The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
With every team roughly 120 games into the MLB season, we prepare ourselves for the final push for the playoffs in baseball’s last quarter of games. This season has provided fans with some great surprises as well as the normal predictable monsters on the diamond. We’ve had our good, our bad and our ugly and the Sports Debaters are here to tell you all about it. There have been a record of no hitters and perfect games while some new faces have emerged on top of the baseball world. From the Yankees being the Yankees all the way to Pittsburgh trying to end two decades of utter failure, I for one am thrilled and excited to watch the final month and a half of baseball.
The Washington Nationals Pitching Staff: The Nationals have the best record in baseball and it’s not hard to see why. They lead all of baseball in ERA (3.26), BAA (.231), WHIP (1.20) and Quality Starts (78) and it’s not just the starters performing at this top-level. The Nats bullpen has been lights out when they have been needed all season long and combined with quality start after quality start Washington has been nearly unbeatable. The obvious hot topic to talk about is the monitored innings of the Nats ace Stephen Strasburg and whether or not Davey Johnson and crew will actually bench him during a Cy Young caliber season. As a die-hard Mets fan, it pains me to see a division foe play so well but you can’t help but be amazed with what Washington has done all season long. All year skeptics have said that it won’t last and the fire will eventually burn out, but as the season has progressed so has the skill level of the Washington Nationals. Look to see them making some noise in this year’s playoffs.
M.V.P Front Runners Andrew McCutchen and Miguel Cabrera: Only 3 years into his Major League career, the Pittsburgh Pirates Andrew McCutchen has made a name for himself as one of the best players the game has to offer. McCutchen leads all of baseball in BA (.356) and OBP (.422). Andrew is without question the sole reason that Pittsburgh is looking at their first winning season in 20 years. McCutchen, also known as ‘Cutch’, has his Pirates 12 games over .500 and currently holding onto a slim .5 game lead for the second National League Wild Card spot. In the American League, Miguel Cabrera is having a career year. In his 10 seasons in MLB, Cabrera is on pace to set personal bests in every major batting category. His .332 BA is second in the American League and his 104 RBI’s is first in all of baseball. When the Detroit Tigers started the season they were one of the bigger disappointments in the league but since Miguel has turned on the jets, Detroit finds themselves only a game and a half out of the AL Central lead. You can lock in my votes right now for the AL and NL MVP’s because to me it’s a no-brainer.
The Texas Rangers Offense: After back-to-back years of dominating the American League and making the World Series, there were a lot of people who thought that the Texas Rangers were going to come back down to reality. Well it seems as if the opposite has happened as they are on pace to have a record-breaking offensive year. The Rangers lead all of baseball in team BA (.275), runs (596) and are second in OBP (.338), making this team any pitchers nightmare. They literally do not have a weak bat in their entire lineup. Lead by everyone’s favorite born again drug addict, Josh Hamilton, the Rangers have smacked around any pitcher to come their way. Adrian Beltre is having an amazing season with his .305 BA and he has already accumulated 136 hits. The crazy thing is I don’t even rank Beltre in the Rangers top 4 hitters. From Hamilton to Kinsler the Rangers have a lineup poised to not only make the World Series for a third straight year, but they are definitely one of the favorites to win the whole damn thing. The one thing they have to focus on is fixing what has been a very inconsistent pitching staff.
Melky Cabrera: It’s been just a week since my PIC, NYBobby, praised Melky for his remarkable season and even picked Melky’s Giants to win the NL West because of his excellence. Well a lot has gone on since then and Melky finds himself suspended for the rest of the season because he got caught using PED’s. I’m trying not to laugh while writing this but I find it remarkable that in this day in age when we are testing everyone and their mothers on a regular basis to keep the integrity in the game of baseball, Melky really thought he could get away with cheating. Just a week ago, you could argue that Melky was only trailing McCutchen in the NL MVP race and now he is considered one of the more hated players in the game. I mean this guy won the All Star Game MVP for Christ’s sake. This was a career defining year for Melky and now it is all just an asterisks on what has been just an average to below average career.
Ozzie Guillen and His Miami Marlins: Coming into this season, the Miami Marlins were a lot of analysts pick to win one of the NL Wild Card slots. Now, Miami will fight till the end of the season just to not finish in last place in the NL East. The Marlins head coach, the brilliant Ozzie Guillen (I’m kidding people), has proven that it wasn’t Chicago that brought worst out of him, it was himself. Ozzie has to be one of the biggest morons the game of baseball has ever produced and for some reason he continues to be employed. After his praising of Fidel Castro, Ozzie was suspended for 5 games and had to submit multiple apologies. The backlash that came from the Miami faithful, mainly Cuban, put Ozzie through hell and made him the most hated coach in sports. I guess the one positive that came from the Guillen protesters was that it brought an extra 200 players to a stadium that struggles in attendance on a nightly basis. New stadium, new team, new coach, same old problems. Miami still sucks and Ozzie is the main reason why.
The Houston Astros: Just one year removed from a franchise worst 56 win season, the Houston Astros are trying to break that feat by being the worst team in baseball once again. Yesterday, the Astros fired head coach Brad Mills, which I can only imagine is a good thing for Mills because coaching this team of misfits has got to take years off of someone’s life. The Astros are ranked in the bottom 5 in all of baseball in every major batting and pitching category. The one bright spot of the season has been the emergence rookie second baseman, Jose Altuve, but don’t get too excited Astros fans because I can assure you that he will be traded for some no talent ass clowns within the next season or two. If you consider yourself a big baseball fan, I challenge you to try to name two Houston Astros starting pitchers. It’s tough isn’t it? While I did predict the Astros will finish this season with the worst record in baseball once again, I did say they would get 60 wins. I would like to change that right now and predict that they will finish with less than 55 wins, making this their worst season ever.
The Philadelphia Phillies: While the Phillies do not even come close to the embarrassingly bad Houston Astros, in terms of underachieving for the current season they probably finish as the worst. When the season started, the Phillies were without perennial all-stars Ryan Howard and Chase Utley. Even with those injuries, the Phillies were still considered the favorite to win the NL East, the same way they have for over half a decade. Well we are half way through August and the Phillies find themselves with only a .5 game lead over the Marlins for last place in the NL East. Their once perfect pitching staff has been nothing more than average and it took former Cy Young winner, Cliff Lee, more than half the season just to pick up his first victory. It seems as if Philly has shipped it in for the season since they have traded away fan favorites Hunter Pence and Shane Victorino while receiving nothing in return. Cole Hamels is having his best season ever and just signed a contract that should prevent the Phillies from being able to afford any talent in the near future. I would like to welcome all Philadelphia Phillies fans back to the bottom of the NL East with my Mets which both teams will be enjoying for years to come.
There you have it. I have given you the Good, the Bad and the Ugly through the first 3 quarters on the MLB season. I hope there are things you don’t agree with because I always love a good debate!