MLB Week in Review (June 23-29)

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When things aren’t going right it can be tough for a team to come together and play together to get out of the hole that they have dug themselves.

It is the true test of any team as when things are going well it is easy to get along and do well in the locker room.

Everyone gets tested when people start to struggle and the team starts to fade from the top of the standings into the middle of the league.

This is when the true character is revealed of every player and sometimes things are fine and players realise that the only way back to the top and that is coming together as a team.

Other players take a different road as they start to try to find excuses and sometimes they begin to point fingers at other players.

Things may never be entirely any one person’s fault and when players begin pointing fingers at one another it won’t solve anything for the team.

The Chicago Cubs got some experience in these locker room issues this week as they continued to struggle through their World Series hangover.

The Cubs rose to the top of the league last year and they did it from the start of the season right up until the final game of the World Series.

This year things have not been as great as the Cubs have had some good times and some bad times moving up and down the standings all season.

It isn’t nearly as dominant as their last season and because of that, there is some doubt about whether or not they will be able to get back to defend their title.

Things seem to be creeping into the locker room though as the Cubs were on the wrong side of a record-breaking performance by the Washington Nationals.

In the game, Miguel Montero was catching for Jake Arrieta and the Nationals ran all over the pair.

The Nationals stole a total of seven bases in the game breaking the record for most stolen bases in a single game.

It was not a good performance for the Cubs and in an era where the stolen base is almost extinct.baseball-sidebar

Generally, when a base is stolen there can be multiple factors as to why it happens.

Either the pitcher is really slow to the plate and never changed up his delivery with the man on base to prevent the time to the plate.

The issue could also be with the catcher who might not have the arm strength or accuracy in his throws to catch the base runner at second or third.

When there are seven stolen bases it has to be some kind of combination of both the pitcher and the catcher not making the proper adjustments.

They need to work together as they always need to throughout the game because it is the most important partnership for the entire team.

They always need to work together to make adjustments if something is not working and when stolen bases are beginning to add up they needed to get together to make a change.

Clearly, neither Montero nor Arrieta made the adjustments and the Nationals took advantage of that for the record.

After the game is when things got even more interesting for the Cubs as Montero was interviewed after the game and laid all of the blame on Arrieta.

He claimed that he was getting no help from the pitcher and that the stolen bases would not have added up to the record if he had gotten some support.

It was not something that the locker room is not used to especially since the person speaking up was the backup catcher.

Most starting catchers won’t blame their pitchers for anything but when a back-up does it things only get more difficult.

It immediately ruined that relationship that Montero needs to have if he wants to catch a game thrown by Arrieta again this year.

He won’t get that opportunity though as the Cubs cut Montero after his comments and a lot of it has to do with saving the environment in the locker room.

Montero speaking out, regardless of how many of the stolen bases were actually Arrieta’s fault or not, was not going to make things better for a team struggling.

The Cubs were likely already thinking of letting him go and the steals made their decision or if they just thought he was that expendable that the comments made it easy to let him go the Cubs moved on.

It might be good for the locker room as that kind of negativity was likely there for a while but only came out to the public this week.

Montero seems like he will find another job somewhere in the league but for the Cubs, it was a matter of avoiding that negativity and keeping their season from falling apart.

 

Extra Innings

New College Champions

The Florida Gators are a famous program but not necessarily in baseball that was until this week. In an interesting series with the LSU Tigers that had a little bit of everything. They took on the Tigers and in two games were able to take home their first-ever College World Series title adding another title to the trophy case of the Gators.

The Next Step

The saga of Tim Tebow continues as the New York Mets are staying with their development plan for the former NFL QB. After leading the South Atlantic League in strikeouts but putting up 3 home runs and 23 RBIs the Mets promoted Tebow to High-A in the Florida State League. He hit a home run in his first at-bat in the new level and he continues to make progress towards the MLB although an appearance with the Mets is essentially out fo the question this year and into next year.

Stanton to the Derby

The hometown crowd will have someone extra to cheer for in the Home Run Derby as the All-Star Game heads to Miami. The Marlin’s superstar power hitter, Giancarlo Stanton, has announced that he will participate in the Derby this year. It provides one of the best power hitters in the game to one of the premier events during the all-star break and could mean a match-up everyone wants to see if Aaron Judge decides to go to the derby as well.

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