MLB Week in Review (June 7-13)

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Baseball is many times not considered the most intense of sports as it sees a slow pace with pure precision. It is less about getting pumped up for a game and more about getting into a calm zone where players can see everything in slow motion. After all baseball is a game where an inch one way or the other can make a world of difference. A pitcher is always looking for that extra inch or less to fool the batter while the batter is looking for that extra inch between a single and a home run. Players have to be focused to get all of these extra pieces above their opponents. For many in the old school of the sport there is no place for emotion in baseball as it just clouds judgement and distracts from the precision of the game. Emotion will only get players in trouble and lead to imperfection in a sport that pursues perfection like no other sport in the world, after all one of the measurements of a great pitchers is how many no-hitters he has. Yet still baseball is a sport and all sports are inherently emotional and imperfect, that’s what makes them so entertaining. So for baseball there will never be an escape from the emotion of sports and the imperfection that gives. When you look at baseball emotion is so often removed from the equation that in the majority of the time there are rarely any incident s but when there are they are big and make some big news. It seems to be happening more now in the MLB where young players, who play every game with their hearts on their sleeves, are at the centre of plenty of incidents in the league. For some traditional baseball fans it has all happened because these young players have a lack of knowledge or respect for the game while for others the emotion they play with is well worth a few minor incidents. This week would show the new trend perfectly, or imperfectly.  It would all begin with the young Cuban star Manny Machado who would take offence to a tag from Athletics’ third baseman Josh Donaldson. Machado would believe the tag was too rough, it certainly didn’t seem that rough, and would get up and slam his helmet down causing the benches to clear. Then two days later on Sunday Machado would hit the A’s catcher on his backswing twice, once is a mistake twice is either on purpose or just being careless and putting another player in danger, which would draw the ire of the A’s. For that offence A’s pitcher Fernando Abad would throw a very inside pitch at Machado utilizing the unwritten rules of the game. The next pitch would see Machado swing half-heartedly and let go of his bat, which would fly towards third base. The act from Machado would lead to more debate about his maturity and would earn him a 5-game suspension, that he is currently appealing. The series of events would be one of the strangest in a while as many are left to wonder and debate as to how many of the things that Machado did were intentional. The Machado incident would be followed up by another strange set of events in the Colorado-Atlanta game on June 12. The game would see the 25-year old outfielder Corey Dickerson would hit Atlanta’s catcher Gerald Laird. In one swing Dickerson would catch Laird with a backswing that would send the catcher to the ground and take him out of the game. That would lead to Atlanta pitcher David Carpenter throwing and hitting Dickerson on the net pitch. The bean pitch would also lead to the Rockies retaliating with another bean pitch against Evan Gattis. It would lead to plenty of ejections and a lot of anger on the field and was another example of baseball getting more heated. As much as the bench clearing brawls and other incidents are annoying this can be seen as a good thing. Emotion is in baseball and it connects fans closer to the game along with providing the fire that fans love to see and get wrapped up with.


Extra Innings
(Extra Thoughts on this week in baseball)

Another sad Farewell
Only a week after legend Don Zimmerman another great name in baseball would leave too soon as former Los Angeles Dodgers and Oakland Athletics pitcher and Cy young Award winner Bob Welch would pass away at age 57 this week

Being Shopped
As the league turns the calendar closer to the second half of the season teams are looking for a chance to add an extra piece to their team with Jeff Samardzija drawing the most interest from trade happy teams

Super Rookie?
The Pittsburgh Pirates have struggled to gain their fire from last year but they would look to one of the most anticipated rookies of the year in Gregory Polanco who made his debut this week and is looking to bring that fire back


Key Scores:
Oakland Athletics 11 – 1 Baltimore Orioles
– After the events between Machado and Donaldson on Friday the teams would be at it again when Machado was thrown at and then threw a bat in events that would mask what was a very one-sided game

Washington Nationals 2 – 1 San Francisco Giants
– The Nationals were always expected to compete for the top of the East but the start of their year would see them fall far away from the top until they started to climb back winning games including this game against the Giants

Pittsburgh Pirates 4 – 2 Chicago Cubs
– The promotion of Gregory Polanco is already looking to pay off as the pairing of Polanco and Andrew McCutcheon is looking to be a good one as they continue to win including this game where Polanco earned his first RBI

Colorado Rockies 10 – 3 Atlanta Braves
– I another showing of emotion for the MLB the Rockies and the Braves would see one player leave by injury and another leaving through ejection while being joined by a few coaches in another blowout that was overshadowed by the incidents aside from baseball


Next Week:
Toronto Blue Jays vs. Baltimore Orioles (Saturday June 14th; 4:05 pm ET)
– The Blue Jays had a great May but they have toned down now and are looking to just start winning series including this one that is more important than most as all the winning will be for not if they can’t beat teams in their own division

Texas Rangers vs. Oakland Athletics (Monday June 26th; 10:05 pm ET)
– The Rangers and Athletics were expected to fight once again for the division in what was becoming a great modern rivalry but this year the rivalry is not as great with the Rangers falling out of the fight early but looking to get back against the division leading A’s

Colorado Rockies vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (Tuesday June 17th; 10:10 pm ET)
– The Dodgers are finally back where they were expected to be as they are sitting right behind the Giants for the division but the Rockies are trying not to give up on a great year as they look to climb back by beating the Dodgers

Atlanta Braves vs. Washington Nationals (Friday June 20th; 7:05 pm ET)
– The battle is back on as the Nationals have finally climbed back to the top of the division and they will be looking to continue the climb in a series against division rivals the Atlanta Braves with the winner likely taking the division lead

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