The 9th Inning: These Red Sox cannot be stopped and some interesting players of the week

Welcome to the 9th Inning. This is a weekly column each Sunday evening on Pro Sports Fandom in which I roundup the week’s biggest happenings in the baseball realm. I give my personal thoughts on a few events as well as tell you what to look forward to in the following week. I also give out weekly awards for team of the week and player of the week. It’s basically a baseball podcast squeezed into an article that will happen every week. This is the second article of this column and I hope for some immense success with this column. If you’d like, be sure to share with your friends, social media, and family! I’d love my column to reach as big a global outreach as possible.

Who’s Hot and Who’s Not?

*Record for the week is in parentheses.

Hot:

The Boston Red Sox (4-1)

The Oakland Athletics (5-1)

The Atlanta Braves (5-1)

The Philadelphia Phillies (5-1)

Not:

The New York Yankees (2-4)

The Seattle Mariners (2-5)

The Tampa Bay Rays (3-3)

The Weekly Awards:

The Team of the Week is the …

The Boston Red Sox (4-1)

There is no doubt in my mind, as a New York Yankees fan, that these Red Sox are the clear best team in baseball as of today. It hurts me to say it but I cannot avoid speaking the truth. Look at what they did to the Yankees over the past weekend, taking three straight and going for the sweep currently as I’m writing this. They also took their only loss of the week (so far) to the Philadelphia Phillies, who have been hot as of late and are certain to be one of the NL’s premier teams. This Boston team is one of the most well-balanced teams in recent MLB history with a powerful offense led by Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez, combined with a Cy Young contender in Chris Sale and a Cy Young winner in Rick Porcello. Oh, and I shouldn’t forget about their all-star closer in Craig Kimbrel. The Red Sox had a great week and truly deserve this honor.

The Hitter of the Week is …

Arizona Diamondbacks SS Nick Ahmed

This might be a shocking name for the hitter of the week for you guys, but Ahmed is certainly delivering some offense for the Snakes out West. In six games during this week, Ahmed hit .529, hit three home runs, collected six runs and 8 RBIs. The shortstop also had a ridiculous 1.854 OPS this week. He is providing some unexpected offense for a D-Backs team that will certainly need it down the stretch as they are in a tough battle in the NL West.

The Pitcher of the Week is …

New York Mets SP Zack Wheeler

Yes, I know, it is shocking that a New York Met has earned an award of some sort in 2018. Well, it’s based on Wheeler’s individual performance, which was ridiculous over the past week. Wheeler had been frequently talked about in trades with other teams but it’s easy to see why the Mets held onto him. In two starts this week, he was 2-0 in 13 innings, while allowing zero earned runs, and having a 1.16 FIP. He certainly deserves it.

Series to Watch This Week:

Houston Astros @ San Francisco Giants

Atlanta Braves @ Washington Nationals

Philadelphia Phillies @ Arizona D-Backs

LA Dodgers @ Oakland Athletics

This Weekend?:

Seattle Mariners @ Houston Astros

LA Dodgers @ Colorado Rockies

Washington Nationals @ Chicago Cubs

Milwaukee Brewers @ Atlanta Braves

Anyways, thanks for reading the second ever edition of the 9th Inning column! I hope you enjoyed! Don’t forget to share with your friends, family, and on social media! Feel free to contact me on my Twitter @TBeckmann24 if you have any questions! I’ll be back next time! Peace!

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The 9th Inning: Newcomb’s Tragedy, A Terrific HOF Class, A Rollercoaster Week for the Yankees, and The Tale of DeGrom

Welcome to the 9th Inning. This is going to be a weekly column each Sunday evening on Pro Sports Fandom in which I roundup the week’s biggest happenings in the baseball realm. I also give my personal thoughts on a few events as well as tell you what to look forward to in the following week. I will also be giving out weekly awards for team of the week and player of the week. It’s basically a baseball podcast squeezed into an article that will happen every week. This is the debut article of this column and I hope for some immense success with this column. If you’d like, be sure to share with your friends, social media, and family! I’d love my column to reach as big a global outreach as possible.

I’m going to start the 9th Inning column out with a few rounded-up thoughts in recap of this week’s action both on the field and off.

A Truly Deserving Hall of Fame Class of 2018

I know it’s not current baseball talk, but I have to tip my cap to all of the voters for the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Class of 2018 is one of the most deserving ones in years. It was an amazing ceremony and it fulfilled fans in attendance. Perhaps the most deserving inductees were none other than Chipper Jones and Vladimir Guerrero. Jones, the sensational switch-hitting third baseman, more than deserves this recognition, as he truly revitalized the third base position heading into the modern era. Guerrero, whose son is going to make a name for himself in the big leagues soon, also truly deserves this honor, as one of the most iconic players in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. Congratulations to all of the six men who were inducted into Cooperstown this year!

The Sad Story That Is Jacob deGrom

Ok, it’s sad, but we have to address it. All jokes aside (including the Mets Franchise), Jacob deGrom is pitching his way to one of the greatest single seasons for a pitcher in recent baseball history. He is defying the shift in the newfound era of the home run ball. But the Mets offense seems to hate him. He won’t be getting traded this summer sadly and I think about every realistic baseball mind knows that. In his last 12 starts, Jacob deGrom has a 1.87 ERA in 87 innings on the mound with 95 strikeouts, 65 hits, and 18 earned runs. His record in those 12 starts? 1-6. The Mets offense doesn’t support him and the bullpen doesn’t finish off the unbelievable outings he has consistently put together. He’s on pace to finish with a 2.23 ERA and a 10-9 record, and because he doesn’t have a pretty record, people are worrying that he’ll be overlooked as a Cy Young candidate. Move aside, if the season ended now, the kid would be a lock to win the award.

The Yankees Rollercoaster Week

If I told you that the Yankees would’ve acquired Zach Britton and J.A. Happ before this week began, would you have been HAPPy? (See what I did there). Most likely you would’ve been ecstatic if you were a Yankees fan. They bolstered their bullpen by trading for the left-handed Britton and then replenished their starting rotation by adding another left hander in veteran J.A. Happ. But why are Yankees fans still acting disappointed and negative after this week? The first reason: their division rival Red Sox do not seem to lose much at all, and they trail them by 5 1/2 games in the AL East. Secondly, they have lost their superstar outfielder Aaron Judge for three weeks due to a chip fracture in his wrist. The negativity seems like it won’t stop coming! But as I said in my article yesterday, RELAX Yankees Fans!

Newcomb’s Tragic Final Out

A few weeks after Josh Hader caught the nation’s heat for some old racist, sexist, and homophobic tweets that were dug up, Atlanta Braves starter Sean Newcomb experienced the exact same issue. This is definitely not a good look for the MLB or baseball as a whole, so let’s hope that this doesn’t start becoming a trend. But what made it even more upsetting was the fact that Newcomb had just thrown his best outing ever in the major leagues, and was at an all-time high before he found out. He dominated the Dodgers lineup on Sunday afternoon, but he also dominated the media. He was one strike away from a no-hitter, which would’ve also set the Internet on fire. But a single from Chris Taylor ended his hopes. Such tragedy happens in the major leagues.

Who’s Hot and Who’s Not?

Hot:

The Boston Red Sox (7-3 in Last Ten)

The Pittsburgh Pirates (7-3 in Last Ten)

The Colorado Rockies (8-2 in Last Ten)

Not:

The San Francisco Giants (3-7 in Last Ten)

The Houston Astros (4-6 in Last Ten)

The San Diego Padres (2-8 in Last Ten)

The Tampa Bay Rays (4-6 in Last Ten)

The Seattle Mariners (4-6 in Last Ten)

The Weekly Awards

The Team of the Week is the …

Colorado Rockies (4-2 record)

The Rockies started off the week with a split two game series against the Houston Astros, but finished the week with an impressive three-game sweep of the Oakland Athletics to finish the week with a 4-2 record. Both the Athletics and Astros are playoff contending teams in the AL, so it’s an extremely impressive week for the Rox. They sit just a game out of first place in the NL West as they mark their quest to a postseason berth!

The Hitter of the Week is …

Milwaukee Brewers OF Christian Yelich

Christian Yelich has had an extremely productive 2018 campaign in his first season with the Brew Crew. He continued his excellence this week with a fantastic seven day stretch. He had 30 plate appearances in seven games, hit three home runs, scored eight runs, had 10 RBIs, and maintained a prolific batting average of .536 with a 0.9 WAR for the week. Dating back to July 14th, the outfielder is on a 12-game hitting streak.

The Pitcher of the Week is …

Boston Red Sox LHP Chris Sale

It pains me a bit to say this but Chris Sale is the best pitcher in the American League. He further asserted his dominance with two fantastic outings this week en route to this honor. He pitched 12 innings, surrendered five hits, zero runs, while striking out 19 batters, walking only two, and having a 1-0 record for the week. He seems to be stretching out his cushion on the rest of the American League in terms of the Cy Young award race, but we will see if this continues.

What to Look Forward To:

In this upcoming week, there is a lot of baseball to look forward to! But the most notable even going on in the baseball realm is the trade deadline on Tuesday, July 31st. Everybody should be excited to see who is on the move on deadline day! Look forward to an action-packed Tuesday of moves!

There are plenty of series between great teams to start the week but I’ll name a few, such as the Brewers-Dodgers, Astros-Mariners, Phillies-Red Sox, and Cubs-Pirates. To close out the week, we will get to see four games of the Yankees-Red Sox at Fenway, three games of a World Series rematch between the Astros and Dodgers, and a three game stretch between playoff contending teams in the Rockies and Brewers.

Thanks for reading the debut of the 9th Inning column! I hope you enjoyed! Don’t forget to share with your friends, family, and on social media! Feel free to contact me on my Twitter @TBeckmann24 if you have any questions! I’ll be back next time! Peace!

Ultimate MLB Second Half Guide: Analysis and Predictions for Trade Deadline, Standings, Awards, and the Playoffs

We are one week away from the MLB All-Star break and inching ever closer to the July 31st league-wide non-waiver trade deadline. We have watched more than one half of the season and we are starting to get a good idea of the playoff picture, trade fits, standings, and award candidates. That’s why I felt that it was the perfect time to release a massive guide to the second half of the baseball season. My guide is here, complete with predictions and analysis on the trade deadline, final standings, playoffs, and season awards.

Table of Contents:

Trade Deadline Predictions- PG. 2

Standings Predictions- PG. 3

AL Playoff Predictions- PG. 4

NL Playoff Predictions- PG. 5

World Series Predictions- PG. 6

Season Awards Predictions- PG. 7

Concluding Thoughts- PG. 8

Tristan Beckmann’s Ultimate 2018 MLB Season Preview And Predictions

It’s one of the most exciting times of year. Baseball is here. It’s back! The MLB kicks off its season on Thursday, March 29th. We are in for a treat this season and baseball fans around the world will gather in a few days to start watching the long journey from Opening Day to the World Series. So since it’s almost Opening Day, I decided to throw together my ultimate preview and predictions for the 2018 MLB season. I’ll predict each award, regular season standings, breakdown the divisions, and predict the entire postseason. Obviously, no one quite knows whether these predictions will be right, but I think I’m a good enough expert about baseball to where these predictions could be reasonably accurate. I hope you agree with them and even if you don’t, be sure to hit me up on Twitter @TBeckmannPSF and give me your thoughts on my predictions. I’m always up for some debate. But enough talking, let’s get right into this Ultimate 2018 MLB Season Preview!

Table of Contents:

PG.1: Introduction.

PG.2: Standings And Divisoon Breakdowns.

PG.3: Playoff Predictions.

PG.4: Awards Predictions.

For White Sox fans, the future is coming quickly

White Sox fans coming into the 2017 season knew the team on the field was going to go through a lot of changes. Since December of 2016, White Sox have seen Chris Sale, Adam Eaton, Jose Quintana, and more be dealt from the team to build for the future.  As quickly as those pieces were gone, the assets that were acquired in the deals have started to take their place on the major league field.

Since July 19th, White Sox fans have been able to see Yoan Moncada, Nicky Delmonico, and Reynaldo Lopez make their debuts in a White Sox uniform.  It has been an exciting time for the fanbase even while the team continues to see their overall record get worse. Being able to see some of the potential that this franchise has for the future is forcing excitement into even the most cynical of fans.  Moncada has been improving at the plate while flashing the leather at second base while Nicky Delmonico is quickly deserving the nickname Nicky Bats with his 5 home runs and .356 average in his first 67 plate appearances.  Delmonico started out hot as he reached base at least once in his first 13 games and 15 out of his first 16 games.  Reynaldo Lopez only had 2 chances to take the mound for the South Side before landing on the 10-day disabled list with a strained back.  Lopez flashed some of his strikeout potential while showing that he still has some work to do with his control. In the 10.1 innings that Lopez has pitched, he has racked up 12 strikeouts while issuing 7 free passes.

Before it was announced that the White Sox had lost Reynaldo Lopez to the disabled list, the Pale Hose told fans on Friday afternoon that Lucas Giolito would be making his season debut on Monday, August 21st. That was pushed back to Tuesday however due to the Lopez injury and the White Sox will be bringing up their 2015 first round pick, Carson Fulmer, to take the mound on Monday for his first start of the 2017 season. Giolito and Fulmer have had their issues in the minors this year as they are averaging over 4 walks per nine.

White Sox fans should still be excited however to see these two pitchers because they still hold a lot of potential for the South Side.  Over the past 5 starts, Lucas Giolito has shown the potential in him by carrying a 1.72 ERA to go along with 28 strikeouts and 11 walks.  While this isn’t as dominant as fans would have liked to see from the former #1 overall prospect, Giolito seems to have figured something out over the past 2 months.  Since June 21st, Lucas Giolito has only allowed more than 4 walks in a game once and he has started 11 games in that time.  Carson Fulmer has continued to struggle in AAA Charlotte as he has issued 63 walks in 122 innings during his 2017 minor league campaign.  Both starters will benefit from the recent call-up however thanks to the tandem of pitching coach Don Cooper and bullpen coach Curt Hasler.  There was praise from long-time major leaguer Tyler Clippard on how Cooper and Hasler showed him video breakdowns of his pitching performances.  Clippard admitted that seeing the breakdown from the coaching tandem really helped him get back on track.

The White Sox pitching coaches have always been known to get the most out of any pitcher that comes through the organization and with Reynaldo Lopez, Carson Fulmer, and Lucas Giolito finally making the majors with the White Sox, this could be the boost they all need.  Spending time with some of the best pitching coaches in the majors could help these 3 starters, along with the added benefits that come with making the 25-man active roster.

Thanks to the promotions, Fulmer and Giolito will be able to finally get some more time in the majors and eat up some innings while trying to prove themselves to the front office and coaching staff.  It looks as if it will only be one start for Fulmer for now as stated by skipper Rick Renteria in an interview with the Chicago Sun Times.

“For right now it’s just going to be one start [for Fulmer],’’ manager Rick Renteria said. “Then he’ll go back.’’

With the recent moves to the majors, Michael Kopech, the team’s #3 prospect, was quietly promoted to AAA Charlotte.  Most fans were focused on the larger move of Fulmer and Giolito to the majors, but Kopech has really put together a fantastic season in AA Birmingham.  Kopech has pitched 119.1 innings while giving up 77 hits, 60 walks, and 155 strikeouts.  Most of Kopech’s struggles with walks came in the early part of the season and has only given up 3 or more walks in two starts since June 23rd over a span of 9 starts.  The 21-year-old starter has shown a lot of improvement in his control and ability to limit walks as he has only allowed 7 walks while striking out 54 batters over his recent 6 game stretch. There was a lot of concern about Kopech and his control coming into the 2017 season, but he has shown the front office of the White Sox that they can have confidence in him going forward with the steps he has taken forward.  I fully expect Michael Kopech to get a taste of the majors in 2018 since he will get a taste of what AAA Charlotte has to offer here at the end of the 2017 season.

While many White Sox fans thought the future was bleak for the team, it has quickly turned around over the past 12 months thanks to the trades that Rick Hahn has pulled off. It has been a much different way of rebuilding a franchise, but the front office and fanbase have been treated to some positive returns earlier than they expected.  If you didn’t believe that Rick Hahn could pull off a rebuild, now is the time to buy in and see what some of these players will be bringing to an MLB stadium near you.

Cubs take 2 of 3 against the Cardinals at Wrigley. 

As Willson Contreras said after the Orioles series, “We’re Back” I guess it is safe to say that the champs are back to its winning ways and it is also safe to say that Maddon has the offense and pitching back on track. With the help from their star players including Bryant, Rizzo, Contreras, Zobrist and the revamped pitching staff the Chicago Cubs were able to take two out of three games at home in front 40,000 plus fans all weekend. Jose Quintana allowed three runs and struck out seven in six innings in his Cubs home debut Sunday against the Cardinals. Since the all star break the Cubs are 8-1 with a whopping 20 home run just though 9 games. With that addtion of pitcher Jose Quintana it seems that it has most definitely sparked a surge in the Cubs clubhouse. The two players that standout most to me is Contreras and Bryant. Contreras has been seeing the ball like to a beachball, he’s been hammering homers left and right. As for his catching abilities I put him up there as a young Molina, no doubt in my mind he will always be an All-Star. As for Kris Bryant, he’s back to his MVP ways, whether it’s him getting clutch hits, cranking homers or just heads up base running he seems it be in the right state of mind when it comes to it. Now the next 4 days for the Cubs will be the crosstown classic. Two at home (Monday and Tuesday) and two away (Wednesday and Thursday). I believe that Quintana will pitch Thursday, wouldn’t that be something to watch him face his old and hopefully muster a win for the Cubs. As for trade rumors the Cubs are eyeing, Yu Darvish, Jonathan Lucroy, Sonny Gray, Justin Verlander and Alex Avila. The smart move would to acquire Darvish and Lucroy for the simple fact that they both are from the same team, they know signs and they know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. It will be interesting to see how the next couple of weeks play out when it comes down to the trade deadline. 

Jose Quintana’s Historic Start in Cubs Debut

Jose Quintana’s was traded from the Chicago White Sox to the Chicago Cubs last Thursday for 4 Cubs prospects. Two of  the four prospects traded to the White Sox were listed as the top two prospects within the Cubs organization. Shortly after, Quintana was added to the Cubs rotation and set to start verses the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday.

The trade of Quintana was the first time in 11 years that the Cubs and White Sox had conducted a crosstown trade. After the trade many fans were exited to see if Quintana would be able help steer the struggling Cubs in the right direction. Quintana’s much anticipated start on Sunday did not disappoint.

In his first start with the Cubs, Quintana proceeded to have one of the best games of his career. He went 7 innings, gave up 3 hits, walked zero and struck out 12 Baltimore Orioles hitters. His performance made the Cubs line up look like it was 2016 all over again, propelling the them to win 8-0.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Quintana has joined Randy Johnson in being the only pitchers to have double digit strike outs with two different teams in the same season since 1900.  After the game Quintana said “This one is special for me. First one with the Cubs. I’m really happy.”

Cubs players are happy to be back to baseball, and grateful for Quintana’s work on the mound. Catcher Wilson Contreras said “We are back to where we were last year.” He also praised Quintana on an outstanding start, “We knew that he could pitch pretty good, but today was his day,” Contreras said ” After the game, I thanked him.”

The Cubs have gotten off to a hot start since the All-Star Break, outscoring the Orioles 27-11 in 3 games. If the Cubs line up can continue giving run support  to their pitchers then we may be in for a treat for the second half of the season.

 

 

Crosstown Blockbuster: White Sox trade Jose Quintana to Cubs for Eloy Jimenez & 3 other prospects.

Oh baby! It’s officially trade season in the world of baseball. We’ve been sitting on the edge of our seats waiting for the floodgates of the market to burst open, and this might be the trade that does it.

Earlier this morning, Jose Quintana was dealt from the Chicago White Sox to the Chicago Cubs for the No. 8 prospect, power hitting outfielder Eloy Jimenez, pitcher Dylan Cease, and infielders Matt Rose and Bryant Flete.

Not exactly what I imagined waking up to this morning.

Sports http://Collectibles–Amazon.com

This trade is beautiful for the baseball world and for both franchises. Here’s why:

  • This trade finally busts the myth that teams can’t trade crosstown or between the division. It’s always been looked down upon in cities like Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York, but for what reason? Just so an amped up rivalry continues on without flare? Sox GM Rick Hahn and the Cubs front office entourage each helped their team move a step closer to what they’re looking to accomplish.
  • For the White Sox, they add a big time prospect and arguably the best bat in their system with Eloy Jimenez. Jimenez, 20, is only in Single-A, but was in Miami earlier in the week for the Future’s Game. While he isn’t proven at the major league level, he certainly is a prospect worth taking a risk on. While Jimenez has been crushing lightbulbs with baseballs in batting practice, Dylan Cease has flown under the radar. The Cubs No. 2 prospect and ranked No. 63 in all of baseball, Cease has pitched his way into the minds of every Cubs fan looking ahead into the future. Cease, 21, has put up terrific numbers with thirteen games started and a 2.79 ERA. Although Jimenez is the more enticing piece of the package, Cease is a name to watch out for in the White Sox system over the next couple years. The other two prospects acquired, Matt Rose and Bryant Flete, don’t even crack the top 30 Cubs prospects, but Rick Hahn saw something he liked. The Sox now own 9% of the Top 100 prospects according to MLB Pipeline.
  • For the Cubs, they add the best available piece to their rotation. Quintana is 28 years old, proven in the big leagues, and under team control until 2020 with club options for 2019 and 2020 worth $10.5 million. Quintana has dealt with his fair share of troubles this year and is currently sporting a 4.49 ERA with a 4-8 record this season, but since June 1st, Quintana’s ERA is just 2.70 while the Cubs starting rotations ERA since then is… not great. And if anyone can make Quintana even better, it’s Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio. This puts the Cubs back in a great position to contend for the NL Central and the World… hold on, Patrick. One step at a time. Also, it takes Quintana off of the market for teams like the Milwaukee Brewers and the Los Angeles Dodgers.
  • A commonly asked question that I’ve seen on Twitter is, “was this return big enough for the (insert team name here)? I wish we could’ve gotten (insert Major League player here).” This trade gets done without the Cubs losing any of their current roster talent AND without the White Sox losing their minds. Quintana is perfect for the Cubs and four prospects is perfect for the White Sox. This comes out as a very fair deal and one that will be remembered for a long time in the city. See, GMs are doing what’s best for the team, not necessarily what makes the fans the happiest. When Eloy is hitting bombs at Guaranteed Rate and Quintana is pitching in World Series’ at Wrigley, I can’t imagine too many people will fret. This is the first crosstown Chicago trade since Neal Cotts and David Aardsma were swapped in 2006. The “stigma” of big crosstown trades is broken.

It’s a win-win for the Cubs, White Sox and Major League Baseball. Now sit back, relax and watch the dominoes fall across the league.