Extra Innings Notes
by Mark Hanrahan
The St. Louis Cardinals called up top prospect Oscar Tavares on Saturday and Baseball America's #3 Prospect responded with a home run in his debut. Taveras has just one hit since that bomb, but the Cardinals are in desperate need of a spark, especially with Matt Adams hitting the DL and Allen Craig struggling.
The Royals did the seemingly unthinkable. They sent struggling former top prospect Mike Moustakas back to Omaha to work out the kinks. Moustakas responded, hitting .355 in 8 games with Omaha and the Royals recalled him Sunday and are going to need some serious production from Moose if they want to see the playoffs this year. The Royals could have a VERY narrow time window to make the playoffs with this current group, but luckily they are only 2.5 games out of the wild card.
Speaking of the Wild Card, how is this for parity? In the American League, every team in the league is within 7 games of the Wild Card with only Houston (6) and Tampa Bay (7) more than 2.5 games out. The National League has eight teams within 2.5 games of the Wild Card.
18 of 30 MLB Teams have seen an increase in attendance this year, led by the Pirates (+23%). One team with a sharp decrease in attendance, the Minnesota Twins, down 15.1%, behind only Philadelphia (-20.5) and Toronto (-18.1). You could say that three straight losing seasons is the breaking point for Twins fans but Minnesota had a TOUGH, LONG winter, this could level out if the Twins can win some games.
Milwaukee has a five game lead in the NL Central right now but I would still take the Cardinals over the Brewers in a post-season series. You need an ace to make a difference in October and the Cardinals have that. Meanwhile, the Brewers are racking up wins because they have a rotation full of 2's and 3's. Not bad if you can get it, but tough to win a short series.
Jose Abreu had a monster shot last night off of Clayton Kershaw for his 16th bomb of the season. What's most impressive about those 16 home runs? Who they have come against. Abreu has homered off of Kershaw, Jesse Chavez, David Price, Grant Balfour, Chris Archer, Justin Verlander, and ten other unlucky hurlers.
Dallas Center native Tony Watson has extended his scoreless inning streak to 16, lowering his ERA to 1.04, striking out 32 in 26 innings. The lefty hits arbitration next year and could be an attractive trade candidate for a contending team with bullpen needs.
Two players coming off of PED suspensions are leading the All Star vote at their positions, Nelson Cruz (DH-AL) and Melky Carbrera (OF-AL). The fans obviously believe that these guys have served their time and deserve a spot in the game. As of now, the media doesn't seem to agree.
Our main man Tommy Birch recently tweeted that there is a very real chance the Iowa Cubs could feature a roster with Manny Ramirez, Javier Baez, and Kris Bryant. It's going to be a fun summer down at Principal Park. I suggest you make plans to catch a few games. You might want to look into an outfield suite too!