The Baseball Notebook

July 22, 2010 7:02 AM

Slumping Sluggers

Bay.jpgThe Mets and Red Sox have struggled out of the break and are fighting to hang in on the playoff race. Both took another step backward on Wednesday, in no small part because of the problems of their slumping sluggers. For New York, Jason Bay has been in a yearlong funk, with a slugging percentage at .410, a number that would be fine if were a middle infielder hitting in the two-hole, but not when you're expected--and paid--to be a run producer. Since the break, Bay has hit precisely four singles, three of them in one game and his team has won only once. In Boston, David Ortiz' hasn't hit since he won the Home Run Derby. With the Red Sox having gone 2-5 against Texas & Oakland since play resumed, Ortiz is even worse than Bay, with only three hits--all singles. Boston fell to the A's 6-4 on Wednesday, while Tampa Bay eked out a 5-4 win in Baltimore, giving the Rays a 4 ½ game lead in the wild-card race. The Mets are playing themselves out of the NL East race and with six teams packed together for the wild-card, you can be assured somebody's always going to be winning.

Ortiz & Bay need to find their strokes in a hurry.

St. Louis continues to light up the National League, winning its seventh straight in a 5-1 in over Philadelphia. Jamie Garcia got the win and lowered his ERA to 2.21. With a Big Three of Garcia, Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright, who's going to take this team out in October? The Cards picked up a game in the Central race, as the Reds fell to the Nationals 8-5.

The Dodges got on track through the surest way possible--a pitcher taking the ball and taking control. Chad Billingsley pitched a complete-game shutout, while Joe Torre watched from the GM's box, serving a suspension for Wednesday's beanball-affair. LAD only got two runs off Barry Zito and San Francisco, but Billingsley made it stand up. The Dodgers crosstown counterpart in Anaheim continued their series in New York, and we continue to see how much the Angel bullpen is struggling. LAA has rallied from 6-0 down to close to within one run by the seventh. This was normally the type of spot the Angels could rally to win in, as their pen had shutdown capability. Yesterday though, the Yanks nailed Scot Shields for four runs to put it out of reach. The fact Shields has hit the end of the line in his career has removed a big weapon from Mike Scoscia's arsenal and the club has yet to find a steady replacement.

Trade talk...

Washington will likely be shopping Adam Dunn here in the next nine days. The slugging outfielder would be a great addition to any offense. Forget the strikeouts--he's more than just a home run hitter. He hits the gaps consistently and he draws walks. He would be a huge asset to any offense in October. The question would be where to fit him in the field. He's not a great defender and has always been more suited for DH, even with his career spent in the National League. The teams we mentioned with slumping sluggers up top are not likely to be candidates--the Red Sox aren't going to replace Ortiz and the Mets have too spacious an outfield to entrust to a defensive liability. The same goes for NL West contenders, who play in mostly big parks. Minnesota wouldn't be a bad fit, as Dunn would represent a significant upgrade over Jason Kubel at DH. Another possibility is sending Dunn back where he came from--to Cincinnati, which learned to live with his defensive shortcomings, and could use one more bat in its push for the playoffs.

Image courtesy of

A Member Of