MLB

MLB Analysis: American League Dominates, Phillies Utley, Mets Wright

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American League Dominates, AGAIN

You think it’s a level playing field? Coming into this year, the AL has won this little summertime charade for seven straight seasons, winning more than 55 percent of the games (969-781, a whopping 188 games over .500). Just look at the Interleague scores from Sunday. The American League outscored the National League 70-34 and that includes the nine runs that the Cardinals scored against the Royals.

There were two AL 13-strikeout performance proxies.

James Shields ensured the Tampa Bay Rays left Miami with a victory, striking out 13 in a three-hit shutout and even adding an RBI single to sink the Florida Marlins in the Citrus Series finale. It makes a difference when you see what some of these American League pitchers can do when facing weaker National League lineups.

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This judge looked an inmate square in the eyes and did something that left the entire courtroom in tears:

2010 AL Cy Young winner Felix Hernandez struck out 13 and allowed only six hits, as the Mariners rolled to an Interleague sweep in San Diego. Just imagine the numbers King Felix would put up if he pitched in the NL all season.

And look at some of these inequities as the New York Mets really get screwed. 

  • The Mets have to play the + $200 million Yankees six times while none of their NL East division foes play the Yankees at all.
  • The Mets play 15 of their 18 interleague games against teams with a winning record while the Nationals, a team in the same division, play no games against anyone with a winning record.
  • In the tight AL West, the Texas Rangers are playing six games against the putrid Houston Astros while the Oakland A’s are playing six against the world-champion San Francisco Giants.

So much of interleague play is just for show as trends you would expect simply carry over. In 15 years, guess who has the best interleague record? That would be the New York Yankees, of course. And the worst? Surprise, it’s the Pittsburgh Pirates. It’s no coincidence that during that time, both teams have the best and worst overall records over that time, as well.

And  the individual interleague stars have been the same everyday stars during that period. Coming into the weekend, the interleague leaders were Albert Pujols (batting average, .347), Derek Jeter (hits 321), Alex Rodriguez (RBIs, 174) and Mariano Rivera (saves, 63).

Interleague works in the cities/states that have two teams, but playing 18 interleague games is just way too much.

He’s Baaack! Chase Utley to Return to Action Monday Night

Sure the Philadelphia Phillies are 28-18 and in first place, but that’s because of their pitching. While they  did manage to win the first two games of the interleague series against the Texas Rangers behind the pitching of Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee, yesterday’s effort by Roy Oswalt was wasted as Philadelphia was shut out 2-0. Want to know just how bad the Phillies are searching for offense? Leading off the 9th inning yesterday, Ryan Howard, tried to put down a bunt just to give them a baserunner.

If Utley is healthy enough to play, they need him in the lineup. It remains to be seen how durable Utley will be throughout the summer.

David Wright to See Spine Specialist

Brilliant! Leave it to the Mets medical staff to come up with the best way to go about things. A week after going on the DL with a stress fracture in his lower back, the Mets are now sending Wright to a spine specialist in California. Am I the only one out there who assumed that by this point Wright had already seen a specialist for his back injury? What were they doing for the last week?

Hopefully Wright’s plane doesn’t make a hard landing, further injuring his back. You just know that some news like that is coming……