There are 2 robberies to report from Monday Night as Josh Hamilton stole the stage in the first round and then Justin Morneau stole the trophy from Hamilton despite hitting 13 less homeruns on the night.
Josh Hamilton wrote another chapter in his amazing comeback story as he won over the fans in New York by stepping to the plate against his 71-year-old pitcher and crushing pitch after pitch deep into the New York night. When the first round had come to a close, Hamilton had set a new record with 28 homeruns in one round including 3 shots over 500 feet. The fatigue of 38 swings in the first round was too much for Hamilton as Justin Morneau defeated him in the Finals, 5-3. It was a proud moment for Canada and the Minnesota Twins as Morneau won his first Home Run Derby title.
The All-Star Game proved to be just as exciting on Tuesday as the teams battled for 15 innings before Justin Morneau found himself in the spotlight again as he was able to slide in just ahead of the throw on a Michael Young sacrifice fly and the America League continued their run of dominance with a 4-3 win. We were all left to wonder what would have happened if Morneau were called out and the game went to a 16th inning. Every position and pitcher was used during the marathon and it’s possible that Bud Selig would have faced another nightmare.
Business was back on schedule on Thursday when the 2nd half of the MLB season officially kicked off.
The Mets were able to run their win streak to 10 games before losing a pair, but they remain baseball’s hottest team with a record of 8-2 over the last 10 games. They find themselves in a deadlock with the Philadelphia Philles for the division lead. The Florida Marlins are right on their heels, but also face a tough start to the 2nd half and could find themselves fading out of contention.
As we turn out attention to the NL West, we find an embarrassment to baseball. The Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Dodgers are tied for the lead with 48-50 records. Each team is 5-5 over the last 10. The Rockies are playing well as of late, but also sport a 5-5 mark over the last 10. They have won 4 in a row after a 1-5 stretch. The 2 worst teams in baseball are holding down the bottom of the division. The San Francisco Giants have lost 9 of the last 10 and the San Diego Padres have come up short in 8 of the last 10, including 6 straight.
Speaking of teams that have lost 8 of the last 10, Tampa Bay leads the American League East.
The Rays are lucky to be in that position after Boston was swept by the Angels. Don’t look now, but the Yankees appear to be getting hot and should be adding their annual big name via trade any day now. This division should be fun to watch down the stretch.
In the AL Central, the White Sox and Twins are tied with 55 wins, but Minnesota is one back in the loss column. The Twins came out of the break on fire as they racked up 20 runs on Texas in 2 games, before suffering a 1-0 loss despite Scott Baker having a perfect game through 5.2 innings.
Minnesota pitching has been hot and things could get better if Francisco Liriano has anything to say about it. Liriano is 8-0 with an ERA of just over 2 in his last 10 starts at the Triple-A level. He would provide a huge boost to an already solid rotation if he could maintain those pre-injury numbers with the big club.
Plenty to watch for this week as there will be quite a few clubs making the decision to make a move because they are out of contention or stay put because the guys are starting to catch fire.