Thursday, August 21, 2003

Pat the Bat
Is there a sadder sight in the majors right now than Pat Burrell trying to hit a baseball? The bleached-blonde leftfielder went 0-for-3 last night, stranding three runners a night after he was lifted in a crucial situation for that perennial all-star Ricky Ledee. For the record, Burrell is batting .201, with 17 homers and 49 rbi, a year after the slugger slammed 37 and drove in 116. The guy looks completely lost. Unless he wakes up, which doesn't seem likely, the Phillies will likely watch the playoffs from their condos on the Main Line.

Don't look now, but Tigers pitcher Mike Maroth is closing in on 20 losses, and it isn't even September yet. The hard-luck lefty tossed 6 2/3 innings against Texas on Tuesday, allowing only three runs, but lost anyway because the Tigers' historically inept offense couldn't help him out. Maroth is pitching just well enough not to get bumped from the rotation, but poorly enough that 20 losses seems almost inevitable. As ESPN's Jayson Stark has tirelessly documented, no one has lost 20 games since Oakland's Brian Kingman in 1980. Kingman is loathe to relinquish his only claim to fame, and in recent years has taken to following pitchers on the verge of 20 losses around the country, which the pitchers themselves, needless to say, think is really, really weird. Better fuel up that jet, Brian -- it's going to be a long September!

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