Category Archives: MLB

2012 MLB Season: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Baseball has reached the All-Star break which marks the halfway point in the MLB season.  There have been numerous surprises in the three months of baseball that have been played so far.  David Wright is having an unbelievable bounce-back year.  Tim Lincecum imploded overnight.  R.A. Dickey is in serious contention in winning the Cy Young Award.  And who could forget about the year Josh Hamilton is having over in Arlington, Texas.  The All-Star break is a good place to see where teams stand.  Will they be contenders or not?  Some teams have been good, some teams have been bad, and some teams have just been downright ugly thus far.

The Good

Man what a nice little surprise it has been for the Washington National fans.  I mean the team went through about seven years of hardship and finally a winning team is on the field.  First-round picks Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper have fueled this team to first in the NL East and show no sign of slowing down.  They are an astonishing 15 games over .500.  Davey Johnson looks like he’s that same manager that won the 1986 World Series while managing the Mets.  Their starting pitching has been nothing but outstanding.  They lead the majors in ERA with Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez leading the way.  I think you can definitely see the Nats in the playoffs come October.  The great thing about this team: they’re young.

Who can forget about the New York Yankees?  Yes I know the Yankees are arguably always one of the best teams in baseball every season.  Money is usually one of the big reasons why they are at top for most seasons but not this year.  Plagued with injuries, the clubhouse has not let this get in the way and is one of hottest teams in baseball.  Even with Rivera, C.C., and speedy Bret Gardner, winning has come easy for the Bombers.  Like every year, the World Series is in their grasps.  We’ll see if the Yanks can keep this torrid pace up.

The Bad

What is going on in Miami?  This is the most important year in their franchise and they just can’t seem to do anything right.  First there were the comments made by Ozzie Guillen about former Cuban leader, Fidel Castro.  Guillen failed to realize many of the fans are of Cuban decent.  I mean the ballpark is located in Little Havana!  Then there is the former Mets shortstop Jose Reyes.  What happened to him?  After winning the batting title last season the guy is batting .260.  Met killer Gaby Sanchez is have an atrocious year, to the point where he had to be sent down.  And how about Heath Bell?  The heavy-weight closer has already blown six saves. That’s more than his last season’s total. Yikes.

Before the season started, Detroit was given a 1 in 5 chance in winning the World Series.  Well right now they’re currently two games over .500.  Not terrible but they haven’t been playing very good baseball up there in Detroit.  Aside from Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera who have been tearing it up, the Tigers look helpless offensively.  They have been getting some production from Austin Jackson but not enough from the whole lineup to win a big amount of games.  Their pitching has been good but you’re not going to win if you can’t score runs.  Detroit lost Brandon Inge to Oakland, who has been having a good year offensively, and their power threat catcher Victor Martinez.  Detroit better wake up quick or else they’ll be changing their name to the Pussy Cats.

The Ugly

Wow.  What the heck happened in Philadelphia?  Age.  News flash Phiily.  You do get older and when you get older you’re skill and ability starts to diminish.  Now the Phillies did lose guys like Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, and Roy Halladay for most of the first half of the year but man, oh, man has the team been playing bad as a whole.  Carlos Ruiz has been having a great year and Hunter Pence is showing the Phillies why he was a good trade.  Cliff Lee finally got his first win one start away from the All-Star break.  They are shopping around Shane Victorino who has always been a solid player.  Jimmy Rollins looks old and debilitated.  With Howard and Utley coming back, I wouldn’t be surprised if Philly makes a run but don’t bet on it.  The team is in need of a serious overhaul.  Expect bad times in Philadelphia in the future.

Chemistry is a key part to winning.  And Boston just doesn’t have any chemistry at all.  It started early in the season.  Problems with Bobby Valentine and Kevin Youkilis arose in the clubhouse.  Players took sides leading to a split in the locker room.  Youkilis was soon traded to the White Sox where he is proving Boston and Bobby V that he can still play.  Sparkplug Jacoby Ellsbury has missed the 2012 season.  He was a vital piece to the Red Sox team and Boston sure is missing him.  The Sox are going through the same thing the Mets went through after the collapse.  Added pressure as well the collapse still fresh in their memory.  Boston is 9.5 out of the next playoff spot and is seen to be in serious trouble.

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Mets Get Snubbed…Twice

Wow.  The Mets just keep getting disregarded in the MLB All-Star Game.  First it was David Wright.  A man who is seen as an MVP contender in the NL.  He was beat out by Pablo Sandavol for the third-base starting spot in the game.  Wright was “disappointed” to say the least, and everyone knows who really should have been starting at third-base this year.

Just when the Met fans thought getting belittled was enough for one all-star game, it happened again!  This time the culprit was Tony LaRussa.

Let’s look at the numbers, shall we?  Dickey’s stats tell the whole story.  This season R.A. Dickey has better numbers in categories like ERA, WHIP, and strikeouts, just to name a few.  And if you’re not a statistics type of fan riddle me this.  One can make an argument saying Cain threw a perfect game this season.  Look at his opponent.  He pitched against the Houston Astros.  The team that’s twenty games under .500.  And I guess Dickey’s back to back one-hitters don’t matter?

Could it be that baseball does not respect the knuckleball?  Knuckleballers have a history dating back for a long time now and have been seen as streaky.  Yes, I know Dickey can’t control where the knuckleball goes once it is travelling to the catcher’s mitt but his numbers aren’t out of sheer luck.  Dickey throws the knuckler faster than any other pitcher who had this pitch in their repertoire.  Plus he has that fastball to fall back on if he needs to.  The numbers don’t lie.

The more and more I watch the MLB All-Star games, the more I realize how foolish the idea of how this game dictates home field advantage in the World Series.  I have a feeling Dickey will take the mound for the NL All-Stars at one point in the game, just a couple of innings too late of his rightful place.

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Is Bryce Harper an All-Star?

Is Bryce Harper a worthy all-star?  The answer is pretty simple.  NO.  Harper, who wasn’t even chosen to be in the all-star game to begin with, is that 19-year old phenom you keep seeing on ESPN.  When I first started hearing about this kid I was impressed.  He was touted to be the next huge star once he came up to the big leagues.  Well he’s here.  Although I don’t think he’s an all-star, I’m not belittling what he has done for the Washington Nationals at all.  I mean for a 19-year old rookie, his numbers are pretty darn impressive.

In 62 games started this year Harper’s stats down the line are .282/.354/.472.  Impressive for a rookie just getting his feet wet in the majors but not good enough to be an MLB All-Star.  Harper was the last choice by the fans to be entered into the game.  That just shows a true baseball fan that all that vote consists of is fan appeal and popularity.

I think it’s great for the MLB that a player as young as Harper has been granted admittance for this game.  But have we all lost sight of what the all-star game is really supposed to determine?  Between David Wright not starting, R.A. Dickey not starting, and now Bryce Harper earning a spot on the all-star roster, the NL All-Star team looks completely overmatched by the AL All-Stars.

There are some great players that could be seen as more deserving than Harper.  Players like Jason Kubel, Martin Prado, and Hunter Pence.  And the fact that Harper was announced as a write-in before Michael Bourne is utterly ridiculous.  Aside from all my complaining about the MLB All-Star game I just want to see my team’s league win.  Home field advantage plays a huge role in determining the winner of the World Series but I guess MLB feels a need to give this game a title of importance.

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Catch a Glimpse of Mets Future in All-Star Futures Game

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Tune in to ESPN 2 at 5 PM EST to watch Wilmer Flores and Zack Wheeler represent the New York Mets in the All-Star Futures Game in Kansas City. Flores will be starting at third base and batting sixth for the World Team while Wheeler will be available out of the bullpen for the US Team.

If you are home to see the game, it will definitely be of interest to you Mets fans. Matt Harvey closed out last years game in Phoenix, Arizona and has since become a widely talked about prospect throughout the major leagues. Here’s your chance to see Flores and Wheeler do the same and put on a show.

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Mets in Trade Talks With Rockies

The Mets, who are in need of a right-handed bat and bullpen help, are currently in talks with the Colorado Rockies over catcher Ramon Hernandez. New York is looking to acquire the veteran backstop without trading away any important prospects such as Josh Edgin, Matt Den Dekker, or Domingo Tapia. In 101 at-bats, Hernandez is batting .215 with four home runs and 15 RBI in 2012.

The Mets would most likely send utility player Justin Turner to Colorado in the deal. There has been news that New York is also trying to acquire LHP Matt Reynolds in the trade, providing Terry Collins with a second lefty in the bullpen. Reynolds has a 3.38 ERA this season and has a 3-0 record in 39 games for the Rockies this season.

I don’t really like this trade too much. Sure the Mets need a right-handed bat and they would not have to give up that much in the trade, but Hernandez is only hitting .215 which is not much better than what Mike Nickeas is doing. The chemistry of the team is good right now and pitchers supposedly feel very comfortable pitching to Nickeas. Why mess with the pitching staff? As for Reynolds, he would be a solid pickup but the Mets could give AAA reliever Josh Edgin a try before making a trade. I understand why the Mets are looking at right-handed catchers like Hernandez, Miguel Olivo, and Kelly Shoppach. But this is something they should have addressed in the off-season before they handed Nickeas the back up catcher role. 

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Parnell To Take Role of Closer

After the Mets found out that their closer had a strained left oblique strain, many questions arose. The main question: Who is going to be the closer? I thought it was going to be former closer Jon Rauch but I’m not surprised he wasn’t given the chance. Bobby Parnell will be awarded the job temporarily until Francisco comes back.

Parnell is having a better yearthan most people expected. In 36 appearances this year Parnell is 1-1 with a 3.19 ERA. Though he has solid numbers, there have been times where Parnell have performed subpar.

Last year, the Mets gave Parnell a few opportunities to close. The result. Not pretty. Parnell blew 4 of his 7 chances in September before the Mets handed the ball to Jason Isringhausen. Hopefully these numbers will prove wrong this season as Parnell matured as a major leaguer.


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Dickey Talks Knuckleball, Career

On ESPN’s Baseball Tonight, R.A Dickey spoke with Orel Hershiser on his career struggles of being a conventional pitcher as well as his journey on learning the knuckleball.

The interview can be seen here: http://search.espn.go.com/interview/videos/mlb/ra-dickey/new-york-mets/6-43-4294927022-4294876929

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