Okay, so I have all kinds of ideas and opinions, but when I go on air, sometimes I forget the points or don’t have a chance to express them. Moving forward, I will try to update those thoughts right here – so that I refer back here as a reference for myself. This time, I included the 1994 Expos because they were a talking point in Vancouver as the local Single-A Canadians wore throwback jerseys featuring Montreal’s former baseball team.
Mariners. Give Shantel Chand some credit. Weeks ago we were all in this studio, and Shantel suggested that Oakland might be a dark horse. But I looked at the standings on Tuesday (July 24). And what jumped out was that Seattle was 20 games over .500 but the run differential was plus 1.
The Angels’ run differential was plus 22 and they weren’t even .500. Again, I checked the standings a couple days ago and noted this. And the thing is, the Angels had allowed fewer runs than the Mariners, and scored more runs. But the Angels had a worse record! So, I’m going to say that Seattle has been lucky.
And James Paxton. Again, I talked about this, on this show, before. He has never pitched a full season in the majors. He’s been on the DL almost every year. He’s got a history of injuries. If that’s your staff ace, you’re not making the playoffs. I mean, as Lou discussed a couple of weeks ago, this rotation is a bunch of no-names with ERAs not that impressive. They’ve been getting the job done for the most part, but not a playoff-type rotation, not one that can get you into the playoffs.
1994 Expos–So many people in Canada cry about how the 1994 strike screwed the Montreal Expos. First of all, there was no guarantee they were going to make the playoffs. There were almost 2 months left. In 1991, the Dodgers were 9.5 games ahead of Atlanta at the All-Star break. The Dodgers missed the playoffs. In 1993, the Giants were 10 games ahead of Atlanta in July. The Giants missed the playoffs. In 1995, the Angels would have an 11.5-game lead over Seattle. The Angels collapsed. How do we know the Expos wouldn’t have collapsed? Those teams had great players too.
Pedro Martinez. As a rookie in 1993, Pedro threw 107 innings for the Dodgers. 1994 was his first full season. He wasn’t going to pitch effectively for the entire season. He was 11-5, 3.42 at the time of the strike. People forget this, so I’ll tell you guys here. In the month of July in 1994, Pedro’s ERA was 6.89 in six starts. So, there were signs that he was showing fatigue. Half of those starts were mediocre or horrendous. There was no guarantee that he was going to pitch effectively down the stretch. And I mean, Randy Johnson once lost 7 consecutive starts in the playoffs. So, anything can happen.
John Wetteland. He was the 1996 World Series MVP with the Yankees. But people forget in 1995, in Wettleland’s first taste of postseason baseball, he was so bad that Buck Showalter refused to put him into the game against Seattle in Game Five, and David Cone gave up the lead and the Mariners won it in extra innings against Jack McDowell. Wetteland gave up the go-ahead grand slam to Edgar Martinez the night before and had looked bad earlier in the series. So, Wetteland was the closer for Montreal in 1994. Had the Expos made the playoffs in 1994, Wetteland was no sure thing for Montreal.
Felipe Alou. He took the 2003 Giants to the playoffs. They had the best record in the National League. Lost in the first round to the Marlins. Their RF Jose Cruz was a gold glove player in the regular season. Dropped a flyball in extra innings in game 3. THings like that happen. It cost the Giants the series. Felipe Alou was the manager. There’s no guarantee in any playoff series who’s going to come out on top.
Trades. There were a lack of trades. I remember because it was on the sports news at the time. The Dodgers had a horrendous bullpen. They wanted to trade for Randy Myers from the Cubs. But that didn’t happen because teams knew there was a strike coming so nobody made any significant deals. Atlanta could have bolstered its lineup the way it did with McGriff in 1993. I mean, Randy Milligan was the Expos’ first baseman. So.