Tag Archives: nationals

The MLB Playoffs Are Quickly Approaching

The long baseball season is nearing its end.  The summer is coming to an end and the Fall season is about to start.  With it will come the Major League Baseball Playoffs.  The first games of the playoffs start next weekend.  So let’s take a look at what teams are approaching the playoffs in this final week of the season.

The American League

The interesting note of the week is that no A.L. teams have clinched a playoff spot yet.  It has been a tight race for all of the divisional spots and especially for the two Wild Card spots.

East

In the East there is great competition between the division leading New York Yankees and the Baltimore Orioles.  The Yankees only lead that division by one game with the Rays in third place by only 5 games.

Central

The Central division has seen the Chicago White Sox fall quite a bit in the past week.  The White Sox are trailing the Detroit Tigers in the division by one game.  The third place team in the division is held by the Kansas City Royals who are fourteen games behind and have no hope for the playoffs.

West

The Western division has just as tight of a race as the Eastern division.  The Texas Rangers hold the top position with a record of 92-65.  The Oakland A’s have been surging ahead in the final month of the season and are only three games behind the Rangers.  In third place five games behind the Rangers are the Anaheim Angels. The Angels got off to a bad start at the beginning of the season but were able to turn their season around in the summer months.

Wild Card

Only six games separate the top five teams in the Wild Card race.  The Baltimore Orioles and the Oakland A’s are in the top spots.  The Angels are two games back.  The Rays are three games back, while the White Sox are six games back and will likely only be able to enter the playoffs with winning the Central division.

The National League

The almost half of the playoff spots in the N.L. have been claimed.  All but one of the divisions have champions already, which takes some of the excitement away.

East

This is the only division where a champion has not yet been crowned.  With the third place team the Phillies seventeen games back, its between only the Braves and the Nationals for the crown.  The Nationals have shocked the baseball world with an incredible season and they currently hold the top spot.  The braves are trailing by four games and still have a chance at winning the division.  Both the Nationals and Braves have clinched playoff spots.  The only question is which one will be the division champion and which one will be in the wild card position.

Central

The Cincinnati Reds won the division this past week.  They appear to be a team that could contend for the World Series Title in October.

West

The San Fransisco Giants won the division championship just a few days ago.  This team has been a great team built for the playoffs for a few years now.  The Giants won the World Series in 2010 and are looking to win their second in three years.

Wild Card

With the Braves having clinched a playoff birth there is only one wild card spot remaining.  The St Louis Cardinals hold the remaining spot at the moment.  The Dodgers and the Brewers are the only two teams that still have a chance for the remaining wild card.  The Dodgers are three games back while the Brewers are five back.  The Dodgers have been turning downward as September rolls along.  The Brewers have to win their remaining five games to have a chance.  The Cardinals will likely hold their position and go into a wild card playoff game with the Braves.

 

 

 

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Player Report: Bryce Harper’s 1st Month In The Bigs

Bryce Harper
(Photo by: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Highly touted Washington Nationals prospect Bryce Harper was called up to the big league ball club on April 28th.  He was drafted 1st overall in the 2010 June MLB draft.  Harper has had a lot of hype and promise around him ever since he was featured in a 2009 edition of Sports Illustrated magazine.  He has been called a future legend by many in the sports media.  Harper has also been called immature and egotistical during his 2011 Minor League run.  Now we get to see how the 19 year old phenom develops into what could be an incredible baseball player.

Bryce Harper Has been at the Major League level for a month now.  So I figured it is time to take a look at the numbers and see how he has done.  The stats mentioned are compiled from his first 31 games at the big league level and took place between the 28th of April and the 2nd of June.

Harper has had 115 appearances at the plate.  From those at bats he has 32 hits, 16 base on balls and has been struck out 21 times.  His batting average is at .278,  at the plate he has fared pretty well for a player that just got to the show.  He has shown some power amassing 10 extra base hits and knocking 4 ball out of the park.  He has produced a good number of runs with 21,  Harper has also 11 RBI’s.

His debut came on the 28th of April in Los Angeles when his National faced off against the Dodgers.  Harper went 1 for 3 that night, the hit was for a double and he also batted in a run.  The Dodgers won that game by a score of 4-3.

Harper’s best game at the plate came on May 2nd against the Arizona Diamondbacks at home.  Harper went 3 for 4 with 2 doubles, 2 runs and 1 RBI.

He has been a really good part of the Nationals offensive production.  He has also been an asset to the club in the field.  Harper was brought up through his amateur playing years as a catcher but once drafted was converted to an outfielder.  Harper currently occupies the Right Field and has a rocket arm and really good fielding.

The most publicized event for Harper came May 6th when the Nationals played the Philadelphia Phillies.  The Phillies star pitcher Cole Hamels nailed Harper in the back with a pitch.  It looked intentional but Hamels left no doubt that it was on purpose when he admitted it after the game.  Harper handled the situation with all of the maturity in the world and shrugged it off.  When Harper was asked about it later he just said that they were both competitive players and sometimes that happens.

This last month of watching Bryce Harper play has shown us a few things.  He was indeed ready to be called up from the minor leagues.  He has been the player the Nationals need to continue to compete in the tough N.L. East.  He has played well on both the offensive and defensive side.  Most importantly he has shown that he can be as humble as he needs to be right now to develop and improve.  I believe Harper is going to continue to get better and in a couple of years could in fact be one of the best baseball players around.

The Miami Marlins After 2 Months Of Baseball

It has been an interesting season for the Miami Marlins so far.  This team had a very new feel to it going into the season.  A new name came first, no longer are they the Florida Marlins they are to be know now as the Miami Marlins.  The new retractable roof stadium located in downtown Miami known as Marlins Park.  The new manager Ozzie Guillen, who was acquired from the Chicago White Sox in the off season.  Also new were big time free agents in Short Stop Jose Reyes, Starter Mark Buehrle and Closer Heath Bell.  The team had not acquired free agents of this caliber since the 1997 season.  But the newest thing for the Marlins was hope of contending in the N.L. East and winning their first ever division title.

The Marlins new home, Marlins Park
(Getty Images)

The Marlins finished April with just 8 wins and 14 loses.  Many of those loses were to N.L. East foes the Phillies, Nationals and Mets. The Fish ended April at the bottom of the division.  Not much seemed to go right for the Fish in April.  Manager Ozzie Guillen was suspended by the team for a few games due to some ridiculous comments about Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.  The team also was not preforming well on the field.  Their production on the offensive side of the ball was horrendous.  Stars such as Jose Reyes, Hanley Ramirez not playing very well consistently.  Their young power hitter Giancarlo Stanton had no power to speak of.  The guy that was supposed to be saving games for the team Heath Bell was blowing leads and games left and right.  The team was in need of a restart when April ended.

They got their fresh start in May and boy did they take advantage of it.  The Marlins went on a road trip where they swept the Giants, Padres and took 2 out of 3 games against the Astros.  The fielding got better, the pitching was awesome and the bats came alive in May.  Giancarlo Stanton had an incredible month of May where he hit 12 home runs and had 30 RBI’s.  Stanton even had a walk off grand slam in a home game against the Mets.  Pitcher Ricky Nolasco got his 5th win of the season. Carlos Zambrano the loose cannon from the Chicago Cubs has pitched well and not lost his mind yet.  The Marlins also played a lot better against division rivals.  They took 2 out of 3 games against the Phillies, split a 2 game series with the Braves.  The Marlins finished the final series of May by sweeping the 1st place Nationals in a 3 game series.  The Fish had a record of 21 wins and just 8 losses for the month of May.

Marlins power hitter Giancarlo Stanton
(photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

The Marlins begin the month of June with a 29-22 record.  It took the Marlins 2 month to make it to first place but they did it.  They hold a tie with the Nationals for 1st place in the N.L. East.  June is not going to be an easy month schedule wise.  They will play 5 games total against the Phillies and 3 games against the Braves.  The biggest challenge could be when they play a total of 6 games against their inter state rival Tampa Bay Rays.  The Rays are also tied for 1st place in their division and have played really well as a team this year.  So that series could be a tough one for the Fish.  The Marlins are hoping to finish June the way they are coming into it, very hot.

The rest of the season is going to be the real test of course.  The Marlins were looking bad in April but impressed in May.  The Fish play in the toughest division in baseball but have held their own so far.  I believe the Fish have a very good chance of taking their first division title.  This is a really good ball club that is finally playing as a team and are clicking on all cylinders.  The prospects look very good for the rest of the summer but we will know for sure what this team is made of by September.

Bryce Harper Is Ready For The Big Leagues

Getty Images

The Washington Nationals have been playing great this year.  Surprising many, but the excitement has just begun.  On Friday the Nationals called up their 19 year old phenom Bryce Harper from Triple A Syracuse.  He was called up when Ryan Zimmerman was placed on the DL this week.  Harper is set to make his MLB debut on Saturday when he will be placed in the line up for in a game against the Dodgers in Los Angeles.  Harper’s debut on Saturday is the most anticipated debut of any player since Ken Griffey Jr. in 1989.

Harper was thrust into the national spotlight in May of 2009 when he was on the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine.  He was touted as being the next big thing in baseball, and possibly one of the best baseball players ever.  Later the year he left high school at 16 years old to obtain his GED in time for the 2010 June Draft. He had a short stint at a junior college before the Nationals selected him 1st overall in the June Draft.

Harper has everything one needs to be a great player.  He also has all of the hype as well.  Although some have questioned his maturity during his time in the minors.  He has been called “spoiled”, and been said to have acted arrogant on a number of occasions.  This is nothing new for the sports world.  There have been many sports stars with bad reputations that have flourished to become hall of fame players.  I feel he will grow up a lot in the big leagues and will mature very quickly.  While he has played well in the minors he has usually needed time to get settled in at each level.  This may be no different as the jump from Triple A to the majors is a big one.  I think even if he does struggle in the beginning he will ultimately turn out to be an incredible player at the big league level.

The Nationals want to win and they want to do it now.  That is why they feel this call up is the right decision.  I totally agree with them bringing him up and putting him in the line up.  Saturday is going to be a big night for Harper and the Nationals, who finally get to reap the benefits of this highly touted and paid phenom.