MLB Week in Review (May 11-17)

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The MLB has a trend brewing and it is the continuation of a new era in baseball that has been mention in this blog many times. The steroid era is finished and instead comes the dead ball era 2.0 as the pitchers are taking over once again. It doesn’t mean that offence is completely disappearing but pitchers are now emerging as the stars over the batters. It is now time for pitchers like Justin Verlander, David Price, and Clayton Kershaw to take the reins and lead the MLB. For years it had been the big batters like Frank Thomas, Barry Bonds, Mark McGuire, and Sammy Sosa were the faces of the league. They brought excitement to the MLB and the fans loved to see the HRs and the runs pile up in exciting games. Then the realization that a lot of the runs going up were achieved through illegal means the bubble burst and runs became a bit of a bad thing. The more runs that were put up the more rumours surrounded the team that PEDs were being used to get the runs. An appreciation for pitchers began to creep back in to the game as fans began to see the value of a great pitcher rather than a great batter. As the fans started to appreciate the men on the mound the pitchers quickly became the faces of the MLB. Every year more and more pitchers come to the forefront of the league as the face of a franchise and in turn the face of the MLB. Two such pitchers have emerged so far this year as Yu Darvish and Matt Harvey are the new faces of the MLB for 2013 and have come from very different backgrounds. Yu Darvish was the talk of the 2012 free agent pool as the Japanese superstar had plenty of teams looking to sign him in the Darvish lottery. After shelling out $51.7 million to talk to Darvish the Texas Rangers signed him to a 6-year $60 million contract. The Rangers would win the Darvish lottery and would bring one of the biggest buzzes to the league in 2012. The first year Darvish would pitch very well and grow his legend with his 6 pitches all as dominant as anyone’s put-out pitch. Through his first year he was considered one of the best but would not make the headlines and would lose the Cy Young Award to David Price. This year Darvish seems to have finally become comfortable in the USA and has become a more dominant pitcher than last year. Now he seems to be the frontrunner for the Cy Young in the American League as he looks to be even more dominant than Justin Verlander and David Price. In the National League a much less talked about pitcher has emerged as the new star of the National League. The New York Mets have been a struggling team for years but last year seemed to be a change of pace when they discovered RA Dickey. He would light the entire MLB up with a feel good story and a great knuckleball that would win him the NL Cy Young in 2012. Then in the 2013 offseason Dickey would be traded to the Toronto Blue Jays and taking away a lot of the excitement surrounding a possible Mets comeback. Then this year a new star would step into the spotlight as the 24-year old Matt Harvey would begin to pick up from where Dickey left off. Harvey has become the new face of the younger pitching generation and has caught the attention of the entire baseball world, even making the cover of Sports Illustrated this week. Matt Harvey and Yu Darvish are standing tall on the mound this year and both are leading the charge for the continuation of the pitching era in the MLB. As pitchers become bigger stars than ever Harvey and Darvish are the latest of more and more pitchers capturing the imaginations of fans throughout the MLB.

 

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

Worst Team Ever?
The Houston Astros went into the 2013 season considered the worst team in the league but as the season goes on they seem to be becoming the worst team in MLB history or at least since the Detroit Tigers who went 43-119 in 2003

The “Evil Empire” Continues
The New York Yankees were a team that many considered to be on the outs in the AL East as injuries had ravaged the team but they have once again shown why they are considered the best franchise in the MLB as they continue to sit atop the division with reclamation projects that are working

Umpire Debate a Constant
After the terrible call two weeks ago that would call back a clear HR the debate over the umpires and trying to make them better and less prone to making big mistakes as replays continue to be a massive issue in the league

 

MLB Standings

American League
AL East:
1. New York Yankees (.619)
2. Boston Red Sox (.595)
3. Baltimore Orioles (.561)
4. Tampa Bay Rays (.512)
5. Toronto Blue Jays (.405)
AL Central:
1. Cleveland Indians (.575)
2. Detroit Tigers (.575)
3. Kansas City Royals (.526)
4. Chicago White Sox (.475)
5. Minnesota Twins (.474)
AL West:
1. Texas Rangers (.643)
2. Oakland Athletics (.488)
3. Seattle Mariners (.476)
4. Los Angeles Angels (.357)
5. Houston Astros (.262)

 

National League
NL East:
1. Atlanta Braves (.561)
2. Washington Nationals (.548)
3. Philadelphia Phillies (.476)
4. New York Mets (.410)
5. Miami Marlins (.262)
NL Central:
1. St. Louis Cardinals (.659)
2. Cincinnati Reds (.595)
3. Pittsburgh Pirates (.595)
4. Chicago Cubs (.415)
5. Milwaukee Brewers (.400)
NL West:
1. Arizona Diamondbacks (.571)
2. San Francisco Giants (.571)
3. Colorado Rockies (.524)
4. San Diego Padres (.439)
5. Los Angeles Dodgers (.425)

 

Scores:
Texas Rangers 12 – 7 Houston Astros
– The battle of Texas in the MLB was supposed to take on a new meaning this year with the Houston Astros moving to the AL West but the rivalry is not much of one as the Rangers easily went though the Astros who continue to be the worst team in baseball

Washington Nationals 6 – 2 Los Angeles Dodgers
– Many had these two teams facing off in the National League playoffs as both were favorites this year but both teams have struggled as the Dodgers sit at the bottom of the NL West and the Nationals are struggling to keep up with the Braves even after this win

Texas Rangers 10 – 4 Detroit Tigers
– Yu Darvish would take on one of the most feared batting orders in the MLB while also dueling one of the best pitchers in the baseball in Justin Verlander but Darvish would come out on top while the Texas batting order would hand Verlander one of his worst outings

New York Mets 3 – 2 Chicago Cubs
– Matt Harvey would continue his strong season with his fifth win but would also get it done at the plate hitting an RBI single to help the Mets to the win over the Cubs helping him to help himself in another win

 

Next Week:
San Francisco Giants vs. Colorado Rockies (Sunday May 19th; 4:10 pm ET)
– The Rockies were not expected to be this good in 2013 but they are competing with the best of the NL West and will look to make their way back to the top of the division against the Giants who continue to stay consistent

New York Yankees vs. Baltimore Orioles (Monday May 20th; 7:05 pm ET)
– Last year these two teams would fight it out right to the end for the division and not much has changed as they continue to fight it out this year with more surprising results for these teams than many expected

Oakland Athletics vs. Texas Rangers (Wednesday May 22nd; 2:05 pm ET)
– The Rangers have ruled this AL West for years until last year when the Athletics took over and both teams are back again this year to fight for the division title making these series between the two very important

Philadelphia Phillies vs. Washington Nationals (Friday May 24th; 7:05 pm ET)
– The Phillies are an old team looking like they need some new life while the Nationals are the new young team that has quickly become favorites for the World Series and they will try to get one over on the veterans to keep fighting for the NL East

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