May’s 7th Inning Stretch
by Allyus Fritz
This season certainly hasn’t been what many baseball minds were expecting. As with any season, there have been plenty of surprises and letdowns. There have been epic walk off home runs, ball boys catching fair balls, and more little kids throwing foul balls that their father’s handed over to them. Regardless of where your favorite team sits in the standings, baseball is back. Dust off your mit and grab your bat. Here is the first installment of the 7th Inning Stretch.
Money Buys Wins- Or Does It?
The “transitioning” Boston Red Sox are in first while the off-season big spenders, the Toronto Blue Jays, find themselves in the cellar. This was supposed to be Toronto’s year! The Jays picked up Jose Reyes, Melky Cabrera, Josh Johnson, and R.A. Dickey. Instead of competing, the Jays are 11-21 and have a run differential of -47. Dickey still has time to recover from his rough start, however I fear he’s a one-year wonder. Reyes getting hurt was heart breaking. Just like basketball, too many stars are suffering serious injuries. The sports Gods need to intervene and get these guys back on the field.
The Dodgers and Angels have both underperformed as well. Through Sunday the Angels are 11-20, which is their worst start in franchise history. The Dodgers are 13-17 and rank 27th in home runs. Think about it. A team that has Matt Kemp, Adrian Gonzalez, and Andre Eithier… and Carl Crawford leads the team in home runs with 4. The Dodgers need to wake up before the Giants, Rockies, and D-Backs pull away.
Stars Not Being Stars
Mets catcher John Buck is leading the National League in RBI’s with 29. John Buck. No, seriously. Not Ryan Braun or any of the names you’re thinking of. John… frickin… Buck. Buck is also second in home runs with ten, just two behind Justin Upton. Speaking of stars not being stars, Upton should teach his brother a few things, considering B.J. has been essentially worthless offensively. B.J. is batting .149 and has struck out over one third of the time he has walked up to the plate.
Is it strange to anyone else that arguably the two best NL players so far this year have been John Buck and Mets pitcher Matt Harvey… and the Mets still suck?
Josh Hamilton has come down with a case of Pujolsitis, which is when a big name player gets signed by the Angels and then forgets how to hit. Hamilton is batting .208. Phat Albert still wound up having a great season last year, so we’ll see where Hamilton’s season goes from here.
Weren’t the Washington Nationals supposed to be world-beaters? The Nats are off to a mediocre start thanks to untimely hitting and Gio Gonzalez’s 4.97 ERA. Bryce Harper has been as advertised, which isn’t big news. When some pitchers face Harper, they wind up looking like this kid. Simply put, Bryce Harper is really stinkin’ good. Look for the Nats to turn it on soon and make the NL East a two horse race with the Atlanta Braves.
Who has the best record in the NL? None other than the St. Louis Cardinals, who were overlooked by baseball writers in the spring even though they have essentially the same roster that went to the NLCS last year. Super prospect Oscar Taveras will be in the majors before long, even though that means that either John Jay, Matt Holliday, or Carlos Beltran will lose playing time. Cardinals manager Mike Matheny has won’t have enough spaces in the line-up card to keep everyone happy. Must be tough.
The NL has also produced a couple of feel good stories thus far in the young 2013 campaign. Reds player Todd Frazier hit a home run for Teddy Kremer, a young man with Down Syndrome who was a Reds’ bat boy that night. Check out the video here.
Another is the story of Braves slugger Evan Gattis. He had planned on going to Texas A&M out of high school but never showed up to school. He literally was too afraid of failing to try anything new. Since then he has battled a drug addiction and has worked many odd jobs, including being a janitor. He got clean and cleared his head, and now he’s smashing home runs. Way to go Evan.
American League East
We’re all used to this. Boston and New York are first and second in the AL East. The other Easternites, with Baltimore being the lone exception, have been disappointing. As it turns out, the Baltimore Orioles making the playoffs last year wasn’t a fluke. The one run wins stat got blown way out of proportion. Who cares how many runs they win by? A win is a win.
Oh, and by the way, Boston is David Ortiz’s f**king city.
Obscenely Early Playoff Scenarios*
AL- Winner of New York Yankees and Kansas City Royals at Texas Rangers
Detroit Tigers at Boston Red Sox
NL- Winner of Cincinnati Reds and Colorado Rockies at St. Louis Cardinals
Atlanta Braves at San Francisco Giants
I’ll close with this. Wouldn’t it be fun to see the one game playoff be Yankees at Royals? Royals fans haven’t had something to cheer about since Bo Jackson. I would definitely hop on I-70 and see if I could nab a ticket to that game.
The Stretch will see you again in June.
*Based on records and numbers through Sunday, May 5th.