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The Tools of Ignorance: Wednesday News

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I mistakenly left Robbie Cano off my list of Yankees having notable offensive years.

Let's take a moment to appreciate greatness. At .322, his batting average is basically the same as last season.  But Cano is being much, much more selective at the plate this season.  With 2 walks on August 12, Cano surpassed his previous career high for walks.  Not only has this led to a career high .383 OBP, but Cano is waiting for his pitch.  And when he gets it, he drives it: a career high .547 SLG.

The AL East remains the best division in baseball, as the Yankees beat the Tigers, the Red Sox beat the Angels, and the Rays beat the Rangers.

The Yanks and Rays remain deadlocked, and the Red Sox remain six back in the loss column.  The magic number for the division and the wild card is 38.

With the 4 AL playoff spots over 80% locked, the NL Central is really the race to watch.  The Cards trail the Reds, but Baseball Prospectus calls the Cards slight favorites to win the division based on the team and the strength of schedule they still face.

I was recently reminded of this April article from B-Ref's blog, exploring how often a single division has boasted three 90+ win teams.  Since it's only happened 3 times since the switch to 3 divisions in '94, the conclusion was that the three teams would be too likely to beat at least one team down into the 80s.

With the Yankees and Rays on pace for 99 wins a piece and the Red Sox on pace for 92 wins, I'm just reminded what a raw deal the Jays and O's have.

Bobby Thomson has passed away.  He hit the Shot Heard 'Round the World, and he was a minor character in Don Delillo's Pafko at the Wall (the opening to Underworld; at $18 Used, I wonder to whom I lent my copy from college?  I haven't seen it in years).

Thomson's homer beat Jackie Robinson's Dodgers.  The Brooklyn second baseman finished another incredible season (.338/.429/.527).  Robinson's OPS+ that season was a stunning 154 and he finished 6th in the MVP voting, behind teammate Roy Campanella.

Robinson Cano's OPS+ this season is 153.  And that brings us full circle.