A day late and a dollar short but I would like to enter the Wheelhouse this week as I watched the Red Sox secure their seventh victory of the season against the Yankees Wednesday night. The sox lead the season series 7-0 with 11 games left between the two teams unless they meet in the playoffs. For some reason the Yankees trotted Chien-Ming Wang out to the mound to continue his 2009 nightmare. Wang was tagged for 4 runs on 6 hits in less than 3 innings of work. But the box score doesn’t tell the whole story. Wang picked up right where AJ Burnett left off Tuesday night. He had a terrible time finding the strike zone with any consistency and was almost chased from the game in the first inning after he walked the bases full. Until the Yankees can sort out their pitching woes the Red Sox are the team to beat in the A.L. East and just imagine how good they could be if David Ortiz comes around.
Now, let’s get down to business.
Stephen Strasburg was the first overall pick in the MLB First-Year Player Draft and is rumored to be commanding $50 million thanks in part to The Baseball Anti-Christ, Scott Boras. Mark Prior took home $10.5 million from the Cubbies in 2001 just to put things in prospective. The contract situation is being compared to the Matsuzaka saga in Boston when the red sox bid $51 million to free Dice-K from Japan, which does not include his $52 million salary over 6 years. Strasburg is as close to being major league ready as the come and should find a starting spot in the National’s rotation no later than 2010.
As the National’s added some talent to the rotation their N.L. East foes, the Atlanta Braves, released one of their most accomplished pitchers in Tom Glavine. Glavine claims he was nickel and dimed by Braves management in an attempt to save a $1 million bonus for making the active roster and is upset enough to possibly file a grievance. The Braves allegedly had the gall to send Glavine down for a rehab stint in single A knowing that he would soon be outright released. I wonder how the Braves felt when Glavine bolted for greener pastures with the New York Mets for 4 years and $42.5 million. I won’t shed a tear for Tom Glavine, what goes around, comes around.
It must be Atlanta Braves PR week because they have also recently acquired the talents of All-Star outfielder Nate McLouth from the Pittsburgh Pirates. This deal left so many Pirate fans befuddled the general manager actually wrote a letter explaining himself, “I understand why some people, at first glance, may believe this move was financially motivated, but I can assure you that this was strictly a baseball decision…in fact, our owner, Bob Nutting, was as surprised as some of our fans when we sought his approval for this trade. I am grateful that he has the faith in me, our baseball operations staff and the processes we have in place to approve a move like this, despite the risk of public backlash on him personally and the organization as a whole.”
The Pirates picked up some young talent at the expense of upsetting the fan base as well as striking a nerve with a few players. But the Pittsburg brass claims to be building a World Series contender. They should start by stopping their 15 season streak of finishing under .500.
• McLouth is batting .375 with a double, a homerun and 2 stolen bases in 5 games with Atlanta.
• It’s about that time and the trade rumors are floating around. Don’t be surprised to see at least a couple more All-Stars on the move including the likes of Jake Peavy, Nick Johnson, Matt Holliday and Erik Bedard.
• Matt Weiters finally got the call up for the O’s and is trying to find his bearings. He’s batting .229 in 35 at-bats with 8 strikeouts.
• Andre Ethier is 9-for-21 this past week with 4 homers. The Dodgers are 6-4 in their last ten games and are about a month away from the return of Ramirez.
• David Ortiz has a quiet hitting streak of 8 games going and watched his average climb over the Mendoza line.
• Closer by committee in Tampa Bay will have some ill-effects on fantasy teams. 7 pitchers have registered a save for the Rays this season including: Troy Percival, Randy Choate, J.P. Howell, Joe Nelson, Grant Balfour, Lance Cormier and Dale Thayer. Which is pretty much the entire Rays bullpen except Dan Wheeler who has not allowed an earned run since May 29.
• Next week in the Wheelhouse we’ll take a look inside the medical ward to assess player injuries.