Monday, July 9, 2007

Comedy Central Report, 7/9

Borrowing from the media’s name for the National League Central, the Comedy Central Report is a daily feature which recaps all the previous day’s games in which a central team played. Keep track of all six teams vying for the most mediocre division title in baseball.

Pirates take series, defeat Cubs 6-2

Recap: Jason Bay decides that the game before a nice break would be a good time to rejoin the team, hitting a homerun and contributing 4 RBIs. The Pirates have now won their past 4 series and actually have a small chance at respectability this year. Last year the Pirates were 30-60 at the break, this year they're 40-48. So there has been improvement, but I doubt this is the record everyone wanted to see at the halfway mark.

All You Need to Know: We were taking a taxi cab on Friday night, and of course somehow we started arguing about the worth of Matt Capps. I said he was at least a top-15 closer in baseball. Wannstache said he was horrible. Capps has 9 saves, tied for 15th in all of baseball, even though he has only been the closer for half of the season. His ERA of 2.37 is only bested by 4 closers who have more saves than him. I don't think there is much of an argument.

Nationals crush Brewers, 7-2

Recap: Ryan Zimmerman had two hits, one a homerun, to lead the Nationals past the Brewers for the 2nd time in 3 tries. This was the second rough start for Chris Capuano since returning from the DL.He went just 3.1 innings against the Pirates last week and 5.1 innings with 7 runs yesterday. Yovanni Gallardo, who lost his spot in the rotation when Capuano came back, came in to pitch 2 scoreless innings. Mistake? In the short term, probably. But it may end up saving his young arm and prevent injuries, a technique I wouldn't mind seeing the Pirates employ on a prospect every once in a while.

All You Need to Know: With the Brewers losing this series and the Pirates winning theirs, the Buccos moved up 1 game in the standings. The sad part is this has to happen 9 more times if we wish to catch up.

Cardinals avoid sweep, beat Giants 7-0
Recap: Barry obviously didn't hit a homerun, while the Cardinals salvaged a game from a rough series in which they lost the other two games by a run each. The biggest question heading into the All-Star game is if LaRussa will play Freddy. There is a 99.9% chance he will. Freddy deserves it, I just want to see the entire Pirates' fanbase declare war on LaRussa.

Cardinals Stat of the Day: The Cardinals have played 3 fewer games than the Pirates heading into the break and have three fewer losses. I am really starting to run thin here. I can only mention their pitching woes so often. Anyone have a stat, anecdote, or just negative comment about the Cardinals that I can put here? Send it in and I'll run it.

Astros Answer Mets, 8-3
Recap: Roy Oswalt, Houston's only starting pitcher with a plus.500 record, improved to 8-5 while Chris Burke continued to swing a hot bat going 2-4 with a homerun.

Hunter Pence Watch: Went 2-5 with an RBI, increasing his average to .342

Reds win in extra-innings over Diamondbacks, 4-3

Recap: Former Pirates' interim manager Pete Mackanin is now 5-1 as manager of the Reds, a nice story so far for a guy who has never been given a real shot before. The Reds win was a walk-off in the 11th, as Scott Hatteberg hit a single to drive in Edwin Encarnacion, leading to this flattering picture of Hatteberg:

All You Need to Know: Right before the All-Star break the NL Central is just about what everyone expected. The Pirates are improved, the Astrosand Cards have dropped off due to key losses, the Reds are just plain bad, Milwaukee has been revitalized by young talent, and the Cubs had chemistry problems but have finally started to show what all that money can buy. In short, the Comedy Central has at least been somewhat interesting. Can the Pirates make some type of run at the division? Still a small chance, but things look a heck of a lot better now with 3 decent pitchers, Duke out of the rotation, and LaRoche finally coming alive. At the very least, this could be the year that the Pirates retain relevancy past Steeler's training camp.

Your Comedy Central Standings on July 9th, 2007:

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