Unless Seattle wins 12 more games, it will become the first “100-100” team in major league history. It is not a good thing. The Mariners would be the first team to lose 100 games with a payroll of at least $100 million.
So far, the 2003 Mets have received the least bang for their buck, losing 95 games while spending about $117 million, which is about what Seattle is spending this season.
“I certainly don’t want to lose 100 games, but I don’t want to lose 99, either,” manager Jim Riggleman said. “For some reason, that round number gets everyone’s attention.”
While the Mariners’ management really, really does not want the double-triple, the payoff for the worst record in baseball is the first pick in the 2009 draft, which looks to be franchise right-hander Stephen Strasburg.
Strasburg hit 100 mph this season at San Diego State, struck out 23 in a game against Utah and is considered by scouts as at worst a No. 2 starter in a major league rotation.
San Diego and Washington also are in the hunt for the No. 1 pick, and the Padres recently asked former Padre — and San Diego State coach — Tony Gwynn for a scouting evaluation.
Strasburg, who also played on the U.S. Olympic team, is considered at most two years away from the major leagues.
Seattle could build its rotation around Felix Hernandez, 2006 No. 1 draftee Brandon Morrow and Strasburg.
San Diego could put Strasburg behind Jake Peavy and Chris Young, “and you can come back in a hurry,” an NL scout said.
DISGUISED AS EMPTY SEATS
Tampa Bay’s rise to prominence may be the best story of the year, but it is not playing well at home.
The AL East-leading Rays drew 91,150 fans for their previous six home games entering a weekend series against Baltimore, or as many as St. Louis gets in two games.
They had the lowest attendance in the majors for every game of a three-game series against the AL West-leading Angels from Aug. 18-20, and again against Toronto on Tuesday.
“To me, it’s about how disheartening it is for everybody in the organization — the players, coaches and front office — to not see the excitement funnel its way into Tropicana Field,” Rays president Matt Silverman said.
“It really takes the wind out of our sails. We’ve poured our hearts and souls into making this a great draw.”
Tampa was 26th in the majors in attendance entering the weekend.
BAY FITS THE BACK BAY
Jason Bay, the replacement Manny, has taken to his first playoff race. He had 10 multi-hit games in his first 25 with the Red Sox, and was hitting .327 with four home runs and 27 RBIs entering Saturday.
He was 4-for-12 with six RBIs in his first Red Sox-Yankees series last week.
“The whole month I’ve been here has been kind of a Red Sox-Yankees series for me,” said Bay, who was never in a pennant race in Pittsburgh.
“I feel like I’ve been in this scenario for a month, from where I’m coming from, and I think that kind of equipped me better to handle it.”
HOME SWEET HOME
Brian Giles is hitting .317 with four home runs since exercising his right to veto a trade to Boston three weeks ago.
A San Diego native, Giles said he has no regrets about nixing the deal and missing out on a playoff race.
“There is already enough second-guessing in this game. I’m not going to second-guess my decision. There were a lot of issues with contracts and playing time,” said Giles, who has a $9 million option for 2009 with a $3 million buyout.
STRANGER THAN FICTION
Baltimore left-hander Alberto Castillo was the winning pitcher in a 4-3 victory over the White Sox on Monday, in the completion of a game suspended April 28.
So what? Since the victory was credited for April 28, Castillo recorded his first victory three months before he made his major league debut. That would be Aug. 7.
In fact, the victory, the save (Rocky Cherry) and the game-winning RBI (Lou Montanez) all were to players who were in the minor leagues when the game started.
TELL YOUR STATISTICS TO SHUT UP
Texas’ Kevin Millwood needed only 94 pitches to throw a complete game against Kansas City last Tuesday – the seventh time this season an opposing pitcher has needed 105 pitches or less in a complete game against the Royals. It’s by far the most in the majors.
LACKEY BESTS THE WEST
Los Angeles Angels right-hander John Lackey is 33-18 against the NL West, 12-1 since the start of the 2007 season. He is 5-1 with a 1.81 ERA against Oakland, 4-0 with an 0.58 ERA against Seattle and 3-0 with a 4.55 ERA against Texas.
“You traded me for a ... hamburger? Where’s the fries and milkshake, at least?”
Left-handed reliever, after being told by Texas GM Jon Daniels that he was dealt to Minnesota for minor league pitcher Mark Hamburger.
F-ROD, IN A CONTRACT YEAR
Angels closer Francisco Rodriguez, who can be a free agent after this season, got his 50th save on Aug. 24 in record fashion. At 26 years, seven months, 17 days, he is the youngest of the nine pitchers to hit that plateau. He also reached it quicker than anyone, in 129 games.
The Mets play three games in Milwaukee – Santana vs. Sheets on Monday – before hosting Philadelphia for three.
Writers from around the league contributed to this report.