Results tagged ‘ Prince Fielder ’
As I begin writing this, we’re only 21 hours away from the first pitch of the 2013 MLB season. Last year left a sour taste in my mouth (as it did for everyone who isn’t a San Francisco Giants fan), so I’m looking for a chance to change that.
It doesn’t matter which team you find yourself rooting for, everyone feels like this year could be the year (unless you’re an Astros or Marlins fan, you might want to wait a few more years) that they’re team finally wins it all. I normally always try to do a prediction blog before the season begins, and that’s what I’m going to do. If normal predictions bore you, check out my other BLOG where I’ve made a few more wild predictions.
Without further ado:
AL West: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim- Although I do love the diehard Athletics (and I really do hope they support the A’s like they did during October last year), I just don’t see them being able to pull of a repeat this year. This isn’t to say I don’t think they’ll be in contention, but I think they’re looking at a Wild Card. The only thing I can realistically see preventing the Angels from winning their division is if the starting rotation falls apart.
AL Central: Detroit Tigers- The Tigers went to the World Series last year and there’s really no reason why they can’t find themselves back in the hunt again this year. On paper, the Tigers have only gotten better (Torii Hunter in right field instead of Brennan Boesch, Victor Martinez instead of Delmon Young at DH and a full season of Omar Infante at 2B). A lot of critics say that the Tigers will struggle without a proven closer, but I don’t think that will be a big enough issue to keep them from winning their division.
AL East: Tampa Bay Rays- If there’s a division that puzzles me, it’s without a doubt the AL East. Realistically, every team in the division has a legitimate argument that they could win the division. You can’t say that with really any other division, and that’s what makes predicting this so difficult. My thoughts are that the Yankees are falling apart (age and injuries), Boston has to prove they can turn it around with a new coach and Baltimore will likely take a step back compared to last year. You’re probably thinking, ‘What about the Blue Jays?’ No, I didn’t forget about them. The bulk of the players they traded for were from Miami, and the Marlins were pretty terrible last year. I’m not so sure that they’ll be able to win in Toronto, either.
Wild Cards: Toronto Blue Jays and Texas Rangers- The Blue Jays are obviously talented and if they can stay healthy (especially Jose Bautista, Josh Johnson and Brandon Morrow), there’s no reason why they won’t find themselves playing in October. They have the offensive weapons, but their pitching needs to improve.
I think Oakland will start off strong, but slowly fade as the Rangers surge in the second half. The Rangers have a ton of talent, and I’m worried about whether or not the Athletics can do it again. The Athletics and Rangers both will benefit from playing the Astros a lot more, that’s why I can’t see two Wild Cards coming from the AL East.
NL West: Los Angeles Dodgers- Hard to bet against Magic Johnson and the newly revamped Dodgers. They’ve spent enough money to win their division (in theory), and I don’t think the San Francisco Giants or Arizona Diamondbacks will be able to slow them down enough to pass them in the standings.
NL Central: Cincinnati Reds- I think the Reds are under appreciated and it’s only a matter of time before everyone figures it out. They have a lot of young core talent which compliments their solid rotation. Oh yeah, their closer can also throw 105 MPH.
NL East: Washington Nationals- Although the Atlanta Braves added the Upton brothers to their outfield, I still think they’re going to go through too many stretches of not scoring runs. Don’t believe me? Look at the Detroit Tigers last year, when they had a similar type of team. When you’re relying on power, you often go through stretches where you’re not scoring runs.
Wild Cards: San Francisco Giants and Atlanta Braves- Hard to count out the defending World Series champions, especially when you consider the fact they haven’t lost any real significant pieces from their 2012 team. The Braves have enough pitching and offense that they should be able to beat up on the Mets and Phillies, squeaking out a Wild Card in the final week of the season.
AL MVP: Prince Fielder
NL MVP: Joey Votto
AL Cy Young: Justin Verlander
NL Cy Young: Clayton Kershaw
AL Comeback Player of the Year: Victor Martinez
NL Comeback Player of the Year: Roy Halladay
AL Rookie of the Year: Nick Castellanos
NL Rookie of the Year: Jedd Gyorko
World Series: Detroit Tigers over the Washington Nationals in 6 games
Although the calendar might say that today is March 1st, I would argue that it already is starting to feel like spring. Perhaps that has something to do with the fact I spent part of last week in Florida, or even the fact that baseball if officially back.
Shortly after my birthday, I decided to book a last-minute flight down to Florida. I’ve never been a fan of cold weather, so it sounded like the perfect time to leave for a mini vacation. So I packed my bags and headed south without any real plans.
After landing, my parents picked me up and we headed to visit with a cousin who lived near Tampa. She decided to show us around town, which included driving by Tropicana Field. I was hoping to be able to get at least a tour, but they weren’t doing any while I was in town. We were taken to one of her favorite spots, the St. Pete Pier. The shops weren’t of much interest to me, but the view from the top was pretty breathtaking.
Once we were done with our tour, we headed back to the condo and relaxed by the pool. After all of the running around for the day, that was good enough for me.
The next day included a pit stop at one of my mother’s favorite locations in Florida. If you’re a fan of ridiculously good (not to mention reasonably priced) desserts, look no further than Parksdale Farms. Located in Plant City, it’s a fruit market and dessert stand. Known primarily for their strawberries, they have an entire dessert menu built around just strawberries. I opted for the sundae.
From there, we headed to Lakeland, where I got my first ever opportunity to watch the Tigers play a game in Spring Training. If I’m not mistaken, I’ve been to Lakeland about five times (my favorite memory coming from when I had to chase David Wells to his car to get his autograph), but I’ve only been able to watch them practice.
Of course I didn’t bring any luck to the Tigers, but I did get to watch top prospect Bruce Rondon pitch, and see both Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder hit a home run.
But that wasn’t all of the baseball I got to watch while I was down there. I met up with a few friends that I met through the MLB Fan Cave, and we headed to Bradenton to watch the Pirates host the Atlanta Braves. Although I wasn’t too familiar with most of the prospects, it was fun to watch Justin Upton, B.J. Upton and Jason Heyward playing the outfield. Not only that, but I was able to root for ex-Tigers Brandon Inge and Gerald Laird.
On the final night, I met back up with my friends for some bowling. I once again proved that I’m a terrible bowler, but at least I can take pride in the fact my score improved after every game. If they would’ve let me bowl til five in the morning, I might’ve been able to break 200 (I doubt it, but you can’t prove otherwise)!
Tuesday morning meant it was time for me to leave, so I was dropped off at the airport at noon for my 2:05 PM flight. Unfortunately, mechanical issues delayed my departure to 4:05. That later changed to 4:30, which changed to 5:00 and eventually switched to 5:19. Knowing that there was a snowstorm back home, I wasn’t exactly thrilled.
The flight was fine, but the drive home was without a doubt the craziest thing I’ve ever experienced in a car. On the commute home, I witnessed three accidents, a semi truck crash through a guard rail, and a car going the wrong way on the expressway. Even though traffic was going no more than 40 MPH, there was still plenty of crazy stuff going on.
Although the drive lasted more than twice as long as it usually does, I was thankful to finally make it home in one piece. Even though it’s currently 25 degrees here in Michigan, knowing that opening day isn’t too far away, it doesn’t seem so bad.
Tomorrow marks the beginning of the end of the baseball season, as the San Francisco Giants will host the Detroit Tigers for the first game of the World Series. The Tigers will look to redeem themselves after their disappointing showing in the 2006 World Series, whereas the Giants are simply hoping to recapture the magic they had when they were world champions back in 2010.
So before the first pitch is thrown, I wanted to take a minute to give my official World Series thoughts and predictions. Being from Detroit, it’s not easy to be objective, but I’m going to give it my best shot.
There’s an old saying in baseball that pitching and defense wins championships. Of course if history has taught us anything, it’s that nothing is quite as simple as that. It’s an ironic adage, because the Tigers definitely have better pitching, but the Giants definitely have the superior defense. Does this mean there’s no clear favorite? Oh there is, and the advantage definitely goes to Detroit.
The Tigers have several things going for them, including the fact that all of their pitchers are rested, and they can line up their rotation however they like. Coming off a crucial game seven on Monday, the Giants do not have that luxury. The Giants are going to possibly have to face Justin Verlander, Doug Fister and Anibal Sanchez each two times. Throw in the Max Scherzer for at least one start, and things start to look promising for Detroit.
In case you’re not aware, in nine playoff games, Detroit’s starting pitchers have combined to go 5-1 with a 1.02 ERA. On the other hand, the bullpen hasn’t been nearly as good. Joaquin Benoit has had his struggles, and nobody is even sure if Jose Valverde will get a chance to save another game this postseason. If Detroit is going to win the World Series, the bullpen simply needs to be better.
Even if Detroit allows a few runs, there’s still no need to panic. When the heart of your lineup has Miguel Cabrera, (who just so happened to win the Triple Crown) Prince Fielder and Delmon Young, you can’t help but feel like your team is going to be able to score a few runs every night.
Regardless of how heavily their favored Detroit is, you still cannot count out the San Francisco Giants. They have two of the most dominant starting pitchers in recent years in Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain, not to mention they do have home-field advantage for the series. Oh yeah, they also have the likely NL MVP in Buster Posey.
But at the end of the day, I just don’t see either team scoring a lot of runs, and Detroit’s starting pitchers have been lights out for the postseason, and I don’t see that stopping now. I’ll take the Tigers to defeat the Giants in five games.
The Tigers had not one, but two chances to get themselves into first place today. With a doubleheader against the Minnesota Twins, a sweep would guarantee them at least a tie for first in the AL Central. As it was, they came out looking flat, dropping both games.
It was still a good week for the Tigers, who have managed to to bring themselves within one game of the White Sox, but there’s still a bit of cause for concern. Sure, the Tigers have managed to narrow the gap, but they have been greatly aided by the fact that the White Sox have lost their last five games. Simply put, it’s not realistic to expect them to keep losing at this rate.
The Tigers have some of the best players in baseball, so there’s no excuses for them to not be able to catch the White Sox and win the division. When your lineup includes a guy who has a chance to win the Triple Crown (Miguel Cabrera) and a guy who is on pace to hit .300 with 30 HRs and 100 RBIs (Prince Fielder), and your rotation has the reigning MVP (Justin Verlander), you’re expected to win games.
There’s only 10 games left in the regular season for both teams, so it could very well come down to game 162, or possibly a tie-breaking game between the Tigers and White Sox. Will the White Sox be able to hold off the Tigers, or will the preseason favorites find a way to get it done? Time will tell, but it should be fun to watch.
After splitting a four-game series with the New York Yankees, the Tigers headed to Texas for another tough series. The first round went to the Tigers, as they won by a final score of 6-2.
It was by no means a perfect game for Detroit, but it was a well-earned victory. Max Scherzer started for Detroit tonight, and despite some struggles with his control, he held a very potent lineup in check for six innings. Scherzer allowed two runs and eight hits, while striking out eight.
With those eight strikeouts, Scherzer once again took the lead the American League in strikeouts with 168. Trailing closely behind is Justin Verlander (166 strikeouts), who will be taking the mound for the Tigers tomorrow night, in game two of the series.
The Tigers were led offensively by Prince Fielder, who hit a three-run home run in the sixth inning to put Detroit ahead for good. My favorite highlight was another home run hit by a Tiger, but this one didn’t go nearly as far. It was an inside-the-park home run by Austin Jackson, which was the first of his career. Strangely enough, he still trails Fielder, who has two inside-the-park home runs in his career.
Game two will start at 8:05 EST, and will continue to preview what could very well be a playoff preview later this year.
The Tigers have been on a downward spiral the last week, losing five of their last seven games. When Rick Porcello takes the mound tonight against the Red Sox, the Tigers need to find a way to get back to their winning ways.
Entering the game, the Tigers find themselves three games back of the first place Chicago White Sox. Although it’s by no means an insurmountable number, you don’t want to find yourself trailing by more than five games entering September. As long as they can keep pace with the White Sox, they should certainly find themselves fighting for a spot in the playoffs.
In an attempt to shake things up, the Tigers are now going to have Brennan Boesch hitting fifth in the lineup instead of Delmon Young. During the month of July, Boesch hit .295 with a .538 slugging percentage. By comparison, Young hit for a disappointing .250 average and a .417 slugging percentage during that same time. If Boesch can keep that production level during August, it should lead to more runs being scored.
If that doesn’t work, don’t be surprised if the Tigers attempt to make a move through waivers, similar to how they acquired Young last year. When you have Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder in the heart of your lineup, there’s no reason why the Tigers shouldn’t be scoring more runs. Of course you can’t put all of the blame on the lineup, as Detroit’s starting pitchers have also struggled in the last few weeks.
For the 2012 season, the Tigers rotation has struggled to show signs of consistency. In fact, the Tigers starting pitchers have an ERA of 4.19 on the year, which ranks them 21st in all of Major League Baseball.
Of course the hope is that acquiring Anibal Sanchez will help strengthen their rotation, but if the Tigers want to make it back to the playoffs, their starting pitchers have to do better. There’s still plenty of baseball left to be played, and plenty of time to turn it around.
Entering today’s game, the Tigers found themselves a half-game back of first place in the AL Central. Leaving today, they now find themselves in first place.
It’s been a rocky road for the Tigers, full of ups and downs, twists and turns. Before the season began, people were panicked once they heard Victor Martinez was likely to be out for the season. Then they sign Prince Fielder to a 200-million dollar deal, and suddenly we expected them to win the division by at least 15 games.
In the perfect world, the Tigers would have led the division from wire-to-wire, but that’s not exactly realistic. In fact, it wasn’t until this day last year, when the Tigers took over the division lead and never looked back. I’ve said all along that the Tigers would win this division, and I still stand by that.
Rick Porcello easily pitched the best game of his career today (maybe second best if you count game 163 from a few years ago) as he held the White Sox to just one run in eight innings. It was a much needed boost for Porcello, who has been working hard to turn himself into a more consistent pitcher. Even more impressive, was the fact that the Tigers managed to score five runs of Chris Sale, who has arguably having as good of a year (if not better) than Detroit’s own Justin Verlander.
This team is starting to show its true colors, and fans should be getting excited. With the Tigers leading their division for the first time since the opening month of the season, it’ll be interesting to see how things will go from here on out. If Detroit can keep playing like they have in the last two weeks (which they certainly have the talent and ability to do), there’s no one in baseball who they can’t beat.
I’ve been meaning to write a full recap of the All-Star Game and related events, but I haven’t had a ton of free time to do so. So I apologize for the delay, but here it is!
For viewers at home, the All-Star Game festivities began with the futures game. I’ll admit that I didn’t get a chance to watch the game in its entirety, but there were plenty of talented up and coming stars to watch. The U.S. fell behind to the World 4-0 going to the bottom of the third, but responded by scoring four runs in the third, and two more in the fourth. In the end, the U.S. Futures won by a final score of 17-5.
Of course, in the limited time I did watch the game, I was able to see the Detroit Tigers’ most valued prospect hit a home run, capping off a MVP award-winning performance. There’s a lot of reasons why Detroit fans should be excited about Nick Castellanos, and we got a good sample of that on national television.
Castellanos went 3-4 with a home run, three runs batted in and a walk. The U.S. fell behind to the World 4-0 going to the bottom of the third, but responded by scoring four runs in the third, and two more in the fourth. In the end, the U.S. Futures won by a final score of 17-5.
It’ll be interesting to see if and when he’ll make his debut for the Tigers. I’d imagine that it’s not impossible for him to get called up in September of this year, but it’s a lot more likely that it won’t be until sometime in 2013. Of course there’s plenty of speculation that the Tigers will include him in a trade, but only for something great in return.
Next up was the home run derby, also known as the Prince Fielder show. There was plenty of long shots into the Kansas City night, including a very impressive showing by Angels star Mark Trumbo. Of course, there was also a bit of controversy, which came courtesy of those in attendance.
Robinson Cano, who was the captain of the American League squad, stated a month before the derby that he would take a Kansas City Royal for he squad. Well, he didn’t, and the Kansas City fans certainly didn’t forget. Once Cano came up to bat, he was greeted with a roar of boos unlike anything I’ve ever heard before. I can’t imagine that it didn’t have some impact on Cano, and I thought it was a little classless on the behalf of the fans in attendance.
Don’t get me wrong, I have no problems with fans in attendance booing. You pay for your ticket, so if you want to voice your opinions, I can’t argue with that. The thing that shocked me most, was the fact that they didn’t stop. With each out, the boos seemingly got louder and louder. At some point, they should’ve tried to start getting behind him. He was there to represent the American League, after all.
Instead, Cano put up a goose egg in the first round, and that allowed Prince Fielder to sneak into the second round. After he got there, he didn’t seem to stop. Fielder hit 11 home runs in the second round, securing his place in the finals. His challenger ended up being Jose Bautista, who is leading Major League Baseball with 27 home runs.
Fielder hit first in the final round, hitting 12 home runs. Bautista hit a very respectable seven home runs, but it wasn’t enough for him to win his first ever home run derby. This marked the second time Fielder won the home run derby, the first time coming back in 2009.
For the actual All-Star Game, Justin Verlander was announced to be the starting pitcher for the American League team. I was a bit surprised at the decision, but it’s hard to argue that he wasn’t worthy. Sure, others were qualified, but Verlander wasn’t a bad choice. With home-field advantage for the World Series on the line, the game got under way.
Things didn’t start or end well for Verlander, as he allowed five runs in the first inning. The biggest hit coming when Pablo Sandoval of the San Francisco Giants hit a three-run triple to right field. That was all the offense the National League would need, as they cruised to an 8-0 victory.
Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera was named the MVP, going two for three with a two-run home run. With the win, it means that the National League will host the first two games of the 2012 World Series, along with games five, six and seven (all if necessary). Better yet, it also means that the unofficial second half of the season will be soon under way. If the second half is anything like last year, there’s plenty of exciting baseball left to be seen.
The kings of swing
Tonight at 8:00 PM, eight of Major League Baseball’s greatest sluggers will participate in the annual Home Run Derby. I’d like to share a few of my thoughts and predictions about the event.
The first thing I wonder, is why in the world is Matt Kemp participating in this? Don’t get me wrong, the guy is one of the most talented players in all of baseball, but he’s also injured. Kemp is currently on his second stint on the disabled list with a hamstring issue, and it just seems way too risky for have him in the derby. I’m sure he’ll put on a display of power for all of the fans, but at what cost? Imagine if he manages to re-aggravates his hamstring while he’s swinging for the fences. If I was an owner of the Dodgers, there’s no way I’d let him be out there.
Along similar lines, I’ve always wondered about the ill-effects of participating in the derby. Many players won’t and haven’t participated in the derby, because they believe it has a negative impact on your swing and takes up too much of your energy. I would argue that both have to be true, at least to some extent. As it is, I think the derby is great for the fans, and I’d hate to see it go away. I do wonder why they don’t reduce the amount of outs per round, though. It’d make more sense to only have five outs for each round, with the exception of 10 for the final round. I think doing so would be in the best interest for the players.
Without further ado, I’d like to make my final predictions for the 2012 Home Run Derby.
8th place-Andrew McCutchen
7th place-Carlos Beltran
6th place-Carlos Gonzalez
5th place-Mark Trumbo
4th place-Robinson Cano
3rd place-Matt Kemp
2nd place-Prince Fielder
1st place-Jose Bautista