July 14, 2011 Leave a comment
The All-Star break has come and gone, a new home run champ was crowned, and the National League extended their Midsummer Classic win streak to: 2.
Derek Jeter went yard for #3,000– he should really thank David Price for that beauty.
Francisco Liriano and Justin Verlander both threw no-hitters, and each came close to a second. Buster Posey was injured in a home plate collision and Albert Pujols broke his wrist, then regenerated in half the time as a machine would. The Pirates are 47-43, yes the Pittsburgh Pirates, sitting in 3rd place, just one game out in the NL Central. The Mets are above .500 due to Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran having seasons they’re capable of, the Mets have some hope. Their manager, Terry Collins, 62, “is older than the remote control and hadn’t managed a game in 11 years, is suddenly the second-youngest manager in the NL East (or, as it might be known in the latest realignment plan, the Del Boca Vista Division)” (SI Tom Verducci, Inside Baseball) And those Cleveland Indians, name one of their starting pitchers; name two of their outfielders; their DL is the who’s who of Cleveland but they’ve been in first and are currently in 2nd, half a game out. Whoda thunk it? Plus Brian Wilson and his beard have become the new rock star of baseball.
But don’t worry, the season isn’t too upside down, the AL East is a close race (you know who), the Phillies pitching rotation is competing at a high level and the Marlins can’t sell tickets (they closed the upper deck). So what’s going to happen in the second half? Who will hold on to each division? Can Pittsburgh make the playoffs?!
Derek Jeter’s 3,000 hit? Check, he’s at 3,004
Jim Thome’s (595) 600th home run? 5 away
Alex Rodriguez (626) catching Griffey (630) on the all-time home run list? 4 more. And Willie Mays (660)? 34 bombs, not likely
Ichiro’s 11th consecutive 200 hit season, breaking his tie with Pete Rose? 101 hits at the break, on pace for about 190 hits (ASG isn’t halfway point, technically)
Mariano Rivera (581) all-time saves leader? 22 saves in 2011, on pace for around 40, putting at or above Trevor Hoffman’s record 601
Albert Pujols’ 2,000 hit? 16 to go
Matt Stairs’ record breaking 13th team played for? Check: Expos, Red Sox, A’s, Cubs, Brewers, Pirates, Royals, Blue Jays, Rangers, Tigers, Phillies, Padres, Nationals. That’s 52 different jersey’s he’s worn (Can be contested that he’s still tied at 12 with Mike Morgan since the Expos became the Nationals)
AL MVP: Adrian Gonzalez, Red Sox
AL Cy Young: Justin Verlander, Tigers
AL Rookie of the Year: Michael Pineda, Mariners
AL Manager of the Year: Manny Acta, Indians
NL MVP: Matt Kemp, Dodgers
NL Cy Young: Roy Halladay, Phillies
NL Rookie of the Year: Freddie Freeman, Braves
NL Manager of the Year: Clint Hurdle, Pirates
October, who has survived?
AL East: New York Yankees
AL Central: Detroit Tigers
AL West: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
AL Wildcard: Boston Red Sox
NL East: Philadelphia Phillies
NL Central: St. Louis Cardinals
NL West: Arizona Diamondbacks
NL Wild Card: Milwaukee Brewers
Yankees win the East? One of the East teams will be struck with key injuries causing a slide, I know I’ll probably pick the wrong one, but the Yanks have shown excellent ability to plug holes and win, and they have the run support. Boston needs to stay healthy and if their 1 through 5 starters continue to pitch well, plus their bullpen, they could be on top. And the West, what was I thinking? Diamondbacks over the Giants? It’s a wild division and it’s Arizona’s time. Something special in the desert again, they’re my surprise pick.
Will we see Bryce Harper in 2011? Don’t think so, don’t care yet. He will be good though. I also think there will be no more no-no’s, plenty of rumors around a Mets fire sale (not happening), Jose Reyes’ price tag continues to fall, Lance Berkman stays an MVP candidate until the end, the Rangers lose focus, and their lead in the West, and Ichiro blows up with a hefty hitting streak.
Baseball has been very, very good to me
Michael Schwartz is a staff writer for Home Field Advantage