A Rookie of the Year candidate in 2005, an MVP candidate in 2006, and a magical run to the World Series in 2007, Garrett Atkins seemed to be in a good situation with the Rockies...that is until the emergence of Ian Stewart, who forced Atkins to move from third to first. It has become clear that since the move, for whatever reason, Atkins ability to hit has diminished severely. After a disappointing final year in Colorado in 2009, he was picked up by Baltimore was bad news from the beginning. How can someone expect to resurrect their career with the Orioles, who have been the laughing stock of baseball the past decade? I like the idea of Atkins on the Phillies because its players like him that just need to be in winning environments to find success. He can take over his familiar third base position, giving Philadelphia a sure glove at the hot corner, enabling the team to move Polanco back to second when he returns. What do they have to lose?
Obviosly the guys at Braves Blast are happy to see some of their own get recognized as All-Stars, but even they can't understand the selection of Omar Infante.
This has got to be one of the biggest mysteries in baseball today. Infante doesn't even start for Atlanta! How is it that Joey Votto, an NL MVP candidate, has to rely on the fan vote to get into the game, where Infante was in from the day the rosters were announced? Not to take anything away from Infante, he is having a productive year for the Braves in his role position hitting .307, but come on Charlie Manuel, you can make a better pick than that. Managing the All-Star teams is a difficult task and a large responsibility, especially since the games "matter" these days as the winner will earn home field advantage in the upcoming World Series. Although Manuel has to be honored to be managing the team for the second consecutive year, I am sure his own teams struggles are more of a concern to him then the All-Star selections.
After some rough starts, the Marlins have demoted Chris Volstad to Triple-A.
What a surprise, the Florida Marlins make another head scratching move. This time sending down Volstad, who according to the numbers, has virtually identical statistics when comparing his 2009 campaign to 2010. Last season, he went 9-13 with a remarkably high 5.21 ERA, but still managed to get 29 starts for his team. Does this have anything to do with the departure of Fredi Gonzalez? Has Florida management wanted to do this for a while? Was the only thing standing in their way Fredi Gonzalez, who urged the people around him to not give up on the 23-year old right-hander? Sure the team is 1-10 in Volstad's last ten starts (he has won just one game since May 8th), but its not like Florida has any legitimate phenom coming up to fill the void.The Nationals have taken the first two games of their series with San Diego, and they've done it with their bats.
It's a shame that right when the Nats start hitting again, the baseball world will be put on hold, as the All-Star break will give everyone some much needed rest. Washington has been home run happy in their last two games getting three from Adam Dunn, two from Ryan Zimmerman, and even two from Ian Desmond. What's even more impressive is who their timely hitting is coming against. The Padres have a great bullpen but don't get a lot of attention because their lineup isn't that "sexy" and most of their games are played on the west coast. They have been dominant all year and were expected to overmatch the Nationals lineup, but that has not been the case. You can't expect a bullpen to be perfect, but do they have what it takes to make the right adjustments for the final game of the series Thursday night?
Johan Santana not only pitched his first complete game of the year on Tuesday night (the first since his masterpiece on the second to last day of Shea Stadium), but he also hit his first career home run during a twelve pitch at bat.
This was vintage Johan. There is no greater joy than watching Johan have complete control of the game. He has a knack for doing it all, he can dominate hitters, put up a fight in the batters box, and when he does get on base, he will always run hard, unlike most pitchers. In the past, I have said that Johan isn't the same pitcher he once was, and I still believe that, there have been times this season where he has been the second or third best starter in the rotation, but I also think that he has a lot more left in the tank than most people think. Also, Johan is traditionally a second half pitcher so it will be interesting to see what kind of performances he puts together in the next three months.