Results tagged ‘ Albert Pujols ’
It’s no secret that a lot of baseball’s best players are currently injured. So many are hurting, that you can assemble an All-Star team with players who are currently on the disabled list. Don’t believe me? Well here you go.
Catcher: Carlos Santana- Santana is currently on the DL after sustaining a concussion. Even though he hasn’t performed at the offensive level that he’s expected to, he’s been a solid for the Indians this year.
First base: Lance Berkman- With the departure of Albert Pujols, the Cardinals were hoping that Berkman would come close to repeating what he did in 2011. Instead, it’s been an injury-filled season for Berkman, whose injury has allowed prospect Matt Carpenter to get a chance to get significant playing time with the Cardinals. Unfortunately, Carpenter soon also found himself on the disabled list, too.
Second base: Mark Ellis- Fine, I’ll admit that calling Ellis an All Star is a bit of a stretch, but he’s the best of what’s available. Ellis has been a steady performing at second base throughout his career, and the Dodgers were counting on him to be their everyday second baseman, but a leg injury will likely cost him at least another five weeks. In the meantime, the Dodgers will have Elian Herrera and Jerry Hairston sharing duties at second.
Shortstop: Stephen Drew- Coming off a breakout year, the Diamondbacks were optimistic that Drew would be more than able to help get the Diamondbacks back to the playoffs in 2012. Instead, he’s spent the entire season recovering from ankle surgery. It’s possible that he could return sometime within the next month, barring any setbacks.
Third base: Pablo Sandoval- The San Francisco Giants have been missing one of their key offensive pieces, and are eager to have Sandoval back at full strength. Sandoval has been out of action after fracturing a bone in his left hand. If all goes well, he might be able to start his rehab assignment as early as next week Monday.
Outfield: Matt Kemp, Austin Jackson and Jon Jay- Kemp made it one day off the DL before re-aggravating his hamstring. He will likely be missing at least another two weeks, but reports indicate that it could be longer. Jackson was critical to the early success for the Tigers, but an abdominal strain has put him out of action since May 16th. Jackson was taking swings off a batting tee today, but still isn’t quite ready for full baseball activities. Jay has been hurting with a sprained right shoulder, and it doesn’t look like a return anytime soon seems realistic. Jay is just one of the many Cardinals who have spent time on the DL, and it is definitely taking a toll on the reigning champions.
Starting pitchers: Doug Fister, Roy Halladay and Jered Weaver- Fister has reaggravated his left-side strain and will be spending his second stint on the DL. Halladay injured his shoulder, and is likely to miss up to eight weeks. There’s unfortunately no miracle in store for the Angels either, as Weaver has been placed on the DL due to a variety of back problems.
Relief pitchers: Drew Storen, Andrew Bailey and Mariano Rivera- This hasn’t been a good year for closers in baseball, and three of the best have spent a good majority of the year missing in action. Drew Storen hasn’t pitched yet this year, and neither has Andrew Bailey. Storen has been struggling with pain in his elbow, and Bailey had surgery on his thumb. But the biggest injury was that to Mariano Rivera, who will miss the remainder of the 2012 season after tearing his ACL while shagging fly balls during batting practice.
After the St. Louis Cardinals defeated the Texas Rangers in the 2011 World Series, most baseball fans would have told you that the Rangers were the runaway favorites to win the AL West again in 2012. In the famous words of ESPN analyst Lee Corso, ‘Not so fast, my friend!’
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim gambled during the offseason, making several key free-agent signings. The biggest of which was when they signed Albert Pujols to a 10-year $254 million dollar contract. Despite committing over a quarter of a billion dollars to Pujols, the Angels still went and signed C.J. Wilson to a five-year deal.
One of the biggest additions that the Angels have for the 2012 season didn’t come from free agency, but rather the return of Kendrys Morales, who missed over 100 games of the 2010 season and all of 2011 season after suffering a broken ankle while celebrating a walk-off grand slam back on May 29, 2010. The road to recovery was long, and required two surgeries, but now he’s back and finally healthy.
I can’t write a preview article about the Angels without addressing the fact that they have one of baseball’s most highly anticipated prospects, Mike Trout. Trout made his Major League debut last year at the age of 19, and the fact that he’s batting .420 after 12 games in AAA this year, it makes you think that he’ll be coming back sooner rather than later. It’s crazy to think how much potential this guy has, especially since he won’t even be turning 21 until August.
It’s hard to imagine that the Angels won’t make the playoffs in 2012, but I’m not sold that they’ll necessarily be able to win their division. If I had to make a prediction, I’d say the Angels will be playing someone from the AL East in the first ever Wild Card elimination game. Don’t get me wrong, the Angels definitely have a chance to take back the AL West, especially if Jared Weaver can have another Cy Young-worthy season like he had last year.
Fun fact: If you want to stump your friends in baseball trivia, ask them where the Angels played their home games during this first season in Major League Baseball. The answer? Wrigley Field. No, not the home of the Cubs, but Wrigley Field in Los Angeles. This was the same stadium where the classic baseball show Home Run Derby was filmed.
Tonight marked the opening of Marlins Park, the new home for the Miami Marlins. I’m sure their fans were hoping to open it with a win, but it just wasn’t in the cards, as they lost by a final score of 4-1.
The Cardinals looked dominant in almost all aspects of the game. From Kyle Lohse being perfect through six innings (to all St. Louis fans, I’ll be happy to give you the name and address of the fan who jinxed it for you), to David Freese picking up where he left in October. There’s a reason why the Cardinals won the World Series last year, and you shouldn’t sleep on them to be serious contenders in 2012.
All hope is certainly not lost for the Marlins, as they still have plenty to be excited about. Josh Johnson struggled in the first inning, but settled down in the next few innings. Johnson is definitely a huge catalyst for Miami’s rotation, as he could single handedly make them be contenders. When he’s healthy, he’s that good.
It’s an exciting year for both teams. The Cardinals find themselves ready to show they can still compete despite losing Albert Pujols, whereas the Marlins want to prove that they’re good enough now to compete with the elite teams in baseball.
Plenty of baseball left, so we’ll see what happens next. Until then, three games down, 497 to go.
As I was driving home tonight, there was an interesting topic that they’ve been debating on sports talk radio the last few nights, and was also mentioned in the newspaper today, and it’s this: Small ball is overrated in Major League Baseball. Whether you agree or disagree with it, there’s certainly plenty of evidence to support either side.
For what it’s worth, I do believe that every team in Major League Baseball either does, or could benefit from implementing a few basic ‘small ball’ tactics. The phrase, ‘Get ‘em on, get ‘em over and get ‘em in’ has been heard around baseball for at least as long as I’ve been alive, and it’s for a good reason. By being able to steal bases, or advance runners with a sacrifice bunt (or fly), you are able to put yourself in a significantly easier situation to score. Sure, it’s not always quite that simple, but for a sport that has always been about increasing every possible edge, why wouldn’t you want to put your team in a better position to win?
A perfect example took place during the Tigers game today, in which the score was tied 7-7 in the bottom of the 8th inning. First, Danny Worth led the inning off with a line-drive single to right field. Then, with no outs and a runner on first, Austin Jackson came up and laid down a sacrifice bunt. By getting the sacrifice bunt down, you assume you’re putting the potential go ahead run on second base with just one out. However, as was demonstrated today, they tried to get Worth out at second, and instead Twins reliever Phil Dumatrait threw the ball in the dirt. This allowed Worth to be safe at second, and Jackson reached first on the sacrifice. Now with runners at first and second, Casper Wells laid down a bunt down the third baseline which allowed both Worth and Jackson to advance. Finally, Brennan Boesch came up and hit a lazy sacrifice fly to right field which scored Worth, which proved to be the game winning run.
Am I saying that a team only wins by playing small ball? No, but I think there is almost always a time and a place for it, especially in situations where teams are struggling offensively. Sure, there’s a reason why guys like Miguel Cabrera and Albert Pujols get paid millions of dollars to hit home runs, but by finding other ways to score runs, it not only takes pressure off the big bats, but it will more often than not give your team in a better chance to win.
Until next time, let the debating begin.