MLB Thoughts & Theories 8/20/12
Thoughts & Theories
-Zack Greinke, for himself and his team, is picking a bad time to have the worst stretch of his career. He’s allowed at least four earned runs in four consecutive starts for the first time in his career, including six in as many innings in Sunday’s loss to the Rays. The Angels were swept by the Rays in their four-game weekend series that has Anaheim just two games over .500 and 4 1/2 games out of the playoff spot in the AL.
Greinke’s free agency run is not going overly well for him and it could cost the Angels a playoff spot. After all the offseason spending the Angels had, it would be an incredible disappointment if Anaheim didn’t even reach the Wild Card play-in game. Six of the team’s next nine games are against the free-falling Red Sox and the battle could decide which team is the AL’s biggest letdown.
-One player whose play is improving dramatically in his free agent season is the Yankees’ Nick Swisher. Over the last week, he leads the AL in home runs (4), RBI’s (11) and is 10 for his last 27. After a .222 July, he’s batting .310 in August and .290 since the All-Star break. As Joel Sherman pointed out, Swisher is making a Yankees decision on his future quite difficult.
-How important was that 19-inning win for the Pirates over St. Louis on Sunday? A Cardinals win would have tied the two sides for the NL Wild Card and now Pittsburgh gets San Diego and Milwaukee this week before the two sides do it again in a week.
-Jeremy Guthrie took a no-hitter into the seventh inning on Sunday and the Royals completed a sweep of the White Sox with a 5-2 win. Kansas City has now taken eight of the 12 meetings between the clubs this season. With the AL Central and playoff races so incredibly tight, Chicago’s futility against a bottom feeding team is extremely troubling.
-Seattle has won five straight to get within four games of the Angels, and their 3.45 August team ERA is 8th in the big leagues. Mariners pitchers have thrown three complete games this month, which leads baseball.
Series To Watch
Giants @ Dodgers- San Francisco trails its bitter rival by a half game in the NL West and the NL Wild Card by just one game as Madison Bumgarner takes on Clayton Kershaw Monday on ESPN2. Joe Blanton’s biggest game as a Dodger comes Tuesday against Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain faces Chris Capuano on Wednesday.
Braves @ Nationals- After dropping two of three to the Dodgers over the weekend, Atlanta needs a strong performance against the major league leading Nats. Washington’s lead is five games as Jordan Zimmerman opposes Tim Hudson on Monday. Stephen Strasburg is Tuesday’s pitcher, and the Braves trot out the hot Kris Medlen on Wednesday.
Yankees @ White Sox- Two division leaders clash with Chicago on a three game skid. Former White Sox starter Freddy Garcia takes on Gavin Floyd on Monday, inconsistent starters Ivan Nova and Francisco Liriano square off on Tuesday and Chris Sale takes center stage Wednesday on ESPN2.
Orioles @ Rangers- In another potential playoff preview, Chris Davis goes back to Texas with a possible 25-30 home run season on his hands. Ryan Dempster gets another important test as a Texas starter when he’s opposed by Miguel Gonzalez on Monday. Scott Feldman pitches on Tuesday and former Ranger Tommy Hunter gets the start on Wednesday night.