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Around MLB: Verlander Best in the Game

Someone Who Deserves a RaiseJustin Verlander, of course. He’s currently 5-1 with an ERA of 2.13 and leads the Majors with a .80 WHIP (walks+hits/innings pitched). Last season he became just the sixth pitcher since 1968 to win the MVP award. The others: Vida Blue, Rollie Fingers, Willie Hernandez, Roger Clemens, and Dennis Eckersley. Verlander threw his second career no-hitter last season, joining a group of 22 others with multiple no-hitters. Friday night, he was two outs away from becoming just the sixth pitcher ever with at least three no-hitters, joining Cy Young (3), Larry Corcoran (3), Bob Feller (3), Sandy Koufax (4) and Nolan Ryan (7). Tigers manager Jim Leyland on Verlander’s one-hitter: “Some freaky (bleep).”  The scariest part, Verlander is just 29.

Something to Watch…Aroldis Chapman taking over the closer role for the Reds. He’s yet to give up an earned run this season (22.1 Innings Pitched) and has been a setup man in the seventh and eighth innings until Sunday against the Yankees. He sat down three Yankee hitters in a row to grab his first save of the season and is averaging 96 MPH on his fastball, which he throws 84% of the time. There’s been rumors about moving him to the starting rotation, but with a fastball that blows hitters away and just two pitches -he also throws a slider- he looks like a perfect closer for Cincinnati.

Something You Don’t See Everyday… Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg hitting his first Major League home run Sunday. And they say pitchers can’t hit.

It’s Always Fun When… A players calls out the fans. As long as it’s not your team, of course. Indians pitcher Chris Perez blasted Cleveland fans Saturday for lackluster attendance and booing Indians players. A few quotes: “It’s just a slap in the face when you’re last in attendance. Last. It’s not like we’re 25th or 26th. We’re last. Oakland is out-drawing us. That’s embarrassing” …….. “Guys don’t want to come over here and people wonder why. Why doesn’t Carlos Beltran want to come over here? Well, because of that. That’s part of it. It doesn’t go unnoticed—trust us. That’s definitely a huge reason. Nobody wants to play in front of 5,000 fans. We know the weather (stinks), but people see that. Other players know that.” …… “That stuff is reserved for road games. We don’t want to deal with that crap. Here, good fans are supposed to help you try to get through the inning and say, ‘Hey, you’re only one pitch away,’ or ‘Hey, it’s all right.’ And then after I struck out (the Mariners’ Jesus Montero), the mock standing applause just adds to it. You see their true colors.”

Going Out On A Limb: I’m sticking with my last pick, that the Orioles will hang on and win the AL East.
 

My Top 10:

  1. Dodgers
  2. Rangers
  3. Orioles
  4. Braves
  5. Rays
  6. Nationals
  7. Indians
  8. Blue Jays
  9. Cardinals
  10. Reds
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