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Wednesday, September 17, 2003
Phillies pound Marlins 14-0 in opener. The Phillies are now just one-half game behind the Marlins, who had won eight straight against them before last night. (Yahoo!)

Red Sox win as Pedro gets No. 100. Martinez went the distance to beat the Devil Rays, 3-2. (Yahoo!)

A-Rod, Rangers sink Mariners. The M's now trail the Red Sox by 2 1/2 games. (Yahoo!)

Loaiza again denied 20th win by Twins. In the past week, the Twins have gone from two games behind the White Sox to one and a half games ahead. And seven of their last nine games are against the Tigers. (Yahoo!)

Aaron Gleeman: "At the risk of completely jinxing my favorite team, let me be the first to say this: The 2003 AL Central division race is over. That's right, over. You heard it here first. Whether the Twins win either of the next two games against the White Sox or not, they will win this division. And they will have done it by holding their own against the Chicago White Sox." (Aaron's Baseball Blog)

Wreck of Cards. Tom Verducci:
There's no mystery as to when the Cardinals' season fell apart. They were in first place on Sept. 1 when they went to Wrigley Field for a five-game series. St. Louis lost four of those games while La Russa blew his cool, erupting at Chicago manager Dusty Baker, bringing a fatigued Woody Williams out of the bullpen between starts -- how can a team be short of pitching with expanded rosters? -- and making moves that raised eyebrows in the clubhouse, such as taking Tino Martinez out of a tie game in the seventh inning with two outs so a pitcher could pinch run for him. The Cubs sent the Cards into a 4-10 spiral. From first place to out of contention in two weeks.

Jay Jaffe on Ted Lilly, who's been Oakland's best starter since Mark Mulder's injury. (Futility Infielder)

Tom Tippett on the Devil Rays. "This is still a last-place team that is looking for it's 60th win of the season, but there's a lot to like about them. Two years ago, Tampa Bay featured several over-priced veterans in decline, some young players without a whole lot of upside, a front office that seemed have no plan, and a collection of promising prospects who were still in the low minors. Now those prospects are on the big stage and doing well, the aging veterans are gone, and the front office has loads of room to add payroll if it so chooses. It'll take a while to go from 60 wins to 90 wins, but at least they seem to be headed in the right direction for a change." (Thoughts from Diamond Mind, September 16)

Prospectus Triple Play: White Sox, Brewers, Cardinals: "Johan Santana is good. Really good. OK, you knew that, but we're talking Pedro Martinez good. Like Martinez, Santana has wicked movement on his fastball, and a devastating changeup. Also like Martinez, he's learning to use the inside part of the plate. While his HBP totals don't reflect it yet, Santana was keeping [White] Sox hitters off balance by brushing them back, setting them up for embarrassment when his two-seamer dovetailed away from them later in the plate appearance." (Baseball Prospectus)

Prospectus Q&A: Ned Colletti, Part II. Jonah Keri interviews the Giants' Assistant GM.
BP: Which do the Giants favor, high school or college pitchers?

Colletti: We prefer college pitching. College pitchers are further along in terms of maturity and life experience. That doesn't mean we haven't taken high school kids. But when you're 18 years old and you're going away from home for the first time, it can be tough--there are a lot of different things that occur in a young person's life. If a pitcher goes through the right college program though, we'll know that he hasn't been misused, and that he's also been taught well. We do as much research as we can to make sure we don't get a pitcher coming out to the draft who's misused and might be injured. And that can easily happen at the high school level, sometimes the college level too. A major league club has a different level of investment in a player, to where you wouldn't have used him the way he might otherwise get used at the high school or college level.
(Baseball Prospectus)

Baseball Prospectus Chat: Jonah Keri.
Bryan Smith (Chicago): Jonah...please give me five names that will take big leaps next season. Thanks!

Jonah Keri: Mark Teixeira will have a similar leap to Hank Blalock v03 vs. v02. Brandon Phillips can't help but get better because he was Neifi-riffic this year...actually Neifi put him to shame. Adam Dunn will stay healthy next season, and cut down on his strikeouts just enough to trigger a healthy spike in production. Shawn Green will have a bounceback year after fixing his shoulder. Pat Burrell's 2003 season will look like a weird fluke five years from now.
(Baseball Prospectus)

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