2009 MLB National League East Notebook
Whoever has traded for Mark Teixeira, the team that dealt Tex has usually found some good return.
When Texas traded Teixeira to Atlanta in July of 2007, the Rangers received four very good players including shortstop Elvis Andrus. When the Braves traded Teixeira to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim last year, they received first baseman Casey Kotchman.
Kotchman has been very solid for this team that is trying to make a play for the National League East.
Kotchman is tied for second in the National League in doubles with 16. Despite a bit of a slump, he is hitting a respectable 273. The only complaint from the Braves is that they would like to see more power. He has hit only two home runs.
But they can’t complain about his defense because Kotchman has gone 84 consecutive scoreless games since coming over last July. His overall errorless streak stands at 114 games.
April excitement has been followed by May misery. The Marlins went 14-8 and had their fans excited about this team potentially being a contender.
But their pitching was the difference. The Marlins enjoyed a respectable 4.39 ERA and surrendered only 16 home runs in 1999. But in May, this team has collapsed. The ERA is 5.29, the record stands at 8-18 and the staff has surrendered 36 home runs in 233 innings.
For the year, the starting pitching has a 5.16 ERA.
Sometimes, you can tell that the people at the Elias Sports Bureau are having fun when it comes to finding historical trends.
Take Mets third baseman David Wright. In a three-game span May 14-16 at San Francisco, Wright collected nine hits, nine RBIs and stole five bases against the Giants. Given the oddity of it, the Elias crew went to work and discovered that this was the first time in baseball history that something like this had ever happened.
What does that mean? Really nothing but it is kind of interesting to know that. But it does reveal how good of a season Wright is having as he is batting .345.
Closer Brad Lidge is really fighting it these days. After blowing consecutive save opportunities against the New York Yankees, it raised his ERA to an astonishing 8.85. Prior to his save May 26 against Florida, he had blown four of his first 12 save chances.
Lidge has been scored upon in 10 of his last 13 appearances and has 10.03 ERA in May.
One of the major malfunctions for Lidge is that he can’t get his breaking ball to snap like it did during the World Championship year in 2008.
He has allowed six home runs in 20-plus innings. The Phillies are willing to ride it out with him because of what he meant but don’t be surprised if they look at more options if things don’t turn around in June.
For what it’s worth, the Nationals hold the distinction of understanding opposite field power at New York’s Citi Field.
When the left-handed hitting Adam Dunn homered to left in a game on May 26 against the Mets, he joined teammate left-handed hitting Nick Johnson as the only players to hit opposite home runs to left in the short tenure of the partk.
Johnson delivered his blow on April 24. Unfortunately, for the Nationals, there just isn’t a lot of good going on right now.
By Kevin Lonnquist
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