Baseball is almost to the halfway point. Thanks largely in part to three factors:
- The NBA Playoffs
- The NHL Playoffs
- Living in Yankees/Mets country and hating both the Yankees and the Mets
I have to admit that I haven’t watched many games this season. Actually, except for the occasional nationally televised Red Sox or Phillies’ games, I haven’t watched much baseball at all. If I hadn’t eaten at least one hot dog over the 4th of July weekend, I’d be concerned with my status as an American. (cue Ryan wiping his brow in relief.)
But thanks to research, I am able to cobble together at least
five four thoughts about the 2013 season.
Thought Number 1: The Red Sox seem to be doing it with smoke and mirrors
As of this morning, the Red Sox are in first place in the American League East with a record of 54-37, which is the best in the Major Leagues- although both the Cardinals and the Pirates have better winning percentages. Yet this weekend, the Sox lost 2 of 3 to the Angels (43-45, 3rd place in the AL West) and last night, lost to the Mariners (40-49, 4th place in the AL West.) Jon Lester, the “ace” of the staff, started the season strong, but has since gone all Don Draper on the team, falling off the wagon and settling in with a less than ace record of 8-5. The team’s other ace, Clay Bucholtz, has been on the disabled list for a while and if not for John Lackey…yes, John Lackey, who is 6-6 with a 2.80 ERA, you’d have to think that things would be a lot worst.
It’s the old reliables that are doing it for your 2013 Boston Red Sox: Dustin Pedroia (.320/5HR/50RBI,) David Ortiz (.318/17HR/61RBI,) and my dad’s favorite player, Jacoby Ellsbury (.301/30RBI/36SB.) Those dudes are getting help from Daniel Nava (.296/10HR/51RBI) and catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia (.267/8HR/36RBI.) However the hype surrounding Jackie Bradley, Jr. got left behind in Florida and last year’s glimmer of hope, Will Middlebrooks, currently looks like either next year’s glimmer of hope or some other team’s glimmer of hope. Other new additions (Mike Napoli, Shane Victorino, Stephen Drew, Ryan Dempster) get mixed reviews.
I’m sorry Red Sox, but after the past two years, you’ve made it hard to completely buy into the success you’re having. Until the team’s success as a whole feels like legitimate hope, than it will all be considered a glimmer of hope.
It should be noted that picking up either Cliff Lee or Matt Garza might help.
Thought Number 2: Just let the kid play
Does Yasiel Puig deserve to be on the National League All Star team?
Should Yasiel Puig be on the National League All Star team?
And do us all a favor Sports Media people, stop asking players what they think. Baseball players are old-fashion to a fault. Asking a baseball player what they think about a change in the game or hot new kid on the block is akin to asking your grand father what they think of today’s music.
Baseball needs Puig. Just like last year they needed Bryce Harper and Mike Trout. If the All Star game happens sans Puig then Major League Baseball will have only themselves to blame when reviewing what will most likely be disappointing ratings for this year’s game.
Thought Number 3: Chris Davis, you best not be lying, sir
Chris Davis, first basemen for the Baltimore Orioles (who are currently in third place in the Al East) is your home run leader at the halfway point of the season with 33 home runs (as of today.) Homeboy is cock-blocking Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera’s chance at being the first player ever to win back-to-back Triple Crowns. You’ll get your chance to see him in action during next Monday’s Home Run Derby because there’s a good chance you have yet to watch one minute of an Orioles’ game.
But this isn’t your parent’s Major League Baseball. So unfortunately the question has to be asked: Is Chris Davis on steroids?
Unfair? Yes. But life is unfair. If anyone should know that, it’s someone living in Baltimore. Just ask anyone on The Wire.
Prior to this year, Davis’ career high for home runs was 33, which he had last year. As previously noted, he has already hit that many this year. A jump like that raises questions. Specially are you on steroids, which someone asked Davis on Twitter. Davis succinctly responded: no. He went even further to say he feels Roger Maris, not Barry Bonds, holds the single season home run record. Davis has never failed a test, nor has been implicated in any of the PED scandals which have dogged baseball in recent years.
So basically we have every reason to believe he’s telling the truth.
Unfortunately for Davis, that’s not enough anymore.
Thought Number 4: R.I.P. the Golden Era of Phillies’ Baseball
It was a good run for the Phillies. The Phillies, from 2007 to 2011, won more than 88 games every year and won the World Series in 2008. The won the National League East each of those years. But last year, they finished with a record of 81-81 and ended up 17.5 games back. The team’s nucleus during those golden years: Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard are all still around, yet none of them are remotely close to the players they once were. Yesterday, Howard was placed on the disabled list for 6-8 weeks with a torn meniscus. The reality of that though is that it’s less an issue of the Phillies losing their starting first baseman and more of an issue of the Phillies shelving an aging platoon player with an un-tradeable contract.
And speaking of trades, Cliff Lee, the same Cliff Lee who took less money to sign with the Phillies a couple years ago and made GM Ruben Amaro promise not to trade him away again, is on the trading block. The Phillies, who attempted to shift from an offense-centric club to a pitching-centric club are now essentially a boring baseball-centric club, with scant remnants of either philosophy still kicking around south Philadelphia. Roy Halladay is on the DL for the year, Cole Hamels couldn’t buy himself offensive support and the team’s lone bright spot is young slugger Domonic Brown, the same Domonic Brown who teased Phillies’ fans for the past couple of years.
Blow it up, Amaro. Just blow it up and start it over.
But before you do, fire yourself. Because you sir have done a terrible job.
Five Second Half Predictions…
1. Puig goes down with an injury…not a serious an injury, but enough to derail him for the year
2. At least one of the Uptons gets hot and carries the Braves to the NL Championship Game
3. The Pirates don’t fall apart and win the NL Central
4. Manny Ramirez never makes it to the majors with the Rangers
5. Alex Rodriguez plays forty games for the Yankees before suffering a season-ending injury