MLB Week in Review (May 25-31)

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Almost a year to the day The Sport Addiction would post a MLB Week in Review about a seemingly constant problem in baseball. In fact it seems to be a constant factor in more than just the MLB with as every major league seems to be going through the same thing. Officials, Referees, or Umpires are all some of the most talked about people in sports. That is not necessarily a good thing as they are there to manage a game and not to determine the outcome. More often than usual this season the umpires have taken control of games and made some decisions that have changed games completely. The umpires in the MLB have been more a part of the conversation than they ever have been in the past which is trouble for the league. The strike zone seems to be ever-changing and when people disagree with calls they are not being given much rope. Meanwhile outside of home plate umpires are missing easy tags at the bases and taking away clear HRs that have changed games. With the increased criticism on umpires in the league a few thoughts have arisen as to how to correct the issues. In almost every case the solution is to try to reduce human error as much as possible and in some cases remove the human element entirely. For many the solution is to expand the use of instant replay for more than just looking at HRs. Thoughts of giving the coach a challenge to question anything but balls and strikes has been a big conversations. When an umpires blows a tag at second or a batter running out a throw to first it can have a massive impact and if the manager believes it is important enough he could challenge the call. This way the call would be corrected and game changing decisions would not be wrong. The big negative for this is that more replay would make an already slow sport even slower which is not the best way to build a sport in this day. Another suggestion made has been to use the Pitch FX system set up by the MLB to track strikes and balls. The Pitch FX system is a system used by TV to show pitches on the screen during the game. It is a very accurate system that many are saying should be used to call strikes and balls instead of using the home plate umpire. The umpire behind home plate would still be there but would not be making judgment calls instead just relaying a strike or a ball to the pitcher and batter. With this the strike zone would be a set section for the batter and would eliminate the fact that things change on a game to game basis. The issue is that the calls might not be instantaneous and more than that the system would need to be recalibrated for every batter as not all people are made the same giving some people a bigger strike zone while others might need a smaller one based on height. Along with this a system may crash and would bring back the human error part of the game forcing the umpire to call his own strikes. These suggestions are all ways to try to make calls more accurate but none are perfect with plenty of room for something to go wrong. There may be solutions to the umpires at some point and there will need to be something done if the umpires continue on the path that they are currently on. The umpiring has been terrible this year and if it gets any worse something needs to be changed but knowing the MLB change will not come very quickly no matter how frustrating the umps are.


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

Rivalry Week
The MLB used to get into Interleague play at this point in the season but with interleague player throughout the season the week has turned into rivalry week as some of the biggest rivals faced off in the latest chapter in their legendary rivalries

Mariano’s Last Ride
Mariano Rivera has been lights out almost all season as he looks to make his last tour of the MLB a memorable one with retirement approaching quickly as he will hang up the glove at the end of the season

Astros on the Clock
The Houston Astros are currently on the clock as the Rule 4 MLB draft is less than a week away and the Astros are looking for someone who can help turn their team around but many believe they will do the opposite and take Colin Moran, 3B first overall even if many have him going much later

Pitcher at the Plate
Travis Wood came into his game against the White Sox looking to help his team to a win against their rivals but what he didn’t expect was to do it at the plate as he would hit a Grand Slam in the 4th inning leading his team to the win


MLB Standings

American League
AL East:
1. Boston Red Sox (.589)
2. New York Yankees (.574)
3. Baltimore Orioles (.564)
4. Tampa Bay Rays (.556)
5. Toronto Blue Jays (.418)
AL Central:
1. Detroit Tigers (.547)
2. Cleveland Indians (.537)
3. Chicago White Sox (.462)
4. Minnesota Twins (.442)
5. Kansas City Royals (.423)
AL West:
1. Texas Rangers (.630)
2. Oakland Athletics (.571)
3. Los Angeles Angels (.455)
4. Seattle Mariners (.436)
5. Houston Astros (.327)


National League
NL East:
1. Atlanta Braves (.593)
2. Washington Nationals (.509)
3. Philadelphia Phillies (.473)
4. New York Mets (.423)
5. Miami Marlins (.255)
NL Central:
1. St. Louis Cardinals (.660)
2. Cincinnati Reds (.618)
3. Pittsburgh Pirates (.618)
4. Chicago Cubs (.434)
5. Milwaukee Brewers (.377)
NL West:
1. Arizona Diamondbacks (.556)
2. San Francisco Giants (.537)
3. Colorado Rockies (.509)
4. San Diego Padres (.463)
5. Los Angeles Dodgers (.434)


Oakland Athletics 4 – 1 San Francisco Giants
– The Battle of the Bay is a lot more interesting now that the Athletics and Giants are two of the better teams in the MLB but the A’s would prove they were better on this day as they would hold the Giants to one run

New York Mets 2 – 1 New York Yankees
– The Mets would do something that not many teams have been able to do for a very long time as they would get the win in the 9th inning beating the always dependable Mariano Rivera in his last tour around the league and in his last Subway Series

Chicago Cubs 9 – 3 Chicago White Sox
– The Crosstown Cup would get underway once again and this game it would be Dioner Navarro who would play the hero hitting four HRs in the game to help the Cubs take the win in yet another rivalry week game

Los Angeles Angels 4 – 3 Los Angeles Dodgers
– The Angels would get a boost in the last game of the Freeway Rivalry as Jered Weaver would return to the rotation for the first time since he injured his elbow in early April and he would lead his team to a win against their crosstown rivals


Next Week:
Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Colorado Rockies (Saturday June 1st; 4:10 pm ET)
– The Dodgers are not playing to the level they think they should be but if they are going to climb back into the fight for the NL West they need to get started in this series where they take on the third place Rockies

Cleveland Indians vs. New York Yankees (Monday June 3rd; 7:05 pm ET)
– The two most surprising teams this year will face off as the ageless Yankees take on a team of cast-offs with both teams looking to stay at the top of their divisions and continue to surprise everyone in the MLB

New York Mets vs. Washington Nationals (Wednesday June 5th; 7:05 pm ET)
– The Mets have played better than was expected but still sit at the bottom of the division while the Nats have played worse than expected and sit near the top of the division as they both face off as they both try to move up the standings

St. Louis Cardinals vs. Cincinnati Reds (Friday June 7th; 7:10 pm ET)
– The Cards and Reds continue to have one of the best division rivalries in the division with both teams sitting at the top of the NL Central and looking to get a win against one another to take over the lead

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