MLB Week in Review (June 29-July 5)

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The MLB is at the halfway point of the season as the All-Star Game approaches and so does a significant deadline. The MLB Trade Deadline might not be the flashy TV spectacle that a trade deadline is in many sports but it is still important. Of course a part of the lack of flash is the fact that there are deals after the deadline using the waiver wire to exchange players. Baseball is also very much a team sport where one player cannot make as big a difference as in other sports. In baseball one player can hit with great power and earn 1 run HRs the entire game. But all it takes is the other team to put together 5-6 runs to beat that one player. A HR hitter is only as valuable as the players that he can hit in. On the flip side a hitter with good average and speed can do everything he can to get on base. If he does not have someone who can bat him in to earn the runs that a team needs. On the mound as pitcher can allow only one run all game but still lose the game if his offence does not back him up. The sport is based in playing like a team as everyone needs to do their job to win a game. When a few players fall short of doing their job the team will lose and so the MLB is about trying to get the right mix of players. The trade deadline in many sports is generally a way to add one player that will take them over the hump to make the playoffs. In baseball there is no one player who can bring a team to the playoffs but getting a key piece to the playoffs is not out of the question. The trade deadline is a time where teams that might be missing one key piece can add what they need to make their lineup stronger. Teams are looking to try to fill that one spot that might be the only weakness on the team. They will be looking to fix that one batting spot that can’t get it together, or finding that one pitcher for their starting rotation, or even that one defensive hole that has allowed a number of runs. There are many teams with a few holes that they would prefer to fill but none no additions will bring a team from the bottom to the postseason. There will be plenty of targets for teams to try to take as there are a number of players on the trade block. There are starting pitchers like Cliff Lee, Yovani Gallardo, and Kyle Lohse that will add a great pitcher to any rotation. Lee is a veteran pitcher who isn’t the ace he used to be but will still be a solid pitcher on a lot of teams. Gallardo is the ace of the Brewers but on most teams would be the 3rd pitcher but the fact that he will stay in the rotation for the season and can put in plenty of innings makes him a good target. Lohse is a solid pitcher for the Brewers but his contract is a heavy weight for a team that seems destined to miss the playoffs this year and a team that might need some pitching depth could want him. There are more than just pitchers available though as there are a number of batters that teams can look at. Two of the most intriguing will be Chase Utley and Andre Ethier. Utley is a key part to a team full of aging players that will not be making the postseason. The Phillies are looking to sell these players and Utley is the key piece as a number of teams would welcome a veteran 2nd baseman for a postseason run. Meanwhile in Los Angeles the outfield is crowded and with Yasiel Puig playing great the Dodgers could be looking to unload some payroll. Ethier is still a solid outfielder and will get plenty of interest from teams around the MLB. All of these players can fill holes for a number of teams but again none will bring a team single-handedly to the postseason. Instead teams looking to be on their way to the postseason will try to pick these teams up to tweak their team and provide another weapon as the season progresses into October. The deadline will come at the end of the month as the talks between the GMS heat up throughout July as teams to get better for the second half of the year.


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

Their had to be a First
Homer Bailey would enter the record books once again as he would earn the first no-hitter of the 2013 season and would become the owner of the last two no-hitters in the MLB breaking the half season drought

Manny is back
Manny Ramirez seemed to be out of baseball forever when steroid accusations arose but after a stint in Taiwan would end with a contract with the Texas Rangers and as much as he might not make an appearance in the MLB there is a chance that Manny might be back

Puig not slowing down
Yasiel Puig had a great start to his MLB career but many expected him to slow down eventually and that has not happened yet as Puig has been amazing all season and if he can keep it up Rookie of the Year is not far off


MLB Standings

American League
AL East:
1. Boston Red Sox (.614)
2. Baltimore Orioles (.552)
3. New York Yankees (.547)
4. Tampa Bay Rays (.540)
5. Toronto Blue Jays (.488)
AL Central:
1. Detroit Tigers (.553)
2. Cleveland Indians (.523)
3. Kansas City Royals (.482)
4. Minnesota Twins (.434)
5. Chicago White Sox (.410)
AL West:
1. Oakland Athletics (.586)
2. Texas Rangers (.581)
3. Los Angeles Angels (.477)
4. Seattle Mariners (.442)
5. Houston Astros (.356)


National League
NL East:
1. Atlanta Braves (.570)
2. Washington Nationals (.512)
3. Philadelphia Phillies (.483)
4. New York Mets (.434)
5. Miami Marlins (.376)
NL Central:
1. Pittsburgh Pirates (.624)
2. St. Louis Cardinals (.600)
3. Cincinnati Reds (.570)
4. Chicago Cubs (.429)
5. Milwaukee Brewers (.400)
NL West:
1. Arizona Diamondbacks (.523)
2. Colorado Rockies (.483)
3. Los Angeles Dodgers (.482)
4. San Diego Padres (.460)
5. San Francisco Giants (.459)


St. Louis Cardinals 7 – 1 Oakland Athletics
– The Cardinals fell into second place last week thanks to a great surge from the Pirates but they are not giving up the fight for the division as they would go on to beat the A’s who were trying to get back to the lead in the AL West

Toronto Blue Jays 8 – 3 Detroit Tigers
– The Blue Jays would celebrate Canada Day at home in a big way as the Jays would have one of their up games in the very hot and cold season to beat the Tigers and give RA Dickey enough cushion to win the game

Pittsburgh Pirates 6 – 5 Philadelphia Phillies
– The Battle of Pennsylvania would get under way again as the Pirates would continue their run in the middle of the season to have the best record in the league as they would beat the Phillies who continue to struggle to get in the fight

Washington Nationals 8 – 5 Milwaukee Brewers
– The Nationals would celebrate the 4th of July in the Nation’s capital as they continue to try to keep up in the battle for the NL East and would do what they could in this game beating the Brewers


Next Week:
Houston Astros vs. Texas Rangers (Saturday July 6th; 7:15 pm ET)
– Yu Darvish will go to the mound in the battle of Texas that hasn’t been much of a battle with the Astros turning out to be the worst team in the league and the Rangers finally getting everything together to take over the AL West

Los Angeles Dodgers vs. San Francisco Giants (Sunday July 7th; 4:05 pm ET)
– The Dodgers might finally be turning things around after a terrible start to the season while the Giants are falling off of a cliff right to the bottom of the division as this rivalry gets underway again with reverse situation by both teams

Oakland Athletics vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (Wednesday July 10th; 7:05 pm ET)
– The Pirates have the best record in the league and are looking to keep it going this year instead of falling out at the last-minute while the Athletics are trying to stay on top in a tight AL West battle

St. Louis Cardinals vs. Chicago Cubs (Friday July 12th; 4:05 pm ET)
– The Cubbies are having a typical season as they continue to struggle to remain relevant in the NL Central while the Cardinals are having their own typical season although they are looking for a win to stay in the fight in the Central division

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