when Posey went down, ownership said, "Ship out Lincecum for whatever you can get and, by gum, we'll be good again by 2020." Very discouraging to be a Rockie fan.

The doggers were, of course, drastically mis-Manny-ged by their ownership, to the point where they are now owned by MLB. They may be worse next year, if buyers are not found, they may be paralyzed into doing next to nothing, and doing it as cheaply as possible.

The until-recently reigning World Series Champions were beset with injuries, and equally beset with sub-mediocrity when they needed competence. Yet they were in first place, with Posey injured, until they elected to turn in a 10-20 August. Hard to get happy after that, and they didn't. Yeah, I know, they had a nice little 8 game win streak, but that looks pretty abnormal in the rear view mirror after 4 straight losses (5 of 6), doesn't it?

But Arizona? A playoff team? I know they have Justin Upton, who's really good, and that guy who used to pitch for the A's, but beyond that, ???? This is not a team that won the division, it is a bunch of guys that outlasted a bunch of losers. The dbacks seem to play the game of baseball quite competently. They move runners, get hits with RISP, steal bases and do not allow too many stolen bases. They also play defense well. No wonder some mediocre pitcher has 21 wins. The Giants, by contrast, spent 2011 not moving runners, especially with RISP, and sought to reinforce our wonderful pitching by hiring an aging, defensively-challenged shortstop with no bat and then going out and getting a worse one when he got hurt. The Giants have pitched well, but otherwise have not had a particularly stellar defensive year, and they have just been horrible offensively, as has been well documented and deeply felt by every Giants fan. so the dbacks are what's left. Sad.

Meanwhile, I tune in Saturday, and the dbacks have "Los D-Backs" on their jersey and apparently it is Hispanic heritage night in Arizona. WTF? Isn't this the state that is trying its darndest to advance racism? Especially against Hispanics? Haven't they already done an English-only thing? If you bought a Los D-Backs jersey, would you be immediately arrested as you left the stadium, your car confiscated and either deported or sent to work in the desert on one of Joe Arpaio's slave labor details? Never let it be said that Arizona lacks in hypocrisy.

Maybe I've used up my wishes, but if I get one for the 2011 baseball season, just get this team out of my sight as quickly as possible. I root for anyone against them.


M.C. O'Connor said...

I was more upset by Tim's performance today. I can live with Arizona. They seized their moment. The Giants faltered and they ran away with it.

They are actually a decent club. They score 4.51 rpg (admittedly in an offense-favoring park) which is a whole run more than the Giants and 3rd in the NL, better than Philly and Milwaukee. The league average is 4.12 rpg. They allow 4.07 rpg (8th), worse than #1 Philly (3.28), #3 Atlanta, and #6 Milwaukee, but better than #9 St. Louis (4.30). Kennedy and Hudson form a solid 1-2 that can match the Braves Hudson-Lowe or the Brewers Greinke/Gallardo/Marcum (or the Cards Carpenter/Garcia). They can't touch the Phillies, but no one in the league can. It would be an upset no matter who beat them, and AZ has as much chance as the rest.

The Giants should be there. Its a shame to waste that kind of pitching. With any offense at all (and a little bit of bloomin' luck) they'd have been winners, but the "look ma, no runs" trick finally got exposed.

Zo said...

Yeah, I forgot to mention that they got there by putting together a lot of little win streaks - 6 games here, 5 there, throw in an 8 or so and there they are. What was remarkable about the Giants' 8 game winning streak was how long it had been since they had even had 5.