MLB Week in Review (July 3-9)

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The All-Star Break is almost here and for plenty of teams that is a chance to take stock of where they are as the break marks the unofficial halfway point of the season.

Teams will know where they stand as another half of the season approaches and the postseason push is soon to begin.

The All-Star break will give teams a little time to figure out whether they want to be in the postseason hunt or they want to focus on the next year.

The decision is not that hard for most of the teams as they are either out of the running or right in the heart of the run.

Teams have already tried everything they can to make it into the postseason hunt but some have fallen short already.

Others have done what they needed and will be in for the long haul but others are right in the middle.

As these teams in the middle reach the All-Star break they take stock of what they have and how they want to take the second half of the year.

The break comes at a great time as these teams will look to the trade deadline at the end of the month and will have a chance to hammer out deals as the best players in the league meet in Cincinnati.

Plenty of teams will be looking to grab players and more than any other position pitchers are in high demand for teams that desperately need another arm.

One team is out of that hunt though as the New York Mets are happy with the group of arms they have assembled.

They are so happy with the starters in their organization that they are throwing convention out to go with a 6-man rotation.

That is rarely done and in baseball things that are rarely done often shock the baseball world. After all, baseball is a sport of tradition and old ways that are not to be challenged by new ways of thinking.

If professional leagues had mottos the MLB would likely use “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” as theirs.

So when someone comes in and changes how things are done it often rocks the boat and meets with plenty of resistance.

That was the case when Billy Beane began utilizing “Moneyball” in Oakland and now the same is being seen in New York.

Terry Collins is rocking the boat in a big way for pitching staffs everywhere and there may be a few teams taking a closer look.baseball-sidebar

The thought throughout the MLB is to use five pitchers in the rotation which will provide their starters with enough time to rest and still get them enough starts throughout the season.

There is no real data to suggest that a 5-man rotation is the best option for every team and because of this Collins decided to add one more pitcher to the rotation.

The Mets have plenty of pitchers that can start and they clearly have confidence in more than most teams.

With Jon Niese, Jacob DeGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, former ace Matt Harvey, and an ageless Bartolo Colon all taking starts in the 6-man rotation the Mets are hoping to be a legitimate contender.

The theory is solid from Collins as he hopes that giving pitchers an extra day will keep them fresher for when the starts become that much more important.

They will not have the same wear against their arms when they get down to the postseason race.

They will be fresher and therefore more effective when the Mets need wins at the end of the year.

He is not completely off but some pitchers are not happy with the decision, especially Harvey, as they prefer to be as active as they can be and an extra day is not accomplishing that.

For the manager it doesn’t matter what the pitchers think because he is fully on board with his plan to keep his pitchers at their best down the stretch.

It is an interesting decision from the Mets and won that could prove to be smart in the long run.

Only time will tell and if it works out expect the debates in boardrooms everywhere to begin on whether or not they follow a new way of thinking or continue to think like everyone else and keep going the way they are going.

Extra Innings
(More on this week in baseball)

Papelbon Wants Out
Jonathan Papelbon has made it clear that he no longer wants to be a part of the Phillies and this week he made sure everyone knew as the trade deadline approaches claiming that he wants to play on a contender

The Derby Debate
The Home Run Derby lineup is set, new bracket format and all, and once again the focus turns to the participants to see if the home run derby truly has an effect on players who have started great after the All-Star Game

The Snubs
There are always a number of snubs whenever the All-Star rosters are announced and this year is no different as one major overlook was Alex Rodriguez who has had a good year but is likely still paying for his steroid use and the black eye he gave to the game

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Key Series:
New York Mets 2 – 1 Los Angeles Dodgers
– The Dodgers went into another series trying to keep their lead in the West while the Mets were trying to make it an even closer race in the East and they got their way in taking the series from the Dodgers

Minnesota Twins 2 – 2 Kansas City Royals
– The Twins are trying to put some pressure on the Royals in the Central as they try to make it a good race in the second half but this series solved little other than showing how close the race could be in the AL Central

Chicago Cubs 2 – 2 St. Louis Cardinals
– After a great start to the season the Cubs have fallen back in the NL Central but they took on the Cardinals in an attempt to show they belong in the hunt this year and they did that in matching the Cardinals at two wins apiece but still couldn’t gain any ground

Arizona Diamondbacks 2 – 0 Texas Rangers
– Both the D-backs and the Rangers started off less than great but they are making their own runs through the division and as they faced off both looked to get more into the fight with the D-backs taking advantage in sweeping the two-game series

MLB All-Star Break:
MLB All-Star Home Run Derby (Monday July 13th; 8:00 pm ET)
– One of the most entertaining parts of the all-star break gets under way with a new bracket structure that will see the best power hitters go head-to-head to determine the greatest pure home run hitter of the year

American League vs. National League (Tuesday July 14th; 7:00 pm ET)
– Another matchup between a league with superior pitching against a league with superior hitting as the National League looks to shut down a powerful offence in the American League all for the right to play at home in the World Series

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