Tagged: Tigers

Playoff Prediction (AL)

Now how about that?  The Twins are in the playoffs.  I bet no one believed they could do it.  I bet everyone thought the Tigers were a lock for the division but look who’s in the playoffs now.  Regardless of who it is, the Yankees are going to sweep them.  They are just too good.

The Twins pulled off a miracle win last night and it really was a great game to watch.  The fans at that game must have been going crazy the entire game.  After the game went into extras, I knew the Twins had it in their hands.  I just had a feeling.

There were so many great plays and happenings in the extra innings that made it such a great game.  Brandon Inge’s diving stop at third, Ryan Raburn’s throw from left to get Casilla out at home.  It was all great stuff.  The twins were able to come out victorious and I am not taking anything away from the Tigers.  They played a great game.  It’s just that the Twins were able to come up with one more extra run that ended up winning it.

Well, now that the Twins have finally reached the postseason, they have the amazing prize of playing the Yankees in the ALDS.  Just oodles of fun.

     

Prediction 1:  Yankees vs Twins

Yankees Sweep

If you look at the season series numbers between these two teams, it seems as though the Yankees have easily taken the series by storm and have the obvious advantage in about every statistical category.  Well, although Joe Girardi says it has been a closer series than it looks on paper, the Yankees will easily sweep the Twins in the ALDS and will move on to the ALCS.  Three simple aspects of the Yankees’ game can explain why I am so confident with my pick for them to win the series:

Tremendous Offense, Dominating Pitching, Phenominal Defense

And then again, they have Derek Jeter

 

Prediction 2: Red Sox vs Angels

Red Sox win in 5

This matchup is going to be a lot clsoer than the Yankees’ against the Twins.  For one, the Red Sox have not proven to me over the past half month that they can win consistently against teams that are actually good.  They haven’t really been consistent at all and that is why I think this series will go five games.

The Red Sox have a really good pitching staff that they are bringing into the playoffs.  As long as their pitching is good, I think the offense, which has struggled a little of late, can keep up.  The Angels on the other hand, have also had some pitching problems.  They still have some really reliable guys on their rotation but the offense has been phenominal this year.  They have a good squad but I have to pick the Red Sox in this matchup.

-Dillon

The Zack Greinke For Cy Young Post

When talks about the AL and NL Cy Young awards comes up, the general consensus usually comes up with four or five solid candidates for the awards.  This season, there is no doubt that the NL race is between these three guys:

  • Tim Lincecum (SF)
  • Adam Wainwright (StL)
  • Chris Carpenter (StL)

So, that race is one in itself.  The AL race is a totally different race from my perspective.  There are so many quality guys in the AL that are worthy of the award but since I pretty much have to narrow it down to a few guys, I have come up with five guys that could possibly win it.

  1. CC Sabathia

Being a Yankee fan myself, you have to think I’m gonna start off with the top guy in the Yankees’ rotation.  And he is not just on this list because of where he plays.  He is a legitimate candidate.  Sabathia came just short of reaching twenty wins for the season when the Rays tore up the Yankees on Friday, 13-4.  CC just wasn’t on his game and unfortunately he was unable to make it to twenty wins.  That doesn’t mean his chance at winning Cy Young were shattered.  No it just means that he isn’t going to have the distinction of having twenty wins.  It’s alright.  Adam Wainwright was also denied twenty wins when he recorded a no decision in his final start of the regular season.

Sabathia has had the pleasure of playing in New York and behind an offense that is probably the best in the league at scoring runs.  That right field fence has looked great all year for Yankee hitters and he has really taken advantage of that.  His record to finish off the season is 19-8.  A solid record for any pitcher.  To get to 19 wins is a huge aspect of his Cy Young resume.  His 8 losses aren’t too bad a total but Sabathia definitely had some trouble at the beginning of the year that drew up that ugly loss total.

Sabathia’s ERA at the end of the season totals up at 3.37 which is a respectable one.  Any ERA below 3.50 is generally considered solid.  Sabathia has really picked it up toward the end of the year compared to the beginning of the year.  He had real trouble early and that is why his ERA after the first month of play was really high.

Sabathia also finished the season with 197 strikeouts.  He finished two complete games and one shutout.  Sabathia’s season was definitely worthy of a Cy Young award.  But personally, he would be my third choice for the award this year despite being a Yankee.  I know it’s unfortunate but I am making my picks according to how good they had over the season and Sabathia did not have the best season among the AL pitchers.

2.   Felix Hernandez

This young flamethrowing Mariner is a clear candidate for the Cy Young this year.  His season has included two complete games and one shutout.  He struck out 211 guys over the season.  And guess what… he still has one more start today.  Despite playing for a Mariners team that lacks much offense, other than Ichiro, Hernandez has done a great job of maintaining his success.  Hernandez has one more game to go but his current record is 18-5.  A record that is a little better than Sabathia’s.  Sabathia does have one more win than Hernandez but Hernandez has less losses.  It’s close but that is not the only thing that goes into account when thinking of a Cy Young resume.

Hernandez has a phenominal 2.38 ERA which to me is just fantastic considering he doesn’t get much run support from the M’s.  He really can control a game and knows how to get it done like the best of them…. wait a minute, he is one of the best of them.

Hernandez’s age is what is so amazing.  He is so successful so early in his career, this being his fifth year in the league.  He still has a long way to go and this success and poise he is showing now will surely get him into high places as his career goes on.

Hernandez also finished the season with 232 innings of work which is clearly more than any other guy on the Mariner rotation or bullpen.  He has really done something special in Seattle this year and he is a legitimate Cy Young candidate as well.  He is my second pick in this contest.

3.   Justin Verlander

Verlander has also had a fantastic season.  He has led that Tigers team back to the spotlight in the AL Central after a few really really really really… okay you get the point… bad years.  With the Tigers on the brink of a playoff birth, Verlander will be a key to the Tigers’ success if they get to the playoffs.

Verlander finished this season with a 19-9 record.  A very good one that easily compares with Sabathia’s and Hernandez’s that will go up as the top three records in the league.  Verlander has been a solid… more than solid… top of the rotation guy for the Tigers.  He has been the vocal point of this team all year.  The offense hasn’t been great but it has been good enough to support the pitching and Verlander hasn’t really needed all that support.  With the stuff he has, there isn’t really much you can do to support him other than put a single run up on the board.

Verlander always finishes at the top or near the top of the strikeout list.  This season, he finished with 264 and every one made the opposing batter just look back and think about how good the pitch was.  Verlander is that good.  You always have to include this flamethrower in the Cy Young conversation.  The only difference this year is that his team has been a little more successful and he has gotten more recognition that he has the past few years.  Verlander’s ERA was also fantastic this season at 3.45 which is a little lower than Sabathia’s.  To me, either him or Sabathia would go third in my voting but I would put Sabathia there because of the success of the Yankees this year.  Nothing against Verlander but they are both great performers.

Verlander also finished the season three complete games and one shutout.

4.   Roy Halladay

You always have to include Roy Halladay in the Cy Young talks no matter what.  He has had that kind of influence in this league since he came into it as a rookie.

Halladay’s numbers this year have been down and his Cy Young resume has decreased in value.  Much of this came from the constant rumors of his being traded at the deadline in the summer.  His performance surrounding the deadline shows many stats that are uncharacteristic of his career.  Some bad losses, tough ERA numbers.  And just about anything that can go wrong during an outing.  It happened to him.

Halladay didn’t have a terrible season though.  His record was 17-10 to finish the season.  Not terrible but a tough number of losses.  He probably could’ve come up with a win or two more but that was due to the trade rumors and the fact that the Jays had a tough time getting runs on the board over a period of time over the summer.

Halladay is the lowest on my list of candidates for every reason I explained to you now.  He finished with nine complete games and four shutouts, which are two stats he holds over the other candidates in this competition.  He struck out 208 guys which is a respectable number.  His season has been a generally good on but not a Cy Young good season.

Winner:  Zack Greinke

I know, I know he’s on the Royals.  But that is a key reason why he is the winner of this competition.  I mean come on… a Royals pitcher in this conversation?  That’s ridiculous.  Well, it’s not.  With the numbers he has put up this season, he is clearly the best pitcher in the AL.

His record doesn’t give him justice of how well he has pitched.  At 16-8, Greinke has lossed more games than he should have if he had more run support.  His ERA is a league low 2.16.  That just proves that he really didn’t get enough run support ot get the wins.  If he gave up one or two runs a game, he lost the game because of the lack of run support the Royals’ offense gave him.

Greinke also put up some good strikeout numbers finishing the season with 242.  He six complete games and three shutouts.  With the team he was pitching behind, I think it is possible that he could get a loss when he threw a shutout.  Just kidding but still, I’m just making a point.  Greinke’s season would’ve been no doubt a perfect Cy Young season if he was with any other team that could put up three or four runs a game of run support.  The Royals have had a tough history and Greinke has been unfortunate enough to be stuck on that team and be such a great pitcher.  With the talent he has, he is no doubt the Cy Young award winner in the AL this season.

P.S.  My NL Cy Young vote is Adam Wainwright.

-Dillon

Tigers Need To Go Undefeated

In undefeated, I mean these next two games.  Since they have decided to make it a lot more interesting in the AL Central than it needs to be, the Tigers will need to win both of their remaining games to clinch the division.  If they do not, they could let the Twins slip into that division lead.  And therefore give the Twins a playoff birth.  The Twins have been playing well of late and they could easily beat the Royals a couple more times.  Last night they won 10-7.  Today won’t be as easy a task as the Royals send Zack Greinke to the mound.  He is beatable but I wouldn’t count on it.  It will most certainly be a challenge.  As far as the Tigers go, they better get their pitching scenario figured out.

Last night, Edwin Jackson, who has been all but and All Star quality pitcher since the All Star break, went five innings and gave up eight runs.  It was another terrible performance from Jackson who the Tigers desperately need to get back up to speed if they want to go anywhere in the playoffs, assuming they make it.  Right now, the only consistency in that Tigers rotation is Verlander and Porcello.  Jackson hasn’t been there, the recently added Jarod Wahsburn hasn’t pitched all that well since being aquired and Jeremy Bonderman has just had a run in with the Twins series.  It’s gonna be a tight race no matter what but the pitching is key for the Tigers right now.

Regardless off who was pitching last night, the Tigers offense has been good enough to rely on recently but last night, Jake Peavy shut them out.  Peavy has really shown what he can do against a quality offense.  The White Sox are really looking forward to having the Jake Peavy of last night next year.  He will be a big part of that team.  Here’s a quick prediction for next year… watch out for the White Sox.

The Tigers have had a long and grinding year.  They have been in the talk of the city’s troublesome economy and how they have brought hope to the city.  If they make the playoffs this year, that will be the icing on the cake for that city which is really in need of something special.  Now, if they make the playoffs, they will have the uneasy task of playing the Yankees in the first round.  It won’t be easy and it probably won’t end well for the Tigers but the fact that they made it to the playoffs will be a great thing for the Detroit citizens.

Honestly, I am rooting for the Tigers to get in.  But it really comes down to winning.  They can’t rely on the Twins losing since they are playing a weak Royals team.  They NEED to win and need to win now.  A one game lead is nothing to stand by at this point.

Today, the Tigers have rookie Alfredo Figaro going.  It will be the biggest game of his life, at leas at this point, and he will be asked to go out and give a phenominal outing.  They really need the pitching.  I can’t stress that enough.

-Dillon

It Doesn’t Get Any Better Than This

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…

Go Yanks!

Go Braves!

-Dillon

Detroit Downers

From MLB.com

Curtis Granderson has manned center field for the Tigers long enough to ignore taunts from fans when they’re on the road. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t listen.

They’re not taunting him as much. They’re making fun of his city.

“You hear the razzing: ‘Hey, man, I wouldn’t want to live in Detroit,'” Granderson said. “Or, ‘Nice city. The motor industry’s gone. Now what else do you guys have left?'”

He’s heard it before, but it stings a little more now.

Wow.  That’s all I have to say about this.  I read this article and I started thinking that people can be really harsh when it comes to the economy.  I mean, really.  The Tigers are a baseball team that happens to have Detroit as their home.  They are having a successful season and taunts from fans come all the time to every team.  But when fans of opposing teams start making fun of the Tigers for playing in Detroit, that’s just messed up.

Detroit has been the center of motor vehicles for so long and now it is gone.  The economy has definitely payed its toll on Detroit but the Tigers continue to thrive.  The Tigers’ baseball organization is a part of the economy, believe it or not.  Some people don’t think of it that way but it is.  It is a legitimate way of bringing in money to the area.  In fifth grade, I did a project on economics for my history class.  I decided to do it on the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry.  The topic was to see how much money this certain rivalry, and baseball in general, brought to the area.  The Tigers are the same thing, an economical tool.

When people start making fun of a team because other parts of the town that were important have fallen apart, they really aren’t thinking.  Obviously the car business was the biggest economical company in the area.  It was one of the biggest in the country.  Now that it is gone, Tigers baseball is one of the biggest in the area.  It is no doubt that the city is falling apart, but the people of Detroit have something positive to think about in the Detroit Tigers.

I find it hard to think about that others are making fun of the Tigers for where they play instead of that they are the opposing team.  It’s just weird and I hate the idea that it is actually happening.

If you want to read the actual story on this on MLB.com, here’s the link.  This is where I got the idea for this post but I didn’t really tell the whole story.

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090825&content_id=6608266&vkey=news_mlb&fext=.jsp&c_id=mlb

-Dillon

Will Strasburg Sign?; The Art of the Catch at the  Wall

The San Diego State phenom that has taken the baseball world by storm has until tonight to sign a contract with the team that drafted him.  The Washington Nationals, the worst team in the MLB for the past two years were lucky enough to have the chance to pick Strasburg in the draft but if they can’t sign him, they can just say good bye to their hopes and dreams of having any chance next year.

The situation with Strasburg is a big one.  Pretty much a do or die for the Nats.  Sort of…  If the Nats can’t sign him, they will not have the star pitcher they were hoping to have next year, since it is thought that Strasburg would glide through the minors and join the team next season.  Strasburg could be the start of a new and reformed Washington Nationals club.

The Nats do have a few guys that are pretty talented on offense.  The pitching isn’t that great but they get through the season.  Strasburg could take that pitching staff to a whole new level and put them back among the “not the worst” staffs in the league.  But the thing is, he has to sign to be able to play with them.

My dad and I were having a conversation about this topic yesterday and we both agreed (this rarely happens when talking about sports) that Strasburg should just sign with the team that drafted him if he really wants to play baseball.  He got drafted by the worst team in the league because he was the best player in the draft.  The worst team has the first pick and that’s just how it works.  Some players don’t sign with the teams that draft them just because they are not one of the better teams in the league.  But the thing is, if you want to play, you have to sign.  You may never get picked by the team you want to play for but that’s not your decision.

A bad team is bad for a while because they do not have the talentto keep up with the rest of the teams and their minor league teams aren’t producing the good young talent that will make them good in the future.  After a while, the farm systems start shaping up with some of the better players since they get a lot of high draft picks.  Strasburg is one of them that the Nationals, a bad team, has drafted.  He should just sign if he gets a good enough deal to compensate for his draft place.  JUST SIGN THE FRIGGEN DEAL!

Tony Gwynn, Strasburg’s manager at San Diego State, keeps saying that Strasburg just wants to play and that he is a baseball player.  If he wants to play so badly, then just give him a deal that he is worthy of and he will most likely sign it.

I hate how draftees take so long to sign contracts.  Especially the high draft picks.  They think just because they are the highest of the draft picks that they deserve a contract that some veterans aren’t getting.  They aren’t even rookies in the league yet.  When you get drafted, you sign with the team that took you in the draft, play in the minors for a while, then get your chance in the Majors.  Some get a chance quicker than others but most guys eventually get their chance.  When you get to the Majors, you play for the team that picked you for so many years until your contract runs out.  Strasburg should play with the Nats until his contract runs out (assuming he signs one).  Then when it runs out, you should consider signing a new one or maybe signing one with a different team.  That’s how the MLB works.  It’s always changing.  Some teams are good for a while, then they go bad because they lose their talent and the talent in the farm systems.

I know that if I was in the baseball draft and I got picked anywhere, I would be ecstatic and would sign right away.  I mean seriously.  The money a lot of baseball players get is more than an average person gets doing some non-athletic job.

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Now to another topic.  The art of catching a ball at the wall.  Now, it happens a lot in baseball.  But only so many guys can pull it off.  It requires concentration, talent, and ability to actually catch the ball while hitting the wall.  My favorite player, Curtis Granderson, happens to be an expert at it.

Now, this catch is probably the craziest catch I’ve ever seen.  He’s practically falling over the wall.  It was an amazing catch and I think some of you may be able to see why I like him so much.

Granderson made another great catch yesterday as he snagged a ball while hitting the wall in the Tigers’ game against the Kansas City Royals.  He robbed a Royals’ batter who ripped a ball to straight away center.  He hit the wall hard after making the catch but was able to hold on and was able to run off the field.  Thank goodness I would hate to see him get hurt.

Aaron Rowand is another of the great “at the wall defenders.”  That’s what I call them at least.  He has made many great and spectacular catches at the wall, including robbing a few home runs in his time.  This year, Rowand made a game saving rob at the wall to save a no hitter for the Giants’ Jonathon Sanchez.  It was a key catch and he made it.  He has been considered one of the best center fielders in the MLB for the past many years.  I forget what year it was but when he was with the Phillies he made a nasty catch while running into the wall and banged up his nose and all that.  It must have hurt a ton but he did make the catch.  That just shows you his will to make the play.

Torii Hunter is another one of those great center fielders that has made a few amazing catches in his time.  Currently with the Angels, he has already made many amazing catches since coming from the Minnesota Twins where he made even more spectacular, top ten worthy catchs.  One of his most famous was in an All Star Game in which he robbed Barry Bonds of a home run.  That was great.

There are so many great “at the wall defenders” that I can’t name them all, but these three are tops on my list and I wouldn’t change it at all for another few years before some new faces come into my perspective.  But this is my favorite baseball moment.  When an outfielder makes a rob at the wall.  Whether it is a home run rob or just an extra base hit rob.  It’s all great in my mind.

-Dillon

Fried

Hey everyone.  I’m back from my unexpected leave of absence.  Now, when someone takes a leave of absence from whatever, there are usually some pretty good reasons for taking a break.  Sometimes work or other activities get in the way and their schedules are too cramped up for whatever they are taking a break from.  Now, my excuse… a fried computer.  My computer basically exploded and we had to get a new one.  My parents took like a week to get it too so I was unable to keep up with anything I did daily on the internet.  I couldn’t keep up with this blog.  Now with my fantasy teams.  Nothing.  But now I’m back and I’m ready to discuss what was probably the craziest moment from this week.  And we all know I’m all about the crazy.

               

The Red Sox and Tigers opened up a four game series on Monday night, the day that my computer fried.  So, it was set to be a good one.  The Sox had just been swept by the Yankees, much to my liking, and the Tigers are still in the race for the top spot in the AL Central.  You wouldn’t really expect fireworks in an out of division game like this.  But of course, it’s the Red Sox and they have had their fair share of fights, in division and out.

Now, this was the most recent brawl that the Red Sox were involved in.  This one was between the Sox and Rays, or should I say, Coco Crisp and James Shields.  Shields threw a fastball that clunked Coco in the right thigh.  After the pitch, it seemed as though Coco was just going to go down to first but then all of a sudden he charged the mound, ready to get it on.  Shields threw a punch and wiffed as Coco dodged it and caught Shields in the back of the head as other Rays’ players came over to defend Shields and take Coco off him.  Then the benches cleared and you know the rest.  This is the memorable pic from that fight.

Now, how can you forget the Red Sox Yankees brawls from the past.  Here’s the most famous one in which A-Rod and Varitek went at it after Rodriguez was hit by a pitch.  A-Rod and Varitek exchanged words as Rodriguez was walking down to first.  Then, with a gesture of his hands, A-Rod taunted Varitek who then threw his glove into Rodriguez’s face and it was on.  Here’s that famous pic.

Then there was the other famous fight in which Pedro Martinez threw Don Zimmer to the ground.  That was really a crazy one.  I remember watching it with my dad and I was like, whoa, I can’t believe Pedro did that to an old man like Zimmer.  Here’s that pic.

Just face it world.  The Red Sox are fight prone.  They have been involved in some of the most memorable fights in recent history.  They have all been caused by pitchers throwing at batters.  They have all been between in division rivalries.  And they have all been crazy adventures to watch.  Just get over it Red Sox Nation.  Your team is a fighting team.  Now, that’s not totally a bad thing.  I mean if you get thrown at then you should be angry.  But charging the mound and throwing punches shouldn’t be how it ends.

When Kevin Youkilis was hit by a pitch from Rick Porcello, Youk was fired up.  He had reason to be.  Only one batter earlier had Porcello thrown at Victor Martinez.  But the pitch missed Martinez inside and Martinez himself was a little fired up.  He didn’t charge the mound though.  When the next batter Youkilis got hit, he knew he had been thrown at.  He charged the mound and him and Porcello tumbled to the ground as the rest of the two teams charged out from the dugouts and their positions in the field.  It was crazy.  Here’s that memorable pic.

Youkilis was FRIED with a five game suspension.  Porcello, a five gamer as well.  It was indeed a crazy fight and the sparks were once again started by a pitcher throwing at a batter.

Now, here’s a fun fact.  The four brawls that I mentioned in this post all took place at Fenway Park.  Intersting.  Maybe the Red Sox just like getting the fans behind them by getting in a brawl.  I don’t know but it’s a thought.

Until next time…

-Dillon

Thoughts From 7/19/09

Top Thoughts:

  • Yankees Gain Two Games on Red Sox
  • Mets Have Serious Injury Problems
  • The Nats Suck
  • Halladay is a Stud
  • It is Possible to Have One Really Bad Game and Then Be STELLAR the Next Day

So Here we go on my thoughts from July 19th, 2009.

The Yankees have been absolutely phenominal lately.  They just finished a sweep of the Tigers to continue this hot streak of fantastic play.  Everyone is contributing and as a fan, it is great to watch.  It’s a thrill.  CC’s performance from yesterday was thrilling to see.  Finally he has come up in a huge spot and performed the way we need him to (not just so we get our money’s worth I might add).  It was a true pitchers duel.  CC and Verlander, the Tigers’ ace, was just a sight for sore eyes.  And to see CC come out on top it was just great.  So, with teh Yankees winning and playing extremely well, the question is, what have the Red Sox been doing.  Well, thanks to the Blue Jays and Roy Halladay, the Red Sox have failed to top the Jays in two consecutive days.  This is STELLAR news for the Yankees because this means we have gained two games on the Red Sox at the top of the AL East.

So, the Blue Jays owe most of their success to Roy Halladay this season.  His season on the mound has so far earned him an All Star Starting position, a huge spot in the trading market, and has just improved and improved on an already phenominal career.  His performance against the Red Sox today proved that he is the best pitcher in the AL and possibly the entire MLB.  Now, that’s saying something.  Against the Sox, he through a complete game, had seven K’s and only gave up six hits and a run.  He was totally STELLAR!  He will surely win the Cy Young in the AL at the end of the season, assuming he continues to dominate the way he has so far.

The Mets have injury problems!  It’s as simple as that.  They have lost key guys on both offense and in the pitching staff.  Starters, relievers, powerhouses, and pretty much every other type of guy they have lost so far this season.  The injury I think is probably the biggest for this Mets team is Carlos Beltran.  This guy was one of the biggest offensive performers on this team (and that’s saying something considering he shares the lineup with the likes of David Wright, Jose Reyes, and Carlos Delgado).  He was also a very solid outfielder.  Jose Reyes was the spark of the Mets offense.  He got on base, ran (or at least made the pitcher worry about him running), and got into scoring position quickly giving the rest of the lineup to drive him in.  There would be a great chance of that considering the guys I said earlier are in the middle of the lineup behind Reyes.  JJ Putz in the bullpen was supposed to be the shutdown set up guy that would lead the way to K Rod.  It was said that once the Mets got to Putz in the eighth, the game was over.  Putz, then K Rod, then, well, the game is over.  They won’t have any chance with what they have now.  Although the guys replacing the big time stars are doing pretty well, the guys that they have lost are extremely important and will cost this team dramatically.

The Nats Suck!  Seriously.  THEY ARE 26 GAMES BACK!  26!  Can you get any worse?  The pitching is dreadful.  The offense has a few guys that can put up some good stats but there is no chemistry.  There is no flow.  Zimmerman, Dunn, Dukes, maybe a few other guys here and there can have a good spurt but overall, they are terrible.  I really can’t muster up anything else to say about them.  They SUCK!

Yesterday, Yunel Escobar had a terrible game.  Missing signs, having a tough game at the plate and in the field, and just didn’t have his head together for the game.  Today, he kicked off the Braves-Mets game in the second with a solo shot to left.  When the final out was recorded, Escobar had gone 3-4 with a homer, 4 RBI, and a run scored.  This just proves my point that you can have a terrible day one day and thrive the next.  Most of you won’t know about my ongoing battle with my friend that has had some pretty bad stretches of baseball in which he has said that he won’t do better the next day.  Well, I hope he reads this because this story proves my point 100%.

Well, that’s all for today.

-Dillon

So What Did I Miss?

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…

Adios!

-Dillon

Stars Shine Bright Part 2

Carl Crawford shined the brightest among the star studded rosters that participated in the 80th All Star Game last night.  With a game saving catch to rob the Rockies’ Brad Hawpe of a home run and a 1-3 night at the plate, Carl Crawford was awarded the All Star Game MVP trophy from the commish Bud Selig.  A great honor for Crawford who’s STELLAR play kept the AL in the game and gave them their 12th win in 13 years of All Star play.  Congrats to Crawford for his achievement.

The game was a very good one, keeping me alert at all times.  Different from the Home Run Derby the night before, the game was exciting and it was definitely worth watching.  Most of the action happened early as the AL scored twice in the top of the first.  The NL scored three times in the bottom of the second to go ahead in the game.  Hmmmm.  Maybe the NL had a shot at winning this thing.  Well, maybe not.

In the fifth, the AL tied the score up with a run on a combined effort from Joe Mauer and Derek Jeter.  The game then stayed scorelss until the eighth in which my favorite player, Curtis Granderson, tripled to deep left off the wall.  Just missing a home run, Granderson swiftly made his way to third to put the go ahead run on.  He was then driven in by an Adam Jones deep sacrifice fly.  In fact when the ball first left his bat, I thought it was going out, but the wind must have knocked it down because it was just short of the warning track.  It was deep enough to drive in Granderson and the AL went ahead.

The NL was then on the ropes for yet another loss in the All Star Game.  They were unable to score in the bottom of the eighth as Joe Nathan got out of a little jam in which he had walked a guy and gave up a hit.  In the bottom of the ninth, as he has his whole career, Mariano Rivera stepped up to the mound and shut down the NL 1-2-3.

Now, as I said in my first edition of this post, defense is a huge aspect of baseball, whether you think it is or not.  In last night’s game, the ball off Brad Hawpe’s bat would have left the yard (barely) if it wasn’t for the great hustle from Crawford.  His great concentration allowed him to catch the ball while hitting the wall.  Michael Young made a couple nice plays over at third base in place for Evan Longoria who was a late scratch with an infection of his finger.  All over the field, people were making some good plays.  Ironically enough, each team had an error.  Well, it didn’t seem to make that much of a difference but still… kind of ironic.

The All Star Game was a blast to watch.  I was pumped that Curtis Granderson was a huge part of the game with his triple and game winning run.  I didn’t know if he would get that much playing time but he did.  In fact, his first at bat was when he hit the triple.  That was the turning point in the game.  It broke a tie and it broke the NL’s chances of winning for the first time in 13 years.  Also, I was glad that Jeter and Rivera had good games.  Teixeira didn’t really have any huge plays but his presence at first was felt as he played a solid game.  The Yankees were well represented with their old skipper on the opposite bench, Joe Torre.

The starting pitching was supposed to be STELLAR but in fact, it wasn’t that STELLAR.  Lincecum had trouble in the first inning where he gave up two runs on two hits.  On the other side of things, Halladay gave up three runs on four hits.  Only two of them were earned as one run scored on a Josh Hamilton throwing error.  The rest of the game, the pitching was pretty good.  Solid all around and it was a great thing to watch.

The All Star Game in general was pleasing to me.  It got me back on track with baseball after a disappointing Home Run Derby Monday night.  I’m pumped for the rest of the season and it is going to be a good one.  The stars shone bright last night and the stars are going to shine bright the rest of the season as the playoffs near.  The Yankees and Red Sox race for the top of the AL East is going to be a good one.  The NL Central is about as tight as it gets.  Everyone’s got a chance.  The AL Central looks like the Tigers are going to take it.  The Dodgers are still the best team in the bigs and will continue to play like it.  Manny’s return will help them even more.  It’s going to be a great second half of the season and I am psyched.

-Dillon