A scan of rosters of playoff-competitive teams suggests that – after the World Champion Royals, bereft of studs Alex Gordon for awhile and Mike Moustakas for the season,- two of the most injury-plagued clubs are matched this weekend in New York. The Dodgers and Mets are scuffling to keep pace with division front-runners, the Giants and Nationals, while key players linger on each squad’s disabled list. The Dodgers have lost right fielder Andre Ethier and a passel of starting pitchers, including – Ryu, Hyun-Jin, Brandon McCarthy and Brett Anderson. The Mets are playing without their regular first baseman Lucas Duda and first-string catcher Travis d’Arnaud, as well as a full-time third baseman, owing to David Wright’s debilitating back problem.
And we know about the coincidental problem of key political player Bernie Sanders: he was a wild card in the presidential playoffs without a strong, supportive bench who now refuses to acknowledge he’s failed to make the Series match-up. Of the many explanations why a long-shot player with so many enthusiastic fans came up short, the inadequate, almost invisible bench may be the most persuasive. The absence of a strong back-up team to provide detail, the “beef”, to buttress his policies – as his opponent could hers, certainly undercut Bernie’s appeal to many voters. Two observers in the Vox press box put part of the case this way:
“Sanders’s problem is that he was not successful in co-opting elites or in persuading a majority of the party’s rank and file to turn against them…Sanders hasn’t even been a member of the Democratic Party for most of his tenure in Congress. His campaign was, in essence, an attempted hostile takeover of a major political party. That’s not impossible (see Trump), but it’s difficult (without the bench his opponent recruited)..and Sanders…was disadvantaged by a process that meant he was fighting an (under-equipped) uphill battle the whole way.” (Matthew Yglesias and Jeff Stein)
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Sprinters: The Giants, who have won 13 of 14, and sprinted four games ahead of the Dodgers, aren’t doing it with mirrors. But Matt Cain (1-5) and Jake Peavy (0-4) haven’t been much help (although Peavy turned in a one-run, no-decision gem against the Padres on Wednesday). If one or both get straightened out, SF will have a scary rotation, headed by Madison Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto, and Sam Samarzdja. Together, the three are 20-5. Overall, the Giants are 30-19, the MLB’s best record at the start of the Memorial Day weekend.
Snap Quiz: Which of the six divisions is the most broadly competitive as the season reaches the one-third point? The AL East: Only seven games separating teams at the top (Red Sox) and bottom (Rays).
Streakers: Giants + 5