Kuroda a Cy Young Candidate?

When you think of the 2013 AL Cy Young candidates who comes to mind? Most people would probably bring up Texas Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish or Detroit Tigers pitcher Max Scherzer who are both having phenomenal seasons. Yu Darvish leads the league with 207 strikeouts. He has 5 games of 14+ strikeouts, the rest of the MLB’s starting pitchers combined have 3. Max Scherzer leads the league in wins with 17  he is also 3rd in strikeouts with 175. Both of these pitchers should be highly considered for the Cy Young award but I believe another pitcher should also be included in the talk and that pitcher is Hiroki Kuroda. Kuroda is having a fantastic season for the New York Yankees. He has a 2.33 ERA which ranks 4th in the MLB and 2nd in the American League. Having an ERA below 3 is hard to do when you are pitching half of your games in Yankee Stadium which is a hitters ballpark.  Hiroki has an 11-7 record which is great considering the Yankees lineup hasn’t given him more than 5 runs to work with since June 19th. That is almost 2 months! Since July 1st the pitcher has a 1.33 ERA and 3 shutouts, one of them being a complete game shutout.  Oh yeah, Kuroda also hasn’t given up the long ball in 7 starts, which is a feat of its own when you are pitching in one of the smallest ballparks in the MLB. Hiroki Kuroda has turned into the ace of the Yankees staff and almost guarantees the team a win every time he takes the mound. He has been a horse who can pitch into the 7th and 8th inning consistently. He is doing all this with limited run support and the weight of the pitching staff on his shoulders. So in my opinion, Kuroda should easily be considered for the Cy Young award. In fact I believe he is a top 3 candidate. If he keeps pitching the same way he has over the passed month then he may be able to take the award home.

 

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Packers In Trouble?

The Greenbay Packers have been one of the top teams in the NFL over the passed 3-4 seasons. Since 2009 they have posted records of 11-5, 10-6, 15-1, and 11-5 and have won a Superbowl. They have arguably the best offense in the league led by arguably the best quarterback in the league in Aaron Rodgers. Their coaching staff is also top notch. They are obviously a powerhouse team who is always in discussion for winning the division but this year could be different. This offseason the Packers have lost some key players to injury. Offensive Tackle Bryan Bulaga has reportedly tore his ACL and will need season ending surgery. The Packers last season gave up a league leading 51 sacks, so losing Bulaga for the year can end up being a major problem for Greenbay. Wide Receiver Jordy Nelson has also been injured this offseason. He will require knee surgery which will sideline him for the remainder of the preseason. He is hopeful that he will return for the season-opener but it is not likely that he will. Nelson was a major contributor for the team last season, he caught 7 touchdowns and had 800 receiving yards. Losing him for only a few games could hurt the Packers. Second Round draft pick Eddie Lacey also looks like he could be injured after being sidelined for practice today. Lacey is supposed to spark the Packers run game which has been struggling ever since 2010, so losing him could put a dagger in the Pack’s season.

Even though the Packers have a few injuries this offseason, I would not say they are in trouble just yet. They still have the best quarterback in the league and one of the best coaches. They have an offense that can score 50 points any game, and a defense that is definitely on the rise. So in my opinion, Greenbay fans have nothing to worry about just yet.

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Alex Rodriguez Suspension

Yesterday, Bud Selig and the MLB decided to suspend Alex Rodriguez through the 2014 season, which ends up to be 211 games! The suspension will take place on Thursday and Rodriguez will appeal so he will most likely continue to play in a Yankees uniform until the appeal process is over. Most people believe that Arod and his plethora of expensive lawyers will help him cut down his suspension to a mere 80 or 90 games. In my opinion, they are right. Alex Rodriguez is being treated differently than all the other players involved with this scandal. Ryan Braun, who won his PED appeal process last season, has only received a 65 game suspension this year for being caught with PEDs again. Other players like Jhonny Peralta and Nelson Cruz have only received 50 game suspensions and will be eligibile to play in the playoffs if their respective teams make the race. So, if these “first time offenders” are only receiving 50 game suspensions then why isn’t Arod? Can it be because the MLB has found so much evidence against him that the suspension has to be lengthy? Or could is be that the MLB is just tired of Arod disrespecting the game? I really couldn’t tell ya, but what I can tell you is that this suspension will be cut down and cut down majorly. I simply cannot see how the MLB can suspend a first time offender for 211 games when the drug policy says the suspension should only be 50.

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Greg Oden Plans to Make Decision Today

Former No. 1 overall pick Greg Oden plans to choose his new team today, according to sources. Oden, who hasn’t played an NBA game since Dec. 5 2009, worked out for 6 NBA teams over the passed few weeks. Each team sent a representative to watch his workout, all of which said that Oden looks as if he has slimmed down and is moving around much better than he was last season. Oden says he has not ruled out any of the 6 teams interested, but sources close to the situation say he will most likely choose from the trio of Miami, Dallas, and San Antonio.

For someone who has only played 82 games in his career, Oden is getting a lot of interest, especially from the defending champions. Miami Heat Owner, Pat Riley, has been recruiting the center since before the end of the 2012-2013 season. In my opinion, it is not a surprise that the Miami Heat are so urgent to sign him. We all know that rebounding is a major problem for Miami. Oden, who averaged 8.5 rebounds in 2009, can solve this problem. With him, the Heat will finally have the big body they need down low.

As I see it, the Heat are definitely the front runner to sign Greg Oden. They can offer a decent amount of cash, more playing time, and most importantly, championships. Oh yeah, they can also offer him the opportunity to play with the best player in the world. I am almost 100% that Oden will sign with Miami later today.

 

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Pirates Take Sole Possession of NL Central

When the sun rose yesterday the Pittsburgh Pirates found themselves only a half game back of the NL Central lead and the best record in baseball. With a double header against the division leading St. Louis Cardinals on their plate, they could take sole possession of the Central if they could sweep the double header.

Game 1 of the double header was a close one as both teams scored a run each in the opening 3 innings. From then on a pitching duel would take place between Pittsburgh ace, AJ Burnett, and St. Louis Cardinal pitcher, Lance Lynn. Burnett went 7 strong for the Bucs. He only gave up 3 hits and he struck out 9. Lynn went 6 innings, only allowed 3 hits and struck out 7. The winning run was scored in the 11th when Alex Presley hit a walk-off single off of Cards pitcher Kevin Siegrist. This win was big for the Pirates as it gave them a half game lead over St. Louis in the division.

Let’s just say that Game 2 of the double header wasn’t as close as the first. The Cards gave up 6 runs off 11 hits, while the Bucs shut St. Louis down only giving up 3 hits and 0 earned runs. Andrew McCutchen went 2-5 in the game with 2 RBI. Jody Mercer, Gaby Sanchez, and Tony Sanchez all had an RBI each. With this win the Pirates extended their NL Central lead to 1.5 games and now have the best record in the MLB. Can they keep it up for the rest of the season? Can the Pirates finally make the playoffs for the first time since 1992? We will all have to just wait and see.

Andrew McCutchen, A.J. Burnett

Can Jeter and Soriano Turn Yanks Around?

Two days ago, in a walk off win against the AL East Leading Tampa Bay Rays, Derek Jeter returned to the Yankees lineup. In his first at-bat since going back on the DL with a Quad Strain, he blasted a homer to right center and sent the New York crowd into a frenzy. Jeter went 2-4 with an RBI and 2 runs scored in the game. Another familiar face also had a great game, Alfonso Soriano. In his 3rd game back in pinstripes Soriano went 4-5. He hit a homerun and had 3 RBI in the game. Oh yeah, he also hit a walkoff single to give the Yankees a 6-5 win. Both of these players gave the Yankees lineup a huge boost. The Captain energized the team by giving them some much needed power by hitting the first homerun by a right handed batter since June 25. Soriano hit with runners in scoring position and was able to give the Yankees the lead in clutch situations. Having Soriano and Jeter in the lineup mixes things up a bit. It gives the lineup depth and also a couple of very good right handed batters that can do some major damage. In my opinion, getting these two players back will prove to be a major turning point in the Yankees season. I believe they will be the spark that the Bomber’s offense needs and needs desperatley.  As of now the Yankees are 7.5 games back of the AL East Division lead and 2.5 games back of the Wild Card spot. If these two players can provide some offense and if Curtis Granderson can come back and perform the Yankees still have a chance to get that Wild Card spot or even win the division. I guess we will have to see how it all works out.

Jeter and Soriano Celebrate

Is Roy Halladay Still A Dominant Pitcher?

When you think of Roy Halladay what do you think of? I know I think of no hitters, perfect games, and just dominant pitching overall, but with his recent performance dating back to last season, I am beginning to question whether Halladay can still be the ace of a major league team. We all know that Halladay can throw a gem on any given night but now these gems are starting to come farther and farther apart. In 2011 Halladay was a horse. In 32 starts he posted a 2.35 ERA which was second best in the majors. He also had 19 wins and struckout 220 batters, and oh yeah, he only lost 6 games. 2011 was a great year for Doc,  2012 on the other hand was not so great. In 2012 Roy Halladay started 25 games and posted a 4.49 ERA. This was a far cry from the ERA he posted in 2011. His win to loss was also worse with an 11-8 record. He only struck out 132 batters which was 88 off the mark he set the previous year.

Now, I bet you’re thinking, “Well, thats only one bad season right?”. You could be right about that, but Roy definitely did not start the 2013 season on a high note. Yesterday in his first start, he only lasted a whopping 3.1 innings and he gave up a total of 5 runs, all earned. That can’t be the way Doc wanted to start the season nor the way the Phillies organization wanted him to start either.

So what is going on with Halladay? It could just be that he is in some sort of pitching slump or it could just be that he is getting a little old to pitch in the MLB. Not many guys can pitch at the age of 35, especially a guy who has as much wear and tear on his arm as him. As of now, I can’t really make a call on how dominant Roy Halladay will be this season. He could be completely terrible or he could bounce back to his old form and be the ace of the Phillies pitching staff again. We will just have to let the season progress and see what happens….

 

Halladay winding up

Halladay winding up