A public service reminder we always think we know but it’s what we don’t know that attracts us to these silly games rich men play. With MLB ready to roll after the All-Star break let’s examine some things that blindsided us (and the experts) in the first half of the season.
World Champs just regular chumps: In October the Cubs looked like a dynasty in the making, in mid-July they’re sporting a losing record (43-45) and trailing the Brewers by 5.5 games. They still could have a happy ending but today they don’t look like champions they look like the Orioles, Braves or Rangers who have similar records.
Giants Small Ball: Last October the Giants were battling the Cubs in the NL Divisional Playoff round. Today they have the second worst record in baseball and these Giants are battling the 1985 Giants for the worst record in franchise history. Who saw this coming? The ’85 Giants lost 100 games these Giants have lost 56. At 34-56 they’ll need to go better than 28-44 to avoid franchise infamy, this after 3 World Series titles since 2010.
Not Identical Twins: A year ago Minnesota was the worst team in the major leagues and they had a 59-103 record to prove it. Naturally all the experts didn’t expect much different in 2017. Manager Paul Molitor survived last year’s hot garbage and surprise the Twins have a winning record this year and are in second place. They likely won’t pass a talented Cleveland team but they’re only two and a half games back. Nice comeback!
Aaron Judge: Forget rookie of the year Judge is a strong favorite for American League MVP hitting .323 with 30 bombs and 66 RBI. Judge joins the legendary Yankee sluggers passing Joe DiMaggio’s rookie home run record BEFORE the All-Star break. Number 99 has a chance to smash Mark McGuire’s MLB record for homers by a rookie. McGuire hit 49 in 1987 breaking Frank Robinson’s record 38 that had stood since 1956. And don’t forget Judge at 282 pounds has 6 stolen bases and plays a solid right field. WOW!!
O’s that Pitching: Oriole fans were concerned with the team’s starting pitching coming into the 2017 season but likely didn’t think it would be nightmare bad. The Orioles not only have the worst starting pitching in the big leagues but they have the worst pitching overall with a 5.07 team ERA. Opponents are hitting .279 against Orioles pitching that’s also the worst in baseball.
Dylan Bundy has been the best of the bunch he went 6-3 with a 2.89 ERA in April and May but has struggled since going 2-5 with a 7.18 ERA. Kevin Gausman has looked better recently but still sports a 5.85 ERA. Chris Tillman hasn’t looked right trying to recover from a shoulder injury and Wade Miley and Ubaldo Jimenez have offered a lot more bad than good.
Can Oriole pitching get better in the second half and keep them in the playoff race?
Most would say no but some hope for a miraculous turnaround and a place in the “Who saw this coming” column.