The Sunday MLB Inside Reports
MLB reports: Greetings readers from Cooperstown, New York. I am on the road and writing today’s report on my BlackBerry. As I sit in my hotel and prepare to visit the Cooperstown baseball museum tomorrow, here are today’s reports:
Watching the Cubs and Cardinals playing the Sunday night game of the week, I had some thoughts. Firstly, ESPN loves Starlin Castro. He was on the tv set about 60% of the game and had his name mentioned about 3,000 times. He is good, but still young and raw. The hype needs to be toned down. Also nice home run showings by Jon Jay and Yadier Molina with a pair. But top prize goes to Albert Pujols for the bomb he hit off Lopez. That shot will put Pujols back on the map as he proves health and performance on road to new contract in the offseason. That home run may have earned another $20 million on his new contract.
The Tigers are looking good after this weekend. They currently sit in 1st place in the Central. The Indians are 4 GB, with the White Sox 5 GB. Watch out for the Sox as they are still in it. In my opinion, there is not a better catcher right now in baseball than Alex Avila. With power and patience at the plate, to go along with strong D, Avila is doing it all for the Tigers. Credit goes to Victor Martinez, a positive mentor to Avila and a great free agent acquisition for Detroit. On the flip side, Ubaldo Jimenez got rocked Sunday. The Indians starter does not look 100% on the mound and may have an undisclosed ailment.
The Braves bullpen combination of Venters and Kimbrel is downright scary for opponents. To go along with starters Tim Hudson and Jair Jurrjens, the Braves should take the NL Wild Card come October. The National League is officially on notice.
It looks like the Brewers are running away with the NL Central. A very deep team top to bottom, the Brewers were built for the 2011 playoffs. The Reds have been a big disappointment this year and the Cardinals simply do not have the pitching to match up with the Brewers.
Jose Bautista hit his major league leading 36th home run of the year. Bautista has done it all this year, showing power and patience at the plate with great D at 3B and the outfield. Perhaps the most valuable player to his team, expect Bautista to get many votes for AL MVP this year.
I enjoyed reading the Bill James Abstract today on the drive up to Cooperstown. Given James’ important contributions to the game, consideration should be given to putting James in the Hall of Fame one day. His contributions have been that important considering how much he has changed the game through statistical identification and analysis.
Baseball needs to stop digging in its heels as many decisions need to be made soon. Upcoming baseball discussions centre on realignment, expansion, adding wild card teams HGH testing, rookie salary caps and finding a replacement for Bud Selig. Expect much more information to come out as the current MLB CBA expires in December.
As a side note, it was a glorious drive up to Cooperstown this afternoon. When you enter the town, it really feels like being in small town USA. Many houses have American flags proudly displayed up front and there is grass, trees and baseball signs everywhere. For a baseball fan, there is no better place on earth than Cooperstown. If you haven’t visited, I highly recommend it.
Have a great night everyone and I wish everybody a great week. As the MLB pennant race heats up, be sure to support your favorite team. September is around the corner and playoff baseball will be here soon.