The Big Stories
Instant Replay: A WISE Choice?
In the 7th inning of Tuesday night’s Yankees/Indians game, Yankees’ leftfielder Dewayne Wise dove into the stands and seemed to make a tremendous catch on a foul ball. The umpire called the batter “out” and Wise and the Yankees ran off the field as the inning came to an end. The only problem was Wise did not actually catch the ball. Third base umpire Mike DiMuro who made the call, seemed to either make the call too early, or was influenced by the fans in the stands who signaled “out.” Either way, it was the wrong call and could have changed the outcome of the game.
Replay is allowed in Major League Baseball to review home run calls. The question still remains whether or not instant replay should be instated to replay all questionable calls.
This will certainly be the chatter around baseball for the next few days. That, my friends, is not in question at all.
Home Run Derby Captains
The Yankees’ Robinson Cano and the Dodgers’ Matt Kemp have been named captains of American League and National League Home Run Derby teams, respectively, for this year’s All-Star game in Kansas City. Cano was the winner of last year’s Derby, and Kemp got off to a very powerful start this season before missing the last 6 weeks due to a hamstring injury.
Unfortunately, two of the game’s most prolific and exciting power hitters will not be taking part in the derby. The Washington Nationals’ Bryce Harper will not be chosen by Kemp for the National League team, because Kemp believes there are others more deserving than the rookie Harper.
The Texas Rangers’ Josh Hamilton, who is second in the majors in home runs with 24, will sit the derby out as he does not want to risk injury. Hamilton has had some health issues this season and wants to make sure he is healthy for the second half of the season.
The Home Run Derby will take place Monday night July 9th , the day before the July 10th All-Star Game.
Stephen Strasburg: Living Up To The Hype
While Bryce Harper has been taking a lot of the local and national headlines with his exciting play since he was called up by the Washington Nationals at the end of April, his teammate Stephen Strasburg has quietly been dominating the league.
Strasburg, a highly touted prospect since being drafted out of San Diego State by the Nationals in 2009, missed most of the last two seasons due to reconstructive elbow surgery. He seems to be fully recovered now, posting an 9-2 record with a 2.60 ERA and leads the National League in strikeouts.
The debate all season has been whether or not Strasburg, who has been placed on a pitching limit this season due to the recent surgery, will be shut down later in the season despite the Nationals making a run for the playoffs. While it’s understandable that the team is keeping this young man’s health in mind for the long term, one could argue that it makes sense to seize the moment and use a healthy Strasburg to advance as far as possible in the playoffs.
Because, after all, you play to win the games!
Last Week’s Highlights
Yankees Are Still New York’s Team
After Mets’ relief pitcher Frank Francisco inexplicably called the Yankees “chickens” before last weekend’s Subway Series, the Yankees promptly responded by taking two out of three from the Mets in the second Subway Series of the season. Francisco later explained that his comment was lost in translation, as he meant to say that the Yankees whine about a lot of calls made by the umpires.
The Yankees had nothing to whine about this series, as they were able to come back from a loss in the first game of the series, winning the next two. They were even able to take Sunday night’s game where the Mets started ace RA Dickey, who is 11-1 this season with a 2.31 ERA. The Yankees scored five runs off the Mets’ ace in route to a 6-5 victory.
Fans in the D.C./Baltimore area this weekend saw three great pitching duels this weekend, as the Orioles were able to outpitch the best pitching staff in the National League of the Washington Nationals. The Orioles took two of three from their local rival and have beaten the Nationals four out of six times this season, pulling out a pair of 2-1 victories on Friday and Sunday.
What do Barry Zito, Ryan Vogelsong, and Tim Lincecum have in common? They all pitch for the San Francisco Giants, and they all shutout the Los Angeles Dodgers this past week. All three pitchers went seven strong innings, while the bullpen was able to preserve the shutout each time.
The Giants and Dodgers, longtime NL West rivals, are now tied atop the division.
This Week’s Preview
The Atlanta Braves will try to gain ground in the NL East on the first place Washington Nationals. It will be tough against the Nationals’ impressive starting pitching, but the Braves have some good young batters that they can counter with.
One thing is for sure: we will certainly see some good starting pitching in this series. The Nationals have the best pitching staff in the league, while the Giants have some stud pitchers of their own in Matt Cain and two-time CY Young winner Tim Lincecum.
These two teams are in first place in the NL Central and NL West, respectively, and could be a potential playoff match up down the line.