Archive for the '2012 Mets' Category

Where Are They Now?

What happened to the 2012 New York Mets no longer on the roster? I know, who cares? But for those of you wondering where Kelly Shoppach and Garret Olsen are these days, take a look.

Andres Torres re-signed with the San Francisco Giants. Now he and another former Mets center fielder, Angel Pagan, play side by side in the World Champion San Francisco Giants outfield. Yesterday, Torres played left field and went 0-3. Pagan and Torres in the same outfield for the defending champions. Now do you see how important pitching is to winning?

Jason Bay was let go by the Mets last fall. A nice guy who everybody pulled for is now collecting the majority of his salary from the Mets but is playing for the Seattle Mariners. He did not play in yesterday’s opener.

R.A. Dickey, traded to Toronto  for Travis d’Arnaud and other prospects starts for Toronto tonight against Cleveland at the Rogers Centre. Updated 4-3, Dickey loses opener giving up four runs including a home run.

Catchers Josh Thole and Mike Nickeas, also in the Dickey trade, are both in Buffalo again. Ironically, this time however, they are members of the AAA club of the Blue Jays since the Mets and Jays swapped minor league affiliates.

Mike Pelfrey (P) is scheduled to start Saturday for the Twins vs. Detroit at Minnesota. Big Pelf had Tommy John Surgery last April. I always liked Pelfrey but it was clear he was never cut out for New York. He was non tendered by the Mets over the off season and signed with the Twins. It will be interesting to see how Pelfrey does in a smaller market. It’s possible he could face the Mets next week at Target Field.

Outfielder Scott Hairston who wanted to be an everyday outfielder did not play in the Cubs 3-1 win over Pittsburgh yesterday. However, Hairston did get a two year deal. Seems money was the real motivator after all.

Pitcher Chris Young is a free agent. The Nationals granted him a release in spring training when it was clear Young would not be part of the major league squad. With the loss of Johan Santana for the season, could Sandy Alderson be interested again? We’ll see but the GM has stated the Mets will solve the loss of Santana from within.

Jon Rauch (P) signed as a free agent with the Marlins but did not make an appearance in yesterday’s opener.

DJ Carrasco (P) – whereabouts unknown

Ronnie Cedeno (SS) went 1-3 and scored a run for the Astros in their AL opening night win against Texas. Enjoy the win Ronnie. There may be few this year in Houston.

Miguel Batista (P) signed with Rockies, but was released in spring training.

Manny Acosta (P) signed with the Yomiuri Giants for 2013 in the Japan Central League.

Some less notable players who made brief appearances with the ’12 Mets…

Kelly Shoppach (C) is now with Seattle as the backup catcher to Jesus Montero (I bet Brian Cashman wishes he never made that trade). And like Bay, he did not play last evening either.

Rob Johnson (C) is with the Memphas Red Birds (AAA PCL) in the Cardinals organization.

Vinnie Rottino (LF) is with the Columbus Clippers (AAA INT) in the Indians organization.

Fred Lewis (OF)  is with the Hiroshima Toyo Carp in the Japan Central League.

Elvin Ramirez (P) is with the Salt Lake Bees (AAA PCL) in the Angels organization.

Ramon Ramirez (P) is with the Fresno Grizzlies (AAA PCL) in the Giants organization.

Pedro Beato (P) was traded to the Pawtucket Red Sox for Shoppach last season.

Jack Egbert (P) – whereabouts unknown

Garrett Olson (P) listed as with the Oakland Athletics but do not see him on their roster or their triple A affiliate.

There you have it. It amazes me how many players come and go through the course of the season. Wonder which current Mets will make this list next year?

Last Three Opening Day Lineups

Here are the last three opening day lineups including today’s. The players in bold for 2011 and 2012 represent those still with the Mets. For 2011 and 2012, info in parenthesis indicates where former players are now while 2013 newcomers are indicated.

2011

Jose Reyes SS   (Toronto Blue Jays via Florida Marlins)
Willie Harris LF   (Whereabouts unknown, last season with Reds)
David Wright 3B
Carlos Beltran RF  (St. Louis Cardinals)
Angel Pagan CF  (San Francisco Giants)
Ike Davis 1B
Mark Emaus 2B (Wherabouts unknown)
Josh Thole C  (Toronto Blue Jays)
Mike Pelfrey P (Minnesota Twins)

2012

Andres Torres  CF  (San Francisco Giants)
Daniel Murphy 2B
David Wright 3B
Ike Davis 1B
Jason Bay LF  (Seattle Mariners)
Lucas Duda RF
Josh Thole C  (Toronto Blue Jays)
Ruben Tejada SS
Johan Santana P

2013

Collin Cowgill CF (Oakland Athletics)
Daniel Murphy 2B
David Wright 3B
Ike Davis 1B
Marlon Byrd RF  (Boston Red Sox)
Lucas Duda LF
John Buck C  (Miami Marlins but traded from Toronto)
Ruben Tejada  SS
Jon Niese  P

Let the Offseason Begin

It has been another long excruciating season. For the fourth consecutive season, the Mets have finished in fourth place with a losing record. In fact, their record has gotten worse over the last three seasons. They finished 2012 with a 74-88 record, worse than last season’s 77-85 record and worse than 2010 when they finished 79-83. Cleary, the team is headed in the wrong direction. But last season the Orioles finished with a 69-93 record. They are headed to the post season as a wild card. Oakland finished 2011 with the identical record this year’s Mets have at 74-88. The A’s won the American League west yesterday with a stunning 12-5 win over the Texas Rangers. The Washington Nationals were 80-81 a year ago. Today they hold the top seed in the National League playoffs with baseball’s best record of 98-64. And Cincinnati at 79-83 last season, won the NL Central with 97 wins. So there is always hope for the Mets of 2013 provided the right moves are made. According to Sandy Alderson, the Mets’ GM, moves will be made through trades and free agent signings and hopefully a continuing influx of home grown talent. We’ll see. February 13th, the day pitchers and catchers report to Port St. Lucie is a long way away.

We have seen a pattern the last several seasons and it is not good. The Mets play well in the first half of the season but then disappear after the All Star break. Again this happened in 2012. Most of the excitement and good feeling came in the months of April through June. The Mets were actually over .500 in each of the first three months culminating with a 46-40 record in July prior to the break. Since then the Mets went a dismal 28-48, virtually falling off a cliff.  In July the Mets went 7-18, their worst month of the season. What followed was not much better with the Mets having gone 11-16 in August, 12-16 in September, and 1-2 in October. All in all the last three month were pretty ugly.

Yes there were high points to this debacle of a season. 2012 will always be remembered as the season when the first no-hitter in franchise history was thrown.

Johan Santana did so on June 1st, a Friday evening. Yes he got a little help from a blown call by the third base umpire that robbed Cardinal and former Met Carlos Beltran of a double. But in fairness, that non double was a more legitimate miss call than the error given to Scott Rolen last week when Homer Bailey for Cincinnati threw the seventh no-hitter of the season.

Santana threw 134 pitches that night taxing his surgically repaired shoulder. The warm and fuzzies we all felt afterwards as the Mets scrummed on the field was felt by all who have been fans of this franchise. For me it is more years than I care to remember.

Many concluded that the no-hitter was Santana’s undoing, that he was never the same since. Prior to the no-hitter, Santana had pitched well but afterwards he did not. Some fact checking shows that is not entirely true. Yes, a week later Santana was beaten down by the Yankees so there could have been some immediate residue of the large amount of pitches thrown. But it could have also been because Santana was pushed back a couple of days giving him seven days rest. After a start in Tampa when Johan let up four runs in five innings, he settled down over the next three outings giving up just two runs. First he gave up none in six innings against Baltimore. The two runs were given up against the Cubs at Wrigley, also in six innings then Johan shut out the Dodgers over eight innings in Los Angeles.

After the Dodgers game, Santana ran into problems giving up an average of six runs a game over his last five starts. But the likely problem was from an ankle sprain suffered when Santana stumbled over first base. Plus there was fatigue. After all, Santana had been rehabbing since January. He was shut down in August and instructed not to pick up a ball till next January. The no-hitter is in the books and will likely be replayed a number of times this winter on SNY’s Mets’ Classics. But the loss of Santana’s presence was a negative and did not help moving forward.

Then of course, and perhaps a story even bigger than the Santana no-hitter, was the curious case of Robert Allen Dickey. The pitcher who was born without an ulnar collateral ligament and lost his signing bonus because of it, reinvented himself in his late 30s to become a knuckleball throwing pitcher. Former Mets GM Omar Minaya gave Dickey a chance and he was eventually called up to the majors in 2010. Dickey was so good this season that he will be given very serious consideration for the Cy Young award. If it happens, it will be the first for a knuckleballer and the first for a Mets pitcher since Dwight Gooden won the prestigious pitching award in 1985. Regardless of who wins the Cy Young award, Dickey became the sixth Mets pitcher of all time to win 20 games.  Frank Viola was the last to do so in 1990. Dickey’s 20 wins is surpassed by Gio Gonzales of the Nationals who has 21. But Dickey has more strikeouts and overall had a better season. Had the Mets scored more runs in Dickey’s starts, he easily could have won 22 or 23 games.

David Wright had a phenomenal first half of the season and managed to hit above .300 for the sixth time (first time since 2009) in his career. Wright broke the all time Mets hit record along with runs scored and RBI. His defense was outstanding and has a chance to pick up his third Gold Glove award. Wright struggled somewhat in the second half but likely because he was attempting to carry the offense when everyone else stopped hitting.

Other positives were the emergence of pitcher Matt Harvey who in ten starts showed why so many believe he can become an ace one day.  Jonathan Niese grew this season too showing more command of all his pitches then he had before.  Daniel Murphy played a fine defensive second base defying his critics and hit as usual although more power would be nice in the future (if he is still here). After a terrible start with an average under .200 Ike Davis managed to get it back together. He hit 32 homeruns and drove in 90. His defense was a bit off when compared to his first couple of seasons but over all Davis is a fine first baseman. Yet we hear Davis could be moved in the off season. For an organization so lacking in power, the Mets better think long and hard before they consider moving Davis. Just who on the club will replace those 32 homeruns? The Mets need more homeruns, not less.

Ruben Tejada played very well at short hitting above .300 for most of the season. He’s very good defensively with great range so the Mets did not miss having Jose Reyes too much.  The infield is good. That’s one thing the Mets have going for them. But the rest is a mess and serious attention must be given to an outfield who managed to drive in very few runs.

The pitching could be a strength moving forward. Hopefully Santana, two and a half years removed from his shoulder surgery will show up to spring training in complete health. With Dickey, Niese, and Harvey, they could have a very good foursome.  The Mets will also have Dillon Gee back from his repaired artery in his pitching arm. Maybe the Mets bring back Chris Young and Mike Pelfrey for depth. Jeremy Hefner did a fine job his last two outings of the season plus phenom Zach Wheeler could make his presence felt by mid season. You can never have enough pitching.

Of course the bullpen will need work but Bobby Parnell showed improvement. Josh Edgin could be a strong left handed presence in the pen also. But look for the bullpen to be reconstructed. The pen lost many games for the Mets this season. That and a poor hitting from the outfield and catcher position were the main reasons the Mets stumbled so badly in 2012. The offense, especially in the second half, was simply absent and put entirely too much pressure on everything else. Yes, in baseball pitching is the name of the game but a team does need to score runs. The Mets desperately need another power hitter in the lineup, someone who will help protect Wright and Davis. It’s no coincidence that Wright’s best seasons was when Carlos Delgado and Carlos Beltran were in the lineup. This offseason,  Sandy Alderson will have his work cut out for him.

On a personal note, I’m glad this season is over. I could go on and on about what the Mets need and what caused them to play so horribly but I am tired. After four years of losing, following the Mets has almost become abusive. From time to time I will post a thought or two but frankly I need a break.

The Coming Offseason

How quickly can the Mets turn it around?

Do you expect a lot of trades over the winter? How about a number of free agent signings? The FA market is not that great so if the Mets were going to make changes, impact changes, you would expect Sandy Alderson to make a trade or two. Ok… so who would you trade?

Would you trade Jon Niese, a young left handed starter who is under control for a reasonable amount for a few years, and who had a break out season in 2012? How about Ike Davis, the one guy who truly has power on this team? He has hit 31 homers with 89 RBI and had a miserable first two months after missing most of last year. Plus he is one of the best defensive first baseman in the league. A left handed power hitting first baseman is hard to come by. The Mets have one , a home grown one at that. Why on earth would you trade him? Well, as Ted Berg wrote after the news was leaked that Davis might be traded a couple weeks back… “Trade him for Jeff Francoeur, No. Trade him for Giancarlo Stanton, Yes!” Ted’s point–anyone can be traded if the deal makes sense. However, the last thing Alderson should want to do is make any trade that makes the Mets weaker.

Here is something else to consider that may prove the point…

2011 Cincinnati Reds: 73-89 – 2012 Cincinnati Reds: 95-63, NLC Champions
2011 Baltimore Orioles: 69-93, 2012 Baltimore Orioles: 92-67, clinched playoff spot
2011 Washington Nationals: 80-81 – 2012 Washington Nationals: 96-63 1 win from first NLE championship

These teams were patient and the talent they had finally came together. Yes they made deals to enhance a young core. Could that happen for the Mets? It could. The reason is pitching. The Mets have a lot of it and it looks to be their strength moving forward. This is not to say the Mets should stand pat and do nothing over the winter. But the idea of trading a Jon Niese and/or Ike Davis, even a Lucas Duda should only be done if the Mets were overwhelmed. As mentioned, Niese has finally turned the corner and Ike Davis has a little more than two full seasons in the National League. He hit 19 homers in his rookie season of 2010 then hit 7 and was hitting great before he injured his ankle in ’11. Davis needs to hit lefties better but he still is young and needs more experience. I would hate to see the Mets give up on Davis just yet. And his defense helps all three of the other infielders. I know there are times when a team must trade from strength but as stated, only if overwhelmed by the offer.

Trade some of the young talent or not? Well never the less one thing is certain. The Mets have posted a worse record for three consecutive seasons now. The most they can win this season is 76 games. They won 77 last season and 79 the year before. Not the direction we would like. The Mets have not finished above .500 since 2008, the last year at Shea Stadium with an 89-73 record. They lost on the last day of the season with a playoff spot on the line disappointing a full house as they closed the door on Shea for the last time. Things have gotten worse ever since. So for me or any fan to say don’t trade this guy or that guy is a bit silly. Sandy has his work cut out and after Wednesday, the Hot Stove starts to heat up.

In a nutshell…

In the AL, the Orioles, Yankees, and Rangers are definitely  in the post season. The Tigers need a win or a loss from the White Sox to clinch the AL Central. Detroit has clinched at least a tie for the division lead. Oakland needs one win to clinch at least a wild card spot but still has a shot at the division if they can sweep the Rangers in the final series of the season beginning tonight in Oakland. The Rays and Angels need a lot of help with an elimination number of one in the wild card race.

Series to watch: Red Sox at Yanks, Orioles at Rays, Rangers at Athletics, Angels at Mariners, Tigers at Royals.

In the NL, all is settled except for who will be the second wild card. Well technically the Braves could still win the division but likely the Nats will take the NLE while the Braves will host the Cardinals in the NL Wild Card playoff. The Dodgers still have a shot at the number two wild card as they play the Giants while the Cardinals play the Reds.

Series to watch: Phillies at Nationals, Braves at Pirates, Reds at Cardinals, Giants at Dodgers

Dickey Does It

Yesterday, R.A. Dickey joined the ranks of Tom Seaver (1967-1977, 1983), Jerry Koosman (1967-1978), Dwight Gooden (1984-1994), David Cone (1987-1992, 2003), and Frank Viola (1989-1991) to become the sixth pitcher in Mets history to win at least 20 games in one season. The last time it was done was by Viola who won 20 in 1990.

The complete list of pitchers to win at least 20 in a season…

Seaver – 1969:25, 1971:20, 1972:21, 1975:22
Gooden – 1985:24
Koosman – 1976:20
Cone – 1988:20
Viola – 1990:20
Dickey -2012:20 with one more start

Seaver remains the king of all Mets pitchers having won 20 or more games four times. Gooden’s 24-4 season was one of the most dominant in club history perhaps surpassed only by Seaver’s 25-7 mark of 1969.

With a win next week in Miami, Dickey could move into third place in club history tied with Koosman ahead of Cone and Viola.

In their respective 20 win seasons, Dickey’s strikeout total (so far 222) out numbers Viola’s (182), Cone’s (213), Koosman’s  (200) and Seaver’s  in 1969 (208). Seaver struck out 289, 249, and 243 in his three other 20 game seasons. Gooden struck out 268 in his 24 win season.

The main difference between Dickey and the other Mets 20 game winners is that Dickey throws a knuckle ball and he accomplished this feat for a losing team, a team currently 12 games under .500.  Seaver, Koosman, Cone, Gooden, and Viola did so for Mets teams that finished above .500, in most cases at least 10 games over.

Here is the complete list of Dickey’s wins from this year so far…

Win Date Opponent Score IP H R ER SO BB
1 April 7 Atlanta 4-2 6.0 5 2 2 3 4
2 April 13 @ Philadelphia 5-2 7.0 9 1 1 7 1
3 April 25 Miami 5-1 7.0 3 1 1 7 1
4 May 6 Arizona 3-1 8.0 4 1 1 4 4
5 May 12 @ Miami 9-3 6.0 9 2 2 0 1
6 May 22 @ Pittsburgh 3-2 7.0 5 1 1 11 0
7 May 27 San Diego 2-0 7.1 3 0 0 10 1
8 June 2 St. Louis 5-0 9.0 7 0 0 9 0
9 June 7 @ Washington 3-1 7.1 4 0 0 8 0
10 June 13 @ Tampa Bay 9-1 9.0 1 1 0 12 0
11 June 18 Baltimore 5-0 9.0 1 0 0 13 2
12 June 29 @ LA Dodgers 9-0 8.0 3 0 0 10 1
13 July 19 @ Washington 9-5 7.1 10 4 3 5 1
14 July 29 @ Arizona 5-1 7.0 4 1 0 8 3
15 August 9 Miami 6-1 9.0 5 1 1 10 0
16 August 25 Houston 3-1 7.0 5 1 1 2 1
17 August 31 @ Miami 3-0 9.0 5 0 0 7 3
18 September 5 @ St. Louis 6-2 6.2 8 2 2 5 1
19 September 22 Miami 4-3 8.0 6 2 2 4 2
20 September 27 Pittsburgh 6-5 7.2 8 3 3 13 2

 

With Dickey’s stats being favorable to many elite pitchers in the National League this season, it is very possible he could win the Cy Young Award. Tom Seaver won the Cy Young award in two of his four 20 plus win seasons in 1969 and 1975 (also won in 1973 with 19 wins) and Dwight Gooden won the award in 1985 for his 24-4 season. It was the last time a Mets pitcher won the prestigious award for pithching. Randy Jones of the Padres (22 wins) beat out Koosman in ’76 while Orel Hershiser of the Dodgers (23 wins) in ’88 beat out Cone. Doug Drabak of the Pirates (22 wins) won the Cy Young over Viola in ’90. Dickey will be challenged by Gio Gonzales of the Nationals who won his 21st game yesterday.  With the Nats positioned to win the division over the weekend, it’s possible manager Davey Johnson will skip Gonzales’ start or at least limit his innings to three to get prepared for the playoffs. If that happens, Dickey would have a chance to tie Gonzales for the lead in wins.

Wright Ties Kranepool

David Wright played his first major league game on a Wednesday. It was July 21, 2004. In his first game, he did not get a hit against Montreal going 0 for 4. The next day, July 22, a Thursday noon time game played in the high nineties and very humid, David got his first hit in the majors. It was a double hit down the left field line. My son and I happened to be there that day sitting in the sweltering mezzanine section.

Tomorrow evening, again on a Wednesday, David will have his first chance of becoming the all time leader in hits for the New York Mets. Having gone 2 for 4 last evening, Wright tied Ed Kranepool at 1,418 hits. Kranepool’s record has stood since 1979.

Let’s put this record into perspective. Kranepool played 17 years with the Mets having debuted in 1962 as a 17 year old. Wright has tied Kranepool in just eight and a half years. That’s pretty impressive. While Ed Kranepool will always remain a Met favorite among fans old enough to remember, his prowess as an offensive player never approached the skills of David Wright. I’m sure Eddie would agree.

Wright is on his way to being one of the best home grown players to ever put on the orange and blue. He likely will sign a long term extension over the offseason (we hope). It is imperative that David remains with the Mets his entire career. Unfortunately, the Mets have never been very good at keeping their great players. Most notably was Tom Seaver who should have retired in a Mets uniform. The Mets cannot let it happen again. They cannot let a great player like Wright, the face of the franchise, walk away. Sandy Alderson must sign Wright and I am confident he will.

It seems like yesterday that my son and I sat in the mezzanine reserved seats that day in 2004 wondering what Wright would become. We knew he was good having read about his accomplishments in the minor leagues. But honestly I don’t think anyone sitting in old Shea Stadium that day had any idea of what a fine player and a fine young man Wright would become.

This season has been disappointing to say the least but it will hopefully be remembered for three exciting things–the Johan Santana no-hitter, R. A. Dickey’s magical season, that could end with him receiving the Cy Young award, and David Wright becoming the all time Mets hit leader. No its not a playoff appearance but we’ll take it.

David already leads the Mets with runs (787), doubles (321), RBI (813), strikeouts (1,007), Walks (614), total bases (2,386), and sac flies (58) tied with Kranepool. With 2000 or more at bats, Wright leads the Mets all time in batting average with .300. He is third in homers with 202, 50 behind Darryl Strawberry. Mike Piazza is second with 220 homers.

The Irrelevant Series

At the All Star Break (ASB), I allowed myself to look at the second half schedule and wonder what important series there might be heading down the stretch. One that popped up at me was the four game set in late September at Citi Field against the Pirates. With the Mets in third place, just a handful of games behind the division leading Nationals and virtually tied for the wild card, it might have been likely this four game set could have been a very important meeting.

The Pirates had a one game lead in the Central Divison at the ASB. Manager Clint Hurdle had his young Bucs firing on all cylinders. It was an exciting time in Pittsburgh, a city in renaissance that only knows the Steelers of football and Penguins of ice hockey when it comes to professional sports. However, Pirates’ fans in hiding for many years were making the trip to the National League’s best jewel of a ballpark—PNC Park on the Allegheny River that overlooks a beautiful downtown. Pittsburgh? Beautiful?

Yes.

I was fortunate enough to be in Pittsburgh two summers ago when the Mets were in town and went to a game on a steamy August Friday evening. The Mets won that night in another lost season of futility for both clubs. But what I came away was the setting.

PNC Park is absolutely beautiful and unlike City Field with the chop stops next door, the view is spectacular. Riverboats go by and under the many bridges on the Allegheny with the old and modern skyline in the background. Fans park cheaply in the parking lots around the ballpark or park in the city and walk across the Roberto Clemente Bridge that is closed off to traffic before and after the game. That evening, even with a small crowed the baseball atmosphere was Hollywood like. I remember thinking if the Pirates ever get their act together, this place will be packed every night. It’s simple a perfect environment for baseball.

The Pirates are close to becoming that kind of team however this year, their young players lacked the experience to win down the stretch. Since the ASB, the Pirates have fallen back to earth and are currently under .500. At the ASB, the Pirates were 48-37. Since then they have gone 27-38, not as bad as the Mets second half but pretty close. The sad thing for the Pirates is they were on their way to their first winning season since 1992 when they won the Eastern Division championship with a 96-66 record. Mets fans are not about to give too much sympathy to Pirate fans but at least the Mets have had nine winning seasons since then and have made the playoffs three times with one World Series appearance.

So the four game set that begins tonight at Citi Field against the Pirates has no bearing on the playoffs. Sure, mathematically the Pirates could still be one of the two wild cards but the odds are against it. And of course the Mets are already packing the truck for Port St. Lucie.

Why the Mets need to address hitting….

Here’s a startling stat from this year’s Mets. If you were living in Siberia since March and just got home and saw this one stat, you would likely assume the Mets were having a great year. In games in where the Mets scored the first run, their record is 52-23. That’s a .693 winning percentage. To me it suggests that the Mets pitching is no fluke. They hold the lead pretty well. We also know that the bullpen was a disaster the first half of the season but now have been more consistent. In fact, the pen has been very good of late. The stat also suggests the Mets need more offense. If they can score the first run more often than the 75 games they have done so, combined with their pitching, they would win many more games. Hopefully the offensive gets addressed in the offseason.

Winners so far…

Three playoff positions have already been established in the National League. Both Reds and the Giants clinched their respective division titles on Saturday. The Nationals clinched at least a wild card on Thursday. The Braves are top wild card in the NL, leading St. Louis, the second wild card by six games. The Braves have a magic number of two to clinch a wild card spot but still have a shot at the division title trailing the Nats by 4.5 games. The Nationals and Braves do not play each other the rest of the regular season.

The Cardinals are the second wild card currently with a 2.5 game lead over the surging Brewers.

No one has clinched anything in the American League. The Yankees and Orioles continue to be separated by one game as each team seems to win or lose on the same day. Both the Yanks and O’s won their series this weekend two games to one against the Athletics and Red Sox respectively. The closest team to clinching in the AL is the Rangers with a magic number of 7 over Oakland. Billy Bean’s team will begin a three game set in Texas tonight.

The White Sox and Tigers will battle it out for the division title in the AL Central. They both have a better shot at that instead of the wild card. Currently Baltimore and Oakland are the two AL wild cards.

World Baseball Classic 2013

Spain has won a qualifying round in Jupiter, Florida this weekend by defeating Israel in the deciding game.  The other qualifying round is currently underway in Regensberg, Germany. This afternoon (local time) Germany will take on Canada to determine who will go to the WBC next March. There will be two additional qualifying rounds in November. One will be in Panama City with the other in New Taipai City. The winners of those two rounds will complete the field of 16 that will battle it out in the spring. Click here for more information regarding qualification rounds.