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 Awards: 2011 Silver Slugger

5 11 2011

The Major League Baseball released the winners of the 2011 Silver Slugger Awards. The award is given to the best offensive players in each position voted by coaches and managers. The Silver Slugger was first given 1980. For this year, 9 players earned it for the first time while their were 6 repeat winners from 2010. Here is the list of the 2011 Silver Slugger Awardees:

American League
Pos. Player Team Silver Sluggers
1B Adrian Gonzalez BOS 1
2B Robinson Cano NYY 3
SS Asdrubral Cabrera CLE 1
3B Adrian Beltre TEX 3
OF Curtis Granderson NYY 1
OF Jose Bautista TOR 2
OF Jacoby Ellsbury BOS 1
C Alex Avila DET 1
DH David Ortiz BOS 5
National League
Pos. Player Team Silver Sluggers
1B Prince Fielder MIL 2
2B Brandon Phillips CIN 1
SS Troy Tulowitzki COL 2
3B Aramis Ramirez CHC 1
OF Ryan Braun MIL 4
OF Matt Kemp LAD 2
OF Justin Upton ARI 1
C Brian McCann ATL 5
P Daniel Hudson ARI 1

The Boston Red Sox has 3 Silver Slugger awardees despite not making the playoffs this year. Rivals New York Yankees have 2 representatives. Milwaukee Brewers and Arizona Diamondbackshave 2 winners each in the National League. Boston’s David

The Major League Baseball logo.

Image via Wikipedia

Ortiz and Atlanta’s Brian McCann got their 5th Silver Slugger trophies.

There were also players who deserved the award but got beaten this year. One example is Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera who led the league in batting average. The Tiger’s first baseman and best slugger was outvoted by Adrian Gonzales despite better numbers. Most likely, the voters made up their minds before the late season collapse of the Red Sox. Jose Reyes and Lance Berkman also deserve the award this year unfortunately only player per position is picked.





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 Gold Glove Winners

2 11 2011

ESPN and Rawlings have announced the 2011 Gold Glove Winners. Here is the list from ESPN:

2011 Gold Glove Winners

National League
P Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers
C Yadier Molina, Cardinals
1B Joey Votto, Reds
2B Brandon Phillips, Reds
3B Placido Polanco, Phillies
SS Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies
LF Gerardo Parra, Diamondbacks
CF Matt Kemp, Dodgers
RF Andre Ethier, Dodgers
American League
C Matt Wieters, Orioles
1B Adrian Gonzalez, Red Sox
2B Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox
3B Adrian Beltre, Rangers
SS Erick Aybar, Angels
LF Alex Gordon, Royals
CF Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox
RF Nick Markakis, Orioles




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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