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Sunday, May 12, 2013

MLB Weekly Walk-Off

Wild on Sports
MLB Weekly Walk-Off
By Wild on Sports MLB Analyst Kyle Kargel

This past week in baseball offered a few teams, and players who have gone streaking for the good or for bad. The Padres who were projected by many to finish in the bottom of the NL West found themselves winning four straight, enough to keep them out of last. Although three of those wins were against the Marlins, the little win streak is enough to keep spirits high in San Diego and maybe it is something to build off of for the rest of the month of May. The Dodgers on the other hand may want to hit the panic button soon. They lost seven straight, and have lost Hanley Ramirez once again who landed on the DL earlier last week. It won’t get much easier for the Dodgers either as six of their next eight games are against the Nationals and the Braves. Mark Trumbo of the Angels also put together a nice string of homeruns from Apr. 29 through May 7, homering in six out of eight games racking up 11 RBIs during that stretch. The Angels are still slumping though having only won two of three games in Houston who is trying to stay out of the cellar in the AL West. There are still a lot of questions to answer in LA between the Dodgers and Angels as to why they are doing so miserable, but with time either they will improve or moves will be made.

Studs of the Past Week

1. Paul Goldschmidt 1B Ari- In the 2012 season Goldschmidt made a name for himself hitting 20 homeruns and stealing 18 bases. His 18 steals ranked among the top of first baseman, which makes him such a rare find if you were able to draft him. In the past week he’s raised his average over the .310 mark while hitting four homeruns and stealing a couple bags. Goldschmidt should be a 20-20 threat again this season ranking among one of the top first baseman.

2. Jason Kipnis 2B Cle- Hitting only around the .220 mark Kipnis actually raised his average almost 40 points since the end of April. In the past week only Goldschmidt has hit more RBIs with 11 to Kipnis’ 10. Kipnis is also a dual threat with a chance to steal a base anytime he gets on. Second basemen have come at a premium this season for MLB teams so the Indians should be thankful they have one of the better ones. Kipnis has a few multi-hit games in the past week and the Indians hope he can keep it going while they have fought to only a game back of the AL Central Division lead.

3. Felix Hernandez SP Sea- After signing a huge contract with the Mariners, some though they paid too much to keep Hernandez around, but the Mariners organization wants to prove everyone that the product is worth the money put into it. In his past four starts Hernandez has gone 4-0 allowing only two earned runs in 30 innings pitched, which is no surprise to baseball fans. His ERA stands at 1.53, and he is once again a legitimate CY Young threat. If he can avoid losing games due to the Mariners dismal offense he should finish in the top three of the CY Young voting.

Duds of the Past Week

1. Billy Butler 1B KC- The Royals have gone on a bit of a skid the past week, and you can give some of that blame to Billy Butler. Still holding their own in the AL Central, Butler shouldn’t see a cut in his playing time or see a move in the batting order. He’s seen a recent 40 point drop in his average falling below the .250 line. Butler should pick his power back up though as he plays every game and has only missed two games since the start of 2011. He only has three homeruns this season, but should knock out 20-25 before the season is over if the Royals want to be a legitimate contender in the AL Central.

2. Brett Lawrie 3B
Tor- The Blue Jays expected Lawrie to breakout this season as part of their brand new lineup, but it has been far from that this season and even more the past week. He only has a couple hits in his past 24 at-bats and only has one double this season. His last extra base hit was a homerun, but that came all the way back on May 2. Overall, the Blue Jays have fallen way short of expectations, but there’s enough blame to go around the whole Blue Jays lineup, not just Lawrie.

3. Yovani Gallardo SP Mil- For being the opening day starter for the Brewers, Gallardo has been a bit of a disappointment through the first month compared to how he ended the year last year. In his past two starts Gallardo has only pitched 10 innings and allowed seven runs. Gallardo did win three straight from Apr. 18-Apr. 29, but that has been the only bright spot this season for him. If he wants to reach the 16 wins he did last year he will need to make adjustments to his game and receive help from the Brewers offense.

Pickups for the Upcoming Week

1. David Hernandez RP Ari- Diamondbacks closer J.J. Putz received terrible information the past week that he will need surgery on his elbow and will likely be out the whole 2013 season. That leaves the closer duty up to Heath Bell and/or David Hernandez. Heath Bell will get first dibs at the job, but should he mess up once or twice Hernandez will be right there to pick up the scraps. Hernandez saved 15 games between the 2011 and 2012 seasons when Putz wasn’t able to go so he has experience at the position. If you have a roster spot available it wouldn’t be a bad idea to invest in Hernandez on a long term basis.

2. Will Venable OF
SD- Unfortunately for Venable, he’s not an everyday player for the Padres but if he keeps batting the way he has the past week he shouldn’t have any problem finding himself at-bats the rest of the season. In his past 14 plate appearances Venable has clubbed three homers and stolen three bases. He played 148 games last season so he’s used to being an everyday player. Venable is a threat to steal 20-25 bags given the opportunity, but his power numbers might not be the same as he only hit 18 homeruns total between 2011 and 2012.

3. James Loney 1B TB- Loney has been a pleasant surprise for the Rays this season as they expected him to just be a part-time player off the bench, but given his hot bat as of late Loney has gotten a chance to play every day the past week. His average has sky rocketed to .376 and he has four multi-hit games in May. If his hot bat continues he should become the Rays everyday first baseman down the road.

Best Matchups in the Upcoming Week

Kansas City vs. LA Angels- The Angels are still looking to climb their way into any sort of playoff or division race while the Royals have stunned a lot of people by making their way near the top of the AL Central. This should be a close series with the Angels still having much to prove.

Washington vs. LA Dodgers- The Dodgers much like the Angels are still struggling, but the Nationals still want to solidify themselves as a force in the NL. They were the hands on favorite to win the NL East and were picked by some to win the NL. They aren’t close to either as Strasburg along with the rest of the Nationals want to turn it up going into the next month of the season.

Detroit vs. Texas- Both teams have been powerhouses in their division up until this point in the season, and both have held off hot teams to maintain their slim divisional leads. This could be a future playoff matchup with each team able to make the case they have the best rotation in the league.


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