MLB Week in Review (June 22-28)

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It has been a constant theme in the last few years of the MLB with the pitchers beginning to take over the game. The trend has continued through the last few years as many looked at the trend and though it was going to be another “Dead Ball Era.” The worry was that after the excitement of the arms race aka the steroid era when offence took off and home run battles captivated all fans. When steroids were taken seriously and players were punished for using the pitchers began to find a balance. They would begin to take over the game with runs slowing down and the offence taking a back seat to the pitching battles. The biggest expression of this was the fact that no-hitters have climbed in the last few years. In the three seasons from 2010-2012 there were a total of 16 no-hitters while in the eleven seasons between 1999 and 2009 there were a total of 18 no-hitters. In less than one-third of the seasons the pitchers have had almost the same amount of no-hitters showing their strength. Only last year there were 7 no-hitters including 5 by the end of June. It was a sign that the league had come back to a pitchers league and that offence was taking a back seat. It did not mean that offence was disappearing though as the offence race would still remain intact. In fact a pattern began to show that the pitchers had the upper hand at the beginning of the season while the offence caught up near the midseason period. The offence would remain a big part of the league with Miguel Cabrera  leading the way and earning the first Triple Crown since 1967 when he would earn the achievement in 2012. It has been a constant balancing act that has seemed to fall into a pattern in the last few years but that pattern seems to be broken this year. The season seemed to be heading to the same spot as it had been the last few years as offence would start the regular season behind the pitchers but not as behind as they used to be. As June ends the MLB still has 0 no-hitters although many pitchers have come close. By this time in 2012 there were 5 no-hitters in the league but 0 this year. It seems that the balancing act of pitching and batting has met a tipping point. It is not necessarily that the offence has gone up or down this year as it has hovered around the same numbers as last year’s totals. It is the same with the pitching as the numbers so far this year are no worse or better than last year. The fact is batters seem to have come into the season better prepared to deal with the usual pitching dominance in the start of the season. If this is the case so far this year there still remains some questions about the remainder of the season. The midseason point is fast approaching for the MLB and this is a moment that usually means the offence begins to get used to the pitching. As the season moves on the offence may get better which is bad news for the pitchers. Offence may be coming back and with the seasons of Prince Fielder, Michael Cuddyer, Chris Davis, Allen Craig, and as usual Miguel Cabrera so far it could mean the comeback of offence for the MLB. It remains to be seen of course but it seems that the advantage that pitchers had in the last few seasons seems to be disappearing. It could be a sign of change or it could mean that there is balance in the MLB once again. Either way all pitchers around the league are looking for the first no-hitter of the season and it seems inevitable with so many close calls. If it does not happen it will be the first time since 2005 when there were 0 no-hitters all season and could go a long way to proving that the offence is back in the MLB.

 

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

The Streak is Over
The Toronto Blue Jays started the season terribly leaving most to wonder what had happened to a preseason favorite but they would begin to turn it around winning 11 games in a row and that would end this week leaving everyone to wonder how they will respond the rest of the season

A-Rod’s Final moments?
The game’s most expensive bench player Alex Rodriguez would put his name back in the headlines claiming that the Yankees were holding him back from returning from injury leading to a public argument with GM Brian Cashman and more drama with the struggling Yankees

Prospect in Doubt
Dylan Bundy was one of the more exciting prospects in the system for the Baltimore Orioles but his season would not go as planned with arm soreness leading to surgery that has left him out of the game for the season after not throwing a pitch in the regular season this year

 

MLB Standings

American League
AL East:
1. Boston Red Sox (.598)
2. Baltimore Orioles (.556)
3. New York Yankees (.532)
4. Tampa Bay Rays (.513)
5. Toronto Blue Jays (.494)
AL Central:
1. Detroit Tigers (.551)
2. Cleveland Indians (.525)
3. Kansas City Royals (.481)
4. Minnesota Twins (.461)
5. Chicago White Sox (.416)
AL West:
1. Texas Rangers (.588)
2. Oakland Athletics (.580)
3. Los Angeles Angels (.463)
4. Seattle Mariners (.438)
5. Houston Astros (.375)

 

National League
NL East:
1. Atlanta Braves (.575)
2. Washington Nationals (.506)
3. Philadelphia Phillies (.481)
4. New York Mets (.421)
5. Miami Marlins (.346)
NL Central:
1. Pittsburgh Pirates (.620)
2. St. Louis Cardinals (.608)
3. Cincinnati Reds (.563)
4. Chicago Cubs (.423)
5. Milwaukee Brewers (.410)
NL West:
1. Arizona Diamondbacks (.532)
2. San Diego Padres (.500)
3. Colorado Rockies (.494)
4. San Francisco Giants (.481)
5. Los Angeles Dodgers (.456)

 

Scores:
New York Yankees 7 – 5 Tampa Bay Rays
– The Yankees were in the headlines plenty this week but they would continue to try to get back in the race for the AL East despite injuries and would take a step towards that beating the Rays

Tampa Bay Rays 4 – 1 Toronto Blue Jays
– The Blue Jays were looking to turn everything around this year after a terrible start but began to turn things around with an 11 game winning streak although the Rays would put an end to that beating the Blue Jays to end the winning streak

Los Angeles Dodgers 4 – 2 San Francisco Giants
– The Dodgers have struggled all year despite their big payroll and they would go into their series against long time division rivals in the Giants but would pull one out as they continue to look for some momentum

Arizona Diamondbacks 3 – 2 Washington Nationals (11th)
– The Nationals are struggling to meet expectations while the D-Backs are doing the exact opposite exceeding what everyone thought they would do and continue to lead the NL West thanks to wins like this beating the Nats in the 11th inning

 

Next Week:
St. Louis Cardinals vs. Oakland Athletics (Saturday June 28th; 4:05 pm ET)
– The Cards and the A’s are leading their respective divisions making a matchup of two very good teams that will be a good series between two very good teams in this interleague game in the middle of the season

Detroit Tigers vs. Toronto Blue Jays (Monday July 1st; 1:07 pm ET)
– The Tigers will travel to Toronto as the only Canadian team in the MLB celebrates Canada Day in front of a sold out crowd as they hope to get back on track after ending their 11 game winning streak this week

Philadelphia Phillies vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (Wednesday July 3rd; 7:05 pm ET)
– The battle of Pennsylvania will get underway once again as the Pirates and Phillies will face off with the Phillies struggling to stay afloat in the race for their division while the Pirates are suddenly the best team in the MLB

Milwaukee Brewers vs. Washington Nationals (Thursday July 4th; 11:05 am ET)
– The 4th of July will be celebrated in the nation’s capital as the Nationals hope to stay in the battle with the Atlanta Braves for the NL East while the Brewers are trying to get out of the basement

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