MLB Week in Review (June 23-29)

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The MLB is in the midst of the pitching era as the bats have been relatively quiet for the last few seasons. The pitchers have been the dominant players of the last two years with superstars emerging on the mound. Lately though, the pitchers have been suffering as injuries have wreaked havoc on pitching rotations across the league. Pitchers like C.C. Sabathia, Andy Petite, Shaun Marcum, Chris Carpenter, Ryan Dempster, Ted Lilly, Brian Wilson, Cory Luebke, Roy Halladay, and many more have all landed on the injured reserve. The team hardest hit by these injuries in the last few weeks has been the Toronto Blue Jays as they lost 3 of their 5 starting pitchers within one week. Although the team has been struggling most of the year the loss of 3 pitchers, one for the season, did not help things. These injuries have brought up the debate of training and using pitchers. Pitchers are finely tuned athletes in the sense that they stand on the edge of pitching well and hurting their arms. The overhand motion that most pitchers use is an unnatural motion for the arm. An arm was never meant to move like that but in small doses nothing will happen. For MLB pitchers there is no small dose as they regularly pitch over 100 pitches in one night while trying to throw as hard as they can. This puts extreme stress on the arm over a season that spans 162 games, around 30 starts, which can cause issues. With this stress on the arm there are two schools of thought on how to handle a pitcher in order to make sure he can go an entire season without injury. One theory is that you should watch the pitcher carefully and use pitch counts to ensure that the pitcher does not wear out his arm. This is the main school of thought as most teams subscribe to this. The theory makes sure that pitchers don’t go over a certain amount of pitches in one start or one outing. This is supposed to make sure that the arm does not wear down by pitching too much and putting too much stress on the arm over a season. The other theory for pitchers is to let them pitch as long as they are doing well in the game. In this school of thought there is no pitch count as pitchers are allowed to go as long as they want to as long as they continue to strike out batters. The theory is based on the thought that letting pitchers just go will build up the arm and provide more stamina. This theory is not as popular as the other with few people subscribing to it but a solid group lobbying for that to happen. These two theories battle it out constantly and as the injuries pile up it seems that the theory of watching the pitchers is not working. The MLB has a problem with pitchers as the injuries continue to come in a period were the pitcher is becoming the star of the show. Something needs to be done in the thought process and training regiments to prevent these injuries from growing even more. For now though it will remain the same as fans hope that their team is not the next one to be hit by the injury bug.

As injuries hurt some teams there is a break coming with the Mid-Season classic only a week away. The All-Star game has been a source of controversy for every league but the MLB has begun to make it worth something with the winning league earning home field advantage in the World Series. This year the All-Star game will be hosted by the Kansas City Royals who do not seem to have many stars on the roster this year. There will be plenty of stars to watch though as the votes have been closed and will be announced on July 1st. With Prince Fielder and Joey Votto leading the way the stars will be out in Kansas City. This break will give many teams a small window to heal up as they will have a few days off for the only time in the season. The game also marks the middle of the season meaning that after the All-Star break the real push begins. After the game the postseason will be in sight and although there will be plenty of baseball left to play teams in contention will begin to prepare for the long haul while other teams look towards next year as they begin showcasing young talent. The teams in the m idle will be the most interesting as they will look to improve and add that one piece that could give them a spot in the postseason. As the first half of the season winds down the stars will be out to showcase the best of the best but after the game is the start of the race which is the best part of the season.

 

MLB Standings:

American League

East:

1. New York Yankees (.605)

2. Baltimore Orioles (.553)

3. Boston Red Sox (.532)

4. Tampa Bay Rays (.532)

5. Toronto Blue Jays (.506)

Central:

1. Chicago White Sox (.545)

2. Cleveland Indians (.500)

3. Detroit Tigers (.481)

4. Kansas City Royals (.473)

5. Minnesota Twins (.400)

West:

1. Texas Rangers (.628)

2. Los Angeles Angels (.558)

3. Oakland Athletics (.474)

4. Seattle Mariners (.418)

 

National League:

East:

1. Washington Nationals (.587)

2. New York Mets (.538)

3. Atlanta Braves (.526)

4. Miami Marlins (.474)

5. Philadelphia Phillies (.456)

Central:

1. Cincinnati Reds (.553)

2. Pittsburgh Pirates (.539)

3. St. Louis Cardinals (.519)

4. Milwaukee Brewers (.447)

5. Houston Astros (.416)

6. Chicago Cubs (.355)

West:

1. San Francisco Giants (.564)

2. Los Angeles Dodgers (.551)

3. Arizona Diamondbacks (.513)

4. Colorado Rockies (.395)

5. San Diego Padres (.359)

 

Key Scores:

Los Angeles Dodgers 3 – 1 Los Angeles Angels

– The Freeway series meant more this time around this year as the Angels were beginning to get hot but they could not get past their rivals as the Dodgers got out to an early and held on to continue their domination of the Angels this year

 

New York Yankees 6 – 5 New York Mets

– In one of the first real tests RA Dickey took on the strong offence of the Yankees and was not in the one-hitter form that he had the last two starts but was still solid even though the Yankees went on to win again

 

Philadelphia Phillies 5 – 4 Pittsburgh Pirates

– The battle of Pennsylvania got underway as the Phillies went on to win despite their struggles all season while the Pirates were not able to get past their in-state rivals despite a surging season

 

Chicago White Sox 14 – 7 New York Yankees

– The Chicago White Sox came out swinging against the Yankees as AJ Pierzynski went 3-for-5 with 3 RBIs and 2 HRs to lead the offensive output that got the Sox past the Yankees who are looking to move on from injuries

 

Next Week:

Pittsburgh Pirates vs. St. Louis Cardinals (June 30th; 2:15 pm ET)

– The Pirates and the Cardinals are in a battle for second place in the Central as they will face off this week as the Pirates look to continue their surprising season and the defending champion Cardinals look to climb back up the division

 

New York Yankees vs. Tampa Bay Rays (July 2nd; 7:10 pm ET)

– The Tampa Bay Rays have fallen down the standings in the East while the Yankees have taken over the top spot and look to stay their but the Rays will be trying to make up some ground in the race for the East

 

San Francisco Giants vs. Washington Nationals (July 4th; 11:05 am ET)

– The San Francisco Giants have come back to the top of the West division after a very slow start and will be looking to put some distance between them and the Dodgers but it won’t be easy as the Nationals have been one of the best teams all season

 

New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox (July 6th; 7:10 pm ET)

– The oldest rivalry in the East is back again as the Yankees look to continue their strong play against the division while the Red Sox are trying to get back on track after a rough start to the year as they continue to climb up the standings

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