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Sunday, June 23, 2013

MLB Weekly Walk-Off

Wild on Sports
MLB Weekly Walk-Off
For the Week of June 23, 2013
By Wild on Sports Analyst Kyle Kargel

The MLB has seen a set of teams over the past week or so make claims for themselves as playoff contenders. In a surprising change of events, the Blue Jays, Padres and Indians have only lost a combined five games over a course of 30 games including a current 10 game winning streak for the Blue Jays. Also, Puig mania hasn’t been enough to pull the Dodgers out of the cellar yet which goes to show you that one guy can’t make a difference in winning games. With the All-Star Game fast approaching one guy is making a case to start for the AL and he isn’t even the number one pitcher on his own team. Max Scherzer is 11-0 with a miniscule 3.05 ERA including 122 strikeouts. This has completely overshadowed Tigers ace Justin Verlander who has only put up an 8-5 record with a 3.75 ERA which is good for an average pitcher, but expectations are so high for Verlander that he seems to be pitching subpar this season. Scherzer has only pitched under six innings twice this season which may become a factor as far has his durability down the road, but the Tigers don’t seem to be worried about that yet. All in all Scherzer deserves to be the starting pitcher for the AL squad in New York come the All-Star Game.

Studs of the Past Week

1. Chris Davis 1B Bal
- I’m not sure how many times I could have put Davis on this list already this season, but it’s an opportune time to let it be known what he’s done this season so far. Out of now where Davis has put up Miguel Cabrera like numbers and they’re both challenging for the Triple Crown this season. The past week Davis has hit five homeruns while knocking in 12 RBIs. Although, Davis would like to keep his strikeout rate down, that’s not a problem considering his .336 average and 27 homeruns.

2. Pedro Alverez 3B Pitt- In the midst of a seven game winning streak Alverez has actually raised his average to .234 from the .214 average it was only 10 games ago. He’s homered in three straight games which has helped the Pirates stay in the top half of the NL Central. Alverez has worked his way up to the five spot in the Pirates line up, and if he can get his average near the .250 mark on the season, he has the potential to hit 30-35 homeruns this season.

3. Austin Jackson OF Det- Since coming off the DL nine days ago Jackson has raised his average 33 points from .266 to .299 and has five multi-hit games. He’s been a sigh of relief for Jim Leyland who doesn’t have to worry about who’s batting in the lead-off spot for the time being. He continues to be the only base stealing threat the Tigers have so anytime Jackson gets on base he has the potential to swipe one, even though he only has six steals on the season.

Duds of the Past Week

1. Dustin Pedroia 2B Bos- Pedroia was batting .327 no less than 11 days ago, but has seen that drop to .305 as of late. The past week has been dismal for him as he only has three hits and two RBIs. Thankfully for the Red Sox, they have been able to stay atop the AL East, so his slump has gone unnoticed because of the support around him. His power has gone down since his 21 homeruns he hit in 2011 as he only has four so far this season.

2. Brandon Phillips 2B Cin- For hitting near the top of the order for the Reds, it’s head scratching to think why he only has one run scored in his past 10 games played. He’s only hit .107 in the past week and has seen his average fall to .265. Phillips has been known to rack up 15-20 steals in the past, but Phillips’ age might be catching up with him as he only has one so far this season. Phillips hasn’t been consistent as of late, but his career has proved otherwise so expect Phillips to get it back on track soon.

3. Jared Weaver SP LAA- Weaver’s brother Jeff might be a better option for the Angels if Jared keeps pitching the way he has over the past couple weeks or so. He came off the DL at the end of May, but since then he has only one win and is currently on a three game losing streak. In his last three starts Weaver has 17.2 innings pitched and has allowed 13 earned runs. This is not something the Angels can tolerate if they want to be a factor in the playoff race come September.

Pickups for the Next Week

1. Pedro Ciriaco SS/2B SD
- Acquired from the Red Sox Ciriaco has fit in nicely with starting second baseman Everth Cabrera going on the DL. He is like another Cabrera as he steals a lot of bases with not a lot of power. He’s hit .400 in his last 20 at bats and the Padres are going to look for him to be a threat on the base path as long as Cabrera is on the DL. He should see every day at bats for them until Cabrera is off the DL. So, pick him up while you can.

2. Jhoulys Chacin SP Col
- Before his last few starts Chacin seemed to be falling off the wagon, but he’s picked it up as of recent. Chacin had multiple starts allowing five or more earned runs, but has only allowed four earned runs in his past three starts tallying a 3-0 record. He’s also lowered his ERA from 4.59 to 3.92. The only downfall is that he pitches in Colorado where homeruns have been known to be hit at a high rate.

3. Paul Konerko 1B CWS
- This is a risky pickup because of Konerko’s age, but expectations were high at the start of the year because of his 26 homeruns last season. Konerko has done subpar this season, but the past week may indicate that Konerko still has some left in the tank as he raised his average from .231 to .253. He is still an everyday player for the White Sox, but they’re in last place right now and runs have been hard to come by, but Konerko can help them pick it back up if they want to make a run at a wild card spot.

Top Matchups Next Week

1. Reds at A’s- Possibly the best interleague matchup of the next week as both these second place contenders look to stay afloat in their respected divisions. The Reds have lost three straight and is in danger of falling out of the NL Central race though considering the success of the Pirates and Cardinals so far. This is a statement series for them.

2. Phillies at Dodgers-
Both of these teams have been far from expectations this season as both are under .500 and in need of change. The Phillies are surprisingly still in the hunt for the NL East as they are riding the coat tails of Dominic Brown. Without Brown the Phillies may be 10 or more games out, but that’s not the case for them. Both teams still have plenty to prove before seasons end, and if one or both struggle come August there might be critical changes going on in the clubhouse.

3. Blue Jays at Rays-
The red hot Jays have been shutting critics up with their 10 game winning streak. They’re right back where they want to be in the AL East and want to prove their not the cellar dweller against the Rays. Every team in the AL East still has the potential to win the division so this interdivisional battle should mark who is the weak link in the AL East is after the series.


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