Justin Verlander’s getting all of the attention for the AL Cy Young award, and rightly so, but getting overlooked in the discussion is the work of teammate and closer Jose Valverde, who has converted all 47 save attempts this season. In fact, Valverde has earned a save in 13 of Verlander’s 24 victories this season. Put an average closer in place of Valverde and just how many wins do you think Verlander would have instead?
Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Dustin McGowan was activated off the 60-day disabled list. He was only on that list because MLB doesn’t have a 1,000-day DL. McGowan has been out of the majors for more than three years. During that time, he’s had three surgeries; two on the rotator cuff in his throwing arm and another for a knee injury. Combined with several other setbacks, many thought his short major league career was prematurely finished.
When the MLB non-waiver trade deadline passes, virtually every player in the league is put on waivers. Most of them go unnoticed as players get through or teams pull players back into the fold. However, reports that the San Francisco Giants have claimed San Diego Padres closer Heath Bell is making headlines all over the blogosphere. The Giants and Padres now have two days to complete a trade, or else Bell will be forced to play out the rest of the season in a Padres uniform.
For the past five seasons, anybody watching Curtis Granderson would know that he’s capable of doing something great anytime he steps up to the plate. He’s proving them right this season. Granderson is having a career year with the New York Yankees, and even if it ended today, you would have to give him serious consideration for the American League MVP award. Granderson has already broken several personal bests and is on pace to break several more.
The anti-storybook season of Jorge Posada became more interesting this week. Not only did the veteran New York Yankees player celebrate his 40th birthday by striking out looking to end and lose a 5-4 game to the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday, he also announced that he’s considering playing in 2012. The most interesting part is that there’s a better chance that no pitcher will go down with another arm injury ever again than the Yankees signing Posada one more time.
Now that Dan Uggla has gone hitless for once, can we please remember that the Atlanta Braves are in a playoff race? As everybody must know, Uggla went 0-for-3 against the Chicago Cubs on Sunday to snap his consecutive games with a hit streak at 33, but with all the attention Uggla’s been getting over the last month and a half, you wouldn’t know that the Braves currently have a four-game lead over the San Francisco Giants for the NL wild card.
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have been a playoff contender for years, and after missing the postseason last year, they’re back in the mix in 2011, trailing the Texas Rangers by four games in the AL West with 41 games left on the schedule, 10 of which are against those same boys from Arlington. They’ll play a four-game series this week and then a three-gamer on the last weekend of the month. Then, and we can only hope the division is still to be decided, the two teams will close out the season with three more games against each other.
The home run race has been tight all season long, and right now, the Toronto Blue Jays' Jose Bautista clings to a one-homer lead over Mark Teixeira of the New York Yankees. Bautista is the reigning home run king, and he and Teixeira have a comfortable lead over the rest of the pack in baseball. Bautista has had trouble getting the ball out of the park lately, while Teixeira has been hitting them with ease, so it’s not unrealistic to think we may soon have a new leader soon. If Teixeira can hold the lead for longer than a day, he’ll be the first person to do that to Bautista in over a year.
The San Francisco Giants have been anything but worthy defenders of their World Series championship lately. They’ve lost more than they have won lately and have seen a somewhat comfortable lead in the NL West over the Arizona Diamondbacks shrink to a mere half game. The latest insult came on Thursday night when Cliff Lee – who last pitched against the Giants as a member of the Texas Rangers in the Fall Classic – shut them down and kept them off the scoreboard, handing them their ninth loss in 14 games.
The New York Mets have suddenly become one of the hottest teams in baseball, despite having recently traded players such as closer Francisco Rodriguez and center fielder Carlos Beltran. The Mets have won five in a row including a sweep over the Cincinnati Reds and are quickly closing the gap between them and the NL wild card leaders from the Atlanta Braves. They’ll welcome the Braves to New York next weekend and again for the final weekend in August.
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