It’s a running joke for us fans of American League teams to decry the NL as “AAAA” or “AL Junior Varsity” of late. To prove the theory, most point to the AL’s interleague record (577-430 since 2006), the fact that the AL has won the last 13 all-star games, or, perhaps the most fun, the names of players who have thrived once changing leagues to join the NL.
We love pointing out the resurgence from Pedro once joining the Mets (3.90 ERA w/ Boston in ’04, 2.82 ERA with NY the following season), Matt Holliday’s crazy hot streak, Javier Vasquez, Ted Lilly, Kyle Lohse, Bronson Arroyo and a host of others to prove the AL’s superiority. I imagine this bums out the National League fans to no end.
Well, the nightmare isn’t over, NL fans, and here is why: John Smoltz. After being released by the Red Sox for his putrid 8.32 ERA and 1.70 WHIP, he signed with St. Louis and promptly threw 5 scoreless innings in his first appearance, including 7 consecutive strikeouts (9 total). The AL-NL disparity has a new poster child, and thy name is John Smoltz.
And sure, you could retort by telling me about his peripherals hinting at such a performance, or tell me this is a laughably small sample size to make such a conclusion, and yada yada calm down etc, and I get it, but…no thank you. I am going to chalk this up to yet another in a laundry list of examples that the NL is terrible right now, and, relatedly, conclude that the newly signed Rockie Jason Giambi is going to hit 60 homeruns in the last month of the season. Mark it down, dude.