Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Boomer's Diamond Notes: Hamilton, Votto, and the rest of the Baseball world

Hamilton's Four HR night vs. the Orioles

This past week we were treated by two very IMPRESSIVE single game performances by two sluggers one in the American League (Josh Hamilton) and one in the National League (Joey Votto). First, Hamilton in the last 7 days has put up some video game numbers to lead almost every AL offensive category (2nd in Runs) to this point in the season. With a .483 BA, and 8 HR's and 16 RBI's, this past week, his season totals now stand at .400, 18 HR's and 44 RBI's. The highlight of his week, came back on last Tuesday in Baltimore vs. the Orioles where he hit 4 HR's (5 for 5) and collected 8 RBI's. The early favorite for the AL MVP, he also has the Rangers sitting in first place of the AL West division at 23-13. Hats off to Josh and I hope he continues to have the same success as the season goes along.

Votto's 3 HR day vs. the Nationals
Just as impressive of a week Hamilton had for the Rangers, Joey Votto in the National League, was having a season busting out week. Votto in the past 7 days has hit .421, with 3 HR's, 7 RBI's, 3 double's and also has been walked seven times. Votto's highlight game came on Mother's Day (which included a day long game, due to a 2.5 hour rain delay), when he hit 3 HR's and 6 RBI's (4 for 5), one homer coming on a 2-2 count bottom of the 9th inning GW Grand Slam smash. This could just been the week/game to get Votto going (.313 BA, 5 HR's and 24 RBI's) and help the Reds offense which has been struggling thus far this season.
Votto, after GW Grand Slam vs. Nationals "Happy Mother's Day"
Now a look around the rest of baseball...

Heading into play today, the Baltimore Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays, were tied a top the AL East, with a record of 22-14. The Orioles have still been impressive being able to hold on to the top spot at Mother's Day. Now, we will see in a couple of weeks (Memorial Day) where these two teams stand. The NY Yankees (20-15) are not far behind, but this Yankees squad does not look like the ones from recent years, with aging position players and a average pitching rotation. The Toronto Blue Jays (19-17) are the forgotten team in this division, as for the Boston Red Sox (16-19) the last place team in this division, are a hard team to figure at this point, winners of 4 straight but only 5-5 in their last ten games.

Arguably, the worst division (record wise) in all of baseball, as of this post, only one team (Cleveland Indians) has a record better then .500. The Tribe sit at (20-16) but are just 5-5 in their last ten games. The Detroit Tigers (17-18) must want to make things interesting or at least to this point, as they have struggled up to this recently, 4-6 in their last ten games with a run differences of -8. The Chicago White Sox (17-19) are the only team in the division with a + run differences...yeah, +1, haha. The Kansas City Royals (14-20) have won three straight and 6-4 in their last ten games. The Minnesota Twins (10-26) baseball's worse club rounds out this pathetic division with a run differences of -72 and losers of 7 out of their last 10 games.

The Texas Rangers continue to keep playing great baseball (no small thanks to slugger Josh Hamilton) and have jumped out to a 23-13 record. The Rangers could play .500 ball the rest of the season, and still probably win this division. The Oakland A's (19-17) are in 2nd place, but don't pose a major threat to the Rangers. The Seattle Mariners (16-21) have the youngest team in baseball, thats it. While the LA Angles (15-21) have been a major disappointment at this point of the season and find themselves 8 games behind the first-place Rangers, a team that they were suppose to run with the whole season.

In this division the five teams are within 4.5 games of each other, and to this point has been a very completive division. The Washington Nationals (22-14) and Atlanta Braves (22-14) are tied on top, with the Nats doing it with defense/pitching and the Braves scoring a load of runs (190, 2nd in NL). The NY Mets (20-15) have been in the middle of this division for the most part this season. The Miami Marlins (18-17) are 7-3 in their past ten games, and continue to play .500 ball. As for the team in last place, the Philly Phillies (18-19) winners of three straight are finally looking to turn things around and continue to climb out of the basement.

After a recent four-game skid, the first place St. Louis Cardinals (21-15) won today to snap the losing streak and still hold a 2-game lead over the 2nd place Cincinnati Reds (18-16), who could not take advantage of the Cardinals recent losing skid. The Pittsburgh Pirates (17-18) finally reached the 100 run mark after last nights win, have won three straight games, RT JR! The Milwaukee Brewers (15-20) have found that life is a little tougher without Prince Fielder. The Houston Astros (15-21) losers of four straight games and the lovable Chicago Cubs (15-21) round out the rest of this division. 

The division leading LA Dodgers (24-11) are winners of five straight games and 7 out of 10, received some bad news over the weekend. Their NL MVP candidate Matt Kemp injured his hamstring and was sent to the DL. It will be interesting to see the Dodgers play without Kemps stick in the middle of the lineup. The good news, the Dodgers have the largest lead of any division leader at this point, as the SF Giants (18-17) are 6 games back. The Arizona Diamondbacks (15-21) have lost three straight and are 2-8 in their last 10 games. The Colorado Rockies (13-21) are struggling as well, losers of 4 straight games and 1-9 in their last 10 games. The San Diego Padres (13-24) are now 12 games back of the Dodgers.

Boomer's Clubhouse Chat

Cleveland Indians: 20-16
Games this week: 2 vs. Mariners and 3 vs. Marlins

After a disappointing weekend in Boston, where the Tribe last 3 out of 4 games and only scored 15 runs on top of losing the last two in the White Sox series, they rebounded and won the last two today's up in Minnesota vs. the Twins. The Indians continue to hang onto 1st-place in the division (maybe by default), but have struggled recently to score runs. I think the pitching is there to have a successful run at the AL Central, I'm just not sure if the Tribe can score enough runs, especially wants the Tiger's awake from this early season slumber they seem to be in. The Indians play two vs. the Mariners and 3 this weekend (who's going to Saturday's Game, this guy!) vs. the Miami Marlins. Those are five games you have to win if you are serious about contending for a division crown, with a series vs. the Tigers looming at the beginning of next week. LETS GO TRIBE!

Cincinnati Reds: 18-16
Games this week: 1 @ Atlanta, 2 @ NY Mets, 3 @ NY Yankees, 1 vs. Braves

After a disappointing weekend series vs. the Washington Nationals (lost 2 out of 3), the Reds might of got a season changing moment from their 200+ million dollar slugger, Joey Votto. With the bases-loaded in the bottom of the 9th on Mother's Day, Votto delivered (finally!) with a GW Grand Slam to launch the Reds to a 9 to 6 comeback victory and hopefully spark them onto a winning streak. That winning streak will not be easy as the Reds are currently on a 7-game road trip, that includes a trip down to ATL (winners of game 1, last night) then five games in the Big Apple the rest of the week. I really Votto hitting that granny can be a jumping point to the rest of the Reds season, as it looks like its just them and the St. Louis Cardinals battling it out for the NL Central crown. The pitching staff is coming around as Homer Bailey had a very impressive start last night vs. the Braves (6.2 IP, 6 H's, 1 ER and 3 K's), hopefully thats a good sign to come. The Reds finish off the week on ESPN Primetime next Monday (7 PM) vs. the Atlanta Braves. LETS GO REDS.

If you've reached this point in the article, thank you and now watch this hilarious clip from the movie, 
The Rookie of the Year.