Monday night was an exciting night for major league baseball fans. These are short recaps of some of the best games last night. It was a night of a 14 inning, 16 inning game and 10 inning game. Bartolo Colon won his 12th game of the season. Raul Ibanez hit his 22nd home run, which is fourth in the AL and extended his hitting streak to 13 games. Buster Posey had a 5-8 game in San Francisco, while Andrelton Simmons was 0-7 in Miami.
A look at some of the more interesting games last night:
Rangers 8 Orioles 5 – Scott Feldman of the Orioles was rocked in his second start, since being traded by Cubs to the Orioles. He allowed 7 runs, 9 hits and his ERA ballooned to 7.15. Manny Machado was 3-5 at the plate and raised his batting average to .315, which gave him 122 hits for the season and only 3 hits behind MLB leading Miguel Cabrera with 125.
Tigers 4 Indians 2 (10 innings) – Torii Hunter, Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder were a combined 1-11 last night in the 10 inning game. However, the Tigers defeated the Indians by a 4-2 score. Max Scherzer allowed 2 runs in 7 innings, while the bullpen held Indians scoreless over the last three innings. Only 23,640 fans attended the game in Cleveland, only filing the stands to 56 percent full.
Athletics 2 Pirates 1 – Bartolo Colon is now 12-3 after the Athletics 2-1 win over the Pirates, who have lost 3 in a row. It was a strange game in that the Pirates outhit the Athletics 9-3 but lost the game 2-1. Jeff Locke who has a major league second best ERA at 2.15 took the loss, but held the Pirates to 2 runs and 3 hits in 7 innings.
Royals 5 Yankees 1 – Phil Hughes lost the fifth of his last 7 starts in the 5-1 Royals win over the Yankees. He has only won twice since May 10. It is easy to see why the Yankees struggled to score runs last night, after looking at their lineup in last night’s game. These are the batting averages at the end of the game for some of those players:
Travis Hafner .220
Vernon Wells .237
Travis Ishikawa .105
Alex Gonzalez .194
Austin Romine .132
Eduardo Nunez .216
Those six players were a combined 2-16 with Wells having both of the hits. Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter should be returning to the team later this month. They may not hit well at first, upon returning to the team, but can’t hit any worse than the six players mentioned above.
Braves 7 Marlins 1 (14 innings) – The Braves and Marlins both struggled offensively in this game, with both teams scoring one run in the first 13 innings. Andrelton Simmons 0-7, Jason Heyward 1-5, Brian McCann 0-5 and Dan Uggla 1-6 were a combined 2-23 in the game. The Braves may have won the game, but they still have to be concerned about this offense. Kevin Slowey, the starter for the Marlins didn’t allow a run in 5 innings, but the bullpen allowed all 7 runs in the game. 15,745 fans showed up for the game in Miami, which filled the stadium to only 42.1 percent of capacity.
Cubs 8 White Sox 2 – Matt Garza 5-1, 3.22 ERA allowed only one earned run in 7 innings in 8-2 win by the Cubs over the White Sox.. Any scouts at the game saw Garza at his best, so should increase his appeal to contenders needing another starter. Hector Santiago came within two outs of a quality start but took the loss. The Cubs outhit the White 13-5. The only bright spot for the White Sox was rookie Josh Phegley hitting his 2nd major league home run and is slugging .900 after his third major league game.
pitched and hit the Dodgers to an easy 6-1 win over the Diamondbacks. Greinke pitched 7 scoreless innings and was 3-3 at the plate and is now hitting .370 for the season. The Dodgers hammered out 17 hits, while the Diamondbacks could only muster 4 hits in the contest. Yasiel Puig was 2-5, but the hitting stars for the Dodgers were Hanley Ramirez, Andre Ethier and Greinke who all had 3 hits. Ramirez is hitting .419 but didn’t play his first game this season till June 4, so it is questionable if he will qualify for the batting title this season. Dodgers have now won 13 of their last 16 games. The win moved the Dodgers to within 3.5 games of the first place Diamondbacks in the NL West. They also need only two more wins to reach .500.
Mets 4 Giants 3 (16 innings) – The Mets scored the winning run on a Brandon Crawford error in the 16 inning win for the Mets over the Giants, who have lost 8 of their last 10 games. Gregor Blanco, Brandon Belt, Pablo Sandoval and Hunter Pence were a combined 3-27 in the game. Matt Harvey and Tim Lincecum each allowed 3 runs and 6 hits in 7 innings before leaving the game. The Giants used Sergio Romo in the ninth inning, but the Mets saved their closer Bobby Parnell in the 16th inning as he notched his 16th save of the season.The game last 5 hours and 26 minutes.
Looking at the Standings
The Tampa Bay Rays have the longest winning streak in MLB at 5 games….Any team that is 10 or more games behind the division leader is probably out of the race for the season. Twins, White Sox, Mariners and Astros are the teams in that category in the AL. The NL has Mets, Marlins and Brewers as the only teams 10 or more games behind as of today….Hottest team in last 10 games are the Rays with a 9-1 record, while the Padres are the coolest, with a 0-10 record in their last 10 games….Dodgers at 43-45 are the only second place team in MLB with a losing record….Pirates are 2-5 in June and have lost their last two series to the Phillies and Cubs and they need to win the next two games against the A’s to avoid losing their third straight series.
Anthony Bosch, the founder of Biogenesis drug clinic has agreed to talk to MLB, after having originally balked at cooperating with the MLB investigation. The lawsuit against him by major league baseball has caused Bosch to reconsider his original stance and he also hopes his cooperation will prevent him from appearing in criminal court.
It seems like the primary targets for MLB in this investigation are Milwaukee Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun and New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez.
Braun had this to say about this latest news, after the Brewers defeated the Athletics 4-3 in 10 innings last night in Milwaukee:
“I’ve already addressed everything related to the Miami situation. I addressed it in spring training. I will not make any further statements about it,” he said. “The truth has not changed.”
Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun will have to talk sooner or later to MLB investigators, who are intent on proving that both players bought drugs from the Biogenesis drug clinic in Florida. Both players have denied buying drugs from Biogenesis, but they will find themselves on the carpet soon before investigators, who won’t take no as easily as the media has, when they asked the tough questions, that they don’t want to answer.
The New York Yankees have proved this season, that they can compete in the AL East, without Rodriguez playing and would probably be overjoyed, if this investigation gives them a way out of the huge contract, that they are paying Rodriguez. He is owed $86 million by the Yankees from 2013-2017, which would end their current contract with Rodriguez.
Rodriguez will be 38 in July and if he doesn’t play this season due to a hip injury, then is suspended 100 games to start the 2014 season, that would make him 39 before he steps on the field again. He needs 13 home runs to hit his 660th home run which would enable him to pick up a $30 million bonus. His chances of passing Barry Bonds, who has hit 762 home runs are slim and none at his age. The only way he could have passed Bonds was to have used steroids, but not even sure if they are working, since his home run production is trending downward:
2007 – 54
2008 – 35
2009 – 30
2010 – 30
2011 – 16
2012 – 18
The above numbers show that Rodriguez has hit almost half the number of home runs, in the last three years compared to the 2007-2009 numbers. He will have trouble attracting Hall of Fame votes, especially if he is suspended for another 100 games.
If Braun is suspended the Brewers may try to have Braun’s contract revoked. He is owed $133 million from 2014-2021 and the Brewers front office can’t help but wonder, if Braun can hit the power numbers, without the benefits of steroids.
Melky Cabrera has reaped financial benefit from his steroids-laced seasons. He only hit four home runs and drove in 42 runs in 2011, while playing for the Atlanta Braves. Then in 2012 with the Royals Cabrera found strength from somewhere to hit 18 home runs and drive in 87 runs. Then in the first season of his new $16 million contract for two years for the Blue Jays he has only 2 home runs in his first 58 games.
The Texas Rangers would be particularly hit hard by a suspension for Nelson Cruz, since he leads the team in home runs with 14 and also leads in RBI with 40.
Everth Cabrera of the Padres, one of the players named in the Biogenesis records leads the majors in stolen bases with 24 and has nine more stolen bases, than his nearest NL competitor JuanPierre who has 14. Jhonny Peralta of the Tigers, who is also on the list and is hitting .338, which is third in AL. The loss of Cabrera or Peralta would be a major setback to the Padres and Tigers.
The Yankees could lose their first string catcher Francisco Cervelli, if he is suspended after returning from the disabled list. Bartolo Colon of the Athletics is pitching well this season and his loss would hurt the Athletics, particularly since Colon would be automatically eligible for a 100 game suspension, since he served a 50 game suspension last season.
1998 Home Run Chase With Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa
I have to admit that I got caught up in the steroids-laced home run chase, between Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa in 1998. I thought it was kind of McGwire to talk to the Maris family, after breaking the record, but now I know he knew he was cheating to break the record of Roger Maris. How could he act like he was their friend, when he was taking away a record Maris had set 37 years ago? If he broken the drug without steroids it would have been different, but he knew he was cheating. The Maris family has forgiven McGwire, but still say their dad holds the record. I even question if McGwire was using steroids when he hit 49 home runs in his rookie season.
Baseball commissioner Bud Selig may never admit it, but I think he looked the other way, as baseball fans watched McGwire – Sosa battle for most home runs in a season. Selig knew his owner cronies were getting rich, so wasn’t about to pull the plug on the steroids.
It was only after Congress became involved that Selig and player’s union boss Don Fehr seriously addressed the steroids problem. Then they came up with the “brilliant” idea of letting players use steroids in 2003 without any punishment, so they would know how many tested positive and then implemented testing with consequences in 2004.
Steroids Banned From Baseball in 1991
Steroids first were banned from major league baseball in 1991, but tests for steroids weren’t installed till 2003. That is 12 years that steroids use was rampant, with several players that cheated wining MVP awards for their league. These are some of the questionable MVP won by steroids users:
1996 – Juan Gonzalez
1998 – Juan Gonzalez
1999 – Ivan Rodriguez
2000 – Jason Giambi
2002 – Miguel Tejada
2003 – Alex Rodriguez
2005 – Alex Rodriguez
1996 – Ken Caminiti
1998 – Sammy Sosa
2001 – Barry Bonds
2002- Barry Bonds
2003 – Barry Bonds
2004 – Barry Bonds
2011 – Ryan Braun
That is a total of 14 Most Valuable Player awards given to players, who more than likely were using steroids that year.
You will notice from the list below that most of the steroids users had unusually high slugging percentages:
It is sad that steroids have been banned from baseball since 1991, yet 20 players could possibly be suspended for using steroids in the next month or two. A policy instituted 22 years ago still isn’t being adhered to by the players. Maybe if all 20 of these players are suspended it will be a wakeup call, for players thinking of using steroids in the future.
It isn’t fair to the other 730 players supposedly playing the game the right way and abiding by the rules of baseball, for cheaters to have an advantage, whenever they walk on the playing field.
This process will take some time, as each player is interviewed by MLB investigators, with the player’s union having a lawyer present during the questioning. This isn’t the ideal situation for MLB to be conducting the investigation, so close to the time of the 2013 All Star Game, but this is too important of a matter to delay any longer. The Biogenesis scandal broke several months ago, so there is no reason to push this issue to the backburner.
Let us hope that Bud Selig and MLB do the right thing this time. We should know in the next couple of months or sooner, if the cheaters will be suspended or if this will go on for months.
Who would have thought that Cole Hamels 1-6 and Roy Halladay 2-4 would have a combined 3-10 record, with the 2013 season a quarter of the way finished? Hamels has held opponents to a .231 batting average, but his command is off this season with 24 walks in 56 innings, after walking 52 in 215 innings in 2012.
Another setback for the Phillies is Roy Halladay having a 2-4 record and a 8.65 ERA, which is highest on the Phillies staff. Hamels and Holliday are earning $40.5 million combined this season, so it is not much return on that money with them registering three wins in 16 starts.
Surprisingly, the Phillies are only 3.5 games behind the NL East leading Braves, so they are still in the race. Ryan Howard is slumping again with 3 hits in his last 30 at bats. He is 1-20 and hitting .050 with runners in scoring position and two outs in 2013. Even worse, Howard hit .284 in April but only .173 in May. Howard has a career worst 24.5 AB’s per HR in 2013, which is not close to his 13.7 AB’s per HR career number.
Who would have thought the Yankees would be leading the AL East?
There seemed to be no chance that the Yankees would actually be in first place in AL East, with Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson on the DL to start the 2013 season. Most experts were saying that the Yankees would need to stay close, till some of the stars returned to the lineup. There are currently eleven Yankees on the DL, who are being paid close to $95 million total this season.
Lyle Overbay and Travis Hafner are earning a combined $2.85 million this season and have been a big part of the Yankees offense this season. Overbay is second on team in RBI’s with 24, while trailing only Robinson Cano with 27. Hafner has 18 RBI, which is 4th on the Yankees, behind Vernon Wells with 23. Wells is earning $24 million this season, but part of his salary is probably being paid by the Angels.
Hiroki Kuroda, C.C. Sabathia and Andy Pettitte are a combined 14-8, while Phil Hughes, Ivan Nova, Vidal Nuno and David Phelps are a combined 5-6 pitching out of the fourth and fifth slots. The loss of Pettitte to the DL could be a serious problem if the back of the rotation can’t pick up some of the slack.
Who would have thought that the Milwaukee Brewers would be 11 games out of first place in NL Central on May 18?
The Milwaukee Brewers starting rotation has only one starter with a winning record, with Marco Estrada 3-2 in the 2013 season. The other five starters are a combined 8-15. The bullpen has seen John Axford and Mike Gonzalez combine for an 0-5 record. Opponents are pounding Brewers pitching at a .271 clip, with only the Twins at .290 and Astros at .297 being worse. Brewers have allowed 51 home runs this season with only Astros with 67 and Rays with 53 being worse.
Brewers are 27th in ERA at 4.60 and 28th in opponents batting average at .271.
The Brewers have the first and second best hitters in NL with Carlos Gomez at .352 and Jean Segura hitting .351. Gomez is 4th in slugging with a .593 mark. Only Paul Goldschmidt, Justin Upton and Bryce Harper have higher slugging percentages.
Who would have thought that Paul Goldschmidt would have 12 HR’s and 35 RBI after 42 games?
It is not a shock that Goldschmidt is hitting so well, but it is a surprise that he has these kind of numbers this early in the season. Goldschmidt had 20 homers and 82 RBI in the entire 2012 season, so is way ahead of those numbers. ESPN.com project him to hit 46 HR’s and drive in 135 runs in 2013. He is 10-16 in his last 4 games, while raising his batting average from .304 to .338 and is 7-9 in his last 2 games.
Who would have thought that Manny Machado would be hitting 77 points higher than he hit in 2012?
It is amazing that the 20 year-old Machado is projected by ESPN.com to have 237 hits at the end of the 2013 season. ESPN also projects him to have 71 doubles at the end of the season, which would be four more than the current season record set by Earl Webb in 1931 with 67. He may have more chance of passing Todd Helton whose 59 doubles in 2000 is the best for active players. Machado has been especially hot in his last 6 games with 15 hits in 30 AB’s and 6 doubles in that span. Machado is hitting .403 in May. He is hitting .362 against right handers. He is hitting an astounding .438 with runners in scoring position with two outs. Machado won’t turn 21 till July 6.
Who would have thought that Yu Darvish would be on a pace to post 332 strikeouts in 2013?
ESPN is projecting Yu Darvish to have 332 strikeouts at the end of the 2012 season. It has been 11 years since Randy Johnson posted 334 strikeouts in 2002 in NL, since a pitcher has registered more than 300 strikeouts. The last AL pitcher with over 300 strikeouts was when Pedro Martinez struck 313 in AL in 1999. It isn’t likely to happen but ESPN.com also projects Darvish to finish the season with a 27-4 record. Rangers have scored 60 runs in the 7 wins by Darvish, but scored only one run in his only loss. Darvish could be on the brink of being the best Japanese pitcher in major league history, if he can continue to dominate major league hitters.
The Atlanta Braves will soon have to make a decision on Evan Gattis. He made the major league roster since Brian McCann started the major league season on the disabled list. The Braves front office and manager Fredi Gonzalez have some tough decisions with McCann probably returning in about a week, after he finishes his minor league rehab.
Gattis has not hit well for the Braves early in the season, but has hit five home runs, which is second on the Braves behind Justin Upton with nine. He is also only one RBI behind Justin Upton, who has 12 RBI with Gattis having 11. His .674 slugging percentage is second to Justin Upton, who is currently slugging .862. I can’t see the Braves sending down Gattis with these kind of offensive numbers. Gattis did make a mistake in a game against the Royals earlier in this week, when a Royals player was trapped between first and second. Instead of throwing immediately Gattis hesitated allowing the runner to return to first base safely. However that is excusable when considering his offensive output so far this season. ESPN projects Gattis to hit 54 home runs and drive in 130 runs. We know that he is not likely to post those kind of numbers, especially considering he and Gerald Laird will have to share backing up McCann about once every week, if the Braves decide to carry three catchers.
Chris Johnson who has been filling in for Freddie Freeman at first base will soon be in the same predicament as Gattis when Freeman returns. Johnson is leading the majors in batting with a .438 average, but with the return he will have to share third base with Juan Francisco who is hitting .318 and is projected to hit 32 home runs in 2013. He is not likely to reach those kind of numbers either, since he is sharing time at third base with Johnson.
We should know in the coming days, what the Braves decide to do with this problem of too many good hitters. One thing we know for sure is that Gattis won’t be the primary catcher for the Braves, as long as Brian McCann stays healthy. Gattis is in a 3-20 slump but two of those hits were home runs.
It is amazing that the Braves are 13-2 with Freeman on the disabled list for the last two weeks. That shows how powerful the Braves are in this year. They recently hit five home runs in one game, which tells me that the team will be even better with the return of Freeman.
Around the Bases
The New York Yankees have learned that Derek Jeter is not likely to return to the field, till after the All Star game in July. It is surprising that the Yankees are only 2.5 games behind the Boston Red Sox in the AL East. Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson have still not returned and Alex Rodriguez is very unlikely to play this season. If MLB finds that Rodriguez tried to buy Biogenesis records, then Rodriguez may be given a 100 game suspension, for using steroids and then trying to cover it up by buying the Biogenesis report….One of the major surprises early in the 2013 season has been the dismal play of the Los Angeles Angels. They are already seven games behind the first place Oakland Athletics in the AL West. The 4-10 Angels have a better record than only the 4-11 Houston Astros and the 3-13 Miami Marlins. The poor play has not affected the Angels at the box office, as they are drawing 4,825 more fans per game than in 2012.
Atlanta Braves 7-0 and Oakland Athletics 6-0 are the only MLB teams, with no losses on the road. Colorado Rockies are the only MLB team, to not lose a home game with a 6-0 record….Justin Upton is projected by ESPN to hit 97 home runs and drive in 140 runs. He has hit nine homers and didn’t hit No.9 till August 3 in 2012….Torii Hunter, Detroit Tigers is proving in the early part of the 2013 season, to be one of the best free agent signings, since he leads the AL in hitting with a .413 average….It looked like the Philadelphia Phillies would challenge for the NL East title, but they are 6-10 and 7.5 games behind the first place Braves. Chase Utley leads the Phillies in home runs with 3 and RBI with 13, but Ryan Howard has hit only one home run and drove in five runs in 54 at bats. They are fourth in quality starts with 10, but are 28th in ERA with a 4.84 mark. Cliff Lee has pitched well with a 2-0 record and a 1.52 ERA, but the other four starters have a combined record of 2-6.
Torii Hunter and Austin Jackson of the Detroit Tigers lead the majors in hits with 26 and 25 respectively….Dexter Fowler is surprisingly second in MLB in home runs with 7. He has hit 7 home runs in 53 at bats, after hitting 13 in 2012 in 454 at bats. Fowler had eight home runs at the end of May in 2012, but hit only five more over the last four months of the season. He hit a HR every 34.9 AB’s in 2012, but is homering every 7.6 AB’s in 2013….Chris Davis is first player to drive in 20 runs, with John Buck, Prince Fielder and Brandon Phillips with 19 each….Joey Votto has walked 24 times in 16 games and ESPN projects him to have 243 walks at the end of the season. The closest to Votto in walks are four players tied with 11.
Chris Johnson .438, Torii Hunter .413, Adrian Gonzalez .407 and Carlos Gonzalez .400 are the only MLB players still hitting over .400….Joey Votto leads in OBP with a .526 mark….Justin Upton is leading in slugging with a .862 percentage and also leads in OPS with a 1.256 percentage and also leads in total bases with 50 in 15 games. That projects to 500 total bases if he plays in 150 games.
With Opening Day of the 2013 major league baseball season just 33 hours away, it reminds me of the baseball memories of my lifetime. I was 9 years old when I remember listening to my first game on the radio during the 1954 World Series between the Cleveland Indians and the New York Giants.
Opening Day of 2013 has a special meaning for me, since I was diagnosed with Stage III duodenal cancer in October of last year. I watched the 2012 World Series from a hospital bed in the VA Hospital in Houston, Texas, after having surgery on October 16.
I am waiting to have a Catscan done on May 21 in Houston, which will reveal if the cancer has returned. If the cancer has returned I have no guarantee I will be around for the 2013 World Series.
My first time to see a major league game was in August of 1957. Hard to believe that it was 56 years ago, when my dad, my older brother and me entered Connie Mack Stadium in Philadelphia that night. I can remember men bringing in brown bags with bottles inside, in case they needed a drink during the game.
It was fun watching the players shag fly balls right in front of us in our left field seats, while they were practicing for the game.
Another thing that stood out about that night was that the Phillies fans were booing their own players, which came as a complete shock to me. The Pirates won the game the night of August 13, 1957, as Bob Friend pitched a two hit shutout in a 6-0 win over the Phillies. Future Hall of Famers led off for both the Phillies with Richie Ashburn hitting leadoff and Clemente hitting leadoff for the Pirates. It is fun going back to the boxscore of that game, which was found at baseball-reference.com.
14,129 fans attended the game that night and it last only two hours and 12 minutes. The highlight of the game for me was when Bill Mazeroski hit a home run that hit the roof over the left field bleachers. Little did we know that three years later Mazeroski would hit a home run over the left field fence, to give the Pirates a walk-off win over the New York Yankees in the 1957 World Series.
My aunt would bring me to a Boston Red Sox – Kansas City Athletics game on July 24, 1959 in Kansas City. The Athletics defeated the Red Sox 3-1. Ted Williams pinch-hitting was my most important memory of that game. He fouled out to the catcher in his only at bat. Williams was hitting .230 after the out, but would raise his average to .254 by the end of the season. That was the lowest average of his 19 year career. He had never hit lower than .316 in any of his other 18 seasons. This is the year that Williams requested a pay cut for having such a bad season. He would raise his average by 62 points the next season to .316. I can say I saw him in his next to last season, since he retired after the 1960 season.
The year 1962 was a special year in my baseball memories, when I rode the old Kansas City Southern Belle passenger train from Alexandria, Louisiana to Kansas City, Missouri. It was my first trip by myself on a train and the best part was being fortunate enough to see a doubleheader, between the Kansas City Athletics and the New York Yankees. This was the season after Roger Maris had broken Babe Ruth’s record of 60 home runs in a season, when he hit his 61st the season before, while Mickey Mantle had hit 54 that same year. They almost both broke the record but Mantle had to spend time in the hospital late in the season.
August 18, 1962 : Athletics 5 Yankees 4
Mickey Mantle hit a solo home run for the Yankees in the 4th inning, which would be his 23rd home run of the season. Roger Maris would hit his 27th in the 5th inning of the game. Yankees were ahead 4-1 after five innings. Whitey Ford the Yankee ace allowed 16 hits in the game and gave up a walk-off single to Haywood Sullivan to take the loss.
GAME TWO :
Yankees 11 Athletics 7
Maris and Mantle were 1-7 in the second game with no runs batted in. Bobby Richardson and Dale Long took up the slack though, with each player driving in three runs. Yogi Berra and Clete Boyer drove in two runs each in the contest. The Athletics took a 1-0 lead in the first inning, but the Yankees scored in the top of the second to take a 5-1 lead. The Athletics came back to score five runs of their own in the fourth inning, to take a 6-5 lead. The game was tied 7-7 after the eighth inning. The Yankees scored four more times in the top of the ninth and would win the game by a 11-7 score. Marshall Bridges 7-1, pitching in relief took the win for the Yankees.
The attendance that night was 35,147 and the game took 2 hours and 59 minutes to play.
I have seen about 11 major league games, which isn’t many in a 56 year period. I hope to see a game this year in Houston’s Minute Maid Park. Was able to see Aroldis Chapman come in to notch the save when the Reds defeated the Astros in 2012.
What to Look For in 2013 Season:
One of the biggest question marks is how the Yankees will play in April, while waiting for Mark Teixeira, Derek Jeter and Curtis Granderson to heal from injuries. In addition Alex Rodriguez could miss the entire 2013 season. It will be interesting to see which Kevin Youkilis shows up for the 2013 season, since he seems to be slowing down in the last couple of seasons. Yankees will be facing an improved Blue Jays starting rotation, which added veteran starters Mark Buehrle, R.A. Dickey and Josh Johnson and shortstop Jose Reyes should reach base in front of sluggers Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion. The AL East should be up for grabs in 2013 with Yankees and Red Sox seeming to regress, instead of improve.
Astros will be a team to watch as they will be joining one of the tougher divisions. They will contend with Athletics who won the AL West last season, the wildcard Rangers and improved Angels and Mariners teams. It will be huge surprise if the Astros don’t finish last in the AL West.
Tigers and White Sox should contend all season for the AL Central title. The Indians and Royals made several offseason moves that should make them stronger in 2013. Will be interesting to see how Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn improve the Cleveland offense.
The Braves have one of the strongest outfields in the majors with the addition of B.J and Justin Upton for the 2013 season to go with Jason Heyward. Andrelton Simmons, who is one of best shortstops in baseball seems to be hitting with more power lately. When you throw Freddie Freeman into the mix it gives the Braves a powerhouse batting order and could be even better if Dan Uggla can regain his 30 home run form. Julio Teheran could be ready to have a breakout season, after a great spring allowing 7 hits in 26 innings.
Phillies should be improved with a healthy Ryan Howard and Chase Utley to start the 2013 season, plus Dominic Brown seems on the verge of having a breakout year. Ben Revere should spark the offense with his hitting and speed on the bases.
Marlins are almost sure to finish last after having another one of their patented fire sales. It will be interesting to see how many Marlins fans show up for the debacle of a season in 2013.
Nationals are in position to make another run at the NL Central title. This could be a huge breakout year for Bryce Harper who will be 20 till October.
The Reds may be the worst team in NL this spring, but this team has too much talent to not be contending in the NL Central. They made the right move to keep Aroldis Chapman out of the starting rotation. He may not have been as effective as a starter, since he can’t throw close to 100 MPH for a complete game.
Cardinals seem like the only team good enough to battle with the Reds for the NL Central title. Brewers seem to be a team in disarray with the offense and defense both near the bottom in spring statistics. Pirates and Cubs should contend for fourth place. Cubs could surprise if their starting rotation can get healthy very soon.
I can see no reason for the Giants to not finish first again in 2013 in the NL West. Dodgers seem to be a player or two short from winning it all in 2013. Yasiel Puig is in minors waiting to be called up. He was leading all spring players in batting average, when sent down to the minors. I can see why he was sent down, since he has never played above A ball. It is important that Zack Greinke pitch well for the Dodgers to contend in 2013. Diamondbacks took a hit when Adam Eaton, who was having a great spring was placed on the DL. It will be interesting to see if Padres can hit more home runs in 2013, but missing Chase Headley to start the season may be a bad omen. Rockies are a question mark, but have enough talent to contend for the AL West title.
I am excited about the 2013 season. Just hope my health is good enough for me to see the entire season unfold.
Alex Rodriguez may never play another game for the New York Yankees, or any other major league team, if this report from ESPN proves to be true. Rodriguez hit two more home runs (18) and drove in 5 fewer runs (57) in 2012, than he totaled in 2011 even with making 101 more plate appearances in 2012.
This report showing records of Biogenesis of America shows that Rodriguez was purchasing steroids from 2009-2012. This revelation could signal the end of the career of Alex Rodriguez. He was thought of at one time to have a chance to pass Barry “Balco” Bonds as the all-time home run leader, but now he may be lucky to even pass Willie Mays at 660 home runs.
Rodriguez had a .222 OPS again in the 2012 postseason, with 3 singles in 27 plate appearances, while striking out 12 times. Rodriguez can expect little support from baseball writers, when he becomes eligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Some players listed in the documents have never been suspended, but that could change when the MLB investigates the document. Nelson Cruz and Gio Gonzalez could both be suspended, even though they have never tested positive.
AROUND THE BASES
Baseball lost two Hall of Famers recently with the deaths of Earl Weaver and Stan Musial. If there were ever two opposites, then these two were as opposite as night and day. Weaver didn’t like umpires and was not the kind to hold back his feelings, when questioned by reporters.
Stan Musial, on the other hand in all the time I have followed his career since the middle 50’s till his death has never made a derogatory statement about anyone, or has anyone said anything criticizing Musial.
Speaking of the Hall of Fame the baseball writers muffed their chance to send Craig Biggio to the Hall of Fame in his first attempt. I can’t see how a writer could not list Biggio on their ballot, considering he has over 3,000 and hit more doubles, than any right-handed hitter in the history of baseball. Biggio made his news on the field, unlike a lot of players today.
Five free agent position players have over 300 home runs in their career, yet have not signed with a team for the 2013 season:
JIM THOME – 612
ANDRUW JONES -434 (PLAYING IN JAPAN IN 2013)
JASON GIAMBI – 429
CARLOS LEE – 358
SCOTT ROLEN – 316
Michael Bourn is surprisingly still without a team with spring training starting in about two weeks….Other well-known position players without a team as of today are Bobby Abreu, Grady Sizemore, Freddy Sanchez and Travis Hafner.
Kyle Lohse was 16-3 last season, yet still hasn’t been signed as a free agent. Livan Hernandez with 178 lifetime wins is still unsigned, along with Derek Lowe with 175 wins, Kevin Millwood 169 wins, Roy Oswalt 163 wins and Carlos Zambrano with 132 wins.
Four closers with over 200 saves remain unsigned including Jason Isringhausen with 300 saves, Francisco Rodriguez 294 saves, Jose Valverde 277 saves and Brian Fuentes with 204 saves.
Ed Bouchee has died at the age of age of 79 in Phoenix Arizona on January 23, 2013. Bouchee played seven years total in stints with the Phillies, Cubs and Mets. Bouchee was one of the original expansion Mets in 1962 and hit .161 that year, which would be his last major league season.
Alex Rodriguez has driven in 100 runs thirteen times during his career, but drove in only 62 in 99 games last season and has driven in 41 in 87 games, so far this season and ESPN.com projects him to drive in 74 runs this season. He is being paid $29 million according to baseball-reference, while ESPN shows him being paid $30 million in 2012.
He is 5th on the Yankees in RBI with 41 and only has one more RBI than Raul Ibanez, who has 95 fewer at bats. His slugging percentage of .442 is the worst of any season in which he has had at least 300 at bats. This is his fifth straight season, in which his slugging percentage has dropped from the season before.
2007 – .645
2008 – .573
2009 – .532
2010 – .506
2011 – .461
2012 – .442
It was in February of 2009 when Rodriguez admitted using steroids for a three-year period. I am not buying the three-year confession, since his numbers jumped from 5 home runs and 19 RBI in 1995 with Mariners, to 36 home runs and 123 RBI the next season. His slugging percentage jumped an alarming 223 points from 1995 season till the 1996 season. This was long before 2001-2003, when he confessed taking steroids while with the Rangers.
Why didn’t Bud Selig strike the 158 home runs from the record book, after Rodriguez confessed he had used steroids? Instead Rodriguez has 643 lifetime home runs and only needs 17 to tie Willie Mays for 4th on the all-time list. He has 1,933 RBI and is 8th on the career list. Rodriguez should pass Ty Cobb with 1,938 and Stan Musial with 1,951 by the end of August.
Rodriguez may fare worse in Hall of Fame voting, than some of the other players linked to steroids, since he actually confessed to using them and did test positive, even though his name being on the list of steroid users was leaked to the press.
The question now is what do the Yankees do with Rodriguez if his numbers continue to plunge, while paying him such an exorbitant salary. How can they pay Raul Ibanez $1.1 million to drive in 40 runs, while paying Rodriguez $30 million to drive in 41 in 95 more at bats than Ibanez?
So far in his major league career Rodriguez has earned $296 million and the Yankees will have paid him an additional $144 million by the time his contract expires after the 2017 season. He would have earned $440 million by the end of the contract. Rodriguez could earn an additional $6 million for his 660th and 714th home runs. It looks like he may not collect the $6 million for his 755th home run and $6 million for tying and breaking the home run record, for a total of $30 million extra if he reaches all five milestones.
That is a lot of money for a player that is 68th in the majors in slugging percentage among qualified players and when including the non-qualified players with too few at bats to qualify, Rodriguez is ranked 170th.
Rodriguez is hitting .305 with the bases empty in 2012, .205 with runners in scoring position, 2-13 and hitting .154 with the bases loaded and .185 with runner in scoring position and two out. Rodriguez may be earning a lot of money, but he is not a money player as indicated by his one home run and 6 RBI total against AL East teams in 110 at bats.
The New York Yankees may win the AL East, but so far Alex Rodriguez has not been a big part of it. The Yankees $83 million infield is earning more than half of the major league clubs with payrolls from $49 to $82 million.