Charlie Wiegert writes:
Itâ€™s been quite a battle, and just to be in a position to win is remarkable.Â I didnâ€™t really think Steve Gardner or I had a chance to catch Andy Behrens a month ago, and I was focused on second.Â My team needed a lot of work during the year to keep it in contention, mainly because I came out of the draft short on relief pitching and heavy on stolen bases.
With just this final week to go, I took a look at the standings Sunday night and tried to see where I might be able to pick up a point or two.Â The categories where it looked like some movement could happen between the three of us on offense was HRâ€™s, RBIâ€™s and AVG, so I decided to drop a non productive Casey Blake for Yuni Betancourt.Â After Blakeâ€™s two home runs yesterday, that might not have been a smart move!Â I need 6 HRâ€™s to pick up a point, and Iâ€™ve fallen 17 RBIâ€™s back, so I doubt anything will change there.Â Batting Average is a real deadlock.Â Going into today, Iâ€™m tied with Doug Dennis at .2742 and Gardner is at .2741, so that one point I need could come if my guys can hit .310 for the week.
Pitching has been an effort all year long, and Iâ€™ve been chasing saves for months. After picking up Heath Bell and Matt Lindstrom in trades July 5th I started making up some ground.Â Storen helped a little, Parnell was a bust, but Rodney got me a few, and then Coke got me a couple. I was playing 6 RPâ€™s for 3 weeks, but holding my own in wins and strike outs.Â So going into this last week I had 62 saves, 2 ahead of Minnix and 5 behind Kastner.Â I thought playing just Bell, Franklin and Storen I could stay ahead of Minnix (who has Wagner and Axford), and I couldnâ€™t catch Kastner.Â So I loaded up on starters and to try to catch Gardner in wins, who I was two behind. I played Lannan and Slowey for two starts, Daniel Hudson, who has been hot, Lester, Kershaw and Liriano.Â Tim Hudson, who had been getting rocked and was losing a day of rest, scared me, so I left him on the bench.
What a dumb job of managing that turned out to be, as Slowey gave up 6 runs in less than two innings, and single handidly lost me two points in ERA and one in WHIP with the performance.Â Iâ€™d be in first right now if I went with Hudson instead of Slowey, although Iâ€™m sure everyone could say if I did this instead of that, theyâ€™d be in first.Â And it looks like Kershaw is done for the year, missing his final start.
So I need great performances out of Lester, Liriano and Daniel Hudson, Slowey to rebound with his last start, and Lannan to finish strong to have a shot.Â Looks like Sunday will be a big day for me!