- Mendocino County
- Anderson Valley
by Jonah Raskin, August 3, 2016
(As of 28 July) — Hasn’t everyone noticed by now that it sucks? No, I’m not talking about the race for the Presidency, which has offered plenty of fireworks, but the second half of the 2016 Major League Baseball season. Ever since the All-Star break at the start of July, no team in the National League, except the Chicago Cubs, have put together a respectable string of wins, and as of July 28 the Cubs had not won more than three games in a row. The San Francisco Giants had lost eight of ten and yet they were still in first place in the National League West. That shows how bad the other teams, including the five-and-five Dodgers, have been. Washington had lost six of ten and yet they were in first place in the National League East. Cleveland and Texas, which were atop their divisions in the American League, had both lost six of ten.
Chris Sale, the ace for the Chicago White Sox, is 14-4 with a 3.17 era, but the Giants pitching staff — including over-the-hill Jake Peavy, who has won five and lost nine, and Matt Cain who is two and six — looks shaky at best. Madison Bumgarner is ten and six, but he hasn’t looked sharp since the All-Star break. Only the Giants, Johnny Cueto, who is 13 and 3 looks like he might have a chance to win 20, provided the team begins to hit, and that seems unlikely.
Nobody but nobody in the staring line-up is hitting over .300. Catcher, and sometimes first baseman, Buster Posey, comes the closest at .285. With 12 homeruns, Posey leads the Giants, but that’s a paltry figure when compared with Mark Trumbo of the Baltimore Orioles who has hit 30. The Red Sox’s David Ortiz, better known as "Big Papi” has hit 25 homeruns and at 40 he’s probably in his last season.
Posey doesn’t even make the top 50-home-run hitters and he’s 11 years younger than Ortiz.
Houston’s Jose Altuve is hitting .357 and Washington’s Daniel Murphy is close behind at .351. All the teams in the cellar of their respective divisions have disastrous records. Tampa Bay is 39 and 61 and Arizona is a disgraceful 42 and 60.
The Yankees, who had a disastrous first half of the season and who are 52 and 49 — just barely above .500 — have been hot of late. They have won seven of their last ten. No major league baseball team has more won more than seven of its last ten.
All this could change as quickly as it takes a fastball from Cueto to travel from the mound to the batter’s box. One team might get suddenly hot. Another might get colder and colder. It’s still a long way to October. My prediction: the Cubs will go on winning, the Giants will go on losing steadily and the Yankees will gain ground on Boston, Toronto and Baltimore. Oakland, which is 47-56 won’t make it much above .500, if that.
I pick the Cubs to beat Texas in the World Series.
So far my hero for the 2016 season is bad boy Chris Sale of the White Sox who refused to wear the dumb uniform the front office insisted he wear. He was suspended for five games. The odds are he’ll continue to dominate hitters. Let’s hope so. We gotta have someone to root for. Play Ball!