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Home Run Derby 2010: Most Memorable Derby Moments

Major League Baseball’s All-Star Week has arrived.

The All-Star Week finds itself stuck in a precarious position. Every year, it’s the one true break from all major sports. But this year, even more of a break in the action is where the game finds itself.

The World Cup is over, NBA free agency has passed its peak, and fans are getting even antsier for football season.

But that doesn’t mean there haven’t been moments worthy of watching.

And the first place where the moments start are the Home Run Derby.

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Detroit Tigers: Are They Gearing Up For Another Second Half Collapse?

Split personality disorder.

It’s the only explanation for the Detroit Tigers in the Jim Leyland era. 

Each year it’s the same story. First half of the season, Detroit is a consistent and winning ball club. The second half, a below .500 team struggling to hang on to what they built up to the All Star break.

If it happens one year, maybe unbalanced scheduling can be used as an excuse. If it happens another year, maybe injuries can be used. But for four straight years, not much else can be said.



Jim Leyland arrived in 2006, and immediately helped the Tigers complete a turnaround from one of the worst to first. The team made the World Series that year, losing to the St. Louis Cardinals team.

But in 2006, another trend began for the Tigers. Great starts and poor finishes. 

The Tigers led the league with a 59-29 record through the first half of the season. Detroit dominated baseball and looked unstoppable. They got all the way to 76-36 on August 7th, and then the fall began.

The second half of the season they went 36-38, losing their final 5 games of the year. Most fans forget they didn’t even win the division as Minnesota caught them in the final days of 2006.

Luckily, the Tigers still made the playoffs and caught enough fire until they extinguished their own flames in the World Series. 



In 2007, Detroit had another solid season, but displayed the same penchant for poor second half play.

First half: 52-34

Second half: 36-40

Unfortunately, the Cleveland Indians (96-66) were too good that year and the wild card was in possession of the New York Yankees (94-88) by seasons end. 



In 2008, the Tigers didn’t have as good of a start in past years and their second half collapse was even more glaring.

First half: 47-47

Second half: 27-41

They ended 74-88, good enough for last place in the central division.



In 2009, they did slightly better in the second half. But the season ended in heartbreak.

First half: 48-39

Second half: 38-38

If Tigers fans look a bit closer they can’t forget the tail end of the season. A 3 game lead with 4 games left in the year. Unfortunately, they blew the lead.

It forced Detroit into a 163rd game against the Minnesota Twins. It looked like they were going to win and overcome another bad finish. They held a 3-1 lead early, but like the story of seasons past, it was not enough.

They lost an incredible battle.



So where do these Tigers stand?  Are they for real? Are they good enough to sustain a whole year?

Currently, with only 13 games to go until the 2nd half of the season, Detroit stands in 2nd place behind Minnesota. For members of the Central Division it appears the only way of making the playoffs will to ultimately win the division. The East is too strong and the loser of division will most likely end up with the Wild Card spot.

These Tigers have become difficult to read. They’re an above .500 team and should remain that way up to the halfway point.

These Tigers have also continued a trend that have resonated over the past four years. A dominance in interleague play.

2006: 15-3, 2007: 14-4, 2008: 13-5, 2009: 10-8, 2010: 8-3 (to this point)

Interleague play has played a major role in early season success with this team.

They’ve had rookies like Austin Jackson and Brennan Boesch make an immediate impact.

Detroit has seen a renewed sense of baseball-self from Miguel Cabrera. Veteran Johnny Damon has contributed nicely and Magglio Ordonez appears back to normal after an inconsistent 2009.  

The bottom 6-9 batters had been abysmal through the first 50 games of the season. But after sending a bunch of players back and forth to the minors and waiving, they seem to have caught some fire. Brandon Inge is hitting sufficiently, while Al Avila is giving them some production from behind the plate.   

The team still needs a bit better run production with men on base, a worrisome sign. They are hitting .245 with runners in scoring position and have only scored 237 runs in those situations. That leaves them at 16th in MLB. 

As for the pitching, it seems to have taken a similar path. 

The team currently has a 4.13 ERA, led by Justin Verlander and his 3.54 ERA. Verlander averages 8.54 strikeouts through 9 innings and has recovered nicely from his traditional early season struggles. 

Jeremy Bonderman has also come back strong this year. With a bevy of injuries taking him out of commission yearly, he finally has stayed healthy and has a moderate 4.06 ERA. His problem has been run production during his outings. 

As for the question marks, many exist on the pitching staff.

Rick Porcello is number one in the “what happened to him?” category. Still very young and full of potential, Porcello has found himself in a sophomore slump. 

Max Schrezer is another enigma for the staff.  Will he continue pitching decently like he has since coming back up from the minors or will be meet somewhere in the middle from his atrocious start?

And finally, Armando Galarraga. He has pitched extremely well since being brought back in as a starter early in the season. He is better than last year, but the jury still remains how consistent he will be throughout the year. He has had two solid starts since his perfect game, and one that the team could have done without.

As for the bullpen Joel Zumaya has remained healthy and Jose Valverde has turned into a great pickup for the closing role.

Detroit currently stands as 3rd best bullpen with a 2.91 ERA in all of baseball. Just behind Minnesota and San Diego. 

Will Zumaya stay healthy? Will Valverde stay this hot? Will players like Eddie Bonine and Phil Coke remain as consistent as they’ve been?

Those questions will still remain for a while.

As a Tigers fan, do you feel comfortable where the team is or do the signs point to another disappointing finish in 2010? 



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MLB 2010 Triple Crown Threats: Miguel Cabrera and Albert Pujols

The Triple Crown.

It’s been missing in horse racing since 1978. 

But it’s been missing in baseball even longer.

In 1967, Carl Yastrzemski, a person whose name most current ballplayers can’t even spell, was the last player to win the baseball Triple Crown in either league. 

For those unfamiliar, the Triple Crown is when a hitter leads their league in average, home runs, and runs batted in.

Yaz hit .326, with 44 homers and 121 RBIs that year.

Since then, many have taken their best crack at it, including many in recent history. Alex Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz, Barry Bonds, and Ryan Howard are just a few. 

This year, two other players who have constantly been in position in years past, get another crack at it.

Their names: Albert Pujols and Miguel Cabrera.

Both have attempted to join this very exclusive club at various points in their career. They also used to compete in the same league categories. But this year, both have the best chance in their respective leagues to be the record breaker.


Albert Pujols

First up, Pujols. He is the longer shot to get the Triple Crown this year, but still has the best chance in the NL nonetheless.

Each season, Pujols finds himself coming up short despite finishing in the top five in all three categories on numerous occasions. The first place to look is at RBIs. Pujols has never led the category in his whole career.

He has only led in batting average and home runs one time each during his career, in 2003 and 2009, respectively.

So why does he still have a shot?

Pujols currently stands:

Tied for second in home runs (14; Corey Hart leads with 16).

Tied for third in runs batted in (44, behind Troy Glaus and Casey McGehee who each have 45).

Tied for eighth in batting average (.306; Marlon Byrd leads with .329).

At this point in the season, all the categories are still fair game. In his career, Pujols has not hit below .327 since 2002. So with his power remaining strong early on, expect another hot burst at the midway point to get that average back above .320.

It seems this would be the easiest year in the NL to get that record. Byrd will not keep his current average.

One other player, Andre Ethier, is also up there in batting average. He holds a .364 batting average, well above any other career marks. He was hurt for a few weeks in May and is on the border of “qualified at bats” for average to count. Look for him to slide down closer to the .300 range as the amount of at bats picks up. But if he stays healthy, definitely a name to watch.

And if the highest average can stick in that .320 range, it’d be a big change from the past few years—Hanley Ramirez hit .342 in 2009, Chipper Jones, .364 in 2008, and Matt Holliday, .340 in 2007.

With the possibility that it would only take a .320-.330 average, Pujols has the chance to win the batting crown.

As for the power game, Pujols will get his HRs. He should be able to manage above 40 again and stay close with the rest of the competition.

Corey Hart is currently at an astonishing pace. For a player who hit a career high 24 in 2007, the 48 HR pace he is on would be an incredible jump. 

Of the rest of the players in the current top five, Adrian Gonzalez (13) and Mark Reynolds (14) should keep pace. Reynolds is purely a power hitter, while Gonzalez offers a more well-rounded approach to the plate.

And then comes the daunted RBI category. The one he has never led. And this one has the perhaps the most competition.

Players like Troy Glaus, Scott Rolen, Ryan Howard, and Adrian Gonzalez are only the beginning. Youngsters Casey McGehee and Jason Heyward are also proving to be in the race.

Pujols needs final numbers reflecting a season with a .325 avg, 45 HRs, and 130 RBIs.

In the end, it may be prove too difficult for Pujols. But with 100 games to go and the others more likely to fall off than he is, the chance remains.


Miguel Cabrera

Miguel Cabrera may have the best shot anyone has had in years. After a rough end to last season for both him and his team, he has come back more determined than ever.

Throughout his career, he has only finished first in the HR category in 2007. In the RBI category, he has finished third twice (2007 and 2008), and in batting average, second in 2006.

So why does he have a shot?

Currently, Cabrera’s stats look like this:

Tied for first in home runs with Jose Bautista18 HRs apiece.

Solo owner of first place in runs batted in with 53 RBIs. Vladimir Guerrero is in second, with 51 RBIs.

Fourth place in batting average at .339. Robinson Cano leads with a .376 average.

First, the two categories in which he has the best shot:

Home runs are an extremely obtainable category in which Cabrera can lead the league this year.

Jose Bautista has already surpassed his career high of only 16 HRs as he attempts to keep pace. Paul Konerko, in second with 17, may no longer have the firepower to keep pace the whole season. The third place Vernon Wells has 15 HRs, but he generally caps out in the low 30s.

Possibly the most viable threat in other categories, Vlad Guerrero, currently has 13 HRs. Vlad has not hit above 30 HRs since 2006, though. He has a better shot in keeping pace in RBIs.

If Guerrero can stay healthy, he is a lock to surpass the 100 RBI mark. With his .336 average as well, don’t look for Vlad to be too far behind Cabrera the rest of the season, if he stays healthy.

Other RBI competitors include Bautista with 45. Unfortunately, his .239 career batting average often makes him all-or-nothing at the plate.

Evan Longoria (47 RBIs) and Robinson Cano (46 RBIs) are not too far behind, either. Both of them, with their high averages, should easily surpass 100 RBIs and give Cabrera a challenge all year.

Finally, the most difficult and longest shot of all the categories—batting average. If Cabrera still remained in the National League, this may have been the year for him. Unfortunately, the AL contains many high average hitters.

Cano, hitting .376, has proven in the past that he can hit at least above .340 in a season (2006). His current .376 average will drop off at some point, but how much is a legitimate question.

In second, Justin Morneau is hitting .362. Of the top five, he is most likely not to win the batting title at the end of the year. He can, however, maintain a .320 average and be in the bottom of the top five.

Third place is held by perhaps the best hitter in baseball history, Ichiro Suzuki, with a .346 average. Ichiro will most likely hit anywhere from .310 to .350. He will also remain a thorn in Cabrera’s side.

For the Triple Crown to be possible, Cabrera is going to need a better batting average than Pujols would in the NL

If he can finish with a .350 average, 40 HRs, and 130 RBIs, he will win his first MVP award.

He would also join the exclusive list that hasn’t been updated since 1967.

With no good horses lately, it would be nice if baseball could bring back its own version…

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Move On: Five Hitters MLB Teams Need To Send Packing

Some may be fan favorites, while others have had fans calling for their release for years.

These hitters have reached the end of the line with their current team and it’s time for both to move on.

They are all above 30, some play for good teams while others play for bad. But they no longer hit the ball like they used to, and have become a weak link in the lineup.

Feel free to chime in with your own players who deserve to make this list…

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