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Wednesday was my birthday (er, 27, yeah, 27) and my Colorado Rockies climbed back into a first place tie as a present for me. Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki has been healthy this year and is off to a great start, hitting .338 with 9 homers so far on the year. Manager Walt Weiss has been giving Tulo occasional rest during the year, something that I think is incredibly smart. Getting 145 healthy games from Tulo is better than trying to get 162 from him and having him get hurt.
The Rockies have been getting good production out of most of the starters, with the exception of 1B (Todd Helton) and 2B (Josh Rutledge, who was recently optioned to AAA). Carlos Gonzalez, Troy Tulowitzki, and catcher Wilin Rosario appear to be forming the core of a very good heart of the lineup for years to come.
On the mound, three full-time Rockies starters have ERAs under 4.50 (De la Rosa 3.40, Chacin 4.10, Nicasio 4.47) and Tyler Chatwood has a 2.55 ERA in limited action – very impressive considering he environment. Chacin, Nicasio, and Chatwood are all young guys who should still have room for improvement.
By far the most disappointing team in the NL West has been the LA Dodgers, who have a $220 million payroll, but a record of just 19-26.
The Yankees have been able to win 28 of 46 games so far with a patched up lineup of misfits while their stars are on the DL. I tip my hat to Joe Girardi. This team could have easily just collapsed.
The Angels also sport a hefty payroll but have struggled early. They finally climbed into third place in their division, with a 20-27 record, but they have a long way to climb. Sophomore Mike Trout has been raking this month. After hitting .261 with 2 homers in April, Trout is hitting .359 with 8 homers in May.
The Tigers are in second play despite the efforts of Tigre Numero Uno Miguel Cabrera, who is hitting .391 with 14 homers and 55 RBI – including .536 with 6 homers and 13 RBI in the last 5 games. The 30 year old Cabrera should reach 350 homers later this year. Cabrera does carry around a lot of weight, and I do wonder if that will prevent him from reaching .400 this year, and he’s going to get thrown out at first base more often than an average runner would.
The baseball draft is just around the corner. The Astros and Cubs pick 1-2, and Stanford Mark Appel and Vanderbilt pitcher Sonny Gray are expected to go in the top two picks.
I’ll draft away from baseball for a moment to give a shoutout to Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder for donating $1 million to tornado relief. Sure, Durant is a rich athlete who “can afford it”, but not everyone in that situation steps forward and writes a check. Durant manned up and did it. A million dollars can make a real different in this situation. Thanks for restoring my faith in humanity (for another week), Kevin,
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