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Blogging about the 5x NL East Champion Phillies

Category Archives: Curtis Granderson

One-on-one battles highlight MVP and Cy Young races

Brewers 1B Prince Fielder (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

NL MVP
Matt Kemp: There have been two bright spots for the Dodgers this season, who are in the middle of a financial rut and baseball abyss. One of those bright spots is Matt Kemp (the other is in the Cy Young race). Kemp is having a Willie Mays-ian season (yes, I compared him to the Say Hey Kid), combining a rare mix of elite fielding, speed on the base paths, hitting for a high average and power while driving in runs on a terrible team.

Kemp is in the top four of all three Triple Crown stats: 4th in average (.320), 2nd in home runs (31) and 2nd in RBIs (102). He is only one homer and RBI behind the NL leader but sits .016 behind the injured Jose Reyes. If Kemp does go on one more hitting tear, a Triple Crown is a possibility. Kemp is one of a very small handful of players in baseball who are threats to do that every season and the fact he’s doing that this year makes him a top candidate for MVP.

Prince Fielder: Prince Fielder is right up there with Kemp statistically. Hitting .293 with 29 homers and 102 RBIs, Fielder is enjoying another one of the best seasons he’s compiled as a Milwaukee Brewer. Kemp has the advantage on Fielder for playing a more skilled position but Fielder has an advantage in another area that could be more important.

When voters look at Fielder, they will see that he’s raking on a team with the third best record in the NL, putting the Brewers in the position for the #2 seed in the post season. By being a “valuable” asset to one of the best teams in the National League, Fielder has made himself a top MVP candidate

Sleepers: Shane Victorino (Philadelphia), Ryan Braun (Milwaukee)

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Spankee’d

Roy Halladay was spanked mercilessly by the Yankees on Tuesday night. The veteran righty, who statistically was a Yankee killer, got roughed up for six runs as the Yankees won 8-3.

C.C. Sabathia bested Doc with his strong seven-inning, three-run performance in which he sat-down seven Phillies. He only gave up five hits and three walks, all coming in his final four innings. Halladay only lasted six innings, allowing his six runs on eight hits and two walks while striking out five.

Curtis Granderson, Nick Swisher, and Brett Gardner each had a pair of hits. Granderson, Swisher, and Mark Teixeira all homered tonight, the latter barely leaving the yard. Chase Utley had the only mult-hit game for the Phillies. The entire Phillies line-up mustered only five hits and none were for extra bases.

The Phillies got all three runs in the fourth inning to make it a 5-3 game before Sabathia bore down. The Phillies couldn’t say the same for Halladay who allowed two runs in the second inning thanks to a Gardner triple before giving up a solo homer and two-run shot the following inning. Tex then hit his sissy pop-fly homer down the first base line that barely left the 314-foot mark in the fifth to make it 6-3.

I would have written more but I’m trying to forget about witnessing an ass kicking in person. You’ll hear more about how over rated Yankee Stadium is within a couple days.

WP: Sabathia (7-3). LP: Halladay (8-5).

Boxscore.

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Jimmy Rollins went 0-for-3 in his first rehab start with Clearwater on Tuesday. The All-Star shortstop is rehabbing his strained calf while on his second stint on the DL with the same injury. Todd Zolecki added to the report that Rollins is expected back this weekend. Hopefully that short time frame isn’t too short as the reason Rollins was back on the DL was because the Phillies rushed him back.

5 Teams to Watch in the AL

Yankees – They’re the 2009 World Series champions and still kept intact the solid nucleus that got them there. They traded top prospects to land centerfielder Curtis Granderson, a much better defensive asset than Johnny Damon. They also traded Melky Cabrera to the Braves for Javier Vazquez to bolster the starting rotation. With guys like C.C. Sabathia, A.J. Brunett, and Andy Pettitte, the Yankees boast a very good pitching unit. Mariano Rivera is still the best closer in the game and the aging offense led by Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, and Mark Teixeira can still put a ton of runs up on the score board. If things go right, they could have another parade down Broadway.

Red Sox – The pitching is truly phenomenal. Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, John Lackey, and Daisuke Matsuzaka form the best top-four in baseball. The offense is led by top young stars Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia. Marco Scutaro is hoping to end the revolving door at the short stop position and Adrian Beltre is an offensive upgrade at third. Offensive depth is the only thing that should concern the Sox but they have the pitching to get the job done. David Ortiz is a shell of his old self but it still the DH.

Twins – It’s safe to say that Joe Mauer is the scariest hitter in the AL. The reigning MVP is one of the reasons Minnesota is buzzing prior to the 2010 season. Along with a new outdoor park and a very dangerous lineup featuring Mauer, Justin Morneau, Jason Kubel, and Michael Cuddyer, the fans and Twins have high expectations for this year. The only problem with them this year though is pitching. If their starters can have decent years, they could beat out Detroit for the division.

Mariners – Seattle is truly going to be a serious contender in the AL. The addition of Cliff Lee, Chone Figgins, and Milton Bradley will revamp a pitching staff and offense in need of fire power. Lee became a hot pitcher again after his last season transformation with the Phillies and will look to create a formidable 1-2 punch with Felix Hernandez. Figgins will add speed and Bradley will look to add power to a Mariners lineup that hit 160 homer (12th in the AL) last season.

Angels – Surely they make their case for a serious playoff contender every year but there has to be a breaking point. They improved an already solid lineup with Hideki Matsui and bolstered their bull pen with Fernando Rodney but the team still doesn’t jump out at anyone. The core of the offense is aging in Bobby Abreu, Torii Hunter, and Matsui and they lost Figgins to the division rival Mariners. Jared Weaver, Joe Saunders, and newly acquired Joel Pineiro will need to have season like 2009 to give the Mariners a fighting chance in an AL crowded with contenders.

East: Yankees
Central: Twins
West: Mariners
Wild Card: Red Sox

Pennant: Yankees over Mariners

NL Loses Again

For the 13th year, the National League has failed to beat the American League in the mid summer classic. For the third straight year, the NL lost by one run. Curtis Granderson of the Tigers hit a triple to left in the eighth and scored on a sacrifice fly by Adam Jones of the Orioles to give the AL the 4-3 lead and win.

The NL hasn’t won since 1996 at Veterans Stadium. Since then, they are 0-12-1 (the tie came in 2002 in Milwaukee. With yesterday’s win, the AL will receive home field advantage once again in the World Series. I still believe that home field advantage should go to the team with the best record in baseball.

All five Phillies got to play as Chase Utley, Raul Ibanez, and Shane Victorino started and Jayson Werth replaced Victorino and Howard pinch hit. Utley had a great game in the field despite going 0-2 at the plate. Ibanez also went 0-2. Victorino made the most of his appearance, going 1-2 with a base hit and then scoring the game tying run (at two) in the second off an error. Werth came in and struck out but made a great running catch in center to ironically bail out Francisco Rodriguez of the Mets. Howard struck out on a half swing trailing by one with runners on second and third with two outs in the eighth.

Here’s the official box score:

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