Another week is behind us, and instead of playoff races getting more defined, they’re simply getting more muddled. Great, just what I always wanted!
Most impressive team of the week: Kansas City Royals. The Royals only played five games this week, but they made them count, sweeping the White Sox in Chicago over the weekend after taking two from the Indians at home. Prior to that, the Royals took two out of three from the Yankees (with the final game falling victim to rain), and took three out of four from the Cardinals. Kansas City is 10-3 this month, and 12-4 since getting swept at home by the Astros. With a huge four-game series coming up in Detroit, the Royals have a chance to take first place all for themselves this week.
Honorable mentions: Colorado Rockies, Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis Cardinals
Least impressive team of the week: San Diego Padres. For my money, this is the worst team in baseball. They got swept (and quite frankly, embarrassed) by the pathetic Phillies, then lost two out of three to the lowly Mets this week. The Padres have won just one series over the last month, and haven’t won consecutive games since the end of May. This isn’t surprising, but the sheer level of suck is pretty shocking. What can this team even do? The help on their farm isn’t exactly close to contributing, and they don’t exactly have a ton of talent that could be dealt leading up to the trade deadline. It’s an awful positoin.
Dishonorable mentions: San Francisco Giants, Seattle Mariners
Most impressive hitter of the week: Andrew McCutchen. The Pirates needed McCutchen to throw them on his back as their pitching staff began to fall apart this week. McCutchen was cool with that, and hit a mind-numbing .483/.559/1.034. He had two hits in each of the seven games Pittsburgh played this week, adding four doubles, four homers, and two stolen bases to his ledger as well. For th season, the reigning NL MVP has walked one fewer time than he struck out, and his overall triple slash line is running roughshod over the numbers he put up last season. What McCutchen is doing in Pittsburgh this season is on another level – and he won’t be 28 until after the season is over.
Honorable mentions: Michael Brantley, Lonnie Chisenhall, Evan Gattis
Least impressive hitter of the week: Josh Donaldson. Well…even MVP candidates can have down weeks. And what a down week it was for Donaldson – he went just 1/24 as the A’s had a .500 week. He also only had one hit in his final four games from the prior week too, although that was a solo homer. Overall in June, he’s at just .130/.161/.241 – yikes.
Dishonorable mentions: Lorenzo Cain, John Jaso, Yangervis Solarte
Most impressive pitcher of the week: Garrett Richards. Richards should have had a 2-0 week, but the Angels bullpen ensured he wouldn’t pick up the win on Saturday after his masterful performance against the Braves. Richards allowed just one run in 13 innings this week, adding 14 strikeouts and three walks. It’s odd that in a rotation featuring the highly-paid C.J. Wilson and Jered Weaver, Richards has been the best Angels starter this year – but this is baseball, and I’ve learned that nothing ever makes sense.
Honorable mentions: Charlie Morton, Bud Norris, David Price
Least impressive pitcher of the week: Marco Estrada. Milwaukee has to do something with Estrada. He allowed 11 runs over 11 innings across two starts this week, walking four and allowing five homers. After back to back solid seasons with the Brewers, Estrada’s ERA was increased by nearly a full run since 2013 thanks to large part to a rise in walk rate and a massive jump in home run rate. With the Brewers shockingly contending this season in the NL Central, how much longer can they stick it out with the soon to be 31-year old who is also showing diminished velocity?
Dishonorable mentions: Edwin Jackson, Nick Martinez, Mike Minor
This week in Tommy John surgeries: none (with several players heading that way, though)
Notable newly disabled players: Eric Chavez, Michael Cuddyer, Eddie Butler, Neil Walker, Mitch Moreland, Tyler Skaggs, Francisco Liriano, Justin Smoak, Tanner Scheppers, Wilson Ramos, Jason Giambi, Michael Saunders, Ender Inciarte, Emilio Bonifacio, Aaron Hicks, Sean Marshall, Chone Figgins, Troy Patton, Josh Fields, Trevor Plouffe, Nick Vincent
Notable newly healthy players: J.J. Putz, Jordan Walden, Joey Votto, Taijuan Walker, Logan Morrison, Nick Swisher, Ryan Sweeney, A.J. Ellis, Rafael Furcal, Matt Adams, Mat Latos, Sergio Santos
Notable transactions: Diamondbacks demote Trevor Cahill to class-A, Rockies demote Wilton Lopez to AAA, Rockies promote Christian Bergman from AAA, Braves demote Alex Wood to AAA, Cubs release Jose Veras, Pirates promote Gregory Polanco from AAA, Red Sox sign Andres Torres to minor league contract, Rockies promote Tyler Matzek from AAA, Angels promote Hector Santiago from AAA, Twins demote Josmil Pinto to AAA, Mariners demote Taijuan Walker to AAA, Diamondbacks claim Jordan Pacheco on waivers, Mariners promote Jesus Montero from AAA, Yankees sign Heath Bell to minor league contract, Cardinals demote Oscar Taveras to AAA
Major league debuts: Christian Bergman, Gregory Polanco, Tyler Matzek, Ken Giles, Ben Rowen
Enjoy your week of baseball, everyone.