Monday’s Den: Thoughts, observations at the All-Star break

It is the All-Star break already; time flies. It has been an interesting baseball season. Here are some quick notes/impressions from the season so far:

— AL Central is terrible; Cleveland (45-45) is in first place, with the Twins (45-46) a half-game behind. All in all, the AL Central is 124-191 (.394) outside its division this season.

— AL East is very good; the Red Sox (48-43) are in last place. All in all, the AL East is 190-127 (.599) outside its division this season.

— In five of six divisions, the division leader has a lead of 2 games or less— lot of close races. Only the 60-29 Atlanta Braves have a decent-sized lead, leading NL East by 8.5 games. Braves have won 27 of their last 32 games.

— Mets have a payroll of $377,380,805; they’re 42-48, seven games out of a playoff spot.

Mets are 32-27 vs righty starting pitchers, 10-21 vs lefty starters.

— Padres have a payroll of $250,806,874; they’re 43-47, six games out of a playoff spot.

— Cincinnati has a payroll of $83,688,333; they’re 25-8 in last 33 games, lead the NL Central. 

— Miami Marlins have a payroll of $103,692,500; they’re 53-39, 21-6 in one-run games, and right now, they’re a playoff team.

Last time the Marlins had a winning 162-game season was 2009, when they went 87-75- they were 31-29 in the short season of 2020. Skip Schumaker is your favorite for National League Manager of the Year.

— Texas Rangers have five starters in Tuesday’s All-Star Game, the most for any team since the 1976 Cincinnati Reds.

Rangers haven’t been in the playoffs since 2016; the last three years, they were 150-234 (.391) but Bruce Bochy is a Hall of Fame manager and Texas is much improved at 52-39 this season, even though they hit the All-Star break on a 5-11 skid.

Texas has $200,684,308 payroll; will they look to enhance their roster at the trade deadline?

— This stat is a little weird, but thru Saturday’s games, in AB’s when Mets’ 1B Pete Alonso had an 0-2 count him, he is 5-68 this season. 5 for freakin’ 68 (.074).

By way of comparison:
Freddie Freeman is 20-67 (.299) this season after having an 0-2 count.
Fernando Tatis is 10-52 (.192)
Luis Arraez is 16-53 (.302).

— Bronx Bombers have a payroll of $273,528,489; Aaron Judge is hurt obviously, but they’ve got other stars, and those stars aren’t producing. New York is 49-42, and right now they’re on the outside looking in at the playoff picture.

Bronx is 14-17 since Judge got hurt, hitting .218 in those games; they fired hitting coach Dillon Lawson after Sunday’s loss to the Cubs.

It is New York’s first in-season coaching change since Nardi Contreras replaced Billy Connors in July 1995 as pitching coach on Buck Showalter’s staff. 28 years without an in-season coaching change, long time. 

Funny thing is, Bronx opens the post-All-Star Game part of the year in Colorado Friday, where they figure to put up better-than-usual hitting numbers.

— Los Angeles Angels have a payroll of $215,490,192, but Mike Trout is hurt, Anthony Rendon has been a complete bust and the Halos are 45-46, losing nine of last 10 games. Shohei Ohtani is a free agent after this season; the Angels are 5 games out of the last playoff spot. 

Angels are 37-29 vs righty starters, 8-17 vs lefties. 

Would they trade Ohtani and if they wanted to, what could they get for a guy who will be a free agent three months from now?

— Tampa Bay Rays started the season 13-0, then 29-7; since then, they’re 29-28 and lead the AL East by only two games over Baltimore. Tampa’s starting rotation has been ravaged by injuries; would they make a move at the trade deadline?

—- Toronto Blue Jays are 50-41, seven games behind the Rays— they’d be a Wild Card team right now. Blue Jays are 7-20 vs their AL East rivals, 43-21 against everyone else.

— Teams that are struggling in one-run games:
San Diego 5-15
St Louis 9-19
Minnesota 9-15
Seattle 10-16
Texas 5-12

— Movie of the Day— Rounders (1998)— A young gambler returns to playing high stakes poker to help a friend pay off loan sharks, while balancing his relationship with his girlfriend and his commitments to law school.

Matt Damon is the gambler; Edward Norton plays his friend. John Malkovich is a Russian mobster who runs a poker room, John Turturro plays Joey Knish, e veteran gambler who is a mentor of sorts. Martin Landau is a law professor.

This movie helps propel the poker boom in the late 90’s/early 2000’s. Very good movie, written by the same guys who write the Showtime series Billions.

— College football bowl trend of the day— In the Reliaquest Bowl, SEC teams are 6-2 SU vs Big 14 teams the last eight years.

— If the baseball playoffs started today (they don’t)
NL: Braves, Reds, Dodgers. Wild Cards: Arizona-Marlins-Giants
AL: Rays, Guardians, Rangers. Wild Cards: Orioles, Astros, Blue Jays. 

Author: Armadillo Sports

I've been involved in sports my whole life, now just write about them. I like to travel, mostly to Las Vegas- they have gambling there.