After a good three week stretch of being one of the hottest teams in baseball led by their offense, the Dodgers have seem to hit a wall. In their last seven games the bats have gone completely dead, they got shutout twice, only scored one run in two other games, and failed to score over four runs in any of the seven games. Sorry for all the math i just threw at you, sounded like a real nerd. Anyways, Corey Seager has been the guy that gets everything going in this lineup, his bat has been dead over the course of this stretch looking like he's back to his month of April ways. When he does good, the team does good, it's that simple. If someone else can't step up and take some pressure off this rookie, they might not even make it to October. Justin Turner and Howie Kendrick were the guys that were doing that for him over their offensive tirade. It's almost like when you don't fix your car immediately, when one thing starts breaking down it puts more pressure on the parts to compensate, therefore wearing those parts down, and forcing them to fail as well. Then you're left will a huge price to pay because you didn't fix the immediate problem. That's whats happening right here with the Dodgers essentially, if Turner is slumping someone else besides Seager, Kendricks, and Adrian Gonzalez need to step up. If not, you end up with what's happening right now, no run production. The Dodgers pitching staff has been able to hold up very well actually, helping them win a couple of low scoring games over this seven game stretch. This comes as surprise with the absence of the best pitcher in the world from the rotation. Speaking of that savage, he should be back very very soon, that could be the spark the Dodgers need to propel them into the postseason. Kershaws return will bring a spark back into that Dodgers clubhouse and from their it'll spread to the rest of the team like a California wildfire. I expect for this drought to end soon(no pun intended) the bats will get back to producing and they'll find a way into the playoffs.
Kyle Hendricks threw 7 scoreless innings last night against the Pirates, allowing 3 hits, striking out 4, and lowering his ERA to a league-best 2.09. Hendricks is having a career best season, and it couldn't be more needed, as the Cubs continue to play incredible baseball through the month of August, with Hendricks posting numbers similarly dominant to teammate Jake Arrieta's in the second half of last season. Over his last 10 games (9 starts), his numbers are staggering, posting a 0.82 ERA over 62.2 Innings Pitched, allowing only 44 hits and striking out 59 batters. He has allowed 3 or fewer runs in 18 straight starts, the longest streak in the MLB this season.
With Kershaw battling injuries, I think Hendricks is asserting himself at the top of the CY Young voting. His record doesn't blow anyone out of the water (13-7), but he has dealt with run-support issues, and has been virtually untouchable as of late. While Jake Arrieta has been equally impressive this season, posting a 16-5 record with a 2.84 ERA, it has been Hendricks who has been the talk of the town in Chicago. The Cub's will need their entire pitching staff to stay hot, and go deep in games over the course of the playoffs as the bullpen has struggled, but hopefully Chapman will be the solution they need down the stretch.
So after hitting .270/.320/.386 with 7 homers and 34 RBI in 81 games for the Dodgers, Yasiel Puig was demoted to Triple-A on August 2. Since being demoted, Yasiel has apparently listened to the advice of the people on his side and has learned to be coached and adjust from his norm. In 18 games in the minors, Puig has batted .369 with 4 homers and 12 RBI.
On Sunday, Puig was placed on revocable waivers where he sat until today. Apparently some unknown team has claimed him today, but nobody knows who it is. Which got me to thinking... the Phillies are 6th on the waiver wire. Not that it really matters at this point of the waivers process, but it kind of makes sense for the Phillies. This would be a low risk, high reward move for a 25-year-old outfielder with a cannon for an arm, speed to kill, and a power bat in a baby ball park in South Philly.
I'm feeling a tingling in my shorts just thinking about it. A Puig resurgence with Aaron Altherr and Mickey Moniak in the outfield, J.P Crawford at short, Jorge Alfaro behind the plate, ToJo manning the first base bag and Maikel Franco jacking bombs from the hot corner!! Oh I need some milk!!
"But Uppy, don't you realize it's revocable waivers and even it is the Phillies who claimed him, the Dodgers can just keep him?"
Yes I know that asshole. But let me dream dammit!!
*I realize I didn't list a second baseman in my fantasy Puig team which is because I have no clue who the fuck our second baseman is gonna be.
Look at the Big Piece getting back on my radar!! Ryan Howard low key having a good season for a bench player. And not only is he getting his swing back to excite bloggers like me, he is setting milestones. This season will be the 10th time Howard has hit 20+ HR in a season, making him 2nd only to Michael Jack Schmidt with 14.
The only rational reason for this recent resurgence would be that Ryan obviously is a Highly Controversial Sports fan and read my article praising him for being Ryan Howard and giving it all he's got this season.
*skip to the last 7 seconds*
Ryan Howard just out here giving Phillies fans a thing to cheer about. What a guy! He's the kind of guy you invite to your birthday party. Somebody get me his number! Thank you, Ryan Howard, you give me hope.
Matz was due to return to the rotation this Thursday against the Marlins. His shoulder is still not feeling right so he will miss yet another start and when he will return is still in question. His season has been up and down, with an ace like performance one week, and an absolute dud the next. The Mets will need Matz if they want to have any chance at making the playoffs. Either way I don't think the Mets are going to be able to put on the magical run they did last year, they aren't even close in the division, and the wild card is more competitive than it's been all season. I say just sideline Matz the rest of the season and let him rest his arm. He's getting surgery on his elbow for a bone spur following the season so might as well just speed up the process. He'll have like 3 or 4 starts left this season if he were to come back, why risk further injuring himself for a season that's already dead.
I'm sure most of you remember the player Yaisel Puig was in 2013. He was speedy, powerful, and had a gun for an arm, he was basically a young Cespedes. Well, a lot has changed since that 2013 Summer, Puig is now not even on a MLB roster, as he is playing in AAA. Puig said he would've much rather been traded then sent down to the minors, saving him the humiliation. Although, looking back on his experience he acknowledged that the humility was good for him. He needed to understand that he couldn't just throw on his uniform and glove and be the same player as 2013 without working his ass off. He seemed miserable throughout the last couple seasons posting horrible stats, along with playing with zero energy or happiness. He admitted to all this in a recent interview with ESPN. Yaisel Puig, took a step in the right direction by realizing that there was a problem, now it's time for him to correct it. He seems to already be on the right path as he's killing it in AAA, posting a .369 Avg. and 4 long balls in just 18 games. Look for Yaisel to be traded this week as he seems to have some sort of value now.
Yankees catch a bad break with the hottest team in the league coming to town. The Royals have been almost unbeatable over the past 14 games, the World Series champs have serious intentions of getting back to the October classic. Well, time for the Renaissance Yankees to step up to the plate and bury the Royals playoff hopes.
Game 1: We got the unreliable Big Mike Pineda on the mound tonight against Dillon Gee of the Royals. Pineda is a big time strike out pitcher, that's how he is most effective, too bad the Royals don't strike out. Pineda is going to get lit up tonight, I'm usually more optimistic when he takes the mound, but not against a gritty Royals team. Dillon Gee, I'm surprised he's still in the league, he's basically batting practice for any major league lineup. The Royals and Yankees will have a back and forth good old fashion slug fest tonight. Royals will win the game since their superior bullpen will be able to cut off our offense before we can do the same to theirs.
Game 2: Mark this one down as a win. Tanaka is pitching against a very shaky Edison Volquez. The Yankees are going to take Volquez deep all night long, meanwhile Tanaka will be containing the Royals offense for seven innings. We cruise to a victory in this one.
Game 3: Now this is the game of the series I'm really looking forward to. Former Yankee prospect Ian Kennedy takes the mound for the Royals, as for the Yankees we have current Yankee prospect Luis Cessa. I anticipate this will be the lowest scoring game of the series, now don't expect a pitchers duel because these aren't pitchers of that caliber, but expect quality starts. Cessa will stay undefeated and will shame Kennedy in his former stadium.
Judge will come out of the slump he is this series. I expect a very long home run from him one of these games, he's hungry to prove himself. Gary Sanchez, obviously staying hot because he's got to carry this city on his back. Aaron Hicks, will continue to prove he's finally coming around and can be a very productive player at this level. The young guys and even some of the older guys all feel the need to prove something and that will continue to drive this team into the playoffs. Yeah, I just said it, if we take two of three from the Royals in this series, we will be playing in October.
Big Papi is doing something I have never seen during a retirement tour, and that is be productive. At age 41, he is still hitting dingers (31 on season) and his surprising play has motivated all the young guys around him. In Boston, talent is not hard to find but Ortiz is the cream of the crop. Besides for future AL MVP Mookie Betts, Papi has been the best player on this team. With his homerun in today's loss, it brings him to 18th all time which ties him with Jimmie Foxx. It is crazy to think he is such an old geezer and yet he is playing some of the best ball of his life. This guy is two homeruns away from passing Mickey Mantle on the list...that's a pretty crazy accomplishment. If you think about it a lot of remarkable players have been hitting the long ball since Mick played and only 16 have been able to get over that jump. Papi doesn't have much time to push Mick back a spot, but with the stuff he's shown this year nothing would surprise me. For the sake of the Yankee/Sox rivalry, I'm going to hope he does not hit two more homeruns. I mean he does have more then a month to do it, and with mostly divisional play left I am sure he will want to embass his rivals for one last time in the regular season.
All is well in the Bronx after this weekend, we take 2 of 3 from the Orioles and seem for at least the moment to be back in the playoff picture. Just three and a half games out of the second wildcard spot, the Yankees continue to close the gap by winning series after series. This was a fun experience for the Yankee fans who were at the games this weekend, you got to see the lineup explode for 27 runs in just two games. Starlin Castro and Gary Sanchez continue to stay red hot and lead the offense as the rest of the guys continue to feed off their energy. Gary Sanchez, had another outstanding series at the plate going 6 for 12 with 2 home runs. Castro went 7 for 15 in the series as well, continuing his career revival with the Yankees. Luis Cessa gave us a quality start in the first game throwing 6 innings and allowing 3 earned runs. He improved to 4-0 on the season as he proves he can be a formidable pitcher in this rotation. Chad Green had a rocky start and couldn't make it through the 5th, his lineup gave him plenty of support but ultimately he just didn't have his stuff. Girardi called on the bullpen who had a very sizable lead to close out the game, they did just that as we took the first two games of the series. Today was a different story, we put together 9 hits, but we just couldn't manufacture runs. We got shutout as we missed out on a chance to sweep the Orioles and make up a lot of ground on them. All in all i'll take the series win, that's good enough for me. We have the Kansas City Royals coming to town next, in another huge series as they are neck and neck with us in the race for the final wildcard spot. No time for the Yankees to take a breather as they are right back at it tomorrow in a competitive series that we need to win.
A few weeks ago Brian Cashman made comments saying something along the lines of, Aaron Hicks could be the type of project that Jackie Bradley Jr. was for Boston. After hearing this I had to look more into it and to my surprise, Jackie Bradley Jr. was awful at one point just like Hicks.The first full season he had in Boston Bradley posted horrid numbers, batting .198 with one home run, and just 30 RBIs. Sound a lot like someone us Yankee fans know right? Just like Hicks, the scouting reports said the same things, strong, athletic, and big upside. It's a long team project with these young raw talent guys, you really have to mold them into the elite player that their body allows them to become. It seems ever since this comparison was made that Hicks has had a revival to his season. His batting average has rose 30 points and he has basically doubled his home run total. I hope this is the beginning of Aaron Hicks becoming a very very good outfielder like JBJ, but it could also just be a little hot streak that ends up translating to nothing. If you watch AL East baseball you can see the many similarities between these two players. They both are very athletic, have a fire hose for an arm, and can hit for power. I always was pulling for Hicks even when the rest of the stadium was booing him so I hope he can end up making me look smart. If not who really even cares we have about three other guys in our farm system ready to step up and make the most of their shot. God, I love having the best farm system in baseball.