It is truly amazing.
Here it is, on the cusp of something special, just two days removed from the culmination of something that hasn’t happened in 45 years … and most baseball fans haven’t even so much as expended a yawn about it.
Pssst, wake up. In case you haven’t noticed, what Miguel Cabrera is going, well, it isn’t likely to happen in your lifetime again.
With 160 games in the books, the Detroit third baseman leads the American League in batting average, home runs and RBIs. The last time a full slate was completed and a player stood atop all three categories, Carl Yastrzemski was just getting into the meat of his Hall of Fame career.
The Boston outfielder’s line went .326, 44 and 121.
Cabrera’s numbers are comparable, just better: .329, 44 and 137.
Point is, Cabrera’s numbers are better than anyone else’s in the AL this season … and the fact most seem to be oblivious to that, or lack an appreciation for that, is kinda mind-boggling.
If the Phillies and their let-the-good-times-roll faithful merely feel the 2012 season was a blip on their self-believed NL dominance screen, it would behoove all in attendance and beyond to look very closely at Thursday’s home finale at Citizens Bank Park.
There, reality stared them in the face.
In the form of Ryan Zimmerman, Michael Morse, Ian Desmond, Bryce Harper, Adam LaRoche, and, perhaps most telling of all, Gio Gonzalez.
Ironic, isn’t it, that as the Phillies’ dynastic delusions sink slowly into the abyss this fall, they get to watch a former farmhand who was cast aside and deemed “not worthy” of dressing out in their red pinstripes put the screws to them at Citizens Bank Park.
Oh, the left-hander wasn’t dominant in this one. Nah, instead he teased a bit. Gave his former club a ray of hope for a few innings, before shutting the door and letting his offense take over in a 7-3 Nationals victory.
The effort left him standing with a major-league best 21 wins. He also possesses a 2.93 ERA, and if not for R.A. Dickey’s knuckle-balling success with the Mets would be a shoo-in for the Cy Young.
As the Chicago Cubs’ 2012 season limps to a close, players such as Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo have given fans good reason to look forward to the team’s future. If Theo Epstein and the rest of the front office want to maximize that future potential, though, they’ll make every effort to have Alfonso Soriano off the roster by Opening Day 2013.
As ESPN notes, the once-untradeable outfielder is finally far enough along in his exorbitant contract that the Cubs could pick up enough money to convince another team to acquire him. The network speculates that the Rays, Indians, Orioles and Athletics might all have an interest in adding Soriano if the price were right.
Obviously, if the Cubs do absorb a large chunk of Soriano’s contract, there won’t be much financial gain from shipping him out. However, his departure would free up a full-time spot in the outfield that could be used to develop a younger player—or more than one—whose impact on the Cubs’ long-term success would be vastly greater than that of the 36-year-old Soriano.
In beating the Tampa Bay Rays this afternoon in The Bronx, the Yankees may very well have put together their most impressive win of their season so far. The team ran the bases well, got quality starting pitching, and came up with some timely hits to defeat a playoff-caliber team in the Rays.
The Yankees played the kind of baseball they hope to play from here on out--until the end of the regular season and through October, should they make it--highlighted by a 3rd in which they built a 5-0 lead. The inning started with an Eduardo Nunez walk and steal of second, followed by an RBI single by Derek Jeter. Jeter made a heads-up baserunning play (how many times have we heard that over the years), moving to second on the play as Rays' centerfielder B.J. Upton overthrew the cutoff man.
Funny thing about that "roll over and die" act the Phillies, a prohibitive favorite to roll to a National League pennant right on into the World Series, put on earlier this season - it, apparently, was just an act.
Oh, the boys in red pinstripes certainly played it well, creating a cavernous hole thanks to a 9-23 run into the All-Star break, which set the stage for their 2012 nadir one day out of it as they lost at Colorado on July 13 to fall to 37-51.
There were done, cooked ... Phinished, if you will.
All those dreams of a sixth straight trip to the postseason, well, they appeared to be forever entrapped in fantasy, never to be realized.
Fast forward two months ... and ... umm ... you might want to hold off on that eulogy just yet.
Currently on a seven-game win streak heading into action at Houston tonight, the Phillies find themselves just 3 games back in the chase for the second wild-card slot. Granted, it's not the same as challenging the Nationals for top honors in the NL East, but, hey, you take what you can get after being down for so long ... and the Phillies were down for a long, loooooong time.