As we are roughly a quarter of the way through the marathon that is a 162 game Major League Baseball season, I present to you another edition of Three Up and Three Down.
1. The New York Yankees – Following and 8-5 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday, April 20, the Bronx Bombers were 9-9 on the young season. That was then, and this is now! Unless you have been living under a rock, you know that they have turned things around/morphed into the best team in the big leagues. It seems odd now to think back at how new manager Aaron Boone was perceived as being in over his head by some. Really? Yes, his hire was being second guessed EIGHTEEN GAMES into the season! Funny how a 19-3 run can make a fool look like a genius. It was only a matter of time before the ridiculous lineup Boone fills out every game began to rake. The deepest batting order in the bigs got a little deeper on April 22nd when wunderkind, Gleyber Torres made his major-league debut. The fact that this kid bats ninth is a joke. For many teams, the 21-year-old Venezuelan would be a top three hitter. He has met all of the expectations with a quiet cockiness, swagger, and results (as of this writing, he owns a .324 batting average with 3 home runs and 12 RBIs). With the amount of bad teams around the league this season, the Pinstripes should find themselves at or near the top of the game in victories at season’s end.
Photo: New York Post
2. Second on our upward trending list is a player whose identity I’m going to see if you can figure out for yourself. He is hitting .325 with 5 home runs, 16 runs batted in, and a .963 OPS over 77 at-bats. Not bad, but that only tells half the story. That’s because he also sports a 3-1 record on the mound, 3.58 ERA, and has struck out 43 batters in 32.3 innings. Ready to guess? Is that your final answer? Of course it is Shohei Ohtani. After struggling early in spring training, it is safe to say that the 23-year-old native of Oshu, Japan has certainly lived up to his advanced billing. This guy is fun to watch, that is if you can stay up to watch his West Coast games.
3. Justin Verlander – with all due respect to Misters Scherzer ( 7-1, 1.69 ERA, 92 K’s in 58.2 IP), Severino (6-1, 2.14 ERA, 70 K’s in 59 IP), and Sale (4-1, 2.29 ERA, 87 K’s in 63 IP), JV has been filthy! Wednesday night, he pitched a complete game shutout against the Angels, scattering five hits, striking out 7 (including Ohtani 3 times) and walking just 1. For the season, Justin is 5-2 with a 1.05 ERA, and he has punched out 84 hitters over 68.2 IP. Those numbers are, dare I say, ASTRONOMICAL! Sorry, I couldn’t resist.
Photo: FanRag Sports
1. Carson Smith – this guy had quite an eventful outing Monday night. I am calling his lapse of sanity: “Mr. Smith goes to the dugout… And then to the disabled list… And now possibly to the operating room for season ending shoulder surgery”. Carson came on to pitch the top half of the eighth inning of the Red Sox game with the Oakland Athletics. The score was tied 5-5 when he took the hill. Unfortunately, when his inning was over Oakland held a 6-5 lead. That’s because Smith allowed a long home run to Khris Davis, which set him off. Heading into the dugout, Smith threw his glove in frustration, and as a result suffered a subluxation (partial dislocation) of his throwing shoulder. I am not making this up, you can read all about it here. The next day he was placed on the 10-day disabled list. Here is how Red Sox President of Baseball Operations, Dave Dombrowski summed things up Tuesday morning: “It’s not mild, not expecting him back in 10 days by any means at this point. We’ll see how severe it ends up being. It’s got the potential of being a major injury.” Oh great! Remember, Smith was brought in by Dealer Dave prior to the 2016 campaign to be the eighth inning bridge to closer, Craig Kimbrel. He made three early-season appearances that year before undergoing Tommy John Surgery. Smith’s extended rehab caused him to miss most of the 2017 ledger as well, he logged only 6.2 innings. And now this. Let’s just say this trade did not work out for either parties (Smith or the Sox).
2. Robinson Cano…A don’t you know (said in John Sterling’s annoyingly braggadocios tone). I am sure by now, you’ve heard about the terrible week Mr. Cano has had, but if not, here is my Daily Brief chronicling the whole mess:
— More Sports Now (@MoreSportsNow) May 15, 2018
3. The Los Angeles Dodgers – so far, this has been a lost season for Los Angeles. Last year’s National League World Series participants have certainly not played like one this year. The club is in the midst of a six-game losing streak, and is just 1-9 in their last 10 games. How bad have things been you ask? Well, they were just swept in a four-game series at home by the Cincinnati Reds! Unfortunately, that is not a typo. Manager Dave Roberts’ team is just 16-26. Their record is better than only three teams league wide (the Chicago White Sox, Baltimore Orioles, and said Reds). Injuries have been an issue, no doubt. Justin Turner just returned to the lineup this week after breaking his hand on a pitch in spring training. Shortstop, Corey Seager is out for the season having undergone Tommy John surgery, and not having all-world pitcher, Clayton Kershaw every fifth day has really hurt. The left-hander is currently on the disabled list with biceps tendinitis, but will hopefully be back in the not too distant future. Of course the season is still rather young, but LA has been NG, and has shown no signs of firing as a team.
Photo: SB Nation
Feature Photo: www.northjersey.com