Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Here's Hoping

A piece in this morning’s Philadelphia Inquirer mentions the dilemma facing the Phillies regarding what to do with hot prospect Ryan Howard. One idea being floated is to give first baseman Howard some tutelage in the outfield this Fall in the Arizona League. Great. Maybe either Greg Luzinski or Pete Incaviglia would be available to lend a hand. Depending on how fast a learner Howard proves to be, that centerfield opening might be filled from within.

Meanwhile, let’s see, who else can we root for the rest of the way?

Houston appears to be the best balanced of the teams still in the hunt for a playoff berth in the NL. They have two excellent starters, a capable closer, outstanding hitting and good defense. The Cubs are a complete mystery to me. It’s difficult to imagine them losing given their starting pitching, but a glance at the rest of their lineup hardly strikes fear in opposing teams. As for the Giants, well, they have Barry and that means anything is possible but they lack pitching aside from Jason Schmidt.

The Marlins were the team that appeared to have the best chance a mere week ago. They can pitch, hit , run and catch the ball. They don’t have the Cardinals power or gold gloves, but they have much better starting pitching and a revitalized Armando Benitez in the pen. And they know how to win…at least World Series if not divisions. But then they lost a doubleheader to Montreal and two out of three to the Braves and suddenly they were long-shots.

But fear not, Fish faithful, help is on the way. The schedule makers have provided you with hope in the shape of six games with your favorite whipping boys, the Philadelphia Phillies. The season series currently shows the Marlins holding an 11-1 lead.

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