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Sunday, May 19, 2013

MLB Weekly Walk-off 5/19

Wild on Sports
MLB Weekly Walk-off
May 19, 2013
By Wild on Sports Analyst Kyle Kargel

It’s still hard to figure out almost two months into the season how the New York Yankees have held the lead in the AL East for as long as they have. Although they’re only a game up on second place, they are starting to get back players that were injured at the start of the year. Most experts this problem would lead the Yankees to the bottom of the division, but it has been the exact opposite of that. With Curtis Granderson returning already, and Mark Teixeria set to return in the beginning of June, is it fair to bench all the guys who have been picking up the slack while the big names are injured? Vernon Wells, Lyle Overbay, Travis Hafner and Brett Gardner have been picking up the slack while the Yankees all-stars have been injured. It will be interesting to see how Joe Girardi juggles the lineup with the regulars returning and the team trying to maintain a division lead. The National League is still headlined by the tightness of the NL West, and the Dodgers still haven’t made their move yet. The NL West is only separated by six games and the Giants are doing their best to advance to another World Series. They hold the division lead and it’s going to be hard to take that away with an experienced lineup like theirs. The Giants always get support all around the lineup. Marco Scutaro leads the team in average, Hunter Pence leads in homeruns, Pablo Sandoval leads in RBIs and Angel Pagan leads in runs. The Dodgers still have time on their side, but it’s only a matter of games before they realize they will need to make a move or two if they want to advance to the playoffs.

Studs of the Past Week

1. Jean Segura SS Mil- A hidden gem for the Brewers thus far during this season, Segura is among the league leaders in batting average and steals this season. The past week saw Segura whacking three homeruns while swiping six bases. Though the Brewers have been dropping games as of late, Segura will play a big part in the Brewers chances of making the playoffs or even contending for the division if Ryan Braun, Aramis Ramirez and Rickie Weeks do their fair share.

2. Shelby Miller SP Stl- Miller threw a complete game shutout a couple starts ago where he only allowed one hit and no walk and followed it up pitching 5 2/3 innings while allowing no runs once again. He was part of a combo with Adam Wainwright that held the Rockies hitless for 50 consecutive at-bats spanning over two games which hasn’t been done in over 80 years. The Cardinals shouldn’t fade from their NL Central lead and once again have the pitching staff to make it far in the playoffs.

3. Jon Lester SP Bos- Owners of Lester have been treated great so far this season, but the past week or so Lester has been pitching just as good as his teammate Clay Buchholz. Lesters last two starts consist of 16 innings pitched and only two earned runs. Lester has yet to lose a game this year, and has gone at least five innings in every start this season. Given Lester will lose at least once this year, he has a recipe that may net him near the top of the Cy Young race.

Duds of the Past Week

1. Prince Fielder 1B Det- Luckily for Fielder his recent slump isn’t noticeable because the rest of the Tigers team has been able to pick up the slack. Fielder is hitless in his past 12 at-bats and his average has dropped around the .270 mark. This can be looked at as Fielder just cooling off from his hot start that landed himself and teammate Miguel Cabrera as the RBI leaders of the AL, but that isn’t the case now. Fielder should bounce back and still be counted on hitting in 100 runs this season.

2. Justin Verlander SP Det- I’m not trying to hate on the Tigers or anything, but it just so happened that two of their biggest commodities happened to have one of the worst weeks of their career, but Verlander will be sure to not make a habbit of it. Experts noticed Verlanders velocity was down in April, but it has improved since then. Verlander’s last two starts have consisted of 7 2/3 innings pitched and 11 earned runs. Those numbers have been non-existent in Verlander’s career until now.

3. Ben Zobrist 2B/OF TB- The Rays use Zobrist all over the field, but his struggles have been at the plate the past week or so. Zobrist’s average has dropped below .250 for the first time this season and has gone three for his last 22. Zobrist hits all around the Rays lineup so it’s not unlikely that this kind of struggling will continue. Also, he hasn’t gone on the DL in the past couple seasons so that risk is very minuscule.

Pickups for Next Week

1. Eric Chavez 3B- Get him while he’s hot. Chavez has seen an increase in playing time with Aaron Hill on the DL. Hill should be sidelined for at least the next 3-4 weeks so look for Chavez’s at bats to continue as well as the hits if he continues at the pace he’s at. Maybe he took a look at old tapes from when he played for the A’s back in the early 2000s. Regardless Chavez should be available in most fantasy leagues.

2. Yunel Escobar SS TB
- Although Escobar’s numbers don’t show it, he’s actually been hitting decent over the past week. His .222 average used to be at a disappointing .176 only a couple weeks back. Escobar won’t put up huge numbers, but he’s been consistent enough in the past couple years that he will at least raise his average a little more and hopefully accumulate 10-15 homeruns total this season.

3. Michael Morse OF Sea- Impatient owners of Morse have probably already dropped him due to his average dropping down to .220 near the end of April. Morse was a stud in Washington only a couple years ago belting 31 homeruns, but injuries plagued Morse last season as he missed 60 games. Barring injury Morse can hit a solid 20-25 homeruns this season, and he already has ten to his credit. Also Morse has nine hits in his last 15 at bats.

Key Match-ups in the Upcoming Week

Arizona vs. Colorado- The Diamondbacks and Rockies have gotten off to surprising starts and have really taken the NL West by storm this season. With the Giants trying to fend off both teams, either the Diamondbacks or Rockies will be able to inch their way closer to the division lead with a series win.

St. Louis vs. San Diego- Much like the Diamondbacks and Rockies, the Padres have been surprising as well holding their own in the NL West, but they can make a huge statement with a home series win over the Cardinals. Meanwhile, the Cardinals are trying to hold off the Reds for the time being. A west coast series win would benefit the Cardinals and be a confidence booster when they have to travel to other west coast teams.

Cleveland vs. Boston- Terry Francona returns to Boston where he left a sour taste in the mouths of fans from Boston a couple years ago. The Bobby Valentine experiment didn’t work out to plan, but everything for the Red Sox has been positive thus far. It will be interesting to see how the pitching staff of the Red Sox holds up against the power hitting of the Indians.


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