David Price and Mike Minor pitched brilliantly on Thursday and Saturday, respectively, in their team's victories.
David started it off by going 7 stellar innings at Seattle, which was in first place at the time and is now 46-26 and a game and a half back of the Astros. Dave gave up only 5 hits, 1 earned run, with 0 walks and 7 K's. He was spectacular. David threw 106 pitches with 73 for strikes against 33 balls, a better than 2:1 ratio of strikes to balls which is the benchmark of stellar control. David was hitting 94-95 consistently and blazed one in at 96 at one point in the game. His fastball was cookin. David threw some good off speed stuff as well. His cutter came in at 88-90 and was effective. His change up was very good at 84-86, and he threw a couple of really nice curves. If DP can mix in that off speed stuff, and have confidence in those pitches, with his fastball and cutter, he'll always pitch well. David is on fire and is the stopper for the Bosox along with No.1 starter Chris Sale, who throws a cool 98-99. David is now 8-4 with a 3.76 ERA and his WHIP (walks plus hits per innings pitched) is 1.20 and it keeps dropping. 1.00 is outstanding, so he's getting closer and closer to that mark. For June, Dave's ERA is 2.84 and his WHIP is 1.00. He has won 6 out of his last 7 starts. Dave is on a roll and he's on a stellar team. The Sox split a 4 game set with the Mariners, winning the first 2 and dropping the final 2 games. They are even with the Yankees in the AL East. The Yankees have lost 3 less games than the Sox, but the Sox have played 73 and the Yankees 67, as the Yanks had problems with the weather in April and May. The Yanks are 46-21, .687 ball, and the Sox are 49-24, .671 ball. A lot of great drama ahead in the American League East with these 2 juggernauts. These 2 teams along with Houston and Seattle are the class of the American League and will battle it out for the pennant.
Mike MInor was superior in his start Saturday against the hard hitting Colorado Rockies at Globe Life Park in Arlington, TX. Mike went 7, gave up 5 hits, 2 earned runs, with 2 walks and 6 K's. He threw 102 pitches with 62 for strikes against 40 balls. His command was excellent, and Mike hit 93-94 regularly, and hit 95 one time. His slider was awesome at 87-88, and his off speed stuff was excellent. Mike really cruised through a lineup with several .300 hitters, but faced trouble in the second and seventh. He gave up a couple of runs, but pitched out of a serious jam in the 7th. After giving up a single and a double advancing runners to 2nd and 3rd, Mike, down 2-0, got a pop up to second, walked a batter after home plate umpire Todd Tichenor squeezed the strike zone on him, which Tichenor had been doing all game, and faced the bases loaded and 1 out. Mike got another pop out to second and then got the 3rd out on a groundout to third. It was awesome. Really proud of the way Mike pitched. He didn't get the victory, but the Rangers came back and won 5-2. Mike is now 4-4 with a 5.35 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP, which doesn't look great, but after pitching like he did Saturday, Minor looks like he's ready to win a lot the rest of this season.
Sonny again pitched courageously against the Washington Nationals, but the Yankees fell to the Nationals, 5-4, last Wednesday Night in the Bronx. Sonny went 5, gave up 7 hits, 4 runs walked 2 and struck out 1. It wasn't his best outing, but I thought he pitched pretty decently. Sonny was hitting 93-94 and hit 95, and had a good cutter, change and curve. His stuff looked pretty good. He gave up a 3 run homer to rookie left field sensation Juan Soto in the 4th, which hurt, but it didn't look like it was hit that well to left. The ball just kept carrying and carrying. Major League baseball has determined that the ball is more lively this year and it's been that way for the last couple of years, and it leads to balls that should be caught by the outfielders going out of the park. Baseball should do something about it as soon as possible, and I mean right now. It's the pitcher's careers they're jeopardizing and something needs to be done. I like the new clock they have in games, and the intentional walk rule where a pitcher doesn't have to throw a pitch, the runner gets awarded 1st base, and the 6 number of mound visits in the game, but they need to make it an even playing field for the pitchers. It's kind of outrageous really. Baseball needs to do something about this and they need to do it now. That fly ball Soto hit off Sonny should have been exactly that, a fly ball out to Yankees' left fielder Brett Gardner. It shouldn't have left the park. Baseball needs to address this and not waste any more time vacillating on it. Just start making the core softer or whatever they need to do make it an even matchup between the pitcher and the hitter. Some pitchers have adjusted, but ERA's are up all over the majors. This needs to get done. Sonny 4-4 with a 4.98 ERA and a 1.49 WHIP. Still very much believe Sonny will get it going,. He's had some really fine outings recently, so it's there. He starts tonight at 6:05 CT @ the Nationals. David is on the hill Wednesday @ the Twins and Mike faces the Twins on Friday Night @ Minnesota as well.
Walker Buehler is on the 10 day DL for the Dodgers and began his stint last Tuesday, June 12th. Walker has a microfracture in one of his ribs after taking a line drive off his rib cage 3 or 4 weeks ago. Walker's such a great competitor that he kept pitching through it, but in his last start, he was showing some signs of being in pain and manager Dave Roberts took him out of the game. He had been pitching fantastically well, but may be on the DL for a couple more weeks as Roberts said the Dodgers will be very careful with the rib injury. Walker had become a bellcow of that Dodgers' pitching staff, and although the Dodgers are playing well at 37-33 and have won 5 of their last 6, they don't have Clayton Kershaw and a couple of others along with Walker, so they need some guys to get healthy. They are a game and a half behind the Arizona Dbacks. which are at 39-32 in the NL West. Very good race in that division. Walker could be back in mid July if I had to hazard a guesstimate.
Dansby Swanson has led off for the Braves the last couple of games. Dans is hitting .256 and playing solid short for the Braves, which are for real. The Braves are at 42-29 and lead the Nationals, which are 37-31, by 3 1/2 games. I think the Braves are in it for the long run this season if they can maintain pretty good health. I like where Dansby and the Braves are a lot. Ryan Flaherty played third yesterday and went 0 for 3, but he still is very much a part of the Braves' plans going forward. Bullish on the Braves.
Tony Kemp stroked a pair of singles yesterday and is pretty much the regular left fielder for the Houston Astros. Tony is hitting .316 and playing stellar left field. Would like to see the man get on base and steal bases, which he is so proficient at doing. If they can move him up in the order from 9th, that might give him more running possibilities. Tony has world class speed, so he can give the 'Stros a lot. The 'Stros are stellar having won 11 in a row and lead the AL West by a game and a half over the Mariners. Like where Tony is too.
Curt Casali recorded 2 hits yesterday for the Cincinnati Reds as they defeated the Pirates, 8-6. Curt has been playing some for the Reds after being traded to them by the Tampa Bay Rays in May. Curt is hitting .421 in some spot duty, but he's making an awesome case to be the Reds starting catcher. Pulling for Curt. He has battled it out in the minors and has been an incredible foot soldier, dedicated to his profession. Would love to see Curt get a regular shot with the Red Legs.
Pedro Alvarez DH'd Friday Night for the Orioles and went 0 for 3. I wish Pedro would get a regular shot with the Birds. They don't have anything settled at first base or at third really, so why not give him a shot. Just really perplexed by this. But I'm pulling hard for our great former 3rd baseman. Corbs says he's a phenomenal person and his backstory when he was recruited by Corbs is something else.
Pedro's dad was a cab driver, and he and his parents lived in an apartment building where in the basement Pedro's dad had built a hitting cage. They practiced constantly throughout Pedro's formative years, and Corbs watched Pedro hit bomb after bomb in Yankee Stadium in a tryout for youth players. Corbs walked out of Yankee Stadium thinking he had no shot of getting that guy to come to Vanderbilt. He talked to Pedro and his parents, and Pedro was translating everything in Spanish that Corbs was saying to his parents. El Toro came to VU for its academics and having the desire to play for Corbs and he had an awesome 3 year career in Nashville. He's really battled through minor league stints and sitting on benches in the majors. You just pull for him to get a full time shot again. He can hit for power, and he can hit for average if he's given the opportunity. And he can play good defense. And he's an amazingly cool young man who Corbs said couldn't have been more helpful in training camp for our college team this season. He's an awesome guy with a great heart and a passion for baseball. You just pull for guys like Pedro to find great success in the professional ranks. I believe he still very much can succeed in MLB.
Our VU baseball team finished strong just coming up short in the Super Regionals to Mississippi State. But it was a good season with a young team that started 4 freshman and more sometimes. We've got a terrific team coming back. No reason to look back. Just pulling for Connor Kaiser, Chandler Day, Reid Schaller and our other guys who got drafted, including our incoming freshmen who signed contracts, to do well in the professional ranks and for our team to really lock in on what could be a tremendous 2019 campaign with these great freshmen becoming sophomores, our stellar sophomores becoming juniors, and our 3 or 4 rising seniors, Patrick Raby, Stephen Scott, huge to get Scottie back, and Julian Infante, to be our leaders. Ethan Paul hasn't made up his mind yet on what he wants to do, but we would heartedly welcome back Ethan if he decides to return. Pretty exciting possibilities for 2019. Our young pitchers need to develop this offseason when they are playing in the Cape leagues in the Northeast and really develop this fall for us to be a spectacular team next season. But we've got a real shot if our pitching can develop.
Football has 2 commits for 2019 right now in 6'5", 220 pound tight end Joel DeCoursey from Zionsville, Indiana, and 6'4", 230 pound tight end Jeffrey Blake from Norcross, GA. Joel is an 85, 3 star according to 247 sports and a 5.6 3 star by Rivals. Jeffrey is an 83 and 5.5. Watched both players on tape and both looked outstanding. Good receivers, exceptional blockers, very physical, skilled players. We had our Friday Night Lights event over the weekend and there are rumors that we will be getting multiple commits coming up. Will keep you posted.
As far as 2018 goes, I like our team very much. With Kyle Shurmur returning at quarterback, a great running back corps led by Ke'Shawn Vaughn and Khari Blasingame, a maybe not as experienced but talented receiving corps led by potential All-SEC wide out Kalija Lipscomb, an offensive line that looks physical and deep led by stellar senior left tackle Justin Skule, (6'6", 320), and outstanding senior center Bruno Reagan (6'3", 315) and stellar tight ends Jared Pinkney and Sam Dobbs, along with some excellent incoming freshmen at wide receiver and tight end, I like what we have on offense. Something else, backup quarterback is stellar with awesome redshirt sophomore Deuce Wallace available if Kyle has any injury issues. We've got freshman Allan Wallace, a stud from New Jersey, coming in and he'll be our third QB. Very hopeful that Kyle can stay healthy though because he could have a phenomenal year for us. Defense lost some guys but I like what the Odeyinbo brothers, Dare and Dayo, Charles Wright and some young guys can do up front. I like what Jordan Griffin, Josh Smith, Caleb Peart and a talented group of youngsters can do at linebacker, and I'm excited to see the awesome Joejuan Williams at corner and LaDarius Wiley at safety lead a young, highly talented secondary. We have a punter coming in from Columbia University who can boom it, and kicker is coming along. The return game could be stellar with potentially electric punt return man Donaven Tennyson, who will also be a good receiver for us too, and potentially explosive Jamauri Wakefield along with some others returning kicks. Jamauri is going to be a good running back for us as well as a sophomore. His future is bright.
Another factor that Coach Mason will elaborate on in our conversation coming up this week is the new coaches we have in. Jason Tarver will be running the defense after spending many years in the NFL and serving with Coach Mason at Stanford as co defensive coordinators. Jason brings a lot of passion and energy to the defense. I also spoke with Coach Tarver this spring and will give you his thoughts on his 2018 defense coming up this week. Jason and Coach Mason will work very well together and give Coach Mason a better chance to concentrate on his entire team, which he has wanted to do, but hadn't found the right guy the last 3 years for his defensive coordinator, so he's had to do it himself. This is a big deal having Tarver for the defense. Coach Mason and Coach Tarver think alike and our defense should excel now and in the future under Mason's and Tarver's leadership. And we have some good young coaches and some really talented veteran coaches leading the team. I'll give you more about them this week in my piece with Coach Mason. Should have it out Wednesday or Thursday. Tarver on Saturday or next Monday.
Great stuff going on with our professional players in MLB, and excited about what our football, basketball, baseball, tennis and golf teams can do next year. And you can't discount the bowling team. National championships can never be discounted. Our women's soccer team under the highly capable leadership of Coach Darren Ambrose reached the second round of the NCAA's and have an excellent team returning. So a lot to be excited about on the West End. Can't wait to get 2018-19 started. Will have Coaches Mason and Tarver coming up and more baseball and try to get some Bryce, bball stuff cookin. We're going to have what should be a spectacular team this coming season.