Photo: Charles Rex Arbogast/AP
The second half of the MLB season is underway and that means it’s time for the second installment of our wildly popular (OK, not really) new segment called, 3 Up and 3 Down. The idea is to highlight two players and a team that are killing it at the moment, as well as two players and a team that just are not. And away we go…
Jeurys Familia – it is safe to say that the jury’s not out on just how good Jeurys Familia is. For quite some time now, the guy has been as good as gold whenever the Mets have given him a lead to protect. Following Tuesday night’s Houdini impression (bases-loaded and none out) in Chicago, he has now converted 49 straight regular-season save chances, which is the fourth-longest streak in MLB history! While he still has a long way to go to break the record (84 straight – Eric Gagne), you can say that Familia has certainly become familiar with how to close out baseball games. His season totals are impressive: 33-33 in save chances with 43 strikeouts in 44 innings.
Jose Altuve – Jose, Jose, Jose, Jose…is flat out one of the best players in Major League Baseball! The 5’6″ Houston Astros second baseman won the American League’s batting title in 2014. He led the AL in hits in 2014 and 2015, and he currently leads all of major-league baseball in hits (131) and batting average (.354). Over the last full week of games, the four-time All-Star hit: .444, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 2 SB. For the season, he is currently hitting: .354, with 15 HR, 54 RBI, and 25 SB.
Boston Red Sox Offense – to say that the Sawx lineup is clicking on all cylinders would be an understatement. Did you know that at this very moment, John Farrell’s charges lead the major leagues in each of these categories: Batting Average, Runs Scored, Hits, Doubles, Total Bases, RBI’s, OBP, OPS, and SLG? Now if they can only pitch (Drew Pomeranz to the rescue), maybe Big Papi gets one last shot at October baseball before fading into the sunset?
Clayton Kershaw – The best pitcher on the planet, who has been on the disabled list since June 26, suffered a setback in his recovery from a mild disk herniation. The Dodgers were hoping Kershaw would be ready to go again when their current road trip ended, but those plans have been scuttled. On Saturday, Clayton “didn’t feel great” following a 60 pitch simulated game at Dodger Stadium. For now, the team has used the word “uncertain”, when asked about when he might return. That is not good, and it puts a lot of pressure on the likes of: Kenta Maeda, Scott Kazmir, Bud Norris and possibly, 19 year-old Julio Urias, should LA need the kid to pitch big games in the heat of a playoff race. To his credit, manager Dave Roberts, has guided the Dodgers to an 11-6 record in Kershaw’s absence. But, can they hold onto a wildcard berth without him?
Prince Fielder – let’s just say that in 2016, Prince has hardly played like royalty. His overall numbers are bad (.212 BA, 8 HR’s, 44 RBI’s) and his output over the last seven games is particularly pathetic: .120 BA, 0 HR’s, 1 RBI.
The Minnesota Twins – not only are the Twinkies mired in last place in the American League Central (21 games behind the Tribe), but this will be the fourth time in the last six seasons that they will finish in that basement. They have not made the playoffs since 2010, and on Monday the team fired well respected general manager, Terry Ryan. It is quite appropriate that the club plays at Target Field, because their pitching thus far has been target practice (they have an AL worst ERA of 4.88).
And that is 3 Up and 3 Down for this week. Feel free to shoot me your 3-pack of each category. See you next week right here at My 2 Sense!