Ladies and Gentlemen, it's time that we at 101 Baseball discussed "it."
is, the possibility of Miguel Cabrera winning the Triple Crown for the
second year in a row. Certainly, there may be some fans, who, before
last year, never thought we would see the Triple Crown. Then, all of a
sudden, Miggy broke through and gave it to us. There couldn't possibly
be a way he could do it a second year in a row, correct?
Except he continues to be the worst
nightmare of every pitcher who faces him. He is currently leading all of
baseball with a .384 batting average, the next closest is Jean Segura
of the Milwaukee Brewers who is batting .353, leads all of baseball with
49 driven in, the next closest being Chris Davis of the Baltimore
Orioles, who has 41 ribbies and with 12 home runs, is one shy for tying
Davis and Robinson Cano of the New York Yankees for the lead in that
While we're on the batting average
thing, it's not possible he could bat .400, is it? Then again, maybe we
should start asking ourselves if he is even human. Let's be realistic,
though, even though he is in great shape, it is only May, after all and
anything can happen.
Who here remembers Josh Hamilton going
on an unbelievable tear the first two months of the 2012 season? He was
the American League Player of the Month in both April and May, with his
signature performance being May 8 against the Orioles in which he hit 4
home runs. He seemed like he was going to cruise to his second MVP in
three seasons and then....he fell off, took a two month hiatus before
picking things up back in August.
As enamored as we all are with Cabrera's
performance, believe it or not, he is not immune from a slump. He is
prone to it just like every other player is, and for the record, it
wasn't easy because the more the Triple Crown talks began to surface,
the more Cabrera started to slow down before he broke through and made
history in 2012.
Let us keep in mind, it's not like this
is something people were buzzing about all season long, it was more
like, "Hey, it's possible Miguel Cabrera could win the Triple Crown,"
and those talks didn't really happen until September, not May.
Now would be a good time to wish we had
telepathy to see exactly what is going through Cabrera's mind on this
subject. It seemed obvious, that, despite some people calling it the
quietest Triple Crown chase ever, it did get to him because his
performance started to dip after all the talks despite winning it.
Wouldn't it be nice to just go into Miggy's mind and wondering what he
is thinking? Is there less pressure on him to do it again because he has
done it before and he knows that feeling? Or does he feel there is more
because it's only May and already people are discussing it? Again, it's
only May, lots of baseball left before the calendar flips to September.
Just yesterday, that being Tuesday
the 21st, MLB Network was discussing Cabrera through his age 30 season
with Barry Bonds. Bonds was asked his thoughts on Cabrera and said while
he is the best in the game, Miggy isn't as good as he was when he was
30, and say what you will about Bonds, his attitude and his bluntness,
but he is absolutely correct. Cabrera has us all talking about him, yet
he does pale in comparison to Bonds at the same age.
Bonds never won a Triple Crown. He did,
however, win three MVP's before turning 30. Cabrera is in his age 30
season here in 2013 and just won his first MVP in 2012. The highest OPS+
Cabrera has had in his career in a season is 179, which he achieved in
2011. He currently has a 196 OPS+, which can and most likely will drop.
Bonds had a 204 OPS+ and a 206 OPS+ in 1992 and 1993, respectively. Both
seasons were before he turned 30. He won three MVP's in a four season
span before hitting the big 30.
Some may argue Cabrera is a Hall of
Famer right now and that he became one after winning the Triple Crown
last year. That was his defining moment thus far in his career, his
signature season. Look up the numbers, they're that good. With him
having played 10 seasons, he would be eligible to appear on the Baseball
Hall of Fame ballot. The last time one became a Hall of Famer before
turning 30 would have to have been Albert Pujols when he won his third
MVP at 29.
As far as Bonds goes, he absolutely was a
Hall of Famer at some point. Keep in mind, he has never failed a drug
test, despite a massive steroid cloud looming over him. It is possible
he was clean all those years, despite the skeptics. If he did start
doping, we don't know when and we can only speculate. One would like to
think he was clean when he won those three MVP's in a four season span
and if he was, it was leave people dumbfounded why somebody so good
would turn to such methods, if indeed he did so.
We should all be thankful there are no
ties to Performance Enhancing Drugs from Miguel Cabrera, who has
breathed a new life into the game and if there one day is, the sport we
all love may be doomed.
What do you think about Cabrera's chase to the Hall? Comment your thoughts! By Corey Stolzenbach (Syndicated Writer)
We all have our own opinions on the MVP award in baseball, what exactly is your criteria?
There are so many different opinions from so many different people. There are those who think the MVP should go to the player with the best stats, maybe they think it should be the best overall player or who is truly the most valuable to their team. This often leads fans and writers to think the MVP should go to a player of a playoff team.
In 2006, Albert Pujols was not a fan of Ryan Howard being named the NL MVP, since Pujols' St. Louis Cardinals went all the way, while Howard's Philadelphia Phillies did not qualify for the playoffs, but Howard did hit 58 home runs that year. Ironically, the Phillies won the World Series in 2008 and the Cardinals missed the playoffs, but Pujols still got the MVP anyway. As of 2013, Pujols in 2008 is the most recent player in either league to win an MVP while playing for a team that did not qualify for the postseason.
Some wonder about the MVP going to a player on a last place team, as Andre Dawson of the Chicago Cubs hit 49 home runs and drove in 137 in 1987, except the Cubbies finished in last place in the division and his MVP award is often considered a mistake despite those numbers.
In the other league, Alex Rodriguez won his first of three MVP's in 2003 with his Texas Rangers going 71-91 and finishing in last place in the American League West. That year, his final as a shortstop, he had a 147 OPS+, 124 runs scored, 47 home runs and drove in 118. It's hard to argue against the numbers he had that year and if that is what makes an MVP, it's hard to argue against what he did, and while Rangers fans are rejoicing what their team is doing now, things in the game can turn around in an instant from good to bad and bad to good and it wasn't long ago when the Rangers were cellar dwellers, even though Rodriguez brought the goods, the team went nowhere.
Should the MVP be limited to just position players? The controversy in 2011 was Justin Verlander being named the AL MVP in addition to receiving the AL Cy Young. He found himself with the Triple Crown for a pitcher, although not every pitcher who has won the Triple Crown has won the MVP. That year, Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers also won the Triple Crown, but only claimed the Cy Young and not the MVP. He beat out Roy Halladay of the Philadelphia Phillies for the Cy Young, but yet Halladay finished 9th in the NL MVP voting, Kershaw finished 12th.
How exactly does that make sense? Is it because the Phillies finished 102-60 and the Dodgers went 82-79? What exactly made Halladay more valuable than the other members of his pitching staff in Roy Oswalt, Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee?
If the MVP should only go to a position player and not a pitcher, consider this: Every game counts in baseball. What a pitcher does on that mound can make or break a season in hindsight. The Tigers ran away with the AL Central when Verlander won the MVP. Finishing in second place was an 80-82 Cleveland Indians squad who were 15 games back. Some may argue Verlander only won the MVP because of his record, since he went 24-5, while Kershaw went 21-5 and Verlander was on the verge of becoming the first pitcher since Bob Welch of the Oakland A's to win 25 games.
Welch finished 27-6 that year and claimed the Cy Young but not the MVP, as that went to his teammate Rickey Henderson. Granted, Henderson was outstanding in 1990, with an OPS+ of 188, but so was reliever Dennis Eckersley, who had an ERA+ of 606 the entire year. Yet in 1992, Eckersley became the most recent pitcher, starter or reliever, to win the MVP in either league prior to Verlander.
Finishing 2nd and 3rd to Verlander, respectively, were Jacoby Ellsbury of the Boston Red Sox and Jose Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays. Ellsbury was fantastic down the stretch for the Red Sox, even though they had an epic collapse to relinquish the AL Wild Card to the division rival Tampa Bay Rays, and Bautista's Blue Jays were not in contention but he did slug 54 home runs, which is pretty notable in this day and age in which the pitcher is starting to rule the game again after the steroid era tainted baseball for a decade.
What if the Red Sox got in? What if the Tigers missed the playoffs while everything else remained the same, including Verlander's bid for history and the Red Sox and Jays failing to make the playoffs? The next highest MVP placer after Verlander was his former teammate, Curtis Granderson of the New York Yankees, who finished 4th.
Perhaps as much of a head scratcher to some was the NL MVP race in 2011. Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers won the award, while Matt Kemp of the Dodgers finished second and Braun's teammate finished third. What exactly made Kemp more valuable to a Dodgers team that went 82-79 than Prince Fielder did to a Brewers team that went to the NLCS and had an outstanding year but was not as valuable as Braun who played for that same team?
Keep in mind the 2011 Dodgers were a mess. They were going through ownership problems and things were not looking good but they still managed to place three games above .500.
Also, baseball was treated to history in 2012 in which Miguel Cabrera won the Triple Crown, more on that later, but Kemp was flirting with the Triple Crown in September. As rare as it is to see the Triple Crown, Miggy could win his second straight and was the first to win one since 1967, the last time somebody in the NL won it was Hall of Famer Joe Medwick for the Cardinals back in 1937. What if Kemp won the Triple Crown that year? Does Braun still get the MVP? Kemp hit 39 home runs and drove in 126 but his .324 batting average was short in comparison to Jose Reyes of the New York Mets batting .337.
Fielder played in 162 games in 2011, Braun played in 150. Fielder had an OPS+ of 164, Braun 166. He only struck out 14 more times than Braun did and he hit more out (38 to 31) and drove more in (120 to 111) that year. Granted, Braun may have padded his stat sheet, but would his OPS+ have been as high if he played in the same number of games? It could be because his 2011 wins above replacement (WAR) was 7.8 vs. Fielder's of 4.6, but if we're going on WAR, Kemp's 8.1 has them both beat.
And with WAR, now is a good time to segue into last year's MVP race between Cabrera and Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Trout's team was in last place before he got there. He set the world on fire as the unanimous AL Rookie of the Year. The Tigers won 88 games, the Angels won 89, but the Angels finished in third place behind the Oakland Athletics and Texas Rangers, respectively, while the Tigers won the AL Central and eventually the pennant. Would they have gotten there without Cabrera? It would be hard to say yes. Yet would the Angels have been in contention without Trout, or would they be where they are right now despite Trout picking things up after a slow start?
WAR was a stat that was really being argued. This is not your grandpa's or even your dad's Major League Baseball. Newer stats like WAR are being used to break down the game when it wasn't even just a handful of years ago. It could possibly sway an MVP vote. Trout had a staggering 10.9 WAR, while Cabrera posted a 7.3. Then again, it is the Triple Crown. What if the Angels make the playoffs along with the Tigers? Is Cabrera still MVP? What if the Angels make it, the Tigers don't and Cabrera still wins the Triple Crown? What if neither team makes it and Cabrera doesn't win, or what if neither makes it but he still wins it?
Could any of those scenarios have handed the MVP to Adrian Beltre? He finished third and was the highest vote getter of a playoff team after Cabrera. Keep in mind despite the Trout/Cabrera debate setting the baseball world on fire in 2012, Beltre was on fire the final two months of the season and helped the Rangers win the wild card.
The truth is, we can sit around and play this game all day, but it's out of our hands unless we are part of the Baseball Writers' Association of America, but we're still fans. This is what we do. This is the game we love and who doesn't love to get into an MVP debate with their buddy and/or another huge fan?
Let us know your comments down below on what an MVP should be.
After what was presumably his best start of the season, right-handed pitcher, Ryan Vogelsong, took to bat in the fifth inning of an already 6-0 game. However, it would be the last inning Vogelsong would see, as a fastball jammed his knuckles in a half-swing attempt.
Now, according to reports, he's going to be hitting the shelf after a confirmed fracture on his right-hand.
Vogelsong, the one-time All-Star, is looking to take a place on the Giants DL for 4-6 weeks.
Vogelsong was 1-4 on the season with a high 8.00+ ERA before Monday night, however Vogelsong threw a game to remember, throwing five solid innings, combining to give himself his second win of the season, and dropping his ERA to 7.19. After being hit, Vogelsong revealed he knew the hand was broken immediately after the hit, and X-Ray's would soon back him up, confirming a dislocated joint in the pinky-finger of his pitching hand, being broken above and below the finger. "It stinks, especially because it's been so rough,'' Vogelsong said after the game. "To go out there and feel like my old self again and be throwing like that, it's tough.'' In the past years with the Giants, Vogelsong has combined for a remarkable 3.05 ERA, and a winning record of 27-16. Vogelsong also put up 276 total strike outs in years 2011-2012, and was on a pace to what seemed as a break-out after struggling in the past with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
However, now, his hope of becoming the next Giants ace is threatened, and could well be a career ending injury. Vogelsong has thrown 9-years in the Big Leagues, pausing his Major League streak after being demoted to the Minor Leagues in 2006, lasting to 2010. For the Giants offensive side, it seemed there wasn't going to be an end to their streaking hits, as most hitters raised their averages on Monday. Marco Scutaro, who continued his hit-streak to 18-games last night after going 2-5, was just one of the slugging Giants to path the way for their 25th win of the season. The recently-hot Brandon Belt also took a 4-5 night, smashing a home run to put the Giants even more in front. However, despite the outgrowing success by Belt, and tying his career high hits in a game, his thoughts were with the injured righty. "It's tough any time a player like that goes down," Belt stated. "He's been working his tail off and everybody is rooting for him. Hopefully, we can all rally around him a little bit." The Giants are set to take on the Nationals for game two of this series, with the two aces, Matt Cain and Stephen Strasburg, taking the mound for their teams. Cain, who is throwing a 3-2 season with a 5.43 ERA, is hoping to give his Giants the win tonight, which would put them just a 1/2 game behind the red-hot Arizona Diamondbacks. Strasburg, however, who is struggling this season with a 2-5 record, hopes to do the opposite, and hopefully gain his third win of the season. What do you think of Vogelsong's injury? Comment your thoughts! By Kelsey McNanie / Staff Writer
It hasn't been very often in the last 10 years a team has had both an MVP and a Cy Young winner in the same season, with the most recent being Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers taking home both the American League MVP and Cy Young in 2011. In 2006, the Minnesota Twins grabbed both honors with Justin Morneau being named MVP and Johan Santana taking his second Cy Young in the last three seasons. The last time this happened in the National League was the St. Louis Caridnals in 2005, in which Albert Pujols snatched his first of three MVP awards and Chris Carpenter claiming the Cy Young.
If the current pace keeps flowing, we may see a more updated honor in the NL this season in 2013. Feast your eyes on the Arizona Diamondbacks in which first baseman Paul Goldschmidt is having a tear of a year and, don't look now, Clayton Kershaw and Matt Harvey, but Patrick Corbin wants to join your party to fight for the NL Cy Young.
As recently mentioned on 101, the D-Backs are in first place in the NL West, with the San Francisco Giants and Colorado Rockies right on their tail to give the desert boys no breathing room whatsoever. Luckily for them on Monday night, they did get some in which they had a showdown with the Rockies and both Goldschmidt and Corbin were instrumental in the 5-1 victory to improve Arizona to 26-19, while the Rockies slide to 24-21.
Corbin is a very impressive 7-0 after Monday's win. He fanned 10 Rockies and pitched a complete game. Don't just look at the record, because it doesn't tell the story. He is more than backing it up in other areas with a nasty league leading ERA+ of 275 and a WHIP of 0.979. That right there, is ice cold. Randy Johnson won four straight NL Cy Young's with the franchise from 1999-2002 and Brandon Webb won the 2006 prize, while finishing second in both 2007 and 2008.
Things have really been shaken up in their rotation. After finishing runner up to Bryce Harper in 2012 NL Rookie of the Year voting, Wade Miley having a decent, but nothing exceptional year. Once a highly touted pitching prospect, Trevor Bauer was shipped off to the Cleveland Indians in the offseason and another pitcher they were high on, Tyler Skaggs, is currently in the minors. If Corbin keeps it up, he could bring home another Cy Young for them. Not bad for a team that has only been in existence since 1998.
Despite the success it has seen individually with a lot of Cy Young awards, a World Series Championship in 2001 and an NLCS appearance in 2007, the Diamondbacks have never had an NL MVP. That very well could change here in 2013.
After much speculated rumors, they finally sent Justin Upton packing to the Atlanta Braves in the offseason and he is enjoying a terrific year in his own right, both individually speaking and for the Braves. Yet Paul Goldschmidt has been chopping at the bit to make the fans forget about Upton and he is doing a fantastic job of that.
He hit a home run against the Rockies in that 5-1 victory. In a league leading 45 games played this season, he has a league leading 102 bases touched this season while also boasting the highest OPS+ of 174. He is in his second full season as a major league player and is only 25 years old. He will be 26 Sept. 10. He clearly has the tools to have a lot of power. He can rack up doubles, hit home runs and drive guys in. His plate discipline isn't too shabby with 23 walks this season and has stolen four bases after swiping 18 bags in 2012.
Goldschmidt was part of that 2011 team that won the NL West before falling in five games to the Milwaukee Brewers in the NLDS, through no fault of his own, in which he slugged two home runs, drove in six and batted .438. Upton finished in fourth for the MVP voting that year, and now the two former teammates are both legitimate contenders for the best individual honor of the season.
They will try to keep things going Tuesday night as they hope to push the Rockies further down the ladder as their fan base has a lot to be excited about: They potentially could win their second NL West crown in three years and more thanks in large part to a pitcher who has a very strong Cy Young case and a first baseman who could bring them their first ever MVP. If they keep this up, look out.
What do you think of the D-backs recent hot streak? Comment your thoughts!
Former pitcher Jack Morris has one year left on the Baseball Hall of Fame ballot and it is unknown if he will get in but one thing is for sure: he shouldn't.
His supporters will argue he had the most wins of the 1980s, he was an ace on three different teams that won the World Series and that he was a dominant pitcher.
Yes, Morris did indeed have the most wins of the 1980s, but does it not help with playing on good Detroit Tiger teams in 1984 and 1987? That 1984 team went all the way. They started off 35-5 and were 100-0 when leading after 8 innings. The Tigers did have a pitcher who won the AL MVP in 1984, but it wasn't Morris. It was Willie Hernandez.
Which pitcher had the most wins of the 2000s? Was it Randy Johnson? Roger Clemens? Roy Halladay? It was actually Andy Pettitte. Has Pettitte ever struck you as a Hall of Famer? He does have a case but whatever case he did have has been thrown out the window because of his connection to performance enhancing drugs.
Keep in mind wins are a team effort. Yes, he won a lot of games, 254, which isn't bad but why do people want to induct Morris yet criticized the 2011 election of former Minnesota Twin Bert Blyleven?
Blyleven was a pitcher who had 3,701 career strikeouts. He pitched 60 shutouts on really bad Twins teams. He was on a couple of winners. He was on the 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates World Champion team and part of the Twins team that won it all in 1987, beating Morris' Tigers in the ALCS.
In fact, they squared off in game 2 of that series. Blyleven got the better of Morris, with the Twins winning 6-3 over the Tigers and Blyleven pitching a very impressive performance. Blyleven actually was a pretty good postseason pitcher. He had a 2.47 ERA in eight career postseason games and a WHIP of 1.077. That beats the 3.80 and 1.245 WHIP Morris had. Yes, Morris did play in more games and while he deserves all the credit in the world for his performance in game 7 of the 1991 World Series, was he as good of a postseason pitcher as Sandy Koufax? Bob Gibson? Curt Schilling?
He was underwhelming in the 1992 ALCS, being tagged with the loss in game 1 against the Oakland A's and while he didn't get a decision in game 4, he got roughed up by surrendering 5 runs. Morris is lucky his Toronto Blue Jays pulled off a comeback victory by a score of 7-6, as that could have changed the tide dramatically had they lost.
The Blue Jays lost two games to the Atlanta Braves in the 1992 World Series. They were games 1 and 5. Morris was the losing pitcher in both of those games. While the Jays lost in a respectable score of 3-1, Morris gave up 7 runs in game 5 and was pulled in the 5th inning. They had a chance to clinch the World Series at home and may have done so if not for Morris and they clinched in extras in Atlanta in game 6.
The 1993 Blue Jays were looking to defend their World Series title. Morris had an ERA+ of 70 and a WHIP of 1.664. He was left off the team's postseason roster. They would go on to repeat as World Series Champions in 1993 as they beat the Chicago White Sox in the ALCS and the Philadelphia Phillies in the World Series.
So let's see, he did have his share of postseason success, but obviously teams have won without him. He was outdueled quite a few times and in the instances where he wasn't good, it got ugly. He was known as Big Game Jack, but really, he your box of chocolates on the mound.
Morris' career ERA+ is 105. The lowest of anybody in the Hall is New York Giants hurler Rube Marquard with a 103. In terms of Wins Above Replacement, or WAR, Morris was 12th in pitchers in the 1980s with a WAR of 27.9. The highest was Blue Jays right hander Dave Stieb with a 45.2 WAR. That is pretty significant and is the eighth highest among those who pitched the entire decade.
Morris is often compared to Curt Schilling. What comparison is there? The lowest WHIP in a season Morris ever had was 1.158. Schilling had nine seasons of a WHIP lower than that and two of them under 1. The highest ERA+ Morris ever had in a season was 127. Schilling has a 127 ERA+ in his career. Morris never finished higher than third in the Cy Young voting. Schilling finished second three times in a four season span, and he never won a Cy Young simply because Randy Johnson was not from the planet Earth.
Morris may have had more wins, but Schilling has the milestone of 3,000 strikeouts. Morris had a career WAR of 43.8. Schilling? 80.7. That is absolutely staggering. So is the fact that Morris garnered 67.7% of the vote for the 2013 Hall of Fame ballot, while Schilling got 38.8% of the vote.
If Jack Morris was a Hall of Famer, why is that there are so many holes in the most common arguments used to help his Hall of Fame case?
It's quite simple: He was not a Hall of Famer and those arguments for him can be turned against him really quickly.
What do you think about Jack Morris and the Hall of Fame? Comment your thoughts!
In this second addition of 101 Baseball's Power Rankings, we take the same approach as last week. Judging teams on their playing ability, stats, ranks, and more.
5. Pittsburgh Pirates (Last week: Not on list)
After finishing with just a 79-83 record, the Pirates of the MLB have taken to, winning the last 8-10 games, and combining for a 26-18 overall record, putting them 2nd in their division.
As a team, the Pirates have put up a .264 batting average for the last seven days, where three of their hitters peak above .300. The Pirates have also driven in a remarkable five home runs the past week, two of which game from the slugging Andrew McCutchen, who currently sits at a .308 average and a remarkable .658 slugging percentage.
4. Boston Red Sox (Last week: Not on list)
After opening the season with an extraordinary 20-8 record, but fell to an ugly 2-9 losing streak later on. However, the Sox have taken back their step as they currently sit with a 27-17 record, marking them at 2nd in their division. The Sox have seemed to be lining up their schedule with W's as they've won the past five in a row. If the Sox keep at this pace, there's no telling if this team could be a possible post-season contender, or even a World Series runner.
3. St. Louis Cardinals (Last Week: Number 1)
The Redbirds fall two spots on our list this week, however, that's not pointing into the direction the the Cardinals have hit a cold spot. No, not at all, in fact, the Cards continue to take their division by storm, holding a 28-15 record, which puts them in first place, and 2.5 games ahead of the creeping Cincinnati Reds.
The Cardinals took four out of their last five games, and are stepping up to a series with the struggling San Diego Padres. It's likely the Cards will boost their record higher, helping them maintain their honorary status this season, and get them a higher spot on our list next week.
2. Cleveland Indians (Last week: Number 3)
The Cleveland Indians remain at number two on our list for an array of reasons, one of which being the fact they were able to nudge their way in front of the St. Louis Cardinals, and the other being the tough 2-game series against the New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies, where in both series the Indians went 1-1 in.
The Indians currently boast a 25-17 record, guiding them into first place throughout their division. The Indians have taken the last four out of five games, three of which coming from the Seattle Mariners, who they are currently playing in the fourth game of the series. If the Indians pull off a series sweep, they will put themselves three games ahead of the Detroit Tigers, a vital position for a possible post-season run.
1. Texas Rangers (Last week: Not on list)
The western Rangers have taken the entire MLB by surprise, and after sweeping the Houston Astros', they sit in first place with a 29-15 record ... the best in MLB as of now. The Rangers also came close to sweeping both the Detroit Tigers and the Oakland Athletics, but fell short, just winning two out of three games. However, the boost was still enough to spark the team off into new standards.
Players like Adrian Beltre, Chris Gentry, Lance Berkman, Elvis Andrus, and so many more have been the cream of the crop the past week, posting eye-popping numbers, and combining for a team batting average of .333, where only one batter is below .300. The Rangers have also put up eight home runs the past week, and remarkably, four coming from the uprising Mitch Moreland. Moreland, who is batting a .294 average for the season, is just one of the key factors to the Rangers success this year.
What do you think of the Power Rankings this week? Comment your thoughts!
Arlington Texas, The perfect location for some Sunday night fireworks.
And that was exactly what baseball fans were treated to May 19 when the Texas Rangers defeated the Detroit Tigers 11-8. So much could be said about this back and forth game and what's so great about baseball is every game tells its own story. In the case of this one, quite a few unfolded, and for the Tigers and Rangers, they experienced things that were so similar, yet so fundamentally different.
The most similar thing one has to think of is the way the pitching matchup turned out in the end. It was Doug Fister pitted against Derek Holland.
While neither one is considered their respected staff's ace, which fanbase of any one of the 30 major league teams wouldn't be elated to have either one on their staff? Sunday was not, however, the night meant to be for either one of them.
The thing is that both of them left in the 5th inning. Both of them were doing just fine up until that point. Then things started to unravel for both Holland and Fister. It appeared psychologically speaking, things just weren't there after a while for both pitchers, as they both began to lose their command, and resulting in both Jim Leyland and Ron Washington to resort to their bullpen the rest of the way through.
Fans were definitely treated to an offensive clinic. 19 runs between the two teams and with the fire power both squads are capable of, they should not be surprised at what they saw right before their very eyes.
Here is the thing: How it was done, and by whom it was done by, tell a completely contrasting story between the two clubs.
Miguel Cabrera is the master of the masters of his craft. That is all. In what should have everybody celebrating his outstanding three home run performance, his Tigers took another in the loss column. Normally if a player goes 4-4 with 3 home runs and 5 RBI's, that should be enough to win. For Detroit, it was not.
Cabrera is a player one tells their children and grandchildren about. It was his 27th career multi home run game and his second career game of smashing three taters. This man is only 30 years old, yet he is showing no signs of slowing down when it comes to tearing stuff up at the dish. He has continued to impress with his sweet swing. He is batting .387 with 11 big flies and 47 driven in thus far. Don't look now but Sunday was a huge boost for his possibility at a second triple crown. We are watching greatness before our very eyes.
The psychology in him is just unbelievable. He is a very patient and disciplined hitter. Here is a man who was down 0-2 in the count against Holland in his first at bat before getting his first of four hits of the night. He had a really good at-bat against #45 in what was his first of three home runs, both taking and fouling off pitches alike before making Holland pay.
The only other Tiger to drive in any runs was Prince Fielder, who drove in three. Both Cabrera and Fielder have more than brought the goods, but here is wherein the stories between the two clubs is told. The Tigers' big boppers combined for all eight runs driven in, while the Rangers had players from all over getting it done.
Adrian Beltre, David Murphy, Mitch Moreland, you name it. After Elvis Andrus was a home run shy of the cycle in an unbelievable performance the night before, so many players in that Texas lineup provided fans with a supreme demonstration of the bat. Their offense just absolutely exploded.
Things just keep rolling on in Texas. They improved to 28-15, tying with the St. Louis Cardinals for the best record in all of baseball. That wasn't all. The Rangers getting off to a 28-15 start is the best record in franchise history up until this point of the season. Think about what they have the past three seasons and what they are doing now.
It is only May and absolutely anything can happen from here on out, but it's hard not to see the Rangers as World Series favorites at this very moment because things just keep on rolling despite not having Josh Hamilton, Mike Napoli or Michael Young. The offense is steamrolling pitching and the bullpen is a perfect 14 for 14 in save opportunities. That is the stuff championship teams are made of.
As for the Tigers, opportunity was knocking, no, scratch that, banging on their doors Sunday night in which they had multiple leads and coughed it up. They ought to be very lucky they took one game against the Rangers - that being May 17 by a 3-2 score. When you have a four game series against the team with the best record in the American League and now tied for the best in all of baseball, and your starters only go 15 innings, good luck.
However, after this very rough series, the Tigers have the perfect chance to regroup May 20 as it is an off day for them to get it together. They are facing the first place Cleveland Indians May 21 and 22. The Tribe prevailed 6-0 as Justin Masterson struck out 11 Seattle Mariners to improve to 7-2 on the season. With the Tigers losing Sunday night, they fell a little more back in the AL Central.
Yet that's the beauty of the game. The Tigers could not have had a more opportune time to make something happen, the Rangers are running rampant in the league and one more thing, that Miguel Cabrera guy is just too ridiculous.
What do you think about the Rangers taming the beast's? Comment your thoughts!