June’s Seventh-Inning Stretch
By Allyus Fritz
Baseball is now in full swing. Contenders have begun to emerge, however the playoff picture is still as unclear as one of Alex Rodriguez’s drug tests (I’ll get to that later). Soon basketball and hockey will be over, leaving baseball to rule as the king of summer. Summer time… and the livin’s easy. Dust off your mit and grab your bat. Here’s June’s Seventh Inning Stretch.
Miguel Cabrera vs. Chris Davis
It looks like a two horse race for MVP in the American League… and for the Triple Crown. Migy and the Orioles’ Chris Davis have had monster seasons, and neither one looks to be slowing down. Cabrera, fresh off winning the Triple Crown last season, is leading the AL with a .373 batting average and 66 RBI’s. Davis is second in both of those categories, but is leading in home runs with 20. If Cabrera can find a way to beat Davis in home runs, which he is only down by three, he will win another Triple Crown. That would be one of the most incredible feats in the history of sports. Stay tuned.
The future is here, and it is oh so bright. Youth has taken over all across the majors, causing a changing of the guard to occur right before our eyes. Domonic Brown leads the NL in home runs with 18 and has overshadowed Ryan Howard in Philadelphia. The D’back’s lefty Patrick Corbin leads the NL in wins (9), has zero losses, and has a 2.06 ERA. Paul Goldschmidt, who also makes his home in the desert, now leads the NL with 54 RBI’s. Tampa Bay’s Matt Moore is tied for the most wins in the AL with 8. Soon Wil Myers will be in the bigs for the Rays, which will no doubt be an extremely exciting moment for that franchise. Combine the names that I just mentioned with Bryce Harper, Stephen Strasburg, Manny Machado, Mike Trout, Matt Harvey, Starlin Castro and Yasiel Puig, and we have ourselves the stars of tomorrow. Get used to all of these names.
The most young guns on any team belong to the St. Louis Cardinals. Injuries have allowed the mind-boggling amount of talent in AAA Memphis to seep up into the majors. Starting pitchers Shelby Miller, Michael Wacha, Tyler Lyons, and John Gast have all performed well at the major league level. Miller leads the NL in ERA and has been a vital component to the Cardinals’ success this season. Combine those starters with all the youngsters in the bullpen and in the field, and you have yourself the NL’s best team. Oscar Taveras, or “Little Vlad” as some call him, will be starting in right field next season and might be brought up before then. One thing each Cardinals fan can assure themselves of is this: St. Louis is guaranteed to be a winning team for the next decade.
Why can’t this topic just go away? The MLB is now seeking to suspend all players related to the Biogenesis clinic in Miami that was run by Anthony Bosch. How about this Bosch guy huh? He’s now testifying against all of these players in order to get out of trouble. In fact, rumor has it that Alex Rodriguez owes him thousands of dollars, which Bosch may have attempted to blackmail Rodriguez into paying him. In the words of Tony Kornheiser, “do I think he may be a bit of a sleazebag? Yes.”
Players who may be suspended pending this investigation are A-Rod, Ryan Braun, Melky Cabrera, Gio Gonzalez, and Nelson Cruz, to name a few. What a hit to baseball’s collective psyche. I understand what the commissioner’s office is trying to do. Bud Selig wants players to know that there is zero tolerance for steroid use in baseball. If you cheat, you will get caught. I’m not saying their crimes should be forgotten about, but at the same time, baseball loses credibility every time this topic is brought up. Hopefully someday people will stop trying to blatantly cheat the system.
My All-Star Picks
Let’s get back to more positive topics, shall we. Here is my current starting all-star team for each league.
Pitcher- Clay Buchholz, Bos Pitcher- Adam Wainwright, STL
Catcher- Mike Napoli, Bos Catcher- Yadier Molina, STL
1st Base- Chris Davis, Bal 1st Base- Paul Goldschmidt, Ari
2nd Base- Robinson Cano, NYY 2nd Base- Matt Carpenter, STL
Shortstop- J.J Hardy, Bal Shortstop- Troy Tulowitzki, Col
3rd Base- Miguel Cabrera, Det 3rd Base- Pablo Sandoval, SF
Left Field- Alex Gordon, KC Left Field- Carlos Gonzalez, Col
Center Field- Adam Jones, Bal Center Field- Carlos Gomez, Mil
Right Field- Kendrys Morales, Sea Right Field- Carlos Beltran, STL
Honorable Mention: Buster Posey, C, SF
Domonic Brown, LF, Phil
The NL Central continues to impress. If the season ended today, three NL central teams would find themselves in the playoffs. The surprising Pirates would be making a trip to Cincinnati for the one game wildcard playoff, and the winner would then travel to St. Louis to take on the birds. The rivalries here would be wonderful to watch, especially considering there is bad blood between Cincinnati and St. Louis. Hopefully this would happen again.
The Washington Nationals and San Francisco Giants are both running in to the same problem: injuries. Bryce Harper, Ross Detwiler and Stephen Strasburg are all on the DL for Washington, while Ryan Vogelsong has hit the DL for the Giants. The fact that Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum, and Madison Bumgarner are all ice cold either hasn’t helped either. Starting pitching injuries hit every team during the course of a season, but these two teams are having problems coping with them. One team that isn’t having that problem: St. Louis. I already talked about the best farm system in baseball (shout out to Pittsburgh and Minnesota as well), so I’ll move on.
The Kansas City Royals have gone from pre-season darling to the cellar. The Royals have been disgraceful at the plate. Alex Gordon leads the team with 6 home runs, and is legitimately the only field player having a stand out season. Mike Moustakas is hitting a sickening .180 and Billy Butler has only hit 5 homers, which just doesn’t cut it for the all-star caliber player that he is. Something needs to change in Kansas City if they want to prove all the positive pre-season columns that were written about them right.
The Oakland Athletics are not having any problems with winning. The A’s are now a half game out of first place in the AL West and have won 8 of their last 10. Somehow they just keep on trucking even though the casual baseball fan could probably only name one or two players on the team. That one player would probably be Coco Crisp.
The AL East continues to be the AL’s strongest division. Boston, New York, Baltimore, and Tampa Bay all are in the running. Like I predicted, the Rays are back in the saddle and have won 7 of their last 10. They are just 4 games behind the first place Red Sox and are on the rise. If David Price comes back off the DL and brings his Cy Young caliber stuff with him, the Rays turn in to one of the most dangerous teams in baseball.
Obscenely Early Playoff Scenario
1. St. Louis Cardinals vs. wildcard winner: Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Cincinnati Reds
2. Atlanta Braves vs. 3. Arizona Diamondbacks
1. Boston Red Sox vs. Wildcard winner: New York Yankees vs. Oakland Athletics
2. Detroit Tigers vs. 3. Texas Rangers
Hopefully this wouldn’t happen in the Yankees at Athletics game. Talking to you Jeremy Giambi.
See ya in July.
*All numbers and figures as of Friday, June 7th.
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