We’ve been wowed a few times this season by certain individual play such as Matt Kemp’s red hot start, Jared Weaver’s no-hitter, Joey Votto’s three home run day ending with a walk-off grand slam, and even to some extent, Bryce Harper’s splash into the game. But the tear that Josh Hamilton is on right now is absolutely insane.
His last week of play was so insane that only two other players in history have bettered the six-game stretch Hamilton had last week where he hit nine home runs with 15 RBI’s. One of those games was a Roy Hobbs moment on Tuesday where he blasted four bombs with 8 RBI’s at Baltimore.
Hamilton is now leading all of baseball, not just the American League, in the Triple Crown categories with a .402 average, 18 home runs and 44 RBI’s. Those numbers make it hard to believe we still have half the month of May to go, let alone four more months of the season.
It’s still way too early to be talking about the Triple Crown, but the fact that only 13 players in baseball history have done it, and none since 1967, make it all the more exciting to discuss.
At the beginning of the season the LVH Super Book posted a bunch of player props for the 2012 season with the OVER-UNDER total on most home runs hit being 42.5 and the most RBI’s at 128.5. Hamilton’s individual home run number was posted at 25.5, which could go OVER by the end of the month at his current pace.
The reason for the low total was due to Hamilton being injury prone the last three seasons. Since playing in 156 games in 2008, he’s played a partial schedule over the next three years with 89, 133 and 121 games respectively.
It’s that time of year again where NL and AL parks get fresh new visitors from the other league which is always a big attendance boost. This week we have a couple of territorial battles with the White Sox at Wrigley Field, Rangers at Houston and the first-place Orioles at second-place Nationals.
We also get a couple of World Series rematches from yesteryear with the Pirates playing at Detroit (1909), the Reds at Yankees (1975-76) and the Marlins at Cleveland (1997).
And perhaps the best on-going series of all-time in baseball, the Cardinals and Dodgers, are the two teams left out of interleague play this week due to the imbalanced teams in the NL. The two teams have played 1,897 games against each other in their history with the Cardinals holding a slim 958-926 edge.
The great Vin Scully called more than half of those games and since the games are in Los Angeles this weekend, it will be a treat to hear Scully reflect on the terrific history of the two franchises.
Baltimore was able to hang on for another week in first-place, quieting some critics and helped their own cause by taking two of three from the Rays. Before playing the Nats this weekend, they’ll have to prove themselves again for two games against the Yankees and hope there’s no let down for a two game set at Kansas City.
The Red Sox played well over the weekend taking three straight from the first-place Indians and have to be one of the streakiest teams in the league. It’s almost like you can bet the Red Sox based on what they did the day prior. They‘ve had losing streaks of three and five games twice each and win streaks of three games twice along with a five game streak.
The best news for Boston is that they have finally found Kevin Youkilis’ bat and it’s being used by rookie Will Middlebrooks who has been posting Youkilis-type numbers (4 HR, 13 RBI, .356) since being called up two weeks ago.
The Red Sox were one of the favorites to win the World Series in the beginning of the year at 8-1, but are now 20-1. On the same note, the Orioles were 100-to-1 and have been dropped only to 60-1. The Yankees were 6-1 and now sit 7-1.
The Angels are taking their time to show improvements, but they are slowly coming along and when Pujols hits consistently – which should be very soon – the Angels will be the contenders most of us expected. They still have to get to .500, but the signs are there.
You know things are getting better when a major streak begins or stops, such as Ervin Santana who had been shutout in five straight games before the Angels finally hit for him Wednesday and won. The Angels were like the Red Sox at 8-1 to begin the season, but are now holding steady at 14-1 for the last two weeks.
One of the most impressive, but overlooked, teams in baseball has been the Atlanta Braves. They don’t have the superstars we all want to see, but they just get the job done nightly with great pitching and surprising good, timely hitting.
Atlanta took first place away from the Nationals on Sunday, thanks to Votto, but through six weeks of the season they look like one of the best teams and the updated odds reflect it with them dropping from 15-1 down to 10-1.
Part of the reason for the odds dropping on the Braves is because of the Phillies falling fast. When the Phillies lose four straight Roy Halladay starts, it’s time to start panicking. Once a preseason favorite to win the World Series at 5-1, now they’re 12-1. You know the pitching is going to be there, but it’s got to be disheartening for a starting pitcher to give all he’s got and lose 2-1 on a consistent basis.
The Phillies shouldn’t be waiting around until July to make a move to get some offensive firepower and they can begin with first-base. Ty Wigginton is a fine role player, but not as the everyday anchor to the lineup. The Angels could be sold on a trade for Mark Trumbo for some relief pitching help and he would definitely help the offense until Ryan Howard and Chase Utley come back, whenever that is.
I love the way Lucky’s sports books is always on top of things ready to capitalize on the popularity of hot topic and satisfy the public’s thirst for action on it. The latest one is a few props centered around rookie Bryce Harper. They have offered totals on his hits (80.5), doubles (28.5) and batting average (.240). The one stipulation is that Harper must play at least 100 games this season. Harper is currently batting .231 with no home runs and six doubles.