Thursday, August 25, 2016

This Week In The Show 8.25.16

By Alex Hale, @ThatCLESportGuy

Well, this season has escalated rather quickly.  After a few weeks to digest all that has happened in baseball for the last month, it’s finally time for another This Week in The Show.  A lot has happened since we last had one of these, but now with the season coming down to the final stretch it’s time to highlight the biggest stories in Major League Baseball.  We have a lot to dive into so let’s skip the formalities and dive right into this.

Fallen Angels- Going into the 2016 MLB Season, the Angels were looked at as a potential Wild Card team.  Led by quite possibly the best player in the game in Mike Trout and a young talented pitching staff, the Angels seemed poised to make a run for the playoffs.  But injuries soon started to pile up, especially in their starting rotation losing their ace Garrett Richards and Andrew Heaney.  In August the bottom has seemed to fall out on the Angels starting the month 7-15 including an 11 game losing streak.  You got to start thinking that the Angels will probably look in the offseason to replace Manager Mike Scoscia if they continue to struggle down the stretch.

My Thoughts- I’ve seen this coming for a while for the Angels and it’s time to face the facts…it’s time to rebuild the franchise.  I would start by moving Mike Trout for a king’s ransom.  It would replenish an extremely thin farm system and start the rebuilding process.  I would also think that Mike Scoscia is entering his final days as Angels Manager.  Since their 2002 World Series run, Scoscia really hasn’t done anything special as manager.

The Yankees Youth Movement- After dominating the trade deadline and completely rebuilding the franchise, the Yankees took the next big step in their rebuilding process.  On August 13, the Yankees called up outfielders Aaron Judge and Tyler Austin, who proceeded to hit back-to-back HRs in their first at-bats.  The Yankees also have finally seemingly give the spot behind the plate to long time top prospect Gary Sanchez who is answering the call hitting .382 with 8 HRs in the month August so far.  Whether fans want to believe this or not, but with Clint Frazier on the way soon, this looks to be only the beginning of the next Yankee Dynasty.

My Thoughts- Gary Sanchez was brought up slowly and it seems their patience might pay off.  Sanchez is a potential 25 HR/90 RBI threat one day with a great arm behind home.  Austin should be a solid OF for the future, but the emergence of Aaron Judge is no surprise.  If you recall Aaron Judge was my AL ROY dark horse selection and already is proving why I prized him so much.  Once Frazier comes up and backs up the hype, the Yankees got an amazing core going forward.

Canadian Takeover- After starting off the year slow, the Toronto Blue Jays have started to heat up in the 2nd Half of the year, going 12-9 in the month of August.  This is coming without star slugger Jose Bautista.  The Blue Jays have been led by Josh Donaldson and Edwin Encarnacion for the most part this season, but Troy Tulowitzki is finally starting to swing the bat like he’s supposed to and has offset the loss of Bautista.  What’s more surprising is the great starting pitching they’ve gotten this year, especially with Aaron Sanchez and J.A. Happ leading the way.  The Blue Jays it seemed all season were underachieving and now they’re finally playing to their potential and aren’t at full strength still.  With a month and a half to go, the Blue Jays are getting hot at the right time.

My Thoughts- The Blue Jays were my preseason pick to win the AL East and it never made sense why they weren’t in control of the division early on.  Their offense is their strong suit and it carried them especially in the 2nd Half.  I think their rotation really hasn’t even reached its potential yet, especially with the inconsistency of Marcus Stroman.  If one more starter can get hot with Happ and Sanchez, the Blue Jays might not only win the division, but could be a very tough out in the playoffs.

Dry Spell in Phoenix- After their big moves in the offseason, the Diamondbacks looked to be everyone’s pick to win the NL West, but instead the Diamondbacks look to be the biggest flop in recent memory.  The acquisition of Shelby Miller and Zack Greinke signaled the start of a new dynamic duo of starters to go with a lineup led by Paul Goldschmidt.  Instead Zack Greinke has been anything but his 2015 form and Shelby Miller has pitched so terribly, he was sent down to the minors.  On top of that, a report by ESPN’s Keith Law explained how messed up the Diamondbacks Front Office is during what he called, “The Timeline of Error”.  In it he explains that Diamondbacks GM Dave Stewart has no knowledge of the rules when it comes to making moves.  On top of that he explains how little they understand how the draft works.  And we haven’t even mentioned trading 2015 #1 Overall draft pick SS Dansby Swanson and Diamondbacks 2014 1st Round pick SP Touki Touissant for a simple salary dump.  When you read what Keith Law writes, it’s alarming.

My thoughts- Whether Dave Stewart or Tony La Russa is at fault here, the moves they’ve made over the past few years are inexcusable.  It definitely shows total incompetence by the Front Office and I’d argue they took incompetence to the next level.  When your GM makes a trade that would’ve violated rules and it takes the OPPOSING GM to tell your GM the rules…he must be fired.  I can run the Diamondbacks better than Tony La Russa and Dave Stewart and that says a lot.

Here Come The Champs- It seemed like a month ago, the Kansas City Royals were dead and buried and weren’t going to be able to defend their crown and might actually be virtually out of contention by September, but the Royals got back to the basics.  They’ve played smart and efficient baseball and have racked up a 16-6 record through the month of August.  Their offense is finally getting back some of the players they’ve lost to injuries earlier this year and the Royals starting staff has gotten a major boost from lefty Danny Duffy who has been red hot over the past few months and has an 11-1 record with a 2.66 ERA and might garner Cy Young contention if he continues this.

My Thoughts- The Royals seemed to underperform all year on both sides, now with a starter to anchor the rotation in Duffy and players like Kendrys Morales who have played better as of recently.  They were efficient and clutch when it came to scoring runs last year and with their bullpen still looking good, nobody should be sleeping on them.  They could make a run at the Wild Card and while a long shot, could make a run at the division, with 6 games against the Indians in the last week, including the last 3 games of the year, which will be played in Kansas City.

Thank You A-Rod- On August 12, one of the most talented, yet polarizing players in the history of Baseball took what looked to be his final bow in Alex Rodriguez.  A-Rod had been having the worst season of his career and was a shell of what he once was.  But what has happened since August 12 is the speculation of if Alex Rodriguez is really retired.  Rumors have said Miami was among a few of the teams that might want to bring in Rodriguez for a potential pennant run.  But it seems for now those rumors have gone away, but nobody seems sure if A-Rod is done for good.  I find it completely interesting myself that people are so intrigued about a player who is a shell of his former self and whether he’s really retired or not.

My Thoughts- Bottom line… A-Rod is done.  He would look like Baseball’s Brett Favre if he plays anywhere else at this point.  Rodriguez is 41 years old and had hit only 9 HRs and was hitting .200.  Who would want that on their team, plus the fact he’s a highly controversial character for the locker room.  It seemed after the game A-Rod was at peace with his decision and I expect that his playing days are done.

I Don’t Believe What I Just Saw- I have to throw this in there because of how improbable this victory was.  The Cleveland Indians down 1-0 going into the bottom of the ninth against the Toronto Blue Jays faced their dominant closer Roberto Osuna.  Up stepped Jose Ramirez who proceeded to get a hanging off-speed pitch and get a hold of it and the ball just barely cleared the wall to tie the ballgame.  The next batter was rookie CF Tyler Naquin.  Naquin would proceed to hit another fly ball that RF Michael Saunders missed leaping at the wall and the ball hit the wall and rolled to center field.  Naquin would fly around the bases and after Melvin Upton Jr. slipped grabbing the ball, Naquin would proceed to be the first Indian in 100 years to hit a Walk-Off Inside the Park Home Run.  While that was rare, it was more rare that it was back to back HRs, capped off by the Inside the Park Home Run.


The playoff picture is finally starting to take shape and teams are bracing for the final month of the season.  As we’ve seen so far this year that anything can happen in a split second.  We’ve seen sudden retirements, amazing comebacks and historic feats already this year.  Once again Baseball continues to show why it’s the best sport of them all.  You cannot predict what you’ll see next and trust me, I think this season has one more shocker left in store for us yet.

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