Let’s call it Wednesday 

Posted: June 29, 2016 by Sports Time Radio in baseball, sports, Sports Time Radio, Uncategorized
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It seems as though just a short time ago everyone was sold on the Chicago Cubs where easily the best team in baseball. The Cubs have hot there first real rough patch of the season and that seems to have allowed other teams to come back into the conversation. The Cubs still have the best record in the National League at 50-26, but the San Francisco Giants aren’t too far behind at 49-30. It is an even number year, so that makes San Francisco the World Series favorite, doesn’t it?

The Washington Nationals have the third best record in the NL at 46-32. While one of these teams should be the odds on favorite to make it to the World Series out of the NL they all seem to have a common weakness, the bullpen.

The Cubs bullpen issues showed up last night, but they where able to over come them and win the game in extra innings. Hector Rondon entered the game with a 2-0 lead, but allowed the Cincinnati Reds tie it up blowing his 3rd save chance in his last 4 opportunities. While Rondon has had his issues as of late he does still have an 1.65 ERA for the season. While Rondon has stayed healthy and is the only Cubs reliever to record a save, the Giants have had 5 different pitchers pick up at least 1 save.

Santiago Casilla is San Francisco’s closer, but he’s blown 4 saves this season and has missed some time with injuries. Casilla’s ERA is 3.23 and you have to wonder at age 35 if his time is running out as the Giants closer. The Nationals are in full on juggle the end of the game mode as their closer Jonathan Papelbon is current on the disabled list. Papelbon was 16 out of 18 in save chances before getting injured. While Papelbon has been out Shawn Kelly has 3 saves in 4 chances while Yusmeiro Petit and Felipe Rivero have both picked up 1 save in 2 chances while Papelbon has been out. Papelbon started a rehab assignment on Monday and should be back with the Nationals this weekend as long as things go as planned.

With these teams bullpen’s rough shape, are they looking to make a trade?  Any time you talk bullpen everyone goes to the New York Yankees and expect them to deal Andrew Miller and or Aroldis Chapman. Of course with the Yankees in contention for a wild card spot why would they break up their bullpen. So if any of these three teams are looking to make a trade is there a team out there selling?

Now I have started to hear and read that the Oakland A’s may be ready to start making deals. If you’re looking for bullpen help would Ryan Madson be someone your team should take a look at. Madson has converted 15 of 18 save chances and has an ERA of 3.00 and is 3-2 this season. If you’re not interested in Madson should your team or a team take a chance on Sean Doolittle. Doolittle has pretty much miss the last two seasons with injuries, but this season he has converted 4 of 5 save chances and has a 2-2 record with an ERA of 2.93. Both Madson and Doolittle can close or set up; so there’s some versatility for your bullpen. You could give the rebuilding Atlanta Braves a call, but I don’t think they’re going to trade 25-year-old Arodys Vizcaino as he appears to be the closer of the future. The Braves do have Jason Grilli in their bullpen, but do you want your team going that route?  The Minnesota Twins lost their closer Glenn Perkins for the season with an injury; so there probably out for bullpen help.  Jeanmar Gomez has been a surprise at the back-end of games for the Philadelphia Phillies converting 21 of 23 games with an ERA of 3.00 and has a 2-2 record. It’s the first time Gomez has closed on a regular basis; so it would be tough to see a contender going out to get him. Will one of these teams make an early move or will they stand pat and wait to see if the Yankees or another team with some possible bullpen help fall out of contention?

In the American League, the Texas Rangers have really put everyone on notice with the best record in baseball at 51-27. The Baltimore Orioles are 46-30 and where looking like the next best team in the AL until the Cleveland Indians went on an 11 game winning streak to equal the Orioles at 46-30. I wasn’t sold on the Indians at the start of the season.  I wasn’t sure they would hit enough to support the pitching staff they have.  Cleveland has the 14th best team betting average at .260.  They are tied for 12th in home runs with 96 and tied for 2nd in stolen bases with 62.  Don’t forget that the Indians have done this with their best player Michael Brantley playing just 11 games.  

Now the Orioles seem to be doing it with smoke and mirrors on the mound.  Chris Tillman has been very good for them, 10-1 with an  3.52 ERA in 16 starts. Other than Tillman the rotation is a mess.  Ubaldo Jimenez has an 6.63 ERA with a 5-7 record in 15 starts. Kevin Gausman has a solid 3.93 ERA and just had his first solid outing of the season, but has a 1-5 record in 13 starts.  Tyler Wilson has made 12 starts and is 4-5 with a 4.50 ERA.  Yovanni Gallardo has been injured and has made just 6 starts after being signed as a free agent in the off-season.  It’s amazing that Baltimore’s record is what it is when you look at their starting rotation.  

The Rangers are starting to look like the best all around team, but the question with them, can they stay healthy. The everyday line up has stayed healthy and with the addition of Jurickson Profar, they look good.  Starting pitching is where the injury bug has caught the Rangers.  Nine different pitchers have made starts this season. Currently, starters Colby Lewis, Derek Holland and Yu Darvish are on the disabled list.  Lewis isn’t scheduled to start throwing for four weeks, while Darvish is scheduled to throw a simulated game today and Holland is supposed to start playing catch today.  

So it seems as every top team has questions.  Can the Indians hit enough to win?  Do the Orioles have enough starting pitching to win?  Can the Rangers stay healthy enough to win? 

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