The Stage Has Been Set for the Championship Series

It’s hard not to watch the postseason, even though the Red Sox are not in it. This postseason had two teams looking for their first World Series win, one team looking for their 28th ring, and another looking to win their second. There’s even one team that has never made it this far. That team is the Washington Nationals. After tying up Game 5, they won it thanks to a grand slam off of Joe Kelly in the 10th inning.

The other Game 5’s were quite exciting as well. The Cardinals took care of business rightchampionship series off the bat. Literally. They scored ten runs in the first inning to beat the Braves in Atlanta 13-1. The Cardinals will be looking to get back to the World Series for the first time since 2013. First, they face the Washington Nationals tonight in the NLCS. Houston took down the Tampa Bay Rays last night with a 5-1 final, and will be facing the Yankees tomorrow night in the ALCS.

The Championship Series Begins Tonight

The National League Championship series begins tonight in St. Louis. Anibal Sanchez will go up against Miles Mikolas in the first game of the championship series. Last time out for Sanchez was on October 6th in which he pitched five innings only allowing one run off of four hits against the Dodgers. Mikolas last pitched against the Braves on October 7th, where he earned the win in the game while pitching in relief.

Game two of the National League Championship Series will be on Saturday afternoon prior to the American League Championship Series. The Cardinals will call on veteran Adam Wainwright for the game. The Nationals haven’t named a starter yet for the second game.

The Yankees and Astros start the American League Championship Series on Saturday night in Houston. Neither team has named a started, but this will be a series to watch. While the Astros look to return to the World Series after missing it last season, the Yankees will be looking to make an appearance in the World Series since 2009.

Notable Players in the Championship Series

By notable, I mean soon to be Free Agents. Players who are looking to not only lead their team to a World Series title, but a player who is showcasing himself to teams who may need him. One of those players is Astros catcher, Robinson Chirinos. He played in four of the five ALDS games against the Rays, batting .222 with one home run. In 2019, he hit .238 with 17 home runs and 58 RBI’s while being an everyday player.

Third baseman Anthony Rendon will be known as one of the guys who homered off of Clayton Kershaw in Game 5 of the NLDS. The 29 year old had a great 2019 season, batting .319 with 34 home runs and 126 RBI’s. He was named to his first All Star game this past season, and won the NL Comeback Player of the Year Award in 2016. Another infielder that’s a free agent is Didi Gregorius. The 29 year old shortstop was traded to the Yankees prior to the 2015 season to fill the void left by Derek Jeter. Despite spending time on the injury list, Gregorius hit .238 with 16 home runs and 61 RBI’s in 78 plate appearances. He is batting .400 with a grand slam this postseason.

One name that will sound familiar to Red Sox fans is Daniel Hudson. The 33 year old relief pitcher was acquired by the Nationals at the 2019 trade deadline. Since joining DC’s bullpen, he was 3-0 with a 1.44 ERA in 24 appearances. He also is 1-0 this postseason with a 0.00 ERA in four games. In 3.2 innings, he’s only allowed four hits and struck out five in the postseason.

Sunday Gossip – Trade Deadline Update

For baseball fans, a trade deadline update is important, especially if your team is in the hunt for October. In a few short days, teams will either be buyers, or sellers in the one and done trade deadline on Wednesday. It has been relatively quiet throughout Major League Baseball, as teams look to see what they need to do. For Boston, the goal is quite simple – Get into the postseason. With that in mind, what will Dombrowski do?

The other 29 teams have to be wondering the same thing. Who is on the block, and whotrade deadline update is looking to keep their star players from changing uniforms. Trade rumors can be hard to decode, especially when there is a high profile player involved. The most notable names that are being listed are Madison Bumgarner and Noah Syndergaard.

The Dream Wish List For Boston

For the Red Sox, it’s no secret that they need help in the bullpen help. That can be said for many other teams, especially the Washington Nationals and Minnesota Twins. As for the rest of the teams who seem to be in, or nearing playoff contention, pitching might be the answer to their problems. It’s just a matter of who they give up to get the top pitcher to assist their team.

Right now, Boston doesn’t have a trade deadline update to give. Everything is just rumors at this point for them. The same can be said for other teams who are also looking for help. This can come in the form of pitching, or a big bat in the lineup.

The Red Sox don’t have a deep farm system. However, they do have a lot of talent both in the minors and in the majors. Players like Kirby Yates and Jake McGee won’t come cheap. The Red Sox got lucky with Andrew Cashner, in which only two minor league prospects went to Baltimore.

Trade Deadline Update Around MLB

Saturday was a big day for trades in a sense. For the trade deadline update, we look at two teams that made an impact for their clubs.

First, is the Oakland A’s, who made a trade for reliever, Jake Diekman. Oakland traded prospects Ismael Aquino and Dairon Blanco to the Kansas City Royals for Diekman. In 48 games for the Royals, he went 0-6 with a 4.75 ERA. Diekman pitched in 41.2 innings, allowing 22 earned runs, while striking out 63 batters. In 8 major league seasons, Diekman has pitched for 4 teams. The Oakland A’s will be his 5th teams.

Another move that was made on Saturday was done by the Minnesota Twins and Miami Marlins. The Twins acquired two players, Sergio Romo and Chris Vallimont. The Marlins received first baseman Lewin Diaz in return.

The big name in this trade is Sergio Romo, who has plenty of big game experience. The right hander was a member of the San Francisco Giants’ 3 World Series titles in 2010, 2012, and 2014. This season, Romo has pitched in 38 games, with a 2-0 record and a 3.58 ERA. He has 17 saves so far this season as well. With the trade to Minnesota, the 12 year veteran will be playing on his 5th major league team.

The Newest Hall of Famers Were Inducted into Cooperstown

Since 1936, baseball greats have been elected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. That was no different on Sunday, as six legends turned Hall of Famers were inducted into Cooperstown. From the legendary Mariano Rivera, to the late Roy Halladay, Sunday was a day to celebrate these men and their accomplishments as Major Leaguers.

Their accomplishments on the field, and off the field is what makes them role models. Tohall of famers see players like Harold Baines, Lee Smith and Edgar Martinez get their special moment is truly remarkable, and a long time coming.

For Mike Mussina, who pitched for two American League East teams, it was definitely a special day for him, as those who doubted his ability to be enshrined in Cooperstown got to see him take the stage.

For the Halladay family, the Blue Jays and Phillies organizations and their fans, it was a day to remember a man who was a force on the mound. Roy Halladay will forever be remembered as a pitched no batter wanted to face.

Last, but not least, Mariano Rivera. The MLB saves leader was finally enshrined in Cooperstown, just north of the ballpark he called home. When Mo was warming up in the bullpen, the game was basically over.

The Class of 2019

This class consisted of six total players: four pitchers, and two batters. When it comes to Hall of Fame inductions, there is criticism when it comes to who does, and who doesn’t, get elected. This class, however, has a mix of some pretty amazing former players.

The Pitchers

Mariano Rivera – The lifelong New York Yankee made history in January, as he is the first and only player to be elected unanimously into the Hall of Fame. The Panamanian won five World Series rings with the Yankees, and is MLB’s all time saves leader, with 652. The 13 time All Star has a lifetime ERA of 2.21. The man known as Mo is a true Hall of Famer. Mariano Rivera went into the Hall with the Yankees logo on his hat.

Roy Halladay – The late and great starting pitcher was elected into the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. The former Blue Jay and Phillies pitcher was a force on the mound, winning two Cy Young Awards and pitching a no-hitter in the postseason for Philadelphia. The eight-time All Star had a career record of 203-105, and a ERA of 3.38. Doc, as he was known, has his number 32 retired by the Blue Jays. He is also in the Phillies, and Blue Jays, Hall of Fame. Additionally, Roy Halladay’s hat doesn’t have a logo on it, as he played for two teams in his career.

Mike Mussina – In his 6th year of eligibility, the former Baltimore Oriole and New York Yankee made it into the Hall of Fame. Mussina, a seven-time Gold Glove winner, finished his career with a record of 270-153, with an ERA of 3.68. He also was selected as an American League All Star five times, and is a member of the Orioles Hall of Fame. “Moose,” as he was known to fans, had eight seasons where he won 17 games or more. In his final season with the Yankees, he won 20 games. Like Halladay, Mussina does not have a logo on his hat.

Edgar Martinez Gets His Day in Cooperstown

After a very long wait, Edgar Martinez was finally inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. The former Seattle Mariner was elected into the Hall of Fame in his tenth year of eligibility. The third baseman and designated hitter spent his whole career with the Seattle Mariners, and has his number 11 retired by the team.

Martinez was selected for seven All Star games in his career, and won five Silver Slugger Awards as well. In 2004, Martinez also won the Roberto Clemente Award. He has a lifetime batting average of .312, with 309 home runs and 2,247 hits. The Seattle Mariners Hall of Famer was finally honored in Cooperstown this past Sunday, to the delight of Mariners fans. His plaque has the Seattle Mariners logo on it.

The Honorable Mentions

Below are two great players who were elected into the Hall of Fame on the Today’s Game Committee ballot. These Hall of Famers were also honored on Sunday along with Rivera, Halladay, Martinez and Mussina.

Harold Baines – The former outfielder played from 1980-2001. The six-time All Star has a career batting average of .289 with 2,866 hits, 384 home runs and 1,628 RBI’s. In his 22 year career, he played in 2,830 games, most notably as a member of the Chicago White Sox. As a coach for the White Sox, Baines received a World Series ring in 2005. He also won the Silver Slugger Award in 1989, has his number 3 retired by the White Sox, and is in the Baltimore Orioles Hall of Fame. Harold Baines went into the Hall of Fame with the White Sox logo, as he played for the White Sox for 14 seasons, split over multiple seasons.

Lee Smith – The former Major Leaguer pitcher played from 1980-1997 and was a member of the Red Sox from 1988-1990. Smith pitched in 1,022 games, had 478 saves, with a 3.03 lifetime ERA. He was a seven-time All Star, three-time Relief Man of the Year, and was the saves leader four times in his career. Lee Smith went into the Hall of Fame with the Chicago Cubs logo, which is fitting since he pitched for the Cubs from 1980-1987.

Future Hall of Famers

In January 2020, another group of legends will be elected into the Hall of Fame. A year from now, they will forever be enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame. There will be many first timers on the ballot in 2020. Some of the most notable names are Josh Beckett, Derek Jeter, and Paul Konerko.

Of course, there will be a lot of returning names to the ballot. The most notable names are Curt Schilling, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Manny Ramirez and Larry Walker. Now, if I had to choose between these guys, I’m going with Schilling and Walker. Schilling was amazing in the postseason. He was the co-MVP of the World Series as a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2001. He also has a lifetime ERA of 3.46, with a 216-146 record. Walker, despite spending the majority of his career in Colorado, truly deserves the honor. He has a lifetime batting average of .313, with 383 home runs.

When Should Fenway Host The Next All Star Game?

Before we know it, the 2019 All Star Game will be here. Many fans look forward to the next All Star game in July where their favorite players play on center stage. Of course, you can’t forget the Home Run Derby. There’s also the Celebrity Softball game. Am I the only one who watches that?

Anyways, the Red Sox have put their name in to be selected for the 2029 All Star Game. Ifnext all star game it’s held at Fenway Park that year, it’ll be exactly 30 years since the last one was played at Fenway Park.

The Midsummer Classic

If there’s one thing fans love to do, it’s bust the ballot box. Not literally, but close enough. Around the same time every year, fans hop online and vote for their favorite players until their fingers bleed. We all do it, don’t lie.

This year’s game is going to be held at Progressive Field in Cleveland. Home of the Cleveland Indians. This will be Cleveland’s sixth time hosting the game. The last time they hosted was in 1997.

This year’s game is special for the Red Sox, because the American League manager is Alex Cora. Since 1934, the managers for the All Star teams are the ones who led their teams to the World Series. Usually with this responsibility, the managers pick other managers to be on the bench. One can only wonder who Cora will choose to have at his side in Cleveland.

Are The Red Sox Ready To Host the Next All Star Game?

I think so. Why not, it’s been 20 years. The last time Fenway Park hosted the event, Ted Williams threw out the ceremonial first pitch, and stars like Tony Gwynn and Jeff Bagwell were playing. 1999 was also the year of the All Century Team. This team included Williams, Sandy Koufax, Nolan Ryan and Willie Mays. 1999 was also the 70th All Star Game that included many current Hall of Famers, like Bagwell, Cal Ripken Jr, Gwynn, and Pedro Martinez.

In that game, not only did Williams throw out the ceremonial first pitch, but it was announced that the MVP Award would be named for him. Of course, it was only fitting that the first Ted Williams MVP went to Pedro Martinez. In the game, Martinez went two innings, and became the first pitcher in All Star Game history to strike out the side.

Since then, the game has been played in many cities, such as New York, San Diego, Arizona, Miami, Cincinnati, and most recently, Washington DC. Kansas City hosted the 2012 All Start game, Fenway’s 100th birthday. Why not have Fenway and the Red Sox have the 90th All Star Game? Hey, maybe Pedro can throw out the first pitch?

One Can Hope Fenway Will Host the Next All Star Game!

All we can do now is wait. Hopefully, Major League Baseball chooses Boston for the 2029 All Star Game, or maybe for an earlier one. They’ve already chosen Philadelphia for the 2026 game, in honor of America’s birthday.

With that in mind, don’t forget to vote for your favorite Red Sox players. We need to send them to Cleveland to join Alex Cora and to continue the American League dominance.

Phillies Acquisitions Will Make for a Tight NL East Finish

The Phillies had already won the off-season before the fateful day of February 28. That’s when news broke that they acquired the transcendent talent known as Bryce Harper. Signing the right fielder to a mega deal (13 years, $330 million) was a bold move by the Philadelphia brass. However, many other Phillies acquisitions have the club in position to take control of what suddenly has become a very competitive division.

Phillies acquisitions: The outfield

Bryce Harper: Despite a down year in 2018, Harper, along with Manny Machado, were the Phillies Acquisitionsprized possessions on the free market this winter. With talk about nine digit baseball contracts, the Las Vegas native had the chance to break the bank. It didn’t come until Spring training began, but it was worth waiting for. Harper, temporarily, was awarded the largest free agent contract in American sports history. If he can give the Phillies close to his 2015 MVP season production, the deal will pay for itself. If he is pedestrian (if .249/.393/.496 is pedestrian), then it’ll take more than Harper to vaunt the Phillies into first place.

Andrew McCutchen: Once one of the game’s brightest stars, McCutchen’s value has diminshed in recent seasons. However, despite a drop off in runs batted in, the former Pirate posted close to his career averages across many categories in 2018. Standing out among them was a .792 OPS, 30 doubles, and a near-career high 95 walks. However, his strikeout numbers are soaring, he’s on the wrong side of 30, and is relegated to the corner outfield positions. But there’s no doubt his value as a veteran presence around a relatively young Philadelphia team is a welcomed sight.

Phillies Acquisitions: The Infield

J.T. Realmuto: The Phillies acquired arguably the game’s best catcher in 2018, a first-time all-star and silver slugger award winner. Over just 125 games, Realmuto set career highs in runs (74), home runs (21), RBI (74), and OPS (.825). The backstop long ago requested a trade from the Miami Marlins, after team president Derek Jeter decided to fire sale most of the talent off the club. Without Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, and Marcell Ozuna, Realmuto was stuck on a hopeless squad. Now, he’s in position to contend.

Jean Segura: Widely considered one of the game’s most underrated talents, Segura, 29, is already on the fifth different team of his career. He previously had time with the Angels, Brewers, Diamondbacks, and most recently, the Mariners. The Dominican-born product has seen success everywhere he has played, and has two all-star appearances under his belt (2013, 2018). While a .766 OPS over the last two seasons is nothing spectacular, he has consistently been above-league average offensively. According to Fangraphs, only four shortstops have posted a higher wRC+ than Segura’s 117 over the past three seasons, and only six have produced more WAR.

Phillies Acquisitions: The Bullpen

David Robertson: A stellar 2017 season put Robertson on the upper echelon of late inning relievers. 2018 slowed down that narrative. A 3.23 ERA is a sizable regression from 1.82. But Robertson has been a rock throughout his 11-year career, logging over 60 innings pitched in each of his last 9 seasons. He brings closing experience to a club with a cavalry of veteran arms. He figures to be a key part of the division’s strongest bullpen.

Given the major talent overhaul in the city of brotherly love, do not be surprised to see the Phillies make a big jump in 2019. But they’ll have to get through talented squads in Washington, Atlanta, and New York to do so.

2019 MLB Top Five Starting Pitchers

Pitchers do not only win Cy Young awards, they win MVPs. Two starting pitchers have been named Most Valuable Player since 2011, Clayton Kershaw and Justin Verlander. Some other starting pitches to win a MVP: Don Newcombe, Sandy Koufax, Bob Gibson, and Roger Clemens. All of these players were top five starting pitchers for the majority of their respective careers.

Starting pitchers also get paid massive contracts. Both David Price (Red Sox) and ZackTop Five Starting Pitchers Greinke (Diamondbacks) signed free agent contracts in the 2016 off-season worth more than $30 million per year. Nationals ace Max Scherzer signed a 7-yr/$210 million contract a year earlier in 2015.

Starting pitchers also help teams by setting the tone. To begin last season’s World Series, Red Sox ace Chris Sale fired a strikeout on a 2-2 pitch to Dodgers second baseman Brian Dozier. The Sox went on to win the series in five games to capture their 9th World Series championship. Below is a list of 2019 MLB Top Five Starting Pitchers.

 Top Five Starting Pitchers – 5 – Corey Kluber (Cleveland Indians)

Kluber’s strengths are his high strikeout volume and durability. He has recorded at least 222 strikeouts and 203 innings pitched in five consecutive seasons. “Klubot” is a two-time Cy Young award winner and has finished in the top-3 voting of the Cy Young in four of the past five years. He is the ace of the Cleveland Indians and is under team control through 2021. The 32-year-old turns 33 in early April. He is still very much in his prime, as Kluber has won at least 18 games in three straight seasons.

Top Five Starting Pitchers – 4 – Jacob deGrom (New York Mets)

Baseball’s best pitcher in 2018 was arguably Jacob deGrom. He won his first Cy Young after leading the MLB in ERA (1.70). He also finished in the top-5 in innings pitched, strikeouts, and WHIP. Ironically deGrom and Kluber both pitched for Stetson University in Central Florida. deGrom is the ace on the Mets starting staff, a rotation that also includes Noah Syndergaard, and is set to become a free agent after next season.

Top Five Starting Pitchers – 3 – Chris Sale (Boston Red Sox)

Sale would be higher on this list had he pitched more starts last season. He finished 2018 with 27 starts, missing time in the second half due to a nagging shoulder injury. His ERA (2.11), WHIP (0.86), and FIP (1.98) were career bests, however, his 158 innings were the fewest since 2012. Sale has also surprisingly never won a Cy Young, even though he has been voted an All-Star in each of the past seven seasons. He has started the past three for the American League. Sale and the Red Sox recently agreed to a five-year extension on March 23rd.

Top Five Starting Pitchers – 2 – Justin Verlander (Houston Astros)

When asked who is the best pitcher of this generation, most fans would argue Clayton Kershaw. The correct answer might actually be Verlander. The right-hander just turned 36 in February and is very much still in his prime. He has thrown at least 200 innings in 11 of the past 12 seasons. JV has finished second in Cy Young voting three times, including last year, when recorded career-highs in strikeouts (290), hits allowed, FIP, WHIP, and strikeouts per 9 innings pitched. Like Sale, Verlander was just awarded a contract extension for 2 years and became official today. Verlander has a plethora of playoff experience. He owns a 13-7 record, 3.19 ERA, and a 1.02 WHIP in 152 postseason innings.

Top Five Starting Pitchers – 1 – Max Scherzer (Washington Nationals)

“Mad Max” has been baseball’s best pitcher for the past six seasons. Since 2013, he has made the All-Star Game each season (started 3), finished in the Cy Young voting top-5 each season (won 3), and has struck out at least 240 batters in each season. In the past three years, Scherzer has led the National League in WHIP and strikeouts. The only slight on Scherzer’s resume is that he has not won a playoff start since the 2013 ALDS.

Honorable mentions: Blake Snell (Tampa Bay Rays), Aaron Nola (Philadelphia Phillies), Trevor Bauer (Cleveland Indians), Clayton Kershaw (Los Angeles Dodgers), Zack Greinke (Arizona Diamondbacks)