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Thursday, July 22, 2004

SO WHERE'S THAT PANIC BUTTON AGAIN?
After yesterday's pathetic loss to the Lone Stars, the Lads are one two three four five six games out of first place. The Wild Card tells a slightly, but only slightly, better story with a 2.5 deficit to the Boys of Saber (Boston and Oakland). Of course, that Wild Card race is crowded, not only with those teams, but the AL Central competitors on the South Side and on the Twin Cityside. Not to mention the fact that the A's have a pretty decent chance of making up their 3.5 games against Texas, which would just put W.'s former charge back into the Wild Card race with us and the others.

At the moment, there is nothing separating us from these other teams aside from the fact that we appear the most likely to collapse. Our offense and our rotation are bafflingly inconsistent, forcing the bullpen to be perfect every time out (K-Rod was not up to the challenge yesterday, but how in the hell does a self-respecting team only score two runs against Ryan Drese in the first place?).

And we're long past the point where injuries can be exclusively fingered. Since returning from the DL, Garret Anderson has put up a 292/333/424 line in 144 AB, anchored by a punchless July swoon (1 HR in 69 AB) that makes you wonder if his arthritis and related medication is taking its toll. The Punter has continued to be on fire the last two months -- 358/426/505 in 109 AB -- who would have thought there'd be a two-month stretch where Erstad's OBP was higher than Garret Anderson's SLG? Don't look now, but Erstad has his season line up to a not-that-bad 307/359/412, rapidly closing in on Anderson's 309/351/449.

Of course, the Kingfish show has false-started, with Clutch DaVanon's performance disallowing the team from being able to give Timmy time to get his groove back. (The Regression Reaper has finally tapped Jeff's shoulder, however, as evidenced by his 188/286/313 line in 48 July at-bats; this is roughly equal to Timmy-Tim's April.)

What else we got? Eckstein's back to his career line, so bully for him, and in the middle of all this mess Adam Kennedy has come on to put his career norms within his sights. Of course, hitting .364 in a month will do that for you, so who knows what the rest of his season will see.

Oh, and Jose Guillen's got his brood on (Sean has the goods).

And today, already six games back, we go into the Ballpark in Arlington (which inflates run-scoring by nearly 24% this season) to face a formidable offensive team, and our hopes and dreams rest in the right arm of ...

... The Big Mango.

I'm waiting for the punchline.

Comments:
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