The Royals and White Sox tango on the South Side.
(Photo Courtesy: CSN Chicago)
Divide the 162-game schedule into increments of sixteen games and Thursday night signaled the unofficial 10% mark of the season for sixteen teams in the league. Barring rainouts, nine other teams will hit the sixteen games played plateau on Friday.*
The point being that a football seasons worth of games have been played. We’ve also seen some play on the diamond turn into football games with lots of blocking and tackling and trash talk that would make a wide receiver and defensive back smile.
With the NFL draft less than a week away why not take time to assess baseball teams and see who would be in the running for Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota, Amari Cooper and Leonard Williams if they switched leagues, which might be a good idea as baseball is currently too hard for these three teams.
The Brewers (3-13) are on the clock and could use a quarterback to lead the squad. Winston was 2-2 with 9 saves and 1.95 ERA over 60.1 IP for the Seminoles in 2013-2014 so maybe he could help on the mound.
Thursday, Kyle Lohse finally wasn’t terrible and pitched seven innings to help the beer makers defeat the Cincinnati Reds 4-2. Milwaukee is leading the universe in runs allowed at 5.7 per game. Adam Lind and Aramis Ramirez may have homered Thursday, but Milwaukee is still last in the majors in OPS at. .587. By comparison the Los Angeles Dodgers (.831) and Fightin’ Royals (.811) lead the way in that category.
Miami took two out of three against Philadelphia this week so the Phillies (5-11) “win” the tiebreak and get the 2nd pick. They too like the Brewers need a quarterback for the offense. Their .593 OPS sits just ahead of Milwaukee, but Philadelphia is last in the majors in runs scored with 41 or 2.6 runs per contest. By comparison, the Blue Jays are scoring at a 5.9 runs per contest clip to lead the majors.
The Marlins are red-hot winning two straight to get to 5-11. Do they go WR or DE? Miami is 12th in runs scored (68), but tied for 23rd in runs allowed (74) so maybe they need some defensive help. Dan Haren, Jarred Cosart and David Phelps – who threw seven scoreless innings against the Phillies on Thursday – have been productive. Tom Koehler and Mat Latos have not. Henderson Alvarez got hurt in his 2nd start, hence the need for Phelps in the rotation. Second baseman Dee Gordon is hitting .348. Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia is hitting .069 (2 for 29) and losing playing time to J.T. Realmuto (7 for 23). The facemasked Stanton has 22 strikeouts in 58 ABs, but has homered in four of his last seven games.
While the Brewers, Phillies and Marlins are the bottom 10% of the league the Mets, Royals and Cardinals are in the top 10%. The Tigers (11-5) have fallen back a bit after losing three straight to the first place Yankees. OK, Boston, New York and Toronto are all 9-7 in the ground and pound AL East. The emphasis is on pound as Baltimore (22), Toronto (22) and New York (21) lead baseball in home runs. Those really old and offensively challenged Yankees are tied for second with the Padres in runs scored trailing the Blue Jays.
New York Mets
The Mets completed their first ever 10-0 home stand on Thursday. They’ve won 11 in a row and at 13-3 have clinched home field advantage throughout the playoffs. Wait, the all star game will decide that. Not sure the Mets maintain an .812 winning percentage during the remaining 90% of the season, but Bartolo Colon is 4-0 and along with his timely hitting he also
The Mets are a middle of the pack offense, but Harvey, deGrom, Niese and Bart have helped allow the second fewest runs in the league. Dillon Gee hasn’t been stellar, but Jeurys Familia will have no problem putting food on the table for his family if he stays perfect out of the pen. 8 for 8 in saves opportunities with opponents hiting .129 against him over 9.2 IP.
Kansas City Royals
Now we come to the Royals (12-4). Yordano Ventura on the mound has become must see TV. Each of his four starts have been, um, unique. Thursday night he hit the White Sox Jose Abreu with a pitch in the 4th inning. In the 7th inning, Adam Eaton got chatty arguing a call while in the batters’ box so Ventura quick-pitched him. Eaton responded with a comebacker that Ventura snagged. Eaton shouted some words at Ventura when running to 1st base. Ventura returned the favor with a seven-letter phrase that wasn’t Familia. Then Yordano threw the ball to first for the final out of end the inning
White Sox starter Chris Sale was arguing with Royals manager Ned Yost. It looked like Jeff Samardzija was channeling his inner wide receiver by trying to take out Lorenzo Cain on a quick slant. The Shark had hit Cain and Alex Gordon with pitches on Opening Day. Cain, Edinson Volquez, Ventura, Samardzija and Sale were all ejected. The game was tied at two at the time, The Royals won in 13-innings thanks to an Eric Hosmer RBI double in the top of the inning. These two teams get to play each other three more times this weekend.
The Royals appear to lead the majors in arguing and hitting at .301. They are also tied with the Rangers for the most times being hit by pitches – 17. That has a little bit to do with the short fuse on the Royals dynamite. Despite three errant pitches by Ventura the Royals have only hit five batters. Look out if they decide to play catch up. Otherwise, Kansas City’s pitching has allowed the 3rd fewest runs in the majors.
St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals are 10-4 and lead the majors in ERA with a sensational 2.06 mark. The Mets are second at 2.81. Opponents are hitting just .209 against Cardinals pitching. Michael Wacha (1.33 ERA), Lance Lynn (1.56 ERA), Adam Wainwright (1.71 ERA) and Carlos Martinez (2.08 ERA) are solid, but actually a tick behind the Trevor Rosenthal, Jordan Walden, Kevin Siegrist, Matt Belisle bullpen foursome that has allowed 2 ER over 26.2 IP.
Matt Carpenter and Matt Holliday are both hitting in the .380s for the Cardinals, but Holliday has only one extra base hit, while Carpenter has eight doubles and three home runs.
Kicking off this weekend is the Subway Series at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees are coming off a 7-3 road trip. The Mets only losses have come on the road where they are 3-3. deGrom-Pineda, Harvey-Sabathia and Niese-Eovaldi will be the pitching match ups.
*The Cardinals (10-4) and Indians (5-9) have only played 14 games, while the Padres (10-7), Giants (7-10), and Athletics (8-9) have played 17 games through Thursday 4/23.