MLB Week in Review (August 10-16)

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The MLB has never been a league known to change quickly as they have a reputation of being one of the slowest in evolution. Season after season the MLB continues to face problems with a number of issues and season after season they do nothing. One of the biggest issues in recent years has been the officiating as time and time again we see blown calls cost critical games. Whether it’s a first basemen standing two feet off the bag and getting the call or a play at the plate that was completely blown the officials are having a hard time. The games are getting faster and the plays harder to call but above all the scrutiny has become greater with more replays than ever on TV. The MLB would take steps to correct this a few years ago when they would bring in instant replay into the game for the first time. After a rash of blown calls on HRs the MLB would decide that it was time to establish instant replay in a very limited capacity. It would be used only to call close HRs and make sure that the ball hit above the yellow strip that marks the HR line. The system has been relatively problem free as HRs are almost never an issue in the MLB but the fans wanted more. In an era where fans want perfection from their sports, nothing can be wrong especially when replays play on sports networks all week letting everyone see what cost their team the game. With issues in games continuing to rise and baseball taking a big hit on their legitimacy to put on a fair game the league has finally decided to make some major changes. Starting in 2014 replay will be expanded to every part of the game except for balls and strikes. The MLB will take a page from the NFL as they will allow managers to have three challenges to ask for a review of a questionable call. There will be one available in the first 6 innings and two additional challenges for anything after the 6th inning. All reviews will be done by a control centre at MLB headquarters much like NHL goal reviews. The move is a big one for the MLB as it could be one of the biggest steps the league has ever made in such a short time. From using replay for one call to using it for almost every aspect of the game is a massive move in the right direction for the MLB. There will finally be accuracy in calling a game that is so precise the smallest mistake can change the game. It will not be without it’s downfalls though as the new system will take some time getting used to as managers will now have to adjust to these challenges. There is also a major concern about the manager challenges slowing down a game that is already considered slow. Adding challenges to a slow game is a legitimate concern as challenges can slow the game while officials look at the call. Delaying the game for an extended period on a bigger call may make the game much more difficult to follow as the tempo of the game will be lost. Still this is a small price to pay for getting the call right and making sure that a game is not lost on a major mistake by an umpire. The MLB will make this change for the 2014 season as the league that never seems to change will take a big step forward to making their game better. It will be a big step and will see an adjustment period but in the end it is good for the game even if baseball purists don’t like it. One of the best parts of the decisions is that they will keep a human aspect to the game by keeping the strikes and balls called by an umpire. Sports are imperfect and a human element to umpiring must be kept but expanding the replay is adding more of a backup system to a problem in the league and will be a good addition come 2014.

 

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

Big Change in Philly
The Phillies have had a terrible season with a veteran lineup that has fallen short of expectations and so something had to change as Charlie Manuel has been fired as the manager for the first of what promises to be plenty of changes in Philly

Cano’s Payday
Robinson Cano can only do so much and bringing the Yankees to the postseason is not in the cards so many are looking at the offseason as Cano is up to be a free agent next year and will be sure to demand a massive payday that the Yankees will have to pay to keep him

More for A-Rod
Alex Rodriguez cannot seem to stay out of the news after his fights with Brian Cashman and his suspension and appeal from the Biogenesis scandal and now he moves to TV as A-Rod has been taken off of the Yankees’ animated kids series keeping him in the headlines for another week

 

MLB Standings

American League
Division Leaders:
1. Boston Red Sox (.581)
2. Detroit Tigers (.582)
3. Texas Rangers (.574)
Wild Card:
4. Tampa Bay Rays (.575)
5. Oakland Athletics (.567)
In the Hunt (GB):
6. Baltimore Orioles (3.5)
7. Cleveland Indians (3.5)
8. Kansas City Royals (4.5)
9. New York Yankees (5.5)
10. Seattle Mariners (12.5)
11. Toronto Blue Jays (13.0)
12. Los Angeles Angels (14.0)
13. Minnesota Twins (14.0)
14. Chicago White Sox (21.5)
15. Houston Astros (29.0)

 

National League
Division Leaders:
1. Atlanta Braves (.615)
2. Pittsburgh Pirates (.595)
3. Los Angeles Dodgers (.587)
Wild Card:
4. Cincinnati Reds (.570)
5. St. Louis Cardinals (.570)
In the Hunt (GB):
6. Arizona Diamondbacks (6.5)
7. Washington Nationals (10.0)
8. Colorado Rockies (12.0)
9. New York Mets (13.0)
10. San Diego Padres (15.0)
11. San Francisco Giants (15.0)
12. Chicago Cubs (16.0)
13. Philadelphia Phillies (16.0)
14. Milwaukee Brewers (17.0)
15. Miami Marlins (22.5)

 

Scores:
Los Angeles Dodgers 5 – 0 Tampa Bay Rays
– The Dodgers continued to dominate heading into the postseason as they would get a great start from Zach Greinke that would help them to a shut out of the Rays who are still looking to get a wild card spot

Texas Rangers 2 – 1 Houston Astros
– The Rangers and Astros had a potential rivalry brewing when the Astros moved to the American League but the Rangers have moved up the ladder and the Astros have fallen down which was shown in this game with the Rangers winning

St. Louis Cardinals 4 – 3 Pittsburgh Pirates (14th)
– The Cards and Pirates seem like their preparing for a battle right to the end as they both look to win the division and this game would show how close they are as they would go to 14 innings until Adron Chambers hit a walk-off single to give the Cards the win

New York Yankees 10 – 3 Boston Red Sox
– The Yankees and Red Sox rivalry will always be a big one even if the Yankees are at the bottom of the division and the Red Sox are at the top although that was very different story in this game with the Yankees dominating

 

Next Week:
St. Louis Cardinals vs. Chicago Cubs (Saturday August 17th; 4:05 pm ET)
– The Cards and the Cubs have a special rivalry as they battle for Midwest supremacy and this time the game will have a lot more meaning to the Cards as they are looking for the win to challenge the Pirates for the division

Tampa Bay Rays vs. Baltimore Orioles (Monday August 19th; 7:05 pm ET)
– The Rays and Orioles will fight to the end to try to get a wild card spot with this series playing an important role as the Rays hope to keep their spot and the O’s try to take the spot away

Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Cincinnati Reds (Wednesday August 21st; 7:10 pm ET)
– The D-Backs are far back in the NL wild card race but they have a chance to make up ground when they take on the Reds who currently hold one of the two spots for the NL and a win in this series will help them to climb the ladder

Washington Nationals vs. Kansas City Royals (Friday August 23rd; 8:10 pm ET)
– The Nationals went from being the World Series favorite to having the potential to miss the postseason as they only have a few weeks left to try to come back into the wild card and save face this year

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