MLB: National League Playoff Race Getting Lit!

Sports fans love October baseball and the excitement that comes with it. So much history happens during playoff baseball. In the National League right now, it feels like October baseball every single night. One loss can move you from a playoff spot to out of the playoffs. The playoffs are in full effect for about 10 teams still trying to lock up a spot at October baseball. As it stands right now the playoffs would be the Cubs, Phillies, D’Backs are atop the division and the two wildcard teams would be the Milwaukee Brewers and the LA Dodgers. But there are 5 more teams that are a 3 game winning streak away from a playoff spot. First we’re going to get into the WILDCARD teams.

NL Playoffs LABeginning with the 6 seed or the second wildcard team. If the season were to end today. The LA Dodgers are sitting at 61-50, the same exact record as the Diamondbacks in Arizona. The D’Backs owned the Dodgers early on in the season and have the better record head to head against the Dodgers so far this year so they hold the tie breaker. That was then this is now. Playoffs are on the line and the Dodgers and Diamondbacks have 7 games left against each other beginning the end of August. For right now the Dodgers have a very slim grasp on the final spot. The Dodgers went all in on Manny Machado, who is most likely a rental player. They also grabbed Brian Dozier from the Minnesota Twins. With the loss of stud SS Corey Seager, they had to pick up the slack somewhere. Still not a lock to make the playoffs. Hopefully giving up those prospects to secure Machado for half a season comes back to bite them, yeah I am a D’Backs fan stop hating.

NL Playoffs CrewThe number 4 seed, or the 1st wildcard team, are the Milwaukee Brewers. They actually have more wins than the 1st place Cubs but are in second place by 1 game because they have more losses. They’re 64-49 right now and have made a few moves to go all in trading away some pieces and are neck and neck with Chicago. It’s safe to say both of those teams are sitting in the best position right now. The Brewers had 5 representatives in the All-Star game. Jesus Aguilar, Lorenzo Cain, Josh Hader, Jeremy Jeffers, and Outfielder Christian Yelich were there 5 All-Stars. The team is balanced offensively and play great defense. Starting Pitching is the only question mark heading into October.

NL Playoffs GOldyMoving out to the Wild, Wild West. The Arizona Diamondbacks hold the slightest of advantages over rival Dodgers. As of right now, the D’Backs and Dodgers have the same record but the D’Backs are 8-4 against the Dodgers this year. The biggest flaw in the D’Backs post season blue print is the bullpen. They were a very aggressive team with a very depleted farm system. The D’Backs had limited top 100 prospects to package in trades but they made it work. Bringing relief pitcher Brad Ziegler back, who has more appearances than any reliever in D’Backs history. Also adding Matt Andriese from the Rays, he’s a relief pitcher that can log multiple innings out of the pen giving the D’Backs a long relief option. D’Backs also brought in Jake Diekman, the hard throwing lefty from the Rangers. Offensively, the D’Backs added two HUGE pieces in John Jay, with world series experience and recently added the switch hitter Eduardo Escobar to play 3rd. The pickup of Escobar turned out to be bigger than expected when Jake Lamb elected to have shoulder surgery shutting down his season. Terry Lovullo is prime to make another run at the post season. This time hopefully they won’t be playing in the stressful wildcard game.

NL Playoffs ArrietaMoving out east to the NL East. The Philadelphia Phillies are sitting in first place at 61-48. So the D’Backs, the Dodgers, and the Phillies all have 61 wins. The Phillies haven’t been relevant since Cliff Lee was throwing scoreless innings in his sleep. Ryan Howard and Chase Utley are long gone now. Now they have Jake Arrieta who helped break the Cubs World Series slump. If they make the playoffs having Jake Arrieta is a serious advantage with his experience and toughness. Another huge off-season move was bringing in Carlos Santana from the Indians. Santana also has a lot of post season experience contributing to the Indians World Series Run in 2016. Santana has 16 dingers and 63 RBI’s. Moving to free agency picking up Asdrubal Cabrera from the Mets was a move that helps offensively and defensively. A Web Gem machine and adding 18 homeruns in 2018, Cabrera looks to help Philidalphia secure a playoff spot in the crowded National League.

NL Playoffs CubsFinally, the Chicago Cubs. The team we all used to cheer for because we felt so bad that they have gone so long without a World Series. Well, a lot has happened since that and am now looking for them to get dethroned in the division. None the less, the Cubs can put up runs in a hurry, play very good defense and have good enough pitching to make a deep post season run. The Cubs still have the core nucleus that won a World Series two years ago. Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, and Wilson Contreras. Of course, they also have John Lester, who’s no stranger to big time games and the spotlight. Lester is 9-7 in the post season with a 2.55 ERA. Id be happy to have a pitcher like that on my squad to take the bump game 1 of a playoff series.

NL PlayoffsOk, so now we’ve seen the teams that are in as of now. We still have 2 months to go, but it should be safe to say that this playoff race will come down to the final week of the season. Starting in the NL East, the Atlanta Braves are only .5 games behind the Phillies. Sitting at 3rd place in the NL Central is the Pittsburgh Pirates who are 57-53 and 4 games back in the wildcard, 6 games behind the division leader Cubs. Oh lets not forget the Cardinals who are right behind the Pirates. Last time the Cardinals won the World Series they were 9 games out of the playoffs in early September. Having the Cardinals lingering around is not good for any body. The Giants, currently in the middle of a 4 game set with the D’Backs and 5 games out of 1st place. The team that is the scariest team is the Rockies who are 2 games out of 1st place in the NL West and have probably the best offensive lineup in the National League. Gold Glove 3rd basemen Nolan Arenado leads the team with 28 homeruns followed by Charlie Blackmon and Trevor Story with 21 bombs. Ian Desmond is lagging behind with 19 homers. That is a lot of power in one lineup. 

The final playoff outcome is going to come down to the final week of the season. There are 10 solid teams scattered throughout the NL. A few winning streaks and losing streaks and these playoff spots will be turned around. A lot of these teams minus the Giants and Rockies made a ton of free-agency moves to get to the playoffs. We’ll see which moves paid off the most and if the patience of the Rockies paid off. Going to be a fun two months in the NL leading up to the REAL October baseball where legends are born.

 

 

MLB: Vladdy 2.0 Moving Closer To a Call-Up

vladdyVladimir Guerrero is a household name in the MLB baseball community. The original Vladdy had a .318 career BA and played 16 seasons in the majors. Guerrero made his major league debut at the age of 21 with the Montreal Expos. Vladdy has now moved over to make room for his son, also Vladimir Guerrero Jr., whom he brought around the ballpark as a little kid. Vladimir Jr. certainly has the MLB pedigree to not be fazed by the glamour and big lights of the Show.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is on fire in 2018, and fans have taken notice. They’re calling on Toronto Blue Jays management to bring up the Hall of Famer’s son and 19 year old slugger, sooner rather than later. Guerrero Jr. is batting .431 with 10 home runs and 49 RBI’s in 2018 with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats. He has that similar aggressive swing like his dad did years before him. Vladdy Sr. used to take young Vladdy to games as a kid all the time growing up. He has been around the big lights of baseball stadiums since he was a kid, the moment isn’t too big for him. The kid has swag! However, he is in no rush to jump to the ‘show’.

I’m fine, calm… I just come to the field to give the best of myself every day. Whenever I cross that white line, I try to improve. I’m not desperate. God knows the right time. – Guerrero Jr. to USA Today

Vladimir Guerrero is a name that we will get used to hearing again real soon. One American League scout was blown away recently of Guerrero’s lighting fast bad speed. Very similar to Vlad Sr, one thing is for sure, Guerrero Jr. is far more patient at the plate drawing 18 Walks so far this year, not a lot but more than pops would have had. His dad was the best ‘bad ball’ hitter we’ve ever seen. He used to swing at balls off the dirt and balls up and in. He’d usually make the pitcher pay for pitching around him. Unintentional intentional walks weren’t easy to do against Vlad Sr. An intentional walk was also not a guarantee, he’d catch the pitcher napping by jumping out in front and hammering it somewhere. He would know what to do with those bad balls, usually finding the gap somewhere or even driving it out of the park with regularity.

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From the late 90’s to early 2000’s Vladimir Guerrero has terrorized opposing pitchers because of his completely open hitting zone and base runners always had hesitations of going 1st to 3rd or scoring from second on a base hit because he had one of the most explosive arms in all of baseball. His son, however, is a 3rd baseman so there is no question he has the arm strength of his father but has better quickness with his feet than his dad had. Fans in Toronto want to see young Vladimir get called up to the big leagues soon, the hype is starting to build after he hit a game-winning blast in spring training. He also went 4-5 in his first start of the spring. Can’t wait to watch the number 2 prospect in all of baseball get the call up.

 

 

MLB: Bartolo, The Man, The Myth, The Legend

The Baseball diamond has been Bartolo Colon’s playground for the last 21 years and counting. He truly looks like a kid in his element every time out there. Happy no matter the situation. As a baseball fan, I wouldn’t mind watching Bartolo play for the next 20 years. The 44-year-old is continuing to do things that we’ve yet to see him do. The man is Mythical. Like outrunning Dee Gordon, arguably one of the fastest players in the league, to first base on a ground ball. Hitting his first home run a few years ago (probably his only) and he’s had a few acrobatic, and awkward, plays earning him some web gems. He is incredibly athletic, way more athletic than we give him credit for.

Colon is still on top of his game posting a 2.59 ERA and has appeared in 5 games with 3 starts this year. Putting together quality outings every time out. There is no doubt Bartolo should be in the Hall of Fame when his historic career comes to a close, whenever that might be. Here are some numbers to back it up.

  •  240 career wins- 56th all-time
  • 531 career starts- 34th all-time
  • 2,473 strikeouts- 35th all-time

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Bartolo is now with his 12th major league team. His stats were down from ’06-’11, but as he got older, he just keeps getting stronger. He has put up double-digit wins in 5 of his last 6 seasons, including his first homer and repeated athletic plays. Baseball needs more players like Bartolo. The quote that gets repeated over and over at a young age is to “just have fun.” Baseball is meant to be fun, it’s just a game, and Bartolo plays it that way. Young baseball players need to watch Bartolo Colon pitch. He shows you that you can’t take the game too seriously, no matter what level you’re playing on. He has made some of the most embarrassing, clumsy looking plays you’ll see. No matter what though, he picks himself up with the biggest smile on his face and moves on. That is why we all love Bartolo and don’t want to ever see him retire. He’s still on his game, so why ever leave us Bartolo? Never leave us Bartolo!

Bartolo is a special pitcher who not only gives you production, but makes everybody on the staff better, including the bullpen when he pitches deep into games.- Mike Scioscia

If you are a contending team there is no reason you don’t go hard at Bartolo. He is a savvy veteran that can light up any clubhouse! Texas Rangers are sitting at the bottom of the division. They need to trade Bartolo right now, let the man play for a contender in his final years. Or is it his final years? Nobody knows anymore, and we’re all OK with that. He can absolutely help a contender this season. What he has done in his career is nothing short of amazing and should be a Hall of Famer for all the hard work he has put into the game of baseball.