National League Cy Young Award – Roy Halladay, Philadelphia Phillies. Halladay’s competition may very well come from any one of his three teammates in the Phillies starting rotation. Not that I need to defend this pick, but Halladay has had a sub-3.00 ERA the last three years, while winning at least 20 games in two of those seasons. Other than his teammates (Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt, and Cole Hamels), Giants’ Tim Lincecum will be Halladay’s only other threat for the award.
Brad Ziegler finished the year with a 3.26 ERA, but that number doesn’t tell an honest truth. Ziegler struggled, taking a bullpen-high seven losses on the year, and his strikeout-to-walk ratio was downright mediocre: he struck out only 41 batters in 60 2/3 innings, while walking 28 batters. Putting that many batters on base with a free pass is a big problem for a reliever.
Texas will try and snap a two-game losing streak after getting hammered 10-0 by the sale jerseys on Sunday as a 115 road favorite. Its lead over the Angels in the AL West is down to just four games as the back-to-back losses to Chicago dropped the Rangers to 73-55 on the year. They are 34-32 on the road and 39-23 at home.
Today’s observations are partly rather personal and partly just watching the scene around me. As usual I was on the left field berm under the scoreboard (under the clock, to be specific). I saw many friends I haven’t seen since last year at Spring Training, so it was great to see them again. Some of these friends are from the Phoenix area, some from Iowa and some even from Connecticut, to name a few. I also saw a few friends from the bleachers at Wrigley. Condolences were conveyed to me by my Chicago friends who, knew about my father’s passing the morning after the second playoff game loss in October.
With an 0/4 showing against Cleveland March 24, Owens’ spring batting average dropped to .192, with his OBP sliding to .328. But most alarming of all? His .212 slugging percentage. He has a grand total of one extra base hit-a double-in 52 at-bats.
The Royals (17-11, 10-5 home) maintained a 1-0 lead throughout most of the afternoon, after an RBI double by Billy Butler scored Alex Gordon in the first inning. The Royals outhit the White Sox (13-17, 6-10 away) 9-7.
In the ninth, closer Greg Holland loaded the bases with no outs, but after Paul Konerko grounded into a double-play, the Royals still led 1-0. Despite dodging a huge bullet, Holland blew his second save of the season, after an infield RBI single by Alexei Ramirez tied the game at 1-1.