Another week of the 2014 season is in the books, and the only thing for sure…is nothing’s for sure.
Most impressive team of the week: Toronto Blue Jays. The 2014 Blue Jays are everything that the 2013 Blue Jays were supposed to be. Their 29-22 record leads the AL East, and they’ve actually been able to put a little distance between them and their competitors in the division. This past week, Toronto continued their march towards the playoffs by sweeping the defending World Champion Red Sox (at Fenway!) and the Oakland Athletics, who came into their series with the best record in all of baseball. Last week, the Jays won a pair of series against the Indians and Rangers. They’re not just outslugging teams either – Toronto allowed just 15 runs in their six wins this week. Impressive.
Honorable mentions: Atlanta Braves, St. Louis Cardinals, Texas Rangers
Least impressive team of the week: Detroit Tigers. I’m not going to pick on the Red Sox for a second straight week. Instead, I’m going to focus on the Tigers, who are still ten games over .500 but got taken behind the woodshed this week. Detroit got swept in Cleveland, losing two extra inning games (including one where they held a 4-0 lead). They then returned to Comerica Park with their tails tucked between their legs and got destroyed in three out of four by a Rangers team that is seemingly missing half of its projected Opening Day roster, getting outscored by 20 runs in the series. Their lead in the AL Central is now 6.5 games over the last place Indians, when a week ago, it was seven games over the second place Royals. They’re clearly not in trouble, but the division is getting a little hairy.
Dishonorable mentions: Boston Red Sox, Philadelphia Phillies, Washington Nationals
Most impressive hitter of the week: George Springer. Something has clicked for the Astros rookie. While his .316/.409/.947 pales in comparison the lines of some other studs this week, Springer wasn’t playing good baseball in the majors during his first month in the show. Going into last Monday’s game with the Angels, he was hitting .235/.313/.365. Fast forward to today, and his line is up to .246/.327/.448 thanks to a week that saw Springer smash four homers and hit safely in every game he played in. And keep in mind, he also didn’t play during the first two Astros games in Seattle this week. He did a lot to shed that “disappointment” label, which means a lot.
Honorable mentions: Nelson Cruz, Chris Davis, Yasiel Puig
Least impressive hitter of the week: David Ortiz. Ortiz showed his age this past week, tallying just one base hit and two walks while striking out five times in 23 plate appearances. For the season, his numbers look fine, but the calf injury that’s been bothering him is something to keep an eye on going forward.
Dishonorable mentions: Domonic Brown, Ryan Howard, A.J. Pollock
Most impressive pitcher of the week: Dallas Keuchel. With all due respect to the other great pitchers this week…who in the hell expected this from Keuchel? He came within a third of an inning of throwing two complete games this week, and allowed just three runs (two earned) in his two starts. He also struck out 14 and walked only one over the course of the week. His start to the season has been a huge surprise for the Astros, who haven’t been as bad as expected.
Honorable mentions: Corey Kluber, Julio Teheran, Adam Wainwright
Least impressive pitcher of the week: Francisco Liriano. Last year’s Comeback Player of the Year has struggled so far in 2014 for the Pirates. This week, he lasted just ten innings over two starts, both losses, and allowed ten runs. Liriano’s home run rate has doubled from 2013 to 2014, and when you combine that with a rise in his walk rate and some worse luck…well, that explains why his ERA is two runs higher this season than last.
Dishonorable mentions: Clay Buchholz, Ervin Santana, Justin Verlander
This week in Tommy John surgeries: none!
Notable newly disabled players: Matt Lindstrom, Corey Hart, Joey Votto, Juan Uribe, Zach McAllister, Robbie Erlin, Prince Fielder, Shane Victorino, Nolan Arenado, Mike Napoli, Cody Asche
Notable newly healthy players: Jason Giambi, Michael Cuddyer, David Freese, Jay Bruce, Kole Calhoun, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Chris Sale, Russell Martin, Alex Cobb, Jason Grilli
Notable transactions: Marlins sign Miguel Tejada, Marlins release Carlos Marmol, Blue Jays demote Marcus Stroman to AAA, Indians recall Trevor Bauer from AAA, Astros trade Raul Valdes to Toronto, Mariners recall Nick Franklin from AAA, Rangers demote J.P. Arencibia to AAA, Red Sox sign Stephen Drew, Angels demote Hector Santiago to AAA, Royals demote Mike Moustakas to AAA, Dodgers release Miguel “The Cannibal” Olivo, Tigers demote Robbie Ray to AAA, Orioles trade Troy Patton to Padres for Nick Hundley, Red Sox promote Daniel Nava from AAA, Cubs sign Manny Ramirez as AAA player-coach
Major league debuts: Rob Rasmussen, Francisco Pena, Erisbel Arruebarrena, Rudy Owens, David Buchanan, Corey Knebel
Enjoy your week of baseball, everyone.