23 Jun The Long And Winding Road Of A Major League Baseball Season
By: Lou Landers – @RealSportsCrew
There is a saying about an MLB season, “It’s a marathon, not a sprint”. By evidence in the title of this article, in my eyes an MLB season can be a “Long and winding road” and I’m going to explain why if you continue to read. Now, before we get going, I also happen to be a huge Beatles fan, so anytime I can incorporate a song of theirs into an article I’m doing, I am going to do it!
162 games is a lot of baseball. There are many ups and downs; hot streaks, cold streaks, injuries, walk off wins, heart breaking losses, tears of sadness, tears of joy, records being broken, but most of all, unpredictability. I am not talking about in the standings necessarily, I am speaking more so about the day to day grind that is our great game. Baseball is certainly not a game for the un patient, and even some of the best players in the world (Mike Trout is exempt in 2018), can go through a cold spell just as quickly as a hot one. This can also be said about particular teams and their fans too.
Examples Of Players:
Harper is my first player on this list because outside of his home runs totals (18 in April/May and just 1 in June) he has been consistently bad all season long. We are talking about a guy who was looking for 400 million as a soon to be free agent this offseason and although he was likely not going to get close to that, after last season when he hit .319 with 29 homers, the idea a contract of that size was a remote possibility. Now that cannot be the case. No team can justify dishing out that much money to this guy. Harper is barely hitting over .200 this season and it has gotten worse from month to month. April saw him hit .241, followed by .221 in May and this month in June he is hitting an abysmal .156 while striking out in over 1/3 of his AB’s.
Didi had an incredible month of April. He won the AL player of the month award and was an early MVP candidate. He hit .330 with 10 homers, 30 RBI and 22 runs scored. No one expected him to maintain that pace but the drop off from April to May was as bad as any that I’ve seen in my life time. Even with the Yankees being baseball’s best team in May after a very average month of April, Didi hit just .149 in May with 1 homer, 5 RBI and 9 runs scored. At one point in May he endured a stretch in which he was 0 for 45. To his credit, Didi has turned things around in June; he is hitting over .300 with some power as well and he is putting together quality at bats again. His season this year is the perfect example of the ups and downs we see in a MLB season.
This guy is one of the best players in MLB; a perennial all-star and NL MVP candidate. He had a respectable April hitting .297 with 4 homers and 11 RBI but followed that up with arguably the worst month he has ever had. In May he hit .144 in 97 AB’s with 3 homers and 8 RBI. The entire baseball world and the fantasy baseball community was asking what was wrong with him. At a certain point, when a player of his caliber goes through that tough a stretch, its only human nature to start assuming that he is injured or that he is “past his prime”. Remember earlier in this article when I said that baseball is not a game for the un patient? Well, I’m about to give you a great example as to why this is true. So with all the doubts surrounding Goldy, a career worst month and his team going through a tough time as well, Goldy took it upon himself to turn things around and boy did he ever! So far in June, Goldy is hitting .395 with 9 homers and 21 RBI. He has completely turned his season around and if you don’t feel like doing math, let me do it for you. He has more homers and RBI in the month of June than he had in April and May combined. Another example of the ups and downs throughout a big league season.
Examples Of Teams:
New York Mets
The 2018 season could not have started any better for the Mets. They were not only healthy, but they went 11-1 in their first 12 games and the fans and pundits already had them heading to the postseason and as World Series contenders. I guess they forgot that pennants aren’t won in March and April. The Mets scored 5.1 runs per game in their first 12 games and allowed just 3 runs per game. Since then, they have gone 20-42 while scoring 3.5 runs per game and allowing 4.8 runs per game. Matt Harvey was traded away during this fall from grace for the Mets, effectively ending his up and down tenure with the Mets, but it seems like that is only the start of what is to come. The Mets have made it known to the rest of MLB that they are willing to listen to trades on all their players, including aces Jacob DeGrom and Noah Syndergaard. So in just 2 months, the Mets have gone from World Series contender to potentially blowing up the entire roster. Although I highly doubt that both aces will be traded, even the thought of it happening just goes to show how unpredictable baseball can be.
Los Angeles Dodgers
The 2018 season did not start well for the reigning NL Champions. The Dodgers were 5 games under .500, a 16-21 record after their loss to the Reds on May 10th. Injuries to 4/5 of their starting rotation (including Clayton Kershaw) killed most of the optimism surrounding them turning it around. Enter Ross Stripling and Walker Buehler; the saviors of the Dodgers rotation and quite possibly the turning point of the season. Of course, Joc Pederson’s resurgence, Cody Bellinger showing signs of life at the plate, and Max Muncy coming out of no where hasn’t hurt the cause either. The most surprising part of the 2018 season for the Dodgers has to be Matt Kemp’s success in his 2nd stint with the team. Many people, including myself thought that Kemps best years were behind him but he is proving all of us wrong. With a little help from his friends (another Beatles reference), the Dodgers have a 24-14 record since May 10th and have gone from 4th place in the NL West to 2nd place and just 2 games off the lead. What a long strange journey it has been down the long and winding road.