With the signing of Prince Fielder, is Detroit the new favorite in the AL?
By Cam Cain 1-27-12
In an offseason of surprises like Albert Pujols joining the Angels, this is up there as one of those shockers. The nine year deal is reportedly worth 214 million dollars. Only a few thought Fielder was heading anywhere other than Arlington, Miami, or the capitol. Then, Texas signed Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish. Now all was left was the built-to-win-today Marlins and the built-to-win-in-two-or-three-years Nats. But he chose to head to the Motor City, already the heavy favorites in the Central. I was confused for a while about this one. Then, it hit me. Fielder’s dad, Cecil, played at the old Tiger Stadium for 6 1/2 years, the best of his career, making three allstar teams and hitting 51 home runs in 1990. It was there that young Prince learned the game, hitting monster shots over the fence as a teenager. And the fans sure remember him. The Prince was merely heading home, albeit to a different castle.
So, who does this affect?
This loss, as inevitable as it was, is a tough one to swallow. Especially if Ryan Braun’s appeal of his 50 game suspension for allegedly taking performance enhancing drugs is denied. This is a huge step back for Milwaukee who has not made any big signings or trades so far.
The Cardinals benefit from this deal. This could possibly put this young team into the playoffs with a wild card spot. Besides, they won the World Series despite Adam Wainwright not pitching a single inning due to injury.
Despite peaking in July and struggling towards the end of the year and finishing below .500, don’t count out the Pirates as a dark horse candidate.
This puts the Reds over the top. They have so much young talent including power hitting right fielder Jay Bruce, and speedy center fielder Drew Stubbs. They signed closer Ryan Madson, who saved 32 games for Philadelphia. They also made a statement by trading away Edinson Volquez and first base prospect Yonder Alonso for pitcher Mat Latos of the Padres. This told the fans that they are willing to keep superstar Joey Votto and this is exactly what they needed. Their only worry in the division is St. Louis. The Reds hope they pull a long term Indianapolis Colts, struggling after losing the face of their franchise. Either way, the Reds are the favorites in the Central, if not the NL.
This team is strong from top to bottom. Despite losing Victor Martinez for probably the season, they will likely move Miguel Cabrera to DH. Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, and Doug Fister are at the top of the rotation and all have had success. Also, Alex Avila is a rising star behind the plate and had 85 RBIs last season at age 24. They are my early pick for the World Series.
Who has the edge between division rivals?
By Cam Cain 10-8-11
Last night, approximately 8:15. Brewers CF Nyjer Morgan steps up to the plate in the bottom of the 10th. Speedy Carlos Gomez on first. One out. Following a passed ball, Gomez is on second. Everyone in the stadium knows what’s running through the mind of the anxious batter. So when Morgan took a 2-2 J.J. Putz pitch and drove it up the middle, scoring Gomez, it was the perfect ending to a perfect evening in the Cream City. The Brewers had not won a playoff series since 1982; the Robin Yount days, the County Stadium days, back when they were in the American League. The Angels were their victim; the California Angels! But that is the past. “The fans deserve this because they haven’t seen it since ’82” said Prince Fielder following the game. Morgan also doubled and scored in the 4th. The win did not come easy, however. Closer John Axford blew a 2-1 lead in the 9th and had his first blown save since April. He pitched a 1-2-3 10th and came away with the win.
And on the other end, the team Milwaukee will be facing had a much more difficult path even to get the wild card. At one point, the St. Louis Cardinals were 10.5 games out of a playoff spot. The valiant Cards beat out the Braves for the final spot in the playoffs in game 162; and then had to play the 102-win Phillies with their 4 aces in the NLDS. But the never-say-die Cardinals never said die and fought their way into a game 5 at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, where former Blue Jays teammates and close friends Chris Carpenter and Roy Halladay, currently aces of their respective teams, squared off in the deciding game.
The Cardinals took a 1-0 lead in the first and it was all they would need. Carpenter tossed a 3-hit shutout in the 1-0 victory.
“It was some kind of fun” said Carpenter following the game.
To many, this is a huge surprise. Most thought that Philly would cruise their way by St. Louis and onto a second World Series win in 4 years.
“I know that we’re capable of going farther in the playoffs,” said manager Charlie Manuel. ” Our goal was to get to the world series. It’s been that way for two years now.”
This year’s NLCS will be a rematch of the 1982 World Series, back when the Brewers were an American League team. The Cardinals won in 7 games. The Brewers have never made a World Series before or since.
Can Ian Kennedy Pitch Surprise D-Backs into NLCS?
By Cam Cain 10-7-11
Another October Day. Another chance for Milwaukee It’s do-or die this evening at Miller Park for the Brewers who were heavily favored coming into this series. At 5:07 Eastern time, the Brewers, who had the best home record in the majors at 57-24, will take the field against Justin Upton and a hot-hitting Arizona squad. Taking the mound for Arizona will be ace, and Cy Young Award Candidate Ian Kennedy.(21-4, 2.88) Prior to this season, Kennedy, in his second full season and a top prospect with the Yankees had only won 10 games. Kennedy lost Game 1 in Milwaukee 4-1 due to a strong performance by Brewers starter Yovani Gallardo. Kennedy did not drop back-to-back decisions all yaer and has not since June 26 and July 5th of 2010.
On the other end of the matchup is Milwaukee starter Yovani Gallardo.(17-10, 3.52) Gallardo is 5-0 in 5 starts against Arizona including Game 1 of this year’s playoffs with a 1.20 ERA and 32 Ks in 30 innings. Gallardo was fantastic in Game 1 through 8 innings.
The home team has won all 4 games this series. Milwaukee, as I said earlier, has the best home record in the Majors. Adv. Brew Crew. However, since 2002, the team who has had the best record in front of their home crowd has only won the world series once (2009 Yankees) and has only won the pennant twice, the other being the Rays of 2008. And I don’t think there’s any psychological boost behind a half-empty crowd. It is incredible that Milwaukee, winning 96 games, had a poor record away from home. (39-42) “We do love playing at home” says third baseman Jerry Hairston.
Another note is that this could potentially be star 1B Prince Fielder’s final game in a Brewers uniform. Fielder becomes a free agent following the season. Since 2007, Fielder is second in the majors in Home Runs and 5th in RBIs and the Brewers have gotten this far in large part to him.
2011 teenviewonmlb.wordpress.com Information taken from mlb.com, espn.com, baseballreference.com