Pitching, hitting, and gambling


During the baseball offseason, I wrote that I didn’t understand why the Jays had signed Frank Thomas and Matt Stairs and had not done anything about their pitching staff. Obviously, I said, hitting wasn’t the problem last year, pitching was, so going out and improving the hitting while leaving the pitching alone didn’t make sense. So now, we’re halfway through the season, and what do we have?

Hitting:

  • One hitter over .300, only two others over .280
  • Five people with higher slugging percentages than Thomas and Wells
  • Eight people with higher on-base percentages than Wells
  • The Jays are 21st out of 30 in AVG and OBP, though 9th in SLG, and 29th in SB

Pitching:

  • Four pitchers with ERAs under 3.00, and eleven under 5.00
  • The Jays are 15th of 30 in team ERA, tied for 2nd in complete games, and right around 15th in a number of other pitching categories.
  • This is without Ryan and Chacin, and Halladay and Barnett have been out for part of the year as well.

Bottom line? The pitching ain’t the problem anymore. It’s not outstanding, but the rookies and young guys have stepped up and done a fine job. The hitters have not. Vernon Wells and Frank Thomas are being paid way too much money to have the stats that they do.

In another blog entry from a while ago, I talked about Pete Rose and how the fact that he never bet against his own team is irrelevant, gambling on sports while you are involved in them is bad in general. I said that if he gets into debt or some kind of trouble with the mob, they could ask him to throw (or at least influence) games for them as part of the debt repayment. Lo and behold, yesterday it was announced that an NBA referee has been suspended and will likely be arrested for getting in gambling trouble with the mob, and being forced to negatively affect the outcomes of games that he was working. This is just the nightmare situation that all of the major professional sports leagues have been dreading (though probably expecting) for years.

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