July 3, 2013

Getting reacquainted with baseball

by Dan Bilicki In: Baseball

In case you haven’t noticed, nights have been getting a lot less hectic in the sports world. Well, that’s understandable considering both the NHL and NBA have completed their seasons and have moved into their free agency periods – times where there are more rumours and reports than actual substance.

Want to know what you’ve been missing? Well there’s no shortage of good storylines.

-Care to hazard a guess as to who is leading the majors in home runs right now? You’re probably going to be wrong. It’s Baltimore’s Chris Davis. After hitting a career high last year with 33, he now has an unbelievable 31 and it’s barely July. I’m not one to question someone’s power numbers sky rocketing, but this one seems a bit fishy.

-The only player really standing in the way of Miguel Cabrera nabbing a second straight Triple Crown? That would be Davis. How crazy is it that an insane outlier season is the one thing standing in the way of true history? I’m no Tigers fan or even one of Cabrera, but that deserves a lot of respect.

-For a little while there, the three best teams in baseball were all in the same division – and it wasn’t the AL East. Nope, the Cardinals, Reds and Pirates were held the three best records in baseball. And they didn’t even have the Houston Astros to beat up on any more. Looks like there has been a changing of the guard as for the best division out there.

-The real question is if the Pittsburgh Pirates can hold it together. They were in a similar situation last season and collapsed to finish their 19th straight season under .500. This year, they have the young aces and strong lineup to do it, I think. But you can never be surprised with what happens in a culture of losing.

-The AL East is no slouch either. The last-place Jays are just one game under .500, by far the best last-place team in the league. That was thanks in large part to an 11-game winning streak. It was about time. Fans have been dying for this talented yet unlucky team to turn it around.

-It’s very hard to believe, but Justin Verlander isn’t the best pitcher in the majors, the American League, his division or even on his own team. Nope, that would be Max Scherzer, who leads the majors with a 12-0 record. Who would have thought a Tiger not named Verlander could start the all-star game?

-Another amazing stat? Bartolo Colon has 11 wins. He hasn’t reached that total since 2005. Not too bad for a guy who just turned 40.

-Oh yeah, and the Mets have actually found a young ace. Matt Harvey even leads the NL in strikeouts and is a sure bet for an all-star spot. It’s a good thing I didn’t drop him before the season started.

-There are two amazing reasons to watch the L.A. Dodgers: Yasiel Puig and the fact they love to brawl. Twice the Dodgers have thrown down with opposition this season and they’ve been on the brink a couple more. And with Mark McGwire on the bench, this isn’t a squad you really want to mess with.

-And finally, we saw our first no-hitter of the season on Tuesday night. While there were many close cllls earlier this season – especially with stronger AL team facing the lowly Astros – nobody could actually pull through. Well, Homer Bailey did, the same guy who picked up the last no-no of 2012. He’s the first player to record the two most recent no-hitters since Nolan Ryan did it in the 70s. Also, do you think he likes facing the Giants? The last time he faced them he tossed a one-hitter in the playoffs.

So, now that we’re all caught up, you can now get fully into baseball season. That is, until the NFL opens up shop – and that’s a lot closer than you think.

Follow me on Twitter @danbilicki

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