A Look around Baseball outside of Seattle

     Unfortunately I won’t be able to watch the Mariners second game in their series with the Royals tonight as I am attempting to get a life outside of  Blogging about the Mariners. However I was able to watch most of the featured game on Fox today between the Yankees and the Red Sox. It was a good game between these two rivals battling it out as usual for the lead in the tough AL East. The Yankees won this one 5-2 and are now 6 games up on the Red Sox and a game and a half up on Tampa Bay who lost today. It struck me as I was watching this game how both teams were made-up of primarily veterans with a few younger guys sprinkled in. Both these teams have a solid core of veterans who have played together for awhile and they seem to have good chemistry on both clubs which will help heading down the stretch. This stands in stark contrast to the current 2010 Mariners, where besides Ichiro none of the veterans have really been here that long and the younger players with less than 3 years experience dominate our club. With the departure of Mike Sweeney and Griffey we are left with Chone Figgins, Milton Bradley and Jack Wilson to provide veteran leadership. Not quite the same thing as having Jeter, Riviera, Posada, Pettitte and Rodriguez like the Yankees.

   Anyway this post was supposed to be about the rest of Baseball and not another review of an already over analyzed 2010 Mariners season. Outside of the AL East which promises to go down to the wire, there is a tough battle for the AL Central lead between the White Sox and the Twins with the White Sox currently holding a slim game and a half lead. The Texas Rangers lost today to the surprisingly pesky Oakland A’s yet still hold the largest lead of anyone in the majors at eight and a half games. This was a division that everyone said was up-for-grabs at the beginning of the year but with the addition of Cliff Lee to an already powerful lineup I would be surprised if the Rangers did not make it to the postseason.

  In the National League every division features a tight pennant race with the leaders in all three divisions only up by one game. In the NL East the Atlanta Braves are trying to win one more trip to the play-offs for their manager Bobby Cox and veteran Chipper Jones both of whom have stated they would be retiring at the end of the year. The Phillies are right on their heels and feature a solid veteran club with recent World Series experience. The NL Central gives us another great race with the Cincinnati Reds trying to get to the postseason for the first time since 1995 provided they can hold-off  Tony LaRussa and the Cardinals. And out here in the NL West the surprising San Diego Padres are in a dog-fight with their neighbors from the north the San Francisco Giants. Both of these clubs have excellent pitching and younger teams that don’t have much experience in a pennant race or the postseason but are playing great baseball.

   There are several clubs that still have a shot if they were to get hot and the division leaders start to fade. Amongst them is the Toronto Blue Jays who clobbered Tampa Bay today 17-11 and hit eight home runs! This is the first time since July 31st 2007 when the Yankees hit 8 dingers in a game that a club has produced this sort of offensive display. Toronto leads the majors in home runs and yet with a .527 winning percentage still find themselves ten and a half games out of first in the brutal AL East. The Dodgers, Brewers, Tigers, Mets and Angels also are theoretically alive in their respective divisions but time is starting to tick away for these clubs.

   It was nice to listen to Tim McCarver and to a lesser extent Joe Buck calling the game today on Fox. These guys don’t seem to drone on and on like some of our local broadcasters and always seem to have keen insights about the game at hand as well as what is going on in the rest of baseball. I know here in the NW we all too often can get a bit myopic and focus all of our sports energy on the local teams causing us to lose sight of the bigger picture. This year has certainly been a disappointing season for the Mariners but there is still a lot of great baseball going on elsewhere to enjoy for the true fan of the game…http://jeffsmariners.com

Toronto edges Seattle 3-2

Doug Fister pitched his heart out again tonight, going 8 full innings only to lose this one to the powerful Toronto Blue Jays. On hand at the Safe tonight were 19,208 hardy fans including several thousand loud and proud Canadians complete with their Maple leaf flag. Though the Mariners showed signs of life tonight and even out hit the Jays 10-6, this won will go down as another 1-run loss.

  Brett Cecil got the start for the Blue Jays and pitched well until the 7th when the Mariners put together a rally and scored 2 runs but left 2 stranded as well. The Mariners took this one down to the wire and had 2 runners on in the bottom of the 9th when Mike Sweeney made the last out with a deep fly to left.

Milton Bradley was back in the line-up tonight after being away for a couple of weeks and managed to pick up 2  hits. Josh Bard started behind the plate and though he is no Johnny Bench, seems to look more in control back there than Johnson or Moore. 

  People in Seattle want a winner bad, and we all had our hopes up this year after all the off-season chatter. Sadly this season is proving to be another emotional roller coaster. I think it is starting to sink in for me that we may have to accept things the way they are barring any unforseen miraculous turn-around. I even thought about trying to root for another winning team just to get some relief, but that never works and thus the eventual return to hoping for a turn-around. So unlike another unnamed Blog that threatened to shut-down if the Mariners didn’t listen to their suggestions, I’m going to keep posting as long as you are still reading, one game at a time…http://jeffsmariners.com

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