Each Week I recap the top story-lines, whether they are about a team, player, owner, fan, equipment, or whatever else is impacting the game. It’s Memorial Day, so while you’re busy remembering the great men and women that have given their lives for our country, take a break to remember the men that made millions of dollars to play a game for our entertainment last week.
So let’s get into it. From the cool winds of Chicago to the rocky shores of Lance Berkman’s knee, here is your patriotic Week 8 in Review.
5. The Chicago Cubs will get worse before they get better.
When the Cubs lost their 10th straight game on Thursday, their losing streak became the franchise’s longest such streak of the century. Don’t worry, though, the century is still young, and there is plenty of time to break that record. The pitching has been awful, and since Bryan LaHair has gone ice-cold, the hitting has been absent.
In the midst of a rebuild, the Cubs are trying to put bad contracts behind them and build a team filled with young talent. Anthony Rizzo will be called up any day now. LaHair, Starlin Castro, and he could make up a nice core of young offensive talent to build a team around. I would expect them to flip Garza and Dempster for pitching prospects at the deadline, turning the rebuilding process into a building process.
4. Giancarlo Stanton hits the ball hard.
To start the year, the Stanton formerly known as Mike was a prime example of how much of a pitchers park Miami’s new stadium is. As a matter of fact, he hit .247 with just 1 HR through April. Now, as we approach the end of May, he’s hitting .292 with 11 HR. This week alone, he’s hit .370 with 3 HR and 10 RBI, including a bomb that temporarily broke Miami’s scoreboard.
The Marlins find themselves just 3.5 games out of first, and Stanton has found himself playing All-Star level baseball.
3. The Dodgers are for real.
The Los Angeles Dodgers got off to an incredibly hot start, mostly due to the bats of Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier. But they’ve kept it up, going 8-2 over the last 10 games, and building a 7.5 game lead over the second place Giants, and more than 10 games ahead of the third place Diamondbacks. The Dodgers have done it with a combination of hitting and pitching. The pitchers have been tremendous as of late, allowing 3 or fewer runs in 6 of the last 10 games.
2. The White (the hell?!) Sox.
OK, so that’s a terrible ChiSox pun. Terrible enough to remove from the article? Sorry.
The White Sox have gotten red hot and made a somewhat surprising push to the top of the AL Central. They now sit just half a game back of the Indians after winning 9 of their last 10 games. They’ve done it with their bats, as over those 9 wins, they’ve averaged 8.2 runs scored. In fact, Paul Konerko has hit .518 with 3 HR and 10 RBI in the last 7 days. With the Tigers just 3 games back, the AL Central is getting very interesting.
1. Lance Berkman tore his meniscus.
Since leaving Houston, Lance Berkman has turned his career around. The Elvis doppleganger has done nothing but hit with the Cardinals, but he won’t be able to do any of that for 8-10 weeks, after undergoing surgery on his knee this week. Luckily for St. Louis, the injury didn’t turn out to be as bad as expected, and they could see Berkman back in the lineup by August. That’s a long time to be without one of their best hitters, however. It’s enough time for Reds to open up an insurmountable lead in the division. A division that has seen both Prince Fielder’s and Albert Pujols’ replacements go down with knee injuries.