On the offensive side of the ball, our 4.5 runs/game puts us right in the middle of the league. This is quite a bit worse than I thought we would be. We are third in the league in HRs but close to last in hits, doubles and triples. During the draft I assembled what I thought would be my best offensive team to date. The heart of my order was to be Vlad (1.016 OPS), Wells (.913 OPS), Delgado (1.023 OPS), and Thomas (.954 OPS). Only the Big Skirt has done anything even approaching real life, as these four have put together the following SL stats: Vlad (.611), Wells (.561), Delgado (.581) and Thomas (.831).
How unpredictably bad has my offense been? Consider the following:
MLB Stats Player A .359 AVG, .443 OBP, .667 SLG, 43 HRs, 124 RBI Player B .302 AVG, .430 OBP, .593 SLG, 42 HR, 145 RBI SL Card Numbers Player A 1-1-5-6-6-7 Player B 1-1-6-6-8-8 SL Stats Player A .363, .419, .821, 18 HRs, 52 RBI Player B .169, .306, .275, 2 HRs, 8 RBIOf course, Player A is Pujols, who is tearing up the league for Ken. He is a better player than Player B (Delgado) on paper, no doubt about it. But 2 home runs? 2 measly, stinkin' home runs? This is a little ridiculous.
Compare also Vernon Wells' MLB and SL numbers. Dude had 49 doubles and 33 HR last year. So far this year he has 8 and 5.
The pitching has been about what I expected, with an ERA of 4.19 also putting us right in the middle of the league. Notwithstanding the fact that we have Mark Prior as our ace, we have only managed 4 complete games so far. The bullpen has 6 saves and 12 blown saves. Wunsch has been solid with a 1.26 era in 12 games, but everyone else in the pen is above 3.30. Hasegawa, the star of my double chico experience at the hands of Greg and Ken, has just 3 saves and 7 blown saves. 8 homers allowed in 37 innings leaves a lot of room for Shiggy to improve. Isringhausen could use some help from the defense, since 25 percent of his runs allowed have been unearned.
In the starting ranks, Ponson has been a bright spot with an ERA of 2.78 in 8 starts. (Editor's note: In his first start after the 40 game mark, Ponson ends up pitching a perfect game against Chris ). Prior is at 2.85, but has been getting in trouble late in games often enough that he has only two complete games. Russ Ortiz, the starter with the W, is currently 0-5 with a 5.76 ERA. He is batting .667 on the year, however, with a homer and a single in 3 at bats.
The defense so far has been a problem, as we are last in the league with a .976 fielding percentage. We are also last in the league with an opponent stolen base percentage of 84 percent. I don't have the best catcher in the league with Pudge behind the plate, but other teams seem to be doing equally well with worse catchers carrying a bunch of innings. Cintron and Berroa have the same APBA fielding rating and almost exactly the same number of innings, but Cintron has 8 errors to Berroa's 2.
My -10 run differential is not stellar, but it is the best in my division and actually compares pretty favorably to most of the teams in the league. My opponents are scoring 39 percent of their runs late, by far the worst in the league. In addition, I have a 5-11 record in 1 run games and 1-7 record in extra innings.
Every series in the first 40 games was either 3-2 or 2-3, with two especially notable exceptions being my back-to-back 0-5 series against Greg and Ken. 10 under .500 on day of the year, .500 the rest of the year. So that one afternoon is, to simplify matters, what went wrong.
We will see if the boys can pick up the pace over the next 122 games. Currently, since this is being written with other teams past 40 games, it appears that my division may be coming back to me.