Well, as much as I thought I would be busy this upcoming year, I have realized that I have a lot more time on my hands than I thought I would. I had planned on not being able to write on this blog for a while, since I would be doing track this year. Since I have the extra time, I figured I’d get back to blogging on the MLBlogosphere. And I mean c’mon. Can you blame me. I couldn’t stay away from this too long. And what a perfect time to come back, right as the playoff races are coming to a conclusionn. There is still no winner in the AL Central and NL West, the Yankees are dominating and the Red Sox got lucky to even get into the playoffs as the wild card, considering they haven’t been able to win consistently recently. Well, I’m back and… HERE WE GO!
To start off, the Tigers’- Twins series last week was phenominal. Every morning before school I would make sure I got to the t.v. and see the score of the game. It was a great series. Orlando Cabrera came up big in one game. Another, the Tigers’ pitchihng was dominating. The Twins had no answer. It was a great series.
The Yankees have been 100% untouchable over the past few weeks. Now, by untouchable, I don’t mean they haven’t been able to lose, because they have, but when they did, it hasn’t really struck anybody as a tough blow, the Yankees haven’t lost that much recently but when they did, it didn’t hurt. They have been on that kind of roll.
The Red Sox… well, I guess I can say they deserve to be in the playoffs over the Rangers who have all but fallen off the edge of the earth this past month. The Red Sox haven’t done all that much better. They clinched on a night when both them and the Rangers lost. They have been about as inconsistent of late than any other losing team. They won’t make it very far into the playoffs. If history runs its course, they will beat the Angels, but they won’t get past the Yankees in the ALCS if they even get that far.
The playoff race in the NL West has gotten a little slow lately but that is comparing it to the way it was when the Rockies were unbeatable. They have lost a few key games over the past few weeks but the race is still close. Neither the Dodgers or the Rox have clinched and it will most certainly go down to the wire. One thing that is definite… the Giants made a run but their pitching couldn’t carry them all the way. They need to hit too. All I have to say to the Rockies is this… if you’re gonna go out there and lose, you better watch out for the Braves who could easily sweep out of no where and take the wild card.
That’s all for now and I feel great. Until next time…
I am more focused on football season coming up than on the playoff races in the MLB that are going on right now. I am a huge football fan, both college and professional. I’m a Longhorn at heart and a Pats fan since forever. Football is my favorite sport overall and I really enjoy watching it. Now, being a small guy, I’m not really the kind of guy that plays competitive football at my high school, but my friends and I have our own little thing going on which we play each other every week. It’s pretty fun and I enjoy playing all the time.
Now, although I am focused on football more than baseball right now, I am still keeping up with the major headlines around the league. Here are my top three headlines from yesterday.
- Halladay one-hits Yankees
- Red Sox are slaughtered by White Sox, Rangers Creep up on Red Sox in Wild Card Race
- The Rox keep on rolling in the NL West
I didn’t even realize that the Yankees had a seven game winning streak going into last night until I saw it on Sportscenter this morning. When I saw that, I was just thinking, Wow the Yanks are unstoppable right now… then we ran into Roy Halladay.
Since the trade deadline in which Halladay was most likely to be traded, he hasn’t really been on top of his game the way he has been the first part of the year. Now, I’m not saying he was bad. Because that is the last thing he was. He still was throwing really well but the offense wasn’t giving him all the support he needed. He had his off days and his record stumbled down with a few losses. Last night was a sign of how good he really can be. And against a powerhouse like the Yankees helps his point.
Simply the only hit he gave up against the Yanks was a double down the line for Ramiro Pena. It was a really disappointing loss as a Yankee fan but you really have to appreciate how good Halladay was. He was brilliant.
Freddy Garcia was also very good last night against the Red Sox. Another great performance against a powerhouse. Garcia finished the game after throwing six innings, giving up seven hits, and one run. He struck out five in his phenominal performance. The Red Sox just could not get anything off him. It was pretty much the total opposite for Paul Byrd who started for the BoSox. Byrd was chased after two and a third innings. He was just aweful. He gave up seven runs on ten hits, including a homer. He did strike out three but that didn’t really mean much after his early departure.
The White Sox’s power surge last night was something that we know the Sox could have but the question was when would it happen. Last night is when. The Red Sox lost and that meant a huge problem was about to happen in the Wild Card race if the Rangers and Rays both won.
The Rangers won over the Orioles last night behind Scott Feldman who was just STELLAR. This win was huge for the Rangers as it moved them within two of the Wild Card lead. The Red Sox better be careful the rest of this series with the White Sox because if they can’t pull it together, they will surely lose the Wild Card spot.
Jason Giambi… everyone remembers him right? Well, after last night, you should. He hit a go ahead single to bring in the go ahead run for Colorado as they went ahead over the Arizona Diamondbacks. This come from behind win is going to prove to be huge as they win the Wilid Card spot for the playoffs. I am sure they will win it and that is my very confident prediction. The Rox have been a sight to see the past couple months as they have just streaked throughout their schedule and have really made a big impact on the league. Their presence in the playoffs is going to be great. Who knows how far they will go if they continue to streak like this.
Back to football. The Patriots open their season up against the Bills on Monday Night Football next week. It is going to be a huge stage to open the season up and the Patriots are going to start up what is going to be a super year for them. I am predicting they win the Super Bowl over the Packers this year and redeem theirselves as the champs of the league. They really are the best team in the league. And I think they will win the Super Bowl this year. With Brady back and healthy, that should be a no doubter.
The Texas Longhorns are my other favorite team, being in the NCAA’s. Colt McCoy is my favorite college player and when he gets drafted into the NFL he will then be my favorite NFL football player. Texas is always going to be my favorite team in the college level just because I have followed them for a while now. The thing about college is that players cycle through. They play in college and then are drafted and new guys come in. Texas is always going to be my favorite team even if the powerhouse goes down in the future when their star players are all gone. But I think Texas is one of those teams that continues to get new guys that will be great throughout college from their freshman year through their senior years. Colt McCoy is that kind of example.
Go Pats! Go Horns!
Finally, the LaRoche brothers will not be mistaken for the each other. No longer will people see the name A. LaRoche on the scoreboard and say, “Which one is that?” No longer will I see the name on my fantasy stat follower and also be confused. And basically, no longer will Pittsburgh be the owners of the two brothers that confuse the crap out of many baseball fans. Now here this… you can’t imagine how confusing it is to see the name A. LaRoche and have to wonder which one it is. It is extremely annoying. I’m not sure which guy it is.
Well, now the Bucs won’t have to worry about mistaking either of them for the other any more. The Bucs have traded ADAM LaRoche to the Boston Red Sox for a couple prospects. The addition of LaRoche is a good one, giving them another bat to add to their all ready powerful arsenal. But the question is this… How often will he be used. There is no where to put him. With Youkilis at first, and Lowell at third (for the time being), there is no where to put him so you would imagine he would get a spot start here and there. But maybe they got him because Lowell is going back to the DL. In this case LaRoche would get first base with Youk sliding over to third. Who knows? It’s still a good move regardless.
On to other news. What’s up with all those day games today. I went to the movies this afternoon with a few buds to catch the matinee of the new Transformers movie and I hung out at the mall next door to it all afternoon. When I got home and turned on ESPNews, I saw a bunch of replays from games that had already been played. I was thinking, “What’s up with that?” I was bummed but then again, the only game that would be on t.v. near me would be the Red Sox-Rangers game which is on later tonight. So that wasn’t that big a deal.
Also- THE YANKS ARE IN FIRST! I am pumped about this. The Yanks are on fire, the Red Sox have sucked so far this second half, and life is good as a Yankee fan.
Well, that’s all, not much happening today or yesterday.
P.S. I suggest everyone go see Transformers 2 because it was a great movie. Very intense. A lot of action. It was great. Shia LaBeouf- great job; Megan Fox- hot as ever; Optimus Prime- Very awesome.
Now, seriously, tell me that is not one of the best backdrops to a stadium in all of the MLB stadiums. You’ve got a beautful stadium already and then you’ve got a nice calm, city outside the stadium and the famous St. Louis arch. It’s just a great sight and I think it is this picture is one of the best of any other MLB related picture.
So the guys that outperformed the rest of the MLB are going to be playing in one of the best stadiums around the MLB to try and secure their respective leagues a home field advantage for the 2009 World Series. Now, the past twelve years, the AL has won. No doubt, domination. The AL has just produced more top players than the NL and they have outperformed the NL the past decade + some. The pitching has been better the hitting has been better and the coaching has been better. Everything that makes up a team has been better on the AL side than the NL side.
In the 2003 All Star Game, Texas Rangers 3B Hank Blalock hit a pinch-hit two run home run in the eighth inning off, then, one of the best closers in the game, Eric Gagne. The shot was a no doubter and it put the AL on top and would be the game winning shot. That was the closest the NL has come to winning an All Star Game in the past twelve years other than the 2002 All Star game that ended in a tie.
This year, the NL may have a little better of a lineup but the AL counters it with a pretty good lineup itself and maybe some better pitching. The starters in the game are both very deserving of their spots: Roy Halladay and Tim Lincecum.
In my opinion, the NL has a better offensive lineup having a ton of power hitters , all capable of going yard at any moment. The AL has their offensive up sides as well, very little seperating the talent of the two lineups, but the AL may have a little more all around good play. They have more guys that can do the little things to win and the NL doesn’t necessarily have that.
On defense, the lineups are stacked with gold glovers or close to gold glovers. Solid defensive players all around and it will be interesting to see how the defense affects the game. As most of you know, defense is a huge part of the game. It may not seem so but it is. There have been some big defensive plays that have changed parts of the games in the past. You all remember Torii Hunter’s rob of Barry Bonds’ homer in the 2002 All Star Game, the one that ended in a tie because of the lack of pitchers. Yeah, if that ball had gone out, the game may not have ended in a tie. In fact the NL would have finally won an All Star Game.
The MLB stars that have been voted into this game have earned their spot and deserve their chance to represent their respective leagues. The game will hopefully be an intersting one. It is usually a great time, the All Star Game. And I don’t think there is a better place to have it than in Busch Stadium with the St. Louis arch in the backround and the fans pouring into the stands to watch the best of the best play America’s pastime. The stars will shine bright into the St. Louis night.
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!