So if the All-Star Break started today, the starting pitchers in the game would be the Cubs' Greg Maddux (4-0, 0.99) against Mark Buehrle (3-0, 1.93) of your world champion White Sox. Buehrle is turning into the left-handed Maddux. At 27, Buerhle should make it to his 100th victory by season's end. At the same age Maddux finished his 1993 season with a total of 115.
Buehrle as the new Maddux may be a stretch, but not a huge one. He works fast, stays healthy, throws a ton of innings and rarely beats himself. Maybe he's just the AL version of Tom Glavine. Glavine is looking as fresh and dominant as his former teammate Maddux. He has 26 Ks in 26 IP and is 2-1 with a 1.38 ERA.
In fact, many of the old folks are off to terrific starts. Kenny Rogers, Mike Mussina, Tim Wakefield, The Big Unit and Jamie Moyer in the AL. Glavine, Maddux, Woody Williams and John Smoltz in the NL. It's great isn't it?
→ So while the Cubs juggle Sean Marshall, Rich Hill and Angel Guzman, the one that got away is enjoying success in the American League. John Koronka was traded to Texas at the end of March for Freddie Bynum. Last night Koronka improved to 3-1 by going 8 innings against the D-Rays. He allowed only 5 hits and 1 walk and struck out 8. He has now won three in a row. It's turning out to be the biggest move of 2006 for the Rangers, who lost Adam Eaton to a finger injury before he could even pitch for them.
→ I may be reading to much into it, but does this sound like a guy who is fed up or what? Larry Rothschild on Kerry Wood, who experienced yet another setback, albeit a minor one: "He just didn't feel all the way right with it and thought it was better not to throw in the game after he got warmed up," pitching coach Larry Rothschild said. "So they called me and I said, `Fine, let's just be cautious.' If he pulls something, even though it's not the spot we're obviously concentrating on, it could set him back too far. So we probably did the right thing." What and ever.
→ Also from the what and ever files: Sam Smith reports that The Knicks' Stephon Marbury now says this season was "the best year of my life" and "Larry Brown has made me a better man." And from the Huh? files, Sam picks Charlie Villanueva over Chris Paul for NBA rookie of the year. Chris Paul is one of the best point guards in the league as a rookie. He was the Western Conference rookie of the month in November, December, January, February and March. From NBA.com: Leads all rookies in minutes (36.3), points (16.3), assists (7.9), steals (2.24), assist/turnover ratio (2.3), double-doubles (21) and efficiency (21.5) ... Is the only rookie to record a triple-double this season, and did it twice in four days (04/02 at TOR and 04/05 vs. GSW) ... Ranks third in the NBA in steals, seventh in assists and sixth in assist/turnover ratio.
Sam--put down the hookah. I wouldn't even put Villanueva second. Bogut gets that spot with Charlie at #3.