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NL Central Thread - Musings and notes on the division race


naivin

I heard Steve Stone on the Score today saying he thought the Cubs would pretty much run away with the Central. His primary reason..."The Brewers bullpen will end up being atrocious primarily because of Turnbow and Gagne, and [paraphrase] they will severly overwork Solomon Torres.[/paraphrase]"

 

I generally think he is very good, but this comment made me think his new duties with the White Sox are severly limiting his time and abilities as a baseball analyst. If he has doubts about Gagne, that's cool, I think most do (even though he has actually looked pretty good). I do have to wonder if he even has any idea what Turnbow's role has been reduced to, and the fact that he is basically the most insignificant member of that bullpen, along with the possibility that he may no longer even be a Brewer by the end of the weekend.

 

The comment about Torres is hilarious as well since Weurtz, Howery, Wood, and Marmol all have just as many or more appearances as Torres.

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Stone has no credibility with me at all, which is a shame, because I used to really like him.

 

I don't care where he's working, or what someone asks him, all Stone responses should be prefaced with "This answer brought to you by the Chicago Cubs."

 

Hey Steve...the overworked bullpen appears most likely to be Chicago's.

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I consider Steve Stone one of the better analysts. If he says something like this, I would listen carefully.

 

I generally agree. I guess the Turnbow thing got me. The fact that he failed to realize or recognize that his role in the current bullpen is essentially that of the invisible man, tells me he is simply not doing his homework. Couple that with the Torres comment which makes me think he is not fully aware of the presence of Riske and Shouse in particular, but also Mota. I just got the sense listening to him that he is basing his comments largely on last season and is largely unaware that the bullpen has been completely revamped to the point where Turnbow is pretty much the last option.

 

I'm also not sure what he's basing the Torres comments on either. Its early (that allpies to his hypothesizing too), but while he has worked a bit, it is nothing that projects to anything beyond what he has done in his time in Pittsburgh when he had great success.

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I just don't know how a real baseball analyst could actually think the Cubs would run away with the division this year. I could see the Brewers, Cubs, Cards and Reds all finishing with at least 81 wins this season.
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I probably listen to too much sports talk radio down here in Chicago, and there is definitely a sense among some of their "experts" that the Cubs will win the NL Central easily. There are, however, a decent number of hosts who see the potential of the Brewers. These guys tend to be White Sox homers, but they've done an admirable job of explaining that the Brewers are off to a decent start despite very poor offensive production and no contributions thus far from Cameron and Gallardo.

 

As for division musings, the Cardinals simply won't keep this up - they're going to stop playing the Giants, Nationals, and a slumping offensive Brewers team pretty soon, and they'll proceed to get torched. Their bullpen is really being overworked just to get some of these early season wins, and that will come back to bite them when their key relievers have nothing left by July. The Reds will be a pain all season, but those young arms are going to wear down during the second half of the year - nether Cueto or Volquez have come close to seasons of 200 IP. The Cubs have the same record as Milwaukee, but they have to be seriously concerned about their rotation 1-5 and the overuse of key relievers this early in the season.

 

April isn't exactly an easy month schedulewise for Milwaukee - considering they're playing these games without their #2 starter and starting CF, I'm thrilled they're 9-6.

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The Reds will be a pain all season, but those young arms are going to wear down during the second half of the year - nether Cueto or Volquez have come close to seasons of 200 IP. The Cubs have the same record as Milwaukee, but they have to be seriously concerned about their rotation 1-5 and the overuse of key relievers this early in the season.

With Dusty as thier manager, i expect those arms to hit 200 easy. That spells doom for the Reds not only for this season, but possibly for several years to come. If there is one thing Dusty Baker is good at,

it's ruining young pitchers.

( '_')

 

( '_')>⌐■-■

 

(⌐■-■)

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along with the possibility that he may no longer even be a Brewer by the end of the weekend.

? this is news to me. I know Stetter was just called up, but do you see Turnbow just being cut?

 

 

Just my theory. He is clearly the odd man out in that bullpen, and has made no secret about the fact he is unhappy about it, so yeah, I think its possible. Likely? Not sure if I'd go that far, but certainly a possibility.
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Yeah I'm not really banking on the Cards getting to 81 wins (I think I picked them to finish last in the division).

 

Just throwing this out there. Heard John Dewan a couple weeks ago talking about what if anything you can get from the first 10 games of a team's season...

  • If a team starts 4-6, 5-5, 6-4, you can't tell anything.
  • Teams that start 3-7 or worse, finish below .500 80% of the time.
  • Teams that start 7-3 or better (which the Cardinals did), average 92 wins, and finish above .500 80% of the time.

Obviously they could be in the 20%, but history would indicate they could be in for a decent year.

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While I don't expect the Cubs to run away with the division I do agree that the bullpen has a decent chance of being horrible. I wouldn't place much of that chance on Turnbow, though, because he won't be pitching in critical situations. I do believe that Gagne is going to be very hit or miss this year. He has had just as many bad appearances as good ones. I think that we could have gotten the same or better production out of a pitcher being paid $3mm vs. $10mm. So, I can see where Stone is coming from saying that the pen will be bad because of Turnbow and Gagne but I don't think Turnbow will be given the opportunity to take us out of too many games

 

Also - if the bullpen is going to be the Achilles heal it will be due in part to the starting pitching not getting beyond the 5th inning. Seems like we have had a lot of that in the past week.

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There's no question Gagne is a mojor key, and a major question mark. I just think SS demonstrated a fandamental lack of understanding of the Brewers' bullpen situation by including Turnbow in his comments.
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Player Currently Bill James CHONE Marcel MINOR ZIPs

Adam Wainwirght 2.78 4.06 3.95 3.87 4.23 4.13

Kyle Lohse 1.48 4.55 4.70 4.69 4.67 4.78

Braden Looper 2.70 3.98 4.30 4.53 4.65 4.84

Todd Wellemeyer 4.00 4.56 4.39 4.62 4.78 4.44

Brad Thompson 3.21 4.62 4.46 4.54 4.78 5.15

 

I'm just going to go ahead and join the Cardinals skeptics on this one.

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The thing is if Gagne blows up, we have several other options to try. Riske, Mota, Torres could all close. It's not like he'll cost us enough wins to go from a contending team to one that is being "run away" from by the Cubs.
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The Cardinals are going to better than I expected but still see them as a .500 team at best. Their lineup still has a bunch of holes and thier SP cannot even remotely come close to the way they are pitching now. They have gotten pretty lucky in playing two good offense clubs who just happened to be struggling at the time they played the Cards (Rockies and Brewers) two awful offensive clubs (Nationals and Giants) and one so-so club (Astros). Once they get to play the Mets, Cubs, Reds, Brewers (when we actually hit), Braves, Phillies, etc, their SP and bullpen will be exposed.

 

Thier offense is also average I would say, they are being carried by Pujols and Ankiel right now and Ludwick certianly impressed me. But you cant consistently win with that lineup. And if Albert goes down for any extended period of time they are finishes.

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I just can't see the cardinals. Gosh, there everyday line up just stinks except for the glory that is Albert. The outfield is atrocious, the defense out there even worse.

 

I love Duncan and his ability to work with pitchers, but every year LaRussa comes that much closer to entering a sanatorium.

 

Okay Molina is top flight as well. But Izturis? Schumacher? Ludwick?

 

If everything goes right for them I can see them being obnoxious and pesky, but there also one injury away from a complete House of Cards (pun intended, sorry) and finishing last in the division.

 

Don't bad teams even have some good runs?

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I just can't see the cardinals. Gosh, there everyday line up just stinks except for the glory that is Albert. The outfield is atrocious, the defense out there even worse.

 

I love Duncan and his ability to work with pitchers, but every year LaRussa comes that much closer to entering a sanatorium.

 

Okay Molina is top flight as well. But Izturis? Schumacher? Ludwick?

 

If everything goes right for them I can see them being obnoxious and pesky, but there also one injury away from a complete House of Cards (pun intended, sorry) and finishing last in the division.

 

Don't bad teams even have some good runs?

Ankiel could be the real thing. So could Duncan. But Barton as a rule 5 choice isn't going to hit like Pujols. Ludwick will return to being Ludwick as his average falls.

 

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He isn't paying attention. A couple weeks ago when Gallardo was already making starts, he uttered something like "nobody knows how long Gallardo will be out". How on earth can he not notice that Turnbow is barely hanging on to a roster spot much less pitching in anything resembling a close game.

 

He also predicted the Cubs would have comfortable lead by the end of April because of an easy schedule.

 

As for the Cardinals, unless you believe journeymen like Eric Ludwick and Skip Schumaker are suddenly above average major league corner OF, or that Braden Looper and Kyle Lohse are All Star caliber starters, they still don't figure to be more than a 75-80 win team. I'm still not buying that bullpen either.

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I wanted to take a moment to quickly point out that both Carlos Marmol and Bob Howry continue to lead MLB with 12 appearances (15.1 IP for Marmol). Despite the short starts and all the extra inning games for the Brewers, Torres is behind both of them. Also, Kerry Wood blew another save last night.
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Anyone else feel like the season kind of starts for real on Tuesday? It looks as if the standings will be pretty close among the Brewers, Cubs, and Cardinals. The Brewers should have the roster sorted out and complete with Cameron and (hopefully) Sheets' return. Braun and Fielder are starting to hit. The Brewers playing the Cubs, its almost feels as if the first month was almost an extension of Spring Training.

 

The nice part is, the Cubs have played as well as they can play, the Brewers really haven't, and barring a really bad weekend, the two should be virtually even in the standings. I like it.

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