Okay, I’ll admit it. Other than podcasts over the past few weeks I’ve pretty much ben a ghost for Thoughts From The Bench. Ever since the Pirates-Reds brawl, I’ve pretty much been checked out.
I can’t really explain it. Baseball is a sport I love to watch, talk about, and dig into. It’s something special and it’s something that OG Greg, Dre and I (If you haven’t go check out our Heart of the Order podcast on Anchor FM and Spotify) share almost every episode. But when I attempt to explain why I’ve been absent from the blog lately, Barstool Sports Baseball Personality and fellow Boston Red Sox fan puts it best.
The Boston Red Sox, the 2018 World Series Champions, MY TEAM, have been downright embarrassing. When I say embarrassing, I actually mean they should probably be playing in the minor leagues, that’s how bad they’ve been this season compared to what they did a year ago with pretty much THE EXACT SAME TEAM!!
I don’t know if they are just getting off to a slow start or if this is an actual problem that I should be worried about as we inch closer to the dog days of summer baseball, where teams normally start to hit midseason form. But the pitching has been absolutely horrible, especially Chris Sale, and everyone outside of J.D. Martinez, Xander Bogaerts, Mitch Moreland and Andrew Benintendi, the lineup hasn’t produced.
But I know I’ve already touched on this in recent posts, so let’s talk about some of the better baseball that has been played around the league since Opening Day.
The Young Gun
I touched on Fernando Tatis Jr. in my first weekly recap of the season. The San Diego Padres decided to ignore the service time rule and bring up the prized prospect in hopes that he would produce and so far, the young gun has.
He’s arguably San Diego’s best hitter at the moment with a .294 average, 12 RBI’s and 5 home runs and he’s also moved from the middle of the order to San Diego’s lead-off spot. For a minute, the Padres were holding onto 1st place in the National League West, they now trail by 1.5 games, but the future looks bright for San Diego and Tatis Jr. is a big part of that.
On top of Tatis, I also want to talk about the inevitable arrival of Vladdy Geurrero Jr. He recently returned from an injury and well he’s back to doing Vladdy Jr. type things. Take a look at what he recently did to a baseball at Pawtucket’s McCoy Stadium.
If you look closely, you can see a couple people running towards the apparent landing zone of the baseball, then they realized that the ball had landed OUTSIDE THE STADIUM. Yea, that’s Vladdy for you and when he finally makes his way into the Majors it will be with a splash.
Christian Yelich vs Cody Bellinger
These two have arguably been the best players in the MLB through the first few weeks of the season. Both reached double-digits in home runs on Thursday. Both are the only two with 20 or more RBI’s in the National League and Bellinger is currently hitting the cover off the ball at a .432 clip, which leads the National League.
For Yelich, well he’s just an MVP doing MVP things. He’s picked up where he left off last year. He started the season by hitting a home run in four straight games, becoming the sixth player in history to do so. He has seven games with multiple RBI’s and he recently torched the Cardinals with 3 home runs and 7 RBI’s. And get this he recently claimed he hasn’t felt like he’s been swinging the bat well this season. WHAT?!?!?! Stop being modest big guy, you’re on track for another MVP type season and as Dre said, “man he’s wylin’”
As for Bellinger, well this kid has been fun to watch over the course of this season. The kid is only 23 years old and he’s playing like a seasoned vet. He has four multi-RBI games and in three of those he had three or more, he’s been a key component to the start the Dodgers have had. Don’t expect that to change either. The kid can play!
The Pittsburgh Pirates
Okay, it’s time to talk about the Pittsburgh Pirates. Over the course of the offseason I made the following statement multiple times, “the Pittsburgh Pirates need a big bat in the middle of the order, specifically at the shortstop position.” I made this statement because they lack a consistent piece of power in the middle of the lineup and they are solid defensively around the horn. But I mainly made this statement because their starting rotation is one of the best in the league and they need the offense to support it. So far this season, this pitching staff has lived up to those expectations.
Second in ERA, second in quality starts, first in earned runs, second in walks allowed, and second in opponents’ batting average. Those numbers are the makings off a quality team who has the ability to make the playoffs this season. Combine that with a solid line-up that is missing maybe one or two pieces, the Pirates are on the move and oh yea, THEY ARE TIED FOR FIRST IN THE NL CENTRAL.
Well guys, it’s been fun. IF you’re looking for more MLB content, tune into our Heart of the Order podcast where OG Greg, Dre and I, break down the season week by week and give you some of the top storylines from around the league. Dre rants about the Rays, Greg calms him down, and well I just try to keep them both on track. CHECK IT OUT (https://anchor.fm/heartoftheorder)