by Scott Fennessy
Things continue to roll along as I am now at game 851, or August 24th. Both leagues are featuring some good chases, although unless the Red Sox team train crashes at some point their ticket to the series is basically punched. That said, the AL still has some exciting chases amongst the rest of the teams.
Since the Yankees had to move Ambrose Puttmann out of the rotation (one of a few pitchers that I failed to notice was a J-4) the Bombers have come back down to reality a bit. They have been caught, but not yet passed by the Tigers, who have suddenly been bitten by the injury bug. They lost 5 players in a three day stretch, and their bench is not exactly their strong point. But Jimmy Barrett, Sam Crawford, and Charlie Carr keep the offense moving enough for their solid rotation to keep up.
The A’s continue their underwhelming performance, but Jasper Davis and Socks Seybold continue to hit well, and Topsy Hartsel is finally coming around, but 3 players are hitting 50 or more points below their actual average and it is really hurting the team as they don’t have a lot of hitting on the bench. But kudos to Albert Daly, who is trying hard to steal Lave Cross’ job. I benched him about 5 games ago just to try anything to get them going. Daly has a pretty awful card, but not Terrible Tuesday bad. He has a 2-8-7-2, with a 31 36 and I just noticed a 13-13. Maybe I was wrong about that Tuesday part? He only has 9 hit numbers, and depending on if they face an A or B starter 3-4.
Somehow, despite only getting 35 games total (about 12 as a starter when Cross missed some time with an injury and this current stretch) has managed to hit .278 (his actual season average was .190) with 1 double, 11 triples, and that lottery moment all Mendoza-like players live for, that 66-2 with runners on first and second for a very unlikely homer. I swear he hits 11 or 66 almost every game. I really don’t like playing him, but it’s hard to bench a guy being so over productive.
Rube Waddell just set the AL record over a very tough Indians team with 14 strikeouts. He was clearly on a mission and mowed the lawn with the tribe. He has just passed his own league record with 274 strikeouts for the season and is battling Christy Mathewson for the new season record (289 by Matty in 1905)
Speaking of the Giants after having to put Leon Ames on the bench (B KYW) and his 14 wins and 280 K’s and replace him with a Luthor Taylor, a D starter for the rest of the way I expected a huge collapse, and while their dominance still continues it’s like waiting for the bottom to drop out at any time now. Taylor, much to my surprise stunned the meteoric Reds in his first start with a 3 hit shutout, and followed that up with a lucky victory over the Pirates in a game he got shelled in, but the trio of McGann, Bresnahan and Mertes overcame the odds with their strong hitting cards. It was oddly enough the collapsing Cubs that roughed him up the other day that has the countdown to second place underway.
The Pirates, whom I thought were going to be benefiting from the Giants "controversy" partially negated that with some of their own. I noticed that Lafayette Winham (B XW ) was also a J-4 and had to move Ed Doheny into the rotation. Fortunately for Pittsburgh their enormous roster is deep with pitching and Ed’s a B W. They have been on a tear of late and are just a game out of first now.
Usually the season starts with their hall of fame trio of Ginger Beaumont, Honus Wagner and Fred Clarke getting off to the same starts. This has happened the exact same way in each of the three seasons so far. Beaumont starts of solid, and stays the same most of the season, but once September comes he goes on a tear and carries the team. Wagner starts off like Ryne Sandberg, and cannot buy a hit until sometime in mid May then goes on a tear until September, then stays the same while Clarke starts of steady and goes on a slow uphill pace until season ends.
But despite Wagner and Clarke always being more famous Beaumont has usually been the one to put the team on his back at this point. This time it’s different. Beaumont is having a solid year, but has begun to slump for the first time while Wagner is having an even better August than in 1905 when he crushed everything in sight and his timing could not have been better as his 8 game hit streak has lined up with Clarke’s 8 game hit streak and while Wagner only has 3 homers he has begun to steal a lot more and Clarke (I really need to submit him for a Monster Monday with his card) has absolutely exploded this month. and is suddenly almost exactly on line with his season numbers (My apologies to John and Skeeter as I silently ripped them hard for not giving him a 66-1). He currently has a .353 average with 33 doubles, 12 triples and 9 homers. Think about that, in a dead ball era he has 54 extra base hits in late August. Combine that with 24 stolen bases and you have an almost unanimous MVP.
Photo by Chicago Daily News photographer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons