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Wednesday, December 7th, 2016

ZONER’S MONDAY MORSELS

8

While we try to calm our geekedness about tonight’s Game 7 between my beloved Spurs and the Hornets…let us go to the morsels…

How bout those Cubs? But wait–how bout those Sox? The Sox just finished a West-coast road trip–perennially a downer–winning 7 of 10. They have 31 of their next 44 at home, lead the Indians by a game and a half in the AL Central and have an early MVP candidate in Carlos Quentin. Quentin leads the AL with 11 homers and is hitting .301/.415/.589. I’m not sure about Jim Thome, but I’d surely bet that Paul Konerko breaks out of it in this upcoming stretch of home games. He loves to hit at the Cell and there is no way he is going to have an OPS of less than .700 for the year. Rumors of his demise are massively exaggerated. Write it down–June is the month Konerko gets hot.

It’s hard to temper the excitement for the Cubs. But the D-Backs may have yet another arm for their rotation. You may have heard of him–The Big Unit. Randy Johnson fired 7 shutout innings against the Tigers on Sunday. Yes, the Cubs swept them recently. But looking at their rotation of Webb, Haren, Johnson, Owings and Scherzer and all of their great young players, I’m not ready to hand over the NL to the Cubs.

The big but for me is the rotation. I just can’t jump on the Dempster train yet. The guy’s been great, but can we really expect 220 innings from him? Is a Big Z, Lilly, Dempster top 3 enough to win the NL? Is Kerry Wood going to last the season–health or performance-wise? The offense is dominant. Soriano has been incredible lately. Soto and Fukudome make this lineup complete. But come playoff time–should the Cubs get there–I still like the D-Backs pitching staff much better than the Cubs.

Anyone have a guess on who will be the first manager to get get canned? John McLaren? Charlie Manuel? Joe Girardi?

Here are my current All-Star ballots. In the AL: Youkilis, Kinsler, Crede, Jeter, Quentin, Hamilton, Manny, A.J and Big Papi. In the NL: Berkman, Utley, C. Jones, Ramirez, Braun, McLouth, Ludwick and Soto. What was that about the AL being the younger, more dominant league? The NL is going to kick their butts this year.

  • http://thewaywardbus.wordpress.com Mike O’Donnell

    No D-Lee? No Fukudome?
    And an Astro in place of Lee to top it off.

    Wow. I am hurt.

  • dhaab

    Why must you discuss the MLB playoffs in May? SO many things can happen in the next 4 months. You know this, I’m sure, but you’ll make the excuse that you have a sports blog and you HAVE to write about something. I respectfully disagree. There are MANY things to write about in baseball now that don’t involve the post-season.

    For example, how about the umpires continuing to blow fair/foul calls on home runs? Does baseball need to start using an instant replay system for certain calls like these? I say YES.

    Here’s another one that really bothers me. Why does baseball continue to allow hitters to wear body armor when they’re at the plate? I realize it’s mostly because they prefer more offense in the league, but it has really gotten out of control over the past 5 years.

    I can’t make any All-Star picks now either. Too soon. :)
    But I will say that Ludwick doesn’t deserve to be in the starting lineup because he’s not even a full-time starter.

  • dhaab

    Lee wouldn’t even be the 2nd or 3rd choice in voting for all-star 1st basemen in the NL. As good as Fuko has been, he still only has 2 homers. That lack of power ain’t going to get you a starting gig in the All-Star game.

  • http://zonersports.com The Zoner

    I thought it was too early to talk about All-Stars? =0)

    But Pujols is 1A right there next to Berkman. Lee is 3rd. Which is not to say he isn’t having a great season because he is.

    As for Ludwick, he’s hitting .336/.413/.739 (!) He has 7 more XBHs than Pujols! He’ll have enough ABs by the ASB to be considered a starter, not that it should matter. Talk about your late bloomers…he’ll be 30 in July.

  • dhaab

    Ludwick was one of the top minor leaguers in the Oakland organization and was traded to Texas in a big trade prior to the 2002 season. But he injured his hip later that year and it really killed his career for about 3 years. The Cards picked him up for next to nothing in 2007 and he’s been scalding the ball for them ever since. He’s just an adequate fielder with average speed, but he sure can hit.

    LaRussa has begun to finally start him full time this past week, so he may get enough AB’s after all.

  • http://zonersports.com The Zoner

    Yes, in what is so far a magical-Cubs season, the Cardinals still are a pain in the rear. And nobody (save this commentator) thought they would be. It’s aggravating but fun all at the same time.

  • dhaab

    Um, you picked the Cardinals to finish in 5th place and the Pirates to finish 4th. Yeah, you said the Cards would “make some noise”, but that’s just a paranoid Cubs fan covering his ass. You also said the Reds made you “nervous” and you picked the Astros to finish in last.

    I’m not saying your predictions were bad, but most people really had no idea what to expect from this Cardinals team. The only issue I had was people thinking they’d be as bad as the Pirates or Reds.

  • http://zonersports.com The Zoner

    Um, I also said this: “Like I said, the Cardinals are still the Cardinals. It wouldn’t surprise me if they finished higher than expected, and shouldn’t surprise anyone really.”

    They may still finish in 5th. I don’t see how I was CYAing. I just know the redbirds and I know the NL Central.

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