Red Sox Had Their Chance to Pull Away with the AL East, Now It's Too Late and the Yankees Are Ready to Take Back the ThroneRead Now
Sorry Red Sox fans, your opportunity to win the AL East has vanished, and within the next week or so the Yankees will regain sole possession of first place. Once that happens, they won't be looking back, so enjoy it while it lasts. The Red Sox came into this season a heavy favorite to not only win the AL East, but compete for a World Series. Now, that seems preposterous that the consensus even thought that with the way the team has performed this season. The lineup without Big Papi just isn't what it was last year, the starting pitching hasn't been what it was supposed to be, and the bullpen besides for Craig Kimbral has been somewhat of a disaster. All these issues have lead to an underwhelming season for the Red Sox. No deadline deal will be enough to fix this Red Sox team and that's why I believe their chances at winning the AL East have slipped right through their fingers.
The Yankees had looked like they were going to run away with the division in early June until everything fell apart at once. Players went down, starting pitchers stopped performing, and the bullpen was in shambles. This allowed the Red Sox to take first place as the Yankees kept losing games at one point reaching rock bottom losing 16 of 20 games. Somehow, someway, through all that the Red Sox failed to take advantage and build a sizeable lead in the division race. I believe the most games the Yankees ever trailed was 4.5, which is incredible when you think of the clip they were losing at. The Red Sox are who they are at this point. They've been consistently this above average team all season and I don't think much will change. David Price is out for God knows how long, so if anything their situation just got worse. Meanwhile, the Yankees bullpen is the best in baseball after the trade they made last week for Kahnle and Robertson, and their lineup has consistently been one of the best in baseball all season.
Both these teams could still make deals before the deadline as they both could use a starting pitcher. The Red Sox could also use a bat, but the Yankees are much better suited to pull off a deal than the Red Sox right now. Yankees are getting hot and are starting to regain early season form where they were the best team in baseball(record wise). If they go on a run like that again they'll pull away with thing and we'll get to see real Yankee postseason baseball for the first time since 2012. I don't see the scenario in which the Red Sox win the division by actually improving as a baseball team. The only way they'll win is if the Yankees fall apart like they did in late June and early July. It's the Yankees division to lose now, I don't care what the standings say right now, by October the Yankees will be sitting comfortably at the top of the AL East.
With the 2017 MLB Hall of Fame inductions just days away, I felt it was time I finally addressed something that I have believed, and felt passionate about for years now.
In my mind, it is an absolute no-brainer, that Roger Clemens, with or without steroids, is the greatest pitcher in MLB history. No if's, and's, or but's. Now, putting my personal feelings aside, and my love and admiration for "The Rocket", I have quite a few legitimate reasoning's as to why this man not only belongs in the Hall of Fame, but deserves to be regarded as the greatest pitcher to ever step onto the mound.
Let's begin with the elephant in the room and address the steroid issue. Now, there's no doubt in my mind or anyone's mind that Roger Clemens used steroids during the course of his career. If I had to guess, I would assume that he began using steroids a few years before, and during his tenure with the Toronto Blue Jays, and then certainly again during his comeback with the Astros in 2004.
My first counterpoint to the steroid use is the most clear and obvious - he played during the steroid era. He faced guys like Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmero, the list goes on an on, so let's not act like he was out there with a legitimate advantage over the rest of the league. EVERYONE was doing it, and while that is far from an excuse, it means that whatever "advantage" he had, was negated by the rest of his competition's similar abuse of PED's.
Secondly, and for me, most importantly, is that there is no way you can tell me that he came into the league juiced up in 1984. He came into the league firing, and by his third season in the MLB at age 23 in 1986, had grabbed the CY Young and MVP awards, his first ERA title, his first strikeout title, and first All-Star appearance. Not to mention that season he recorded the MLB's first EVER 20 strikeout game, going 9 innings against the Mariners and allowing only 3 hits and 1 earned run. The 20K feat has only been accomplished 3 more times since that April 1986 game, the second coming from Clemens yet again in 1996.
Now with the steroid issue being addressed, you have to take a look at what he did over the course of 24 seasons in the MLB. If you are still hung up on the steroid issue, just TRY and look at these numbers and accomplishments from a hypothetical standpoint.
*Additionally, regarding the majority of the stats and accomplishments that I'll be bringing to light, I want it to be noted that I do not think that any pitcher who pitched before the 1960's-70's should be counted towards all-time wins/strikeouts/awards of any kind, because the dead-ball era and the way the game was played was built for pitchers to thrive in certain aspects, and the amount of innings pitched alone give these guys statistical advantages over anyone. While they are still some of the greatest players to ever step on the diamond, for the sake of comparison, it just isn't fair.*
Roger Clemens is a 7x Cy Young award winner, 2 more than any pitcher in MLB history, with his award winning seasons spanning 18 years. He won an MVP in 1986, and finished top 10 in the MVP voting 5 more times after that. He earned 7 ERA titles, second most all time behind Lefty Grove's 9 titles. He had 6 different seasons where he recorded 20+ wins, with 4 additional seasons where he came up just short with 18 wins. He ranks 9th All-Time in career wins, with 354, and 20th All-Time in win-loss %. Of those 8 individuals ahead of him in career wins, only Warren Spahn (363) and Greg Maddux (355) should be counted in comparison to Clemens. He is a 2x Pitching Triple Crown winner, both coming during his two ridiculous seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays, where he won back-to-back Cy Young awards. He ranks third All-Time in strikeouts (4,672), trailing only Nolan Ryan (5,714), and Randy Johnson (4,875), both of whom are regarded as the greatest strikeout pitchers of all-time, and both trail Clemens in every other possible statistical category.
Of course, you can't forget his two World Series rings with the Yankees either, the first coming in 1999 when he pitched the Bronx Bombers to a series win in Game 4, throwing 7.2 IP, allowing 1 earned run, and striking out 4 batters. Similarly, in 2000, as the Yankees faced the Mets, Clemens recorded his second world series win, as he pitched 8 innings, allowing 2 hits, and striking out 9 in the process.
I could go on and on for hours with stat after stat as to why Roger Clemens not only deserves to be in the Hall of Fame, but should be considered the most dominant pitcher to ever step on the mound. Love him, hate him, or call him a cheater, his resume is as good as it gets. I believe at this point the MLB needs to embrace the steroid era, and let all those who truly dominated that time into the Hall, because like it or not, the steroid era was the most exciting time in MLB history.
With Clemens' Hall of Fame voting % going from 44% to 54% from 2016 to 2017, I am hoping that sometime very, very soon, we will see the Rocket's % hitting 75% and him being enshrined forever.
And hey, if you don't wanna take my word for it regarding The Rocket's dominance, take a look at how his career compares to Sandy Koufax AND Pedro Martinez combined.
Yankees made the trade we've all been waiting for, but it wasn't quite what anyone expected. The Yankees acquired Todd Frazier, David Robertson, and Tommy Kahnle for Tyler Clippard, Blake Rutherford, and two other nobody prospects. Basically the White Sox got Rutherford, the Yankees 2016 first round draft pick, for two relievers and a guy that can play third or first. Frazier is the guy that can play third or first, so I'm sure he'll start at first since we've had 0 production from that position all year, although he's essentially the same type of player as Chris Carter, so not really sure if he's an upgrade. If Frazier was the big haul of the deal I'd be sick because he's worth about 2 pennies and a crinkled up gum wrapper. Robertson and Kahnle were the big part of the trade. Adding these guys to a bullpen of Betances and Chapman makes the Yankees starting rotations job that much easier. A bullpen loaded with great arms now will shorten the games for the starters and make it much easier for the bullpen to gain rest without putting itself at risk for blowing games. Love the decision by Cashman to bolster the bullpen because it was clearly a problem this past month and was going to continue to be. Now, Yankees have Chad Green, Adam Warren, Tommy Kahnle, David Robertson, Dellin Betances, and Aroldis Chapman, I think it's safe to say that's the best bullpen in baseball. Even with all that being said I don't think this one move will be enough to get the struggling Yankees into the postseason.
The Yankees are still missing what they've been missing for basically the entire season, a proven starting pitcher. Now that Michael Pineda is toast for the season the Yankees need an arm now more than ever. The additions to the bullpen were made to not only sure things up late in games, but to make the job of the starters easier. Tanaka, Severino, Sabathia, and Montgomery are all more than capable of being quality starters for the rest of the season, however it's that one spot that's unfilled that could cost us games that'll come back to bite us late in September. Yankees answered a lot of question marks with that one trade to Chicago, although if another move isn't made I'll be left scratching my head a little.
There were reports yesterday that the Yankees were in talks with the A's trying to land Yonder Alonso and Sonny Gray, a trade that I'm totally still for. The fact of the matter is after the White Sox trade yesterday I doubt the Yankees would make another blockbuster deal before the deadline. If they were to pull off that deal I'd be sold on the Yankees making the playoffs for sure. Another huge bat and a consistent arm would put the Yankees over the top and at that point I'd expect them to win the division. This is all in just my little fantasy world, so I wouldn't get your hopes up.
Regardless, this was a good trade for the Yankees. We get two solid relievers and a guy that can play our two weakest positions pretty well. He doesn't hit for average, but he hits for power, and at Yankee stadium that's all that really matters. Only way this will look bad for Cashman is if Blake Rutherford turns out to be an absolute savage baseball player. It can definitely happen, after all he was a first round pick for a reason, however if he doesn't turn out to be anything but an average player, the Yankees will have fleeced the White Sox. Things are looking up for the White Sox as they now have close to 10 prospects in the top 100 as their full rebuild is in full effect. The Yankees, who are clearly trying to win now, will benefit right away from this deal, and who knows, maybe it'll be the move that gets us back into the postseason. Even though I hope Cashman is still wheeling and dealing back in his office because I don't think the Yankees are done trying to improve before the deadline.
Well, if you didn't think we needed to add a starter before this news broke, I'm sure your mind has changed. Michael Pineda, will miss the rest of the season with a torn UCL and will have to undergo Tommy John surgery. In other words, the Michael Pineda era in New York is finally over. What a long stressful relationship it was with Big Mike. It was mostly frustrating because you knew he was capable of great things, just watch the movement on all his pitches, but he could never quite keep it together mentally, and was inconsistent for all of his time in New York. It's safe to say he won't be missed by many, if any New York Yankee fans.
Pineda hadn't been awful this season like in years past. He actually was able to maintain an ERA under 4 and had 8 wins for us before the all star break. Now, the Yankees need someone to come in and either match that production or produce more than Pineda if the Yankees want to have any shot at making the postseason.
Here's some options the Yankees have for boosting this depleted rotation. First off they can try to just promote a guy like Chance Adams to replace Pineda, although they already needed another legit starter before Pineda went down, so I think they'll have to promote Chance Adams regardless. Tanaka, Severino, Sabathia, Montgomery, and Adams might be what they go with going forward, however if they really want to make a run this year they'll look to add a big time arm to replace Sabathia or Adams if he doesn't prove he can shut down big league lineups like he has been at every level in the minors. Sonny Gray and Gerritt Cole seem to have drawn some interest by the Yankees, however getting either of them will cost the Yankees a number of prospects. I'd rather avoid that route, hope that somehow CC returns to early season form and that Chance Adams is a stud at the big league level. Unfortunately, that might not be a realistic expectation, and we may have to give up some prospects to acquire an already established pitcher to help us get to October.
Cashman is yet to let me down in the past two season with any moves he's made improving the team, so I trust him to make the right move this time around as well. I'm in no rush to mortgage the farm to try and make a World Series run this year, I know we've already exceeded expectations this year, and I'm not going to rush a process that has been so good to us Yankee fans. Just enjoy the second half, watch our young guys continue to develop and improve, and hopefully the squad we have right now is enough to win the AL East or at least get a wildcard berth. It's all a learning process for these young guys so as long as we're playing competitive baseball I couldn't be happier with the direction of this team. Now, let's sit back and watch Cashman work his magic.
Last night was a special moment in baseball, it was one of those nights where you were witnessing something impressive, all the while you're watching something even bigger happening without even realizing. I'm pretty sure Aaron Judge became the face of baseball last night and it only took him 3 months to do so. Bryce Harper, choose not to do the Home Run Derby and Mike Trout couldn't due to an injury. Even still both have had plenty of chances to in the past but chose not to. Well, it may have just back fired because baseballs new biggest superstar, literally and figuratively, put on an absolute show last night. This isn't like what Giancarlo Stanton did last year when he made serious noise at the Derby because it never quite translated to the field as much, but with Judge it translates on the field as well. Leaving me with the thought, did Aaron Judge become the face of baseball last night?
Now, I'm not saying Aaron Judge is the best player in baseball, that would just be stupid of me to say, he's a rookie that hasn't even played a full year, I would never disrespect Mike Trout or Bryce Harper like that, even though he is having a better year statistically than both. What I'm saying is Judge is the most marketable player in baseball and usually that gets you to be the face of the league. The guy looks like a football player, yet he plays baseball, and is actually really fucking good at it. Everyone admires what he's doing because it's shit they've never seen before. The guy literally looks like a super hero and that's what we want our athletes to be. Harper and Trout look like normal dudes, they're big in the baseball community, but outside of that they're kinda nobody's in the grand scheme of things. Last night, Judge left his first of many footprints on his way to becoming maybe the biggest star the sport of baseball has ever seen. People showing up to Marlins stadium in Judge robes with wigs and on social media all the rave was about Aaron Judge. You know someone is big deal when people that don't care about the sport are talking about it and everyone is talking about Aaron Judge today. If this kid stays on this path we're witnessing a guy that is revolutionizing baseball and maybe saving the sport in regards to gaining young fans interest once again. Thank you, Aaron Judge, what you're doing for the sport of baseball is bigger than anyone could've ever imagined.
Mike Trout and Bryce Harper will still be loved and cherished throughout the sport, but they just took a backseat to the new biggest attraction in baseball.
Clint Frazier is killllllling it so far since being called up, and is so far meeting, if not exceeding all expectations. In his debut, Frazier struck out in his first at-bat, which got some people slightly nervous, but he made sure to impress from there on out. He doubled, and hit a HR, going 2-4 with an RBI.
However, over the next three games, he went 0-9, with one walk, and saw his average dip from .500 in his debut all the way down to .154, but that didn't last long.
In his fifth career game, Frazier went 1-3 with a triple, racking up another RBI while he was at it. Then, yesterday, Frazier got a taste of his first home run and his first walk-off at Yankee Stadium, going 3-4, with a HR, and a triple, racking up 4 RBI's on the day, and leading the Yankees to a win over the Brewers, and bringing his BA all the way back up to .300, in his best game yet.
And once again today, Frazier did all that he could to help the Yankees get a win over the Brewers. Frazier blasted a 2-run HR, racking up his 3rd HR and 8th RBI on the season.
I love this young man!! Red Thunder baby!! The baby bombers are turning into grown men right in front of our eyes.
Someone call the wambulance, I think Logan Morrison has a hurt feeling. What a fucking bitch this guy is, you call yourself a man? Logan Morrison spoke out against Gary Sanchez being in the home run derby instead of him. Morrison argument was that he has hit more homers than Sanchez, which is very true, he even made a point that he had 14 home runs like a month and a half ago. That's cute, Gary also missed an entire month of the season, but you failed to mention that part now didn't you. He also forgot to mention that El Gary has hit more home runs than Morrison since entering the league. Therefore, shitting all over Morrisons sorry point because in actuality El Gary is the better power hitter since he's clearly hit more home runs than Morrison since being called up to the big leagues last August.
Morrison was more pissed off at the fact the MLB doesn't show any recognition to him or players on smaller market teams, but don't you dare use Gary's name in vain trying to get your point across. That shit doesn't fly with me, especially when he's 100x the player that he'll ever be. Logan Morrison has had one good half a season and expects the world, slow your roll, kid. Sanchez doesn't even have a full season under his belt and he's got a higher career WAR than you. Obviously the young star is going to get the nod instead of the middle aged one year wonder. Now, when El Gary wins the Home Run Derby, I'll cordially invite LoMo to suck it.
Djack- Chief editor