MLB Week in Review (July 13-19)

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The Season is officially half over as the Mid-Summer Classic gave teams and players a break from the long season. As always the All-Star game brought up the usual debates over the real point of a game to showcase the best of the best. Debates over the World Series home field advantage at stake would be one of the biggest issues. Yet still there is another part to the All-Star festivities that may have a bigger effect on the players than the game. It is a welcomed break for the fans as they get to see the best of the best play and compete in a game that should show the best baseball has to offer. It does not always show the best of the game but it does provide entertainment for the fans. The players also enjoy the break as they get to see and hang out with old friends and have an experience for their family. Still it is not all great for the players as many are being pulled in multiple directions and do not truly get a break when they are at the game. The game may not be the biggest concern though as the Home Run Derby is truly a strange beast. The Derby is one of the favorite events of the week as it is what fans love, the strongest hitters hitting massive home runs. The players who participate in the derby can become instant legends for their performances. It is not all great though as the derby can completely change someone’s swing and can lead to a decline in performance. When players enter the derby they go from trying to beat a pitcher to trying to beat the tar off a ball. The pitchers who throw to these hitters are giving the hitters easy pitches and the same pitch every time. That can lead a hitter to adjust his swing to try to get the most power behind his swing to try to get the ball out of the park. Then after a few more days of rest players return to the grind of the regular season and to pitchers trying to beat them. It can be a detriment to some very good hitters as they can adjust their swing to win the derby and mess up their swing for the remainder of the season. It may not seem like a professional would do this but all it takes is a small hitless streak or HR streak for a player to start making more adjustments. Once the adjustments start it is hard to stop them and that can mean more problems for the hitter. The evidence supports the theory that the derby can do more harm to a hitter than good as the stats show that participants in the Derby see a decline in their averages. That may not be great news for the Oakland Athletics this year as Yoenis Cespedes would win the derby this year. The young hitter would not even be in the All-Star game and yet he would participate and win the Home Run Derby. Cespedes has been a large reason as to why the Athletics have been so good but if he sees the issues that many batters have after the derby it could mean trouble for the A’s. The Derby usually takes the imagination of the fans and is one of the best parts to the All-Star break but for the players it may not be that good. A change of sing can really harm the batter’s performance for the second half which is the worst thing for teams trying to race to the postseason. Now that the first half is officially over it is time for the sprint to the finish as teams are looking to either continue their strong seasons or recover from a poor first half. The all-Star festivities are over and now the focus turns to making the postseason for all teams as the second half is here.

 

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

The ASG Takes its Toll
It didn’t take long for Yankees fans to hate the All-Star game this year as Robinson Cano would come up to the plate to open the game and immediately would be hit by pitcher Matt Harvey and would leave the game before stepping on the field

Last time for a Legend
Mariano Rivera announced his retirement before the start of the season and so he would begin to make his rounds to ballparks around the league including the All-Star Game at Citi Field where Rivera would pitch a perfect 8th inning, receive a standing ovation, and be voted the game’s MVP

The New Star in California
The Home Run Derby has helped to create plenty of legends in the past few years and this year was no different as Yoenis Cespedes would win with massive home runs that put the entire league on notice of the A’s secret

Lincecum’s Good Finish
Once Homer Bailey earned his no-hitter it was only a matter of time until they began to come in more than the start of the season and Tim Lincecum would step in earning a no-hitter and helping to recover a bad start to the season

 

MLB Standings

American League
AL East:
1. Boston Red Sox (.598)
2. Tampa Bay Rays (.573)
3. Baltimore Orioles (.552)
4. New York Yankees (.537)
5. Toronto Blue Jays (.479)
AL Central:
1. Detroit Tigers (.553)
2. Cleveland Indians (.537)
3. Kansas City Royals (.467)
4. Minnesota Twins (.424)
5. Chicago White Sox (.402)
AL West:
1. Oakland Athletics (.589)
2. Texas Rangers (.568)
3. Los Angeles Angels (.473)
4. Seattle Mariners (.453)
5. Houston Astros (.351)

 

National League
NL East:
1. Atlanta Braves (.568)
2. Washington Nationals (.505)
3. Philadelphia Phillies (.500)
4. New York Mets (.451)
5. Miami Marlins (.376)
NL Central:
1. St. Louis Cardinals (.613)
2. Pittsburgh Pirates (.602)
3. Cincinnati Reds (.558)
4. Chicago Cubs (.452)
5. Milwaukee Brewers (.404)
NL West:
1. Arizona Diamondbacks (.526)
2. Los Angeles Dodgers (.500)
3. Colorado Rockies (.479)
4. San Francisco Giants (.457)
5. San Diego Padres (.438)

 

Scores:
San Francisco Giants 9 – 0 San Diego Padres
– The Giants have fallen fast in the first half of the season but Tim Lincecum was hoping to change that against the Padres as he would receive a lot of help from his defence to earn a no-hitter and the win

Chicago White Sox 5 – 4 Philadelphia Phillies (11th)
– The White Sox seem to be out of the hunt as they enter the second half but the Phillies are still in it but in this game it was the White Sox playing spoilers as they would beat the Phillies in 11 innings putting Philadelphia further back

Cincinnati Reds 8 – 4 Atlanta Braves
– The Reds need to start coming back in the second half of the season and they got off to a good start beating the Atlanta Braves who seem to be on their way to another postseason appearance at the top of the NL East

American League 3 – 0 National League
– It was a pitching battle at Citi Field with the only runs coming off of the bat of Jose Bautista who would help lead the American League to the win and home field advantage in the World Series this year

 

Next Week:
Arizona Diamondbacks vs. San Francisco Giants (Saturday July 20th; 9:05 pm ET)
– The D-Backs are looking good while the Giants spent the better part of the first half sliding down the standings and now are trying to climb back into the battle before it is too late while the D-Backs are trying to keep them off

New York Yankees vs. Texas Rangers (Monday July 22nd; 7:05 pm ET)
– The Yankees are not looking great after a tough first half but with injuries beginning to fade away they are hoping that they can come back in the second half starting with the Rangers who are trying to compete with the Athletics for the west

Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Washington Nationals (Wednesday July 24th; 7:05 pm ET)
– The Pirates could be the best team in baseball if it wasn’t for the Cardinals but they cannot collapse like usual in the second half as they look to get off on the right foot and beat the Nationals who are trying to get into the fight in the NL East

Los Angeles Angels vs. Oakland Athletics (Thursday July 25th; 10:05 pm ET)
– The Angels seem to finally be getting into the swing of things and they will need wins against the Athletics to get to the top of the AL West but the A’s are looking great and hoping to keep the Angels away from the West title

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