Jey Young/ Ball Boy Blog
Currently, on 6/11, we sit 58 games into the season, and we have seen two managers fired; more speculation of others who could be relieved of duties before the season ends. We have seen once-promising teams have tailed off, and teams who were excellent last season cool off, but a couple of those have heated up, and it wouldn't be baseball with a team or two that wasn't supposed to be winning games, doing just that winning games.
It's been the tale of two seasons through almost the first 60-games for the LA Angels. They started the season crushing and cruising in the AL West, and then suddenly, the bat car stopped working, and they found themselves in a 10-game losing streak and underperforming to expectations yet again. The solution was to fire underperforming manager Joe Maddon. The firing showed that things were greener on the other side as they went from a 10-game losing streak to a franchise-record 14-game losing streak. Twitter had their fun with the Angellllllllllllll's during this streak, and if not for MVP, 2-way Shohei Ohtani doing it all in a start to will the Angels to their first win, the streak could be ongoing. However, the winning ways didn't last long as the Angels immediately lost last night's contest to the NY Mets 5-2. Two stats tell the story for the LA Angels, who recently dropped their City Connects during this losing streak. Stats offensively, all stats over the last 7-days, 22R scored, 2.7RC/27outs, and a team OBP of .278 and a team BA of .216. The next group of stats from the pitching was a combined 4.02ERA, .259OBA, and 33R surrendered. The outcoming is likely unfavorable when the pitching allows 1.5x as many runs as the offense is scoring. The lone bright spot to come from all this is that the Angels still hold 2nd place in the AL West and are only 3.5 games out of the 3rd wildcard.
When you fire a manager who has won a world series with the NY Yankees, you expect that level of expectations to come with your club when you walk into the building. Especially when you have an MVP and generational talent in Bryce Harper, however, that was not the case for Joe Girardi as he too failed to meet expectations for the Phillies in his tenure before he was released. However, the Phillies have gone to win EIGHT, yes EIGHT games straight, with Interim Manager Rob Thompson at the helm. The Phillies, as of today, now sit at 29-29 and 2.5G from the 3rd wildcard. Over the last 7-games, the Phillies offense has scored 44R, hit 14HR, and slashed a combined .288/.366/.563 for an elite team OPS of .928. The offense also has 6.8RC/27 and 49K-25BB, which is a good ratio. The pitching staff led by ace Aaron Nola has a 3.00ERA and only allowed 19R, with a 51K-16BB ratio. I am in the Phillies for the rest of the season.
However, things are getting more difficult in the NL East as the Braves are 9-1 in their last ten games played and look to be clicking right as the Mets have struggled, going 6-4 over their last 10 to keep pace with the Phillies. The Braves have been able to gain some ground back in the wildcard race as they are currently tied for the 3rd wildcard and sit at 32-27 and 2nd in the NL East. The Ronald Acuna Jr effect has been happening in Hot-lanta these last 7-games plays as he leads the offense with 3HR and a slash line of .391/.423/.826. However, the Braves have a lesser-known OF, who is genuinely providing a spark since he arrived in the MLB, rookie Michael Harris II, who has a .318/.348/.545 in the same stretch as Acuna. The offense looks good, slashing a combined .278/.323/.538 for a well above average team .861OPS. The offense has scored 37R and currently has a 6.2RC/27. Kyle Wright, Ian Anderson, and Max Fried trio are doing precisely what's needed during the last seven days as they have helped pace the pitching staff to a 2.41ERA with 64K-13BB and only allowing 16R. A 2-1 run ratio in favor of the offense will keep your team humming!
Sticking in the NL and heading into the Central division, the once scorching Brewers looked to have the NL Central locked up as theirs and were fully expected to run away with another Division crown. However, that hasn't been the case as the Brewers are 1-9 in their last ten games. The Brewers now sit 0.5 games behind the Cardinals for 1st. However, they are still well in the playoff hunt as they own the 2nd wildcard spot behind the Padres. However, they only hold that spot by 0.5 games ahead of the Giants and Braves. The offense has come to an immediate halt slashing a team .212/.274/.305 for a mediocre .579OPS. The offense has a combined 55K-17BB and has only been able to score 14R and have a 2.8 RC/27 over the last seven games. The pitching has also struggled to a 6.17ERA, 51K-15BB, 66H, and 42R being allowed while also a .296OBA. The nearly 4-1 rate the Brewers pitching is allowing runs that the offense is struggling to score a very telling story of how things are going for the Brewers. However, the track record for this staff behind Burnes, Lauer, Williams, and Hader, should turn things around.
Onto our last vibe check. There is one more team; this team is currently 0.5G out of the 3rd wildcard in the AL, 28-26; they have a +35 run diff and sit in 2nd place in their division, and are 8-2 over their last 10. You got the answer wrong if you were thinking of any other AL team not named the Cleveland Guardians. Yes, the Guardians have quietly worked their way this season to be one that team shouldn't count out due to a meager payroll. 3B Jose Ramirez has led the Guardians all season long and has, over the last 7-games, played. Ramirez and the offense have a .251/.318/.385 slash, for a barely above average .703OPS. The offense has scored 31R and posted a 4.6 RC/27. However, the true story outside Ramirez and rookie Steven Kwan is the superb pitching we see night in and night out from manager Terry Francona's pitching staff. Over the same last 7-games for the Guardians pitching, they have a team 3.05ERA, 55K-19BB, and have allowed 22R while limiting opponents to a .204BA. The Guardians can sustain this play with their pitching and the pieces from the Lindor trade- Amed Rosario and Andres Gimenez indeed coming into shape; the 2022 season is the Guardians to steal.
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