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Jim Thome will have season ending surgery on his right elbow, opening the door for Ryan Howard to prove he can hit well at the major league level. Howard hit a game winning grand slam last night against the Dodgers, so atleast he might have the fans on his side already. Let's take a look at what we can expect from Thome and Howard.

As you can see, Howard easily beats out Thome this year as far as effectiveness goes (but their season lines of .276/.348/.497 and .207/.360/.352 already told us that) but you can also see that a healthy Thome from 2004 puts up numbers that beats out Howard. So as far as 2005 is concerned, Howard is the answer at first base. If Thome can prove he is healthy and able to hit for power again in 2006, he is most likely the best candidate for the job.

The Indians are now ahead of the Yankees in the Wild Card standings. I'm feeling a little better about my preseason predictions now. I'll give it to you in a nutshell, for the large group of you who never read my old site. I said the Indians would win the Central because the Twins were not strong enough to beat them out over the long haul. I obviously took too much away from the White Sox (of course if the Indians were playing well at the beginning of the season, the Pale Hose might not have such a huge lead, as Dan Scotto tells us) but atleast one wrong is making its way to right. The American League is very interesting right now. The Yankees are 5.5 games back of the Red Sox in the East, the A's and Angels are tied, the White Sox are running away with the division (Konerko heating up while Garland cools down) and the Indians are making themselves legitimate Wild Card contenders. Victor Martinez and Aaron Boone have alot to do with the offensive consistency you see now.

Victor Martinez
April: .207/.290/.329
May: .213/.268/.333
June: .295/.384/.516
July: .323/.400/.516
August: .458/.536/.667

Aaron Boone
April: .123/.198/.301
May: .188/.224/.225
June: .272/.341/.506
July: .311/.357/.422
August: .281/.324/.313

Travis Hafner returned to form as a monster somewhere along the lines as well (turning it up a notch when June came along). I was thinking maybe Sabathia getting back on track would be helpful in the future til I noticed something. Sabathia's struggles this year are not that puzzling when you see he had a .289 BABIP last year and still had an ERA over 4.00. Now that his BABIP is league average (.304 at the moment) he is most likely feeling the effects of this. The part that is slightly puzzling is that he has always had a BABIP between .281 and .292 until this year. Maybe he will find some sort of mean and pitch better.

I saw something I found amusing at Baseball Musings (no, I didn't mean to do that with those words).

The White Sox lead the Yankees 2-1 in the middle of the tenth. Chicago's pitching, whatever the outcome of this game, put on a tremendous performance in this series. They've allowed just five runs in three games so far to one of the best offenses in the majors. The defense is a big aspect of why the pitching does well. Rowand in center is showing Yankees fans why they need a new centerfielder. He seems to get to everything that hangs in the air for more than a couple of seconds. Their success in this series bodes well for Chicago in the post season.