Yes, the proverbial fire has been lit beneath the pantaloons of Yankees fans as Alex Rodriguez attempts to become the youngest player to ever hit 500 home runs in his career. Many people won’t care too much about this milestone though, since all eyes are on the mighty Barry Bonds and his pursuit of Hank Aaron’s all-time home run record.
Bonds is sitting on 754 career homers, one shy of tying the record and two away from making history. Hopefully he’ll get his homers within the next couple of days in Los Angeles, because their hatred for the Giants would make the situation that much more interesting and dramatic. Many people won’t care too much about this milestone though, since all eyes are on Tom Glavine and his effort to attain 300 career wins.
…Honestly, who cares about a pitcher and his wins? That’s not nearly as cool as a homer.
The real baseball news is coming out of Atlanta. Since my last update on the status of the Braves, it’s been a bumpy road, but things are looking up. The Mets have been playing very mediocre baseball and allowing everyone in the eastern division to creep up on their lead, but so far the Braves have been unwilling to snatch first place from the clutches of the Mets. The Phillies may want the lead even more, as they’re currently playing well and have moved into second place just a half-game above the Braves and three behind New York.
But Atlanta is poised for success. Just before the trade deadline, the Braves’ acquisition of Mark Teixeira from the Rangers gave them the power-hitting defensively-sound first baseman they have lacked all season. And tonight, in his first game with the Braves, Teixeira has walked with the bases loaded (forcing in a run) and hit a three-run homer, immediately making his presence known. Teixeira is hitting in the cleanup spot to pick up the slack from Andruw’s ~.215 average and could fill the offensive void left by Andruw’s likely departure next season.
The Braves have also gained some left-handed relief for their bullpen in Ron Mahay and Octavio Dotel. Dotel will likely prove beneficial but Mahay’s contribution has yet to be seen. Methinks he’ll prove to be another Tyler Yates (that is to say, he’ll fail at all of life’s endeavors), but I’ll withhold judgment.
Yes, if the Braves can string together a winning streak of five or more games, they’ll likely be in excellent shape in the National League East. They’re already a mere 1.5 games out of the wild card spot with their 56 and 51 record, but I won’t settle for less than the league lead. If they can get some reliable starting pitching, their solid offense should provide ample opportunity to enter the postseason.