The Week That Was in Baseball: June 20-26, 2011
Is Frank McCourt Out of Options? • Who's on Pace for Some Incredible Numbers
Jim Riggleman's Temporary Sanity • Can Albert Pujols Catch up to .300-30-100?
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|The 2011 Mid-Season Report Card
Our picks for the best, worst and most unexpected during the first half of the 2011 regular season. Check it out now!
After Further Review: Making the Right Call on Replay
What Now, Frank?
Selig claimed that the deal stunk because McCourt would have been able to use much of the money to pay off debts and to funnel into his numerous Dodger-related (but not baseball-related) spinoff entities within the team ownership umbrella. He also believed that the Fox deal was undervalued (Selig is likely concerned that, with other MLB teams ready to sign similar local TV deals, he didn’t want the bar set so low), and was fearful that potential investors might be less inclined to buy the Dodgers because they would be bound to that TV deal.
Bottom line: It’s clear from Selig’s veto that he does not want McCourt to run the Dodgers anymoreas if that wasn’t clear enough before.
The current status gives McCourt little wiggle room. He can sue baseball, but that may not be in the best interests of anyone, including himself. (Al Davis took on the NFL and won because he had the maverick mentality; we don’t see McCourt in the same light.) He could stand at the corner of Figueroa and Third with a cardboard sign asking for million-dollar donations from the suits driving into downtown. Or he could simply sellan option that McCourt seems to publicly emphasize is his last resort. Or, finally, he could file for bankruptcywhich he did on Monday.This may get messier before it gets better.
Paging Walter O'Malley's Spirit
Pace Race 2011
Curtis Granderson of the New York Yankees will score 144 runs.
Ichiro Suzuki will not reach 200 hits for the first time in his major league career. Four other players will, including Boston star slugger Adrian Gonzalez (on pace for 240 hits) and second-year Chicago Cub shortstop Starlin Castro (220).
Gonzalez is also on pace for 54 doubles, 32 homers and 149 runs batted in.
Jose Reyes of the New York Mets will hit 28 triplesa figure that would be the second highest recorded in modern times, behind Chief Wilson’s 36 in 1912. Twelve other teams are on pace to hit fewer triples than Reyes.
Toronto slugger Jose Bautista will hit 49 home runs, one shy of hitting 50 in back-to-back years. Five other players are on pace for 40.
Bautista is also on pace for 136 walks, far exceeding the 100 he received last year.
The Yankees are the only team on pace to hit over 200 homers. The Oakland A’s will hit 84 homersor, just 11 more than Barry Bonds in 2001.
Three teamsthe A’s, Cubs and Minnesota Twinsare on pace to draw 16 intentional walks, far, far shy of Bonds’ 120 in 2004.
Mark Reynolds will not top 200 strikeouts for the first time in four years; Cincinnati’s Drew Stubbs will and Chicago White Sox slugger Adam Dunn will. Reynolds is also on pace for committing 36 errors at third base and becoming the first everyday fielder since Boston’s Butch Hobson in 1978 to finish the year with a sub-.900 fielding percentage.
Torii Hunter of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim will ground into 38 double plays, which would be a major league record.
Carlos Quentin of the White Sox will be hit 36 times.
Oakland reliever Brian Fuentes will lose 17 games.
Colorado closer Huston Street will save 50 games.
The Washington Nationals will blow 36 saves.
Tampa Bay’s James Shields will throw 13 complete games, six for shutouts.
Cleveland’s Fausto Carmona will allow 158 runs.
Houston’s Brett Myers will allow 42 home runs.
San Francisco’s Jonathan Sanchez will walk 136 battersif he remains healthy (he just got placed on the disabled list) and stays in the rotation.The Yankees’ A.J. Burnett will throw 26 wild pitches.
No Riggle Room in D.C.
Rodriguez stepped down because he had grown despondent over the play of his Marlins, who had won one game in three weeks. More controversial, however, was the departure of Riggleman; in stark contrast to the situation in Florida, Riggleman’s Nationals were on fire, winners of ten of 11 games and, suddenly, over the .500 mark in the NL East. Worried that the Nationals were seeing him as nothing more than a placeholder, Riggleman went to Washington general manager Mike Rizzo on Thursday and gave him an ultimatum: Either pick up the 2012 option on my contract, or I quit. Rizzo said no. Riggleman walked.The Nationals, who as a whole were assumed to be a placeholder in advance of a 2012 season when young pitching phenom Stephen Strasburg returns from Tommy John surgery and teenage prodigy Bryce Harper likely emerges on the major league scene, were stunned by the news. Rizzo was a bit blindsided by the actions of Riggleman, but in general did little more than shrug at the short-term pain it would causepretty much verifying Riggleman’s claim that he was, indeed, a temp for the big name replacement to come. That big name was revealed by week’s end as Davey Johnson, the 68-year old who’s won five divisional titles in 14 years of managingalthough he hasn’t piloted since 2000.
The End of .300-30-100?
That run is now in jeopardy. Pujols got off to a slow start, with some wondering if he was feeling the pressure in advance of a new contract next season. But just when it seemed he was getting back into sync earlier this month, he fractured his wrist playing at first baseand he likely won’t be back in action until late July.
Pujols was placed on the disabled list with a .279 averagenot bad for most players, but far below his all-time season-ending low of .312, established just last year. And his chances of breaking 30 homers and 100 RBIswhich looked to be a good possibility through his first 73 games, up to his injurious momenthave taken a major hit. By the time he gets back, Pujols will have roughly 55 games to clout 13 homers to reach 30but will need to average roughly one RBI per game to finish with 100.
This Week's Challenger to Joe DiMaggio
Wounded of the Week
A Day-by-Day Review of the Week:
What’s a Cub-White Sox game without controversy? In the first game of the Windy City rivalry, Ozzie Guillen is ejected for arguing a ball that appeared to briefly bounce fall behind home plate before Cub catcher Geovany Soto picked it up and tagged Alexi Ramirez for the out. Guillen argues for no more than three seconds before getting the thumb, then kicks Soto’s headgear (lying on the ground) out of anger, as Soto turns away and laughs.
Jack McKeon, the once-and-current manager of the Florida Marlins who, at 80, is the second oldest man ever to manage a major league game (Connie Mack was 87 in 1950), lays down the law by benching star shortstop Hanley Ramirez, who he believed displayed a lack of hustle the day before and showed up late for the clubhouse. The Marlins lose, 2-1, to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, and have now lost a franchise record-tying 11 straight games.Atlanta’s Tim Hudson becomes the fifth pitcher in the last 40 years to throw a shutout and knock in all of his team’s runs in the process as the Braves blank Toronto, 2-0.
Tuesday, June 21
Rookie pitcher Dillon Gee uncharacteristically walks six batters in just four innings, contributing to his first lost of the year after recording seven wins in the Mets’ 7-3 loss to the Oakland A’s at New York.In his first major league game since 2008, Wily Mo Pena homers for the Arizona Diamondbacks during their 7-2 win at Kansas City. An often effective part-time player for Cincinnati, Boston and Washington from 2003-08, Pena spent the first two months of the season tearing up the Pacific Coast League for Reno, smashing 21 homers with a .363 average.
Wednesday, June 22
Thursday, June 23
Friday, June 24
James Shields becomes the first pitcher in Tampa Bay history to throw three straight complete games when he goes the distance in the Rays’ 5-1 win against the Astros at Houston. Shields now has six complete games on the year, the most by any pitcher at this stage of the season since Pat Hentgen for Toronto in 1997.
For the second time this month, there is a partial blackout of the lights at St. Louis’ Busch Stadium in the late stages of a game. The 13-minute delay is roughly the same as the one on June 1, when the Giants were one pitch away from beating the Cardinals. This time, the lights dim just before the first pitch of the ninth inning in a 4-4 game; when full light is restored, the Toronto Blue Jays notch a go-ahead run and hang on to beat the Cardinals.
The Cardinals’ loss came in Tony LaRussa’s 5,012th career game as managerexactly half of which have been logged for St. Louis.John McLaren, in his first game as Washington manager after Jim Riggleman quits, is ejected in the eighth inning along with outfielder Jerry Hairston Jr. for arguing a reversed call at Chicago against the White Sox; the Nationals had completed the third out when Paul Konerko was tagged out before reaching first base on a grounder, but Konerko protested, the umpires thought it over, and ruled that Washington first baseman Mike Morse never did apply the tag. The Nationals win the game in 14 innings, 9-5.
Saturday, June 25
Cincinnati reliever Aroldis Chapman, placed on the disabled list in mid-May after enduring massive control problems (he walked 12 batters in 1.1 innings over his last four appearances before being shelved), returns to the mound and strikes out the side in the ninth inning of the Reds’ 10-5 win at Baltimore.
Sunday, June 26
League vs. League
Mendoza Line Fatigue?
A Star is Airborne
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