By Patrick Herion
A a good friend once told me, “Everything reverts back to the mean.”
That is precisely what has happened in this past week in baseball. Last year’s playoff teams are beginning to play to the caliber that we all expected at the beginning of the year.
There are few teams that started as hot as the Seattle Mariners. Seattle began the 2019 campaign setting an MLB record of hitting a home run in 20 straight games. You read that right- twenty games. Nonetheless, the Mariners have fallen into a rut since, losing seven out of their last ten games. In their place, however, the Houston Astros have emerged as the favorite in the west once more. With Josh Reddick leading the pack batting over .500, the Astros are in first with a small 0.5 game lead on the Mariners, but that can look deceiving. Since the Mariners have been cold, that half-game lead is bigger than it seems.
Speaking of another team that has played well, how about Tampa Bay? The Rays are the biggest surprise of the season so far having taken the American League East by storm. Tampa has started the season with a 16-9 and leads the east by 1.5 games. Led by former St. Louis Cardinal Tommy Pham, the Rays have been dominant during the first month of the season. Their pitching in the past week? Less than dominant. The staff combined has an ERA of 4.84 and have lost five of their last ten games. In those ten games, the Yankees have come out of nowhere winning eight of their last ten. Even with 13 injuries, Giancarlo Stanton, Clint Frazier, Luis Severino to say a few, the Yankees are beginning to look what we all expected at the beginning of the season. With six wins in a row, the Yankees have proved that they are still contenders this season.
In the National League, both the Cardinals and Chicago Cubs have fought their way to be in first and second place in the Central. As a Cubs fan myself, I was not suspecting the Cubs to perform to the caliber that they had in the last week. Both the Cubs and Cardinals have won seven of their last ten. In this week, we have seen the resurgence of pitcher Jose Quintana who has been dominant over his past ten starts. On the Cardinals’ side, hitting has been what has made them relevant again. With three players batting over .400 in the past week (Goldschmidt, Fowler and Martinez), the Cardinals have taken over the top spot in the contested NL central.
PITCHER OF THE WEEK: Justin Verlander, Houston.
This week was a hard one. There were multiple pitchers that I considered to be worthy of this week’s award: Los Angeles’ Julio Urias threw eight innings and had 13 Ks, Patrick Corbin pitched 13.2 innings with 15 Ks and Jose Quintana who went seven innings only allowing two runs and seven Ks. However, Verlander was dominant in the last seven days winning both of his starts and only allowing two runs and striking out 16. His ERA was 1.20 as well.
HITTER OF THE WEEK: Charlie Blackmon, Colorado.
This one is always difficult to pick. There are so many great hitters in the league this year, but I have managed to narrow it down to three players: New York’s Robinson Cano, Blackmon and Arizona’s Eduardo Escobar. All three of these players were hitting over .400. After looking at these stats, Blackmon’s batting line stood out: 13 hits, three homeruns, two triples and five RBIs.
TEAM OF THE WEEK: New York Yankees
Yeah, I picked them. Because they deserve it. The Yankees have won six in a row and have quickly moved up in the rankings in the AL East. Even with all of their injuries, the Yankees have still been able to win games. It’s amazing how they have been able to do this and that is why they deserve to be the team of the week.
Edited by Garrett Jones | firstname.lastname@example.org