With half of the season in the books, MLB is in that zone where the sports world turns its attention to the Boys of Summer. The surprise teams start to get noticed, new captivating players emerge and crush social media, and the World Series stretch-run is in full effect.
What have you missed? We got you.
PITBULL WHO? YASIEL PUIG IS AMERICA’S MOST LOVED CUBAN
Baseball needed a spark. The Dodgers needed a life preserver. Rookie sensation Yasiel Puig dropped out of a boat from Cuba (it could have been a spaceship though) and singlehandedly brought baseball back to life in L.A. With his ball-bashing, wreckless running-style and infusion of youthful enthusiasm, Puig saved the Dodger’s season from sure disaster. The Dodgers are 24-15 since Puig stepped on the scene with a serious gangster lean and they’re rising in the NL West standings.
The Mets don’t have much, but they do have Matt Harvey. So far this season, the young fireballer has been the only reason The Wilpons still pay the light bill at Citi Field. He’s the only reason why Met fans are willing to spend their gwop and witness an offensively inept squad turn masterful pitching performances into 20–inning, 2-1 losses.
He’s whiffing batters at a rapid rate and reminding people of all-time greats. Randy Johnson, a five-time Cy Young Award-winning left-hander, has the most 10-plus strikeout/zero walk performances in major league history, with 36.
Harvey’s already had an MLB-leading three games in which he struck out at least 10 batters without issuing a walk, according to data compiled by Bloomberg Sports.
“I don’t think anybody reminds me of Randy Johnson,” said former MLB hurler John Smoltz , who was one part of possibly the greatest three-man rotation in modern baseball history. “But Matt Harvey is certainly a cross between Roger Clemens and Tom Seaver, maybe,”
That’s huge praise for a new jack.
THE STEROID SAGA CONTINUES
You know we can’t have a normal baseball season anymore without a PED scandal to dominate the news and drown out all of the interesting on-field action. As baseball tries to move away from the embarrassment and black eye of the Steroid/PED Era, the effects of drugs on the game continues to linger.
In recent a scandal, MLB reported that Commissioner Bud Selig is prepared to suspend as many as 20 major players including A-Rod (surprise!) and Ryan Braun (fam, you told us…) because of their connection with the Biogenesis clinic. Clinic founder Tony Bosch is ready to rat out a gang of players that he reportedly sold PEDs.
This whole issue is really wearing on fans, which seem to not give a damn anymore. As baseball races to re-write history and cover up its past unscrupulous tracks, the fans are ready to move on and could care less who’s juicing and who’s not.
ON TO THE NEXT ONE
Last season, the media ink was so heavy concerning rookie phenoms Mike Trout and Bryce Harper that, believe it or not, Baltimore Orioles magician Manny Machado was an afterthought.
Fast forward a year, and Trout and Harper are still getting busy, but Machado is most definitely at the VIP table for MLB’s top young guns. The 20-year-old can swing it on their level, and according to FanGraphs.com’s Ultimate Zone Rating statistic , Machado is the stingiest defensive player in the game.
Toss in Puig and you have four immortal position players to root for over the next 15-20 years. Baseball is in good (clean) hands.
FEELING GOOD IN THE PIT OF HELL
After 20 straight years of hard-knock living. the Pirates are finally the baddest girl at the club with the tightest body. Barring a second-half collapse, Clint Hurdle’s crew will not only be enjoying the taste of victory, but a long-overdue playoff appearance is within their grasp. With 56 wins entering the break (2nd most in MLB), Andrew McCutchen, Pedro Alvarez and the new Pirates are making PNC Park a “Pit of Hell” for the opposition.
CRASH THE PARTY
Chris “Crash” Davis has the name and the game of a prolific slugger. He’s not only god-like because of the 37 dingers he’s blasted by the all-star break; equaling the incomparable Reggie Jackson's AL mark set in 1969 (the major league record is 39, set by Barry Bonds in 2001). He’s officially returned from the ashes of abandonment in Texas and has fulfilled the potential that evaded him in his early years.
Toronto manager John Gibbons called him “Superhuman.” That’s about right.
Davis’ 93 RBIs at the break are like Hack Wilson numbers. He and ‘12 Triple Crown King Miguel Cabrera are the only players in major league history to have 30 homers and 90 RBIs before the All-Star game.
It’ll be interesting to see if this is one of those Brady Anderson-type seasons, or the birth of the next great power hitter.