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Monday, June 10, 2013

MLB Weekly Walk-Off

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

Weekly Walk-off - Week of 6/10/2013

All the Dodgers fans around the world are all chanting one phrase now. Viva Puig! Yasiel Puig has made his introduction into the MLB and boy has he made an impact. Puig was expected to be called up later this year at some point, but now were near this early. With injuries to Carl Crawford and Matt Kemp though the Dodgers knew this was their shot to see if Puig can produce under high pressure situations, and Dodgers fans know that every game is a pressure situation until they find themselves in the top half of the division. He may have saved Don Mattingly career with the Dodgers as well as the Dodgers season as a whole. In his first five games Puig is batting .421 with four homeruns and ten RBIs. Puig should come back to reality eventually, but for now the Dodgers will take all they can get from him while he’s still smoking. Also, it wouldn’t hurt if this momentum carried into when Crawford and Kemp come off the DL. Speaking of smoking hot, the Astros have surprisingly gone 7-3 their last ten games. Now they still have the AL’s worst record, but the Angels are only five games up on them in the standings. They have done it with the homerun power of Chris Carter, and the pitching of Bud Norris. If their star Jose Altuve can continue to gain support from his teammates, they may not finish as bad as everyone thinks. The Astros deserve credit for the situation that they’re in, especially for having a payroll that’s less than what Alex Rodriguez is making this year.

Studs of the Past Week

1. Yasiel Puig OF LAD- Did you expect anything different here? Puig is looking to outperform Bryce Harper and Mike Trout’s rookie campaigns from last year. Due to injuries Puig is getting his spot in the limelight, and he wants to keep his spot in the lineup, even when Kemp and Crawford return from the DL. He is already getting intentionally walked in favor of a colder bat in the Dodger’s lineup. He only has 19 at bats this season, but he is already getting in the heads of opposing managers.

2. Everth Cabrera 2B SD- Why not show a little love for the speedsters on the base paths? Cabrera won’t go deep that often, but he is always a threat if he gets on base. The past week has seen Cabrera net seven steals while batting .500 in 32 at bats. He currently has a five game streak in which he has more than one hit in each game. Cabrera is used to only batting around .250, but his average is hovering around the .300 mark as of today. He is a threat to steal 50 bases, but the amount of runs he scores may be limited due to the team he is on.

3. Francisco Liriano SP Pitt- Liriano does have a loss in his past two starts, but he has only allowed one run while striking out 19 over those games. His ERA has dropped to a slim 1.75 and he looks to have found his stride in Pittsburgh. It was hard for him to produce in the AL as his ERA was over five in his past three seasons before this. The Pirates are cruising right now, and there is now reason why Liriano should be slowing down.

Duds of the Past Week

1. Ryan Braun OF Mil- It’s been a tough week for Braun whose name is getting brought up once again in illegal steroid talks. Braun only has five hits in the past week with none of them accounting for homeruns or RBIs. In fact, Braun’s last RBI came on May 30. The Brewers are treading in the bottom half of the division, and if Braun’s name continues to be brought up in negative light it may affect him on the baseball field in the same matter.

2. Robinson Cano 2B NYY- Thankfully for Cano, his struggles the past week hasn’t effected the Yankees’ position in the standings. If the Yankees do want to keep their first or second place standing in the AL East he does need to pick it back up. He does have a homerun in the past week, but his average is dipping into the .270s. His career average is .307 so hopefully for Yankee fans Cano can lift his average back up to where he’s used to hitting.

3. Adam Jones OF Bal- Jones is still batting .300 on the year, but that’s lower than the .320 he was batting just a couple weeks ago. Jones has gone three for his past 25, and that includes a four strike out game he had against the Tigers on Jun. 2. He should pick up the pace as a threat to hit a homerun or to steal a base when he’s on. Jones is on pace for the 32 homeruns he had last year so owners of him in fantasy leagues shouldn’t be too worried.

Pickups for Next Week

1. Kyle Blanks 1B SD- Since starting first baseman Yonder Alonso has gone on the DL, Blanks has been getting the majority of starts for him. He was supposed to be just a fill in until Alonso returned, but has surprised many Padres fans with his bat hitting a couple homeruns in his past four starts. Alonso will be out another month so expect Blanks to stay in the Padres starting lineup.

2. Jose Iglesias SS Bos- In 62 at bats this season Iglesias is batting a cool .435 and is in the midst of a ten game hitting streak. He might not be the biggest power threat, but he’s good for getting on base and scoring runs, and that’s all the Red Sox can ask of him at this point in the season. With a hot bat he will continue to get the majority of starts at shortstop. His average will drop, but probably keep it at a steady .310 or .320 by seasons end. Still, not bad if you’re looking to upgrade at shortstop on your fantasy team.

3. Bud Norris SP Hou- More Astros love on the Weekly Walk-off as Norris has impressed many over the past week. In his last 13 innings pitched he’s allowed three runs while striking out 13. Granted he is only 5-5 on the year, but that’s relatively good for a team that some experts predicted to challenge for the worst record ever by an MLB team. Norris’ ERA this season is 3.43 which is almost a whole run better than his career ERA of 4.31.

Top Match-ups Next Week

1. Yankees vs. A’s
- In an epic pitching duel on Tuesday, CC Sabathia will face off against former Yankee Bartolo Colon. The Yankees have actually fallen a couple games back of the Red Sox in the AL East, but can prove themselves by taking a series out west. The A’s are still atop the AL West, but are trading that spot with the Rangers on a daily basis.

2. Dodgers vs. Pirates- We have to mention Puig one more time before I wrap up the Weekly Walk-off. This matches the hottest hitter in the game currently with one of the hottest teams. The Pirates hot pitching staff will look to cool down Puig which has been a tough task thus far.

3. Nationals vs. Indians-
The Nationals are missing their identity with Harper and Strasburg on the DL, but they are still hovering around the .500 mark as well as the Indians. The Indians are closer to their division lead though than the Nationals which can give them an extra boost of confidence. Both these middle tier teams have a lot to prove still, but each are capable of proving it. It’s the best interleague matchup of the next week, as the rolling interleague schedule continue


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