Memorial Day weekend is an important time for Americans. We strive to thank those who have fought for our freedoms and protected everything that we hold dear. It is also a time for families to come together and celebrate the kick-off of the summer season. And finally, it is a great weekend for America’s pastime, with the first two months of the season coming to a close and the real meat and potatoes of the playoff push officially starting here.
So with that in mind, Happy Memorial Day to all and let’s talk some baseball!
- When a player has the albatross of being trade bait hung around his neck, it can be a bit much. But when said player is having the best season of his career, it makes the bait all the sweeter for the big fish to bite on. Such is the case with the Houston Astros and Wandy Rodriguez. The Astros are playing tremendous baseball, especially considering where they were a season ago, but in a division with the Cardinals and Reds, they don’t have any true designs on postseason baseball. Rodriguez is tremendous asset to them, but knowing that he’s currently enjoying a 4-4 record with the fourth best ERA in the majors at 2.14, and the best strike-out to walk ratio of his career, the Astros may consider trading the 33-year-old at the deadline in order to continue their rebuilding process. Rodriguez does have a $13 million guarantee for next season and a $13 million option with $2.5 buyout in 2014, so Houston will need to find the right trade partner, but when he is performing the way he is, it makes swallowing that contract a bit easier.
- Without checking first, can anyone name the major league leader in the hits category? Josh Hamilton? Derek Jeter? Nope, it is Melky Cabrera of the San Francisco Giants who has stroked a cool 69 base knocks through 47 games to start the 2012 season. With 22 of those being for extra bases, which helps lead to a .531 slugging percentage of the Giants outfielder, the Giants are definitely getting more bang for their buck when they trades lefty Jonathan Sanchez to Kansas City for the Melk Man.
- It is Memorial Day weekend and the Orioles are in first place. I just had to say it out loud because it just didn’t feel right.
- Has there been a team in baseball that has shown more of an ill-effect from an off-season loss than the Milwaukee Brewers? At 19-27, the Brewers stand over the lonely Cubs in the National League Central race, this after winning the division by 6 games a year ago. The loss of Prince Fielder can be felt throughout the line-up, but you can tell the presence Fielder had in the clubhouse is missed more. The Brewers lack the leader to step forward and pull them out of the funk they are in and it is readily apparent that Ryan Braun is not the leader the club needs.
- On one last note, the Red Sox and Rays got into it on Friday night when they exchanged hit batsmen, with Dustin Pedroia and Luke Scott getting plunked in the game. Scott took exception when he got hit, the second time this season by a Red Sox pitcher and started toward the mound. Perhaps this was due more to Scott’s outspoken comments during the offseason where he called out Red Sox fans for taking over opposing ballparks and their general rudeness. He also stated that he was happy to see their faces when his Orioles eliminated Boston a season ago. Either way, one of these teams is going to use this as fuel for the remainder of the season, but there is no doubt that the Red Sox and Rays will continue to be a drama fueled rivalry for the remainder of the season.
P.S. – Hey Look, Jared Saltalamacchia is a big dude and you aren’t getting around him, Wolverine sideburns or not.
*Thank you to Baseball-Reference.com for the stats!