A Post 4th of July Look at MLB Contenders
THE BASEBALL REPORT:
IT'S A POST 4TH-OF-JULY LOOK AT WHAT MIGHT JUST COST SOME TEAMS A PLAYOFF BERTH THIS YEAR...PLUS MORE MLB NEWS & NOTES INCLUDING MORE MURPHY MAGIC IN D.C.
Hope you all had a fun and safe Fourth of July holiday - we know that the Houston Astros and the Washington Nationals did while piling up double-digit run totals in their games on Tuesday but what catches our attention while coming out of the Independence Day tilts is that some Major-League Baseball teams might not get to the proverbial "promised land" (that's the post-season, folks) because of shabby marks in their interleague games.
Take the Cleveland Indians, for example. The Tribe may be leading the American League Central race over Kansas City and Minnesota but Terry Francona's crew is now just 2-10 against National League teams ... we bring them up first 'cause they're in the midst of a series against the NL's San Diego Padres and if Cleveland falls short of a playoff push one year after getting all the way to the World Series than lack of interleague series success could be a major reason why.
Then there's the St. Louis Cardinals who are not part of an interleague series this week but note the Redbirds are an icky 3-8 against AL teams and right now the four-games-under-.500 Cards are just 4.5 games back of the NL Central front-running Milwaukee Brewers (46-40).
Folks, if you don't think that teams can, more or else, cost itself a playoff berth because of losing marks in interleague action than ask some of the MLB teams that flopped in these games in recent years and were left on the post-season sidelines come October.
Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers are gonna rip through the rest of this Summer of '17 with lots of Major-League Baseball winners and all you need to do is check with us every day either right here online or at our toll-free phone # of 1-800-323-4453 ... so don't dare miss out on all the fun-and-profits!
In other MLB News / Notes ...
The Toronto Blue Jays spent the 4th of July in New York City with an efficient 4-1 win against the New York Yankees - yes, a winner for the Jim Hurley Network! - as lefty J.A. Happ copped the win while allowing just one run on four hits in six innings, Happ (3-5) has not been the 20-game winner he showed a year ago but if Toronto is gonna heat up than this southpaw must be an ace especially if righty Marcus Stroman is sidelined with his most recent blister problems.
Guess the big question for Toronto is at 10 games back of AL East leader Boston (and five full games back of the league's second wild card berth) do the Jays become "buyers" or "sellers" later this month? Hmm, Happ could be a key piece for a team such as the Chicago Cubs or the aforementioned St. Loo Cardinals should they be in the serious market for a starting pitcher ...
You tell us: Has any recent MLB veteran made more of an in-season comeback than Pittsburgh Pirates' OF Andrew McCutchen? In Tuesday's 3-0 win in Philadelphia, there was McCutchen whacking a pair of solo homers (one after getting brush backed by kid RHP Mark Leiter, Jr.) and getting some revenge from Monday's 4-0 loss in Philly.
McCutchen is 20-for-53 in his last 14 games played at Citizens Bank Park and that includes 7 home runs and 12 ribbies. A month ago the folks in Pittsburgh were wondering if McCutchen was "shot" and now folks 'round the bigs are wondering if he's a legit MVP candidate with his 16 HRs/489 RBI and ever-improving .288 batting average ...
Finally, here's some fun stats fresh off Tuesday's holiday games:
Okay, we know we've been singing the praises of Detroit Tigers' RHP Michael Fulmer for months now but yesterday's 5-3 home win against the woeful San Francisco Giants puts last year's AL Rookie of the Year at 8-6 with a 3.20 ERA (and 1.10 WHIP) and how about the fact the bearded Fulmer allowed just one run through six innings before the Jints' Brandon Crawford knotted things with a two-run dinger and yet he shook that off and went eight innings with just one walk. Right now we've gotta move Fulmer into that "top five" list we published a couple of weeks ago but just don't ask us who we're moving out!
Let's get you some more key stats:
Did you know there are currently five MLB teams with run differentials of plus 100-or-more runs and they include the Los Angeles Dodgers (+ 153), the Houston Astros (+ 124), the Arizona Diamondbacks (+ 110), the New York Yankees (+ 104) and the Washington Nationals (+ 100) - the latter has 469 runs scored, 369 runs allowed following yesterday morning's 11-4 win against the sagging New York Mets and how about these factoids:
Washington 2B Daniel Murphy went 4-for-5 with five RBI and is now hitting a robust .405 against his former team and dare we say his move to D.C. back on Christmas Eve in 2015 might go down as one of the worst non-moves by the Mets the past 25 years.
NOTE: Plenty more MLB News & Notes in the next Jim Sez plus we'll be back with our NFL team-by-team glances all through the month of July ... and there's NBA Free Agents/Trades to kick around in tomorrow's column so make sure you're with us for more goodies aand get those MLB winners here or at 1-800-323-4453.
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