Well, a-beat the drum and hold the phone
The sun came out today
We’re born again, there’s new grass on the field
A-roundin’ third and headed for home
It’s a brown-eyed handsome man
Anyone can understand the way I feel
Oh, put me in coach, I’m ready to play today
Put me in coach, I’m ready to play today
Look at me, I can be centerfield
Summer is here, the beaches are open, and baseball is now king of the sports world! The Stanley Cup has been won, and the NBA championship too, so this week we will focus on America’s pastime, Major League Baseball. It’s time to break out the hot dogs, peanuts, and Cracker Jacks, for the first installment of a new feature here at M2S called, Three Up and Three Down.
- The Cleveland Indians – all of a sudden, Cleveland is ground zero in the sports world. First the Cavaliers win their first NBA championship, and now the Tribe is the hottest team in the bigs. With Tuesday night’s come from behind 5-3 win over Atlanta, the Indians have the longest winning streak in the majors this year at 11 games. It should come as no surprise that starting pitching is the main reason why they are as hot as a firecracker! As a staff, the Indians rank first in the American League in many categories (ERA, Shutouts, Batting Average Against, etc.). Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco are the mound leaders, but Josh Tomlin and Danny Salazar each have 9 wins as well. Offensively, the team is led in virtually every category by their electric 22-year-old shortstop, Francisco Lindor. Apparently, the sky is the limit for this youngster. Manager, Terry Francona has a World Series win on his resume, so he knows which buttons to push when the time comes. At this point, the only thing that might be able to slow the team down are those pesky midges (remember Joba Chamberlain).
- The Texas Rangers – quick, tell me which team has the most wins in the majors right now? If you said the Chicago Cubs, you are wrong. Following Tuesday’s beat down of the Yankees in the Bronx, the Rangers are 51-27. They have one more win than do the Cubs, It is no secret how hot it gets in Arlington, Texas come summertime, and to date, the Rangers play on the field has matched it. Converted shortstop, now center-fielder, Ian Desmond, has been a revelation. He leads the club in the following categories: (batting average, hits, home runs, RBIs, on-base percentage, etc.). A name to remember come rookie-of-the-year voting time is Nomar Mazara. The 21 year-old outfielder is hitting .289 with 11 HR’s at the moment. Did I mention that Cole Hamels is 9-1 with a 2.60 ERA? The Rangers are for real!
- Carlos Gonzalez – over his last seven games, Cargo has hit .444 with 3 home runs and 13 RBI’s. For the season, he is batting .329, with 18 HR’s and 51 ribbies.
- Alex Rodriguez – A-Rod, or is it A-Rrivederci, or perhaps A-Dios? Yankees manager, Joe Girardi, dropped an A-Bomb on Monday, when in a pre-game press conference he revealed that Alex has become a righty hitting platoon DH (only to face lefties for the time being). Wow, I sn’t this guy 5 home runs shy of 700 for his career? Unfortunately, he’s batting around .200 against right-handed pitching thus far. With the Bombers facing right-handed Rangers starters on Wednesday (Nick Martinez), and Thursday (A.J. Griffin), and then jetting off to San Diego for a weekend series with the Padres (where there is no DH needed), A-Rod will for all intents and purposes be A-WOL for the foreseeable future.
- The Boston Red Sox – the Sawx and their vaunted offense have been spinning their tires in the month of June. Call it a June swoon if you want, I’ll call it bad baseball! After Wednesday’s listless 4-0 loss to the Rays (yes, they still play baseball in Tampa), the club finished a terrible 10-16 this month. John Farrell and Dave Dombrowski know that the main problem here stands 60′ 6″ away from home plate. Speaking frankly, the Red Sox pitching situation is awful! David Price has clearly not been worth the one he has been paid ($217 million – YIKES), Eduardo Rodriguez is little more than left-handed batting practice at the moment, Clay Buchholz looks finished, and once proud bullpen stalwart, Koji Uehara, isn’t fooling anyone any longer. Were it not for knuckleballer, Steven Wright (2.18 ERA), and Rick Porcello, this staff would get no one out. That said, they are still just a handful of games behind Baltimore in the division, and they own the game’s deepest minor-league system, so reinforcements might be on the way?
- Baseball in New York – at the moment, both the New York Yankees and New York Mets are leaking oil. Not much was expected of the Yankees, and they are living up to those expectations. They sit two games below .500 as of today, technically still in the AL East and wildcard races. However, with suspect starting pitching themselves, and an offense that is punch-less, it is hard to see them seriously challenging for the postseason. Were I a Yankee fan, and I am clearly not, I would want Brian Cashman to start selling off some of his best commodities (hello Aroldis Chapman, etc.). and start playing for the future. As for the Metropolitans, well, they just can’t seem to find their way home. The Mets have scored only 274 runs all season in 77 games, which places them just ahead of Philadelphia and Atlanta in the NL. Last season’s National League World Series representative is now in third place in the NL East, five games behind the Washington Nationals. Further clouding the situation are reports that, Noah Syndergaard AND Steven Matz both have bone spurs in their elbows. Jacob deGrom’s fastball is not what it was last year, and the once feared Matt Harvey is now anything but. Needless to say, Sandy Alderson has his work cut out for him.
And that is My 2 Sense’s Three Up and Three Down for the final week of June. Feel free to send me your version of each, and I will publish them next week.
Please be on the lookout for an MSN Productions series called, Around the Horn. In it we take an in depth look at minor league baseball in New Jersey. Steve and Matt have put together some great stuff, so please check it out!