It's a rarity in baseball when a feat occurs that has never been done before. The sport has been around for over 100 years, so when something happens for the first time, you know it's special. Well, last night was a special night for Dodgers pitcher Rich Hill. I'm sure he wouldn't tell you it was anything special, but that'd just be him being humble and maybe a little bit upset. Hill dominated the Pittsburgh Pirates lineup last night, he was in top form, hitting all his spots, getting great movement on his pitches, and getting a little help from his defense along the way. He was so good he didn't allow a hit or walk through 9 innings of baseball. That means he threw a perfect game, right. Well, not exactly.
The Dodgers did allow a base runner in the 9th inning due to Logan Forsythe error. Routine grounder to the third baseman and he just booted it. That put an end to the Rich Hill perfect game to no fault of his own. Usually a walk is what ruins a perfect game, but Rich Hill would finish the night with 0 walks and 10 strikeouts. He made it through the 9th inning and the no hitter was complete, oh wait, the score was still 0-0. Yeah, Rich Hill allowed no hits through 9 innings, however the Pirates pitching staff was pretty good themselves allowing no runs of there own either. Now, Rich Hill has nothing to show for his outstanding effort. Dave Roberts wasn't going to let that happen, especially after pulling him from a perfect game the year prior. Rich Hill trotted out to the mound for the 10th inning. Hill was still under 100 pitches at this point, so there was no reason to pull him from this game just yet. Turns out that maybe they should've. Josh Harrison was the first batter of the inning and he hit a high fly ball to left field, Curtis Granderson gave it chase, but he couldn't quite there in time, the ball just got over the wall, and just like that devastation set in.
Not only did Rich Hill not get a no hitter, he didn't get a shutout, and he didn't even get the win. Imagine pitching the game of your life and the offense that has been great for the Dodgers all year just doesn't show up. Only needing one hit to win a game is very special and Josh Harrison did just that with his walkoff home run. What a way to break up the no hitter and tear a pitchers heart out. Rich Hill was the first pitcher I've seen go into extra inning in what feels like forever since pitchers usually can't even make it through 6 innings nowadays. This is something that hasn't been done in over 100 years. A pitcher to have a no hitter go into extra innings and then lose after only giving up one hit while walking no batters the entire game. Pirates showed what it means to live and die by the long ball last night. I feel for Rich Hill, however when the team he plays on is 50 games above .500 and destined to win a World Series it's hard to feel really bad for him. I'm sure a nice commissioners trophy will help heal the shitty feeling of watching your no hit bid disappear in the blink of an eye after nearly 9 perfect innings.
The machine keeps on producing as he passes Sammy Sosa for most home runs ever by a foreign born player. Pujols blasted his 610th career home run last night, good for 8th all time on the home run list, and the most by any player born outside the U.S.A. What a career it has been for Albert Pujols, he isn't even close to the player he once was with the St.Louis Cardinals, however he still mashes home runs and drives in runs like he always has. He'll finish the season with 25 bombs and right around 100 RBI's, barring any injury of course. Not bad for a 37 year old. Pujols still has 4 years left on his deal, so he'll only continue to climb the home run leaders. He's only 2 behind Jim Thome right now, so look for Pujols to move into the #7 spot on the all time home run leaders before seasons end. After that he'll have Ken Griffey Jr., Willie Mays, A-Rod, Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, and Barry Bonds ahead of him, now that's incredible company.
Will Pujols be able to catch any of those guys and get to climb higher than #7 on the list, though. I certainly think so, Pujols has 4 years left on his deal, and let's assume he doesn't retire until his deal is up since I can't imagine him leaving that much money on the table. In 4 years if he's to average at the bare minimum 20 home runs a seasons, that's another 80 home runs, which will place him right around 690 for his career. At that point I'd like to see him get to 700, something he'd be able to do in 1 extra season. When it's all said and done Pujols will be in the top 5 all time in home runs, unless he gets plagued with a devastating injury of course. Adding another legendary bat to the 700 club would be nice, especially since Albert Pujols isn't linked to steroids in anyway despite playing at a time when they were very prevalent.
Every day Pujols is making history and stepping closer to one of the most absurd milestones in sports. Appreciate it while it last because before you know it he's going to be out of the league. You're watching a living legend, Pujols is an icon for any baseball player, and if you're a foreign born player than he's the benchmark for ultimate greatness. There's no foreign born player besides Miguel Cabrera, who really isn't even that close, that is even close to catching Pujols for most home runs ever, so I don't think this record will be threatened anytime soon. This guy has literally accomplished basically everything one can hope to do in an MLB career. Within the next 2 seasons Pujols will join the 3000 club and the 2000 RBI club. If he can finish his career with 700 home runs, he'll be one of 3 players to hit 700 home runs, have 3000 hits, and drive in 2000 RBI's. Basically solidifying his position as one of the best hitters of all time. I'm excited to watch Pujols accomplish these incredible milestones and continue to decorate his already extremely impressive resume.
All year I've heard from Mets fans that they have the worst luck of any franchise in sports, which is just a lazy analysis of what's really going on in Queens. The Mets problems stem from the guys upstairs calling the shots. Who that is, I'm not really sure. Maybe it's Terry Collins, although I doubt he has that much power, more likely it's Sandy Anderson or one of the Wilpon's, but I really couldn't tell you because I'm not apart of the organization. Regardless of who it is, they're the ones to blame for the Mets misfortune, luck has nothing to do with it.
Steven Matz is latest player on a long list of important players to go down with injury this season. Injuries are apart of the game, but at the clip the Mets players get hurt it's outlandish, and clearly not normal. A team built off starting pitching should have the most elite group of doctors and trainers to make sure that their pitching staff stays healthy throughout the course of the season, and to make sure no major injuries derail their entire pitching staff. I understand that's not always possible, but in the Mets case this year it most certainly was. The Mets did the exact opposite of taking every precaution possible when it comes to their starting pitchers, and boy did they end up paying the piper because of it. Somehow, out of the 7 starting pitchers they had coming into this season, 6 of them have had injuries that put them out for extended periods of time. I won't say all of them could've been avoided, but at least 3 should've been avoided, and now there might be long term ramifications due to their negligence.
Let's start with the most recent injury to Steven Matz. Matz has been injury prone essentially his entire tenure with the Mets, hasn't been anything too serious yet, but you'd think they'd be extremely careful with him knowing his history. Well, they weren't, as a matter of fact they decided to have him pitch through discomfort instead because that's always a brilliant idea. Now, he has nerve damage in his elbow, and it'll require surgery similiar to what happened with Jacob deGrom last year. The part that boggles my mind is that they knew he already had elbow problems with the bone spur last season, so why they allowed him to pitch through any discomfort is beyond me. At least it's an excuse for why Steven Matz was so god awful this season, although with his injury history who knows if he'll ever be the pitcher he was expected to be when they originally called him up.
Next, the Mets have the Matt Harvey saga. This one is way more embarrassing than the Steven Matz injury because it easily could've been avoided if the doctors weren't bad at their job. Basically, Matt Harvey was pitching with no muscle behind his throwing shoulder. This caused him to overthrow and still not have the same velocity that he did before the injury. Everyone was questioning why Harvey was so awful when it turns out he had an atrophied muscle. It was half the size of his non throwing shoulder and no one realized for way too long. Matt Harvey is partially to blame since he's not taking care of his body like a major league athlete should, but it's also the Mets job to keep on top of their big stars. No excuses for that injury, just poor management and leadership by the Mets organization. Also, malpractice by those doctors in my opinion.
Lastly, the most devastating and most easily avoidable injury came to Noah Syndergaard early in the year. Thor had faced some discomfort, the Mets told him to get an MRI, but Syndergaard refused. The spineless Mets management backed off because they are afraid of laying the law down with their players, so Thor continued to pitch even though he was injured. Well, what do you know in his next start he leaves with a torn lat. The MRI would've showed this before it completely tore and then the Mets wouldn't have been without their best pitcher the entire season. The reasoning for Thor tearing his lat is that he put on so much muscle in the offseason that his ligaments couldn't quite support it. I don't know, I'm no doctor, but I do know putting on that much muscle that quickly is not good for your body, and his body clearly showed him that. The Mets told him not to put on the muscle, but the players run the ship in the Mets clubhouse, so he did it anyways. Another example of how pathetic and incompetent Mets management is.
Seth Lugo, Robert Gsellman, and Zach Wheeler have all gone down with injuries as well, however I can't blame the Mets for those one's, even though I'm sure somehow they played a part. The fact a team could lose 6 starting pitchers throughout the course of a season is mind blowing. If the Mets want to seize this amazing opportunity of having one of the most elite pitching staffs in baseball for the next several years, then they need to get their act together, and keep these guys healthy. They should be doing everything in their power to accommodate these players without letting them walk all over them. There's a fine line between the two and the Mets certainly don't understand that. I hope for the sake of the loyal Mets fans this gets figured out, but if history tells me anything, it won't.
I'll tell you right now what is wrong with Aroldis Chapman, Joe Maddon fried his arm, and the Yankees were dumb enough to witness it first hand and still offer him an enormous contract. I'm just being real with you, Aroldis Chapman is not the dominant closer he once was and I doubt he'll ever return to that point. The Cubs traded their best prospect to us for Chapman, obviously they were going to squeeze every pitch they possibly could out of his arm, and that's exactly what they did. They didn't offer him a contract for a reason, they knew he was broken. Yet, the Yankees wanted to look like geniuses acquiring the Cubs top prospect and then getting Chapman back just a few months later. It was a robbery, right? Wrong, they couldn't have been more wrong.
Now, the Yankees are stuck with this guy for 4 more years after this season. Paying him an unreasonable amount of money for a guy that's just a shell of what he was. I know what y'all are going to say, he's not completely broken he's just going through a rough patch. I mean the other night he was throwing cheese reaching 103 MPH. It's cool that he can still throw hard, but if he's not throwing hard and accurate, then he isn't what we paid him to be. When Chapman is at his best he's locating that 102 MPH fastball. Since his arm is shot he is forced to overthrow and is losing his accuracy, causing him to leave pitches over the plate, or miss the plate entirely. That's why we've seen him walk so many batters and let up home runs in his last two outings.
This isn't a recent thing either, yeah the home runs are recent, but he hasn't been particularly dominant at all this season. As a matter of fact, he's been quite average. Do these numbers sound like that of the highest paid closer in baseball, 3.89 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, and 4 blown saves in 20 attempts. Chapman is clearly lost on the mound, his confidence is now shattered, and as a Yankee fan I couldn't be more concerned.
It's awesome that we have 5 other great relievers, problem is we can't remove Chapman from the closer role. That's like taking away a Tigers stripes, it's just not the same beast, and Chapman will be useless if he gets removed from being the closer. His confidence is already in the dumps, imagine we strip him of his coveted role as Yankees closer, he'd be even worse, which is a scary thought at this point. If he can't handle the pressure of being a star in New York he should've never came back, he needs to be more mentally tough. Him crouching on the mound after letting up a home run is the opposite of mental tough, it shows weakness. People
used to fear Aroldis Chapman taking the mound, now he's just another regular closer. You wanna be the heir to Mariano Rivera's throne, then you better saddle up, and be lights out.
All in all, there really isn't much the Yankees can do, now. They have him under contract for 4 more years, he's going to be the closer for the next 4 years. They have to do whatever it takes to get this guy right or the team's succeess will be at stake. That's how vital this guy is to our franchise at this point. Ellsbury is enough dead weight to carry around we can't afford another awful contract with a guy that doesn't produce. I don't see how they'll get him to turn it around since I think he has a dead arm, but I'm praying they do. I've heard a lot of experts say that in situations like this the player usually takes a full year to recover from being overused, so maybe next year he'll return to peak form. The best thing for him might've been pulling his hamstring running to cover first base the other night. The Yankees should put him on the DL let him get some rest, give him time to evaluate his mental state, and hopefully get him ready for the stretch run. Then, we can use either Robertson or Betances as our closer for the time being without completely ripping out Chapman's soul.
Giancarlo Stanton Clears Waivers While Hitting Home Runs at a Record Pace, Will He Be Moved Before the August 31st Deadline?Read Now
Boy oh boy, Giancarlo Stanton is on a mission to crush every pitch thrown his way this season. Stanton has been on an absolute tear since the all star break hitting 18 homerun in just a little bit over a month. Not only has he been hitting home runs at a jaw dropping clip, but he's also been able to raise his batting average and on base percentage in the process. Stanton is now putting up the numbers that he was expected to when he signed his 13 year $300+ million contract. .287 batting average, 44 home runs, and 94 RBI's would be a helluva season, and there's still 6 weeks left for him to approve upon those numbers. If the Marlins were actually in the playoff hunt and could sneak into a wildcard spot I'd say without a doubt he's the MVP in the NL. Unfortunately, Giancarlo is on a terrible Marlins team that has improved since Stanton took off on this tear, but buried themselves from contention with its awful start. If only Giancarlo Stanton was apart of a team in the playoff chase, then his unbelievable second half could have some meaning behind it. Well, there's actually a slim chance we are blessed with seeing this opportunity come to fruition.
The Marlins placed Giancarlo Stanton on the waiver wire, he cleared waivers without being picked up by another team, so now the Marlins are free to trade him to whoever they please. Another reason I think the trade deadline is stupid and should just be abolished, but that's a conversation for a different day. Now, the only teams that would even have a chance of getting Stanton are teams with big payrolls and good farm systems. Whatever teams are in the hunt for him will need the big payroll because Giancarlo Stanton is due $295 million over the next 10 years and they'll need good farm systems in order to lure him away from the Marlins. Obviously the Marlins, a small budget team that typically doesn't shell out big money wants to get Stanton off their books, and fortunately for them his trade value has never been higher. With that being said it's still going to be next to impossible to find a suitor that's willing to take on his contract and give the Marlins whatever value they'd want in return, which I'd assume would be a lot of top notch prospects .
Rationally thinking, the only teams I could see making this move are the LA Dodgers, the Boston Red Sox, the Yankees, and maybe the Cubs. Teams like the Angels and Cardinals I'd like to see make a push for Stanton since I believe he'd be a great fit and help them in the push for October, although I just don't think they'd be willing to deal with the financial headache he brings along. The Yankees weren't willing to dish out $4 million to bring in Jay Bruce from the Mets, so I highly doubt they'd be willing to bring in Giancarlo Stanton's big money deal. If only George Steinbrenner was still with us calling the shots for the Yankees, then I'd say with certainty the Yankees would be adding the leagues most dominant power hitter to their lineup. The Red Sox are a team that could really use Stanton's power bat in the heart of their order. He's exactly what that lineup is missing and if they were to land him I'd declare them favorites to win the whole thing, especially with the way they've been playing lately. The Dodgers certainly have the funds to acquire Stanton, I just don't see the need for him. They've done so well without him, why even bother. They have plenty of depth and plenty of greats bats, Stanton would only help them, I just think it'd be overkill. Who knows, I also didn't think the Warriors were going to sign KD last summer, so maybe the Dodgers are eyeing a super team of their own. The struggling defending World Champion Cubs could definitely use Stanton, however they should try to avoid big long term contracts with all the youth on their roster. Last thing they'd want is to not be able to sign their guys because they brought in Stanton's huge contract.
Therefore, I doubt Stanton will be moved before the August 31st deadline. Honestly, for the Marlins, I truly believe that's the best thing. Stanton is just about the only attraction this franchise has to offer right about now. The new stdium is awful, ugly, and probably not necessarily what fans anticipated when the Florida Marlins became the Miami Marlins. The team is also in a state of limbo right now with Jeffrey Loria selling the team to Derek Jeter and his group of investors. Giancarlo Stanton is the one constant that fans can look forward when rooting for the Marlins. Once Jeter comes into power, maybe he'll want to wipe the slate clean, and start from scratch, but until then the Marlins need Stanton if they want to generate any sort of income. Especially since Stanton is eyeing home run records like Roger Maris 61 home runs, the most by any on steroid user. Marlins could easily sell that chase and make a shit ton of money off it.
As a fan of baseball I'd love to see Stanton anywhere besides Miami. As a believer in rational thinking and reason prevailing, I doubt he gets moved unless someone offers up the Marlins a blockbuster deal. Crazier things have happened, so I won't totally rule it out. This is something to keep an eye on in the next couple of weeks as I'm sure they'll be a shit ton of rumors and not a whole lot of actual action.
This is one of those stories that show how great sports truly are and how the impact of the game goes far beyond the playing field. Chad Bettis, was a 27 year old starting pitcher for the Colorado Rockies when he was diagnosed with testicular cancer. It was November, the baseball season had just wrapped up, and he was expecting his first child any day. That's when Bettis got the awful news that would forever change his life. It didn't phase him however, he stayed positive, and knew he was going to kick cancers ass. An approach that could only be pulled off by the bravest and strongest of people, luckily Chad Bettis is apart of that pack. I always hear the expression God gives the toughest battles to his strongest soldiers and this once again proves that to be true as Bettis was able to kick cancers ass to the curb just a month later.
Unfortunately, that was not end of his battle with the terrible disease that has effected everyone on this planet one way or another. Months later, just as spring training had started up, Chad Bettis was hit with the news that the cancer had spread to his lymphnodes and would require chemotherapy treatments to rid his body of this menace. Once again, Chad Bettis was facing the toughest battle of his life, yet it seemed to never phase him. All accounts I've read by the people surrounding him during this tough time have said Chad never let the cancer get him down. He was always the bright shining star on the overcast night. An essential attitude for facing something as difficult as this, and it paid off big time in his recovery process. Chad Bettis was able to kick cancers ass not once, but he did it twice, and it all happened within a year's time. What a warrior.
As if that wasn't enough, just three months after his final chemotherapy session he returned to a big league mound. Now, for those of you that can't comprehend how amazing this actually is I'll break it down for you as simply as I possibly can. This guy relys on his physical condition to do what he does on a big league mound. As a professional athlete your body is your craft, so post chemotherapy treatments Chad Bettis' body was probably about as far from peak shape as possible. That means he grinded for 3 months straight to get back to where he needed to be to pitch in a MLB game. The fact it only took him 3 months to get there is an absolute anomaly. I've seen players take way longer than 3 months to come back from simple injuries. This man came back from cancer, not once, but twice in just three months. Absolute absurdity, Chad Bettis is made of the strongest material known to man.
The fact he was able to beat cancer once was impressive, the fact he beat it twice was awe inspiring, the fact he was able to step on a big league mound just three months after to start a game was absolute absurdity, but the fact he did all that and then pitched a gem of a game is just fairy tale. Chad Bettis threw 7 scoreless innings for the Rockies in an inspiring performance that left everyone in attendance baffled by what they just witnessed. It was a living breathing miracle right before there eyes. It's a night Chad Bettis, players from both the Rockies and the Braves, everyone in attendance, and everyone watching at home will never forget. Thank you Chad, that was some much needed inspiration for everyone, and I know I'll certainly be rooting for him the rest of his career.