MLB Week in Review (April 28-May 4)

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Last week I wrote about Philip Humber and his entrance into the MLB record books pitching the 21st perfect game in MLB history. This week another pitcher put his name in the history books as Jered Weaver pitched the 274th no-hitter in MLB history. As Weaver finished off his no-hitter he was talked about for his feat but then he was quickly brushed aside. There is not much more than the fact that he pitched a no-hitter as most people seemed to forget about him. The problem was the number I referred to a few sentences ago, 274. The amount of no-hitters in the MLB is staggering but up until the last few years it was still a big accomplishment. Since the end of the offensive era, also known as the steroid era, pitchers have taken over the game. With this new pitching dominance came more and more no-hitters. Since 2010 there have been 8 no-hitters and 3 perfect games as pitchers have turned the tide on the offence. With so many no-hitters creeping in to the game the feat is seemingly become less of an accomplishment. That was seen when Jered Weaver’s no-hitter was barely front page news around the MLB. The no-hitter has not been the same as it used to be and instead of being a truly big accomplishment it has almost become another aspect to the stat line. Instead of riding on a no-hitter the new standard is to throw multiple no-hitters in a career. It has almost gone alongside the amount of all-star appearances or Cy Young Awards. The more no-hitters a pitcher has the more legendary they become but having one doesn’t seem to cut it anymore. Pitchers like Ervin Santana and Edwin Jackson would not be considered among the top pitchers in the league but both have a no-hitter. Then there are the pitchers like Justin Verlander, 2 no-hitters, and Roy Halladay, 1 no-hitter and 1 perfect game, who are among the top pitchers in the game and have multiple no-hitters or no-hitters and perfect games. The new standard has been set in the MLB as the no-hitter has lost some of its luster with more and more pitchers earning the distinction. With the no-hitter almost becoming another stat the next accomplishment is the perfect game. The perfect game has always been an amazing feat but is now the new gold standard with only 21 people ever throwing a perfect game. As pitchers get better the perfect game is more within reach but is still not something that any pitcher can do. It is clear to see that the new standards in the MLB are rising fast as pitchers continue to dominate the game. A single no-hitter is not what it used to be as players now need to build a reputation with multiple no-hitters. Along with these multiple great games the new standard has become the perfect game. It is a new MLB and even with over 100 years of playing the game continues to evolve. Expect more of these performances as no-hitters will continue to pop up and even the possibility of another perfect game. With one month in to the season the pitchers are taking over even as the batters catch up as the battle between offence and defence continues.

As pitchers continue to flex their muscle the biggest names in the game are back to lead the pack. This is even true for pitchers beyond the starting rotation as a number of relievers and closers have already made their names known this season. One closer is in no need of getting his name out there as he is the best closer to ever pitch in the MLB. Mariano Rivera has had the best career for any closer and has been shut down for years as a member of the Yankees. He is nearing the end of his illustrious career as rumours of a retirement swirl throughout the young 2012 season. With the end of his career Rivera has not been the same dominant pitcher as he used to be but is still one of the premier closers and a stalwart of the Yankees bullpen. Without him the Yankees are not as good as they do not have a closer the same caliber as Rivera but they may have to try to find one soon as Rivera will be on the shelf for a while. This was not the choice of the Yankees or of Rivera as on Thursday before the Yankees game Rivera twisted his leg while shagging fly balls in the outfield. Later that night it was determined that Rivera had torn his ACL and could be out for the season. He is still holding out hope that he can return this season but it would likely be very late in the regular season or even into the postseason. The biggest issue could be that this may be the last season Rivera planned to play and with the injury his career could be over. Then again he may take the recovery period as a year off and continue on for another season. Either way the Yankees will be without one of their star players and their sure thing in the bullpen as they continue to fight in the ultra-competitive AL East as they move on without him possibly for the rest of the season.

 

MLB Standings

American League

East:

1. Tampa Bay Rays (.704)

2. Baltimore Orioles (.654)

3. Toronto Blue Jays (.593)

4. New York Yankees (.538)

5. Boston Red Sox (.440)

Central:

1. Cleveland Indians (.583)

2. Detroit Tigers (.520)

3. Chicago White Sox (.462)

4. Kansas City Royals (.320)

5. Minnesota Twins (.280)

West:

1. Texas Rangers (.654)

2. Oakland Athletics (.481)

3. Seattle Mariners (.393)

4. Los Angeles Angels (.370)

 

National League:

East:

1. Washington Nationals (.654)

2. Atlanta Braves (.593)

3. New York Mets (.500)

4. Philadelphia Phillies (.481)

5. Miami Marlins (.462)

Central:

1. St. Louis Cardinals (.615)

2. Cincinnati Reds (.520)

3. Houston Astros (.462)

4. Milwaukee Brewers (.462)

5. Pittsburgh Pirates (.423)

6. Chicago Cubs (.385)

West:

1. Los Angeles Dodgers (.654)

2. Arizona Diamondbacks (.519)

3. Colorado Rockies (.480)

4. San Francisco Giants (.462)

5. San Diego Padres (.333)

 

Key Scores:

New York Yankees 2 – 1 Baltimore Orioles

– The Orioles took on the beasts of the east as they looked to prove they were for real but they could not get past the Yankees even as they held their own with the Yankees coming out on top with their early offence

 

Toronto Blue Jays 8 – 7 Texas Rangers

– The Texas Rangers looked to continue their success as they took on the Blue Jays and got out to an early 5-0 lead after the 2nd but the Jays clawed back and won on a walk-off solo home run by Brett Lawrie

 

Los Angeles Angels 9 – 0 Minnesota Twins

– Jered Weaver came out with his best stuff against the Twins as he pitched a complete game but more so did not allow one hit all game for the no-hitter as the Twins continued to struggle to score runs against the Angels

 

Washington Nationals 2 – 1 Arizona Diamondbacks

– The Nationals continued to lean on their young talent to get to a great start this season as Bryce Harper helped to win the game hitting a double in the 6th inning putting the Nats ahead for good against the D-Backs

 

Next Week:

Arizona Diamondbacks vs. New York Mets (May 6th; 1:10 pm ET)

– Trevor Cahill will return to the hill for the D-Backs after a great performance in his last outing as he looks to continue his success this season against the New York Mets and Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey

 

Tampa Bay Rays vs. New York Yankees (May 8th; 7:05 pm ET)

– The Rays and Yankees have become the top teams in the AL East over the last few years and they face off once again as they both look to begin catching up to the division leading Baltimore Orioles

 

Texas Rangers vs. Baltimore Orioles (May 9th; 7:05 pm ET)

– The Orioles have surprised everyone by moving to the top of the AL East and will get a test against one of the best teams in the American League in the Texas Rangers who got off to a great start but have struggled lately

 

San Francisco Giants vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (May 11th; 9:40 pm ET)

– The battle in the National League West has come down to both of these teams in the last two years but this year is a different story as the Giants and D-Backs hope to get above 500 and get rolling in the young season

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