Still treading water... still alive. As of August 8, we are 53-58. That's five games under .500, with 6 teams ahead of us in the Wild-Card race. The good news? We're only 3.5 games out of the WC lead! The Reds and Dodgers are tied for the lead, but they're both only 57-55. How bad is the NL this year?!
So, we're coming home for a 9-game home stand. We've lost three straight series at home, but we face Pittsburgh, San Diego and Chicago — very beatable teams. The past two years, we've been absolutely unstoppable at home in the second half. Time to get that streak going again.
And to do it, we'll need to ride the young guns. I'm talking about Luke Scott, who has outplayed Preston Wilson and stolen his starting spot in left. He's only got two homers, but he pitchers cannot get him out. This year, in 62 ABs... marvel: .403/.456/.645. Yummy.
Oh, and how bout Mr. Willy T? Check out what he's done since the All-Star Break: .369/.408 /.477. Ok, so that's only 65 ABs, but still... the kid is coming on strong, and definitely deserves the recent starts in center.
Chris Burke and Preston Wilson, meanwhile, are struggling. Since the break: Burke, .633 OPS. Wilson, .552. Ick. Bench 'em.
Lamb has slowed a little since the break, but he's still seeing the ball really well, as is Aubrey Huff. They're both making contact and generally hitting the ball hard. I don't know what to make of Ensberg, but we'll need him if we want to make a run in August and September.
Come to think of it, our offense has been producing rather well the past two weeks. Everyone, that is, except for Everett and Ausmus. But that's old news.
Point is, if go 7-2 in this homestand, we're back at .500. That's goal No. 1. After that, we'll see. We have 11 games on the road at Milwaukee, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. Here are the matchups for the weekday series vs. the Pirates
Tuesday, Aug. 8: Backe vs. Maholm
Wednesday, Aug. 9: Oswalt vs. Chacon
Thursday, Aug. 10: Clemens vs. Gorzelanny