The Nub

The Fuel Activating Games on Two Fields: Fear

Measuring the Post-Memorial Day Milestone: “We’re not even out of May, best sovaldi sale ” said Mets Skipper Terry Collins, when reminded the other day how his team was sagging after a fast start in April. GM Sandy Alderson said on MLB Now that he ”thought” the Wilpons would finance reinforcements, if the team needed a playoff push., We can trace the hints of tension in these comments to this numerical reality: while the Nationals are a shoo-in to win the NL East (see below), teams in the NL Central and West are better situated than the Mets to earn the league’s two wild cards. The Giants or the Dodgers seem likely, as of now, to be one of the two. The superior-balanced Cubs or Pirates figure to get the other card, while the Cardinals can be expected to win the division.

The Yankees are in almost the same bind as the Mets: only one still-to-assert-itself AL East team looks strong enough to make the post-season through a first-place division finish. Two wild card spots should land among the Angels, Mariners, Royals, Tigers, and we can’t forget the Astros.. The pat outlook would have a rock-solid basis were it not for one imponderable: a key mid-season deal that changes the equation.

Managers, and GMs like Alderson can be expected to campaign for what they hope will be a job-saving transaction, especially, if, as in the case of Collins, their future with the team is almost certainly on the line. The dynamic is different in the corporate-political league, although fear is a common catalyst. The baseball skipper/or GM is afraid of losing his employment; the defense contractor and his pro-military teammates are afraid the public will lose its fear of jihadists and terrorism in general. Thus, every few days, we see NY Times articles headed “Iraqi Forces Are Blamed in ISIS Rout” and “Calm Down, ISIS Isn’t Winning.” The underlying messages: U.S. boots on the ground are inevitable, and our troops and weaponry will wear the jihadist enemies down. Reinforced by cautionary pieces in the media about the threat of terrorism, the messages act to fortifiy both the armed forces and a productive arms industry fueled by endless investment in our endless series of wars.

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Quarter-Pole Chatter: On MLB-TV last night, a panel of Brian Kenny, Joe Magrane, and John Smoltz closed down the NL East division race. “The Nationals will remain in first place the rest of the season,” they agreed. Do we hear any disagreement? We doubt it. Dubious prize for greatest distance from first in their division goes to the Brewers: 13-and-a-half games out; runners-up, Oakland, 12-and-a-half.. The surprising Astros own the largest division margin between first and second: five-and-a-half games ahead of the Angels. Narrowest margin separates first (Tampa Bay) and last (Toronto) in the closely matched struggle of AL East teams: three-and-a-half games.

Super-Surprise…is a fair description of the Twins, a game ahead of Detroit and just two games behind Kansas City in the AL Central. Since going 1-6 at the opening of the season, Minnesota has recorded a 25-12 W-L record, best post-mid-April mark in either league.

Productivity: The Rockies may be last in the NL West, but they are comfortably ahead of all MLB teams in RISP – hitting home runners in scoring position. Colorado has a .318 average; KC, the only other team above .300 in RISP, is at .307. The Cardinals and the Royals have the best run differentials – St.Louis plus 56, KC plus 52. The Phillies and Brewers, – 56 and -55 – are at the bottom of the differential list.

Streakers: Texas + 6, Cincinnati – 9

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(More of The Nub, a team effort skippered by Dick Starkey, can be found at perfectpitcher.org)

About Richard Starkey

Dick Starkey handled media for former NY Governor Mario Cuomo, former Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi and many other office-holders and candidates. He was sports editor of the Paris-based Herald Tribune. Perfect Pitch partner Robert Sullivan was the first to adapt focus groups to politics and has been called by Cuomo and others one of the "best" pollsters in the country.