MLB Week in Review (May 20-26)

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Effort in baseball is an interesting thing especially for outsiders who see the sport as one that requires very little effort.

It is a sport that has had pitchers like David Wells or Bartolo Colon star and who are not known for being in shape.

At first look, the game seems like a lot of standing around with short bursts of action.

Obviously, the sport is so much more than that and although out of shape players can be good they are usually limited to the roles of pitcher and designated hitter.

The rest of the team needs to have that athletic ability to get the balls that are hit to them and make plays.

In the outfield speed is essential to cover big areas of the field while their reactions from a ball off of the bat so far away can be the difference between scoring a run and earning an out.

In the infield, it is not as spread out but the reaction time is so much faster while mentally processing what to do when you get the ball is extremely difficult.

Not to mention the talent and arm strength it takes for power pitchers and the simple control for other pitchers on a ball that for everyone else is a shot in the dark.

Batting takes its own effort as hitting a 95mph fastball is technically impossible with having about .4 of a second to react to a pitch and decide to swing.

It is all about the effort that these players put in to get better at every aspect and more often than not that means getting in shape in order to have a stronger arm or a stronger swing.

Despite the outsider opinion baseball requires plenty of effort and that includes throughout the game.

Getting that extra effort from a player can be extremely important in changing a game.

The game itself can be unpredictable and running a ball out or making that extra effort on a play that seems unlikely to pan out.

It has been something that many managers fight with on a daily basis especially when it comes to certain players.

Many players put in the perfect effort in order not to hurt themselves but make sure they don’t get lazy.

Other players can become fan favourites for putting in that extra effort, although it can come at the expense of that player.

Then there are the players that get the anger of their fans and many times their own team.

Those players don’t run out ground balls and have a tendency to take a day off every now and then.

Rightly or wrongly the poster boy for this type of player is Yasiel Puig who has been criticised for a lack of effort since he entered the league as a much-hyped Cuban star.

There is little doubt that Puig has the tools to be one of the best players in baseball.

He is big and strong with speed to play outfield and power to be a home run hitter with an arm that is one of the best in the league.

The physical tools are there but since he joined the Los Angeles Dodgers after defecting to the USA he has lacked that killer instinct that so many great players

He doesn’t seem to have the drive to be a great player and prefers to just be a part of the team rather than the star of the team.

After he was fined multiple times for being late to team meetings and late for games he seemed to be turning a corner.

Still not known for putting in the best effort, Puig was at least conforming to the rules laid out by the team and not rocking the boat.

He even made fun of his issues to put them behind him with the hashtag #puignolate.

This week changed that though when the young Cuban was benched in the middle of a game as a result of his lack of effort on the field.

It may take some more time for Puig to mature and realise what he could be if he just put the effort into the game.

It will either be that or Puig will go down as one of the biggest wastes of talent in the MLB as a player that could have been unbelievable and ended up being just good.

It is a matter of effort and despite the thoughts of many effort is a massive part of baseball.

Doing those extra things to be better or to get that chance at a run or a man on base can truly make a difference.

Players like Puig might not think so but those extra things can make a difference and until they figure that out the constant request for effort from teams will continue.

Extra Innings
(More on this week in baseball)

Scully Turns Down ASG
Vin Scully is hands down the greatest announcer in the history of baseball and in his last year in the booth the league is looking to get more people to hear him but they won’t be able to after he turned down an invite to announce the All-Star Game

New Low for Marlins
The Miami Marlins are playing much better on the field lately but in their offices, the same issues continue to come back as the Marlins have reportedly begun suing ex-ticket holders and vendors after they dropped out of their agreements when the team broke promises

K-Rod Joins the Club
It seemed like it might happen much sooner in his career after Francisco Rodriguez earned the moniker, K-Rod, for his dominant saves but he is finally where many though he would be joining the 400 save club becoming only the sixth player in MLB history to do so


Key Series:
Texas Rangers 3-0 Houston Astros
– The battle of Texas has turned out to be far different from a year ago as the Rangers swept the Astros, this time, around and continue to dominate the season series with the Astros sitting at the bottom of the division

Kansas City Royals 2-1 Chicago White Sox
– The Royals are not the same dominant team they were last year but they still were able to take two games from the White Sox as they continue to fight to stay at the top of the division with the White Sox sitting there since the start of the season

Chicago Cubs 2-1 St. Louis Cardinals
– The Cubs are proving everyone right this year and the Cardinals are suffering for it as they continue to stay out of the top two in a division that used to be theirs with the Cubs taking two of three games, this time, around

Toronto Blue Jays 2-1 New York Yankees
– The Blue Jays finished off a successful road trip in New York where they have traditionally struggled to win as the Jays took two games in the three-game series with great pitching that ended a hot streak of the Yankees

Upcoming Series:
San Francisco Giants vs. Colorado Rockies [May 27-29]
– The Giants have been pretty consistent lately as they look to take over the west but their most surprising competitors have been the Rockies who have played far better than most thought they would this year and are looking to stay near the top of the division

Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Texas Rangers [May 27-29]
– Two teams playing well right now collide as the Rangers and Pirates will try to take the majority of games with Texas trying to stay on top of the west and the Pirates trying to keep pace with the Cubs

Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Chicago Cubs [May 30-June 2]
– The Dodgers are struggling to stay close to the Giants right now and that goal will not get any easier taking on the best team in baseball so far this year as the Cubs look to beat the Dodgers and continue their great pace

Chicago White Sox vs. New York Mets [May 30-June 1]
– The White Sox are surprising everyone this year as they have taken over the central division and they will try to continue that start of the season as they take on the Mets who are in a fight with the Nationals for the east

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