2012 MLB ALDS: “Cy” Verlander powers the Tigers to the ALCS

12 10 2012

In game 5 of the 2012 Divisional series between AL Central Champs Detroit Tigers and AL West Champs Oakland A’s, Justin Verlander showed the world that he is Detroit‘s best closer by shutting down the A’s in a series clinching 6-0 victory.  The reigning AL MVP and Cy Young winner prevented Jim Leyland from using his shaky bullpen in the win.  Verlander needed just 122 pitches in his 4-hit gem. He fanned 11 batters en route to become the first Tigers pitcher to throw a postseason shutout in 40 years. The last Tiger do so was Joe Coleman in the 1972 ALDS.

With the win, the Tigers will be waiting for the winner between the New York Yankees and the Baltimore Orioles.  If the Orioles win, Detroit will be hosting game 1 a day after tomorrow.  If New York wins, Detroit will travel to Yankees Stadium for Game 1 of the ALCS. Last year, the Tigers were eliminated in the ALCS by the Texas Rangers.

Justin Verlander

Justin Verlander (Photo credit: Wikipedia)





MLB Home Run Derby: Detroit Tiger’s Prince Fielder is the 2012 Champion

10 07 2012

Kansas CityPrince Fielder of the Detroit Tigers won the 2012 State Farm Home Run Derby.  Fielder joined Ken Griffey Jr. as the only players to win the event twice.  He also became the first player to win as a player in both leagues. He won his second home run derby in 4 years. His first title was in 2009 in another Missouri city (St. Louis). The Tigers first baseman will be starting in tomorrow’s All-Star Game for the American League.

Fielder started slow in the competition barely making it to the second round by just making 5 in Round One.

First Round Standings:

Player HR LONG AVG
Jose Bautista 11 439 418
Carlos Beltran 7 436 410
Mark Trumbo 7 439 426
Prince Fielder 5 454 432
Carlos Gonzalez 4 433 428
Andrew McCutchen 4 436 421
Matt Kemp 1 420 420
Robinson Cano 0

Jose Beltran paced the first round with 11.  Carlos Beltran and Mark Trumbo were joint second with 7. Fielder barely edged Carlos Gonzales and Andrew McCutchen.  Matt Kemp had only 1 homer while defending champion Robinson Cano if the New York Yankees got shut out.

Results after Round 2:

Player HR LONG AVG
Prince Fielder 16 476 438
Jose Bautista 13 428 421
Mark Trumbo 13 457 443
Carlos Beltran 12 459 435

Fielder started to wax hot in the second round as he belted 11 home runs for a total of 16. Mark Trumbo was able to catch up with round one leader Bautista for the second spot with 13.  Beltran was eliminated with a total of 12 homers after 2 rounds. Because there was a tie for second, Trumbo and Bautista had to do a swing off.  Toronto’s Jose Bautista won the swing off by out distancing Los Angeles Angels’ Trumbo 442 ft. to 417 ft.

Finals:

Player HR LONG AVG
Prince Fielder 12 476 427
Jose Bautista 7 438 415

Prince Fielder outdid his amazing second round performance by hitting 12 bombs in the final round. Toronto Blue Jays‘ Jose Bautista only made 7, giving the title to the Detroit Tiger’s first baseman.  The sponsor State Farm donated 615,000 to the community.





MLB 2012: Undefeated Teams after the first weekend of play

9 04 2012

The new Major League Baseball (MLB) season has started and a few teams started red hot to remain undefeated after the first weekend of action. Here are the undefeated teams after Easter Sunday action:

  1. Baltimore Orioles (3-0) – The Orioles started the new season at Camden yards by sweeping the Minnesota Twins. In the 3-game sweep, Baltimore only gave up 5 runs while the offense scored 15 runs. Nick Markakis is batting .556 and has 2 home runs already.
  2. Tampa Bay Rays (3-0) – The Rays tied the Orioles for the early AL East lead as they swept perennial division champs New York Yankees at home. The team is hitting at .333 and have an on-base percentage of .443.  The Rays will visit Detroit for their next series. Carlos Pena has 7 RBIs in their 3 game romp.
  3. Detroit Tigers (3-0) – The Tigers opened the Prince Fielder era with a sweep of Boston Red Sox. In 3 games, the Tigers scored 26 runs.  Lead off hitter Austin Jackson is batting .571 while Miguel Cabrera has 3 homers and 8 RBIs so far. The early series with the similarly undefeated Rays is a series to watch.
  4. New York Mets (3-0) – The Mets took an  early lead in the NL East standings as they beat the Atlanta Braves in 3 straight games. It is the first time in 5 years that NY Mets opened the season with a sweep. In the opening series, they only gave up 7 runs while scoring 15. The bullpen just gave up 1 run in 10 innings so far this season.
  5. Arizona Diamondbacks (3-0) –  The DBacks scored 3 1-run wins over the 2010 Champs San Francisco Giants. They rallied from being 6 runs down to complete the sweep. They won the first 2 games via a 5-4 score.

It is still early in the season but these 5 teams are making a statement that they want to contend this season. Most likely, at least 3 teams from this bunch will figure in their respective divisions races.





MLB Opening Day: Tiger’s Valverde finally blew a save but got the win

6 04 2012
2010-02-20 #68a Jose Valverde

2010-02-20 #68a Jose Valverde (Photo credit: lakelandlocal)

579 days. That is how long has it been since closer Jose Valverde last blew a save. In Detroit Tiger’s season opener against the Boston Red Sox, Valverde blew a 2-0 lead handed by reigning Cy Young winner Justin Verlander in the 9th inning. His save streak ends at 51, the third highest total ever in Major League Baseball history. As a consolation, he was credited the win as the Tigers scored at the bottom of the nine behind a bases loaded single by leadoff man Austin Jackson.

Longest Save streaks in MLB History:

  1. Eric Gagne, 84
  2. Tom Gordon, 54
  3. Jose Valverde, 51




MLB: 2012 Managerial changes

2 03 2012

Spring training has started and the new MLB regular season is fast approaching. There have been quite a few managerial changes for the season. Here the new faces in offices and benches of some teams:

General Managers

Boston Red SoxBen Cherington. The former Assistant GM of the Sox will take the helm left by Theo Epstein. Epstein is now the President of Baseball Operations for the Chicago Cubs.

Chicago Cubs – Jed Hoyer. The former General Manager of the Padres will join his former boss Epstein in trying to assemble a formidable Cubs team.

San Diego PadresJosh Byrnes. The Padres’ erstwhile VP of Baseball Operations is now the GM after the departure of Hoyer.

Los Angeles Angels of AnaheimJerry DiPoto. Following the resignation of Tony Reagins, the Angels appointed DiPoto as their new GM.

Minnesota Twins – Terry Ryan. Ryan previously managed the Twins (1994-2007).  He replaced the one who replaced him in 2007, Bill Smith.

Baltimore Orioles – Dan DuQuette. Duquette is a former GM of the Montreal Expos and the Boston Red Sox. He replaced Andy MacPhail.

Houston Astros – Jeff Luhnow. Luhnow replaced Ed Wade, who was fired at the end of the 2011 season.

 

Field Managers

Miami Marlins – Ozzie Guillen. Guillen moves to the National League after years of managing AL’s Chicago White Sox. He led the White Sox to a World Series title in 2005.

St. Louis Cardinals – Mike Matheny. Matheny became the new manager of the defending World Series champions following the retirement of legendary Tony La Russa.

Boston Red Sox – Bobby Valentine. Valentine returns to managing a team after Terry Francona was fired by the Red Sox after Boston’s great collapse in 2011.

Chicago Cubs – Dale Sveum. Sveum replaced Mike Quaid as the Manager for the Cubs.

Chicago White Sox – Robin Ventura. Former White Sox player Venture was appointed manager of the Chicago White Sox in October 2011 following the departure of Ozzie Guillen.

The Red Sox and Cubs have the most changes at the top this season and both teams are hoping that the changes will lead to better records and perhaps playoff appearances. It is exciting to see over the course of the new season, how the new managers fit in their new clubs.

 

 

 





Surprise! Surprise!! Yoenis Cespedes signs with the A’s

14 02 2012
Oakland Athletics

Image via Wikipedia

A popular Cuban player in a Miami Marlins uniform will not happen this season as news of Yoenis Cespedes signing with Oakland Athletics is reported by several sports websites. He is said to have agreed to the 4 year $36 Million dollar offer by the A’s which is managed by Moneyball‘s Billy Beane.

The signing was a bit surprising for the baseball followers as he was expected to sign with the Marlins. There were also other teams who were interested in acquiring the Cuban star who is touted to be a 5-tool player. Teams like the Detroit Tigers, Chicago White Sox, and Cleveland Indians were mentioned as the ones on the running on signing him. Oakland’s interest never made the news.

Spring training is around the corner and people will start evaluating his performance soon and compare it to the amount of money the A’s is giving him. Many say he is ready but he also has his share of critics. One thing sure though, a lot of fans will be watching if this Cuban star will shine in the MLB.





MLB: Fielding Bible release list of awardees

3 11 2011

Unlike the Gold Glove which was determined by players and coaches, the fielding bible award is determined by a panel of baseball experts. The focus of this award is well, fielding and defense. It is practically the same as the Gold Gloves but the voting is more transparent and they give no distinction between leagues. Here are the 2011 winners:
First Base – Albert Pujols, St. Louis  (also won 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009)

Second BaseDustin Pedroia, Boston (2011 AL Gold Glove winner)

Third Base – Adrian Beltre, Texas (2006, 2008 winner, 2011 AL Gold Glove winner)

Shortstop – Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado (2007, 2010 winner, 2011 NL Gold Glove winner)

Left Field – Brett Gardner, New York Yankees (2010 winner)

Center Field – Austin Jackson, Detroit (first time winner)

Right Field – Justin Upton, Arizona (first timer)

Catcher – Matt Wieters, Baltimore (first timer, 2011 AL Gold Glover)

Pitcher – Mark Buehrle, Chicago White Sox (2009, 2010 winner)





2011 MLB World Series: Cards comeback again and win Game 7 to deny the Texas Rangers

29 10 2011

The 2011 World Series winner is…. St. Louis Cardinals. Here are the teams that they would thank:

  1. Atlanta – the Wild card Cardinals would not be in the playoffs if not for the late-season collapse of the Braves
  2. Philadelphia – the best regular season was not able to beat the 4th best NL team despite having arguably the best rotation that money can buy. The Cards clinched with Roy Halladay on the mound for the Phillies.
  3. Detroit – their previous World Series victim eliminated the highest paid team the NYY in the ALDS.
  4. Milwaukee – the division champs that failed to topple the second placer in the NLCS.
  5. Texas – leading 3-2 in the series and having 2 run leads late in Game 6 but lacking in skills of closing out. Thanks for a great series.
Heroes:
  1. Ace Chris Carpenter – tremendous effort in Game 7 in just 3-days rest.
  2. David Freese- the World Series MVPfor his heroic hits in the critical Game 6 and Game 7. 21 RBIs in this postseason and he also is the NLCS MVP. His triple and walk-off home run in Game 6 will be immortalized in the annals of baseball.
    David Freese

    Image via Wikipedia

  3. Albert Pujols – his Game 3 performance was legendary.
  4. Tony LaRussa – for making all the “right” moves.
  5. Allen Craig – he made timely hits and homers throughout the series. Game-winning hit in Game 1, homered in the magical Game 6, and hit the go-ahead HR in Game 7.
The Cards has on 5 0f 6 World Series title when trailing 3-2. Congratulations!!!




2011 MLB World Series: Rangers one win away from crown

25 10 2011
Texas Rangers (baseball)

Image via Wikipedia

Arlington, Texas – The Texas Rangers rallied past the St. Louis Cardinals, 4-2, to take a 3-2 lead in the best of seven match-up for the 2011 Major League Baseball World Series crown. The Rangers are one win away to a historic title. Should they win in St. Louis, they will earn their first ever championship.

In game 5 with the series tied, the Cardinals struck first by scoring 2 runs at the top of the 2nd inning. Mitch Moreland hit a homer at the bottom of the 3rd to get Texas on board. It was his first hit after going 0 for 6 in this last 2 games in the playoffs. Moreland also join a select company (Bernie Carbo, Bob Gibson, Dave McNally) of No.9 hitters to hit 2 career WS homers.

In the 6th inning, Adrian Beltre hit a solo homer to the left to tie the game at 2 apiece. The game-winning run was scored at the bottom of the 8th inning when Mike Napoli hit a double to score Nelson Cruz and Michael Young. Somehow, there was a mix-up in the bullpen moves of the Cardinals due to the crowd noise which contributed to the outcome. According to the Elias Sports BureauMike Napoli joins Moises Aloui and Tony Fernandez as the only players with 9 RBI in their first 5 career World Series games.

Relief Pitcher Darren Oliver was credited for the win after pitching a scoreless 8th inning while Octavio Dotel got the loss. Closer Neftali Feliz got his second save of the series.

The series will shift to St. Louis for Game 6 and Game 7 if needed.

Other notes:

  • Cardinals had nine walks but failed to convert in into runs. The 2011 Cards joins the 1910 Cubs, the 1924 Senators, and the 1997 Indians as the 4th team to lose a World Series game while drawing 9 bbs.
  • Pujols was intentionally walked thrice.
  • Cardinals is .800 when trailing 2-3 in a World Series. The only time they lost was in 1930 to the Philadelphia Athletics.
  • St. Louis had 12 men left on base in this game.




World Series Game 1 Outstanding performers

20 10 2011
Picture of Allen Craig

Image via Wikipedia

Game 1 of the 2011 World Series ended with St. Louis Cardinals winning 3-2 over the Texas Rangers. Here are some of the players who stood out:

Lance Berkman (STL) – 2 of 4 AB, 2 RBIs. His single in the 4th inning brought in the first 2 runs in this year’s World Series.

Mike Napoli (TEX) – 1 of 2, 1 HR, 2 RBIs, 1 walk. He hit a 415 feet home run in the 5th to tie the game.

Allen Craig (STL) 1 for 1, 1 RBI. His pinch hit single brought in the game winning run.

Cardinals Bullpen – 3.0 IP, 1 Hit, 1 bb, 3 ks. The bullpen was sharp to shutdown the potent Ranger batters.

Tony LaRussa – Made the right moves at the right moments. He sure knows how to maximize his advantage with the NL rules.








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