The Major League Baseball season has finally hit its lull point. Not only is every MLB game being put on the back burner because of the NBA and NHL playoffs -- okay, maybe only NBA -- but baseball is both too far into the season where its new polished luster has worn off and not far enough into the year where games really matter (even though they do).
However, it's a perfect time to examine who's hot and who's not in the baseball world. So, here's my quick list of who you should be paying attention to and who to ignore.
Hottest starting pitcher: Milwaukee Brewers Yovani Gallardo, who has won five straight starts and during that span has an ERA of 1.29. On May 2, Gallardo had an ERA of 6.10, but since then he has dropped it down to 3.89.
Now, if Zack Greinke can get back to his old self then the Brewers (29-24), who sit just two and a half games behind National League Central leader the St. Louis Cardinals, will have a solid pitching duo that can help them make a run at the postseason.
A close second is Atlanta Braves Jair Jurrjens, who has made nine starts this season and allowed no more than two earned runs. On Tuesday, Jurrjens pitched 7 2/3 innings at Pittsburgh Pirates and allowed six hits, a walk and four strike outs. On Sunday, Jurrjens went eight innings against Cincinnati Reds, and allowed six hits, two walks and struck out five.
This isn't too shabby for a guy that began the year on the 15-day DL.
Coldest SP: Reds Bronson Arroyo, who has given up 14 earned runs in 5 2/3 innings. Currently, Arroyo has a 5.74 ERA, a 1.53 WHIP and has given up at least five earned runs in four of his six starts in May.
Hottest closer: Arizona Diamondbacks J.J. Putz, who has 16 saves, the second-best total in all of MLB, a 1.57 ERA and 0.69 WHIP. It has been a while since Putz was a full-time closer -- '06 and '07 for the Seattle Mariners -- and he's taken complete advantage of his new opportunity.
Coldest closer: Kansas City Royals Joakim Soria, who went 43-for-46 is save situations last season, has blown four out of 11 games this year and has a ERA of 5.57.
Hottest hitter: During the past few weeks, I've posted that the Boston Red Sox's Adrian Gonzalez and the Tampa Bay Rays Matt Joyce had been having a great month of May and probably were the hottest hitters in the league. Well, there's another candidate: Cincinnati's outfielder Jay Bruce, who has 11 home runs and 28 RBI i n May. Currently, Bruce leads the NL with 28 homers.
Honorable mentions need to go out the New York Yankees Curtis Granderson and the New York Mets Jose Reyes. Granderson has been the most consistent Yankee hitter this season, and is on pace to blow past his career-highs in home runs (30) and RBI (70). Meanwhile, with all of the trade rumors and controversy surrounding the Mets and Reyes, it's amazing that he's hitting .335, has three two-triple games and 26 multi hit games.
Coldest hitter: Earlier in the season, Boston's Carl Crawford was the scapegoat, but he's bounced back a bit. Who's really struggling is the Chicago White Sox designated hitter Adam Dunn, who is hitting just .181 with five homers and is striking out about 1.43 times per game. In December, Dunn signed a four-year, $56 million with Chicago to be their full-time DH. It can be argued that Dunn is the most consistent slugger in the past seven-plus seasons (just look up his career stats) and its astonishing to see his ability to slug disappear so quickly.
Weekly Nugget No. 1: Here's a quick look at the leaders in the MLB Standings; Indians (31-19); AL West -- (28-25); NL East -- (33-20); NL Central -- (32-22); NL West -- (29-24).(30-23) in the AL East; AL Central --
Here's what the standings looked like on May 9: (19-13) and (20-14) in the AL East; AL Central -- Indians (22-11); AL West -- (20-15); NL East -- (22-11); NL Central -- (20-15); NL West -- (18-14).
Weekly Nugget No. 2: Saturday night featured five walk-off victories, including the Brewers Jonathan Lucroy's successful suicide squeeze that helped beat the Giants, 3-2, in the bottom of the ninth inning. That's a pretty exciting day.
Now, here are some baseball YouTube clips for your enjoyment.
Clip No. 1: Last week, I posted the Youtube clip of the Clemson and Davidson raindelay antics. Well, it seems that those boys have started a trend. Here's the brief show that North Carolina and Wake Forest put on for fans during a rain delay during the ACC Tournament.
I do not think that UNC and Wake were better than Clemson and Davidson, but I am a fan of these YouTube clips. For those that think these kids should just play baseball and stop planning these silly acts then you've probably never played college baseball before. It's a long season/year, and you spend a lot of time with your teammates, who usually do nothing but play baseball, video games, go to class and have a lot of free time (especially, this late in the year when all school work is done and your just stuck in hotel rooms). It's a great team building exercise that I am glad coaches are allowing their players to take part in. Of course, once a starting pitcher goes down to an injury because of these "shows", then I am sure all fun will be stopped.
Clip No. 2: I am not a big fan of dealing with stupidity. In fact, I really hate it with a passion. However, if I don't need to deal with it and can watch it take place on YouTube or the show Cops. I am all for it. So, here's another YouTube clip from this weekend, which features a couple boneheads running onto the field during the Mariners/Yankees contest. My only wish is that the second guy (seen around 1:01 of the clip) was left in his jail cell with no clothes.
Clip No. 3: This future All-Star Little Leaguer is going to be a coach's worst nightmare. Not only is he going to be a pain to coach, but imagine how difficult his parents are going to be to deal with!
Couple of pointers here for the three-year old and his family: A) If you're going to hype your kid up at the age of three make sure to first teach him how to hit from the left side (I see daddy is left handed) and throw the kid a curve ball every once in awhile; B) For getting your son off on property damage charges, it's not smart too smart to film the crime; and C) If I am an opposing Tball coach, I am breaking down this film at least once every two days to exploit his weaknesses. Just saying.