Weekly Round-up — 24 April 2012

Each Week I recap the top story-lines in the MLB, whether they are about a team, player, owner, fan, equipment, or whatever else is impacting the game. Some of the hot teams are starting to cool down while others are staying hot, and some of the top teams are digging themselves deeper holes.

So let’s get into it. From a Tommy John recipient’s failed elbow to a Tommy John recipient’s perfect elbow, here is your Ulner Collateral Week 3 in Review.

5. Brian Wilson is done for the season.

Brian Wilson’s velocity was down to begin the season, and now we know why. Wilson needs Tommy John surgery for the second time in his career. As would be expected from Wilson, he took it in stride, saying that he’s looking forward to the added velocity that is typically developed after Tommy John surgery, and calling games in the booth. The Giants hope that they can take his absence in stride as well, by going with a closer committee made up Sergio Romo, Santiago Casilla, Clay Hensley, and Javier Lopez.

4. The Nationals and Dodgers have as many losses as the Red Sox have wins.

The Nationals and Dodgers just keep winning. Even after going 3-3 this week, the Dodgers still sit atop the National League at 12-4. Matt Kemp has stayed hot, hitting his 9th HR of the year, and Clayton Kershaw has been, well, Clayton Kershaw.
While the Dodgers are using an all-around attack, the Nationals are simply riding their pitching. The Nats have the lowest ERA in the majors, as three of their 5 starters (Detwiler, Strasburg, and Zimmerman) rank in the top 6 of ERA. The offense, however, has really missed Michael Morse. The Nats have scored the 6th fewest runs in the National League. Ryan Zimmerman will heat up, but unless guys like Wilson Ramos and Danny Espinosa can find their swings, the pitching staff must continue to scorch the opposition.

While the Nationals carry the best ERA in the league, the Red Sox carry the worst (6.68), and it’s not even close. They have allowed 10 more runs than any other team, while they’ve played the fewest games. This week alone, the Sox went 0-5, getting outscored 21-42. Yes, they allowed twice as many runs as they scored. After a demoralizing loss on Saturday afternoon in which they blew a 9-0 lead over the rival Yankees, it will be interesting to see how long it will take to turn things around.

3. The Atlanta Braves can hit again.

Going into this week, the Braves had scored 41 runs in 9 games. Seven games and 50 runs later, the Braves now trail only the Rangers in Runs scored. They sure did miss Jason Heyward’s production last year. He’s off to a hot start with a .302 average, 2 HR, and 5 SB. His .904 OPS is .200 points higher than last season’s .708 mark. He’s not the only Braves hitter carrying a rake, either. Michael Bourn has a .403 OBP, Chipper appears to be healthy, and Freddy Freeman is beginning to look like the player he was expected to be. Once McCann and Uggla heat up, this is going to be a very scary team to face. Did I mention that Brandon Beachy has the lowest ERA in the majors, and Venters/Kimbrel have combined to allow just 1 run? Yeah…

2. The Texas Rangers are only going to lose 27 games this year.

135-27 will be a record-breaking record. Sure, it sounds ludicrous, but apparently it’s destined to happen. The Rangers have lost just 1 game each week, for each of the last 3 weeks. I don’t know about you, but I’m sensing a trend. Sure, the Rangers still have to play teams like the Yankees with their great lineup, and the Angels with Albert Pujols, but you know what those teams don’t have?

Ian Kinsler, Matt Harrison, or 13 wins, that’s what.

1. Philip Humber threw a perfect game on National Television.

The term National Television should be taken with a grain of salt, since the Yankees/Red Sox game was basically shown everywhere. However, the good folks at FOX and MLB cut away from the game to air the final three outs of Philip Humber’s perfect game in Seattle. Humber has had an interesting career. After being selected in the first round of the 2004 draft, he underwent Tommy John surgery before reaching the majors. Afterwards, he spent time with 3 different teams before finally finding a home with the White Sox last season. Humber developed a slider and enjoyed tempered success in Chicago’s starting rotation. Despite only having a record of 11-10 going into Saturday’s game, Humber is already 29 years old. He’s proving that no matter a player’s age, he can find his groove at any time.

If we’ve learned anything from Humber’s perfect game, other than the fact that the H is silent, it’s that you can never predict who will throw one. However, the pitcher starting against Seattle is probably a good place to start.

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Tim Young is a Civil Engineer away from MLBSoup, but at the site he heads the pre-season fantasy baseball draft guide and reviews each week in the big leagues with his weekly round-up report. His heavily math-based background shows up in his writing, as he likes to keep a focus on numbers, and dig deeper than the usual surface scratching.

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