Injurious Weekend & ST Mailbag

Hello again everybody...

It's the beginning of another week. And I still haven't seen The Dark Knight in IMAX. Plans fell through this weekend. So now I'm aiming for next weekend. Fortunately for me, they're going to leave this sucker in the theaters until they suck every last dime they can out of it. So I'll still have plenty of opportunities. I know how much you all are rooting for me on this!

Today, I'll run down an unfortunately long list of injuries that occurred over the weekend. Several of which could have a major impact on various division races. Then it's a double-dose of the Sports Take Mailbag. The people must be heard! Off we go...

"Americans will put up with anything provided it doesn't block traffic."
- Dan Rather (1931- ), journalist and former news anchor for the CBS Evening News.

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Before I get to the injury report, we here at The Sports Take would like to congratulate the Tampa Bay Rays on setting a new team record for victories yesterday. Their win over the Seattle Mariners moved their record to 71-46. The franchise's previous win record came in 2004 when they went 70-92. Amazing. A team that's never had a .500 or better record in their history, is now contending for their division title. That snapping sound you just heard? That was Rays manager Joe Maddon putting a lock on the Manager of the Year trophy.

Speaking of the Rays, we start the walking-wounded report in Tampa Bay where Rays OF Carl Crawford was sidelined with a hand injury. The diagnosis is that he'll be out 6-8 weeks, and quite possibly his season is over. Crawford had been a significant part of the Rays lineup, often batting 3rd and hitting .273 with 8 home runs and 57 RBI. Tampa's been winning with a "we before me" mentality, so the loss of any one player shouldn't spell doom for them. But when the Barry Bonds rumors spring up immediately after a guy goes down, that tells you how significant he was. By the way, Tampa brass has already said ix-nay on the onds-Bay speculation. Thank heavens.

Next we're off to Boston (whom I hate). The hated Red Sox said that knuckleballer Tim Wakefield will miss his next two starts to rest a sore shoulder. Pitchers get sore shoulders all the time, usually it's not a big deal. But when a guy who regularly throws in the low 70's gets a sore shoulder, my ears perk up a little bit. Over 23 starts, Wakefield has put together a 7-8 record (not that impressive) with a 3.67 ERA (pretty darn good). If this turns out to only be the two missed starts, then it's not a big deal. But if it's something more serious, then the Red Sox (whom I hate) will have a large hole in their rotation.

Finally for the AL, we come back home to Minnesota, where rehabbing OF Michael Cuddyer suffered a broken bone in his foot on a freak play. Cuddyer was on base when Garret Atkins hit a screaming line-drive at him. Cuddyer thought he'd leaped over the ball, but it caught him flush on the foot, breaking a bone. Perhaps if Cuddyer had attended the annual "Kelley Father's Day Weekend Trench Extravaganza", he could've improved on that vertical enough to avoid the ball.

(Aside: Okay, I know only about half of you are going to get that reference, but trust me, it's written with the snarkiest of intentions.)

In any case, Cuddyer's now out for 4-6 weeks which puts his season in serious jeopardy. If the injury heals as expected, he may be able to rejoin the club with 2 or 3 weeks left in the year. But with the Twins current depth in the outfield, I'd imagine the club will err on the conservative side.

Next we go to the National League, specifically the Arizona Diamondbacks. 2B Orlando Hudson suffered a dislocation of a bone in his wrist as he tried to tag out a sliding Brian McCann. Hudson had successful surgery today, but will now miss the rest of the season. This is a fairly sizable blow to the D'backs lineup. Hudson had spent most of the season hitting third. And while he's not a classic 3-hitter, he was batting .305 with 8 home runs and 41 RBI. The silver lining in all of this for the D'backs is that Orlando got hurt late last year and missed the pennant-run, so they know they can win with out him. But that's still a lot of production to lose out of the middle of their lineup. Plus, Orlando was one of the few above-average defenders amongst Arizona's regulars. And that may be the biggest loss of all.

(Ed's Note: It just crossed the wire that the D'backs have acquired Adam Dunn from the Reds for some minor-league prospects. Wow. Talk about adding some pop to your lineup. More on this deal Friday in the DFTU.)

Finally, we travel to Houston, where Astros LF Carlos Lee was hit by a pitch and broke a pinky finger. In fact, he broke it badly enough that it required surgery to reset it. And because they had to open him up, Lee will likely miss the rest of the season. The Astros were pretty much out of playoff contention anyway, but losing Lee makes them much less threatening to the rest of the NL Central. That means that beating the Astros becomes something the Cubs, Brewers and Cardinals should do rather than could do. So who takes better advantage of the situation may go a fair ways in determining who wins the division.

So there's your cavalcade of casualties. Anybody else remember a weekend where so many players from contenders went down in such a short stretch? I sure don't.

Finally for today, it's a double-helping of the Sports Take Mailbag. Today's first question comes from Jeff in Des Moines:

Being one of the few Cardinals fans reading your column, and no disrespect to the Wisconsinites, how in the world are the Cards staying competitive and when will Isringhausen be fired or traded?

Good question Jeff! How are the Cards still in this thing? 5 words: Tony LaRussa and Dave Duncan. LaRussa may not win the NL Manager of the Year award (those pesky Marlins are making Fredi Gonzalez a leading candidate), but he's a perennial candidate. The magic that Tony and his pitching coach Duncan work with their staff on a yearly basis is incredible. These are the guys who got a solid year out of Jeff Weaver for chrissakes! No one else in the big leagues was able to do that.

Look at what they've done this year with Kyle Lohse: 13-4 with a 3.80 ERA and a better-than-2-to-1 strikeout to walk ratio. Lohse's previous high for wins was 14 in 2003 with the Twins and has never finished a season with an ERA below 4.23. He's nearly a half-run below that so far this year.

I can't tell you exactly how these guys do it, but they get as much, if not more out of their pitching staff as anyone in the majors. And when you have solid pitching and decent defense, you have a pretty good chance to win. I'm not sure that the Cards have enough to catch the Cubs, but they'll give Milwaukee fans ulcers as they compete for the NL Wild Card.

Oh, and as far as Isringhausen goes, I think you're pretty much stuck with him for the rest of this season. Not necessarily as your closer, but a definite part of your bullpen. Maybe in the offseason they'll be able to cut bait with him. But at this point, you'd better hope that Adam Wainwright will be able to come back from his injury and be the same closer that led his club to a World Championship in 2006.

Thanks for the question.

The second question today comes from David in Milwaukee:

Just out of curiosity, any thoughts on making recommendations on obscure Olympics betting lines??? I bet you have it in you to play the odds on the Men's javelin . . . . .

Well if I had gotten to this earlier, I'd have told you that the guy from the Czech Republic was a big time overlay in the Mens Trap Shooting event.

As for the Men's Javelin throw? You can never go wrong betting on the Finnish in that event.

Good luck David!

That's all for today folks. I'll be back on Wednesday with more Sports Take goodness. Until then, thanks for reading!


  1. The Kelley Father's Day event is a family event, Michael's got a family, someone extend him an invitation.

  2. I agreed with Lon. Michael and the whole team would be welcome. I'll bring a lot more veggies!