Each Week I recap the top 10 storylines from the week, whether they are about a team, player, owner, fan, equipment, or whatever else is impacting the game. We’re past the halfway point, and some storylines are starting to repeat themselves. Others are just emerging.
From the A’s to the Angels, here is your Week 13 Recap: The Midpoint Edition.
10. Gio Gonzalez – SP – Oakland Athletics
Oakland only won three games this week, and two of them were because of Gio Gonzalez. Without Gio, how bad would it have been for the A’s? On Tuesday, the A’s only scored 1 run, so without Gio’s 8 shutout innings, the A’s aren’t winning that game. He only allowed 1 hit and 3 walks.
He followed that performance with 7 innings of 1 run ball, allowing just 5 hits. Now, he managed to walk 3 batters in both outings, whichis somewhat of a recurring theme for Gonzalez, as he’s walked more than 4 batters per 9 innings. But, as his 2.31 ERA indicates, he hasn’t been letting the walks hurt him.
Oakland is 6 games out of 1st in an awful division, but they just might have the Cy Young Award winner on their staff.
9. Matt Garza – SP – Chicago Cubs
Matt Garza has had a rollercoaster of a year so far. One week, he allows 5 runs and comes away with a Win. The next week, he can’t make it past 5 innings. And this past week, he throws a complete game, allowing only a run, but is still on the hook for a Loss because the Cubs couldn’t manage a single run. But so it goes for Garza. The Cubs aren’t going anywhere, while the Rays are battling for first, and enjoying the crop of prospects they took in the trade.
8. Carlos Gonzalez – OF – Colorado Rockies
The Rockies may have gone 3-4 on the week, but a big reason that they won those 3 games is that Carlos Gonzalez hit .464 with 3 HR, 8 RBI, 9 Runs, and 2 SB. He also drew 7 walks; 3 of them were intentional. He’s clearly scaring pitchers, as he’s hitting .296, and on pace for a 20/20 year with 100+ Runs and RBI.
7. Jose Bautista – OF – Toronto Blue Jays
The Blue Jays might be 10 games back before the All-Star Break, but they’ve got the best power-hitter in Baseball. Jose Bautista tacked on 4 more HR this week, for a total of 27. He’s got a chance to go into the break with 30 home runs: A steroid-era pace in a non-steroid-era. If he can keep it up and break 50 by the end of the season, it’ll be safe to say he’s proved the doubters wrong.
6. Lance Berkman – OF – St. Louis Cardinals
Speaking of old guys leading their league in home runs, Lance Berkman leads the NL with 22 home runs. Just like Bautista, Berkman hit 4 home runs this week. Unlike Bautista, Berkman’s Cardinals are tied for the lead in their division. The Cardinals went 4-2 on the week, and they were impressive in each of their wins, putting up 6.25 runs per game in those games.
The 1st place Brewers only won a game against the Yankees and Twins, allowing the Cardinals to make up ground and wind up tied going into Monday’s action. But with both the Pirates and Reds within 2 games, this is a multi-team race that is sure to go deep into September.
5. Ryan Braun – OF – Milwaukee Brewers
Ryan Braun had a hit in each of his 5 games this week, extending his hit streak to 22 games. The streak is on delay, however, as Braun has been sitting on the bench with a strained calf. Braun says he’s feeling better, but it’s not yet certain when he will return to the Brewers’ lineup. They could definitely use him against for their 4-game series with the Reds this weekend.
4. Cleveland Indians – AL Central
It’s July 4th, and the Cleveland Indians are still leading the AL Central. The Indians went 4-2 on the week, allowing just 9 runs over their 4 wins.
Although Fausto Carmona has been putrid as of late, Carlos Carrasco has really picked up the slack. This week, he pitched 7 innings, allowing 2 runs on just 4 pitches. He struck out 7, and didn’t walk a single batter. That’s good for a WHIP of 0.57!
Carmona, on the other hand, threw 2 scoreless innings before straining his quad, and landing himself on the DL. The trip to the DL probably has as much to do with his injury, as it has to do with his poor play. He’s lasted past the 5th inning only twice in his last seven outings. Those 2 scoreless innings that he threw this week felt like the first scoreless innings he’s thrown in months. Hopefully he can use the time off to get his pitching back in order. He’s got the stuff to be an ace, but he hasn’t been able to figure it out, quite yet.
3. New York Yankees/AL All Stars
The American League All-Star vote revealed two things.
- The Yankees have a lot of fans.
- Derek Jeter is still the most popular Yankee.
The Yankees will start 4 position players, with Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Robinson Cano, and Curtis Granderson. If it wasn’t for Adrian Gonzalez’s incredible year at 1st base for Boston, Teixeira would have made the squad for an all-Yankee infield. With Mariano Rivera and Russell Martin both making the bench, they could have put an even bigger apple in the Grand Canyon.
2. NL All-Stars
While the Yankees will be starting 4 players, the Brewers will be starting 3. That means that the smallest market and the largest market in all of baseball have the most players voted to the game. This is pretty remarkable for the city of Milwaukee and, really, the entire state of Wisconsin.
On the other side of the field, the Phillies will have 3 of their big 4 starting pitchers at the game. With the way that Roy Oswalt was pitching, they very well may have had 4 pitchers at the game, had he not gotten hurt.
Since the Phillies and Brewers could very well find themselves playing each other in the NLCS, it could be an interesting dynamic to see so many of their players working together to win home field advantage in a game they will be competing to get to.
Then again, that hasn’t really been an interesting dynamic since home-field advantage became part of the All-Star Game.
1. Los Angeles Angels – AL West
The Angels are back at the top. OK, so they’re technically half a game out of 1st. But considering how much time they’ve spent trailing the Rangers, ½ a game out is a big deal. After sweeping the Nationals by a combined score of 16-8, the Angels took 2 of 3 from the Dodgers, finishing the week at 5-1.
Los Angeles has now won 13 of their last 18 games, but they have just one All-Star: Jared Weaver.
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