THE WEEKLY: ReplACEments

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In 2009, it was a bad year for hitters.  In 2010, we thought it was a one year thing.  In 2011, we didn’t think it was anything but good pitching.  This year is no exception.  While many people struggle to find reasons for the pitcher dominating in the past few years, throwing around random statistics, I have maybe a real reason.

The pitchers of 2008 were a bit wiped out.  Most aces were veterans losing power.  In 2009, a new wave was born.  Roy Halladay was reaching potential, Clay Buchholz was ready to become one of the main men of a franchise, and Stephen Strasburg was picked number one overall.  In 2010, deemed “Year of the Pitchers” with 5 no hitters, we saw Halladay, Strasburg, and Tim Lincecum showing dominance on the mound.

2011 meant Justin Verlander’s domination.  He became the face of the MLB, winning a Cy Young and MVP.  In 2012, the transition was complete.  Yu Darvish came to MLB, and Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann, Clayton Kershaw, Matt Moore, and many more are blowing by batters.  It’s not even the end of July and we’ve already had four no-no’s, and the league batting average is at its lowest since 1972.  When Lincecum faltered Cain shined.  DC became the fastest, curviest, and slowest city in the country.  Perfection was possible and becoming more common.

A new wave of Aces has replaced a hitters’ playground with a new pitchers’ palace.

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THE WEEKLY: Sox and Nats – Hold on to Your Hats; Spain is Special; and MLS and more

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Hi Everybody!

 

Welcome to a new segment called The Weekly! This is a post covering interesting topics from this week

 

RED SOX AND NATS, HOLD ON…

The Red Sox got rid of Kevin Youkilis.  Good Move.  In return, they got players batting around .215.  Bad move.  But, David Ortiz and Adrian Gonzalez are making up for them.  At 399 home runs in his career, David Ortiz is on pace to go over the 400 mark, and then some.  The pitching hasn’t been perfect, but an offense that is at the top of the list in baseball gives them room to work with and then some.  If they can continue at this pace, the team everyone counted out at the beginning may be in the chase at the end.

The Nats are playing incredibly. But unless you live in NY, ATL, MIA, or PHI, you haven’t been paying attention lately.  You should.  A best-in-baseball pitching rotation with an offense that has shown the capability to explode.  The problem is not a lot of people know.  They need to notice or they are in for a deadly surprise in October.  

SPAIN IS SPECIAL

If it’s something in the water, I’d love to drink it.  Whatever it is, this generation of soccer seems to belong to Spain. 

With Iniesta, Xabi Alonso, and Cesc Fabregas leading the way, Spain already has won two major tournaments in the past five years, and may make it three.  They are always met with high expectations, but this group has gone above and beyond.  This is a Spain group that is very, very special.

MLS – MORE AND MORE

The most unsung league in the US is MLS.  That seems to be changing.  It really started last year when the Galaxy made LA look up and notice.  Soon, ESPN move the game of the week from ESPN2 to ESPN.  Rivalries have been established, traditions made, and supporters have been loyal.  While LA has fallen to the bottom of the table, it’s spreading the glory to cities who haven’t noticed their MLS teams, like Houston and Philadelphia.  And new teams have been added like Portland and Montreal.  The MLS is growing — which can only be a good thing.

[TRANSCRIPTION NOTE: since the post was mailed to the transcriber, Spain indeed triumphed over Italy 4-0 in the Euro 2012 finals, sealing the deal for Spain’s argument to be considered among the best teams ever.  Also Will Middlebrooks got hurt, leaving the Red Sox missing Youk, just a little, against the A’s]