Strasburg is signed, the Yanks were kept scoreless by their former comrad, and the Cards continue to dominate the Dodgers, MLB’s best team. Here we go…
Yesterday I talked about the whole Strasburg situation. Well, he’s finally signed; it took until 11:58 Monday night to get it done. Another Scott Boras guy, Strasburg was drafted number one by the Nats and is expected to be the start of a reformation in the nation’s capital.
Here’s a comment I got on my post from yesterday by Julia from Julia’s Rants:
“Dillon- Jacoby Ellsbury has to be near the top of your list as well. Many a wall wear scares from him. And Strasburg? Sadly another case of his devil of an agent trying to extort money from teams.”
Julia put it right on the money. Boras has the reputation of extorting money from teams trying to sign his clients. He definitely gets his clients money but he is not like much by other players, teams, and fans because of how he does it. For the Nationals, they are probably ecstatic that they were able to sign Strasburg. Boras took it down to the last minute until Strasburg told him to get it done because of his wanting to play. It’s done now and you can expect to see Strasburg in the nation’s capital next spring.
Hey, Yankee fans! Remember this guy. Yeah. It’s Brett Tomko. He kind of played for us this year until we released him in July because he wasn’t performing to the level of success that we needed him to. Yeah, him. Well, he’s on the Athletics now and he just shut us out yesterday. What a shame.
The Yankees were held to seven hits and were walked twice. Tomko was definitely on his game for the first five innings of the game before he was taken out. And even after he was relieved, the Yankees were still baffled by the Athletics’ pitching. They just couldn’t get it done. After Tomko came out, they only got two more hits. That’s terrible. How could this happen against the A’s of all teams? Well, at least we can say AJ Burnett and Derek Jeter had really really good games.
Burnett went a complete game (8 innings) of STELLAR work. He only allowed six hits, one less than the Yankees had as a team. He struck out five and walked two. Not a bad performance. In fact, it’s a very good performance. This would be the kind of performance we would assume came in a Yankee victory. But unfortunately the Yankee bats were held quiet. But not Derek Jeter.
Jeter went 3-4 with three singles. He didn’t do much more than that but at least he was able to have some success agaisnt the Oakland pitching. Mark Teixeira and Nick Swisher both hit doubles, their only hits of the game. Jorge Posada and Ramiro Pena both hit singles as well. The Yankees still have a seven game lead on the Red Sox in the AL East.
Chris Carpenter was dealing last night against the Dodgers. He went eight innings of work giving up only five hits and a walk. He struck out eight. He only gave up two runs on the game which is a good sign as for his run control goes. The offense also helped out. It took until the end of the game to pull ahead but it happened eventually and Carpenter was still on the mound to record the win. Pujols homered in the fourth to tie the game at one apiece. Then in the seventh, Rick Ankiel sent a bomb to deep right center to go ahead 3-2. The Cards kept the lead with Trevor Miller and Ryan Franklin who combined to pitch the ninth. The Dodgers seem to have no answer for the Cards this season. They could be a deadly foe for the Dodgers in the playoffs as the Cards may have the top of the Central division come the end of the season. Who knows, maybe the Cards will out play the MLB’s best team.
The Cards went shopping on Friday as they snagged Matt Holliday off the trading block from the Oakland Athletics. I know everyone else is talking about this but this is a big story in my opinion. So here we go.
You know that guy, Albert something… PUJOLS yeah that’s it. That guy that is really really really good. Yeah him. He’s that guy that keeps the Cardinals offense going. And now, he’s finally got the protection in that lineup that he needs to be better. But honestly, can he get any better?
Matt Holliday will slip right into the fourth spot in that lineup and will surely produce the numbers that he did with Colorado. With Albert in the same lineup, this automatically becomes one of the best 3-4 batter duos in the MLB. Albert’s got more protection and the Cardinals may have gotten the piece they need to stay ahead of the rest of the tightening NL Central race. It’s going to be good and this move makes them a lot better. And what a better start with a new team than by going 4-5 with a double, an RBI, and a run scored.
With the Athletics, Holliday struggled. Going from a homer friendly park in Coors Field to a homer not so friendly park in Oakland is a tough transition. Holliday is now in St. Louis and I think his offensive numbers will improve. His production in St. Louis will be worth the three guys the Cards gave up.
I’ve been pretty busy the past few days and have been unable to get a post up here so I’m sorry for all of you readers who have had to wait for another post to come up. Well, I had some people staying at my house and we’ve been pretty busy. So that’s that.
When the people who were staying at my house left this morning, the first thing I did was check the MLB.com page to see what’s been going on the past few days. So here are my headlines.
- Yanks are still 3 games back of the Red Sox.
- The Yankees and Phillies both made clutch late performances to come up with wins.
- Clay Buchholz was phenominal in his return to the Red Sox rotation against the Jays.
- Roy Oswalt had it going against the Dodgers.
- Ryan Braun got hit in the hand by Bronson Arroyo and left the game with a sore wrist.
So now that I am all caught up, I thought I’d talk a little about the second half and what is to come in the MLB. It’s going to be exciting and I can’t wait. I am pumped for the playoff runs to come, to see who will take the top spots in the divisions around the league, who will get that wild card spot. It’s going to be great.
Let’s start off with them Yankees. Of course. Right now, they are 3 games back of the Red Sox in the AL East. They’ve been stuck in this position for a while now and I’d like to see it change. If we could get a few games back from the Red Sox that would be STELLAR. We got a win last night apparently against the Tigers. Some late game heroics from Mr. Teixeira gave us the lead and we kept it to take the series opener 5-3. This is good but Clay Buchholz and the rest of the Red Sox pitching kept the Jays at bay and won their game as well. So the standings stayed the same… again. It’s great that we’re winning, but we need the Red Sox to lose to get anywhere.
Now, transitioning from the Yankees-Tigers game… Curtis Granderson, the Tigers centerfielder, one of the heroes from the All Star Game, and my favorite player kept his STELLAR play going by going 2-4 with a home run and 2 runs scored. He has been having a great season so far and I love to see him keep it up. The Tigers are at the top of the AL Central right now and Granderson has been a big part of their offensive success. Keep it up man.
Next on my list from inside my head is the Dodgers. Man, how good are they. Now, they lose some here and there but so far in the first half of the season, they have racked up the wins and have the best record in baseball. They do it so quietly too. It’s weird. They have the play-makers on their team that are starting to be recognized for what they have done such as Andre Ethier, the O-Dog and Rafael Furcal. But as a team, they are very quiet and do very well without making a ton of noise. I think they will continue to play extremely well and will most likely have the best record at the end of the regular season and will have the top spot in the NL West… as usual. Manny’s return just strengthened a team that had already been thriving without him.
How about that Albert Pujols? After a disappointing All Star Game, Pujols bursted out with a 2-4 night, including a home run, 2 RBI, and 2 runs scored. He was just STELLAR. His offensive production is the single most important aspect to the Cardinals’ game. If he is not playing well, the Cardinals are going to struggle. Now, I don’t see that happening but if it does, that’s how things are going to be. Pujols is the best player in the MLB and is clearly recognized for it and has a very important role. He’s fantastic!
That’s all for now, so until next time…
As you can see in this picture of Prince Fielder, he uses every inch of his body to produce power to send a ball into the stands. Last night, he used his body to the fullest 23 times as Prince Fielder won the 2009 Home Run Derby in St. Louis.
To start off the Derby, Nelson Cruz of the Texas Rangers stepped up to the plate and put on a show, sending multiple bombs to deep, deep left field. And I mean deep. This guy really had some serious power. He ended the first round with a promising 11 homers that would hopefully be enough to get him into the second round.
Prince Fielder followed with another 11 home run performance in which he sent his own fair share of blasts into the outfield bleachers. Both guys put on a show and were in hope of having a second round spot available with there 11 home run totals.
The show was set on Albert Pujols, one of the best all time hitting in front of his own home crowd. He came up last in the lineup for the first round as the suspense built as the St. Louis crowd waited for his arrival. Unfortunately, Pujols dissapointed and didn’t get into the second round with astonishing numbers that many thought he would produce. Instead, his five home runs were good enough for a “bat off” as Chris Berman and the rest of the commentating crew called it. So Pujols competed in a competition of five swings against Carlos Pena and Joe Mauer who also had five homers in the first round. Carlos Pena came up first and hit one out. Mauer failed to get any over the fence, and when Albert came up, he hit two to satisfy the crowd and assure him a spot in the second round.
Now, the other hometown boy, Ryan Howard, got some love from the crowd as he advanced to the second round to continue his quest for a second Home Run Derby victory. Howard sent a handful of blasts into right, right center, and center field to get the crowd behind him. The majority of his shots were liners and not too many bombs. It was still pretty fun watching him do well back in his home town though.
The first round proved fatal for my pick to win it, Adrian Gonzalez, as he only hit two over the fence. He came close on multiple shots that hit the wall or the warning track but was unable to get the ball over the fence enough to advance to the second round. So there went my pick right off the bat, but I still had other reasons to be proud at my picks.
Brandon Inge EPIC FAILED! He was shutout not even coming close on any of his hits. The closest he came was when he hit a line shot down the left field line that was clearly foul. That was his final out. So, I was right about Inge, who shouldn’t even have been there, doing a terrible job. He sucked!
So after the first round here are the guys that were still in it:
In the second round, Albert Pujols came back up to the plate after batting last in the first round and batting last in the bat off. Now he had to get a pretty good amount of home runs just to get to Cruz and Fielder’s totals of 11 from the first round. By the end of the second round bid from Pujols, he had a total of 11, probably to be beaten by both Cruz and Fielder.
Ryan Howard came up following Pujols and put on a late show with only a few outs left to go. He finished the second round with a promising 15. There was a possibility of him being in the final round. But after Fielder and Cruz batted, that dream was shattered.
Cruz went on to bat after Howard and put on another powerful performance sending many balls to the upper decks down the line in left and to the deepest parts of the park. He secured a final round bid with a total of 17 homers through the first two rounds. Now all that was to see was if Mr. Fielder could pass Howard’s mark of 15 and he did that to move on to the final round. A matchup of Cruz and Fielder. Two very powerful guys that would surely put on a show.
In the final round, Cruz batted first and put up five blasts to give Fielder a battle for the title. Fielder came up second and without even getting six outs, Fielder surpassed Cruz’s mark of 5 homers to win the 2009 Home Run Derby. His first Derby victory ended with a blast to right center field into the stands full of cheering fans.
Fielder’s victory was solid, sending the three longest shots into the night, including a 503 foot homer. The longest he has ever hit, he said after the contest, and it was definitely a blast. It was the longest of the Derby and Fielder put on the show that everyone expects at least one person to do. Last year it was Josh Hamilton, although Fielder’s show wasn’t as great as Hamiltons, but this year Fielder put on the show that made the whole thing worth watching for me.
Last year, Hamilton’s run of home runs was probably the best moment of recent baseball history. His story leading up to that point just made it all the better. Many pictures of the moment were captured but I think this one is the best.
Fielder and his Brewers teammate Ryan Braun celebrated after his final home run as they would at a regular game in which one of he hit a home run. Their little routine that they do finished off a great night for Fielder. As Hamilton had his great moment captured many times, as did Fielder.
Congrats to the 2009 Home Run Derby, Prince Fielder!
Man, the Yankees can’t seem to pull out a win against either the Red Sox or the Angels. It’s bad enough that we were just swept by the Halos but now we’re three games out of first behind the Red Sox who are the second team we have been unable to figure out for the first half of the season. Yesterday, we sent CC to the mound in hope of stopping the sweep, but I guess that didn’t go over very well with the Angels because they still beat us. The final score was 5-4 and the Yankees unfortunately ended the first half of the season on a sour note. A sweep, not my idea of a good end to the first half.
As far as the Yankees go, they didn’t play all that bad. CC pitched all right going 6.2 innings giving up nine hits and three walks. He gave up all five runs that the Angels would get in the game. When he was relieved in the seventh, Phil Hughes came out from the ‘pen and continued his dominance from the ‘pen. He went the remainder of the game giving up two walks and striking out one. A STELLAR performance from Mr. Hughes.
The offense played pretty well too. Here are my top performers for the day:
Derek Jeter- 2-5, 1 RBI
Melky Cabrera- 2-3, 2 Runs, 1 RBI
Jorge Posada- 1-1, 2 RBI
Hideki Matsui- 0-1, 1 Run, 3 Walks
Phil Hughes- 1.1 IP, 1 K, 0 Runs Allowed
So, the All Star break is here and the Yankees are second in the AL East, three behind the Boston Red Sox. We’ve got some guys representing the Bombers in St. Louis for the game and I feel that the second half of the season is going to be a good one.
Now onto other thoughts running through my brain right now…
The Home Run Derby is tonight and I have a feeling it is going to be a good one. In the NL, there are a quartet of first base sluggers that are definitely give us a good show.
In the AL, there are a few guys that I don’t feel will last very long, not mentioning any names… Brandon Inge… cough cough.
Here are the rest of the AL contestants.
Albert Pujols will dominate the general competition sending balls into the stands left and right. Adrian Gonzalez will be the Josh Hamilton of 2009. He is the one guy that I don’t think is getting a lot of credit for being here. He is going to have a great derby. Fielder and Howard will do well in general but I don’t know if they will make it to the second round. Brandon Inge is out after the first round. Nelson Cruz will make a run as will Carlos Pena. I think Joe Mauer will have a good derby despite not being considered as much of a power hitter as the rest of the competitors (not including Brandon Inge). Mauer will make it to the second round but probably not much further.
After first round, guys still in it:
Albert Pujols, Adrian Gonzalez, Ryan Howard, Joe Mauer
Gonzalez will use his high home run count from the first round to stay ahead of the pack and get into the finals. Pujols will continue to hit a ton of bombs. Mauer and Howard will fall despite having another round of good numbers. They won’t catch up to Gonzalez and Pujols.
After second round, guys still in it:
Albert Pujols, Adrian Gonzalez
It could go either way and I think either guy will have a great chance at putting on a show and getting the victory. Personally, I would like to see Adrian Gonzalez win it because I think it would be nice to see him get credit for being the big power hitter that he is. He can go the other way better than any of the other competitors and that is why he is my favorite to win the event.
Overall, the Home Run Derby is an event for the fans and it is usually greatly enjoyed. I am looking foward to seeing this one. It’ll be a great time.
Hey. This is for all of you umps from the Yankees-Jays game yesterday that missed a bunch of calls. Most of them being involved with Mr. Jeter. Yeah, the league’s top vote getter for the All Star game. The leader of this Yankees team. Yeah. You know who I’m talking about. I think you need to take a team field trip to a store to get some of these…
When Jeter stole third in the first inning, I was extremely mad. Jeter had a right to be as well. This was the first time I’ve ever seen Jeter argue a call. He is such a classy player and will only argue if he knows he is right. He got in there with his hand before being tagged and was clearly safe. He was right and his arguing would be backed up. Here was Jeter’s reaction after the game:
“I was just baffled by the explanation. I was told I was out because the ball beat me, and he didn’t have to tag me. I was unaware the had changed the rules.” Sarcasm is always fun when you know you’re right. Girardi got tossed for arguing the call and the crowd went wild when he walked back to the dugout. This whole situation was messed up. And that was just the beginning of it.
In the third inning, Jeter grounded a ball hit into the hole between third and short and did his signature jumping throw to get Aaron Hill out at second. The only problem was this… the ump called Hill safe when he was clearly out. Now Jeter didn’t argue this call because he didn’t have the best view of that end of the play. But the replays that they showed on t.v. clearly showed Hill getting to the bag late and that he was out. Yet another frustrating moment for Jeter courtesy of the umps.
Now, Jeter’s day was pretty tough, the Yankees lost, but not all was bad. Remember that Eric Hinske? Yeah, he made his debut for the Yanks yesterday and wasn’t too bad. In fact, his first at bat, he blasted a shot to deep right for his first homer. It was great. Also in the game, Hinske ended the first inning with a diving catch to rob Vernon Wells of a hit. He had a great debut. It could have been even better when he stepped up to the plate in the ninth inning with the Yankees down one. They had scored a couple runs already in hope of making a comeback, but Hinske struck out and the game was over leaving the Yankees with a loss. It was tough, but Hinske still had a really good game.
The ninth inning was yet another crazy comeback inning that the Yankees have had so abundantly this season. Thanks to the early struggles of the bullpen, the Yankees offense has had to make comeback after comeback. Well, that hasn’t been the case recently but it was last night and it almost happened again. We were only down one when Hinske stepped up to the plate. We were down three at the beginning of the inning. Alomst another crazy comeback but this time we took the loss. The upside to this is that the Red Sox also lost to the Oakland Athletics.
On Other Notes Around the MLB
- The Phils scored 10 runs in the first inning of their game against the Reds. Johnny Cueto, who many believe to have been and All Star snub, had 9 earned runs in 2/3 of an inning. When he was taken out, he was extremely mad at himself.
- Jason Marquis made another STELLAR start for the Rockies. He went eight innings giving up seven hits and two walks. He struck out three.
- A’s rookie Brett Anderson two hits Red Sox in first career shutout. A’s win 6-0 in Nomar Garciaparra’s return.
- Pujols, Fielder, Howard, and Gonzalez to compete for NL in home run derby.
So it was a busy day yesterday, huh? I’m wiped from being outside all day for the first time all summer with beautiful weather. So I’m out.
So, the midsummer classic is coming up and some of my pals have been bugging me to post my picks for the game. Now, most of them are no doubters but others people might have an argument against. Well here they are.
C: Joe Mauer (Twins)
1B: Mark Teixeira (Yankees)
2B: Dustin Pedroia (Red Sox)
3B: Evan Longoria (Rays)
SS: Derek Jeter (Yankees)
LF: Jason Bay (Red Sox)
CF: Curtis Granderson (Tigers)
RF: Ichiro Suzuki (Mariners)
P: Roy Halladay (Blue Jays)
C: Yadier Molina (Cardinals)
1B: Albert Pujols (Cardinals)
2B: Orlando Hudson (Dodgers)
3B: David Wright (Mets)
SS: Hanley Ramirez (Marlins)
LF: Ryan Braun (Brewers)
CF: Raul Ibanez (Phillies)
RF: Brad Hawpe
P: Tim Lincecum (Giants)
Now as you have probably noticed on many other ballots before, the AL squad is stacked with Yankees and Red Sox players. That is because they are the two best teams in the AL and they have the most All Star worthy players. So don’t yell at me because I picked them because one- they deserve it, and two- a ton of others have picked them in their ballots. Two Cards start at their own home stadium for the game (Pujols and Molina).
This past off-season was highlighted with the Yankees’ shopping spree in which they signed three of the top free agents on the market; Sabathia, Burnett and Teixeira. But among all the noise that the Yankees were making, the defending champion Phillies were making their own moves, including one to bring former Seattle Mariners’ outfielder Raul Ibanez to Philly. Now, Ibanez has been very good over the last few seasons of his career. When the Phillies signed him, they were hoping he would be a good replacement for Pat Burrell, who left to the Rays as a free agent. Ibanez has proven to be more than a good replacement. He is the Phillies’ top offensive player so far this season. Here are some of his stats:
- .312 batting average
- 22 jacks
- 59 RBI
- .656 slugging percentage
- 164 total bases
This guy is just tearing it up. Now, a strained groin has him on the 15 day DL. What a kick in the groin. Ibanez’s STELLAR season so far is going to have to go on hold for a little bit. And the Phils… they lose their top offensive production. Not that they don’t have any more (Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Jayson Werth, Shane Victorino), but this loss is a huge misfortune for the Phitting Phils.
Being the defending world champs, they have had a lot on their shoulders, as has any other defending champion team. They have pretty much lived up to their expectations of having another good season. But this loss might end up being fatal to their championship run. With the tough NL East, the Phils will definitely have their hands full.
Ibanez was on pace to easily be in the running for MVP. Others in the NL that could make a run for it this season may be Albert Pujols, his teammate Chase Utley, David Wright and Brad Hawpe (I know a lot of you don’t know him but he’s having a really good season for Colorado).
The strained groin might keep him out for the All Star game, which he has the most votes for among NL outfielders. He is just having a great season and this injury may have ruined it. Hopefully for the Phils, he can heal quickly and they can get him back in time to continue their run for the playoffs.