Monday, April 21, 2008

Monday Night Baseball

There were a few day games today, the typical Patriots Day game in Fenway and some healing for the Tigers in Toronto. Now the Cubs and Mets are on the Network tonight and Derrek Lee is still hot. His single preceded Aramis Ramirez' bomb and the Cubs lead the Mets 2-0 in the top of the fifth.

But let's take a look at some of the early questions in baseball....

Another good start for Ervin Santana yesterday, can he keep it going? Santana has always been one of those guys that I've really liked. Thought he had the chance to be a longtime solid starter. He certainly struggled quite a bit last year. I don't think he was rushed, but his focus hadn't caught up with his talent. That was obvious from his home road splits. He was atrocious on the road. Now he's getting a break or two to go with everything and the talent has caught up with the stuff. He's a bonus for the Angels at the moment, and I expect it to continue.

How bout Luke Scott, how long can he stay hot? I've really been impressed with Luke Scott's approach at the plate and his desire to be good. He has some experience and he's not going to just go away. However, he probably isn't going to keep hitting .400 too much longer. At some point, I think we'll start to see more power from the outfielder and less average. Still, I'm one who believes that with the approach he's shown, he would be the perfect #2 hitter in the Orioles lineup right now.

Is Cliff Lee more of the ace in Cleveland than CC Sabathia? Well he certainly has pitched like it thus far. But not sure how long that will continue. He won 18 games in 2005 and another 14 in 2006 even though he had a high ERA. He is not going to be this dominant the rest of the way, and I'd be surprised if he's in the Cy Young talk at the end of the year. But at 29, and with some injuries last year, it makes sense to see some improvement. If you voted for AL Pitcher of the Month right now, it'd be hard not to vote for him.

How bout another lefthander with a hot start, Randy Wolf. Is he finally living up to his potential? That's one way of saying it. Or maybe saying, he finally isn't hurt. His last full season without an injury he was 16-10 and an all-star. At 31, his best years may have been lost by injury but he's certainly not over the hill. He's pitching in a pitcher's haven and sometimes it takes more than one year to fully recover. I expect him to post solid numbers all season.

Shawn Marcum struggled today, but with him and McGowan do the Blue Jays have enough pitching to challenge the Yanks and Sox in the East? Obviously for the Jays, the ace is Halladay and a key is keeping Burnett healthy. But I like both Marcum and McGowan. And if I was the Yankees and maybe even the Red Sox, I'd rather have the Jays starting rotation. Many may think that getting rid of Frank Thomas shows they want to be younger. I think it just shows they want to be better and they think they can compete and are expecting to. Ultimately, I'm not sure they have the pitching depth to really challenge for the East crown.

Even with all the young pitchers are the Pirates just going to be bad forever? The Pirates have more pitching depth than a lot of teams. But they are still young. I thought this year, and it might still happen was going to be the year that some of them went to the next level. Ian Snell has always been the guy that I liked the most, but he's not really an ace, but could be a solid #2. Maholm hasn't been as good as he can be, and Gorzellany has really struggled at the outset. Not sure there is a lot of pitching help on the horizon, but the Buccos do have an emerging Nate McLouth in the outfield and the young prospect at AAA, Andrew McCutchen, who is probably a year away but has a chance to be special on the horizon. They have enough talent to be .500 right now with a little bit more consistency, but its easy to get frustrated in Pittsburgh.

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