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MLB Mid Season Report Card: Part 1 – NL East 2

Posted on July 14, 2010 by Don Spieles

We’ve made it through the July 4th weekend and we’ve reached the official midway point of summer: The All Star Game. That’s the Major League Baseball All Star Game. Far and away the best of the breed, perhaps because of timing, perhaps because of the much argued “home field advantage” gambit, far above similar offerings from the NBA, NFL, or NHL.

Congrats to the Senior Circuit for finally eeking out a “W”.

This week marks the midway point of the baseball season, itself. With each team having played eighty plus games, let’s take a look at how they are doing.

NL East

Atlanta Braves (52-36): B+

May 11, 2010- Milwaukee, WI. Miller Park..Atlanta Braves Jason Heyward runs to third base, Heyward had 2 hits a RBI, and 2 walks at the plate..Milwaukee Brewers lost to the Atlanta Braves 3-11..Mike McGinnis / CSM.

Jason Heyward: The biggest thing to hit Atlanta since Sherman.

Atlanta has outperformed most expectations, the average of which had them around third in a tough division. Their pitching has been pretty much what was predicted. Their top three starters (Tim Hudson, Derek Lowe, Tommy Hansen) all boast +.500 records while their bottom two (Kenshin Kawakami and Jair Jurrjens) have a total 2 wins in 22 starts.

The biggest story for Atlanta has been Jason Hayward, rookie phenom with 11 home runs, .251 average, and 45 RBI. The newest addition (to an offense that leads the NL in OBP (.343) and boasted a robust 37-19 in May and June) has given a bit of spark to both players and fans alike.

Pardon the cliche, but Atlanta seems to find a way to win this season, despite only slightly above average pitching and offense. They have also had some good luck by way of a Phillies squad that is sorely underacheiving. Read the rest of this entry →

2010 Baseball Previews: NL East – Could the Phillies Actually be Better? 3

Posted on March 24, 2010 by Don Spieles

With less than two weeks left until opening day, let’s abandon the designated hitter and take a look at the Senior Circuit, otherwise known as the National League.

In the eastern division, the NL is right up there with its AL neighbors – well, almost, anyway.  In the last 10 postseasons, the World Series representative from the National League was an eastern division team for four of them (Mets in 2000, the Marlins in 2003, and the Phillies in ’08 and ’09), winning in ’03 and ’08.  Things are looking decent for that to be the case again in 2010.

1. Philadelphia Phillies

Many predict that Halliday will have a historic year in Philadelphia.

Many predict that Halliday will have a historic year in Philadelphia.

At some point, things will have to work out in favor of someone else besides the “Phightin’ Phils, but it would be hard to make a case for it being likely this season.  As if the Phillies weren’t the odds on favorites based the fact that they are coming off of two consecutive World Series appearances, they also went out and picked up a picked up a pitcher by the name of Roy Halliday.  On paper, the Phillies getting Roy Halliday is the equivalent of the Lakers getting LeBron James.   Many already have this newest Philadelphia son pegged to be the NL Cy Young winner.  Some even mention the NL MVP, as well.  There are even a couple of optimists who think he could win 25 games now that he’s in the NL and playing for the offensive juggernaut that is Philadelphia.  While 25 seems a stretch (in 11 season, Halliday has had 25 decisions or more only three times,) AL pitchers who move to the NL seems to have great initial success.

Read the rest of this entry →

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      Cuba is known for producing great baseball talent and there has arguably been no one from the island better than the Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month.

      Before injuries cut short his Hall of Fame worthy career, Tony Oliva was one of the best hitters in baseball and combined with Hall of Famers Rod Carew and Harmen Killebrew to make the Minnesota Twins a perennial American League contender during the late 1960s.

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