MLB under the Bleachers: June 17

Under the BleachersContributor IJune 17, 2009

ARLINGTON, TX - AUGUST 6:  Sammy Sosa #21 of the Texas Rangers at bat against the Oakland Athletics at Rangers Ballpark August 6, 2007 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by RonaldMartinez/Getty Images)

Phils Become Overly Hospitable Hosts
The Phillies are in a pretty good spot in the NL East standings right now with a three-game lead over the Mets, but there's a significant chink in the defending champs' armor:  for some reason, they can't win at home. 

Here's a look at the problem and what it might mean for the team.  The explanation that the Phils' defense and slugging are in a dip at home seems to make sense.  Raul Ibanez, on the other hand, has an explanation of his own.  He's not quite sure how, but he's absolutely certain the team's home struggles are a blogger's fault. 

Say It Ain't So-sa
Surprise!  Reports are surfacing that Sammy Sosa tested positive for PEDs in 2003.  Wait, no.  That's the opposite of a surprise. 

Here's a look at just how unshocking this news was.  Will this revelation be the final nail in the coffin for Sosa's Cooperstown candidacy?  Probably.  Let's not be too rash, though; we can still look at his pre-Cubs (and presumably pre-'roids) numbers.  Ah, a robust OPS+ of 59 in in 116 games for the 1991 White Sox. 

Guess now all we can do is wait for the next big baseball shocker.  Was Albert Belle a jerk?  Is Randy Johnson tall?  Who knows what we'll learn next?

What's Next for the Royals?
The Royals are in an odd spot right now.  They've been better than most of us expected them to be, and they're even on the fringes of contention in a weak division. 

What's coming up for the team?  Here's a slideshow with five projections.  As long as nobody explains to Zack Greinke what "regression to the mean" is, all of these could come true.  Of course, we'd add a sixth prediction of our own:  at some point, Kyle Farnsworth's consistently shaky performances will make manager Trey Hillman's head explode into a fine mist.  

All Good Things Have Endings
The Rockies' 11-game win streak is over thanks to some nice hitting by the Rays.  Can Rockies fans just be happy that their once-putrid team chained together some nice wins?  No way!  Instead, let's look at what's wrong with Jorge de la Rosa. 

Here's an argument that says he's just not mentally ready to dominate in the bigs, despite his solid stuff.  Good to see someone blame a  Rockies' pitcher's struggles on something than the tired old explanation of  a Coors Field effect or, in Denny Neagle's case, the high stress of trying to pitch well while learning the ins and outs of Denver's market for prostitutes. 

Wang's Last Stand
It seems like only yesterday he was leading MLB in wins and dealing a sinkerball that forced even the best hitters to helplessly ground out. 

Now, Chien-Ming Wang's a total train-wreck with a 14.34 ERA and a mind-boggling 2.67 WHIP.  Wang's getting one last chance to hold onto his rotation spot with a start tonight against the lowly Nats, so here's a look at the former ace's precarious position.  If Wang struggles again, it might be Phil Hughes' time to shine. 

Bernie Williams:  "The Yankees giving up on a player when it's obvious he's not good anymore instead of dragging on for two more seasons?  Things have obviously changed a lot since I retired."