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by Bryan Leonard - 05/20/2006
It's only May, but already there have been some surprises and some busts this baseball season. Here's a look at some of baseball's disappointments.
Pirates: The Pirates weren't expected to contend for the NL flag yet, but a ton of talented young pitching was supposed to help them improve. It hasn't happened yet. Pittsburgh is third-worst in team ERA in the National League, and they've allowed the most runs. Pittsburgh is a miserable 3-17 on the road!
Angels: The bullpen is strong and there were questions about the starting pitching, but the pitching has been sound, with the 5th best ERA in the American League. Only the Tigers have a better save percentage. But the offense has been the problem, with the third-worst batting average in the AL and the worst on-base percentage (.301). Yes, the Royals have a better on-base percentage than the Angels!
Dodgers: LA has a lot of new faces, including a new manager, for this season. The Dodgers are second in the National League in runs scored, first in on-base percentage, and fourth in the NL in team pitching. Pretty good numbers. Yet, this team is .500 battling the Giants for last place in the NL West. What gives? How about an 0-2 record in extra inning games plus a 4-10 mark (including 0-5 on the road) in one-run games. When Grady Little, the current Dodger manager, took over the Red Sox in 2002, Boston was terrible in one-run and extra inning games, perhaps a trend that has followed him to the NL. Sports bettors take note: The Dodgers have been a strange team at 7-14 as a favorite, but 12-5 as a dog!
Nationals: Washington was 81-81 last season. They had a decent starting threesome on paper with workhorse Livan Hernandez (15-10, 246 IP in 2005), John Patterson and Tony Armas, while adding 2B Alfonso Soriano. Yet, the Nationals have fallen apart, already 10 games out and just 3-10 at home. A major problem: How about 3 saves in 10 save opportunities!
Cubs: The Cubbies were expected to be much better this season, but they've been a huge disappointment. The loss of 1B Derek Lee was huge as the offense fell apart after he went out. CF Juan Pierre has been a disappointment along with expected ace Carlos Zambrano. The Cubs are 13th in the NL in team ERA and lead the league in walks allowed, which is amazing when you understand they have control master Greg Maddux in the rotation. And the offense is last in the NL in runs scored. Forget about getting Kerry Wood and Mark Prior back -- let's get back Ernie Banks, Leo Durocher and the Hawk!