** Living in the Northeast and primarily following the AL, I know all about the Yankees’ improbable season. But what if I told you that there was a team that…
- entire starting outfield has been on the DL
- All-Star/Silver Slugger second baseman played just ten games
- All-Star catcher is hitting .180 (while playing more than all but one other MLB backstop)
- Closer pitched poorly then went on the DL
- Bullpen has most blown saves in MLB
- Ace went seven starts between earning wins
- Number two pitcher earned just one win in a stretch of seven starts
- Number three pitcher has sub-.500 record
- Number four pitcher recently earned his first win (ninth start of the season)
- In the offseason they traded away the player that now leads the majors in home runs
And what if I told you that this team (Arizona Diamondbacks) is in first place, in a division that includes the reigning World Series champs and another team with a $217M payroll?
Paul Goldschmidt (.333, 12 HR, 35 RBI, 29 runs, 1.049 OPS) and Patrick Corbin (6-0, 1.52 ERA) are big reasons why.
Speaking of the D-Backs, on Saturday Gerardo Parra hit the first pitch of the game for a home run. Arizona won the game 1-0.
** Indians Justin Masterson pitched his fourth shutout of the season, tied with Clayton Kershaw for most in the big leagues.
So far this season, the Indians have defeated Felix Hernandez, Justin Verlander, Bartolo Colon, Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay, David Price and R.A. Dickey. They are 7-1 against Cy Young winners. Those pitchers combined ERA is 8.20 against Cleveland.
First place Indians aren’t there by luck.
** Guess who has the most quality starts in the league? Not Kershaw, Felix or Verlander; that would be Cubs Travis Wood. He’s had a quality start in all nine games.
** Miguel Cabrera went 4-4 with three home runs on Sunday night against the Rangers. Cabrera’s stats right now are scary. His three homers give him 11, one less than most in the AL. He leads the league in batting average (.387), RBI (47), runs scored (34), hits (67), total bases (114), on-base percentage (.457), and he’s one point off the lead for slugging percentage (.659).
It is looking like back-to-back Triple Crown MVP is a distinct possibility.
** The streaks continue for the Brewers. This week they had another four-game losing streak, their fourth streak of four losses already this year (plus another streak of three games), to go along with a nine-game winning streak last month.
** Matt Harvey has been amazing, everyone knows. The young starter for the Mets is 5-0 and New York is 7-2 when he pitches. But in all the next games following his start, the Mets are 0-9. Ain’t much for momentum.
Speaking of those Amazin’s, Rick Ankiel got cut by the terrible Astros last week. The next day he was signed by the Mets and started five games this week in center field.
** Weird stat of the week: According ESPN stats, Reds teammates Shin-Soo Choo and Joey Votto have had the same number of plate appearances (207) and seen the exact same number of pitches (862). Both numbers lead the league.
** Craziest inning of the week: Reds flame-throwing lefty closer Aroldis Chapman was called upon to save a 2-1 Reds lead over the Phillies Sunday. He walked the leadoff batter on four pitches, and with Erik Kratz up to bat, Philly manager Charlie Manuel used pitcher Cliff Lee as a pinch runner. If that isn’t strange enough, Lee was promptly picked off at first base! Kratz then proceeded to hit a home run! The game would have been over and the Phillies won, but instead it was tied 2-2. But not for long; the very next batter Freddy Galvis hit another home run for a walk-off and the Phillies won anyway. For Lee, all was forgiven (although he probably won’t be used next time).
Players of the Week
Lots of good candidates this week.
AL: David Ortiz, Red Sox. Could have gone with Miggy here, but I prefer Ortiz’ consistency and game influence. Big Papi shrugged off a terrible week previously to get right back on track, picking up 11 hits, 3 walks, hitting 3 homers, and knocking in 12 runs as the Red Sox won five games in a row on the road.
NL: Joey Votto, Reds. Votto got on base 19 times in six games, hit pairs of homers and doubles, collected 5 RBI and 7 run scored, helping Cincinnati win six games in a row.