MLB Week in Review (May 4-10)

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In sports there are always injuries and in baseball there may be more than usual as players have to go through some of the most strenuous activities in sports. The position with the most injuries is likely the pitchers as throwing a baseball is not a natural motion of the human arm. The arm is not built to move that way as an underhand pitch is the more natural motion. The fact that pitchers then throw with that motion around 100 times every five days while straining the arm to throw 70-100 mph makes injuries a guarantee. This puts pitchers on the DL regularly throughout the season with strains on their ligaments and muscles and sometimes tears in their ligaments and muscles. It is just an accepted part of the game that the 5 pitchers starting at the beginning of the year will not all pitch throughout the entire season as at least one will find the DL at some point. Even though injuries are accepted in baseball there are still moments that make fans and players cringe. The arm injuries are the ones that are expected but injuries like the one that JA Happ suffered this past week are the ones that make everyone take a second look. During a game between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Tampa Bay Rays, Happ was on the mound for the Blue Jays in the 2nd inning when Desmond Jennings ripped a line drive directly back at the mound. The ball would hit Happ in the head and ricochet to first base as two runs came in to score with Happ on the ground. JA Happ would be carted off the field and would spend the night in the hospital after suffering a cut on his ear, a head contusion, and a sprained knee on the play. The hit would bring up a subject that seems to be becoming more common every year with these types of injuries becoming more common. Last year Brandon McCarthy was the one to start the conversation when a line drive hit him in the head and caused brain swelling. The issue of protecting pitchers from these types of injuries has continued to make headlines but the debate is a tough one. The issue centres around the fact that there is not a lot to do to protect the pitchers in the game. One suggestion is to give the pitchers helmets to help prevent any type of head injury or at least reduce the damage of a ball to the head. The major issue with this is that pitching mechanics are some of the strangest and most precise mechanics in sports. Adding anything will take some time to adjust and many pitchers would rather risk a fluke injury than to wear a helmet. Other than adding a helmet there is not a lot that MLB can do to reduce the risk of a ball coming back at the pitcher. It is a very vulnerable position that cannot add a screen or anything in between because they need to be able to make plays in the field. It is a puzzle for the MLB and if the trend continues with these type of injuries they will need to take a serious look at the issue. The pitchers are the most important part to any team especially with the new pitching dominance taking over and they need to be protected. The issue is that there is almost nothing you can do to protect them that will not adversely change the game. The other issue standing in the way is that the MLB is notoriously slow in making changes to the game and even if the problem persists there is likely nothing in the works by the MLB to change anything about the game.

 

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

Worst Call of the Year
The Oakland Athletics are wondering what happened after a HR was ruled a double even after the umpires looked at the replay that clearly showed the ball hitting a metal railing above the HR line leaving many to wonder how the umpires could miss it

The New Performance Enhancer?
With accusations of Clay Buchholz cheating floating around some clarity came to the situation when it was revealed that he was likely using sunscreen to doctor the ball and that sunscreen has become a common way to earn more grip used by many pitchers around the league

Free Agency Value
The MLB season is split into many different sections with one of the biggest being the start of free agency but this year the value of free agency has proven to be weak with the teams spending the most money this year ending up at the bottom of their divisions

Doc’s Last Ride?
Roy Halladay has been one of the best pitchers in baseball for years but over the last two years he has struggled with injuries including another shoulder injury that will keep him out the majority of the 2013 season and has many wondering if he is on his way out of the league

 

MLB Standings

American League
AL East:
1. New York Yankees (.618)
2. Baltimore Orioles (.611)
3. Boston Red Sox (.611)
4. Tampa Bay Rays (.486)
5. Toronto Blue Jays (.351)
AL Central:
1. Detroit Tigers (.606)
2. Kansas City Royals (.563)
3. Cleveland Indians (.545)
4. Minnesota Twins (.500)
5. Chicago White Sox (.424)
AL West:
1. Texas Rangers (.629)
2. Oakland Athletics (.486)
3. Seattle Mariners (.472)
4. Los Angeles Angels (.371)
5. Houston Astros (.278)

 

National League
NL East:
1. Atlanta Braves (.600)
2. Washington Nationals (.571)
3. New York Mets (.438)
4. Philadelphia Phillies (.432)
5. Miami Marlins (.306)
NL Central:
1. St. Louis Cardinals (.647)
2. Cincinnati Reds (.556)
3. Pittsburgh Pirates (.543)
4. Milwaukee Brewers (.455)
5. Chicago Cubs (.371)
NL West:
1. Arizona Diamondbacks (.583)
2. San Francisco Giants (.583)
3. Colorado Rockies (.543)
4. San Diego Padres (.457)
5. Los Angeles Dodgers (.382)

 

Scores:
Detroit Tigers 17 – 2 Houston Astros
– The Houston Astros have been marked as potentially the worst baseball team in MLB history and when they went up against a very good Detroit Tigers team this seemed to ring true as the Astros would give up 17 runs while only being able to earn 2 for themselves

New York Mets 1 – 0 Chicago White Sox
– Matt Harvey continued his strong start to the season as he would only allow one hit against the Chicago White Sox building on his legend and showing that the loss of RA Dickey was not a terrible thing

Cleveland Indians 4 – 3 Oakland Athletics
– In one of the worst calls so far this year the Athletics were down by one run in the top of the ninth when Adam Rosales hit a big fly to the left field that on the replay was clearly a HR but the umpires would call it a double and the A’s would be robbed of a run

Tampa Bay Rays 5 – 4 Toronto Blue Jays (10th)
– In a rare matchup the two Cy Young Award winners from last year would face off as RA Dickey and David Price would start the game but it was the bullpen who would have the biggest impact as the Rays would blow a lead and then get the win in the 10th with a walk-off walk

 

Next Week:
Toronto Blue Jays vs. Boston Red Sox (Saturday May 11th; 1:35 pm ET)
– The last time Clay Buchholz pitched against the Jays accusations of cheating began to swirl around the pitcher of the month and with revelations of the accusations actually being reality the focus will be on that left arm of Buchholz as he looks to continue his dominance

Washington Nationals vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (Monday May 13th; 10:10 pm ET)
– Both the Nationals and the Dodgers are not have the seasons they were hoping for although to varying degrees the Nats expected to be running the NL East and are second while the Dodgers were expecting to run the West and are at the bottom of the division

Kansas City Royals vs. Los Angeles Angels (Tuesday May 14th; 10:05 pm ET)
– These two teams were supposed to be at opposite ends of their respective divisions but not the way they are now as the Royals look to continue their strong season while the Angels are trying to dig themselves out of a hole after a slow start

San Francisco Giants vs. Colorado Rockies (Thursday May 16th; 8:40 pm ET)
– It is a division battle that was not supposed to mean much but the Rockies have had a great season while the defending champions continue to be strong with both teams fighting for the NL West this year

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