As we pass the one third mark of the season, a few questions to ponder for the 2012 Jays , and baseball in general:
Can Josh Hamilton win the Triple crown?: In a word, no. At the start of the season, some might recall that I picked Miguel Cabrera to do the impossible- or at least the impossible in the past 40 years- and win a Triple Crown in the AL. Then lo and behold, the Rangers josh hamilton broke out of the gates mashing the ball and leading all three categories. He still has a handy lead in homers (22) and RBI , and as of yesterday he was still a respectable second in batting average.
That said, it’s more than unlikely he’ll be taking a run at the crown come season’s end. In fact, I’d still go with my original pick, Cabrera, to win it if anyone did, although Miguel’s low 12 homers so far puts him at a disadvantage.
The fact that Hamilton in the last ten games (through yesterday) was hitting below .200 with only 5 rbi while Cabrera (.325/12/47 overall) had hit in the range of .390 with 10 rbi isn’t the factor there. It’s simply that Hamilton isn’t likely to play all 162 games. Too much has been written about Hamilton’s occaisonal relapses with alcohol and too little has been written about his overall frailty. In the past two seasons he’s played 121 and 133 games and hasn’t had a completely healthy season yet. That still allows him to contribute mightily for the Rangers– but not lead the league in home runs or RBI. He may be able to recoup and take the batting championship – he did hit .359 in 2010 after all, but his lead in the home run derby is already shrinking and mark down his customary month off with bad back/hamstring/shoulder and there’s no way he’ll hold off the hammering Adam Jones, Miguel Cabrera , edwin Encarnacion, or even one Jose Bautista who despite still being derided by local radio has managed to creep into the top 5 in home runs by hitting a dozen since the Ides of April ended.
Hamilton will have a great year, hit 40 homers while hitting over .333, play in the playoffs again and parlay that into a $200M contract somewhere next winter… but he won’t wear a crown.
Have we seen the last of Jamie Moyer? I hope not, but as I wrote the question I thought the answer would be ‘yes- as a player’. Then Baltimore went out and signed him to AAA Norfolk. And when one looks at Jake Arrieta’s numbers for the O’s, one might expect that Moyer will get another kick at the can.
I like Moyer. He inspires me. He was pitching before the likes of Stephen Strasburg and Henderson Alvarez were born. He’s gone through more surgeries than the guy on the Operation board and he just keeps chugging along. The oldest pitcher ever to toss a shutout. The oldest pitcher to ever win a game, this spring. The current leader in wins among active pitchers (269, while out of retirement Andy Pettitte has 242 and injured Roy Halladay is at 192 and holding). He seems a nice guy, and he just likes playing baseball.
That said, one has to wonder if he should be playing in the majors. He started out ok with Colorado this year but by the time they threw in the towel on him, his numbers were scarier than a Friday the 13th movie. In his past ten starts he barely averaged 5 innings a game, hadd a whip of 1.73– that’s nearly two men on base every inning – had all of one win and an ERA in the previous five games of an ungodly 8.60. Everything has a season and one has to think maybe at age 49, Moyer’s season for pitching has come to an end , much as i’d like to see him win a playoff game at age 50… which he just possibly might since he now has a contract with Baltimore and the Orioles have been leading the AL East most of the way this year, which leads us to ask
Are the Orioles for real? No. And yes. I’ll admit they are considerably better than I , and most pundits, gave them credit for. Adam Jones is quickly developing into the finesseful in field , power hitting star they thought they were getting when they traded to get him from Seattle. Matt Wieters may be the best all-round catcher in the league. Nick markakis is looking more like a star and less like an enigma this year. Or was until he broke his wrist.
Jim Johnson is the John doe of closers yet has been flawless in their bullpen.
That said, there’s a reason they’ve fallen out of first and are a mere 2-8 in the past ten games. Jason Hammel turned out to be a steal from colorado, but the rest of the starters are a question mark. Jake Arrrieta and Tommy Hunter had combined for a 4-10 record with an ERA of about 5.55 before Arrieta got crushed last night. No wonder Jamie moyer looks good to them. Not to mention that their 246 runs scored is well behind Boston and Toronto and a bakers dozen or so behind the Yankees. The Orioles are 9th in the AL in batting, and 13th in stolen bases;and their pair of third basemen, Wilson Betemit and mark Reynolds do their pitchers no favours- theyve already commit 15 errors this year.
When Labour Day rolls around, the Orioles will have resumed their customary last place standing… but they will win more games than I (or most others) expected this year. If only Maryland was in the midwest, they might have a sporting chance…
next we’ll look at our Blue Jays… what’s with Joey Bats? Is Vlad the saviour or Vlad the bad? …and most importantly, is 2012 the year of the Blue Jays return to playoff baseball?