By Patrick Herion
Baseball is unpredictable. Simple as that. Nobody expected the Red Sox to be a terrible team this year and I can assure you that no one expected the Seattle Mariners to have such a hot start. But out of all these odd trends, the one that has left me puzzled is how Craig Kimbrel and Dallas Keuchal have not signed.
There are many teams that can use the arm of Kimbrel. The seven-time all-star has been one of the most dominant relievers in the past nine years. Being a fan of a team that does not have a closer, Kimbrel would make a perfect fit into the bullpen and right into that role. But there is a problem. In recent news, Kimbrel is not interested in a one-year contract. If that is the case, I believe that no team, at this point, will pursue him. If Kimbrel is asking for such a massive contract (five years, 100 million dollars) at the beginning of the offseason, no team will be willing to pay that much for a closer, especially when he is 30 years.
On the opposite side of the ball, starter Dallas Keuchal is still looking for a place to play this season. The 31-year-old has been in frequent contact with the Mets since April. If these talks do lead to a contract, the Mets will pick up a valuable starter to round out an already good rotation.
This past week has been exciting, to say the least. We have seen teams rise and teams crash and burn. Among the teams that have crashed are the Seattle Mariners. After breaking the MLB record for most consecutive home runs, the Mariners have continued to crash and burn. I mentioned them last week as a team that has struggled, but this week they have been terrible. In their previous ten games, the Mariners are 3-7. With eight of their starting hitters batting under .270, the Mariners have had trouble hitting their way to a win. Their pitching has not been the best as well, recording a team ERA of 5.79. That is terrible. With a weekend series with the Cleveland Indians approaching, the Mariners will have their work cut out for them.
Name a team that is as hot as the Cardinals. The Cardinals have won nine of their last eleven games and their hitting has caught fire in the past week with Jose Martinez batting .474 and Harrison Bader batting .385. With the Brewers struggling in the past week, the Cardinals have established themselves on top of the tight National League Central. Their biggest challenge so far will be a weekend series with the Chicago Cubs as this series will determine who is the best in the Central.
As for the east, the Tampa Bay Rays have been the king. At the beginning of the season, a majority of experts expected the Yankees and Red Sox to be the first and second place teams in the division. Instead, we have the Rays dominating and the Red Sox sitting in second to the last place in the division. With the aid of pitcher of the month Tyler Glasnow, the Rays have found themselves with the second best record in the American League (behind the Twins). Glasnow has been phenomenal this season and is a clear candidate for the AL Cy Young award.
With the end of every week, I like to give an award out for the team, pitcher and player of the week. Last week we saw Justin Verlander, Charlie Blackmon and the New York Yankees winning each of their respective awards. This week it was difficult to pick the winners.
THE PITCHER OF THE WEEK: ZACH GREINKE, ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS
Dominate. That is the word I would choose to describe Zach Greinke. His line last week was one of the best that I have seen from a pitcher, going 2-0 with 14 strikeouts with an ERA of 0.61. The runner up for this week was Martin Perez of the Minnesota Twins. He had a very similar line, winning both of his starts and allowing only one run.
THE HITTER OF THE WEEK: MAX KEPLER, MINNESOTA TWINS
This was a hard one. This past week saw the revival of Anthony Rizzo and the continued dominance of Cody Bellinger. However, I chose a player from a team that is very rarely spoken about, the Minnesota Twins. Max Kepler has had a great week batting .409 and tied for first in home runs with four.
THE TEAM OF THE WEEK: THE ST. LOUIS CARDINALS
Even though I am a diehard Cubs fan, I have to give credit where credit is due. Currently the hottest team in baseball and the owner of the best record in the National League, the Cardinals have risen from the ashes to take first in the Central.
Edited by Emma Moloney | firstname.lastname@example.org