The Chase

We all CHASE things in our life. Happiness, success, family, “courting” your wife. They are all familiar goals. Probably, the most “famous” chase was brought to us on the movie screen was with Butch & Sundance. But…there is always a “chase” of some kind in the sports world too.

….Lighting up at this moment in the Lou is the Albert CHASE for 700 (or more).  It has captured the StL sports world! Recently an LA writer inferred that Albert’s performance was so dramatically different from last year that something was amiss. He inferred that Albert was using other substances to assist him? While the StL community raised up strong objections (justifiably)….that  LA writer’s view in this 2022 world should not be completely discarded. One would normally think that way when he looks @ the record book. In 2020, Albert had just 6 home runs for the Angels. In 2021 he was traded by Angels to the Dodgers. For that season he belted 17 homers. This year he has 19 round trippers. It seems to me (maybe I’m being too much of a HOMER) that Albert hits better in games that ‘really mean something”.  His juices flow and, with the StL crowds adoration & attendance, he’s getting really pumped up… From 2012 to 2021, the Angels reached the playoffs just once! Probably, the juices just weren’t flowing with those mediocre teams. His 2 best batting years in an Angle uniform, he batted .285 (in his 1st year) and .272 (his 3rd Angel year). I’m not inferring that he wasn’t trying…he just didn’t have the same emotion. Let’s enjoy the CHASE to 700 and more!

….The Dodgers are CHASING an extremely difficult target—110 wins in a season!! Only 6 teams have EVER won that many games–  1906 Cubs: 116-36 (.763), 2001 Mariners: 116-46 (.716), 1998 Yankees 114-48 (.704),1954 Cleveland: 111-43-2 (.721),1927 NYY: 110-55-1 (.724),1909 Pirates: 110-42-2 (.673). As I write this on Monday, currently the Dodgers are 101-44, .697% They have 17 more games! Keep your eye on it!  It’s really a very rare achievement.

…CHASING the dream of being a NCAA-F National Powerhouse(again) is So. California 3-0. The Trojans have been up & down in recent years.  Many of you, like me, remember the terrific USC teams in the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s that featured star running backs. From 1966 to 1995, USC had only 5 seasons w/o a bowl!! This year, USC went out & hired a proven highly successful coach (55-10 in 5 years) in Lincoln Riley this year. Riley’s earning $10m/year. $10m seems excessive but… look @ the revenue that very good NCAA football teams generate for their school. Remember, NCAA-Football revenue pays for most, if not ALL, of the other sports @ each school. Generally other sports are deficient in paying for their sport at the school.

…While CHASING the goal of winning the pennant & World Series, almost all baseball “experts” & fans, realize the importance of pitching. Seemingly, starting pitchers aren’t viewed in the same way as decades ago. Complete games are almost extinct and yet, going “deep” is vital to long-term winning. One measure of the effectiveness of a starter is the “quality start” ( 6 inn w/3 or less runs). The only Cardinal in the top 10 of MLB quality starts is Miles Mikolas (tied for #7 w/ 20 Quality starts—QS). Adam Wainwright is #21 with 16 QS. Who’s #1?  You’d never guess who’s #1 (at least I wouldn’t have)…. #1 is Framber Valdez(Hou) with 26 QS in 28 starts!! Houston has 3 pitchers in the top 30- Justin Verlander (Hou) is #10 in QS–19 (of 25 starts);@ #29 is Jose Urquidy (Hou)-15QS in 27 starts. The Dodgers also have 3 pitchers in the top 51 in Quality Starts. Quality starts save the bullpen and eventually leads to more wins.

…St Louis native, Max Scherzer, is CHASING a personal goal…4000 strikeouts!! He needed 980 at the start of the 2022 season. There are only FOUR MLB pitchers with 4000 K’s in MLB history–#1-Nolan Ryan-5,714; 2-Randy Johnson-4,875; 3-Roger Clemens-4,672 and #4–Steve Carlton-4,136. It really is a very, very elite group. Yet, Scherzer has a chance—Why not HERE in the LOU? Scherzer had 3173 @ start of 2022 season. He’s added 153 more K’s this year pushing it up to 3326 strikeouts for his career-#12 All-time. He’s 16 K’s behind #11 Phil Niekro; 45 K’s behind #10 Greg Maddux; 74 K’s to reach 4000 strikeouts. He can’t reach the top 9 next year but…would you have guessed Albert hitting 700 HR?

…Former Cardinals on this strikeout list—Steve Carlton is #4 ALL-TIME w/4136 K’s; Bob Gibson #16 with 3,117 K’s (yes..Scherzer has gone past Gibbie!!) John Smoltz (had a very short Card career)–#19 @ 3084 K’s; Jon Lester (had that 3 month StL career last year) is #40 w/2488 K’s; Jim Kaat#44 w/2461 K’s; Jamie Moyer @ # 47(a shocker to me!!); #49-Dennis Eckersley; @ #57-John Lackey. At the #71 spot is Adam Wainwright with 2141 K’s (that was @ the start of the season); Dazzy Vance @ #81. #86 was Andy Benes right on the nose-2000 K’s.

…  I wish that the Cards would CHASE after him! After all, the Cards weakest spot is probably the rotation. He’d be viewed as the pitcher’s Albert…he is still posting strong numbers—9 wins-4 losses, 127 inn, 2.26 ERA, 153 strikeouts. Yes…he carries a huge salary $43m but in a trade, but $$$ could be a part of the deal. Further, the Cards had an unbelievable year at the gate…. Reward the fans for their support!

….I won’t have you CHASING the ending much longer 😊  Like Butch & Sundance, it’s come to quick end. Sadly, that movie really is based on those 2 outlaws & their lives (and ending). It’d be great to have your reactions to Scherzer idea; NCAA football coaches; quality starts; strikeout list; Dodgers chances of reaching their goal, etc. If you have a reaction, just put it on my Facebook page under this article. Or..send it to me & I’ll put it up for you. If you’d like to go back & see early blogs, go to http://www.bobryansportsblog.com  Thanks for the read! Bob

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