MLB Week in Review (April 6-12)

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As the MLB season continues to move on through the first two weeks of the season the debates continue to rage on. It may only be a couple of weeks into the season but one such debate has been going since before the season began. This is the debate over running the catcher which is a long-standing tradition and a hotly debated topic year after year. Baseball is not the most physical game as contact is non-existent unless someone charges the mound or runs a catcher. Instead the game is much more cerebral with one-on-one battles highlighting every game as pitchers take on batters and fielders take on runners. The style of the play can sometimes be boring but those who love the sport love the small battles and the nuances of the game. Still there is always a little extra excitement when the physical part of the game creeps in as fans stand and everyone watches a little closer. They are moments in sports that do not happen every game and really have little impact on the bigger picture. A bench clearing brawl is much rarer in the game than a runner trying to take the ball out of the catcher’s glove using sheer force. This play is exciting but has come under fire more than ever in recent years after injuries to very good players have made headlines. Most notably in 2011 when Buster Posey, fresh off a Rookie of the Year and World Series, was run over by Scott Cousins. The collision would cause a fractured leg and multiple torn ligaments and would end Posey’s season. It would prove to be a very important loss to the Giants who would struggle without their new leader. The play would launch the debate into a brand new level as there had never been a worse injury on a play at the plate that had a bigger impact. The debate surrounds the fact that there is no real reason for this play to occur as there are other ways to get through a tag at the plate. Running the catcher is not the only option and is not a necessary part of the game. This is the reason that many have come out against the play as it cause unnecessary danger to players. It is a theme of the times in baseball as the safety of professional athletes has taken the focus of everyone in North American sports. Concerns over concussions and career ending injuries have become the topics of the day and baseball has not avoided the conversation. For the MLB it is all around injuries that could end a career too early like damage to the arms of pitchers and freak injuries that happen throughout different games. This is what is behind the march towards outlawing the home plate charge. In reality there would not be anybody that would truly miss the charge at home plate. It is rarely seen and it really has no effect on the sport as outlawing it would not make that big of a difference. If it was a bigger part of the game as a whole there would be a bigger resistance to the rule changing but there is not a lot of resistance right now. It makes sense to get rid of this play and now is the time to do it but it may take a lot longer than some people want. The MLB is a notoriously slow league as they do not like to take knee jerk reactions to trends in the league. Instead they take their time and see if the problem goes away and if it doesn’t they will eventually change. The MLB may take their time to change this rule in the league but it is something that should come and likely will come in time and in the end it will not be missed.

 

Extra Innings:
(Thoughts on the past week in the MLB)

Candidate for Worst Call of the Year
This week a game between the Texas Rangers and Tampa Bay Rays would end with the most controversial and terrible calls so far this season as Ben Zobrist would strike out looking on a ball down and outside that would end the game

The Streak Comes to an end
The Boston Red Sox have been one of the most successful franchises in the last 10 years and they have reaped the rewards with a 794 game sellout streak but that would end this week as the Red Sox would fail to sell out their home opener breaking the longest sellout streak in the MLB

Bad Impression
The minor leagues are full of players looking to make an impact but this week Chicago Cubs prospect Jorge Soler would make the wrong impression after being suspended five games and fined an undisclosed amount after approaching the opposing teams  dugout with a bat

High Tensions in San Diego
The emotions have already started to heighten as the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres would begin their season series with a bench clearing brawl after Zack Greinke hit Carlos Quentin leading Quentin to charge the mound and clear the benches

 

MLB Standings

American League
AL East:
1. Boston Red Sox (.556)
2. New York Yankees (.556)
3. Baltimore Orioles (.500)
4. Tampa Bay Rays (.444)
5. Toronto Blue Jays (.400)
AL Central:
1. Kansas City Royals (.600)
2. Detroit Tigers (.500)
3. Cleveland Indians (.444)
4. Chicago White Sox (.400)
5. Minnesota Twins (.400)
AL West:
1. Oakland Athletics (.818)
2. Texas Rangers (.636)
3. Seattle Mariners (.417)
4. Houston Astros (.400)
5. Los Angeles Angels (.200)

 

National League
NL East:
1. Atlanta Braves (.900)
2. Washington Nationals (.700)
3. New York Mets (.600)
4. Philadelphia Phillies (.500)
5. Miami Marlins (.100)
NL Central:
1. St. Louis Cardinals (.600)
2. Cincinnati Reds (.500)
3. Chicago Cubs (.400)
4. Pittsburgh Pirates (.400)
5. Milwaukee Brewers (.222)
NL West:
1. Arizona Diamondbacks (.700)
2. San Francisco Giants (.636)
3. Colorado Rockies (.600)
4. Los Angeles Dodgers (.600)
5. San Diego Padres (.200)

 

Scores:
Los Angeles Angels 8 – 4 Texas Rangers
– Josh Hamilton continued to his return to Texas and continue to struggle although it was not enough to hinder the Angels as they would take the win behind Albert Pujols who went 2-for-2 with three RBIs

New York Yankees 7 – 0 Detroit Tigers
– The Yankees are out to prove that they are not as far gone as many believe and that is exactly what they did when they took on a very good team in the Detroit Tigers in convincing fashion with a shutout performance by their pitching staff

Washington Nationals 8 – 7 Chicago White Sox
– The Nationals are dealing with some major pressure throughout the season as favorites to win the World Series and they would continue to prove the expectations right as they continue to win including their first interleague game of the season against the White Sox

Oakland Athletics 8 – 1 Los Angeles Angels
– The A’s continued their great start to the season as they would beat the Angels to continue their hold of the AL West while the Angels continue to struggle despite their big additions to their roster

 

Next Week:
Atlanta Braves vs. Washington Nationals (Saturday April 13th; 1:05 pm ET)
– This could go down as one of the better battles of the season as the Braves and Nationals seem to be in for a great division race and both will face off for the first time this season as they take their first shots of the season

Baltimore Orioles vs. New York Yankees (Sunday April 14th; 8:05 pm ET)
– The Yankees and Orioles will continue their first series against each other as they rehash their 2012 season rivalry with the Yankees looking to prove that they are still contenders and the Orioles are looking to continue to prove that 2012 was no fluke

Washington Nationals vs. Miami Marlins (Tuesday April 16th; 7:10 pm ET)
– The Nationals may not be at the top of their division but they are definitely one of the best teams in the MLB and they will look to avoid a trap against the worst team in the MLB the Marlins who can’t seem to get anything right

Kansas City Royals vs. Atlanta Braves (Wednesday April 17th; 12:10 pm ET)
– Two of the more surprising teams so far this season are the resurgent Royals and the Atlanta Braves who seem to never go away and both will face off in interleague play in a very interesting matchup

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