- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 26, 2006

AROUND THE AL

The White Sox won’t be making the playoffs, and that may come as a shock to those who expected the defending World Series champs to make a run at back-to-back titles this year.

But it’s not all that uncommon in today’s game. Consider that three of the last four World Series winners have now failed to make it to October the following season, with the White Sox joining the 2002 Angels and 2003 Marlins.

Only the 2004 Red Sox made it back to the playoffs the following year, and even they were knocked out in the first round. …

After a disappointing season, the Angels appear to be gearing up for a busy winter. Among owner Arte Moreno’s top objectives: landing a premier slugger. Might Alfonso Soriano’s name come up? You better believe it.

Los Angeles of Anaheim was one of Soriano’s top pursuers at the trade deadline, and Moreno has never been afraid to throw big bucks at marquee players, especially those of Hispanic descent (such as Vladimir Guerrero).

AROUND THE NL

Has anyone noticed just how valuable former Nationals utilityman Marlon Anderson has been for the Dodgers? In 20 games since he was traded to Los Angeles, the veteran has hit an astounding .370 with five homers, 12 RBI and an astounding 1.217 OPS. In 109 games with the Nationals, Anderson hit .274 with five homers, 23 RBI and a .754 OPS.

So what’s behind his stunning resurrection?

“When you go from getting ready to make plans for going home to having the opportunity to help a team make the playoffs, it’s easy to get motivated again,” Anderson told reporters. “When you’re with a team that has veteran guys who take good at-bats and know how to play the game and know what it takes to win, that makes it easy.” …

The NL’s last 12 batting titles have been won by six guys: Derrek Lee, Barry Bonds, Albert Pujols, Larry Walker, Todd Helton and Tony Gwynn. If Pittsburgh’s Freddy Sanchez hangs on over the season’s final week, he will become a most-unexpected addition to that dignified list.

Mark Zuckerman

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