The Tigers continue to win, beating the rosin out of the Cleveland Indians last night. But, please remember it's a long season. Scoreboard-watching in May is pretty much pointless, unless somebody is running away and hiding. The Tigers have done their best to do this, but they have managed to hide only from the Twins, Indians, and Royals; the White Sox hang in with their .660 record. Until late July or so rolls around, we simply don't really know what constitutes "help". At this point a year ago, the Indians were just about where they are now, and so were the White Sox (within a couple of games). The Tigers could suffer crippling misfortune and the Indians get hot at any point, in which case the Tiger rout last night would turn out to be welcome. Despite the wrist-slitting depression that accompanies any Sox loss, they are still 5-2 over the last 7 games and 15 games over .500, playing .660 baseball overall.
- MLB announced their suspensions for the melee, with Barrett getting 10 games, Anderson 5, White Sox third base coach Joey Cora 2, and A. J. Pierzynski a $2,000 fine. Now, for Pierzynski, who makes $4M a year, this fine amounts to about as much as a night at the movies for the rest of us. Effectively, MLB has decided that the Cubs are 59% responsible for the brawl and the White Sox 41%, or, if you count the ejections, the White Sox lose about 7-person-games and the Cubs 12-person-games, or63-47. This is, of course, ridiculous and insulting, but it continues the long tradition of screwing the White Sox when other teams incite fights, most notably the five game suspension given to Jack McDowell for being assaulted by Mark Whiten, in contrast to the walk granted Nolan Ryan v. Robin Ventura in pretty much exactly the same circumstances.
- Speaking of Pierzynski, I know he's widely disliked for being mouthy, but the number of comments on the Internet suggesting that punching him, hitting him with pitched balls, crashing into him, or otherwise generally advocating violence is either in extremely poor taste or disgusting. Angels fans in particular: all the man did was run to first on a dropped third strike, and keep running on a tag by a fielder who neglected to put the ball in his glove. How that warrants Kelvim Escobar's intentional HBP is beyond me. Do NOT tell me it wasn't intentional; Pierzynski is the only batter Escobar has hit in 55 innings this year. The odds that out of 233 plate apperances, he would accidentally hit the one man he has a history against, and on the third pitch he threw him, are ridiculously long. How Escobar avoided an ejection or suspension is beyond me. To all who advocate plunking him or punching him: shame on you. If you don't like him, hell, heckle him. He simply is not Osama bin Laden.
- Much has been made of the weak schedules faced by the White Sox and Tigers, but this ignores the technical problem that this is in part because the White Sox and Tigers have played and beaten those teams. The White Sox opponents are actually 2 games over .500 in games not involving the White Sox so far. The team's weighted pace (that is, projecting their current win/loss rates against the balance of the schedule) is still 104 wins. They won't meet this (because they won't go 19-0 against the Tigers).
- The White Sox have apparently decided to move 3B prospect Josh Fields to the outfield. Fields has been the core of the offense of a team playing runaway baseball (albeit now on a 3-game losing streak) and sports a .323/.408/.568 line in his third pro season. Beware of him, I say: he strikes out a LOT. The 9 stolen bases say he's decently fast, and while they've talked about this OF thing, he's still playing 3B.